Friday, April 25, 2014

Tombstone's wilderness water woes continue

A recent fire in Tombstone's historical district has brought back the battle between the city and the feds over the town's water supply. Tombstone gets its water from a highly protected wilderness area in the Huachuca Mountains. The pipeline that transports water 30 miles across Cochise County has had problems since the Monument Fire in 2011. According to the City they still haven't been able to get the proper equipment into the area to permanently fix the issues. The structures in Tombstone's historic district are like a tinderbox. In the past few years alone the site of what is currently Old West Studio has burned down twice and continued water worries have some residents like Hal Cloughley on edge. Cloughley's home has caught fire twice in the last three years. The most recent time was just a couple of weeks ago as flames from Old West Studio jumped onto his property. Cloughley said, "This whole town could have went up. I was up there fighting it with a water hose." The last time Tombstone had to put a fire out of this size firefighters used up nearly one third of the towns water. Tombstone Mayor Stephen Schmidt says if their water pipeline was running at full capacity they wouldn't have the threat of running dry. "We've put temporary fixes on them but every monsoon they get washed out," explains Schmidt. Without being able to access all of their spring heads in the Huachucas with mechanized equipment, every time the pipeline gets washed out they are forced into a long process of getting it fixed. "One time they shut us down for using a wheelbarrow because it's mechanized. I guess it is because it has a wheel I don't know," says Schmidt...more

But I'm sure Senators Udall and Heinrich are correct in proposing to surround Las Cruces with Wilderness  and other restrictive designations.  We have no need for mechanical equipment to repair or construct flood control dams.  The Border Patrol has no need for motorized vehicles in this area.  Ranchers can walk or go horseback to check and repair their pipelines and windmills.  Hunters can carry their own game out.  Campers can park on the edge and peek in.  Yes, it will all be wonderful. 

Fence fight on Steens Mountain

More than a decade after Congress carved out special protections for Steens Mountain, including 100,000 acres of wilderness free of cattle, a dispute over fencing has pitted a local landowner against the Bureau of Land Management. George Stroemple wants to graze cattle on his Harney County property within the 100,000-acre “No Livestock Grazing Area” portion of 174,000 acres of wilderness created by the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act of 2000. The disagreement lies over who should build the fence needed to keep his livestock off the protected lands. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, plans to meet with BLM officials in Burns today. The law states: “The Secretary (of the Interior) shall be responsible for installing and maintaining any fencing required for resource protection within the designated no livestock grazing area.” In a 2013 notice of proposed decision regarding Stroemple’s request for a permit to herd his cattle across the public holdings, Rhonda Karges, the Andrews/Steens Resource Area field manager in the BLM’s Burns District, concluded that it is “the landowner’s responsibility to keep livestock off of federal land.” The Steens Act, specifically the clause about fencing and the no livestock grazing area, “applies to resource protection but does not establish a BLM responsibility to keep private livestock on private land,” Karges wrote. Consequently, Stroemple could trail his cattle across the BLM land, but could face trespassing penalties if any of his cows wandered off his land, Karges concluded. Stroemple, who maintains the BLM is required to build the fence, has appealed that interpretation to the Department of the Interior. “Our view is that the Act said ‘any fencing,’ and it doesn’t matter whether it’s public land or private lands,” Dominic Carollo, Stroemple’s attorney, said Thursday. “(Stroemple) wants to take cattle up there, and the BLM has threatened him with trespass,” he said. “My client is reasonably unwilling to take that risk.”...more

The genesis of this:  The threat of a national monument.  Does that sound familiar?

In the waning months of the Clinton presidency, the administration considered designating Steens Mountain as a national monument. In response, Walden, then in his first term in Congress, pulled together local and federal stakeholders to craft a solution that would allow ranchers to keep their livelihood and way of life while providing additional environmental protections to particularly pristine areas. With the support of Oregon’s entire delegation, as well as that of Gov. John Kitzhaber, Walden worked out a deal in which portions of Steens Mountain were designated as wilderness, including four rivers designated as wild and scenic. It also protected property and water rights of local landowners.

Interior Designates Four National Landmarks

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today marked National Park Week by announcing the designation of four new national historic landmarks, ranging from a ground-breaking mural in the heart of the Motor City to the farm of a prominent 20th-century statesman who played a major role in the Cold War. The sites announced today join 2,540 other sites across the country recognized as places that possess exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. The announcement was made as part of National Park Week, an annual event honoring the natural beauty and cultural heritage contained in America’s national parks. The National Historic Landmarks Program is one of more than a dozen programs administered by the National Park Service that provide states and local communities technical assistance, recognition, and funding to help preserve our nation’s shared history and create close-to-home recreation opportunities. New Landmarks include: Adlai Stevenson II Farm in Illinois, The Detroit Industry Murals in Michigan, George Nakashima Woodworker Complex in Pennsylvania, and 1956 Grand Canyon TWA-United Airlines Aviation Accident Site in Arizona...more

Judge suspends Arctic drilling, orders new environmental report

In the ongoing battle over offshore drilling, a federal judge in Alaska told regulators Thursday to redo an environmental impact study that underestimated the amount of recoverable oil and, potentially, the risks to delicate Arctic habitat. The decision by U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline stopped short of scrapping the $2.6 billion in leases, however. His ruling followed an appeals court decision in January that federal officials had arbitrarily decided drilling companies could extract 1 billion barrels of oil from the shallow waters off the northwest coast of Alaska. That figure led to a misguided environmental study, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said. Now, the U.S. Department of the Interior must redo the supplemental analysis using what’s expected to be a much higher estimate for the amount of oil extractable. In the meantime, no drilling for oil or natural gas can take place...more

Utah leaders aim to keep dispute with the feds civil

The level of vitriol aimed at the federal government from residents of eastern Utah surprised even Rep. Rob Bishop, a Republican who is one of the stronger critics of Washington’s dominance over the West’s vast, arid lands. During a listening tour last year, Bishop and Rep. Jason Chaffetz met with residents whose families had grazed cattle or otherwise used public lands for generations, and their anger was close to erupting. "I clearly understand the outrage people have and why," Bishop recalled Thursday, arguing the Obama administration hasn’t been kind to rural Westerners. But, he added, "I was taken aback by a lot of the comments that people who ... are grazing on public lands were giving me. I was taken aback by the kind of anger that they had." That anger is now spilling out in Nevada and Utah and could possibly extend further as the long-simmering debate over public-land use has flared into armed conflicts and ultimatums — including the tense standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, backed by militia members, and Bureau of Land Management officers. Western leaders are afraid Bundy could become the image in Americans’ minds symbolizing the fight over public lands. "Cliven Bundy should not be the face for public lands issues in Utah," Herbert said Thursday at the governor’s monthly news conference at KUED-TV. "Anytime you’ve got Americans lined up on one side and other Americans on the other side with guns pointed at each other, you’ve got a problem." The governor said attention on Bundy comes just as Utah has some momentum in its move for control over more federal lands, as neighboring states are joining it and as he says the state has made progress with the Obama administration...more

EDITORIAL: Bundy’s idiotic remarks embarrassment to state

Clark County rancher Cliven Bundy has put the Bunker in Bunkerville. As in Archie Bunker.

That might be a bit harsh — on Carroll O’Connor’s racist character from TV’s “All in the Family.” Mr. Bundy wasn’t funny last week when, in front of a New York Times reporter, he provided a moronic monologue on blacks in America, suggesting they would be better off if they were returned to slavery.

Yes, he said that.

And so, just as the country was starting to learn about the important federal land issues at the heart of Mr. Bundy’s decades-long dispute with the Bureau of Land Management, just as he was attracting broader support for the next round of fights with Washington over local land use and control, Mr. Bundy made it impossible for anyone with credibility to be sympathetic to his cause, much less advocate on his behalf.

Mr. Bundy’s standoff with the BLM over cattle grazing turned him into a conservative celebrity and made tiny Bunkerville a nationally recognized dateline this month. Now his remarks on race have embarrassed the entire state.

The comments, made Saturday, were printed in Thursday’s edition of the Times, sending his political enemies on attack and most of his allies scrambling for cover.

...To insinuate that only blacks are on welfare is incredibly offensive and hurtful. But to suggest that blacks enjoyed more freedom and better lives as slaves is indescribably stupid. At a Thursday news conference, Mr. Bundy repeated his foolishness, saying the members of “the Negro community” who live in Las Vegas Valley public housing look like slaves.

Set aside whether Mr. Bundy’s nonpayment of some $1 million in grazing fees makes him a welfare queen — his dispute is far more complicated than that. But it’s outrageous for Mr. Bundy to claim he has been oppressed and had his rights trampled and, at the same time, essentially dismiss the worst oppression and suppression of human rights ever carried out in this country.

In case no one ever told Mr. Bundy, slavery very nearly destroyed the country he claims to love.

So now begins the opportunist campaign to tar anyone who expressed support for Mr. Bundy, or continues to support his fight against the federal government, as a racist by association. Please. The battle against Washington’s overreach, crushing regulation and iron-fisted control of most of the West is much bigger than Mr. Bundy. But he’ll only marginalize the cause if he insists on delivering more social commentary.

Even fools have rights. Parts of Mr. Bundy’s dispute with the federal government still have great merit.

His ideas on slavery and black America don’t.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Webinar on Transfer of Public Lands is tonight

Given the debate about public lands in Nevada, Utah State Representative Ken Ivory, Montana Senator Jennifer Fielder, and Utah State Representative Keven Stratton will be holding a Public Webinar. The discussion will be Public Lands and the effort to transfer them to their rightful owners - the respective states. The discussion will include a review of the Bundy Ranch land issue, the history of federally held lands, the broken promise made by the Federal Government, how it's been done before, and why it's imperative to transfer the lands to the states. Ken will discuss the efforts being made by the American Lands Council, the progress made so far and his vision to move the Transfer of Public Lands forward. Don't miss this webinar! It's free! and there are a limited number of seats, get registered now!

When: Thursday April 24th
Time: 7:00 p.m.

Drones Unearth More Details About Chaco Culture

Recently published research describes how archaeologists outfitted a customized drone with a heat-sensing camera to unearth what they believe are ceremonial pits and other features at the site of an ancient village in New Mexico. The discovery of the structures hidden beneath layers of sediment and sagebrush is being hailed as an important step that could help archaeologists shed light on mysteries long buried by eroding desert landscapes from the American Southwest to the Middle East. The results of the research were published earlier this month in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Since the 1970s, archaeologists have known that aerial images of thermal infrared wavelengths of light could be a powerful tool for spotting cultural remains on the ground. But few have had access to million-dollar satellites, and helicopters and planes have their limits. Now, technology is catching up with demand. Archaeologists can get quality images from very specific altitudes and angles at any time of day and in a range of weather using inexpensive drones and commercially available cameras that have as much as five times the resolution of those available just a few years ago. A basic eight-rotor drone starts at about $3,700. Aside from dozens of anthills, the drone picked up on much larger, unnatural circular shapes that are thought to be kivas. From the surface, these structures are invisible, Kantner said. He said crews can use the drone information to plan a dig at the location to search for the archaeological remnants...more

BLM's Environmental Assesment of Bundy Ranch Impoundment

The March 7, 2014,  82 page EA is available here.

Reid – once under fire for saying ‘negro’ – condemns rancher for comments

by Alex Pappas

Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid on Thursday strongly condemned Cliven Bundy, a constituent and rancher in Nevada, for his widely-reported offensive comments about African-Americans.

“Today, Bundy revealed himself to be a hateful racist,” Reid said in a statement provided by his office.
The New York Times reported on a recent rant by Bundy, who mused about what he referred to as “the Negro.” He has been in the news recently over his clash with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing fees.

Discussing a public-housing project in Nevada, Bundy said of black people: “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
A number of politicians, including Reid, criticized Bundy for his comments.

“To advance his extreme, hateful views, Bundy has endangered the lives of innocent women and children,” the Nevada senator said.

Reid has found himself in a media firestorm over racial comments before. In 2010, the book “Game Change” reported that Reid had praised President Obama, before he was elected, as someone who is “light skinned” and has “no Negro dialect.”

Following an uproar over those comments, Reid apologized.

The Daily Caller

Rand Paul Condemns Cliven Bundy’s Remarks on Blacks

Senator Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican and potential 2016 presidential candidate, joined a line of Republican and Democratic leaders on Thursday in denouncing Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher at the center of a standoff with the federal government over land use, for suggesting that blacks might have been better off in slavery. “His remarks on race are offensive, and I wholeheartedly disagree with him,” Mr. Paul said in a statement. The senator’s remarks came after he had offered support for Mr. Bundy’s case as the rancher resisted the federal Bureau of Land Management when it sought to confiscate his cattle because he was not paying fees for their grazing on public land. The government backed off after federal authorities encountered hundreds of Bundy supporters, many carrying guns, who had flocked to his ranch in Bunkerville, Nev., as the dispute intensified. With his remarks, Mr. Paul joined other Republican leaders — among them, Senator Dean Heller of Nevada — in assailing Mr. Bundy for comments published online by The New York Times on Wednesday evening after they had previously expressed support for the rancher...more

New Mexico prosecutor: Charges dropped against Tennessee boy in Taos minivan incident

Charges have been dropped against a teenager whose mother led police on a high-speed chase in a videotaped incident during which a State Police officer fired at her fleeing minivan carrying five children. The son of Oriana Farrell of Memphis, Tennessee, had been accused of battery and assault in connection with a scuffle with officers during a chaotic traffic stop near Taos last October. Nobody was injured by the officer's gunfire. The officer, who said he was aiming at a tire to stop the vehicle, was fired in December. Taos-area District Attorney Donald Gallegos said charges were dropped against the youth because of concern for his future, the Albuquerque Journal reported. "We are not out to drag any child through the mud, so to speak," the prosecutor said. The Associated Press is not identifying the son, who was 14 years at the time, because of his age. Charges of aggravated fleeing from a police office and child abuse remain pending against the mother. She has pleaded innocent. The decision to drop the charges against the boy resulted from a three-hour meeting between the prosecutor, the mother and others, Gallegos said. The meeting, called a "restorative justice circle," was facilitated by a retired judge and was an attempt to come to some form of consensus about what transpired. Dash-cam video of the incident garnered national attention...more

Report: Nevada would benefit from transfer of federal lands

A new report analyzing the financial ramifications of a takeover of some of Nevada’s millions of acres of federal lands suggests the state would benefit from such a transfer. A transfer of 4 million acres of U.S. Bureau Land Management land could bring in anywhere from $31 million to $114 million a year, based on a review of four Western states that have significant amounts of trust lands under their control, the report says. The preliminary draft report from the Nevada Public Land Management Task Force was prepared with the assistance of a consultant and will be reviewed Thursday by the Legislative Committee on Public Lands when it meets in Tonopah. The task force was created by the 2013 Legislature to evaluate the feasibility of the state taking control of some of the federally controlled public lands in Nevada. A final report is due from the task force by Sept. 1. The discussion of such a public lands transfer has received heightened interest since the recent cattle grazing dispute between Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy and the BLM. Demar Dahl, an Elko County rancher and chairman of the task force, said the analysis by Intertech Services Inc. shows that a transfer is not only economically feasible but even beneficial to Nevada. “The way those numbers turned out it looks like we can surely afford it,” he said. “Not only afford it but the state could make a lot of revenue having the land and managing it ourselves.” The revenues would come from the sale and lease of the resources on the lands, including through mining and grazing, Dahl said. In recent comments U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said he supports the work of the task force. But not everyone is on board with the effort. In a presentation to the task force in November, David von Seggern, chairman of the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club, asked how the state would replace the hundreds of federal workers now working in Nevada. He questioned whether Nevada has the financial resources needed to meet the demands for firefighting or assisting in activities that would support mining, grazing and energy production...more

Western lands takeover: Former BLM chief, state lawmaker clash - video

A conservative state lawmaker and a liberal former director of the Bureau of Land Management argued the merits of a debate that’s sweeping the West — whether states should take control of federal lands and would they manage them better. Their exchange, which included a few pointed barbs, during Wednesday’s Trib Talk may just be round one. Former BLM Director Pat Shea challenged state Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, to a formal debate at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, and the lawmaker said he would accept such a challenge. Wednesday’s conversation identified the deep philosophical disagreement that would underpin any such debate. Ivory argues the federal government used to own much of the land in states like Florida, Illinois and Nebraska and has since turned it over to private owners or the state. He believes it’s time for Western states to demand equal treatment in this matter and if Congress won’t comply, it may be time to launch a major court case. He said the land would be better managed and the profits from mining would help fund the state’s education system. Shea was dismissive of such an idea. "I don’t think states are capable of the complexity of managing these lands," he said, accusing Ivory of inflaming local officials to challenge federal land managers when the chances of the state’s gaining control of these lands are remote at best...more

Here is the 32 minute Trib Talk discussion.

Brewer vetoes bill letting ranchers kill endangered wolves on federal lands

Gov. Jan Brewer will not give ranchers and their employees permission to kill endangered Mexican gray wolves on federal lands. The measure vetoed Tuesday was crafted by Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford. She has been a vocal foe of the program by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce the wolves into sections of Arizona and New Mexico, saying they endanger not only cattle but also pets and children. SB 1211 would have spelled out that ranchers could “take” — legalese for kill — a wolf that was killing, wounding or biting livestock. It also would have legalized the killing of a wolf by a guard dog that is protecting livestock. The measure would also have permitted killing a wolf in self-defense or defense of others. In that case, though, the act would have to be reported within 24 hours to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Brewer, in her veto message, said she is a strong supporter of states’ rights. But she said SB 1211 was both unnecessary and conflicts with federal law. She said the Arizona Game and Fish Department already is working with federal agencies to deal with how wolf reintroduction will affect the state. By contrast, Brewer said SB 1211 would have given that duty to the state Agriculture Department, the agency responsible for dealing with ranchers and grazing. Beyond that, Brewer said the legislation sought to put the Mexican wolf in the same legal category as mountain lions and bears. But she said that is in conflict with federal law, which does allow killing those two species in certain circumstances, but not the wolves...more

Southern Oregon ranchers legally kill 500 pound black bear

 A nearly 500-pound male black bear was legally killed by north Lake County ranchers earlier this month after it killed a large heifer and was found in the family’s herd of cattle. “It’s a whopper,” said Craig Foster, district wildlife biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It was shot legally,” Foster said, emphasizing Marie Leehmann, a third generation owner of the 24 Ranch in Summer Lake had actually gone beyond legal requirements by obtaining a kill permit. “Marie and the Leehmanns went the extra mile above and beyond what they had to do by statute.” Field biologists said the bear weighed 490 pounds, stood 6-foot-5 and was 13 to 15 years old, based on tooth samples. Foster said the largest bear he had previously seen weighed 345 pounds. The Leehmanns said two calves had been previously reported missing. Foster said if the large bear killed the calves, it could have easily carried them off to be eaten. The agricultural damage permit was issued after it was determined one of the Leehmann’s yearling heifers, which weighed 1,100 to 1,300 pounds, had been killed by a bear. Estimated value of the heifer was $1,000. Two days later, on April 4, Leehmann was checking the cows when a bear ran out of the herd. Her son, Ryon, shot the bear within a quarter-mile of the home...more

Proposed Boulder-White Cloud Boundaries Expanded

Conservationists looking to protect the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains have changed the boundaries of a proposed national monument, adding 20,629 acres. Groups such as the Idaho Conservation League and Wilderness Society had been pushing the Obama administration to designate 571,276 acres north of Ketchum as a monument. They now are asking for 591,905 acres. The decision expands the boundaries to include Malm Gulch, a Bureau of Land Management-maintained site containing petrified sequoia trees, the product of showers of volcanic ash. The gulch is within the proposal’s northeastern border off Idaho 75, 10 miles south of Challis. “Multiple explosive volcanic eruptions from volcanic vents near the Yankee Fork area sent up clouds of hot gas, ash and pumice, and engulfed the entire area,” says a BLM brochure about the area. “The white and pastel colored soils and rocks in the Malm Gulch area are the visible remnants of those volcanic ash deposits. Most of the redwoods or sequoias in the Malm Gulch forest were destroyed by the heat of the eruption, but some trees were buried by ash and eventually became the petrified remnants you see today.” The boundary redrawing now excludes private land around the edge of the Salmon River and a large rock quarry east of Clayton. While other sections of the proposed monument still include private land, the groups say a monument designation would “have no impact on private property rights,” according to a news release...more

'Cowboys And Indians' Stake Out The National Mall To Protest Keystone XL

Farmers, ranchers and indigenous leaders who live along the Keystone XL pipeline route are holding an encampment on the National Mall this week to protest the proposed project that would carry oil from Canada's oil sands to refineries in Texas. They call themselves the Cowboy and Indian Alliance and plan to be at the camp through April 27. It includes tepees, covered wagons, speeches and musical guests, and those participating are calling on the Obama administration to reject the proposed pipeline. The encampment opened Tuesday with a traditional ceremony performed by tribal leaders and a horseback procession to the Capitol. On Friday, the State Department announced yet another delay in deciding whether to approve the pipeline. There is currently a legal dispute, which may take months to resolve, over the proposed route through Nebraska.


WildEarth Guardians sues FWS over Gunnison’s prairie dog

A Western environmental organization sued the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service last week for its refusal to list the Gunnison’s prairie dog as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. WildEarth Guardians filed the suit in federal district court in Phoenix, Ariz. on April 17, saying the FWS failed to use the best available science to properly consider the act’s five listing factors or consider the historic range of the species. Ongoing urban oil and gas development, shooting, poisoning, outbreaks of sylvatic plague, drought and climate change pose significant threats to the Gunnison’s prairie dog and its habitat, according to WildEarth Guardians. “We would like to see them protected,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “We would like the service to take a look again. We thought the analysis was just deficient.”...more

Loaded, stolen gun found in woman's body (not for the faint at heart)

As Dallas Archer was being booked into the Kingsport jail, a female corrections officer alerted to an “unknown object” in the teenager’s crotch during a search. The jailer and a female cop then accompanied Archer to a bathroom for further examination, a review that led to the recovery of a “North American Arms 22 LR revolver (loaded) which Ms. Dallas had concealed in her vagina,” according to a Kingsport Police Department report. A subsequent check revealed that the five-shot mini-revolver--which is four inches in length--had been “stolen from an auto burglary in 2013.”...more

The first Pistol Packin' Pussy I've heard of...or is it a Concealed Carry C...oops, better stop there.

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:

Read more here:

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...