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Thirty percent of the West’s biggest cattle barons grazed public land in Nevada, and he wanted them to rule the range. In the Senate he appointed himself leader of the “Mc Carran Committee” to root them out.During the war he formed an alliance with Wyoming Senator Frank Barrett, who advanced legislation to sell off tens of millions of acres of national forests and national grasslands as well as to destroy Grand Teton National Park. When he cursed them behind closed doors, anti-Semitic slurs dribbled from his lips. Many were hounded by the committee’s interrogations about potential Communist sympathies, and by extreme new probes regarding physical health and past associations, which Mc Carran forced Immigration and Naturalization Services to conduct.The men spoke on different days and they hammered on the threat public lands posed to white society.Our nation’s more than 600 million acres of national parks, forests, grasslands, wildlife refugees and Native American reservations held in trust by the federal government were, we heard, tools of the United Nations to keep whites from having a sanctuary…or something.Yet, at the beginning of 2016, there it came again.Two of Bundy’s sons led another militia on a caravan to the edge of the Great Basin Desert in Oregon and seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, set aside for trumpeter swans in 1908 by Roosevelt (also near the spot where in 1897 cattle rancher Peter French was murdered for taking over lands that a court ruled were public).Because long before the late 1970s when the movement was dubbed the “Sagebrush Rebellion,” its forbearers had already molded it out of anti-semitism, xenophobia and abject racism.
The thirteen males and one woman ages twelve to 44 mourned by BLM to that point had been unarmed (with the exception of seventeen-year-old Chicagoan La Quan Mc Donald who reportedly had a three-inch knife, and was shot sixteen times).
The reporter had expected to hear Bundy’s reasons for wanting the federal government to sell off or transfer to state control some of those 600 million open acres of public land.