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A prominent black leader is coming to the defense of embattled Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was pilloried on Thursday after the New York Times published a quote by him referencing slavery.

“He wasn’t talking so much about black folks, but about the harm and damage that the leftist socialism has done to blacks,” said former U.N. Ambassador Alan Keyes, who also is a columnist for WND.

The New York Times, in a report by Adam Nagourney, said Bundy, in a daily meeting Saturday with reporters and photographers covering his case, made the comments that critics are calling racist.

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” Nagourney quoted Bundy saying.

Bundy was recalling public housing projects 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,” he said.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? 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.”

Ammon Bundy, Cliven Bundy’s son, told WND that the quotes were taken out of context and that his father was commiserating over the poor situation in which blacks find themselves because of oppressive government programs, regulations and practices.

Keyes said that was evident.

“I find it appalling that we basically have a history of the leftist liberalism that wants to extinguish black people by abortion [and] destroying the family structure,” Keyes told WND. “All of these things if you just look at the effects, you would say this was planned by some racist madman to destroy the black community.”

Discover America’s real black-white history, in “Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black and White.”

Then when somebody comes along to comment on that damage, the leftists all scream “racism,” he said.

“I think it’s time somebody started to recognize the racism that exists in its effects – the hard leftist ideology using the black community for their sacrificial lamb, for their sick ideology. It’s time we called them what they are,” he said.

“Now it’s racist to point it out.”

Ammon Bundy told WND: “They took what they wanted. They knew when they were there his comments were not racist. He wasn’t able to completely articulate. That’s just my dad. He is a very principled person.

He said he was “there standing right beside my father when he made those comments.”

“He was reaching out to the black community,” Ammon Bundy said.

“Growing up around him, and being beside him, I never once heard him say anything negative about any race,” he said. “I wish I could say that about everyone else I’ve been around. The black community, the white community, they joke back and forth. My father’s never lowered himself.”

Ammon Bundy said his father’s message “was taken out of context.”

The point was that the government “has kept them oppressed,” he said. “They’ve never been given a situation to be able to thrive, get themselves out of slavery.”

The Right Scoop blog reported Cliven Bundy confirmed he was wondering about what’s best for blacks.

“That’s exactly what I said. I said I’m wondering if they’re better off under government subsidy, and their young women are having the abortions and their young men are in jail, and their older women and their children are standing, sitting out on the cement porch without nothing to do, you know, 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 their family structure together, and the chickens and garden, and the people had something to do? And so, in my mind I’m wondering, are they better off being slaves, in that sense, or better off being slaves to the United States government, in the sense of the subsidies. I’m wondering. That’s what. And the statement was right. I am wondering.”

Bundy, 67, has been in the headlines over the past few weeks for his defiance of the federal government’s demand that he pay grazing fees. The federal Bureau of Land Management responded with an operation to confiscate and sell off his cattle.

Bundy claims that since his ranch operation, run by his family for more than 100 years, was grazing cattle before the BLM existed, his fees should be paid to the state, not Washington. More than 1,000 supporters, including armed militia members, joined Bundy at his ranch in a standoff with federal agents.

The federal agents backed down April 12, released the cattle and left the area.

WND reported just days ago Cliven Bundy’s interview with radio talk show host Dianne Linderman on the nationally syndicated “Everything That Matters” show.

On Easter Sunday, he said he respects the federal government, pledging allegiance to the flag.

“But [the government] has its place. It doesn’t have its place in the state of Nevada and … Clark County, and that’s where my ranch is. The federal government has no power and no ownership of this land, and they don’t want to accept that,” he said.

“I don’t stand alone,” he continued, “I have all of the prayers from lots of people around the world, and I feel those prayers. And those prayers take the tremble out of my legs. And I can stand strong and straight. And you know the spirit from our heavenly Father, I seek that every morning on my knees. And he gives me some guidance, and I go forth and I actually feel good. My health is good, my spirit is good and I feel strength. I do, I feel strength, I feel even happiness. And I have no idea where I’m going with this. It’s a day-by-day spiritual thing for me.”

Listen to Dianne Linderman’s entire 18-minute Easter interview with Cliven Bundy:

Related columns:

New York Times sting entraps Bundy by Joseph Farah

Why the land belongs to Bundy by Ilana Mercer

Additional reports

Bundy’s son: N.Y. Times quote ‘out of context’

Harry’s war — David Kupelian on what’s really behind the targeting of Cliven Bundy

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