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The Week


Vladimir Putin can count himself lucky that there are no tortoises in Crimea.

A heated showdown between the Bureau of Land Management and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy cooled several degrees when the BLM vowed to resolve the matter “administratively and judicially.” Bundy’s family has been grazing federal land for over a century; his troubles began in 1993 with new rules to protect wild desert tortoises. He denies Washington’s power to promulgate them, acknowledging only the authority of his county and state. Suits and countersuits proliferated; by now Bundy’s back fees are over a million bucks. The BLM began confiscating his cattle, which brought a gaggle of soi-disant militia members to his side. The art of government is often the exercise of prudence, a virtue especially to be prized in standoffs in which the parties are armed. But just government must be ruled by laws. No man can pick which laws or which branches of government he chooses to obey. If the federal government owned less of Nevada and the American West, there would be fewer flashpoints. A point to remember at the polls — not on the range.

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