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Feds Provoke Range War Over Fees And A Turtle
Townhall.com ^ | April 16, 2014 | Bob Barr

Posted on 04/16/2014 6:45:27 AM PDT by Kaslin

Gopherus agassizii is the binomial name given to the desert tortoise, a roughly foot-long creature with a lifespan that can stretch to more than half-a-century. This turtle inhabits the Mojave Desert in America’s great southwest. On paper, the desert tortoise seems an innocuous amphibian; however, it has the curious attribute of being able provoke nearly open warfare between U.S. citizens and the federal government.

The notion of a “range war” may harken back to the days of the American cowboy riding the fence each morning and protecting his homestead from attack. Yet, last week the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), acting on behalf of a court order to seize cattle from Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy because Uncle Sam claimed he owed $1-million in unpaid “grazing fees,” launched an armed action against Bundy, his family and friends from across the area. The government also asserted – with a straight face – that such action was justified because Bundy’s cattle threatened the habitat of the endangered desert tortoise.

Those grazing fees, which the government claims have accumulated by Bundy over a two-decade period during which time he allowed his cattle to graze on lands managed by BLM, represent just 0.1 percent of the BLM’s annual budget. Yet, the government deemed the amount sufficient to justify seizing Bundy’s cattle and confronting Bundy and other ranchers who rallied to his cause, with automatic weapons, attack dogs, and snipers.

The magnitude of the government’s actions in confronting a rancher over an alleged unpaid bill was truly breathtaking. Even the FAA – the Federal Aviation Administration – got into the act; declaring the scrub brush area in which the confrontation occurred to be a “no-fly zone,” apparently to keep prying news media helicopters away in the event the confrontation escalated into open violence.

Fears of another violent and deadly confrontation such as occurred 20 years ago at the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas, were not without foundation. A lengthy series of congressional hearings in 1995 (in which I participated) examined in detail the circumstances before, during and after the Waco tragedy in which federal agents, deploying military equipment, stormed the Branch Davidian compound and ignited a horrific fire that took the lives of some six dozen men, women, children and infants. We saw how what should have been – and easily could have been – a dispute peaceably resolved, escalate into a massive tragedy because of ego, bureaucratic snafus, predisposition to use force, and an unwillingness to admit error. Many of the same ingredients appeared present last week in Nevada.

While the risk of violence has – thankfully – subsided (at least for the moment), important questions remain.

Why did the federal government jeopardize the lives of its own employees and of many innocent civilians, simply to protect a turtle and to collect on an outstanding (and disputed) grazing bill?

The Bundy Ranch debacle also raises serious questions about this Administration’s control of its own agencies. Was the BLM so scared of a single rancher who (perhaps rightfully) questioned the federal government’s authority on an issue best left to the state itself, that it decided the only course of action open to it was to surround his ranch with armed agents from multiple agencies? Were there not other options for enforcement of these fees? Are turtles that might be living in the area so important to our country that we should risk killing civilians over them?

“Instead of resolving this in a peaceful way; instead of docketing his property with a judgment,” Judge Andrew Napolitano argued on FOX Business this week, “they swooped in. . . with assault rifles aimed and ready, and stole [Bundy’s] property.”

Even worse than apparent violations of Bundy’s due process rights, the BLM’s actions are another alarming sign that the constitutional rights --and lives -- of U.S. citizens are considered expendable when balanced against the government’s need to enforce control over land and citizens.

Given that the federal government owns more than 80 percent of the land within the state of Nevada, the standoff at Bundy Ranch may very well be far from over; especially if we are to take Nevada’s Democratic Senator Harry Reid at his word. “It’s not over,” Reid ominously told reporters after the BLM’s tactical retreat. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

That is precisely why an official congressional inquiry into the BLM’s handling of the case, as well as Senator Reid’s curious involvement, is needed immediately if we are to prevent future potentially deadly situations from occurring the next time the BLM – or any of the other dozens of federal bureaucracies whose employees are authorized to carry and use weapons against civilians -- decides someone owes it money.

We might also wonder why a U.S. President appears so ready to risk violence between its agents and its citizens, when he seems so hesitant to risk confrontation when defending our security interests abroad.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; US: Nevada
KEYWORDS: bundy; bundyranch; federallaw

1 posted on 04/16/2014 6:45:27 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Bob, actually, you’ve fallen for the BLM story. This was about money and power, and the grifting of a US Senator and his relative. The BLM was just the means.


2 posted on 04/16/2014 6:47:09 AM PDT by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: Kaslin

Ahem...turtles are reptiles, not amphibians.


3 posted on 04/16/2014 6:48:00 AM PDT by mkboyce
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To: Kaslin
Feds Provoke Range War Over Fees And A Turtle

And solar panels. Don't forget the solar panels.

Speaking of owing taxes, has Obama BFF, Warren Buffett, made good on that billion dollars Berkshire-Hathaway has owed the government for over a decade?

4 posted on 04/16/2014 6:48:51 AM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all -- Texas Eagle)
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To: Kaslin
Reid: “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

Aha! So is Reid admitting Preezy Pajama Boy is not American?

5 posted on 04/16/2014 6:51:16 AM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all -- Texas Eagle)
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To: mkboyce

“Ahem...turtles are reptiles, not amphibians.”

So are politicians...


6 posted on 04/16/2014 6:51:47 AM PDT by Squidpup ("Fight the Good Fight of Faith")
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To: Kaslin

It is becoming very annoying to me to hear these people say “we can’t have citizens breaking the law...” when the entire crime family in Wash DC (Read: all three branches of government) either exempts themselves, ignores the laws they pass, or interprets said laws for political benefit.


7 posted on 04/16/2014 6:56:40 AM PDT by mosaicwolf (Strength and Honor)
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To: Kaslin

A turtle.

Didn’t we nuke that place for a few years?


8 posted on 04/16/2014 6:57:13 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: mkboyce
Ahem...turtles are reptiles, not amphibians.

AND....it's a tortoise, not a 'turtle'..................and a 'DESERT' tortoise at that.................

9 posted on 04/16/2014 7:02:20 AM PDT by Red Badger (LIberal is an oxymoron......................)
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To: Kaslin
Bob forgot to ask why defending a tortoise that the feds are euthanizing in another area is worthy of a paramilitary assault on the last rancher standing, but the prevention of millions of border-jumpers from crossing over illegally into this country (let alone deporting them as the law demands) is beneath consideration.

Wouldn't those hired rustlers, paramilitary gear-bedecked thugs, and all their equipment be far more useful on our country's borders?

10 posted on 04/16/2014 7:03:56 AM PDT by Utilizer (Bacon A'kbar! - In world today are only peaceful people, and the mooslimbs trying to kill them-)
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To: AppyPappy

The turtle seems perfectly adapted to having cattle grazing there.


11 posted on 04/16/2014 7:05:53 AM PDT by Kirkwood (Zombie Hunter)
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To: Texas Eagle

Did Sharpton? As I seem to vaguely recall, he owes more than a million but is being seen openly in public unhounded and laughing it up with 0butthurt as recently as a few days ago.


12 posted on 04/16/2014 7:06:23 AM PDT by Utilizer (Bacon A'kbar! - In world today are only peaceful people, and the mooslimbs trying to kill them-)
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To: Kaslin

13 posted on 04/16/2014 7:31:05 AM PDT by B4Ranch (Name your illness, do a Google & YouTube search with "hydrogen peroxide". Do it and be surprised.)
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To: Kaslin

The investigation should be into Harry Reid not the BLM. Oh wait there was an investigation of Harry Reid but Eric Holder called it off a couple of weeks ago.


14 posted on 04/16/2014 7:39:13 AM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose o f a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Kaslin

REIDGate...pass it around


15 posted on 04/16/2014 7:58:48 AM PDT by goodnesswins (R.I.P. Doherty, Smith, Stevens, Woods.)
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To: Kaslin
....sort of reminds you of

16 posted on 04/16/2014 9:41:10 AM PDT by yoe (BHO changed the rules without Congressional input making Obamacare Null&Void...EO's arent law....)
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To: Gaffer

Rory Reid had a deal with the Chinese solar power company for some land that had the turtles.

More “turtle land” was needed to “offset” what was being sold to the Chinese.

Bundy’s grazing land was that “offset”.


17 posted on 04/16/2014 9:42:35 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: Gaffer
Grifting, or grafting?

I agree, it was never about a damn turtle, or any other verminous critter.

This is about oil, money, and power.

And Disgusting Harry's appetites.

18 posted on 04/16/2014 2:55:45 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: Kaslin

Less than 400 miles away, as the crow flies, Calif is threatening to euthanize desert turtles because ‘they don’t have enough budget to take care of them’.

Seems to me the turtles—which have survived since the dinosaurs, do a pretty good job of taking care of themselves if the Feds would stay out of things.


19 posted on 04/16/2014 4:34:30 PM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: Texas Eagle

How about all the tax money Charlie Rangel owes the USA?

Is Holder giving his a pass, also??


20 posted on 04/16/2014 4:35:29 PM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: Kaslin

Mr. Barr has his premise wrong. No one in government wants to prevent this at all.


21 posted on 04/16/2014 4:51:22 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: Kaslin
Why did the federal government jeopardize the lives of its own employees and of many innocent civilians, simply to protect a turtle and to collect on an outstanding (and disputed) grazing bill?

Imagine that. Fed overkill with, no doubt local police support.

22 posted on 04/16/2014 11:56:22 PM PDT by MarMema (Run Ted Run)
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To: ridesthemiles
Evidently.

Rangle is a brotha of good standing. That is to say, he's a DemocRAT.

If Allen West or Tim Scott was a tax cheat on the order of Charles Rangel, those guys would already be in shackles and the hyenas in the Men Seeking Men media would be fitting Eric Holder for a crown of righteousness.

23 posted on 04/17/2014 6:07:39 AM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all -- Texas Eagle)
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