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Clueless Cliven Bundy and his Misguided Band of Merry Militiamen vs. the Federal Bureau of Land Management ( BLM )
He doesn't look anything like the right-wing's stereotypical "Welfare Queen," does he?
"I hereby pledge to use public resources without paying to do so!" - my translation of "Clueless Cliven's" indecipherable ranting and raving
"Clueless" Cliven Bundy is a Dangerous Freeloading Sociopath
No reasonable argument can be made that Cliven Bundy is anything but a freeloader, notwithstanding any convoluted and legally baseless excuses he makes for using taxpayer land and resources for his own benefit while refusing to pay for doing so. Like other self-styled "Sovereign Citizens," Clueless Cliven rejects the notion that the Federal government has any jurisdiction over him (and, in some of his ranting and raving, seems to question whether the Federal government exists as a legitimate entity at all!)
As I've written in other articles about the Sovereign Citizen Movement, on an island, I don't automatically consider self-styled Sovereigns to be a threat by mere virtue of holding their beliefs, attempting to persuade others to share those beliefs, or even making decisions in conformance with those beliefs so long as they are prepared to accept the consequences for doing so. For instance, an individual raising legally-baseless defenses to a traffic ticket is not a threat, and that person likely knows beforehand that raising objections to the jurisdiction of the law enforcement officer who issued them a ticket will not go over well, and that by doing so, they relinquish the right to plead down their ticket, and may even be subject to an additional fine for raising a frivolous defense. Likewise, I assume that the vast majority of "tax protesters" understand that playing with the IRS is like playing with fire, but attempt to circumvent the tax laws anyway, despite knowing that they will very likely one day have to "face the music."
I see no danger to society generally by such actions, and the individual in these scenarios is the one whose interests are threatened by their own behavior. Only the naive would do these things without knowing that they were assuming some measure of risk by engaging in this behavior. Likewise, looked at on an island, I see no danger occasioned by Cliven Bundy and his family continuing to violate the law by using federally-owned land and resources without paying the required fee to do so.
However, unlike the above scenarios involving individuals using frivolous defenses to contest a traffic ticket or "tax protesters" refusing to pay their taxes, Clueless Cliven and his family weren't prepared to peacefully accept the consequences of their own violations of the law. There is no legal, or even moral, justification for preparing to use violence to prevent the enforcement of the law based upon one's own circumvention of the law, as this selfishly risks the lives of the men and women law enforcement officers in furtherance of one's own illegal advancement of their own personal and financial self-interest.
But Cliven Bundy is a sociopath who was willing not only to endanger the lives of law enforcement officers charged with handling his own blatantly illegal actions, but was willing to risk the lives of countless other civilians who share some or all of his beliefs regarding the legitimacy of governmental authority (or, more accurately, the lack thereof on the Federal level). Clueless Cliven, a freeloading millionaire, issued a "call to arms," summoning a horde of sympathizers from the Oath Keepers, Sovereign Citizen and "Freemen" movements, many of whom were heavily-armed, to put their lives at risk in defense of his own illegal bilking of the Federal government, and, by extension, all law-abiding American taxpayers.
Clueless Cliven and his Merry Militia's "Last Stand" all relates to a nearly 20-year old dispute between Bundy, a cattle rancher in southeastern Nevada, and the Federal Bureau of Land Management, over Bundy's failure and refusal to pay grazing fees incurred in connection with his use of Federal land and resources for the some 1,000 cattle owned by Bundy. In 1998, the BLM successfully petitioned a Court of law for an Order granting various forms of relief against Bundy, including monetary damages for the non-payment of fees and a permanent injunction enjoining Bundy's continuing use the Federal land in question for grazing purposes. The BLM obtained a further Order in 1999 relating to Bundy's noncompliance with that previous 1998 Court Order.
The legal battle between Bundy and the BLM raged on over the years, starting to inch its way towards finality in late 2012 and continuing through the present. In 2012, the BLM was granted summary judgment with respect to numerous aspects of its dispute with Bundy, and later, in October 2013, the BLM was granted the power and authority to protect the Federal land and government interests by seizing any cattle owned by Bundy found illegally grazing on that land in direct contravention of numerous previous Court Orders.
Now, Bundy has the right to believe whatever he wants to believe, the freedom to express those beliefs and to encourage others to adapt them, etc. Moreover, in my opinion, there isn't necessarily anything immoral about Bundy peacefully engaging in non-compliance with the particular laws at issue in this dispute, so long as he was prepared to accept the consequences of doing so (liens against and/or confiscation of his property interests, including his cattle, etc.) What Bundy is not entitled to do, however, is to take up arms in furtherance of his selective obedience of the law and/or to encourage others to do so on his behalf.
Look, I myself am a gun owner and I believe that - with reasonable limitations (distinguishing me from the NRA and members of the far right militia movement) - the Second Amendment gives me the right to own firearms (or to "bear" same). But Clueless Cliven and his Band of Merry Militiamen were not engaged in mere peaceful protest while just happening to have their assault rifles and sniper gear with them. Quite the contrary, Cliven Bundy made public statements that unambiguously supported armed resistance against the BLM agents carrying out their legally-mandated duties, and even more broadly, overthrowing the Federal government. Many - but not all - of his supporters donned body armor and took defensive or strategic positions in contemplation of an armed conflict. There is photographic evidence of at least one of them hiding behind a concrete highway barrier in a strategic "high ground" position pointing his firearm at the BLM agents on the scene.
The BLM, arguably to their credit, decided to deescalate the situation by backing down in order to prevent bloodshed and protect lives (including the lives of the misguided militiamen who showed up to help a millionaire continue to freeload on the backs of law-abiding US taxpayers). I say that backing down was "arguably" to the BLM's credit because doing so does nothing but encourage similar situations from unfolding in the future, where armed-to-the-teeth and highly-organized paramilitary forces composed of "militiamen" congregate in an area to prevent legitimate law enforcement activity. This type of resistance is in no way limited in its potential application to interfering with the BLM's duties, and can be applied to interfere with, or even completely undermine and prevent, all manner of legitimate Federal, State and local law enforcement activity.
I will continue to update this article as the situation further unfolds. As Harry Reid (who is, to bolster my bona fides as an unbiased observer of this situation, one of my least favorite politicians, nay human beings, ever) said, this situation isn't over!
This is not a safe way to simultaneously exercise your First and Second Amendment rights!
I'm guessing "Clueless Cliven" has read this!
In this clip, Cliven Bundy tells Alex Jones that the BLM should be disarmed.
Wikipedia's Description of the Sovereign Citizen Movement
According to Wikipedia:
"The sovereign citizen movement is a loose grouping of American litigants, commentators, tax protesters and financial scheme promoters. [Sovereigns believe] they are answerable only to common law and are not subject to any statutes or proceedings at the federal, state, or municipal levels, [and/or] that they do not recognize U.S. currency and that they are "free of any legal constraints". ....
Wiki's entry on the Sovereign Citizen Movement goes on to describe how one Sovereign fared in a criminal case wherein he raised defenses based on Sovereign theories:
In a criminal case in 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington noted:
Defendant  is apparently a member of a group loosely styled “sovereign citizens.” The Court has deduced this from a number of [his] peculiar habits. , like [Defendant], sovereign citizens are fascinated by capitalization. They appear to believe that capitalizing names has some sort of legal effect... [Defendant] appears to believe that by capitalizing “United States,” he is referring to a different entity than the federal government. For better or for worse, it’s the same country. , sovereign citizens ... love grandiose legalese. .... Defendant evinces, like all sovereign citizens, a belief that the federal government is not real and that he does not have to follow the law. .... The Court therefore feels some measure of responsibility to inform Defendant that all the fancy legal-sounding things he has read on the internet are make-believe......
(See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_citizen; internal citations and quotations omitted).
This is long and painful to watch, but primary sources are always the best way to get an objective look at something
According to the FBI and SPLC, law enforcement officers would be wise to call in for backup when pulling over a vehicle like this one
Add "Racist" to Clueless Cliven's Resume!
Per Business Insider at http://www.businessinsider.com/cliven-bundy-racist-comments-slaves-ranch-2014-4 , Clueless Cliven has demonstrated that he is not only a dangerous anti-government zealot who selfishly puts the lives of others at risk for his own, self-serving purposes, but is also an unambiguous and filthy racist!