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April 24, 2014 5:49 AM   Subscribe

Defiant rancher and conservative hero Clive Bundy said in a NYTimes interview, “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro”. You'll totally believe what happens next.

" 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.”

These quotes aren't good for Rand Paul, who became a supporter of Bundy and referred to him as a 'patriot' for his defiant actions against the federal government.

Background:

Everything you need to know about the long fight between Cliven Bundy and the federal government

Showdown on the range: Nevada rancher, feds face off over cattle grazing rights

Wikipedia entry.

More (opinion) links:

Cliven Bundy Is Angry—Just Like the Rest of Us: 'When Rand Paul is the most prominent voice for peace on a polarizing issue, you know something strange is happening to America.

Who would have expected a political furor to erupt around a single Nevada rancher? But Cliven Bundy is exactly the sort of weird person that today’s ideological camps struggle to understand. To vocal conservatives, he’s a folk hero, a model of civil disobedience. To Sen. Harry Reid, on the other hand, his supporters are “nothing more than domestic terrorists.”'

Gun-Toting Ranchers Defeat Feds: "The U.S. government says Cliven Bundy owes $1 million in grazing fees and sent in contract cowboys to round up his cattle. But the 67-year-old rancher managed to fight them off—for now."

Cliven Bundy and the Tyranny All Around Us: "How would the Nevada standoff be different if the rancher were black? American history has already answered that question."

For Militiamen, the Fight for Cliven Bundy's Ranch Is Far From Over "The fight for America’s soul is upon us, and the arid lands of Bunkerville, Nev., are the key battleground. On a ranch near Nevada’s southern tip, an American hero is standing up to an oppressive federal government. And freedom is winning.

That, at least, is how many libertarians, extreme conservatives and anti-government campaigners view it."

Cliven Bundy Owes American Taxpayers: "Rancher Cliven Bundy hasn’t paid the federal government its due in more 20 years."

WHY YOU SHOULD BE SYMPATHETIC TOWARD CLIVEN BUNDY

After the Bundy Fracas. Only we can prevent uncontrolled abuse by the federal government.

America's newest hero: Meet the real Cliven Bundy

Cliven Bundy's militiamen are neither terrorists nor patriots
posted by MisantropicPainforest (328 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
Lets not pay fees for 20 years, lie about when the ranch was funded, then threaten Federal officers with firearms in broad daylight! They wouldn't besiege us here!

Especially since they have (or should have, see above 'in broad daylight', pictures of all of those idiots and can just wait for them to return to their individual and isolated-from-the-group homes
posted by Slackermagee at 5:54 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


I'm going to call in the militia to threaten the government next time I don't want to pay a parking ticket. I've always wanted to be a conservative hero.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:55 AM on April 24 [26 favorites]


Mr. Bundy’s standoff with federal rangers — propelled into the national spotlight in part by steady coverage by Fox News

This is my surprised face.
posted by dry white toast at 5:57 AM on April 24 [23 favorites]


Question from Europe: Is this some Form of Civil War Re-Enactment or do you Americans clone these weird Guys for our international Entertainment?
posted by homodigitalis at 5:58 AM on April 24 [89 favorites]


Cliven Bundy and the Tyranny All Around Us: "How would the Nevada standoff be different if the rancher were black? American history has already answered that question."

I read this the other day and it's good. And yeah, totally unsurprising.
posted by rtha at 5:59 AM on April 24


Question from Europe: Is this some Form of Civil War Re-Enactment...

Yes. Except for the large, noisy group insisting that the South win this time.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:00 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Burning Man devotees are eager to build upon the new freedoms of Bundyist thought:

Come celebrate TOTAL FREEDOM at BUNDYFEST, just across the road from the Cliven Bundy Ranch, in Bunkerville, Nevada! 240 bands, 24 hours a day, for a SOLID ROCKIN' MONTH!!!!
*NO PERMITS REQUIRED
*CAMP ABSOLUTELY ANYWHERE
*FULL NUDITY NOT A PROBLEM
*GAY-FRIENDLY ATMOSPHERE
*PENIS ERECTION CONTEST: Erect the largest penis in the open desert, win valuable prize! (tbd)


BACKGROUND: For years, we paid permitting fees to hold Burning Man on the beautiful Playa in Northern Nevada. But now, Cliven Bundy has shown us a NEW WAY! ABSOLUTE FREEDOM! Bundy has declared the entire area surrounding Bundy Ranch as a TOTALLY RULES-FREE ZONE! ANYTHING GOES! WOO-HOO!!!

posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:00 AM on April 24 [108 favorites]


I love this case because preventing damage from overgrazing is literally a textbook example of a core function of government. Naturally, conservatives hate that.

It's like when Bobby Jindal hated on volcano monitoring, as if the free market would adequately produce disaster warning services. The modern right simply has no conception of what the most basic principles of governance are.
posted by 0xFCAF at 6:01 AM on April 24 [143 favorites]


Defiant rancher and conservative hero Clive Bundy said in a NYTimes interview, “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro”. You'll totally believe what happens next.

Bundy wasn't being interviewed; he was holding a (very small) press conference.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:01 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


I liked this movie better when it had Robert Duvall in it.
posted by valkane at 6:04 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Question from Europe: Is this some Form of Civil War Re-Enactment or do you Americans clone these weird Guys for our international Entertainment?

It's difficult not to find the humor in the militia crazies and anti-government nuts, but in the background are incidents like the Oklahoma City Bombing which renders most of the humor very black. We would all be much better off debating over the role of government than its right to exist.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:06 AM on April 24 [8 favorites]


the principle of public stewardship of public land is at stake and this guy needs to be stopped, because once the government's failure of will becomes fully manifest and percolates all the way down, we won't have public land anymore, it will all be carved up by the people with the biggest guns.
posted by bruce at 6:07 AM on April 24 [29 favorites]


I really wish the lead framing here wasn't his bigotry. That quote came late in the entire episode, well after the recent armed standoff with the BLM and after a couple of decades of conflict between him and land managers over grazing.

That conflict is the real story, and one that applies to most of the intermountain west and some areas west of the Cascades/Sierras as well. One dude's weird bigot attitudes are a distraction, though at least it might embarrass some of his casual supporters like Paul.

I work with similar landowners and I actually have a lot of sympathy with their position, in that their economic margins are really tight and increased ecological protections in many cases come out of their bottom line. At the same time, family owner/operators like Bundy get used as symbols by a lot of other people (including huge mining and agriculture corporations) who want less restrictive land management rules that will in the long run hurt the smaller operators.

Most of all, the reality is that a lot of the historical land management by the family operators has been pretty high impact ecologically (because of both lack of knowledge and the tight margins I mentioned) and needs to change -- but there are also huge benefits ecologically to that dedicated, long-term land management also. No one knows their land like a fifth generation rancher, and it benefits no one (especially the environment) to have them go under and be replaced by a trophy ranch with a golf course, subdivided into a bunch of houses, or bought out by AgTech Incorporated and managed out of an office in Manhattan.

In this case Bundy sounds like a crackpot and a crook who has been cheating the taxpayer for decades. But the underlying resentments and pressures are real and important, and are getting lost under the specific weirdnesses.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:07 AM on April 24 [73 favorites]




[A couple of comments deleted; guys let's not derail with gun control and sweeping generalizations immediately, please? ]
posted by taz at 6:09 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Evidently this guy has been taking pointers from my Hooters waitress.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:13 AM on April 24




I'm really glad nobody got shot. Hopefully, everyone has learned something from Ruby Ridge and Waco.
posted by valkane at 6:17 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


One dude's weird bigot attitudes are a distraction, though at least it might embarrass some of his casual supporters like Paul.

Wrong on both counts. Paul is of course a huge frikkin racist himself, though these days more careful to hide it. But the bigotry (which is far from weird but depressingly common) is actually central to this type of "conservative hero".

It's the new "keep the government out of my medicare", the idea that if you're white you're entitled to whatever you steal from the government, while it's all those damn others getting what they're actually entitled to that's the real outrage.

Bound up with that is the whole idea that Bundy et all are hard working hence deserve what they got and nobody better look at how they got it, while "they" are lazy and immoral and a bit of slavery would do them good.

That is the exact force driving much of American politics, that's behind everything from gerrymandering to the hatred of Obama.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:17 AM on April 24 [99 favorites]


[Just a reminder: Asshole Says Outrageous Asshole Things does not mean it's free reign for everyone to try to come up with super outrageous asshole things to say here. Please rethink the ironic racism, and "speaking in the imagined voice of my ideological enemy" kind of stuff, and just make a general effort to keep things reasonable. ]
posted by taz at 6:18 AM on April 24 [17 favorites]


I work with similar landowners and I actually have a lot of sympathy with their position, in that their economic margins are really tight and increased ecological protections in many cases come out of their bottom line.

Sure, but this doesn't make them different from any other small (or, not so small, for some of them) business owner. Long tradition notwithstanding, they don't have a right to a profitable cattle ranch in the desert, and they don't have a right to do whatever on Federal land, certainly without even paying the incredibly cheap fees. It's not that I don't have sympathy for the distress a lot of these families feel when they can see their family business circling the drain - but again, they don't get to pretend like that's unique to them. It's just that it's a lot easier to add the romantic "Cowboy" filter to that portrait and a lot of critical thinking gets tossed right out the window.
posted by rtha at 6:18 AM on April 24 [68 favorites]


"Gun control" aside, pointing guns at federal agents in a refusal to pay fines is exactly the sort of fantasy that Second Amendment First types have often parroted.

It's just crime, not "defense against tyranny" as they pretend it is. The only reason they "won" this round is the government doesn't actually want to kill people over it. I'm not entirely sure Bundy's supporters have enough respect for human life to override the love of guns and rebellion, and the meme that government is the enemy.
posted by Foosnark at 6:20 AM on April 24 [18 favorites]


I don't support Bundy or Paul, but Bundy's racism seems orthogonal to the actual grazing issue.

I mean, it doesn't invalidate what had happened to Rodney King to point out that Rodney King had committed domestic violence. It's just an irrelevant aside. It's not untrue that Bundy is vocally racist, just as it is not untrue that Rodney King had done bad things, but to the extent that these people are famous because of what they had been fighting against and what they represent with regard to larger conflicts, their other problems and flaws aren't really the point.

Again, not defending Bundy, not with regard to his grazing claim, not for anything else. And if somebody wants to tie in Bundy's racism with the ideology of Bundy's supporters, then by all means, go for it.

But, I don't really see how Bundy's racism is necessarily something that his supporters would have to own or defend.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:21 AM on April 24 [7 favorites]


I'm not entirely sure Bundy's supporters have enough respect for human life to override the love of guns and rebellion

I'm quite certain they don't.
posted by aramaic at 6:21 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


but to the extent that these people are famous because of what they had been fighting against and what they represent with regard to larger conflicts, their other problems and flaws aren't really the point.

Of course it is in this case, because it's the core ideology of Bundy and his supporters: white people deserve to get everything they can steal from the government, because everything the government does is just spoiling "those people" anyway.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:23 AM on April 24 [20 favorites]


I'm not entirely sure Bundy's supporters have enough respect for human life to override the love of guns and rebellion, and the meme that government is the enemy.

Well, they certainly don't respect women's lives.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:23 AM on April 24 [15 favorites]


homodigitalis--if only it was entertaining and not tragic. As an American living in Ireland I continually remind our friends and acquaintances here that there are many many different Americas (U.S.) now. Americans are no more homogenous than Europeans. I am very saddened by all this--it makes me sick but certainly not homesick.
posted by rmhsinc at 6:24 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


It's two sides of the same coin, the entitlement that allows Bundy to not pay the fees he's due and the resentment at anything people who aren't white or male may get from the government, no matter how meager it is or how much right they have to this support. That's the government tyranny Bundy's supporters are cheering him on for.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:25 AM on April 24 [11 favorites]


I really wish the lead framing here wasn't his bigotry.

I did so because a) no one should be surprised, b) it makes the story much more interesting politically, as Bundy in some sense becomes radioactive and c) there is a strong overlap between racism and defiance against the federal government. I imagine the framing looks odd, unfortunate, and irrelevant if you view Bundy's comments as incidental, and not informing his entire campaign against the federal government.

Not to put too fine a point on it but, hating the federal government, taking up arms, and having a not-unfavorable view of slavery has, uh, a pretty sordid history in the US.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:25 AM on April 24 [57 favorites]


Richard Eskow: Sean Hannity will have blood on his hands: Fox News promotes Cliven Bundy’s war
Consider the following hypothetical scenario: A left-wing militant says that he doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of the sweetheart deals between the federal government and Georgia-Pacific, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. Our militant says these deals allow the Koch brothers to despoil public lands in return for a nominal fee, and were produced by corrupt deal-making rather than democratic processes.

So our left-wing militant and some friends decide to help themselves to the lumber on Georgia-Pacific’s trucks as they roll down publicly funded roadways. Law enforcement officials ask him to stop, but he says he considers Georgia-Pacific’s agreement illegitimate and threatens an armed response if the authorities intervene.

Now imagine that our militant gets significant airtime – and praise – from a leading host on a major cable news network that is considered close to the Democratic Party. (I think you know the one I mean.) He’s treated like a hero, even as tensions escalate and the possibility of violence becomes more real.

What do you suppose the right – or, for that matter, law enforcement officials and the general public – would say about that host and his network? What would you say? Well, say it to Sean Hannity instead. Hannity’s questions to Bundy and extremist Richard Mack seem designed to escalate the “Bundy Ranch” conflict, rather than ameliorate it. No wonder Bundy calls Hannity his “hero.”

Hannity clearly doesn’t care about the criticism. So isn’t it time to direct it at his network instead?

After all, it is the Fox News Network’s corporate and political interests that are being served by Hannity’s promotion of right-wing extremist and natural-resource thief Cliven Bundy. Bundy’s anti-federal agenda is closely aligned with that of Charles and David Koch, major Republican donors who have been pushing for states to gain control over federal lands – so they can be sold or leased to people like the Koch brothers in deals that are even cushier than the one granted to Georgia-Pacific.
[...]
It’s bad citizenship, but it’s very smart business. State governments and agencies are much cheaper to purchase and control than federal ones. This greedy agenda is downplayed in Fox News coverage, or of the cheerleading that is taking place through the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity organization.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, tensions are rising. Militant extremists and anti-American groups like the Oklahoma Militia have been announcing support for Bundy. (“We’re going to resist you!” said one of the militia’s leaders.)

Fox News isn’t deterred by escalating tensions or the risk of violence, however. Its website, for example, has been promoting a blog entry titled “Cliven Bundy and the American Police State.”

“America is a pressure cooker with no steam valve,” says the author, “and things are about to blow.” The author adds: “What we’re really faced with, and what we’ll see more of before long, is a growing dissatisfaction with the government and its heavy-handed tactics by people who are tired of being used and abused and are ready to say ‘enough is enough.’”

If the Bundy ranch is a pressure cooker, Fox News is turning up the heat.

Predictably, the combined lure of potential Koch money and melodramatic extremism has led to a steady stream of Republican politicians making pilgrimages to the site of the potential showdown. Some Republican state politicians are even talking about seceding from the union.

The Koch brothers and Fox News are apparently perfectly willing to stoke resentment in the midst of an incendiary and potentially lethal standoff out of nothing more than self-interest and ideological extremism.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:26 AM on April 24 [37 favorites]


I don't think this has much to do with bigotry; the fact that one of the people involved is a bigot is not of much consequence to the situation itself. I also don't think this has much to do with "gun control." Both of those things are liberal pet projects, so it's easy for those of us who are liberals (myself included) to see this through those lenses. However, this has to do with the public status of rangeland in the West, its use and misuse; that subject is something we've neglected for far too long.

valkane: “I'm really glad nobody got shot. Hopefully, everyone has learned something from Ruby Ridge and Waco.”

I am glad nobody got shot, too; but as far as I can tell, this event only serves to increase the likelihood that someone will get shot in the future. The BLM is not the FBI or the ATF. They were stood down by men with automatic weapons who threatened the most extreme violence. Make no mistake: the rule of law was abrogated.

It's also important to note that this is by no means an unprecedented event. The following is from Bernard DeVoto's superb 1947 essay "The West Against Itself;" I quote these five paragraphs at length because I think they're important and useful as a perspective that is too often lost:
So we come to the business which created the West's most powerful illusion about itself and, though this is not immediately apparent, has done more damage to the West than any other. The stock business... Its great era lasted from about 1870 to the terminal winter of 1886-87, which changed its conditions forever. Changed them, I repeat, forever. But the practices, values, and delusions developed in that era, the Cattle Kingdom of romance, dominate the cattle business today.

The cattlemen came from Elsewhere into the empty West. They were always arrogant and always deluded. They thought themselves free men, the freest men who ever lived. but even more than other Westerners they were peons of their Eastern bankers and of the railroads which the bankers owned and the exchanges and stockyards and packing plants which the bankers established to control their business. With the self-deception that runs like a leitmotif through Western business, they wholeheartedly supported their masters against the West and today support the East against the West. They thought of themselves as Westerners and they did live in the West, but they were the enemies of everyone else who lived there. They kept sheepmen, their natural and eventual allies, out of the West wherever and as long as they could, slaughtering herds and frequently herdsmen. They did their utmost to keep the nester -- the farmer, the actual settler, the man who could create local and permanent wealth -- out of the West and to terrorize or bankrupt him where he could not be kept out. And the big cattlemen squeezed out the little ones wherever possible, grabbing the water rights, foreclosing small holdings, frequently hiring gunmen to murder them. And, being Western individualists and therefore gifted with illusion, the little cattlemen have always fought the big ones' battles, have adopted and supported their policies to their own disadvantage and to the great hurt of the West.

Two facts about the cattle business have priority over all the rest. First, the Cattle Kingdom never did own more than a minute fraction of one per cent of the range it grazed; it was national domain, it belonged to the people of the United States. Cattlemen do not own the public range now; it belongs to you and me, and since the fees they pay for using public land are much smaller than those they pay for using private land, those fees are in effect one of a number of subsidies we pay them. But they always acted as if they owned the public range and act so now; they convinced themselves that it belonged to them and now believe it does; and they are trying to take title to it. Second, the cattle business does not have to be conducted as liquidation but throughout history its management has always tended to conduct it on that basis.

You have seen the Missouri River at Kansas City, an opaque stream half saturated with silt. A great part of that silt gets into it from the Yellowstone River, above whose mouth the Missouri is, comparatively, clear. The Yellowstone is fed by many stream, of which those from the south carry the most silt, the Tongue, the Rosebud, especially the Powder River, and most especially the Big Horn. Above the mouth of the Big Horn the Yellowstone is comparatively clear. These plains rivers are depressing and rather sinister to look at, and they always have been helping to carry the mountains to the sea. But one reads with amazement descriptions of them written before the Civil War. They were comparatively clear streams, streams whose gradual, geological erosion of the land had not been accelerated -- as it was when the cattle business came to Wyoming and Montana. The Cattle Kingdom overgrazed the range so drastically -- fed so many more cattle than the range could support without damage -- that the processes of nature were disrupted. Since those high and far-off days the range has never been capable of supporting anything like the number of cattle it could have supported if the cattle barons had not maimed it. It never will be capable of supporting a proper number again during the geological epoch in which civilization exists.

That should be, but mostly isn't, important to the citizens of Wyoming, whose heritage the West's romantic business in part destroyed. It is directly important to everyone who lives in the lower Missouri Valley or the lower Mississippi Valley, and only a little less directly important to everyone who pays taxes for flood control, relief, or the rehabilitation of depress areas. For when you watch the Missouri sliding greasily past Kansas City you are watching those gallant horsemen out of Owen Wister shovel Wyoming into the Gulf of Mexico. It is even more important that their heirs hope to shovel most of the remaining West into its rivers.
We forget these things at our peril. And if we believed that the days when we had to fight to preserve public land are over, we were sadly quite wrong.
posted by koeselitz at 6:30 AM on April 24 [174 favorites]


I feel like at some point you have to call in the national guard to put this down as an insurrection. This is exactly what the national guard is there for.
posted by empath at 6:31 AM on April 24 [17 favorites]


The speed at conservative figureheads become Great White Nopes is increasing dramatically.
posted by srboisvert at 6:32 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


Charles Pierce: The Latest Land Battle in Texas
Seditious nutballery is beginning to spread, I see, not that it ever was far from Texas. Not only that, but the odds-on favorite to be the next governor of the state is putting on his John Bell Hood drag and making the most of it.
"I am about ready," General Abbott told Breitbart Texas, "to go to the Red River and raise a ‘Come and Take It' flag to tell the feds to stay out of Texas."
OK, what say we move Fort Hood and Fort Sam Houston for starters, and then we go from there.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, General Abbott said, "This is the latest line of attack by the Obama Administration where it seems like they have a complete disregard for the rule of law in this country ...What Barack Obama's BLM is doing," Abbott continued, "is so out of bounds and so offensive that we should have quick and successful legal action if they dare attempt to tread on Texas land and take it from private property owners in this state."
Naturally, of course, and of a piece with Cliven Bundy's "ancestral rights" that date back to antiquity in the late 1940s, this was simply another long-running dispute that predates the rise of the Kenyan Usurper, and a fairly ordinary one at that. But the usual suspects are gathering for another performance of Historical Re-Enactment Theater.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:33 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


I don't think this has much to do with bigotry; the fact that one of the people involved is a bigot is not of much consequence to the situation itself.

Oh, it so is.

This situation couldn't have happened with a black rancher; to even try and imagine a scenario in which a person of colour was allowed to flaunt the law in such a way for decades is offensive and laughable. Because he's white, he gets a pass, because he's white, what he does is being a principled stand rather than domestic terrorism.
Domestic terrorism is an oxymoron in America when white folks are involved. Whiteness imagines itself as kind, benign, safe, neutral, normal, and good. "Terrorism" is something those "other people" do, i.e. the Muslims, or some other ambiguous cohort of black and brown people who "hate American values". Whiteness and the white racial frame are possessed by an acute sense of historical amnesia as well. The most dangerous domestic terrorist organization in the history of the United States was the Ku Klux Klan, a group that killed thousands of black Americans during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Again, Whiteness has the ability to transform and shift empirical reality for its owners and those invested in it.

Whiteness also grants white people in America the freedom to always be a blameless individual. By implication, white people, by virtue of their racial group membership, are incapable of ill deeds as a group. White people who do bad things are just "bad individuals".
Bigotry is what allows Bundy to operate. Bigotry is also why Bundy feels free to ignore the law.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:35 AM on April 24 [56 favorites]


What I learned today is that it costs about $300k to relocate a desert tortoise.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:36 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Cliven Bundy and the Tyranny All Around Us: "How would the Nevada standoff be different if the rancher were black? American history has already answered that question."

Last time this happened with black people holding the guns, the city of Philadelphia literally fire-bombed itself to stop them. Swaths of west Philly are still burned-out husks to this day.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:37 AM on April 24 [64 favorites]


Regarding questions from Europe - look around you. We have plenty of wackjobbery on this side of the Atlantic also.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 6:38 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


It would be great if we could stop paying attention to people like this.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:39 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


What we also should keep in mind when we're talking about bigotry in these cases is not just that a Bundy believes shockingly racist things, but the way in which bigotry operates throughout the system. That is, for most of its history the US was run not by the people for the people, but by white men for the exclusive benefit of white men; what Koeselitz quoted upthread about ranchers is one example of this. At the same time of course an equal amount of time and energy has been spent keeping everybody not white down, keeping the economic system from which whites profit the most running, through slavery, through Jim Crow, redlining, a system of taxation which puts the heaviest burden on the poorest, through laws that blatantly punish "black" crime harsher than "white" crime.

And what we've consistently seen is that at any time when this system is under attack, from emancipation to the civil rights movement to the great society, white people who profited from it respond with increased violence.

The Bundy case is a classic example.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:43 AM on April 24 [17 favorites]


I think it would be interesting to try to tie this to a more global narrative where national governments ruling over a divided populace are increasingly unable to hold things together and are subject to popular action in the "streets" from one of the sides in the divide -- action that can significantly impede the government from functioning properly.

Other examples: Ukraine, Thailand, Egypt, Belgium
posted by Slothrup at 6:44 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I feel like at some point you have to call in the national guard to put this down as an insurrection. This is exactly what the national guard is there for.

Personally I'd rather we find non-violent solutions to complicated problems, but certainly sending in the troops would be the American way. There's no need to create an artificial sense of immediate crisis -- this has taken decades to get this far and doesn't need to be resolved in a single violent siege. There are plenty of legal mechanisms that can still be used.

Sure, but this doesn't make them different from any other small (or, not so small, for some of them) business owner.

The difference is that they are the primary land managers for millions and millions of acres of private and public land in the west. If you want better ecological outcomes for that land, those ranchers need to either voluntarily make changes or be mandated to comply. History has shown clearly that putting them out of business (something you saw advocated by environmentalists a few decades ago) is a much less optimal solution than working with them as partners and co-managers of the land.

If the pattern was: rancher goes out of business --> land reverts to public access wilderness, I think you'd see some support for that. But the pattern is rancher goes out of business --> new owners stop all access for hikers and hunters and implement much higher impact land uses.

So at a purely pragmatic level, politics and personalities completely aside, I want to see outcomes from this and similar conflicts that build on positive co-management practices and marginalize nutjobs like Bundy. You'll notice already in the article that his support is not coming from other ranchers -- it's from the suburbs of cities. He does not represent the mainstream of his profession, but the conflict between federal and local land users is bubbling under the surface across the west and he is the latest symbol of that.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:45 AM on April 24 [8 favorites]


Of course it is in this case, because it's the core ideology of Bundy and his supporters: white people deserve to get everything they can steal from the government, because everything the government does is just spoiling "those people" anyway.

Believe you me, I see your point, but that would be true of the broader ideology whether or not Bundy had actually said any particular racist thing, or whether or not any particular Bundy-supporter actually consciously believes that their ideology is racist. Irrespective of any particular racist thing that Bundy says, the movement around him comes from a place of white men believing that they are temporarily embarrassed millionaires who are being held back by jackbooted government thugs, in contrast to those minorities on welfare who do the hippity-hop abortion-crimes with the drug-basketballs.

I guess my point is, the actual racist remarks are redundant - the underlying ideology is bad either way.

Sidenote: the most vocal Tea Partier on my Facebook feed is a Cooley Law attorney who intersperses his rants with "TITS - I LOVE TITS" and "WHY AM I ALONE". He's like a SomethingAwful character brought to life.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:45 AM on April 24 [11 favorites]


me: “I don't think this has much to do with bigotry; the fact that one of the people involved is a bigot is not of much consequence to the situation itself.”

MartinWisse: “Oh, it so is. ¶ This situation couldn't have happened with a black rancher; to even try and imagine a scenario in which a person of colour was allowed to flaunt the law in such a way for decades is offensive and laughable. Because he's white, he gets a pass, because he's white, what he does is being a principled stand rather than domestic terrorism... Bigotry is what allows Bundy to operate. Bigotry is also why Bundy feels free to ignore the law.”

You're confusing a condition of the event with the formal cause of the event. Of course white privilege allows Cliven Bundy to operate. White privilege allowed bankers to rob millions from the public trust. White privilege allowed politicians to lie to the American public and drag them into wars they shouldn't have been involved in. That is certainly true, and we can all admit it, but did we reframe those situations as nothing more than cases of racial bigotry? No, emphatically not, most of all because theft from the public and mass deception of the public are important issues in their own right that need to be dealt with.

The framing "this is about bigotry" is dangerous and misleading because it tends toward the conclusion that Cliven Bundy might be just fine as a human being if only he didn't say those awful things about black people. But he wouldn't. He committed crimes here, and they would be crimes no less if he hadn't said what he did. If we focus on his bigotry and ignore the essential thing here, which is that a private rancher has been allowed to flout the law and violate public land with impunity, then that will happen over and over and over again.

In short: yes, of course there is race in the background; there is race in the background of everything in the United States. The essential thing is that we're faced with a criminal act here. "He wouldn't be allowed to commit such crimes if he weren't white!" is a fair cop, sure. But what's more important is to understand the crime as a crime, to understand what that means, and to stop it.
posted by koeselitz at 6:46 AM on April 24 [13 favorites]


Other examples: Ukraine, Thailand, Egypt, Belgium

Yes, indeed.

Ukraine is a great example of how two competing elites try and use ethnic tension to keep in power and keep their wealth; Thailand and Egypt are examples of populist movements being hijacked again by elite interests (the army in Egypt's case, the richest capitalist organisation in the country, in Thailand's case that upstart ex-prime minister who made his money slightly too quickly for the old elites) while in Belgium it's slightly more like in the US, with a Flemish middle class not wanting to pay higher taxes to help out their poorer Walloon counterparts.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:49 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: “It would be great if we could stop paying attention to people like this.”

This is why I resist reducing this to simple bigotry. Because if someone's simply a bigot, they're to be ignored, and "stop paying attention" is a fine solution. And I do not doubt that that's what the American public – liberals in particular! – eventually will do: ignore Cliven Bundy, because he sounds to them like a tedious and annoying troll. But ignoring a criminal is a mistake. And as unpopular as the cause of public land may be, it's a cause that is worth fighting for.
posted by koeselitz at 6:50 AM on April 24 [13 favorites]


I don't think it's Bundy's bigotry that's relevant, exactly, except that this particular quote is a great highlight for the bigotry of all his supporters, which is actually relevant. There have been real cuts in public welfare programs that have happened because of the public perception that they're only really there to help lazy black people. But these white conservatives are perfectly okay with this guy. They're okay with massive farm subsidies supporting unprofitable businesses. Kids going hungry is fine, how dare we maybe force some rural guy to find a new job. A low-income black woman with a large family is a welfare queen; a low-income white woman with a large family is Quiverfull or otherwise devout and beyond reproach.

Bundy's particular complaint about this particular piece of land is a lot less relevant than the overall status of white people dependent on the government compared to black and brown people dependent on the government, and the way that we have consistently been keeping one of them downtrodden while letting the other run roughshod over everybody else.
posted by Sequence at 6:53 AM on April 24 [10 favorites]


The bigotry angle is also flawed because only a tiny minority of Bundy's supporters actually consciously regard their ideology as saying that whiteness itself entitles you to x, y, and z. No, for many people, their ideology adopts a consciously "colorblind" explanation as to why poor people deserve to be poor, and it is through that "colorblindness" that the racism is actually reaffirmed. It is the racism which dare not speak its name, and in that way, it's more insidious.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:56 AM on April 24


Yeah, I probably should have said I'm really glad this didn't escalate to the point that some doof called in the ATF or the FBI.

I would like to think that cooler heads could prevail, though, and the government could prosecute this man for his crimes without the need for violent confrontation.

Can't they just seize bank accounts, cut off utilities, etc. etc.? Anything that avoids a protracted seige with armed hordes.
posted by valkane at 6:58 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


I think this is further proof that when people start saying things like, "The government does nothing for me, I don't need anything the government has and people who rely on the government are useless and not real people like me." while at the same time profiting and stealing from federal land, there is an inherent flaw in their logic that is founded on some majorly broken thinking.

Pairing it with racism is unsurprising, because in my experience, the person who thinks he's too good to follow the laws of the land when they cost him money or inconvenience is also the type of person who thinks he's better than a whole swath of other humans.

his family has been ranching on the acres at issue since the late 19th century.

Also, anybody who believes truly that the sheer fact that his family has been on the land for a hundred years or so gives him a real claim to the land has never read American history. For all our love of private property, the federal government has demonstrated over and over again that if your land is important to them for any reason, they have no problem moving your ass off. Ask the Native Americans, African American farmers living near national cemeteries and battlefields, folks that lived in numerous national parks and forests, and a good healthy portion of farmers in the Southeast who lost land to TVA. Personally, I think that's part of the arrangement we as citizens agree to with our government and for the most part it's a good thing. But to be so blind that you think you get a pass cause you've been there a while? That's just being willfully stupid.
posted by teleri025 at 7:00 AM on April 24 [30 favorites]


I'm still in love with this quote from this recent fpp, and it's even more apt here:
What’s a frontier? In the American tradition, it’s a place where you go to kill locals and grow plants and animals that take advantage of the soil that they had been maintaining. (This may seem unnecessarily cynical, but it’s the only one-line overview I know that coordinates the Trail of Tears, cowboy culture as it actually was, and the Dust Bowl, for three high-profile parts of the American story of the frontier.) Which is to say that not only was the Western Expansion expanding into something, it was powered by what it was overtaking. It was consumption. The frontier grew not as a tree trunk grows into air, but as a fire grows across a forest.
posted by rtha at 7:00 AM on April 24 [56 favorites]


So the guy doesn't want to pay to use a public resource? I thought all this time it was his own land that was involved somehow. That's what it boils down to? What an asshole.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 7:01 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


Both sets of my grandparents lived in this general area and both of my parents grew up there. One grandfather owned significant tracts of grazing land, very similar to Mr. Bundy's situation, and ran livestock there and in other locations around the region.

His situation was very similar to Bundy's where you own certain sections of land and the federal government (BLM) owns other sections that are generally interleaved with yours in a checkerboard-like pattern.

For grazing purposes, you 'control' and use the entire area, including BLM sections, by owning the grazing rights, water rights, etc etc etc. to the BLM sections that are interleaved with the sections that you own outright.

Even on your own land, you typically own surface rights only and not mineral rights (nobody was happy when the oil prospecting companies sent their thumper trucks and test rigs out across our family's land, but everybody also understood that's what happens when someone else owns the mineral rights). It's also possible to own land outright and yet not own any corresponding water rights, making 'your' land essentially useless for any purpose.

So, this is a slightly complicated situation but it is not a difficult or unusual or impossible-to-understand situation.

If you own the grazing rights to the BLM land and if you pay the grazing fees, then you can graze livestock there, subject to the limitations that BLM puts on the grazing rights.

And if you don't own the rights or pay the fees then you CAN'T graze there.

And if you do graze there you are breaking the law.

It's plain and simple--you're infringing on somebody else's property rights on property you don't own.

Even in the West, that is something everybody seems quite capable of understanding and dealing with--except Clive Bundy.
posted by flug at 7:05 AM on April 24 [38 favorites]




rtha: profitable cattle ranch in the desert

Except desert ranching is basically a terrible idea - cattle may be adaptable, but the density of cattle per acre is ridiculously low. As I've heard it, Bundy's ranch is the last one out there, because no one else could survive on the low profit margins in drought years.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:06 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I should've put quotes around profitable. They're there in my head!
posted by rtha at 7:10 AM on April 24


He doesn't feel he should have to pay the Feds $1.35/head/month.

"The grazing fee for 2014 is $1.35 per AUM, the same level as it was in 2013."

Private grazing fees would be in the 10-15 dollar/month range, as best I can tell.

So once again our government gives away the commons. And this freeloader won't pay 10% of the market rate because ... freedom?
posted by etherist at 7:13 AM on April 24 [35 favorites]


Question from Europe: Is this some Form of Civil War Re-Enactment or do you Americans clone these weird Guys for our international Entertainment?

Our Civil War is our primal scene and the rest of the world is our sofa.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:13 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


rtha - I didn't mean to claim you were a proponent of desert grazing as profitable, sorry. I wanted to respond to that idea, not you specifically.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:13 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Believe you me, I see your point, but that would be true of the broader ideology whether or not Bundy had actually said any particular racist thing, or whether or not any particular Bundy-supporter actually consciously believes that their ideology is racist. Irrespective of any particular racist thing that Bundy says, the movement around him comes from a place of white men believing that they are temporarily embarrassed millionaires who are being held back by jackbooted government thugs, in contrast to those minorities on welfare who do the hippity-hop abortion-crimes with the drug-basketballs.
Yes, it seems you and me and Koeselitz are furiously agreeing about this, with the exception that I think that Bundy explicit bigotry should be hold against him and his followers as it's the rare exception that this ideology is laid bare honestly. This could be a teaching moment for all those people who haven't quite swallowed his act but have some sympathy for his anti-gubernment stance.

"Let's peel back the foreskin of ignorance and apply the wire brush of enlightnment" as somebody much more clever than I once said.

This won't be pretty or nice of course and you won't reach his hardcore supporters with it. But it's necessary work, because for far too long this underlying white supremacy out of economic motives has been understood, but not articulated enough by those opposed to it, especially white liberals, too often too willing to leave them unexamined.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:15 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Bundy's "ancestral" land was purchased by his parents in 1948, two years after he was born.

""I've lived my lifetime here. My forefathers 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," Bundy said.

Clark County property records show Cliven Bundy's parents bought the 160 acre ranch in 1948 from Raoul and Ruth Leavitt."
posted by Peccable at 7:19 AM on April 24 [19 favorites]


And I'll add, that everyone who runs livestock on the BLM land feels the squeeze of the grazing restrictions. And just like fishery restrictions and other types of resource regulation it certainly does keep individuals from maximizing their individual profit. And it's the sort of thing that people really enjoy complaining about.

One time my Mom, who grew up with 'the herd' and in one of the small towns downstream from the mountains where extensive grazing takes place, brought this up. "The feds came in and put those restrictions on grazing and just decimated Dad's business" etc etc etc.

"Mom, do you remember the flash floods that used to come roaring through town every spring when you were a kid?"*

"Well, yeah."

"Do you know how long it's been since they've had a flash flood like that?"

"A long time?"

Ah, yes. When she was a kid they had multiple huge flash floods roaring through the little creek that runs through the middle of her tiny little town every year. Basically, every time it rained (which in that part of the country is not that often). Now they have maybe one a decade or less.

Overgrazing was literally destroying the groundcover. Massive erosion and flashflooding inevitably followed. They could have continued overgrazing--for a while. But the endgame of that strategy was clear to everyone--you'd destroy the fragile topsoil of the desert environment and pretty soon there would be no grazing left for anybody.

It's much like the fisheries situation, where you can adopt annoying and painful regulation now and keep fishing at a lower but sustainable level essentially forever. Or you can completely destroy the resource and the local environment, and then everybody goes out of business permanently.

That is exactly the situation they were facing in this area of southern Utah, northern Arizona, southern Nevada, and surrounding area. Continue unregulated grazing and completely destroy the local environment and economy for a long, long time to come. Or accept some reasonable regulation and continue on a slower but sustainable economic path.

Thank the lord they chose the sustainable path in the early 1900s.

*By this time I had read the textbook and had become a smartypants . . .
posted by flug at 7:20 AM on April 24 [63 favorites]


his family has been ranching on the acres at issue since the late 19th century

His family didn't even own cattle until 1954.

His ancestral claim is as valid as that "family crest" I got a state fair when I was 10.
Court records show Bundy family cattle didn't start grazing on that land until 1954.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:26 AM on April 24 [11 favorites]


Except desert ranching is basically a terrible idea - cattle may be adaptable, but the density of cattle per acre is ridiculously low. As I've heard it, Bundy's ranch is the last one out there, because no one else could survive on the low profit margins in drought years.
But this just shows that none of the other ranchers innovated. The invisible hand guided Bundy to see that the new market inefficiency is paying your bills. The free market rewarded him and punished the others who did not have as much foresight.
posted by Flunkie at 7:27 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Dip Flash: Most of all, the reality is that a lot of the historical land management by the family operators has been pretty high impact ecologically (because of both lack of knowledge and the tight margins I mentioned) and needs to change -- but there are also huge benefits ecologically to that dedicated, long-term land management also. No one knows their land like a fifth generation rancher, and it benefits no one (especially the environment) to have them go under and be replaced by a trophy ranch with a golf course, subdivided into a bunch of houses, or bought out by AgTech Incorporated and managed out of an office in Manhattan.

I'm not trying to call you out, Dip Flash, but in my reading of this paragraph, you have some conflicting notions: do the 5th generation ranchers know their land like no one else, or are they destroying the fragile habitat by mis-management? The southern part of New Mexico is subject to serious dust storms, to the point that roads are closed to prevent serious (more) crashes. I've heard credit given to mis-management of grazing on BLM land.

Interesting thoughts from others: Condos, not cows (High Country News) - extraction industries are poor stewards of large swaths of land, and home development will only cover a small portion of the land and will/can leave the rest untouched (but let's not talk about people driving their ATVs from their garage out to the desert in their back yard). Another idea: 410 million acres of U.S range lands, or 21 percent of the continental United States, nearly all in the west, are in unsatisfactory ecological condition according too an estimate by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, with much blame placed on overgrazing so could better management of tight herds of cattle restore the land?
posted by filthy light thief at 7:32 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Vox (Matthew Yglesias): Ranchers like Cliven Bundy are moochers: From day one, I've tried to imagine the reaction if a young black man living in my gentrifying neighborhood reacted to some adverse change in government policy — perhaps funding cuts led a bus line in the neighborhood to get shut down — by stealing a bus. Then when the cops come to take the bus back, he brings out fifty friends, some of them armed, and start talking about putting the women out front so they'll be shot first. My overwhelming presupposition is that he'd end up shot dead, along with his armed buddies, and that would about be the end of it. There would be no partisan political controversy about whether or not it is appropriate to react to changes in WMATA's route planning with violence.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:33 AM on April 24 [30 favorites]


For what it's worth, I first heard of Clive Bundy from a photo on Facebook with text saying something to the effect "wouldn't it be great if the US put as much effort into protecting the border as they did fighting Clive Bundy." After reading about Bundy, I didn't see how border patrol and BLM were related, and that made me all the sadder for that individual who posted it, and some dolt who took the time to put the image together.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:36 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


i have some relatives out west who aren't bad people but their hatred of the federal gov't dates at least back to controversies over spotted owl habitats and the federal limits on logging because of the owls. one relative was a log-truck driver, and the spotted-owl thing was either impacting him economically or a lot of people that he knew.

Bring up the spotted owl to them and if you were lucky the worst you got was savage mockery for prioritizing the needs of an owl over people. Underneath that was a lot of anger.

Not saying I support this anger in any way, but out west, sometimes you get these weird things like campaigns to get the U.S. out of the U.N. that strikes me as an inability to conceive of a federal system, let alone approve of it.
posted by angrycat at 7:41 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I'm not trying to call you out, Dip Flash, but in my reading of this paragraph, you have some conflicting notions: do the 5th generation ranchers know their land like no one else, or are they destroying the fragile habitat by mis-management?

Both, and that I think the path to better land management needs to have them at the table. It's easy to see the damage the ranchers have caused, but the Feds have been appalling land managers as well (and permitted the poor practices by private owners as well).

This guy is a nutjob and the sooner the IRS can seize his land for back taxes the better. But the land use side of things is not nearly so simple.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:47 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


[Can we not do that "Let's hope they're first against the wall..." stuff?]
posted by jessamyn at 7:54 AM on April 24 [7 favorites]


srboisvert: "The speed at conservative figureheads become Great White Nopes is increasing dramatically."

Leave Chuck Testa outta this!
posted by symbioid at 8:00 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I love how these characters always come from "taker" states.

Nevada receives more money from Washington than it pays to Washington. That state could not operate functionally without Federal subsidy.

They cry about the liberals in New York and California (the two biggest "giver" states) - but they happily take the excess revenue from those states to keep their own state operating.
posted by Flood at 8:01 AM on April 24 [31 favorites]


METAFILTER: hippity-hop abortion-crimes with the drug-basketballs.
posted by symbioid at 8:08 AM on April 24 [7 favorites]


In the 1930s Al Capone was sent to prison for tax evasion even though he was head of the Chicago Outfit. Now some random rancher gets to flout the law longer, with impunity? I don't know what to make of that.
posted by johnofjack at 8:11 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


In the 1930s Al Capone was sent to prison for tax evasion even though he was head of the Chicago Outfit. Now some random rancher gets to flout the law longer, with impunity? I don't know what to make of that.

Presumably Al Capone wasn't making his bribes to the right people.
posted by IAmUnaware at 8:20 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


My favorite Idiot Sign seen about this issue is "Why does land belong to the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT and not WE THE PEOPLE?"
posted by KathrynT at 8:20 AM on April 24 [40 favorites]


Isn't this the sort of thing police forces have been militarized to deal with?

Why don't they just send in the SWAT team to arrest him? If he raises a gun, they can remove it from his cold, dead hands.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:26 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


What we have here is the intellectual bankruptcy of the modern American right in a nutshell. The comparisons to the "welfare queens" that Cliven Bundy's fellow travelers claim to hate are obvious to the point of being trite, but then these gun-toting thugs have to go out and crank the hypocrisy up to 11 by refusing to acknowledge the authority of the federal government while proudly waving the American flag, and telling everyone how they're the true patriots.

These are dangerous people, and the politicians and media figures who are using them as pawns are playing a very dangerous game.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:27 AM on April 24 [11 favorites]


I have to separate the issue of whether or not grazing cattle on public lands is okay from Bundy refuses to pay for grazing, and claims the land as his own. From the WaPo article: Some of Bundy's neighbors aren't impressed by his actions. "I feel that the rule of law supersedes armed militias coming in from all over the country to stand with a law-breaking rancher, which is what he is," one person told a local TV station.

The angry nutjobs who've come to side with Bundy are anti-government. But it's land that belongs to all US citizens, not to some greedy asshole. So, as a citizen, my response to Bundy is, Get off my land. KathrynT - fist bump
posted by theora55 at 8:28 AM on April 24 [9 favorites]


"That being the case, why does Bundy deserve our sympathy? To begin with, his family has been ranching on the acres at issue since the late 19th century. They and other settlers were induced to come to Nevada in part by the federal government’s promise that they would be able to graze their cattle on adjacent government-owned land. For many years they did so, with no limitations or fees. The Bundy family was ranching in southern Nevada long before the BLM came into existence."
Yeah, cry me a river and bury my fucking heart at Wounded Knee. "I deserve to use this land for free because the people who stole it from the original owners let my great-great-grandpappy use it for free!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:30 AM on April 24 [9 favorites]


I love how these characters always come from "taker" states.

Or as De Voto put it, "leave us alone, and give us more money!"
posted by one_bean at 8:33 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


My ancestors apparently technically owned most of downtown Manhattan, but you don't see me throwing a conniption fit, spouting off racist gibberish, and encouraging others to take up arms against their own government. Get over it already, people. The days of feudal lords and vassals are over and we're not bringing them back, no matter how alluring the fantasy may be to some.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:39 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


"You’re in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down, and you see a tortoise, it’s crawling toward you. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can’t, not without your help. But you’re not helping. Why is that?"

----------------

In all seriousness, though, I'm glad someone finally made a post. A younger relative of mine, who I had a fairly strong influence over, has taken this up as a cause celebre, for some reason. Many disturbing trends that have taken hold over the so called "left" has been sort of taken up by him these days. Repeating RT style news, thinking Alex Jones has some access to a special truth... It saddens me deeply. I try to make arguments, but I am not good with such things with people I don't want to damage my relationship with.

The instant I saw this on his wall I couldn't help but think Waco. Fortunately, he was the only one saying anything about it (pro or con). I tried to point out the parallels with Waco/Ruby Ridge, but he started saying the line that it's a takeover for corporate fracking interests, so I had to point out that's an excuse, and the fracking didn't exist in the early 90s when this dispute began.

The guy went through the courts, and failed to succeed in WINNING! (needs more Charlie Sheen, methinks).

Having lived through Waco (and my relative was only 8 when Waco happened), Ruby Ridge and OKC. Having voted in our High School Mock Election for Bo Gritz... I've seen it, I've been there, I know the mindset, I've evolved out of it and despise it.

And to see someone who I've had influence over take such a drastically wrong message from me, missing out on the fundamental points for an abstract "anti-government" and a lack of critique of his own analysis bothers me.

My biggest hope is that he's about 10 years younger than me, so I hope that in time, he will change his views, as I surely have in the past 10 years (rest assured, I was saying some really crazy stuff during Katrina, and that's about 10 years ago).

What really fascinates me is that I think we can have some really interesting debate and education about the concept of "The Commons" and "Primitive Accumulation" (direct link to PDF copy at libcom of "The Invention of Capitalism"). I can see parallels of enclosure of public lands for "private gain" in some instances, and it would be good to show that historical process. In fact, when one looks at the bullshit nonsense FOX is spouting, they are supporting "Commons" concepts, and opposing "Crony Capitalism" as a theory that Harry Reid is "enclosing the commons" as a political tactic to favor his corporate friends). In that sense, one can see this sort of attempt at hearkening back to a long last age pre-Capitalism.

But it's hard to get into an analysis, when people just scream out "TYRANNY! FREEDOM! GUNS! LIBERTY! CONSTITUTION! HARRY REID! FRACKING!"
posted by symbioid at 8:39 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


It's the old American double standard. Say one thing, do something different. And, of course, the country is founded on the double standard. That's our history. This country was founded on a very basic double standard. This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.

Am I right? A group of slave owners who wanted to be free. So they killed a lot of white English people, in order to continue owning their black African people, so they could wipe out of the rest of the red Indian people, so they move west and steal the rest of the land from the brown Mexican people, giving them a place to take off and drop their nuclear weapons on the yellow Japanese people.


- noted philosopher George Carlin.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:46 AM on April 24 [8 favorites]


They cry about the liberals in New York and California (the two biggest "giver" states)
I'm more or less on board with your basic point, but are you sure about this particular?

Here's something about this from the Economist claiming that from 1990 to 2009, New York was moderately "giver", and California was basically neutral. The big givers (percentagewise) were Minnesota, New Jersey, and Delaware. That's as a percentage of gross state product, so of course I wouldn't be surprised if NY gave more in absolute terms than any of those (especially Delaware), but from the point of view of an individual, NY is second-tier (along with CT and IL), and CA is not even in the running.

And here's a Wikipedia article with some charts. One of the charts claims that in 2012, NY was third in absolute terms and eleventh in percentagewise terms, and CA was 5th and 19th, respectively. IL and MN beat NY is absolute terms, and they and additionally OH beat CA. In percentagewise terms, lots of states beat them, and it's not even close (e.g. MN #1 at 17.3%, DE #2 at 16.6%, (...), NY #11 at 4.1%, (...), CA #19 at 1.7%).

Another chart, which shows individual states per individual year for the period 2003-2012, shows NY's "dollars received per dollar given" from a low of 0.29 in 2007 to a high of 0.91 in 2009, average of 0.70, and CA from 0.41 in 2007 to 1.07 (actually a "taker" -- and that happened in three of the ten years) in 2009, average of 0.87.

I admit the "0.29 in 2007" seems pretty extreme, but it's very much an outlier, and 2007 seems like an outlier for a lot of states. For example, DE 0.18, MN 0.21, NJ 0.26. Meanwhile those state's highs, as compared to NY's of 0.91, were 0.60, 0.53, and 0.88, respectively, and their averages 0.46, 0.42, and 0.68, respectively (as compared to NY's 0.70 and CA's 0.87).

Again, I'm basically on board with your general point, but I'm just not so sure about the claim that NY and CA are "the two biggest givers". Especially CA - CA doesn't even really seem to be a giver, overall (it certainly seems to be in some specific years, of course).
posted by Flunkie at 8:49 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


oh man
and a few weeks ago all of those comparisons of Cliven Bundy to Martin Luther King jr....

Can't help see that the john birch-ening of the American right, and the American discourse in general, is nothing but a very successful tactic to move the conversation away from any actual concrete policy...
because there is no longer any conversation about policy in mainstream media. I remember in 2008 watching the mainstream news tell me the economic crisis was too complicated to explain, and the right tell its constituents that it was because of reckless poor (read: black, as per dog whistle) people. Policy is no longer explained or sold to the public to drive political issues. And how could it be? Anyone following along will find the horrible reaffirmation of two themes, the loss of rights and day to day growing economic inequality.
So this type of shit is sold to the powerless.
Look at the analog in the border states like Arizona. Immigration is a problem in this country, undocumented illegal aliens live and work illegally in America. But at its core it is a labor issue. There are existing laws that could be enforced at the places that employ undocumented workers, if fines were put on the largest factory farms and slaughterhouses (like Tyson etc. which employ mainly undocumented workers and have been fined in the past). But instead we get no immigration reform, and the big boys have cheap labor which can never unionize, can never demand better pay or conditions, because they are in constant fear being in this country illegally, and the white men in border states can put on hats and play cowboy border patrol against the coming Mexican invasion which threatens all of God's America.
This is where we are. Americans grow poorer and more powerless and old white america's rage is mediated into rage against a Big Government and its tyranny, this demonstrated and acted in anger at Mexicans, or 'other', this is why Cliven Bundy, the petty land thief, is here to talk to us about "the Negro". These patriots are not, say, angry at actual economic tyranny, or warrantless wiretapping of the whole nation, or tax money spent on illegal and almost inexplainable proxy war by death robot, or a government where only millionaires can have a voice... No, here we are, with tricornered hat or cowboy hat we have people acting out the range war or the American Revolution, against some brown folks.
An America with no idea of civil good or strength, just abject fear and hate, the big boys up top are making more money than they ever had, and our culture is acting and thinking like the John Birch Society.

Fuck.
posted by Enigmark at 8:49 AM on April 24 [11 favorites]


"I don't support Bundy or Paul, but Bundy's racism seems orthogonal to the actual grazing issue."

I'm not so sure. I can't get inside Bundy's head, but historically, there has been a significant connection between racism and anti-federalism, for reasons that should be obvious.
posted by mikeand1 at 8:52 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


and a few weeks ago all of those comparisons of Cliven Bundy to Martin Luther King jr....

My favorite was Rosa Parks vs. The Nazis. Which sounds like a crowdfunded movie or indie comic book.

Racism is absolutely inextricable from what these folks are doing; it is the core of the matter. Pointing out their hypocrisy re "takings" misses the point. America is supposed to be for them, the white descendent of the pioneer master race that they imagine themselves to be. If the BLM administers land or the government distributes largesse, it is for them alone, not... those people.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:00 AM on April 24 [8 favorites]


I detest people like Bundy, because in a way, he's just like those others who benefit immensely from the federal government, be it grazing lands or welfare, who loathe and hate the entity that makes their very existence possible. I hate the hypocrisy and the cloaking of much of this animus with the flag and the Constitution. In the day of real patriots, i.e., those who fought the British in the American Revolution, Washington sent an army to crush those who didn't want to pay their taxes.
posted by Atreides at 9:02 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


Jamelle Bouie: What Cliven Bundy Knows About “The Negro”
Obviously, Bundy is a crank. But he’s not alone. Not only are these views shared on the survivalist fringe of American life, but they’re fairly common within the conservative movement. Enterprising pundits—almost all of them African-American—have built careers out of telling white audiences that slavery was better for black families than welfare.

There’s Walter Williams, a conservative economist at George Mason University, who told the Wall Street Journal that “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do … that is to destroy the black family.” Likewise, there’s Star Parker—a frequent speaker at conservative gatherings like CPAC and the Values Voter Summit—whose Uncle Sam’s Plantation argues the same.

As a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia, E.W. Jackson told his supporters that “slavery did not destroy the black family … government did that,” and last year, FreedomWorks—a Tea Party group—released a documentary called Runaway Slave, which details the “Democratic plantation” of welfare and entitlement benefits, used to lure African-Americans away from the Republican Party. And key to the narrative is the idea that these benefits ruined black families, succeeding where slavery failed.

In short, the only difference between Bundy and a whole host of conservatives is that the renegade rancher isn't sophisticated enough to couch his nonsense in soundbites and euphemism. Or, if Bundy has anything to say about "the negro," he learned it from the conservative movement.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:04 AM on April 24 [18 favorites]


Is there an arrest warrant for Bundy, or is this purely a civil issue (heh at civil)?
posted by forforf at 9:05 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Again, I'm basically on board with your general point, but I'm just not so sure about the claim that NY and CA are "the two biggest givers". Especially CA - CA doesn't even really seem to be a giver, overall (it certainly seems to be in some specific years, of course).

But if MN is the big giver state, and not NY and CA, then you can't frame this as the giver coasts versus the taker middle of the country, which is how I sometimes see this issue discussed elsewhere.
posted by Area Man at 9:05 AM on April 24


Out of 313,000,000 people who live in this country less that 2.5 million watch Fox news. That's less that 1% of the American public. Maybe, just maybe, if 10's of millions more STOPPED being outraged by what gets propagandized on this marginal channel, allowing them to control the "news" that is "important" they wouldn't have much influence at all and we could focus on what really is important - making the lives of the middle class a little better. You see, non-stories such as this, blown up into federal crisis, are created to distract us from making any progress in moving this country forward.
posted by any major dude at 9:09 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Oh man, the Bundys! I was actually slowly writing an FPP for this, because it's just such a trainwreck that I can't help but stare, mouth agape in horror half the time, while bowling over and laughing hysterically the other half of the time. The racism is new to me, as it was to many, but prior to that, this has really been the perfect storm in terms of provocations, identities, militia movements, etc etc. MEN WITH GUNS ON HORSES WITH HANDS OVER THEIR HEART FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM WHILE WAVING THE AMERICAN FLAG TO PROTEST THE GOVERNMENT. I can't even. It is so earnestly wrongheaded it hurts.

Some of the things that haven't really been mentioned too much thus far, but that I think are really key to the story, are Bundy's Mormonism, the Western Identity, and details on the militia groups involved, such as the Oathkeepers, and the discusison of what patriotism means when you're fighting the federal government.

The Oathkeepers, for those who are unfamiliar, are a group founded by a disabled Army veteran and prizewinning Yale Law grad, that really rose up in early Obama era in part as a reaction to the events of Katrina, where military members and police officers came into people's homes and seized their firearms. Boasting of 30,000 currently serving police, military, and first responder members nationwide, they don't quite fit into any convenient political category - condemning the use of drones and praising Snowden, while still making use of a lot of traditional conservative imagery and language. (Their donation page, for example, states "Like General Patton, we are outpacing our own supply lines. Your donations are 'fuel' for our advance!"

Where they and the Bundy situation intersect, of course, is in their "Ten Orders We Will Not Obey." Citing the founders, as ever, Order # 8 states: "We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies, under any emergency pretext whatsoever."
One of the causes of the American Revolution was the seizure and forfeiture of American ships, goods, and supplies, along with the seizure of American timber for the Royal Navy, all in violation of the people’s natural right to their property and to the fruits of their labor. The final spark of the Revolution was the attempt by the government to seize powder and cannon stores at Concord.

Deprivation of food has long been a weapon of war and oppression, with millions intentionally starved to death by fascist and communist governments in the 20th Century alone.

Accordingly, we will not obey or facilitate orders to confiscate food and other essential supplies from the people, and we will consider all those who issue or carry out such orders to be the enemies of the people.
When Bundy put out his call of "Cattle Rustlin' Federal Gov't", this dovetailed neatly with Order # 8 - confiscation of property, and particular food and essential supplies (The Bundys, it's said, are feeding their visiting militia on their cows). And thus the call to arms went out:
Oath Keepers is calling for Boots On The Ground. Because this is a federal incursion we are calling for volunteers from all over America. Anyone who can, please get to Nevada ASAP... Stewart Rhodes is on a jet right now ( Thursday morning, April 10, 2014) and will arrive there this afternoon.
posted by corb at 9:11 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


But if MN is the big giver state, and not NY and CA, then you can't frame this as the giver coasts versus the taker middle of the country, which is how I sometimes see this issue discussed elsewhere.
I didn't mean I'm on board with the general point of "coasts give" -- I didn't even notice that as a point being made (but I don't doubt you that it's made that way elsewhere). I just meant I'm on board with the idea that it sure seems like, generally speaking and with exceptions, states that give a lot are typically significantly more liberal than states that take a lot.

I am, incidentally, reminded of John Stuart Mill's "I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it."
posted by Flunkie at 9:14 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Ta-Nehisi Coates posted another piece this morning:

White supremacy is one of the most dominant forces in the history of American politics. In a democracy, it would be silly to expect it to go unexpressed. Thus anyone with a sense of American history should be equally unsurprised to discover that rugged individualist Cliven Bundy is the bearer of some very interesting theories.



When people like Cliven Bundy assert the primacy of the past it is important that we do not recount it selectively. American enslavement is the destruction of the black body for profit. That is the past that Cliven Bundy believes "the Negro" to have been better off in. He is, regrettably, not alone.


Source: Cliven Bundy Wants to Tell You All About 'the Negro'
posted by yaymukund at 9:14 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


George_Spiggott: "and a few weeks ago all of those comparisons of Cliven Bundy to Martin Luther King jr....

My favorite was Rosa Parks vs. The Nazis.
"

I look forward to his astute analysis of of the legality (or lack thereof) of extrajudicial drone killings of US citizens. Surely, he's all over that! WE ARE AMERICA! WE DON'T KILL ON ORDERS (Oh... wait... You mean the BLM wasn't actually going to round up Bundy and put him in a gas oven? Shame).
posted by symbioid at 9:18 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


5 Ways Nevada Rancher Militia Resembles Pakistan’s Taliban

Armed anti-federal tax-avoiding resource conflicts based on land use!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:28 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


What I can never get over is how completely backward their "patriotism" is. In this case it's a wannabe Feudal Lord opposed to government of the people. In the case of the Tea Party it's corporatism and inherited status and wealth vs same. They are, to co-opt a loaded term, counterrevolutionary; their beliefs diametrically opposed to founding principles of this country and frankly we should stop yelling at them for displaying the Confederate flag, because it's the correct one. It's the stars and stripes they shouldn't be waving.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:38 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


Oh man, the Bundys!

Remarkably, Fox has a history of profiting off the Bundys.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:38 AM on April 24 [16 favorites]


Harried...with Cattle
posted by jquinby at 9:41 AM on April 24 [18 favorites]


The Oathkeepers, for those who are unfamiliar, are a group founded by a disabled Army veteran and prizewinning Yale Law grad, that really rose up in early Obama era in part as a reaction to the events of Katrina, where military members and police officers came into people's homes and seized their firearms.

Katrina hit the US in Aug 2005, and the Oathkeepers formed in March 2009. That's kind of the modern-day conservative movement, and the current iteration of the militia/"patriot" groups in particular, in a nutshell.

Boasting of 30,000 currently serving police, military, and first responder members nationwide, they don't quite fit into any convenient political category - condemning the use of drones and praising Snowden, while still making use of a lot of traditional conservative imagery and language.

What with the undoubtedly non-coincidental timing of their formation and their alliance with Bundy, I don't really get the sense these guys would have complained very much about the military getting sent in to put down the riots after MLK's assassination. Their freakout about "societal collapse" last year, among other weirdness, does not give me hope that they don't really fit into a political category.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:41 AM on April 24 [7 favorites]


Bundy's "ancestral" land was purchased by his parents in 1948, two years after he was born.

That is too funny. $100 says we also find out Bundy's ancestry includes some non-Caucasians, somewhere down the line.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:45 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


corb: " The Oathkeepers, for those who are unfamiliar, are a group founded by a disabled Army veteran and prizewinning Yale Law grad, that really rose up in early Obama era in part as a reaction to the events of Katrina, where military members and police officers came into people's homes and seized their firearms. Boasting of 30,000 currently serving police, military, and first responder members nationwide, they don't quite fit into any convenient political category - condemning the use of drones and praising Snowden, while still making use of a lot of traditional conservative imagery and language. (Their donation page, for example, states "Like General Patton, we are outpacing our own supply lines. Your donations are 'fuel' for our advance!""

I take it from your language that you admire them. There's nothing more dangerous in this world than a military force who uses arbitrary ideology to justify their "obligation" to disobey orders from a "tyranny" it disagrees with.

The Oathkeepers were born from the current US conservative fearmongering movement -- the one that says, "damn the facts, lap up the propaganda" and the Christian extremist dominionism movement, which views the US to be a "Christian nation" that should be under "Christian rule."

They're not patriots. They're anti-government radicals. You know... the threat our military and police are actually supposed to protect civilians and the nation from.

Because hey, if they were actual patriots, they would have acted against Republican depredations of the constitution ten years ago. But now suddenly there's a Black Democrat in office and they're all for encouraging sedition and disobeying orders.

Like good little racist conservatives soldiers.
posted by zarq at 9:45 AM on April 24 [25 favorites]


The Oathkeepers, for those who are unfamiliar.........

I am familiar with them but I am not sure what oath they are keeping this week. However it seems they use a libertarian agenda to flutter around, bitching about whatever gets their panties in a bunch as opportunity arises.

Then they call themselves patriots.

/eyeroll.jpg
posted by lampshade at 9:47 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Moving on to other elements, I think it's important to note that Bundy paid his grazing fees peaceably enough for many years. The point at which he began the quiet "fee revolt" was when the BLM decided to restrict grazing to a certain extent in order to protect the desert tortoise. At this point, he tried to pay his fees to the county, in protest at the BLM and their interference on behalf of a belief system he could not comprehend. This plays a lot into the concept of Western identity - and more practically, Western masculinity. From a paper on a slightly different situation which has a lot of carryover:
Western cowboy identity uses masculinity as a source of cultural stability. The cowboy is a steward that maintains and controls nature’s balance. Interference from outside sources leads to an erosion of Western ideals, values, and practices. The New West threatens to feminize the archetypal cowboy identity as condominiums and campers encroach on areas formerly used for grazing, rodeos are replaced by art expos, wineries and vineyards border subdivisions in previously primitive areas, and wolves are introduced into rangeland at the insistence of environmentalists...

While media depictions of the Western cowboy were and are fairly diverse, they share specific qualities: independence, resolve, ingenuity, and violence...The American cowboy is both a hero and an outlaw, the personification of manifest destiny, with the will and determination to tame the untamed. The Western ideal imposes the needs of man over those of the environment. Man is the reason associated with science that acts as steward over wild and unruly nature (Jones, 2002). The mythic connotations of the wolf as nature help to polarize opinions and public discourse about wolf management, shaping the debate into a battle of competing ideologies rather than competing interests
So in many ways, the Bundy situation is an ideological war - the BLM curtailing Bundy's ranching to protect the tortoise goes against these strong identities. First, it is declaring that it, the feminized government body, is a better steward of nature than Bundy, the Western rancher - an attempt to take a portion of his identity and reserve it for themselves. By threatening to take his cattle, they place themselves into the cowboy identity story as cattle thieves - the black hats of a hundred different rancher stories, who are attempting to interfere with the masculine Western ideal by force of arms - an ideal which has a lot of root identities in Bundy and his ilk.
posted by corb at 9:51 AM on April 24 [7 favorites]


More on the Oathkeepers from Mother Jones: Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason "...when you're an active-duty soldier contemplating treason, some level of paranoia is probably sensible."
posted by zarq at 9:52 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


that really rose up in early Obama era in part as a reaction to the events of Katrina, where military members and police officers came into people's homes and seized their firearms

They did what now? What year was Katrina?
posted by empath at 9:54 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


They did what now? What year was Katrina?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:55 AM on April 24 [30 favorites]


they would have acted against Republican depredations of the constitution ten years ago.

You should hear the crying about "Free Speech Zones" now. Apparently the sauce doesn't fit so good on the other foot.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:57 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


I'm sure that it's just a coincidence that a radical, armed right-wing militia that formed in the wake of the inauguration of the first black president is taking up arms to support a racist rancher, that's also backed by a racist congressman and a racist news network.
posted by empath at 9:58 AM on April 24 [14 favorites]


Pretty convenient sleight-of-hand there, turning reckless, wanton law-breaking into a question of "identity." Pro tip: there are plenty of ranchers out there who have just as much of a Western identity as this asshole, but are okay with paying 10% of the market rate to comply with federal law.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:58 AM on April 24 [12 favorites]


Stewart Rhodes, in his own words linked from zarq's MoJo article:
Imagine that Herr Hitlery is sworn in as president in 2009. After a conveniently timed “domestic terrorism” incident (just a coincidence, of course) or yet another Prozac
induced mass shooting, she promptly crams a United Nations mandated, Great Britain style, total ban on the private possession of firearms through a compliant, Democratically controlled Congress. Dressed in her favorite Chairman Mao signature pantsuit, Hitlery signs the ban into law with the obligatory choir of sell-out police chiefs as backdrop (just like the good ol days when Bill Clinton used the oval office).

But Hitlery, having a much larger pair, goes further, proclaiming a nationa
l emergency and declaring the entire militia movement (and anyone else Morris Dees labels “extremists”) to be “enemy combatants.” Using precedents established by Bush, Hitlery declares that such citizens are subject to secret military detention without indictment or jury trial, “enhanced” interrogation techniques, and trial before a military tribunal hand-picked by the dominatrix-in-chief herself. Hitlery then orders police, National Guard troops and active military to go house-to-house to disarm the American people and “black-bag” those on a list of “known terrorists,” with orders to shoot all resisters.
Yep, totally not fitting into any sort of political category there.

BTW, that freakout over "societal collapse" I discussed? It wasn't random, it happened right in the middle of the government shutdown and when the specter of the US default was still hanging over the country. I don't even need to guess who they believed would be rampaging through the country when weaned from Uncle Sugar's teat.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:59 AM on April 24 [10 favorites]


I take it from your language that you admire them.

I wouldn't take anything from my language now about any of the things I'm trying to provide more context on. Remember I was originally planning to write up an FPP about this, so trying to preserve as neutral tone as possible, and just kind of showing all the fascinating elements. In terms of the Oath Keepers, I personally think they're a good idea gone terribly wrong. I do support soldiers refusing to obey immoral or unconstitutional orders, such as orders to commit war crimes - but I think they're several steps and a hop beyond that at this point.

They did what now? What year was Katrina?

I'm not sure if you've ever created a nonprofit organization, but it's not usually "Precipitating event happens ----> organization forms immediately." This stuff usually percolates for a while, people try to find like-minded individuals, see if they think they'll be able to get funding, someone offers to give them a boost or fiscally sponsor them, and they're off. Note - I'm not saying one way or another what is in Stewart Rhode's heart of hearts, I'm only saying that it's plausible either way, and there was in fact an upsurge of sentiment against the gun seizures at the time. If you're assuming good faith, there's every reason to take them at their word until you see evidence otherwise, rather than assuming that every organization formed after the Obama years is necessarily racist. There's more than enough to find fault with in the Oath Keepers without borrowing trouble.
posted by corb at 10:01 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Come on, that's not fair. The planning for Katrina started on January 20, 2009, but it wasn't implemented until July 7, when the Democrats finally got a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
posted by Flunkie at 10:01 AM on April 24


[Do not make this thread into a discussion of gun control or other not-the-topic-of-the-thread pet hobbyhorses. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:02 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


It's always new to me to hear that the racism angle is new to anybody.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:05 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


By threatening to take his cattle, they place themselves into the cowboy identity story as cattle thieves - the black hats of a hundred different rancher stories, who are attempting to interfere with the masculine Western ideal by force of arms - an ideal which has a lot of root identities in Bundy and his ilk.

"We'll use the women and children as meat shields for the bullets" seems pretty black-hat to me.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:06 AM on April 24 [12 favorites]


corb: there was in fact an upsurge of sentiment against the gun seizures at the time

As I pointed out the last time you brought this up, the city of New Orleans insists that only took weapons from unoccupied homes in a city that was under a mandatory evacuation order. This is a very flimsy pretext for a group to form against government overreach, even if we grant you that there's really a connection between what happened in Louisiana in 2009 and what's going on in Nevada now.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:07 AM on April 24 [9 favorites]


[Very seriously this is not a gun control thread and take the gun control discussion to MeMail moving forward.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:08 AM on April 24


I'm not sure if you've ever created a nonprofit organization, but it's not usually "Precipitating event happens ----> organization forms immediately." This stuff usually percolates for a while, people try to find like-minded individuals, see if they think they'll be able to get funding, someone offers to give them a boost or fiscally sponsor them, and they're off. Note - I'm not saying one way or another what is in Stewart Rhode's heart of hearts, I'm only saying that it's plausible either way, and there was in fact an upsurge of sentiment against the gun seizures at the time. If you're assuming good faith, there's every reason to take them at their word until you see evidence otherwise, rather than assuming that every organization formed after the Obama years is necessarily racist. There's more than enough to find fault with in the Oath Keepers without borrowing trouble.

He started agitating and organizing in the midst of the 2008 election. This equivocating and accusing others of not assuming good faith when you haven't or won't do a modicum of research is tiresome.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:09 AM on April 24 [8 favorites]



Hehe.

oh, img tag, how I miss you
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:09 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


"We'll use the women and children as meat shields for the bullets" seems pretty black-hat to me.

No matter how black-hat anyone actually is, I think it's pretty much a given that they never actually sees themselves that way. Even Pol Pot probably had a hero story in his own mind. I'm not saying that I agree with his identity story - I find the cowboy identity kind of sociologically fascinating as an alien artifact - but the notion of ranchers being heroes and people who take cattle being thieves and dirty nogoodniks who get hung without trial is entrenched in cowboy literature and film.
posted by corb at 10:10 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


He started agitating and organizing in the midst of the 2008 election.

And claimed, himself, that the events of Katrina were a precipitating event in the founding of the group.

Yeah, I think it's a bullshit rationale, too, but they are allowed to say why they formed. Corb was only quoting them - why argue with Corb about the soundness of their idiocy ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:13 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


corb's assertion makes sense to me because it probably took a while for white libertarians to contort themselves into pseudo-empathizing with the poor black victims of New Orleans. Four years sounds about right for weird paranoiac metastasis to convert a lack of concern for others into desperate concern for oneself.
posted by Corinth at 10:16 AM on April 24 [9 favorites]


All I know is that if I was Cliven Bundy, I would totally have checked that 'Audit Support' box in TurboTax and paid the fee this year.
posted by delfin at 10:17 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


TPM has video of the comments.

They are actually much worse when he says them out loud.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:17 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


corb: "So in many ways, the Bundy situation is an ideological war "

This is an ideological war of his own making. His masculinity(?!) is threatened by obeying the law? Please.
posted by zarq at 10:18 AM on April 24 [10 favorites]


I'm glad they've (plural) avoided violence so far, as I think it would have absolutely set some things in motion. I'm hoping the feds realized they could just wait for the next right-wing outrage to take over Fox News and then just roll in and arrest this guy when everyone found a different manufactured controversy to be upset about.
posted by Big_B at 10:19 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Oh, look, the inevitable "he's just misunderstood"/"liberals are the real racists" (with bonus Ghandi comparison!) narrative from the conservative mental giants is already well underway.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:20 AM on April 24 [7 favorites]


corb's assertion makes sense to me because it probably took a while for white libertarians to contort themselves into pseudo-empathizing with the poor black victims of New Orleans. Four years sounds about right for weird paranoiac metastasis to convert a lack of concern for others into desperate concern for oneself.

What a happy coincidence, then, that this cognitive process about the events of Katrina took exactly as long as it took for the threat of a black man giving them orders looked imminent.. And that veiled threats to murder congresspeople, explicitly racist statements, and the founding and training of local white-only militias are so central to their cause of preserving the Constitution.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has been listing them as a hate group almost since their inception, and every time they show up in the news it's to confirm that.
posted by kafziel at 10:23 AM on April 24 [17 favorites]


Corb was only quoting them - why argue with Corb about the soundness of their idiocy ?

When they are repeating a flat-out lie as a fact?
posted by tavella at 10:24 AM on April 24 [9 favorites]


I just want to say that if this were a cowboy movie, he would be the villain.

Seriously, there is a long history of cowboy movies in which ranchers become violent thugs the moment they can't have unlimited rights to any land they want to freely graze cattle on, often including murdering pioneers who have settled on these lands. It's called a range war narrative.

He's the guy who was trying to kill Shane.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:26 AM on April 24 [42 favorites]


Even Pol Pot probably had a hero story in his own mind.

Oh, come on. I don't think Bundy is as bad as all that.

the notion of ranchers being heroes and people who take cattle being thieves and dirty nogoodniks who get hung without trial is entrenched in cowboy literature and film.

True, but what does that have to do with the price of tea in Nevada? I mean, unless we're saying that Bundy is a cowboy Baron Münchausen who can't tell fact from fiction—WHICH HE MAY BE AS FAR AS I KNOW.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:28 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


Well, I mean, half of the conservative survivalist industrial complex depends on myths about FEMA and FEMA camps, so clearly they're thinking vaguely about Katrina in some bizzaro-world way. But in abandoning any actual history, context, and moral to be taken from the actual event, it's just some abstracted bogeyman convenience - like most of the rest of their worldview - and not a useful reference for the rest of us to consider.
posted by Corinth at 10:30 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


True, but what does that have to do with the price of tea in Nevada?

I see what you did there.
posted by jquinby at 10:33 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Bundy Tries To Clarify His Slavery Remarks: 'I'm Not Racist'
In an interview with conspiracy extraordinaire Alex Jones, Bundy said he would appreciate it if The New York Times retracted their story. "I would appreciate that. I think they should do that," Bundy said. "They're making it a racist-type thing. I'm not racist."

Bundy also went on The Peter Schiff Show to explain his remarks, as Mediaite reported. Noting that the word on the Internet was that Cliven Bundy is a racist, the host asked if Bundy wanted to clarify his remarks. Here's what Bundy said:

I'm wondering if they're better off under a government subsidy and their young women are having the abortions and their young men are in jail and their older women and children are sitting out on the cement porch without nothing to do.

I'm wondering: Are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were when they were when they were slaves and they was able to their family structure together and the chickens and the garden and the people have something to do?

So in my mind, are they better off being slaves in that sense or better off being slaves to the United States government in the sense of the subsidy? I'm wondering. The statement was right. I am wondering.
posted by cjelli at 10:34 AM on April 24


Well, I'm glad he cleared that up.
posted by Corinth at 10:35 AM on April 24 [11 favorites]


unless we're saying that Bundy is a cowboy Baron Münchausen who can't tell fact from fiction

I think that's probably pretty accurate from my dealings with people who are similar in kind, if not in scope.
posted by KathrynT at 10:35 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


He's not racist. He's just wondering.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:36 AM on April 24 [25 favorites]


In an interview with conspiracy extraordinaire Alex Jones, Bundy said he would appreciate it if The New York Times retracted their story. "I would appreciate that. I think they should do that," Bundy said. "They're making it a racist-type thing. I'm not racist."

Not a racist, just a racist-type
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:36 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


cjelli: Uuuuuuuurgh thereby proving his utter ignorance of slavery (which I'm sure everybody here already knows), where slaves were NOT able to have their family structure together, as they were constantly being sold away from each other and forbidden to marry or forced to have children with other slaves or raped by their masters who were fine keeping their own children as slaves and aaaaaargh.
posted by foxfirefey at 10:38 AM on April 24 [11 favorites]


He's not racist. He's racialist.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:38 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


and aaaaaargh.

That is exactly how I feel about every update on this story.
posted by cjelli at 10:39 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


"“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.”"
Yeah, I'm gonna go with Actually Racist, not "Racist-Type."
posted by zarq at 10:40 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


I liked Benjy Sarlin's tweet on the new "I'm not racist" revelation:
Bundy's clarification of his comments is just repeating his comments because how could they possibly be clearer
posted by Flunkie at 10:42 AM on April 24 [13 favorites]


And come to think of it, the phrasing "they put their young men in jail" is...rather telling as well. Not to mention WHO PICKS COTTON ANYMORE ANYWAY? Didn't we invent machines for that?

I was raised in Nevada and Mormon and this dude is just making me squirm in all the worst ways. I want to ask my Mormon grandpa, former range management professor, his opinions about this dude but I'm afraid the answer wouldn't be what I am hoping.
posted by foxfirefey at 10:45 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


Times like these are when Fox greatly regrets cancelling Animaniacs.

BUNDY: I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro --
*scene cut*
YAKKO WARNER: Mmmmmmm-whah! Good night, everybody!
posted by delfin at 10:46 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


This is more or less what the Duck Dynasty guy said, and Republicans were tripping over themselves to fall in line behind Phil Robertson. I don't understand their sudden distaste for it now.
posted by Corinth at 10:48 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


they was able to have their family structure together, and the chickens and garden

Wait, I get it -- Bundy's just confused. He's not thinking of slaves, he's thinking of hipsters.
posted by neroli at 10:51 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


He's not racist, but he's "wondering"...which I read as "taking some time to explore the possibility that he might be racist," but I don't think that's what he thinks he meant. Now that's clarity that I can respect!

I half expect a string of hack-comic zingers in the format "Now I'm not saying I'm racist, but [wittily-worded and definitely racist thing]!" to come spilling out of him.
posted by doctornecessiter at 10:51 AM on April 24


Where is this "sudden distaste" you speak of?
posted by Big_B at 10:51 AM on April 24


Western cowboy identity uses masculinity as a source of cultural stability ... The New West threatens to feminize the archetypal cowboy identity ...

Basically, the government's got cooties.
posted by worbel at 10:51 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


I wonder how all the black people who rushed to Bundy's aid feel about his remarks *aide whispers into my ear* ah, never mind, then
posted by Legomancer at 10:54 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Big_B: "Where is this "sudden distaste" you speak of?"

Several GOP Congresspeople have already explicitly disagreed with his racist remarks. Rep. Vance McCallister (the Kissing Congressman!) invited Phil Robertson to the State of the Union.
posted by Corinth at 10:55 AM on April 24


First, it is declaring that it, the feminized government body, is a better steward of nature than Bundy, the Western rancher - an attempt to take a portion of his identity and reserve it for themselves.

So this is all about Bundy's shriveling testicles? Thanks for clearing that up for us, Corb.
posted by JackFlash at 10:55 AM on April 24 [6 favorites]


How do we know the people who participated in this won't be charged with crimes? There were an awful lot of cameras and witnesses and justice can take its sweet time as long as the statute of limitation doesn't expire on the offenses.

If I were a LEO I would just pick them off one by one as they went into town somewhere or went home in a week's or a month's time once fox and the mob has moved on. No risk of a WACO or Ruby Ridge. Just the patient, hopefully non- violent, application of the law.
posted by srboisvert at 10:56 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro”

Wait, "one MORE thing"? What did he say right before this?
posted by achrise at 10:57 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


My understanding is that the federal government controls this land on the basis of the Nevada state constitution having ceded it upon statehood. Is this not the case? It seems like a pretty key detail. Their constitution didn't just magically change overnight.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:03 AM on April 24


Wait, "one MORE thing"? What did he say right before this?

My hope is that this was sort of like a cartoon drunk starting a rant with "And anuzzer thing!" but I also think that what came before may have been so unrepeatably racist that it would have melted the internet.
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:03 AM on April 24


I'm wondering if they're better off under a government subsidy

You mean like the ones you get, Cliven? The subsidies for water and grazing land and all?

Fuck this guy, and fuck his supporters who want to wave off his explicit racism as not being the "real" issue or as being a distraction. It's the issue, right there, and Bundy himself is pretty clear about it.
posted by rtha at 11:04 AM on April 24 [19 favorites]


Corinth: "Several GOP Congresspeople have already explicitly disagreed with his racist remarks. "

Interestingly enough, Bill Kristol and SE Kupp were trashing Bundy before he outed himself as a racist.
posted by zarq at 11:09 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I'm wondering. The statement was right. I am wondering.

John Wayne would've belted him for being such a mealy-mouth. Cowboy up, pilgrim, and speak like a man!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:10 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


But the underlying resentments and pressures are real and important, and are getting lost under the specific weirdnesses.

Agreed. It's certainly easy enough to condemn people when they're taking up arms and spewing racist filth, and if that feels satisfying then so be it. But I do think it's more interesting and productive to shove aside some of the dumber components and see what else may underlie. There's a complicated history of federal judgment conflicting with individual property rights. For many people it's easier to identify with the individual than to understand the larger scheme, and that's something we can improve on as a society: educating people about federal goals and why some decisions truly need to be made at higher altitudes even when it sometimes creates unfair collateral damage to individuals.
posted by cribcage at 11:14 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Cowboy up, pilgrim, and speak like a man!

One of the most devastating things you can do to racists is make fun of them, especially so that they know you know they are cowards, and that they know that you know that their cowardice makes them weak.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:15 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


unless we're saying that Bundy is a cowboy Baron Münchausen who can't tell fact from fiction—WHICH HE MAY BE AS FAR AS I KNOW.

I think there's a certain extent to which that is actually true - where people kind of cling to the identities that they create for themselves and feel comfortable with. There's some writing in that paper I posted about how times of economic and social uncertainty - when, in particular, powerful men are losing the power of their privilege - they are more likely to cling to the mythic identities that they view as comforting, the golden age they harken to.

And in terms of the West, there's a certain amount of that which ties into seeing themselves as noble, bold, and tough - in direct contrast to those "sissified Easterners" or what have you. This is in part also the rural/urban divide - between rugged individualists and people who are perceived to be effete city dwellers - who don't even hunt!

My understanding is that the federal government controls this land on the basis of the Nevada state constitution having ceded it upon statehood. Is this not the case?

I believe I recall reading that the County used to oversee the land and receive the tax/fees from it, but upon the discovery of the endangered tortoise, that area was ceded to the BLM. It is particularly interesting because, again if I recall aright, the ceding of the land to the BLM was something in the way of environmental mitigation - they had done something incredibly environmentally damaging elsewhere, so were giving up the land to balance things out.
posted by corb at 11:15 AM on April 24


If you want to get an idea of just how dangerous this confrontation was, take a look at this picture of a patriot sniper at the scene.
posted by JackFlash at 11:21 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


corb: “I believe I recall reading that the County used to oversee the land and receive the tax/fees from it, but upon the discovery of the endangered tortoise, that area was ceded to the BLM.”

No. This is flatly false. There have been other false details in this thread – for instance, the idea that Bundy tried to pay his fees to the county at any time. I would point out that there is an outrageous amount of misinformation about this situation coming out, particularly from the Bundy family itself.
posted by koeselitz at 11:21 AM on April 24 [17 favorites]


Western cowboy identity uses masculinity as a source of cultural stability. The cowboy is a steward that maintains and controls nature’s balance. Interference from outside sources leads to an erosion of Western ideals, values, and practices. The New West threatens to feminize the archetypal cowboy identity as condominiums and campers encroach on areas formerly used for grazing, rodeos are replaced by art expos, wineries and vineyards border subdivisions in previously primitive areas, and wolves are introduced into rangeland at the insistence of environmentalists...

First, gotta love that word "feminize," always betraying conservatives' total ignorance of everything about Feminism but its name.

Second, what's so feminine about any of those things?
- Condos have always been designed, built, bought, and sold primarily by men.
- Camping is what Boy Scouts (and cowboys!) do.
- Name five great artists off the top of your head; odds are good every one of them is male.
- If wine is feminine, what is Jesus?
- Wolves. Wolves.

(To say nothing of decrying environmentalism immediately after, in the previous clause of the same sentence, lamenting development of "previously primitive areas.")
posted by Sys Rq at 11:22 AM on April 24 [12 favorites]


“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro”

I could have sworn there is more than one, but in this guy's circles there might not be.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:33 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


John Stewart touched on this a bit last night.

That was a follow-up to this: ‘Who the Hell Is on This Guy’s Side?’ Stewart Tears into Hannity for Bundy Hypocrisy

Charles Pierce: The Latest Land Battle in Texas

More Pierce: Range War In Nevada

Things Are Not Ever What They Seem
posted by homunculus at 11:34 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


Second, what's so feminine about any of those things?

Forget it, jake, it's unexamined but tough-sounding talking point land. Our mythology of the cowboy is a lot more feminine than we realize.

I was a singing cowboy for three years, and I can tell you, it's one step away from being a Vegas showgirl.

Not kidding either. This was me. And, truth be told, I go through my daily life always about three seconds away from cowboying up, twirling my side-irons, and yodeling again.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:34 AM on April 24 [23 favorites]


Also, here's another pro-tip for discussing race in this 21st century America. If you finding yourself using the word "Negro" and you are not a historian who's already explained that word is problematic but you're just quoting from original texts, you might be about to say something really freaking racist.

In case you were wondering.
posted by teleri025 at 11:39 AM on April 24 [9 favorites]


corb: “I believe I recall reading that the County used to oversee the land and receive the tax/fees from it, but upon the discovery of the endangered tortoise, that area was ceded to the BLM.”

me: “No. This is flatly false. There have been other false details in this thread – for instance, the idea that Bundy tried to pay his fees to the county at any time.”

To clarify: we are actually talking about the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Yes, all of the land that Bundy has tried to claim is "his" or "ought to be his" or such is actually a National Recreation Area. And it's not just a National Recreation Area; it was the very first National Recreation Area, designated as such by US Congress in 1964.

It has been Federal land for a lot longer than that – since the mid-1800s, when the US first entered this area. Here is a good brief opinion piece by someone familiar with the case:
I am familiar with the situation, as I served as superintendent of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area for the National Park Service from 1987 to 2000. In 1993, we reduced the number of cows that could be grazed on the Bunkerville allotment to 150 because of the emergency listing of the desert tortoise as an endangered species.

Because Bundy refused to remove his cattle to meet the 150 level and ignored repeated requests to do so, his permit was canceled in 1994 and the allotment was closed to grazing.

As the news coverage has reported, Bundy continues to graze his cattle and has refused to pay the BLM a grazing fee. The figure he owes the government exceeds $300,000. The estimate of cattle being grazed illegally since 1994 on the old Bunkerville allotment have ranged from 550 to more than 900.
So, to sum up: it's been owned and administered by the federal government for a long time, and taxes and fees would never have gone to the county. Contrary to his own claims, Bundy did not decide to stop paying the federal government in protest, or attempt to pay the county instead. He flatly refused to remove his cattle from an area that the legal owners of the land asked him to vacate. Like a tenant who refuses to leave after eviction, he owes all fees for all the time during which he refused to remove his cattle.

me: “I would point out that there is an outrageous amount of misinformation about this situation coming out, particularly from the Bundy family itself.”

... and to clarify this point a little further: it is a bit egregious how much Bundy and his family have distorted, misrepresented, and outright lied about their case to the media. Often they've done so apparently not realizing that they were making it clear that they were in the wrong. A good example: both Cliven Bundy and his daughter Shiree Bundy Cox have stated that he has the right to graze his cattle because he bought "preemptive rights" to the land in the 1880s. What neither seems to realize – or at least seems willing to admit – is that pre-emption rights are not rights to land or property at all. People pay for pre-emption rights for the privilege of being the first person allowed to buy something if it ever goes up for sale. Buying the pre-emption rights in 1887 did not guarantee the Bundy family a thing, and it probably cost relatively little. To predicate some kind of ownership of the land on such thin pretenses is a bit silly.

I know nobody in this thread seems to agree with Bundy, but it seems important to clarify that there is no question whatsoever about the ownership of the land or the legitimacy of that ownership. It has simply been federal land from the beginning of US law in the area.
posted by koeselitz at 11:43 AM on April 24 [48 favorites]


Domestic terrorism is an oxymoron in America when white folks are involved.

So, did you guys hear we caught a terrorist last week?
posted by homunculus at 11:45 AM on April 24 [14 favorites]


Why does it fucking matter whether Bundy has created his own reality? Nobody ever spends this much time thinking about what's swirling around in the heads of urban criminals when they break the law, or the vicissitudes of fortune that led them down the wrong path. Why are we to do so now for someone who's shown no remorse for his actions? These attempts to retcon in an explanation (even if it's not intended as a justification) for Bundy's actions are shameful, especially when they're paired with face-value interpretation of his self-serving excuses for his actions.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:45 AM on April 24 [10 favorites]


“I would absolutely concede that, while I find [Cliven] Bundy’s case completely unsympathetic, it is 100 percent possible to agree with his views on grazing rights without being racist. Where we differ is that, I’d argue, it’s not exactly a coincidence that Bundy also turns out to be a gigantic racist. Just like Ron Paul’s longtime ghostwriter turned out to be a neoconfederate white supremacist. And like the way Rand Paul’s ghostwriter also turned out to be a neoconfederate white supremacist. Presumably all these revelations have struck Tuccille as a series of shocking coincidences. Why do all these people with strong antipathy toward the federal government turn out to be racists? Why do all these homosexuals keep sucking my cock?” – Jon Chait (via The Dish)
posted by mondo dentro at 11:46 AM on April 24 [15 favorites]


Nobody ever spends this much time thinking about what's swirling around in the heads of urban criminals when they break the law, or the vicissitudes of fortune that led them down the wrong path.

I would like to call your attention to the fact that this is Metafilter. I'm pretty sure overthinking things because it's kind of interesting why things happen and what things come into play is kind of our job.
posted by corb at 11:49 AM on April 24 [4 favorites]


> Nobody ever spends this much time thinking about what's swirling around in the heads of urban criminals when they break the law

Indeed, to agree with corb, we have repeatedly spent time here discussing this exact same issue...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:53 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


corb: “First, it is declaring that it, the feminized government body, is a better steward of nature than Bundy, the Western rancher - an attempt to take a portion of his identity and reserve it for themselves. By threatening to take his cattle, they place themselves into the cowboy identity story as cattle thieves - the black hats of a hundred different rancher stories, who are attempting to interfere with the masculine Western ideal by force of arms - an ideal which has a lot of root identities in Bundy and his ilk.”

I agree completely with this read of the situation – that does seem to be how they feel. I'd add that this has always been the problem of the Romantic Cowboy Ideal. The cattle industry has been based in theft for the last century an a half; it has done so largely by propagating very useful but very mendacious lies about the nature of the cattle industry: the "open range" as ideal, the idea that public land should be wandered and grazed by whoever might wish to, the idea that the cutthroat business of extraction ranching is a romantic wandering lifestyle.

The next time you hear somebody wax poetic about cowboys, remember that cowboys did more than anyone else to destroy the West, to make it uninhabitable, and to kill off anybody who might want to make a true place for humans here. They were on the front line of killing off the native population and forcing them off the land as fast as possible; they were just as quick to "actively discourage" any white folks who had constructive ideas about building good things and worthwhile social structures in the West.

There should be no doubt: the Romantic Cowboy Ideal ranks with the myth of Southern Aristocracy among the most evil and pernicious notions America has spawned and nurtured.
posted by koeselitz at 11:55 AM on April 24 [18 favorites]


Flood: “I love how these characters always come from 'taker' states. Nevada receives more money from Washington than it pays to Washington. That state could not operate functionally without Federal subsidy. They cry about the liberals in New York and California (the two biggest 'giver' states) - but they happily take the excess revenue from those states to keep their own state operating.”

I get where you're coming from, and we probably agree ultimately, but I object in the strongest terms to the idea that Nevada is a "taker state" while New York is a "giver state." How do you think New York got where it is today, in a position to "give?" By taking – from Nevada, and from other Western states. That West was the economic powerhouse of the US for more than a century, every ounce of its riches flowing back East almost entirely directly to – New York. So instead of seeing New York as a "giver state," keep in mind that the New York of the past specialized in exactly the kind of underhanded extraction Cliven Bundy is trying to pull here.

It's not unlike the mainstream welfare debates, actually. There are plenty of people who are disadvantaged. They aren't "takers" because they are on welfare; in fact, they ought to be supported by the state, because it was our state and our society that shafted them by denying them (and often their parents; there are many traditionally poor communities in the United States) any chance at success. And the only reason we're "givers" is because their poverty and often their hard work paid for our success. That's the sad fact of it.
posted by koeselitz at 12:03 PM on April 24 [14 favorites]


(Sorry to hog the thread a bit; I just got back from class and there were some really interesting things I wanted to respond to here. I'll step down from the soapbox for a while now.)
posted by koeselitz at 12:11 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Bundy is highly supportive and positive about those "Spanish people".

You know, watching him talk... He doesn't have any idea he is racist. No clue at all.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:11 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


koeselitz, I don't think Flood is disagreeing with your point. He's merely using the rhetoric of the right to illustrate how incoherent their position regarding "welfare" is. The fact is, red states get more money from the government (i.e. taxpayers) today than do blue states. And "masculine" live-free-or-die ranchers can't survive without taxpayer support.

Is this not a sublime, and socially very destructive, example of cognitive dissonance?
posted by mondo dentro at 12:11 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I'm sure the revelation has spurred serious questions amongst Roger Allies and his staff. Chiefly: Should they offer Bundy a five year contract as a Fox News pundit or perhaps only two?
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 12:23 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy: Indeed, to agree with corb, we have repeatedly spent time here discussing this exact same issue...

OK, I concede that it has come up in the past, but it seems very relevant that this contextualizing of Bundy's actions is occurring after he and his posse have openly used the threat of armed rebellion against the apparatus of the state that was trying to arrest him. If people subjected to stop-and-frisk were regularly pointing guns at cops and threatening them, I don't think there would be nearly as much of an effort to try to understand why, and I can't even imagine a world where the cops would just go "OK, I see that you're armed and angry, so we'll just walk away now and pretend this didn't happen." I just feel like this particular lawbreaker is getting a luxury very few do, and it seems perverse to focus on why he thinks he's right instead of why he's very wrong.

This effort to talk about Bundy's actions solely based on whether they're internally consistent with his own first principles just seems dangerous to me -- as if there aren't moral absolutes that come with living in a civilized society.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:42 PM on April 24 [4 favorites]


corb: "I'm not sure if you've ever created a nonprofit organization, but it's not usually "Precipitating event happens ----> organization forms immediately." "

HAHAHAHA...

Common Ground Collective.
posted by symbioid at 12:51 PM on April 24 [6 favorites]


He's merely using the rhetoric of the right to illustrate how incoherent their position regarding "welfare" is.

I understand the tactic, but I think this kind of rhetorical ju-jitsu is used far too often and far too clumsily by those of us on the left. (The Daily Show has it down to an art, but those guys are professional wits, while most of us are... less than.) It's great for preaching to the choir, but I doubt it does much to convince anyone of anything who's not already firmly on-board with the science you're dropping. What's worse, in order to score this rhetorical point, you're sort of tacitly conceding the faulty premise that welfare recipients = parasites, which I'm sure is the last thing you intended to do.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:53 PM on April 24


Atom Eyes: What's worse, in order to score this rhetorical point, you're sort of tacitly conceding the faulty premise that welfare recipients = parasites, which I'm sure is the last thing you intended to do.

No, it's perfectly reasonable to assume arguendo that something is true in order to make another point. IF people who take government resources are parasites, THEN Cliven Bundy is a parasite. When you then consider the fact that one side is given those government resources through programs that were created via the democratic process, while the other side is simply deciding to take government resources by fiat, the contradictions are heightened further. One can use the "parasite" rhetoric effectively without conceding that using food stamps is parasitic.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:57 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: "Bundy is highly supportive and positive about those "Spanish people".

You know, watching him talk... He doesn't have any idea he is racist. No clue at all.
"

What's that sound? It's silence? Like, I don't hear a clock ticking. Strangely, the clock seems to be showing the proper time, huh.
posted by symbioid at 1:01 PM on April 24


I think in this situation, it's always worth looking and seeing: who prospers? Who benefits by reinforcing the narrative of Bundy, brave rancher (and Bunny Ultramod has some great stuff to say about range wars) defending his right to have his cows roam? Who benefits from the Open West?

Possibly more importantly - who benefits from the imagery of noble militias defending the humble rancher and his family? Militias do, for one - I've already noted how the Oathkeepers are fundraising for themselves on the basis of their support for the Bundy ranch. Also potentially open carry groups. I'm seeing a meme going around that says "Protesting without 2nd Amendment" and has a picture of OWS protesters getting sprayed in the face, with "Protesting with the 2nd amendment" with the picture of brave men with rifles on horses. (Which, since half of the people came from out of state, it's worth asking, whose horses?) It's rallying around the flag - which, in itself is another interesting question.

Why do people who refuse to acknowledge the federal government wave the American flag, as they do on the Bundy ranch? I think it's actually about a complex variety of things. In part, some of it is probably, as someone noted above, that it's not considered cool to raise the Confederate flag any more. But I think it's more than that - I think in many ways, they fly the American flag to show they're not some of those protesters - you know, the hippies, the commies, the culture war they still think they're fighting against. They wave the American flag because it stands for loyalty to the ideals they see, rather than the government that uses it.
posted by corb at 1:17 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Actually it kind of disgusts me to see people like these wave the flag. You're right that they want the ideals "they see" but the problem is those are not the ideals of the rest of us. You do not get to do what ever you want to land that we all own. You need permission. Which can be revoked. It's hilarious that you think "cowboys" or ranchers can be better stewards of OUR land than the government. One is profiting off the land by taking its resources for themselves, the other is packed full of scientists and the like whose job is to protect it as a resource for all.
posted by Big_B at 1:26 PM on April 24 [6 favorites]


They wave the American flag because it stands for loyalty to the ideals they see, rather than the government that uses it.

That's funny, because I think flag burners burn the flag because they are loyal to the ideals of country, but not the government.
posted by el io at 1:26 PM on April 24 [11 favorites]


More excuses for moral relativism. As long as you think you're the true patriots, it doesn't matter if you're taking up arms against the government while flying that government's flag.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:41 PM on April 24


In part, some of it is probably, as someone noted above, that it's not considered cool to raise the Confederate flag any more.

I lol'd.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:45 PM on April 24 [9 favorites]


BTW, when they make a movie of this, Craig T. Nelson simply must play Cliven Bundy.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:51 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Lol I missed that - not considered "cool."
Yup that's it. It's not "cool" anymore.

Neighborhood kid near me that his was "cool" a few years ago behind the truck his dad just gave him. I asked him if he knew what that flag represented and he just shrugged his shoulders. I told him to ask his parents (who we are friends with) when they got home.

I never saw it again. Guess it wasn't cool.
posted by Big_B at 1:52 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


tonycpsu: "BTW, when they make a movie of this, Craig T. Nelson simply must play Cliven Bundy."

It's too bad Sorrell Booke isn't around anymore.
posted by Big_B at 1:54 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


corb: I'm seeing a meme going around that says "Protesting without 2nd Amendment" and has a picture of OWS protesters getting sprayed in the face, with "Protesting with the 2nd amendment" with the picture of brave men with rifles on horses.

I'm now imagining the response of the full force of the state to a bunch of anti-capitalist protesters, tooled up with rifles and shotguns. It probably doesn't involve anything as mild as pepper spray.
posted by Len at 1:57 PM on April 24 [11 favorites]


This explains so much of what my brother was on about at Easter. Specifically the bits where he seemed convinced he was going to end up in an armed stand off with "the government" about some land use issue or another.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:01 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


LOL fucking IRL, the Oath Keepers, aka a beer hall looking for a putsch. I see one of their core ideals is protesting vehemently the unfortunately prevalent warrantless searches and property confiscations people all over the US are subject to these days. And yet it's funny how I've never seen them protesting all the asset forfeitures and illegal searches that PoC all over the US have been subject to. Why aren't they working with the ACLU to help advocate changes in policy? Oops are they huge fucking hypocrites? How embarrassing.

The best part of that NYT article was the hilariously foolish woman stating that this was just the first step in "taking America back". Well great! I wholeheartedly support this plan and I sure hope she doesn't mind being sent to live on a shitty reservation in abject fucking poverty once America is returned to its natives.
posted by elizardbits at 2:02 PM on April 24 [50 favorites]


Gygesringtone: "This explains so much of what my brother was on about at Easter. Specifically the bits where he seemed convinced he was going to end up in an armed stand off with "the government" about some land use issue or another."

No no, that was about Rome and the Zealots and 70 AD and all that.
posted by symbioid at 2:03 PM on April 24


who benefits from the imagery of noble militias defending the humble rancher and his family?

The real extractive industries do. Oil and gas, and other forms of mining companies, would love for the narrative that Bundy espouses to gain traction in the public mind. If the public domain isn't actually public, but instead belongs to the locals who live closest to it, then those same locals can be bought off take advantage of the market and sell the rights to those resources. Without, naturally, any of the extensive environmental review and public decision-making that would be required of a federal agency.

And as poorly as BLM has done in its management of the public domain, they are still doing better than private individuals or even local counties or municpalities would, because their yearly budgets are not dependent on the royalties coming out of the ground they're managing.

If Elko County, Nevada owned all the land within its boundaries that currently belongs to the American people and is managed by the federal government, well, say farewell to any concerns you might have about endangered species, water quality, and all that -- although there's probably enough hunters locally that they'd make an effort to protect habitat of big game. They'd happily sign on the dotted line with the big mining corporations to get what they think is a massive infusion of cash--only to discover themselves saddled with a boom-bust economic cycle and a rash of contaminated sites that the corporations somehow neglected to clean up.
posted by suelac at 2:06 PM on April 24 [9 favorites]


This piece gives lie to the notion that there's widespread opposition to federal land management in Western states:
People in these states don't think there is a problem

Central to the intent behind and promotion of these bills is the notion that people living in these seven states are upset about the job that the federal government is doing when it comes to managing public lands, and that there is too much public land preventing resource development. But conservative ideologues are wrong in this regard, which is indicated in the data below.

A recent poll from Colorado College's State of the Rockies Project, for example, asked western voters whether they think having "too much public land" is a problem. Here are the answers-either that it is a "serious" problem or that it isn't a problem-by state:

Table 1

How western voters feel about having "too much public land"

           Serious problem   Not a problem
Arizona                32%             59%
Colorado               27%             68%
New Mexico             32%             60%
Utah                   34%             62%
Wyoming                24%             73%


While this poll did not cover Idaho and Nevada, recent polls in those states show similar sentiments. A poll in Idaho, for instance, determined that 73 percent of Idahoans agree that "One of the things our federal government does well is protect and preserve our national heritage through the management of forests, national parks and other public lands." And in Nevada, two-thirds of small-business owners believe that allowing private companies to develop public lands "would limit the public's enjoyment of them."

Despite what conservatives want to think, the western public understands that there is a role for the federal government in managing public lands and doesn't want to see the land turned over to states or private interests.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:24 PM on April 24 [15 favorites]


Looks like this was too much even for Hannity.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:29 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I think a portion of the country needs to be shown this classic late 70's PSA again.

Bundy doesn't self-identify as racist, perhaps, because he doesn't recognize what racism is. He knows the word means "bad person" and knows that *he's* not a bad person. He just thinks all black people were better off being taken care of by mythological benign wealthy white people then having the right to self-determination. In his mind, that's not racist, because racists are the people who would kill somebody for their race - people like Hitler. He's not like Hitler. He just wonders stuff.

A person can have racist views (which is all it takes to be racist) without being an otherwise bad person, per se. My grandparents, for example, were lovely people who just happened to think that having a black man like Tiger Woods playing professional golf ruined the sport and that the reason the Red Sox couldn't win a world series for so long was because they allowed black players on the team. I'm reminding of a quote about Gerald Ford and school lunches - I'm paraphrasing, but Ford was the kind of guy who would buy a starving kid a meal without a second thought but didn't recognize cutting school lunches would make a million kids starve.

So, my grandparents were racists. Bundy is a racist. They're not going to murder anyone, but they both held opinions that were demonstrably false and ultimately harmful to others when put into action. That the harm takes the form of "you don't belong here" instead of "I am going to kill you" is just a matter of degree.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:33 PM on April 24 [7 favorites]


No seriously, my brother actually said that he was going to win that stand off because his house was on the high ground. He also went on about he thought that laws should be "not murdering and raping" and anything else was just the politicians being evil or something. I don't know, I wandered out around there because a discussion of the philosophy of governance would've been useless, and my beer was empty.

On the other hand, having just been around my brother, who is this guy on a much smaller and less racist scale, I can say that corb's dead on about what's going on in the heads of people like the rancher. They're justifications only the slimmest relationship to reality, but they've built up a mythos about themselves and their heroic stands against all sorts of things trying to take away their pure and noble lifestyle.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:33 PM on April 24


People in these states don't think there is a problem

It really does help the case when, even with land management as effective as possible, these states are prone to bouts of being CONSTANTLY ON FIRE.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:35 PM on April 24 [4 favorites]


I know that the last thing the Feds want is another Waco or Ruby Ridge, but why these people aren't either in a jail cell, or in the morgue, is beyond me.

If I forced the LAPD off my front lawn by threat of force, and then had all my buddies show up with guns to make sure the cops didn't come back, these guys would be there pretty quickly to make us regret it.
posted by sideshow at 2:36 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


George_Spiggott: "Looks like this was too much even for Hannity."
He then turned his anger toward Democrats who would use Bundy's comments to attack conservatives.

"They want to say that conservatives are racist. Conservatives hate women," Hannity said. "Conservatives want old people to die, granny over the cliff. They want the young people to fend for themselves. They want to poison the air and poison the water."
YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT WE DO.

Stop targeting women, old people, the poor, immigrants, gays, civil rights, minorities, young people, the air, the water, the land and every one of our other natural resources, and we'll stop calling you out on it.
posted by zarq at 2:39 PM on April 24 [35 favorites]


TPM reports on an additional Bundy video in which he discussed, among other things, lack of minority support for his cause:

"Where is our colored brother? Where is our Mexican brother? Where is our Chinese -- where are they?" Bundy said. "They're just as much American as we are, and they're not with us. If they're not with us, they're going to be against us."
posted by Area Man at 3:12 PM on April 24


Oh... dear.
"He then launched into a story about when he was working in Los Angeles during the Watts Riots in 1965.

"About two blocks south of Harbor Freeway, they were setting the world on fire," he said. "And who was setting it on fire? It wasn't We the People. It was the Negro groups -- people theirself were setting their own city on fire and raping their own city and stealing from their own city."

Bundy argued that the riots were a result of people lacking freedom, according to the Post.

"We've progressed quite a bit from that day until now, and we sure don't want to go back," he said. "We sure don't want these colored people to have to go back to that point. We sure don't want these Mexican people to go back to that point. And we can make a difference right now by taking care of some of these bureaucracies and do it in a peaceful way."

posted by zarq at 3:22 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


It wasn't We the People. It was the Negro groups

I'm just going to sit here and look at this. It's pretty clearly stated, right like that.
posted by suelac at 3:49 PM on April 24 [28 favorites]


1. Open mouth.
2. Insert hoof.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:53 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


I was a singing cowboy for three years, and I can tell you, it's one step away from being a Vegas showgirl.

If you were in the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, I'm about to lose my washboard.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:50 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


This kinda thing has been going on for a long time in the west. Look up posse comitatus, another ironically named group, who threatened my fathers life, and the rest of his family (I was about 10, my sister about 14) with some truly heinous actions ending in our death over some similar idiocy in New Mexico in the early 1980's. These ignorant, idiot ranchers who didn't own anything but the land around their ranch house, but were sure they owned the thousands of acres of public land they used to fatten their cattle, took out loans WAY beyond their ability to pay and when the farming/ag community collapsed about then they were getting foreclosed on. They didn't like that. To this day, I pretty much instantly dislike anyone who calls themselves a rancher due to that experience.

I just knew this was the same shit, different day and from the beginning I told some friends of mine who are big into second amendment stuff this guy was NOT the hero, he shouldn't be defended and he was wrong. They didn't listen and well...lots of backpedaled and but, but, but, that's not what I meant is being heard today. This story just fits so beautifully into the narrative of the right wing survivalist/small government type they couldn't help themselves (and this isn't just something the right wing crazies are prone too-both sides can do it) and this guy's cause and personal views are just so...abhorrent they are now caught holding some really stinky fish.

And koeselitz, I love your posts on this so much. It just fits and explains it all so well. Thank you for your thoughtful posts on this thread.
posted by bartonlong at 4:55 PM on April 24 [8 favorites]


George_Spiggott: "Looks like this was too much even for Hannity."

Oh that guy? He been waterboarded yet?
posted by symbioid at 5:40 PM on April 24 [7 favorites]


Seriously. The Government should seize his assets and auction them off to pay his fines. And the cost of this nutballery as it was called upthread.
posted by Alles at 5:40 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


"wouldn't it be great if the US put as much effort into protecting the border as they did fighting Clive Bundy."

Annual budgets for 2014:

* Immigrations/Customs Enforcement: $5.34 Billion
* BLM: $960 million

Assuming 0.1% of BLM resources are spent on Bundy, that means the feds puts over 5000x as much effort into protecting the border as they do dealing with him.

In reality, that's probably absurdly high and the effort ratio has another handful of zeros.
posted by weston at 5:54 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


There was also a pretty amazing O'Reilly segment that happened recently. Video here.

I know that Bill O'Reilly's only agenda is "make more money," but I was pretty slackjawed to see that he asked one of the militia dudes a question that was also burning in my mind: What is the difference between the ranch stand-off and Occupy?

Apparently the answer according to the militia dude is 1) We provide beef for America and 2) Nobody arrested us.

Which is all to say, we should really return to Zuccotti Park with a head of cattle and some guns, dontchathink?
posted by Skwirl at 6:02 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


In part, some of it is probably, as someone noted above, that it's not considered cool to raise the Confederate flag any more.

Especially given that Nevada was a Union state during the time of the Civil War.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:10 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Cliven Bundy, welfare moocher.
posted by telstar at 6:25 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I wonder if this guy is related to Drunk Uncle
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:25 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Ammon Bundy (Cliven's son) weighs in.
posted by achrise at 6:59 PM on April 24


So ... he's just repeating the same tired, proven-false statements again.
posted by kafziel at 7:09 PM on April 24


Shorter Bud Bundy: "I understand even less about this shit than my racist dad does."
posted by tonycpsu at 7:10 PM on April 24 [8 favorites]


I'm seeing a meme going around that says "Protesting without 2nd Amendment" and has a picture of OWS protesters getting sprayed in the face, with "Protesting with the 2nd amendment" with the picture of brave men with rifles on horses.

Nothing says 'brave' like 'don't come near me or I'll shoot you.' Those people getting pepper-sprayed? Cowards.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:11 PM on April 24 [6 favorites]


he asked one of the militia dudes a question that was also burning in my mind: What is the difference between the ranch stand-off and Occupy?

Apparently the answer according to the militia dude is 1) We provide beef for America and 2) Nobody arrested us.


Here's the real difference...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:18 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]


Those people getting pepper-sprayed? Cowards.

No kidding! Look at those wusses, just sitting there like that while a cop pepper sprays them right in their faces. Everyone knows that the only way to display your bravery is with a gun.
posted by rtha at 7:27 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Question from Europe: Is this some Form of Civil War Re-Enactment

We're still fighting the Civil War.
posted by BinGregory at 7:37 PM on April 24 [8 favorites]




Can't we just shoot this assholes cows for trespassing?
posted by graventy at 8:01 PM on April 24


The cows are the least to blame in all of this.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:03 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


I'm seeing a meme going around that says "Protesting without 2nd Amendment" and has a picture of OWS protesters getting sprayed in the face, with "Protesting with the 2nd amendment" with the picture of brave men with rifles on horses.

I would say that OWS was protesting with the 1st Amendment, but everybody knows that the 1st Amendment means spending money. Nobody with two brain cells to rub together would seriously question that essential fact, right? It's right there in black and white in the Constitution, and it couldn't possibly mean anything else.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:03 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


From Ammon Bundy's article:
So here we stand with some questions: Is this land Nevada state land or U.S. territory?... Should the people of Nevada have the right to govern their own state? Why did the federal government retain almost 90% of Nevada land after statehood? Does the U.S. Constitution give the federal government the right to retain state land?

A good study of these questions will answer why Cliven Bundy refuses to pay an entity for something that is not theirs.
In the order that the questions were asked:
  1. I know the US government owns the land, because this is a central complaint of Bundy supporters.
  2. Nevadans already govern their own state. In fact, they even adopted a constitution stating that the paramount allegiance of all citizens — Bundy included — is to the US government.
  3. Because the Nevada Enabling Act authorized statehood on a number of conditions, one of which was that the people of Nevada hold a constitutional convention and disclaim all right to any unallocated land.
  4. Yes, the constitutionality of federal land ownership has been well-established on multiple occasions. For example, the judicial ass-kicking that Cliven Bundy received when he disputed it in court.
A good study of these questions leads one to conclude that Cliven Bundy refuses to pay his fees because he does not want to.
posted by compartment at 8:08 PM on April 24 [21 favorites]


Regarding the idea that all Bundy really needs is some media help, the fine folks at Mr. Show already imagined this scenario (the most relevant parts start about 1:45 in).
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:09 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Mr. Show did a whole episode about that!

As for this helot, he needs to be arrested! And if the militia guys come to defend him and even point a BB gun in the Feds' direction, then they need to be arrested! And I can't believe he was gonna pull some Susan Smith-esque flim flam to try and derail the issue.

Cliven, you owe me and the American people $1.1 million, you ass. Pay! UP!
posted by droplet at 8:41 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Cliven Bundy inadvertently revealed how and why our "liberal" government evolved, in order to protect people and property from the likes of him.
posted by Brian B. at 8:56 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


I was just thinking, after seeing that sniper pic again, were people pointing guns at officers? That tends to end poorly for most people these days.
posted by Big_B at 9:15 PM on April 24


Perhaps you misinterpreted that picture. That sniper was a "patriot" aiming his rifle at officers.
posted by JackFlash at 9:43 PM on April 24 [2 favorites]




"Where is our colored brother? Where is our Mexican brother? Where is our Chinese -- where are they?" Bundy said. "They're just as much American as we are, and they're not with us. If they're not with us, they're going to be against us."

What do you mean 'us', paleface?
posted by anemone of the state at 10:31 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]


In the spirit of linking to the damn paper, there is a reason why the Federal government came to own so much land in the area and grazing fees were instituted to manage it. The Federal government was begged to by locals and ended up doing so in a bill authored and sponsored by congressmen from Utah and Nevada. Just because men like Bundy maintain a studied ignorance of their history doesn't mean we need too.
Struggle against Great Odds: Challenges in Utah's Marginal Agricultural Areas, 1925-39 BY BRIAN Q. CANNON
Disaster stalked much of Utah's agriculture in the 1920s and 30's. Indeed, the years 1925-39 can be viewed as a round of rural distress. Environmental, sociocultural, and economic factors handicapped farmers and ranchers throughout the state but most acutely in marginal agricultural areas: southern, eastern, and western Utah. Haphazardly extended beyond its environmental and economic limits, agriculture there began to flounder on its wobbly framework. This paper identifies specific flaws within that framework.Taken together, these flaws explain why social planners advocated major agricultural reforms for the state, including rural resettlement. A host of environmental problems beset farmers and ranchers in marginal areas inthe 1920s and '30s. Among them was soil deficiency .Although soils in Utah included rich alluvial loam, soil studies conducted during the '20s and '30s in Uintah, Duchesne, Carbon, Emery, and Millard counties revealed that in many cases farming there had been undertaken on inferior soils. In Uintah County, only 15 percent of all privately owned land offered good soil. Further west in Duchesne County alkaline soils strewn with gravel mocked farming efforts. South of the Uinta Basin, Carbon and Emery county soils were generally "not of farming quality. "Impregnated with alkali, much of the soil consisted of mancos shale — an uninviting substance that became sticky when wet and rock-hard when dry.
posted by Blasdelb at 5:32 AM on April 25 [6 favorites]


Perhaps you misinterpreted that picture. That sniper was a "patriot" aiming his rifle at officers.

No, that's still incorrect. That sniper was a patriot aiming his rifle at tyranny.
posted by Atreides at 6:33 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Just want to say, this has been a fascinating and really informative thread on so many levels
posted by maggiemaggie at 6:55 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I was just thinking, after seeing that sniper pic again, were people pointing guns at officers? That tends to end poorly for most people these days.

Yes, which is why I'm actually concerned about the situation. As far as the militias know, the BLM showed up with force, militias came and defended the Noble Rancher by aiming and training on them, and the BLM went away and gave him back his cattle. So it is perfectly reasonable to assume that in their head, the narrative goes like: "Things were going badly. Then we armed up, got on our horses, and rode out. Then we won! That means this is a great thing to do!"

I mean, I even believe that guns can be necessary to defend yourself against government oppression, but as they say, this ain't it. But as someone who has held a gun with a group of other people holding guns with the intent to defend (as a soldier), I know it's an incredibly bonding experience - and also, for some, a little addictive. The adrenaline high of thinking you just might get shot is a powerful drug, and I wonder how much it might tempt people to manufacture outrage in order to do it again.
posted by corb at 6:58 AM on April 25 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I'm kinda worried about the emboldening effect of this, too. If there's anybody in that group who finds they loved the rush a little too much, or if there's a potential McVeigh...

Not to mention all the other, similar groups who may think they can get away with this kind of thing now, not realizing that a necessary ingredient in this situation is that the guy in the middle of it all was at the time the golden boy of some powerful interests with a PR machine.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:03 AM on April 25


At least he's pro-urban gardening slash chicken raising. He's got that going for him at least.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:24 AM on April 25


There is no downside to any outcome for the militias here. If it goes like Waco or Kent state, then those guys were martyrs. If they get arrested, then they are political dissidents, and if the BLM backs down then they were cowed by the righteous fury of the Militia.

It's the flip side of the Perpetual Victim Mythology that these types adhere to - in that whatever the government does is incorrect and wrongheaded and whatever it is that they do is righteous and awesome and well thought out.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:25 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm kinda worried about the emboldening effect of this, too. If there's anybody in that group who finds they loved the rush a little too much

On the one hand, I'm pretty glad that Bundy turns out to be an unrepentant racist and what sounds like an all-around asshole to his fellow human beings. That makes him a caricature and IMO less likely that anyone will be eager to start opening fire for fear of looking like That Guy Who Started Shooting To Defend A Racist Nutbag.

On the other hand, there seems to be an awful lot of people that aren't exactly dissuaded by the idea of being TGWSSTDARN, and that's my biggest fear about what this may turn into. And it's not going to hurt the bottom line of Hannity, Loesch, et al, because if we want to be totally honest, Oklahoma City bombing didn't stop them or their bosses from stoking the fires. If anything, it made it more profitable.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:28 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, I'm pretty glad that Bundy turns out to be an unrepentant racist and what sounds like an all-around asshole to his fellow human beings. That makes him a caricature and IMO less likely that anyone will be eager to start opening fire for fear of looking like That Guy Who Started Shooting To Defend A Racist Nutbag.

With respect, I think they are more likely to be operating under the psychology of battle readiness, which makes that scenario unlikely. If they, as militia, there on the land, fail to defend Government Aggression, then they become less men in their own mind, and perhaps the guy next to them. Yes, you could argue that they could tell themselves "well, that guy's racist anyway," but that's likely not realistic, because for them, this isn't about Bundy. It's about the Beginning of the American Revolution, or it's about Defending Our Land, or a ton of things, but it is one hundred percent not about Bundy. You could replace him with a cardboard cutout at this point, and it wouldn't make people one whit less eager to start shooting. They will shoot as they would have shot before, not one bit more or less.

However, what it may well impact, is their willingness to stay in a non-combat situation. What it reminds me most, actually, is of other militias, historically, in the societies that gave rise to them. Sure, they could be mustered, but if enough time went without combat, they'd start thinking about their families at home, and wanting to get food and such for them. This is the flip side of the BLM's actions - by withdrawing, they make the situation boring. They make it less about staring at someone down the end of a gun, and more about cleaning your rifle and waiting. And more waiting. And even more waiting. And there's only so many times you can clean a rifle in the desert before you start wondering if maybe there's other things you could be doing and start sidling away. There's only so many days that Bundy can afford to feed them all on his beef and the donations of strangers - and only so many days the strangers will donate. And strangers have a lot of things - even a lot of anti-government causes - to donate their money to. If they have to choose between "This guy who had a point but now is just kind of a blowhard dick" and the next "breaking fight!" they may well choose the latter.
posted by corb at 7:37 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) — Republican politicians blasted the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy on Thursday for making flagrantly racist remarks instead of employing the subtler racial code words the G.O.P. has been using for decades.

“We Republicans have worked long and hard to develop insidious racial code words like ‘entitlement society’ and ‘personal responsibility,’ ” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). “There is no excuse for offensive racist comments like the ones Cliven Bundy made when there are so many subtler ways of making the exact same point.”

Fox News also blasted the rancher, saying in a statement, “Cliven Bundy’s outrageous racist remarks undermine decades of progress in our effort to come up with cleverer ways of saying the same thing.”
posted by Blasdelb at 8:17 AM on April 25 [23 favorites]


There's only so many days that Bundy can afford to feed them all on his beef and the donations of strangers - and only so many days the strangers will donate.

Disability and TANF checks and food stamp money are all handled electronically these days. I'm sure they'll be fine.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:02 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Disability and TANF checks and food stamp money are all handled electronically these days. I'm sure they'll be fine.

This is a Michael Jackson's nose of a falsification. Unemployed single males haven't been eligible for TANF in decades even if they are white.
posted by Talez at 9:09 AM on April 25


Who points a gun at NOPD and lives?

(Hint: A white dude)
posted by rtha at 10:20 AM on April 25 [3 favorites]




In totally fucking insane news, I am seeing that the New Black Panthers are supporting Bundy? Anyone have any idea if this is real or faked?
posted by corb at 12:25 PM on April 25


Foosnark: ""Gun control" aside, pointing guns at federal agents in a refusal to pay fines is exactly the sort of fantasy that Second Amendment First types have often parroted."

When some folks got that attitude regarding taxes on spirits, George Washington sent in the militia. It's outright armed rebellion, but we can't actually say that out loud for fear of offending the right wingers who are so blind to reality that they don't grasp that's what's going on.
posted by wierdo at 12:27 PM on April 25


There's only so many days that Bundy can afford to feed them all on his beef and the donations of strangers - and only so many days the strangers will donate.

And only so many days before triple bypasses are needed. Man cannot live on beef alone, though many patriotic Americans have tried, god bless 'em. Maybe this problem will solve itself.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:03 PM on April 25


Someone needs to get the Westboro folks in on this somehow. GOD HATES BEEF or somesuch.
posted by jquinby at 1:12 PM on April 25


I mean, I even believe that guns can be necessary to defend yourself against government oppression, but as they say, this ain't it.

I believe you, but, you know, all of this is the (almost) inevitable result of mixing militias, lots of guns, emotional appeals to a vague and mostly nonsensical idea of "state's rights," anti-government rhetoric*, a 24/7 outrage machine, persecutory fixations, and assorted additional grievances, many of them likely rooted in racial resentment or apocalyptic religious expectations. Stir in a decade of war, some economic dislocation, and maybe a little macho instability and the only surprise is that these standoffs don't happen more often.

*That actual government abuses often spur on this rhetoric obviously doesn't help.

I agree that waiting for these guys to get bored and go home is the best thing the BLM can do now, but that doesn't solve the larger problems: the problem of Bundy, specifically; and the problem of this mindset in general.

I am seeing that the New Black Panthers are supporting Bundy?

Given how instrumental the NBP were in putting Obama in the White House, I'm sure Bundy and his allies will over look the incidentals to get the support of that powerful faction.

There's only so many days that Bundy can afford to feed them all on his beef

You mean to say, there's only so many days before Bundy's army wants to know WHERE'S THE BEEF?
posted by octobersurprise at 1:37 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Famous Bundys ranked:

1. Al Bundy
2. Clive Bundy
3. Ted Bundy

If we just rank non-fictional Bundys, Clive is #1, but why would we want to do that?
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:38 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Wait. What about McGeorge Bundy? OTOH, wasn't a serial killer or a racist douche w/ delusions of Founding Fatherhood; OTOH, escalated the US's role in Vietnam.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:50 PM on April 25


Good article, great title- 67 Years a Dumbass
posted by hap_hazard at 4:07 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]




"When certain conservatives object to liberal characterizations of the American right, and when they bristle at suggestions that conservative policies draw some of their political vitality from unreconstructed racists (or resentful white voters, or anything other than ideologically pure freedom fighters) they aren't playacting."
Seriously? Because I find that very difficult to believe.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:51 PM on April 26


It's not so hard to believe if you assume that they define "racist" as labeling only the most extreme end of the scale. A racist, to whit, is Hitler and the Nazis. Americans are just wondering or just asking questions or just concerned about their families or looking out for traditional values. Maybe they're just saying something that everybody knows or just making a joke (you can take a joke, right? ) or trying to free people from the tyranny of government aid.

Once you accept that genocide and welfare are the only true forms of racism in your ideological bubble, it's easy to be surprised when it bubbles up in other forms.

This is why Bundy can simultaneously believe that slavery was better for blah people *and* that he's not a racist. Define the word differently and you're just an American asking questions.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:53 PM on April 26 [5 favorites]


Central to the intent behind and promotion of these bills is the notion that people living in these seven states are upset about the job that the federal government is doing when it comes to managing public lands, and that there is too much public land preventing resource development. But conservative ideologues are wrong in this regard, which is indicated in the data below.

As someone who lived for thirty years in a western state with massive amounts of public land and has now lived for twenty years in a state with very few public lands (and almost no federally owned lands), I can tell you this is a serious problem.

For the state with NO federal lands and few public lands.

It drives me absolutely crazy to live in a place where pretty much the only public land you can visit is a road or highway. Our state has actually been doing a nice job of buying back some public lands over the past 50 years or so, but they are absolutely miniscule--postage-stamp size--compared to what we had available to us in any western state.

Give me massive public ownership of large tracts of land and resources any day of the week. It's one of the major advantages these western states have over other parts of the country and the world.
posted by flug at 6:06 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


“We Republicans have worked long and hard to develop insidious racial code words like ‘entitlement society’ and ‘personal responsibility,’ ”

Don't forget "states' rights".
posted by flug at 6:19 AM on April 27


It's also important to debunk one of the major talking points in the freeloader movement of late, which is that the government has thousands of desert tortoises they won't release into the wild, but will euthanize instead, therefore there is no reason to use tortoises to protect land. The first part may be true, but not for lack of reason. The upper respiratory disease that captive tortoises carry out to the wild often decimates wild populations. Until a vaccine is found, there won't be any re-population efforts, but only adoptive efforts instead. It would be productive to note that rarely, if ever, do any of these sentimentalist land grabbers understand nature or wildlife.
posted by Brian B. at 9:42 AM on April 27


Life at the Bundy Ranch, Uncensored

"A militia member with the group Oath Keepers named Mark, who drove in from out of state by way of Zion National Park (“which was absolutely beautiful — you should go”), offers to explain to me the truth behind public land management.

“The assumption is that the BLM is part of the federal government. But we need to check the facts on that one. The BLM doesn’t work for the government: they work for the United Nations. They might as well be wearing blue helmets. If we find out there’s money being exchanged between Harry Reid and the Chinese government, no one should be surprised.”

A self-trained lawyer tells me the same. He adds that Bar-certified lawyers, like the ones who prosecuted Bundy, have sworn loyalty to the British government, whose statutes encourage sex with clients. “That’s what they do with all their clients.”"



The paranoid kooks that are happy to go on the record are always the funnest kind. There's some MKULTRA and microchip stuff there too.
posted by kafziel at 4:16 PM on April 27 [8 favorites]


So wait, the new rule is that if we just wave guns, we can all do whatever we want, right?
posted by salix at 7:29 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]


No, no, no.

Guns and an American flag.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 10:42 PM on April 27 [6 favorites]


"The message I gave to you all was a revelation that I received. And yet not one of you can seem to even quote it.”
Gettin' a powerful Jonestown vibe right there.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:27 AM on April 28


This LA Times article "Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy apologizes for race remarks" popped up in Google News Friday, but I didn't post it. Pretty cringeworthy (including: “I’m probably one of the most non-racist people in America”), and I was intrigued by this section, and wished that they gave more detail:
He then launched into a rambling diatribe about religion as a woman in fatigue pants took pictures and a man wearing a cowboy hat and gun in his hip holster stood nearby.
Then I saw the article where he was disappointed in that those massed before him had not carried his revelations.

I'm attracted to this, not in the watching-a-car-wreck sense, but rather in trying to understand how some other peoples' minds work, what they believe, that they think is true e.g. The BLM doesn’t work for the government: they work for the United Nations.
posted by achrise at 10:09 AM on April 28


“What I am saying is that all we Americans are trading one form of slavery for another. All of us are in some measure slaves of the federal government,” [Bundy] said.
Besides functioning here as a rhetorical gotcha (and at the same time revealing Bundy's woeful ignorance of the meaning of the word "slave"), this sentiment is a variation on the old confederate justification for slavery as a lesser evil compared to, well, everything else.

At the start of all this I thought Bundy was merely a greedy rancher unwilling to pay grazing fees. Now I see that he's something worse, an armed messianic kook who's trying to raise an army.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:33 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


At the start of all this I thought Bundy was merely a greedy rancher unwilling to pay grazing fees. Now I see that he's something worse, an armed messianic kook who's trying to raise an army.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:33 AM on April 28 [+] [!]


Well, I do believe (despite my dislike for him and his kind) that he is just and ignorant, bigoted rancher who was never really all that successful in life and suddenly he has greatness thrust upon him (for lack of a better term). I really don't think he is the next Jim Jones or has any such religious pretensions. Like most such people who suddenly get access to riches or fame or some measure of success beyond what their life and wit has prepared them, they don't handle it well. In the finest tradition of Hubris, those the gods would destroy they first make proud.

The feds just backed off to avoid the creation of another martyr to their misguided cause and will be back to deal with Mr Bundy and the idiots who rallied to his cause (on camera, no less...)
posted by bartonlong at 2:54 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


I really don't think he is the next Jim Jones or has any such religious pretensions

Oh, I don't think Bundy is going to be the next Jim Jones. He doesn't seem that competent, for one, or that charismatic. But if he believes that he's delivering revelations from God, then he imagines himself a prophet, at least. And what prophets choose to do when the apocalypse is upon them can't always be predicted.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:32 PM on April 28




Yeah I'm gonna go ahead and admit that all the ranchers I've met are (including my father in law), so your anecdata does not equal mine.
posted by Big_B at 8:30 PM on April 28


Concerns growing about militia members at Bundy ranch
Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford, sent a letter to Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie about the safety of residents in the Bunkerville area. Horsford says his constituents have "expressed concern" over the presence of armed militia groups from out of state.

According to Horsford, his constituents say the militia have set up checkpoints where residents must prove they live in the area before they are allowed to pass and have set up a "persistent presence" along federal highways, and state and county roads. They also claim some have established an armed presence in the community.

Horsford told the sheriff that the militia are making people feel unsafe.

Armed people from across the country arrived in Bunkerville weeks ago to support Bundy in his fight with the Bureau of Land Management over cattle the agency says are illegally grazing on federally managed lands.

Horsford's concerns come at the same time the U.S. Capitol Police confirmed they are looking into threatening statements made against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

A police spokesman declined to give further details Monday, citing an ongoing investigation, but Reid has been an outspoken critic of Bundy.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:53 AM on April 29 [4 favorites]


I believe I (astonishingly) speak for many of us when I say, "What the shit?"
posted by corb at 9:59 AM on April 29


According to Horsford, his constituents say the militia have set up checkpoints where residents must prove they live in the area before they are allowed to pass

Yeah, that's a big ole what the fuck who the fuck are you?! right there.

p.s. don't read the comments on that link
posted by rtha at 10:06 AM on April 29


They just love freedom so dang much. After all, having to present ihre papiere, bitte, before being allowed back into your town, that's the mark of freedom from government oppression!
posted by kafziel at 10:08 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


I want to go down there and be the antimilitia, but I sadly a) don't have a gun and b) have actual real stuff I have to do in my life.
posted by corb at 10:41 AM on April 29


I want to go down there and be the antimilitia

Yeah, fuck yeah that's what we need, more people with guns who think they know better than the police.
posted by empath at 10:47 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's just me, but adding a completely new set of people with weapons to the mix doesn't strike me as a pro move right now. The best "antimilitia" would be the law enforcement apparatus of the government that's trying to collect on these unpaid debts.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:48 AM on April 29


I said want. I also want a pony. But it really irritates me when people claim to be for one sort of value and then totally go off the deep end perverting it.
posted by corb at 10:49 AM on April 29


But it really irritates me when people claim to be for one sort of value and then totally go off the deep end perverting it.

You might consider the idea that he didn't.
posted by empath at 10:50 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


I dunno, to me, Cliven Bundy seems to be exactly as advertised. When has he ever misrepresented what he's about?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:51 AM on April 29


tonycpsu: "I dunno, to me, Cliven Bundy seems to be exactly as advertised."

Bundy made a few claims that were outright lies. He lied about his "ancestral rights" to the land -- which hasn't EVER been private land. It has been owned by the U.S. government ever since it was purchased and/or won from Mexico or Spain. He doesn't recognize the federal government. Claims federal officers don't have the right to arrest him, while also saying that the sheriff of his county is the only person empowered to arrest people. And he'd like the sheriff to arrest any federal officers that try to enforce federal law.
posted by zarq at 11:05 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Horsford told the sheriff that the militia are making people feel unsafe.

This is ludicrous. More guns means more safety, folks.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:07 AM on April 29


I mean, I imagine it's less the guns, and more the freaking checkpoints, but that's me.
posted by corb at 11:08 AM on April 29


zarq: Bundy made a few claims that were outright lies.

Oh, yes, he's lying through his teeth about all of the particulars of his claim to the land and so forth, but that's precisely my point -- in a world where you can just wish away the existence of the federal government, what he's doing isn't improper at all, because at that point, might makes right. If you accept his first principles, he's done nothing wrong, and he's not lied about what he really believes, including his opinion of "the negro." It's actually kind of a refreshing bit of honesty that you don't get from the Rand Pauls and Ted Cruzes of the world.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:12 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]




Well, with the libertarians I hang out with, wanting the federal government to be gone is not so you can set up your own repressive government, but Bundy's mileage may vary.
posted by corb at 11:45 AM on April 29


Except that's precisely what happens -- the ideals of freedom come up against the harsh reality of the existence of assholes. We might as well get ahead of the curve and start calling Bunkerville New Somalia.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:51 AM on April 29


In an effort to (they say) defend Bundy's rights (and their own), a bunch of strangers from out of state show up with their guns and end up actually being all oppressive and authoritarian to people who live there and who did not ask them to come "help.". Why must this be treated as an exception and not something that True Patriots (libertarians, etc.) would do? These people think of themselves as True Patriots, and this is what they're doing in "defense" of rights.
posted by rtha at 11:59 AM on April 29


Well, with the libertarians I hang out with, wanting the federal government to be gone is not so you can set up your own repressive government, but Bundy's mileage may vary.

You really haven't been paying attention. There is about a 100% correspondence between 'states rights' advocates and racists.
posted by empath at 12:08 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]


From the Life's little ironies Department:
Armed people from across the country arrived in Bunkerville weeks ago to support Bundy ...
"Bunkered down in Bunkerville" does have a ring to it. If Michelle Shocked ever produces another record, maybe she should give it an ear.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:17 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Story from last week at the Vegas Review-Journal reports that Larry Klayman is trying to represent Bundy in his legal disputes. Also trying to assist Bundy legally is “self-taught paralegal” Michael Kearns. Klayman's the Birther attorney who called for armed revolution after the 2012 election and Kearns is a so-called Sovereign Citizen who did ten years for mail fraud.

Which makes me wonder what everyone else in Bundy's Bunker does for a living. Wealthy, taking vacation, on public assistance, or two-bit mug?
posted by octobersurprise at 1:52 PM on April 29


1   2  3     4    5  6  7  8
C   G  G     G    A  E  C  C
I'm hunkered down in Bunkerville

1   .  2     3  4     5   6    7 8
C   C  C     C  C     C   E    C C
Got my cows, my guns, ten tons ammo

1    2     3     4      5  6  7   8 
C    G     G     G      A  E  C   C
This scrub right here's my Bunker Hill

1   .  2    3   4     5   6 7   8
C   C  C    C   C     C   E C   -
Let me tell you 'bout the Negro -

posted by Flunkie at 5:49 PM on April 29 [6 favorites]


On those "Ancestral Rights" Mr. Bundy has been keen on claiming.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:28 AM on April 30 [1 favorite]


Ta-Nehisi Coates: This Town Needs a Better Class of Racist
The question Cliven Bundy put to his audience last week—Was the black family better off as property?—is as immoral as it unoriginal. As both Adam Serwer and Jamelle Bouie point out, the roster of conservative theorists who imply that black people were better off being whipped, worked, and raped are legion. Their ranks include economists Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell, former congressman Allen West, sitting Representative Trent Franks, singer Ted Nugent, and presidential aspirants Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann.

A fair-minded reader will note that each of these conservatives is careful to not praise slavery and to note his or her disgust at the practice. This is neither distinction nor difference. Cliven Bundy's disquisition begins with a similar hedge: "We've progressed quite a bit from that day until now and we sure don't want to go back." With so little substantive difference between Bundy and other conservatives, it becomes tough to understand last week's backpedaling in any intellectually coherent way.

But style is the hero. Cliven Bundy is old, white, and male. He likes to wave an American flag while spurning the American government and pals around with the militia movement. He does not so much use the word "Negro"—which would be bad enough—but "nigra," in the manner of villain from Mississippi Burning or A Time to Kill. In short, Cliven Bundy looks, and sounds, much like what white people take racism to be.

The problem with Cliven Bundy isn't that he is a racist but that he is an oafish racist. He invokes the crudest stereotypes, like cotton picking. This makes white people feel bad. The elegant racist knows how to injure non-white people while never summoning the specter of white guilt. Elegant racism requires plausible deniability, as when Reagan just happened to stumble into the Neshoba County fair and mention state's rights. Oafish racism leaves no escape hatch, as when Trent Lott praised Strom Thurmond's singularly segregationist candidacy.

Elegant racism is invisible, supple, and enduring. It disguises itself in the national vocabulary, avoids epithets and didacticism. Grace is the singular marker of elegant racism. One should never underestimate the touch needed to, say, injure the voting rights of black people without ever saying their names. Elegant racism lives at the border of white shame. Elegant racism was the poll tax. Elegant racism is voter-ID laws.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:14 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


DailyKos: UPDATE: Bundy Thugs "Poured Lighter Fluid Around Media Trucks & Issued Bomb Threats"

This situation is like an egg that's already rolled off the counter & headed for the floor. You know it's going to break & make a huge mess & there's nothing you can do to stop it.
posted by scalefree at 9:43 PM on May 2


In the video above, Bundy underscores that he is a lying, psychotic, thieving sociopath. Using a sickening, demented, terrorist method, Bundy intimidated Sheriff Lomardo

Is this really the level of writing on Daily Kos? It looks like something that would be in an email forward from an elderly relative.
posted by anemone of the state at 11:23 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


It's a diary from a site member, not a FPP.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:18 AM on May 3


But yeah, that's basically the house style for d-kos diaries.
posted by empath at 7:23 AM on May 3




Eggsackley as predicted in R. Crumb's HUP #1 (1987). Story title: The Ruff Tuff Cream Puffs TAKE CHARGE.
posted by telstar at 11:11 PM on May 4


[One comment deleted; sorry, but yeah, as we mentioned a few times above, this isn't a general gun control thread. ]
posted by taz at 2:48 AM on May 5


(sorry mods - added comment missing Jessamyn's TWO "don't make it about gun-control" requests - thanks for the delete!)
posted by longbaugh at 3:28 AM on May 5


I'm sure this will end well.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:40 AM on May 8


That sends a terrible message to the public that federal employees can be intimidated without repercussion. Brandishing a weapon and threatening someone with it is considered a misdemeanor or even a felony in some jurisdictions.
posted by zarq at 12:17 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


That sends a terrible message to the public that federal employees can be intimidated without repercussion. Brandishing a weapon and threatening someone with it is considered a misdemeanor or even a felony in some jurisdictions.

I am pretty sure doing it to a federal employee going about his (or her) duties is felony EVERYWHERE. This happened way out in the middle of nowhere Utah and it is going to take a while to catch the idiots.

This could turn into (and in some peoples minds should) turn into the scenario presented in a novel-"Unintended Consequences" which is held to these kind of idiots in the same regard as "on Walden Pond" is to radical environmentalists (or maybe Kazinski's memoirs). (I am NOT going to link to that book at work, but you can find it for free in PDF form online). And it is worth noting what starts the insurrection in that book is an actual bit of over reach and mistreatment by a fictional ATF agent.

this could go very badly for some people if they don't dial it back some and come to their senses (and some hardworking and very conscientious federal employees as well).
posted by bartonlong at 4:10 PM on May 8




Attention has turned to Utah, where a local county commissioner is planning a protest where they are going to drive ATVs into and area that the BLM has closed to motor vehicles.
posted by achrise at 9:23 AM on May 10


Because freedumb.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:27 AM on May 10 [1 favorite]


BAWWW WHY CAN'T I RIDE MY ATV ON NATIVE AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES BAWWW
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:22 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


This could turn into (and in some peoples minds should) turn into the scenario presented in a novel-"Unintended Consequences" which is held to these kind of idiots in the same regard as "on Walden Pond" is to radical environmentalists

No, you're thinking of On Golden Pond, the Henry Fonda movie loved by generations of grandparents and radical enviromentalists everywhere.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:17 PM on May 10




I mean, not that what they're doing is good, because it's not, but I do feel some sympathy for them. It's really hard I think for people like this to understand the changing morality, particularly around environmentalism and especially protection of Native American site stuff. Because honestly, we didn't care about this stuff 30 years ago nearly the same way we do today, so for a lot of them, it's a radical shift from when they were an adult. I don't think there's any way to fix it really, but I do have a bit of sadness for these guys who are seeing their way of life disappear, even if it wasn't a great way of life in the first place.
posted by corb at 5:04 PM on May 10


Oh, bullshit. Bundy's had the 20 years he's been refusing to pay to figure out what conservation means. Both of my parents are older than him, and even my archconservative, Washington Times reading dad has managed since the 80s to be aware of what an endangered species is.
posted by kafziel at 5:24 PM on May 10 [4 favorites]


It's really hard I think for people like this to understand the changing morality, particularly around environmentalism and especially protection of Native American site stuff.

Stupid people have trouble understanding a lot of things.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:40 PM on May 10 [3 favorites]


Because honestly, we didn't care about this stuff 30 years ago nearly the same way we do today,

30 years ago was only 1984. Now Bundy might not remember 1984, but both environmentalism and the BLM were alive and kicking in that distant age. I'm certain. I was there.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:43 PM on May 10 [5 favorites]




Because honestly, we didn't care about this stuff 30 years ago nearly the same way we do today, so for a lot of them, it's a radical shift from when they were an adult.

This is refreshing. From memory, I believe that environmentalism has in fact become unpopular since 30 years ago, and I'm certain it was a corporate sponsored decline. This coincides with the rise of the religious right and the Koch-funded Tea Party, both founded on anti-government Southern extremism, stealthily known as libertarianism.
posted by Brian B. at 10:23 AM on May 11 [4 favorites]


Here's a Las Vegas newspaper story about a new app that "pits players against agents with the Federal Bureau of Cows, who are trying to steal cattle. Players are tasked with shooting the agents as they move from behind FBC vehicles while allowing the cattle to pass unharmed."

From the article: The app, which took about three weeks to develop and get approved, surpassed 1,000 downloads over the weekend. It has a 4.5 out of 5-star rating in both the App Store and Google Play.
posted by achrise at 1:28 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


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