Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bye-Bye Bundy

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Here we are at another weekend and Cliven Bundy and the Libertarian/Gun-Totin'/Cow-Lovin'/Obama-Hating/FoxNews/TeaParty Stand-Off at #BundyRanch is still a hot topic on the interwebs. The only difference is, Bundy's fifteen minutes of fame are pretty much over, and suddenly all the pundits are slamming him. His racist dog whistle wasn't subtle enough, and his rambling non-apology apologies just highlight how bizarre his views are.

Even the Koch Brothers are wiping the cow poop off their Super Pac, especially now that Rachel Maddow has connected Bundy's "Sovereign Citizen" views with the "Posse Comitatus," a racist Christian anti-tax group rooted in post-Civil War reconstruction. Bundy will ride off into the sunset, or perhaps to jail whenever the BLM comes back to collect the payment for 20 years of grazing rights. Adios, Jerk. At least he served the purpose of once again revealing the racism behind Fox News and the crazy Libertarian far-right.

Previous Related Posts:
Cliven Bundy Talks About "The Negro" As the GOP Stampedes Away
Wingnuts Declare Victory as Feds Leave Bundy Ranch
Bundy Ranch Stand-Off Attracts Wingnuts and Militias


Sort of an Apology (but not really)as Bundy tries to "whitesplain" what Martin Luther King thought of Rosa Parks:

From CNN's New Day Transcript, Interview with Chris Cuomo, April 25, 2014

BUNDY: No, I'm not a racist. But I did wonder that. Let me tell you something. I thought about this, this morning quite a bit.


BUNDY: And thought about what Reverend Martin Luther King said. I thought about Rosa Park taking her seat at the front of the bus. Reverend Martin Luther King did not want her to take her seat in the front of the bus. That wasn't what he was talking about. He did not say go to the front of the bus and that's where your seat was.

What Reverend King wanted was that she could sit anywhere in the bus and nobody would say anything about it. You and I can sit anywhere in the bus. That's what he wanted. That's what I want. I want her to be able to sit anywhere in the bus and I want to be able to sit by her any where in that bus. That's what he wanted.

He didn't want this prejudice thing like the media tried to put on me yesterday. I'm not going to put up with that because that's not what he wanted. That's not what I want. I want to set by her any where in that bus and I want anybody to be able to do the same thing. That's what he was after is not a prejudice thing, but make us equal.

CUOMO: Mr. Bundy, nobody --

BUNDY: You understand what I'm saying?

CUOMO: You know what -- I kind of do. I'm not sure that I understand it. I understand that Martin Luther King's message was one of peace and freedom. And that when you suggest that you were wondering if blacks were better off as slaves, that's the opposite of freedom and very offensive to people. I think you probably know that.

BUNDY: Well, let me tell you -- I took this boot off so I wouldn't put my foot in my mouth with the boot on. Let me see if I can say something. You know, maybe I sinned and maybe I need to ask forgiveness and maybe I don't know what I actually said.

But you know when you talk about prejudice we're talking about not being able to exercise what we think and our feelings. We're not freedom -- we don't have freedom to say what we want. If I call -- if I say Negro or black boy or slave, I'm not -- if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be offensive, then Martin Luther King hasn't got his job done yet. They should be able to -- I should be able to say those things and they shouldn't offend anybody. I didn't mean to offend them.

More from the same CNN interview, as Bundy cradles a dead calf on live TV then gives his interpretation of the Constitutional Right of the government to own public land:

CLIVEN BUNDY, NEVADA RANCHER: Well, this dead calf died this morning. He's been without his mother two weeks, and we found him -- actually Fish and Wildlife people down in Overton, Nevada, found this calf and called us.

We picked this calf up last night and tried to save his life. He's been too long without a mother. He's been badly abused -- you can see his tongue here. Let me lay the calf down --

CUOMO: That's probably a good idea given it's a little early. A lot of families are watching, Mr. Bundy so we don't want to upset them too much.

BUNDY: Well, you know they ought to be upset. What's wrong with America? They can't even stand a dead calf. We have a lot of dead calves around here. I want to show you these bottles right. These bottles right here, they're going to feed calves that their mothers are dead or gone somewhere.
In other words, we've got about 27 calves. This dead calf only represents one of many. Americans too darn soft-hearted to see a dead calf?

. . . CUOMO: Well, let's talk about that, Mr. Bundy . . . Why do you think that calf is dead? Is that calf dead because somebody -- let me finish the question -- is that calf dead because somebody killed it or is it dead because of your reluctance to follow through with the laws that every other rancher in your state complies with? Who is responsible for the death of the calf?

BUNDY: I'll tell you who is responsible for it. This calf would be -- produce something for America. Now this calf's dead. That's what I did, produce. And that's what all the rest of the ranchers do, produce for America. They're producers.  We're not out here just having fun and having a party. We're out here trying to produce food for you people. That's what we're doing.

. . .  CUOMO: The constitution in article 1 section 8 and in the in the Fifth Amendment gives the federal government the right to appropriate and purchase land. Your state constitution recognizes --

BUNDY: For what person -- for what purpose?
CUOMO: For purposes that it deems appropriate.
BUNDY: For what purpose can they do it? No, it don't say that.

CUOMO: It absolutely does. You should read the book instead of just holding it in your pocket maybe. But when you look at your state constitution, it says that it respects the federal law. That's why your ranchers, your brother and sister ranchers pay the fees that you refuse to.

Now, you come on the show, you hold up a dead calf and that makes everybody upset. But you should look at yourself for why the calf is dead because if you paid the fees, this wouldn't have happened. Isn't that a fair point?

BUNDY: No, it's not.
CUOMO: Because?

BUNDY: Not a fair point at all. This is the United States of America. I live in a sovereign state, the state of Nevada, and I abide by all the state laws. I'll be damned if this is property of the United States. They have no business here.

They have no business harassing my cattle, abusing this calf to the point he's dead. They left this calf for two weeks without a mother. Now we happen to find it and we wasn't able to save it last night.

CUOMO: Mr. Bundy, nobody wants to see a dead calf. I'm sorry you lost the livestock. Nobody wants to see a loss of animal life. The question is how did we get to this situation? You have to be honest with yourself about what the law is.

Rachel Maddow On the Posse Comitatus
(Power of the County)
Which Explains Bundy's World View

(My transcript from video)

Rachel Maddow: There was a man named William Potter Gale. A self-styled preacher, he held a really long grudge. By that I mean he held a grudge that started half a century before he was born.
William Potter Gale's beef with the universe began in the 1860s, right after the Civil War when the Southern States were far from being folded back into the Union. They were still under the control of Federal Troops.

. . . They were kind of "Occupied Territories" and they hated it. So after years of Reconstruction, after years of state capitals being occupied by Federal Troops after the Civil War, white southern lawmakers used a series of political machinations that would make a senator blush to wrangle through Congress at the time to get those Federal troops, those hated 'Yankee" Federal Troops, out of the South.

From and after the passage of this act, it shall not be lawful to employ any Army of the United States as a posse comitatus

That last part means "Power of the County" and throughout history, going back to England, it refers to the county government, specifically the County Sheriff, as the supreme law of the land.

Our Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 said that federal forces could no longer supplant local authorities in the South the handling of law enforcement of the population. And that act came out of a very specific time for a very specific purpose: that Act said 'Union Troops, get out of the South, our counties are going to take it from here.'

And so roughly a dozen years after the Civil War, the Federal Government did pull the troops back from the Southern States and local white officials in the South were thereby essentially cleared to reassert their authority over their own communities. We know exactly what they decided to do with it, right? The end of the Reconstruction Era led to Jim Crow Segregaton and the lynchings and the cross-burnings and the organized terror campaigns used to enforce the Jim Crow rules. The years after Reconstruction were so difficult for our country that many people argued the Civil War hadn't really ended in the South.

. . . In 1957 President Eisenhower sent Federal Troops back into the American South stand guard over the Desegregation of Little Rock High School in Arkansas. He sent soldiers to make that happen. The Federal Supreme Court had made it the law of the land but it took federal troops to make it the law of Arkansas.

By then old William Potter Gale was already preaching white supremacist claptrap which he put under the banner of the "White Christian Identity Movement." But that decision by President Eisenhower to send those troops to Arkansas in 1957, that so enraged William Potter Gale that he decided he was going to start his own new branch of that movement and he was going to give it a new name. A writer named Kevin Carey wrote a great piece about this in the Washington Monthly - William Potter Gale called his new movement "Posse Comitatus" named after that 1878 Law.

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As Gale explained that County Sheriffs were the supreme law of the land and that county residents had a right to form a posse to enforce the Constitution - however they, as "Sovereign Citizens," chose to interpret it. Public officials who interfered, said Gale, should be hung by the neck at high noon.

So individuals are Sovereign, only the County Sheriff is in charge, the Federal Government has no authority in this guy's white supremacist world. And yes, his operating theory sounds crazy and sounds fringe ...but if that was your particular flavor of extremism in, say, the early 1970s and you didn't think the anti-Civil Rights, and you didn't think the anti-Fluoride John Birch Society was extreme enough for you, then you could join William Potter Gale and his extremist Posse Comitatus. All through the 1970s Mr. Gale worked the farm belt states specifically, planting chapters in Kansas and Texas...

(Discussion of Ruby Ridge, Oklahoma City Bombing, Militia Movement, White Christian Identity Movement)

. . . Today you can still find William Potter Gale memorialized by the Aryan Nations online, but you can also find echoes of his ideas in the Oath Keepers, Guardians of the Republic, and the Ten Orders that they "will not obey." Also these folks, the Constitutional Officers and Peace Officers Association led by Sheriff Richard Mack, foremost purveyor of the "Sheriffs in-charge" rule today. Sheriff Mack was the one who made headlines in the middle of the Cliven Bundy Fox-News-Hyped Nevada Ranch Stand-Off recently when he said that he and the militia members flocking to Nevada to fight the Federal Government alongside that rancher might try to use their wives and daughters as human shields once the shooting started.

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So the County Sheriff is the highest law in the land. There is no Federal Government There's only the Sheriff. "Posse Comitatus." The Power of the County. ...It is a weird idea, an old idea that is directly in a linear way, directly descendent of the people who came up with this cockamamie idea in the first place in the 1800s to argue that Federal Troops shouldn't be allowed into the South to protect black people.

(Plays video of Bundy telling Hannity that the Clark County Nevada Sheriff should take guns away from the Feds, and that he wants to fight against Harry Reid's "Army" from the BLM)

So the Clark County Sheriff is the highest authority in the land, if you live in Clark County, Nevada . . . Fox News Channel, conservative media broadly - I don't think they spent all this type hyping and glorifying this rancher in Nevada because he is a Posse Comitatus guy. ... I don't think Fox News has been celebrating him for weeks now specifically because of that. But somebody should have noticed that the guy kept bringing this stuff up, right?

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Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford told Rachel that the other locals in Bunkerville want Bundy's Armed Militia to get out of their community.

I spent the day in Mesquite, meeting with residents who actually live in Bunkerville and who are neighbors of Cliven Bundy. ...And they, like myself, are extremely frustrated by the fact that we have these armed militia in our community, the fact that children in Bunkerville, which is a community of only about 12-1300 people, cannot walk around the corner from their home to their school without armed militia on the hills of our community. That they can't go to church on Sunday without armed militia being in or around the church because Cliven Bundy is there and the armed militia are there.
And his not reflect our community. They don't reflect the majority views of Nevadans, or the western way of life and the way most of us feel. His comments were racist, they're infused with bigotry and hatred and belong in the dustbin of history.


For historical reasons, the federal government owns a lot of land in the West; some of that land is open to ranching, mining and so on. Like any landowner, the Bureau of Land Management charges fees for the use of its property. The only difference from private ownership is that by all accounts the government charges too little — that is, it doesn’t collect as much money as it could, and in many cases doesn’t even charge enough to cover the costs that these private activities impose. In effect, the government is using its ownership of land to subsidize ranchers and mining companies at taxpayers’ expense.
It’s true that some of the people profiting from implicit taxpayer subsidies manage, all the same, to convince themselves and others that they are rugged individualists. But they’re actually welfare queens of the purple sage. And this in turn means that treating Mr. Bundy as some kind of libertarian hero is, not to put too fine a point on it, crazy. 
Suppose he had been grazing his cattle on land belonging to one of his neighbors, and had refused to pay for the privilege. That would clearly have been theft — and brandishing guns when someone tried to stop the theft would have turned it into armed robbery. The fact that in this case the public owns the land shouldn’t make any difference.
~ Economist Paul Krugman, New York Times

From Huffington Post
WASHINGTON -- Americans for Prosperity Nevada, the state affiliate of the Koch Brothers-backed group, appears to have hastily deleted social media posts expressing support for Cliven Bundy, the renegade rancher who exposed himself as a racist in recent press conferences.

A tweet sent by AFP Nevada on April 10 urging followers to read more about the #BundyBattle, which involves Bundy's refusal to pay fines for allowing his cattle to graze on public land, has been deleted. A Facebook graphic that the group posted criticizing the Bureau of Land Management for enforcing grazing laws against Bundy has similarly disappeared.

Previously, the page read: "The BLM spent HOW MUCH to round up cattle? ONE MILLION DOLLARS." As of Friday afternoon, it reads: "This content is currently unavailable"

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