The stand-off over Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's refusal to pay public-lands grazing fees has energized a lot of people who are starting to think that the federal government is oppressive.
Maybe so. You can count on federal law-enforcement to be clumsy and oppressive, and idea of a "First Amendment Zone" is ludicrous. The entire country is a "First Amendment Zone."
But still. This is an ongoing story that the anti-federal zealots have just recently discovered, but I think they picked the wrong poster boy.
Consider the timeline. It goes back for decades.
In my opinion, here we have a patriarchal Mormon who thinks that God gave the land to him to abuse however he chooses. Range management? Heck no! Habitat protection? Heck no! Paying the Animal Unit Month fees? Heck no!
Besides, this particular anti-federal government narrative just won't get traction, as compared to, say, NSA spying on your emails. Two reasons:
1. It involves agriculture, and 97 percent of the people in this country feel no emotional connection to agriculture.
2. It involves Nevada. What is Nevada to most Americans? Las Vegas and Area 51? They probably do not even know that there are ranches in Nevada, aside from those non-agricultural establishments with "ranch" as part of their name.
The Bureau of Land Management should have removed his cattle long ago for non-payment, but they have been politically cowed (pun intended) by people like Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.). As a former BLM contractor, I have seen how sensitive to the political winds that agency can be.
UPDATE: "Sorting Fact from Fiction on Chinese Solar in Nevada." Or, "Look at the map, people."