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A New Commentary Each Wednesday          April 23, 2014


    Have you been following the saga of Cliven Bundy...a real live character who could have been invented by western novelist Louis L'Amour? And don't you just love the old rancher's name? Sounds like someone made it up, so as to not be sued by a clerk at Wal-Mart for using it in a motion picture or a novel without his permission.

    In case you are not familiar with Mr. Bundy, he is a cattle rancher, way up thar in Clark County, Nevada, whose folks have been homesteaders since homes have been steaded, shortly after the Civil War. Cliven appeared recently on the five o-clock news, where he berated the Federal Guv'mint for seizing 400 of his beeves.

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM in future appearances) answered by claiming that Cliven has not been paying grazing fees for letting his Herefords (they could be Angus-Brahman mixes, as far as I know) graze on BLM - make that "public" land, since 1993.

    Bundy owns a ranch of only 160 acres - about as big as downtown Dallas, which ain't nearly big enough for 400 bovines - all at once, anyway. Do you hear what I'm saying? He needs land, lots of leased land, over which his cattle can spread.

    Bundy and his innumerable relatives claim that their family has had the right to run cattle on the adjacent land that borders Interstate 15 since shortly after Sacajawea came through with Lewis and Clark in 1790.

    It seems that Bundy and his boy came to reclaim the supposed federally rustled livestock and the boy got zapped with a stun gun by a BLM Agent following an altercation. The video went viral on the Web.

    This reverberated throughout the loose connection of sagebrush rebels, survivalists and other unhinged souls  who've been waiting impatiently for a long, long time for the revolution; to re-take America from those bent on a New World Order. 1,000 or more showed up to defend the downtrodden "homesteader" at the siege of Bundy Ranch - some with long rifles outfitted with scopes. They were not about to permit another Alamo. Besides, shooting at paper cut-outs is boring.

    Fortunately, the BLM Chief, Neil Kornze, exhibited an enormous amount of patience and backed off, at least for now. He was not about to be cast in the roll of the hired gunfighter performed so masterfully in the 1953 movie "Shane" by the late Jack Palance. Kornze returned the shorthorns to Bundy, who might by now be hoping for a remake of the movie that made a megastar of masculine Hollywood icon Alan Ladd, with he, C.B., in the starring role. (If it is re-made, I nominate Justin Bieber for the role of the little boy Joey, played by Brandon deWild in the original "Shane")

   At this point, this modern-day melodrama took a decidedly political twist by the intervention of Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who repeated a statement originally attributed to baseball great, Yogi Berra: "It ain't over, 'till it's over." This immediately caught the attention of reporters who were aware that BLM head Kornze has been an advisor to Reid in the past and more or less owes Reid some allegiance for his appointment to head the BLM.

    Meanwhile, back at the Bundy Ranch, ol' Cliven has endeared himself to reporters by stating unequivocally that he "doesn't recognize the sovereignty of the U.S. Federal Government to exercise control over publicly owned land." Conversely, he does attribute that right to the State of Nevada. He apparently is not aware that Article 1, Section 2 of the Nevada Constitution disagrees with him: that is, Federal law trumps State law.

    As usual, there's lots of hearsay on the 'Net that may be plausible, but undocumented. One claim floating around in the blogesphere is that Senator Reid's son is being paid by the Chinese Emergy Group (EMM) that allegedly wishes to build a five billion dollar solar power project on the disputed land. There are stories out there claiming that weapons-grade minerals, such as uranium and plutonium have been discovered there. Also, big oil interests wish to drill and frack the area, though there have no permits sought to initiate drilling, mining or fracking at that location.

    Senator Reid is right about one thing: we haven't heard the last chapter of this story.

Phil Richardson, Observer and Storyteller.

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