Cliven Bundy, Mass Resistance, and the Fragility of the Rule of Law

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  1. Avatar StevetheCat
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    says:

    Saul,
    Can you explain to me how Occupy Wall Street was within their rights to take over my local public park for months on end? Was that an affront to Democracy?

    I think this Bundy guy is a jackass and do not agree with anything he stands for.
    However, I believe some people need to engage in some self-reflection.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to StevetheCat
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      says:

      Is Liberty Plaza a public park? I thought it was owned by the owner of the office building adjacent to it.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to StevetheCat
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      says:

      The most apparent difference, to me, is that Bundy was using the government’s land for commerce while OWS was using it to make a political statement.

      Having said that, it’s easy to talk about how wrong Bundy is legally. Well, for anybody outside of the right. He is a terrible spokesman (both in terms of his personality and the specifics of his case) for some valid points.

      I’d argue, for example, that when the federal government owns so much land in a state (or a series of states), it’s not a complete moral defense to say “That’s the government’s land and they get to decide what happens on it.” That’s something that is a complete defense when you’re talking about a city park or even a national one like Yellowstone. It’s something else when you’re talking about 80% of a state.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        Yep. Management of the very extensive federal land holdings in the western states is a touchy subject out here. Bundy’s an idiot, but I can pretty safely assure you that every year much calmer heads in the state legislatures and/or governors’ offices will be reduced to waving their arms and shouting, “Do you know what those d*ckheads at BLM did now?!?” Or the Forest Service, or Parks and Wildlife, or Department of Energy, or…Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        Michael,
        But think of the discounts you get on Car Insurance!
        http://www.outdoornews.com/December-2012-1/Pa-again-tops-in-deer-crashes/Report

      • Avatar Herb in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        “‘The Federals’ own 80% of Nevada” is not a real issue, though. There’s a reason they chose Nevada to do nuclear testing.

        The state’s mostly uninhabitable. And that was before the nuclear testing.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        That much of Nevada is uninhabitable adds, as far as I am concerned, an obligation on the part of the government for those areas which are habitable. The cows weren’t grazing on dirt.

        Now, maybe it’s the case that the federal government is actually managing the land fairly and to the greatest general satisfaction possible of most of the people who live there. Even if that’s the case, it is something that has to be justified one way or the other, beyond “That’s the government’s land.”Report

      • Avatar Herb in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        “That much of Nevada is uninhabitable adds, as far as I am concerned, an obligation on the part of the government for those areas which are habitable.”

        I agree. From what I understand, the BLM will allow Bundy to graze his cattle on the land provided he pays the fee, pretty standard resource management stuff.

        Surely the government doesn’t have an obligation to provide Bundy with free pastureland, does it?

        “Even if that’s the case, it is something that has to be justified one way or the other, beyond “That’s the government’s land.””

        If the government has title to the land, what other justification is needed?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        There are two issues. First are the specifics of the Bundy case. Were the actions of the government here reasonable or not? I said in the original comment that Bundy is not a good spokesman and part of that is because his case in this case seems not to be clear cut.

        The second issue is whether the government has any obligation to consider the locals with regard to what it does with its own land. I’d argue that there is a relationship between how much land the government owns in a place, and how much moral right it has to dictate what happens on that land. It seems reasonable to point to Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons and say “This land is special, so we’re going hard core to keep it as we want it.” It seems less reasonable to say “80% of the state of Montana is special and so we’re going hard core to keep it as we want it.”

        I’d argue that the same is true of private industry. If Anaconda Copper owns .1% of Montana land, then I hold it to different expectations than if it owns 90%. They legally have the right to do whatever they want, within the law, but I would start supporting laws limiting what they can do with the land and the people on it more in the latter case than in the former case.

        The government isn’t Anaconda Copper, though, and I believe to be held to an even higher standard when it comes to the land and the people on the land. The government “only” owns a third of that state, though that’s a lot of space and I look more critically at what it does. “We own it” brings with it less justification for the federal government, or Anaconda, or any entity that owns that much of a state, than the Henderson family saying “We own it” and putting up a windmill on its five acre estate.

        Or put another way, what the federal government does with its lands in Montana bears much closer scrutiny than what it does in Texas. I think it’s reasonable to expect the government to allow more open access in Montana than in Texas. Regardless of what people who live 2,000 miles away think qualifies as optimal.

        Which, as I said, maybe the feds are actually handling quite perfectly. Michael Cain suggests otherwise, but there are people who argue that it is. That’s not the same argument, though, as to what the expectations should be.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        @will-truman I don’t mean to be critical of this otherwise excellent comment, but:

        When the government owns land, there is a long, exhausting and public process for managing that land. There are also a lot of people with expertise looking over the government-owned land for things a private land-owner might not want to be a conscientious steward of — endangered/threatened species, historic and archeological sites, natural resources that are of communal interest, mineral rights, etc.

        I’ve observed/participated in many ongoing land-planning efforts. It’s cumbersome, particularly because of the extreme effort planners have to go through reconciling conflicting interests; many of which are not held by local land owners.

        I also think that residents of western states will/would be in for a rude awakening if the bulk of public lands were sold to private individuals. From the time I’ve spent there, I get this sense that the right to access that land is well used and little appreciated. If/when it becomes private, access my radically shrink, and we’ll see a whole new set of problems.

        Finally, if the concept of ownership and private property rights doesn’t build on good stewardship, it’s built on rotten pillars. Turtles, spotted owls, wolves, bald eagles, and sedges (a local threatened plant where I live that’s shut down several favored rock-climbing spots) have rights, too; often habitats, bio-corridors, and engangered/threatened species cannot recover or exist without public ownership/easement because humans are so poor at taking stewardship seriously; they place greater value on maximum monetary profit. This is both a ethical and moral problem.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        …maybe the feds are actually handling [federal lands] quite perfectly…. there are people who argue that it is.

        I’ll let it go with one example. Colorado is spending $20M in the next fiscal year to begin assembling its own fleet of slurry bombers. California already has a state fleet. At one of its meetings last year, the Western Governors Association had discussion of a regional fleet on its formal agenda.

        At some point in the last year, in one of the House Republicans’ detailed budget bills, funding for the Forest Service’s bomber fleet was axed. The bill had to go back to committee when western Republicans almost unanimously announced they wouldn’t vote for it unless the bomber funding was restored; without those votes, it wasn’t going to pass, so the cut was undone.

        At least in some official circles, Congress is seen as increasingly unreliable about its responsibilities to take care of the federal public lands.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        @michael-cain

        But local representation represented local interest, and the funding for fire-fighting equipment was restored. That’s how the House is supposed to work, no?

        I think it’s really important to differentiate between Congress and the actual federal agencies here; one responds to political whim and fad, the other works under a set of rules.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        @zic
        My perception, based on rumors and reading between the lines of assorted statements/testimony/whatnot here in Colorado — where both parties suddenly supported starting a state fleet — is that the message that came back from the Congressional delegation was, “Don’t count on us being able to do this again.”Report

      • Avatar Herb in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        “Or put another way, what the federal government does with its lands in Montana bears much closer scrutiny than what it does in Texas. I think it’s reasonable to expect the government to allow more open access in Montana than in Texas. Regardless of what people who live 2,000 miles away think qualifies as optimal.”

        Good point. I’ll add this.

        Reading a post by Dave Weigel helped me understand a little more of the issue you mention. Actually….it was a map posted by Frank Luntz on Twitter that Weigel linked to that helped me

        The Luntz map shows huge areas of the western United States under federal ownership. The difference is stark. From the foothills of the Rocky Mountains almost to the coast, Uncle Sam seemingly owns it all. Part of this, I’m sure, is a historical artifact of our country’s westward expansion. There just hasn’t been enough time, or money, for all that real estate to have changed hands. And of course, Teddy Roosevelt played his part.

        I’m from Colorado, which in many ways is Washington DC West. Not only do we have a lot of federal land in the form of national forests and parks, but we have a lot of federal infrastructure. It’s pretty easy for me to take the presence of the feds for granted, and even consider them kind of a “plus.”

        I drove through Kansas in February. I love Kansas, go there every year, driving all the way through it to KC-MO. On the Luntz map there’s only a few splotches of pink in Kansas, for the department of defense, of course.

        Drive through Kansas and you’ll see that private ownership of land does not necessarily mean that the land will be developed.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        There just hasn’t been enough time, or money, for all that real estate to have changed hands.

        Since Congress passed the Federal Land Policy and Management Act in 1976 — with zero ‘aye’ votes from the delegations of the 11 contiguous western states that were actually affected by the act — the official policy is that the feds will hold those public lands in perpetuity. There may be some small sales and swaps to simplify things occasionally, but those are the exception. OTOH, within the last decade the US Army has threatened to use eminent domain to condemn almost 11,000 square miles of land in eastern Colorado (an area slightly larger than the entire state of Massachusetts) so they can turn it into a live-fire tank training area.Report

    • Avatar Patrick in reply to StevetheCat
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      says:

      I missed the part where all the #Occupy folks busted out guns when the authorities told them that there party was over, and threatened to shoot the cops.

      Oh, that’s right, they packed up their stuff and went home.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Patrick
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        says:

        Stop hating on the 2nd Amendment.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Patrick
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        says:

        Seems just the opposite happened this time (in that the authorities packed up & went home).Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Patrick
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        If they had, the cops would have shot them. The cops beat up and arrested many of them despite non-violence.

        That, right there, is the core different between the left and the right.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Patrick
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        says:

        @katherinemw
        If they had, the cops would have shot them. The cops beat up and arrested many of them despite non-violence.
        That, right there, is the core different between the left and the right.

        Uh, no.

        That’s the core difference between how the *government* treats the left and the right.

        The left gets arrested, and assaulted, and let’s not even get into how often the police *themselves* trick the left into breaking the law at peaceful protests so they can be arrested. (Google ‘Brooklyn Bridge ows’.)

        Meanwhile, the right *openly threatens insurrection and forms what can only be called terrorist cell, and somehow, that’s all fine.

        This is completely insane, and needs to stop.

        The goddamn government should have dropped in with SWAT and arrested any one at Bundy’s ranch that even *slightly* broke the law. You’re on public land and you refused to move? You refused to put down your weapon when asked by law enforcement? You are now under arrest.

        Yes, it would have turned them in martyrs and others asshole white supremacist anti-government loons would have sprung into action…and the fucking government should have ground them *into a fine paste*. Kill them if they don’t put down their guns, LIKE ANYONE ELSE WHO THREATENS LAW ENFORCEMENT. (And, in a final move, arrest half of Fox News for inciting a riot.)

        The US government, this week, negotiated with terrorists.

        I’ve fucking tired of the fact the right wing in this country gets away with anything short of murder, and the left gets arrested on bullshit trumped up nonsense.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Patrick
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        says:

        For whatever its worth, I’m more of a fan of moving law enforcement towards treating left wing crazies like you’re saying they treat the right wing crazies than the other way around.

        There are 14 people younger than 6 on the list of fatalities here.

        That’s not exactly the sort of thing I advocate. Even less than pepper spraying college students, for the record.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Patrick
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        says:

        I don’t think the problem with Waco is that they were ‘left wing’. I’m not even sure what is meant by saying they were ‘left wing’…I’m not sure they were, in any way, political. They were *apocalyptic*.

        The problem at Waco was basically there was very little reason for the government to be there *at all*. Almost every justification turned out to be invented, except for the gun charges. (For the most obvious example, there’s no real evidence of child abuse.)

        And the situation was contained. They weren’t, for a completely random example, armed roving gangs running around threatening law enforcement.

        But, instead, the Federal government showed up where they didn’t need to be, and acted in completely stupid ways that any idiot could have seen were counterproductive. A lot of the FBI’s behavior seems to reside on weird technicalities about how they didn’t attack the compound…except, uh, shooting their dogs and firing tear gas towards them? I don’t know how the people inside were magically supposed to know they weren’t being shot at.

        All this despite the fact that Koresh, instead of the insane person he was portrayed as, was actually somewhat reasonable, and probably would have eventually acceded to demands to turn over his illegal weapons. Instead, it turned into exactly the situation that his religious beliefs said was coming, the ‘invasion’ he expected.

        That said, I don’t think the result is really the FBI’s fault. Apocalyptic cults tend to end up dead, almost by definition.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Patrick
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        says:

        One thing I can’t help but remember is the shooting in the theater in Denver. SWAT’s MO was to wait for the guy to run out of bullets and *THEN* go in and arrest him.

        For some reason.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Patrick
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        says:

        @davidtc

        So good to see you want a shooting incident to break out. Congrats, you are no better than the militia who are itching for the feds to shoot first.

        And here I’ve spent years being told I’m one of those guys who wants a violent revolution.

        PS Waco, much like Ruby Ridge, or Elian Gonzales, or countless other examples, is a great example of what happens when you arm men, remove all hope of accountability, and point them at a target.

        I applaud the BLM for understanding that no ones lives were at stake, and that they can wait this out. Bundy & others will face the consequences of this, no doubt, but it will likely happen in a courtroom, not on the wrong end of a bullet.

        But go ahead & enjoy your violent fantasies of government agents killing fellow citizens. Just stay the hell away from me until you’ve seen a doctor about that.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Patrick
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        says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist
        So good to see you want a shooting incident to break out. Congrats, you are no better than the militia who are itching for the feds to shoot first.

        Uh, no. I said to *arrest* the people there. Or at least try. If it turns into a shooting incident, it’s the people who showed up with guns and refused to disarm who made it one.

        Did *I* bring the guns? Do *I* think the correct course of action is to violently overthrow the government?

        Something like 500 people are killed each year by law enforcement. But, of course, they’re poor and usually black, and often *innocent* of anything except being black in the wrong place, whereas the people at the Bundy ranch, if they don’t stop threatening police, are *objectively* the sort of people law enforcement are *allowed* to shoot.

        And we’ve killed hundreds of thousands of people in the name of fighting terrorism, but of course those people were dark and not here.

        I’ll take your objection to a hypothetical of a dozen people deliberately deciding to point weapons at law enforcement and thus getting shot a bit more seriously when it become proportional to the actual facts of just how many people get killed each year by the government due to a) pointing weapons at police, or just *claiming* to have been pointing weapons at police, or b) attempting to overthrow the US government in some extremely diluted way, like because they lived in the same country that a president claimed was somehow related to WMDs which was somehow related to a terrorist attack.

        People who *actually* are pointing weapons at law enforcement, and are *openly* attempting to overthrow the US government? Heaven forbid we do anything about that.

        But old white people can get away with blatantly threatening law enforcement and operating terrorist networks across the country. Why? Because anti-government terrorism is the fallback of racists, and because one political party has decide to be sure to never step on the toes of racists.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Patrick
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        says:

        @davidtc

        You seem to have much greater faith in the trigger discipline of a SWAT team than I do, which is funny given how many people & dogs are shot by police each year for not having a gun, or anything that looked like a gun, and merely as a result of poor police training/discipline & situational stress (which is created by the very act of a SWAT raid). When the police stop accidentally shooting children & senior citizens (of all races, don’t you dare assume I only care about white people) in their own homes, perhaps your faith will be more justified.

        is a great example of what happens when you arm men, remove all hope of accountability, and point them at a target.

        You should read my comments more closely. I’m pretty sure I’m more than clearly against the idea of police using violence except when no other options exist. I don’t even necessarily disagree with you that people who pointed guns at law enforcement should be arrested. However, an obviously political standoff where tensions are high & both sides are well armed is not where you send in a hyped up SWAT team unless you very much want a shoot-out to occur. Either you are plainly ignorant of what happens in these types of situations, or you actually want blood to spill.

        My bad for assuming you are violent instead of clueless. I’ll try not to assume the worst about you in the future.

        As I’ve said before, the people standing with Bundy are not threatening anyone directly outside of the individuals they are in a standoff with (& from thier POV, they are preparing to defend themselves). And they are clearly not interested, despite their rhetoric, in firing the first shot. So, the BLM was right to do exactly what they did; back off, wait for things to calm down & people to go back to their lives, then make whatever arrests they want, quietly, with as little muss or fuss as they can.

        Or we could have a raid & the very likely shootout, and the federal government, no matter who shot first, would suffer another black eye akin to Waco, and more people will lose trust in their government specifically because these people are not a current threat to anyone.

        Talk like yours shows a disturbingly immature view about the nature of power & force. Sadly, for this country as a whole, it is one far too many in LE & in politics share. I am not so well versed in the names of philosophers to know who to quote, but the ideal we should demand of our government is to stay the sword as much as possible. Our government is massively powerful, time & resources are on it’s side, as is the law as it stands. They have zero need to deploy violence here (they rarely have any true need to deploy violence in general, despite the governments claims). Nor should they.

        If they do, chances are (pardon the cliche), there will be no winners, only survivors.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Patrick
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        says:

        “Oh, that’s right, they packed up their stuff and went home.”

        After having the sh*t beaten out of them, with right-wingers in close to 100% joy.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Patrick
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        says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist
        So, the BLM was right to do exactly what they did; back off, wait for things to calm down & people to go back to their lives, then make whatever arrests they want, quietly, with as little muss or fuss as they can.

        Except that I rather seriously doubt that the government will be arresting anyone.

        Oh, sure, Bundy will eventually get arrested, but what about all those people randomly milling around threatening law enforcement? Are they going to get arrested for that, or trespassing, or anything? Hell no.

        Meanwhile, the government will always invent reasons to arrest non-threatening, fairly civil protesters on the left.

        Will the government send in spies, like it does for every left-leaning group? Hell no. (As I’ve pointed out elsewhere here, the anti-government groups have way more connections to each other, and to actual violent terrorists, than our threshold of other terrorism.)

        Saying ‘The government should treat the left better’ ignores the simple fact it doesn’t.

        The forces of the right always, ALWAYS abuse government power, and demand more and more power. The only way to make them stop, the only way to get limitations, is to start using it against them.Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to StevetheCat
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      says:

      I never said I supported Occupy. I have sympathy for their broader point but was pretty critical of them since day one because:

      1. Like all left-wing protesters, everyone needed to have their say about their pet issues.

      2. They spoke in a pseudo-academic, utopian ease that I find to be as much BS as a corporate PR buzzwords.

      But Patrick pointed out correctly that Occupy was largely unarmed and largely packed up their bags when told to. There were some stragglers for a while but they are gone now.

      The Civil Rights Protestors in the 1950s and 60s fully understand the responsibilities of civil disobedience. They understood that they would get arrested, harassed, and thrown in jail and they were. Largely by private citizens but also by segregationist governments. They used the ham-fisted techniques of Bull Conor to gain sympathy for their cause and it worked.

      They did not take out guns though until some factions became radicalized in the mid to late 60s. The civil rights movement as led by MLK and his disciples was a brilliant example in the powers of non-violent civil disobedience.Report

    • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to StevetheCat
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      says:

      Steve the feline

      I have no great sympathy for OWS.

      OTOH, I must have missed the news reports of OWS’ sympathizers’ “2nd Amendment remedies”.
      Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to StevetheCat
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      In addition to the points others have raised, there’s the part where OWS was a demonstration for enforcing the rule of law – the whole point was to pressure the government into enforcing its own laws, aggressively investigating fraud by bankers, and arresting and prosecuting those found to have committed crimes.

      Cliven Bundy just wants a free lunch.Report

  2. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    “The important thing about rule of law is that you show deference to the final decision. There are plenty of court decisions I don’t agree with but the proper channels for change is not disregard and ignoring them but the slow and painful work of political organization and trying to elect legislatures who will write or amend laws to clarify the stance.”

    Do you think this is absolute? Were those who participated with the Underground Railroad or who hid Jews during the Holocaust acting inappropriately? I’d argue that was a law is unjust and/or immoral and all attempts to change it have failed, other illegal or extralegal acts may be justified. I think Bundy falls short of this because, as I understand it, he has taken precious few steps to actually change anything and is instead throwing a (very heavily armed) temper tantrum.Report

    • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      I get your point, @kazzy , but since Saul is talking a context of democracy (and, specifically, liberal democracy), I don’t think the Holocaust analogy holds. I’d also say the Underground Railroad analogy is flawed since slaves had no rights, no access to democracy.

      Bundy clearly has access to the democratic process, as well as procedural justice (which duly considered his case decades ago).Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jonathan McLeod
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        says:

        That’s a fair counter, @jonathan-mcleod . It might well be that the statement there is no absolute and is limited to democracies/liberal democracies. However, I think at that point he is talking less about some abstract notion of the “rule of law” and more about specific procedures existing within specific contexts.

        Which is a totally valid point to make, especially since Bundy is operating within the specifics I presume Saul to be discussing.Report

      • Yes, I’m not arguing against the value of civil disobedience (I think it’s quite valuable!), just picking a nit at the chosen examples.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jonathan McLeod
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        A democracy, even a liberal one, can be just as vile as other forms. And America is not exactly a place where everyone has equal access to justice. At least not in practice.Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      Basically what @jonathan-mcleod

      I get your point but there are limits to civil disobedience and there is also a hierarchy of causes to die for (but this will always be subjective).Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        I think the subjective part is hairier than you might imagine.

        Arguing that there are limits to civil disobedience only leads to arguments about where that limit exists.

        Arguing that people should avail themselves of any and every legal method before employing extra- or illegal methods is a much stronger position to take.

        Also, I don’t think what Bundy is doing should be considered civil disobedience. An integral (but increasingly oft-ignored) part of CD is accepting the legal consequences for your action, in part to demonstrate the impropriety of the law in question. Bundy would be a more sympathetic figure if he could point to his cattle being held by the federal government. Standing around with a bunch of heavily armed friends and refusing to accept the consequence of his actions is something else entirely.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        I’ll add to the others who remind us that the issue at hand is not the Holocaust or slavery. But there’s another type of resistance to law and repudiation of process that in no way compares to those examples but probably touches home for at least some people here.

        I’m talking about experimentation with recreational drugs that are illegal. Getting high is almost never a fundamental right (unless it’s a religious thing or whatever), and except in certain approved venues or with certain approved drugs, the law has spoken. And yet, I suspect that people here who talk about respecting the rule of law and choosing our battles may admit to youthful and middle aged indiscretions when it comes to that particular law.

        I don’t say this as an accusation. I myself make no admissions here about my own peccadilloes, but if my feet look like clay, well, you can draw some conclusions. Are at least some restrictions on recreational drug use unjust? I believe so. Is it unconscionable for people to experiment with illicit recreational drugs? I don’t personally believe so. But they’re not innocent, either. They’re often contributing to an underground economy in which people somewhere along the chain get killed or harmed in some other way.

        None of this is to really excuse Cliven Bundy. I don’t know much about him personally or enough about the grazing issue to give an informed opinion. I just think that our embrace of the rule of law often has some problematic qualifiers and we should acknowledge it.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kim
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      One of the problems confronting the GOP is a failure to differentiate between a good spokesman or a bad one. They seem to think anyone that gets the right people riled up is de facto a good spokesman.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Will Truman
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        I don’t know what circles you travel in, but I have heard a total of 0 conservative friends and bloggers defend this guy, or even mention his case. Maybe someone out there is crowing about it, but I’ve only seen the leftward sites talking about it. He’s not a GOP spokesman by any stretch. The problem – and I think it’s coming up more often as political novices run in more primaries – is that the right lets the left identify the right’s crackpots as spokesmen.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman
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        Pinky,
        That’s relieving, to say the least. I don’t mind kos going on about a crazy crackpot (it’s his job to get people riled up and volunteerin’)…Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
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        You’re right that he isn’t/wasn’t a spokesman for the GOP, but his cause did get coverage and sympathy from a fair amount on the right. That two senators – one of whom prominent and the other more local – are having to distance themselves from the guy is indicative of this. (To be fair, as Saul says, even his defenders have mostly conceded that he has little leg to stand on, legally.)Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman
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        A lot of conservatives seem to operate on the idea that you should simply oppose everything liberals like in order to be conservative. Tennesee’s reaction to Nashville’s BRT plan is pretty good example of this. Nashville wanted to build a BRT system to improve transit service. Tennesee responded by passing a law to prohibit metropolitan governments from funding transit programs on their own initative.

        When it comes to spokespeople the same principle applies, a good spokesperson is somebody that drives liberals batty rather than one you makes good arguments for the conservative cause.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        NRO had a couple bits up in support of the guy so I think it’s safe to say he’s been relatively well received on the conservative mainstream.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Pinky:

        I heard about this guy by getting stuff forwarded to me from Drudge and Alex Jones. He also got some play on the Fox News web site, after Drudge picked up the story.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        @pinky : “I don’t know what circles you travel in, but I have heard a total of 0 conservative friends and bloggers defend this guy, or even mention his case.”

        Really? That might say more about conservatives you follow than conservatives in general.

        Folks that you have missed that have spoken out in various degrees of support for Bundy include Fox News, The Daily Caller, the National Review, Breitbart, PJ Media, Hot Air, Business Insider, Town Hall, Right Wing News, Sen. and Presidential hopeful Rand Paul, Sen. Dean Heller, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and AG Greg Abbott, and scores of various state office holders and candidates from around the country and even more one-off conservative bloggers.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Does National Review still count as conservative? They compared Bundy to Gandhi, and the linked piece says that Powerline supports him too.

        http://www.nationalreview.com/article/375824/case-little-sedition-kevin-d-williamsonReport

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Not much on National Review, and not all of that positive. Breitbart does news aggregation, so the story shows up there, but not much on any of the “Big” sites. Everything shows up on Drudge, because it’s an aggregation site. I don’t remember anything about him on PJ Media on the columnists I read there.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Weekly Standard has a lousy search engine, but all I can find are two articles against Bundy.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Two articles on the American Spectator, nothing on City Journal. So there are a few more than I remember. Still it hasn’t been the attraction that some people seem to think it was, not even in the dreaded 24-hour news cycle.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        “I don’t know what circles you travel in, but I have heard a total of 0 conservative friends and bloggers defend this guy”

        Mark Levin was an early advocate in this cycle (he dedicated his opening monologue to this subject a few weeks ago, and that was the first time I heard of Bundy)Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        “One of the problems confronting the GOP is a failure to differentiate between a good spokesman or a bad one. They seem to think anyone that gets the right people riled up is de facto a good spokesman.”

        Before his comments, Bundy was a guy who
        1) Received subsidized grazing rights.
        2) Refused to pay even the subsidized fees.
        3) Lost again and again and again in court.
        4) Made threatening statements.
        5) Gathered a group of people to quite illegally resist lawful governmental actions.
        6) Lied through his teeth about his ancestry and land ownership, etc.
        7) Stated that he didn’t recognize the existence nor authority of the US government.

        When a liberal does that, the right has no problem figuring out what to think. The only difference is that the right usually gets to j*ck off, because the police don’t back down in the face of liberal/leftist physical resistance.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        I agree. He was a bad spokesman before the comments. His cause had a lot of holes in it. There was never a point at which he was going to appeal to anybody but the base. And the comments that did come were not particularly surprising.Report

  3. Avatar Muscogulus
    Ignored
    says:

    Who is this “Ta-Neishi Coats” of whom you speak?

    You probably meant this guy, Ta-Nehisi Coates.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Andrew Jackson’s real quote is much more interesting and nuanced:

    the decision of the Supreme Court has fell still born, and they find that they cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandateReport

  5. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    Picking something of a nit, but the picture on the front page is misleading. This Reuters picture gives a much better idea of the kind of terrain involved in this. It’s the kind of area where it takes 30-60 acres per head to provide forage for cattle. Lots of stories have hit the fact that Bundy hasn’t paid the grazing fees; fewer mention that he has been running far more cattle than the BLM (or the state of Nevada, on state public lands) allows, which has very likely done long-term damage to the ecology.Report

  6. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist
    Ignored
    says:

    First, it is important to understand that the western states, especially those where the bulk of the land is federally owned and managed, are quite sensitive about it. Sometimes with good reason, as the BLM, or the Forest service, tend to be rather heavy handed in their dealings with the ranchers and other property owners adjacent to federal land, and have a habit of using eminent domain in a manner many land owners find abusive and capricious.

    You may think they are over-reacting, but for these people, that land is their livelihood, so they are keen to keep control of it, especially when they lose it to protect some animal (a lot of federal land is set aside to protect habitats). If you don’t live out there, it can be hard to understand.

    As for Bundy, honestly, he would have probably remained a sour footnote between federal & state land management if BLM hadn’t arrested his son for taking pictures outside of the “First Amendment Areas” they’d setup. That got peoples attention, and then they noticed the BLM agents were armed & had sharpshooters on hand, which got a lot of people (people who will never forgive the government for places like Ruby Ridge or Waco) even more upset.

    This article by the WP is a pretty good summary of the events. One thing to note is that it appears as if an environmental group sued to force the BLM into an action I think they’d rather not have taken. The federal government has the time & resources to play the long game here, and they should have. There are times I think some of these environmental groups want a shooting conflict to erupt over land rights

    Finally, if there is any truth to this piece from IBD, this may be about a lot more than a desert tortoise. (I question it a bit because it sources World Nut Net Daily)Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
      Ignored
      says:

      I live in the West. I think we are talking about a situation where there is the majority of people in the West and then a small minority of ranchers who are very wealthy and very sore. I am just as much a member of the West right now as Cliven Bundy.

      http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/report/2013/03/11/56103/state-efforts-to-reclaim-our-public-lands/

      According to a poll from Colorado State of the Rockies voters in the west overwhelmingly do not think federal ownership of the land is not a problem. The poll covered Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Dude, San Francisco is “The West” like Miami is “The South”.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Is the double negative intentional?Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t know what to make of those polls. If 80% of NY state was owned by the Feds, but all of it was north of Orange/Westchester counties, you could probably get the same sort of margins because it wouldn’t affect the majority of voters and the downstate voters would find the easily accessible nature preserve convienent, but I could see someone in Ithaca being quite peeved.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I thought you lived in NYC? Or is that LeeEsq?

        And it depends on who you talk to. People in the urban areas tend to not care overmuch because they have no dog in the fight. The more rural you get, especially when you start butting up against federal lands, the more sore people get.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist

        I live in SF. Lee lives in NYC. No doubt but most people live in or near urban areas and our votes and voices count too. The rancher economy of the West is not as prevalent as it used to be. I imagine most money in Nevada comes from tourism and other things related to it. Denver is no longer just a cow town but a major city in the Rocky Mountain west, etc.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        No doubt but most people live in or near urban areas and our votes and voices count too.

        @saul-degraw True, but how much of it is because people are fine with it because of a combination of status quo bias and the fact that it doesn’t affect them. There was much consternation in NYC when Albany overruled Bloomberg’s plan for congestion pricing, even though it had support from 67% of city residents.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @mo

        I suppose that is a fair point but it raises the question of veto points and how far do we make local government autonomous.

        You have fed v. state v. county v. city/suburb town. Sometimes to often you need greater coordination and power than the smallest possible level of government. Many problems in the Bay Area can be associated with the strong level of autonomy each county and sometimes cities have. We need housing. SF can build but Mountain View continues to restrict. BART could have been much, much more extensive than it is but Marin veteoed having BART in the 1960s or 70s. So did Sonoma and Napa possibly.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Until we learn to vat grow meat (& get the public past an initial aversion to it), ranching will continue to be a very large part of the western economy, probably a lot more than most people figure.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist

        Personally, I think cattle ranching in the west is silly; it takes 60 acres to support a cow and calf there. It takes two acres here where I live. I realize it’s a significant cultural signifier, but it’s pretty much a huge inefficient process that’s environmentally destructive to fragile habitats.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @zic

        You aren’t going to get an argument from me. Remember, I grew up in WI, where cows & cattle made do quite well with a lot less land.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        ranching will continue to be a very large part of the western economy, probably a lot more than most people figure.

        Perhaps not. Back when I was paying close attention to these issues in the ’90s, the number (iirc) was that cattle ranching on public lands (emphasis, public) was something like 2% of all beef cattle production in the U.S., and a small enough part of the local economies that its disappearance wouldn’t be a huge blow. It’s more culturally vital than economically vital.

        I’m not opposed to it in principle, myself, but it’s become a vast source of rent-seeking. The federal AUM has hovered around $1.35 for decades. Meanwhile, on property I own in Montana, the property owners association was charging over $12 until they stopped allowing grazing some years back. I’ve a lot of sympathy with the West in general over the extent of federal lands in their states, but I’ve got no sympathy with a guy like Bundy. I hope the Feds don’t relent, and if he has to sell his land to pay his back fees, I’ll light a cigar in celebration.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        There seems to me, at least a passing, parallel between western ranching and Japanese whaling. Both of them represent a tiny share of the actual economies they represent, but have such a strong cultural meaning along with a perceived sense of oppression from outsiders that they become rallying points for otherwise rational people.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @nob-akimoto

        That’s a really interesting analogy.

        @jm3z-aitch

        Good points.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @jm3z-aitch

        I defer to someone who has looked into this more closely than I.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        …ranching will continue to be a very large part of the western economy, probably a lot more than most people figure.

        To put some numbers on it… Using 2009 data for state GDP and contribution by agriculture — all agriculture, not just animal production. Nationally, ag is 0.8%. For the 11 contiguous western states where there are large federal land holdings, since that’s the group at issue here, ag’s contribution to the regional GDP is less than 1.1%. For the five biggest states in the region, those with GDP >$150B, which account for 87% of the regional GDP, ag’s contribution is less than 0.9%. As a secondary consideration, those five states plus the next two are all in the top-20 states in the country by “smallest percent rural population.”

        Like Nob says, the rancher is a western icon. But if you were picking something based on contribution to GDP these days, coders are a better choice than cowboys.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        saul,
        Wealthy doesn’t mean what you think it does when it comes to farming/ranching. Quite easy to be wealthy and still be making a poverty wage.
        (not saying this is everyone, but…)Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @kim

        I hear that a lot, and I can only wonder how important farming culture must be for a farmer who owns millions of dollars in assets and uses those assets to generate a below-poverty wage for himself. There seem to be other reasonable options available. I just can’t work up that much pity.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @troublesome-frog
        There’s a general theme here that goes beyond just the rancher/farmer. There is a significant piece of the population who desires what they see as the good parts of the rural/small town life, but also want “nice things” in the sense of electricity, broadband, paved roads, modern health care, good schools, and good jobs for their kids. Increasingly over most of the last 100 years as “nice things” became more complex and expensive, providing them in rural areas has required subsidies from the urban/suburban areas. Some of the subsidies are well-known: crop price guarantees and the REA (now RUS). Some need a bit more digging to find: follow the cash flows in and out of the school equalization funds most states have these days.

        My perception is that the urban/suburban politicians are starting to push back. Here in Colorado, the urban/suburban legislators are rewriting our telecom regulation structure this session. The rural legislators started from the position that not only should the current subsidy for voice service in high-cost areas — read, rural — be preserved, but a new subsidy for broadband should be added. The urban/suburban group started from the position that there should be no subsidies. Where they’ve pretty much ended up is that the current subsidy amount will continue to be collected and the rural areas can spend it for either voice or broadband. There appears to me to be a considerable amount of resentment on the part of rural legislators, but I’m not sure if it’s because they have to beg, or because the non-rural members don’t recognize the rural areas are just… entitled to nice things too.

        I am afraid that the rural areas in some parts of the country are in the process of cutting off their noses to spite their faces. In the case of Nevada, if control of the public lands were transferred to the state, and given how much the Las Vegas population has grown, there is every chance that ranchers wouldn’t be allowed to graze on those lands at any price, let alone the current low fees. And while the Las Vegas voters may not control the federal lands, they do control an awful lot of other things that could impact the ranchers.Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
      Ignored
      says:

      This also raises questions of livelihoods when we have a right or not to choose how we make them and by what rules and conditions.

      I tried to be a theatre director and that did not quite work out. Then I went to law school when the market collapsed. So far I’ve been freelancing since March 2012.

      Plenty of people have felt free to tell people in my situation that there are no guarantees and just because you went to law school, worked hard, and passed the bar does not mean you have a right to a livelihood as a lawyer. The same for people who work hard to master their arts.

      Why does Cliven Bundy have a right to a livelihood as a rancher? Is it because his family has always ranched? My grandfather, father, and brother are lawyers. Can I claim a similar familial right? How about because I really wanted to be a theatre director?

      There are rules and regulations that I need to follow to be a lawyer. Beyond passing the bar, I have my membership dues, CLE requirements, and various ethical and professional responsibilities. I follow these because I want to practice law. If Cliven Bundy wants to be a rancher in the West, he should also follow the rules and regulations.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m not defending Bundy, far from it. I’m providing context as to why a mass of armed citizens felt the need to back him up.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @saul-degraw

        Do you own a law firm, or a theater? Bundy owns a ranch, therefore he has the right to be a rancher.

        If he’s in violation of the law, and he’s lost in court, the feds don’t have to go all stormtrooper on him. They can freeze his assets & seize his cattle at market, which is what they probably would have done if their hand hadn’t been forced.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist , Bundy may own a ranch, but he doesn’t own all the land that he ranches on. He can have the right to ranch on his own land, but that doesn’t extend beyond what he owns.

        That said, it’s certainly worth arguing over whether federal ownership of large tracts of western states is a good idea. It’s clear that leasing of public land for grazing has led to some real environmental problems historically, though I think the feds put more restrictions on land use now. It’s also a complicating factor that federal land is often not in big contiguous chunks, but can be a patchwork of sections mixed in with privately owned land.

        I’m not opposed to the idea that most federal lands in the west be sold off. Keep the national parks, monuments and such, and then hold auctions for the rest.

        Maybe the “right people” won’t buy it, but that’s what capitalism is all about, right?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Zane,
        I pretty much am. Sources cited above on gross mismanagement of resources causing large loss of human life.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I should probably point out a potential conflict of interest. My grandparents on both sides leased federal land to graze cattle on. I’m not sure of the mix on my dad’s parents’ side, but my mom’s parents leased BLM and National Forest land. These were lands used in addition to their own ranches, as is typically the case.

        In much of the west, as someone noted above, it can take very large amounts of land to support a grazing cow. This is due to the relatively low productivity of the land compared to the eastern US. It’s generally an issue of the relative mix of low precipitation and high and/or low temperatures. Ranches can be huge but that doesn’t mean there’s real wealth. As commodity producers, ranchers are very much at the mercy of the meat industry middlemen. It’s a typical problem. There are many producers and relatively few buyers that must be passed through, creating some systemic disadvantages for independent ranchers.

        My grandparents may have had hard feelings toward the BLM or National Forest Service–I never heard them say anything like that. But they paid their fees.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Kim, I think that there is a reasonable argument that private ownership of a resource creates incentives to use the resource more carefully.

        Part of the reason that federally owned leased land was really problematic was overgrazing. Because ranchers didn’t own the land, they had no incentive to steward it carefully the way they would their own lands. In the absence of reasonable restrictions, some people would just keep adding livestock.

        I think there are a couple of arguments against this. Private ownership doesn’t always lead to good stewardship. Some ranchers overgraze their own land, seeking short-term benefits at the cost of long-term viability. Most try to avoid that, though. The other issue is that not everyone who would want to buy federally owned land is a rancher. If it’s a mining corporation based in Sao Paulo, what role does long-term stewardship play in its decision-making? The incentives aren’t always what we think they are, and externalities can be a *real* problem.

        But another benefit of the federal government auctioning off federal land is that it pulls the feds out of the position of being the western whipping boy. Let the states have to try to rein in bad actors.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @zane

        I never said Bundy was in the right to allow his cattle onto federal land. I merely pointed out that owning adequate land to raise cattle gives him the right to be a rancher. I agree with others that as a cause celebre, he is an extremely poor choice.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Since we’re all paying for his cattle’s grazing, do we get to tell him”You didn’t build that”?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        The problem with “you didn’t build that” is that it, technically, applies to freakin’ everybody.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        That’s sorta the point of you didn’t build that. It applies to everybody.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Maybe we could look at his failure to provide a net benefit and say “You’re not helping to maintain that! Additionally, your actions go well beyond reasonable wear and tear!”Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @saul-degraw

        Why does Cliven Bundy have a right to a livelihood as a rancher? Is it because his family has always ranched? My grandfather, father, and brother are lawyers. Can I claim a similar familial right? How about because I really wanted to be a theatre director?

        I pretty much agree.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        zane,
        sorry, got our lines crossed. I was objecting to the idea that states would manage better than the feds. Private ownership I’ve got less data about killing people.Report

    • There is nothing new under the sun.

      The epicenter of this business is in neighboring Nye County, Nevada although there was a big strain of it in southern New Mexico as well. The movement took something of a hit after Oklahoma City but apparently never really went away; I assumed that its remnants had merged into the Tea Party.Report

    • Avatar TerryC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
      Ignored
      says:

      “I question it a BIT because is sources WND?” OMG. I question every word on WND until I verify it—which is exceedingly rare.
      Those claims about Reid have been proven false. Even Politifact says it’s Pants on Fire.

      “Finally, if there is any truth to this piece from IBD, this may be about a lot more than a desert tortoise. (I question it a bit because it sources World Nut Net Daily)”Report

  7. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    There’s always Hannity.

    http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/qjwxgb/grazed-and-confused—hannity-obsession

    Seriously, is this guy any different from gangs who grow weed on federal land?Report

  8. Avatar Zane
    Ignored
    says:

    I suspect that the feds have backed off in order to let the situation cool, but that they won’t simply walk away from this.

    The situation has some similarities with the Montana Freemen in Jasper, Montana back in the ’90s. There was an armed standoff, the FBI backed off but continued to negotiate, and eventually the suspects gave themselves up. (This was after Waco, so the FBI was under a lot of pressure to adopt a different stance.)

    What the knee-jerk Right can forget is that the Montana Freemen were acting out of economic self-interest cloaked in “individual rights” language. They filed liens against anyone and everyone they didn’t like and wrote millions of dollars in counterfeit checks–not just to large corporations, but also to their friends and neighbors. Many in Montana were sympathetic to the idea that the federal government was too large and too intrusive, but that’s not incompatible with the idea that the Montana Freemen were criminals.

    Bundy in Nevada today is not different in any meaningful way. He asserts Nevada’s ownership of the land (though Nevada makes no such claim) in order to steal. He paid the grazing fees, then decided to stop. If I stop paying my rent, I can expect eviction. I don’t get to later claim that I changed my mind after signing the lease and paying some rent that I no longer recognize the owner’s title to the building.Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Zane
      Ignored
      says:

      I think you are right. The Feds have been acting rather prudently so far and it looks like they just gave Cliven Bundy enough space to shoot himself in the foot speechwise. I doubt the article in the NY Times today did him any favors especially his quote about “The Negro.”

      Lots of people on the left are seeing this as a new Sagebrush Rebellion. AKA as more millionaire complaining.

      There is a whole history of crackpot legal theories behind these kind of actions. The Southern Poverty Law Center does a good job of tracking them.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        My main hope at this point is that the authorities arrest him when he’s buying groceries in town or filling up his truck with gas rather than set up some weird power play SWAT kinda thing to prove a point.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        It doesn’t help that the local sheriff and the local land guys are all nutters, too.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @jaybird

        I hope he stands down or otherwise you are right.

        Though you indirectly bring up a perfectly good point, the Feds could have ended this a long time ago pretty quickly.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I hope he stands down…

        Absent an offer of amnesty on the back fees owed, he doesn’t dare. He may be a millionaire on paper, depending on the value of the land he inherited (less any debt already owed on that), but no way is he going to come up with $1.3M in cash.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @jaybird
        My main hope at this point is that the authorities arrest him when he’s buying groceries in town or filling up his truck with gas rather than set up some weird power play SWAT kinda thing to prove a point.

        Really? What I want the authorities to do is to assert he’s under arrest, and head to arrest him.

        When threatened, they should take track down the name and identity of every single person that obstructed justice.

        Then let them all leave…and arrest them all over the next couple of weeks for obstructing justice, and pretty much anything else they can throw at them, up to and including insurrection.

        Think of it as an ‘insurrection sting operation’.

        Actually, I’m kinda hoping this *is* what happened, that the Federal government *did* manage to catch a lot of them in breaking the law, and will be eventually arresting and charging them all. Such a sweep would probably take down a lot of the homegrown terrorist groups we’ve got running around.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Such a sweep would probably take down a lot of the homegrown terrorist groups we’ve got running around.

        Eh.

        I really doubt that such a sweep would prevent the next Major Nidal Hasan or Tsarnaev brothers but… hey. It’s not out of the question, right?

        Boston strong!Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @jaybird
        I really doubt that such a sweep would prevent the next Major Nidal Hasan or Tsarnaev brothers but… hey. It’s not out of the question, right?

        I’m not sure whether or not you’re serious. You do know that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was, in fact, a reader of white supremacy and 911 truther propaganda, right? (Also, ‘homegrown’?)

        And it sure is interesting you picked the two vaguely Islam-ish attacks, despite the Tsarnaev brothers also being right-wing wackjobs, and the Major Nidal Hasan not really being terrorism. (Terrorism is attacking civilians. Attacking a military base, while treason, is not terrorism.)

        Meanwhile, you ignored the 2012 Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, the Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting, the 2008 Times Square bombing, the 2011 Spokane bombing attempt, the 2013 Los Angeles International Airport, the 2009 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the 2010 Pentagon shooting…

        …you know, I’m just going to stop there. But all those were by either racist kooks, or anti-government kooks, or usually both. (Although, to be fair, the last on that list was by a left-wing anti-government kook, but he wasn’t part of any *group*, and I didn’t say we’d get them *all*.)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, whomever they are, I’m sure they’d be in Nevada next to that Mormon guy.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Again, I have no idea if you’re being sarcastic, and I’m getting a little annoyed at you because of that.

        Yes, they *would* be associated with the same groups. There is one loosely-affiliated anti-government right wing *treason* movement in this country, all reading the same magazines and all talking to each other. It overlaps about 90% with the white supremacy movement. (And that 10% is, perhaps, me being generous.)

        The *specific words* that Bundy was using, ‘Sovereign citizen’, was a specific phrase originating in the ‘Posse Comitatus movement’, a white supremacy movement. As has been pointed out, the fact he started babbling racist nonsense should have been expected by no one. Hell, the sad thing is he probably thought what he said was reasonable because he at least is *willing to share the country* with black people. He’s like the most moderate guy he knows!

        Those people are Bundy’s ranch did not appear out of nowhere. They are all part of a loose-knit group that claims to refuse to recognize the US government’s authority. There is a group right now, composing of *thousands* of people, that *openly* assert they will break the law if tested. Some of them *just did*.

        And they are, incidentally, almost to a man, *racist assholes*.

        And in this country, law enforcement runs stings all the time. A sting is simply creating circumstances where a criminal is likely to commit a crime.

        So I suggest we…do that. Completely. All those guys that just threatened law enforcement? Well, let’s try *detaining* those people. I mean, they were wandering around with guns during an attempted law enforcement action which had to be stopped due to threats…it seems reasonable to take them down to the FBI office for questioning, see if they can identify people making threats.

        Let’s see the reaction to that attempt. Let’s see if they shoot.

        Let’s get this little armed insurrection started, and flatten these idiots. Take entire movement apart, as much as possible. Individually. Make each one either stand up to the US government and start shooting, which they’ve openly been sprouting erections for this entire time, or they are demonstrated to be liars and lose all respect.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        How many of the folks associated with things having potential to be like the 2012 Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, the Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting, the 2008 Times Square bombing, the 2011 Spokane bombing attempt, the 2013 Los Angeles International Airport, the 2009 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the 2010 Pentagon shooting were at Nevada, do you think?

        Because, off the top of my head, my guess is *NONE*.

        I’m basing this on the complete and total lack of shooting.

        And, get this, I’m pretty sure that if the Feds decide to say something like “let’s nab this guy while he’s buying pet food at Wal-Mart”, there will be no shooting.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        How many of the folks associated with things having potential to be like the 2012 Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, the Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting, the 2008 Times Square bombing, the 2011 Spokane bombing attempt, the 2013 Los Angeles International Airport, the 2009 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the 2010 Pentagon shooting were at Nevada, do you think?

        What sort of insane troll logic is that? That all potential terrorists shoot at law enforcement all the time, and if they only *threaten* law enforcement, and not shot them in a single specific instance, they can’t actually be potential terrorists?

        In my universe, a group of people that think the correct response against the US government enforcing the law is to threaten them with violence, are pretty much the most likely people in the US to become terrorists, period. And, in fact, this is statistically true.

        I’m not saying any specific individuals *are* terrorists, but the groups are where terrorists come from, at least our local non-Islamist terrorists. And, this is not some sort of contest as to which is ‘more terroristy’. We should pay attention to all sources of terrorism.

        But we already spend all sorts of efforts on things that are, frankly, outright unlawful *entrapment* of Islamist terrorism, finding disgruntled idiots and slowly feeding them plans and resources, and then triumphantly arresting them.

        We talk about ‘radical mosques’ because some imam visiting there once said something. (Again, I’m not arguing we shouldn’t…the legal system seems to be working fine here, even if sometimes the media is a little too guilt-by-association.)

        Meanwhile, we haven’t actually gone after the racist separatist trying-to-overthrow-the-government wackjobs at all since the mid-80s, I think. Despite the fact that, instead of hiding in in the dark, they’re running around in the open threatening law enforcement. We don’t even have to invent clever plans to come up with reasons to arrest them.

        Almost every single one of them is blatantly breaking some law or another (Almost none of them correctly pay their taxes, for example…they make up some nonsense about how they don’t owe any taxes, and put that on their tax form. And then simply don’t pay court decisions against them.), and the actual potential terrorist faction of them would probably not go quietly if the police showed up.

        Instead, we treat every single one of them as individuals, despite they fact they are literally members of groups calling for the overthrow of the US government, passing around magazines talking about the day people will rise up and throw off the government, going to what can only be described as training camps, etc, etc.

        (Reposting because this didn’t post the first or second time. Sorry if it shows up twice.)

        [MikeS: Rescued from spam filter]Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I have attempted to reply to this post *three times*, and for some reason it won’t let me.

        So I will simply point out that your assertions that poeple who run around *threatening* violence against the government and *threatening* to overthrow it are in no way related to those people who commit violence in the name of overthrowing the government is a bit insane. Of course it’s the same people. It’s all one group of people, a few thousand of them, openly operating terrorist cells in this country.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @davidtc – FYI, I had that same comment issue happen once, on the topic of workplace violence (no warnings or comment moderating or anything, the comment just vanished upon hitting “post”, multiple times) and it would not post until I substantially rewrote it.

        I suspect WordPress has some sort of algorithm that sees certain words in certain orders and automatically (incorrectly, in my case and presumably yours) classifies the comment as “threat” or “violent/abusive language” and trashes it.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Yes, all three went straight to Spam. I’ll rescue the most recent one.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I suspect WordPress has some sort of algorithm that sees certain words in certain orders and automatically (incorrectly, in my case and presumably yours) classifies the comment as “threat” or “violent/abusive language” and trashes it.

        Ah, I didn’t even think of that, I bet that was it. I tried removing some emphasizing, just in case WordPress didn’t like my ‘*’s, but that didn’t help. There was indeed a lot of ‘threatening language’ and ‘violence’ in my post, although obviously because I was talking about it, not threatening people. 😉

        And I see it’s up, woo. Thanks.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @davidtc

        Ah, I see, so we should play fair & start treating these groups you find objectionable more like the other groups the conservatives find objectionable?

        I have a better idea, how about we remember that we live in a supposed free society, and until such a time as an individual (or group) does something clearly illegal, we leave them the f%*@ alone. If they have done something illegal, then follow them & arrest them when it can be done so quietly.

        What you want, for the federal government to basically declare (yet another) war against these people, is anathema to the principles of a free society & will only further ratchet down on the growing police state we already live in.

        So no thank you, your vision is needlessly authoritarian & violent, and I’m calling it out as such. Your attitude is a huge part of the problem, not the solution to it.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist
        I have a better idea, how about we remember that we live in a supposed free society, and until such a time as an individual (or group) does something clearly illegal, we leave them the f%*@ alone. If they have done something illegal, then follow them & arrest them when it can be done so quietly.

        As I very clearly said, almost every single one of these idiots is breaking the law in a fairly major way.

        For the most obvious example, threatening to assault a law enforcement officer is, tada, illegal. Likewise, it is illegal to carry a handgun while drinking alcohol. Trespass? Likewise illegal.

        And that’s just the stuff they’re doing *there*.

        And as I keep pointing out, and absolutely no one seems to want to address, these aren’t *random* idiots showing up. These are *secessionist* idiots. A group of people who break laws *in general*.

        Half of them probably didn’t have license plates on their cars, or valid driver’s licenses, or pay Federal income tax.Report

  9. Avatar Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    Without defending Bundy, this is pretty rich coming from a fan of Franklin Roosevelt.Report

  10. Avatar Jason Kuznicki
    Ignored
    says:

    If nobody’s defending Bundy, why are we still talking about him?

    Because he represents exactly how the left would like to think of everyone who advocates smaller government. And we’ll be hearing about him for months on end, I imagine. He’s just that useful a symbol.

    Now, while I can’t deny that more of his kind are certainly out there, consider what Walter Olson wrote even before the exceptionally ugly racist stuff came out of Mr. Bundy’s ignorant mouth:

    It has been objected that ownership of vast tracts of the American West by the federal Bureau of Land Management is a very bad idea, might have appalled many Framers and early legislators, and has been advanced into our own era through aggressive policies to curtail the participation of private users. I’m having trouble seeing the relevance of all this, however, to Bundy’s supposed right to defy multiple court orders. The federal government should not be in many different lines of business that it currently is in, but that doesn’t create a right of individual citizens to occupy federal installations for personal economic benefit despite court orders directed against them to the contrary.

    Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Jason Kuznicki
      Ignored
      says:

      *eyebrow* I think I’d rather think, were I fond of asserting calumnies, that those who advocate smaller government are fond of Gold Ron Paul Dollars, not paying taxes… and gun smuggling to gangs in Mexico.

      The left looks at folks like this out of some sort of “oh, my god, they really still exist!” (at least, I assume that’s why the racist stuff is getting much more play). There’s plenty enough people on the left that support smaller government too (most notably reducing defense spending).Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Jason Kuznicki
      Ignored
      says:

      @jason-kuznicki

      There’s a lot of interesting territory to explore here. Government ownership of lands on this continent extends back to the original business charters for Jamestown and Plymouth; though the government in question was the English Crown. Land grants were given for service to the crown, including as payment for service in war (King Phillips War, etc.).

      After the Revolutionary War, there was a lot of dispute on how the federal government should pay for things; and selling land was the primary tool for funding federal activities until we established the income tax. I think that created this impression that federal government wasn’t funding itself for many people who make a shallow study of history.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        My understanding is that until the Civil War, tariffs were the federal government’s primary source of revenue, and they dwarfed all others. The Civil War introduced an income tax (short lived, but it came back later) and a wide variety of excise taxes (a more or less permanent revenue source thereafter). In the 20th century, tariff rates had mostly been kept very low by historical standards, while corporate and individual income taxes and the payroll tax have taken over as the main sources of revenue:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tariffs_in_United_States_history

        In any case, one might argue that a government committed to being limited in scope has an obligation to part with as much of the land as it can, lest by controlling it, the government wields too much power. It’s not clear though where the boundaries of that requirement lie – how fast? how cheap? how much? to whom? I don’t know the answers to these questions.

        I’m not aware of any political theorist of even a roughly libertarian bent who has tackled the question directly. That is, apart from Henry George and his followers, who were fairly odd. They argued that the land remained effectively the government’s in any case, and we all rightfully rented it by way of a universal land value tax. In his setup, there would only be that one tax, and absolutely no others.

        It’s an interesting idea, but, given that land has fallen in its relative contribution to economic productivity, funding everything by way of a land tax alone would produce some very weird and unhappy results, even if the state were much smaller than it is right now.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        Goes back, I believe, to John Q. Adams, who wanted to fund road building and that caused quite a stir because it was considered outside the jurisdiction of the federal government; so he began selling federal land to fund road building. This continued — selling land to the west to fund federal activities separately from the need to fund defense/military spending, which were recognized as necessary.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        Before the Federal Income Tax, the United States government earned most of its money from excise taxes on alcohol. One reason why the Drys joined the movement for the Income Tax was that they knew the Federal government wasn’t going to enact prohibition without an alternative source of revenue. The rich wanted to repeal Prohibition in hopes that it would lead to lower taxes on income because alcohol would be a source of revenue again.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        @leeesq

        There’s a link in the proceeding subthread, misthreaded, a response to Jason. From it, on the section of disposal of Federal land:

        The initial policy of the federal government generally was to transfer ownership of many of the federal lands to private and state hands — to pay Revolutionary War soldiers, to finance the new government, and later to encourage the development of infrastructure and the settlement of the territories. In October 1780, even before the Articles of Confederation were ratified, the Continental Congress adopted a general policy for administering any lands transferred to the federal government:

        The lands were to be “disposed of for the common benefit of the United States,” were to be “settled and formed into distinct republican States, which shall become members of the Federal Union, and shall have the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence, as the other States….” The lands were to “be granted and settled at such times and under such regulations as shall hereafter be agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled.

        Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        The original Revolutionary war debt, both state and continental, was assumed by the new post-1787 federal government and paid off by the feds declaring their own ownership of all the competing state land claims (generally) west of the Appalachians, and selling that land back to homesteaders and speculators. (e.g. Northwest Ordinance)Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        I understand all this… but at the link I provided, you will see that the vast majority of federal revenue did not come from land sales. Pre-Civil War, it came from the tariff. Post-Civil-War, it came from excise taxes. After its introduction, the income tax took the lead role.

        At no time was land sale the “primary tool” for financing the federal government. That’s the claim I was responding to.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        @jason-kuznicki I stand corrected on ‘the primary’ for federal government in general; I thought I’d narrowed it to federal infrastructure projects — roads, canals, and railroads in particular. My point is that these things were being done outside of tax revenue; and this is often overlooked in our ideology of government investment in infrastructure and taxation. I should not be.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        Somebody pointed out that during the first half of the 19th century, the US government acquired ~1 million square miles of land, and sold/gave away much of it. That’s a lot of funding.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jason Kuznicki
      Ignored
      says:

      Because the “no one” who’s defending him included a vast swath of the right-wing noise machine before he said something overtly racist and they started backtracking like mad.Report

    • Avatar Zane in reply to Jason Kuznicki
      Ignored
      says:

      I think we are talking about Bundy not because it’s part of a Leftist agenda, but because he made the news. He broke the law, the feds took action, people took up arms to rally to his side (!), and the feds backed off. Like the narrative or not, that’s news.

      I think it’s that third element–people taking up arms to stand by Bundy–that makes this especially interesting.

      Do you really think that Fox, CNN, the Times, etc. etc. are all over this because they want to make the Right look bad? That if an hard Left African American woman took over a housing project in Atlanta with the support of armed Black Panthers that the media would bury the story? (I dropped as many tropes in there as I could…)

      Because that’s what it sounds like you’re saying.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jason Kuznicki
      Ignored
      says:

      @jason-kuznicki : “If nobody’s defending Bundy, why are we still talking about him?
      Because he represents exactly how the left would like to think of everyone who advocates smaller government. And we’ll be hearing about him for months on end, I imagine. He’s just that useful a symbol.”

      There is a lot of truth in that last part, but it kind of ignores how many people actually have supported him (as I noted to Pinky above). Liberals didn’t pick this guy out of a vacuum. For me, it seems a little hinky to say, “yeah, we made this guy into a symbol and pushed him hard, but then it backfired and we looked bad so now no one should use him as a symbol anymore.”

      If the right doesn’t want to be saddled with stuff like this by liberals, they really need to do a better job of choosing where they want to circle their wagons.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        That and? the article I was quoting was all about “how quickly folks backtrack” — it’s worth noting the folks that didn’t backtrack immediately. Particularly when a good segment of their backers/volunteers were documented racists.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        “Excuse me, sir. Are your racist papers in order?”Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        @jaybird Documented?Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        The average SNAP benefit per household in NV is $255.44 for fy2013; and this is lower then previous years on this table.

        so it would take an average family in Nevada 4,306.29 years to rack up his $1.1m subsidy collecting food stamps.Report

      • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        It would also be nice if twitter conservatives and others with blogs et al didn’t react as if the problem with what he said was the fact that he used the word “Negro”.

        I really wish I hadn’t read multiple people in multiple forums talking about how he is right.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        I wish he *hadn’t* used the word ‘Negro’.

        If you replace that with the words ‘black man’, and read his statement, it’s exactly the sort of thing that would cause the right-wing to completely tear itself apart as half the people tried to defend his comments.

        Instead, the 95% of the right said WARNING! CAN’T USE THAT WORD! ALERT ALERT! and disavowed him. (Hilariously, he probably thought he was being *polite*.)

        It would have been much much much funnier and revealing if he’d used some other word.

        Heck, if he replaced it with the code words of ‘poor people’, he’d *almost* fit into the modern GOP. Not at the national level, it’s a little too rough, but it’s exactly the sort of thing I can see a candidate for mayor sprouting at some local meeting.Report

    • Avatar Creon Critic in reply to Jason Kuznicki
      Ignored
      says:

      Notably, the Olson piece you point out links to contrasting perspectives. One entitled “The Case for a Little Sedition” and the other “Why you should be sympathetic toward Cliven Bundy”. Do Kevin D. Williamson and John Hinderaker not count? Bundy is apparently a useful symbol to those authors.

      Williamson concludes,

      Prudential measures do not solve questions of principle. So where does that leave us with our judgment of the Nevada insurrection? Perhaps with an understanding that while Mr. Bundy’s stand should not be construed as a general template for civic action, it is nonetheless the case that, in measured doses, a little sedition is an excellent thing.

      Hinderaker concludes,

      So let’s have some sympathy for Cliven Bundy and his family. They don’t have a chance on the law, because under the Endangered Species Act and many other federal statutes, the agencies are always in the right. And their way of life is one that, frankly, is on the outs. They don’t develop apps. They don’t ask for food stamps. It probably has never occurred to them to bribe a politician. They don’t subsist by virtue of government subsidies or regulations that hamstring competitors. They aren’t illegal immigrants. They have never even gone to law school. So what possible place is there for the Bundys in the Age of Obama?

      Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Creon Critic
        Ignored
        says:

        Man, Hinderaker is bloody offensive. He ought to talk with Joan McCarter before he bothers to open his yap.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Creon Critic
        Ignored
        says:

        They don’t develop apps.

        Hipster punching!

        They don’t ask for food stamps.

        No, free land access isn’t like free food.

        It probably has never occurred to them to bribe a politician.

        My impression of this story is that one of the reasons all this has come to a head is because the local authorities have been wildly supportive of Mr. Bundy in spite of the law. Now, I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but it just might be possible that some campaign funds have been donated somewhere…

        They don’t subsist by virtue of government subsidies or regulations that hamstring competitors.

        This is contra the evidence in the actual story. He’s using the land for free (subsidy), and his competitors have to deal with the ESA and he’s blatantly not. So, yeah.

        They aren’t illegal immigrants.

        I dunno, if you don’t recognize the federal government and you claim that your right to land predates incorporation into the Union, statistically that either makes you a Mexican national living here illegally or an first nations member, and Mr. B doesn’t look like a Comanche…Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Creon Critic
        Ignored
        says:

        @patrick

        See, no one even cares if you go hipster punching, but smack a hippy around a little bit…Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Creon Critic
        Ignored
        says:

        Last I looked, developing an app is creating something of value, and selling it is a non-coercive, mutually advantageous exchange. But apparently if it’s done by people who don’t wear suits and mostly approve of SSM, it’s still communism.Report

    • Avatar Francis in reply to Jason Kuznicki
      Ignored
      says:

      Because he represents exactly how the left would like to think of everyone who advocates smaller government.

      I would deeply appreciate if you would not tell me how I think.

      (several obscenities were deleted from an earlier draft.)Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Francis
        Ignored
        says:

        Francis,

        I learned to ignore it after a while. Every time I hear “libertarians think XXXX”, i ignore the speaker/writer since they aren’t addressing me personally and may not have any idea what I actually think.

        In my opinion, it’s the best way to keep my blood pressure down. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Francis
        Ignored
        says:

        But it’s so much fun to write things like “Libertarians are suspicious of government programs and prefer market solutions to problems.” and elicit the response “You liberals have no idea what libertarians think!”Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Jason Kuznicki
      Ignored
      says:

      “If nobody’s defending Bundy, why are we still talking about him?”

      Same reasons we’re still talking about Sarah Palin and Todd Akin.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Jason Kuznicki
      Ignored
      says:

      Wrong. The right happily made him into a right-wing hero. The left is merely pointing out what the right did.Report

  11. Avatar Saul DeGraw
    Ignored
    says:

    I would like to propose a counterfactual:

    Suppose everything in the story was the same except that the land was owned by the Nevada state government instead of the Federal government. Would we be having the same story? What psuedo-legal defenses would Cliven Bundy come up with to defend himself?Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Saul DeGraw
      Ignored
      says:

      IIRC, Nevada is tougher on things like cattle grazing on state-owned land than the feds are on theirs. This is not uncommon — most of Wyoming’s massive coal production comes from federal lands, not because there isn’t equally good coal on private- or state-owned lands, but because the feds’ rules about land restoration and what they demand in royalties is less than the state or private parties require. Ditto the ongoing push to open federal lands for oil shale development in the Green River basin — there are equally good resources on state and private land, but the terms for developing it are much tougher.

      The situation has not always been like this, but rural control of state government in the West died with Reynolds v. Sims back in the 1960s. It’s just taken a while for the consequences of increasing western urbanization to play out.Report

  12. Avatar Tod Kelly
    Ignored
    says:

    I just want to take a moment to voice my confusion at all the “bad spokesperson” comments, because I’m just not getting it and maybe someone could explain it to me.

    If a guy was in the news because he hadn’t paid taxes in decades and, when an auditor came out, he pulled a gun and threatened to shoot him, my response wouldn’t be, “You know, it’s too bad he’s such a poor spokesperson, because we really need to have a conversation about simplifying the current tax code.” And if I did, it would seem a very weird non-sequitor.

    So why does there seem to be a willingness to do this with Bundy’s case?Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      +1 @tod-kelly

      I’ve been sort of wondering the same thing myself. If I wanted a symbol for my anti big-government WOD values, I would not pick an armed drug dealer growing on federal lands. That folks did this (and a lot of folks did this, both right-wing media and politicians) suggests they think Bundy symbolizes something valuable.

      And that troubles me, because the only thing I can see that potentially justifies Bundy as valuable symbol is a willingness/longing to instigate armed uprising against the government. Perhaps this is the next logical thing to since all the obfuscation of government failed to chop it down to bath-tub size?Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      @tod-kelly

      There is a part of the American psyche especially in the west that loves an outlaw.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Select outlaws in the West. In large part, those whose actual history can be polished as necessary to cast them as robbing from large eastern business interests like the railroads and mining companies, or outwitting the Pinkerton men (another symbol for oppressive eastern business interests). Cattle rustlers and horse thieves preying on the locals, not so much.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      “So why does there seem to be a willingness to do this with Bundy’s case?”

      Because there is a strong belief, on the part of a growing (but still marginalized) minority in American society, that the Federal government is evil where it is not incompetent; is intentionally up to no good; is using barely-legal, pseudo-legal, or even straight-up non-legal methods to increase its domination of American citizens; and is increasingly overt in its arbrogation of rights and powers Constitutionally guaranteed to the states or the people. And that’s why it’s important to vote for John Kerry in two thousand fo–wait, what? We were talking about something else?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      There is great joy to be found in watching someone say “EFF YOU!” to someone in authority.

      Even when the authorities have guns. Perhaps even especially when the authorities have guns.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Unless they, you know, don’t want to fight a pointless war someplace far away. Then they’re hippie scum.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Score a big one for Mike. For a lot of people, there are two kinds of protests of the government: Right and anti-American.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I imagine it feels different when you have reached the point where you personally identify with the authorities, sure.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        @jaybird Actually, some of us have just matured to realize that sometimes the people with guns are right and sometimes they’re wrong. In this case, they’re right. When they’re using SWAT teams to go after grandma’s, they’re wrong. It’s almost like different situations require different responses.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m pretty much of the opinion that absent a clear & present danger to others or the officers, police should do everything they can to avoid bringing guns into play.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        “Do you think we’ll need guns?”

        “These perps call themselves a milita. You tell me.”Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        @jesse-ewiak

        That kind of thought shows nuance. We can’t be having nuance.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        @mike-schilling

        That’s the same logic police use to deploy the SWAT team against grandma. She’s suspected of drugs, drug people have guns, hence we need an MRAP/Bearcat/etc. to serve a warrant.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Grandma doesn’t call herself a militia, run around the woods pretending to be a soldier, or gabble about armed insurrection.

        My grandma, anyway.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        It should be noted that gun control was originally a conservative/Republicanrespons to blacks arming themselvesa protection against police brutality during the civil rights era.

        If you’ve ever viewed the Black Panthers as thugs you may want to keep that in mind the next time you see these white militia groups portrayed as something something patriotic, law-abiding citizens blah-blah.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Grandma doesn’t call herself a militia, run around the woods pretending to be a soldier, or gabble about armed insurrection.

        In defense of Kathryn Johnston, neither did she.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        @road-scholar

        The Black Panthers may not have had MLKs ideals about minimal violence, but they were civil rights activists all the same.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        “There is great joy to be found in watching someone say “EFF YOU!” to someone in authority.”

        That’s odd – I didn’t see anybody on the right supporting OWS for that reason.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I didn’t see anybody on the right supporting OWS for that reason

        Did you see anybody not on the right saying “OWS and the Tea Party have a lot of overlap, the main gulf between them is cultural” or something to that effect?Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      I dunno, Tod, the fringes where he’s been celebrated (Alex Jones, etc.) would probably actually think your hypothetical was a good argument/good cause, too.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      Talking about Bundy as a poor spokesman is a way to shift the conversation to something more interesting than “Bundy is WRONG WRONG WRONG!!”

      Almost nobody here thinks Bundy is in the right. So talking about underlying issues (land management, the government, etc.) is more interesting.

      Heck, talking about the ridiculousness of the GOP is more interesting (which is part of what the spokesman reference is towards), and that got tiresome (for me) about two years ago.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      So why does there seem to be a willingness to do this with Bundy’s case?

      Same reason pampered, middle-class white kids love gangsta rap.Report

  13. Avatar J@m3z Aitch
    Ignored
    says:

    Since Obama has declared his authority to use drone strikes to kill American citizens extra-judicially….Report

  14. Avatar ScarletNumbers
    Ignored
    says:

    I didn’t even know Cliven was a name before this.Report

  15. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    A humorous spin:

    Republican politicians blasted the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy on Thursday for making flagrantly racist remarks instead of employing the subtler racial code words the G.O.P. has been using for decades.

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2014/04/republicans-blast-nevada-rancher-for-failing-to-use-commonly-accepted-racial-code-words.html#entry-moreReport

  16. Avatar Citizen
    Ignored
    says:

    The United States and most if not all other democratic nations are built on the concept of rule by law. This is an inherent blind spot of the statist.

    A nation of anarchist with considerable differing beliefs could live peacefully with observation and practice of coherent rule of unwritten law. Rule of law belongs to the people.

    Rule of law is constantly tested, and when violated there can be blood between peoples and nations for millennia.

    As I see it, rule by law is bumping up against rule of law. Its how the bloodiest conflicts should occur.Report

    • Avatar TerryC in reply to Citizen
      Ignored
      says:

      Come out of your bubble some time. Everyone I personally know who vociferously promotes what you describe is a bully just waiting for when there is no government to stop him from becoming a warlord.Report

      • Avatar Citizen in reply to TerryC
        Ignored
        says:

        Warlord? Hell no, I would aspire to be a hermit far away from the idiocy of the masses.

        The warlords are in place and they don’t much care about anybodies bubble, including yours or Bundies.

        A successful anarchists first mandate is to live and let live, whats yours?Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to TerryC
        Ignored
        says:

        I would aspire to be a hermit far away from the idiocy of the masses.

        Eh, not to disparage this goal or anything, but your presence on the Internet commenting on a blog provides a data point that your aspirations to check out of the rest of humanity are about as deeply felt as mine.

        Which isn’t all that much.

        And I say that as someone who pictures himself retiring into the woods if he outlives his immediate family. That’s a nice picture. It’s probably just me bullshitting myself.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to TerryC
        Ignored
        says:

        Speaking as someone with three small children in the house, if I outlive my immediate family, there’s no NEED for me to retire to the woods anymore.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to TerryC
        Ignored
        says:

        “And I say that as someone who pictures himself retiring into the woods if he outlives his immediate family. That’s a nice picture.”

        Geez, @patrick , I hope your crew doesn’t read the site.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to TerryC
        Ignored
        says:

        That… came out much differently than it was intended.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Citizen
      Ignored
      says:

      Your comment would be less completely idiotic if the Federal government was telling Bundy what to do on his own land.

      Sadly for the idiocy level of your comment, they are telling him what to do on *their* land.

      The whole idea that Bundy would ‘live peacefully’ with other anarchists is idiotic. What would clearly happen is that he would graze his cattle on *their* land, also.Report

      • Avatar Citizen in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        Rule by law is the ultimate rent seeking, makes Bundy grazing fees non-existant in the bigger picture. I don’t care if Bundy is an anarchist or not.

        Systems of mass governance are easily corrupted/captured and the very essence of the system forces everyone to engage on specific terms of control structures. A significant portion of the masses has never lived outside the vast shadow of that structure and the knee jerk reaction is to expect chaos in the light. If that is truly the expectation then it is already to late.

        If we are so rigged to be at each others throats then hiding behind some false pretense of a state will solve nothing. I would rather play the odds with chaos than sick control structures. More citizens live, fewer soldiers die.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        …’rule by law’ means exactly the same thing as ‘rule of law’, you twit. No one has any idea of what sort of nonsense you’ve imagined as the different. (Probably the ‘of law’ are laws you like, and ‘by law’ is laws you don’t.)

        Rule of law means that the justice system in this country has very specific laws, and is required to enforce those *equally*, and *only* enforce those laws. And, as far as anyone can tell, that is also ‘rule by law’.

        And I have no idea what *you* think ‘rent seeking’ is, but it is not ‘rule by law’.

        And your sentence ‘the very essence of the system forces everyone to engage on specific terms of control structures’ is complete gobbledygook.

        A system, *by definition*, ‘forces people to engage on specific terms’. That is the entire premise on a system, although you actually means ‘under specific terms’ or ‘with specific terms’.

        But you do not engage (under terms) *on* something, you engage (under terms) *with* something. What does it possibly mean to engage *on* control structures? Do you mean engage on the *topic* of control structures? What are you talking about?

        You’re some sort of Markov chain robot, sprouting nonsense that no one can understand, so no one can reply to you.

        Oh, and it’s ‘A significant portion of the masses *have*’, not ‘has’. Seriously, portions of things are always plural, as are ‘masses’. I normally ignore spelling and grammar mistakes (and you’ve made plenty of others), but how the heck do you get that wrong? ‘masses has’? Does that even vaguely sound right in your head?Report

      • Avatar Citizen in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        DavidTC, your existence and comments prove my points better than if I had more to add.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        If we are so rigged to be at each others throats then hiding behind some false pretense of a state will solve nothing. I would rather play the odds with chaos than sick control structures. More citizens live, fewer soldiers die.

        That someone calling themselves “Citizen” wrote that paragraph totally amuses me. Thanks for the giggles.Report

      • Avatar Citizen in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        I expect no more from you zic. Dissention among citizens only happens in countries that aren’t yours.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        Irony noun

        1. The expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

        2. a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.

        3. a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.

        I’m going with door number three, the Greek tragedy.Report

      • Avatar Citizen in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        If the humor you presented was not of ill will, then I sincerely apologize zic. I seldom participate online, and have taken some fire from you in the past.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        @citizen

        Just remember, if it were not for the government you so decry, I would not have the right to vote, the right to control my body’s reproduction, perhaps even the right to own property. It has taken active government to give women a shred of a chance to being treated as fully free citizens.

        What you see as taking away rights I see as granting rights and opportunity. So I feel your expression should be challenged. If you want to talk about too many and too complex rules and laws, I’m happy, I agree. But only certain people are fully free without government; and I’m not likely to be one of them, so I pretty much see the argument as self-serving and unaware.Report

      • Avatar Citizen in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        Zic, I appreciate your vantage point, but it is nearly foreign to me. Rights are not granted by a secondary entity, they are enforced by the women themselves. That’s a facet of rule of law.

        Historically for women to rely on any entity other than themselves to secure rights will inevitably lead to poor outcomes. I think the women who secured the rights that you enjoy today knew as much. I would rather pay reverence to them for your rights as a supposed active government.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Citizen
      Ignored
      says:

      A nation of anarchist with considerable differing beliefs could live peacefully with observation and practice of coherent rule of unwritten law.

      Or get out their weapons and kill each other on the slightest provocation. An armed society is a “FYIGAK47s” society.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Citizen
      Ignored
      says:

      “This is an inherent blind spot of the statist.”

      BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT!

      Disqualified for use of the word ‘statist’.Report

  17. Avatar Shazbot11
    Ignored
    says:

    The real problem here is reverse racism, somehow.Report

  18. Avatar Matthew
    Ignored
    says:

    That we have tyranny in America via the Federal government is undeniable. The reason in part is because the State now gets to make up the rule of law on whim. For nearly 1500 years the rule of law was based upon the moral law of God – any laws repugnant or contrary to His law were considered wrong and unjust. The law of God was the measuring rod to determine whether laws were just or unjust, right or wrong, good or bad. Now that we have thrown off God’s law – the State gets to redefine the “rule of law” and the people cannot see that tyranny is taking place (though they know something is not right).

    The assertion that we are to simply obey because “it is the law of the land” is absurd. However, there is a proper means to offer resistance to a tyrant. http://lessermagistrate.comReport

  19. Avatar ScarletNumbers
    Ignored
    says:

    Cliven sounds like something Professor Frink would say.Report

  20. Avatar Barry
    Ignored
    says:

    Will Truman

    “There are two issues. First are the specifics of the Bundy case. Were the actions of the government here reasonable or not? I said in the original comment that Bundy is not a good spokesman and part of that is because his case in this case seems not to be clear cut.”

    His case is extremely clear cut – he’s lost four times in court. The situation is rather simple – Bundy grazes his cattle on federal lands, where the fees are drastically lower than on private land (i.e., he’s getting a whopping subsidy). He didn’t want to pay even the low, subsidized rates. The government took him to court repeatedly, and won repeatedly. He’s still refusing to pay, and both he and his wife talked about being armed. He assembled a group of people to illegally resist court orders, and got away with it.Report

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