Cliven Bundy, the Section 8 Plantationist

All-American parasite Cliven Bundy. (John Locher/Las Vegas Review-Journal, via Associated Press)

You’re a shame to your ancestors, Cliven.

Though I must admit, it’s been amusing to watch your decrepit, freeloading ass roam all across the Nevada landscape, squatting on federal property for over two decades and drawing the most virulent white supremacists out of the bunkers they’ve been streaming Stormfront from. You’ve been declared a hero in the eyes of the mainstream conservative movement, getting the Kochs, the Paul clan, Sean Hannity and the rest of the Fox News sycophants to cover you and your thieving posse with nearly as much non-stop fervor as CNN’s coverage of MH370.

But as you shit-kickers are wont to do, you get comfortable with the people who are like you. Yep, soon as you think you’re in totally friendly company at those daily press conferences, that top button gets loosed, the belt buckle gets pulled up a little bit and you let it all hang out:

“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.”

Hilarious.

So now you, the deadbeat–the wannabe insurrectionist who’s run up a tab to the tune of $1 million since 1993; who has been in and out of court more than a few times because you felt your “right” to graze your cattle on federal land was more important than preserving an endangered species of tortoise; not only do you believe yourself above the law of the land, but then dare to ask if Black people were better off under slavery? You, Cliven, the mooching welfare whore that sucks up the taxes I pay every year, have the audacity to demand putting us back in chains to serve you people?

Fuck that. And fuck you.

Yeah, you’ve got a lot of Republican friends that have echoed your ethos; Jonathan Capehart and Ta-Nehisi Coates (don’t start) have given wonderful reminders of who they are. But at least your spiritual ancestors, the plantation masters of the antebellum South, owned their property. The acres of fields fertilized by the blood, bones and flesh of my ancestors that amassed $10 Trillion in today’s wealth were legally held property. Hell, if you owned anything yourself, you might have actually been able to turn a decent profit…

According to the Congressional Research ServiceBureau of Land Management fees for federal lands are drastically lower than fees charged by private landowners — $1.35 per animal month-unit (AUM) versus an $8-$23 fee on private land. What’s more, the federal agencies who administer this grazing land “typically spend far more managing their grazing programs than they collect in grazing fees.” The net result is that federal grazing programs are an enormous giveaway to ranchers that carries both direct and opportunity costs for the rest of us.

But then again, Cliven, you might just be on to something. After all, this is sort of the “American Dream” you antiquated mongrels have defended since your kind migrated from the West Indies after running out of land to pillage and slaves to run through. Guess this explains the violent response perfectly, because apparently, no one tells a Southern gentleman what to do, especially the Feds:

When a Southern conservative talks about “losing his liberty,” the loss of this absolute domination over the people and property under his control — and, worse, the loss of status and the resulting risk of being held accountable for laws that he was once exempt from — is what he’s really talking about. In this view, freedom is a zero-sum game. Anything that gives more freedom and rights to lower-status people can’t help but put serious limits on the freedom of the upper classes to use those people as they please. It cannot be any other way. So they find Yankee-style rights expansions absolutely intolerable, to the point where they’re willing to fight and die to preserve their divine right to rule.

Once we understand the two different definitions of “liberty” at work here, a lot of other things suddenly make much more sense. We can understand…[t]he fervent belief among these elites that they should completely escape any legal or social accountability for any harm they cause. Their obsessive attention to where they fall in the status hierarchies. And, most of all — the unremitting and unapologetic brutality with which they’ve defended these “liberties” across the length of their history.

Cliven Bundy, you are hereby exposed. And as the Right begins its mass exodus away from you to avoid being stained by your filth (a bit too late, but nice to watch), I wonder what your ultimate fate will be. I truly hope to see you and your enabling horde brought to justice without incident, but seeing how you all took up arms against this government, it seems you are resigned to a fate much worse.

Whatever the case, just make sure you return that hat…

UPDATE: Turns out Cliven Bundy may need to repent his sins before God in his scofflaw stance against the federal government over these grazing fees. By God, I mean Ronald Reagan; 40th President of the United States, chief deity of conservatism and author of Executive Order #12548, issued February 14, 1986:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and in order to provide for establishment of appropriate fees for the grazing of domestic livestock on public rangelands, it is ordered as follows:

Section 1. Determination of Fees. The Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior are directed to exercise their authority, to the extent permitted by law under the various statutes they administer, to establish fees for domestic livestock grazing on the public rangelands which annually equals the $1.23 base established by the 1966 Western Livestock Grazing Survey multiplied by the result of the Forage Value Index (computed annually from data supplied by the Statistical Reporting Service) added to the Combined Index (Beef Cattle Price Index minus the Prices Paid Index) and divided by 100; provided, that the annual increase or decrease in such fee for any given year shall be limited to not more than plus or minus 25 percent of the previous year’s fee, and provided further, that the fee shall not be less than $1.35 per animal unit month.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…”

Francis Wilkinson of Bloomberg View made an amazing point about the desperate speed with which the Right chooses their heroes, and dumps them just as quickly:

You would think, after worshipping so many false idols, that conservative leaders might temper their enthusiasm for the latest purveyor of right-wing melodrama. As my Bloomberg View colleague James Greiff wrote last week, “There is no grand principle here, just the ill-judgment of a man who has helped himself at the public trough while believing he has a right to pick and choose which laws to obey.”

He continues:

We have entered territory well beyond the reach of happenstance. It’s no coincidence that the heroic vessels in which conservatives keep pouring their varied and convoluted grievances invariably sink, never to rise again. The culture is moving fast. Changing demographics, globalization, cosmopolitanism all pose threats of one sort or another to conservative complacency. Yet each successive clampdown — against immigrants, minority voting, abortion — yields only a minimal, uneasy respite. 

And thus, the cycle continues.

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