Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cliven Bundy turns Glenn Beck into a voice of reason; Why Christian conservatives think they’re above the law


MUST-SEE: Jon Stewart rips into Cliven Bundy and his demented defenders [VIDEO]
by BruinKid
Apr 22, 2014

Last night, Jon Stewart really took it to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his hypocritical band of supporters.

SEAN HANNITY (4/9/2014): And by the way, when your cattle graze there, that keeps the price of meat down for every American consumer.

Yeah, most goods are cheaper when you steal the raw materials necessary to make them. (audience laughter) ... How out there is Hannity on this issue?

GLENN BECK (4/14/2014): I have cattle, and I have people that graze on my land. ... Grazing fees are normal, and you stopped paying them. ... There are some people that would say that you are, and if I may quote, "a welfare rancher."

Sean Hannity has now made Glenn Beck the voice of reason. (wild audience laughter and applause)

If you want to challenge the amount of federal land the government owns in the state of Nevada, fine, make your case to the voters. If you want to challenge the concept of grazing fees, fine. But Hannity's puffery and armed friends don't make you a patriot.

CLIVEN BUNDY (4/11/2014): I guess maybe I'm a little bit like the Founding Fathers.

(audience groans in disgust)

Dude, you're a welfare rancher trying to pull off the world's largest cattle dine 'n' dash.

Cliven Bundy

Cliven Bundy syndrome: Why Christian conservatives think they’re above the law
From Hobby Lobby to the Nevada rancher, members of the far right share a dangerous, anarchic pathology
Amanda Marcotte
Apr 18, 2014

The situation with Cliven Bundy of Nevada should be a no-brainer for people from both the left and the right. Bundy has been stealing from the taxpayers for years, illegally grazing his cattle on federal lands while refusing to pay for the privilege. Both liberals and conservatives pay taxes, so such blatant theft should outrage everyone equally. Indeed, conservative media claims to take theft from taxpayers very seriously, with Fox News spending so much time on the minuscule problem of food stamp cheats that the number of minutes spent on it has likely long ago exceeded the number of pennies lost to this non-problem.

Bundy has stolen far more than any hypothetical food stamp cheat ever did, but when the government tried to show up and take what was theirs, he met them with armed resistance, pushing him from the “ordinary fraud” category to the “violent criminal” column.

And yet, for some reason, Bundy’s outrageous theft of services from the taxpayers is not being taken seriously by the right-wing press. As Roy Edroso of Village Voice and Eric Boehlert of Media Matters have chronicled, the conservative response to the whole incident has ranged from minimizing the seriousness of the crime to outright cheering Bundy on in his efforts to use the threat of violence to continue stealing from the taxpayers.

It’s tempting to write this reaction off as a matter of idiocy married to identity politics. Bundy is a white guy in a cowboy hat wielding guns, which reads as “one of us” to many on the right, so they refuse to accept that he’s a bad guy no matter how much he threatens violence against federal officers simply for enforcing a law that applies to everyone. And no doubt that is part of what’s going on here. But really, what’s going on runs deeper than a knee-jerk desire on the part of the right to believe every white guy in a cowboy hat is a good guy. This is the logical extension of a push that’s grown in recent years from conservatives to argue that they, and only they, have special rights to simply disregard any law they don’t want to follow. And unfortunately that’s an argument that may be making headway this year in the Supreme Court.

The past couple of years have seen a surge in conservatives demanding special rights to disobey universally applicable federal laws on the grounds that they don’t believe in them. This argument has largely been treated favorably by right-wing media that would definitely not extend that courtesy to anyone else. The Hobby Lobby case is simply the most prominent. To recap, Hobby Lobby is arguing before the Supreme Court that because they don’t believe certain forms of contraception are allowed by their god, they shouldn’t be required to meet federal minimum standards requiring that contraception for healthcare plans offered to employees as part of their compensation package, even if the employees don’t believe in a birth control-hating god.

It’s alarming to think that Hobby Lobby is arguing that anyone should be able to ignore any law they want just by stating they don’t “believe” in it, but reading between the lines of their lawyer Paul Clemente’s arguments before the Supreme Court, it’s clear they think this right to exempt yourself from federal regulations should be exclusive to Christian conservatives.

When Justices Kagan and Sotomayor pressed Clemente to explain how being able to opt out of the contraception mandate wouldn’t lead to being able to opt out of offering insurance that covers vaccines or blood transfusions, Clemente waved their concerns off, saying that contraception was “so religiously sensitive, so fraught with religious controversy” in a way those other things aren’t. But, of course, there are religious groups that do think vaccines or blood transfusions are just as “fraught” as contraception, if not more so. The only difference is those groups don’t have the backing of the Christian right. Even without stating so explicitly, therefore, Clemente’s arguments rested on the assumption that the opt-out opportunities he’s pushing for would be for Christian conservatives and only them. The rest of you can go hang.

Similar logic was in play with the push in various states to pass laws giving rights to businesses to discriminate against customers or employees on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, as long as they ascribed their desire to do so on the grounds of “sincere religious belief.” Being allowed a special exemption to universally applicable laws doesn’t get any more blatant than that. There wasn’t even an attempt at propping up the illusion of fairness by, say, allowing gay or female business owners to discriminate against religious bigots. Being a religious conservative was the only way to be eligible for this special privilege of treating customers and employees like dirt if you want to.

While that spate of bills was defeated after public outcry, the narrative that conservatives have a special right — privilege, really — that no one else should have to defy any laws they happen not to like had rooted itself into right-wing media, which enthusiastically championed the idea that conservatives should be able to opt out of all sorts of laws as long as they wielded “religious belief” as an excuse.

Cliven Bundy doesn’t use religion as his excuse, but he still insists that since he doesn’t believe in the “United States government as even existing,” then he shouldn’t have to follow its laws. It’s a logical extension of the anti-gay and anti-contraception “opt out” arguments, rooted as it is in a belief that conservatives have a unique claim to simply reject any laws they don’t want to follow, even as they, like Bundy, take advantage of the amenities of citizenship.

No wonder conservative media is so warm to the guy. To be clear, none of these actions should be confused with civil disobedience, though some have tried. Civil disobedience is about changing unjust laws, not trying to get a special exception from the law for you and people like you. The only reason right-wing media is giving sympathetic coverage to Bundy is that he’s identifiable as a conservative and therefore his desire to make money off the backs of taxpayers without paying his fair share gets sympathetic treatment. But if he was black or female and got away with even a dollar more food stamps than he was owed, he would be treated like public enemy No. 1 by Fox News. Being able to shrug off laws you don’t like is a privilege reserved for the few in the world of conservative media.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and journalist. She's published two books and blogs regularly at Pandagon, RH Reality Check and Slate's Double X.

Here's another story on the topic:

Fox News’ demented poster boy: Why angry rancher Cliven Bundy is no patriot
The right's new fixation: An angry old white man who thinks freedom means not having to follow the law
Edwin Lyngar
Apr 17, 2014

This story is from Daily Kos:

Rancher Cliven Bundy (back 2nd L) talks on stage beside Clark County
Sheriff Douglas Gillespie (back 3rd L) in Bunkerville, Nevada, April 12, 2014.
Gillespie announced the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was ceasing its cattle
roundup operation. Armed U.S. rangers had been rounding up cattle on federal
land in Nevada in a rare showdown with Bundy, a rancher who has illegally
grazed his herd on public lands for decades, as conflict over land use
simmers in western states. The standoff with the BLM stems in part from
Bundy's belief that their right to graze the land predates the federal
government's management of it, and that the county and state should
ultimately have authority over lands in their boundaries.

That's a funny definition of patriotism you've got there, fella
by Hunter
Daily Kos
Apr 16, 2014

Hmm. I have a question about the Nevada rancher who nearly caused various of our nation's fine militia folks to start shooting at federal agents, so determined they were to protect Mr. Cliven Bundy's right to graze his private herd of cattle on whatever land he feels like free of charge forever and ever because libberty.
Bundy doesn’t recognize the federal government. Speaking to conservative radio host Dana Loesch last week, he said he believes in a “sovereign state of Nevada” and abides by all state laws, but, “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.”
So if that's the case, why does he keep waving American flags around?

See also:

Is Mr. Bundy's son one of the criminals supporting armed interference with the law? He seems to have inherited some of his father's affinity for lawlessness.

Legal History of Cliven D Bundy Blog
Jan B. Tucker: Private Investigator
April 18, 2014

...As far as I can tell from a cursory search anyway, aside from a couple of tickets in the State of Arizona, Cliven D. Bundy doesn’t have any record of criminal actions or infractions prior to his current problems with the United States government….but his son, Cliven Lance Bundy sure as hell does. He’s currently on probation on felony convictions for Burglary and Grand Larceny of a Firearm and still owes the government money and at one point was arrested for violating probation, but this was his original sentence:

01/02/2013 9:00 AM


Statement by Ms. Ballou. COURT advised Deft. he will give him probation, but ADMONISHED Deft. this is his ONLY chance and if he messes up, he will be revoked. COURT ORDERED, in addition to the $25.00 Administrative Assessment Fee, and the $150.00 DNA Analysis Fee WAIVED as previously taken, and $1,615 RESTITUTION, $715 payable to EZ Pawn at 3050 E. Desert Inn, ; $850 payable to Bargain Pawn at 1902 E. Las Vegas Blvd; and $50 payable to $50 to Gold and Silver Supply at 1300 E Sahara Blvd; Deft. SENTENCED to: CT 1 – a MAXIMUM of NINETY SIX (96) MONTHS and a MINIMUM of TWENTY FOUR (24) MONTHS in the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDC); CT 2 – a MAXIMUM of NINETY SIX (96) MONTHS and a MINIMUM of TWENTY FOUR (24) MONTHS in the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDC) to run CONCURRENT to CT 1 and CR01719012; SENTENCE SUSPENDED; Deft. placed on probation for indeterminate period NOT to exceed FIVE (5) YEARS under the following SPECIAL CONDITIONS:

1. Abide by any curfew imposed by the Division of Parole and Probation.

2. Enter and complete the Drug Court Program in Clark County unless P&P determines that Lincoln County is acceptable.

3. Submit to any evaluation deemed appropriate and complete any recommended counseling.

4. Pay restitution during term of probation.

5. Have no contact with witnesses whatsoever. 6. Have no contact with any listed pawn shops whatsoever. 7. Pursuant to NRS 176A.400, Defendant to be supervised in P & P’s Intensive Supervision Program to include Electronic Monitoring for a period deemed appropriate. FURTHER, matter SET for hearing in Drug Court, Deft. to remain in custody until that date. 1/17/13 10:15 AM FIRST APPEARANCE: DRUG COURT...

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