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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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John Banks holds up a banner during a rally in support of Cliven Bundy near Bunkerville Nev. Monday, April 7, 2014, 2014. The Bureau of Land Management has begun to round up what they call "trespass cattle" that rancher Cliven Bundy has been grazing in the Gold Butte area 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)
Punditsphere can’t get enough Cliven ...

... although the Nevada rancher’s 15 minutes of fame, or at least of usefulness to the cause of the Sagebrush Rebellion, may have come to an end.

A Defiant Rancher Savors the Audience That Rallied to His Side — Adam Nagourney | The New York Times

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" ... He said he would continue holding a daily news conference; on Saturday, it drew one reporter and one photographer, so Mr. Bundy used the time to officiate at what was in effect a town meeting with supporters, discussing, in a long, loping discourse, the prevalence of abortion, the abuses of welfare and his views on race.

" ‘I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,’ he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, ‘and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

" ‘And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?’ he asked. ‘They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.’ ... "

Cliven Bundy on ‘the Negro’: Why his words aren’t a huge surprise — Patrik Jonsson | The Christian Science Monitor

"The Nevada rancher who took on the BLM now posits that ‘the Negro’ may be better off as slaves. The link between racially offensive views and a certain strain of far-right politics seen at the Cliven Bundy ranch is well established, analysts say. ..."

Ranchers like Cliven Bundy are moochers — Matthew Yglesias | Vox

" ... From day one, I’ve tried to imagine the reaction if a young black man living in my gentrifying neighborhood reacted to some adverse change in government policy — perhaps funding cuts led a bus line in the neighborhood to get shut down — by stealing a bus. Then when the cops come to take the bus back, he brings out fifty friends, some of them armed, and start talking about putting the women out front so they’ll be shot first. My overwhelming presupposition is that he’d end up shot dead, along with his armed buddies, and that would about be the end of it. There would be no partisan political controversy about whether or not it is appropriate to react to changes in WMATA’s route planning with violence. ..."

What Cliven Bundy’s comments on race reveal — Halimah Abdullah | CNN

"Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy’s remarks about whether the "Negro" fared better under slavery represents the latest in a series of incendiary racial comments from a new crop of folk heroes embraced in some conservative circles. ..."

State would manage land better than BLM — Las Vegas Review Journal Editorial

"If the U.S. Bureau of Land Management were a business, its Nevada executives would be fired. They’ve managed to lose money on vast assets capable of generating massive amounts of wealth.

"Of course, the BLM isn’t a business. It’s part of the federal government, which cares nothing about delivering a return on equity to its shareholders, the taxpaying citizens of the United States. ..."

[Of course, there are those of us who might argue that viewing all that land as "vast assets" that should be delivering a "return on equity" is precisely what the BLM should not be doing.]

Showdown at the BLM Corral — Jay Meehan | The Park Record

" ... Where our hero is Tim DeChristopher, who disrupted a BLM federal oil-lease auction bent on despoiling lands adjacent to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, the leading man in their patriotic drama seems to be a Nevada rancher by the name of Cliven Bundy, who has refused to acknowledge the Fed’s right to oversee Western lands at all.

"Not a difficult proposition to arrive at when you factor in the million bucks he saves by not paying grazing fees on land he maintains his family "settled" before the BLM first saw the light of day. ..."

The U.S. can’t let Cliven Bundy win his range war — Los Angeles Times Editorial

"Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is being portrayed by some as a man of principle, an iconoclast who should be admired for his willingness to stand up to the federal government. But in fact he’s a petty scofflaw who seems to think that he has the right to pick and choose which rules must be obeyed. ..."

Talk over fed lands dispute — Ogden Standard-Examiner Editorial

"So much of the debate over federal lands is mired in paranoiac political rhetoric. Some who want state sovereignty over lands controlled by the federal government sometimes mutter about "jackbooted government thugs" or envision future "armed struggles" with the feds. On the other side, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, the U.S. Senate majority leader, called tax scofflaw Cliven Bundy — a Nevada rancher who is engaging in civil disobedience in a dispute with the feds over grazing fees — a "domestic terrorist." That’s a foolish statement from Reid, who should conduct himself with more dignity. ..."

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