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CA Gov. Jerry Brown Tells Native American Activists He’d Like To Put Them ‘In The Ground’

The Democratic governor of California told Native American activists that he’d like to put them “in the ground” after being interrupted during a speech on Saturday.

Jerry Brown was speaking at the U.N. climate summit in Bonn, Germany. His speech focused on the need to address and act on reversing human-caused climate change.

Some of those in attendance, however, noted the discord between Brown’s rhetoric and his actual policies as governor of the Golden State. As governor, Brown has heavily resisted calls to ban fracking in the state and the controversial hydrocarbon extraction process still regularly occurs there.

An indigenous rights group interrupted Brown as he spoke. The exchange unfolded like this:

Protesters: California’s fracking spreads pollution!

Brown: Yeah, I wish—I wish we could have no pollution, but we have to have our automobiles.

Protesters: In the ground!

Brown: In the ground.

Protesters: In the ground!

Brown: I agree with you. In the ground. Let’s put you in the ground so we can get on with the show here.

Longtime Brown observers will notice nothing out-of-step over his comments. Brown’s cultivated left-wing image–in contrast to his centrist policies–has long been the subject of discussion and derision.

In 1979, the Dead Kennedys released their first single, “California Über Alles” which featured Brown as the narrator, a “Zen fascist” dictator of California. The mocking song featured lines such as, “It’s the suede denim secret police/They have come for your uncool niece” and “Die on organic poison gas/Serpent’s egg’s already hatched.”

Brown’s Saturday remarks, however, apparently incensed Native American leaders and other indigenous activists. On Tuesday, Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman confronted Brown about his comments and asked if he’d like to apologize.

Brown declined to do so and spent the remainder of his interview with Goodman defending fracking and chiding his environmental critics as taking part in, a “kind of a little left-wing routine,” before his handler eased him away.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher

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