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Last night, Stephen Colbert examined Sean Hannity's devotion to promoting the cause of racist Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

And folks, my one regret here is that I did not embrace Cliven Bundy sooner, like Sean Hannity did. You know, really draw him to my bosom. To link us inexorably together. To hang him around my neck like some kind of lucky dead sea bird. (audience laughter) But you beat me to it, Sean! You're good, buddy, you're good!

Thanks to your non-stop supportive coverage of Bundy, now when anyone thinks of folks who have insight into "the Negro," they'll think of Sean Hannity. (wild audience cheering and applause)

I mean, these two go together like Ku and Klux. (audience laughter) I mean, I salute you, Sean. I salute you for bravely standing by a man whose only crime was breaking federal law.

Video and full transcript below the fold.


Of course, these days there's still one group of people you're allowed to attack — white guys.  Surprise!  Case in point, Nevada rancher and extra from Smokey and the Bandit, Cliven Bundy.  (audience boos)  I know, I like him too.

Frequent viewers of my show know that I've been meaning to tell you about Cliven for weeks.  But here's the story.  Bundy's cattle were seized by the federal Bureau of Land Management under the flimsy excuse that he's grazed his cattle on federal land for decades, and owes $1 million dollars in grazing fees.  $1 million dollars to let cows eat?  What are they growing in that desert, lobster tails?

(audience laughter)

But Bundy has a simple explanation for not paying.

CLIVEN BUNDY (4/8/2014): I don't recognize the United States government as even existing.
(wild audience laughter and shock)

OK?  You can't pay a government if it doesn't exist.  Especially not with the money that it issued.  (audience laughter)  Now, by bravely standing against the forces of paying your bills, Bundy became a hero to conservatives like Sean Hannity, who turned Bundy's 10-gallon hat all the way up to 11.  Jim?

SEAN HANNITY (4/9/2014): My next guest Cliven Bundy is the Nevada rancher waging a battle against the federal government.

SEAN HANNITY (4/11/2014): Back with us tonight, Cliven Bundy.

SEAN HANNITY (4/15/2014): Back with us is the rancher himself, Cliven Bundy.

SEAN HANNITY (4/16/2014): And back with us to respond in a Hannity exclusive is rancher Cliven Bundy. ... You know, Cliven, I've gotten to know you now over this, as this controversy is unfolding.  You and your family seem like really nice people.

Man, Hannity ate up that story so hard, Bundy should've charged him grazing fees!  (wild audience laughter and applause)  And thanks to Sean's sympathetic coverage, armed patriots flocked to Bundy's ranch to defend his rights.
RICHARD MACK (4/14/2014): We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front.  If they're going to start shooting, it's going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.
(shocked audience reaction)

Now, that's not as monstrous as it sounds.  I'm sure they were going to protect the women with a line of children.  (audience laughter and applause)

Now, folks, no surprise, the feds did not have the sack to shoot through a lady line, so they packed it in.  And in that moment of victory against an encroaching federal government, Cliven Bundy became more than just a man.

MEGYN KELLY (4/11/2014): There is a growing number of supporters for rancher Cliven Bundy, all vowing to stand behind a man who's become their hero.

WILLIAM LA JEUNESSE (4/12/2014): A savior, if you will, or at least a symbol of rural America standing up to federal government. ... He is a hero, a folk hero, if you will.

Oh, I will!  And like every folk hero, he deserves a folk song!  (wild audience cheering and applause as Stephen takes out a guitar and plays)


His name was Cliven Bundy, of Bunkerville, Nevada.
If you don't know his story, I think you really oughta.
See, back in 1993, the feds demanded grazing fees
On public land the Bundy clan used since the 1870s.

But a Nevada state decree from on roun' 1953
Grants federal authority over all state property
As stated in the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty.

But Cliven couldn't understand
Why should he have to pay for land.
This land belongs to you and me.
That's what he told Sean Hannity.

This is the ballad of Cliven Bundy.

Take it, Cliven!

CLIVEN BUNDY (4/19/2014): I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro.
OK, that's enough of the song!  Umm.  (puts stuff away as audience raucously cheers and applauds)

Unfortunately, nothing rhymes with negro.  Um, OK, let's see, ah.  Where were we?  Oh yes, uh, Cliven Bundy... Cliven, uh, Cliven, what were you saying about our African-American brethren?

CLIVEN BUNDY (4/19/2014): They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton.  (shocked and disgusted audience reaction)  And I've often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton?
OK, everybody calm down.  That's not racist, that's just being consistent.  Bundy does not believe in the federal government, so it would be hypocritical for him to believe in the Emancipation Proclamation.  And I'm sure he's had a chance to clarify that statement.  Jim?
CLIVEN BUNDY (4/24/2014): I'm wondering, are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were when they were slaves and they was able to have a family structure together and chickens and garden and the people have something to do?
(shocked and disgusted audience reaction)

Well, that certainly makes it crystal clear.  Um, he left the chickens out the first time.  That really tied the whole idea together.  The point is, this man is a victim of racism, as is made clear on the Bundy Facebook page, saying, "Cliven is a good man, he loves all people, he is not a racist man.  He wants what is best for everyone."

OK?  He wants what's best for everyone.  And he's just wondering if, for some people, that's slavery.  (audience groaning laughter)  Is it a crime to wonder now?

And folks, my one regret here is that I did not embrace Cliven Bundy sooner, like Sean Hannity did.  You know, really draw him to my bosom.  To link us inexorably together.

To hang him around my neck like some kind of lucky dead sea bird.  (audience laughter)  But you beat me to it, Sean!  You're good, buddy, you're good!

Thanks to your non-stop supportive coverage of Bundy, now when anyone thinks of folks who have insight into "the Negro", they'll think of Sean Hannity.  (wild audience cheering and applause)

I mean, these two go together like Ku and Klux.  (audience laughter)  I mean, I salute you, Sean.  I salute you for bravely standing by a man whose only crime was breaking federal law.  We'll be right back.

Stephen also looked at the Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action, and Phyllis Schlafly's repugnant views on equal pay for women.

Meanwhile, Jon also led off with an update on Cliven Bundy, before excoriating CNN for not covering the big climate change story more.


He then had on another special guest, John Oliver.

Stephen talked with Syracuse professor George Saunders, and Jon talked with Ramachandra Guha about his new book on a young Gandhi.

Originally posted to Electronic America: Progressives Film, music & Arts Group on Fri Apr 25, 2014 at 05:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by moranbetterDemocrats and Daily Kos.

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