Watch on

It’s true that the media has been reporting the BLM decided to retreat over safety concerns at the Bundy Ranch. In reality, it seems that the feds were unwilling to back down or return the cattle until after they faced off in an armed standoff with the citizens. This footage and the footage of others, as well as first person reports, confirms this. It’s very surreal to see people standing up to the government, and reminding us that the only power they hold is that which we are willing to relinquish. This is an important moment in American history to reflect on the importance for all humans to have the right to bear arms to protect themselves and their property. This may not be the end of the situation for the Bundy family, but the message they have shown the rest of America with their resistance will not be soon forgotten.

Cliven Bundy needs a civics class.

You can have Red States remove voting booths, reduce voting times, make it harder to vote on every level and Republicans never mention rights or oppressive government.

But ask a fat-cat rancher who has been mooching off government land for 20 years and Conservatives question the existence of the United States.

Further context: The land is federal land, has been since 1848. By his own admission his “ancestral claim” only goes back to 1877. So when his ancestors started grazing their cattle on that land, it had already been federal land for 29 years.


Angel Peak Scenic Area, south of Bloomfield, NM, is a bit like the Grand Canyon in that it doesn’t look like much until you actually get there.  Angel Peak itself is over 7,000 feet tall, so you can see it from miles away.  But from a distance it just looks like a smallish, rocky mountain. 

When you get close, the plateau falls away and you see the 10,000 acres of spectacular, surreal badlands that make up the scenic area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  The area has been open to natural gas development for decades.  Drilling and extraction operations are plainly visible, but the landscape is still awe inspiring.  And the energy infrastructure makes the canyon itself very accessible (though driving in calls for GPS, plenty of water, and a high clearance vehicle).

Last summer was the first time I noticed a new kind of development in the area near Angel Peak.  It didn’t stand out much at the time, but it was called a landfarm and seemed to involve lots of bulldozers.  When I visited again in March 2013, I got a much clearer look.

It turns out that a landfarm operation, like this complex managed by Envirotech, is a place where “soil remediation” takes place.  This is where contaminated soil from all over the San Juan Basin oil fields is processed by covering it with other soil.  High Country News described the landfarm like this:

Don’t look for fresh produce: This is where contaminated soils from the energy industry are plowed back into the earth and treated, or, as they say, “farmed.”

The landfarm consists of several hundred fenced acres of bare dirt on the sage plain you cross to get from Highway 550 to Angel Peak on County Road 7175.  There is no going around it.  On a windy day the blowing dust smells strongly of chemicals.

But it is still well worth the trip.

This is an entry for The American Guide.

Watch on

This is Bigger than Cliven Bundy.

At the Moapa Valley Town Board meeting, held on 04/09/14, it was made clear that the only people trespassing on the public land in question were the BLM. Clark County residents made it clear that it was Clark County land. The fight is way beyond Cliven Bundy. These people are worried about where the buck stops after the Bundy ranch. They don’t want a “next person” incident. They want it stopped. And the gentleman in the video makes it clear that he will help Bundy, unarmed, regardless of the BLM’s actions after; and if the BLM fires on them, then and only then is it game on.

Cliven Bundy, in this video here, spoke right after his friend.

First, this entire incident speaks to the continued power of right-wing mythology. For many of the protesters, this isn’t about a rogue rancher as much as it’s a stand against “tyranny” personified in Barack Obama and his administration.

Second, it won’t happen, but right-wing media ought to be condemned for their role in fanning the flames of this standoff. After years of decrying Obama’s “lawlessness” and hyperventilating over faux scandals, it’s galling to watch conservatives applaud actual lawbreaking and violent threats to federal officials.

Finally, I can’t help but wonder how conservatives would react if these were black farmers—or black anyone—defending “their” land against federal officials. Would Fox News applaud black militiamen aiming their guns at white bureaucrats?

Somehow, given the degree to which right-wing media traffic in racial paranoia, I think we’d be looking at a different situation if the Bundy Ranch belonged to a bunch of black people. And as someone who closely follows the regular incidents of lethal police violence against blacks and Latinos, I also wonder whether law enforcement would be as tepid against a group of armed African-Americans. Judging from past events, I’m not so sure.

Photos from the 21st Century Wire.

BLM during the stand-off near I-19(?).

This photo caught my eye of a group of BLM gentlemen standing around the hood of their vehicle. What caught my eye, specifically, was that the gentleman at the top center is rolling a SureFire 60-round magazine in his AR carbine variant. I do believe this is the first time I’ve seen a government agency running the magazine.

With Harry Reid’s statement to KRNV-TV on Monday — “Well, it’s not over … We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So, it’s not over.” — is an indicator that the government is not standing down and there will be repercussions. Unfortunately, neither will the other side. This could potentially lead to a shoot-out between armed BLM forces and the American supporters of Cliven Bundy.

The BLM is claiming that Cliven Bundy “owes” the us government 1 million dollars in unpaid grazing fees, but it’s going to cost the taxpayers upwards of 3 million to remove all of his cattle.

That’s their logic in a nutshell. It has never been about any laws, a turtle, the cattle, just power.


A Burning Man Tribute to Special Agent Michael Bolinger

Burning Man typically evokes thoughts of crazy outfits, magnificent structures, unbridled creativity, and, well, unusualness. But at the 2013 Burning Man Festival, which just concluded in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, BLM Law Enforcement and burners alike gathered to celebrate the life of BLM Special Agent Michael Bolinger, who passed away in June 2013 after a battle with brain cancer. The tribute was solemn, unusual, and ended in flames, but in typical Burning Man fashion, was an event rooted in humanity.

One of the traditions of the Burning Man festival is the temple. The temple is revered by the burning man community (known collectively as “burners”), and a place where many people place personal memorials for friends, family and loved ones who have died throughout the year. Thousands of objects, pictures and other remembrance pieces are left throughout the temple all of which will be consumed by fire on the last Sunday night of the event. It is also a place where people go to find peace. Unlike the raucous affair surrounding the burning of the ‘Man’ on Saturday night, the Sunday burn is a very quiet and solemn affair which sees tens of thousands of participants silently watching as the flames carry the memories of the fallen skyward. 

The memorial for Special Agent Bolinger took place on Thursday, August 29. A procession of more than 30 law enforcement vehicles left the Incident Command post and drove through Black Rock City to the temple. Bolinger’s widow, Kelly Reynolds, led the procession, as thousands of burners lined the street in tribute. 

Special Agent in Charge Dan Love noted that the event was a fitting tribute to Bolinger. “Burning Man was one of Bolinger’s last assignments before he got sick, so the service at the Temple seemed natural. The outpouring of support from the entire community was amazing, and having Kelly there made it even more special.”

Photos by Mark Turney, public affairs specialist, BLM-Nevada Winnemucca District

From Doug Hagmann

At 1750 hours ET, I was contacted by my source within the Department of Homeland Security regarding the current situation at the Bundy Ranch. To put it bluntly, the people are being hoodwinked into believing that the situation is being resolved. It is not. It is a strategic de-escalation to fool the public. This source stated that the retreat of the BLM agents and the release of the cattle was actually crafted as a potential plan yesterday (Friday, 11 April 2014) based on the following:

1. A military assessment of satellite and drone surveillance imagery of the “patriot resistance. Drones under the control of the U.S. military were in use, taking real-time photographic images of not just the activity at the ranch, but “identifying the protesters, any arms and any supplies they might have or be carrying. “Mission accomplished.”

2. Real-time communication intercepts between patriots on-site and their off-site support;

3. Active monitoring of internet traffic regarding the coverage of events at ranch;

4. The monitoring of real-time video from the scene.

This source stated that a response by the patriot movement was anticipated, although exceeded their expectations. Although this was a real operation, they also ran this as a test case for future government operations once they saw the response. They were also actively managing the media, in some cases threatening to cut off White House access to anyone covering the event.

Despite this, the coverage by the alternative media began to create a public relations problem that was not easily managed. Note the lack of acknowledgment by the White House regarding this event. They are intentionally framing it as a state issue, despite the fact that all federal response has been and continues to be from the White House. There is a reason for this – a reason that has not been identified in any of the public reports to date. I will explain in further detail in a follow-up report on Sunday, after this source attends [redacted] to obtain more specific information about future federal operations. Regardless, according to this source, the government will take back ‘their land’ as they must to fulfill international obligations. It was never about grazing rights or anything other than (1) “securing clear title” to the land, and (2) further demonizing any patriotic resistance. It is my understanding, based on the information from this source, that it is a critical task to create a situation that will also advance their agenda of gun control and confiscation.

A more detailed report will follow on Sunday, 13 April 2014, with additional and much more specific information about their inside plans and future operations.PLEASE MAKE THIS VIRAL!

Jobs in Archaeology: Part I

What does a Federal Archaeologist do?  Good question.  Federal archaeologists protect cultural resources on public lands by following a variety of laws, such as NHPA, ARPA, NEPA, and NAGPRA.  These resources, which means anything 50 years old or older, need to be protected from destruction by trail maintenance, wildfire, recreation, visitation, vandalism, and so many other things. So, we say ‘NO’ a lot.

Think of it this way: public lands (BLM, NPS, Forest Service, etc.) are like a giant museum.  When walking through a museum, people aren’t allowed to smash up the cases and take whatever they want or break something because they feel like it.  Same idea applies, only we don’t have our archaeological sites in protective cases.