Living Large with Scofflaw Cliven Bundy

On Delusions, Terrorists and Old White Guys with Racists Views

Nevadans and Americans across the country have done a lot of head scratching and ruminating over the Cliven Bundy spectacle playing out in southwestern Nevada over the past couple of weeks. For most sane people, it comes down to a cut and dried case of a cantankerous, old codger of a scofflaw refusing to pay fees for the right to graze his cattle on BLM land unlike his fellow ranchers. The facts show this is the case. End of story, right? Everyone knows the answer to that one. In the wake of the BLM/Bundy encounter, however, Bundy has proven himself to be a liar, cheat, and bigoted racist.

On the issue of lying, The Nation magazine ran a story titled, On Cliven Bundy’s ‘Ancestral Rights’ which stated:

Bundy has repeatedly trumpeted his “ancestral rights” to have his cattle graze on land administered by the federal Bureau of Land Management without paying taxes for the past twenty years. “My forefathers,” he has said, “have been up and down the Virgin Valley here ever since 1877. All these rights that I claim have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and the water and the access and range improvements.” A simple search of Clark county property records by KLAS-TV, a Las Vegas television station, however, revealed that his family had purchased the ranch in 1948 and had only begun grazing cattle on it in 1954—eight years after the founding of the BLM. KLAS reporters also received a map from the Moapa band of Paiute Indians showing how the land the Bundy ranch is on was promised to them by federal treaty. The Nation

So, with the ancestral rights myth debunked, the lying charge seems valid. As to the cheating charge, The Washington Post’s Jamie Fuller wrote an excellent article titled “Everything you need to know about the long fight between Cliven Bundy and the federal government” in which Fuller begins in 1989 and traces the circuitous path from regulation to confrontation in April of this year. One line, however, sums up Bundy’s dilemma. Fuller writes, “Bundy has repeatedly been fined for grazing his cattle on the protected land, fines he has not paid since 1993. The Bureau of Land Management, which oversees about 800 grazing areas in Nevada, responded by revoking his permit. Bundy has not applied for a new one.Washington Post: Fuller So, yes, Bundy is a cheat.

As for the issue of  Bundy’s racist comments, they are what they are and dredging them up seems silly at this point when the news cycle is awash with the ignorant remarks of Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, that came to light earlier this week. Did some celestial event occur that caused old white men to suddenly forget the Civil Rights Movement’s successes over the past fifty years? If readers need confirmation of Bundy’s Neanderthal views on race, go to Business Insider for details.

So, the saga of Cliven Bundy really comes down to an old, egocentric white man willing to sully the name of his family, cheat the government and racially offend people he only sees occasionally on their doorsteps from the window of his pickup when he goes to Las Vegas. Case closed? Not by a long shot.

The real issue, and the most frightening and serious one, can be found in an article by Paul Waldman of the Washington Post. Waldman reveals statements Bundy made like this gem as highlighted in the article:

The fundamental fact of the case is that Bundy was stealing from the federal government. Whether you think the government shouldn’t own so much land in Nevada, or whether you think grazing fees are unfair, you can’t just decide, as Bundy did, that you’ll send your cattle on to government land to graze, then refuse to pay the fees. That’s what Bundy has been doing for a couple of decades, because, as he said in another interview, “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.” The Washington Post Waldman

Okay, liar, cheat, racist and delusional anarchist seems like a dubious resume to hold forth to the world. If we consider Andy Warhol’s statement, “In the future everyone will have their fifteen minutes of fame”, Bundy must be pushing the clock around 14:58 in his fifteen minutes of fame allotment. It would seem so in a sane world, but this is Nevada after all.

The almost instant materialization of a ban of wacked out, homegrown militia types at the Bundy ranch just prior to the BLM confrontation, however, has extended the Bundy story further than it should have been. Bundy can believe what he likes about the United States, but when armed homegrown terrorist begin drawing down on federal officials from the tops of overpasses, things got a lot weirder. These are the type of people who brought us Randy Weaver and Ruby Ridge, the Branch Davidian’s Waco debacle, and the Oklahoma bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building courtesy of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, two homegrown terrorist not unlike those now squatting on the Bundy ranch land right now.

On April 30 the Associated Press carried this story, Congressman says armed militia scaring residents near Bundy ranch. Reports of armed militia thugs setting up road blocks to interrogate locals about their “right” to be in the neighborhood are disturbing and unsettling to say the least. The congressman referred to in the article, Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford, asked the local sheriff to investigate the allegations to determine if facts on the ground supported them. Here is the Sheriff’s department response to Horsford’s inquiry from the article as printed by the Standard-Examiner of Ogden, Utah:

A spokeswoman for Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie said Tuesday that while police are looking into Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford’s request, there hasn’t been a criminal allegation to investigate.

“We would need a victim to come forward and file a complaint,” said Officer Laura Meltzer, department spokeswoman. AP/S-E

All Americans should be tripping over themselves to be the first to step forward. The presence of people like the terrorists supporting Bundy are both offensive and a threat to our American way of life. The actions of Bundy and his ilk are not to be taken lightly and affect us all. The fact that these wackos have gotten so much press is both galling and depressing. America should not, and cannot, allow disaffected and armed terrorist the opportunity to push America farther down the road to a fragmented society. The old saying, “United we stand, divided we fall” has never been more true.

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