Many of Cliven Bundy’s supporters in the Bunkerville showdown last weekend were saying things like, “It’s not about the tortoise,” and making the issue of long term trespass into a sign that the U.S. is headed towards fascism under a overreaching regime.

But, see, it kind of is about the tortoise. The threatened Mojave desert tortoise that has federally-designated habitat right where Mr. Bundy wanted to keep grazing. Grazing cows that imperil the tortoise. Just like Mr. Bundy’s cows’ ancestors did for many generations.

The Bunkerville allotment is in the Gold Butte area of southeastern Nevada. The Gold Butte area is designated as critical habitat. Critical habitat is land that scientists have determined is essential to a species continued existence. Essential. This means that without protection and sensitive land use, the species could go extinct. The desert tortoise has existed for about 50 million years. That’s quite a bit further back than the Mormon settlers occupied the lands along the Virgin River.

The conflict between cows and tortoises probably started right away, but the rest of the Mojave Desert was still wide open and desert tortoises had other places to live. As the desert filled in, with Las Vegas, with strip malls, with power lines and highways, the federal lands remained relatively protected from harmful development, but not from cows.

Cows like Mr. Bundy’s.

Cows trample young tortoises, damage and destroy tortoise burrows and shrubs used for shelter, cause soil compaction, decrease the diversity of vegetation, remove critical forage, and spread non-native grasses that crowd out the native vegetation that tortoises depend on. Cows compete with desert tortoises for the nutritionally superior plants. Cows spread weeds that result in the subsequent diminished food availability for desert tortoises. Weed composition also affects fire intervals and intensity, which affects tortoises through habitat conversion, destruction, and further weed spread, in addition to direct mortality (i.e. burned tortoises). Some of these weed seeds get impaled in tortoise jaws, causing infection and difficulty chewing.

Cows need water if they are going to roam around the desert, but artificial water developments threaten desert tortoise by attracting tortoise predators such as ravens, and by and increasing weedy species and decreasing the foods tortoise prefer. Poorly designed water developments can also trap tortoises and cause them to drown. Same for the grates in roads (“cattleguards”) that prevent livestock from crossing fencelines. Tortoises drop down into those grates and can’t get out.

And what about that oft-repeated anecdote about tortoises benefitting from cow flops? We call bullshit. We’re not saying it didn’t happen. We’re saying that it happened because the cows ate the food the tortoise would have preferred. If tortoises needed cow flops, they would’ve been long gone by the time the cows arrived in North America.

With any luck, and the cooperation of the American public, tortoises will be here long after the last cows are gone from western North America too.

 

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About The Author

Greta Anderson

Greta Anderson is a plant nerd, a desert rat, and a fan of wildness. She is the Deputy Director of Western Watersheds Project.

70 Responses to Cliven Bundy’s Shell Game: Why it Matters to the Tortoise that BLM Finishes what it Started

  1. avatar Chris Clarke says:

    You probably know this already, but for the benefit of readers the source of the notion that tortoises eat dung was a non-peer-reviewed letter by Vernon Bostick in the journal Rangelands in 1990. The only data Bostick had to hand was a correlation between livestock density and tortoise density in some studies. The notion that this correlation was due to tortoises taking advantage of dung as a food source was entirely conjecture on Bostick’s part with no observations to back it up. Since then, there have been zero peer-reviewed studies citing any real-world observations of desert tortoises consuming cattle dung.

    According to my sources, the Smithsonian’s Olav Oftedahl did tort nutritional studies in the 1990s at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center that involved trying to persuade tortoises to eat dung. Oftedahl was unsuccessful. He didn’t publish, but his work is known among Mojave tort biologists.

    Besides which, if the allegations were true, there would be a whole lot of eager fat tortoises following right-wing bloviators around.

    • avatar Greta says:

      Thanks Chris for that background on the tortoise eating cow flops. I see that repeated so often, even in agency documents, but I just knew it wasn’t true.

      • avatar Michael J. Connor says:

        Chris:

        It was Mary Allen who did the work at the Smithsonian. There is summary in the Proc. 1998 Desert Tortoise Council Symp.

        Mike

      • avatar Henry Blake says:

        But there is no evidence that it is not true either, and something caused the numbers to correlate. If the cows were damaging to the tortoise, then why did the numbers go the opposite way?

        • avatar Clutch says:

          Henry,

          I recently read that tortoise populations are typically higher in grazing land because the tortoises benefit from the increased availability of water intended for the cattle.

          For instance, irrigation ditches and leaky pipe and spillover from tanks, etc..

          These sources dry up when the rancher removes his cattle and the water is no longer being pumped.

          I can’t provide you any proof as I didn’t paste it to my notes…but it was one reason suggested.

          • avatar Mark L says:

            Yep, or it could be that cattle cause the ground to be crushed in paths that force the tortoises to come above ground near them, adding to the visual count (I didn’t check on how they counted in study). Just a thought.

            • avatar Clutch says:

              Mark L,

              I do not recall ever reading anything along the lines of your hypothesis.

              What do you base it on?

              I have never seen a tortoise burrow in the path of a cattle trail. Burrows are 1-2 meters in depth. Are you of the belief that every time a cow walks on top of a burrow that it collapses and displaces the tortoise? Please provide a bit more insight and some basis for your claim.

              Do you spend much time in their habitat? Have you made these observations?

        • avatar sp says:

          Water.

    • avatar Sheri says:

      Thanks for this info. I started searching for articles about the tortoise and cattle, and found exactly 2. One published (no date but the citations go up to the 1980’s)discussing tortoise forage needs and noting lack of firm research but did not say they eat poop. The other was Bostick’s article about the cow dung.

    • avatar Jem says:

      Can you please post a link to any study showing a decrease in tortoise populations as a result of cattle grazing?

      One study I have seen was published in the DTCC journals paid for by the BLM. It showed no negative effects of cattle grazing to tortoises.
      http://www.deserttortoise.org/abstracts/abstracts2000/2000abs28.html

      Read the first two sentences and the last sentence.

      The most recent study in the Sonoran tortoise habitat was done in 2010 titled “Meyer et al 2010” Four test plots of cattle/tortoise populations were studied. High cattle density, Medium cattle density, low cattle density and a rest rotation plot.

      The one year study showed the highest tortoise density was with the highest cattle density.

      The hypothesis of tortoise benefiting from cattle is not so unusual when you open yourself to the possibility of a symbiotic relationship.

      It seems there is a lot of myth around cattle grazing harming tortoise populations and no hard evidence.

      One last study was the Beaver Mountain study over 26 years. During that time cattle was reduced by the BLM by 100% and tortoise populations decreased by 74%. This is known as the Woodbury Hardy study.

      Once again, it would be interesting to see any link showing a study showing a decrease in tortoise populations due to cattle grazing.

      So far the evidence points to just the opposite.

      Even the DTCC admits that tortoise populations are now severely threatened. And this is after the removal of 52 ranches and tens of thousands of cattle.

      Anyone starting to see a pattern?

  2. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    There is an article in the Western Journalist that supposedly proves that multiple head of cattle were slaughtered by BLM officers. It appears to me that the five pictures are of the same dead bovine from five different positions. Check out the twigs on the ground and the smudge of dirt (?) on the lower jaw.

      • avatar Jennifer says:

        I am a lover of animals. That video was painful to watch. Bundy aside, why would the BLM agents kill the cattle?

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Jennifer – I’m still trying piece together how the hell Bundy managed to scoff at the government (ignore the courts, judgment, fees etc. for years) and still manage his illegal (?) cattle operation 🙂

          Fact is though, the video spoke volumes of the conditions in those areas – nothing green short of bushes (and this was springtime) no grass and what most of us would consider desert, was fit only for animals use to living in those conditions.

          I’m amazed that BLM allows grazing on these lands, period.

          The video while pointing out tracks from recent BLM activity wasn’t going to point out years of trails from cattle going to and from man made watering holes.

          Re: the bulls shot? Know people that jump right in to help ranching neighbors move, handle cattle, but, want nothing to do with working the bulls. Even bulls that have been worked with since birth, can go off at a moment’s notice and that’s a ton of flesh you don’t want to be around when that happens (ever watch the NRF finals?)

          Can’t even imagine what it must of been like trying to work a bunch of mostly feral cattle, in that landscape, down to a central location.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            But the BLM contracted shooters felt threatened from a helicopter? Shooting a bull five times?

            Whatever is the case here, even with Mr. Bundy being in the wrong about not paying his grazing fees, I think whoever was involved in this fiasco needs to be sued for destruction of property. This was absolutely not necessary, and a big mistake on the part of the government, no matter how the race card is played or by resorting to ridicule. I am absolutely repulsed by the way the media has handled this.

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Jennifer,

        Have you ever been to the BLM land just south of Nevada state highway 130 (the Riverside Road)? I mean to the Gold Butte area?

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        Jennifer,

        I can easily see how this could have happened. Range cattle are often pretty aggressive, especially the bulls set out to mate the cows. I faced some of them, and I can easily see how you might have to shoot one of them.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Yes. There are just two dead. The small one under the gate might well have been crushed by or next to the gate. I think this evidence is for those who have never seen range cattle.

    • avatar Theo Chu says:

      Reminds me of the many pictures of scavenged winter kill ungulates floating around all blamed on wolves.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        Reminds me Theo Chu of cattle that are “lost’ yearly for many, many other reasons out here in the west due to weather, calving, disease etc.

    • avatar MJ says:

      From the article:

      With elected officials, including Democrat Sen. Harry Reid, declaring the standoff is “not over,” many worry the government’s apparent predilection for violence could easily spill over to include human targets.

      And so this is Western Journalism. Ouch.

    • avatar Jamie says:

      They should have shot all his cattle way sooner.

  3. avatar Mike says:

    Let me start out by saying that I originally sided with Cliven Bundy thinking that the government simply wanted to infringe upon this man’s livelihood and drive ultimately drive him off his land. By Bundy’s own admission, he OWES (according to him) some $300K + in “grazing fees.” Well the rest is semantics, i.e., whom he owes that money to. The fact is, he owes it and is not paying it and that’s wrong any way you look at it.

    That said, I read with interest your very well written article and I have one question for you: Had Bundy been paying his grazing fees all these years, would you still want his cattle off that land?

    • avatar Greta says:

      Yes. Bundy’s cows need to come off for the sake of tortoise habitat. His failure to pay the fees in 1993 was just the beginning. The Bunkerville allotment (which he no longer had the permit to) was retired in 1998 for tortoise. He owes for the intervening years of trespass grazing, not years of legitimate grazing.

      • avatar Clutch says:

        Greta:

        “Bundys cows need to come off for the sake of [desert] tortoise habitat.”

        I am glad Mike thought to ask this question. Do many people on this forum share Greta’s view?

        My next question would be why should Bundy (had he maintained grazing fees) be allowed zero access to range he holds Water Rights on while numerous large-scale solar power facilities are allowed to destroy tortoise habitat with wreckless abandon? Or do many here apply the zero tolerance of “Use” to all commercial interests that interface with the desert tortoise habitat?

        • avatar sp says:

          Bundy has no water rights for BLM land. He holds water rights for the 160 acres that he owns.
          Bundy has been cited numerous times for contamination riparian areas and illegally altering water ways.

      • avatar oatka says:

        “Bundy’s cows need to come off for the sake of tortoise habitat.”

        That land is needed as an “environmental offset” for the solar plant. i.e. You can kill the tortoises with your industry as long as you give us another piece of land where they can live. The deal has fallen through, for now, but you can bet that someone else will come along.

        The usual deal is for the BLM to seize the land, sell it to a third party for a pittance, who then sells it to the solar (or whomever) people for BIG bucks, who then donate it to the BLM as the offset.

        And somewhere in the wings, politicians, or their offspring, are collecting “fees” to facilitate the deal.

        • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

          Oatka,

          quoted from Greta,

          “Bundy’s cows need to come off for the sake of tortoise habitat.”

          then Oatka wrote, That land is needed as an “environmental offset” for the solar plant. i.e. You can kill the tortoises with your industry as long as you give us another piece of land where they can live. The deal has fallen through, for now, but you can bet that someone else will come along. The usual deal is for the BLM to seize the land, sell it to a third party for a pittance, who then sells it to the solar (or whomever) people for BIG bucks, who then donate it to the BLM as the offset. And somewhere in the wings, politicians, or their offspring, are collecting “fees” to facilitate the deal.

          The land with Bundy’s trespass cattle is indeed needed as an environmental offset for solar plants, but I am not aware of environmental groups saying this makes the disturbance from the solar project(s) OK.The Gold Butte area is important for reasons more than as tortoise habitat. There are other wildlife there. A substantial part of the Virgin Mountains is designated Wilderness. The area is quite scenic and it is likely there are rare plants that don’t fare well with the vast surplus of cattle that has developed under trespass conditions.

          The BLM does not seize land, much less then sell it to a third party. This is already BLM land. Then too, the BLM does not have to sell land either in order to allow a solar development. The development takes place under a BLM permit on public land that does not transfer title to the land. It is leased. The permit will specify long term surface occupancy requirements and have some kind of lease termination requirements. The BLM, not politicians, will collect the fees. The fees will go to the U.S. Treasury for uses that people with think are good, bad, or indifferent.

  4. avatar Bill in NC says:

    So, if the BLM doesn’t want another confrontation, can they obtain a lien against the herd (likely Bundy’s only significant asset) administratively, or does the BLM have to sue him civilly?

    Once the herd is attached (by whichever approach,) I believe the cattle would be worthless to Bundy even if he retained physical possession.

    Any buyer would essentially have to pay twice, once to Bundy and once to the BLM (to satisfy the lien,) and what buyer would be willing to do that?

    • avatar Clutch says:

      At this point, the primary goal of the BLM is to remove the trespass cattle to prevent the cattle from causing further destruction to Public Land.

      As you describe, a lien against Bundy assets would not expedite the goal of removing the trespass cattle.

      Atleast thats my two cents.

  5. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    Bundy and Grazing

    In the video Cliff Gardner, of northern Nevada, claims that there was a hearing with the Interior Board of Land Appeals where both sides presented evidence as to the affects of cattle on tortoise and the ranchers proved their point; cattle are beneficial.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eooqqf26gsE&feature=player_embedded

    I searched all the records for the Interior Board of Land Appeals from the time the tortoise was declared endangered to the present. There was no record of such action between Bundy and the BLM.

  6. avatar SDowns says:

    Could someone point me to the EIS studies (or relevant info) that the BLM used to make their density determinations between cows\tortoise? One complaint that I have read in this whole issue was the BLM has not publicized if there is benefit from grazing reduction as they should have had enough time by now to determine if there have been population increases.I did not realize the range land article was not peer reviewed and may be crap (pun intended). It was the only info that I could find and it seemed relevant. Thanks, Scott

    • avatar Yvette says:

      I did a quick search and found several published research articles from USGS, USFWS, BLM, and notes from a presentation(?) from 1979 meeting of the Western Section, Wildlife Society.

      http://www.rangebiome.org/cowfree/gallizioli/EffectsOfLivestockGrazing79.htm

      USFWS, Revised Recovery Plan
      http://www.fws.gov/nevada/desert_tortoise/documents/recovery_plan/rrp%20for%20the%20mojave%20desert%20tortoise%20-%20may%202011.pdf

      USFLS:
      https://www.fort.usgs.gov/sites/default/files/products/publications/2722/2722.pdf

      BLM Report
      http://www.blm.gov/ca/pdfs/cdd_pdfs/dta.pdf

      None of these are the actual EIS studies.

      • avatar SDowns says:

        Yvette, thank you for your info but it still leaves me “on the fence”. I throw my hat into issues like this from time to time, but hope I do so on the side of my version of “common sense”. Last issue that irked my core was the BLMs decision to create their own version of “right” for the Gasco EIS for drilling near Desolation Canyon. I am pro-drilling but was appalled at the final decision of what I considered an exceptionally high number of permitted wells from the BLM. I mention this only to provide a backdrop of my beliefs that can fall on either side of the political fence and I have a distrust of the BLM decision making process.
        I read the links you posted, but had to look back into the cited articles to find the quoted information. I have yet to find the studies that I would expect to see in an issue that involves such large tracts of land that impact so many people. Is there a study that shows “here is what happened to the tortoise population when we removed the cattle and left them recover for X many years”?
        One of the articles cited from your post left me with only questions about how this issue has been researched when it said ”
        Grazing. Grazing by cattle and sheep has several potential direct and indirect effects on tortoise populations. These include: mortality from crushing of animals or their burrows, destruction of vegetation, alteration of soil,augmentation of forage (e.g., presence of livestock
        droppings, and stimulation of vegetative growth or nutritive value of forage plants), and competition for food. There is weak evidence for declines in tortoise density directly associated with grazing, but its evaluation is complicated by the presence of multiple factors affecting
        tortoises at most sites and the difficulty of being able to measure accurately tortoise densities to assay direct effects (Luke et al. 1991, Oldemeyer 1994). There are observations of sheep or cattle stepping on tortoises or their burrows (Berry 1978, Nicholson and Humphreys 1981, Avery
        1998). Cattle may out compete tortoises for some seasonally important forage species (i.e., desert dandelions, Malacothrix glabrata; Avery 1998), but the few studies testing for it do not show strong effects of competition (Tracy 1996). Past studies have shown dietary overlap, a condition necessary, but not sufficient, to show competition (Avery 1998). There are only two studies showing sheep and tortoises eat some of the same food items (Hansen et al. 1976, Nicholson and Humphreys 1981). However, there are no studies that tested if sheep compete with tortoises for food. If livestock significantly affect tortoise populations, it is most likely through habitat alteration. Sheep and cattle are known to compact soil, trample vegetation, and cause observable changes in the composition and structure of the plant and animal communities (Nicholson and Humphreys 1981, Webb and Stielstra 1979, Berry 1978, Brooks 1995, Avery et al. in prep.). No evidence is available to indicate that sheep or cattle benefit tortoises by
        providing food or improving habitat condition in the Mojave Desert (cf. Bostick 1990).

        This info does not convince me of anything except grazing leads to an unnatural environment for the tortoise that has not been determined to be detrimental? The pro cow Bostick article still seems to have the only empirical data compiled over a longer period of time even though it was not peer reviewed? Any info appreciated. Thanks for the time. Scott

        • avatar Clutch says:

          Scott,

          Thanks for such a thought-provoking post and a fresh approach to a subject I had considered a foregone conclusion.

          Please do revisit this thread as your investigation continues.

          • avatar SDowns says:

            Clutch it seems to me there are some very smart people who have spent years of their life studying wildlife issues such as this. Who was I to know that the tortoise is actually only an “indicator species” used to judge the ecosystem as a whole or that people could have heated debate about what organization provided the most realistic view how a species is deserved to be classified as endangered. I am unfortunately cynical in nature and feel there are outside influences that have brought the situation to where it is currently. I wonder simple questions like what will happen to the range land without the cattle as the invasion of foreign grasses has surely occurred and without grazing cattle will the chance of wildfire will increase?
            Needless to say there are many people in this country that are oblivious to what ever the underlying causes are and see only a left versus right controversy. I called into a local talk radio show the other morning because the host didn’t even consider the tortoise as part of the equation, nor did he know that was the underlying reason the rancher had to remove his cattle.
            Unfortunately the cynic in me foresees the outcome of this event to result in changes in gun laws or the endangered species act as the political spin takes hold. I hope I am wrong. I am still trying to find the information that is easily digestible for a layman like myself that allows me to speak intelligently and simply on a very complex issue.If I find anything I consider appropriate I will post. Help from this audience is always greatly appreciated. Thanks, Scott

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              Needless to say there are many people in this country that are oblivious to what ever the underlying causes are and see only a left versus right controversy.

              Yes, it’s a shame that it always boils down to this and all the issues get lost. There are plenty of dishonest and self-serving leaders on both sides.

              On a more pleasant note, Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

        • avatar Dave K says:

          “Is there a study that shows “here is what happened to the tortoise population when we removed the cattle and left them recover for X many years”?”

          This is addressed in the non-peer reviewed article by Bostick.

          https://journals.uair.arizona.edu/index.php/rangelands/article/viewFile/10776/10049

          I don’t think it deserves to be dismissed so lightly as some here suggest.

  7. avatar Randy Gaebe says:

    Here’s a good read that contradicts this article. http://www.reviewjournal.com/vin-suprynowicz/more-cows-more-tortoises

    I don’t understand how two sides could be so far apart on an issue. Somebody’s got an incorrect hypothesis.

  8. avatar Clutch says:

    So I still don’t quite understand why this specific 160,000 sq acres that Bundy had been grazing on had to be the exact ground for the mitigation lands?

    “In December, 1998 Clark County purchased the grazing rights to the Bunkerville Allotment for $375,000 and retired them for the benefit and protection of the desert tortoise. Clark County also purchased the range improvements at the request of the BLM. Clark County’s purchase of the grazing rights and the retirement of those rights was and is a principal part of the mitigation required under the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (“CCMSHCP”) and associated Incidental Take Permit, which allow for the destruction of habitat and “take” on 145,000 acres of private land in Clark County. To date, approximately 78,260 acres of take have occurred.

    http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/public_lands/deserts/nevada/pdfs/Cattle-grazing-in-Gold-Butte-area-11-29-2010.pdf

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Clutch,

      I don’t think they are the same. I think the now abolished Bunkerville grazing allotment is inside of a larger area of critical tortoise habitat. The proposed mitigation did not apply just to the Bunkerville allotment. By the time of the letter from CBD Bundy’s cattle were foraging over a much larger area than the old allotment

  9. avatar Tony Wilson says:

    Regional Mitigation
    Strategy for the
    Dry Lake Solar
    Energy Zone
    Technical Note 444

    Gold Butte is addressed on Pg 36…..

  10. avatar JEFF E says:

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/57832176-90/federal-blm-washington-bundy.html.csp?page=1

    what is clear is that the misrepresentation of Bundy’s family history has become de facto information in the media because there is little or none real reporters today.
    All they do now days is regurgitate sound bites.

  11. avatar Yvette says:

    I thought the Bundy fiasco would simmer down by now, but it seems to be growing. Some comments I’ve read elsewhere are scary in the fact that so many people seem to not care enough to try and do a little bit of research to inform themselves. I’m also amazed at how many people lack even a very basic idea of grazing history, open range, and federal lands…..not even a little, itty bit. I hardly turn on a TV, so I don’t know what is being said on the news, but there certainly are a lot of people spouting off opinions that seem to parrot libertarian and right wing agendas.

    I hope I’m wrong, but it seems the BLM has created a monster. Given how the BLM has held other ranchers responsible to be in compliance with grazing permits, or even obtaining a permit, and how the BLM has responded to the two Western Shoshone sisters, Mary and Carrie Dann, and Western Shoshone rancher Raymond Yowell. Now what happened to them is getting attention in the media.

    Additionally, since the Western Shoshone actually did own 126 million acres of land through the Treaty of Ruby Valley, they pre-date any settlers or Mormons. They were encroached upon; they never signed the land away. However, the Dann sisters and the Western Shoshone fought and lost that case, but that is to be expected. It’s pretty much guaranteed that no Native American Tribe will ever win a legal battle over tribal land with the U.S. of America. Right or wrong, in the legal sense, that will never happen.

    There are many, ‘should’ve, would’ve, could’ve’s in this mess. Yes the BLM should have handled the removal of Bundy’s cattle long ago. They didn’t. They probably should not have backed off last week. They did. In the process, they created a monster, IMO.

    And the Shoshone? They will never ever have the Treaty of Ruby Valley honored. Pandora’s Box is open, and there is no way in hell that any of that land will go into state ownership. The BLM is going to have to treat Bundy and his Mormon brood just like they treat any other rancher, Indian or not, because if Bundy slides on this and the state goes for what is, by treaty, Western Shoshone land, then the fight is on. What a freaking mess.

  12. avatar Ralph Maughan says:

    A reporter from the LA Times called Ken and I this morning and has an article up. I was interested to learn that a group of self-styled militia are hanging out at Bundy’s melon farm next to Nevada state highway 130 just southwest of Bunkerville.

    It would be interesting to learn if they are just loitering or if they are also harassing citizens who come by to enjoy their public land? A road leaves there to take folks up into the Gold Butte scenic heights. Loitering I’d bet, but after a while they could provoke an incident? The place will soon be well over 100 degrees and life on the lawn could get boring.

    http://tinyurl.com/m8ux3bo link to LA Times. This reporter seems kind of friendly to Bundy with his implied criticism of Harry Reid in the Reid/Dean Heller TV program. Reid called them domestic terrorists. They are not that yet not having shot or kidnaped anyone, but Heller called them “patriots.” Heller is one of the Repubs trying to grab our public lands. If Bundy is a patriot, the word has lost all meaning.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Seems to me if Bundy is a patriot, then then drug lords must be almost like George Washington.

    • avatar Jay says:

      Probably playing bodyguard for Criminal Bundy in case the U.S. Marshals descend upon his hacienda.

  13. avatar Ralph Maughan says:

    Come on down and party in an unlimited way!
    https://www.facebook.com/www.bundyfest.org

    • avatar skyrim says:

      This could provoke a few of the gun totin’ red necks. This guy has some “big uns” to step up in an “unprovoking” way by doing this. Gotta luv it!
      The burning man crowd should be a good fit if they show up.

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        skyrim,

        Well they will just to face the combined forces of 240 bands and the Hells Angels plus the LA gay choir.

        I think it is tongue in cheek. It’s got to be, maybe, huh? what do you think? 😉

        • avatar skyrim says:

          No doubt about it. But no one will hear that fact from me…:-) 🙂
          ( The photo of Cliven sure made him look younger than his 67 (?) years, and suspiciously similar to a related criminal of 40 years past.)
          You never know what may happen if that clip gets enough play…..

  14. avatar Michelle says:

    Jon Stewart had a wonderful response to this whole situation. It can be found at http://thedailyshow.cc.com/full-episodes/ig155d/april-21–2014—gina-mccarthy

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Larry Zuckerman and all,

      I am glad now that in the interview I was sure to explain that this, not just Bundy, is a white man’s movement. I hardly suspected the next day would show the racial element so clearly.

      I wait to hear him make known his views on gender.

      Nonetheless, I am interested in the potential land grab Bundy’s remaining, erstwhile, and arm’s length supporters contemplate.

  15. avatar Mike says:

    Fox News, and all the Bundy supporters have been nullified today with word that Bundy is a racist.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/04/cliven-bundy-racist-comments-politicians-rand-paul

    • avatar skyrim says:

      Report from the Front:
      I just cruised the Bundy encampment about an hour ago. Around 20-25 outfits including trailers, motorhomes, etc in 2 seperate areas. One right on the highway and one down and away by the Bundy Melon patch.
      I don’t get it. At least a dozen US Flags wavin’ in the breeze. Is this the same tyrannical US of A this group of misfits doesn’t recognize?
      Also, I know next to nuthin’ about ranching, but this doesn’t look like the kind of ground I’d want to to let a million dollars worth of my assets wander around and find sustenance on their own.
      Is this responsible animal care? Small patches of green grass along the banks of the river with maybe 30-40 head scattered over 10 miles of the bottom lands.
      In a few weeks when temps touch the 110-115 degree range we’ll see the depth of commitment these so called Patriots possess.
      No Confederate Flags and that surprised me.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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