Nevada

Stewart Rhodes: Bundy Ranch Standoff Nearly Turned Military Against Feds, Started Civil War

Oath Keepers founder Steward Rhodes told a gathering of “constitutional sheriffs” last month — which also featured Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas — that federal officials eventually backed down in the standoff at the Bundy Ranch earlier this because they knew that if they didn't the U.S. military would turn against the federal government, igniting a second civil war.

Noting that a number of military veterans joined the armed anti-government protest at the Nevada ranch, Rhodes said that “the politicians and the would-be dictators in Washington, D.C…have to worry if they go too hard, if they drop the hammer too blatantly on Americans like at Bundy Ranch, that the Marine Corps would flip on them. And I think it would. And same goes for the tip of the spear in the Army, Army Airborne, special forces, your Navy Seals, all of those groups out there, the more hardcore they are as warriors, the more likely they are to look at something like that and say, ‘that’s it, I’m done’ and join the resistance.”

“And so that’s why [federal officials] are careful about what they do,” he added. “It’s not out of charity or concern for your lives that the don’t drop the hammer.”

Citing a Washington Times report that the Obama administration “considered but rejected deploying military force” against the armed groups trying to stop the Bureau of Land Management from collecting decades of grazing fees from Cliven Bundy, Rhodes said, “Thankfully they did not, because if they had, that would have kicked off a civil war in this country. It would have.”

The only way to avoid a civil war, he said, was for sheriffs and other officials like those in the audience to refuse to be "the muscle for idiots like Cuomo or Obama or Holder who don't understand warfare."

"Do not open the door on U.S. soil for sheepdog and sheepdog violence," he warned.

Did a Nevada Federal Judge Let Personal Beliefs Affect His Marriage Ruling?

Why did the federal district judge who'd upheld Nevada's marriage ban remove himself from the case when the 9th Circuit ordered him to implement its pro-equality decision?
PFAW Foundation

GOP House Candidate Jody Hice Touts Bundy Ranch Standoff As Symbol Of Anti-Gay Fight

In a radio program posted online Monday, Georgia pastor Jody Hice, the GOP nominee to replace Paul Broun in the U.S. House, linked the anti-government Bundy ranch standoff to anti-gay politics, saying that the militia groups that faced off against the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada were a symbol of Americans standing up against Big Government incursions on their liberties…like the legalization of same-sex marriage.

“There is unquestionably an undercurrent that is taking place across America where people are getting fed up,” he said. “They are saying to themselves and now beginning to say to themselves, ‘Enough is enough. We are not going to sit back while our government tramples over our liberties.’”

I will never forget these ranchers on horseback continuing to walk slowly toward the BLM. They were prepared to die. They were ready for confrontation. They were saying, ‘Enough is enough. You’re not going to trample on our rights any more. You have gone far enough and no further will you go.’

I mean, that was the statement being made by the ranchers and they continued marching toward the BLM. You will remember what happened, eventually the BLM never fired a shot, instead they got in their vehicles and left. Again, one of the other reasons they did not fire a shot is because all these ranchers, the cowboys and many, many others around them were themselves armed and ready for action if it came to that point, thank God it did not, but they were prepared just in case.

Now, that’s the image that comes to my mind. There is unquestionably an undercurrent that is taking place across America where people are getting fed up. They are saying to themselves and now beginning to say to themselves, ‘Enough is enough. We are not going to sit back while our government tramples over our liberties.’

And the examples are numerous. We could deal with different scenarios I don’t know how many times, they are abundant in the various ways in which this is taking place.

Now, I want to give you just what is the latest example: the whole battle over gay marriage, and in particular gay marriage as it relates to businesses, that businesses cannot remain committed to their personal religious convictions if there is ever a confrontation between those religious beliefs and same-sex marriage.

PFAW Action Fund Announces Young Elected Progressive Endorsements

People For the American Way Action Fund announced today the endorsements of a slate of dynamic young progressive candidates running for public office across the United States. The endorsees are a diverse mix of candidates 35 and under who are marking a new generation of progressive leadership for the future. These candidates and officials represent a vision that will benefit communities all over the country, as they fight for social, economic, and environmental justice, and equality for all.

The endorsements are part of People For the American Way Action Fund’s Young Elected Progressives (YEP) program. YEP evaluates and endorses young progressive candidates ages 35 and under in their bids for elected office around the U.S. at all levels.

People For the American Way Action Fund is proud to endorse these YEP candidates for 2014:

James Albis – CT House District 99
James Albis is running for reelection to the Connecticut House of Representatives 99th District, representing East Haven. Albis has advocated consistently on behalf of the families of East Haven for better jobs, better schools, and better opportunities. In his second term as Representative, Albis worked to protect the environment, serving on the Speaker’s Task Force on Shoreline Preservation. Dedicated to supporting children and families, Albis has sponsored and voted for numerous laws that would expand family and medical leave, as well as healthcare, and to protect East Haven’s share of state education funding. Visit James Albis’s campaign website for more details.

John Paul Alvarez – FL House District 100
John Paul Alvarez is running for Florida House of Representatives District 100, representing Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Alvarez, a true Floridian born and raised in South Florida, knows first-hand about the issues facing his community and is dedicated to making Florida prosper. As a teacher, mentor, and community leader, Alvarez is a fierce advocate for public education. By fighting for the issues that matter most to students, working families, retired citizens, taxpayers, and South Florida’s most vulnerable citizens, Alvarez is determined to improve his community by creating more jobs, lowering the cost of living, and promoting equality for all. Visit John Paul Alvarez’s campaign website for more details.

Nelson Araujo – NV Assembly District 3
Nelson Araujo is a candidate for Nevada’s Assembly District 3, representing Clark County and Las Vegas. He is a native Nevadan that was born to struggling immigrant parents. Araujo, a determined leader, fought to help his family out of poverty and became the first in his family to graduate high school. As a community leader and elected official, Araujo is dedicated to stimulating job growth, providing greater healthcare access, and making higher education more accessible to everyone. We believe that with his leadership, Nevada will thrive. Visit Nelson Araujo’s campaign website for more details.

Mandela Barnes – WI Assembly District 11
Mandela Barnes is running for reelection in Wisconsin’s State Assembly District 11, representing central Milwaukee. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Barnes has done important work for Milwaukee as a community organizer and youth and development specialist. His dedication to creating jobs, reforming public education, and modernizing public transportation will serve the people of Milwaukee and strengthen the community. Visit Mandela Barnes’s campaign website for more details.

Jonathan Brostoff – WI Assembly District 19
Jonathan Brostoff, lifelong resident of Milwaukee’s East Side, is running for Wisconsin State Assembly’s 19th District representing central Milwaukee. Brostroff’s dedication to Milwaukee and experience as a legislative aide will help him lead Wisconsin toward a brighter future. Brostoff is determined to promote equal rights for all, to reinvest in public education, and to improve public transit in Wisconsin. Brostoff is a capable leader, devoted to making Wisconsin thrive for generations to come, whose real-world solutions will create progress in the state. Visit Jonathan Brostoff’s campaign website for more details.

Marina Dimitrijevic – WI Assembly District 19
Marina Dimitrijevic is running for the Wisconsin State Assembly District 19. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Dimitrijevic made history in 2004, when she became the youngest woman to be elected to the Milwaukee County Board. During her 10 year tenure, she has championed legislative victories on equal rights for the LGBT community, environmental sustainability, public transit, and workers’ rights. Dimitrijevic’s experience, leadership, and commitment to winning on progressive issues are exactly what the community of Milwaukee needs.  Visit Marina Dimitrijevic’s campaign website for more details.

Justin Chenette – ME House District 134
Justin Chenette is running for reelection to the Maine House of Representatives’ 134th District , representing Saco. Before being elected as state Representative, Chenette served on the Maine State Board of Education, and has carried his passion for education into the state legislature. Chenette sponsored several education-related bills including legislation to promote community service in school and require internship experiences for high school students. Chenette, who was 22 years old upon his election to the House, has already proven himself to be a tireless and dedicated advocate and an important member in the next generation of leaders. Visit Justin Chenette’s campaign website for more details.

Luke Diaz –WI Verona Alder District 3
Luke Diaz is seeking reelection to the Verona City Council’s 3rd District, representing central Verona. Diaz has made it his mission to celebrate the city’s culture by cultivating a thriving downtown in Verona, working to expand jobs, improve transit, and provide important services to the community. An experienced city councilman, Diaz is an accessible leader that is dedicated to listening to the needs of his community. Visit Luke Diaz’s campaign page on Facebook for more details.

Zachary Dorholt – MN House District 14B
Zach Dorholt is running for reelection the Minnesota House of Representatives’ District 14B, representing St. Cloud City, and Haven and Minden Townships. Previously elected in 2011, Dorholt has been a champion for progressive values during his time in the House. He is an advocate for women’s rights and has sponsored bills to equalize pay in Minnesota and lengthen paid maternity leave. Dorholt has also fought for public education funding and is dedicated to creating a pathway to higher education for young Minnesotans. A proven leader, Dorholt will continue to make Minnesota a better and more prosperous place for the entire community. Visit Zach Dorholt’s campaign website for more details.

Crisanta Duran – CO House District 5

Crisanta Duran is running for reelection in the Colorado House of Representatives’ 5th District, representing Denver. As chairwoman of the joint budget committee, Crisanta guided the passage of a state budget that helped protect the environment, boost investments in education and job training, provide better women’s health services, help survivors of abuse, and create a better state economy for all Coloradoans. In her position as an elected official, she will continue to build a strong progressive foundation for the state’s future. Visit Crisanta Duran’s campaign website for more details.

Daneya Esgar – CO House District 46
Daneya Esgar is a candidate for Colorado State House of Representatives’ District 46, representing Pueblo. A dedicated public servant and product of Pueblo’s public education system, Esgar has dedicated her career as a television news producer and a community organizer to improving this community. Esgar has a clear vision for the future of Pueblo, and will continue to work toward job growth and improved public education as an elected official. Visit Daneya Esgar’s campaign website for more details.

Ryan Fecteau – ME House District 11
Ryan Fecteau is a Biddeford native running for Maine House of Representatives’ District 11, representing his hometown. Fecteau has a fresh and progressive perspective on the issues affecting Maine today. As representative, Fecteau will bring strong support of public education, women’s rights, and equal opportunity for all Americans by championing for middle-class workers, seniors, and college graduates of his district. Visit Ryan Fecteau’s campaign website for more details.

Joe Fitzgibbon – WA House District 34
Joe Fitzgibbon is running for reelection to the Washington House of Representatives’ District 34, representing Burien, West Seattle, White Center, and Vashon and Maury Islands. Fitzgibbon has been a fierce advocate for undocumented students, voting for both the DREAM Act and for in-state tuition for undocumented students. A champion for equality in Washington, Fitzgibbon has le d efforts to legalize gay marriage and expand healthcare and Medicaid to help ensure safe abortion procedures. Fitzgibbon is a true progressive and will continue to work toward equality for all Washingtonians. Visit Joe Fitzgibbon’s campaign website for more details.

Chris Larson – WI Senate District 7
Chris Larson is running for reelection to the Wisconsin State Senate’s 7th District, representing Milwaukee County. In Larson’s first term as senator, he served as the Minority Leader and worked tirelessly to end marriage discrimination in Wisconsin, to promote public education, and to protect the environment. Larson has worked to stimulate job growth and to increase access to health care, proving that he is truly in-tune with the needs of his community. “Larson is a true progressive leader,” PFAW’s Political Director Randy Borntrager said. “He is clearly dedicated to his community and determined to help each person and his community as a whole.” Visit Chris Larson’s campaign website for more details.

Eric Luedtke – MD House District 14
Eric Luedtke is running for reelection to the Maryland House of Delegates’ District 14, representing Montgomery County. Luedtke, who was first elected in 2010, has already made his mark as a progressive representative for Maryland. Luedtke, a teacher by profession, has advocated for public education reform, especially advocating for equality for students with special needs. Committed to families and children, Luedtke has worked on a variety of issues, from promoting easier access to healthcare to sponsoring bills that provide greater aid and support for survivors of sexual assault. Visit Eric Luedtke’s campaign website for more details.

Stefanie Mach – AZ House District 10
Stefanie Mach is running for reelection to the Arizona House of Representatives’ 10th Distric , representing Tucson. Since she was elected in 2012, Mach has proven herself to be a fighter, both professionally and personally. In her time as representative, Mach has worked to improve public education, to make higher education more affordable, to encourage job growth and the expansion of local businesses. An advocate for women and minorities, Mach has demonstrated she is dedicated to making Arizona a prosperous community for everyone. Visit Stefanie Mach’s campaign website for more details.

Marcus Madison – OH Senate District 13
Marcus Madison is a candidate for the Ohio State Senate’s 13th District, representing Huron and Lorain counties. Madison, currently serving as a city councilman in Elyria, has already proven that he is a dedicated public servant. He is the former student body president of Lorain County Community College, and previously served as deputy field officer for Obama for America, as well as Communications Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lorain County. A determined advocate, Madison is committed to improving public education, protecting workers, and providing sustainable jobs that will strengthen the middle class. Visit Marcus Madison’s campaign website for more details.

Aaron Marquez – AZ Senate District 27
Aaron Marquez is running for Arizona State Senate District 27, representing Maricopa County. Marquez, a captain with the U.S. Army Reserve, has been a courageous public servant both overseas and at home. Marquez is a fearless advocate for women’s rights, strong supporter of veterans, and a fighter for public education. A dedicated leader, Marquez will be a force for good in the Arizona legislature. Visit Aaron Marquez’s campaign website for more details.

Andrew McLean – ME House District 129
Andrew McLean is running for reelection to the 129th District in the Maine House of Representatives, representing North Gorham, White Rock, Little Falls, the Village and South Gorham. McLean was previously elected in 2012 and has worked tirelessly to support legislation that would protect the environment, expand healthcare, and reform gun laws in Maine. A resilient advocate, as representative McLean will continue to work on behalf of children and families in his next term and for years to come. Visit Andrew McLean’s campaign page on Facebook for more details.

Matt Moonen – ME House District 118
Matt Moonen is running for reelection in the 118th District in the Maine House of Representatives, representing part of Portland. Moonen has been dedicated to improving healthcare in Maine by sponsoring bills that would prohibit smoking in public places and that would expand Medicaid coverage and eligibility. Additionally, Moonen has been a fierce advocate for raising the minimum wage, passing comprehensive immigration reform, and reforming campaign finance. A true progressive candidate, Moonen will continue to make Maine an accepting and thriving place for all. Visit Matt Moonen’s campaign page on Facebook for more details.

Joe Neguse – CO Secretary of State
Joe Neguse, who is running for Colorado Secretary of State is the right choice for Colorado. Neguse brings with him knowledge and experience as a business attorney, member of the University Of Colorado Board Of Regents, and as a public servant. As secretary of state, Neguse will perform his duties with integrity and transparency, and will work to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to vote in Colorado. Neguse will advocate for everyone, regardless of wealth, age, or social standing. Visit Joe Neguse’s campaign website for more details.

Kesha Ram – VT House District 6-4
Kesha Ram is running for reelection to the Vermont House of Representatives’ District 6-4, representing Chittenden. Ram has worked to promote green job creation, affordable housing, and expanded access to healthcare. Both personally and in her capacity as a representative, Ram has worked to support survivors of domestic violence and is an active advocate for women’s rights. Ram is forward-thinking and dedicated, and her service will help Vermont flourish. Visit Kesha Ram’s campaign website for more details.

Laurie Anne Sayles – MD House District 17
Laurie Anne Sayles is running for Maryland’s House of Delegates District 17, representing Montgomery County. Sayles is a committed parent who has overcome obstacles to become a dedicated public servant in Maryland. A smart and capable leader, Sayles is a determined advocate for affordable healthcare, stronger public education, and accessible public transportation. As an elected official, Sayles will be a truly progressive leader for years to come. Visit Laurie Anne Sayles’s campaign website for more details.

Katrina Shankland – WI Assembly District 71
Katrina Shankland is running for reelection to the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing Stevens Point and its neighboring counties. In her one term as representative, Shankland has become a dedicated advocate for women’s rights and workers’ rights in Wisconsin. Shankland has worked to improve public education opportunities, and has been a fighter for environmental preservation and clean and sustainable energy practices. Visit Katrina Shankland’s campaign website for more details.

Alonzo Washington – MD House District 22
Alonzo Washington is running for reelection to the Maryland House of Delegates’ District 22, representing Prince George’s County. Washington, who has served in the House since 2012, already made a name for himself as a fighter for progressive values. He has sponsored and voted for bills that will increase the minimum wage, expand access to higher education, and strengthen public schools. As an important leader for Maryland’s future, Washington has and will continue to support progress in Maryland. Visit Alonzo Washington’s campaign website for more details.

Faith Winter – CO House District 35
Faith Winter, running for the Colorado House of Representatives’ 35th District to represent Westminster, is the right choice for Colorado. Winter has dedicated her life to public service, previously serving as a city councilwoman, mayor pro tem, and as the Emerge Colorado’s Executive Director, supporting women running for public office. In these capacities, Winter worked to create long-term jobs, expand affordable housing, and increase usage of sustainable energy in Colorado. Visit Faith Winter’s campaign website for more details.

PFAW

Cliven Bundy Defends Border Militias, Tells Feds to Point Guns At 'Enemy' Immigrants

If the anti-immigrant protests in Murietta, California, and the gathering of militia groups at the border remind you of the anti-government standoff at Cliven Bundy’s ranch, that might be because the events are attracting some of the very same people.

Far-right radio host Pete Santilli, who we last saw harassing a Mexican-American reporter at Bundy’s ranch, has been broadcasting from Murietta for the past week or so and has mentioned that he has also driven down to join some groups along the Southern border, who he has been working with in an effort to shut down the Tijuana border crossing.

In fact, yesterday, Santilli interviewed Bundy himself about the similarities between the Bundy ranch standoff and the events in Murietta and at the border.

Calling the Bureau of Land Management “dirty rotten buggers,” Bundy told Santilli that the groups who faced off with the BLM at his ranch were “successful in bringing back freedom to America, at least in this area.”

Speaking of the militia groups gathering at the Southern border — including groups like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, who were strongly represented at his ranch — Bundy said that like at his ranch, federal agents are “pointing their guns at we the people” and not at the “enemy,” who he said is the “encroacher that’s illegally coming in here.”

People For the American Way Action Fund Endorses Lucy Flores for Nevada Lieutenant Governor

Today People For the American Way Action Fund announced its endorsement of Nevada State Assemblywoman Lucy Flores for Lieutenant Governor.

Flores, one of the first Latinas to serve in the Nevada legislature, rose rapidly into leadership. By 2013, she was already serving as Assistant Majority Whip, and she now serves as vice chair of the Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus.

“Lucy Flores is exactly the kind of young, dynamic, progressive leader that Nevada needs,” said PFAW Political Director Randy Borntrager. “Her story of overcoming adversity puts her in a unique position to fight for women’s rights and minority rights from a place of personal experience. I am confident she will continue to fight for equal protection under the law for all Nevadans.”

The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Flores grew up as one of 13 siblings and struggled as a teenager, ultimately dropping out of high school. But with encouragement and support, Flores put her troubled years behind her, received a GED, and became the first in her family to go to college. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and later a law degree from the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In 2008, Flores served on the Nevada Commission on Minority Affairs, where she was an advocate for the renewal of the state’s ombudsman for minority consumer affairs, ensuring equal protection under Nevada’s consumer protection laws. In the legislature, she passed landmark legislation improving high school testing, protecting consumers from predatory unauthorized practice of law, and protecting survivors of domestic violence from their abusers.

People For the American Way Action Fund is proud to support Flores’ quest to “bring a vision and voice to Nevada that hasn’t been heard before.”  Learn more about her campaign for Lieutenant Governor at http://www.lucyflores.com.

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Extremist Radio Host At Bundy Ranch Harasses Local Reporter, Accuses Glenn Beck Of Starting A 'Race War'

It should come as no surprise to learn that Pete Santilli, an Internet radio host best known for wishing he could shoot Hillary Clinton “right in the vagina” and helping to organize last year’s “Truckers For the Constitution” rally, has spent the last couple of weeks broadcasting live from Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada.

Last Friday, Santilli filmed the press conference at which Bundy attempted to explain that his view that black people were better off under slavery isn’t racist. After Bundy spoke, Santilli announced that “somehow” the Bureau of Land Management had used the media to “hijack” the press conference by “injecting race and dividing us.”

So, naturally, Santilli decided to confront a local TV reporter who had apparently questioned Bundy on his views about race, drawing the attention of Bundy supporters standing nearby.

“Who do you work for?” Santilli demanded of the reporter, who appears to be Antonio Castelan of Channel 3 New. “Do you believe that the media is state-run?” When Castelan responded that “as a Mexican-American” he didn’t think his questioning on race was biased, Santilli hounded him: “Why do you believe you need to inject Mexican-Americanism into your line of questioning?”

“As a Mexican-American you should know that we’re defending your rights, and you’re working for the state-run media, and you should know that, especially by the bias in the line of your questioning,” he yelled as Castelan walked away, hounded by Bundy supporters. “You’re not serving the American public and you do not deserve even First Amendment constitutional rights, sir!”

Later, talking to another reporter, Santilli accused Glenn Beck, who has criticized the Bundy ranch protester, of promoting a “race war” on behalf of the United Nations’ Agenda 21. That is surprising, given that Beck has written an entire book warning about the very same Agenda 21 conspiracy theory that he is being accused of promoting. 

Ted Cruz: Bundy Ranch Standoff 'Tragic Culmination' Of Obama's 'Jackboot of Authoritarianism'

In an interview with Texas radio host Chad Hasty yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz said that the armed standoff between anti-government militias and the Bureau of Land Management at a Nevada ranch is the “unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government upon.”

Rancher Cliven Bundy failed to pay federal grazing fees for over 20 years because he refused to recognize federal authority over the land he was using. When the Bureau of Land Management started to remove Bundy’s cattle from federal land, militia members gathered at his ranch and staged an armed standoff with federal officials, which Bundy threatened could turn into a “range war” or another Waco. The agency eventually backed down in order to prevent violence, but militia members havestayed at the ranch and the event has emboldened the anti-government militia movement.

When Hasty asked Cruz about the Bundy standoff, the senator conceded that “the details of the Bundy matter may be complicated,” but insisted “the reason this issue is resonating…is that for five years, we have seen our liberty under assault. We have seen our liberty under assault from a federal government that seems hell-bent on expanding its authority over every aspect of our lives.”

“It is in that context that people are viewing this battle with the federal government,” he said. “We should have a federal government protecting the liberty of the citizens, not using the jackboot of authoritarianism to come against the citizens. And I think this is the unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government upon.”

Nevada GOPer Claims Republicans Can Win Young Voters By Embracing Party's 'Pat Robertson Wing'

Upset that the Nevada Republican Party recently voted to remove anti-choice, anti-gay language from its official platform, GOP state assemblyman Ira Hansen took to The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday to argue that the party made a grave mistake in avoiding such social issues.

Hansen said that Republicans are failing to win support from young voters because they are “being alienated partially because of this absence of values.” He argued that Republicans could win support from new voters by embracing the “Pat Robertson wing” of the party.

That’s right, Hansen thinks the GOP politicians would become more competitive among youth if they were only more like Pat Robertson.

We don’t see that younger recruitment into the party. I think they are actually being alienated partially by this absence of values. I also think as people get older, they lose some of their drive to fight, I think that’s even true of the pro-life, traditional marriage type crowd. I think they are basically not just shell-shocked but there’s like — you know what, I’ve been fighting this twenty, thirty years; me, I’ve been involved in the Republican Party virtually since I was eighteen, going back to the Reagan era. But I’d probably say in Nevada you still see a big strong element going back to the Pat Robertson campaign in 1988, and that was when there was a huge fight here in Nevada between the Rockefeller wing of the party, as I call them, and the Pat Robertson wing. And with time the Robertson wing won and you had these social issues openly adopted by the Republican Party. And, by the way, in the ‘90s and 2000s, the Republican Party actually did very, very well in Nevada with those in the platform.

Richard Mack: Government Brought In 'Paid Hit Men' To 'Fire On Innocent And Unarmed People' At Nevada Ranch

Richard Mack, the Arizona sheriff who earlier this week compared the stand of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management with “Rosa Parks refusing to get off the bus ”and even the Holocaust, told Alan Colmes yesterday that the federal government brought “paid hit men” to Bundy’s ranch who were “ready to fire on innocent and unarmed people.”

The Fox Radio host asked Mack, “We can agree or disagree about how much the government should own in terms of federal property, but is this the way to go about changing it?

Mack responded that Bundy’s stand “was peaceful until it got escalated by the federal government in bringing out paid hit men, mercenaries, and you know, getting violent.”

When Colmes asked Mack if he had evidence to substantiate his claim that the government had brought in mercenaries to face down the militia members at Bundy’s ranch, Mack responded, “we have our intel sources” and insisted that “they were there with the military weapons and they were there ready to fire on innocent and unarmed people.”

The rumor that the BLM hired mercenaries to confront Bundy has been spreading through far-right blogs. Mack made a similar claim in an interview published in Talking Points Memo today.

Sheriff Richard Mack Compares Armed Nevada Ranch Protesters To Rosa Parks

Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack – Arizona’s second most notorious birther sheriff –of course traveled to Nevada this week to join rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management .

In an interview with Iowa talk show host Steve Deace on Monday, Mack compared the militia groups standing with Bundy to Rosa Parks and suggested that if reinforcements had not arrived, the Bundy family would have fallen victim to Holocaust-like violence.

Deace told Mack that the Nevada standoff was a “warning shot” and “a test to see if their efforts over the last 40 years to dumb you down in academia and pop culture and install the idiocracy” had succeeded.

Mack replied that it was. “This was Rosa Parks refusing to get to the back of the bus,” he said. 

Deace: I think this is a test to see if their efforts over the last 40 years to dumb you down in academia and pop culture and install the idiocracy – and that’s their numbing agent – to see if you are now compliant to the point of just saying, ‘Nothing we can do, the almighty state has spoken.’ I think this is a warning shot.

Mack: Well, I think it is too, and I think that everything they do is based on this kind of propaganda scheme of the warning shots and trying to make sure other peasants don’t rise up with their pitchforks. Well, this particular peasant said, ‘No, I’m sorry, I’m not rolling over for this one. You guys are out of line, you don’t own the land, you don’t own our ranch, you don’t own us, and we will stand firm in the principles of freedom that we were blessed with as Americans.’ And that’s exactly what this was. This was Rosa Parks refusing to get to the back of the bus.

Later, the two moved on to criticizing the BLM employees who were sent to enforce a court order to remove Bundy’s cattle from federal land because the rancher has refused to pay grazing fees since 1993. “Any tyrant anywhere is only as good as the collaborating bureaucrats under his command that are willing to actually carry through with his orders,” Deace said. “‘Just following orders’ is the tagline of every tyrannical government in the history of human civilization.”

Mack agreed, noting that a similar defense had been attempted in the Nuremberg trials. “The soldiers that were put on trial at Nuremberg used that as a defense, and it was disallowed,” he said. “They said anybody should know you don’t get to just kill people and then claim that you were just following orders. And same thing for all of this.”

He then claimed that if the militias hadn’t shown up at the Bundy ranch, the family would have been shot.

Deace : They can give all the unconstitutional edicts from Washington, DC, all they want. Any tyrant anywhere is only as good as the collaborating bureaucrats under his command that are willing to actually carry through with his orders. And that’s the part about this that bothers me. ‘Just following orders’ is the tagline of every tyrannical government in the history of human civilization.

Mack: Well, in fact that’s a quote, and I know you know this, but it’s a quote from the Nuremberg trials regarding the Holocaust. And the soldiers that were put on trial at Nuremberg used that as a defense, and it was disallowed. They said anybody should know you don’t get to just kill people and then claim that you were just following orders.

And same thing for all of this. We’re supposed to be the ones in the world that are above such. This is the United States of America, where the rights of the individual are protected by the rest of us in government. And now we have the actual government officials doing just the opposite and almost bragging about it. And so, what I do know is that the people who showed up en masse protected this family and others from being shot.

Voting Rights Advocates Rack Up More Wins

Earlier this month, PFAW reported on what has gone right for voting rights at the state level in 2014. While there is much more work to be done to enact needed reforms and to step up and counter threats when the right to vote is under attack, states like Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina have shown that we can win. Now we've uncovered even more evidence of why we can and should keep fighting the challenges that lay before us.
PFAW

'I Want Nothing To Do With You,' Beck Tells Those Threatening Violence In Anti-Government Standoff

While just about the entire right-wing movement has rallied behind Cliven Bundy, the Nevada cattle rancher locked in a battle with the federal government over his refusal to recognize the government's control over public grazing lands, Glenn Beck, of all people, is refusing to do so.

This showdown ought to be the sort of thing that Beck eagerly embraces and you can tell that it is causing his extreme consternation not to be able to do so, but he is very concerned about the fact that the anti-government forces that have lined up behind Bundy are issuing threats of violence, which is why he penned an open letter over the weekend saying that he cannot side with them and, instead, calling for people to turn to God:

I do not mean to lecture you or anyone else. I am so far away from a perfect man. In fact I am very much the “dispensable man”, the opposite of the man I am striving to be, but I am working on it. I pour over my scriptures like never before. I rarely am with out them. I read them day and night, in bed, in the car, on the set, and at the dinner table and yet I am a million miles from where The Lord needs his people. For this too, I repent. ”I am sorry Lord for not being ready for your call.” I am one that is finding there is no oil in my lamp.

Never try to create your own miracles. Every time you will fail and make it worse. Moses thought he would make it better when he killed the Egyptian but it only delayed freedom.

I worry about the rancher and his family. The ranchers around him and all around the country. I was blowing the warning trumpets on this kind of usurpation long ago. But any fan of mine knows that I have also said that I will never call for arms with the state of our faith.

I, too, am a rancher but the ultimate rancher is God and we are His flock. I will follow His voice for it is the only one I recognize.

I am sorry, but as all MY real fans know, I believe Ghandi, MLK, Bonhoeffer and Jesus were right. I will follow their example. I know what that means or meant for them.

But I will stand with The Lord.

That message was not well-received on Beck's Facebook page, which prompted him to declare that "those of you calling for violence over this Nevada standoff are not supporters or any kind of long-term fan of mine":

Beck discussed the situation again on his radio program today, saying that he would be speaking with Bundy later in the broadcast and reiterating that he was very disturbed by the violent threats being issued by those who had rallied around Bundy, asserting that God does not support what they are doing and therefore "I will have nothing to do with you":

Religious Right Warns RNC Not To Hold 2016 Convention In Las Vegas

The Republican National Committee is currently in the process of selecting the location for the 2016 national convention and among the cities in the running is Las Vegas, Nevada.

That, of course, is not sitting well with Religious Right activists who have now dashed off a letter to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus warning him that the RNC had better choose a different place to hold the convention:

The leaders sent a letter last week to Republican chairman Reince Priebus, putting him on notice that picking Vegas would generate friction. They call the city a “trap waiting to ensnare. … What could go wrong? The answer is obvious.”

Leaders from the religious right who have joined the effort include Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association; Phyllis Schlafly, founder of Eagle Forum; Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition; Paul Caprio, director of Family-PAC; and James Dobson, president of Family Talk ministry.

“The GOP is supposedly interested in reaching out to conservatives and evangelicals. Maybe that’s just a front, but if they really mean it this is not the way to do it,” Dobson said Tuesday. “Even though Vegas has tried to shore itself up and call itself family-friendly, it’s still a metaphor for decadence. There’s still 64 pages of escort services in the yellow pages. … You can’t have it both ways.”

...

Excerpts from social-conservative leaders’ letter to Republican Party Chairman Reince Preibus warning against selecting Las Vegas to host the 2016 GOP convention:

“In spite of ‘family-friendly’ outreach in the past decade, Las Vegas remains a metaphor for all things decadent. And looking at the yellow pages, one can see that it still delivers. With 64 pages of escort services and countless gambling casinos, it remains a trap waiting to ensnare.”

“At a time when the base needs to be motivated, this is no time to mute or offend them in any way. It may seem strange, silly even to some that conservatives would object to something that COULD be so innocuous. Surely there are shows and great restaurants and beautiful hotels. … What could possible go wrong? The answer is obvious, and wisdom dictates the chance not be taken.”

“There are several wonderful venues being considered. We are not advocating for any of them. But we urge you to reject Las Vegas and celebrate the vibrancy and strength of the Republican Party in a place not at odds with its values.”

Republican Admits His Party Does Better When People Don't Vote

How’s all that new outreach going, GOP? Not that well, it seems.

This week, Nevada Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey gave meaning to that old political saying, “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.” Speaking on a conservative talk radio show about the Republican Party’s chances in 2014, Hickey said:

"Probably where we had a million voters turn out in 2012; we'll have like 700,000 [in 2014]. A lot of minorities, a lot of younger people will not turn out in a non-presidential year. It's a great year for Republicans!"

It’s a great year for Republicans-- when people don’t vote! Particularly those young people and minorities, so never mind them! Really, just a great job rebranding there, GOP, I think you’ve nailed it.

Of course, it’s amusing when a politician accidentally reveals the truth like this, but it points to a serious problem in our democracy. The Republican assault on the right to vote in this country is moving full steam ahead, with bills introduced in 31 states just this year. It’s clear at this point that no amount of accidental truth-telling is going to embarrass them into stopping this attack: they’ve had slip-ups like this in the past, but they still keep pushing to make it harder for people to vote. We can’t wait for them to start feeling ashamed of their position, because that’s clearly never going to happen. It’s up to us to actively defend the right to vote, wherever it is under attack. 

PFAW

David Lane Digs In

In July, we reported on Christian-nation extremist David Lane’s closed-door pastors briefing in Iowa, and the presidential hopefuls and other politicians who have flocked to Lane’s gatherings over the years.

This week the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs reported that Lane’s American Renewal Project is holding church-based voter registration drives on three Sundays this month: Sept. 15, Sept. 22 and Sept. 29.  Steve Michael, a spokesperson for the project, told the Register that after the American Renewal Project’s $1.2 million voter registration campaign in Missouri during the last election cycle, the state saw a 3 percent increase in evangelical voters.  He said it will organize in Iowa “steadily until the 2014 election.”

The "Stand-up Sundays" model goes like this: Pastors ask their congregation members to stand up if they're already registered. Volunteers will then hand out voter registration paperwork to the adults still seated. But each Iowa pastor will decide how to do it, Lane told the Register.

Iowa is among 11 states the American Renewal Project is targeting in the 2014 cycle, Michael said. The others are Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

Organizers will do “Pastors and Pews” events followed by voter registration drives in each state. Next up is Louisiana on Sept. 26-27….

Lane said Iowa may be one of the most registered states in the nation, thanks to the attention from the presidential campaigns, so he expects Louisiana, Arkansas and North Carolina to be more "target rich areas."

It’s worth noting that Louisiana, Arkansas, and North Carolina are also among the top Senate races for 2014, as are other states on Lane’s target list. 

The NRA vs. Judicial Nominees

Back in December, The New York Times’ Linda Greenhouse wrote a great article explaining how the National Rifle Association has worked in concert with Republican senators to oppose many of President Obama’s federal judicial nominees – usually without anything close to a legitimate reason. The NRA’s “symbiotic relationship with the Republican Party,” Greenhouse wrote, led the group to oppose judicial nominees like Sonia Sotomayor, who had next to no record on the Second Amendment, and the party to chip in when the NRA didn’t like a nominee.

It is that symbiotic relationship that succeeded in sinking the nominations of two highly qualified women to federal courts this week. Both were unquestionably qualified and well-respected in legal circles. The NRA and the Senate GOP went after both for completely unfounded reasons.

Caitlin Halligan was President Obama’s nominee to fill one of four vacancies on the hugely influential Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Never mind that she had broad bipartisan support and sterling credentials. She had once represented a client, the state of New York, in a lawsuit against gun manufacturers. Back when John Roberts was being considered for the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans said that judicial nominees shouldn’t be held responsible for positions they took as lawyers on behalf of clients. But no matter. Senate Republicans twice voted to filibuster her nomination – most recently on Wednesday – never even allowing her an up-or-down vote.

Then today, Nevada District Court nominee Elissa Cadish withdrew her nomination over one year after she had been selected by President Obama. Her story was similar. Filling out a questionnaire in 2008, Cadish stated that under then-current law, the constitutional right to bear arms didn’t apply to individual citizens. She was correct. Two months later in a 5-4 opinion, the Supreme Court established for the first time that the Second Amendment does contain that right. Cadish made clear that she understood, and would follow, the new Supreme Court precedent.

But no matter. The NRA targeted Cadish and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller used a little-known Senate practice to keep her from ever even getting the chance to explain her views in front of the Judiciary Committee. Under committee procedures used by Chairman Patrick Leahy as a courtesy to his colleagues, a nominee is not granted a hearing unless both of her home-state senators give permission in the form of a “blue slip.” Heller simply refused to sign the blue slip for Cadish, thus single-handedly sinking her nomination.

The flimsiness of the arguments against Cadish and Halligan, and the fact that much of the opposition took place behind the scenes (in the case of Cadish without even a public hearing), betrays the real reason the NRA and the GOP were working to keep these women off the federal bench. They just don’t want President Obama to be nominating federal judges.

 

PFAW

PFAW: GOP and NRA Leadership Keep Two Qualified Women off the Bench

WASHINGTON – Today, Nevada judge Elissa Cadish withdrew her nomination to sit on the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, more than one year after President Obama first nominated her to the position. Despite her sterling qualifications, Cadish was never even granted a hearing before the Judiciary Committee because Nevada Sen. Dean Heller refused to give permission for her nomination to move forward.

Earlier this week, the nomination of D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Caitlin Halligan was blocked by Senate Republicans under similar circumstances. Halligan and Cadish both faced unfounded attacks from the gun lobby’s leadership, Halligan for a position she took on behalf of a client and Cadish for correctly describing the state of Second Amendment law before the Supreme Court’s District of Columbia v. Heller decision. Both have clearly stated that they understand and would follow Supreme Court precedent on gun rights.

“Senate Republicans and the gun lobby have worked hand in hand to keep these two exceptionally qualified women off the federal bench,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “Neither Cadish nor Halligan has displayed character or ethics problems let alone any sort of extreme ideology like that they were accused of. Yet Halligan was never allowed an up-or-down vote from the Senate, and Cadish never even had the opportunity to answer senators’ questions on her record before the Judiciary Committee.”

“The sinking of these two nominees shows just how far the Senate GOP and the gun lobby are willing to go, and how badly they are willing to stretch the facts, in order to keep President Obama’s nominees off the federal bench,” Baker added.

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PFAWF Releases Reports on Outside Election Spending in 21 States, Organizes ‘Money Out/Voters In’ Events Across the U.S.

Out of State Money Floods Contests in 2012

Washington, DC –  Today People For the American Way Foundation unveiled new state-by-state fact sheets detailing outside spending in U.S. Senate and House races in 21 states.  Each report analyzes the outside spending totals from Super PACs, dark money groups, and out-of-state spenders in the down ballot federal races from the 2012 election cycle.  The fact sheets reveal that, on average, a majority of outside election money in these states came from Super PACs.  And in every case, a vast majority came from organizations registered outside of the state.

The release of the “Outside Spending, Outsized Influence” reports coincide with the weekend marking Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the third anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC  to draw attention to the dual threats of voter suppression and unlimited corporate and special interest money in politics. The reports – a partnership between PFAWF and U.S. PIRG – are part of the Money Out/Voters In campaign.  As part of that campaign, People For the American Way Foundation, its affiliate People For the American Way, and other organizers across the country are hosting “Day of Action” events in more than 76 cities in 33 states this weekend. Members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council will be leading Money Out/Voters In events in Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia.

“Last year’s elections were far and away the most expensive in history,” said People For the American Way Foundation Executive Vice President Marge Baker.  “A major reason was the influx of outside, special interest spending in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision. When big money floods our elections, it dwarfs the ability of individual Americans to have their voices heard. Just as important, when politicians push laws to suppress the vote, we turn back the clock on decades on progress to expand and improve our democracy. We need to pursue the full range of remedies to address the problem of too much money in politics, including amending the Constitution to overturn Citizens United, and we need to stand up against the growing threat of voter suppression.  This weekend we are joining with allies across the country to call for a democracy that gets Money Out and Voters In.”

The states featured in the reports are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.

For links to each report, please visit: http://www.pfaw.org/issues/outside-spending-outsized-influence-big-and-s...

For more information about the Money Out/Voters In campaign or the Days of Action, please visit: http://www.moneyout-votersin.org

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People For the American Way Expands Latino Vote Campaign, Launches New TV Ad in Four Swing States

Washington, DC -- People For the American Way expanded its campaign targeting Latino voters this week, adding outreach in Nevada and North Carolina and launching the second in a series of Spanish-language television ads exposing Mitt Romney's dangerous agenda for Latinos. The ad, running in key markets in Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, features interviews with real voters reacting to Romney's promise to veto the DREAM Act if it were to be passed by Congress. The two TV ads, along with radio and direct mail outreach are part of a $1.2 million and growing campaign in key swing states.
 
The new ad, "Dream Act," can be viewed here.
 
"Mitt Romney has been very clear about his extreme anti-Latino agenda," said Michael Keegan, president of People For the American Way. "He slammed Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. He touted the endorsement of Kris Kobach, the architect of disastrous, draconian anti-immigrant measures in Arizona and Alabama. He vowed to make life so difficult for undocumented immigrants that they would be forced to 'self-deport.' He even rejected the DREAM Act, which after being partially implemented by President Obama's executive order, is helping thousands of loyal, hard-working young Americans give back to the country they call home."
 
"Romney plans to heap further tax cuts on the wealthiest at the expense of programs that benefit working people,"continued Keegan. "Americans should have a shot at the American dream. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to slam the door on all but the already privileged few."

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