Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bundy's World! (NOTE: Updated to include the 2016 Oregon Branch Stupidian siege)

"Let me tell you what I know about the negro."
These are what U.S. Special Forces call "practice targets."
Manly "Patriot" in bulletproof vest.
Spectators in tank tops, shorts, and jeans getting photo-ops.


February 11, 2016: Cliven Bundy was arrested yesterday after he arrived in Portland, Oregon, where he was coming to protest his sons' arrests for their Malheur Federal Wildlife Sanctuary armed takeover and standoff in rural central Oregon which commenced on January 2nd. Charges include offenses committed during the 2014 standoff at his Nevada ranch.

Some random Photoshop fun with this Manly, Noble Crew.

Click any pic to enlarge to full size. Copy at will.

Well, on February 11th. 2016 this latest sorry-assed Livin' the Screenplay episode of the Playtriot Playskool Militia FreeDumb Follies was wrapped up without law enforcement firing a shot.

The guy standing atop his pickup in the foregoing photo (love the CB radio antenna, "breaker, breaker..."), dressed in military surplus outlet garb including a flak vest and helmet, is identified by The Oregonian as one Tom Wagner, a 32 year old unemployed private security guard. I looked him up on Facebook and sent him this blog page link via FB Messenger.

He replied "fuck you" and warned me that he is a "P.I." He promptly sent me a jpeg of his Oregon state ID card (I can't believe he did that). He's not a "private investigator," he's a state-licensed "Unarmed Private Security Provider," e.g., a mall cop / residential security patrol wannabe, a "Fife," a dude that can be found wearing an "Event Staff" t-shirt at rock concerts. 

I asked "do you have an actual job, or do you just have all this spare time to run around posing as a Manly Playtriot?" He said he would be "investigating" me and "filing charges." Asked for my address so "we can discuss this face to face." My reaction: 'Right. Dude, you don't have the gas money.'

The Stupid knows know bottom.

In a nation of some 250 million voting age adults, roughly 16% fall at or below minus one Standard Deviation on the IQ bell curve. That's 40 million dim bulbs. Roughly 5%, or 12.5 million, will be minus two or more sigma. The really stupid people -- all of whom have the 2nd Amendment right to own AR-15s and other assault-type weapons.

What could possibly go wrong yet again?


Before I started lampooning these bozos, I had a good go at Nevada's absurd, execrable wingnut senatorial candidate Sharron Angle while living in Vegas.


Great article on the end of this hopeless melodrama over at Salon.com:
I spent a good chunk of Wednesday night and Thursday morning glued to the live-stream of various right-wing figures trying to convince the last four holdouts of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to lay down their guns and surrender. It might have been more entertaining than anything that was on TV, that’s for sure.

The long phone conversations had something for everyone. There was the irritation of listening to the occupiers complain about the possibility that they might have to surrender their guns and go to jail for, you know, breaking one or more laws, as if they didn’t truly understand the mechanics of civil disobedience. There was the surreality of Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, previously best known for being such a perfect representative of glib wingnuttery that she might have been grown in the same lab that produced Glenn Beck, putting in a heroic effort to talk the occupiers down when it looked as if they might come completely unglued and start shooting at the FBI agents surrounding them.

There was high comedy when Fiore told holdout Sandy Anderson to write down her story of the occupation in granular detail, “like that author did in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’” Which raised the specter that the most lasting consequence of this event will be some poorly-written erotic occupation slashfic getting adapted into a series of terrible movies.

And there was genuine pathos in the voice of David Fry as this sad and desperate young man, the last holdout to surrender, urgently tried to convince Fiore and others that seemingly every conspiracy theory he had ever read on the Internet was indeed true. His father, meanwhile, was telling media outlets he was worried his disturbed son would rather commit suicide than give up. One can only hope that Fry gets the care he so obviously needs. Or failing that, a seat in Congress, where his lunacy will be less noticeable.

But what was most obvious in the long, long list of grievances that Fry, Anderson, her husband Sean, and the fourth person, Jeff Banta, was that these were people steeped in the muddled and reactionary right-wing politics that have turned the base of the Republican Party into a stew of resentment and victimization. These were people who have spent years being told by conservative media that everyone is out to get them and everyone is stepping all over them while minorities and liberals and immigrants and jackbooted federal officers steal their jobs and their guns and turn America into a giant, sharia-ruled suburb of Tijuana.

And now, having stood up to all those forces, the people in Malheur had been abandoned by the very groups they had been told repeatedly were with them all the way. Where were the Oath Keepers, who have sworn to defend the Constitution and have supposedly infiltrated the FBI? Where were the right-wing radio and TV hosts who spent years firing them up? Why wasn’t Sean Hannity parachuting into Oregon with a camera crew to bring the struggle to a national audience? Where were the American people, and why weren’t they storming the barricades to help these four souls who had taken a stand for everyone’s rights?...


Word is she's gonna run for Joe Heck's seat in Congress, 'cause he wants to run for Senate
(to try to replace the retiring Nevada Senator Harry Reid).
I will be ready. Just registered MicheleFiori.blogspot.com

My disdain for these idiots is pretty clear, 'eh? I find Skousen vest pocket paperback Constitutional dilettante-ism beyond tiresome, particularly when it is used as justification for arming up with tactical assault gear and prancing around menacingly to preach your (seditious) "patriotism" for the cameras. My late Dad spent 7 years in the military, across the duration of WWII. He came home from Europe minus a leg. All four of his brothers served. Only Pop and my uncle Warren survived the war years. My Mom's brothers all served as well, with the exception of my youngest uncle, who was still a kid at the time.

So, these assholes can just bite me. I also spent four years in grad school focused in deep study principally on one relatively narrow area of the 4th Amendment for my Thesis. Arguing that the federal government ("We the People," recall?) has no authority to own territory or property outside of DC, based on the out-of-context motivated misreading of one clause (Article I.8.17, the so-called "enclave clause") is the utter depth of juvie ignorance. The very next clause, Article I.8.18, declares that the "Congress shall have power...To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof."

"And All Other Powers Vested..." Game, Set, and Match. We really need not even go further to Article IV.3.2: "The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state."

Then there's Article VI.2: "This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

Gimme a break. And, I must have been out sick the day in ConLaw when they went over the "Constitutional Sheriff," who, according to the Bundys, the Branch Stupidians, and their supporters, is the highest ranking law enforcement official in the nation.

In a nation of an estimated 320 million people, you get your precise, unique way 1/320 millionth of the time. Deal with it. Get over it. There are indeed many things wrong with this (or any) society, and there are also many appropriate methods of expression of grievances and avenues of redress.

Preening ominously with assault weapons while dressed in faux-military outfits and threatening armed revolution is not among them. It does not constitute "First Amendment Protest."

"To focus on the bizarre, to wallow in the cheap pleasures of ridicule, is to sacrifice any chance of finding meaning or instruction here."
Yeah. Point taken, to a degree, but I don't find them mutually exclusive. Nonetheless, Hal Herring's lengthy article (source of the foregoing quote) is the best I've yet found on the issue.
Can we make sense of the Malheur mess?
A writer finds camaraderie and despair inside the Oregon standoff.

What more can be said? I was one of the hundreds of journalists who went to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during the Ammon Bundy occupation, and I saw the same things that all the rest of them did. If there was any difference between myself and those hundreds of other journalists, maybe it was that I went there looking for kindred spirits.

I am a self-employed, American-born writer with a wife and two teenage children living in a tiny town on the plains of Montana. I’m a reader of the U.S. Constitution, one who truly believes that the Second Amendment guarantees the survival of the rest of the Bill of Rights. I came of age reading Edward Abbey’s The Brave Cowboy, Orwell’s 1984, and a laundry-list of anarchists, from Tolstoy and Kropotkin to Bakunin and Proudhon, who gave me the maxim that defined my early twenties: “Whoever lays his hand on me to govern me is a usurper and a tyrant: I declare him my enemy.” I read Malthus and Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau, and am a skeptic of government power. I was not surprised when I read about the outrage over the sentencing of Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steve Hammond for arson: Federal mandatory minimum sentencing has been a terrible idea since its inception. I am gobsmacked by an economy that seems engineered to impoverish anyone who dares try make their own living, and by a government that seems more and more distant from the people it represents, except when calling up our sons and daughters to attack chaotic peoples that clearly have nothing to do with me or anybody I know.

I am isolated by a culture that is as inscrutable to me as any in the mountains of Afghanistan. For loving wilderness and empty lands and birdsong rather than teeming cities, I risk being called a xenophobe, a noxious nativist. For viewing guns as constitutionally protected, essential tools of self-defense and, if need be, liberation, I’m told that I defend the massacres of innocents in mass shootings. When I came to Montana at age twenty-five, I found in this vast landscape, especially in the public lands where I hunted and camped and worked, the freedom that was evaporating in the South, where I grew up. I got happily lost in the space and the history. For a nature-obsessed, gun-soaked malcontent like me, it was home, and when Ammon Bundy and his men took over the Malheur refuge, on a cold night in January, I thought I should go visit my neighbors...
A fine read. Well worth your time.
I went to the Malheur looking for kindred spirits. I found the mad, the fervent, the passionately misguided. I found the unknowing pawns of an existential chess game, in which we are, all of us, now caught. Driving home across the snow-packed Malheur Basin, through mile after mile of sage, with towering basalt cliffs in the near distance, herds of mule deer appearing as gray specks in the tongues of slide rock and wind-exposed yellow grass, I did not wonder what Edward Abbey would have said about all of this, or Kropotkin or the lugubrious monarchist Thomas Hobbes. I thought instead of the old C.S. Lewis books of my childhood, and of Lewis’ writings on the nature of evil, where evil is never a lie, because lying implies creation, and evil, by its nature, has no creative power. Instead, the nature of evil is to take a truth and twist it, sometimes as much as 180 degrees. Love of country becomes hatred of those we believe don’t share our devotion, or don’t share it the same way. The natural right of armed self-defense becomes the means to take over a wildlife refuge, to exert tyranny on those who work there, or those who love the place for the nature it preserves in a world replete with man’s endeavors. The U.S. Constitution, one of the most liberal and empowering documents ever composed, becomes, with just a slight annotation or interpretation, the tool of our own enslavement.


Cliven Bundy, 4 others face federal indictment in Nevada

A federal grand jury in Nevada indicted Cliven Bundy and four others Wednesday on 16 charges related to an armed standoff near his ranch in 2014 over unpaid grazing fees.

Oregon, where his sons, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, are jailed and accused of organizing the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. In the takeover, which lasted nearly six weeks, they had demanded that public lands be turned over to locals and that two area ranchers serving sentences for arson be freed.

Ammon Bundy, of Idaho, Ryan Bundy, of Nevada, Ryan Payne, of Montana, and Peter Santilli of Ohio, were also indicted by the Nevada grand jury Wednesday.

The charges against them and Cliven Bundy include: conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer, weapon use and possession, assault on a federal officer, threatening a federal law enforcement officer, obstruction, extortion to interfere with commerce, and interstate travel in aid of extortion.

"This indictment sends a resounding message to those who wish to participate in violent acts that our resolve to pursue them and enforce the law remains unwavering," Nevada FBI Special Agent in Charge Laura Bucheit said in a written statement.

Cliven Bundy is accused of leading "a massive armed assault" of 200 followers to stop federal law agents who were rounding up about 400 of Bundy's cattle on federal lands in April 2014, according to documents filed by U.S. attorneys Wednesday...

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