So the Freak Show descended upon the Nevada state capital of Carson City today, and Jon Ralston filed a report. The lede:
“Fellow Nevadans, we are a joke.”
Well, gosh, let’s not put too fine a point on it, Jon.
Cliven Bundy rounded up some supporters to rally in support of A.B. 408, sponsored by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, which declares a swath of federal land the “common property of the citizens of the state.” It prohibits the federal government from claiming water rights and owning any land in the state unless it’s a military operation or the Legislature approves of the occupation.
Favorite line of the Ralston article (other than the fact that Nevadans are a joke): “Fiore, aptly described by Vegas Seven’s Lissa Townsend Rodgers as ‘like a Kardashian, only with the power to change laws.'” Hmmm. I can think of another prominent woman Republican politician for whom that description seems most appropriate. But she’s not from Nevada, let alone the continental United States, so I digress.
These geniuses are no ordinary Mensa legislators: they concocted an idea – to somehow take back our federal lands! – that violates both the state and federal constitutions.
The Legislative Counsel Bureau had declared the measure, Assembly Bill 408, patently absurd (my words, not theirs) and still sponsor Michele Fiore encouraged the Bundy-backing horde to come and allow the hearing in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee to occur.
“In conclusion, it is the opinion of this office that the provisions of A.B. 408, if enacted, would be constitutionally invalid,” the LCB wrote last week. “The authority of the United States to acquire and control the public lands located in this State is extensive, and ample bases exist upon which court could invalidate any state laws which are in direct conflict with existing federal laws concerning those public lands or which are hostile to or interfere with the exercise of federal authority over public lands.”
And yet the rally and the hearing went on as planned, a combination of “Deliverance” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” complete with mentions of the Magna Carta, We the People and, of course, freedom. Always freedom.
And the things they said. Our elected officials, fellow Nevadans.
Fiore, who once vowed, O.J. Simpson-like, that she would not rest until she found which lawmakers gave away our lands, clearly does not understand that Nevada ceded the land to the federal government 150 years ago in the Enabling Acts: “That the people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare, that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States…”
Fiore, apparently more at home with pop-up books than history books, also said during the hearing: “They are basically saying our Constitution is unconstitutional. I don’t agree with our Legislative Counsel Bureau.”
Fiore, aptly described by Vegas Seven’s Lissa Townsend Rodgers as “like a Kardashian, only with the power to change laws,” actually invoked “The Beverly Hillbillies” to make her case for the bill, showing a lack of self-awareness that is breathtaking.
But she was not alone in embarrassing herself during this embarrassing spectacle.
Chairwoman Robin Titus declared at one point, “The federal government does not own our land. We own our land. The federal government manages our land.”
Sayeth Jim Wheeler, who once talked about excising Clark County from Nevada and voting for slavery if his constituents wanted him to, said: “I don’t believe the federal government should own one inch of land in Nevada.”
(Anyone want to guess what it would cost for Nevada to manage that land? But this is from the same guy who just released a budget that increases spending by nearly 10 percent and somehow doesn’t raise any taxes.)
Sit back, fellow Nevadans, and understand these people have the power to make laws that govern your lives. They don’t understand the Constitution or possess common sense. They live in an alternate universe, where if you say something, it makes it true, where the black hats wear the white hats, where up is down and dumb is smart.
Yes, the Bureau of Land Management mishandled the raid on the rancher’s property a year ago, but the near-bloodbath occurred because The Bundy and Fiore Gang encouraged militias from other states to come to Bunkerville, armed folks that Sen. Dean Heller, Sean Hannity and others would later call patriots. Patriots!
Fellow Nevadans our schools are withering. Our roads are bumpy. Our social safety net is porous.
But we have time to waste an entire legislative day enabling people who claim they are conservatives but don’t want to meet their obligations, who invoke the Constitution but don’t understand the Constitution and who have found sustenance from lawmakers who don’t care that what they are doing is obviously unconstitutional. Even one of those kids made to hold those offensive signs might understand that.