by David Safier
It's crazy up at the legislature right now, what with the recent passage of the budget and the rush to push through a bunch of bills so everyone can go home. And, not surprisingly, it's crazy time as well. Five Republican legislators went to Mesquite, Nevada, over the weekend to support the rancher, Cliven Bundy, whose cattle have been grazing illegally on government land and thinks he should be able to keep them there, regardless of the law.
Several state lawmakers traveled to Mesquite, Nev., over the weekend to support rancher Cliven Bundy, who is in a standoff with federal Bureau of Land Management officials over Bundy's two decades' worth of unpaid grazing fees.
Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, had returned to Phoenix in time for Monday's floor session and urged members of the House of Representatives to support Bundy. Thorpe also said that if he is re-elected, he plans to introduce legislation in 2015 that would assert the primacy of county sheriffs in enforcing the law in their counties. That's a central tenet of the sovereignty movement, which rejects much federal control.
In addition to Thorpe, Reps. David Livingston, R-Peoria, and Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, traveled to Mesquite, along with Sens. Judy Burges, R-Sun City West, and Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City.
Monday's legislative speechifying included impassioned statements by some of the travelers about the federal thugs trampling on the rights of citizens of Nevada.
Here are some highlights of the adventure, which I found in a post by Facebook friend Anna Johnson.
Friday, Rep. David Livingston delivered a speech on the floor about federal overreach, about receiving "security briefings," about the federal government bypassing the constitution and bypassing the state of Nevada. "I have been asked to stand up, and I'm asking you to stand up." He called for legislators to join him on a trip to Nevada. Here's the video.
In a tweeted pic, Sen Kelli Ward stood proudly at the Bundy Ranch with Rep. Paul Gosar. Her Facebook page has a lot more photos of Ward, her fellow legislators and other protesters. Ward's talk at the rally made local Nevada TV news. "We don’t need the government to tell us what to eat, what to wear, what to drink [and] how to drive," she said. "We don’t need that. We can do a lot of self-governance."
Kelly Townsend says she was horrified when she saw a video of police using a stun gun on one of Bundy's sons.
“Watching that video last night created a visceral reaction in me,” said Arizona Rep. Kelly Townsend, a tea party Republican who is driving up from Phoenix to take part in a rally with lawmakers and Oath Keepers near the Bundy ranch Monday. “It sounds dramatic, but it reminded me of Tiananmen Square. I don’t recognize my country at this point.”
Wonkette, who gave Townsend the day's “At Least You Didn’t Say Hitler” award, reminded Townsend that the use of a stun gun isn't the equivalent of hundreds of protesters being killed by troops in China's Tiananmen Square.
Two interesting side notes.
Apparently there was a plan by Bundy supporters to use women as human shields, to put them in the front lines to deter the feds from shooting. We learned that on Fox News from Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff. Arizona's just gotta get into the act.
And the normally provocative and inflammatory Glenn Beck as well as just-plain-silly Tucker Carlson cautioned right wingers to cool it on the Bundy protest. Beck was concerned that extremists were using the incident to promote acts of violence.
"We did some research online with PsyID today," Beck said on his show, "and found that there's about 10 or 15 percent of the people who are talking about this online that are truly frightening."
When Beck warns that someone on the right is "truly frightening," you better listen.
Meanwhile, Carlson pointed out the obvious.
[I] think it's important to point out that this land does not belong to [the Bundy's] and that's not a minor distinction, it's the essence of private property.
Unlike Beck and Carlson, at least five Arizona legislators seem to have no reservations about the Bundy Ranch standoff.