Cliven Bundy is dead. A suicide by his own hand....er...mouth. The hero of the far right - and Faux “News” - belched up a string of lies and racist B.S., drowning in a sea of disclaimers by former Republican supporters.
I swore I wasn’t going to revisit the Bunkerville mess again until something definitive happened. But suicides are hard to overlook. And this one in particular - so much of a “surprise” to right-wing politicians and Hannity - begs some last attention. There needs to be some separation of facts from all that B.S. - some definition of what “was” and “wasn’t.”
Let’s deal with the “wasn’t” first. The story wasn’t “ a Constitutional confrontation.” Wasn’t “First Amendment.” Or “Second Amendment.” Cliven Bundy wasn’t and isn’t a hero. For the purposes of this mess, he’s not a “patriot.” Neither are the whackos who’ve congealed around Bundy and proclaimed him a “freedom fighter.” He’s not a “freedom fighter.” Bundy’s family did not settle his ranch in the late 1800's. The BLM wasn’t singling Bundy out for some kind of special “persecution.” The story wasn’t about who controls the cattle at any given moment.
Now, what “was.” Bundy WAS - and IS - a deadbeat. Bundy WAS - and IS - a liar. Bundy’s family didn’t buy the ranch land until 1948 as proven by a recorded deed. Bundy IS in arrears to the federal government more than $1 million and has ignored legitimate payment demands required under his deal with the feds for more than 20 years. Bundy WAS - and is - in receipt of valid court documents - apparently served several times - ordering his cattle off the BLM land and requiring him to pay off his massive debt. The fact is, neither has been done. Bundy has a long history of being a local trouble-maker and has had numerous run-ins with county, state and federal authorities over the years.
The real issues here are cut and dried. Proper, clear and repeated court orders have been issued. And ignored. Bundy did stop paying two decades ago. When the BLM moved to take the livestock, it did so with well-supported authority. Facts show Bundy was spoiling for a fight for years and used this excuse to crank up his crackpot, verbal effluent to garner support from others who are similarly constitutionally illiterate. He has deliberately attracted several hundred well-armed folk to his side who are as deluded, as ignorant of history and as mentally vacuous as himself. They’ve been pumped full of phony right wing B.S. at the hands of the Limbaughs, Becks, Hannity’s, Coulters and others using wing-nuts to make millions. Bundy has absolutely no legal ground to stand on to have a face-off with the feds. If he did, he’d have gone to court many years ago.
But the feds DO bear some fault for this powder keg - most by the bureaucrats who didn’t step in two decades back when Bundy first stopped making payment on a duly executed grazing contract. A contract similar to thousands of others with ranchers and cattle operators - executed in good faith in dozens of states by BLM and the U.S. Forest Service.
Now the feds are in a corner. On one hand, they’ve let Bundy “cow” them while he’s gotten rich by not honoring his legal obligations. On the other, if Bundy is not prosecuted, other lessees in other areas may stop making the payments due on their contracts. That can’t be allowed to happen. For many good and legal reasons. (more…)