Saturday, May 3, 2014

Derange Wars: The Cliven Bundy Story

You might have heard about this:  (Kidding.  Of course you have.) There is a rancher out in Nevada named Cliven Bundy who has been using government land to graze his cattle.  His family has been doing it for what seems like ages, always paying their grazing fees to the Federal government, until some 20 years ago, when the Feds told Cliven he had to move his cattle off a section that was protected land.  He quit paying his fees in protest but never quite got around to moving his cattle.

His Mormon family homesteaded that land way back near the end of the 19th century, long before there was such a thing as a damned protected turtle.  The rules obviously didn't apply to him.  It wasn't just our land, it was his land.  In Nevada.  And since Nevada is a state, states' rights apply because the federal government--come on!--has no actual authority.

So what a surprise all these years later when he finds out that's not going to work.  In the eyes of the G-men he's a slacker, a scofflaw, damn near a criminal.  Those fools actually think he stiffed them, and all these years later they're finally making good on nearly 20 years worth of threats to confiscate his cattle and fine him big money (at last look about a million dollars, but hey. . .) for being a durned squatter.

As if!

But, dang!  They came and got his cattle!  So Rancher Bundy called in about a thousand of his militia pals (because states rights)  and held a stand-off.

Cliven Bundy, Right, with Militia volunteers.  Photo:  Steve Marcus

 And. . .whoa dogies!. . .it worked!  The Feds actually brought his cattle back!  Ha!

From Newsweek, April 23, 2014:
On the weekend of April 12 to 13, over 1,000 anti-government militia groups and Bundy supporters converged on his ranch to defend him from the encroachment of federal agents and demand the return of his cattle. Around 10 a.m. Saturday, Bundy issued an ultimatum to the Clark County sheriff: He had one hour to disarm all federal agents on the property, return the cattle and remove the BLM from Bundy’s land.
At 11:10 a.m., Bundy got on a megaphone and told his supporters to go get his cattle back. Local ranchers on horseback, militiamen in pickup trucks and others rode toward the corral where the cattle were being held. BLM agents, decked out in full riot gear, pointed guns at the anti-government group. The two sides jostled.
With the situation nearing the boiling point, the BLM blinked.
“For the anti-government patriot right, this is a major success,” said Ryan Lenz, an eyewitness to the standoff on the Bundy ranch and a writer and researcher with the Southern Poverty Law Center. “They stood against an armed, fanatical federal government and got them to back down—in their view.”
Then Bundy called in the really big guns--the press--to let the world know that he won!  Yeehaw!  Did he talk about his Mormon family and how they settled that land?  Did he talk about how little anyone should care about the desert tortoise, the creature who started this war?  Did he talk about how mighty fine it was that the Feds actually backed down?  Maybe.  But what everybody jumped on was his lesson to us all about "the negro."  It came about, please note, in the presence of one reporter and one photographer.  But it hit the New York Times  and that's all she wrote:
“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.” 
And you thought he was all hat, no cattle.  The guy's deep.  (Oh, honey, you're so right.  It has nothing to do with the standoff at the ranch.  Your point?)

But I'm not telling you anything you don't know already.  It's been all over the news.  You're probably wondering why I'm just now getting around to giving this story some attention?  Well, I'll tell you, no story is dead until it's actually buried.  Now--and I mean currently--it's not just Bundy’s Militia against the U.S. Gov’mint, it’s Bundy’s Militia vs. those other patriotic patriots, the Oathkeepers.

In case you missed it, militia volunteers from all over the country have been out there guarding the Bundy ranch, setting up road checkpoints on public highways, acting like any self-respecting Second Amendment Rights folks, by God, should.  The Oathkeepers, seeing their chance to put their motto, "Guardians of the Republic" to use, joined up.  Before long, word spread that Eric Holder was getting ready to send out drones to settle this thing once and for all.  Bundy’s Bunch swore to stand their ground, but the Oathkeepers, in what might forever have been called a brilliant strategic move if Holder had actually sent out drones, ordered their troops to move the heck out of the “Kill Zone”.

The Militia guys, true to their military nature (because, you know, a well-regulated militia) were outraged.  They used words like “cowardice” and “treason” and one guy thought those Oathkeepers-in-name-only should all be shot in the back like any deserters on the battlefield.

It's this kind of thing that keeps me on the edge of my seat. Who besides me is thinking movie script right now?  I’ve already got my title:  ©Derange Wars: The Cliven Bundy Story. 

Chuck Norris, Western Guy

I’m hoping to line up Chuck Norris to play Cliven.  He’s the only one I can think of who could play Bundy straight in a comedy.


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