Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bundy in Nevada

The social media beats TV movies for entertainment pleasure.

Hasn't everyone been watching the cattle drama in Nevada?

Some dirt poor cattle rancher is being forcefully evicted from his ancestral home by Russian troops wearing US Army Ranger uniforms and carrying sniper rifles.

This terminally ill, blind man, confined to a wheelchair, only wants to live out his last few days in peace.

That about covers it for me. Except for the dying, blind, and peaceful parts. He is ill. Should be confined to a wheelchair via restraints.

So the story goes that Harry Reid wants the ranch so he can sell it to China along with the Grand Canyon. Oh, the story just changed again. Obama's uncle in Cuba wants the land for a solar power plant being built by Solyndra. Ops! The story changed again. A huge oil and natural gas deposit was found under the land by a desert tortoise. The tortoise, along with a hare named Bugs, have made huge campaign contributions to Hillary Clinton. Ops! The story changed again. It's all about water. Seems water has been bubbling out of the ground and drowned a thousand tortoises. And, a hare named Bugs. A consortium headed by Duck Dynasty's Daffy Duck, wants control of the water before a Saudi Prince buys it and builds a floating city.

Naw. The guy wants to graze his cows on land owned by his Mormon family since the 1870's. Since it is his land, he pays grazing fees to the county but won't pay them to the federal government which doesn't own the land. I have to say that again because it is so funny.

A man claiming to own some grazing land is paying grazing fees to the county. I couldn't make that up.

Ops. The story is changing again.

The family never owned the land in question. The Bundy family didn't graze any cows on land in question until 1954! In 1954, the family first applied to the federal government for grazing rights. To some rangers in Utah, the cows are considered feral. Utah's Congressional Delegation even came out against the cows. Those ranchers don't want the cows sold in or around Utah where feral cows are considered a danger to established herds. It seems not all cows are created equal. Some have pedigrees. Meet exacting standards of health.

The feral cow doesn't have an exact genetic heritage. Might have infectious diseases. Might be unsafe to eat.

Then, there's the other issue. The land in question is a desert. It covers 180,000 square miles. How does this guy Bundy water his herd of 1,000 cows?

Well, he has water rights.

Now that just blows me. Or, blows me away. Water rights in Nevada are far more valuable than cows. The starting price for water rights is $7,000 per acre foot. The rights can be sold. The water can be sold.

So I would kill the cows and sell my water to California, sit on my sofa wearing a white hat, and drink Mexican beer if I were Mr. Bundy.

This version of the story is deeper than ... a well diggers grave. Bad, bad pun.

Nevada began issuing 'water rights' in 1866. Years before Bundy's family arrived. Ouch!

So if Bundy has 'water rights,' those came through some legal process and not through ancestral claims or homesteading claims.

So where's the beef?

The man owes over a million dollars in grazing fees. He refuses to pay any fees except fees from the county which he claims --- sometimes --- really owns his land.

Nut case? A gun nut and cattle nut case.

Yes, there's been an armed confrontation of some sort. Anti-government forces have deployed. I think those are called survivalist or militia.

What will be the outcome?

Bundy loses and innocent people die.

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