[[ Cliven Bundy, by his own words, has declared himself an enemy of the United States by dismissing its existence, and when he boasts about waging a "range war" against the government of the United States, he is threatening to levy war against the United States.
That's the Constitutional definition of treason. ]]
I urge you to come down off the high horse.
Why do you write as if you have something stuck up your craw about Cliven Bundy?
He may not be as pure as the driven snow, not that they get much snow where he is. He's not even close to being squeaky-clean.
Mr. Bundy actually sounds a little (or perhaps a little more) off-kilter. The same might have been said about Randy Weaver up in Idaho some years' back. But what happened to him at the hands of the federal government certainly struck a raw nerve amongst many. And he was later vindicated in court.
It's obvious that the BLM wanted Bundy's cattle off of their land, and at some point in the past may have been leveraging to drive him out of business -- the same way they succeeded in driving the other ranchers in the area out of the same kind of business.
The BLM's modus operandi was to coerce ranchers into signing "contracts" consenting to terms under which it would become all-but impossible for them to continue in the ranching business. At least if they wanted to make any money from it. The others couldn't hang on, but Bundy has toughed it out.
I'm only guessing, and you can attack me for that, but I'll guess that that's why Bundy reached a point where he no longer wished to do business with a "party of the first part" that was trying (obviously) to drive him OUT of business.
Mr. Bundy may not be the proverbially-clean hound's tooth. But his "range war" has taken a bite out of the BLM -- and out of the federals -- to which many folks can relate.
And it's brought national attention to the fact that there is too much "government ownership" of land in the western states, without a compelling reason why there should BE such ownership.
Look at the way Texas is responding to the dispute with the BLM up along the Red River, in the wake of Bundy's War.
The federals may not be finished with Mr. Bundy yet.
But the issues which Bundy has raised are going to cause a lot of commotion in the future...
Here's my primary problem with Bundy.
He may very well get people killed.
Everyone keeps talking about how the BLM drove other ranchers out of business, but they never seem to remember that it is the BLM, acting under President Reagan's Executive Order #12548 that has shielded the ranchers from the effects of inflation, and has maintained the grazing fees at levels anywhere from 17% to 6000% lower than in non-BLM managed lands, and that in fact, grazing fees, adjusted for inflation, are lower now than they have been since 1980. Adjusted for inflation, today's $1.35 AUM works out to $0.54 per AUM in 1980 dollars, and if those fees had been allowed to grow at the rate of inflation, the grazing fee today would be nearly $6.00 AUM.
So, can you enlighten me as to the nature of the BLM contracts that drove ranchers out of business?
I've seen a whole lot of companies go out of business over the last 30 years or so. Hell, I've even seen a few industries go out (does anyone still make VHS tapes and players?), and most (if not all) have done so as a result of changes in the market. so I'd like to know what safety wall it was that the BLM removed from those ranchers that may have made their business impervious to changes in the economy and way that business is done.
Let me point one such change out to you... I sell food for a living.
People eat way more chicken than beef these days.
There was a time in America when beef was cheap and chicken was what was served for Sunday dinner, but that's not the case anymore.
Red meat consumption has been linked to cancer.
The price of beef to the consumer has risen steadily an significantly over the last three and a half decades, but poultry price by not increasing have become very accesible to shopers.
All of this, but the BLM's grazing fees actually remained unchanged.
So ranchers using public lands managed by the BLM are in fact recipients of corporate welfare. Bundy partook of that welfare for a number of years, but now he's pissed off at the source of that welfare.
Let me tell you what Bundy has as also brought attention to.
He's brought attention to the Federal subsidies that the OTHER 16,000 ranchers who are paying BLM grazing fees are receiving. Subsidies that include taxpayer-funded predator killing programs.
My problem with Bundy is that he's dead wrong, and that people may get killed because of it.