The Craven Cliven Hoedown

» April 18th, 2014

Cliven Bundy┬áis either the smartest or dumbest gaucho on the range. Here’s his claim to fame: he mooched 20 years’ worth of grazing fees from the Bureau of Land Management and, when the BLM moved in to settle up, he tapped a populist-prone and hardware-wielding posse to protect his clean $1 million in unpaid dues.

The smart Bundy was brilliantly manipulating a uniquely American script dating back to the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion: refuse to pay up, wait for the feds to pounce, muster a bunch of Big Guvmint rhetoric to whip the “don’t-tread-on-me” crowd into an anarchy-tinged froth. The dumb Bundy, by contrast, is just some Nevada nutbag who doesn’t know the difference between public and private property, insouciantly allowing taxpayers to subsidize his little cowboy fantasy.

As FOX News transforms Bundy into a latter-day Thomas Jefferson, a few points should be reiterated. First, the cattle that graze the 18,00o BLM leases destroy western ecosystems already made fragile by drought (Jefferson the farmer would have objected). Second, the animals most capable of restoring those grasslands to health—species arranged in a complex web of predator/prey relationships—have been wiped clean from the western slate so cattle can treat the West as a literal stomping ground. Third, the most threatening invasive species in this drama are two-legged Bundy-types who think their personal rights include treating the American West as their birthright.

But even more than the landscape, the species, and the cowboys, there are the millions upon millions of individual animals who suffer as Bundy, the BLM, and meat-loving Americans indulge in this tired protest. Don’t expect the news outlets to treat animals as interested parties. But they have the most to lose.

This is no American Revolution. There are no more Sons of Liberty. It’s an unchecked power grab that the BLM, should it concede, would place every American critter—no how many legged—on the wrong side of some lunatic’s ego, not to mention his firearm.


25 Responses to The Craven Cliven Hoedown

  1. Mary Finelli says:

    Can you imagine if an animal rights activist tried pulling such a stunt? The government -and the media- would crucify them.

  2. Laura says:

    Craven Bundy is an embarrassment to any conservative politics in my view, and I’m conservative. Big Government cronyism in full and ugly bloom right there on Craven’s stomping grounds. All for the steak and burger addiction. I don’t begrudge the cows their only time of freedom to roam and graze in peace… but they shouldn’t be there at all, only to end up in slaughterhouses. Shame on the human race.

  3. Kimberley says:

    Brilliant James. As almost always. Thank you.

  4. Mountain says:

    Do animal advocates lease BLM land? They should. The rates are typically well below market, so you could get much more land for the money to provide sanctuary. And, of course, each acre of BLM land used for sanctuary is an acre ranchers can’t get a government subsidized deal on.

    • Elaine Brown says:

      Lease BLM land for whom? Cattle? Sheep? Horses? Deer? Grouse?

      FYI – in 1971 over 90% of the American public backed UNANIMOUS legislation which DESIGNATED most public lands to our iconic NATIVE Wild Horses and Burros allowing for permitted livestock as secondary occupants. The BLM was assigned the sacred duties of maintaining and caring for the WH&Bs. This came about because the ranchers were executing the WH&Bs via various horrors including slaughter. In those lands that once held two million WH&Bs there were only as few as 25,000 left.

      Today under the wing of the BLM there are now only about 15,000 WH&Bs left on these public ranges. Why? Because corruption and greed has taken over the BLM and the DOI which oversees the BLM.

      Bundy is a crackpot among crackpots who for private profit refuses the authority or autonomy of the Federal Government. He is part of the crazies who blow up Federal Buildings and execute and burn up their followers as in Waco. Bundy does not want to pay for the cheaply leased rights he had to rent these lands which are now occupied by 50 cattle to one, yes, one horse.

      What happened in Nevada this week is a view into how “off” these folks are. One wonders what chance we have of preserving the WH&Bs who are supposed to be the primary and designated occupiers of these lands. It is the nomadic Wild Horses who spread the seeds and maintain the brush to prevent fires. Rather than destruction of the grasses and flora as cattle and sheep do, the WH&Bs improve and maintain the ranges.

      These iconic WH&Bs are somewhere between 38 and 55 million years native to North America and are OUR American symbol of grace, intelligence, beauty, and freedom.

      On the other hand, Bundy and his associates are the epitome of the shame of America.

      • Mountain says:

        “Lease BLM land for whom?”

        For whichever animals they choose to provide sanctuary for. Sanctuary for wild horses & burros would make the most sense, since they are already there and well-suited for the ecosystem. But animal sanctuaries are constantly short on space, so leasing BLM land would allow them to provide sanctuary to many animal they have to turn away.

        And the land is cheap. Bundy owes $1 million for grazing 96,000 acres over the course of 20 years. That works out to $50,000 per year, which is less than $1 per acre per year. Why not expand sanctuary space at minimal cost, while simultaneously denying ranchers access to that land?

      • Mountain says:

        “corruption and greed has taken over the BLM”

        No, it’s always been there. They are behaving exactly how one should expect them to behave, given their incentives. People who work for the government aren’t any different from people who work for private corporations; give them bad incentives and they will tend to do bad things.

        “He is part of the crazies who blow up Federal Buildings and execute and burn up their followers as in Waco.”

        Unless you have evidence to back this up, you should eat these words. Is Bundy a member of any group that blows up federal buildings? If not, don’t group him with them. Is he a Branch Davidian (a rogue sect of Seventh Day Adventists, the primary force behind vegetarianism in America)? If not, don’t group him with a group that set its own compound on fire.

        Bundy is a welfare queen, making a living off government-subsidized land, and refusing to even pay the nominal fee. As bad as that is, it doesn’t compare with the atrocities at Waco and Oklahoma City.

      • Lou Russo says:

        WELL said Elaine, MY sentiments exactly!!!! Bundy does not and should not have the law on his side, he is wrong like a squatter – and if a squatter laid down claim to any property or house of those people who are supporting Bundy – THEY would be the first to yell for help to get them off and out!!!!! YET like Elaine said since 1971 the LAW has been on the side of the Wild horse and burro YET THE BLM selectively ignores that law and allows these squatters the land they claim needed a rest ……….. BLM really stands for “BA$TARDS LIARS MURDERERS”

  5. Doug T. says:

    This is the best book I’ve ever read on the taxpayer subsidized damage done by cattle grazing.

  6. Maire says:

    Bundy and his buddies need to realize it is now the 21st century. Of course the BLM blew it going in with their guns and rounding up cattle etc. the only entity I have any sympathy for in this fiasco are the cattle and the calves separated from their mothers. The Bundy crowd is playing this for all it’s worth like they give a hoot about the cows and their young except to make money by sending them to slaughter. Also these ranchers round up the calves and prematurely separate them from their mothers anyway. Anyone in these ranching areas can hear the cows calling to their calves rounded up by the ranchers. What hypocrites !!

  7. Elaine Brown says:

    Disagree. Oh, dear.

    • Elaine Brown says:

      That disagree was meant for Mountain. Although I might add that not altogether. But instigating a gunfight at the OK corral pretty much neutralizes your disagreement as to Waco and Timothy McVay, Mountain.

      • Mountain says:

        He didn’t instigate a gunfight. No gunfight happened. Big difference.

        He did pull a gun on people, which is a serious crime, and for which he will be arrested, eventually. In his defense, he believes that the land belongs to him (homesteading it since before the federal govt claimed it), but that’s been litigated in court, and he lost– so he has to accept that decision, even if he thinks it’s wrong.

        So, I agree with you that he’s a criminal. But he hasn’t killed dozens like Koresh, and he hasn’t killed hundreds like McVeigh. He shouldn’t be lumped in with them.

        • Elaine Brown says:

          To instigate is to try to start trouble. Just because he did not succeed does not mean his heart is any purer than those who did succeed. AT lease we agree he is a criminal.

          • Mountain says:

            Instigate means “to bring about or initiate.” It does not mean to be pure of heart. You can’t instigate something that didn’t happen.

  8. sue carter says:


  9. Bundy and cohorts behavior including gov’ts backing down (which I pray is not for long) are utterly reprehensible!

    • Elaine Brown says:

      Oh, Craig Downer, author of “The Wild Horse Conspiracy” you carry so much weight on these issues. I hope everyone with a desire to learn about our Wild Horses and Burros goes to Amazon or their local library and gets a copy of your book.

  10. Jenaka says:

    Another reason that makes me glad I gave up eating meat.

  11. Linda Mathews says:

    I have been reading about these greedy ranchers who think our public lands were created just for them. This incident just reinforces my belief that many of these cattle ranchers are just moochers that cost us taxpayers billions each year. I totally agree that their cattle are a serious threat to our Western ecosystems. As a horse lover, some are also responsible for the cruel round-ups of mustangs, who were there long before the cattle. I do not eat meat of any kind, so I have nothing but sympathy for the cattle, also. Bundy is nothing but a flag-waving thug!

  12. Elaine Brown says:

    “to try to start trouble is to initiate or instigate” – success is only assumed. Never said he was pure of heart – anything but… This is English we are typing, is it not? As I have said to you before, Mountain, I do not argue over trivia.

    • Mountain says:

      My apologies. I hope you’ll forgive my legal background, where the difference could mean a much longer or shorter sentence. But you’re right– in the context of animal ethics, it’s trivial.

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