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If you refuse to pay $1 million in federal taxes over two decades, you should expect to go to prison. If you announce your intent to resist, you might even get a visit from large numbers of heavily armed U.S. marshals. And if you have any doubt on either score, visit the Justice Department website or request a jailhouse interview with Ed and Elaine Brown.

But when it comes to the case of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his 20-year crusade to "liberate" $1 million from the United States Treasury into his own bank account, the state's top Republican leaders refused to tell their constituent to simply pay up as federal courts have ordered.

Instead, Senator Dean Heller and Governor Brian Sandoval blamed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for seeking to collect on Bundy's long overdue federal grazing fees, the same ones paid by routinely 16,000 other ranchers. As hundreds of supporters and armed militia members gathered to support Bundy, Governor Sandoval protested the same kind of "First Amendment areas" long used at the Republican and Democratic national conventions. Last week, Sandoval complained:

"No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation which currently exists nor the limitation of constitutional rights that are sacred to all Nevadans. The BLM needs to reconsider its approach to this matter and act accordingly."
Please read below the fold for more on this story.

On Wednesday, Senator Heller took a similar line:

"I spoke with BLM Director Kornze this morning to express great disappointment with the way that this situation is being handled. I told him very clearly that law-abiding Nevadans must not be penalized by an over-reaching BLM. After hearing from local officials and residents, and receiving feedback from the Nevada Cattlemen's Association in a meeting this morning, I remain extremely concerned about the size of this closure and disruptions with access to roads, water and electrical infrastructure. I will continue to closely monitor this situation, and urge the BLM to make the necessary changes in order to preserve Nevadans' constitutional rights."
As for the gun-toting throng that converged in support of Bundy, Governor Sandoval asked only for their "restraint" while declaring "the ability to speak out against government actions is one of the freedoms we all cherish as Americans." It was only after the BLM called off its roundup of Bundy's cattle that Heller asked anything of the militia mob at all:
"The dispute is over, the BLM is leaving, but emotions and tensions are still near the boiling point, and we desperately need a peaceful conclusion to this conflict," Heller said. "I urge all the people involved to please return to your homes and allow the BLM officers to collect their equipment and depart without interference."
The Republican interference with the ability of federal officials to merely collect the revenue owed to the government may be sad, but it isn't surprising. For over two decades, the GOP has targeted the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), slashing its budget and cutting its staff. Along with fiery rhetoric denouncing the IRS as "the Gestapo" and worse, Republicans have helped create an atmosphere in which Uncle Sam loses roughly $500 billion a year—about the size of the annual federal budget deficit—to tax fraud, evasion and underreporting. And it certainly doesn't help matters when Republicans on the House Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation hold a Congressional hearing on years-old cases titled "Threats, Intimidation and Bullying by Federal Land Managing Agencies."
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Comment Preferences

  •  NV GOP would find Ted Bundy "misunderstood" (7+ / 0-)
    And it certainly doesn't help matters when Republicans on the House Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation hold a Congressional hearing on years-old cases titled "Threats, Intimidation and Bullying by Federal Land Managing Agencies."

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 11:39:42 AM PDT

  •  Republicans want a fence? Have the CoE (5+ / 0-)

    build a fence around the federal land. Your cattle is on the other side? Too bad so sad. You shoot at the soldiers, you pay the price.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 11:41:51 AM PDT

  •  "No cow justifies the atmosphere of intimidation" (7+ / 0-)

    I suppose the irony of this statement was lost on Sandoval, as 1,000 militiamen armed to the teeth encamped at the ranch.

  •  Wait till an armed mob shows up at a labor dispute (7+ / 0-)

    These guys don't know what they are encouraging.

    Used to be the republicans courted crazy people but the elected officials fell short of encourging illegal stuff.

    Now the crazy people have elected their own.

  •  well, well, well (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, greengemini, AnnieR, Greenfinches

    so any person who lives in Nevada should just refuse to abide by the rules of the federal government.  Apparently, lawlessness is the rule of day in Nevada and it is sanctioned from the governor on down.

    I think it would be appropriate to boycott Las Vegas and every other city in Nevada.  If federal rules won't protect me when I go there, why then would ANYONE go there?  

  •  Portions of the GOP are a cult. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Looking back over a lifetime, you see that love was the answer to everything." — Ray Bradbury

    by We Shall Overcome on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 12:02:22 PM PDT

  •  These people are just f'n stupid (6+ / 0-)

    Or willfully oblivious.

    After all, the Federal government throughout the first half of the 20th century spent countless dollars building water projects that actually make it even remotely possible to live in Nevada and the west.  The Federal government built the infrastructure of railroads, highways and so forth so that this rancher can get his product to markets.  The Federal government ensures these markets exist in the first place AND provide a stable currency that he can use to buy his stupid looking hat and clothes.  (Yes, I'm being catty right now).  Yet this dipstick and his knuckledragging moronic following pretend they're somehow living the John Wayne hyperindividual life and got no help from no one no how no way, no sir!  Yee haw.*

    I believe I saw a quote where Bundy even claimed he didn't recognize the US...guess it's time to deport his ass.  

    The government creates the structure where someone like him can thrive, yet all he can do is steal then pretend that he was successful all by himself.  

    Then elected politicians back him up?

    Ugh.  The stupidity and willful ignorance in this country just hurts.

    *I should mention I grew up on a cattle ranch in Colorado so I feel quite enabled to taunt these idiots.  

  •  A simple solution (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, Greenfinches

    is to vote Republicans out of positions that they refuse to honor by requiring that the law be adhered to by everyone.

    They are lawless and should not be in the position of making nor enforcing laws.

  •  He's not in prison only because he's rich. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssmt, ColoTim

    And pampered.

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

    by Bob Love on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 12:34:34 PM PDT

  •  So the Republican Party supports unlawful acts. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That is what it sounds like to me. Bundy chose to not pay the grazing fees. Decided on his own that the Federal Lands are not Federal at all. I have seen statements ( which might be wrong ) That he considers the range he has been leasing is really his. Is not so Bundy. You are just a low life criminal.

  •  Jon Perr, did you do your homework? (0+ / 0-)

    Wow, I have never been so astonished in recent times as to the amount of ego that is carried by certain members of the press.

    Jon, you start your article with, "If you refuse to pay $1 million in federal taxes over two decades, you should expect to go to prison."  What tax are you referring too?  There is no tax is issue here, so I gather you are eluding to grazing fees, correct?  

    This is an issue of foraging rights giving to citizens who improve public commons for the benefit of the State of Nevada.  Washington DC does not own the State of Nevada. Or does it?  What are you trying to say here or trying to avoid?  The Bundy family and others  have been improving this Federally managed piece of land in the State of Nevada, long before the BLM was appointed to handle the area.  But how much revenue does BLM need in order to sustain this particular area of Nevada?  Probably nothing.  Because the BLM has not taken the real responsibility for the area, the Bundy family and other Ranchers have before the BLM was appointed and even after.  Who brought water to area for all creatures including the supposed endangered tortoise?

    Also, the Federal court may not have had jurisdiction over this area of Nevada, because the BLM had "no standing". It does not own the area in question. The BLM should have took the legal fight to the State of Nevada, not a Federal Court.  The Federal judges which ruled and signed off writs preventing interference of the BLM actions are so far off their rockers, their robes are showing off their underwear.  The judges only have jurisdiction only on Federal property, which this is not, or such, could not be argued. This is not a Natl. Park.  And this is not a case of Imminent Domain either. Though Federal can engage in matters between individuals and Federal agencies, in this case the Feds do not own the property and it can be argued, which is the case for the State of Nevada, that Nevada may collect fees, and out of those fees, pay the BLM for any services rendered. But beyond that, the Federal cannot interfere with current contracts between States and their resident citizens.  

    "A court cannot attempt to correct a problem on its own initiative, or to answer a hypothetical legal question.... The federal courts, thus, are courts of "limited" jurisdiction because they may only decide certain types of cases as provided by Congress or as identified in the Constitution.... For example, state courts have jurisdiction over virtually all divorce and child custody matters, probate and inheritance issues, real estate questions, and juvenile matters, and they handle most criminal cases, contract disputes, traffic violations, and personal injury cases."  - -

    You and the editors at Kos need to educate yourself on legal matters before posting garbage that could lead to to the death of dozens. Have more guts to do the right thing and show a little compassion for the basic Rights of Americans.  Sometime the government screws up. Or don't you think so?

    Personally, I think those at the BLM and other agencies involved are acting Cattle Thieves and should be dealt with accordingly.  A herd of 135 head is a hefty amount cash.  But what politician ever turn his or her head to montary political influence? RE: Harry Reid's possible shady connection on the Bundy matter.

    Jon, try harder and do better please.  

    •  Mike, you got lost coming over here (0+ / 0-)

      We believe, you know ... in the law 'n' stuff.  And paying your taxes ... oops, your fees.  

      You can riff on the 'public common' all you want.

      This tough-guy goober would be choking on dust without federal projects that let him graze cows in the first place, and get his shitty meat to market.

      Fuck him and his 'freedom' bullshit, and his 'property rights' crap (a major refuge for anti-taxers and 'small government except when I get cash) assholes.

      And fuck his GOP enablers.

    •  So you joined just to write this tripe? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alypse1, greengemini, Box of Rain

      I actually do live here and have watched this ongoing disgrace from the inside for over a decade, my wife since the beginning. The Bundys are thieves, pure and simple.

      Grazing fees are so low that they constitute a direct taxpayer subsidy to cattlemen and have for well over a century. Bundy refuses to pay even that. Further, he abuses his animals through neglect and over breeding, then dumps his problems on the taxpayer for another bite at the free apple by "losing" cattle on federal land.We pay for the round-ups and the care or slaughter of his negligence. If we were in AZ, Sheriff Joe would have taken care of this asshole long ago as that state actually enforces it's animal cruelty laws (at least most of the time).

      He is  a disaster for the environment, the animals, and the people of Nevada. If not for his political cover (Our Sheriff is a good ole buddy, too), he would have been serving time in our lovely federal facility years ago.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 01:19:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh I almost forgot, he is also killing off Mustang (0+ / 0-)

        herds with his continuing crime-spree. His cattle are destroying the desert and the forage that the wild horses need to live.

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

        by Greyhound on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 01:59:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And apparently (0+ / 0-)

      He is overgrazing the land he is permitted to use. Please look up "The Tragedy of the Commons" and "eating one's seedcorn". Also look for the effects of overgrazing.

    •  Check your own facts... (0+ / 0-)

      about who owns the land.  Per county commissioner, who happens to also be a rancher and personal friend of Bundy, the land is definitely federal land.

      Understanding is limited by perspective. Perspective is limited by experience. America is a great place to live but it limits our ability to understand.

      by CindyV on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 02:20:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Imminent Domain? Did you do your homework? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't want to be nasty, but clearly you don't know what the heck you're talking about.  I will agree, however that some of the judges appointed to the federal bench by Reagan are, unlike Lloyd George (who wrote the 1998 opinion) "so far off their rockers..."; see judge Roger Vinson, for instance.

      As for "posting junk that could lead to the death of dozens"; let me suggest that these lunatics you defend lay down their weapons, stop threatening their neighbors and fellow-citizens (US) and engage in acts of civil disobedience if they'd like to change the law.  I'd actually have some respect for them if they were willing to go to jail for their beliefs.  They are responsible for creating the current atmosphere of threats of violence and intimidation.

  •  Senator Heller - Bundy is not "law-abiding". This (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alypse1, greengemini, DrPlacebo, a2nite

    has been through the court system and he has been found guilty at least twice.  

    As for the Nevada Cattlemen's Association, I expect that's the same type of outfit as the Chamber of Commerce where if you're a rich guy they'll bend over backwards to kiss your ass and no law needs to be respected if it inconveniences you in just the slightest.

  •  "I Had 2 Agents In My Gun Site..... (0+ / 0-)

    & could have taken them down."  That's a quote from one of Bundy's posse.

    Another of his posse said "Putin took Ukraine.  Obama
    couldn't, so he had to take Nevada".

    Governor Sandoval may not want to encourage the armed range rovers for much longer.  They're just spoiling to shoot.  

    When the reporters noticed that Bundy had 2 armed guards @ his side, they mentioned that the Feds had left 24 hrs before.  The posse member said "They could be spying on us from a drone".

    This is the mentality in Nevada right now.  Sandoval & Senator Dean Heller may want to quiet things down.....or not.  

  •  And Now the Rest of the Story (0+ / 0-)

    Beef prices hit record high; dairy and produce also climbing

    The real story as to the free loader feeding his herd on government maintained land, for free!!!  

    "If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too; not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

    by jimstaro on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 02:39:31 PM PDT

  •  Getting to the ground truth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in a situation like this can be tricky.  The Atlantic does a good job in clarifying some of the background (see

    And if you have any doubt about who really owns the land in question, read this interview with a pro-Bundy Nevada county commissioner who is clear that the land is Federal land, not Bundy's, nor the State of Nevada's.

    My sister worked for many years as a code enforcement officer.  Her view on this type of conflict might help anyone who doesn't have direct experience.  Government employees are typically very careful to avoid over-reach and are not allowed to fully defend their own actions.  When there is a dispute, the private citizen is allowed to twist the truth and make outrageous claims while the government employees must either stay quiet or provide a very tepid response.

    It often puts the government's side of the argument at a disadvantage.  And it can be very frustrating for government employees.

    To me, one of the hardest things to watch in this situation is all the positive support for Bundy in local press and among Nevada politicians.

    Understanding is limited by perspective. Perspective is limited by experience. America is a great place to live but it limits our ability to understand.

    by CindyV on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 02:49:46 PM PDT

  •  Are there laws against sedition? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Or does this border on treason?  And who, especially in the media, has the nerve to call this what it is?

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 03:26:47 PM PDT

  •  GOP now siding with MOOCHERS & TAKERS! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Think that rancher was part of Romney's "47%"??

  •  Bundy Ranch freeloader (0+ / 0-)

    Sign the petition to make Bundy pay his fees, and to bring to justice the militant teahadists who traveled across state lines with guns to intimidate federal officials.

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