Rancher Cliven Bundy has stood strong against the federal government over the last 20 years. Fox News has covered the story heavily, using Bundy and his cattle as an example of the government overreach affecting law-abiding citizens of America. Conservatives have rallied to the aid of the Bundy family and their demands to graze their cattle freely on Nevada land. However, the problem isn’t that the cattle is on free land, they are grazing on federal land. Bundy is not using his own property and has allowed his cattle to essentially roam free for nearly two decades. But this has nothing to do with allowing cattle to roam free of even Bundy’s right to use land without making the required payments to the government. This is about banishing the government all together and having militia rule without laws. Not paying for the operation of the business that has made him wealthy, when every other law-abiding rancher does, is simply a source of welfare. Cliven Bundy is the king of welfare, living off the federal government in the tune of $1 million and using the media to manipulate the system.
The Bundy family is simply a part of a larger conservative conspiracy theory group. This group has been apart of a movement to disband and disarm the government so that militia groups can take over. For decades they have tried to destroy federal property so that the militia groups in the West could take it over. This week the movement is simply hoping for a big, ugly, Waco style siege that could be televised as a way to manipulate the media with their propaganda, and the conservative media is eating it up. So when the of Bureau of Land Management received a court order to gather the cattle due to non-payment the Bundy family showed up fully armed with snipers in protective armor and guns aimed at federal agents. Ironically, they rally against the government while waving American flags and yelling for freedom for the American people; all while demanding that the federal government doesn’t exist and has no control over Nevada land. They compiled militia members to line the streets and called out the media to document it. Bundy stated the plan was to place women and children in front of the barricades as human shields, with cameras at the ready, so if a shoot out took place they would catch the bloody massacre on camera. A visual that would play in the 24 hour news cycles from now through the November elections.
There have been more terroristic attacks against citizens on American soil by US militia then there has been from any other foreign entities. These radical movements have always been supported by the conservative right. From the Sage Brush rebellion to the Ruby Ridge siege there have always been a far-right fringe of the Republican party fighting for the rights of people trying to demolish the federal government. Yet these same people believe that they are the true, proud mavericks of the United States. The conservative media, like Fox News, have always touted themselves and their followers as the “real Americans.” This has become a national conservative cause for outlets like Fox news, right-wing conspiracy groups, Glen Beck, and Rush Limbaugh. Now the same fanatical media folks are standing on the side of the law breaking men and women who do not believe in the Constitution. Clive Bundy has led the Nevada siege for over two decades. He has demanded the United States be disarmed and ruled by the Praetorian Guard. The Praetorian Guard is simply the Nevada militia dressed in military regalia defaming the proud uniforms of our brave soldiers. Cliven Bundy is so out of touch with reality that he believes the “Blood Moon” eclipse was a conspiracy by the feds to prepare for an overnight siege. These militia groups are nothing more than a rebrand of the Klansman of modern-day. Conservatives have rallied the radical-right militia to sell news to the gullible conspiracy theory base. These people are not God-fearing, honorable American citizens, they are simply the same men and women who yell, “Hail Hitler” but no longer call themselves the KKK.
Even Koch Brother funded groups are standing in support for these militias. The very same people who are crying foul against the Obama Administration bastardizing the US Constitution are fighting against the Constitution themselves. They have been rallying their base to stand with the Bundy group to overtake government bureaucracy. Sean Hannity has publicly voiced his conspiracy speculation leading viewers down a path that the government is coming to kill the Bundy family in the middle of the night. Fox News is simply feeding the frenzy leading militia members to believe they need to kill first before the feds come to kill them. Conservatives have been cheerleading for an armed battle between citizens and federal agents. Calling for another Ruby Ridge or Waco ATF fight in order to fulfill their news coverage.
Fox News has always made a point to express their demands of a fair and balanced system. This week alone Fox has spent days covering the statements of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who stated, “leniency is acceptable for those who are only breaking the law out of extreme need and love of family” when speaking on immigration issues. They have been quick to blast Bush’s statements because the idea that there be any leniency for any aspect of law breaking is completely against the conservative stance. In a nation of laws, the radical-right only care about laws that allow them to continue living as they see fit, however if anyone else breaks the law then the full arm of the law should come down on such freeloaders. Freeloaders like hard-working immigrants, but not freeloaders like wealthy Nevada cattlemen. Welfare king Cliven Bundy and his Fox News supported system of manipulation.
The Bureau of Land Management oversees 245 million acres of federal land. The law allows for ranchers to use the land, even preferring that public land be used, so that the BLM has better oversight of meat being produced for US consumption. They even offer massive incentives for the use of public land by lowering the fees for cattle ranchers by 95 percent. The fees for grazing on Federal land are significantly lower. If a rancher allows his cattle to graze on private property they pay anywhere from $20 – $30 per head of cattle a month. If you graze on federal land the fee a menial $1.35 per cattle per month; that is a huge discount comparatively. A fee that every other hard-working cattleman pays, but Bundy will not. This is what the conservative media is supporting. A socialist style of living that allows the “takers” to skirt the law. The BLM is not trying to take his land and cattle to ruin him, they are simply trying to get his cattle off federal land and recoup the funds that Bundy has taken from the American people. Cliven Bundy is nothing less than a taker. He is no different from someone who has neglected to pay taxes for nearly 20 years in the sum of over $1 million.
Truth is the conservative movement is hoping this will help lead Republicans to victory in November. They don’t actually care about the rancher’s rights in Nevada, they just hope to get enough coverage on the conflict to inspire right-wing radicals. They hope to rile up their base to go out and vote against the tyrannical socialist government. These folks who are living a life of socialism who constantly accuse the rest of society for doing just that. It is interesting how the conservatives will rail against the “takers” of the system, until the ones not paying their fair share is one of their own. Bundy can take from the people, the land, and the government of the United States to make him wealthy but he can’t pay it back to the land that made him his fortune. And the liberals are too blind to do anything about it. The liberals will stay home, not concern themselves with voting, and make the already tense situation of the current government worse. They will allow the government takeover of the very people who have crushed this great nation. Allowing people like welfare king Cliven Bundy to steal the land and manipulate the system.
Opinion by Kimberly Beller