Cliven Bundy blamed Martin Luther King for racism (video)

I’ll give the man this much: Cliven Bundy is understandably bothered and bewildered by the fact there are a lot of people who don’t like him very much and who’ve concluded he’s a subsidy-mooching resource-stealing scofflaw racist.

Although it seems it’s only the very last term — racist — that bothers him more than the others.

Well, as of Friday, he went on CNN to try to explain and apologize and let’s just say it didn’t go well.

The background

There’s this Nevada rancher who’s been grazing his cattle illegally on federal lands for going on two decades now, refusing to pay both the grazing fees and the fines he’s accumulated for failing to pay those fees, as well as grazing far more cattle than he would’ve been allowed anyway.

Fox News' version of Cliven Bundy.

Fox News’ version of Cliven Bundy.

In court, Mr. Bundy has tried to assert a bizarre sovereign citizen theory, that the U.S. federal government cannot own land, and thus has no authority to assess fees of any kind nor to regulate land usage — and was shot down repeatedly. This is no amateur opinion or theory, no question of constitutional law up for debate; state and federal courts have ruled against him, every single time.

Bundy now owes the government more than $1m in back-fees, fines, and penalties, and still refuses to remove his trespassing cattle from protected federal lands.

When the BLM and local law enforcement tried to seize said cattle to remove them and to sell them off to pay back some of the fines in arrears, Mr. Bundy called in his family, friends, and a bunch of heavily armed militia members with ties to insurrectionist groups (the Bircher-allied Oath Keepers) to intimidate and threaten the Feds.

Happy to be getting all kinds of attention and national exposure, especially from right-wing media outlets such as Fox News and Sean Hannity, Mr. Bundy subsequently decided to expound on a whole host of issues…and it turns out he’s an ignorant racist with no sense of irony. Or self-awareness that he himself has been the recipient of ‘government subsidies’ all his life. Surprise! (Not…)

Oh, and Mr. Bundy — even though he loves to surround himself with the American flag — has been on record as saying he doesn’t believe the United States of America even exists.

cliven-bundy-3Well, in recent days, most of Bundy’s supporters on the far right — including figures as famous as Sean Hannity, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Dean Heller (R-NV) have disavowed him and called his remarks repugnant. (None, however, has said Mr. Bundy should relent pay his fines and land licensing fees, which have been upheld repeatedly in courts of law.)

Anyway, there’s a long backgrounder post here and another in which we first learned of (but weren’t surprised by) Mr. Bundy’s rather blatant racism here.

Meanwhile, John’s also posted about the war between Jon Stewart and Sean Hannity over the Bundy matter, as well as a rather clever satirical piece on a (fictional) move by Mozilla to appoint Bundy as a CEO who probably won’t enslave Mozilla’s ‘Negro’ employees.)

Mr. Bundy digs his hole ever deeper

Friday morning (4/25), Cliven Bundy went on CNN to try to salvage his reputation. He started off with a somewhat self-effacing joke about taking off his boot to make the experience of putting his foot in his mouth less awful. (For those who don’t want the commented version, feel free to skip on down to the full quote in context.)

Bundy: “I took this boot off so I wouldn’t put my foot in my mouth with the boot on. Let me see if I can say something. Maybe I sinned and maybe I need to ask forgiveness and maybe I don’t know what I actually said.”

That’s nice, actually, almost endearing. Although I think he could’ve done without all those ‘maybes’.

“But you know, when you talk about prejudice, we’re talking about not being able to exercise what we think and our feelings.  We don’t have the freedom to say what we want.”


This, my friends, is the lonely twilight call of the unreconstructed racist in his natural habitat.

Confused and bewildered because he thinks free speech consists of being able to yawp highly objectionable ‘thoughts’ and ‘feelings’ — like suggesting that slavery wasn’t so bad and ‘negroes’ should be taught to pick cotton again — without anybody complaining. Or telling him, “That’s abominable and morally repugnant, and shame on you for even suggesting it.”

Sadly, it gets worse.

“If I call — if I say negro or black boy or slave…”

Oh gawd. Dude, stop talking. What follows words like those will never, ever help.

“I’m not — if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be offended…

‘Those people’? Yeah right, what African-American gentleman could possibly be offended by being called a ‘negro’ or a ‘black boy’ by a white guy, one who doesn’t seem to be totally clear on the core concept of ‘slavery’?

And who among us hasn’t thought we should have a free and open debate on the merits of re-instituting slavery and involuntary servitude? (I know: Anyone with even a smidge of human decency knows better…)

Okay, let’s finish this off by putting Mr. Bundy’s remarks into their full context, including the last part.

Bundy: “I took this boot off so I wouldn’t put my foot in my mouth with the boot on. Let me see if I can say something. Maybe I sinned and maybe I need to ask forgiveness and maybe I don’t know what I actually said. But you know, when you talk about prejudice, we’re talking about not being able to exercise what we think and our feelings.

“We don’t have freedom to say what we want. If I call — if I say negro or black boy or slave, I’m not — if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be offended, then Martin Luther King hasn’t got his job done then yet. They should be able to — I should be able to say those things and they shouldn’t offend anybody. I didn’t mean to offend them.”

Sadly, Mr. Bundy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr cannot pursue ‘his job’ any further because he was shot dead by another unreconstructed racist some 46 years ago.

And the fight for civil rights for the poor and for minorities wasn’t to make it so that racists could throw around racial epithets and prejudicial stereotypes with impunity. Dr. King’s cause was for men and women to be judged by the content of their character. Not to create an equivalence between those who believe all of us are equal and deserving of respect and dignity, and the unrepentant racists who want to suggest we should literally re-enslave African-Americans, as if both those positions are legitimate and reasonable.

There is a bit more:

Bundy: “I didn’t say it to offend them. I was trying to ask a question. And maybe I said it wrong. I’m sorry if I said it wrong. The question was a good question and it comes from my heart, not done as prejudice. And you guys try to make everyone in the world think I’m prejudiced. No, I’m not prejudiced.”

Sorry, Mr. Bundy, but there is no right way to ask whether African-Americans — who you refer to as The Negro — would be better off as slaves on plantations, picking cotton. Sure, there are probably better solutions and outcomes than public housing without any educational or economic opportunities. But at least those folks — who actually include more poor whites than poor people of color — have a roof over their heads and a little help to put food on the table.

But there is no decent human being, nobody with any degree of humanity in their hearts who believes that this–


Or this:

Slavery 2Or this:

Slavery 3

Or this:

Slavery 4

Or this:

Slavery 5

…is even in the same universe as being in public housing. Nor is slavery merely an innocent proposal to be debated as a possible answer for the poverty and lack of opportunity for minority American citizens.

Slavery in the United States of America — real, actual human bondage and forced servitude, as opposed to the dubiously metaphorical ‘slavery’ of being the recipient of government help — was an abomination, a stain on the history of this country which will never be wiped clean.

The appalling inhumanity of even suggesting equivalence, much less saying actual, plantation-style slavery would be better than being on the government dole, is not excused in the least by phrasing the proposal as a Jeopardy-style question and sticking “I wonder…” on the front.

So, sorry Mr. Bundy. It really is too bad you’re upset by people exercising their free speech rights in response to yours. It’s 100% true: You have every right in the world to say the problem with ‘The Negro’ is they weren’t taught to pick cotton and that you “wonder” if it’d be better for them if they were slaves again.

But we have the same free speech right to say in reply, “You’re a monster for even suggesting that, sir.”

And the fact we say such in reply is no failure of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr to ‘get his job done.’ I’d say it’s evidence his legacy lives on and has gone much further than he would have dared to hope. However, men like yourself, Mr. Bundy, men who cling to ignorance and racism, do show indeed that the ‘job’ isn’t done, so the rest of us will have to take up the burden and carry on.

I feel certain you want to be liked and well-regarded, and not to be thought a terrible human being. Unfortunately, your racism, ignorance, and hypocrisy gets in the way of all that.

Anyway, to see Bundy’s CNN interview, it’s here:

Published professional writer and poet, Becca had a three decade career in technical writing and consulting before selling off most of her possessions in 2006 to go live at an ashram in India for 3 years. She loves literature (especially science fiction), technology and science, progressive politics, cool electronic gadgets, and perfecting Hatch green chile recipes. Fortunately for this last, Becca and her wife currently live in New Mexico. @BeccaMorn

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88 Responses to “Cliven Bundy blamed Martin Luther King for racism (video)”

  1. MelissaNY says:

    After listening to the whole original interview I thought on it carefully and listened again cringing at his unfortunate use of language and thought. The man is not good at expressing his ideas and the media is quite good at sound biting. It is my belief he is not a racist. I believe what he was trying to express was that black people traded one type of slavery for another IE government slavery.
    Before anyone calls me a right wing anything let me stop you there, I’m not, right wing, left wing, conservative, liberal you are all the same to me leaning with what your party affiliation tells you and I believe in freedom and no party offers that.
    Now lets get back to what I was saying, he really has no grasp on what slavery was or wasn’t, so he has no idea of how offensive his ideas are or why. Ignorance is not racism, hatred is and if everyone heard the whole interview with an analytical mind rather than an emotional one they would see that he is not coming from a place of hatred.
    Is anyone here aware of the fact that he and his neighbors had all been paying dues until the Gov. kicked them off? Is anyone here aware that farmers have been using that land for over a hundred years? Is anyone here aware of the fact that land grabs are happening in rural areas all over this land of the free?
    At what point should we say enough is enough? Do a bit of real research for your self. Peoples homes are under attack. There is no media coverage for them because they go quietly and for some there is no compensation.
    If you people here at truly believe in your motto “A Great Nation Deserves the Truth” why not investigate the government land grabs without a bias or slant? Or about the assassination plot against left leaning “occupy movement” the FBI knew about and failed to notify those US citizens they were in danger. A F.O.Y.A. was issued you could request one.

  2. BeccaM says:

    *laughs* You’re really not going to like my upcoming Monday post.

  3. BeccaM says:

    The first time you reprinted my sentence in its entirety, along with additional context, yet seemed only to see this first clause.

    Twice after you left off the bits where I said (1) there should be consequences for saying objectionable things and (2) those consequences can and should consist of decent people objecting and refuting. Or, to quote myself, “Or telling him, “That’s abominable and morally repugnant, and shame on you for even suggesting it.””

    Free speech isn’t you get to say something and nobody is allowed to respond.

  4. Naja pallida says:

    I’m just glad he outed himself as an obnoxious racist before A&E decided to make a reality series out of his family.

  5. Monophylos Fortikos says:

    You know what? If Bundy were just some foul-mouthed uncle or family friend who confined his rantings to family gatherings and Christmas parties–getting liquored up to complain to everyone in sight about taxes and big gubmint and shiftless nigras, maybe this sort of excuse-making would be forgivable. Maybe it’d be OK to put up with his bile because of familial affection or memories of past kindnesses.

    Bundy is not, however, just unpleasant; he has made himself publicly unpleasant, loudly and arrogantly so, and has made himself a cause celebre for other selfish, hypocritical, lawless jackasses. He’s capable of doing a lot of damage. So why should I give a flying fuck that some friend of his makes excuses for him? Should I care that really he’s nice enough once you get to know him? What matters is how he conducts himself in public. Yeah, you’ve got a point, albeit a thoroughly irrelevant one: neither I nor Becca know anything of Bundy personally so we don’t know that he loves puppies or tips generously or always tells his wife he loves her. So one guy says he’s nice in private–big fuckin’ deal. In public he’s still an asshole.

  6. Stan7 says:

    Which of you knows him better–the one who knows him personally or the blogger / writer who has never met him and could likely never approach him with an open mind ? I know who I’m putting my money on.
    At an early age I had to work with people with these types of views and I learned that you got a lot farther by listening and asking questions rather than hearing and passing judgment from a distance. I learned more about people than any of my college or graduate professors could of taught me.

  7. BeccaM says:

    One wingnut African American ‘friend’ doesn’t unmake a racist.

    I, too, like to believe the best of people. But not when they say the problem with ‘The Negro’ is they weren’t taught to pick cotton and that they’re not slaves. There is sometimes a bridge too far for ‘thoughtful consideration’ — and saying that slavery was actually good for people is it for me.

  8. Stan7 says:

    That’s a pretty cheap shot considering you don’t know the man and based on your normally thoughtful comments somewhat out of character. I referenced it because I don’t believe Bundy is a racist but do think that he is bigoted.
    A white racist might hire a person of color to cook, clean house or do their laundry but certainly not as a body guard since they would have to trust that person with their life. Would a racist trust somebody that he believed to be “inferior” with their life?
    That is one reason I linked to the article.
    The other reason because I believe in the best that people have to offer. I think Bundy’s bodyguard is a better judge of what his like because he knows him and choses to work for him and defend his life. He would have to believe that Bundy’s flaws are outweighed by his good traits.
    In my life I have known people like that and am perfectly capable of deciding who to associate with–I never cared what anybody thought and neither does that bodyguard. He is likely a better man because of that choice.

  9. Stan7 says:

    He has been marginalized. This is the only white majority country in the world that has ever elected a Black president. What he said has not taken seriously by the vast majority of Americans.

  10. BeccaM says:

    I don’t want to see Bundy killed either. But I do want to see him and his bigoted attitudes marginalized as much as possible.

  11. Stan7 says:

    Yes. I believe I wrote that in my response.

    What I did not write is the following:

    Confused and bewildered because he thinks free speech consists of being able to yawp highly objectionable ‘thoughts’ and ‘feelings’]

  12. Stan7 says:

    I’ll take you at your word if that is what you meant but it wasn’t exactly what you wrote. It was good you speak up and respond but there were no “straw man” propositions in what I wrote: I never admired Bundy or what he was trying to do — I just don’t want to see him killed. He should settle up.

  13. BeccaM says:

    There’s never any shortage of Uncle Toms when one is needed.

  14. BeccaM says:

    The rate hasn’t changed in 30 years, because Congress won’t allow it.

    Private rates for grazing range from $10-29 AUM.

    Yeah, it’s all but free, and Bundy’s fees would’ve only been around 3-4 grand for an entire year’s grazing — a tax deductible business expense, no less.

  15. BeccaM says:

    ‘The Writer’ thus speaks: By consequences I meant only what I said. That abominable men like Cliven Bundy and his friends should never expect that their Free Speech means nobody objects, contradicts, protests, or silently acquiesces to his monstrous beliefs.

    Or would you rather wallow in the false victimization of more straw man propositions?

  16. Naja pallida says:

    The consequences are exactly what is happening, being excoriated, mocked, and ultimately shunned. None of which the First Amendment applies to.

  17. stan7 says:

    [Confused and bewildered because he thinks free speech consists of being able to yawp highly objectionable ‘thoughts’ and ‘feelings’]
    I believe the writer has a fundamental misunderstanding of what the first amendment means as evidenced by the above quote–yawping his “objectionable thoughts” is free speech.
    While it is true that she did not go further and suggest that he should be arrested, what exactly would be the consequences of his actions if what Bundy said was not free speech?
    Naturally he is responsible for what he said, whether of not he accepts that.

  18. Monophylos Fortikos says:

    Spot on. It’s a reminder that on the American right there’s a strong undercurrent of what can only be called ethical relativism–even though relativism is supposedly a crime committed only by liberals. Supposedly it’s only liberals who are slushy, spineless, and lacking in any firm principles whereas conservatives are tough-minded and courageous defenders of freedom and liberty. Yet time and again right-wingers betray an appallingly crude and utilitarian approach to ethical issues in which any genuine concern for the principles that they purport to revere plays no part. I remember this particularly vividly from events surround the second occupation of Iraq. How many times did we see “But Saddam Gassed His Own People(TM)” trotted out as the standard answer to all objections, the saving absolution to all sins? Defence of torture was similarly callous. (One right-wing Catholic I used to correspond with, very big on the superiority of his “values”, defended his own support of torture with the careless remark that at least we weren’t cutting off anyone’s head.)

    And so it is the case here. All that love for the sacred, God-given principle of freedom goes right out the window and all that matters is that slavery, at least their imaginary “Song of the South” version of slavery, got results. At least it kept “them” busy! And you know the saying about the Devil loving idle hands. Emancipating the slaves was just like handing them over to Satan. Now I’m sure you’re right, Houndentenor, when you say that this is a minority opinion even among the reddest of red-state Republicans, but let me suggest that the same logic is more pervasive in milder forms. You see it in arguments about employment and wages, for example. Who cares if Walmart employees are broke all the time and have zero job security? How else can you get such low low prices? That’s the only thing that matters. Besides, pay a worker too much and he’s just going to get lazy and entitled. Far better that he should always be kept on his toes–makes him work harder.

  19. Naja pallida says:

    Nobody suggested that he should be arrested for his speech, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have to accept responsibility for what comes out of his mouth. But I guess, avoiding responsibility is what got him in this situation in the first place.

  20. Naja pallida says:

    The rate has barely changed since the 1960s. Unlike the rates for using private land, which have skyrocketed, and is somewhere in the range of $15-$20 dollars per animal unit per month. It’s an incredible deal, and the idea that someone would seek to cheat the system hurts all honest ranchers.

  21. San7 says:

    [Confused and bewildered because he thinks free speech consists of being able to yawp highly objectionable ‘thoughts’ and ‘feelings’ — like suggesting that slavery wasn’t so bad and ‘negroes’ should be taught to pick cotton again — without anybody complaining. Or telling him, “That’s abominable and morally repugnant, and shame on you for even suggesting it.”]
    In fact this is free speech at its core. The first amendment wasn’t written to protect polite and civil speech or it never would have been written, ratified and fought over. Foreign as it may appear to some good Americans died so idiots like Bundy could say what they were thinking without risk of government arrest.
    His speech has nothing to do with his court battles over land which he should settle with the fed and move on, since he lost in court.

  22. ne2indy says:

    I looked it up and found the BLM only charges $1.35 per animal unit per month for public lands and the U.S. Forest Service charges $1.35 per head per month. These were the rates for 2012 and 2013. The fee rises and falls or stays the same based on market conditions, with livestock operators paying more when conditions are better and less when conditions have declined. So. in effect, ranchers are almost grazing cattle on our lands for all but free. What a deal provided by taxpayers.

  23. Stan7 says:

    He certainly is a bigot but I doubt he believes in the supremacy of one race over another. Perhaps the people at this blog know him better than his own bodyguard, who happens to be a Black man:

    Black Bodyguard: He’s Not A Racist; ‘I’d Take A Bullet For That Man’…

  24. pappyvet says:

    I am so glad that you do Sis. Not just to nab those who are still pissed because their side lost the battle for Middle Earth but because you can never tell when a wordsmith and bard such as mine own self [twirling moustache ] might have an eppy fanny and post some warbling words of wonder. [stinker grin firmly in place]

  25. BeccaM says:

    One thing I’ve realized over the years is there are far fewer true misanthropes than I originally believed. That is, people who genuinely don’t care if anybody likes them or cares for them. This even includes people with truly horrible notions, like a man who equates public housing or access to healthcare with slavery.

    But you could be right. Having listened to Bundy ramble on incoherently, I found myself wondering if he was all there, or what’s been happening is others are egging him on. I mean, how could a man who says he doesn’t think the United States ‘even exists’ and says he believes Nevada is a sovereign nation then turn around and say okie-dokey to riding around the desert waving an American flag? I just makes no rational sense.

  26. BeccaM says:

    Ah, so it was Michelle Bachmann… somehow I’m not surprised. She’s often the standard of breathtaking universal ignorance against which others are measured.

    The saddest thing of all is she’s not alone in her ignorant contrary-to-reality beliefs.

  27. BeccaM says:

    Well said. And you said the most important thing of all: “It is immoral for one person to own another.”

    I would only add that it’s also reprehensible to take that literal human ownership and equate it to receiving help with shelter, food, education, healthcare or anything else we’ve collectively decided is something people should have as a basic right by simply existing.

    Even if we had someone who says, “Y’know, this government assistance is all I need. I think I just won’t bother to improve myself or look for work or anything” — that is still not slavery. The person made a choice. A bad choice, but a choice nonetheless.

    Slavery is when someone says, “I’m not going to work for you” — and someone else says, “Like hell. Johnny, hand me that scourge, it’s time we taught this one a lesson. And bring me that slave-girl he sleeps with. I think he needs a lesson there, too.”

    As you pointed out, maybe there were slave owners who didn’t treat their slaves badly. But the point it, they could. They had every right to. And worst of all, no slave ever had the right to say, “Y’know, you’re a terrible master — I’m leaving.”

    Whether it’s slavery or, as you said, the Holocaust, this isn’t a debate deserving of two sides of equal consideration. There is no point in giving equal time or credence of any kind to monstrous proposals or positions devoid of humanity and decency.

  28. BeccaM says:

    That’s why I tend not to revisit my posts, especially on certain controversial topics, in the days after posting them because that’s when the worst ones show up. Because I know it’ll be nothing but spittle-flecked invective and rampant trolling.

    But do feel free to flag those posts you feel step over the line or use the contact link to let John know.

  29. The_Fixer says:

    Yep. And many a farm kid has been anguished over this when it happens the first time in their lives, I’m sure. From that point on, they develop a different relationship with those animals – they don’t get too close for that reason.

    I was referring to domestic pets (cats, dogs, etc). In some countries, cats and dogs are used for food. Horrifying to us, but perfectly acceptable to them.

    Your point is well taken. We have a peculiar relationship with animals. We’re fine with using some of them for food, as long as we don’t have to see or experience the process.

  30. ne2indy says:

    Shhh. Don’t tell the 4-H kids that the animals they raise aren’t pets. Besides, farm kids in general sometimes have favorite animals they treat more as pets. Still, they understand that at some point their favored animals will be slaughtered and sold for their meat.

  31. Houndentenor says:

    Found it:

    The statement in this case was that black families were better off under slavery because at least they were intact. (That of course assumes that the “owner” didn’t sell the children or split up the married couples because they could do that any time they wanted.) It’s not quite the same but it’s equally ignorant and completely out of touch with the reality of what actually happened (or what is happening now).

  32. The_Fixer says:

    I gotcha, guolo. I was half responding to you and half to Elijah above.

    Myself, I would love to be in a position to go totally meat-free. However, I have some specific dietary requirements (low-carb, high protein with certain food sensitivities) and going to a vegetarian diet would be pretty difficult. Call me a vegetarian sympathizer. Aside from the butchering animals aspect of it, I also have a real problem with factory farming as it is done these days.

    So yeah, I understand where you’re coming from.

  33. janet says:

    I think it was Paul Ryan.

  34. Lawerence Collins says:

    The scary/sad part is that if Bundy hadn’t opened his mouth about the “Negros”, the right wing, Rethuglican’s would still be gushing over him. These type are all pretty much cut from the same old, bigoted, racist, homophobic cloth.

  35. Lawerence Collins says:

    Great post.

  36. Houndentenor says:

    This is what happens when people live in a bubble. (It happens to liberals too although I don’t come across those as often since I moved to Texas.) Bundy said the kinds of things he says almost every day and since he’s never said these in front of anyone who dared call him out on his racist views (even if they recognized them as such because sometimes liberals in deep red areas know to keep their mouths shut, he said from personal experience) he’s stunned at the reaction.

  37. Houndentenor says:

    I keep asking this question because I don’t remember specifically enough but I remember someone of national recognition saying basically the same thing about people being better off under slavery than being on welfare. I remember a clip of Whoopi Goldberg commenting about it on The View even. I just don’t remember who said it (which will make a google search difficult).

  38. Houndentenor says:

    Bundy’s problem now is that he DID have the right to say what he wanted and it was unfortunately published verbatim. He’d be a lot better off and have more support if the NY Times had censored his comments. His right to free speech is what got him in all this trouble. He wasn’t censored (not that he should have been) and now others are exercising THEIR right to speech and are using it to criticize him.

  39. Houndentenor says:

    There’s a meme among some people (and I want to be careful here because I think this is a minority opinion even in the deep south, among Republicans and probably even Tea Partiers…as witnessed by Sean Hannity and company running as far away from Bundy as they can get as soon as he started talking)…that wants to deny the horrors of slavery and make it sound like a good job where people got room and board in exchange for labor and everyone got along just fine until a lot of nasty busy-body abolitionists got involved. Obviously some people treated their slaves better than others and I’m sure there were owners who didn’t beat their slaves as badly as some of the worst examples. But the problem is that it was legal for them to do so and as these human beings were officially property it’s not as if they could go apply for slavehood with one of the better plantation owners. They were stuck in their position until they died or were sold. It is immoral for a person to own another. Anything that comes from that is also immoral even if it’s a less abusive version of that immoral act. But because there are people who don’t want to acknowledge what happened they have to deny it. I hate to compare it to Holocaust denial (Godwin’s law and all that) but it’s awfully similar. “This wasn’t as bad as those liberals want you to think!” Well I don’t think people risk their lives running away from a situation that “wasn’t all that bad”. This is a disgusting turn and it needs to be blasted (not shut down, but rebutted with facts and images and all the other historical documentation) so that the rest of society isn’t poisoned by the idiotic rants of people who are (whether they will admit it or not) racists.

  40. pappyvet says:

    Yes and I have noticed as of late that many a troll will show up late in the life of an article so their comments are close to the top. They made some over at your “Cliven Bundy is a seditious liar, not a patriot.” article. You can almost feel the hate coming through.

  41. Thom Allen says:

    Thanks. As I mentioned above, it was a passing thought but it fits in with the way these throwbacks think.

  42. Thom Allen says:

    I agree, I just mentioned it as a passing thought. SInce they seem to think that women and children are only valuable as disposable cannon fodder, those who have a six pack of wives available might find it easier to lose a few to the BLM. It would inconvenience them, but not too much. And they might be able to find replacements easily enough.

  43. goulo says:

    In case it somehow wasn’t clear, I was not agreeing with the proposal to poison the cattle. Rather, I was just remarking that if one is concerned about animal cruelty, one might want to ALSO consider not butchering animals (or paying to butcher animals).

  44. The_Fixer says:

    People, particularly in this country, would never even think of butchering their pets but have no problem consuming animals to which they have no attachment. That’s when we embrace the concept of the food chain.

    Temple Grandin, Professor at Colorado State University and activist, has been a consultant to the cattle industry and has been an advocate for improving practices at slaughterhouses with an eye toward making them less barbaric and much closer to humane.

    While one can debate the legitimacy of using animals for food, one thing that cannot be debated is that if one does, it should be done in the most humane way possible. There are cooperative people in the cattle industry who understand that.

    Poisoning them? What good would that do? It might get rid of the immediate problem, yes. But it would be an awful waste. If you’re going to kill animals, at least do it for a reason other that to screw over an old fool. And I don’t doubt that these animals would suffer from poisoning.

  45. bkmn says:

    I guess it is not a subsidy if you take it and don’t pay for it, like a certain Mr. Bundy likes to do.

  46. The_Fixer says:

    I dunno, I am mixed on him. On the one hand, yes, I do feel sorry for him. Not for having the opinions he has and the things he has done, but for the fact that he is so out of touch and ignorant.

    On the other hand, what I do find telling is that guys like Bundy who express such stupidity when they talk, is that they instantly backpedal when called on it. It’s always “I was quoted out of context”, or “I was misunderstood” when its clear that they were neither. If they are so rock-solid in these beliefs, you’d think that they’d “stick to their guns”, so to speak. Deep down inside, they must know that they are terribly wrong, otherwise they wouldn’t bother to backpedal. They know that they’re wrong, but refuse to admit it.

    I wonder about his mental well-being. Anyone who is so contradictory in his own opinions has to have cognitive issues.

    The same with the woman who says she is a good mother (like she is trying to convince herself of that?) for pulling her kids out of school and putting them in a dangerous situation. Not to mention the collection of violent crazies who showed up to support him. They’re mostly all nuts.

  47. BeccaM says:

    I know. We’ve even had a few drive-by ‘eliminationists’ in the comments here in the last week or so.

    And what’s funny and sad at the same time is they accuse the left of being the fascists, the wannabe Nazis — yet we (well, most of us anyway) never talk about rounding up all the conservatives and killing them. Yet that kind of rhetoric is common with the radical right, and they’re not afraid to roam the ‘Net to let everybody know it.

    But I find it really scary when it’s not just radical kooks, but people on right-leaning national cable TV channels saying the same things.

  48. BeccaM says:

    I actually pity the guy at this point. Sure, he’ll always have his Stormfront and Oath Keeper supporters, and no doubt he has friends who like him and family who loves him. But the rest of the country — the decent, tolerant folks — have nothing but disgust and ridicule for him. Like I wrote in the post, I don’t doubt he wants to be liked, to be seen as fighting against The Man (aka the Feds), and all the rest.

    However, the truly sad thing about most of the racists is they know they don’t want to be accused of being prejudiced or having stereotyped beliefs about others, or even to be considered to be racists — but they’re incapable of giving up the beliefs that make them prejudiced and racist in the first place. When a man can start a sentence with “Let me tell you one thing I know about the Negro–” and not realize there’s nothing that can follow those words which isn’t appalling, there’s not much hope of his ever realizing his beliefs are motivated entirely by prejudice and racism.

    But yeah… right now I worry that some federal employee simply doing his or her job is going to end up shot and possibly killed. Or even one of the human shields the militia guys seem so eager to sacrifice.

  49. BeccaM says:

    Yeah, I noticed that, too. Some of the details are fuzzy, but it looks to me like the maternal side of Bundy’s family moved to the area in the early 1900s, and were farming (not ranching) an area about ten miles north of where he is now. As for the Bundys themselves, it’s well established they didn’t arrive from Arizona until Cliven’s father bought the ranch in 1948.

  50. BeccaM says:

    There were definitely some Reconstruction practices which were unnecessarily punitive to the former Confederate states and territories. Unfortunately, some of the others weren’t enforced nearly well enough, and after Lincoln’s assassination, many of the necessary reforms — like guaranteeing the freed former slaves could vote — were repealed by Jim Crow laws.

  51. BeccaM says:

    Maybe on the polygamy thing, but I doubt it. There’s a common thread in far, far-right Wingnuttia Land where they’re eager for the possibility of a galvanizing massacre by the Feds. Bircher/Oath-Keeper Richard Mack was totally clear on wanting this to happen, and was willing to do his part — sacrifice his family before himself — for the cause of sparking an actual America-disintegrating rebellion.

    Basically, they want more Wacos and Ruby Ridges, only they want the publicity of unarmed citizens perceived to be more vulnerable — hence women (because misogyny often goes with the philosophy) and children being put forward as human shields. Not with the intent of stopping the government from acting, but with the intent those shields will be shot and killed on TV.

  52. The_Fixer says:


    Cliven Bundy is one of those guys who longs for a simpler time. Back when the “darkies” knew their place, cheerfully shining shoes, mopping floors or sweating over some “real darkie work” and had the decency to not be seen in town after sunset.

    This is a classic bit of deflection, blaming MLK Jr. for his own ignorance. As his cousin Terry Robertson says, “He’s not firing on all four cylinders.”

    Which is bad enough. What’s worse is that he has a heavily weaponized bunch of fellow ignoramuses as his supporters.

    I feel for the BLM employees who have had to deal with this crap for 20 years. Being ostracized by their communities and having their safety threatened was probably the last thing they thought they’d have to deal with when they applied for the job.

  53. Naja pallida says:

    They don’t seem to understand that there is a dramatic difference between having speech actually restricted, and facing the consequences for saying something stupid. They have a phobia of having to accept responsibility for their own blather.

  54. The_Fixer says:

    Nice timeline, but I noticed that the Washington Post did not correct the bad information concerning Bundy’s ancestor’s supposed 1877 settlement of the area. It took a local TV station to do that. I would think that the Washington Post would have the resources to check into that.

  55. pappyvet says:

    “We don’t have freedom to say what we want.”

    Melanie Morgan: “I would have no problem with [New York Times editor Bill Keller] being sent to the gas chamber.”
    Lee Rogers: “The day will come when unpleasant things are going to happen to a bunch of stupid liberals and it’s going to be very amusing to watch.”
    His sort has been saying exactly what they want for years. Their biggest problem is that we have heard them.

  56. Sean says:

    Thanks for the history lesson in your post! Using Bundy & Co. to bring up all the bad stuff we’ve been sweeping under the carpet for so long is the best way to go. In fact, he has reminded me of my old U.S. history classes (in the 1970’s) that taught how Reconstruction was punishingly unfair to the south…..Uh huh. – Paging General Sherman!

  57. Sean says:

    Nicely bitter question on the polygamy issue! I hadn’t thought of that.

  58. Thom Allen says:

    No, facts mean everything to him as long as they’re his “facts” – I don’t believe in the US government, therefore it doesn’t exist. African-American slaves were more free in 1825 than African-Americans are today.

    When he first spoke out, he put his foot in his mouth. When he dis this views on “the Negro” the foot went in up to the knee. If he speaks out again, he’d going to be tasting asshole.

    I wonder if Bundy’s supporters were so willing to sacrifice their wives and children because they are polygamists and have a few more wives on the sidelines ready to move in and take over for the now deceased wife? And more kids available to replace those who were sacrificed.

  59. cambridgemac says:

    Declare them to be wolves in disguise and all the Idaho yahoos will come running to shoot them.

  60. BeccaM says:

    Aye, the BLM is too small and too poorly funded — and they and the entire Interior department were hit hard with the sequester. Even when funded normally though, the BLM doesn’t really have many enforcement tools, other than to call the local authorities. Who themselves often don’t feel like helping out either, especially in far rural areas like that northeast corner of Nevada.

  61. Naja pallida says:

    That’s really the problem with the BLM. It is a relatively small agency with an astoundingly wide berth of responsibility. It ends up relying heavily on ranchers to be honest businessmen. The same sort of way things like hunting, fishing and trapping all rely on people to be honest and only hunt in approved areas, for appropriate species, while in season, and obey bag limits. Sure, it’s easy to cheat the system, especially if you’re in an area not readily monitored by authorities, but most people don’t.

  62. BeccaM says:

    That was the original BLM plan, to round up and sell off the trespassing cattle. Then the armed militia arrived and threatened to start killing people, so the BLM backed down.

    I doubt we’ve heard the last of this though. A lot of folks can get away with breaking federal laws and regs if they do it quiet-like, but at some point the Feds are going to have to make an example of Bundy, if only to keep every other wingnut in America from deciding to start breaking laws at will. In the short run, the media attention can stop actions…but in the long run, the powers-that-be always win.

  63. Naja pallida says:

    If you wave a red flag in front of a Bircher wing nut, they crap their pants and scream “Communist!”

  64. Naja pallida says:

    Yeah, he’s definitely a “get the payment up front” kinda guy.

  65. Naja pallida says:

    Or just cull them and sell the meat to pay his bills. A good sized bull can bring around $2,500 bucks. He has something like 350 head of cattle. If they were all sold off for processing that could pay off probably a little more than half of what he owes. Then maybe he can go learn to pick cotton to pay off the rest.

  66. BeccaM says:

    No reason but ego and a desire for attention, which are powerful motivators for a man who walks around considering himself a victim of every little thing not under his direct control.

    Thing was, he forgot that it wasn’t just his John Bircher friends listening and said what was really on his mind. And the poor bastard just doesn’t realize that most of the country isn’t as ignorant, racist, and radically wingnutty as he is.

  67. BeccaM says:

    Oh, there are plenty of attorneys willing to take on losing cases, provided there’s a hefty retainer involved. On the other hand, Bundy’s history of refusing to pay his bills might cause some to walk the other way…

  68. Naja pallida says:

    That’s one thing I don’t get… there isn’t much reason for him to be talking about race at all. Nothing about race applies to his personal issues. He’s just so ridiculous he can’t help himself… and Americans love watching a train wreck, as long as they’re not on the train.

  69. Naja pallida says:

    It would take a special kind of attorney to take a case they’re guaranteed to lose.

  70. Naja pallida says:

    Largely, because the agency is a huge behemoth responsible for so much that it takes, quite literally, years for it to accomplish anything. We’re talking ~25,000 acres per employee, with a public expenditure of less than four dollars an acre. The system of maintaining public grazing lands, and enforcing restrictions, has always largely been based on the honor system. Relying heavily on the honesty of ranchers.

  71. Indigo says:

    Facts mean nothing to that kind of stupid. Wave a red flag, I bet he comes running at it.

  72. BeccaM says:

    As Matt Yglesias notes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr advocated non-violence and peaceful protest.

    Cliven Bundy and his supporters have advocated violent, armed insurrection. As such, Mr. Bundy has a hell of a lot of nerve even mentioning Dr. King’s name.

    Or, as this brilliant tweet reposted by Digby put it:

  73. TonyT says:

    All the BLM has to do is add a “Bundy” tax to every other rancher to cover his cost and they’ll go running after him.

  74. Denver Catboy says:

    I’d be interested in seeing this timeline. It’s likely because the amount of crazy stupid involved here is legendary, and the government is slow. It took this long for all the legal process to go through, and this guy likely threw up every road block he could to keep mooching off the government (to borrow an expression. ;) )

  75. basenjilover says:

    What I don’t get is why BLM allowed the welfare queen get away with not paying fees for 2 decades.

  76. Drew2u says:

    I’m sure all that free-ranging on federal lands, the cattle are going to taste divine.

  77. goulo says:

    They’re going to suffer cruelty anyway when they’re butchered.

  78. BeccaM says:

    Thus also explaining why Mr. Bundy chose to represent himself in his case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998, and not hire a professional attorney…

  79. Max_1 says:

    Animal cruelty, anyone?

  80. Max_1 says:

    Cliven Bundy is but a racist welfare queen dressed up in a cowboy hat…

  81. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I suppose his family doesn’t sit out on the porch. Thus the subsidies he receives are okay. Funny, I always thought porch sitting was great.

    It’s weird how many people believe they have the right to say anything without anyone else replying to them. They totally misunderstand freedom of speech.

  82. RepubAnon says:

    Ah, the Dunning-Kruger effect… or as it’s also known, the “too stupid to realize that you’re stupid” trap.

    Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments.

    People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this mis-calibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.

  83. lynchie says:

    Seems to like the federal governments form of currency. He was on CNN with a dead calf in his arms saying the federal government killed it. Rather than bottle feed it he let it die to make a point. He really is a piece of shit.
    These TPers say all the weird shit to stir people up. then get in their cars and drive on Federal highways, federal bridges, use federal money to buy food, take federal money in farm subsidies (I assume), depends on federal troops to defend his Amurika, etc., etc.
    The media continues to provide a forum for the domestic terrorists.

  84. Elijah Shalis says:

    I say just poison all his cattle and be done with it

  85. cole3244 says:

    boy bundy carries foot in mouth to a new level by inserting both feet and still being able to make asinine comments.

  86. BeccaM says:

    As I was writing the post, I found myself wondering if Mr. Bundy thinks the Medicare and Social Security benefits for which he is likely eligible and receiving are the same as ‘slavery.’ Or if only certain forms of ‘subsidies’ from the government are slavery, but others — such those enjoyed by Bundy himself — aren’t, and if so exactly what the distinction is between them.

    But yeah, it takes a special kind of stupid to suggest that an utterly inadequate response to poverty — public housing and assistance — is literally worse than actual slavery.

  87. bkmn says:

    Cliven Bundy is the kind of stupid that can never understand how stupid he is. If there are any elected officials still standing up for him at this point in time it should be an easy matter to get them unelected next time around.

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