Sunday, May 11, 2014

6 Reasons Why Cliven Bundy and His Militiamen Are Assholes.

Cliven Bundy is an asshole. Everyone that joins him at his ranch is an asshole. And anyone that supports him has their heads up their own assholes. For those of you that don't know, Bundy (the asshole pictured above) is the man trying to start an armed revolution against the federal government because he's too stubborn to admit that he's wrong.

Here's the condensed version of the story, courtesy of wikipedia because I'm feeling lazy - and yes, I fact checked it:

The Bundy standoff is a 20-year legal dispute between the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and cattle rancher Cliven Bundy in southeastern Nevada over unpaid grazing fees that developed into an armed confrontation between protesters and law enforcement.
The ongoing dispute began in 1993, when in protest against changes to grazing rules, Bundy declined to renew his permit for cattle grazing on BLM-administered lands near Bunkerville, Nevada.[2] In 1998, Bundy was prohibited from grazing his cattle on the Bunkerville Allotment by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada in United States v. Bundy.[2] In July 2013, the BLM complaint was supplemented when federal judge Lloyd D. George ordered that Bundy refrain from trespassing on federally administered land in the Gold Butte, Nevada, area in Clark County.[3]
On March 27, 2014, 145,604 acres of federal land in Clark County, Nevada were temporarily closed for the "capture, impound, and removal of trespass cattle".[4] BLM officials and law enforcement rangers began a trespass-cattle roundup on April 5, and an arrest was made on April 6. On April 12, a group of protesters who had gathered there for the previous week, and some of whom were armed,[5] advanced on what the BLM described as a "cattle gather."[6] Sheriff Doug Gillespie negotiated with Cliven Bundy and newly confirmed BLM director, Neil Kornze,[7] who elected to release the cattle and de-escalate the situation.

Here's more on the permit part, and the legal action taken:

The United States purchased land from Mexico in 1848 known as the Mexican Cession (the southwestern region of the U.S.) as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Since then, the US government has continuously owned land in what is now Nevada, including the Bunkerville Allotment.[2][18] The Nevada Territory, which was partitioned in 1861 from the Utah Territory, became a state in 1864. Federal rangelands in Nevada have been since 1934 managed principally by either the Bureau of Land Management, its predecessor the United States Grazing Service, or the United States Forest Service. As of 2010, 47.8 million acres of land,[19] about two thirds of Nevada's 70.8 million acres, are managed by the BLM... 20][21] Over 18,000 grazing permits and leases are known to exist on BLM managed public lands. Season of use and forage use are stipulated on the permits and leases; federal controls of land used for grazing can thus be exerted.[19][22]

Under BLM permits first issued in 1954, Bundy grazed his cattle legally and paid his grazing fees on an area of public land later called the "Bunkerville Allotment" in Clark County until 1993. As a protest in 1993, Bundy did not pay to renew his permit and it was canceled one year later.[23] Though the agency made several attempts to allow Bundy to renew his permit, Bundy declared that he no longer recognized the BLM's authority to regulate his grazing and asserted that he had "vested rights" to graze on the land.[2] Federal courts have consistently ruled against Bundy, finding that he is a trespasser with no right to graze cattle on federal public land and authorizing the BLM to remove his cattle and levy damages for unauthorized use.[2][24] Bundy has since accumulated more than $1 million of unpaid grazing fees and court-ordered fines.[10][25]

Now that you know the details, here are 6 reasons why Cliven Bundy and his merry band of ill-informed warmongers are assholes.

1.) He's Lying 

Cliven Bundy does not own the land that his cattle are grazing on. In fact, he has had numerous opportunities in court to prove this, going all the way back to 1993. And did you catch the part that said he was perfectly fine paying for the permit until then? Why the sudden change? The truth is, Bundy doesn't own the land anymore than his cows do. You know who does? Us- the taxpayers. And he's mooching off of us by refusing to pay the government the million plus dollars he owes. But please, militiamen, keep defending this righteous gift from God.

2.) He's Pretty Racist, Guys

What blows my mind the most about Bundy isn't that he's racist (shit, I expected that), but that neither him nor his most devout supporters will admit that he is. It's all a "hit job by the liberal media." Conservatives, here's some advice: 

This is a video camera. Here in the reality of 2014, video cameras are used to capture words and images so that people that aren't physically there to see or hear what's going on are able to through the magic of television. If you don't want to be seen as a racist, maybe you don't want to say this in front of one of these devices:

“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.”
(Click here for the link to this fine quote, as well as a very clearly unedited video of him spewing word vomit). 

But he's an old man! Of course he'll use old-timey, non-politically correct phrases! That's no fucking excuse. Every individual in America should know that talking about African-Americans as though they are another species ("The Negro"? Really, guy?) is derogatory, plain and simple. And the cotton-picking comment? Seriously? That whole line of thinking was so racist, I'm surprised that the words didn't dribble out of his mouth in shoe-polished blackface. 

The last part is what really gets me, though. While I find the whole statement to be indefensible at best, his closing argument is what really cinches the racism together with supposed patriotism. Bundy uses the term, "I've often wondered" in order to distance himself from the zinger that comes next: Black people were more free as slaves than they are today living off of the government.  This is so terrifyingly wrong and dismissive of all things factual that I feel stupider for having read it.
For one thing, to assume that all African-Americans live off of the government is condescending and racist. And for another, to have the belief that being able to live in your own house, not be forced to work in the hot sun by the crack of a whip and, you know, have rights is somehow worse than slavery is so deluded, I have to wonder if Bundy's brain is turning to mush inside of his skull. Social programs exist for people that need them, and they don't require you to sign a contract that states that the government owns your body and soul for the rest of time.

The worst part is that Bundy flat-out refuses to admit that he's racist. He won't even admit that what he said was wrong. After making the original comments, he went on air to sort-of maybe apologize I guess: "If I did [offend people], I ask for your forgiveness, but I'm not withdrawing what I said. I don't know if I said it right, but it came from my heart. The reason it came from my heart, is I'm concerned about all these individuals. I believe they should have equal rights. I believe they are equal in the sense that they were created equal, and I think their opportunity in this world should be equal."

So just to recap, he believes in equality and opportunity for all, but he's not taking back anything that he said. He also wants forgiveness for the kind words that came from his heart because, you know, you need to ask for forgiveness when you say nice things to people. In other words, "It's not my fault you've all advanced to 2014, and I'm still stuck in the Jim Crowe era."

What a coward. Oh, shit, speaking of cowards...

3.) Bundy and the Militia Supporting Him Are Ill-Informed Pussies

Bundy is clearly in the wrong, here.  He owes the federal government over a million dollars in unpaid fees, and yet this right-wing militia rushed to his defense anyway. Why? Because this is exactly what they've been waiting for - a chance to show the federal government that they are armed and ready to fight. But again, I find myself asking why.

The goal here is to spark something. If the federal government opens fire on Bundy and his militia (regardless of who shot first), it will be spun by the right wing as a massacre of American civilians by the feds which, in turn, will lead to all of the blame being put at President Obama's feet. If shots are fired, it's important for all of us to remember the events leading up to that confrontation and the facts surrounding them, else we lose sight of who the "bad guys" here are.

The Whiskey Rebellion, or Whiskey Insurrection, was a tax protest in the United States beginning in 1791, during the presidency of George Washington. Farmers who used their leftover grain and corn in the form of whiskey as a medium of exchange were forced to pay a new tax. The tax was a part of treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton's program to increase central government power, in particular to fund his policy of assuming the war debt of those states which had failed to pay. The farmers who resisted, many war veterans, contended that they were fighting for the principles of the American Revolution, in particular against taxation without local representation, while the Federal government maintained the taxes were the legal expression of the taxation powers of Congress.
Throughout counties in Western Pennsylvania, protesters used violence and intimidation to prevent federal officials from collecting the tax. Resistance came to a climax in July 1794, when a U.S. marshal arrived in western Pennsylvania to serve writs to distillers who had not paid the excise. The alarm was raised, and more than 500 armed men attacked the fortified home of tax inspector General John Neville. Washington responded by sending peace commissioners to western Pennsylvania to negotiate with the rebels, while at the same time calling on governors to send a militia force to enforce the tax. With 13,000 militia provided by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Washington rode at the head of an army to suppress the insurgency. The rebels all went home before the arrival of the army, and there was no confrontation. About 20 men were arrested, but all were later acquitted or pardoned.  The Whiskey Rebellion demonstrated that the new national government had the willingness and ability to suppress violent resistance to its laws. 

President Washington - the first president of the United States - led 13,000 militia members against the rebels in a show of force that caused them to piss their pantaloons and run home to their mothers. There was no partisan bickering, no bitching about how the executive branch was flexing its muscles too much. Just a good ol' fashion reminder of who was in charge and why. We Americans have to stick together. If you don't like a policy, don't rise up in arms against it. Use your voice to call attention to the issue, and then use your freedom to vote to create change.

Now why am I calling these men pussies? Bundy's militiamen are actively harassing Bureau of Land Management employees - people who are just trying to do their job so that they can go home to their own families. They're armed for protection, sure, but they aren't trained to deal with an organized and armed militia. And when faced with a possible counterattack by the feds? Former Arizona Sheriff (of fucking course) Richard Mack has everyone covered.

"We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front. If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers."

Yeah, you're all real tough men out there on the Bundy ranch. If I were a women out there supporting my crazy husband, I'd be getting the fuck out of there pretty quickly and filing for divorce on the way.  Ladies, your husbands and significant others just admitted to you that they'd willingly sacrifice you to spark nationwide war against the federal government.

Sounds a lot like that loving family unit you conservatives are so fond of defending, doesn't it?

4.) They're Seditious Hypocrites - Not Patriots

Bundy has said, and I quote, "I abide by all Nevada state laws. But I don't recognize the United States government as even existing." That's funny, Bundy. Guess who does recognize the federal government as existing? The State of Nevada.

In Article 1, Section 2 of the Nevada State Constitution, for example, you'll find this lovely gem: "The Paramount Allegiance of every citizen is due to the Federal Government in the exercise of all its Constitutional powers as the same have been or may be defined by the Supreme Court of the United States...whensoever any portion of the States, or people thereof attempt to secede from the Federal Union, or forcibly resist the Execution of its laws, the Federal Government may, by warrant of the Constitution, employ armed force in compelling obedience to its Authority." Oops!

And to top it all off, you're advocating armed rebellion against the government over grazing fees that you knew you would accumulate since you stopped renewing your permit back in '93. That is so selfish, so stubborn, that a new word should be made up to combine the two behaviors in order to define shitty egotists such as Bundy. Leave a few in the comments, perhaps?

5.) Glenn Beck Sided Against Bundy

Glenn Beck is one of my least favorite people in the world. He's basically a crazy person with his own little mini-media empire built on bullshit.  So when Glenn Beck sided against Cliven Bundy, I took serious notice.

Straight off of his own website:

Glenn explained that his private conversation with Bundy centered primarily on faith and Scripture. Glenn hoped to get a better sense of what kind of values and principles Bundy was rooted in, and he walked away from the conversation with the sense that Bundy was “a decent guy.” When Bundy joined the radio program the following day, however, the conversation had a different and more bizarre tone. During the interview Bundy said that he wanted the government to be disarmed, and Glenn found that particularly strange.

“When I asked him to tell the story, he said, ‘Here’s what I’m told to say: The government needs to be disarmed.’ Okay. Well, that’s not what we talked about, but if that’s how you want to use your time… I don’t have preconditions of guests,” Glenn said. “Pat looked at me [when Bundy said that] like this guy is so unhinged. And I just put my hand up and I turned my mic off and I said, ‘Let him speak. If he’s going to hang himself, it’s better for him to hang himself than us too.’ So we let him speak for 45 minutes. People that were listening started to say, ‘Well, wait a minute, I agree with some things but I think he’s unhinged on other things.”

After Bundy's racist comments about "The Negro", Beck said this:

“That shows you how unhinged from reality this guy is,” Glenn said. “You’ve got to distance yourself. You must know who you are standing next to at all times – with exactness. With exactness we will save our nation.”
Glenn believes these “degrading,” “disgusting,” and “offensive” comments should give pause to all those who have considering aligning with or supporting Bundy.

“You wondered if blacks were better off as slaves picking cotton and having a family life? They didn’t have a family life! That’s the real key to what he said. And there’s no way around that sentence,” Glenn said exasperatedly. “Unless the New York Times made this up out of whole cloth… If that doesn’t end your relationship with [Bundy], you’ve got to go back and question where did you go wrong.”

 Let me reiterate all of that for you: not only does Glenn Beck believe that Cliven Bundy is unhinged, he is also keenly aware of how racist Bundy's comments were.  Glenn-fucking-Beck.  I can't believe I'm about to do this but, to quote Glenn Beck about Glenn Beck, "If that doesn't end your relationship with [Bundy], you've got to go back and question where did you go wrong."

6.) Bundy's Militiamen Illegally Rode ATV's Through Recapture Canyon to Challenge Federal Authority over Public Lands

Now, I know what you're thinking. It's just land, right? What's the harm in riding ATV's over it? And why would the feds/BLM care? You're on the right path, but you're missing the whole "illegal" part, in that it's "illegal" for a reason. Several, actually. Several really good reasons.

According to Think Progress:

"The illegal ride is already drawing criticism from the Navajo Nation, putting American Indian burial sites and cultural resources at risk, and has even forced the cancellation of a traditional Navajo Warrior welcome home ceremony for veterans."

Well, that's not cool. It's actually pretty fucking disrespectful and awful. Let me continue that thought by literally moving on to the next paragraph of that article.

"Yet San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman (R-UT) and his supporters appear determined to defy federal law by riding their ATVs through Recapture Canyon, an area of southeast Utah known as a “mini-Mesa Verde” because it contains one of the highest densities of archaeological sites in the country." 

Because it contains one of the hightest densities of archaeological sites in the country.  Are you kidding me with this? So, basically, fuck the Native Americans that live there, and fuck science too. Now, because it's the weekend, I don't have much information as to how this ride turned out, but rest assured, I'll update the article when that information comes to light (or shortly thereafter - I'm busy, okay?).

As a matter of fact, I'll update this article several times, I'm sure, as Bundy not only seems intent on being here to stay, but also on driving me out of writing-retirement. Seriously, how could I not write about this guy? 

Cliven Bundy and his militia supporters are looking for trouble, and it's entirely possible that they're going to get it now that they've attracted the attention of the FBI. Harassing BLM employees was one thing, but do that to the FBI and there's going to be serious trouble.  Remember how all of this started. Remember what Bundy and his men stand for. And remember that Bundy has had multiple chances to pay his fine. His behavior is unlawful and it needs to be treated as such. If the federal government allows any of them to get away with this, then what do we have? If laws only require a group of armed men to overthrow them, what is that saying to the actual criminal organizations of America?

Bundy and his men are domestic terrorists. Don't agree with me? Here's the definition of terrorism:
"The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes."

Tell me again how patriotic Bundy and his militia are again?


I went through the article a few hours after posting it and fixed the format/spelling errors a bit.
It's been awhile, so bear with me while I get back into the swing of things. The articles I posted back in August of 2013 still hold true, I just "resurfaced", as it were, sooner than I should have. Life story aside, I should have given things more time to cool down on my end before I started writing again.
Anyway, welcome back, everyone. I hope to be entertaining and informing you in the weeks and months to come!


Ted McLaughlin said...

Great to see you posting again!

Anonymous said...

Many good points. Well done. There has to be convictions without giving the militia nuts a chance to get into a shooting confrontation which many so desperately want.

A Sane Break said...

Thanks, Ted! It's good to be back. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to rail on this moron.

Let's hope that this time I'm back to stay ;)

Dominic Benfatta said...

Nice man, good to see you back at it! I like all of the sources you have; going on beck's site, etc. good journalism!