Suicide at Bunkerville

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

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.

This is a can of worms neither the BLM nor the USFS can allow deadbeat liar Cliven Bundy to open. These two and all other agencies that have contracts with private individuals must enforce them across the board.

There is a case to be made that the BLM acted responsibly in backing off from what was a very explosive situation. But the agency must now quickly pursue all legal remedies to either force Bundy to honor his contract and pay up or confiscate his cattle, his land and even his shorts to pay his contractually obligated debts. There’s no other way.

Finally, some thoughts for the media – particularly the national folks. All have treated the Bundy situation as some sort of “frontier justice” case. All have shown a lot of ignorance of the facts, constitutional law and life in the West. Most “coverage” I’ve seen or read didn’t dig for any information not floating on the surface. Very unprofessional.

But the most egregious offenders have been – without challenge – the folks at Faux “News.” Not only have they not gotten the facts straight – and some have repeatedly demonstrated they don’t know the facts. Some have pumped so much vitriol and ignorance into their pieces that they’ve created a completely unreal “story.” Hannity, in particular, has dedicated himself to putting Bundy’s face on Mt. Rushmore. He’s also blown smoke up all the nut jobs hanging onto Bundy’s notoriety with both hands to the point some now think their loony and dangerous mission is legitimate.

All of these folks – not just those at Faux “News” – need to pay attention to the reporting of Jon Ralston on the NBC affiliate in Las Vegas. He’s been there for years and – from the git-go – he’s been doing the most informed reports on this whole Bunkerville garbage. He knows the principals. He knows the territory. And he’s been “spot-on” with the facts.

As for Ol’ Cilven, he was just the latest incarnation of the perennial con man. While most media and a few hundred whackos have fallen for his phony story, the rest of us should treat this mess for what it really is: a scam.

He’s gone now. A victim of his own ignorant, twisted and sick mind The feds had better “pull the trigger” quickly. Legally, of course.

Share on Facebook