Thursday, April 24, 2014

And starring Greg Abbott as Cliven Bundy

Never one to skip a Tea Party poutrage -- and not content with only showing off his pathetic understanding of the law -- Greg Abbott has waded into (is that insensitive?) the Nevada-federal-grazing-land controversy by trying to recreate one at the Red River.

On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), the GOP candidate for governor, released a letter politely notifying the Bureau of Land Management that he is "deeply concerned" about reports that the BLM plans to "swoop in and take land that has been owned and cultivated by Texas landowners for generations."

At issue is some amount of acreage — Abbott says 90,000 acres, BLM says 140 — along the Texas side of the border with Oklahoma, delineated by the Red River. The BLM is currently updating its resource management plan for Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, deciding what will be done with the public lands under its management (it could sell the land, open or close it to public use, or let ranchers graze cattle on it, for example). As part of that process, BLM is looking to clarify who owns certain areas of property along the Red River.

You would think that the Texas-Oklahoma border is pretty well fixed by now, but determining the right line has consumed decades of court battles — all the way to the Supreme Court — and involves concepts like avulsion and accretion (when a river cuts away or adds land as it naturally changes course). Both the BLM and Abbott's office say they have the law and court precedent on their side.

Avulsion and accretion, General Abbott.  As opposed to revulsion and excretion, the typical reaction to your ridiculous pronouncements.

Attorney General Abbott in his letter asked the BLM for clarification of its intentions, asserting that "respect for property rights and the rule of law are fundamental principles in the State of Texas and the United States."
But candidate Abbott took a more populist tack, telling Breitbart Texas that he is "about go to go to the Red River and raise a 'Come and Take It' flag to tell the feds to stay out of Texas."

With Ted Nugent, a herd of rednecks with guns, and a few camera phones provided courtesy of those intrepid journalists at Breitbart Texas, who were still picking up the broken pieces of their medium the last time we checked in.  Oh well, at least there'll be a pickup truck with a winch on the front to pull his wheelchair out of the rojo-colored mud when he sinks into it hoisting that petard.

Finally, after the mockery, the moneyshot.

...(M)ore to the point, to paraphrase Shakespeare, he's protesting way too much, perhaps in a bid to obscure the fact that the state of Texas — while Abbott served as its top lawyer — has its own spotty record with protecting private property rights.

You don't have to look too far back, either. Last Thursday, Texas seized the 1,700-acre Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado from a branch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a polygamist Mormon offshoot sect. The group's leader, Warren Jeffs, is serving a life sentence for "celestially marrying" two underage women, and Texas troopers helped vacate the remaining members last week.

Former FLDS member Flora Jessop tells Reuters that Texas deserves the land for having the courage to prosecute Yearning for Zion leaders. But the state claimed its right under a Jan. 6 forfeiture judgment from a state court. "Efforts to seize the property," Reuters' Jim Forsyth notes, "were initiated in 2012 by the attorney general's office."

Then there's the issue of private companies — specifically oil pipeline interests, but also power companies and for-profit toll highway operatorsusing eminent domain to seize private property, with the state's blessing. In March, the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear a final appeal from northeast Texas landowner Julia Trigg Crawford, who refused to sell her land to TransCanada, which used eminent domain to put a leg of the Keystone XL pipeline through her land.

When you've lost both ends of the political spectrum represented by Julia Trigg Crawford and Warren Jeffs... it's entirely possible that you might just lose the governor's race.  That's conditional upon the Texas Teabaggers being able to see the light through Abbott's Shroud of Hypocrisy, which might be a standardized test too far.

McBlogger says it shorter.

Update: Now that the new conservo-hero has shared his thoughts on race relations, his fans seem to be vanishing.

“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton,” Bundy was quoted as saying to a group of supporters last Saturday. “And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”


Bundy’s speech also seemingly derailed Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s apparent attempt to link his gubernatorial campaign to the Bunkerville camp; Abbott had allegedly written a letter to the BLM accusing it of “threatening” to seize land along the Red River in northern Texas.

But after being contacted regarding the rancher’s “Negro” remarks, a spokesperson for Abbott was quoted as saying that Abbott’s letter “was regarding a dispute in Texas and is in no way related to the dispute in Nevada.”

As my friend Neil likes to say, everything is connected.  That goes double for stupid, mean, racist, and Republicans.

Update II: But Bundy does have a positive opinion of undocumented immigrants.

"Now let me talk about the Spanish people," Bundy said in a new video unearthed by New York magazine, right after he concluded his thoughts on "the Negro."

"I understand that they come over here against our Constitution and cross our borders," he says. "But they're here and they're people. I worked side-by-side a lot of them. Don't tell me they don't work, and don't tell me they don't pay taxes. And don't tell me they don't have better family structures than most of us white people."

"When you see those Mexican families, they're together. They picnic together. They're spending their time together," he said. "I'll tell you, in my way of thinking, they're awful nice people. We need to have those people join us and be with us."

What a terrible quandary the conservatives are faced with now.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

Yeah, I said that on FB, about the YFZ Ranch. If it weren't fundy Morons who owned that ranch, the gun nuts would be swarming. That said, why aren't they anyway? Underage kids? Ain't that a Nuge thing?