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The Gadfly is not overly thrilled about harping on this Nevada rancher fracas, but it is important to understand that the mentality behind what the mooching rancher, Cliven Bundy, and his armed followers are doing is setting a dangerous precedent that, if allowed to propagate, is destined to end eventually in unnecessary bloodshed.
One aspect about this skirmish that really pisses The Gadfly off is the right's, along with media enablers like Fox "News," insinuation that this conflict is all about this poor, oppressed cattle farmer who is being forced against his free will to be subjugated under the leather jack boot of a tyrannical and illegitimate government.
Well guess what dear readers? That is out and out pure and unadulterated horse shit - and Mr. Cliven Bundy knows it. And his slack-jawed, itchy trigger-finger followers are just as full of shit, and as usual, on the wrong side of history and the law.
There is a great article in Salon written by a guy who was born and raised in rural Nevada amid the cattle ranches and hard-scrabble, desert life who is also calling bullshit on Mr. Bundy and his pistola-totin' trained monkey brigades.
The primary thrust of the article highlights the reality of what this whole fracas is truly all about and it very effectively, and totally clarifies the mentality of Mr. Bundy along with his justifications for what he is doing - not that Bundy and his boneheaded posse of Yosemite Sam wannabes give a shit about reality of course.
But the main point to be taken away from the Salon article is this:
We could argue about whether the land should belong to the federal government, but what is not in dispute is that Bundy has no ownership of it. He won’t even pay fees to use it. In short, he refuses to pay rent, like thousands of other ranchers do dutifully every year. Again, I’d like to observe if Bundy is not a communist, he’s at least an aggressive socialist.
Bundy’s foundational argument is that he “has been using the land for generations.” He claims to have “ancestors” who worked the land since the late 1800s. If Bundy wants to make this argument, he’ll need to chat to a Native American or two from one of the many different tribes in Nevada who were here far before Bundy’s ancestors. Also, I thought America was about building wealth through capitalism, rather than depending on your daddy to pass on his membership into the landed aristocracy. Bundy seems to think himself a member of the neo-nobility.http://www.salon.com/2014/04/17/fox_news_demented_poster_boy_why_angry_rancher_cliven_bundy_is_no_patriot/?source=newsletter
Basically, the author is saying that Bundy's claim that just because his Mormon ancestors were herding goats and cows in the area a hundred and thirty years ago does not magically translate to him being the legal and rightful owner of the land. On top of that, all of the thousands of other ranchers in the area, whether they like it or not or agree or not, recognize the federal government as being the owner of the land and they do not seem to have much of an issue with paying the fair and modest fees which allow them to graze their animals and make an honest living doing so.
And if that argument wasn't enough to convince you dear readers of Mr. Bundy's charlatanism, there is an even more in-depth article in The Atlantic Magazine which blasts a Mack Truck sized hole through Bundy's cynicism of wrapping himself in the American flag and Tea Party-style patriotism:
But Bundy's understanding of states' rights is far different. As he told Sean Hannity in an interview last week (emphasis added):
Well, you know, my cattle is only one issue—that the United States courts has ordered that the government can seize my cattle. But what they have done is seized Nevada statehood, Nevada law, Clark County public land, access to the land, and have seized access to all of the other rights of Clark County people that like to go hunting and fishing. They've closed all those things down, and we're here to protest that action. And we are after freedom. We're after liberty. That's what we want.
Bundy's claim that the land belongs to Nevada or Clark County didn't hold up in court, nor did his claim of inheriting an ancestral right to use the land that pre-empts the BLM's role. "We definitely don't recognize [the BLM director's]jurisdiction or authority, his arresting power or policing power in any way," Bundy told his supporters, according to The Guardian.
His personal grievance with federal authority doesn't stop with the BLM, though. "I believe this is a sovereign state of Nevada," Bundy said in a radio interview last Thursday. "I abide by all of Nevada state laws. But I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing." Ironically, this position directly contradicts Article 1, Section 2 of the Nevada Constitution:
All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people; and they have the right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require it. But the Paramount Allegiance of every citizen is due to the Federal Government in the exercise of all its Constitutional powers as the same have been or may be defined by the Supreme Court of the United States; and no power exists in the people of this or any other State of the Federal Union to dissolve their connection therewith or perform any act tending to impair, subvert, or resist the Supreme Authority of the government of the United States. The Constitution of the United States confers full power on the Federal Government to maintain and Perpetuate its existence, and whensoever any portion of the States, or people thereof attempt to secede from the Federal Union, or forcibly resist the Execution of its laws, the Federal Government may, by warrant of the Constitution, employ armed force in compelling obedience to its Authority.http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/04/the-irony-of-cliven-bundys-unconstitutional-stand/360587/
Translation?: Bundy's stance that he does not recognize the United States of America's government as being a legitimate entity with the right to legislate and enforce laws, and that he only recognizes the lawful rights of the state of Nevada to do such, is blown straight to fucking kingdom come by the fact that Nevada's very own state Constitution states that the "allegiance" of every citizen of the state is bound to the duty of compliance with and deference to that of the Federal Government and it's Constitutional powers.
In summary, Mr. Bundy and his merry band of wingnut gun goon pals are on the wrong side of the law not only at the Federal level, but also at the state of Nevada level.
And those Republican/Tea Party politicians, and media asshats (The Gadfly is looking at you Sean Hannity) who are enabling these cretins and egging them on need to be held accountable for supporting the act of sedition -- which The Gadfly's dictionary defines as:
A revolt or an incitement to revolt against established authority, usually in the form of Treason or Defamation against government.
Sedition is the crime of revolting or inciting revolt against government. However, because of the broad protection of free speech under the First Amendment, prosecutions for sedition are rare. Nevertheless, sedition remains a crime in the United States under 18 U.S.C.A. § 2384 (2000), a federal statute that punishes seditious conspiracy, and 18 U.S.C.A. § 2385 (2000), which outlaws advocating the overthrow of the federal government by force. Generally, a person may be punished for sedition only when he or she makes statements that create a Clear and Present Danger to rights that the government may lawfully protect (schenck v. united states, 249 U.S. 47, 39 S. Ct. 247, 63 L. Ed. 470 ).
So once again, The Gadfly will state unequivocally that if bloody violence is the end result of this engagement, that blood will be the sum totality of culpability which will stain solely the hands of Cliven Bundy, his gun goon pals and the right wing media and right wing politicians who are enabling and encouraging their lawless actions.