While I’m sure many liberals who come across this headline will have some response like “Duh” or “Tell me something I didn’t already know, ” I think it’s time to put hyperbole aside and get real for a moment. Sure, for a while many liberals have called tea party supporters domestic terrorists and have accused …
Beginning last summer, and continuing unabated until a few weeks ago, conservatives undertook a variety of efforts (both subtle and explicit) to discourage people, particularly young people, from enrolling in ACA-compliant health plans.
The idea was to deny state-based insurance markets critical mass, and sound risk pools, and send them into actuarial death spirals. In almost every instance, conservatives were appealing to strangers to undertake considerable personal risk in service of dubious ideological principles.
Though these efforts failed to achieve the larger goal, they almost certainly succeeded at convincing some people to skip Obamacare. And when confronted about the recklessness of their strategy, the most unscrupulous conservatives would say, No biggie! Obamacare allows people to enroll after they get sick or injured. So there’s no risk at all.
This was a lie. And if it weren’t such a dangerous lie, I’d be amused to find that conservatives now want you to be outraged about the fact that the Affordable Care Act creates limited open-enrollment periods each year to prohibit precisely that kind of free riding.
This is how the right planned it all along. It’s one of their favorite tactics. Kind of like throwing a wrench into a machine and then freaking out that the machine isn’t working.
Call it “individualism” or “libertarianism” or whatever you want, but those who declare themselves a Republic of One and raise their own flags are in a very literal sense being unpatriotic.
That’s why I’m alarmed by the support in many conservative precincts for the Nevada scofflaws who have been exploiting public lands for private purposes and refuse to pay for the privilege because they choose not to “recognize” the authority of the United States. Totally aside from the double standards involved in expecting kid-glove treatment of one set of lawbreakers as opposed to poorer and perhaps darker criminal suspects, fans of the Bundys are encouraging those who claim a right to wage armed revolutionary war towards their obligations as Americans. It makes me
really crazy when such people are described as “superpatriots.” Nothing could be more contrary to the truth.
The details of the Bundy case have gotten a lot of attention at conservative sites, but the details really don’t matter. Bundy has a baroque claim that the United States has no legal right to grazing land in Nevada; for over a decade, every court has summarily disagreed. It’s federal land whether Bundy likes it or not, and Bundy has refused for years to pay standard grazing fees—so a couple of weeks ago the feds finally decided to enforce the latest court order allowing them to confiscate Bundy’s cattle if he didn’t leave. The rest is just fluff, a bunch of paranoid conspiracy theorizing that led to last week’s armed standoff between federal agents and the vigilante army created by movement conservatives.
The fact that so many on the right are valorizing Bundy—or, at minimum, tiptoeing around his obvious nutbaggery—is a testament to the enduring power of Waco and Ruby Ridge among conservatives. The rest of us may barely remember them, but they’re totemic events on the right, fueling Glenn-Beckian fantasies of black helicopters and jackbooted federal thugs for more than two decades now. Mainstream conservatives have pandered to this stuff for years because it was convenient, and that’s brought them to where they are today: too scared to stand up to the vigilantes they created and speak the simple truth. They complain endlessly about President Obama’s “lawlessness,” but this is lawlessness. It’s appalling that so many of them aren’t merely afraid to plainly say so, but actively seem to be egging it on.
A former Arizona sheriff, Richard Mack, who is on the side of cattle ranchers in Nevada said that he would have allowed his own wife and daughters to be used as human shields and to be shot in the cattle ranch standoff because it would look bad for the federal government on television.
In a statement to Fox News, Mack discussed his strategy to use women as shields if a gunfight erupted between “rogue federal agents” and rancher Cliven Bundy. Bundy owes taxpayers $1 million for allowing his cattle to graze on federal property.
“We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front. If they are 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,” Bundy said.
The Future of Work is bringing together thought and action leaders from multiple fields to re-imagine a 21st century social contract that expands workers’ rights and increases the number of living wage jobs. The Future of Work is focusing on three areas: Promoting new and innovative strategies for worker organizing and representation; raising the floor of labor market standards and strengthening enforcement of labor laws and standards; and assuring access to good jobs for women and workers of color.
In the report, Kirsch breaks down the issues and solutions into several categories. Read more about each:
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy speaks like a man from another century. In an interview with conservative radio host Dana Loesch, Bundy claims that “this is a sovereign state of Nevada.” Though he swears that he will “abide by all of Nevada state laws,” he adds that “I don’t recognize [the] United States Government as even existing.”
Last week, that idiosyncratic belief nearly triggered a violent conflict with federal officials. For two decades, those officials have tried and failed to keep Bundy from illegally grazing his cattle on federal land. They’ve obtained three court orders — one of them as long ago as 1998 — requiring Bundy to remove his cattle from federal land. The more recent orders, both from 2013, gave Bundy 45 days to comply or else “the United States is entitled to seize and remove to impound any of Bundy’s cattle that remain in trespass.” Bundy did not comply, and government-hired wranglers began rounding up Bundy’s livestock last Saturday.
Given Bundy’s rather unusual understanding of the law (at one point, he demanded that the local sheriff disarm all National Park Service employees and bring their firearms to him), the presence of his armed supporters, and the willingness of major conservative outlets to serve as his public relations agents, BLM’s decision to avoid a violent conflict is understandable. Nevertheless, there is an obvious danger to allowing Bundy to get away with two decades of illegal action merely because he was able to muster armed supporters to his cause. If Bundy escapes from this incident without consequence, that sends a pretty clear message that federal law is optional so long as you have enough people with guns backing you up.
Here are three ways that the federal government might ensure that Bundy and at least some of his armed supporters are brought to justice:
As a general rule, courts must “exercise the least possible power to obtain the desired result,” meaning that a federal judge should not issue a sweeping contempt sanction when lesser sanction will suffice to ensure that the person subject to contempt proceedings complies with the court’s order. Nevertheless, the fact that Bundy was willing to defy a court order for 20 years — and that he could rally supporters willing to put up armed resistance to federal law enforcement to his cause — suggests that he would simply ignore any fines that a court imposed on him. A judge may decide that the best way to convince Bundy that the federal government exists is to jail him until he agrees to comply with the court’s order.
2) Criminal Charges for Threats To Federal Officers
Federal law provides that anyone who “threatens to assault, kidnap, or murder, a United States official, a United States judge [or] a Federal law enforcement officer … with intent to impede, intimidate, or interfere with such official, judge, or law enforcement officer while engaged in the performance of official duties, or with intent to retaliate against such official, judge, or law enforcement officer on account of the performance of official duties” may be fined or imprisoned for up to 10 years (although a threat to assault carries a maximum sentence of only 6 years). So, if Bundy or his supporters threatened federal officials or law enforcement officers who were enforcing the court order against him, they could have committed a serious crime.
Among legal scholars, the current state of the True Threat Doctrine is widely viewed as incoherent, so there is some uncertainty about which kinds of threatening statements could form the basis of a prosecution against Bundy and his supporters.
3) Criminal Charges Against Militia Members Who Brought Guns To Nevada
Another federal law provides that “[w]hoever transports or manufactures for transportation in commerce any firearm, or explosive or incendiary device, knowing or having reason to know or intending that the same will be used unlawfully in furtherance of a civil disorder” may be fined or imprisoned for up to five years. This statute could potentially form the basis for criminal charges against some of the militia members who traveled to Nevada with their guns in order to support Bundy. In order to convict someone charged under this law, federal prosecutors would need to prove that the militia member transported their gun with reason to know that it would be used “unlawfully in furtherance of a civil disorder,” so this statute could not be used against someone who had no reason to suspect that they were traveling towards anything other than a peaceful protest. A civil disorder is defined as “any public disturbance involving acts of violence by assemblages of three or more persons, which causes an immediate danger of or results in damage or injury to the property or person of any other individual.”
At least some of Bundy’s supporters made statements to the press suggesting that they fully intended to use their weapons to further such a disorder. One militia member, for example, said that he was at the ranch to provide “armed response,” adding that “[w]e need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government.” Similarly, a message purporting to be from one militia organization that was published on several right-wing websites announced that “[w]e have made the decision to mobilize to Nevada” and concluded with a fairly explicit statement suggesting that the purpose of this mobilization was to spark a deadly conflict: “All men are mortal, most pass simply because it is their time, a few however are blessed with the opportunity to chose their time in performance of duty.”
“We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front,” he said. “If they are 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.”
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) asserted over the weekend that the Republican Party was the party of “women’s equality” days after Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act. In a party line Senate vote last week, Republicans refused to…
»» As a result of the rulings in Heller and McDonald, the Second Amendment, which was adopted to protect the states from federal interference with their power to ensure that their militias were “well regulated,” has given federal judges the ultimate power to determine the validity of state regulations of both civilian and militia-related uses of arms. That anomalous result can be avoided by adding five words to the text of the Second Amendment to make it unambiguously conform to the original intent of its draftsmen. As so amended, it would read:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms when serving in the Militia shall not be infringed.”
Emotional claims that the right to possess deadly weapons is so important that it is protected by the federal Constitution distort intelligent debate about the wisdom of particular aspects of proposed legislation designed to minimize the slaughter caused by the prevalence of guns in private hands. Those emotional arguments would be nullified by the adoption of my proposed amendment. The amendment certainly would not silence the powerful voice of the gun lobby; it would merely eliminate its ability to advance one mistaken argument. ««
Excerpt between sets of arrows.
There’s much more in the Washington Post editorial I’ve linked to in the title above.
As the UAW appeals the narrow vote against union representation at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant, it has sent subpoenas to several of the politicians—including Sen. Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam—and anti-union groups that it argues helped intimidate workers away from union support…
Southern Momentum, one of the anti-union groups to get subpoenas, will be challenging them, possibly delaying the scheduled April 21 hearing—aside from the group’s desire to avoid having the UAW and the National Labor Relations Board see its documents, delay is a very common weapon of anti-union campaigns. Documents have already emerged showing that Haslam threatened $300 million in subsidies if the workers unionized.
»» The pins, distributed by a union that says it represents 40,000 public employees in Iowa, shows an unflattering black and white photograph of Gov. Terry Branstad’s face bisected by a red diagonal slash with the words, “NOTHING HAS CHANGED.” The Branstad administration tried to ban the pins after employees at the state Department of Corrections’ Medical and Classification Center in Coralville, Iowa, wore them on the job. ««