Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bundy's 'ancestral rights' come under scrutiny

...This land is unusually fertile and green for southern Nevada. Cliven Bundy grows melons there. They are said to be the best in the state. His cattle, until recently, roamed freely on land managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management. Before the roundup that sparked protests, confrontations and gunmen taking a bridge, Bundy explained his "ancestral rights" to the I-Team. "I've lived my lifetime here. My forefathers have been up and down the Virgin Valley here ever since 1877. All these rights that I claim, have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and the water and the access and range improvements," Bundy said. Clark County property records show Cliven Bundy's parents moved from Bundyville, Arizona and bought the 160 acre ranch in 1948 from Raoul and Ruth Leavitt. Water rights were transferred too, but only to the ranch, not the federally managed land surrounding it. Court records show Bundy family cattle didn't start grazing on that land until 1954. The Bureau of Land Management was created 1946, the same year Cliven was born. "My rights are before the BLM even existed, but my rights are created by beneficial use. Beneficial use means we created the forage and the water from the time the very first pioneers come here," Bundy said. Early census records show Cliven's maternal grandmother, Christena Jensen, was born in Nevada in 1901. One genealogical researcher says records indicate Jensen helped settle Bunkerville some years later. One word spreading through Bundy supporters and his armed guards is that what the federal government is doing to Bundy is exactly what they did to native Americans. "They are literally treating western United States citizens, ranchers, rural folks like this- are the modern day Indians. We're being driven off of our lands. We're being forced into reservations known as cities," Justin Giles, an Oathkeeper from Alaska, said.  The local Paiute Indians were forced into reservations by federal troops in 1875. Two years prior, the tribe was promised the same land Cliven Bundy now grows his melons ,and until recently, grazed his cattle. The I-Team's research team has come up with an in-depth look at the genealogy and property records that form the basis of Cliven Bundy's claim of ancestral rights on the ranch land...more

The gentleman who put this report together for KLAS-TV doesn't seem to understand that whatever rights Bundy may have do not originate with his date of birth or when the BLM was created.  They originate, with water for instance, on the date his predecessors diverted the water and put it to beneficial use.  Ranchers have a preference right to graze on federal land based on either control of water rights or ownership of private property near the federal land, called base property.

Sheriff travels to Nev. ranch in fed dispute

Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers has weighed in on a controversy surrounding a Nevada rancher, and visited the scene of the struggle. Rogers acknowledges the situation is complex. Via a Facebook post, he also said sheriffs have great authority to protect the people from criminals — and sometimes an overreaching government itself. “Even though this is currently occurring in Nevada, something similar will be coming to a location near you,” the sheriff wrote. “You can bet on it.” Rogers was invited to Nevada by the Bundy family and the Oath Keepers, a group defining itself as defending the Constitution. The sheriff arrived at the ranch Friday and stayed in the area through Sunday; Rogers said he did so on personal vacation time “and not on the taxpayer dime.” Rogers said he is sensitive to federal government overreach since his confrontation with the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Justice. This confrontation stemmed from what Rogers termed numerous and unreasonable inspections of an Amish milk farmer in Elkhart County in 2011. The sheriff said he was able to see firsthand many of the dynamics involved in the Nevada situation, and also spoke to Bundy. Rogers also said he doesn’t know if Bundy is correct in his stand, or whether he truly owes money or not. “Some people think he’s a freeloader, using public land for his cattle,” Rogers wrote on Facebook. “Yet, he is a hard worker, unlike others on welfare sponging off the taxpayer for no work. The tradition of ranchers using public land is centuries old. Bundy supporters agree that the issue is complex. However, what all people, including myself, would agree on, and likely sparked the patriot response to this event, is that we will not tolerate being governed by a Federal government at the point of a gun.” Rogers said that after bureau personnel left the land last week, the Bundy family found a mass grave containing numerous cattle that had been shot. The sheriff also alleges the bureau destroyed watering holes and fencing that had been constructed by Bundy...more

A sheriff from INDIANA travels to the Bundy Ranch while the sheriff in NEVADA cowers before the feds (and probably Harry Reid) and finally negotiates "behind the scenes." 


Pat Buchanan sums up Nevada ranch standoff: Sending ‘Seventh Cavalry to collect a bill’

Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan summed up the armed federal standoff between agents with the Bureau of Land Management and cattle rancher Cliven Bundy, his family and his supporters: It was all over an unpaid bill. “You don’t send the Seventh Cavalry to collect a bill, and that’s exactly what happened,” he told Sean Hannity on his radio show Monday. He went on, Breitbart reported: “And when they put all those forces out there — that’s what attracted all the others, the history of what happened at Waco, Ruby Ridge. And so these folks came to that rancher’s defense. But the initial problem here is [the] sending of all the force of arms out there on to that ranch, which was a provocation to which these folks responded.”...more

Freeloading rancher is no revolutionary

by James Greiff
Bloomberg News

The tale of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada cattle rancher, had all the elements of a certain type of political theater, making it inevitable that he would become a hero in the conservative blogosphere and a fixture on Fox News.

The story line, as told in those forums, went something like this: Heavy-handed federal bureaucrats, having seized Bundy’s cattle, were forced to back down after being confronted by cowboys on horseback toting nothing more than their sidearms and an unshakable faith in the U.S. Constitution. (A little-told detail: A sniper or two were concurrently taking aim at the federal agents.)

Bundy was painted as a man being “squeezed” by the federal government, and deserving of our sympathy. Or, more profoundly, he was cast in the same mold as Mohandas Gandhi and George Washington, men who disobeyed unjust laws to bring about revolutionary change. The word “tyranny” was used so often it became background noise in the news coverage.

Let’s dispense with niceties: Bundy is a freeloading scofflaw, a welfare queen in a Stetson who claimed what wasn’t his. He took subsidies from U.S. taxpayers and refused to pay the $1.2 million he owed for using federal – make that our – land.

Bundy has neither history nor law on his side in his long-running dispute with the U.S. government. He asserts that his grazing rights were established in 1880 when his ancestors settled the land where his ranch sits. By some reasoning understood only by him and his range-war sympathizers, the federal government has no constitutional right to interfere with his grazing cattle.

There is a gaping flaw with this argument. As several writers have noted, the Nevada constitution, adopted in 1864 as a condition of statehood, trumps Bundy’s right to graze on public land. It says:
“That the people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare, that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States.”

Read more here:

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EDITORIAL: Downsize National Park Service, dumping costly, unpopular sites

The National Park Service is waiving entrance fees to America’s national parks and historic sites during National Parks Week. The freebies continue until April 27, but taxpayers aren’t getting a bargain, considering that the swollen agency spends $2.6 billion a year.

President Obama wants to spend still more money on parks, asking Congress to approve a scheme to spend an additional $1.2 billion over the next three years. The cash would be earmarked to celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial anniversary in 2016. It would fund, among other projects, an expensive youth work program and provide more muscle for the federales to wrestle land from individual property owners.

The National Park Service runs so deeply in the red because it’s too big. The agency runs 401 parks and historic sites, 23 trails and 58 rivers. For every majestic natural wonder and historic treasure, there’s a sparsely visited Park Service site of little value or significance. Many, if not most, of the Park Service’s nearly 500 properties might be better served in state, local or private hands.

Few national parks are financially self-sufficient. The rest are on the dole, requiring taxpayers to subsidize a failure to attract visitors, revenue and interest. Fees paid by park visitors fund only a nickel of every dollar devoured by the Park Service. Taxpayers fund the rest.

Playwright Eugene O’Neill’s hillside home in the San Francisco Bay is now a National Historic Site. It costs federal taxpayers $687,000 per year to keep open, though visitors trickle through at an average of just seven a day. That’s $270 for each and every visitor. In contrast, the Columbus, Miss., home of O’Neill’s contemporary, Tennessee Williams, was restored by private donors and is open to visitors at no cost to taxpayers.

Fewer than 11,000 persons visit the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in New Mexico every year, but it consumes nearly $1 million in tax dollars annually. An equally impressive fossil site in Gray, Tenn., draws nearly eight times more visitors and is funded primarily through corporate gifts and a few state grants.

Last year, Montana’s Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site attracted only 18,439 people, but taxpayers paid $1.5 million to keep it open. The cost of keeping the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River in Texas works out to $241 per visitor. The Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial near Oakland is an even bigger financial draw, requiring a $329 taxpayer subsidy per visitor. The federally managed site honoring the Wild West-era town of Nicodemus, Kan., draws so few visitors that the taxpayers are out $192 per visitor.

Pine Beetle Outbreaks Increase Groundwater Supply in Rockies

Do more pine beetles mean more groundwater? Perhaps—but that's not necessarily a good thing, say the authors of a new study. The bark beetle outbreak that has plagued North America's Rocky Mountains is having significant ripple effects on the region's hydrology, researchers from Colorado's School of Mines in Golden, Colo., report in a study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change. Compared with a watershed where a beetle infestation's impacts were less intense and occurred less recently, a watershed with more beetle-killed trees absorbs about 30 percent more groundwater, the researchers found. "A 30 percent increase in groundwater is substantial, particularly in the late summer when other contributions are low," said lead author Lindsay Bearup, a doctoral candidate at the School of Mines' Hydrological Science and Engineering Program. However, Bearup cautioned that it's too early to celebrate this side effect of an otherwise ecologically devastating trend. "From a quantity standpoint, it's obviously not a bad thing," Bearup said, but she added that this is perhaps a simplistic way to look at her study's outcome. "As we're changing where the water comes from, it can change the quality as well," she said...more

Dead trees don't drink water.  Guess some didn't know that.

IRS Awards Bonuses to More Than 1,000 Employees… Who Owe Back Taxes

The Internal Revenue Service has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to workers who owed back taxes, a government investigator said Tuesday. More than 2,800 workers got bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes, said a report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. The bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012. George’s report said the bonus program doesn’t violate federal regulations, but it’s inconsistent with the IRS mission to enforce tax laws...more

BLM under fire for slaughter horses

The Bureau of Land Management rounded up a horse herd that roamed for decades on federal land in northwest Wyoming and handed the horses over to Wyoming officials. They, in turn, sold the herd to the highest bidder, a Canadian slaughterhouse. Wild horse advocates are incensed, saying they should have had a chance to intercede in the March roundup and auction. But the BLM says the horses were abandoned — not wild — and that it publicized the sale beforehand. According to the BLM, the horses weren't officially wild and protected by the Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burro Act, the federal law for maintaining many of the horse herds, some of which have roamed free in the West since the days of Spanish explorers more than 300 years ago. The BLM bans wild horses from being sold for slaughter. The horses in the Bighorn Basin's sagebrush hills descended from stray rodeo horses that were owned by Andy Gifford, a rancher and rodeo livestock contractor, in the 1970s, BLM spokeswoman Sarah Beckwith said. Gifford had claimed the horses as his but never rounded them up before he died in 2009. That, plus the fact that the horses never interbred with wild horses, officially classified them as strays...more

Deer herd's 150-mile migration is longest recorded

Each spring, a herd of mule deer leaves the Red Desert and follows a trail of greening grass and retreating snow along the western slope of the Wind River Range. Months later, the animals arrive in the Hoback Basin south of Jackson, more than 150 miles away. It is the farthest recorded mule deer migration in the world, and an ancient rite vital to the long-term survival of Wyoming's iconic mule deer populations. And its future is uncertain. The journey from desert to mountains takes the herd over fences and across roads, near subdivisions and through narrow passageways flanked by towns and lakes. There are no National Parks or wilderness areas to offer refuge. The deer contend with the elements and whatever obstacles people put in their way. Scientist believe the migration has lasted this long because large swaths of land between the deer's summer and winter ranges have remained undeveloped. In many ways the migration, like bison roaming the plains, is a symbol of the old West. It is a possibility only states like Wyoming can still offer, and one that may not always remain. Researchers didn't even know the migration existed until two years ago.
The Bureau of Land Management had contacted Sawyer to find out where a group of deer living in the Red Desert call their winter and summer ranges...more

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Senators Flake and Heinrich on wildfire tour

U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake and Martin Heinrich are planning to visit Arizona and New Mexico to discuss forest restoration and wildfire preparedness. Their tour will begin Tuesday at Arizona Log and Timberworks in Eagar, Ariz. They will then travel to Alpine before heading to Reserve, N.M. The senators say the tour is focused on bipartisan efforts to address catastrophic wildfire prevention and recovery needs in the Apache-Sitgreaves and Gila national forests. Flake and Heinrich will also stop near Luna, N.M., to view the Wallow Fire burn scar. The 2011 blaze was the largest in Arizona's history, having burned nearly 860 square miles. The senators are supporting legislation that would give federal agencies greater incentive to contract with companies to harvest trees and other vegetation to reduce the wildfire risk.  AP

Record gun and ammo sales mean big bucks for wildlife

Record-breaking sales of guns and ammunition in recent years have resulted in a windfall for wildlife conservation. The corresponding federal excise taxes on guns and ammunition also have soared to record levels — and that funding is earmarked for wildlife and hunting programs. “The increase is not a surprise for anyone who’s tried to buy .22 shells in the past few years,” said Brad Compton, Idaho Fish and Game Department assistant Wildlife Bureau chief. “They’re sold out as soon as they hit the shelves.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it will distribute nearly $1.1 billion in hunting and fishing excise tax revenues to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects. The funding comes from two programs that have generated more than $15 billion since their inceptions: • Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration, approved by Congress in 1937, sets a 10 to 11 percent federal excise tax on guns, ammunition, archery and other hunting equipment; funding is earmarked for wildlife habitat, research and hunter safety and shooting programs across the nation. • Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration, approved in 1950, sets import duties on fishing tackle, recreation boats and a portion of the gasoline fuel tax attributable to small engines and motorboats; the funds are used for fishing and boating programs. The Dingell-Johnson sport fishing apportionment for 2014 totals $325.7 million, which includes $18.5 million that had been sequestered during 2013. However, the 2014 funding is $34.1 million lower than last year because of reduced domestic fishing equipment excise tax receipts, Department of Interior officials say. Meanwhile, the Pittman-Robertson wildlife funding continues to shoot past previous records, a trend that started with Obama’s election in 2008. The 2014 Pittman-Robertson wildlife apportionment totals $760.9 million, which would be a record even without the addition of $20 million that was sequestered last year...

Bundy Ranch - Cliven Bundy Discovers BLM Cow Graves

Bundy ranch family members and friends spent much of their weekend moving cattle shot or run to death during the BLM standoff earlier this month. The graphic images have gone viral online, shocking both rancher and animal advocates alike. The first mass cattle graves photos released by Cliven Bundy and his supporters on Sunday appear to substantiate reports by witnesses who first reported the cattle deaths. Nevada assemblywoman Michel Fiore was among those who maintained that BLM agents either killed cattle by either shooting them or running them to death during the Bunkerville incident. Fiore posted several images of the cow grave on Twitter last night, labeling the posting, “#BLM massacre. This isn’t how you herd cattle.”“Near their compound, right off the highway, they were digging holes. They tried to bury some cows on the compound, but I guess they didn’t dig the hole deep enough, so they throw a cow in and they put dirt over him and you have cow’s legs sticking out of the dirt.” The Bureau of Land Management’s court order only gave the federal agency the authority to seize the Bundy ranch cattle from owner Cliven Bundy. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, several prized bulls were also shot and killed after being deemed a “safety hazard” during the standoff. A Fox News reporter, among others, who viewed the bull holding pens after the livestock were “euthanized” noted that any evidence of wild behavior such as damaged gates or fencing were not evident...more

BLM confirms six cattle died in roundup

The Bureau of Land Management on Monday said six cattle died in the roundup of Cliven Bundy’s livestock that culminated with the release of some 350 animals after a standoff between armed protesters and federal agents on April 12. The BLM, which oversaw the roundup near Bunkerville, said four animals were euthanized and two died of unspecified causes. The four euthanized animals included a bull with Bundy’s brand, a cow with Bundy’s brand, an unbranded bull and unbranded cow, BLM spokesman Craig Leff said. The other two animals that died included an unbranded bull and an unbranded cow, Leff said in a statement. Without offering specifics, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said last week that a task force was forming to address the situation. The Bundys have criticized the BLM’s use of “contract cowboys” to handle the roundup. They also said they found dead cattle buried in holes. Pictures of the dead cattle were posted on social media sites. It’s unclear how much the failed roundup will cost taxpayers. Government contract records show the BLM inked a $966,000 contract in February for the roundup with Shayne Sampson of Sampson Livestock, based in Meadow, Utah. “The BLM has not completed a full accounting of the operation,” Leff said. “We are still calculating the full cost and will make it public once we are done.”...more

Environmentalists pushed Bundy ranch standoff over endangered tortoises

by Michael Bastasch

Some have speculated that the standoff between federal agents and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is the result of a secretive deal orchestrated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and political allies in the solar industry.

But the Bundy standoff is really the culmination of a long battle with environmentalists who want to keep federal lands off limits to economic activity. The primary vehicle used by government officials and environmentalists to advance this goal has been the desert tortoise, which was listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 1990.

The BLM even had a webpage detailing the problems they saw from Bundy’s “trespass cattle” that were grazing in desert tortoise habitat. The webpage, however, was deleted. So was the cached copy after the Bundy standoff became nationwide news.

A screenshot of the deleted page from the BLM’s website shows that environmental groups were some of the main forces aligned against Bundy’s trespass cattle. Environmentalists were pushing for the disputed federal lands to be used as “offsite mitigation” for the impact of solar development. Solar development in the area is heavily supported by Nevada environmental groups.

“Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle,” the BLM page says.

“The Center for Biological Diversity has demanded action to resolve trespass in designated critical desert tortoise habitat in several letters,” BLM page notes. “Western Watersheds has requested a verbal status update and later filed a Freedom of Information Act request.”

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Western Watersheds Project (WWP) have been actively pushing the government to impose heftier grazing fees on cattle ranchers for years, along with pressuring officials to close of huge areas of public lands to grazing and oil and gas development.

Antiquated Law Adds Billions to Fuel Costs

An obscure 1920 law is costing Americans billions of dollars a year in higher fuel costs.

The Jones Act requires that cargo shipped from one US port to another be carried on a US-registered vessel, built, owned and crewed by Americans. This protectionist law was designed to support a shipbuilding industry that no longer exists—but inertia and labor-union muscle keep it on the books.

The law mainly makes the news in time of crisis. It delayed shipment of road salt to New Jersey during a shortage last winter—happily, without incident, as the weather moderated before the Garden State had to shut down its highways for lack of salt.

In some crises, the president grants a waiver to allow emergency relief. President George W. Bush waived the Jones Act for a short time in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast; President Obama granted waivers to speed the release of strategic oil reserves (to counterbalance the loss of Libyan oil) in 2011 and most recently to get more gasoline into East Coast markets in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

But every day the law adds to energy bills because it stops foreign-flagged tankers and barges from shipping among US ports. They can’t help move crude from Gulf Coast ports to East Coast refineries, or supply Florida with oil from Louisiana and Texas ports or ship oil between West Coast and Alaskan ports.
Without the Jones Act, in short, we’d have significantly greater domestic oil production.

...Repealing the Jones Act would generate multiple benefits. It would energize the production of shale oil, creating thousands of jobs and boosting the US economy. It would reduce US reliance on imported oil from problematic OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, shaving billions from our trade deficit and enhancing US energy security.

And it would cut the price consumers pay at the pump.

Monday, April 21, 2014

California's Governor Wants Water Tunnels. Antitax Group Wants to Know Who Pays

California has a $25 billion plan to transport snowmelt from the northern Sierras through a pair of 37-mile tunnels to farms and cities in the south. But there’s no indication of how much water users will owe for the huge project or who’s on the hook if they can’t pay for it, according to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the state’s leading antitax group. That assessment, in a letter last week from Jarvis to John Laird, secretary of the California Resources Agency, is important as much because of who said it as for what it says. Against the backdrop of the state’s withering drought, Californians are fiercely debating Governor Jerry Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan, with public comments due on the proposal’s environmental review by June 13. Arguments usually break down by north vs. south, farmers vs. fish. The Jarvis letter, from the group that spawned the national tax revolt in the 1970s, sounds a fiscal alarm: “Unresolved financing and taxpayer issues are a major concern,” the letter warns. Brown’s two-tunnel plan is similar to his Peripheral Canal proposal defeated by voters in a statewide referendum in 1982, the last time he was governor. It would capture Sierra runoff east of Sacramento and pump the water southward, bypassing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that flows into San Francisco Bay. The eastern intake would supposedly enhance reliability for agricultural and urban water users in Central and Southern California, who currently compete with salmon and other threatened species, as well as Northern California farmers using delta water supplied via federal and state canals. While the tunnels wouldn’t add to the state’s overall water supply, they would obviate the need to run the delta’s massive pumping systems, a major killer of salmon and other fish. The state says the cost of building the tunnels will come to about $16 billion, with an additional $9 billion to be spent—in a second phase of the project—on restoring the delta’s levies and ecosystems. Under the plan, almost 70 percent of the project’s total cost would come from water users, with the rest from state bonds and the federal government. What happens if the farms or urban water districts can’t or won’t foot their share of the bill? What if costs balloon, as they have in several recent California megaprojects? Those issues haven’t been addressed in the plan...more

What’s Next for the Bundys? (It isn't pretty)

is a former DEA supervisory agent, and speculates the following:

The federal response will definitely come...

The attack on the Bundys will be planned to be large enough so as to not fail since precedents are being considered by the feds...

There is the possibility that doors will be smashed down in the darkness of early morning raids for all the Bundy family members, supporters, and ranch hands.  There is the possibility that plants are feigning inside knowledge at this very moment and are seated with prosecutors scrolling through video and pointing out participants and ascribing statements or actions to them.   Such violent raids on houses and places of business targeting these designated domestic terrorists represent one possibility.  If that happens, it probably won’t be immediate.  The following factors all affect the time-line for the response which I estimate to be in about three weeks, give or take a week or two.

The most likely first step for the violent option involves the impaneling of a grand jury that will be brought along slowly with presentations by government “experts” giving sensational overviews of generic un-American activities, terrorist groups, and right wing extremists.   All of the activity involving the grand jury will be officially in “secret.”  Power-point presentations will be made to the grand jury showing pipe bombs, smoking buildings, and nazi symbolism.  It will be blatantly prejudicial to the eventual case presented for indictment but, there is no “other side” in this process to object.  There is just a prosecutor, government agents, and the grand jury eating doughnuts in a little room.  Period.  The massaging of the jury’s mindset is done long before they are shown case-specific information.  This process can go on for a week.  It is not adversarial.  It is a one-sided show.  There is no defense.  It is designed to paint a picture of a general evil class of people.   It’s kind of like the process used to get police cadets ready to shoot people.   There is no danger that the grand jurors will ever be identified by the Bundys or feel any guilt from having to face those they bravely accuse.

Next, with the extent of the balderdashing that needs to be done to the grand jury to obfuscate the truth in this case, the prosecutor will need another week of ominous head-nodding alongside the agent witnesses’ general summarizing of the evil network masterminded by the Bundys.   That puts us at two weeks.  Then, the grand jury would be asked to give a “true bill,” an indictment.  The grand jury ALWAYS indicts if asked to do so.  Always, always, always.  Because if they don’t, they are dismissed and another one is impaneled until the indictment is handed down.  The warrants on the indictment will then be issued by the federal magistrate by the following week.

And finally, the law enforcement agencies need a few days to draw up plans, print out Google Earth photos of all the target locations, bring in TDY support from other federal agencies, assemble for briefings, give out team assignments, and pick a date to execute search warrants and arrest warrants.  So, all of that puts us at three weeks.  The three weeks also gives a period of apparent peace and quiet.  It will be hoped that this quiet period will cause any supporters to give up and go home...

Another possibility will be considered by agency heads that are reviewing the news coverage, the iconic images of cowboys waving flags displaying historic “American” individualism, and the favorable reaction by much of the public to the visible stand taken by Bundy supporters.  This possibility would probably begin to slowly go into effect along the same three-week time-line as the smash-and-grab scenario above.  This one may involve the grand jury also but, as an “investigative tool.”  While a grand jury is “investigating” a suspect or a “criminal organization,” unlimited secret subpoenas may be issued for anything.  No other reason for the subpoena is needed other than the fact that the grand jury is investigating something.  Anything and everything will be scarfed up.  The feds will get financial information, phone information, and witnesses that will be compelled to testify or be incarcerated if they refuse to testify.  There is no, “I stand on the fifth” when the grand jury asks you about something.  You will be held in contempt merely for refusing to testify when in front of a grand jury.   No day in court.  No due process.  No good time.  No parole.  No probation.  You are locked up as a grand jury witness until you change your mind and decide to go along with the government.

Ex-parte orders would be obtained to obtain IRS records for all involved.  Asset forfeiture orders for substitute assets could be obtained that would identify Bundy or supporter assets and forfeit those assets to the government in lieu of supposed specific losses sustained by the government from unpaid grazing fees or other claimed damages or from an estimated value of the illegal proceeds of the criminal activity (ranching).  These designated substitute assets may have no identifiable connection to the asset classes designated as losses or as illegal income by the government.   Money laundering charges could be filed for “conversion” of “illegally obtained” assets or income.

Archived call data or live “pen registers” may be obtained to make conspiracy connections within the “criminal organization.”  Wiretaps may be initiated although this would be more time consuming and would lead to jury- sympathetic recorded conversations with fewer co-conspirator and criminal hierarchy connections than those which could be manufactured by experts analyzing the call data with link charts to be shown to a jury.

 This alternate slower attack against the Bundys would be the nickel-and-dime approach that would result in service of seizure orders to banks and persons.  Seizure notices would be posted on residential or business property accompanied by lis pendens filings recorded at the county courthouse against those properties.  Notices would be mailed out.  Administrative or judicial forfeiture action would commence against personal assets depending on value thresholds.  Bank accounts would be frozen and then drained.  Persons would be detained individually when they went shopping away from their homes to avoid video clips of militarized feds attacking the houses of ordinary Americans in military operations.   Businesses and vehicles would be seized over time.  Cars would be grabbed when driven away from home when the owners were alone in their vehicles so as to not precipitate a defensive response from supporters.

The most likely response will involve the above techniques in a hybrid operation with the Sheriff’s Office or Nevada State authorities.   Up to half of current federal agency prosecutions are done through county prosecutor offices or state attorney generals’ offices.  The federal prosecutors don’t object since their resources haven’t always kept up with the expansion of federal law enforcement agencies.  They are all too happy to see a federal law enforcement agency prosecute a case, or parts of a case, through state and county channels when similar laws exist on the federal and state side...

Cliven Bundy has indicated that he would surrender or submit to justice if the Sheriff was the one making the request on behalf of the county or state.  It is likely that the feds will approach the Sheriff and suggest that he be part of the face of leviathan when Bundy is approached with a combination of charges.  The feds will pressure the county and state authorities to come up with a few token charges that could be dovetailed with the federal charges so that a county warrant, summons, writ, or subpoena could be presented by a local officer tacitly or overtly working with the feds.  Local officers are quite often deputized with federal authority for the duration of a certain case or longer.   Once the Bundy case is in the state system, criminally or civilly, the state charges could then be dropped or held in abeyance while county authorities defer to federal prosecutors awaiting the outcome of the federal case.

Aside from the Bundy family, all other ranchers will likely be punished by the feds via enhanced regulatory interventions in response to the actions on display in Nevada.   This is common fare as a mechanism to teach the public to not mimic others who are standing up for themselves...

Bundy and the Rule of Law

Andrew C. McCarthy, writing at NRO says, "As a matter of law, Cliven Bundy is in the wrong. He is nevertheless a sympathetic figure, and the concerns raised by the standoff in Nevada transcend the illegality of his conduct." 

Some have raised "the rule of law" issue against Bundy, saying you can't support the rule of law and support Bundy.  Here's what McCarthy has to say::

The underlying assumption of our belief in the rule of law is that we are talking about law in the American tradition: provisions that obligate everyone equally and that are enforced dispassionately by a chief executive who takes seriously the constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully. The rule of law is not the whim of a man who himself serially violates the laws he finds inconvenient and who, under a distortion of the “prosecutorial discretion” doctrine, gives a pass to his favored constituencies while punishing his opposition. The rule of law is the orderly foundation of our free society; when it devolves into a vexatious process by which ideologues wielding power undertake to tame those whose activities they disfavor, it is not the rule of law anymore.

The legitimacy of law and our commitment to uphold it hinge on our sense that the law and its execution are just. As John Hinderaker points out, concerns about the desert tortoise—the predicate for taking lawful action against Nevada ranchers under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—turn out to be pretextual. The ideologues who run the government only want to enforce the ESA against a disfavored class, the ranchers. If you’re a well-connected Democrat who needs similar land for a solar project, the Obama administration will not only refrain from enforcing the ESA against you; it will transport the tortoises to the ranchers’ location in order to manufacture a better pretext for using the law to harass the ranchers.

When law becomes a politicized weapon rather than a reflection of society’s shared principles, one can no longer expect it to be revered in a manner befitting “political religion.” And when the officials trusted to execute law faithfully violate laws regularly, they lose their presumption of legitimacy. Much of the public is not going to see the Feds versus Bundy as the Law versus the Outlaw; we are more apt to see it as the Bully versus the Small Fry.

'High Noon' over turtles

by George Parry,

...So clearly this Bundy fellow is a regular Jesse James who must be stopped. That, at least, was the announced premise of the bizarre response to his lawless behavior.

In an insane use of government power reminiscent of the Waco and Ruby Ridge debacles, the BLM rode to the turtles' rescue by launching a full-scale military assault by 200 rangers armed with submachine guns and accompanied by helicopters, snipers, and police dogs. These agents closed off the grazing land, imposed a no-fly zone, and proceeded to confiscate - and, in some cases, kill - Bundy's trespassing cattle. When Bundy's son verbally protested, federal rangers shut him up with lunging, barking police dogs before they repeatedly Tasered him. Other agents physically assaulted another Bundy desperado, a cancer-stricken, 100-pound mother of 11, who had the temerity to block a government vehicle.

Things were proceeding according to plan as the feds slapped folks around, rustled Bundy's cattle, and pretty much let everybody know who was boss. Then it got interesting.

From across the country, hundreds of legally armed citizen militia members arrived to support the Bundy family and face down the feds. And guess what? Confronted by a countervailing armed force, the helicopters stopped stampeding the cattle, the police dogs were put away, and nobody else was assaulted or Tasered for exercising their right to oppose the government.

In a true High Noon moment, Bundy's friends, neighbors, and militia supporters had a showdown with the federal agents over the release of the confiscated cattle. As they neared the government corral, the SWAT team leader actually threatened to have them shot if they continued to advance. Undeterred, the civilians reached the barrier and demanded that the feds take their helicopters, machine guns, dogs, and Tasers and leave. Faced with hundreds of armed and determined citizens, the feds exhibited their first sign of coherence by retreating and allowing the cattle to be freed.

Though the Bundy saga is far from over, it is nevertheless clear that the BLM is badly in need of adult supervision. What idiot(s) saw fit to launch a full-scale military turtle-rescue operation to deal with a nonviolent grazing-fee scofflaw? But that question raises yet another: Was rescuing turtles the BLM's true mission? Or was it advancing some other agenda?

George Parry is a former state and federal prosecutor practicing law in Philadelphia.