Perspectives: The Bundys vs the bureaucracy

OPINION – The name Bundy is a familiar one in this part of the American West. Right now it’s a name that many are hearing thanks to a longstanding cattle dispute with the federal Bureau of Land Management.

I have personally known Ryan Bundy for many years. I consider him a friend and a good man. I feel the same way about his father Cliven. These are men who are well acquainted with hard work and who are willing to stand for liberty when others are unwilling.

The Bundys are down-to-earth people. They don’t use big words to impress or try to couch their ideas in pseudo-intellectual language. They speak with simplicity. This makes them unsympathetic figures to some.

But it would be very foolish to mistake them for uninformed troublemakers who don’t understand government’s proper limits. They are the last of dozens of area ranchers who have resisted being regulated out of existence by the BLM. One by one, other cattlemen have been forced to abandon their livelihood by an increasingly unreasonable bureaucracy.

Stripped of all the emotional posturing and misdirection, the core principle at stake here is a simple one. Either our federal government exists to protect and guarantee our rights of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness or it does not.

It’s not just the Bundys’ property and liberty that are at stake. There are larger implications for all of us. But relatively few Americans recognize why this is so.

Leonard E. Read describes the curious blind spot that afflicts our understanding of liberty:

Most Americans are unaware of a decline in personal liberty, and the reason is obvious: the decline rarely takes the form of personal depravations but, instead, takes the form of unnoticed erosion and, thus, we come to regard whatever state we are in as a normal condition.

Cliven Bundy and his family know what many Americans don’t yet know. They know what it’s like to fight for your livelihood against a corrupted bureaucracy. Understanding the Bundys’ stance requires some historical perspective.

Water and forage rights, and a host of other land use rights are all based in the legal concept of beneficial use. This refers to the right held by a person who has equitable title to real property to utilize that real property while another holds the legal title.

This is what the Bundy family has done for 130 years. While engaging in beneficial use, they have developed the land and made improvements that have benefited wildlife. Most importantly, they have caused no harm.

So why is a federal bureaucracy so intent on bringing them to heel? Because the nature of unaccountable power is to become progressively oppressive and dictatorial.

Is the BLM protecting rights and property when it issues complicated legal rules and proclamations to restrict public access to these lands? Is the BLM serving the American people by making rules when no one is looking?

Do bureaucratic tools like controlled public hearings filled with statistical pseudo-expertise serve the interests of the public or that of the system? Why are we progressively seeing our public lands placed out of reach without a permit?

Shall we the people govern ourselves or be at the mercy of elitists and bureaucrats in some far off district to make those decisions for us? Who is the servant and who is the master?

Michael Rozeff sums up why this is a stand worth making:

A bureaucracy can outlast a person and wear him down. Only a very unusual and heroic member of the public is willing to spend his or her life fighting these bureaucracies and rousing the public.

Cliven Bundy’s courageous stance, coupled with his family’s spirit of rugged individualism tendencies, has enraged the federal supremacists among us.

Critics fume in contrived outrage that the Bundys are violating BLM regulations by grazing their cattle on federal land without a permit. Never mind that the Bundys have lawfully possessed the water and forage rights for generations. Because they have refused to apply and pay for a newly required government permit, the feds now intend to steal their cattle. Like all tyrants, they do it under the color of law.

Those who openly or tacitly support these authoritarian actions are a perfect example of our society-wide ethical breakdown.

We have been conditioned to view government policies only in terms of “legal” or “illegal” but never in terms of rights. Rights are what limit government’s power over us.

Those who stand accused of illegality by someone in power are presumed to have no rights. Eric Peters writes:

It does not matter – that is, it is no “legal” defense – to point out that the ‘illegal’ act has not caused any harm to anyone. Anything – literally, anything – the state decrees to be ‘illegal’ is, by definition, sufficient ‘legal’ pretext to vitiate our rights.

Those who think this is about a family of scofflaws getting their comeuppance are missing the point. Is our government still accountable to the people who created it? Or have we become subjects?

If the Bundys can be legally deprived of life, liberty, and property for having caused no harm, it can be done to anybody.

Related posts

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • Observer March 31, 2014 at 10:02 am

    This is a blatant emotional appeal for friends. While I understand that it is hard to be objective when it is people you care about, and I sympathize with Bryan on that point, this argument is emotional and fact-less. I will concede that Mr. Bundy is courageous, but he is also arrogant and wrong. He was offered compensation for his improvements and water usage. His rights do not supersede all others’ rights. There are many competing interests for public lands usage, his is not the only one. Permits for grazing do not equate to property rights, nor does that land belong to Mr. Bundy. His livelihood is not in danger. It is unfortunate that he cannot compromise and work within the law. If he believes the law should be changed, he should work to that end. I see that Bryan has made no attempt to speak to anyone on the other side and that no real facts have been presented. That is convenient because the facts would reveal something quite different.

    • Martha March 31, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Tell us then what the “facts” are that will reveal something quite different? I have lived in southern Utah on and off for most of 50 years (longer than you I’m assuming by your pic), and I do not like the blatant take over of every aspect of our lives by the federal government. Our Constitution was set up to make this country one where the government is accountable to “we the people,” and not the other way around. I find most lefties to be quite uppity, so before you think that I’m ignorant, I will tell you that I have an interdisciplinary degree in education, business, and history. I also served in the Army for 3 years and was stationed in Washington DC and Germany. I may not know everything, but I’m not stupid.

      • Bub March 31, 2014 at 9:19 pm

        Martha needs to judge someone by a tiny photo and then brag about all her “fantastic” credentials…
        “I may not know everything, but I’m not stupid.”
        Ya, I’m not so sure…

      • Bender March 31, 2014 at 11:19 pm

        Use your age born wisdom and education to focus on the issue at hand Martha. Bundy is running his cows on federal land. It was always federal land. It never belonged to the local Mormon ranchers, Clark county or the state of Nevada. There was no government take over unless you care to consider the Paiutes being chased off so we Mormons could take the prime spots.

    • Theo April 1, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Well said OBSERVER.

    • Edward April 1, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Have you ever looked at a map of Nevada that shows the federal controlled land and the private land (Google “federal controlled land”). It makes you wonder if there is a State of Nevada at all. A very small portion of land within the borders of Nevada are controlled by the people of the state. I would think that when Nevada became a state and defined its boarders the intent was for the people of Nevada to govern the land not the feds. Why else would Nevada make a boarder? It does not make sense. Why define a sovereign state boarder with the intent not to govern it? I guess I am confused. Is Nevada a state or not, if it is then what land do the people really have rights to? And how did the feds end up with control of the land? When a state becomes a state doesn’t that mean that the people govern the land within the boarders? It seem that something is wrong with the way the western states were organized. Im just saying, I though this country was about the people not the government.

      • Rachel April 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm

        As a native Nevadan, I can tell you why the state is mostly Federal owned and has been since the beginning. Nevada was admitted into the Union in 1864 mainly for its silver and gold mining. The Union was in the middle of the expensive war with the South and needed money. Since then, Nevada has served as their money source, bombing range, secret military base and so on. It is a life long struggle with the ranchers that were there before the government made Nevada a state and the government.

        • Bender April 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm

          RACHEL, your wording implies it was the government doing the mining and collecting the money from the Comstock mining era in Northern Nevada. It was all private enterprise.
          There was only a smattering of ranching going on in Nevada at statehood in 1864, mainly around the Carson Valley (near present day Reno). The vast majority of ranching began AFTER statehood.

        • GPM April 3, 2014 at 9:28 pm

          The land didn’t have enough value for homesteaders, via the various Homestead Acts to prove up their claims. If the land had enough value it would be in private ownership.

    • Scott Freeman April 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      “There are many competing interests for public lands usage, his is not the only one. ”


      And who would that be?

      Oil Frackers?

      Private companies with political pull?


      I get it, but do you?

  • Bub March 31, 2014 at 10:48 am

    LOL, Hyde is such a right wing tool. It isn’t the big gubmunt doing away with family owned cattle operations. For the most part, they have been replaced with giant factory farm operations, but as usual, hide only applies his narrow little world view to his column…

    • Scott Freeman April 11, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Bryan is the tool?
      You arrogant surf.
      I’m going to assume you’re one of those “West Coast Tools” who relocated to a “tool free zone” and have decided to fill the gap.
      Listen, we get it.
      You think people here are provincial and antiquated. You have a progressive view of the world, which has developed and unbridled sense of entitlement, along with a willing subservience in you, to a perceived authority. It is however, unfortunate that you fail to grasp the basic concepts of freedom that are embedded in the constitution, and that no amount of government strong arming, or in your case, emotional browbeating, will change the reality of the situation.
      This is not freedom.
      This is not what the founders fought, and died for.
      It is most definitely NOT part of the constitution, which people like you, apparently have no ability to comprehend.

  • Matt March 31, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I appreciate your well written article on this topic. I am disheartened that the Bundys are in a position where their livelihood is threatened because of government policy decisions. I’m torn through as well on the legalistic background of their argument.

    Basically, the Gold Butte grazing area, along with a majority of the western United States, is federal property because no individual was willing or able to purchase the land from the government. Grazing and water rights were given to individuals as a form of rent to use the lands in a managed method. While policies have changed to the point where purchasing these lands would be difficult if not impossible, I don’t believe that the Bundy family, like many ranchers and even state government, would be willing or able to pay market rates for the land if they were allowed to. In essence, they renters who have to abide by the policies of their leaseholder. In this case, the federal government.

    Setting aside the murky argument about the federal government’s right to own land, this issue is basically that of a landlord changing their mind on what they want to do with a rented property. The renter might argue, “You’re taking my home! My children will be left in the cold!” The fact is, the landlord has the legal right to make a change as long as they follow the stipulations of the contract agreement.

    19 years ago the federal government decided to make a change. In the Bundy’s case, the desert tortoise is the new tenant and the federal government is evicting the old, unwanted tenant. The government bought out all the other rights – per contract stipulations. They fact that the Bundys had this ‘lease’ in their family for a century doesn’t change the nature of the lease.

    Again, my heart goes out to the Bundy’s. It isn’t a property rights issue as much as a crazy stipulation of the endangered species designation of the desert tortoise. I am in full support of Bundy’s stance on that designation. The fact that the federal government wants that critter as a renter instead of the Bundys is a shame. A legal shame but a shame nonetheless.

    • Bub March 31, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      I don’t think the tortoise is a “new” tenent. They’ve been there for a … of a long time.
      Ed. ellipsis.

      • Matt March 31, 2014 at 1:44 pm

        True. So, if they aren’t the “new” tenant then the government has decided to leave the land vacant for now. The legal logic remains.

    • Theo April 1, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      I guess you missed the part about Bundy refusing to pay to use that “rented property” as you describe it. What makes him better than the rest of us, the rest of public land ranchers?

      • Scott Freeman April 11, 2014 at 1:26 pm

        How much more are the turtles paying than the Bundys?

    • Eddie April 1, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      You are dead wrong. Really long comment though. Let me make it simple for you. When the Bundy ranch was homesteaded it was part of the Deseret territory. Territories are controlled by the federal government. As part of the homesteading act, grazing rights were attached to the land. In this case, who ever owned the land also owned the rights to graze the allotted land around it (federal territorial law). When Nevada became a state, those rights became “state law”. Many years later when the BLM came into the picture. The Department of Interior (the BLM’s bosses) said that they don’t recognize state law because this land belongs to them not the state. The ranchers and land users have been in a battle against the feds every since. So with that understanding, please tell me how the Bundy’s should not have right to graze the land. The rights first were given to them under territorial law, then sustained by state law. Can the feds just give them and then take them away anytime they want? Who’s rights are being trampled here? I would have to say the people of the states. And most certainly the Bundy’s.

      • Bender April 2, 2014 at 11:59 am

        EDDIE, You are welcome to your own wrong-headed opinions, but you don’t get to have your own version of the facts.
        Your muddled mind has confused the Utah Territory with Brigham Young’s State of Deseret, which existed for only two years and long before settlement of the Virgin Valley area. Deseret was never recognized by the federal government. Furthermore, Nevada became a state in 1864, a full decade before the settlement of the Virgin Valley. Cliven Bundys ranching ancestors were always in Nevada.
        Any grazing rights claimed by ranchers before the Great Depression of the 1930s were subsumed by the Taylor Grazing Act in 1934. We’ve already established that you were not paying attention in either high school history nor in LDS seminary across the street so I don’t expect you to have any grasp of the disaster that unregulated grazing was before and during the drought years of the 1930s. The Taylor Grazing Act set up grazing districts and limited grazing to what the range land could reasonably carry.

        • Roy J April 2, 2014 at 1:11 pm

          Like your post, Bender. Thanks for bringing some facts into perspective!

  • Ющенко March 31, 2014 at 11:16 am

    As a former resident of Ukraine or what is now under Russian Rule. I see that many people profess freedom and love communism. Sadly in the United States also. OBSERVER I believe you are one of them! There is an answer to all of this that is for the Fedral Government to keep there promis to the western states as they have for the eastern states . See

    • Bub March 31, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      wow, a real russian?

    • Observer March 31, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      Ukrainian, your comment made me laugh out loud. Thank you for the comic relief. I have never been called a communist before, but there’s a first for everything. And here I thought I was just researching the facts.

    • Eddie April 1, 2014 at 11:11 pm

      Thank you for your insight. Well put.

    • Scott Freeman April 11, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      Please keep posting here, Americans need to hear this from someone who has been through it.

      I met a Russian many years ago, on a boat from Greece to Italy, before the Berlin wall fell and “glasnost”.

      I asked him, “How do you put up with all the propaganda in the USSR?”

      He replied, “The difference is, in Russia, WE KNOW it’s propaganda”…………

  • Bender March 31, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    I’ve mostly given up commenting on Hyde’s mushy logical ramblings but this one tops the cake.
    The myth of the great american cowboy is easy to mine for emotional gold. Brave men, fighting mother nature and the corrupt fat cats in Washington to carefully nurture their herds… without whom we would all be wanting for a pot roast for Sunday dinners. Not so much any more.
    As BUB mentions above public lands grazing is just a footnote in the total of beef production in this country. It is 2% of the beef production in the US. Additionally, ranchers holding grazing permits on federal lands pay a fraction of the market price for grazing fees — less than 20% of the amount charged on private lands or state owned lands. Thank your Western state’s congressional delegations for this subsidy/give-away.
    Another point about public lands ranching I’d like to make is that it is not a sustainable way to raise families. I don’t know the particulars of Cliven Bundy’s family tree, but let’s assume he acquired the grazing permit(s) and base ranch property from his father and that he (Cliven) had 5 siblings. I believe Cliven Bundy himself has more than 10 children. Assume that Cliven’s sibling each had 5 kids. That means in just 2 generations the Bundy clan possibly grew 25-fold. Unfortunately, the ranch lands did not. So going back only as far as Cliven Bundy’s father and ending with his children’s generation, only one family out of 25 would have been able to continue making a living running cattle on BLM land. In fact, in the entire state of Nevada, the state with the most public lands (bar Alaska), there are under 1,500 jobs provided by grazing.
    I like the romanticism and rich history of western cattle ranching. It should continue in a sustainable fashion. However, it’s a vastly different West now than it was 100 years ago. Public lands ranching is almost a hobby profession. You don’t make any money on it. Any rancher you see displaying wealth likely either made it somewhere else, or is selling off his private base ranch lands to developers bit by bit. The public lands that ranching mostly had to itself in the past is now valued by the public for other purposes. It ain’t just Cliven and his cows now… there are a lot of other parties interested in those public lands which by definition belong to all of us.
    Finally, Bryan, you are either a troll or not fit to wield a keyboard (or microphone). Your childish blatherings about a fantasy world steeped in “compassionate anarchy” astound me. I’d really like to hear where your Randian logic would take the story if we just let Cliven be and do what he sees as best. Peaceful and autonomous collectives of Freemen popping up all over Nevada, bravely forging a new and better world?

    • kevan April 10, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      Why do you always resort to name calling in your responses? In my keyboard childish blathering opinion, you weaken your arguments by you childish bias name calling. Your arguments could maybe have some validity.

    • Scott Freeman April 11, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      I was really starting to consider your points, until you made juvenile personal attack on Bryan.

      You think he’s a troll?

      Pot, meet kettle.

  • Ramona March 31, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    It is not what you think it is about rights and the rights of people to live the way they do. It doesn’t matter how many children he has, but it is his aquired right. What gives you or anyone else the right especially the government how to live. He aquired this like you would with your mother and father maybe your should have you aquired rights to your parents property taken from you.

    It is not just about Bundy’s it is about everyone’s right to use the public land. The US government doesn’t have the right to come to Nevada and tell people what to do. The Sheriff needs to tell them to back off and leave us alone. He has the responsibility to protect the Bundy’s and everyone else in this county.

    • Bub March 31, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      “Obama’s comin’ for our guns!!!”


    • Bender March 31, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      Sounds like you are a Monarchist RAMONA. Cliven Bundy has inherited a God given right to graze his cattle on land he does not own and to pass that right on to which ever of his children he chooses? King Bundy, monarch of the Gold Butte range? This right will remain in his family until the second coming? But for only the chosen few Bundys. The rest of the 1000s of Bundys descended from the original ranching Bundy can pound sand. No special inheritance for them.
      Most of the rest of us live in a non-fantasy world where blatant disregard for the law has consequences. Bundy has been treated far better than he deserves by the feds. He was a tenant on land that belongs to all of us and is legislatively mandated to be used for multiple use. He was fairly compensated for his grazing rights and improvements. That land belongs to me too and I vote to remove a few of those cows and improve the range health. The highest and best use of this public land is not just cattle grazing.
      This may be news to you, but federal public lands in Nevada don’t belong to just the local old time ranching families. You do what you want on your private holdings, but don’t expect the rest of the country to bend over and shut up while you claim these lands as your own.

      • Eddie April 1, 2014 at 11:26 pm

        While the land is under federal control you or any other citizen of this country have no rights or say to it. The federal government will do what they want, when they want, and there isn’t anything anyone can do about it. Its called power without representation. It is the whole point of this battle. You only have a say when the land is governed by a local government. It is very simple, the land needs to go back to its rightful owners; the people of the county and state, so they can decide what is best.

        • Bender April 2, 2014 at 12:16 pm

          EDDIE apparently slept through Civics class in high school where, had he been awake, he would have learned that he does indeed have representation at the federal level.
          If he lives in St. George Congressman Stewart and Senators Lee and Hatch are his voices in Washington DC. These men are never shy about making their opinion heard concerning land use issues in Utah. During Republican presidential administrations, the conservative western states congressional delegations are often able to make substantial changes in federal land use policy.
          All three Washington County Commissioners, Eardly, Drake and Gardner, along with Governor Herbert spend time trying to influence land use policy at the federal level.
          Finally the BLM has 29 Resource Advisory Councils in the western states which are citizen based groups which advise the BLM. As far as I know, IQ is not a prerequisite for being a council member EDDIE, so call up the BLM and throw your hat in the ring.

        • Observer April 2, 2014 at 8:04 pm

          There is how you believe things ought to be, and then there is how they actually are. The problem with “oughts” is that they are heavily subjective. That is why people institute governments, laws, and regulations – to create objective standards so that no one group can pursue its own selfish interests above others. That is what a civil society does. Otherwise, we would just all be at war with each other. It is public land. It was made public land (managed for the public good) a very long time ago. The laws that are at the center of this standoff were passed by a unanimous, republican President and congress. They were passed in response to the will of the people. You cannot have it both ways. It was the “people’s” will, not the Bundy’s will.

      • Mary April 3, 2014 at 9:00 am

        Well said Bender. I own the land my stock graze on. My home is on the land. I work hard to maintain my land and I do not receive government subsidies for that work. I pay taxes on that land. The consequences of not paying those taxes can be much more detrimental than the pitiful mewling of the Bundy clan, who are grazing their stock illegally. The county in my state has the right to put my property on the block and sell it right out from under me if I choose to thumb my nose at the laws established in my area and fail to pay the doll. Out I would go. Too bad. Two years are all we are allowed before property goes up for auction for failure to pay. 20 years to negotiate? Really? The arrogance of this family astounds me. Sounds like the kingdom needs to be taken down a notch or two. Additionally, there are reported threats of retaliation by this family and their county cronies. A”Plan of Action” if their cattle are removed. They may have a few loyal supporters, but they are living in another time that no longer exists and their petulant, childish behavior will gain them little sympathy if this receives too much more media attention. No last stand here. By their own logic, they should be evicted from all their holdings by the previous occupants.

    • Ющенко March 31, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      Ramona, good to see people who know what freedom is. Спасибо

  • Chris March 31, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    The above comments, aside from those of the former Ukraine resident, are excellent. Bryan provides no factual basis for anything he asserts, only some vague ramblings about a tyrannical government. The Bundy’s are being deprived of neither life, liberty nor property. They should be happy they were provided grazing rights all these years at below market value prices, subsidized by the rest of us taxpayers.

    • Observer April 2, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      Exactly Chris. Nice to know there are some people out there will intelligence and common sense.

  • Combat Vet and Democrat March 31, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    This does seem to be one sided. What is the point of writing/publishing a piece like this?

  • CHJ March 31, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    It is key to remember: (1) these are public lands, not private lands. (2) all “rights” on these lands occur through permits which are limited and temporary and (3) someone suggested the solution to “trespass” cattle. Instead of legal confrontations and perhaps BLM roundups, BLM should make all grazing allotment plans and use periods public information, with dates for trespass. ANYONE with a state hunting license can get the reports, and ANY cow on BLM land in those allotments two days after the end of the grazing period, becomes “wild game”, and anyone can shoot and remove them, no tags required.

  • Terry March 31, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    George Washington
    “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

    William Henry Harrison
    “There is nothing more corrupting, nothing more destructive of the noblest and finest feelings of our nature, than the exercise of unlimited power.”

    Cliven Bundy is not the last man standing in a fight with the Government or BLM and nor is he the first.
    However he is the last rancher in southern Nevada. All have been pushed,pressured, bought or motivated to give up their rights to raise cattle on this land.
    I ask myself why?
    Why would the United States Government want to get rid of cattle ranchers?
    Why would the United States Government want to get rid of farmers?
    Why would the United States Government want to force people to have healthcare?
    Why does the United States Government feel it’s necessary to spend over $1 million to remove one rancher off the land that has done nothing but improve land and his family has been there for over three generations?
    Why does the United States Government feel it necessary to disarm the people of United States of there constitutional rights?

    I could go on for a very long time and just keep asking question after question but I just want you the reader to ask a few questions of your own and then think about George Washington’s quote at the top of the page and ask your self do you agree with him?
    Sometimes I feel as though the only logical answer I can give to anybody about these questions is that of George Washington’s message about the government is that it’s like fire.

    Are you still with me?
    I didn’t lose you yet did I?

    If mr. Bundy is breaking the law then does that mean his dad and grandpa before him was breaking the law back in 1877?
    What about all the other ranchers? Did they just find out that they were breaking the law and decided to pull there Cattle off the land?

    So many questions.
    This might not be much of a answer but it should be something most of us can relate to and that is that my grandpa had more freedom than my dad and my dad had more freedom than I.
    Which leads to even more questions such as what freedoms will my kids have? When does the loss of freedom stop?
    How can I help?
    I’m only one person what can I do?
    How do we stop a fire?
    I want you the reader to think these questions over and make your mined up.
    Something tells me if you take a good look at our country and ponder about the direction it is headed then you will be taking the first step in stopping the fire and that is just recognizing that there is a fire or problem.
    Think don’t feed it and don’t let it feed on you.
    Okay I’m sure if you have read this far then I have got you thinking and that’s all I want you to do. Think for your self and maybe after all that thinking you will stand with me next to a old cowboy named Cliven Bundy!

    • Bub March 31, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      you should become a comic…

    • Bender March 31, 2014 at 11:09 pm

      Terry, my grandfathers were both chased off of their ranches by economic, technological and societal forces. 99% of the Bundy clan suffered the same fate. What makes Cliven so … special? Beside being a belligerent old crank.
      Ed. ellipsis.

  • zacii March 31, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Maybe all the naysayers will rethink their position when they’re paying $100 a pound for genetically modified steak, because raising beef the organic way takes a back seat to phantom tortoises.

    • Bender April 1, 2014 at 8:52 am

      You sound like a man desperately in need of some facts. Let me help you out. Public lands grazing accounts for 2% of beef production in the US. It could go away tomorrow and not be noticed in the market.

  • annie March 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    It’s not about the cattle it is about the government doing whatever it wants with the land including closing it to everyone. I have seen them do this in Wyoming. They want the wild burros and wild horses grazing on the land.

    • Bub April 1, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Uhm, last I checked the gas drillers in Wyoming pretty much had free reign on the land.

      “Obama’s gonna take our guns!!!”

    • Observer April 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Actually, they don’t want the burros or the cattle. Neither belong here.

  • Big Al March 31, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Most of the comments seem to come from those who have only taken from this country. I doubt they have ever built anything or given back anything. That’s why they cannot understand the foundation of this once great country. Perhaps they just recently crawled out from under some rock.

    • Bender April 1, 2014 at 9:01 am

      You sir strike me as prime Tea Party material. If not already a member, I urge you to head down to the nearest Tea Party recruitment office and sign yourself up for a lifetime membership. You’ll find the Tea Party headquarters between the hearing aid store and Bertha’s Big and Tall Boutique.
      In the Tea Party men like Cliven, who have mooched off of the rest of us for two decades are the builders and the makers and the doers. Anyone else who does not share the narrow, and backwards, worldview of the Tea Party are the takers.

    • Bub April 1, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      “Obama’s gonna take our guns!!!”

  • IMNNDN March 31, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Cliven Bundy is a moocher that hasn’t paid his grazing fees for 18 years. That’s all. It’s BLM land and you just pay your grazing fee like every other cattleman that grazes his cows on federal land. His family has been on that land for over a hundred years and taken care of it…SO?!?! I am a Native American that can trace my roots to the first time pioneers arrived on this land. Who took better care of the land than the Indians? Does that give me free hunting and fishing and grazing? NO! I don’t like the way this government is headed, but these laws have been in effect for generations and every cattleman I know has abided by these laws. Just pay your grazing fees SLACKER!!!

  • Ferrari March 31, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    When it comes to Federal Lands, which cover a pretty big part of Utah and Nevada, the government does indeed have the right to tell people what to do. They have the legal right to issue permits or not, and they can say how many cows or sheep or whatever per acre. Whether they act in good faith or make good decisions is our obligation to monitor. If we think they’re wrong or unfair in their decisions, we have the obligation to speak up.
    I don’t think this is a freedom issue.
    I think it’s a management issue and a business issue, and one which, if necessary, should be appealed to your congressman/woman to get policy changed. In the meantime, this is a pretty dry year and there should be fewer cows out there than in a wet year anyway.
    Cows and tortoises can certainly co-exist – there’s no reason they can’t share the same land unless the cows aren’t being managed properly.
    If you don’t like the policy decisions, then go raise Cain and change policy if you have to go to the very top.
    But this is not a freedom issue and if you try to fight it on that basis, you will lose.
    This is a business and management issue and that’s how you have to fight it.
    You have to fight it with evidence of what exactly is happening out there. Not this property rights argument, because this has been a lease agreement – the Bundys and others do not own most of the land they’ve been using. They only rent. They don’t own.
    That isn’t going to change unless they buy the land, and it takes too many acres to support a few cows to make buying the land a viable alternative. That’s why they’ve leased. Economically, it worked for them. Buying the land to support as many cows as they’ve run out there just wouldn’t make good economic business sense.
    So get your friends together and work on your congressmen and women, and those in surrounding states to see what you can accomplish in terms of working with the people who are making these decisions.
    Don’t just throw your hands up in the air and scream about personal freedom and property rights. Go after them with your energy and your time, hire some good lawyers and make some real progress.

    • Eddie April 1, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      Maybe you should see whats about to happen in Iron county and re-think your comments. The counties and the state are the rightful owners of the public lands not the feds. Think about it… the local people governing the lands around them. Wow what a great idea!

      • Bender April 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

        I think what EDDIE is really trying to say here is that he wants a federal handout. He would like the federal government to transfer lands, at no cost, which belong to all of the citizens of the USA, to the state of Utah, or better yet, to Washington County. EDDIE, we call that an “entitlement attitude”. We call it welfare.
        But wait, what if it really happened? What if Washington County got title to all of the BLM lands within its borders. Nirvana! Local control means the county will do what the people want. Wrong! Just like the Lake Powell Pipeline that the County Commissioners are shoving down our throat, the lands would be managed for the benefit of a few locally influential big wigs.

  • Bub March 31, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I really gotta quit reading these junk Hyde articles. It’s like a curiosity killed the cat type situation. Open it up and it’s the same old regurgitated idiocy every time–never a disappointment there. I hope someday STG news will replace the Hyde column with a more rational writer.

  • Settle down cc April 1, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Actually bunds had this in his family before the blm was even founded. If you do a little research on this issue you will find this is a blatant takeover of our federal lands. This is also a ploy for desert tortoise habitat. You do some research you will find the truth and the fact that ien offered safe haven for tortoises that were executed by the very people trying to take this grazing from cliven. This is an outrage and every citizen should be worried about this take over. If you don’t think it’s a take over just research it. Also visit cliven bundys websites. I think you may just change your view. Sad sad times for all the America people and especially ranchers in situations
    Like cliven.

    • Bender April 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      “Bunds” and his ancestors were always running their cows on federal land. What the federal agency was called that managed the lands is not relevant. If you’ll just do some research on this issue you will find the Bundys don’t hold title to this land and never did. They were always renting the range. There were only two takeovers that took place in the Virgin Valley; first when the US grabbed it from Mexico and second when the Bunkers, Leavitts, Hughes, Abbotts, etc. moved in and pushed out the Piutes.
      Sad times for the American people when whiners and freeloaders like Cliven demand special treatment.

  • Roy J April 1, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Here is the link to the United States Motion for Summary Judgement. It clearly states tha “this court previously ruled in United States v. Bundy, Case No. CV-S-
    98-531-JBR (RJJ) (D. Nev. Nov. 4, 1998), “the public lands in Nevada are the property of the
    United States because the United States has held title to those public lands since 1848, when
    Mexico ceded the land to the United States.” CV-S-98-531 at 8 (citing United States v. Gardner,
    107 F.3d 1314, 1318 (9th Cir. 1997)). Moreover, Bundy is incorrect in claiming that the
    Disclaimer Clause of the Nevada Constitution carries no legal force, see Gardner, 107 F.3d at
    1320; that the Property Clause of the United States Constitution applies only to federal lands
    outside the borders of states, see id. at 1320; that the United States‘ exercise of ownership
    over federal lands violates the Equal Footing Doctrine, see id. at 1319; that the United States
    is basing its authority to sanction Bundy for his unauthorized use of federal lands on the
    Endangered Species Act as opposed to trespass, see Compl. at ¶¶ 1,3, 26-39; and that
    Nevada’s “Open Range” statute excuses Bundy’s trespass.”

    • Eddie April 1, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      Thats amazing, a federal judge ruling for a federal agency and against a producing member of society. Please, we already know what is going on here. The federal government has made their own laws, trained their own law enforcers, built their own jails, organized their own courts, hired their own judges and constructed their own prisons. The have done this in the last 30 years or so. I suppose they didn’t do this for nothing. I remember when park ranger were kind men with a smile, now they are military trained with tazzers, guns and bullet proof vest. Why would park rangers need to carry a gun? Hum…..

  • BSMETER April 1, 2014 at 11:15 am

    It’s called an op-ed for a reason. If you disagree with it say so. He has right to his opinion, just like you.

  • Mostly mike April 1, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    I don’t know if Bundy’s family has held water rights in the area since the 1870s or not, but it is clear his family has never owned the land. The land was won by conquest of Mexican Territory.

    It has always been American public land ever since, and Bundy refuses to play by the rules. He voluntarily stopped paying grazing fees that other ranchers who use the public land pay. He began this conflict, he lost repeatedly in court, and now justice needs to be done. Millions of other people do not win in court. Why should Bundy be any different?

    The public land around Gold Butte is as much my land as it is Bundy’s.

  • Iwan bender bub observer Dover April 1, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Scince bender bub observer have time to right and respond I’m sure none have jobs and get government asst as I do. Now that’s been established, they have given up there rights to voice an intelligent opinion or at least intelligent. As for me I work, pay taxes, believe in abortion( at least in the case of bender observer bub) that what she said, vote, educated, fought in multiple wars, believe gays should marry( exspeclly in the case of bub bender observer that way we wouldn’t have to here from them on all these issues, and the way they rattle on they have to be dope smokers or at least dopey. They had to be bullies in school the way they bullies their opinion around. Not say anything about raciest but they are degrading the Russians and the Bundy race which is held every year by the ones they love. So as you can see their opinion means nothing in Russia, Canada, England, Chad, United States, or Mexico. But it does mean something to Ithiermommastan and pappashodhavworncondomstan yep their free to say what they want

    • Bender April 1, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      And a fruit salad paragraph to you too, my good sir!

    • Bub April 1, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Obviously English is this guy’s 2nd or 3rd language. Maybe the Russian guy typed this?


    • Chris April 1, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      Weren’t much of a student, were you IWAN?

    • Mary April 3, 2014 at 9:19 am

      Oh my. I think I just lost a few brain cells in an attempt to read Iwan . . . comment. Not certain what point he/she was trying to make.

  • Roy J April 2, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    890 am is running an interview with Cliven Bundy on the 6pm ‘On the Mark’ radioshow. If you missed it, here is the link to KDXU.

  • Roy J April 2, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Here is also the link to Michael Rozeff’s “Why I am a Panarchist”. This is one of thinkers Bryan Hyde quotes in this article.

  • Just saying... April 2, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Do any of you proof read… sheesh learn to spell…

    Guaranteed Bundy works harder than those of you who spend way to much time in front of the computer…

    Get a job so you can pay more taxes already…

  • frustrated April 3, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    The cows are not even the issue for me. I am concerned about the full scope of shutting down 600,000 acres to the public and charging us with trespass and up to a year in jail if we exercise our right to hike, atv, run, bike, etc… in this area. Why is everyone so focused on just the cows and not the fact that they are giving the people “designated” areas where they can exercise free speech? The tortoise and the cows are nothing but an excuse to confiscate and control 600,000 acres of land. Conspiracy theory has never been on my radar until now. Wake-up and address the infringements upon the rights of all the public that has no part in this farce of the gov.

    • Bender April 4, 2014 at 12:06 am

      The reason the BLM and NPS have erected closures is because they have been threatened with violence by a 67 year-old nut case if they attempt to enforce court decisions. They don’t want to be hurt or have to hurt anyone. Seems prudent to me. As soon as the cattle are collected the closures end. That said, I had friends who were ATVing unmolested on the closed lands on Monday and Tuesday and were not stopped.

  • Seth April 4, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Unfortunately many commentators here do not understand the author’s core argument and therefore are unable to form a coherent counter-argument. Instead, they resort to name-calling and belittling. At the foundation of his argument is that our rights do not come from the government. If they did, the government could make any rule or law without bound. Further, the Constitution does not place limits on the people, it places limits on the government. Sadly, the government has gone far beyond its bounds to the point that the governments’ actions conflict with the rights of the people. The author is not pleading the case of Mr. Bundy as much as he is pleading for us to consider our current state of affairs.

    • Linda April 11, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Right on Seth! You couldn’t have said it any better!

  • Kc Coleman April 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Ummmm. The man, Bundy, does not have a legal contract, in fact refused to sign one, because it was modified…well…yeah….times change in 130 years…and you want to bet the PRICE in the new contract ,GASP ,went up!!! The man has not paid for his grazing rights since what, 1998??? Get his cattle rounded up and sold. That’s the way it works. This isn’t about your rights. Especially when you are breaking the law.

  • Kc Coleman April 5, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    People. There are too many rats in the cage. And we keep breeding. So we have to have laws, and we can’t just let everybody go everywhere nilly willy. If we did, we would soon not have ANYTHING left. There are far too many morons out there, that would not take of the natural environment. I live in Northern Michigan, and see the weekend warriors all the time. They totally act like no one lives here. The horses have a right to be there. Thelma “wild horse Annie” Johnson fought hard for the right of the mustangs in 1970. She waged a war like no other, and got them the protection they needed no deserved. Quite frankly I’m disturbed by many of these comments that are all Kill,Kill, Kill….hope you are not breeding 😉

  • Kc Coleman April 5, 2014 at 10:15 pm

  • NotMittens April 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I’m glad you recognize Government exists to serve the needs of the people. Not too long ago, the people of the United States spoke up to demand that we enforce our responsibility as stewards of this land to ensure that all creatures that share this earth have a fighting chance at existence. This reflects an incredibly important realization that we are utterly dependent on the environment for our basic survival. If we disturb the ecosystem past a point that it can’t recover from, we are literally doomed. This broad realization applies to a scale well beyond this particular corner of soutwest Utah, populated as it is by selfish, ignorant, small-minded people. Agencies make decisions like this to ultimately protect the rights of all creatures and ensure our society continues into the future without completely destroying the environment we all depend on. For the Bundys, that’s a tough pill to swallow. For ecological integrity, morality, and fairness, the BLM (finally) made the right decision.

    And, for the record, I’ve heard what Cliven has to say via his youtube videos. What it boils down to is he sees what he wants to see, and filters all his information through his particular paradigm to fit his needs. It’s either plain dumb ignorance, selfishness, or maybe he actually believes what he says because a lie repeated enough becomes the truth (at least to those who want to believe it).

  • pnwbelle April 11, 2014 at 12:03 am

    Wow! I’ve never seen so many passive-aggressive statements all together before in my life as I have here.
    Have any of you heard of the United Nations backed program–“AGENDA 21?” What do you think of it and do you think it relates to the plight between the Bundys and the BLM?

  • itisatortoiseNOTaturtle April 13, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    By Bundy’s own reasoning, the original inhabitants of said land have the rights to it.

  • Lynn October 26, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    More Bundy bull crap,. Just like the generations of miners and millworkers who generations of men built the Mills and factories and run them for 150 years,. Times changed and they took them away leaving almost a million millworkers!ers with no livelyhood and disrupted whole states lifestyles and culture. Why because of changing times and that they did not own the Mills and factories the decision was made by those who had title to move them overseas. Nothing we could do. Bundys only been there since 1948 and only letting cattle run feral on public lands since 1954. They are a criminal cult family with cult radical Cleon scorsen, posse comintatus, soverign citizens Confederate beliefs. They are destroying public lands and threatening American citizen with violence if they don’t get their way. Look deeper into this crew past and beliefs. They belong in jail

  • Robert October 27, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    There is a right answer to this article, and it is completely missing from all the comments. Read the Constitution for the united States af America (lower case is NOT a mistake) and you will see the land contained in Territories is owned by the Federal Government, including jurisdiction over those lands. That Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. However, when a new State is added to the Union, the Federal Government is REQUIRED to cede ALL the land included, and full jurisdiction, to the new State at no cost. Essentially the Federal Government is to act as a TRUSTEE over a Territory, not as an owner. So all public lands inside the State Boundaries are to be owned by the State. This is known as the “Doctrine of Equal Footing” so as to make that State equal in all ways to the original 13 Colonies. However, this was not done for 12 Western States, and so the Federal Government virtually STOLE the land illegally in defiance to the Constitution (see Article 1 Section 8). Article 1 also lists the actions assigned to the Federal Government, and Amendment 10 assigns ALL OTHER RIGHTS to the STATES! Usurptation of State’s Rights was started only a few years after the Constitution was written and accepted by the States, and so nearly all activities by the Federal Gobernment have been illegal for the past 250 years. But that encroachment by the Feds has been so subtle and incremental that most citizens have not been aware of it. In essence, ALL public lands belong to the individual States according to the Original Constitution (also known as the “Organic” Constitution), making virtually every alphabet agency of the Feds, such as BLM, EPA, FEMA, FBI, ICE, BATF, FCC, FDA, FHA, OSHA, SBA, SSA, IRS, and VA. The Bundys are extremely knowlegable concerning the Constitution, and they and others are not threatening anyone… they are simply PROTESTING the illegal and unconstitutional act of the Federal Government by obeying the Declaration of Independance which states that “it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government and to provide new Guards for their their security.

    Virtually all institutions with the “National” as part of their name are illegal, including Parks, Refuges, Agencies, etc. THAT is the basis for the protests all across these united States. The Bundys and their supporters are to be commended for standing for restoration of our rights, which are God-given, and not bestowed or taken away by our so-called leaders

  • Lynn October 27, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Nowhere in the Constitution is that stated,. You or your friends imagine it. The Constitution specifically state the federal government can own property anywhere in the country with no restriction and have full control of it,. Nevada state constitution back it up also. And nothing about changing hand when a territory becomes a state. . 200 years of accepted consensus in government and this country that the government can control the federal lands out west.And if you take the time to read the federalist papers the article ,section and clause you think limits the federal government is clearly defined and spelled out in the fderalist papers as for setting up the capital of the new nation only. Meaning the individual district of Columbia period.

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