So who the hell is Bret Whipple you are probably asking. Well Bret is Cliven Bundy’s attorney (which makes him sleazy enough to earn the prize, but wait, there’s more). Bret, in court filings tried to claim that Bundy and his band of scofflaws were no different from the civil rights marchers of Selma, Alabama. Let that sink in for a minute.
In case you’ve been living under or a rock, or wisely just tried to forget this mess, let me offer some background on the Bundy Ranch incident. As CNN Reported:
The Bundys drew national attention at the time for refusing to pay the federal government more than $1 million in grazing fees. “I not only said no. I said hell no,” Cliven Bundy told CNN at the time over his refusal to relocate his cattle.
The land in Clark County, Nevada, became federally protected in 1989 after the government declared the Mojave Desert tortoise an endangered species. That effectively put an end to livestock grazing there. Most ranchers left. The Bundys stayed and continued raising their cattle but racked up fees and fines. Their refusal to foot the bill eventually drew the ire of federal agents, who seized a portion of their cattle.
So let me explain more clearly what went on here. As do many ranchers in the west, the Bundy’s used Public Lands to graze their cattle, from which they made money. Let me explain what “Public Land” means. It means that it belongs to you and me and even Cliven here. It’s not the government’s land, it is OUR Land. We use the government as our property manager. Also, if you’re going to use OUR land for a commercial purpose, or to support your own personal business enterprise, we’re going to expect you to reimburse US for that use. Cliven didn’t think he needed to do that.
So, as John Stwart once eloquently put it, “This is the largest bovine dine and dash in history.” We need to remember what this was all about. This “taker,” has used public lands for years to support his business, but unlike every other rancher, he doesn’t pay the grazing fees, to the tune of millions of dollars…this what that was all about…the guy stealing from the public. If you support this kind of crap, then you are supporting a thief. Keep that in mind.
Now, Bundy is finally having his day in court (after firing a couple of lawyers, and trying to represent himself…I guess he couldn’t find one crazy enough to suit him until Whipple here came along). According the Mother Jones:
In a court filing this week, Bundy’s lawyer, Bret Whipple, made a rather extraordinary argument: that this armed insurrection at the Bundy ranch was no different from the Selma civil rights march in 1965. He also notes that like Bundy, Martin Luther King Jr. “openly violated a federal court injunction.” Far from menacing the BLM officers with what the government calls a “massive assault,” Bundy and his co-conspirators were simply following the “pattern of political demonstrations throughout American history,” says Whipple. He suggests that the BLM was acting an awful lot like George Wallace, the Alabama governor who set the police on the (unarmed) Selma marchers. Whipple argues that the Bundy supporters who moved on the BLM officers simply followed in MLK’s footsteps.
So, Bret, since you don’t know the difference between fighting for equal rights, and stealing from the public, you win our Douche Bag of the Day award. Congratulations.
As something of an aside, and just so you know, Mother Jones also reminds of this little tidbit about Mr. Bundy:
Comparing the armed militia groups at the Bundy ranch to civil rights marchers in Selma is an unusual argument on behalf of someone who was captured on video suggesting that “the Negro” might be better off in slavery picking cotton. After the standoff concluded, Bundy held court before reporters in 2014 and talked about driving past a public housing project in Las Vegas. He said:
I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro…In front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids—and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch—they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. 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.
Just so we’re clear about the kind of people we’re dealing with here.