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Extremism in the Defense of Stupidity Is a Vice, Part 2: Razing Arizona

Politi­cians putting their foot in the mouth is noth­ing new. But, inter­est­ing­ly, one of Ari­zon­a’s top law­mak­ers, House Speak­er Andy Big­gs, recent­ly found him­self in hot water after speak­ing at an event not for what he said. It’s what he did­n’t say. Yes, a num­ber of of eye­brows were raised when Andy Big­gs spoke an event where Stew­art Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keep­ers, called for the tri­al and sub­se­quent hang­ing of US Sen­a­tor John McCain. And Big­gs said noth­ing.

That Big­gs’s lack of a response sparked con­tro­ver­sy is not sur­pris­ing. But what Big­gs did say is arguably just as con­tro­ver­sial since he was basi­cal­ly advo­cat­ing a ‘Sov­er­eign Citizen’/Oath Keeper/Bundy ranch-style show­down with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment at a statewide lev­el. And, as we’ll see below, a major­i­ty of the Ari­zona GOP appears to agree with him. Now THAT’s con­tro­ver­sial. Or at least it should be!

So let’s take a walk down mem­o­ry lane and look at Ari­zon­a’s recent for­ay into ‘Sov­er­eign­ty’.

But first, check out the, uh, bold lead­er­ship from the pres­i­dent of the Ari­zona Sen­ate:

12 News
Top AZ law­mak­er does­n’t object to ‘Hang McCain’

Brahm Resnik, 12 News 7:58 p.m. MST May 12, 2015

Ari­zona Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Andy Big­gs remained silent as a speak­er at an event last week said fel­low Repub­li­can Sen. John McCain should be hanged for trea­son.

“John Cain is a trai­tor to the Con­sti­tu­tion,” said Stew­art Rhodes, founder of Oath Keep­ers, as he tripped on McCain’s name.

“He should be tried for trea­son before a jury of his peers,” Rhodes told a gath­er­ing of con­ser­v­a­tives May 5 at the Thirsty Lion Pub in Tempe. “After we con­vict him, he should be hung by the neck until dead.”

When 12 News con­tact­ed Rhodes Tues­day to see if he stood by his com­ments, he said: “I think John McCain is every bit as nuts as Adolf Hitler was.”

Big­gs, Rhodes and for­mer Gra­ham Coun­ty Sher­iff Richard Mack, who has announced plans for a “con­sti­tu­tion­al takeover” of Nava­jo Coun­ty, were dis­cussing the futil­i­ty of call­ing a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion.

All three view them­selves as con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ser­v­a­tives fight­ing back against Wash­ing­ton.

“States need to take back their sov­er­eign­ty,” Big­gs said. “That’s the way we solve the prob­lem.”

Big­gs is seen smil­ing as Mack argues for pass­ing “a law in Ari­zona to nul­li­fy the fed­er­al income tax.”

“That’s pret­ty shock­ing,” said Chris Her­stam, a for­mer state leg­is­la­tor and long­time Capi­tol insid­er. “To have the Sen­ate pres­i­dent sit­ting there and not dis­agree­ing caus­es pause.”

“Peo­ple you asso­ciate with and the events you attend deter­mine your polit­i­cal per­sona,” Her­stam said.

Big­gs isn’t just any politi­cian, Her­stam said. “Andy Big­gs is the most pow­er­ful state leg­is­la­tor that we have.”

As Sen­ate pres­i­dent this year, Big­gs had enough clout to squeeze out $130 mil­lion more in cuts — includ­ing an addi­tion­al $25 mil­lion in high­er edu­ca­tion cuts — from Gov. Doug Ducey’s bud­get pro­pos­al.

“He and Gov. Ducey craft­ed the bud­get deal that passed in March,” Her­stam said.

Big­gs, a Gilbert Repub­li­can, has long been aligned with such East Val­ley con­ser­v­a­tives as for­mer Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Rus­sell Pearce, who was oust­ed from office in a 2011 recall vote. They view McCain as a sell-out on the key issues of ille­gal immi­gra­tion.

In the past, Big­gs want­ed to blow up the state Med­ic­aid pro­gram, which pro­vides health care cov­er­age for needy Ari­zo­nans. Big­gs has­n’t had to work since win­ning a $10 mil­lion sweep­stakes prize in the mid-’90s.

...

That’s right, Andy Big­gs, the pres­i­dent of the Ari­zona Sen­ate and most pow­er­ful leg­is­la­tor in the state, decid­ed to give a talk about how “States need to take back their sovereignty...That’s the way we solve the prob­lem.” And this was at a ral­ly where Richard Mack — the for­mer sher­iff of Gra­ham Coun­ty Sher­iff, an Oath Keep­er board mem­ber, and major Cliv­en Bundy boost­er — advo­cat­ed a “Con­sti­tu­tion­al Takeover” of Nava­jo coun­ty and Stew­art Rhodes, founder of the Sov­er­eign-Cit­i­zen-esque Oath Keep­ers, called for US Sen­a­tor John McCain to tried and hung. Classy.

So, putting aside for a moment the dis­turb­ing real­i­ty that Rhodes called for McCain to be hung and Andy Big­gs appar­ent­ly just sat there say­ing noth­ing, you have to won­der what exact­ly does Andy Big­gs see as the “prob­lem” that neces­si­tates that states “take back their sov­er­eign­ty”.

Well, giv­en that Big­gs was appar­ent­ly smil­ing when Richard Mack, the for­mer sher­iff of Gra­ham Coun­ty Sher­iff and cur­rent Oath Keeper/Cliven Bundy boost­er, advo­cat­ed that for “a law in Ari­zona to nul­li­fy the fed­er­al income tax,” it would appear that “the prob­lem” Andy Big­gs see is fed­er­al­ism. Or, more pre­cise­ly, the cur­rent bal­ance of pow­er between the fed­er­al and state gov­ern­ments.

Well, ok, peo­ple can dis­agree about such mat­ters, but note that Big­gs is a strong advo­cate against the use of con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tions for resolv­ing these kinds of deep dif­fer­ences in how the Unit­ed States should man­age itself, an area that he appar­ent­ly is in agree­ment with both Mack and Rhodes. In fact, Andy Big­gs actu­al­ly killed an attempt by ALEC to get Ari­zon­a’s leg­is­la­ture to call for a “con-con” just last year:

Blog for Ari­zona
ALEC’s stealth con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion derailed by Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Andy Big­gs
Post­ed on April 27, 2014 by AZ Blue­Meanie

Ear­li­er this year I post­ed about ALEC’s stealth con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion, pur­port­ed­ly to pro­pose a bal­anced bud­get amend­ment to the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion that if it were ever actu­al­ly adopt­ed would wreak eco­nom­ic hav­oc on the U.S. econ­o­my. A Con­sti­tu­tion­al Bal­anced Bud­get Amend­ment Threat­ens Great Eco­nom­ic Dam­age (2011); Pro­posed Bal­anced Bud­get Amend­ment is Extreme by Inter­na­tion­al Stan­dards (2013); and Ramesh Pon­nu­ru, A Bal­anced Bud­get Amend­ment: Still a Ter­ri­ble Idea – Bloomberg.

So nat­u­ral­ly the Tea-Pub­li­cans in the Ari­zona House were all for it — hell yeah! Ari­zona House Tea-Pub­li­cans approved HCR 2017 (.pdf), an Appli­ca­tion for an Arti­cle V Con­ven­tion to pro­pose amend­ments to the Unit­ed States Con­sti­tu­tion. Then they did it again in a strike every­thing amend­ment to Cap’n Al Melvin’s bill, SCR 1016 (.pdf). House Tea-Pub­li­cans also approved the ALEC mod­el leg­is­la­tion for the “lim­i­ta­tion” pro­vi­sions sup­pos­ed­ly to pre­vent a run­away con­ven­tion, HB 2104 (.pdf), and HB 2397 (.pdf).

Only Tea-Pub­li­cans vot­ed in favor of this ALEC mod­el leg­is­la­tion, includ­ing the “myth­i­cal mod­er­ate Repub­li­can” Ethan Orr (R‑Tucson).

All of these ALEC mod­el bills died in the Ari­zona Sen­ate where Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Andy Big­gs, who is no fan of Arti­cle V con­ven­tions, made cer­tain that these bills nev­er came up for a final vote. I guess we owe him a debt of grat­i­tude for a rare moment of san­i­ty.

...

And thank you, Andy Big­gs — just this once.

Yep, Andy Big­gs actu­al­ly killed a Tea Party/ALEC fueled attempt to make Ari­zona one of the state’s call­ing for a “con-con”. And, for that, per­haps we should thank him. A Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion, espe­cial­ly one that ALEC is call­ing for, real­ly could destroy the coun­try. But in terms of fun­da­men­tal­ly rebal­anc­ing the rela­tion­ship between the states and fed­er­al gov­ern­ment amend­ing the US Con­sti­tu­tion is the only game in town that does­n’t involve a series of Supreme Court deci­sions that rein­ter­pret the exist­ing Con­sti­tu­tion.

That’s how it’s done. A con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion isn’t the only way to amend the con­sti­tu­tion (one amend­ment at a time is how it’s always been done) and eas­i­ly the most dan­ger­ous way to do so since it could go hay­wire. But ther means of fun­da­men­tal­ly and rad­i­cal­ly rebal­anc­ing the bal­ance of pow­er between state and fed­er­al gov­ern­ment like just assert­ing that your state dis­agrees with the cur­rent pre­vail­ing inter­pre­ta­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion are uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. And, by the way, 34 state leg­is­la­tures have already passed bills call­ing for a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion­al. 36 are need­ed to make it hap­pen. The far-right real­ly wants this to hap­pen. We should actu­al­ly be thank­ful for Andy Big­gs on that one.

But as we saw above, Andy Big­gs talks about how “States need to take back their sovereignty...That’s the way we solve the prob­lem,” but is also vehe­ment­ly apposed to a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion. So just how does he pro­pos­es states take back their sov­er­eign­ty.

Well, the “Con­sti­tu­tion­al Takeover” of Nava­jo coun­ty Richard Mack called for sure would be an exam­ple of a state (or coun­ty in this case) sim­ply ‘tak­ing back their sov­er­eign­ty’ by elect­ing peo­ple at the local lev­el that will ‘nul­li­fy’ all laws, local and fed­er­al, that they deem uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. And while that may seem like a zany far right scheme, it also sounds a lot like what Andy Big­gs was allud­ing to for the entire state of Ari­zona. Sounds unbe­liev­able? Well, as we’ll see below, that’s exact­ly what the Ari­zon­a’s GOP leg­is­la­tors have been try­ing to do over and over in recent years.

I Thought They Were the Promise Keep­ers. *fin­gers crossed*
So, get­ting back to the calls for John McCain’s hang­ing, did Andy Big­gs he have an expla­na­tion for why he did­n’t say any­thing? Or how about why he was even at an Oath Keep­ers ral­ly in the first place?

Well, as he puts it in the arti­cle below, he did have an expla­na­tion for not say­ing any­thing: The pres­i­dent of the Ari­zona Sen­ate did­n’t feel it was his place to speak ups. It’s an odd response con­sid­er­ing that dis­agree­ing with some­one does­n’t exact­ly con­sti­tute a vio­la­tion of their free speech rights, but that’s his expla­na­tion.

As for why he was there in the first place, he appar­ent­ly had no idea who the Oath Keep­ers are. Also, he thought they were the Promise Keep­ers. Uh huh...suu­ure Andy:

The Ari­zona Repub­lic
Pro-Con­sti­tu­tion group founder: Hang McCain ‘until dead’
Dan Now­ic­ki, The Repub­lic | azcentral.com 11:14 a.m. MST May 15, 2015

At a Tempe event, the founder of the Oath Keep­ers orga­ni­za­tion called Sen. John McCain, R‑Ariz., a trai­tor to the Con­sti­tu­tion who should be tried, con­vict­ed and exe­cut­ed by hang­ing.

The founder of the pro-Con­sti­tu­tion orga­ni­za­tion Oath Keep­ers last week said U.S. Sen. John McCain should be tried for trea­son, con­vict­ed and “hung by the neck until dead.”

Stew­art Rhodes was record­ed mak­ing the remarks about McCain, R‑Ariz., in a video released by the lib­er­al Peo­ple For the Amer­i­can Way’s Right Wing Watch project. Rhodes was speak­ing at the Ari­zona Lib­er­ty Cau­cus’ May 5 “Lib­er­ty On Tap” event at the Thirsty Lion Gas­trop­ub & Grill at Tempe Mar­ket­place.

Ari­zona Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Andy Big­gs, R‑Gilbert, was the fea­tured speak­er at the event, invit­ed to dis­cuss the “dan­gers of an Arti­cle V Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion.” For­mer Gra­ham Coun­ty Sher­iff Richard Mack, a Sec­ond Amend­ment activist, also spoke.

In the video, Rhodes calls McCain a trai­tor to the Con­sti­tu­tion.

“He would deny you the right for tri­al to jury, but we will give him a tri­al for jury, and then after we con­vict him, he should be hung by the neck until dead,” Rhodes said.

Bri­an Rogers, a McCain spokesman, said McCain had no com­ment.

...

Big­gs told The Repub­lic he was the first speak­er on the pro­gram and spoke for 30 min­utes to 35 min­utes. A pan­el was invit­ed to talk about the need for a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion and Big­gs was invit­ed because he has writ­ten a book out­lin­ing his objec­tions to such a con­ven­tion.

He said he did­n’t know who or what the Oath Keep­ers are, ini­tial­ly con­fus­ing them with “Promise Keep­ers,” a min­istry for men. He added that he did not know Rhodes, and thought he was being invit­ed by “an Ari­zona lib­er­ty group.”

Big­gs said he does­n’t agree with Rhodes’ com­ments, but said he did­n’t feel it was his place to speak up and denounce him.

“Good grief! Stop it with your free-speech rights,” he said, imag­in­ing what he could have said to Rhodes.

He said he was­n’t sure when Rhodes made his inflam­ma­to­ry com­ments but, “Your ears perk up when some­one says some­thing like that.”

Huh, so Andy Big­gs appar­ent­ly has no idea who or what the Oath Keep­ers are, con­fus­ing them with the Promise Keep­ers and think­ing he had just been invit­ed to speak by “an Ari­zona lib­er­ty group”. And, to be fair, it’s cer­tain­ly pos­si­ble that he had no idea that an event host­ed by “Ari­zona Lib­er­ty Cau­cus” was also going to fea­ture Oath Keep­er big wigs like Rich Mack and Stew­art Rhodes. But the idea that Big­gs has no idea what who or what the Oath Keep­ers are?!?! Now that is just beyond absurd.

Keep in mind that this isn’t just an issue of whether or not a politi­cian is fudg­ing the truth. It’s an issue of a pow­er­ful politi­cian play­ing dumb in order to hide the pro­found influ­ence far-right extrem­ist groups like the Oath Keep­ers are wield­ing in his state gov­ern­ment under his watch. That’s why Andy Big­gs’s lit­tle white lie about not know­ing who the Oath Keep­ers are is such a big deal.

Let’s take a fun walk down mem­o­ry lane...to the Bundy ranch
Part of makes Big­gs’s denials of so amus­ing­ly implau­si­ble is the fact that Ari­zon­a’s leg­is­la­ture sent a del­e­ga­tion to Cliv­en Bundy’s ranch where the Oath Keep­ers were lead­ing a stand off with the gov­ern­ment. And, at the time of that del­e­ga­tion, the far right blo­gos­phere was in a tizzy with glee over how Andy Big­gs appar­ent­ly felt that Ari­zona should be involved in sup­port­ing CSPOA and Oath Keep­ers in going to Bunkerville, Neva­da:

The Com­mon Sense Show
Sher­iff Mack, CSPOA, Oath­keep­ers, State Leg­is­la­tors & Amer­i­ca Stands with Cliv­en Bundy

Dave Hodges

April 11, 2014

I recent­ly received an email from Sher­iff Richard Mack updat­ing me on the recent hap­pen­ings with regard to the Bundy case and Bureau of Land Man­age­ment (BLM).

The Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs and Peace Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion (CSPOA) have trav­eled to Neva­da to stand with the Bundy fam­i­ly. Addi­tion­al­ly, the Oath­keep­ers have done the same. An esti­mat­ed 5,000 mili­tia types from West­ern states have also made their way to the Bundy prop­er­ty as well.

Sher­iff Mack and CSPOA are respond­ing to the storm brew­ing between Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy and the BLM. They have respond­ed by stat­ing that the all-too-fre­quent bul­ly­ing of indi­vid­ual cit­i­zens by var­i­ous mil­i­ta­rized Fed­er­al agen­cies have usurped the Con­sti­tu­tion and they have vowed that the forces of tyran­ny can be stopped. In fact, as CSPOA claims, it’s an epi­dem­ic that “must be stopped”.

I have learned that Sher­iff Mack is leav­ing ear­ly Sat­ur­day morn­ing for an emer­gency trip to Bunkerville, Neva­da, along with oth­er mem­bers of the CSPOA posse to stand with the Bundy’s and find a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion to this con­flict (i.e., the feds going home). The name is “Bunkerville”, is both iron­ic and appro­pri­ate­ly named, don’t you think?

...

The Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture Stands With Bundy

In a case of “I would nev­er have believed this in a mil­lion years”, the Ari­zona State Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Andy Big­gs and the Ari­zona House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Speak­er Dave Liv­ingston are both in agree­ment that Ari­zona should be involved in sup­port­ing CSPOA and Oath Keep­ers in going to Bunkerville, Neva­da. These two lead­ers of the Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture have vowed to sup­port the Cliv­en Bundy fam­i­ly. This stun­ning devel­op­ment can­not be over­stat­ed, and yet, there is more. Addi­tion­al­ly, State Sen­a­tors Al Melvin, Chester Cran­dall, and Kel­ly Ward along with State Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Bren­da Bar­ton, Bob Thor­pe, Kel­ly Townsend and War­ren Peter­son are all plan­ning to be at the Bundy ranch by Sun­day morn­ing. All of these local gov­ern­ment offi­cials are plan­ning to attend the Press Con­fer­ence Mon­day after­noon with the CSPOA and Oath Keep­ers along with the Bundy’s and oth­er sher­iffs and pub­lic offi­cials from across the coun­try.

...

If you Google “Andy Big­gs + del­e­ga­tion + Cliv­en Bundy”, that mes­sage from Richard Mack about Big­gs’s sup­port for the Bundy fam­i­ly is all over the inter­net. And, yes, it’s pos­si­ble that Big­gs nev­er expressed such sup­port and this was all blus­ter, but, at least last year, that’s what the Oath Keep­ers, mili­tias, and the rest of the Bundy ranch sup­port­ers were cel­e­brat­ing at one point: that Andy Big­gs, the pres­i­dent of Ari­zon­a’s Sen­ate, vowed to sup­port the Bundy fam­i­ly.

Also note that Dave Liv­ingston, who actu­al­ly led the Ari­zona del­e­ga­tion to the Bundy ranch, was­n’t the Speak­er of the House in 2014 (that was Andy Tobin). But he did become the House Major­i­ty Whip last Novem­ber.

So, whether or not Andy Big­gs is an Oath Keep­er sup­port­er or a repeat­ed vic­tim of inad­ver­tent Oath Keep­er inci­dents, giv­en that Rep. David Liv­ingston became the House Major­i­ty whip lat­er in the year, it’s pret­ty clear that lead­ing a del­e­ga­tion to the Bundy ranch does­n’t hurt your chances of obtain­ing the GOP lead­er­ship posi­tions in Ari­zona:

The Ari­zona Repub­lic
Ari­zona leg­is­la­tors see Cliv­en Bundy as a hero?

Lau­rie Roberts, The Repub­lic | azcentral.com 10:34 a.m. MST April 19, 2014

The Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture faced some­thing of a stand­off this week, as one of our lead­ers waxed on and on and yes, on about his “life chang­ing” expe­ri­ence stand­ing with group that took up arms against the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment last week­end.

Yeah, you just knew that some of Ari­zon­a’s lead­ing lights would be among those flock­ing to Bundy Ranch in Neva­da, where armed pro­test­ers and mili­tia types decked out in camo faced off against fed­er­al law enforce­ment agents.

“This event was not about a ranch,” state Rep. David Liv­ingston, R‑Peoria, said on the House floor this week as leg­is­la­tors were try­ing to debate actu­al Ari­zona issues. “This event was­n’t about cat­tle. It was­n’t about the trail. It was all about pow­er. It was all about show­ing who had the pow­er.”

Actu­al­ly, it was about obstruct­ing fed­er­al agents who were attempt­ing to enforce a law­ful court order against a dead­beat ranch­er who for two decades has refused to pay his bills – a guy who does­n’t even rec­og­nize the exis­tence of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

In oth­er words, a hero for the ages. In the eyes of some, that is.

Our Leg­is­la­ture is filled with peo­ple who long for the good old days when states seced­ed from the union. Every year, we see bills declar­ing all EPA reg­u­la­tions null and void in Ari­zona and bills declar­ing fed­er­al gun laws null and void in Ari­zona and bills requir­ing fed­er­al agents to check in with coun­ty sher­iffs before they try to enforce fed­er­al law in Ari­zona.

There’s the always-pop­u­lar bien­ni­al effort to declare Ari­zona a sov­er­eign state, which is code for we want con­trol of fed­er­al land so we can elim­i­nate all those vex­ing envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions aimed at assur­ing clean water and clear air and such.

Ari­zona vot­ers reject­ed that one by more than a 2–1 mar­gin in 2012.

Then there are the bills to just flat-out ignore fed­er­al laws we don’t like. Look for that one on the bal­lot this fall.

So it’s no sur­prise that Liv­ingston and com­pa­ny would make the trek to Mesquite, Nev., last week­end to stand with Cliv­en Bundy against the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment.

Join­ing Liv­ingston were Repub­li­can Reps. Kel­ly Townsend of Mesa and Bob Thor­pe of Flagstaff and Sens. Kel­li Ward of Lake Hava­su City and Judy Burges of Sun City West. U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar was also there.

“We don’t need the gov­ern­ment to tell us what to eat, what to wear, what to drink (and) how to dri­ve,” Ward told a Neva­da TV sta­tion.

What that has to do with a fed­er­al land dis­pute escapes me. Still, I’m with Ward on the whole nan­ny state bit. Heck, I like a good fight against gov­ern­ment tyran­ny as much as the next red-blood­ed Amer­i­can. But Cliv­en Bundy isn’t my idea of inspi­ra­tion to jump up there on my high horse.

...

On Sun­day, Liv­ingston joined 100 or so pro­test­ers at a church ser­vice at the site of the stand­off, declar­ing that the Bundy tri­umph would serve as the ral­ly­ing call for state sov­er­eign­ty.

“This,’ Liv­ingston said, “was a major tip­ping point.”

It was indeed a tip­ping point.

But the only thing top­pled was the rule of law.

First, note the names of Sen­a­tors Kel­li Ward and Judy Burges in the del­e­ga­tion. We’ll get back to them.

So, as state Rep. David Liv­ingston put it at the time:

“This event was not about a ranch...This event was­n’t about cat­tle. It was­n’t about the trail. It was all about pow­er. It was all about show­ing who had the pow­er.”

And he was, indeed, cor­rect. The Bundy ranch fias­co was about much more than cat­tle. It was about whether or not Cliv­en Bundy, the Oath Keep­ers, and every­one else is actu­al­ly a ‘Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen’ and the coun­ty sher­iffs call the shots at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment:

TPM Muck­rak­er
Why Bundy Ranch Thinks Amer­i­ca’s Sher­iffs Can Dis­arm The Feds

By Dylan Scott
Pub­lished April 15, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT

Neva­da cat­tle ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy, whose dis­pute with the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment spurred a tense stand­off between armed anti-gov­ern­ment activists and fed­er­al offi­cials over the week­end, had some strik­ing­ly spe­cif­ic direc­tions for sher­iffs across the coun­try Mon­day night.

“Dis­arm the fed­er­al bureau­crats,” Bundy said in an inter­view with Fox News’s Sean Han­ni­ty. He had been asked to respond to Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Har­ry Rei­d’s asser­tion that the Bundy Ranch stand­off (as it is now offi­cial­ly known on Wikipedia) was “not over.”

Bundy had already asked his local sher­iff to arrest the BLM offi­cials who were round­ing up his cat­tle, but he direct­ed his new mes­sage to “every coun­ty sher­iff in the Unit­ed States.”

Bundy’s state­ment brought to the fore­front a the­o­ry that some on the far right have held for decades: that local sher­iffs are ordained with an immense amount of pow­er, going beyond that of even fed­er­al author­i­ties. In the Bundy Ranch dis­pute, that the­o­ry is the dri­ving ide­ol­o­gy of some of the groups that have ral­lied to the rancher’s side. Those include the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs and Peace Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion and the Oath Keep­ers, whose mem­bers are law enforce­ment offi­cials and mil­i­tary who have pledged to defend the Con­sti­tu­tion against gov­ern­ment over­reach.

It was Richard Mack, a for­mer Ari­zona coun­ty sher­iff and founder of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs, who had said Mon­day that the gath­ered self-described mili­tia had con­sid­ered using women as human shields if a gun­fight with fed­er­al offi­cials erupt­ed. He elab­o­rat­ed on those com­ments Mon­day in an inter­view with radio host Ben Swann.

“It was a tac­ti­cal plot that I was try­ing to get them to use,” Mack said in com­ments flagged by The Raw Sto­ry. “If they’re going to start killing peo­ple, I’m sor­ry, but to show the world how ruth­less these peo­ple are, women need­ed to be the first ones shot.”

“I’m sor­ry, that sounds hor­ri­ble,” he con­tin­ued. “I would have put my own wife or daugh­ters there, and I would have been scream­ing bloody mur­der to watch them die. I would gone next, I would have been the next one to be killed. I’m not afraid to die here. I’m will­ing to die here.”

Some his­to­ry helps explain these orga­ni­za­tions’ inter­est in Bundy and their place­ment of his feud with BLM in a longer nar­ra­tive.

A 2011 pro­file in the Ari­zona Dai­ly Star news­pa­per explained how Mack, who served as Gra­ham Coun­ty sher­iff in the late 1980s and ear­ly ’90s, first earned nation­al atten­tion when he led the legal chal­lenge against the Brady Hand­gun Vio­lence Pre­ven­tion Act in 1994. The U.S. Supreme Court even­tu­al­ly struck down one key part of the law, which had required state and local law enforce­ment to per­form back­ground checks on firearm pur­chas­es.

The sher­iff, who cit­ed a 1984 class with W. Cleon Skousen, who the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter described as “a lead­ing light of right-wing rad­i­cal­ism, a theo­crat who believed the decline of Amer­i­ca began with pas­sage of the 14th Amend­ment and its guar­an­tee of equal­i­ty for the for­mer slaves and oth­ers,” as his ide­o­log­i­cal awak­en­ing, lays out his world­view on the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs site:

The coun­ty sher­iff is the line in the sand. The coun­ty sher­iff is the one who can say to the feds, “Beyond these bounds you shall not pass.” This is not only with­in the scope of the sheriff’s author­i­ty; it’s the sheriff’s sworn duty.

Mack did not respond to TPM’s request for com­ment on Tues­day.

Bundy’s rhetoric, urg­ing coun­ty sher­iffs to “dis­arm the fed­er­al bureau­crats,” cer­tain­ly tracks with Mack­’s his­to­ry, Mark Pit­cav­age, direc­tor of inves­tiga­tive research at the Anti-Defama­tion League, told TPM. While it’s dif­fi­cult to know how much influ­ence, if any, Mack wield­ed once he got on the ground in Neva­da, he and Bundy share an obvi­ous ide­o­log­i­cal alliance.

...

Mack and the Oath Keep­ers, an allied “non-par­ti­san asso­ci­a­tion of cur­rent and for­mer­ly serv­ing mil­i­tary, police, and first respon­ders,” accord­ing to its web­site, appear to have helped orga­nize the Bundy Ranch mili­tia, which had grown to as many as 1,500 mem­bers by the week­end, Reuters esti­mat­ed.

Both sent up dig­i­tal calls for sup­port. They post­ed the same release to their web­sites Thurs­day, announc­ing that Mack and the Oath Keep­ers mem­bers were join­ing a del­e­ga­tion head­ing to Bundy Ranch. The Oath Keep­ers also called on its 40,000 claimed mem­bers “to join the vig­il at the Bundy ranch.” The group then out­lined how it viewed the Bundy Ranch stand­off as just one piece of a larg­er sto­ry:

This is not about cat­tle. This is about pow­er, and the tram­pling of rights. It’s about a sys­temic pow­er grab and abuse of pow­er by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment as it runs roughshod over the rights of hon­est, hard-work­ing rur­al Amer­i­cans and over the rights of all the West­ern states. This is not an iso­lat­ed inci­dent. It is but the lat­est in a long train of abus­es aimed at sub­ject­ing rur­al Amer­i­cans to absolute despo­tism while destroy­ing the prop­er­ty rights, econ­o­my, and inde­pen­dence of the rur­al West, in par­tic­u­lar, and even­tu­al­ly wip­ing out all of rur­al Amer­i­ca. This is an attack on all of the West, which is why patri­ot­ic leg­is­la­tors and law­men from all over the West are answer­ing the call to defend it.

“This is a full spec­trum, frontal assault on the rur­al West,” it said. “This is tru­ly a range war.”

As Richard Mack describes on his web­site, in ‘Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen’ terms, this whole Oath Keeper/COSPA move­ment is about ele­vat­ing the the coun­try sher­iff to the high­est author­i­ty in the land:

The coun­ty sher­iff is the line in the sand. The coun­ty sher­iff is the one who can say to the feds, “Beyond these bounds you shall not pass.” This is not only with­in the scope of the sheriff’s author­i­ty; it’s the sheriff’s sworn duty.

That’s what the Bundy Ranch show­down was all about and why ‘Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen’ move­ments like the Oath Keep­ers were so enthu­si­as­tic about the show­down.

And, based on the extreme sim­i­lar­i­ty in lan­guage between the way Rep. David Liv­ingston described the Bundy ranch show­down and the Oath Keep­ers’ take on the sit­u­a­tion, it’s pret­ty clear that Ari­zon­a’s del­e­ga­tion had a ‘Sov­er­eign Citizen’-esque pow­er strug­gle in mind too, which sounds awful­ly sim­i­lar to Andy Big­gs’s calls for states to sim­ply “take back their sov­er­eign­ty”.

In the words of the Oath Keep­ers:

This is not about cat­tle. This is about pow­er, and the tram­pling of rights. It’s about a sys­temic pow­er grab and abuse of pow­er by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment as it runs roughshod over the rights of hon­est, hard-work­ing rur­al Amer­i­cans and over the rights of all the West­ern states. This is not an iso­lat­ed inci­dent. It is but the lat­est in a long train of abus­es aimed at sub­ject­ing rur­al Amer­i­cans to absolute despo­tism while destroy­ing the prop­er­ty rights, econ­o­my, and inde­pen­dence of the rur­al West, in par­tic­u­lar, and even­tu­al­ly wip­ing out all of rur­al Amer­i­ca. This is an attack on all of the West, which is why patri­ot­ic leg­is­la­tors and law­men from all over the West are answer­ing the call to defend it.

And in the words of Rep. David Liv­ingston (who is now the Ari­zona House Major­i­ty Whip) on the floor of the Ari­zona House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives upon return­ing from his trip to the Bundy ranch:

“This event was not about a ranch...This event was­n’t about cat­tle. It was­n’t about the trail. It was all about pow­er. It was all about show­ing who had the pow­er.”

Great minds think alike! But as we can see, it can hap­pen to non-great minds too.

Mem­o­ry Lane Includes an Oath Keep­er Leg­is­la­tor That Now Hap­pens to be the Speak­er of the House
Of course, once Cliv­en Bundy began to pub­licly wax long­ing­ly about the days of slav­ery, the Bundy ranch was­n’t exact­ly the best place to make a stand about the bal­ance of pow­er. No, at that point, the Bundy ranch expe­ri­ence was some­thing most sup­port­ers just kind of for­got about.

Could that be what hap­pened to poor Andy Big­gs’s mem­o­ry? Slav­ery-com­ments-induced mem­o­ry loss just wiped away any­thing Bundy-relat­ed includ­ing all of the bizarre Oath Keepers/Sovereign Cit­i­zen rhetoric and actions com­ing from his fel­low Repu­bi­cans in the Ari­zone state leg­is­la­ture?

Hmmm...well, if so, that’s got to com­pli­cate Andy Big­gs’s work­ing rela­tion­ship with all of his Oath Keep­er-lean­ing col­leagues in the leg­is­la­ture. Espe­cial­ly the new Speak­er of the Ari­zona House, Rep. David Gowan, since Gowan was list­ed as an Oath Keep­er mem­ber back in 2012:

Think Progress
AZ Law­mak­er Tied To Rad­i­cal ‘Oath Keep­ers’ Push­es Uncon­sti­tu­tion­al Bill Restrict­ing Fed­er­al Law Enforce­ment

by Ian Mill­his­er
Post­ed on March 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Arizona’s coun­ty sherriff’s are not exact­ly known for set­ting the stan­dard for effec­tive law enforce­ment and loy­al­ty to the Con­sti­tu­tion — indeed, Mari­co­pa Coun­ty Sher­iff Joe Arpaio is cur­rent­ly under fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tion for wide­spread mis­treat­ment of Lati­nos and oth­er vio­la­tions of the law. Nev­er­the­less, an Ari­zona sen­ate com­mit­tee just approved a uncon­sti­tu­tion­al bill which would require fed­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cers to pro­vide advance notice to Arpaio and his fel­low sher­iffs before tak­ing action in their coun­ties:

A Sen­ate pan­el vot­ed Thurs­day to fire a warn­ing shot of sorts over the heads of fed­er­al law enforce­ment agen­cies: Don’t come around here unless you get local OK.

The leg­is­la­tion, craft­ed by Rep. David Gowan, R‑Sierra Vista, would require employ­ees of those agen­cies to first noti­fy the sher­iff of the coun­ty “before tak­ing any offi­cial law enforce­ment action in a coun­ty in this state.”.

The only excep­tion would be if the noti­fi­ca­tion would impede the fed­er­al officer’s duties. But even then, HB 2434 has a require­ment to noti­fy the sher­iff “as soon as prac­ti­ca­ble after tak­ing the action.”

The Con­sti­tu­tion sim­ply does not allow states to order fed­er­al offi­cials to do any­thing. Under our Con­sti­tu­tion, fed­er­al law is “the supreme law of the land,” so when Con­gress enacts an oth­er­wise valid fed­er­al law and empow­ers fed­er­al offi­cers to enforce it, the states have no pow­er what­so­ev­er to lim­it that enforce­ment or place con­di­tions on it.

Dis­turbing­ly, the bill may also be con­nect­ed to a rad­i­cal anti-gov­ern­ment group known as the “Oath Keep­ers.” The Oath Keep­ers is a right-wing group that push­es local law enforce­ment to defy fed­er­al “orders” the Oath Keep­ers believe are uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. Their web­site is rid­dled with para­noid rhetoric about gov­ern­ment offi­cials “disarm[ing] the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” “confiscat[ing] the prop­er­ty of the Amer­i­can peo­ple, includ­ing food and oth­er essen­tial sup­plies,” and “blockad[ing] Amer­i­can cities, thus turn­ing them into giant con­cen­tra­tion camps.” In ear­ly 2008, the Oath Keep­ers’ founder warned that a “dom­i­na­trix-in-chief” named “Hitlery Clin­ton” would impose a police state on Amer­i­ca and shoot all resisters. After Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry vot­ers chose Pres­i­dent Oba­ma over Clin­ton, the Oath Keep­ers sim­ply rewrote their para­noid fan­ta­sy to include a taller, African-Amer­i­can lead. Rep. Gowan, the lead spon­sor of this bill, is list­ed as a mem­ber of the Tuc­son Oath Keep­ers on their Meet­up page.

So, while mere­ly noti­fy­ing local law enforce­ment of fed­er­al actions may seem like a minor impo­si­tion, the bill makes sense in the con­text of a broad­er Oath Keep­er agen­da, because it gives local sher­riffs advance notice of which fed­er­al actions they wish to defy.

Yes, the cur­rent Speak­er of the Ari­zona House was as an Oath Keep­er mem­ber. At least that’s what the Oath Keep­ers meet­up page was claim­ing in 2012.

But there’s no oth­er record of Gowan, him­self, iden­ti­fy­ing as an Oath Keep­er, so could this be anoth­er instance of a politi­cian invol­un­tar­i­ly get­ting asso­ci­at­ed with the Oath Keep­ers with­out his knowl­edge? Like what Big­gs claimed? Well, if so, you can hard­ly blame the Oath Keep­ers if the incor­rect­ly labeled Rep. Gowan a mem­ber. And nei­ther could you blame them if they did the same, for most of the rest of the Ari­zona leg­isla­tive GOP cau­cus, con­sid­er­ing that that Rep. Gowan’s 2012 bill, and a sim­i­lar one in the Sen­ate, was passed by the leg­is­la­ture and had to be vetoed by the gov­er­nor.

The same bill came up again in 2014. This time is was spon­sored by Judy Burges who, as we saw above, was one of the mem­bers of the Bundy ranch del­e­ga­tion (and is also a sup­port­er of Mack­’s ‘Con­sti­tu­tion coun­ty’ plans).

So if the Oath Keep­ers mis­take Ari­zon­a’s GOP for being a hotbed of fel­low Oath Keep­ers, and maybe think the now Speak­er of the Ari­zona House is a Oath Keep­er mem­ber him­self, could you blame them?

Blog for Ari­zona
Neo-Con­fed­er­ate anti-gov­ern­ment sedi­tion in Ari­zona
Post­ed on April 16, 2014 by AZ Blue­Meanie

The Ari­zona Repub­lic final­ly got around to doing an inves­tiga­tive report­ing piece on the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment over the week­end, and it fell woe­ful­ly short. This lengthy report failed to men­tion those who are mem­bers and sym­pa­thiz­ers in Ari­zona, as has been report­ed here over the years. Sov­er­eign cit­i­zens chal­lenge author­i­ty of law:

The Repub­lic con­tact­ed more than a dozen peo­ple who had iden­ti­fied them­selves as sov­er­eign in Phoenix and oth­er cities across the state, includ­ing peo­ple who claimed affil­i­a­tion with sov­er­eign groups called the “Repub­lic for the unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca” and the “Repub­lic for Ari­zona.” Some had served in the mil­i­tary. Oth­ers men­tioned col­lege degrees.

Only one agreed to speak in per­son and on the record.

Rock­ney Willard Mar­tineau was in a Mari­co­pa Coun­ty jail.

* * *

Over the course of 2013, The Repub­lic polled sheriff’s and recorder’s offices across Ari­zona about their inter­ac­tions with sov­er­eign cit­i­zens. The results showed a mixed pic­ture of the belief’s promi­nence in the state.

Some law-enforce­ment offi­cials said they had not seen much activ­i­ty in sev­er­al years, while oth­ers said sov­er­eigns in their juris­dic­tions are well-known. Recorders in sev­er­al coun­ties rarely see a fil­ing, while oth­ers report three to 10 a week, although some of those arrive from oth­er states.

The FBI is keep­ing a close watch.

Seri­ous­ly? Per­haps the prob­lem is how this reporter defined “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen,” dis­re­gard­ing the numer­ous far-right anti-gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tions to which these extrem­ists belong. If The Repub­lic polled sheriff’s offices, how is it pos­si­ble that they missed these guys?

I pre­vi­ous­ly post­ed about Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio’s anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ism [fixed link here]:

Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio is a favorite of far-right extrem­ist groups like for­mer Gra­ham Coun­ty Sher­iff Richard Mack’s con­spir­a­to­r­i­al Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs and Peace Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion and the Oath Keep­ers, made up of for­mer and cur­rent law enforce­ment offi­cers and mil­i­tary per­son­nel who believe it is their duty to defy what they deem to be uncon­sti­tu­tion­al orders. These anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ists are a law unto them­selves.

Hence this bit of anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ism from Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio on Wednes­day. Joe Arpaio Says He May Not Enforce New Gun Laws (AUDIO).

Not to be out­done for media atten­tion, “Joe, Jr.,” Pinal Coun­ty Sher­iff Paul Babeu, penned a let­ter to Pres­i­dent Oba­ma last week say­ing that he too would not enforce any fed­er­al laws that he deems to be uncon­sti­tu­tion­al orders. Has any­one inves­ti­gat­ed his con­nec­tions to far-right extrem­ist groups like Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs and Peace Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion and the Oath Keep­ers?

Talk­ing Points Memo reports Ari­zona Sher­iff Tells Oba­ma He Won’t Enforce Fed­er­al Gun Laws:

“Mr. Pres­i­dent, if you attempt to car­ry through with your pro­pos­al, it will hin­der the abil­i­ty of good cit­i­zens to defend and pro­tect them­selves and oth­ers against those who wish to cause them harm through the use of dead­ly force,” Babeu, the sher­iff of Pinal Coun­ty, Ariz., wrote. “Your actions would turn many good cit­i­zens, who wish to main­tain their God giv­en Con­sti­tu­tion­al Rights to bear arms, into crim­i­nals. I am writ­ing you this let­ter today to inform you that any “law” or reg­u­la­tion cre­at­ed by an exec­u­tive order of your office which is con­trary to what the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca says, shall be deemed as unlaw­ful and shall not be car­ried out by myself or my office.”

And how can The Repub­lic pur­port­ed­ly do an inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism report with­out ever men­tion­ing Arizona’s most noto­ri­ous far-right anti-gov­ern­ment icon, for­mer Gra­ham Coun­ty Sher­iff Richard Mack, and his con­spir­a­to­r­i­al Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs and Peace Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion, and the Oath Keep­ers, made up of for­mer and cur­rent law enforce­ment offi­cers and mil­i­tary per­son­nel who believe it is their duty to defy what they deem to be uncon­sti­tu­tion­al orders. Here is a pro­file of Mack from the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter. ‘Army’ of Sher­iffs to Resist Fed­er­al Author­i­ty.

For­mer Gra­ham Coun­ty Sher­iff Richard Mack trav­eled to Neva­da this week­end to join ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy’s armed stand­off with the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment . In an inter­view with Iowa talk show host Steve Deace on Mon­day, Sher­iff Richard Mack Com­pared Armed Neva­da Ranch Pro­test­ers To Rosa Parks. (I find that deeply insult­ing).

This rad­i­cal extrem­ist has fre­quent­ly tes­ti­fied at the invi­ta­tion of Tea-Pub­li­cans at the Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture in favor of Tenth Amend­ment Cen­ter mod­el leg­is­la­tion for nul­li­fi­ca­tion of fed­er­al gun laws, and for his far-right “con­sti­tu­tion­al sher­iffs” bill.

In 2012, wingnut Rep. David Gowan (R‑Sierra Vista), who has now been pro­mot­ed to House Major­i­ty Leader., spon­sored HB 2434 which would have required employ­ees of fed­er­al agen­cies to first noti­fy the sher­iff of the coun­ty “before tak­ing any offi­cial law enforce­ment action in a coun­ty in this state.” HB 2434 was actu­al­ly approved by the Ari­zona leg­is­la­ture. It took a veto by Gov­er­nor Jan Brew­er to restore san­i­ty.

The spon­sor of this year’s ver­sion of the “con­sti­tu­tion­al sher­iffs” bill, SB 1290 (.pdf). was the “Birther Queen,” Rep. Judy Burges (R‑Sun City West.)

Then there is “Ten­ther” Sen. Kel­li Ward (R- Lake Hava­su City) and her mod­el bills from the Tenth Amend­ment Cen­ter (which express­ly declares its mis­sion is the nul­li­fi­ca­tion of fed­er­al laws):

Sen. Ward told the Capi­tol Times the lat­est iter­a­tion of her 2nd Amend­ment Pro­tec­tion Act, mod­eled after leg­is­la­tion pro­mot­ed by the con­sti­tu­tion­al-rights orga­ni­za­tion the Tenth Amend­ment Cen­ter and gun-rights advo­cates, remains sim­i­lar in its goal to pre­vent Ari­zona from active­ly work­ing to enforce cer­tain fed­er­al gun laws.
...

Note that, as we saw ear­li­er, “Ten­ther” Sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward was a mem­ber of the Bundy ranch del­e­ga­tion. More on her below.

Con­tin­u­ing...

...
SB 1112 would have banned the enforce­ment of fed­er­al laws lim­it­ing semi­au­to­mat­ic weapons and high-capac­i­ty mag­a­zines.

This Repub­lic reporter could find only one “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen” sit­ting in a jail cell? Geezus, take a walk over to 1700 W. Wash­ing­ton Street and you will find a build­ing filled with them.

...

The edi­to­r­i­al board of The Ari­zona Repub­lic edi­to­ri­al­izes today, Ari­zona law­mak­ers point­less­ly charge Bunkerville Hill:

If Cliv­en Bundy had not exist­ed, would the Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture have to invent him?

It is worth con­tem­plat­ing. Once our law­mak­ers come back from Bunkerville Hill, any­way.

* * *

[Bundy] also has become the patron saint of a sub­stan­tial por­tion of the Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture. A great many con­ser­v­a­tive mem­bers of the Leg­is­la­ture have long shown an obses­sion with the idea of resist­ing the fed­er­al behe­moth. Now, we know they see it as Job One.

It ranks high­er than tedious stuff like fund­ing K‑12 edu­ca­tion or pro­tect­ing chil­dren, none of which they can both­er with because West Wash­ing­ton Street now is all about Bundy, 24/7.

Their true pri­or­i­ties are made clear. The top pri­or­i­ty at the capi­tol this entire ses­sion has not been about doing the state’s busi­ness, but about strik­ing utter­ly mean­ing­less blows at the feds. Like try­ing to pass point­less leg­is­la­tion for­bid­ding state work­ers from inter­act­ing with fed­er­al employ­ees. Or as in past ses­sions, attempt­ing to wrest fed­er­al for­est land to state con­trol.

So many Ari­zona law­mak­ers have run off to Bunkerville or got­ten their heads full of Bundy-wor­ship that the busi­ness of Ari­zona gov­ern­ment has been imped­ed. On Tues­day, law­mak­ers were request­ing time for floor speech­es, then using that time not to explain their votes on any bills, but to extoll Bundy-ism.

Let’s be clear about old Cliv­en: He refused to pay graz­ing fees for his use of fed­er­al land for his cat­tle oper­a­tion — the fees every ranch­er in Ari­zona with a fed­er­al lease duti­ful­ly pays. That means he broke the law. He has lost every court case on the issue.

His argu­ment that the land is state-owned, not fed­er­al­ly owned, is unsup­port­able and con­ve­nient. Bundy’s posi­tion has no legal legs under it.

* * *

The fact that he has been ren­dered a mod­ern-day saint and is being cel­e­brat­ed by so many Ari­zona law­mak­ers that their idol-wor­ship­ing has inter­fered with the busi­ness of the state is just obscene.

You had your tem­per tantrum, folks. You charged up Bunkerville Hill. Great. Now get back to work.

Sor­ry, edi­tors, but no. You do not get to so breezi­ly dis­miss sedi­tion and insur­rec­tion against the U.S. gov­ern­ment as a mere “tem­per tantrum.” This is seri­ous­ly effed up crazy shit. You should be demand­ing that these Ari­zona elect­ed offi­cials resign their offices for vio­lat­ing their oath of office. Peri­od. End of dis­cus­sion.

As I have said many times before, it is not enough for Arizona’s elite polit­i­cal media to sim­ply report on crazy bills. They have an oblig­a­tion to report on the far-right extrem­ists groups who are behind these bills and on our leg­is­la­tors’ rela­tion­ships to these far-right extrem­ist groups. The vot­ers have a right to know whether our leg­is­la­tors are mem­bers or sup­port­ers of far-right extrem­ist groups.

The dis­mis­sive atti­tude of news orga­ni­za­tions like The Ari­zona Repub­lic has allowed these rad­i­cal extrem­ist groups to flour­ish in Ari­zona, to the point of being a major­i­ty cau­cus in the Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture. This is an epic fail­ure of the media.

Yes, if the Oath Keep­ers assume the Ari­zona leg­is­la­ture is filled with fel­low trav­el­ers, it sure would be hard to blame them.

Mem­o­ry Lane Also Includes Richard Mack Tes­ti­fy­ing Before the Sen­ate Pub­lic Safe­ty Com­mit­tee
Now, it pos­si­ble that Andy Big­gs nev­er real­ly heard about how David Gowan, the cur­rent Speak­er of the Ari­zona House, was alleged­ly an Oath Keep­er back in 2012 even though the Ari­zona leg­is­la­ture keep­ing pass­ing Oath Keep­er-friend­ly laws. But you have to won­der if he was out sick on the day that Richard Mack was invit­ed to tes­ti­fy before the Sen­ate Pub­lic Safe­ty Com­mit­tee to advo­cate for the pas­sage of a law. Specif­i­cal­ly, Judy Burges’s SB1290 bill, which gives the coun­ty sher­iff the right to veto the actions of fed­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cers for any rea­son at all

Tuscon.com
Feds should get per­mis­sion to enforce the law, says bill in Ari­zona Sen­ate

Feb­ru­ary 13, 2014 12:00 am • By Howard Fis­ch­er Capi­tol Media Ser­vices

PHOENIX — Warn­ing of fed­er­al “atroc­i­ties,” for­mer Gra­ham Coun­ty Sher­iff Richard Mack talked a Sen­ate pan­el into mak­ing it a crime for fed­er­al agents to oper­ate in Ari­zona with­out first get­ting writ­ten approval from the coun­ty sher­iff.

Mack told mem­bers of the Sen­ate Pub­lic Safe­ty Com­mit­tee on Wednes­day that coun­ty sher­iffs are the only elect­ed law enforce­ment offi­cers in the coun­try. That, he said, means they answer to — and are respon­si­ble for pro­tect­ing — the peo­ple.

“And then we allow bureau­crats from Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to come in and super­sede his author­i­ty, and to do what­ev­er they want in his coun­ty, and they (the sher­iffs) can say noth­ing about it?” Mack said.

SB 1290, spon­sored by Sen. Judy Burges, R‑Sun City West, says a fed­er­al employ­ee who is not a state-cer­ti­fied peace offi­cer can­not make an arrest, or con­duct a search or a seizure in Ari­zona with­out writ­ten con­sent of the sher­iff. And it says the sher­iff can with­hold that per­mis­sion “for any rea­son.”

There are excep­tions, such as when a fed­er­al employ­ee wit­ness­es cer­tain crimes. And none of this would inter­fere with the work of cus­toms or bor­der patrol offi­cers.

“We’re ask­ing that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment do some­thing they should already be doing: ver­i­fy­ing their work and what they’re doing with the sher­iff as a check and bal­ance so that atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in the 1990s espe­cial­ly by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment at Ruby Ridge and Waco and oth­er places” do not hap­pen here, Mack said.

Ruby Ridge was the site of a 1992 Ida­ho con­fronta­tion between fed­er­al agents and Randy Weaver that left Weaver’s wife and son dead. The 51-day stand­off at Waco in 1993 end­ed with an assault on the com­pound occu­pied by the Branch David­i­ans and leader David Kore­sh by fed­er­al agents, with the result­ing fire killing 76.
...

Note that Richard Mack actu­al­ly co-authored a book with Randy Weaver about the Ruby Ridge inci­dent.

Con­tin­u­ing...

...
“This will be nor­mal activ­i­ty and will con­tin­ue if we don’t have some­body local­ly telling the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, ‘You can’t do that,’” Mack said.

Sen. Andrea Dalessan­dro, D‑Green Val­ley, said some parts of the bill make no sense. For exam­ple, one pro­vi­sion requires a coun­ty attor­ney to pros­e­cute a fed­er­al employ­ee who doesn’t get per­mis­sion — and mak­ing that coun­ty attor­ney sub­ject to pros­e­cu­tion him­self or her­self for refus­ing to do that.

“You can’t demand the coun­ty attor­ney, who also is an elect­ed offi­cial, to do some­thing,” she said.

...

Again, Richard Mack, an Oath Keep­er board mem­ber that’s also one of the move­men­t’s high­est pro­file advo­cates, was tes­ti­fy­ing before an Ari­zona Sen­ate com­mit­tee, just months before the Bundy ranch episode. And yet Sen­ate pres­i­dent Andy Big­gs appar­ent­ly had no idea who these Oath Keep­ers are and what they’re about while attend­ing an event with Richard Mack and Oath Keep­er founder Stew­art Rhodes.

Mem­o­ry Lane Also Includes the Very Recent Mem­o­ry of Sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward Attend­ing the “Hang McCain” Event Too. And Her Announce­ment That She Might Run Against Him.
So, let’s assume Andy Big­gs was telling the truth *snick­er*, per­haps the take away mes­sage from all this is that state leg­is­la­tor need to com­mu­ni­cate more effec­tive­ly with each oth­er. Maybe Big­gs’s lack of aware­ness was all due to a pro­found lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion! After all, Andy Big­gs was­n’t the only elect­ed offi­cial at the event. State Sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward was there too. And as we saw above, Sen­a­tor Ward was not only a mem­ber of the Bundy ranch del­e­ga­tion, but she also spon­sored a bill last year advo­cat­ed by the 10th Amend­ment Cen­ter that would have blocked the state from enforce­ment fed­er­al gun laws. Oh, and by the way, the bill was brought up again this year with a sim­i­lar one in the Ari­zona House. Both passed.

So, while Andy Big­gs might be just so polit­i­cal­ly clue­less that he has no idea who the Oath Keep­ers or folks like Richard Mack are even though they are influ­en­tial enough to get their pet leg­is­la­tion passed in both cham­bers of the leg­is­la­ture, what about Kel­li Ward? Does she have any thoughts on the pro­pos­al to try and hang John McCain? Con­sid­er­ing that Ward formed an explorato­ry com­mit­tee to look into run­ning against McCain in 2016 (McCain already announced he’s run­ning again), her thoughts on the ‘hang the Sen­a­tors that don’t adhere to Oath Keep­er sen­ti­ments’ would be real­ly inter­est­ing to hear:

The Ari­zona Repub­lic
Did Ward hear McCain hang­ing remark?
Dan Now­ic­ki, The Repub­lic | azcentral.com 1:14 p.m. MST May 15, 2015

Pho­tos indi­cate state Sen. Kel­li Ward, who might run against U.S. Sen. John McCain, was at the “Lib­er­ty On Tap” event in which a speak­er called for McCain’s tri­al and exe­cu­tion for trea­son.

State Sen. Kel­li Ward, who is con­sid­er­ing a pri­ma­ry chal­lenge against U.S. Sen. John McCain, was at the Tempe event where the founder of the Oath Keep­ers group called for McCain to be tried for trea­son and exe­cut­ed by hang­ing.

Ward, a Lake Hava­su City Repub­li­can, did not respond to The Ari­zona Repub­lic’s ques­tions and requests for com­ment, sent Tues­day, Wednes­day and Thurs­day, about her atten­dance at the May 5 “Lib­er­ty On Tap” gath­er­ing at which Stew­art Rhodes of the pro-Con­sti­tu­tion Oath Keep­ers made the com­ments about McCain, R‑Ariz.

How­ev­er, a series of pho­tos tak­en at the event and post­ed on Face­book includ­ed shots of Ward with Ari­zona Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Andy Big­gs, R‑Gilbert, who spoke at the event.

Big­gs was invit­ed to speak to the group about his book in which he argues against the states call­ing a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion. In the pho­tos from the event, Ward is hold­ing Big­gs’ book, “The Con of the Con-Con.” Oth­er pho­tos show Big­gs, Rhodes and for­mer Gra­ham Coun­ty Sher­iff Richard Mack address­ing the event, which was orga­nized by the Ari­zona Lib­er­ty Cau­cus.

In a video released by the lib­er­al group Peo­ple For the Amer­i­can Way’s Right Wing Watch project, Rhodes called McCain, the 2008 Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, a trai­tor to the Con­sti­tu­tion.

“He would deny you the right for tri­al to jury, but we will give him a tri­al for jury, and then after we con­vict him, he should be hung by the neck until dead,” Rhodes says in the video.

In a Fri­day morn­ing inter­view on Phoenix radio sta­tion KFYI-AM (550), McCain was asked about Rhodes’ remarks.

“I’m not so much offend­ed as sad that peo­ple in a free and open soci­ety, where we’re free to agree and dis­agree, ... to say that some­one should be hung and killed,” McCain said. “By the way, my fam­i­ly has spent a lot of time serv­ing this coun­try. My father, my grand­fa­ther, in fact, all the way back to the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War. I’m proud to have one son in the Navy and I’m not ashamed to tell you now that my oth­er son just returned from Afghanistan a cou­ple of days ago, serv­ing over there.

“So I just have to say to that man, ‘Let’s show some respect for each oth­er. We can dis­agree, but I don’t under­stand that depth, that you would want some­one to be killed, because we dis­agree on issues.’ ”

For­mer Mari­co­pa Coun­ty Attor­ney Rick Rom­ley, a long­time ally of McCain’s, issued a writ­ten state­ment con­demn­ing Rhodes’ com­ments.

“That kind of rhetoric is shame­ful and offen­sive to all of us who have served our nation in uni­form,” Rom­ley said. “The fact that two Ari­zona state sen­a­tors were in the room at the time and said noth­ing is high­ly dis­ap­point­ing.”

Big­gs told The Repub­lic on Tues­day that he was­n’t famil­iar with the Oath Keep­ers orga­ni­za­tion and did­n’t know Rhodes. Big­gs said he dis­agreed with Rhodes’ remarks about McCain, but did­n’t think it was his place to inter­fere with Rhodes’ “free-speech rights.”

...

Yep, Sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward’s office did­n’t have any qualms about post­ing pic­tures of both Richard Mack and the guy that called for McCain’s hang­ing, Stew­art Rhodes, on her Face­book page. But when asked for a response to Rhodes’s “hang McCain” com­ments, she does­n’t appear to have an answer. That sure is some bold lead­er­ship from a wannabe US Sen­a­tor!

So, to sum­ma­rize the cur­rent state of the Oath Keeper/‘Sovereign Cit­i­zen’ takeover of the Ari­zona state leg­is­la­ture:
1. The cur­rent Speak­er of the House, David Gowan, was list­ed as an Oath Keep­er mem­ber in 2012 and spon­sored a bill call­ing for a state-wide refusal for imple­ment fed­er­al gun con­trol laws. The bill passed both hous­es in 2014.

2. The cur­rent pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate, Andy Big­gs, may or may have vowed to sup­port the Bundy ranch show­down in 2014, but he seems to be pret­ty keen on some sort of “take back of sov­er­eign­ty” in 2015 with­out a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion which would be required for the fun­da­men­tal rebal­anc­ing of the state vs fed­er­al bal­ance of pow­er he’s talk­ing about. Also, 34 of the 36 required states have already passed bills call­ing for the con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion(imag­ine that).

3. House Major­i­ty Whip Dave Liv­ingston led the del­e­ga­tion to the Bundy ranch and returned to the House floor echo­ing the Oath Keep­ers with things like “This event was not about a ranch...This event was­n’t about cat­tle. It was­n’t about the trail. It was all about pow­er. It was all about show­ing who had the pow­er.”

4. And Kel­li Ward, the like­ly pri­ma­ry oppo­nent against John McCain, is a big fan of the “Ten­ther” move­ment and did­n’t appear to have any prob­lem with attend­ing an event where the head of the Oath Keep­ers calls for the hang­ing of her 2016 pri­ma­ry oppo­nent and then post­ing about it on Face­book.

And that just those four fine folks. As we’ve seen, they appear to be pret­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the rest of the Ari­zona GOP.

Oh, but we can’t for­get John McCain. He’s pre­sum­ably not super excit­ed about see­ing his state turn into a ‘Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen’ leg­isla­tive par­adise since the ‘sov­er­eigns’ want to hang him.

Although you have to won­der how keen folks like Kel­li Ward real­ly are about all this too. After all, if she wins McCain’s Sen­ate seat, guess who’s next in line for the gal­lows if she can’t keep pleas­ing her Oath Keep­er back­ers. Sure, Sen­a­tor Ward might like to think that they could nev­er turn on a far-right dar­ling like her once she becomes a US sen­a­tor. But is that real­ly real­is­tic? Isn’t it the case that almost all GOP­ers, when first elect­ed, pledge to be some sort of bea­con of pure con­ser­vatism and then and up get­ting loathed by the base the moment they start com­pro­mis­ing?

Does Kel­li Ward real­ly think she can please these folks as a US sen­a­tor? She must.

Discussion

39 comments for “Extremism in the Defense of Stupidity Is a Vice, Part 2: Razing Arizona”

  1. State Sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward does­n’t seem to be too keen on shar­ing her opin­ions about the ‘hang McCain’ com­ments from her Oath Keep­er friends:

    The Ari­zona Repub­lic
    Kel­li Ward still mum on McCain should be ‘hung’ com­ment

    EJ Mon­ti­ni, The Repub­lic | azcentral.com
    3:01 p.m. MST May 19, 2015

    Last week Ari­zona Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Andy Big­gs took a lit­tle heat for attend­ing an event – and say­ing noth­ing — after a speak­er said that Sen. John McCain should be hanged for trea­son.

    Big­gs defend­ed his silence by claim­ing he did not wish to inter­fere with the speak­er’s First Amend­ment rights.

    (This is me silent­ly allow­ing you to exer­cise your First Amend­ment right to snick­er at such a lame excuse.)

    Turns out that Big­gs was­n’t the only mem­ber of the Ari­zona Sen­ate to attend a recent meet­ing in the Val­ley of a group called the Oath Keep­ers, how­ev­er.

    Also there was state Sen. Kel­li “Chem­trails” Ward, who has been explor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of chal­leng­ing Sen. McCain in the 2016 Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry.

    On it’s web­site, The Oath Keep­ers refer to them­selves as a” non-par­ti­san asso­ci­a­tion of cur­rent and for­mer­ly serv­ing mil­i­tary, police, and first respon­ders who pledge to ful­fill the oath all mil­i­tary and police take to “ ‘defend the Con­sti­tu­tion against all ene­mies, for­eign and domes­tic.’ ”

    Founder Stew­art Rhodes was upset about how the Ron Paul del­e­gates were treat­ed dur­ing the 2008 Repub­li­can Con­ven­tion — the one in which McCain was select­ed as the par­ty’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

    In a video of his com­ments he says of that process, “John Cain (Yes, he dropped the Mc from the sen­a­tor’s name) is a trai­tor to the Con­sti­tu­tion. He should be tried for trea­son before a jury of his peers — which he would deny you, he sup­ports your denial of a jury tri­al, he sup­port­ed the NDAA say­ing that he could just have the pres­i­dent slam you into a brig in North Car­oli­na or South Car­oli­na or wher­ev­er else he want­ed to, try you by mil­i­tary tri­bunal and have you exe­cut­ed. He would deny you the right for tri­al to jury, but we will give him a tri­al for jury, and then after we con­vict him, he should be hung by the neck until dead. But that was their can­di­date!”

    Noth­ing.The Ari­zona Repub­lic’s Dan Now­ic­ki spot­ted Sen. Ward in pho­tographs of the event and con­tact­ed her office – sev­er­al times – to ask what she thought of the com­ments.

    I sent the sen­a­tor a note myself and haven’t heard back.

    Fun­ny, it’s usu­al­ly impos­si­ble to pre­vent an ambi­tious politi­cian from talk­ing.

    ...

    “Fun­ny, it’s usu­al­ly impos­si­ble to pre­vent an ambi­tious politi­cian from talk­ing.”
    That is a lit­tle odd. It’s almost as if Sen­a­tor Ward does­n’t want to pub­licly crit­i­cize the peo­ple that would poten­tial­ly want to hang her if she defeats McCain and becomes Ari­zon­a’s next US Sen­a­tor. How unex­pect­ed.

    But they haven’t hung her yet! She’s still talk­ing. Just not about the ‘Hang McCain’ stuff. She’s got more impor­tant stuff to talk about,
    like how poor kids have it too easy

    The Ari­zona Repub­lic
    Ward wants nada for kids, says nada on noose for McCain

    EJ Mon­ti­ni, The Repub­lic | azcentral.com 2:28 p.m. MST May 20, 2015

    State Sen. Kel­li Ward, a pos­si­ble Repub­li­can chal­lenger for Sen. John McCain, still has­n’t answered the ques­tion a few of us had about her being at a gath­er­ing in Tempe where one of the speak­ers said McCain should be hanged as a trai­tor.

    But she has spo­ken out about the leg­is­la­ture’s deci­sion to dump 1,600 fam­i­lies — includ­ing more than 2,700 chil­dren — from the state’s fed­er­al­ly fund­ed wel­fare pro­gram in July.

    Of that she has said, “I tell my kids all the time that the deci­sions we make have rewards or con­se­quences, and if I don’t ever let them face those con­se­quences they can’t get back on the path to rewards. As a soci­ety we are encour­ag­ing peo­ple at times to make poor deci­sions and then we reward them.”

    So, it’s okay that the “con­se­quences” for a par­ent being unem­ployed or under­em­ployed is that we starve their chil­dren?

    Appar­ent­ly, that plays well to the fringe ele­ments of the already far-right fringe of the Repub­li­can par­ty, as does the com­ments made at the Tempe meet­ing of a group called the Oath Keep­ers. Founder Stew­art Rhodes was upset about how the Ron Paul del­e­gates were treat­ed dur­ing the 2008 Repub­li­can Con­ven­tion — the one in which McCain was select­ed as the par­ty’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

    ...

    “I tell my kids all the time that the deci­sions we make have rewards or con­se­quences, and if I don’t ever let them face those con­se­quences they can’t get back on the path to rewards. As a soci­ety we are encour­ag­ing peo­ple at times to make poor deci­sions and then we reward them.”

    Note that Sen­a­tor Ward has­n’t been sim­ply speak­ing out in sup­port of the bill. She co-spon­sored it. So we’ll see if Sen­a­tor Ward’s bill teach­es those poor kids a les­son about con­se­quence. They cer­tain­ly could use a few lessons of that nature...assuming they were the ones that blew the hole in the state bud­get with cor­po­rate tax cuts. Damn kids:

    Phoenix Busi­ness Jour­nal
    Busi­ness crowd sticks by Ducey, their tax cuts and his bud­get cuts
    Jan 21, 2015, 10:17pm MST Updat­ed Jan 22, 2015, 7:33am MST
    Mike Sun­nucks

    The busi­ness crowd liked Doug Ducey dur­ing his run for Ari­zona gov­er­nor last year. They like the Repub­li­can’s expe­ri­ence as Cold Stone Cream­ery’s CEO. He’s one of them.

    And they real­ly like his oppo­si­tion to rolling back cor­po­rate tax cuts to solve a poten­tial $1.5 bil­lion bud­get deficit fac­ing the state over the next 18 months.

    Busi­ness groups aren’t even that per­turbed by Ducey’s bud­get which sweeps $100 mil­lion from job train­ing and busi­ness recruit­ment funds run by the Ari­zona Com­merce Author­i­ty, cuts the Ari­zona Office of Touris­m’s adver­tis­ing bud­get and axes $75 mil­lion from state uni­ver­si­ties and $113.5 mil­lion from K‑12 schools. The GOP gov­er­nor con­tends the K‑12 cuts will not hit class­rooms.

    Some busi­ness groups would rather have the cor­po­rate tax cuts passed in 2011 and being phased in kept even if it means cut­ting job train­ing and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment funds.

    “For Ari­zona to con­tin­ue be tak­en seri­ous­ly as an excel­lent place to start a busi­ness or grow an exist­ing one, we need to keep our promise of hav­ing a low, reli­able and pre­dictable tax struc­ture,” said Far­rell Quin­lan, state direc­tor for the Nation­al Fed­er­a­tion of Inde­pen­dent Busi­ness. “Mon­key­ing with the phase-in of the new low­er tax rates would be mad­ness.”

    Quin­lan also voiced sup­port for Ducey’s over­all bud­get plans and promis­es of a pro-busi­ness, less restric­tive reg­u­la­to­ry cli­mate.

    Gar­rick Tay­lor, senior vice pres­i­dent of the Ari­zona Cham­ber of Com­merce & Indus­try, also said keep­ing tax cuts in place are a pri­or­i­ty as the new gov­er­nor and Repub­li­can Leg­is­la­ture grap­ple with short­falls and a stunt­ed eco­nom­ic rebound from the reces­sion.

    “Keep­ing the phase-in of the tax reduc­tions is job one; those reforms affect every aspect of the econ­o­my,” said Tay­lor.

    Ari­zona Cham­ber Pres­i­dent and CEO Glenn Hamer was a top Ducey backer dur­ing the race to suc­ceed term-lim­it­ed Jan Brew­er. NFIB also endorsed Ducey in last Novem­ber’s elec­tions.

    Crit­ics point out the busi­ness tax cuts held on to by Ducey have not pro­duced the promised results of jobs and busi­ness invest­ment.

    Tay­lor and oth­er busi­ness advo­cates said rolling back the tax cuts won’t help the state’s rebound.

    “Gov. Ducey isn’t putting our pro-growth poli­cies on hold. In fact, the gov­er­nor is enhanc­ing our com­pet­i­tive stand­ing by propos­ing to index our tax brack­ets to infla­tion,” Tay­lor said.

    ...

    Hope­ful­ly all those poor kids are start­ing to real­ize that use­less tax cuts have con­se­quences.

    Will Ari­zon­a’s new state-sanc­tioned hard­ship reform their young, impov­er­ished char­ac­ters? Maybe, but if not, there are plen­ty more lessons for Ari­zona to teach itself about the con­se­quences of poor deci­sion-mak­ing still in the pipeline.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 21, 2015, 1:37 pm
  2. Note to Ari­zona Sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward: clear­ing the air around the “hang McCain” inci­dent does­n’t have to hurt. Just make an ‘oops’ state­ment and move on. For exam­ple...:

    Politi­co
    Pa. news­pa­per: Sor­ry we pub­lished let­ter call­ing for Oba­ma’s exe­cu­tion

    By Adam B. Lern­er

    5/28/15 10:09 AM EDT

    Updat­ed 5/28/15 11:48 AM EDT

    A Penn­syl­va­nia news­pa­per has apol­o­gized for pub­lish­ing a let­ter to the edi­tor call­ing for Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma to be exe­cut­ed.

    The Dai­ly Item of Sunbury’s edi­to­r­i­al board wrote Thurs­day that it “bun­gled the Oba­ma attack let­ter” and that “no bells went off when the edi­tor han­dling the let­ter read it and placed it on the opin­ion page.”

    “The pro­ce­dure at The Dai­ly Item is for the per­son edit­ing let­ters to review the con­tent for offen­sive lan­guage and ad hominem attacks,” the paper wrote. “Pub­li­ca­tion is, how­ev­er, a sig­nal that the opin­ion is not one we would read­i­ly sup­press, which can accu­rate­ly be inter­pret­ed as an endorse­ment of accept­abil­i­ty — much to our cha­grin in this instance.”

    The orig­i­nal let­ter, writ­ten by W. Richard Stover of Lewis­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia, was pub­lished on Mon­day. It bemoaned the president’s fail­ure to defeat the Islam­ic State of Iraq and the Lev­ant after the ter­ror­ist group cap­tured Rama­di, the cap­i­tal of Iraq’s largest province by land area.

    “To the fam­i­lies of those fall­en heros [sic] whose blood lies on the sands of Iraq; don’t you think it might be time to rise up against an admin­is­tra­tion who has ade­quate­ly demon­strat­ed their gross incom­pe­tence?” Stover’s let­ter read. “I think the appro­pri­ate, and polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect, term is regime change. For­give me for being blunt, but through­out his­to­ry this has pre­vi­ous­ly been accom­pa­nied by exe­cu­tion by guil­lo­tine, fir­ing squad, pub­lic hang­ing.”

    ...

    The near­ly 78-year-old paper wrote that it was prompt­ed to apol­o­gize by read­er out­rage.

    “Our read­ers and crit­ics have react­ed in force, as they should have. We accept their judg­ment and embrace the calls for height­ened aware­ness and a high­er stan­dard for civ­il dis­course.”

    “We will strive to do bet­ter in the future.”

    “We will strive to do bet­ter in the future.”
    There we go: They apol­o­gized and now every­one can for­get about the whole thing. Of course, if the edi­tor or The Dai­ly Item had a well doc­u­ment­ed his­to­ry of repeat­ed­ly hang­ing out with the very same peo­ple call­ing for the exe­cu­tion of elect­ed offi­cials, and the edi­tor was also plan­ning on run­ning against Pres­i­dent Oba­ma in an upcom­ing elec­tion, it would be a lit­tle hard­er to sim­ply move one. But even if that was all the case, at least an expla­na­tion would­n’t leave us won­der­ing just how much the edi­tor The Dai­ly Item might agree with the sen­ti­ment. It would­n’t be an ide­al sit­u­a­tion, but still an improve­ment.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 28, 2015, 1:14 pm
  3. Here’s a gen­er­al update on Cliv­en Bundy’s sit­u­a­tion: Things are going great!

    The Guardian
    A year after armed stand­off, Cliv­en Bundy still star of his own Tea Par­ty-tinged west­ern

    His Neva­da ranch was the scene a year ago of a show­down over graz­ing rights with fed­er­al agents, who stood down after he was backed by a gun-tot­ing ‘cit­i­zen mili­tia’ from across the US. Today he’s yet to pay any fees and says: ‘We might be the freest place on earth’

    Rory Car­roll in Bunkerville, Neva­da

    Mon­day 1 June 2015 08.22 EDT

    There were no heli­copters over­head, no gun­men in the hills, no scuf­fles or threats, just miles of qui­et desert scrub dot­ted with the occa­sion­al cow. Cliv­en Bundy smiled. “Well, we def­i­nite­ly won.”

    A year ago, his Neva­da ranch crack­led with ten­sion as fed­er­al agents squared off against a so-called cit­i­zen mili­tia, which ral­lied from across the US to defend Bundy, as mem­bers saw it, from gov­ern­ment tyran­ny.

    The Bureau of Land Man­age­ment (BLM) want­ed to seize his cows over $1.2m in unpaid fees for graz­ing on fed­er­al land over two decades. Bundy reject­ed the agency’s author­i­ty, mak­ing him a rightwing folk hero and trig­ger­ing the fraught face-off.

    It end­ed after offi­cials with­drew, fear­ing a blood­bath. Many assumed it would be a fleet­ing, pyrrhic vic­to­ry for Bundy until author­i­ties found anoth­er way to tame him.

    But this week, 14 months lat­er, his 500-strong herd grazed as nor­mal, as chick­ens clucked in the yard – and the feds were a mem­o­ry.

    “From the moment that they left, we have felt free­dom on this ranch,” said Bundy, 69, seat­ed in his ram­bling wood­en home, the porch draped in US flags. “We might be the freest place on earth.”

    He has not seen a sin­gle fed­er­al offi­cial or vehi­cle on his 600,000-acre prop­er­ty, which sprawls 80 miles north of Las Vegas, and feels no pres­sure to pay a cent of the $1.2m, he said. A ban­ner on the high­way pro­claims “free­dom” and “lib­er­ty”, fol­lowed by a sign indi­cat­ing “Bundy mel­ons”.

    A surge in beef prices to a five-year high has brought more good news for Bundy, a reg­is­tered Repub­li­can. He is using the bonan­za to make improve­ments to his prop­er­ty. “I’m oper­at­ing the ranch as nor­mal, still pro­duc­ing red meat – steaks and ham­burg­ers. That’s what I do.”

    His vic­to­ry is a coup for the rad­i­cal, gun-tot­ing anti-gov­ern­ment fringe which cham­pi­oned him as a sym­bol of defi­ance to Wash­ing­ton author­i­ty.

    Wear­ing trade­mark jeans, boots, cow­boy hat and bolo tie, the Mor­mon father of 14 was upbeat in an inter­view with the Guardian, speak­ing from the fam­i­ly home – which as a boy he helped his father build – and as he inspect­ed cat­tle pens, trailed by his two dogs.

    “I don’t think this is a bat­tle that Cliv­en Bundy won. It’s a bat­tle that the Amer­i­can peo­ple won. They’re just not going to put up with abuse by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.”

    Bundy said he was no out­law, that he pays all tax­es and state duties – but not fed­er­al fees for graz­ing, which he stopped pay­ing after the BLM imposed restric­tions as part of an effort to pro­tect the endan­gered desert tor­toise.

    The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment owns 85% of Neva­da land, and a fed­er­al court upheld the claim against Bundy but he reject­ed its author­i­ty and legit­i­ma­cy, cit­ing a lib­er­tar­i­an the­o­ry that the US con­sti­tu­tion for­bids fed­er­al own­er­ship of land. “This is not about Cliv­en Bundy and cows. It’s about state sov­er­eign­ty.”

    The BLM’s retreat vin­di­cat­ed his stance, he said, tap­ping a copy of the US con­sti­tu­tion which he keeps in a breast pock­et.

    Third-per­son grandios­i­ty and race-tinged com­men­tary

    Two clouds, how­ev­er, hov­er above the rancher’s appar­ent tri­umph.

    A sup­port­er named Will Michael recent­ly plead­ed guilty in a fed­er­al court in Penn­syl­va­nia to mak­ing threats against a BLM offi­cial dur­ing the stand­off, a pos­si­ble har­bin­ger of pros­e­cu­tions against oth­er sup­port­ers and Bundy him­self.

    Asked to com­ment, the agency issued a curt state­ment hint­ing at fur­ther actions but did not elab­o­rate: “The Bureau of Land Man­age­ment remains res­olute in address­ing issues involved in efforts to gath­er Mr Bundy’s cat­tle last year and we are pur­su­ing the mat­ter through the legal sys­tem. Our pri­ma­ry goal remains to resolve this mat­ter safe­ly and accord­ing to the rule of the law.”

    The oth­er cloud is that Bundy remains ostracised by some for­mer cheer­lead­ers such as Rand Paul and Fox News’s Sean Han­ni­ty over racist com­ments made after the stand­off end­ed last April.

    “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the negro,” he said then. “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?”

    Bundy, who has denied being a racist, sighed and shook his head at the mem­o­ry. He said it was all a “mis­un­der­stand­ing” and that he hoped to regain lost sup­port.

    “I made a mis­take when I called the black negro. My intent was not to be prej­u­di­cial but for blacks to enjoy this free­dom. What I’m say­ing is that the black and the brown com­mu­ni­ties should be con­cerned about free­dom and lib­er­ty.”

    He said he had not per­son­al­ly heard any com­plaints from eth­nic minor­i­ty groups. “I’ve nev­er had a black per­son or a brown per­son ever say any­thing bad about me.”

    Then he pro­ceed­ed to make fresh con­tentious com­ments, first by repeat­ing the com­par­i­son between slav­ery and wel­fare depen­dence: “Receiv­ing wel­fare and hous­ing – is that a sense of slav­ery when you get caught up in that and can’t get out of it for gen­er­a­tions? They don’t have free­dom.”

    When he flies, Bundy said, he often sees well-dressed, suc­cess­ful black peo­ple. “They real­ly are pro­gress­ing and pros­per­ing. I under­stand they’ve raised them­selves up to a point where they are equal with the rest of us. And I’m so hap­py for them. But what about those that are in the ghet­to and can’t get out?”

    The only time he lived in a city was in Los Ange­les in 1965 dur­ing the Watts race riots, he said. Instead of gov­ern­ment hand­outs or gov­ern­ment jobs, ghet­to-dwellers need­ed pri­vate-sec­tor work. “We don’t need leech­es feed­ing off us and eat­ing off of us. We need pro­duc­ers.”

    This was not lan­guage to ban­ish accu­sa­tions of racism, but Bundy seemed untrou­bled.

    ‘It was amaz­ing to go against an army and not be scared’

    Fame has not mel­lowed his views – he brand­ed fed­er­al bureau­crats “the ene­my” – but has imbued grandios­i­ty. Bundy equat­ed him­self with the nation­al spir­it, say­ing he rep­re­sent­ed mil­lions of Amer­i­cans. He referred to him­self in the third per­son and inter­change­ably with “we the peo­ple”.

    The ranch itself, in con­trast, appears hum­ble: a ram­shackle dwelling at the end of a dirt track sur­round­ed by arid, rocky land­scape, except for bursts of green along the Vir­gin riv­er. It feels iso­lat­ed and soli­tary.

    The scores of armed mili­tia mem­bers who once patrolled here have dwin­dled to Boo­da Cav­a­lier, 44, a heav­i­ly built, tat­tooed body­guard who wears a hand­gun on his hip and lives in a near­by trail­er. “If the feds come back here in a neg­a­tive fash­ion, I’d do what was nec­es­sary to pro­tect myself and Mr Bundy,” he said.

    Rein­force­ments are near­by, Cav­a­lier said, indi­cat­ing his smart­phone. Three taps will send a social media alert and sum­mon more than 100 “heavy oper­a­tors” from Las Vegas and St George “to make sure we would be on equal foot­ing with the oppos­ing force”, he said.

    Bundy him­self does not car­ry a weapon, lest it give gov­ern­ment assas­sins jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to take him out, said Cav­a­lier. Bundy nod­ded.

    Both men see them­selves as the good guys in a quixot­ic, Tea Par­ty-tinged west­ern where the vil­lains are the heav­i­ly armed agents of fed­er­al gov­ern­ment over­reach.

    ...

    He cast the show­down over graz­ing fees as a mir­a­cle in which Jesus Christ and the found­ing fathers helped van­quish the BLM’s “army” with­out a shot being fired. “I believe in prayer ... I felt I’ve been guid­ed a lot of times by the heav­en­ly spir­its.” He was cer­tain divine inter­ven­tion deliv­ered vic­to­ry. “It was amaz­ing to go against an army and not be scared.”

    The stand­off inspired count­less oth­ers, he said. “It’s not only my fam­i­ly that’s will­ing to stand. It’s the peo­ple of the world that are stand­ing.”

    Yes, things are going great. At least for Cliv­en. At least now. But as we also saw:

    ...
    A sup­port­er named Will Michael recent­ly plead­ed guilty in a fed­er­al court in Penn­syl­va­nia to mak­ing threats against a BLM offi­cial dur­ing the stand­off, a pos­si­ble har­bin­ger of pros­e­cu­tions against oth­er sup­port­ers and Bundy him­self.

    Asked to com­ment, the agency issued a curt state­ment hint­ing at fur­ther actions but did not elab­o­rate: “The Bureau of Land Man­age­ment remains res­olute in address­ing issues involved in efforts to gath­er Mr Bundy’s cat­tle last year and we are pur­su­ing the mat­ter through the legal sys­tem. Our pri­ma­ry goal remains to resolve this mat­ter safe­ly and accord­ing to the rule of the law.”
    ...

    And that’s why Cliv­en Bundy prob­a­bly isn’t assum­ing this whole issue has just gone away for good. That’s a pret­ty safe bet. Espe­cial­ly since Cliv­en is also assum­ing that Will Michael, the sup­port­er fac­ing pos­si­ble fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tion, is going to to be hung by the gov­ern­ment. That’s got to be pret­ty dis­con­cert­ing, whether it’s ground­ed in real­i­ty or not:

    The Los Ange­les Times
    Cliv­en Bundy reach­es out to man who plead­ed guilty to threat­en­ing BLM

    By John M. Glion­na

    May 11, 2015, 4:38 PM

    Cliv­en Bundy is wor­ried about one of his sup­port­ers.

    On Mon­day, the recal­ci­trant Neva­da ranch­er, who has waged a run­ning bat­tle of words and law­suits with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment over pub­lic lands, made a phone call to an out-of-state sup­port­er fac­ing prison time over com­ments he made in sup­port of the new­ly chris­tened tea par­ty folk hero.

    Penn­syl­va­nia res­i­dent Will Michael, 24, plead­ed guilty last month in fed­er­al court to threat­en­ing a Bureau of Land Man­age­ment offi­cial as well as mak­ing inter­state com­mu­ni­ca­tion threats dur­ing Bundy’s 2014 stand­off with fed­er­al offi­cials over land graz­ing rights.

    Bundy says he feels respon­si­ble for the man’s predica­ment and want­ed to offer a show of emo­tion­al sup­port.

    “He’s just a young­ster — he seems like a nice young man with good sense for a boy,” Bundy told the Los Ange­les Times on Mon­day. “They picked him out of a large group of peo­ple and I’m ner­vous these fed­er­al types are going to hang him as an exam­ple.”

    Michael left a pro­fan­i­ty-laced phone mes­sage for Mike Roop, the chief BLM ranger for Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon, that warned, “We’re going to kill you,” accord­ing to fed­er­al court doc­u­ments. Offi­cials say it was one of 500 threat­en­ing mes­sages that Roop received.

    Michael did not trav­el to south­ern Neva­da to join hun­dreds of Bundy sup­port­ers, many armed with semi­au­to­mat­ic weapons, who con­verged on fed­er­al land after agents swooped in to seize Bundy’s cat­tle. For decades Bundy has refused to pay gov­ern­ment graz­ing fees because he does not rec­og­nize Wash­ing­ton’s right to col­lect mon­ey on Neva­da land.

    Michael told author­i­ties that he saw a video on social media show­ing Roop shov­ing aside Bundy’s sis­ter, who was block­ing BLM vehi­cles in the cat­tle raid, offi­cials said. Michael will be sen­tenced in July.

    “He does­n’t know how to defend him­self,” Bundy said Mon­day. “He faces up to 15 years in prison and that’s just awful. His par­ents have helped him pay for a lawyer. And all because the young man spoke his mind.”

    ...

    Bundy believes the aggres­sive fed­er­al approach is just the first in a series of legal moves offi­cials might take against his own fam­i­ly after Bundy’s so-called cit­i­zen mili­tia chal­lenged BLM offi­cials in an armed face-off in April last year.

    In the year after the desert show­down, which end­ed with fed­er­al offi­cials back­ing off and releas­ing the rancher’s cat­tle, Bundy has been cel­e­brat­ed by Amer­i­cans who seek less fed­er­al intru­sion into what they view as state busi­ness.

    About 87% of land in Neva­da, one of sev­er­al West­ern states with land admin­is­tered by the BLM, is run by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, most of it scrub desert and prairie. Bundy fol­low­ers say fed­er­al offi­cials have blocked res­i­dents from hunt­ing, fish­ing and hik­ing on the land, cit­ing poten­tial habi­tat dam­age.

    But many BLM work­ers, espe­cial­ly in Neva­da and neigh­bor­ing Utah, have been on edge, fac­ing the brunt of increas­ing pub­lic wrath. In some areas, offi­cials have been instruct­ed to not use marked gov­ern­ment vehi­cles on the job for fear of incit­ing retal­i­a­tion.

    Bundy said that he had been care­ful to not break any laws and that he was wait­ing for some move from Wash­ing­ton. For years, he has rep­re­sent­ed him­self in a long bat­tle with offi­cials over his use of gov­ern­ment-admin­is­tered land near his ranch, 80 miles north of Las Vegas.

    “I’m a lit­tle bit wor­ried; no, I’m quite a bit wor­ried for this young man,” Bundy said of Michael. “He’s guilty for what he did and he’s admit­ted that. He was exer­cis­ing his right to free speech like all of us did.

    “If they’re going to hang him, we all need to be hung, because we all have the same feel­ings.”

    “They picked him out of a large group of peo­ple and I’m ner­vous these fed­er­al types are going to hang him as an example...If they’re going to hang him, we all need to be hung, because we all have the same feel­ings.”
    Hmmmm....while there might be a bit of pro­jec­tion tucked away in there, it’s still kind of sad pro­jec­tion. And com­mon. And there­fore kind of scary.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 1, 2015, 2:54 pm
  4. You know how, when it come out that House Major­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise admit­ted that he was “like David Duke with­out the bag­gage” as a con­gres­sion­al can­di­date back in 1999, a num­ber of respons­es were along the lines of “yep, and that does­n’t just describe Steve Scalise!” Well, as the arti­cle below reminds us, the extent of the GOP’s pan­der­ing to the racist far-right isn’t lim­it­ed to fans of David Duke:

    Newsweek
    How Tim­o­thy McVeigh’s Ideals Entered the Main­stream
    By Nina Burleigh / June 1, 2015 12:44 PM EDT

    Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates gath­ered last month at the Okla­homa City Cox Con­fer­ence Cen­ter, just a few blocks from the site of what was the Alfred R. Mur­rah Fed­er­al Build­ing. Two decades ago, anti-gov­ern­ment mili­tia sym­pa­thiz­er Tim­o­thy McVeigh blew it up in what he called an act of war against the U.S. gov­ern­ment. It was the worst crime of domes­ti­cal­ly bred ter­ror­ism in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. McVeigh was exe­cut­ed in 2001, but since then, some of his mili­tia ideals have gone main­stream and even been intro­duced as laws in many states, includ­ing Okla­homa.

    Leg­is­la­tors in dozens of states have sub­mit­ted pro­pos­als to nul­li­fy or block fed­er­al laws—a long­time goal of mili­tias. These have includ­ed exempt­ing states from fed­er­al gun laws and edu­ca­tion­al stan­dards, as well as, of course, Oba­macare. That doesn’t make these anti-fed­er­al statutes part of McVeigh’s mad­ness, but Repub­li­can politi­cians now often echo con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries once rel­e­gat­ed to troglodyte pam­phlets. And sev­er­al states have passed laws mak­ing gold a currency—a step toward return­ing to the gold standard—even though cur­ren­cy is a fed­er­al respon­si­bil­i­ty.

    When Cliv­en Bundy engaged in an armed stand­off with Bureau of Land Man­age­ment agents in 2014, after a fed­er­al court order demand­ed he get his cat­tle off fed­er­al land, as he hadn’t paid graz­ing fees for 20 years, sev­er­al of the cur­rent Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates sided with the out­law. As armed mili­tia mem­bers con­verged in Neva­da to pro­tect Bundy, Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz of Texas called the events “the unfor­tu­nate and trag­ic cul­mi­na­tion of the path Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has set the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment on.” Rick Per­ry, then the gov­er­nor of Texas, said: “I have a prob­lem with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment putting cit­i­zens in the posi­tion of hav­ing to feel like they have to use force to deal with their own gov­ern­ment.” Mike Huck­abee opined: “There is some­thing incred­i­bly wrong when a gov­ern­ment believes that some blades of grass that a cow is eat­ing is [such] an egre­gious affront to the gov­ern­ment of the Unit­ed States that we would lit­er­al­ly put a gun in a citizen’s face and threat­en to shoot him over it.”

    Tar­so Ramos, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Polit­i­cal Research Asso­ciates, which tracks right-wing extrem­ism, says these and oth­er for­mer­ly fringe ideas main­streamed after McVeigh’s assault—just not right away. “The Okla­homa City bomb­ing had a sober­ing effect for a while,” he says. “Then, with the elec­tion of Oba­ma, you get a whole new wave of Patri­ot activ­i­ty and a new vari­ant of con­spir­a­cy-ism, includ­ing the birther stuff and the idea that Oba­ma is an agent of pow­er­ful elites.”

    ...

    Mili­tia sym­pa­thiz­ers today have the ears of many Repub­li­can politi­cians. Texas Gov­er­nor Greg Abbott vowed to keep watch on the U.S. mil­i­tary this spring as it runs a series of war games called Jade Helm 15. Some Tex­ans sensed an armed fed­er­al takeover of the Lone Star State and demand­ed action. Sen­a­tor Cruz said of their fears, “I under­stand the rea­son for con­cern and uncer­tain­ty, because when the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has not demon­strat­ed itself to be trust­wor­thy in this admin­is­tra­tion, the nat­ur­al con­se­quence is that many cit­i­zens don’t trust what it is say­ing.”

    The nul­li­fiers fear Wash­ing­ton and the Unit­ed Nations. Anti‑U.N. anx­i­ety dates back to the John Birch Soci­ety, but today some of those doing the rav­ing are law­mak­ers. State leg­is­la­tors and local offi­cials have passed dozens of laws bar­ring imple­men­ta­tion of Agen­da 21, a non­bind­ing 1992 U.N. white paper about envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­i­ty. Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush and the lead­ers of 177 oth­er nations signed it.

    Twen­ty years lat­er, the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee in 2012 denounced Agen­da 21 in a res­o­lu­tion as a “destruc­tive and insid­i­ous scheme” that would impose “socialist/communist redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth.” Cruz, a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, claims Agen­da 21 would “abol­ish” golf cours­es and paved roads. Last year, Okla­homa law­mak­ers passed an Agen­da 21 nul­li­fi­ca­tion law.

    Con­ser­v­a­tives are also using the 10th Amendment—which reserves pow­ers for the states not men­tioned in the rest of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution—to auda­cious­ly chal­lenge fed­er­al author­i­ty. In 2004, a Mon­tana gun enthu­si­ast named Gary Mar­but found anoth­er use for the 10th Amend­ment: push­ing a bill exempt­ing guns man­u­fac­tured and retained in Mon­tana from fed­er­al reg­u­la­tion. The bill became a law in 2009 called the Firearms Free­dom Act, which declared that fed­er­al gun laws did not apply. A half-dozen oth­er states soon fol­lowed suit. A sur­vey by ProP­ub­li­ca in 2012 found that 37 states have since passed laws cir­cum­vent­ing fed­er­al gun laws and 12 states are con­sid­er­ing so-called Sec­ond Amend­ment Preser­va­tion Acts, which would nul­li­fy fed­er­al gun laws alto­geth­er. In some cas­es, the state laws have crim­i­nal­ized fed­er­al agents who try to enforce the fed­er­al laws. Ver­sions of that twist passed in Kansas, Alas­ka and Ida­ho.

    Besides free­ing guns from Washington’s con­trol, there are also bills nul­li­fy­ing Oba­macare, the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency and Com­mon Core, as well as fed­er­al laws on oth­er envi­ron­men­tal stan­dards, mar­i­jua­na and track­ing license plates. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is “div­ing off into areas unchecked that they’re not sup­posed to be involved in,” said Mon­tana state Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kray­ton Kerns, who intro­duced a bill in 2013 to lim­it the abil­i­ty of local police to help enforce fed­er­al laws. “Not only is it our right in state leg­is­la­tures to do this, it’s our oblig­a­tion to do it,” Kerns told NBC News. “Some­body’s got to put a ‘whoa’ on it.” Okla­homa Attor­ney Gen­er­al Scott Pruitt is such a nul­li­fi­ca­tion enthu­si­ast that he cre­at­ed a sep­a­rate “Fed­er­al­ism Unit” devot­ed to fight­ing fed­er­al gov­ern­ment “abus­es of pow­er.”

    Okla­homa joined Utah and Ari­zona last sum­mer in giv­ing a glim­mer of hope to fans of anoth­er goal of the mili­tia world—returning Amer­i­ca to the gold stan­dard. In 2014, Okla­homa made it law that “gold and sil­ver coins issued by the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment are legal ten­der in the State of Okla­homa.” Sim­i­lar pro­pos­als are being pushed in at least a dozen states.

    When I asked Okla­homa Gov­er­nor Mary Fallin about the gold cur­ren­cy law she signed, she deferred to her press sec­re­tary, Alex Weintz. He lat­er emailed to say the governor’s coun­sel reads the law as one that would help gold investors—not nec­es­sar­i­ly pro­mote the use of gold as mon­ey. But Michael Boldin, founder of the lib­er­tar­i­an Tenth Amend­ment Cen­ter, writes that by pass­ing the law, Okla­homa “took the first step towards fol­low­ing the ten­der require­ments of the Con­sti­tu­tion and nul­li­fy­ing the Fed­er­al Reserve’s near-monop­oly on mon­ey.”

    There are some intrigu­ing sim­i­lar­i­ties between the cur­rent polit­i­cal cli­mate and that of the mid-’90s, when McVeigh gath­ered up the fer­til­iz­er for his Ryder truck bomb. Back then, as now, a Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­dent presided over an improv­ing Amer­i­can econ­o­my, and his pop­u­lar­i­ty pro­voked the fear and loathing of an edge of the right-wing polit­i­cal spec­trum contemplating—and occa­sion­al­ly engag­ing in—armed resis­tance.

    Then, as now, the num­ber of anti-gov­ern­ment armed resis­tance groups was at a water­mark high. Accord­ing to the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter (SPLC), the amount of “Patri­ot” mili­tias peaked at 858 in 1996, just after McVeigh killed 168 peo­ple, includ­ing chil­dren, in the heart of Okla­homa City. The mili­tia tal­ly fell almost immediately—a con­se­quence, ana­lysts say, of shame over the hor­rif­ic act, fol­lowed by new fears of Islam­ic ter­ror­ism, which in the minds of some mili­tia mem­bers made the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment look like the less­er of two evils.

    Then came Oba­ma. Since his elec­tion in 2008, the num­ber of anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ist groups tracked by the SPLC has risen to anoth­er record high, 874.

    Ramos says he and his col­leagues believe the dif­fer­ence now is that fringe rage is being chan­neled into a larg­er right-wing pop­ulist move­ment. “The Tea Par­ty rep­re­sents this coali­tion between those work­ing in the for­mal sys­tem and those focused outside—white nation­al­ists who depict Oba­ma with a Hitler mus­tache,” Ramos says. “What’s hap­pen­ing now is a lit­tle hard to say, but there are strong indi­ca­tors that the forces that redi­rect­ed a lot of that ener­gy into the for­mal are­na of pol­i­tics do not hold the sway that they once did. The abil­i­ty of for­mal pol­i­tics to deliv­er suf­fi­cient­ly to appease the most hard­line ele­ments at the base almost nev­er suc­ceeds in the long run.”

    ...

    “What’s hap­pen­ing now is a lit­tle hard to say, but there are strong indi­ca­tors that the forces that redi­rect­ed a lot of that ener­gy into the for­mal are­na of pol­i­tics do not hold the sway that they once did. The abil­i­ty of for­mal pol­i­tics to deliv­er suf­fi­cient­ly to appease the most hard­line ele­ments at the base almost nev­er suc­ceeds in the long run.Yep.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 2, 2015, 8:10 am
  5. Lar­ry Pratt, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the far-right Gun Own­ers of Amer­i­ca, was shoot­ing his mouth off again about how the 2nd amend­ment is for shoot­ing Democ­rats like Pres­i­dent Oba­ma:

    TPM Livewire
    Leader Of Pow­er­ful Gun Group: ‘The 2nd Amend­ment Was Designed For’ Oba­ma (AUDIO)

    By Ahiza Gar­cia
    Pub­lished June 5, 2015, 2:47 PM EDT 848 views

    The exec­u­tive direc­tor of a pow­er­ful pro-gun group said in an inter­view ear­li­er this year that “the Sec­ond Amend­ment was designed for” peo­ple like Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, who he described as “tyran­ni­cal.”

    The com­ments by Lar­ry Pratt of the promi­nent Gun Own­ers of Amer­i­ca were sur­faced on Thurs­day by the orga­ni­za­tion Right Wing Watch. The gun rights advo­cate report­ed­ly made the com­ments in April dur­ing an inter­view on the con­ser­v­a­tive radio show “The News with Views,” where he addressed Con­gress’ attempts to restrict armor-pierc­ing bul­lets.

    “The Sec­ond Amend­ment was designed for peo­ple just like the Pres­i­dent and his admin­is­tra­tion,” Pratt told radio host Roger Fred­in­burg. “And yes, if the New York Times and the Rolling Stone, and who­ev­er else wants to have a hissy fit, yes, our guns are in our hands for peo­ple like those in our gov­ern­ment right now that think they wan­na go tyran­ni­cal on us, we’ve got some­thing for ‘em. That’s what it’s all about.”

    “The Sec­ond Amendment’s not about hunt­ing, it’s not about tar­get shoot­ing, it’s about Democ­rats who want to take our rights,” Pratt said.

    Gun Own­ers of Amer­i­ca is a force­ful gun lob­by group whose views fall far to the right of the bet­ter-known Nation­al Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion. The group was cred­it­ed with help­ing derail the last major gun con­trol push in Con­gress in 2013.

    ...

    “The Sec­ond Amendment’s not about hunt­ing, it’s not about tar­get shoot­ing, it’s about Democ­rats who want to take our rights”

    There he goes again...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 5, 2015, 2:55 pm
  6. Cliv­en Bundy and his son are deny­ing that they were the indi­vid­u­als that fired shots on two sep­a­rate occa­sions around Gold Butte, Neva­da, near­by where three Bureau of Land Man­age­ment con­tract researchers were mon­i­tor­ing water sources, prompt­ing the researchers to leave the area. Bundy admits to approach­ing them ear­li­er and ask­ing what they were up to, but he denies any shoot­ings. He also admits to being upset after learn­ing that there were water researchers in the area, say­ing, “Those things are my pri­vate prop­er­ty, and I don’t want any­one mon­key­ing with my property...It does­n’t mat­ter whether they’re con­trac­tors or BLM offi­cials, either way they’re tres­pass­ing on my rights. We’re not going to put up with this.” But he claims to have only learned that this was what the researchers were up to after the fact. Accord­ing to Bundy, he had noth­ing to do with some­one dri­ving up to the camp twice, about an hour apart, and fir­ing mul­ti­ple shots after Bundy’s vis­it:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    Ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy denies fir­ing gun­shots near US researchers in Neva­da

    By Mar­tin Grif­fith

    Pub­lished: Sat­ur­day, June 13 2015 12:00 a.m. MDT

    Neva­da ranch­er and states’ rights advo­cate Cliv­en Bundy said Sat­ur­day that con­tract researchers for the fed­er­al Bureau of Land Man­age­ment had no busi­ness being on range­land where he grazes cat­tle, but he denied he or his sup­port­ers fired gun­shots near them.

    Three employ­ees of a non­prof­it Neva­da orga­ni­za­tion told author­i­ties they were mon­i­tor­ing water sources in the Gold Butte area, about 100 miles north­east of Las Vegas, on June 5 when they were approached by two men who asked what they were doing.

    The researchers quick­ly left after six shots were fired lat­er that night near their camp in an area that’s being con­sid­ered for fed­er­al pro­tec­tion as a nation­al con­ser­va­tion area. There were no injuries.
    Bureau of Land Man­age­ment
    Las Vegas police are inves­ti­gat­ing the inci­dent. Bureau of Land Man­age­ment offi­cials have declined com­ment beyond a state­ment say­ing the shoot­ing prompt­ed them to take unspec­i­fied safe­ty pre­cau­tions in the area to pro­tect is employ­ees and con­trac­tors.

    ...

    The con­fronta­tion pit­ted fed­er­al offi­cers against heav­i­ly armed states’ rights advo­cates who had con­verged on the Bundy ranch to halt the roundup of his cat­tle. The Bureau of Land Man­age­ment backed off, cit­ing safe­ty con­cerns. It allowed Bundy sup­port­ers to release 380 cat­tle from pens that had been col­lect­ed.

    Bundy said he and his son, Ryan, were check­ing a water source when they met the three employ­ees on a remote dirt road June 5, but he did not learn about the shoot­ing and that they were researchers until read­ing a news­pa­per sto­ry near­ly a week lat­er.

    “I asked them what they were doing, and they said they were look­ing for an area to set up camp. We just greet­ed them and wel­comed them,” Bundy said.

    Think­ing they were campers, the Bundys returned to their ranch about 12 miles away near Bunkerville and did not noti­fy any sup­port­ers of their encounter with the three, he said.

    “That’s the last we heard of them until we read about it in the news­pa­per,” Bundy told The Asso­ci­at­ed Press. “None of my friends or sup­port­ers would have known about it ... No, we did­n’t fire those shots. We did­n’t go back to the area.”

    Bundy said he vis­it­ed the area with a Las Vegas police sergeant on Fri­day, and found no evi­dence cor­rob­o­rat­ing researchers’ state­ments to author­i­ties that some­one in a vehi­cle drove up and fired three shots on two sep­a­rate occa­sions about an hour apart. The shots were fired from rough­ly a third of a mile away from their camp.

    Bundy said he became upset after learn­ing the researchers were mon­i­tor­ing water seeps and springs in the area.

    “Those things are my pri­vate prop­er­ty, and I don’t want any­one mon­key­ing with my prop­er­ty,” he said. “It does­n’t mat­ter whether they’re con­trac­tors or BLM offi­cials, either way they’re tres­pass­ing on my rights. We’re not going to put up with this.”

    While Bundy insist­ed the land in ques­tion is owned by the state, fed­er­al courts have con­sis­tent­ly ruled it’s under the juris­dic­tion of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

    Jer­ry Keir, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Great Basin Insti­tute, said it’s “total spec­u­la­tion” whether the shots were meant to intim­i­date his researchers. The inci­dent cut short their work as the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment told them not to return to the area, he added.

    This sounds like a job for some med­dling kids. Med­dling kids with body armor and very high per­for­mance ATVs. They’re going to need it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 14, 2015, 8:04 pm
  7. Here’s a rather alarm­ing arti­cle for any­one liv­ing in Texas: The Texas Tea Par­ty is get­ting pissed. Why? The Texas GOP isn’t crazy enough for their tastes. The Texas GOP. Not crazy enough. Yep:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press
    Trou­ble In Tea Par­ty Par­adise: Texas Infight­ing Ran­kles Activist Base

    By WILL WEISSERT
    Pub­lished­June 22, 2015, 4:53 PM EDT
    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas can some­times feel like tea par­ty heav­en — the land of Ted Cruz, where the Leg­is­la­ture is packed with hard-right devo­tees and the gov­er­nor him­self heeds fringe fears about pos­si­ble fed­er­al plots to seize the state.

    But with so much pow­er comes pres­sure, and the Texas Leg­is­la­ture’s tea par­ty lead­ers are strug­gling to deliv­er on their most con­ser­v­a­tive promis­es. After the leg­isla­tive ses­sion that end­ed this month, move­ment activists were open­ly unhap­py with the results and have tar­get­ed a few one­time favorite law­mak­ers for pos­si­ble ret­ri­bu­tion.

    “It’s a truth in adver­tis­ing issue,” said JoAnn Flem­ing, a state tea par­ty leader who heads Grass­roots Amer­i­ca — We the Peo­ple. “There are some that will like­ly pay a polit­i­cal price for cav­ing on what they said they would do.”

    The Texas tea par­ty net­work is the nation’s strongest, with four dozen major con­ser­v­a­tive groups rep­re­sent­ing thou­sands of active mem­bers. Repub­li­cans con­trol both cham­bers of the Leg­is­la­ture and the state Sen­ate is run by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a for­mer, often fire-breath­ing con­ser­v­a­tive talk radio host. About a third of the 31 sen­a­tors are strong tea par­ty voic­es, while near­ly 25 of the Texas House­’s 150 mem­bers are con­ser­v­a­tive grass-roots favorites.

    But except for lim­it­ing gov­ern­ment and slash­ing state spend­ing, the groups often don’t agree on much. And their agen­das some­times com­pete with each oth­er.

    While some tea par­ty lead­ers focus on strength­en­ing Texas’ ban on gay mar­riage, tight­en­ing immi­gra­tion poli­cies or fend­ing off the poten­tial impo­si­tion of Sharia law, oth­ers see a greater threat in manda­to­ry vac­cines, red light cam­eras or smart elec­tri­cal meters. Still oth­ers place a high pri­or­i­ty on gun and pri­vate prop­er­ty rights.

    “Every­one always likes to think that we’re top-down, but we’re not,” said Robin Lennon, pres­i­dent of the King­wood TEA Par­ty in sub­ur­ban Hous­ton.

    Dur­ing the near­ly five-month leg­isla­tive ses­sion, tea par­ty mem­bers had some vic­to­ries. Law­mak­ers legal­ized con­cealed hand­guns on col­lege cam­pus­es and approved allow­ing hand­guns to be open­ly car­ried vir­tu­al­ly every­where else.

    But unhap­pi­ness grew after oth­er issues fiz­zled.

    Rep. Dan Fly­n­n’s bill exempt­ing Texas from day­light sav­ing time was side­lined amid con­cerns that refus­ing to roll back the clocks could leave Tex­ans choos­ing between church and watch­ing Dal­las Cow­boys games on fall Sun­days. Also dropped was Sen. Don­na Camp­bel­l’s pro­pos­al ban­ning the Alamo from falling under the con­trol of the Unit­ed Nations.

    The back­lash was great­est over law­mak­ers’ fail­ure to repeal Texas’ 2001 law offer­ing in-state tuition to some col­lege stu­dents in the coun­try ille­gal­ly, to pass school vouch­ers or block an expan­sion of pre-kinder­garten pro­grams.

    “We’re mak­ing our voic­es very clear­ly heard,” said Cathie Adams, a for­mer Texas Repub­li­can Par­ty chair­woman who now heads the influ­en­tial Texas Eagle Forum con­ser­v­a­tive grass­roots group. “But they’re ignor­ing us.”

    Patrick, one of the most pow­er­ful tea par­ty politi­cians in elec­tive office, along with Gov. Greg Abbott and Tex­as­House Speak­er Joe Straus were tar­gets of a scathing let­ter signed by 28 con­ser­v­a­tive activists decry­ing “excus­es rather than results” on too many issues.

    Patrick coun­tered that some­times the leg­isla­tive process can be slow-mov­ing. Also, Democ­rats and skep­ti­cal Repub­li­cans teamed up to thwart some pro­pos­als, such as the tuition repeal.

    “It’s hard to make every­one hap­py all the time,” he said. Con­sid­er­ing the many issues, Patrick said, “if you took a list of 25 or 30, we did very well. Some 100 per­cent, some 80 per­cent.”

    At one point, top staff mem­bers in Patrick­’s office had to meet with alarmed gun rights activists after he sug­gest­ed that “open car­ry” might not have the votes to pass. Lat­er, one of them post­ed an online video remind­ing state law­mak­ers that “trea­son is pun­ish­able by death.” Open car­ry of hand­guns was even­tu­al­ly approved.

    Kat­ri­na Pier­son, who mount­ed an unsuc­cess­ful tea par­ty bid for Con­gress last year, said group mem­bers will set­tle for “90–10 or 80–20” per­cent ide­o­log­i­cal puri­ty by law­mak­ers they sup­port. But she said that now “it’s bare­ly 50–50.”

    Abbott works to keep good tea par­ty rela­tions. He punc­tu­ates his tweets with tea par­ty hash­tags and even ordered the Texas State Guard to be on alert amid warn­ings from far-right cor­ners of the Inter­net that a planned U.S. mil­i­tary exer­cise in Texas could be an excuse for a fed­er­al­ly imposed mar­tial law.

    ...

    Well that was quite the laun­dry list things even a Texas GOP­er might be too embar­rassed to vote for. But note this rather crit­i­cal line:

    ...
    But except for lim­it­ing gov­ern­ment and slash­ing state spend­ing, the groups often don’t agree on much. And their agen­das some­times com­pete with each oth­er.
    ...

    So at least the Tea Par­ty its slight­ly less Tea Par­ty-ish com­rades have some­thing they can agree on. Well done!

    Inter­est­ing­ly, there was no men­tion of repeal­ing the 17th Amend­ment. Or, rather, there was no men­tion of how Lt. Gov­er­nor Dan Patrick, who appears to have dis­ap­point­ed so many of his Tea Par­ty back­ers, actu­al­ly flip flopped on that very issue almost imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing his elec­tion:

    Poli­ti­fact Texas
    Dan Patrick went from ‘unequiv­o­cal­ly sup­port’ to ‘would not be in favor of’ repeal

    By Sue Owen on Thurs­day, Feb­ru­ary 13th, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.

    “Flip flop,” begins a Jan. 22, 2014, news blog entry from the San Anto­nio Express-News.

    “That’s exact­ly what Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick, both try­ing to cap­ture the tea par­ty vote in the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, did ear­li­er this week when posed a ques­tion about repeal­ing the 17th Amend­ment.”

    The 17th Amend­ment to the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion, rat­i­fied in 1913, did away with state leg­is­la­tures elect­ing U.S. sen­a­tors and hand­ed that pow­er direct­ly to the peo­ple. It begins, “The Sen­ate of the Unit­ed States shall be com­posed of two Sen­a­tors from each State, elect­ed by the peo­ple there­of, for six years; and each Sen­a­tor shall have one vote.”

    At the time, the 17th Amend­ment was seen as a move away from cor­rup­tion and toward pur­er democ­ra­cy, accord­ing to an Oct. 10, 2013, Austin Amer­i­can-States­man news blog post and an Oct. 16 States­man news sto­ry. But tea par­ty activists, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Texas, describe it as a mis­take that reduced state pow­er by undo­ing an intend­ed bal­ance between U.S. rep­re­sen­ta­tives elect­ed local­ly by the peo­ple and U.S. sen­a­tors more account­able to state leg­is­la­tors.

    Anoth­er Repub­li­can can­di­date for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, Texas land com­mis­sion­er Jer­ry Pat­ter­son, said in a Waco Tri­bune-Her­ald inter­view pub­lished Feb. 2 and in sub­se­quent emails to us that Patrick and Dewhurst each said in an Oct. 3 debate that he favored repeal, then changed his tune at a Jan. 20 King Street Patri­ots debate.

    Pat­ter­son and anoth­er GOP can­di­date, Texas agri­cul­ture com­mis­sion­er Todd Sta­ples, who weren’t asked about repeal at the Octo­ber debate, each said at the lat­er debate that he oppos­es repeal­ing the amend­ment, accord­ing to a YouTube video that King Street spokesman Logan Church­well told us by phone accu­rate­ly pre­sent­ed the can­di­dates’ respons­es.

    ...

    An Oct. 10 States­man news blog post quot­ed Patrick as say­ing at the Oct. 3 debate held in Hous­ton by the Clear Lake Tea Par­ty:

    “I unequiv­o­cal­ly sup­port the repeal of the 17th Amend­ment and the restora­tion of our Founders’ orig­i­nal intent to have the state leg­is­la­tures select our Unit­ed States sen­a­tors. ... It is absolute­ly nec­es­sary that the 17th Amend­ment be repealed to revi­tal­ize our repub­li­can sys­tem of gov­ern­ment.”

    At the Jan. 20 King Street debate in Hous­ton, accord­ing to the YouTube video, Patrick said:

    “I think this came up in a debate about four months ago. We’ve had many debates. And I think either I mis­spoke or I was mis­quot­ed or it was report­ed incor­rect­ly; I’m not sure which. ... I would not be in posi­tion to sup­port repeal­ing it today. I was just tak­ing a his­tor­i­cal view of it and I think that was a turn­ing point; it hasn’t worked out, I think, as planned, but I would not be in favor of repeal­ing it.”


    Patrick spokesman Logan Spence told us by email that there was “No flip. Dan just does­n’t think now is the time to have that fight.”

    We asked how this “not now” posi­tion coheres with Patrick flat­ly say­ing at the Jan­u­ary debate that he is not in favor of repeal. Spence replied that as a can­di­date for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, Patrick is not posi­tioned to lead the charge for repeal “now or in the near future.” He also said, “This must be my last time to address this.”

    Our rul­ing

    Between the Octo­ber and Jan­u­ary debates, Patrick shift­ed from say­ing “I unequiv­o­cal­ly sup­port the repeal of the 17th Amend­ment” to “I would not be in favor of repeal­ing it.” Giv­en an oppor­tu­ni­ty to explain the con­trast, his cam­paign said Patrick wouldn’t be posi­tioned as lieu­tenant gov­er­nor to lead the repeal charge and that there would be no fur­ther clar­i­fi­ca­tion.

    Our sense is that Patrick him­self said he was for repeal, then said he is not. That’s a Full Flop.

    A Full Flop. That’s what Poli­ti­fact award Tex­as­’s Lt Gov­er­nor on his sud­den repeal of his past sup­port for repeal­ing the 17th Amend­ment. A Full Flop. Ouch!

    So even though we did­n’t hear much about the 17th Amend­ment in the above arti­cle on the Texas Tea Par­ty’s dis­ap­point­ments in their elect­ed offi­cials, it sure sounds like there should be some Texas Tea Partiers still fum­ing over the 17th Amend­ment Full Flop by their Lt. Gov­er­nor almost imme­di­ate­ly after get­ting elect­ed.

    The again, giv­en the scope of every­thing the Texas Tea Par­ty demands, it’s clear there’s a lot of work to be done in all sorts of areas if Tex­as­’s Tea Par­ty will ever feel at home. Repeal­ing the pop­u­lar elec­tion of US Sen­a­tors is but one of many issues of the day when you’re try­ing to make the dis­tant past the near future.

    At the same time, chang­ing the US con­sti­tu­tion is going to require more than just Texas, so it makes sense not to put too much of a focus on the 17th Amend­ment, espe­cial­ly since its high­ly unlike­ly that the pop­u­lace, as a whole, is going to sup­port the idea. So it’s prob­a­bly a bet­ter plan to just put out lots of rhetoric about how much bet­ter it would be if state gov­ern­ments select­ed their US Sen­a­tors and then wait for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to sneak the repeal in dur­ing a Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion:

    The Dai­ly News
    Con­ven­tion of States
    Post­ed: Mon­day, June 8, 2015 1:29 am | Updat­ed: 1:49 am, Mon Jun 8, 2015.

    By NEIL YOUNG

    BULLHEAD CITY — Restrict­ing the pow­er and juris­dic­tion of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment as allowed by Arti­cle V of the Unit­ed States Con­sti­tu­tion was the top­ic at Saturday’s Col­orado Riv­er Tea Par­ty Patri­ots meet­ing.

    Dustin Rom­ney, Ari­zona coali­tions direc­tor for the Con­ven­tion of States Project, was the fea­tured speak­er.

    Rom­ney, a dis­tant rel­a­tive of 2012 pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mitt Rom­ney, authored the book “Rule of Law: Why and How We Must Amend the Con­sti­tu­tion.”

    The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has been tak­ing more pow­er away from the states, Rom­ney said.

    In some cas­es, states give up the pow­er will­ing­ly, in exchange for fed­er­al aid.

    “They love that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment gives them mon­ey,” Rom­ney said.

    The loss of pow­er has been going on for more than 100 years, Rom­ney said. Under the Con­sti­tu­tion, state leg­is­la­tures chose sen­a­tors. The 17th Amend­ment, rat­i­fied in 1913, stip­u­lat­ed that sen­a­tors be elect­ed by pop­u­lar vote.

    Rom­ney said he sees that as con­tribut­ing to “an unac­count­able gov­ern­ment, an unac­count­able bureau­cra­cy.”

    Because U.S. Supreme Court jus­tices are approved by the Sen­ate, the states have lost influ­ence over the court with the pas­sage of the 17th Amend­ment, he said.

    There are two ways for amend­ments to be pro­posed: Con­gress can do so with a vote of two-thirds of its mem­bers. An amend­ment would need to be rat­i­fied by three-quar­ters of the states, or 38 of the 50 states.

    An alter­na­tive method — the one favored by Romney’s orga­ni­za­tion — would be for rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the states to get togeth­er at a con­ven­tion. Again, two-thirds of them would need to approve the pro­posed amend­ment in order for it to go before the states. If three-quar­ters of the states rat­i­fy the pro­pos­al, it becomes an amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    The Con­ven­tion of the States Project pro­pos­es amend­ments that would lim­it the pow­er and juris­dic­tion of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, place fis­cal con­straints on Wash­ing­ton, and term lim­its for mem­bers of Con­gress. “It’s not an end-all, be-all solu­tion to our prob­lems,” Rom­ney cau­tioned.

    Mem­bers of the Ari­zona leg­is­la­ture, includ­ing Dis­trict 5 State Sen. Kel­li Ward, R‑Lake Hava­su City, have been try­ing to get the leg­is­la­ture to pass a res­o­lu­tion for Ari­zona to par­tic­i­pate in such a con­ven­tion. Those efforts have been stymied by Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Andy Big­gs, who report­ed­ly fears a run­away or rogue con­ven­tion, with del­e­gates rewrit­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    Rom­ney said those fears are unfound­ed. A run­way con­ven­tion “is sim­ply not pos­si­ble,” he said, because it takes 38 states to rat­i­fy changes to the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    “It’s a safe process,” Rom­ney said.

    “This is a years-long process,” Rom­ney said. “I believe the con­ven­tion is inevitable.”

    Con­gress would have no role in the con­ven­tion, oth­er than select­ing the time and place for the meet­ing, and deter­min­ing how amend­ments would be rat­i­fied. There are two options for rat­i­fi­ca­tion: Either by state leg­is­la­tures, or by each state hold­ing a con­ven­tion for rat­i­fi­ca­tion, Rom­ney said.

    In terms of any changes that may be made, “we might get it right, we might not get it right, but we’ve got to try,” Rom­ney declared. Any prob­lems can be fixed by hold­ing a sub­se­quent con­ven­tion, he said.

    ...

    Final­ly the tyran­ny of pop­u­lar­ly elect­ed Sen­a­tors will be behind us. Just imag­ine what the world would look like with­out the absur­di­ty of have peo­ple direct­ly vote for their Sen­a­tors, a bar­bar­ic act that some­how results in the states los­ing their influ­ence over the Supreme Court. Just imag­ine how much bet­ter it could be:

    Nation­al Con­sti­tu­tion Cen­ter
    What would the Sen­ate look like in 2015 with­out the 17th Amend­ment?
    By Scott Bom­boy

    April 8, 2015 10:15 AM

    It’s the 102nd anniver­sary of the 17th Amend­ment, lead­ing us to con­sid­er what today’s U.S. Sen­ate would look like if its mem­bers weren’t direct­ly elect­ed by vot­ers.

    The answer is sim­ple: It would be prob­a­bly be much more con­trolled by the Repub­li­cans, with a good chance that it could be a fil­i­buster-proof major­i­ty and a chance it could be veto-proof.

    Pri­or to 1913, when the 17th Amend­ment was rat­i­fied, state leg­is­la­tures elect­ed two U.S. sen­a­tors to rep­re­sent them in Con­gress.

    Mem­bers in each state House and each state Sen­ate, in most cas­es, would meet sep­a­rate­ly to pick a can­di­date as its rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the U.S. Sen­ate.

    If the two cau­cus­es picked the same per­son, the race was over and that per­son was sent to the U.S. Sen­ate. (The elec­tions were stag­gered so only one sen­a­tor was cho­sen every two or four years.) But if dif­fer­ent can­di­dates were pre­ferred for that one U.S. Sen­ate seat, the leg­is­la­tures met in a com­bined ses­sion until they could agree on a selec­tion.

    This indi­rect selec­tion method had its flaws. Dead­locks could pre­vent a state from send­ing some­one to Con­gress. Only 2 per­cent of the races end­ed in a deadlock–but these dead­locks were dev­as­tat­ing, because they pre­vent­ed patron­age jobs from being appoint­ed.

    Jump­ing for­ward 102 years, Con­sti­tu­tion Dai­ly looked at the cur­rent com­po­si­tion of state leg­is­la­tures to see how the U.S. Sen­ate would look if it reflect­ed how Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans cur­rent­ly con­trol state Hous­es and Sen­ates.

    Using data from the Nation­al Con­fer­ence of State Leg­is­la­tures for 2015, Repub­li­cans con­trol 30 state leg­is­la­tures and 8 leg­is­la­tures are split. So that would rough­ly trans­late to 64 seats for the GOP in the cur­rent Sen­ate (under the old pre-17th Amend­ment rules). That also would put the Repub­li­cans four votes over a fil­i­buster-proof 60-vote major­i­ty and with­in three seats of a 67-vote super­ma­jor­i­ty need­ed to over­ride a pres­i­den­tial veto.

    The amend­ment rat­i­fied 102 years ago still has its crit­ics, par­tic­u­lar­ly among states’ rights advo­cates. Repeal pro­po­nents have point­ed to sev­er­al ben­e­fits. Fore­most, it gives state gov­ern­ments a direct voice in the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment and bud­get­ing process, some­thing pro­po­nents believe reflect the desire of the Found­ing Fathers for states to have a dynam­ic role in Wash­ing­ton.

    ...

    The anti-17th Amend­ment forces would need 38 states to rat­i­fy a repeal amend­ment, which is no small task, since two-thirds of Con­gress or the states would need to agree to offer one up for rat­i­fi­ca­tion votes.

    On top of these chal­lenges, per­haps the most sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor pre­vent­ing repeal would be what helped the amend­ment pass in the first place–the idea that the direct elec­tion of sen­a­tors, giv­ing pow­er to the peo­ple rather than the states, is the most demo­c­ra­t­ic approach.

    Well that was a rather unpleas­ant day­dream: if the peo­ple weren’t elect­ing the Sen­ate, a GOP veto-proof Sen­ate major­i­ty is what we could expect today. Grant­ed, if the sys­temic ger­ry­man­der­ing that’s giv­en the GOP a mas­sive out­sized elec­toral advan­tage is ever cor­rect­ed, or flipped in the Democ­rats’ favor, we could just as eas­i­ly see the Sen­ate becom­ing a per­ma­nent Demo­c­ra­t­ic veto-proof major­i­ty. A big year for the Democ­rats in 2020, the next redis­trict­ing year and a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year which always helps the Democ­rats, could eas­i­ly reverse the GOP’s huge 2010 Tea Par­ty-fueled redis­trict­ing advan­tage scored dur­ing after the Tea Par­ty’s tri­umphant entrance into elec­toral pol­i­tics.

    So, giv­en that the US’s demo­graph­ic trends aren’t exact­ly in the GOP’s favor in the long run, you almost have to won­der why it is that the right-wing would want to syn­chro­nize the US Sen­ate with the par­ties in con­trol of state leg­is­la­tures, which is what would hap­pen if the 17th Amend­ment was repealed: the state and fed­er­al gov­ern­ments would become increas­ing­ly syn­chro­nized. Whether or not that’s a help­ful state of affairs is high­ly cir­cum­stan­tial. It depends on who gets elect­ed at the state lev­els. But for the GOP, and espe­cial­ly its Tea Par­ty wing, dab­bling with those kinds of changes seems like a flir­ta­tion with a Pyrrhic vic­to­ry.

    And that’s not the only con­cern. If repeal­ing the 17th amend­ment is sup­posed to hap­pen via a Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion, that opens up a whole host of oth­er risks, like a “run away” con­ven­tion that gets tak­en over by left-wing forced. It’s a pos­si­bil­i­ty that rep­re­sen­ta­tives from both the John Birch Soci­ety and Eagle Forum both warned against in a recent piece in The New Amer­i­can. Yes, the John Birch Soci­ety has long been a foe of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion, although it also hates the 17th Amend­ment. So the JBS would def­i­nite­ly love to repeal the 17th Amend­ment. tIt just does­n’t want to open the “Con-Con” can of worms:

    The New Amer­i­can
    Bat­tle Over Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion Rages in Texas

    Writ­ten by Alex New­man
    Fri­day, 20 March 2015

    The con­tro­ver­sial nation­al effort to have states call for an Arti­cle V Con­ven­tion, which crit­ics say could put the exist­ing Con­sti­tu­tion at risk, is hard at work in Texas, where the bat­tle over a pos­si­ble con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion has been rag­ing in recent weeks. With mul­ti­ple bills cur­rent­ly being con­sid­ered in the Texas leg­is­la­ture that could put the state on record as apply­ing for a con-con, con­ser­v­a­tive and con­sti­tu­tion­al­ist activists have also been work­ing hard to edu­cate law­mak­ers on the dan­gers — as well as viable solu­tions to rein in the increas­ing­ly law­less fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in a man­ner that would not jeop­ar­dize the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    The pro-con-con side, led by the group Con­ven­tion of the States, in addi­tion to furi­ous­ly lob­by­ing the leg­is­la­ture, has been demo­niz­ing oppo­nents of the plan.

    When not ver­bal­ly dis­parag­ing oppo­nents, many sup­port­ers of a con-con sug­gest­ed that amend­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion was urgent, pos­si­bly the only remain­ing hope for rein­ing in a fed­er­al gov­ern­ment that has grown com­plete­ly out of con­trol and now threat­ens the nation itself. Crit­ics, mean­while, por­trayed an Arti­cle V Con­ven­tion as the poten­tial final nail in the cof­fin for America’s exist­ing con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem, argu­ing that a con-con may well undo the Con­sti­tu­tion and the lib­er­ties it pro­tects.

    So far, despite the poten­tial­ly his­toric con­se­quences, the press in Texas has large­ly ignored the ongo­ing show­down in the Lone Star State and the res­o­lu­tions — HJR 77, HJR 78, and HJR 79 — that would advance it. At least one media out­let, though, did cov­er the rag­ing debate tak­ing place. In an arti­cle in Texas Month­ly head­lined “Texas Eagle Forum, John Birch Soci­ety Are Right,” writer R.G. Rat­cliffe said he agreed with the argu­ments by the two of the lead­ing con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions fight­ing against an Arti­cle V con­ven­tion. “The Eagle Forum and the John Birch Soci­ety are cor­rect,” the writer opined, say­ing that forc­ing Con­gress to call a con-con is a “dan­ger­ous idea” that could “destroy one of the best nation­al char­ters” that was ever writ­ten — the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion. “There is no way to guar­an­tee a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion will be lim­it­ed to any one top­ic of the right or the left.”

    Rat­cliffe also cit­ed com­ments made by Texas Eagle Forum past-Pres­i­dent Pat Carl­son, who explained that there is noth­ing in the Con­sti­tu­tion describ­ing how a con­ven­tion would work. “To say you’re just nudg­ing Con­gress is very dan­ger­ous,” Carl­son said, adding that Con­gress would like­ly set the rules for the con­ven­tion in such a way as to lead to chang­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion. “Don’t for­get, there are lib­er­al groups out there just wait­ing to jump in and pass their own stuff.” Indeed, as The New Amer­i­can has report­ed, there are a num­ber of far-left anti-lib­er­ty forces also hop­ing to amend the Con­sti­tu­tion with a con-con to restrict the rights guar­an­teed under the First and Sec­ond Amend­ments, among oth­ers.

    Rat­cliffe could­n’t agree more with the oppo­nents, say­ing that Carl­son and oth­ers were “com­plete­ly cor­rect.” “The sup­port­ers are oper­at­ing on an almost reli­gious faith that the con­ven­tion would go exact­ly as they want and be as lim­it­ed as they want,” Rat­cliffe wrote in his analy­sis. Indeed, sta­tist activists have been vocal about hop­ing to change the Con­sti­tu­tion to restrict elec­tion-relat­ed speech and spend­ing by over­turn­ing the Cit­i­zens Unit­ed deci­sion and undo­ing the rights guar­an­teed under the First Amend­ment.

    Nonethe­less, in the arti­cle, Rat­cliffe did ably set out the claims of the con-con advo­cates. He quot­ed State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul Work­man, who has been pro­mot­ing his res­o­lu­tion call­ing for a con­ven­tion to rein in fed­er­al spend­ing: “Con­gres­sion­al lead­ers and pres­i­dents of both major polit­i­cal par­ties have presided over the explo­sion of fed­er­al debt to an astound­ing $18 tril­lion.” Work­man added, “Con­gress has shown no seri­ous desire to rein in its spend­ing.” Oth­er pro­po­nents of a con-con claimed a con­ven­tion was nec­es­sary because the U.S. Supreme Court is the “biggest ene­my of the peo­ple of the Unit­ed States,” impos­ing abor­tion, sodomy, homo­sex­u­al “mar­riage,” athe­ism in schools, and oth­er poli­cies. “This social change being ram­rod­ded on us by the Supreme Court has got to stop,” wit­ness Allen Adkins of Lub­bock tes­ti­fied.

    It was not clear how a con-con aimed at bal­anc­ing the fed­er­al bud­get would rein in the out-of-con­trol Supreme Court.

    In recent weeks, there have been sev­er­al state House com­mit­tee hear­ings on an Arti­cle V con­ven­tion, over­seen by Repub­li­can sup­port­ers of the mea­sure. Iron­i­cal­ly, despite the fact that the Texas Repub­li­can Par­ty passed a res­o­lu­tion sev­er­al months ago offi­cial­ly oppos­ing a con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ven­tion, Democ­rats on the com­mit­tee were opposed to a con-con, while at least some of the GOP law­mak­ers were sup­port­ive. In fact, mul­ti­ple sources who spoke with The New Amer­i­can sug­gest­ed that the com­mit­tee lead­er­ship was biased against crit­ics of the con-con.

    Through­out the hear­ings, though, pas­sion­ate activists warned that, among oth­er con­cerns, an Arti­cle V Con­ven­tion to pro­pose amend­ments to the Con­sti­tu­tion could end up re-writ­ing the entire doc­u­ment, or at least seri­ous­ly dam­ag­ing it. That could cement and even legit­imize some or all of the fed­er­al government’s increas­ing­ly law­less pow­er grabs, mak­ing a return to the prin­ci­ples of lib­er­ty even hard­er to achieve. Crit­ics of the Arti­cle V effort also not­ed that the prob­lem is not the Con­sti­tu­tion — it is the fact that politi­cians in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., who swore to uphold it con­sis­tent­ly tram­ple it. Adding a bal­anced-bud­get amend­ment would hard­ly solve that prob­lem, and oppo­nents of call­ing a con­ven­tion argue, cit­ing legal schol­ars on both sides of the polit­i­cal spec­trum, that the risks to the Con­sti­tu­tion are sim­ply too great.

    Promi­nent Texas activist Bar­bara Har­less, founder of the lib­er­ty-mind­ed grass­roots alliance dubbed the Bat­tle Over Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ven­tion Rages in Texas, trav­eled to the capi­tol in Austin this week with 10 oth­ers to meet with leg­is­la­tors on var­i­ous issues, includ­ing the con-con mea­sures. In her tes­ti­mo­ny against an Arti­cle V con­ven­tion dur­ing the com­mit­tee hear­ing, Har­less explained that the only way to actu­al­ly achieve a real bal­anced bud­get — which she strong­ly sup­ports — was by get­ting rid of the IRS, the 16th Amend­ment, and the pri­vate­ly owned Fed­er­al Reserve Sys­tem, while return­ing to adher­ence to the Con­sti­tu­tion. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment should also return to per­form­ing only con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly autho­rized func­tions to slash spend­ing, bal­ance the bud­get, and restore respect for the rule of law.

    “A con-con is a bad idea because no mat­ter how many good amend­ments are adopt­ed, they won’t make the first 10 any more enforce­able,” Har­less told The New Amer­i­can after tes­ti­fy­ing against the mea­sures. “Why? Because the Con­sti­tu­tion is just a piece of paper with­out the peo­ple’s enforce­ment. Put anoth­er way; if just half of the Amer­i­cans that under­stand the prin­ci­ples in the 200-page NFL rule book, also under­stood the prin­ci­ples in the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion — the one that fits in your shirt pock­et — Amer­i­ca would look total­ly dif­fer­ent. That’s the Amer­i­ca I want to see, the one where the Con­sti­tu­tion is enforced, again. Then we can look to amend the Con­sti­tu­tion.”

    The peo­ple of Texas and their elect­ed offi­cials should also say no to a con-con, Har­less added, “because each of the states have their own inde­pen­dent pow­er to enforce the con­sti­tu­tion we have now — it’s called the 10th Amend­ment.” Sev­er­al bills deal­ing with the 10th Amend­ment are, iron­i­cal­ly, sit­ting in the same com­mit­tee cur­rent­ly explor­ing the Arti­cle V mea­sures to make Con­gress call a con­ven­tion. Har­less said restor­ing and using pro­vi­sions in the exist­ing Con­sti­tu­tion would be a bet­ter route to restor­ing the Repub­lic and rein­ing in the feds. Amer­i­cans must know about the Con­sti­tu­tion and what it says, though, to be able to restore and enforce it.

    Part of her con­cern cen­tered on who the del­e­gates to a poten­tial con-con would be. “How can I have con­fi­dence that my state offi­cials will grow a spine in a con­ven­tion of tyrants?” she asked. “But more to the point, why would I want my leg­is­la­tors to dilute their voice in a much larg­er con­ven­tion, when they have the pow­er they need to enforce the 10th Amend­ment now, which is already in the Con­sti­tu­tion?” Har­less also point­ed out that she obtained the 1933 rat­i­fy­ing con­ven­tion rules and jour­nal from the state Leg­isla­tive Ref­er­ence Library. The pic­ture it paints is bleak. “Here’s the dis­mal con­clu­sion: Con­gress could over­rule any state pol­i­cy on the selec­tion of del­e­gates or the con­ven­tion process itself,” she said. “The 1933 Texas rules said so, in the last sec­tion, sec­tion 17.”

    ...

    Lar­ry Green­ley, as direc­tor of mis­sions for The John Birch Soci­ety, explained last month in an in-depth arti­cle for this mag­a­zine that there are numer­ous key argu­ments against a con-con that have remained large­ly unad­dressed by sup­port­ers of the effort. In the piece, enti­tled “The Solu­tion is the Con­sti­tu­tion, Not Arti­cle V,” Green­ley explained that a con-con would risk harm­ful changes to the Con­sti­tu­tion that “very well could end our her­itage of free­dom and pros­per­i­ty.” The Con­sti­tu­tion, he wrote, is not the prob­lem — the fact that politi­cians ignore it and the Amer­i­can peo­ple allow it to be tram­pled on is the prob­lem. As such, the solu­tion is not to change the Con­sti­tu­tion, but to edu­cate Amer­i­cans to ensure that it is enforced as writ­ten. Green­ley also said that all Arti­cle V Con­ven­tions have the inher­ent pow­er to become run­away con­ven­tions, poten­tial­ly putting the entire Con­sti­tu­tion in per­il. It would allow pow­er­ful spe­cial inter­ests to revise the Con­sti­tu­tion in their favor, too, he added.

    “What is absolute­ly nec­es­sary to turn this sit­u­a­tion around is a large-scale, grass­roots edu­ca­tion cam­paign on the prac­ti­cal aspects of how the Con­sti­tu­tion already lim­its the pow­er of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment,” Green­ley con­clud­ed. “In order to restore our free­dom, an informed elec­torate must be cre­at­ed that will roll back the pow­er of the spe­cial inter­ests by elect­ing fed­er­al and state rep­re­sen­ta­tives who will enforce the Con­sti­tu­tion as orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed.” A con-con, on the oth­er hand, has the very real poten­tial to destroy or under­mine that same Con­sti­tu­tion, putting all Amer­i­cans’ rights in jeop­ardy.

    As we can see, it’s not that there’s any dis­agree­ment amongst the far-right for a dra­mat­ic rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion. But from the per­spec­tive of some activists, like Texas activist Bar­bara Har­less, there’s no need for any actu­al amend­ments to the con­sti­tu­tion to allow for those dra­mat­ic changes. They just need to con­vince every­one to use legal gim­micks like the “ten­ther” inter­pre­ta­tion of the 10 Amend­ment that nul­li­fies almost every­thing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment does. Just to that instead! No risk of a “Con-Con” that lets the lib­er­als run wild.

    Of course, it’s pos­si­ble that the risk a lib­er­al “Con-Con gone wild” sit­u­a­tion is basi­cal­ly zero giv­en the veto-proof sta­tus of the Sen­ate that the GOP would get today if we did indeed repeal the 17th Amend­ment due to the over­whelm­ing num­ber of state leg­is­la­tures con­trolled by the GOP. Still, it’s a nice thought. So long Cit­i­zens Unit­ed!

    So while there’s clear­ly a sig­nif­i­cant Tea Par­ty pres­ence in the pro-repeal the 17th move­ment, there are some sig­nif­i­cant oppo­nents too. That said, if this is one of those “if there’s a will, there’s a way” sit­u­a­tion, than the pro-repeal peo­ple are prob­a­bly going to pre­vail. Why? Because when you look at some of the oth­er allies of the ‘Sev­en­teen­ther move­ment, it’s pret­ty clear that they’ll be able to afford a lot of will.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 22, 2015, 10:45 pm
  8. Back dur­ing the ear­ly days of the Bundy Ranch Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen Rebel­lion of 2014, before Cliv­en Bundy turned him­self into polit­i­cal kryp­tonite, it was pret­ty clear which side Ron and Rand Paul were going to be on in this fight. Espe­cial­ly after they ‘rode to the res­cue’:

    The Wash­ing­ton Times
    Rand and Ron Paul ride to the res­cue for Bundy in Neva­da stand­off with feds

    By Phillip Swarts — The Wash­ing­ton Times — Wednes­day, April 16, 2014

    Defi­ant Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy received some key but qual­i­fied sup­port in his still-unre­solved stand­off with the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion.

    Lib­er­tar­i­an icons ex-Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and his son, Sen. Rand Paul, Ken­tucky Repub­li­can, both came out with crit­i­cal com­ments on the fed­er­al government’s han­dling of the land dis­pute, while the Neva­da Cattlemen’s Asso­ci­a­tion broke its silence on the dis­pute Wednes­day with harsh words of its own for the feds.

    The NCA’s care­ful state­ment not­ed the group “does not con­done actions that are out­side the law, in which cit­i­zens take the law into their own hands,” but it not­ed that Mr. Bundy and his fam­i­ly were pro­voked by the pol­i­cy of the Inte­ri­or Department’s Bureau of Land Man­age­ment (BLM).

    “Ranch­ers such as Mr. Bundy have found them­selves with their backs against the wall as, increas­ing­ly, fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions have infringed on their pub­lic land graz­ing rights and the mul­ti­ple-use man­age­ment prin­ci­ple,” the asso­ci­a­tion said. “This is not only dev­as­tat­ing to indi­vid­ual ranch­ing fam­i­lies; it is also caus­ing rur­al com­mu­ni­ties in the West to with­er on the vine.”

    The senior Mr. Paul also crit­i­cized what he said was overkill in the armed con­fronta­tion that near­ly led to vio­lence before the BLM stood down over the week­end.

    “They may come back with a lot more force, like they did at Waco with the David­i­ans,” the senior Mr. Paul said on Fox News, ref­er­enc­ing the 1993 Branch David­i­an stand­off in Texas that left near­ly 100 peo­ple dead.

    His son, Rand Paul, became one of the first of the 2016 con­tenders to weigh in on the dis­pute, crit­i­ciz­ing the heavy fed­er­al enforce­ment array in the con­fronta­tion.

    “The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment shouldn’t vio­late the law, nor should we have 48 fed­er­al agen­cies car­ry­ing weapons and hav­ing SWAT teams,” Mr. Paul said on a Ken­tucky radio sta­tion.

    The younger Mr. Paul also appealed for the Bundy fam­i­ly, which does not rec­og­nize the fed­er­al government’s juris­dic­tion over the dis­put­ed lands, to seek redress non­vi­o­lent­ly.

    “I hope it’ll go through a court,” he said “But if it were in a court, I would be sid­ing and want­i­ng to say that, look, the states and the indi­vid­u­als in the state should own these lands.”

    ...

    So that was April of last year, when stand­ing with Cliv­en was the thing to do. It was also before Cliv­en Bundy’s com­ments on “the negro”, at which point every­one, includ­ing Rand, sud­den­ly head­ed for the hills.

    But time heals all wounds. Or some­thing. Either way, look who’s back, stand­ing with Rand while Rand talks about how the Fed­er­al gov­ern­ment should­n’t be involved in any land man­age­ment at all:

    CNN
    With Cliv­en Bundy lis­ten­ing, Rand Paul jabs BLM in Neva­da

    By Ash­ley Kil­lough

    Updat­ed 7:09 AM ET, Tue June 30, 2015

    Mesquite, Neva­da (CNN) Rand Paul argued Mon­day that pub­lic lands run by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment should be hand­ed over to state or local con­trol, mak­ing a crowd-pleas­ing ral­ly cry in Neva­da where 67% of the state is over­seen by the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment.

    Sit­ting in that audi­ence was Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy, who became a nation­al fig­ure last year after stag­ing a stand­off with the feds over a BLM dis­pute.

    “I’d either sell or turn over all the land man­age­ment to the states,” Paul, a Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and sen­a­tor from Ken­tucky, said, land­ing him big applause at a cam­paign event. “I don’t think the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment needs to be involved.”

    On the third leg of a four-stop tour across the ear­ly cau­cus state, Paul made his com­ments at the Eure­ka casi­no in Mesquite in South­east Neva­da — not far from Bundy’s home.

    Paul said Wash­ing­ton has become a “bul­ly” that often goes too far in the reg­u­la­tion of both pub­lic and pri­vate land.

    “You run into prob­lems now with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment being, you know, this bul­ly — this big huge gov­ern­ment bul­ly,” he con­tin­ued. “You would have less of that if you had more local own­er­ship of the land. State own­er­ship would be bet­ter, but even bet­ter would be pri­vate own­er­ship.”

    ...

    Like many Repub­li­cans, Paul ini­tial­ly sup­port­ed Bundy’s cause last year but joined a con­ser­v­a­tive cho­rus that quick­ly repu­di­at­ed the ranch­er for mak­ing racist com­ments.

    The two report­ed­ly met at Mon­day’s event in Mesquite, but Paul and his cam­paign declined to answer ques­tions from reporters about Bundy at a ral­ly lat­er Mon­day in Las Vegas.

    “In gen­er­al, I think we’re in tune with each oth­er,” Bundy told the Asso­ci­at­ed Press. “I don’t think we need to ask Wash­ing­ton, D.C. for this land. It’s our land.”

    Paul, in his speech Mon­day in Mesquite, railed against gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions of pri­vate prop­er­ty as well and list­ed anec­do­tal sto­ries of what he con­sid­ered exten­sive fed­er­al over­reach. The sen­a­tor urged the audi­ence to fight back — but made sure to note that it should be done legal­ly.

    “It is time that we stand up — in a legal fash­ion — but stand up and let’s say ‘enough is enough’ and let’s elect peo­ple who will get the gov­ern­ment off our back,” he said.

    At issue recent­ly have been debates over whether the greater sage grouse — a type of bird — should be list­ed as an endan­gered species, a move that would sig­nif­i­cant­ly affect the reg­u­la­tion of land along the Cal­i­for­nia-Neva­da bor­der. The less­er prairie chick­en has also been sub­ject to debate.

    Paul sug­gest­ed that the pri­vate own­er­ship of more land would help save some species.

    “Some­times I’ll say flip­pant­ly if you sold the chick­en to some­body, there’d be plen­ty of them,” he said. “When things are owned, there’s lots of cows. Cows are not endan­gered. Nei­ther are chick­ens, real­ly. The sage brush grouse would prob­a­bly be less like­ly to be endan­gered if some­body owned it and allowed it to repro­duce. So there are ways of han­dling it.

    Well, at least Rand has a solu­tion for endan­gered species: fac­to­ry farm them:

    ...
    “Some­times I’ll say flip­pant­ly if you sold the chick­en to some­body, there’d be plen­ty of them,” he said. “When things are owned, there’s lots of cows. Cows are not endan­gered. Nei­ther are chick­ens, real­ly. The sage brush grouse would prob­a­bly be less like­ly to be endan­gered if some­body owned it and allowed it to repro­duce. So there are ways of han­dling it.

    Good luck being deli­cious sage brush grouse! You’re going to need it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 30, 2015, 9:13 am
  9. Wow, that Bundy endorse­ment must car­ry quite a bit of weight in the Neva­da GOP pri­maries: It turns out Rand Paul did­n’t just hold a cam­paign event near Bundy Ranch which was attend­ed by Bundy. Rand had a pri­vate 45 minute meet­ing with him after the event:

    Politi­co
    Rand Paul meets with rogue ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy

    By Adam B. Lern­er

    6/30/15 7:40 AM EDT

    Updat­ed 6/30/15 8:01 PM EDT

    Rand Paul met pri­vate­ly with Cliv­en Bundy on Mon­day, the Neva­da ranch­er and anti-gov­ern­ment activist told POLITICO.

    The encounter came after Bundy attend­ed an event for the Ken­tucky senator’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign at the Eure­ka Casi­no in Mesquite, Neva­da. When the larg­er group dis­persed, Bundy said, he was escort­ed by Paul’s aides to a back room where he and the Repub­li­can 2016 con­tender spoke for approx­i­mate­ly 45 min­utes. (“There were no sched­uled meet­ings at Sen­a­tor Paul’s stop in Mesquite. He spoke to many peo­ple who came to this pub­lic event, none for 45 min­utes and none planned,” Paul spokesman Ser­gio Gor said.)

    The Neva­da ranch­er said that he had expect­ed only to have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to shake hands with Paul and make small-talk. He was sur­prised when cam­paign aides found a pri­vate room and allowed Bundy, his wife and son to speak with the can­di­date for the bet­ter part of an hour.

    Accord­ing to Bundy, the two main­ly dis­cussed fed­er­al land over­sight and states’ rights, in addi­tion to edu­ca­tion pol­i­cy — a theme Paul brought up in his speech.

    “I don’t think he real­ly under­stood how land rights real­ly work in the west­ern Unit­ed States,” Bundy said. “I was hap­py to be able to sort of teach him.”

    ...

    Bundy said that in their pri­vate meet­ing, Paul brought up the work of the Amer­i­can Lands Coun­cil, which rais­es mon­ey from groups like the Koch broth­ers’ Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­i­ty to wres­tle land from the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment and return it to the states via nego­ti­a­tions, leg­is­la­tion and lit­i­ga­tion.

    “I dis­agree with that phi­los­o­phy,” Bundy said of the ALC’s legal­is­tic approach. “My stand is we are already a sov­er­eign state. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment doesn’t need to turn this land back to us. It’s already state land.”

    “I don’t want to sell this land to pri­vate own­er­ship, because I believe I already have stew­ard­ship.” He added, “I edu­cat­ed Rand on that point,” and said that the can­di­date seemed sym­pa­thet­ic to his point of view.

    “I don’t claim own­er­ship,” Bundy said. “I claim rights.”

    ...

    As for Bundy, he said he has not yet made up his mind about who he will sup­port in 2016. He said that he’s focused on which nation­al politi­cians are most keen to return pow­er to the states and local com­mu­ni­ties and said that, in their pri­vate meet­ing, Paul seemed keen to do so.

    But Democ­rats, even before word of the pri­vate meet­ing sur­faced, attacked Paul for what was first report­ed as a chance encounter. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee sent an email tosup­port­ers argu­ing that Paul isn’t as sen­si­tive to African-Amer­i­can issues as he says.

    Michael Tyler, the group’s direc­tor of African-Amer­i­can Media, wrote, “Remem­ber Rand Paul preach­ing of broad­en­ing the Repub­li­can Party’s tent to include com­mu­ni­ties they typ­i­cal­ly ignore? Remem­ber Rand Paul claim­ing he was the per­fect can­di­date to spear­head this out­reach? Go ahead and throw that idea out the win­dow.”

    “Rand Paul spent his day in Neva­da kiss­ing the ring of Cliv­en Bundy,” Tyler added. “The Cliv­en Bundy who is a self-avowed expert on ‘the negro.’”

    Yes, for 45 min­utes, Rand and Cliv­en dis­cussed land rights and edu­ca­tion pol­i­cy. And, inter­est­ing­ly, giv­en the back­ing Cliv­en Bundy got from Koch-backed groups inter­est­ed in seiz­ing access to fed­er­al lands, Cliv­en Bundy and Rand Paul don’t see eye to eye on the land rights. Rand sup­ports the Koch/ALEC-backed Amer­i­can Lands Coun­cil (ALC) which is try­ing to hand over con­trol of fed­er­al lands to states (pre­sum­ably to pri­va­tize them), where as Cliv­en does­n’t want to seem so keen on the big mon­eyed pri­va­ti­za­tion approach:

    ...
    “I dis­agree with that phi­los­o­phy,” Bundy said of the ALC’s legal­is­tic approach. “My stand is we are already a sov­er­eign state. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment doesn’t need to turn this land back to us. It’s already state land.”

    “I don’t want to sell this land to pri­vate own­er­ship, because I believe I already have stew­ard­ship.” He added, “I edu­cat­ed Rand on that point,” and said that the can­di­date seemed sym­pa­thet­ic to his point of view.

    “I don’t claim own­er­ship,” Bundy said. “I claim rights.”

    ...

    As for Bundy, he said he has not yet made up his mind about who he will sup­port in 2016. He said that he’s focused on which nation­al politi­cians are most keen to return pow­er to the states and local com­mu­ni­ties and said that, in their pri­vate meet­ing, Paul seemed keen to do so.

    ...

    So it was appears that Rand is too much of a big mon­ey cor­po­ratist for Cliv­en Bundy and sort of struck out in his attempt to clinch the Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen vote.

    At least, he did­n’t get a clear, clean Bundy Ranch endorse­ment, and when you set up a cam­paign event near­by the Bundy Ranch and have a spe­cial, pri­vate 45 minute meet­ing with Cliv­en him­self, it’s pret­ty obvi­ous that the Bundy Ranch endorse­ment is the prize you have your eyes on. And now the rest of the GOP knows that the Bundy Ranch endorse­ment is still up for grabs. Ouch.

    Well, that’s 45 min­utes nei­ther Rand nor Cliv­en are ever get­ting back. At least their dis­cus­sion of edu­ca­tion pol­i­cy must have been inter­est­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 30, 2015, 6:37 pm
  10. It looks like the pop­u­lar right-wing/anar­chist meme “tax­a­tion = theft” is about to get an upgrade. You can thank Rand for this one:

    Salon
    Rand Paul, dorm room philoso­pher: Why his “slav­ery” non­sense is so out­ra­geous
    Pay­ing tax­es makes you a slave, says a grown man run­ning for the most pow­er­ful office in the world

    Simon Mal­oy
    Tues­day, Jul 7, 2015 10:59 AM CST

    Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Sen. Rand Paul has a tax plan he’d like to sell you on. The plan, which would put in place a 14.5 per­cent flat tax, was craft­ed with the input of some of the wrongest peo­ple in the con­ser­v­a­tive eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy world, and it would redis­trib­ute wealth up the eco­nom­ic lad­der while toss­ing a bone or two to the peo­ple at the bot­tom. But Rand is proud of it nonethe­less, main­ly because he thinks it’s less slav­ery-like than your aver­age tax scheme.

    Here’s what Paul said last week about tax­a­tion and “free­dom,” as report­ed by Buz­zFeed:

    “Now you can have some gov­ern­ment, we all need gov­ern­ment,” the Ken­tucky sen­a­tor said while dis­cussing Thomas Paine and the role of gov­ern­ment at the local pub­lic library. “Thomas Paine said that gov­ern­ment is a nec­es­sary evil. What did he mean by that?”

    Paul said he believes that “you have to give up some of your lib­er­ty to have gov­ern­ment,” say­ing he was “for some gov­ern­ment.”

    “I’m for pay­ing some tax­es,” con­tin­ued Paul. “But if we tax you at 100% then you’ve got zero per­cent lib­er­ty. If we tax you at 50% you are half slave, half free. I frankly would like to see you a lit­tle freer and a lit­tle more mon­ey remain­ing in your com­mu­ni­ties so you can cre­ate jobs. It’s a debate we need to have.”

    That was his big pitch – The Rand Paul tax plan: Only 14.5 per­cent slav­ery!

    This is a dumb argu­ment. And it’s upset­ting to hear this dumb argu­ment com­ing from some­one who is try­ing to be pres­i­dent, but will go back to writ­ing and approv­ing leg­is­la­tion if/when that doesn’t work out. Tax­a­tion is not tan­ta­mount to slav­ery. The only thing that’s com­pa­ra­ble to slav­ery is actu­al slav­ery. You might not like it that a por­tion of your pay­check is sent to the feds and your state gov­ern­ment, and you may dis­agree with how your tax dol­lars are spent, but that is in no way com­pa­ra­ble to being kept in bondage and hav­ing the fruits of your labor stolen from you.

    Any way you look at this argu­ment, it’s bad. When you’ve staked out the posi­tion that your effec­tive tax rate is how you mea­sure one’s slave sta­tus, then you’re argu­ing that a pro­gres­sive tax struc­ture means rich peo­ple are less free than the lucky poor folks who would see a small­er per­cent­age of their income go to the gov­ern­ment. By this read­ing, a hedge fund bil­lion­aire who moves his assets off­shore to avoid pay­ing tax­es is basi­cal­ly Fred­er­ick Dou­glass. And when you refer to some­thing as slav­ery, how can you then make the case that there is an accept­able thresh­old for it? Why should 14.5 per­cent slav­ery be any more tol­er­a­ble than 100 per­cent slav­ery?

    It gets even worse when you remem­ber that Rand Paul is try­ing to make inroads with black vot­ers and repair his party’s abysmal­ly bad rep­u­ta­tion with African-Amer­i­cans. Rand obvi­ous­ly under­stands at a cer­tain lev­el that slav­ery was a unique­ly hor­rif­ic crime, the mem­o­ry of which still haunts our pol­i­tics. After the shoot­ings in Charleston last month, called for the Con­fed­er­ate flag to be removed from grounds of the South Car­oli­na Capi­tol because “to every African-Amer­i­can in the coun­try it’s a sym­bol­ism of slav­ery to them and now it’s a sym­bol of mur­der to this young man.” Here we are, just a cou­ple of weeks lat­er, and he’s com­par­ing the grotesque human rights vio­la­tions rep­re­sent­ed by that flag to the banal act of fil­ing your annu­al tax return.

    And this isn’t Rand Paul’s first for­ay into com­par­ing poli­cies he dis­agrees with to slav­ery. In 2011, dur­ing a Sen­ate hear­ing, he said that a “right to health­care” would, in effect, make slaves out of doc­tors such as him­self:

    With regard to the idea whether or not you have a right to health care you have to real­ize what that implies. I am a physi­cian. You have a right to come to my house and con­script me. It means you believe in slav­ery. You are going to enslave not only me but the jan­i­tor at my hos­pi­tal, the per­son who cleans my office, the assis­tants, the nurs­es. … You are basi­cal­ly say­ing you believe in slav­ery.

    On the flip side of the “slav­ery” argu­ment, Paul argued ear­li­er this year that the vac­ci­na­tion of chil­dren was “an issue of free­dom,” essen­tial­ly say­ing that par­ents should be free to have their kids be vec­tors for the com­mu­ni­ca­tion of dan­ger­ous dis­ease. (Before he was elect­ed to the Sen­ate, Paul went on Alex Jones’ radio show and warned that manda­to­ry vac­ci­na­tions were a pre­cur­sor to mar­tial law.)

    ...

    Well that pre­sum­ably won’t be help­ing Rand with his minor­i­ty out­reach efforts.
    But how about his oth­er tar­get­ed demo­graph­ic: the ‘Bundy ranch’ vot­er. Rand did­n’t recent­ly spend 45 min­utes pri­vate­ly meet­ing with Cliv­en Bundy for noth­ing. He clear­ly wants the votes of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen vote, and why not? He’s a nat­ur­al fit. But, while the ‘Bundy ranch­er’ vot­ers no doubt enjoy hear­ing any­thing that equates tax­a­tion with some sort of hor­ri­ble sys­tem of abuse, let’s not for­get that, accord­ing to Cliv­en Bundy, life under slav­ery was­n’t so bad (it’s an even more iron­ic view point than you might imag­ine). Well that sure com­pli­cates things for poor Rand!

    It’s all a reminder that run­ning as the ‘free­dom’ guy isn’t as easy as one might think giv­en the often con­flict­ing nature of rights vs free­doms. Espe­cial­ly when most of your ‘pro-free­dom’ sug­ges­tions most­ly just end up restrict­ing the rights and free­doms peo­ple tend to val­ue most due to all of those awe­some new eco­nom­ic ‘free­doms’ that don’t sim­ply guar­an­tee the free­dom to die in a ditch with­out any med­ical treat­ment, but actu­al­ly facil­i­tate it.

    Yes, run­ning and win­ning as the ‘free­dom to die in a ditch’ guy isn’t easy. That said, it’s not impos­si­ble either. You just need to find the right whis­tle that can dis­tort your twist­ed tune so that it’s tol­er­a­ble enough to not pro­voke out­rage and con­fus­ing enough so peo­ple don’t real­ize you’re cham­pi­oning their free­dom to die in a ditch. Dog-whis­tles are rec­om­mend­ed.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 8, 2015, 2:02 pm
  11. Isn’t this fun: With Don­ald Trump surg­ing into the top spot in the nation­al polls in the 2016 GOP pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry fol­low­ing his repeat­ed asser­tions that undoc­u­ment­ed Mex­i­can immi­grants are large­ly “rapists” and mur­der­ers, Ari­zona GOP Sen­a­tor Jeff Flake is call­ing for a Ari­zona Tea Par­ty group to call off its event in Phoenix fea­tur­ing Trump. Accord­ing to Flake, “I don’t think that [Trump’s] views are reflec­tive of the par­ty, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Ari­zona, a bor­der state.” And he was­n’t even being sar­cas­tic. LOL:

    TPM Livewire
    GOP Sen. Calls For Ariz. Local Par­ty To Pull Spon­sor­ship Of Trump Event

    By Caitlin Mac­Neal
    Pub­lished July 10, 2015, 7:00 AM EDT

    Sen. Jeff Flake (R‑AZ) on Thurs­day called on the local Repub­li­can par­ty in Mari­co­pa Coun­ty, Ariz., to pull its spon­sor­ship of a cam­paign event for Don­ald Trump due to his recent com­ments about Mex­i­can immi­grants.

    “As an elect­ed offi­cial and as a Repub­li­can, I’m not excit­ed about this, to say the least,” Flake told the Wash­ing­ton Post. “I don’t think that [Trump’s] views are reflec­tive of the par­ty, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Ari­zona, a bor­der state.”

    Flake said that Trump’s com­ments call­ing Mex­i­can immi­grants “rapists” and drug deal­ers were “ill-informed” and “not accu­rate.”

    The sen­a­tor was also trou­bled by Trump’s recent remark that he was­n’t sure whether Pres­i­dent Oba­ma was born in the U.S.

    “It’s not just on the immi­gra­tion side. Don­ald Trump is just about the last unapolo­getic birther in the coun­try,” Flake told the Post.

    Trump is set to appear at a Sat­ur­day cam­paign event along­side con­ser­v­a­tive Mari­co­pa Coun­ty Sher­iff Joe Arpaio, who Flake not­ed is also an “unapolo­getic birther.”

    Fol­low­ing Flake’s com­ments, Tyler Bowyer, the chair­man of the Mari­co­pa Coun­ty Repub­li­can Par­ty, issued a state­ment say­ing that the par­ty is “thrilled” to play host to Trump and blast­ing Flake for crit­i­ciz­ing a fel­low Repub­li­can.

    ...

    Well, if Sen­a­tor Flake’s assess­ment of the Ari­zona GOP is cor­rect, the par­ty must have changed quite a bit in recent years. For instance, for­mer gov­er­nor Jan Brew­er, who just left office in Jan­u­ary, com­ment­ed that Trump’s ‘rapist’ remarks were mere­ly “telling it like it real­ly, tru­ly is”. Boy how times appar­ent­ly change in less than six months:

    TPM Livewire
    Brew­er On Trump’s ‘Rapists’ Remark: He’s ‘Telling It Like It Real­ly, Tru­ly Is’

    By Bren­dan James
    Pub­lished July 10, 2015, 1:44 PM EDT

    Ari­zona Gov. Jan Brew­er ® defend­ed Don­ald Trump’s remarks call­ing Mex­i­can immi­grants “rapists” and killers on Thurs­day, say­ing that the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and ex-real­i­ty TV star was sim­ply drop­ping a truth bomb.

    “I believe that Mr. Trump is kind of telling it like it real­ly, tru­ly is,” Brew­er said on “CNN Tonight,” call­ing her­self the gov­er­nor of the “gate­way of ille­gal immi­gra­tion.”

    She went on to echo Trump’s repeat­ed state­ments call­ing immi­grants, “rapists, killers and drug deal­ers.”

    “I think that the peo­ple of Ari­zona real­ize that we picked up the tab for the major­i­ty of the vio­lence that comes across our bor­der in regards to the drug car­tels, the smug­glers, the drop hous­es,” she said.

    “It has been hor­ren­dous,” Brew­er added. “I think every­body knows that he’s right.”

    ...

    In oth­er news, Trump’s ral­ly in Phoenix had to be moved to a larg­er venue and is now at the Phoenix Con­ven­tion Cen­ter.

    Also, some­one needs to reset a cer­tain unpleas­ant clock.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 11, 2015, 3:03 pm
  12. Jade Helm, the urban war­fare mil­i­tary exer­cise that drove the far right insane over the past few months, is final­ly here!

    So per­haps it’s worth tak­ing a look back at the col­lec­tive Jade Helm mad­ness. A mad­ness that, accord­ing to polls back in May, infect­ed almost half of like­ly US vot­ers accord­ing to Ras­mussen about a third of like­ly Repub­li­can vot­ers accord­ing to the PPP. A mad­ness brought to you in part by Alex Jones & Friends:

    Hous­ton Chron­i­cle
    Almost half of U.S. vot­ers are con­cerned with Jade Helm – but why?

    Dylan Bad­dour, Updat­ed 5:22 pm, Thurs­day, May 14, 2015

    Recent polls show that wor­ries over an upcom­ing mil­i­tary drill in Texas and oth­er south­west­ern state are no fringe issue.

    Since March, Jade Helm has shot up from the Inter­net back­woods to nation­al news­casts, and the coun­try scorned, even mocked Tex­ans (and their leader) who cried foul at the mil­i­tary’s spe­cial war­fare drill sched­uled for the Lone Star State.

    Now a Ras­mussen poll finds almost half of like­ly U.S. vot­ers are “con­cerned that the gov­ern­ment will use U.S. mil­i­tary train­ing oper­a­tions to impose greater con­trol over some states,” and num­bers from Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling show about a third of like­ly Repub­li­can vot­ers think “the gov­ern­ment is try­ing to take over Texas.”

    That’s impres­sive reach for a notion with hum­ble begin­nings.

    When Alex Jonesintro­duced Jade Helm to the Inter­net in late March, it was just anoth­er day in the news­room for the con­spir­a­cy-mind­ed alter­na­tive Texas media per­son­al­i­ty. He’s hollered warn­ings of creep­ing mar­tial law and gov­ern­ment con­spir­a­cies for about two decades, but this time his notions real­ly caught on, appar­ent­ly.

    “The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is here ready to fight the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” Jones said in an inter­view. “They want to keep deny­ing that.”

    If there were any spokesper­son for the Amer­i­cans who think mar­tial law is on the way, it would be Jones, who hosts and pro­duces the dai­ly TV/radio/Internet broad­cast InfoWars. So we reached out to under­stand what trou­bled him.

    “We nev­er said this is an immi­nent actu­al mar­tial law takeover,” Jones said. “This is anoth­er step in a long term pro­gram to accli­mate the pub­lic to mil­i­tary pres­ence in pub­lic soci­ety. Look at mil­i­ta­riza­tion of police, NSA spy­ing and mil­i­tary drills in urban areas like we’re at war. It’s a slow total takeover of soci­ety by the cor­po­rate spe­cial inter­ests who con­trol the mil­i­tary.”

    He made repeat­ed ref­er­ence to for­mer gen­er­al and Pres­i­dent Dwight Eisen­how­er’s 1961 tele­vised farewell address, when the once-supreme com­man­der of allied forces in Europe said, “In the coun­cils of gov­ern­ment we must guard against the acqui­si­tion of unwar­rant­ed influ­ence whether sought or unsought by the mil­i­tary indus­tri­al com­plex. The poten­tial for the dis­as­trous rise of mis­placed pow­er exists and will per­sist.”

    And Jones said he thought char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly well-armed right-wingers would be the pri­ma­ry resis­tance for the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to over­come in its hypo­thet­i­cal con­quest.

    Nation­al media swift­ly put down the notion that the U.S. mil­i­tary posed a threat to Amer­i­cans, but oth­ers doubt­ing his views is noth­ing new for Jones. He unapolo­get­i­cal­ly espous­es a world view that is, mild­ly put, not main­stream. In dai­ly broad­casts since the mid-’90s, he’s told a sto­ry where a com­mu­ni­ty of super-wealthy busi­ness elites with strings to pull in the U.S. gov­ern­ment author staged cat­a­stro­phes like the 1995 Okla­homa City bomb­ing, the 9/11 attacks and the Sandy Hook shoot­ing in a ploy to manip­u­late the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

    Jones is divi­sive, but peo­ple fol­low him—more than 300,000 on Twit­ter. The Jade Helm episode proves his influ­ence.

    A mem­ber of his staff was tipped to a now wide­ly-cir­cu­lat­ed mil­i­tary doc­u­ment describ­ing Jade Helm with Texas labeled a “hos­tile” ter­ri­to­ry, and Jones report­ed it under the head­line “feds prepar­ing to invade Texas.” The sto­ry res­onat­ed in the blo­gos­phere. The next week mil­i­tary pub­li­ca­tions jumped in to refute rumors, and the sto­ry caught the atten­tion of the Hous­ton Chron­i­cle, VICE News and the Wash­ing­ton Post.

    But it real­ly hit the big time when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, react­ing to pub­lic con­cern, ordered the Texas mil­i­tary to keep an eye on the U.S. mil­i­tary when it drilled in the state. Then Jade Helm graced head­lines and broad­casts in all the biggest pub­li­ca­tions.

    Recent polling by groups with dis­tinct polit­i­cal lean­ings shows con­cerns raised on Jones’ show have become mod­er­ate­ly main­stream.

    Of course, opin­ions vary great­ly even amongst the con­cerned. When Army Spe­cial Oper­a­tions sent a spokesman to quell the Jade Helm fears in Bas­trop last month, res­i­dents’ sus­pi­cions ranged from troops tres­pass­ing on pri­vate prop­er­ty to mass gun con­fis­ca­tions and the start of mil­i­tary rule. What unit­ed them all was a marked dis­trust.

    ...

    He had a hand­ful of doc­u­men­ta­tion and inter­net videos to jus­ti­fy his aggres­sive sus­pi­cion of the mil­i­tary, many of which are wide­ly cir­cu­lat­ed through the online com­mu­ni­ty that is trou­bled by Jade Helm.

    For exam­ple, a Depart­ment of Defense web­site describes a large pro­gram to pre­pare for mass civ­il unrest by study­ing the social dynam­ics of activist groups. It was con­ceived fol­low­ing the finan­cial calami­ties of 2008, and proves that a worst-case sce­nario has crossed offi­cial minds. The pro­gram, called the Min­er­va Ini­tia­tive, also con­flates activists with mil­i­tants, the Guardian reports.

    Then there’s a 326 mil­i­tary doc­u­ment called “Intern­ment and Reset­tle­ment Oper­a­tions,” which describes pro­to­col for relo­cat­ing pop­u­la­tions in response to emer­gen­cies or con­flicts. It most­ly ref­er­ences sit­u­a­tions of for­eign wars but makes lim­it­ed men­tion of plans for a domes­tic oper­a­tion.

    Jones also alleged the DOD had been putting thought in how to take on the right wing. Indeed numer­ous gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments do show offi­cial con­cern with threats from the far right, which encom­pass­es groups like the Tea Par­ty, sov­er­eign cit­i­zens and the Patri­ot Move­ment.

    In Feb­ru­ary the DOD released an assess­ment of threats from self-pro­claimed sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, and said they expect­ed the threat to grow. A 2009 FBI inter­nal memo obtained by the Wall Street Jour­nal showed the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty con­sid­ered vet­er­ans return­ing from Iraq and Afghanistan like­ly secu­ri­ty threats.

    Jones also point­ed to news reports that an Indi­ana sher­iff said his office need­ed mil­i­tary hand-me-down mine-resis­tant vehi­cles because “you have a lot of peo­ple who are com­ing out of the mil­i­tary that have the abil­i­ty and knowl­edge to build [impro­vised explo­sive devices] and to defeat law enforce­ment tech­niques.”

    In a cit­i­zen-shot video, a sher­if­f’s deputy in Wash­ing­ton says the depart­ment needs the same vehi­cles because there are “a lot of con­sti­tu­tion­al­ists and a lot of peo­ple that stock­pile weapons.” Anoth­er shows Nation­al Guard in Cal­i­for­nia prac­tic­ing heavy crowd con­trol on a group of role-play­ers shout­ing right-wing rhetoric like “I’m a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen.”

    And a wide­ly-cir­cu­lat­ed thought exper­i­ment writ­ten by a retired Army colonel, report­ed by Forbes and pub­lished in the Small Wars jour­nal tells how the Pen­ta­gon would put down a right-wing rebel­lion that takes over a South Car­oli­na city with the sup­port of local offi­cials.

    Both the Pen­ta­gon and the White House have spo­ken to Jade Helm con­cerns, express­ing dis­be­lief with the impres­sive spread of fear­ful notions. Army offi­cials have repeat­ed that the exer­cise is stan­dard mil­i­tary train­ing, set apart only by its “size and scope.” The Wash­ing­ton Post has report­ed that many oth­er mil­i­tary drills have hap­pened off-base in the Unit­ed States.

    But Jones said all of those drills both­er him also. He said Eisen­how­er would­n’t have liked it. And InfoWars con­tin­ues to feed the blo­gos­phere with alarm­ing Jade Helm cov­er­age as more and more offi­cial voic­es join the con­ver­sa­tion. Appar­ent­ly, big media cov­er­age of the Tex­ans rais­ing ruckus has not stopped the spread of fear over what will hap­pen when the troops hit Texas on July 15.

    “We need to admit that we’re slid­ing over the edge into a clas­sic tyran­ny, and we need to have a real nation­al debate about it,” Jones said. “Our biggest ene­my to the repub­lic itself is the mil­i­tary indus­tri­al com­plex and they’ll say all day ‘well you don’t ques­tion your mil­i­tary.’ That’s insane; this isn’t Nazi Ger­many.”

    Was­n’t that fun: The arti­cle opens with reports on two polls about a shock­ing surge in the num­ber of Amer­i­cans that appear to be gen­uine­ly con­cerned about a mil­i­tary takeover of parts of the US, and then pro­ceeds to inter­view Alex Jones him­self and just let Jones rat­tle off one rea­son after anoth­er for why every­one should believe him with­out any mean­ing­ful rebut­tal.

    And, sur­prise!, they’re still para­noid and all geared up and ready for mon­i­tor­ing the exer­cise. Although, accord­ing to the Ari­zona-based group inter­viewed below that’s oper­at­ing in Texas, the “Counter Jade Helm” vol­un­teers aren’t actu­al­ly con­cerned about mar­tial law and have made sure to purge them­selves of any “nut-jobs”. But this nut-job-free group is still going keep a close eye on the exer­cise. Why? As one of the lead­ers put it, he’s just got a gut feel­ing that the gov­ern­ment is up to no good:

    Hous­ton Chron­i­cle
    Tex­ans orga­nize ‘Oper­a­tion Counter Jade Helm’ to keep an eye on the fed­er­al troops

    Dylan Bad­dour, Hous­ton Chron­i­cle Updat­ed 9:26 am, Mon­day, July 13, 2015

    When the troops land in Texas for Oper­a­tion Jade Helm next week, some­one will be wait­ing for them.

    Hun­dreds of peo­ple have orga­nized a “Counter Jade Helm” sur­veil­lance oper­a­tion across the South­west­ern states and in an effort to keep an eye on the con­tentious mil­i­tary drill that’s sparked many sus­pi­cious of Uncle Sam’s inten­tions.

    Eric John­ston, a 51-year-old retired fire­fight­er and sher­if­f’s deputy who lives in Ker­rville, is a sur­veil­lance team leader in Texas. He’ll coor­di­nate three groups of vol­un­teers, about 20 folks in total, who hope to mon­i­tor the SEALs, Green Berets and Air Force Spe­cial Ops in Bas­trop, Big Spring and Junc­tion when Jade Helm kicks off on July 15. With media pro­hib­it­ed at the drills, the vol­un­teers could be a main source of infor­ma­tion for the high­ly-antic­i­pat­ed sev­en-state exer­cise.

    But loca­tions more pre­cise than the towns around which troops will drill remain unknown. For the cit­i­zens’ sur­veil­lance oper­a­tion, there­in lies the first chal­lenge.

    “If a team mem­ber sees two Humvees full of sol­diers dri­ving through town, they’re going to fol­low them,” John­ston said. “And they’re going to radio back their ulti­mate loca­tion.”

    They aren’t wor­ried about mar­tial law, he said, but feel like they can’t trust the gov­ern­ment, and want to make sure the Mil­i­tary isn’t under orders to pull any­thing fun­ny.

    The Texas vol­un­teers are just one reg­i­ment of a nation­al effort, orga­nized by 44-year-old for­mer Marine Pete Lanteri, a New York­er liv­ing in Ari­zona with plen­ty of expe­ri­ence on civil­ian bor­der patrols. He found­ed the Counter Jade Helm Face­book page, with six thou­sand mem­bers, and he made the web­page and forum to which field reports will be uploaded.

    “We’re going to be watch­ing what they do in the pub­lic,” he said. “Obvi­ous­ly on a mil­i­tary base they can do what­ev­er they want. But if they’re going to train on pub­lic land we have a right as Amer­i­can cit­i­zens to watch what they’re doing.”

    He said the vol­un­teer force includes about 200 peo­ple, with the largest group in Ari­zona. Many for­mer mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment, as well as life­long civil­ians have joined the cause.

    Lanteri will coor­di­nate the whole sev­en-state oper­a­tion from his home in Phoenix, Ariz., where each field report will be received. Oth­er indi­vid­u­als, like John­ston, will lead the efforts in each state, and oth­ers still will over­see the oper­a­tions in each town where Jade Helm will take place.

    There, vol­un­teers will locate the drill sites and observe. John­ston said there’s a strict no-cam­ou­flage pol­i­cy to avoid the appear­ance of a more rad­i­cal group, and they’ll all be unarmed. With binoc­u­lars and spot­ting scopes, they’ll record troop num­bers, uni­forms and activ­i­ties.

    One of John­ston’s men, a licensed pilot, even plans on mak­ing sur­veil­lance flights with his per­son­al air­craft.

    They’ll relay all reports to the head­quar­ters in Ari­zona. There, Lat­eri said an intel­li­gence staff, some whom are for­mer Army intel­li­gence work­ers, will review and ver­i­fy infor­ma­tion before post­ing it pub­licly on their web­site.

    “We just want to see what they’re doing and make that infor­ma­tion pub­lic,” John­ston said.

    That work seems sim­i­lar to the task Texas Gov. Greg Abbott gave the Texas State Guard—one of three branch­es of the state-owned Texas Mil­i­tary—in April when he ordered them to “mon­i­tor” the fed­er­al troops in Jade Helm. How­ev­er the Texas Mil­i­tary won’t share the details of their orders. In response to a query, a spokesper­son said “we are unable to speak about ongo­ing oper­a­tions.”

    Abbott called up the guard after Tex­ans flood­ed his office with fear­ful ques­tions and com­ments about the impend­ing exer­cise. Most thought Jade Helm was a front for a fed­er­al inva­sion and insti­tu­tion of mar­tial law. Those com­ments mir­rored the­o­ries about the drill that cir­cu­lat­ed online, some of which incor­po­rat­ed sus­pi­cions of shut­tered Wal­marts-turned-death camps, giant under­ground tun­nels and cen­tu­ry-old glob­al con­spir­a­cies. Those notions drew chuck­les from across the coun­try, and even­tu­al­ly land­ed Jade Helm in the nation­al head­lines.

    But the orga­niz­ers insist the rad­i­cal­ly con­spir­a­cy-mind­ed have been fil­tered from the sur­veil­lance vol­un­teers, and no one among their group fears the immi­nent open­ing of con­cen­tra­tion camps. Lanteri said he strug­gles to keep that bloc off his Face­book page.

    “Once I saw the freak­ing nut-jobs com­ing out of the wood­work I was spend­ing half my day dis­cred­it­ing what they were post­ing,” he said. “No nut-jobs will be put in the field.”

    But that’s not to say they aren’t sus­pi­cious. Both John­ston and Lanteri think the mil­i­tary is up to some­thing. As far back as Novem­ber, John­ston heard rum­blings of an unprece­dent­ed mul­ti-state mil­i­tary drill on web forums he vis­its for law enforce­ment train­ing and for­mer mil­i­tary. That was months before the pub­lic learned of Jade Helm in March through a mil­i­tary slideshow doc­u­ment with a map that labeled Texas as a “hos­tile” ter­ri­to­ry.

    The uproar that fol­lowed pushed the U.S. Army Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Com­mand to send a spokesper­son to Bas­trop to address the fears of con­cerned cit­i­zens. The crowd­ed town hall meet­ing did lit­tle to ease ten­sions. John­ston was there. He said it made him sus­pi­cious, though he does­n’t think Jade Helm is a front for mar­tial law.

    “If the gov­ern­ment wants to put troops in place for a takeover, they aren’t going to put them in Bas­trop,” he said.

    But he said he does­n’t know what is up, he’s “got a gut feel­ing.” So he’ll return to Bas­trop, 130 miles from his home, next week to per­son­al­ly over­see the start of Oper­a­tion Counter Jade Helm. With an unknown num­ber of fed­er­al troops mov­ing between vague­ly-spec­i­fied Texas loca­tions for two months, vol­un­teer staffing will be tight, but they’ll try to have some­one on call at each loca­tion at all times.

    The first crew is head­ing out to Bas­trop this week­end. Two vol­un­teers took their sum­mer vaca­tions next week, and will take their trail­er homes to the piney town and wait for the Humvees to roll by.

    ...

    “Once I saw the freak­ing nut-jobs com­ing out of the wood­work I was spend­ing half my day dis­cred­it­ing what they were posting...No nut-jobs will be put in the field.”

    Well that’s a relief. No nut-jobs in the field is cer­tain­ly a good pol­i­cy! Although it does raise the ques­tion of who all these peo­ple are...

    He said the vol­un­teer force includes about 200 peo­ple, with the largest group in Ari­zona. Many for­mer mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment, as well as life­long civil­ians have joined the cause.

    ...because when you hear “for­mer mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment” com­ing from this par­tic­u­lar wing of the far-right, that’s a pret­ty strong indi­ca­tion that they’re refer­ring to Oath Keep­ers. And if there are Oath Keep­ers amongst those 200 vol­un­teer, you have to won­der what exact­ly is the “nut-job” thresh­old is con­sid­er­ing Oath Keep­er founder Stew­art Rhodes has already warned about how Jade Helm is intend­ed to vet the mil­i­tary for a future takeover.

    On the oth­er hand, if the worst sus­pi­cions real­ly are con­firmed and the US mil­i­tary is about to pull a “fast one” and takes over Texas tomor­row, well, we can’t say the Oath Keep­ers did­n’t warn us! Or did­n’t try to pre­pare us by hold­ing class­es on how to cre­ate cit­i­zen defense squads against orga­nized ene­mies! And for many liv­ing in the rur­al South West, you can’t say the Oath Keep­ers haven’t have very friend­ly arti­cles in the local news­pa­per explain­ing how they’re just a nice non-par­ti­san civ­il pre­pared­ness group with an unex­plained keen inter­est in teach­ing civil­ians how to fend off attacks by orga­nized ene­my forces:

    Prescott Val­ley Tri­bune
    Oath Keep­ers preps teams, cit­i­zens for nat­ur­al or man­made dis­as­ters

    Sali­na Siale­ga
    Spe­cial to the Tri­bune
    6/17/2015 6:00:00 AM

    Oath Keep­ers is a nation­wide non-par­ti­san asso­ci­a­tion that has Com­mu­ni­ty Pre­pared­ness Teams (CPT) whose mem­bers work to get trained and ready to help in times of dis­as­ter to indi­vid­ual com­mu­ni­ties. In addi­tion, the asso­ci­a­tion sup­ports FEMA’s approach to dis­as­ters that says all cit­i­zens should be pre­pared for “self-res­cue and self-sup­ply” for at least 72 hours.

    The quad-city area Oath Keep­ers chap­ter, led by its pres­i­dent, Jim Arroyo, meets month­ly for train­ing and orga­niz­ing its five CPT teams of Emer­gency Med­ical, Emer­gency Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Security/Team Tac­tics, Emer­gency Engi­neer­ing and Gen­er­al Pre­pared­ness. Meet­ings also include guest speak­ers, such Dave Hodges at the May 23 meet­ing at the Chi­no Val­ley Amer­i­can Legion Hall..

    About 75 peo­ple attend­ed the May 23 meet­ing, includ­ing Frank and Judy David­son of Dewey. Frank sees the orga­ni­za­tion as one that encour­ages peo­ple to plan ahead.

    “I don’t like the way our coun­try is being run. This is a group that orga­nizes in the case of a prob­lem, any­thing from a fire, flood or civ­il unrest. We take care of our­selves.”

    “I’m basi­cal­ly con­cerned that we can’t rely on our gov­ern­ment and must pro­tect our­selves and the com­mu­ni­ty.”

    Arroyo also serves as the Ari­zona State Oath Keep­ers vice pres­i­dent and CPT State direc­tor. The Yava­pai Coun­ty chap­ter began in Jan­u­ary 2014. Arroyo is an Army Ranger vet­er­an who was part of a team that car­ried out a hostage res­cue in Iran in 1980. With Oath Keep­ers, Arroyo works with local gov­ern­ment offi­cials, and fire, sher­iff and emer­gency lead­ers.

    “We are cre­at­ing a team to form an infra­struc­ture to pre­pare the com­mu­ni­ty itself in case the econ­o­my tanks, a socio-eco­nom­ic col­lapse,” Arroyo said. That’s where the CPT teams come in.

    Oath Keep­ers began in April 2009 by Stew­art Rhodes, a for­mer U.S. Army para­troop­er who was dis­abled in a night jump acci­dent. He is a for­mer firearms instruc­tor, for­mer mem­ber of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff, a vol­un­teer fire­fight­er in Mon­tana, and a Yale Law School grad­u­ate in 2004. The orga­ni­za­tion is made up of mil­i­tary and first respon­ders, whether active, vet­er­an or retired, who took an oath to sup­port and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion, as well as like-mind­ed cit­i­zens who sup­port the asso­ci­a­tion’s mis­sion. Peo­ple can get more infor­ma­tion at their web­site at http://www.oathkeepers.org.

    The asso­ci­a­tion brochure states, “We hope for a return to the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Repub­lic free from fear and hatred. We hate only tyran­ny. You may some­day find your­selves as the last bul­wark against that tyran­ny.” It says they want “all pub­lic ser­vants to live up to their oath to ‘sup­port and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion,’ as it is writ­ten.”

    The CPT Gen­er­al Pre­pared­ness Team helps cit­i­zens orga­nize for extend­ed peri­ods of self-sup­ply, such as stor­ing food.

    The local Med­ical Team, led by Eliz­a­beth Bil­li of Williamson Val­ley and the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions team, led by Steve Cor­nelius of Chi­no Val­ley, met with eight to 10 team mem­bers May 23 to talk about sup­plies they may need. Med­ical teams train to pro­vide imme­di­ate care for vic­tims of severe trau­ma, such as car acci­dents, gun­shot wounds, and oth­er injuries. The Com­mu­ni­ca­tions team empha­sizes that every cit­i­zen needs to have at least a hand-held HAM radio and the knowl­edge to use it for local com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

    The Secu­ri­ty Team, led by Dan (who did­n’t want to give his last name), main­tains that in homes and neigh­bor­hoods, cit­i­zens should know how to defend them­selves and work as a team when attacked, espe­cial­ly by an orga­nized ene­my. As retired mil­i­tary, Dan wants to pro­tect free­dom, and sees pos­i­tive work being done in Oath Keep­ers.

    “I feel that our free­dom is at stake; we pret­ty much are backed against the wall,” Dan said.

    “The Secu­ri­ty ele­ment is not a mil­i­tary,” Arroyo clar­i­fied. “It’s designed in case of a dis­as­ter, whether nat­ur­al or man­made. And it’s a major part of the CPT pro­gram.”

    Emer­gency Engi­neer­ing involves find­ing the basics in a nat­ur­al dis­as­ter or large social “break­down,” — shel­ter, clean water, alter­na­tive pow­er, trans­porta­tion and deliv­ery of sup­plies and the abil­i­ty to deal the fire dan­gers and haz­ardous mate­ri­als.

    Hodges spoke about threats peo­ple can research and learn more about, such as Oper­a­tion Jade Helm, eco­nom­ic take-over plans, war threats, ter­ror­ists, mar­tial law, and oth­er top­ics.

    Hodges is from an area between Wick­en­burg and Sur­prise, south of Prescott, has a radio show called the Com­mon Sense Show. He has a web­site for his radio show at http://www.thecommonsenseshow.com and his show is online dai­ly from 5–8 p.m.

    ...

    Was­n’t that a help­ful spe­cial report in a local news­pa­per. Come meet the Oath Keep­ers! They’re just your friend­ly neigh­bor­hood self-defense squad that spe­cial­izes in defens­es against an orga­nized ene­my manned by peo­ple that feel like their backs are against the wall. Kind of like the Boy Scouts but the big kids!

    ...
    The Secu­ri­ty Team, led by Dan (who did­n’t want to give his last name), main­tains that in homes and neigh­bor­hoods, cit­i­zens should know how to defend them­selves and work as a team when attacked, espe­cial­ly by an orga­nized ene­my. As retired mil­i­tary, Dan wants to pro­tect free­dom, and sees pos­i­tive work being done in Oath Keep­ers.

    “I feel that our free­dom is at stake; we pret­ty much are backed against the wall,” Dan said.

    “The Secu­ri­ty ele­ment is not a mil­i­tary,” Arroyo clar­i­fied. “It’s designed in case of a dis­as­ter, whether nat­ur­al or man­made. And it’s a major part of the CPT pro­gram.”
    ...

    And they’re endorsed by Dave Hodges too. No nut-jobs here!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 14, 2015, 1:30 pm
  13. She’s in it! Days after GOP front-run­ner Don­ald Trump packed the Phoenix con­ven­tion cen­ter (and slammed Sen­a­tor John McCain), Ari­zona State Sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward announced that she’s offi­cial­ly run­ning against McCain in 2016:

    The Ari­zona Repub­lic
    Kel­li Ward enters GOP Sen­ate race against John McCain
    Dan Now­ic­ki, The Repub­lic | azcentral.com 12:24 p.m. MST July 14, 2015
    State Sen. Kel­li Ward of Lake Hava­su City offi­cial­ly announced Tues­day that she will take on vet­er­an incum­bent U.S. Sen. John McCain in Ari­zon­a’s 2016 pri­ma­ry.

    Kel­li Ward, a Repub­li­can state sen­a­tor from Lake Hava­su City, on Tues­day offi­cial­ly entered the U.S. Sen­ate pri­ma­ry against vet­er­an incum­bent John McCain.

    In a post on her web­site Tues­day morn­ing, Ward, a 46-year-old doc­tor of osteo­path­ic med­i­cine in her sec­ond term at the Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture, said: “I’m run­ning for the U.S. Sen­ate to give you a real choice! Ari­zo­nans deserve a Sen­a­tor who will fight for their val­ues, and not just go along with the Belt­way crowd.”

    Ward had been for­mal­ly explor­ing get­ting into the race since April and, giv­en the fre­quen­cy of her attacks on McCain in her fund-rais­ing e‑mails, her announce­ment comes as no sur­prise to polit­i­cal observers. Last week, Ward issued an invi­ta­tion to a “big announce­ment” Tues­day at 5 p.m. in Lake Hava­su City.

    ...

    McCain, the 2008 GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, is seek­ing his sixth Sen­ate term. Because of long-run­ning ten­sions with his par­ty’s con­ser­v­a­tive base, he is wide­ly viewed as poten­tial­ly vul­ner­a­ble in the GOP pri­ma­ry. In Jan­u­ary 2014, McCain was offi­cial­ly cen­sured by Ari­zona Repub­li­can Par­ty activists as too lib­er­al on issues such as immi­gra­tion reform, which McCain has cham­pi­oned for years.

    On Sat­ur­day, McCain came under fire from Don­ald Trump, the GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date who roiled his race with harsh rhetoric aimed at Mex­i­co and some Mex­i­can immi­grants who he has char­ac­ter­ized as crim­i­nals and rapists.

    “I’ve sup­port­ed John McCain, but he’s very weak on immi­gra­tion,” Trump told reporters after deliv­er­ing a speech at the Phoenix Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. “... If the right per­son runs against John McCain, he will lose.”

    Not every­one on the right agrees that Ward is nec­es­sar­i­ly the right can­di­date to take on McCain. Some nation­al con­ser­v­a­tives have been pres­sur­ing U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon, R‑Ariz., to run for the Sen­ate seat. Free­dom­Works, one of the big “tea party”-aligned nation­al orga­ni­za­tions, already has said it won’t sup­port Ward. The Sen­ate Con­ser­v­a­tives Fund, anoth­er anti-McCain group, also has not endorsed Ward yet.

    Though she has scored some suc­cess­es at the Leg­is­la­ture, includ­ing the pas­sage of leg­is­la­tion to help local micro­brew­eries that became known as “the Ari­zona Beer Bill,” Ward’s judg­ment also has come under scruti­ny. A June 25, 2014, envi­ron­men­tal hear­ing that Ward host­ed in King­man enter­tained con­cerns from com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers about “chem­trails,” the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that air­plane con­trails are dan­ger­ous chem­i­cals that are delib­er­ate­ly inject­ed into the air to change the weath­er or for oth­er nefar­i­ous rea­sons. Ward in April clar­i­fied that she per­son­al­ly nev­er believed in the the­o­ry.

    In 2014, she went to Neva­da to show sup­port for con­tro­ver­sial ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy, who was in a stand­off with fed­er­al author­i­ties over graz­ing fees and cat­tle, and tweet­ed mes­sages in sup­port of defense of dis­graced NBA own­er Don­ald Ster­ling’s right to make racist com­ments. Ward said she did not agree with Ster­ling’s com­ments.

    “Sen­a­tor Ward’s record of bizarre state­ments and ques­tion­able judg­ment will be a key con­cern for Ari­zona vot­ers over the next year,” Rogers said in the McCain cam­paign state­ment. “Last sum­mer, she used tax­pay­er funds to explore the wide­ly debunked con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that U.S. air­craft are spray­ing ‘chem­trails’ onto Amer­i­can cit­i­zens for sin­is­ter pur­pos­es. And just this spring, Sen­a­tor Ward said she was unde­cid­ed on whether this wacky plot is real or not. ... It’s no won­der why a lead­ing con­ser­v­a­tive group recent­ly said that Ari­zona Repub­li­cans are ‘wor­ried’ about Sen­a­tor Ward’s strange state­ments, and that they are ‘not con­fi­dent that she has the right val­ues and she will stick to her prin­ci­ples.”

    The pro-McCain group Ari­zona Grass­roots Action on Tues­day released a web video that mocks Ward over chem­trails and what it says is her asso­ci­a­tion with “odd­ball bills” and “fringe issues.”

    44 per­cent to 31 per­cent“Ground Kel­li Ward before it’s too late for Ari­zona,” the video’s nar­ra­tor says.

    A May poll by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling, a Demo­c­ra­t­ic firm based in North Car­oli­na, McCain lead­ing Ward 44 per­cent to 31 per­cent. The poll, which had a mar­gin of error of plus or minus 5.7 per­cent­age points. Eighty per­cent of the inter­views were by phone and 20 per­cent were online.

    It sounds like Sen­a­tor Ward is going to have quite a fight on her hands giv­en the tepid response from even some Tea Par­ty groups. That said, she’s got her base and they’re going to be very active too. Hope­ful­ly not too active.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 14, 2015, 5:21 pm
  14. With the GOP estab­lish­ment col­lec­tive­ly denounc­ing Don­ald Trump fol­low­ing his ques­tion­ing of Sen­a­tor John McCain’s sta­tus as a war hero over the week­end, it’s worth point­ing out that Don­ald Trump actu­al­ly issued a MASSIVE insult against anoth­er fel­low GOP and almost no one has noticed. Even though the per­son he insult­ed is one of John McCain’s 2016 main pri­ma­ry oppo­nents: State Sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward.

    But it was­n’t what he said to or about Ward that was so insult­ed. It was what he did­n’t say about her, which was pret­ty much any­thing. These days, not hav­ing Don­ald Trump men­tion your name is gen­er­al­ly a good thing. But that’s not so good when Don­ald Trump is search­ing for peo­ple run against John McCain in the pri­ma­ry and every­one knows you’re about to announce your run:

    Wash­ing­ton Post
    Trump courts Ari­zona trea­sur­er to chal­lenge McCain

    By Robert Cos­ta
    July 17, 2015

    If you chal­lenge Don­ald Trump, he may encour­age oth­ers to chal­lenge you.

    In recent days, the com­bat­ive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date has urged Ari­zona trea­sur­er Jeff DeWit to take on Sen. John McCain, a Trump crit­ic, in the state’s 2016 GOP Sen­ate pri­ma­ry.

    Trump and DeWit met pri­vate­ly in Phoenix July 11 aboard Trump’s Boe­ing 757. Dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, which was observed by The Wash­ing­ton Post, Trump and DeWit dis­cussed McCain and what it would take it make the race com­pet­i­tive.

    “You real­ly should think about doing it,” Trump told DeWit, who nod­ded as he sat inch­es from Trump in the cream-col­ored cab­in.

    As Trump detailed what he sees as McCain’s vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties — ties to the GOP estab­lish­ment, long­time sup­port for immi­gra­tion reform — DeWit agreed that the upcom­ing pri­ma­ry could become a mar­quee con­test for con­ser­v­a­tives.

    But DeWit told Trump that his friend, state Sen. Kel­li Ward, is already run­ning against McCain, mak­ing his own entry unlike­ly unless cir­cum­stances changed. Trump said he under­stood DeWit’s posi­tion but told him it’d be smart to leave his options open and think seri­ous­ly about a bid.

    Reached Fri­day by phone, DeWit said the meet­ing with Trump was about get­ting to know the real-estate mogul. “With 100 per­cent cer­tain­ty I won’t be run­ning for U.S. Sen­ate in 2016. I appre­ci­ate Mr. Trump’s sug­ges­tion but real­ly enjoy being Ari­zon­a’s state trea­sur­er.”

    In an e‑mail Fri­day, Trump cam­paign man­ag­er Corey Lewandows­ki said Trump “has not spo­ken to any oth­er” Ari­zona Repub­li­cans about pos­si­bly run­ning against the 78-year-old sen­a­tor.

    Ward, 46, for­mal­ly announced her cam­paign Tues­day. Oth­er pos­si­ble pri­ma­ry con­tenders, such as Reps. David Schweik­ert and Matt Salmon, have so far expressed lit­tle inter­est in tak­ing on the incum­bent and for­mer Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

    Ward has drawn pos­i­tive cov­er­age from con­ser­v­a­tive news orga­ni­za­tions such as Bre­it­bart and talk-radio pro­grams. “I am jump­ing into this know­ing full well that this is a David and Goliath bat­tle, but remem­ber, David won that one,” Ward said Tues­day dur­ing her campaign’s launch.

    Not every­one on the right, how­ev­er, is enthu­si­as­tic about Ward’s can­di­da­cy. Free­dom­Works, a pow­er­ful con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tion, has already expressed skep­ti­cism about her record and her via­bil­i­ty, and the Sen­ate Con­ser­v­a­tives Fund, anoth­er group, has declined to endorse her.

    Accord­ing to the Ari­zona Repub­lic, Ward has drawn scruti­ny for once explor­ing “the idea that air­planes are spray­ing dan­ger­ous ‘chem­trails’ into the air — a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry she sub­se­quent­ly has said she nev­er believed — and for trav­el­ing to Neva­da in 2014 to show sup­port for con­tro­ver­sial ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy, who was in a stand­off with the U.S. Bureau of Land Man­age­ment over graz­ing fees and cat­tle.”

    ...

    Appear­ing Fri­day on MSNBC’s “Morn­ing Joe,” Trump said he sup­port­ed McCain’s 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign but made clear that their rela­tion­ship has dis­in­te­grat­ed as McCain has voiced con­cern about Trump’s rhetoric on ille­gal immi­gra­tion.

    “I think he will lose in the pri­ma­ry,” Trump said. “If the right per­son runs against him, they’ll win in the pri­ma­ry. He’s not very pop­u­lar there any­way.”

    “He was very nasty to me,” Trump added. “My atti­tude is this: if a per­son is nice to me, I will go out of my way to be nice to that per­son.”

    McCain, in an inter­view with The New York­er pub­lished this week, said Trump’s ral­ly in Phoenix last Sat­ur­day was “very hurt­ful to me. Because what he did was he fired up the cra­zies.”

    ...

    Ouch! That’s got­ta hurt:

    ...

    As Trump detailed what he sees as McCain’s vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties — ties to the GOP estab­lish­ment, long­time sup­port for immi­gra­tion reform — DeWit agreed that the upcom­ing pri­ma­ry could become a mar­quee con­test for con­ser­v­a­tives.

    But DeWit told Trump that his friend, state Sen. Kel­li Ward, is already run­ning against McCain, mak­ing his own entry unlike­ly unless cir­cum­stances changed. Trump said he under­stood DeWit’s posi­tion but told him it’d be smart to leave his options open and think seri­ous­ly about a bid.

    ...

    In an e‑mail Fri­day, Trump cam­paign man­ag­er Corey Lewandows­ki said Trump “has not spo­ken to any oth­er” Ari­zona Repub­li­cans about pos­si­bly run­ning against the 78-year-old sen­a­tor.

    Ward, 46, for­mal­ly announced her cam­paign Tues­day. Oth­er pos­si­ble pri­ma­ry con­tenders, such as Reps. David Schweik­ert and Matt Salmon, have so far expressed lit­tle inter­est in tak­ing on the incum­bent and for­mer Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

    ...

    And here’s the worst part for poor Kel­li: part of what got the Trump/McCain tiff start­ed in the first place was John McCain say­ing that Trump had “fired up the cra­zies”. And while that’s cer­tain­ly the case (although it’s more that Trump stoked the exist­ing crazy fire rather than start­ing it), you almost can’t find a cra­zier ‘crazy’ in Ari­zon­a’s polit­i­cal scene than Kel­li Ward.

    So instead of ‘fir­ing up the cra­zies’ in Ari­zona, Don­ald Trump metaphor­i­cal­ly fired one of the biggest cra­zies around who just hap­pens to be John McCain’s biggest pri­ma­ry oppo­nent thus far.

    If this seems almost like an anti-diss against John McCain (because why refrain from sup­port­ing the oppo­nent of the guy you sud­den­ly hate?), keep in mind that even the Koch-fueled Free­dom­Works isn’t keen on Sen­a­tor Ward:

    ...
    Ward has drawn pos­i­tive cov­er­age from con­ser­v­a­tive news orga­ni­za­tions such as Bre­it­bart and talk-radio pro­grams. “I am jump­ing into this know­ing full well that this is a David and Goliath bat­tle, but remem­ber, David won that one,” Ward said Tues­day dur­ing her campaign’s launch.

    Not every­one on the right, how­ev­er, is enthu­si­as­tic about Ward’s can­di­da­cy. Free­dom­Works, a pow­er­ful con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tion, has already expressed skep­ti­cism about her record and her via­bil­i­ty, and the Sen­ate Con­ser­v­a­tives Fund, anoth­er group, has declined to endorse her.

    Accord­ing to the Ari­zona Repub­lic, Ward has drawn scruti­ny for once explor­ing “the idea that air­planes are spray­ing dan­ger­ous ‘chem­trails’ into the air — a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry she sub­se­quent­ly has said she nev­er believed — and for trav­el­ing to Neva­da in 2014 to show sup­port for con­tro­ver­sial ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy, who was in a stand­off with the U.S. Bureau of Land Man­age­ment over graz­ing fees and cat­tle.”
    ...

    Yes, Koch front-group Free­dom­Works (which does not endorse Trump) and the Sen­ate Con­ser­v­a­tives Fund are now basi­cal­ly work­ing togeth­er to take down McCain and they both appear to be in agree­ment that Kel­li Ward is NOT the per­son to do it. Dou­ble ouch! And now here comes Don­ald Trump look­ing for some­one, some­one who isn’t Kel­li Ward, to step into the race against McCain.

    So that had to sting for poor Kel­li, espe­cial­ly com­ing on the same week of her announce­ment. You got to won­der how many oth­er zingers of that nature we’re going to see Trump pull out of his hat.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 22, 2015, 2:06 pm
  15. Some­one fired shots at sol­diers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the “Jade Helm” mil­i­tary exer­cise at Camp Shel­by in Mis­sis­sip­pi. If this sto­ry sounds famil­iar, it might be because this is the sec­ond day in a row some­one shot at sol­ders from Camp Shel­by:

    Heavy.com
    Shots Fired at Sol­diers Dur­ing Jade Helm 15 Train­ing at Camp Shel­by: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
    Pub­lished 3:10 pm EDT, August 4, 2015 Updat­ed 10:44 am EDT, August 5, 2015

    Author­i­ties say a man in a pick­up truck fired shots near a group of sol­diers train­ing at the Camp Shel­by Joint Forces Train­ing Cen­ter on Tues­day and again on Wednes­day.

    A large-scale train­ing exer­cise is being held there as part of Jade Helm 15..

    No one was injured, WDAM-TV reports.. The Tues­day inci­dent was report­ed at about 12:15 p.m., about 45 min­utes after the shots were fired.

    Police say they are search­ing for a white man who fired from a two-door red pick­up truck.

    ...

    On Tues­day, the sol­diers were at a check­point on a coun­ty-owned road on the out­skirts of Camp Shel­by, Per­ry Coun­ty Sher­iff Jim­my Dale Smith said. The shots fired on Wednes­day hap­pened in the same area at about 8 a.m.

    Here’s what you need to know:
    1. Jade Helm Has Sparked Fears About Mar­tial Law Among Con­spir­a­cy The­o­rists

    Con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about Jade Helm 15 spread rapid­ly across the Inter­net after plans about the exer­cise were leaked to the pub­lic. Accord­ing to the Austin Amer­i­can-States­men, there was an “explo­sion of out­rage on social media after the release of the map, which labeled Texas, Utah and the south­ern tip of Cal­i­for­nia as ‘hos­tile.’”

    A mil­i­tary offi­cial who went to a Bas­trop, Texas, meet­ing about the exer­cis­es was told the gov­ern­ment can not be trust­ed, and that the plan for the exer­cis­es is to put mar­tial law in place.

    “It’s the same thing that hap­pened in Nazi Ger­many. You get the peo­ple used to the troops on the street, the appear­ance of uni­formed troops and the mil­i­ta­riza­tion of the police,” a local res­i­dent, Bob Wells, told the Austin news­pa­per after the meet­ing. “They’re gath­er­ing intel­li­gence. That’s what they’re doing. And they’re mov­ing logis­tics in place for mar­tial law. That’s my feel­ing. Now I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. I hope I’m a ‘con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist.’”

    The Army Times detailed some of the “head-scratch­ing” con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, includ­ing that FEMA is build­ing domes to house those who fight back against the gov­ern­ment, that Blue Bell ice cream trucks could serve as rolling morgues, that recent­ly closed Wal­mart stores could serve as mil­i­tary head­quar­ters and that the mil­i­tary is secret­ly prepar­ing for an immi­nent aster­oid strike.

    Some Texas res­i­dents told the New York Times last month that they are being extra vig­i­lant as the train­ing is con­duct­ed.

    “With Oba­ma being in there,” Scott Dege­naer told he Times, “with the way he’s already stomped all over the Con­sti­tu­tion, push­ing his pres­i­den­tial author­i­ty to the max, it would only be just the stroke of a pen for him to do away with that. This man is just total anti‑U. S.”

    Dege­naer was skep­ti­cal about the reporter and pho­tog­ra­ph­er who were inter­view­ing him, the Times report­ed, won­der­ing if they were part of the oper­a­tion. “Spec Ops grows beards,” he said, while refer­ring to the Times’ photographer’s facial hair. “Y’all got a mil­i­tary ID?”

    Two North Car­oli­na men were recent­ly arrest­ed on charges that they stock­piled weapons, ammu­ni­tion and tac­ti­cal gear in prepa­ra­tion for Jade Helm, the Asso­ci­at­ed Press report­ed.

    2. A Truck Match­ing the Descrip­tion Was Found Aban­doned in a Neigh­bor­ing Town

    Accord­ing to Ryan Moore of WDAM-TV, a pick­up truck match­ing the descrip­tion was found off Old Augus­ta Road in the neigh­bor­ing town of New Augus­ta, Mis­sis­sip­pi, but was lat­er deter­mined to not be the truck involved in the shoot­ing. Two men were detained for ques­tion­ing, but lat­er released with­out charges.

    Police are still look­ing for a pick­up truck that rides low to the ground.

    The Per­ry Coun­ty Sheriff’s Depart­ment and the Mis­sis­sip­pi High­way Patrol are inves­ti­gat­ing.

    3. The Inci­dents Are Not Being Called an ‘Active Shoot­er’ Sit­u­a­tion

    Per­ry Coun­ty Sher­iff Jim­my Dale Smith told WDAM-TV that the gun­man fired from the truck and did not stop. No one was hit in both inci­dents.

    It’s not yet known how many shots were fired.

    Lieu­tenant Colonel Chris­t­ian Pat­ter­son, direc­tor of pub­lic affairs at the Mis­sis­sip­pi Mil­i­tary Depart­ment, told the Clar­i­on-Ledger that the inci­dent is not being viewed as an active shoot­er sit­u­a­tion. Increased secu­ri­ty mea­sures have been tak­en recent­ly to pro­tect sol­diers, Pat­ter­son told the news­pa­per.

    4. About 4,600 Sol­diers Are Train­ing at the Camp as Part of the Jade Helm Exer­cis­es

    Camp Shel­by is host­ing a large-scale Army and Nation­al Guard train­ing exer­cise this week, the Hat­ties­burg Amer­i­can report­ed on Sun­day..

    The train­ing is part of the con­tro­ver­sial Jade Helm 15 exer­cise, accord­ing to the Army Times. Jade Helm has led to numer­ous con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and led Texas Gov­er­nor Greg Abbott to order the Texas State Guard to mon­i­tor the train­ing..

    About 4,600 sol­diers are par­tic­i­pat­ing. The train­ing began in July and will last until mid-August.

    “There are very few places that can actu­al­ly host an event this size. There are places around the coun­try that would have some­thing sim­i­lar, but they can’t offer all the dif­fer­ent capa­bil­i­ties that Shel­by offers here,” Major Gen­er­al Augus­tus L. Collins, told the news­pa­per. “Camp Shel­by is the per­fect place to do this.”

    The exer­cis­es are known as “Exportable Com­bat Train­ing Capa­bil­i­ty.”

    The par­tic­i­pants include the 155th Armored Brigade Com­bat Team from Tupe­lo, Mis­sis­sip­pi, and the 1st Cal­vary Divi­sion, 500 mem­bers of the 3rd Brigade Com­bat Team from Fort Hood, Texas, as well as about 300 Army reservists.

    ...

    Note that a man fit­ting the descrip­tion has been detained, although he is deny­ing involve­ment. But assum­ing the shoot­er is still out there, and giv­en the immense amount of cred­i­bil­i­ty major polit­i­cal fig­ures like Texas Gov­er­nor Greg Abbott lent to the “we need to mon­i­tor­ing Jade Helm so they don’t pull a mar­tial law sneak attack” hys­te­ria, per­haps now would be a good to for those same fig­ures to use their far-right cred­i­bil­i­ty to maybe request that the anti-Jade Helm mon­i­tors, you know, stick to actu­al­ly mon­i­tor­ing if that’s what they’re intent on doing and drop the Bush doc­trine of pre­emp­tive war. This is where we are.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 5, 2015, 3:07 pm
  16. Remem­ber when the Oath Keep­ers showed up in Fer­gu­son last Novem­ber and camped out on rooftops with rifles in response to the protests and result­ing prop­er­ty destruc­tion last Novem­ber? Well the Oath Keep­ers are back in Fer­gu­son, although this time they insist they’re there to pro­tect the pro­tes­tors, although it sounds like most of their focus was on pro­tect­ing a guy from Infowars.com:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post
    Who are the Oath Keep­ers, and why has the armed group returned to Fer­gu­son?
    By Sarah Larimer and Abby Phillip
    August 11 at 8:00 PM

    On Mon­day night, pro­test­ers again gath­ered in the streets of Fer­gu­son, Mo. Demon­stra­tions in the St. Louis sub­urb have flared up in recent days to mark the first anniver­sary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenag­er who was fatal­ly shot by a white police offi­cer.

    Also on the scene overnight: Mem­bers of a cit­i­zen mili­tia group known as the Oath Keep­ers.

    The men — all of them white and heav­i­ly armed — said they were in the area to pro­tect some­one who worked for the Web site Infowars.com, which is affil­i­at­ed with talk-radio con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist and self-described “thought crim­i­nal against Big Broth­er” Alex Jones.

    Reporters and Black Lives Mat­ter activists imme­di­ate­ly took note.

    ...

    “Media launch­es new demo­niza­tion cam­paign as Oath Keep­ers arrive in Fer­gu­son,” read an Infowars.com head­line Tues­day; the sto­ry not­ed that Oath Keep­ers mem­bers were with two reporters for the site.

    If the pres­ence of this group was con­fus­ing, here’s a brief explain­er on their back­ground and his­to­ry in Fer­gu­son.

    Who are the Oath Keep­ers?

    On their Web site, the Oath Keep­ers are described as a group focused on ful­fill­ing “the oath all mil­i­tary and police take to ‘defend the Con­sti­tu­tion against all ene­mies, for­eign and domes­tic.’” The site notes that the orga­ni­za­tion is com­posed of mem­bers who have, or have pre­vi­ous­ly had, some sort of con­nec­tion to law enforce­ment or the mil­i­tary.

    The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, how­ev­er, describes the Oath Keep­ers as a “fierce­ly antigov­ern­ment, mil­i­taris­tic group.”

    “The core idea of the group is that its mem­bers vow to for­ev­er sup­port the oaths they took on join­ing law enforce­ment or the mil­i­tary to defend the Con­sti­tu­tion,” reads the SPLC site. “But just as cen­tral is the group’s list of 10 ‘Orders We Will Not Obey,’ a com­pendi­um of much-feared but entire­ly imag­i­nary threats from the gov­ern­ment — orders, for instance, to force Amer­i­cans into con­cen­tra­tion camps, con­fis­cate their guns, or coop­er­ate with for­eign troops in the Unit­ed States.”

    One Oath Keep­er named Sam Andrews told the New York Times last year that the group’s mem­ber­ship includes “a real­ly broad group of cit­i­zens, and I’m sure their moti­va­tions are all dif­fer­ent. In many of them, there’s prob­a­bly a sense of patri­o­tism. But I think in most of them, there’s prob­a­bly some­thing that they prob­a­bly don’t even rec­og­nize: that we have a moral oblig­a­tion to pro­tect the weak­est among us.”

    As The Post’s Ter­rence McCoy wrote in Novem­ber:

    The Oath Keep­ers are many things to many peo­ple. For one fer­vent believ­er, it’s about the Con­sti­tu­tion. For anoth­er, it’s about a .50-cal­iber Bush­mas­ter and his right to car­ry it. Oth­ers talk of fear: fear Amer­i­ca has become a secu­ri­ty state. Fear Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has become a dic­ta­tor. Fear the Oath Keep­ers are need­ed now more than ever — espe­cial­ly in Fer­gu­son, Mo.

    The group, McCoy added, “came into being after founder Stew­art Rhodes wrote a 2008 man­i­festo call­ing for men and women to pro­tect a com­pla­cent Amer­i­ca besieged by what he described as dic­ta­to­r­i­al lead­ers. ‘If a police state comes to Amer­i­ca, it will ulti­mate­ly be in your hands,’ Rhodes, a Yale Law School grad­u­ate, wrote. ‘That is a harsh real­i­ty, but you had bet­ter come to terms with it now, and resolve to not let it hap­pen on your watch.’”

    What are the Oath Keep­ers doing in Fer­gu­son?

    ...

    Abby Phillip, who is on the the ground for The Wash­ing­ton Post in Fer­gu­son, described the scene like this:

    Mem­bers of the group arrived on West Floris­sant Avenue in Fer­gu­son in the ear­ly morn­ing as protests wound down just before 2 a.m.

    The small group of men — dressed in mil­i­tary-style cam­ou­flage and bul­let-proof vests, and armed with long guns — ini­tial­ly star­tled pro­test­ers, some of whom asked the Oath Keep­ers to leave. But they insist­ed that they were “on their side,” and had arrived to pro­tect pro­test­ers from police, who stood stand­ing watch­ing in riot gear across the street. They said Mis­souri law per­mit­ted them to open­ly car­ry legal­ly owned weapons.

    When the Oath Keep­ers crossed to the same side of the street where police stood, pro­test­ers fol­lowed. But police didn’t react to their pres­ence.

    ...

    Where is it legal to open­ly car­ry a long gun?

    Six states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia pro­hib­it the open car­ry­ing of long guns. Anoth­er six set restric­tions but don’t pro­hib­it it. In every oth­er state, includ­ing Mis­souri, it is legal to car­ry a loaded long gun in pub­lic with­out a per­mit, accord­ing to the Law Cen­ter to Pre­vent Gun Vio­lence.

    Has this group been in Fer­gu­son before?

    Yes, in Novem­ber — though their pres­ence was rather con­fus­ing for res­i­dents and activists then, too.

    Here’s the St. Louis Post-Dis­patch, describ­ing the scene a few days after it was announced that Dar­ren Wil­son — the offi­cer who shot Brown — wouldn’t face crim­i­nal charges:

    Fol­low­ing a night of arson fires and bashed store­fronts that hit close to home, Greg Hilde­brand stood naked Tues­day, dry­ing off from a need­ed show­er, when he noticed some­body on the rooftop.

    “I opened the win­dow and said, ‘Hey, can I help you?’” said Hilde­brand, 35, a web­site devel­op­er.

    The man said he was secu­ri­ty and would be up there at night with oth­ers to pro­tect the pock­et of sec­ond-sto­ry apart­ments and low­er-lev­el store­fronts near the Fer­gu­son Police Depart­ment. A day ear­li­er, riot­ers had bro­ken out win­dows below Hildebrand’s apart­ment in the 100 block of South Floris­sant Road and torched a near­by beau­ty sup­ply store.

    “I am in the mid­dle of a dif­fi­cult spot,” Hilde­brand said. “I feel a lot bet­ter hav­ing those guys up on the roof.”

    “When they’re here, there’s def­i­nite­ly a weight lift­ed off of our shoul­ders,” Davis Vo, whose fam­i­ly owns a local restau­rant, told the New York Times, when dis­cussing the Oath Keep­ers in Novem­ber. “I’d be lying if I said oth­er­wise.”

    What do author­i­ties in Mis­souri say?

    “Their pres­ence was both unnec­es­sary and inflam­ma­to­ry,” St. Louis Coun­ty Police Chief Jon Bel­mar said.

    In an email to The Post, Bri­an Schell­man, a spokesman for the St. Louis Coun­ty Police Depart­ment, said the agency would “con­sult” with the St. Louis Coun­ty Pros­e­cut­ing Attorney’s Office “about the legal­i­ties of the issue.”

    A email to a St. Louis Coun­ty Pros­e­cut­ing Attorney’s Office spokesman was not imme­di­ate­ly returned.

    ...

    Yes, the same group that showed up in Fer­gu­son to shoot peo­ple they thought might be loot­ers back in Novem­ber is now back, but this time to pro­tect the protestors...and the Infowars.com guy. Uh huh:

    ...
    The men — all of them white and heav­i­ly armed — said they were in the area to pro­tect some­one who worked for the Web site Infowars.com, which is affil­i­at­ed with talk-radio con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist and self-described “thought crim­i­nal against Big Broth­er” Alex Jones.

    Reporters and Black Lives Mat­ter activists imme­di­ate­ly took note.

    ...

    The small group of men — dressed in mil­i­tary-style cam­ou­flage and bul­let-proof vests, and armed with long guns — ini­tial­ly star­tled pro­test­ers, some of whom asked the Oath Keep­ers to leave. But they insist­ed that they were “on their side,” and had arrived to pro­tect pro­test­ers from police, who stood stand­ing watch­ing in riot gear across the street. They said Mis­souri law per­mit­ted them to open­ly car­ry legal­ly owned weapons.
    ...

    And this stunt was­n’t sup­posed to spark a con­flict with the pro­tes­tors or intim­i­date them or any­thing. That would be crazy talk.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 11, 2015, 5:40 pm
  17. The Oath Keep­ers just found a new issue to have an armed stand­off with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment over. But before we get to that, it’s worth not­ing how the last stand­off at the Sug­ar Pine Mine in south­west Ore­gon end­ed: With lots of embold­ened Oath Keep­ers talk­ing about plans for more show­downs

    South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter
    ‘Patri­ots’ Declare Vic­to­ry for Ore­gon Mine After Judge Issues Stay for BLM Enforce­ment

    David Nei­w­ert
    May 25, 2015

    A judge’s order requir­ing the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment to refrain from enforc­ing its reg­u­la­tions while the dis­pute over the Sug­ar Pine Mine in south­west­ern Ore­gon is being adju­di­cat­ed appears to be enough for the assem­bled antigov­ern­ment “Patri­ots” who have shown up on the scene to declare vic­to­ry and head for home.

    “Mis­sion Accom­plished” now declares the head­er over the web­site of the Oath Keep­ers of Josephine Coun­ty, the local orga­ni­za­tion that had made a nation­al call­out the month before for oth­er Oath Keep­ers and like­mind­ed antigov­ern­ment zealots to show up to defend the mine from the sup­posed plans of the BLM to destroy the mine and kick out its own­ers. The day before, the head­line had read: “STAND DOWN.”

    “Our ini­tial mis­sion has been a suc­cess... how­ev­er this is just the first of many mis­sions we are still work­ing on,” the web­site pro­claims.

    The dec­la­ra­tions of vic­to­ry came with a stay issued on Wednes­day by James Roberts, an admin­is­tra­tive law judge with the Inte­ri­or Land Board of Appeals, which began han­dling the case of the Sug­ar Pine mine last month when the mine’s own­ers filed their appeal of the let­ter of non-com­pli­ance that the BLM had issued regard­ing their oper­a­tions ear­li­er this year.

    Rick Bar­clay, one of the mine’s own­ers and their chief spokesman, called off the effort to pro­tect his mine. “If this is indeed every­thing the attor­ney asked for, this will de-esca­late the sit­u­a­tion for the time being,” Bar­clay told the Med­ford Mail Tri­bune. “It may mean my guests will be going back to their dai­ly lives.”

    Even as the min­ers filed their appeal last month, the BLM had been clear that it nev­er intend­ed to enforce the reg­u­la­tions until the issue had been entire­ly adju­di­cat­ed, which is its stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure. So when Bar­clay and his attor­neys filed their appeal last month – includ­ing the request for a stay of enforce­ment – the BLM did not oppose it.

    In spite of all that, Bar­clay has insist­ed that he has been at risk of hav­ing the BLM burn down his cab­in at the mine, which is why he asked for armed mili­ti­a­men to help pro­tect it.

    On their Face­book pages, the “Patri­ots” took to gloat­ing, with Bar­clay, Ida­ho III Per­cent leader Bran­don Cur­tiss, and Eric “EJ” Park­er – one of the III Per­cent move­ment fol­low­ers who came to Ore­gon, and who was noto­ri­ous as one of the sup­posed sniper-rifle own­ers who drew down on fed­er­al agents at the Bundy Ranch stand­off in Neva­da – post­ing a pho­to of the three men flip­ping off their crit­ics.

    “From us to you BLM... oh lets not for­get the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter and Routers,” the mes­sage read. “Looks like the Judge agreed with us!! Grant­ed stay of appeal states you have no juris­dic­tion or right to ter­ror­ize that man!! you’ll be get­ting our bill for the cost of WE THE PEOPLE mount­ing an EFFECTIVE resis­tance to your threats. Thats two for two facists!! See you next time.”

    The result of the nation­al call­out was an encamp­ment next to Inter­state 5 the orga­niz­ers took to call­ing “Camp Defi­ance.” Its camo-clad par­tic­i­pants and their mul­ti­tudes of guns, as well as their intim­i­dat­ing atti­tudes and behav­ior, had cre­at­ed grow­ing con­cern among some of the long­time res­i­dents and busi­ness own­ers in the area. Some of them held a press con­fer­ence to express their con­cerns, at which some of the “Patri­ots” showed up and began heck­ling them.

    Those con­cerns only esca­lat­ed, though, when a heli­copter fly­ing in the vicin­i­ty of the Sug­ar Pine mine set off a full-scale alarm among the “Patri­ots,” who feared the BLM was about to descend upon them with troops and SWAT teams and wipe them out with black heli­copters. That turned out to just be anoth­er landown­er fly­ing a heli­copter near­by.

    ...

    “Our ini­tial mis­sion has been a suc­cess... how­ev­er this is just the first of many mis­sions we are still work­ing on...
    Yes, it was a grand suc­cess even though the BLM was explic­it­ly say­ing back in April, before the Oath Keep­ers even showed up, that they would not be step­ping in and a process must take place before any action is tak­en, but it was a still a glo­ri­ous suc­cess, appar­ent­ly, with many more to come.

    And that brings us to one of the lat­est Oath Keep­er show­downs: Wel­come to “Oper­a­tion Big Sky”:

    KTRV News
    Lin­coln remains qui­et as Oath Keep­ers con­tin­ue ‘Oper­a­tion Big Sky’
    By San­jay Tal­wani

    Post­ed: Aug 11, 2015 2:22 PM CST
    Updat­ed: Aug 11, 2015 2:28 PM CST

    LINCOLN -

    The streets of Lin­coln remained qui­et through­out the week­end and Mon­day as a group of self-described Con­sti­tu­tion­al­ists con­tin­ued their mis­sion of pro­tect­ing a small min­ing claim in the area.

    “Lin­coln is still Lin­coln,” said Bon­nie Chris­t­ian, work­ing Mon­day at Bushwack­ers Steak­house and Saloon, locat­ed on Lin­col­n’s main drag on Route 200.

    Even when all the “big hub-bub” was going on last week — in the form of some out­siders walk­ing around last week in cam­ou­flage, car­ry­ing weapons — it did­n’t even faze the town, she said.

    “There is noth­ing going on,” Chris­t­ian said of the town Mon­day.

    A group includ­ing Oath Keep­ers of Josephine Coun­ty, Ore­gon — described as vet­er­ans and for­mer law enforce­ment offi­cers con­cerned about the Con­sti­tu­tion and gov­ern­ment over­reach — has based itself in Lin­coln as a few serve as “secu­ri­ty” for the White Hope Mine, in what they call “Oper­a­tion Big Sky.”

    That mine is about 15 miles away with access restrict­ed by the Mon­tana Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Qual­i­ty because of heavy truck traf­fic con­nect­ed with the ongo­ing reme­di­a­tion project at the adja­cent Mike Horse Mine tail­ings impound­ment, where more than 30 peo­ple are employed.

    The activists say they are serv­ing as a pro­tec­tion force for the claim, owned by George Kornec and Phil Nap­po, cit­ing aggres­sion and threats by the U.S. For­est Ser­vice in an ongo­ing dis­pute.

    The For­est Ser­vice says the min­ers don’t have a valid cur­rent per­mit and did­n’t get per­mis­sion to erect a struc­ture on the claim. But the agency denied that an inva­sion of the land or any oth­er action is immi­nent.

    “The groups in Lin­coln have ral­lied around a false­hood,” spokesman David Smith of the For­est Ser­vice’s North­ern Region wrote in an email Mon­day. “There have been no plans for the For­est Ser­vice to forcibly remove any struc­tures on the mine site or to evict Mr. Kornec from the prop­er­ty.”

    Smith wrote that the For­est Ser­vice is already doing what the groups appear to want — work­ing with the min­ers so they can con­tin­ue their min­ing, in com­pli­ance with the law.

    Mary Emer­ick, a spokes­woman for the Oath Keep­ers, also said the group wants to con­tin­ue the legal process, but said she had con­cerns about the accu­ra­cy of the For­est Ser­vice state­ment.

    She said sev­er­al peo­ple have offered to be inter­viewed to dis­cuss For­est Ser­vice actions in the area.

    ...

    Emer­ick said she would­n’t dis­close the out­put of the mine; a sto­ry in the Mis­soula Inde­pen­dent a few years ago about Kornec’s her­mit-like exis­tence described some min­ing equip­ment and a buck­et of mud­dy water.

    It’s also unclear how may of the activists are in the Lin­coln area. Their pres­ence in Lin­coln has been min­i­mal, and a press report pegged their num­bers at a meet­ing Thurs­day at about a dozen.

    Cit­ing secu­ri­ty con­cerns, Emer­ick declined last week to say how many peo­ple were in the area, or expect­ed, for the oper­a­tion.

    Lewis & Clark Coun­ty Sher­iff Leo Dut­ton met with the group over the week­end, and he said they declined to tell him their num­bers as well.

    “I don’t see an over­whelm­ing force of peo­ple,” he said.

    Emer­ick said that with some of the secu­ri­ty peo­ple cycling in and out, the num­bers would­n’t be eas­i­ly observ­able. She also said the group aims to have “a qui­et, safe pres­ence” in the area.

    Dut­ton said he and the activists exchanged con­cerns, Dut­ton’s being for peace and safe­ty in the area.

    “We did talk about them when they ini­tial­ly showed up, of being in cam­ou­flage and (car­ry­ing) weapons — not that Lin­coln is immune to see­ing peo­ple in cam­ou­flage and weapons,” Dut­ton said. “Just a bunch of peo­ple they did­n’t know, show­ing up in cam­ou­flage and weapons, they were unfa­mil­iar with — it does cause them con­cern.”

    Dut­ton said lead­ers of the group assured him they ordered their peo­ple not to bran­dish weapons in pub­lic or act in an intim­i­dat­ing mea­sure.

    They’ve also said they “vet” the group for felons, although they did not iden­ti­fy indi­vid­u­als to law enforce­ment for fur­ther vet­ting.

    Dut­ton said there have been no con­fronta­tions through­out the episode, and Lin­coln is per­fect­ly safe for any­one plan­ning to vis­it.

    “What con­cerns me is the fringe groups, or lone wolf peo­ple that decide to show up and cre­ate anar­chy and chaos doing an act of vio­lence,” Dut­ton said.

    “What con­cerns me is the fringe groups, or lone wolf peo­ple that decide to show up and cre­ate anar­chy and chaos doing an act of vio­lence.”
    That was the opin­ion of Lewis & Clark Coun­ty Sher­iff Leo Dut­ton, which seems to sug­gest that the Oath Keep­ers, who showed up at this mine with heavy weapons with the intent on hav­ing anoth­er show­down with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, are no longer “fringe”. And it’s an assess­ment that’s increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult to refute. Vig­i­lante mili­tia show­downs with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment (that hap­pen to be sanc­tioned by a sub­stan­tial swath of the elec­torate and polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment) is just what we do in the US these days!

    Now we get to wait and see what hap­pens. It’s pret­ty obvi­ous that the Oath Keep­ers are itch­ing for a vio­lent stand­off that can act as a ‘spark’ for some­thing big­ger. But the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is also pret­ty obvi­ous­ly try­ing to ensure that does­n’t hap­pen. And just Tues­day the fed­er­al filed a civ­il suit against the mine’s own­ers so some sort of legal esca­la­tion is tak­ing place. So a now-famil­iar legal-esca­la­tion/arm-stand­off de-esca­la­tion sit­u­a­tion
    is unfold­ing in Mon­tana:

    TPM Muck­rak­er
    Armed Mili­tia Con­verges On Mon­tana Gold Mine, And The Feds Are Step­ping In

    By Cather­ine Thomp­son
    Pub­lished August 13, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

    The own­ers of a Mon­tana gold mine sent a let­ter to the U.S. For­est Ser­vice ear­li­er this month warn­ing its employ­ees to stay off the own­ers’ prop­er­ty.

    “Any­one enter­ing onto the White Hope Mine, with­out pre­vi­ous coor­di­na­tion, will be charged” and arrest­ed under Mon­tana code, the let­ter read, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    “At no time will weapons be allowed onto the White Hope Min­ing Claim,” the let­ter con­clud­ed.

    Except there are weapons on the White Hope Min­ing Claim, in the hands of armed mili­tia mem­bers the mine own­ers recruit­ed to pro­tect their claim. And the feds aren’t let­ting the aggres­sion stand.

    U.S. Attor­ney Michael Cot­ter filed a civ­il suit Tues­day in fed­er­al court in Hele­na, Mon­tana against George Kornec and Phil Nap­po, own­ers of the White Hope Mine near Lin­coln, Mon­tana. The suit alleged the min­ers opened a road, built a garage and cut down trees on their min­ing claim with­out autho­riza­tion, stored anoth­er indi­vid­u­al’s explo­sives on the site, and ille­gal­ly turned mem­bers of the pub­lic away from the land by lock­ing the gates to the prop­er­ty shut and post­ing no-tres­pass­ing signs.

    “The unau­tho­rized and ille­gal actions of Defen­dants have inter­fered with and dam­aged Nation­al For­est Ser­vice land,” the com­plaint stat­ed. “Because the non-com­pli­ance has not been resolved, and because mem­bers of the pub­lic are still being threat­ened or blocked from access, it is nec­es­sary for the Unit­ed States to bring this action.”

    The suit also not­ed that defen­dants and the Oath Keep­ers, a loose-knit nation­al orga­ni­za­tion of cur­rent and for­mer U.S. mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment offi­cers that pledge to uphold the Con­sti­tu­tion, were “act­ing in con­cert or joint par­tic­i­pa­tion, in inter­fer­ing with pub­lic and For­est Ser­vice access on pub­lic lands, includ­ing the White Hope unpatent­ed min­ing claims.”

    In a press release issued Sat­ur­day, the Oath Keep­ers of Josephine Coun­ty and the Ida­ho Three Per­centers, anoth­er mili­tia group, said they were recruit­ed by Kornec and Nap­po fol­low­ing “threats” to their min­ing ven­ture. They referred to their activ­i­ty at the White Hope Mine as “Oper­a­tion Big Sky.”

    “We are com­mit­ted to secur­ing the mine site of George Kornec and Phil Nap­po, own­ers of Inter­moun­tain Min­ing LLC, which was request­ed due to threats to their min­ing ven­ture,” the press release read. “There is a dis­pute between the actions tak­en by the Unit­ed States For­est Ser­vice and the min­ers. Our goal has been and will con­tin­ue to be to secure that area from threats until a legal action takes place with­in the court sys­tem.”

    It’s unclear what the “threats” to Kornec’s and Nap­po’s min­ing claim were. Court doc­u­ments showed that the U.S. For­est Ser­vice sent a non-com­pli­ance notice to the pair in August 2014 that for­bid any min­ing activ­i­ty until the out­stand­ing issues were resolved. The agency also ordered the unau­tho­rized garage to be removed by June 30.

    The Oath Keep­ers of Josephine Coun­ty are the same activists who ear­li­er this year backed a pair of South­west­ern Ore­gon gold min­ers in their dis­pute with the Fed­er­al Bureau of Land Man­age­ment. A spokes­woman for the group, Mary Emer­ick, told TPM back in May that the group planned to take action to help oth­er local prop­er­ty own­ers with land man­age­ment dis­putes fol­low­ing a stand-down at the Sug­ar Pine Mine in Gal­ice, Ore­gon. She declined to elab­o­rate on those plans.

    ...

    “The Oath Keep­ers of Josephine Coun­ty are the same activists who ear­li­er this year backed a pair of South­west­ern Ore­gon gold min­ers in their dis­pute with the Fed­er­al Bureau of Land Man­age­ment.”
    How help­ful. And to their cred­it, it could have been worse.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 13, 2015, 10:04 pm
  18. It looks like the J.T. Ready School of bor­der patrol vig­i­lante activism is still putting out grad­u­ates:

    TPM Muck­rak­er
    Ari­zona ‘Patri­ot’ Mili­tia Bust­ed By Feds In Plot To Steal Drugs From Bogus Car­tel
    By Cather­ine Thomp­son
    Pub­lished August 14, 2015, 3:05 PM EDT

    Par­ris Fra­zier alleged­ly thought he was going to make $15,000 per kilo­gram of cocaine he ripped from a drug cartel’s load vehi­cle last month at an Ari­zona ware­house.

    Unfor­tu­nate­ly for him, accord­ing to court records, the man who helped him set up the drug rip was an under­cov­er FBI agent. And instead of a tidy pay­out, Fra­zier got a high-speed chase that end­ed in the arrests of him and two of his asso­ciates.

    Fra­zier (pic­tured) and his asso­ciates, Robert Deather­age and Erik Fos­ter, were arrest­ed on July 22 after the bogus drug rip and charged with con­spir­a­cy to sell cocaine, accord­ing to a crim­i­nal com­plaint filed in U.S. dis­trict court. The three men were mem­bers of a local mili­tia called Ari­zona Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Group, which recent­ly pro­vid­ed secu­ri­ty at a protest ral­ly orga­nized by anti-Mus­lim activist John Ritzheimer, accord­ing to local TV sta­tion KPHO.

    The fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tion stretched back to Jan­u­ary, when the com­plaint states Fra­zier spoke with Cus­toms and Bor­der Patrol agents at a traf­fic stop. Fra­zier expressed inter­est in con­tact­ing an infor­mal source whom the agents had men­tioned as some­one who pro­vid­ed them with intel on ille­gal bor­der activ­i­ties, accord­ing to the com­plaint.

    An under­cov­er FBI agent then began con­tact­ing Fra­zier while pos­ing as the Bor­der Patrol agents’ source. Fra­zier alleged­ly told the under­cov­er agent that “he had a small group of Patri­ots that he trust­ed and they were try­ing to take care of (steal) any­thing that came up out of Mex­i­co (drugs) or was going back into Mex­i­co (bulk cash),” adding that his group pre­ferred to chase the cash. He alleged­ly offered a cut of what­ev­er was seized to the under­cov­er agent, too.

    The com­plaint said Fra­zier had a propen­si­ty for vio­lence. In a March 4 meet­ing, Fra­zier alleged­ly told the under­cov­er agent “if we (his group) have to dis­patch (kill) some peo­ple, we will dis­patch some peo­ple,” as quot­ed in the com­plaint. (The par­en­thet­i­cal expla­na­tions are in the com­plaint.)

    Lat­er that month, the com­plaint alleges Fra­zier offered to mur­der the under­cov­er agen­t’s fic­ti­tious cousin in exchange for mon­ey, sug­gest­ing that such a move would elim­i­nate com­pe­ti­tion. Fra­zier even showed a reluc­tance to talk about the mur­der-for-hire offer over the phone, accord­ing to the com­plaint.

    The FBI and the Phoenix Police Depart­ment mon­i­tored a few cash and drug rips set up for Fra­zier by the under­cov­er agent in the months pri­or to July 22, when the author­i­ties planned to take the mili­tia mem­bers into cus­tody. The agent told Fra­zier that there would be about 10 kilo­grams of cocaine wait­ing for him in a vehi­cle at the Phoenix ware­house and offered to buy the drugs off him for $15,000 per kilo­gram once they were seized, accord­ing to the com­plaint.

    ...

    An anony­mous FBI infor­mant who has fol­lowed Deather­age and the Ari­zona Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Group for years told KPHO that it did­n’t sur­prise him the mili­tia mem­ber was arrest­ed. Deather­age and anoth­er armed mili­tia mem­ber, Richard Mal­ley, mis­took a sher­if­f’s deputy for a drug smug­gler in 2013 out in the desert; Mal­ley was charged with aggra­vat­ed assault for point­ing his rifle at the deputy while Deather­age was not charged in the inci­dent.

    “I would put my retire­ment on the fact that there are bod­ies out there because of these groups,” the infor­mant told the news sta­tion.

    h/t KPHO

    “Lat­er that month, the com­plaint alleges Fra­zier offered to mur­der the under­cov­er agen­t’s fic­ti­tious cousin in exchange for mon­ey, sug­gest­ing that such a move would elim­i­nate com­pe­ti­tion. Fra­zier even showed a reluc­tance to talk about the mur­der-for-hire offer over the phone, accord­ing to the com­plaint.”
    Well, Fra­zier cer­tain­ly was com­mit­ted to his “pro­tect­ing the bor­der” project. $15,000 per kilo­gram tends to brings out the patri­ot­ic fer­vor like that. A fer­vor that’s been bub­bling for quite a while:

    Moth­er Jones
    The Melt­down of the Anti-Immi­gra­tion Min­ute­man Mili­tia
    Why the the self-appoint­ed bor­der patrollers are nowhere to be seen.

    —By Tim Mur­phy
    | Mon Aug. 4, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

    In ear­ly July, Chris Davis issued a call to arms. “You see an ille­gal, you point your gun right dead at them, right between the eyes, and say, ‘Get back across the bor­der, or you will be shot,’ ” the Texas-based mili­tia com­man­der said in a YouTube video herald­ing Oper­a­tion Secure Our Bor­der-Lare­do Sec­tor, a plan to block the wave of undoc­u­ment­ed migrants com­ing into his state. “If you get any flak from sher­iffs, city, or feds, Bor­der Patrol, tell them, ‘Look—this is our birthright. We have a right to secure our own land. This is our land.’ ”

    Davis’ video was pub­li­cized by local news­pa­persand theLos Ange­les Times. But the mili­tia nev­er mate­ri­al­ized in Lare­do, and Davis walked back his com­ments. (The video has been tak­en down.) Over the last few weeks, a small­er force under Davis’ watch has appeared along the south­ern bor­der, spread thin­ly across three states. The fiz­zling of this grand mobi­liza­tion was anoth­er reminder that the cur­rent immi­gra­tion cri­sis has been miss­ing a key ingre­di­ent of recent bor­der show­downs: Bands of the heav­i­ly-armed self-appoint­ed bor­der guardians known as Min­ute­men.

    Dur­ing the past four years, the Min­ute­man groups that defined con­ser­v­a­tive immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy dur­ing the mid-to-late-2000s have most­ly self-destructed—sometimes spec­tac­u­lar­ly so. Found­ing Min­ute­man lead­ers are in prison, fac­ing crim­i­nal charges, dead, or side­lined. “It real­ly attract­ed a lot of peo­ple that had some pret­ty extreme issues,” says Juani­ta Moli­na, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Bor­der Action Net­work, an advo­ca­cy group that pro­vides aid to migrants in the desert. “We saw the move­ment implode on itself most­ly because of that.” An analy­sis by the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, which mon­i­tors right-wing extrem­ist groups, found that the num­ber of Min­ute­man groups in the South­west had declined from 310 to 38 between 2010 and 2012.

    The move­men­t’s com­ing-out moment was in 2005, as an influx in migrants from Mex­i­co col­lid­ed with post‑9/11 secu­ri­ty con­cerns to cre­ate a nativist revival. A Marine vet named Jim Gilchrist announced the for­ma­tion of a month­long, 1,000-man patrol along Ari­zona bor­der. His Min­ute­man Project found a nat­ur­al plat­form on con­ser­v­a­tive talk radio and cable news, and attract­ed sup­port from nativist politi­cians such as then-Ari­zona Sen­ate pres­i­dent Rus­sell Pearce. Some Min­ute­man groups patrolled the US-Mex­i­co line on foot, invest­ing in night-vision gog­gles, ham radios, and ammu­ni­tion by the buck­et. Oth­ers were con­tent to squat in lawn chairs under canopies, scan­ning the bor­der for crossers and alert­ing Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion.

    But the move­ment quick­ly splin­tered, and activists who found Gilchrist’s meth­ods too easy­go­ing rushed to start their own orga­ni­za­tions, many bear­ing the Min­ute­man name. Things went down­hill from there.

    Shaw­na Forde, an Ari­zona activist, left behind two larg­er groups to found Min­ute­men Amer­i­can Defense with Jason Bush in 2007. To get mon­ey for their oper­a­tions, they turned to crime. In 2011, Forde, Bush, and anoth­er man were con­vict­ed of mur­der­ing Raul Flo­res and his nine-year-old daugh­ter after a botched armed rob­bery of Flo­res’ Ari­va­ca, Ari­zona, home. When police dug deep­er, they found a bloody past. Bush was also charged for the mur­der of a Lati­no man in Wash­ing­ton state in 1997, and in the mur­der of an Aryan Nations mem­ber he con­sid­ered to be a “race-trai­tor” that same year. He also was sus­pect­ed of a third, uniden­ti­fied mur­der, but not charged. Wash­ing­ton pros­e­cu­tors opt­ed not to pur­sue the case because Forde and Bush were already on death row for the Flo­res mur­ders.

    Forde and Bush were on the fringe, but they had con­nec­tions to the more promi­nent main­stream Min­ute­man groups. Forde, for instance, had once been a mem­ber of a group called the Min­ute­man Civ­il Defense Corps, which has gone through sev­er­al crises of its own. In 2012, one of the group’s founders, a neo-Nazi Marine vet­er­an named J.T. Ready—who also left the group to form a splin­ter unit—killed him­self, his girl­friend, and three of her fam­i­ly mem­bers at his home in Gilbert, Ari­zona. At the time of his death, Ready was the sub­ject of an FBI domes­tic ter­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tion in con­nec­tion with the deaths of an unspec­i­fied num­ber of migrants whose bod­ies had been found in the Ari­zona desert.

    Chris Sim­cox, who cofound­ed the MCDC with Ready, faces a more uncer­tain fate. A media-friend­ly per­son­al­i­ty who once con­sid­ered chal­leng­ing Sen. John McCain (R‑Ariz.) for his Sen­ate seat, he planned on tak­ing the Min­ute­man move­ment to new heights by build­ing a $55 mil­lion state-of-the-art bor­der fence “based on the fences used in Gaza and the West Bank.” But he raised just $1.8 mil­lion, and installed only two miles of barbed wire.

    In 2010, Sim­cox went on the lam after his estranged wife filed a peti­tion for a pro­tec­tive, say­ing that he had twice threat­ened to kill his fam­i­ly. (Sim­cox has denied those alle­ga­tions.) He was tracked down by Stacey O’Con­nell, a for­mer Min­ute­man who start­ed a boun­ty hunt­ing firm after resign­ing as the Ari­zona state direc­tor of Sim­cox’s group three years ear­li­er, cit­ing mis­man­age­ment. Two months after being served by his old lieu­tenant, Sim­cox was charged with six counts of child molesta­tion. He reject­ed a plea offer and is set to stand tri­al in Sep­tem­ber. (One of the charges has since been dropped.) When I called him, O’Con­nell said he had no plans to rejoin the Min­ute­men. “I haven’t been involved with that in years,” he said.

    After Sim­cox’s arrest, the lead­er­ship of the MCDC fell to Car­men Mer­cer, a Ger­man immi­grant who ran a buf­fa­lo burg­er restau­rant in Wyatt Earp’s old home of Tomb­stone. Mer­cer announced a new oper­a­tion tar­get­ing drug smug­glers. She sug­gest­ed act­ing with­out the aid of the US Bor­der Patrol, invit­ing vol­un­teers to come to the bor­der “locked, loaded, and ready.” But a week lat­er, Mer­cer sent announced that the Min­ute­man Civ­il Defense Corps was dis­band­ing. “Peo­ple are ready to come locked and loaded, and that’s not what we are all about,” she wrote after a sud­den change of heart.

    Even Gilchrist, the orig­i­nal Min­ute­man, has seen his brain­child dis­in­te­grate. The board of Min­ute­man Project accused him of fraud; in turn, Gilchrist accused the board of theft. He was deposed as its pres­i­dent but was rein­stat­ed by a judge. He then lost a defama­tion law­suit for launch­ing an inter­net smear cam­paign wrong­ful­ly accus­ing anoth­er mem­ber of var­i­ous fed­er­al crimes.

    Mean­while, the politi­cians who once embraced vig­i­lante activ­i­ties along the bor­der have begun to drift away. Last August, Richard Mal­ley, a mem­ber of an orga­ni­za­tion call­ing itself the Ari­zona Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Group, was arrest­ed on charges of aggra­vat­ed assault with a dead­ly weapon after aim­ing his AR-15 at a Pinal Coun­ty sher­if­f’s deputy he had con­clud­ed was a mem­ber of a drug car­tel. Mal­ley, who had been on patrol 80 miles north of the bor­der, had refused to put down his rifle even after the deputy point­ed to his badge. After the inci­dent, Mari­co­pa Coun­ty Sher­iff Joe Arpaio, a long­time ally of the Min­ute­men who once accept­ed an award from Sim­cox, sound­ed like he’d had enough. “If they con­tin­ue this there could be some dead mili­tia out there,” Arpaio told the Asso­ci­at­ed Press. “He’s lucky he did­n’t see 30 rounds fired into him.”

    Mal­ley had been mak­ing the rounds that day with Robert Crooks, the founder of the Moun­tain Min­ute­men, who had dis­sem­i­nat­ed a video in which he staged the fake exe­cu­tion of an undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grant. Crooks declined a request for an inter­view. “Dude, I’ve been doing this for 10 fuck­ing years, I got a full-length movie out, I was in Pent­house mag­a­zine April ’08, I got the fence of San Diego Coun­ty, I’ve been in the trench for a decade, you hear me?” he said when I reached him on patrol in the desert. “I ain’t fuck­ing around with this bull­shit. We’re being invad­ed and you guys are mam­sy-pam­sy­ing this shit. This coun­try’s fuck­ing going to hell in a hand­bas­ket. Nev­er mind!” Click.

    But the Min­ute­man move­men­t’s prob­lems go deep­er than its frac­tious lead­er­ship. Patrolling the bor­der is a mas­sive under­tak­ing. Glenn Spencer, the founder of Amer­i­can Bor­der Patrol, proud­ly notes that his group pre­dat­ed the Min­ute­man move­ment and has large­ly out­lived it. His sev­en-man out­fit uses drones and small planes to mon­i­tor the bor­der. Spencer, who had just come back from a fly­over with a film crew from con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones’ InfoWars site, esti­mates it would take 30,000 com­mit­ted and qual­i­fied mil­i­tary vet­er­ans to watch the bor­der prop­er­ly. “I don’t encour­age peo­ple to come down,” he says. Vol­un­teers “find out the bor­der is huge. They get tired of sit­ting in lawn chairs.”

    The chang­ing geog­ra­phy of the bor­der cri­sis also make things dif­fi­cult for civil­ian patrols. Ari­zona became a hub for Min­ute­men groups in part because it was so easy; much of the state’s 362-mile bor­der and points north are pub­lic lands, mean­ing any­one can walk it. But south­ern Ari­zona is no longer the most pop­u­lar route into the Unit­ed States; that dis­tinc­tion now belongs to South Texas. And in Texas, there’s very lit­tle fed­er­al land; the bor­der is the prove­nance of pri­vate ranch­ers who don’t take kind­ly to strangers patrolling their prop­er­ty with high-pow­ered rifles.

    ...

    “It real­ly attract­ed a lot of peo­ple that had some pret­ty extreme issues...We saw the move­ment implode on itself most­ly because of that.”
    Yep.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 15, 2015, 6:57 pm
  19. The leader of the group of Oath Keep­ers that recent­ly made a heav­i­ly armed appear­ance at the Fer­gu­son protests, Sam Andrews, had an inter­est­ing spin on his groups pres­ence there:

    In his view, the Oath Keep­ers were in Fer­gu­son last week not only to guard Joe Big­gs, but to ensure that every­one assem­bled was safe, cops and pro­test­ers alike. “We’re total­ly pro-pro­test­er, and we’re pro-law­ful law enforcement—which we haven’t seen a lot of, recent­ly in St. Louis,” he said

    “We’re total­ly pro-pro­test­er, and we’re pro-law­ful law enforcement—which we haven’t seen a lot of, recent­ly in St. Louis”r
    So.....the Oath Keep­ers were there to shoot every­one? It’s one of the fun open ques­tions left in the wake of the Oath Keep­er’s stroll through the Fer­gu­son protests last week. As far as armed flash-mob­bing goes, it did­n’t lack mys­tery or sus­pense.

    But anoth­er part of what made the Oath Keep­ers’ sud­den recent reap­pear­ance in Fer­gu­son so inter­est­ing from a PR per­spec­tive is that the group has indeed long railed against the mil­i­ta­riza­tion of the police. It’s one com­mon point of inter­est that the group could have had with the local pro­test­ers. But it that would sug­gest the Oath Keep­ers showed up at the event with assault rifles strapped around their shoul­ders to protest the mil­i­ta­riza­tion of the police, which would be a rather con­fus­ing sig­nal if it was­n’t for the Oath Keep­ers’ propen­si­ty to have armed show­downs with gov­ern­ment agen­cies for pret­ty much any rea­son they can find.

    The Oath Keep­ers’ past “rifles on rooftops (point­ed at loot­ers)” antics in Novem­ber haven’t clar­i­fied the sit­u­a­tion much either. And as the arti­cle below points out, the leader of the lat­est Oath Keep­er excur­sion into Fer­gu­son, Sam Andrews, will not do much to resolve the mys­tery. Andrews, who was recent­ly at the Bundy ranch-style show­down in Ore­gon, appears to not real­ly be close­ly affil­i­at­ed with the St. Louis Oath Keep­ers chap­ter, but instead is just a friend of the Infowars.com reporter, Joe Big­gs. Big­gs appar­ent­ly asked Andrews to show up with a posse at the Fer­gu­son protests and they all did so with­out noti­fy­ing the local Oath Keep­ers. At least that’s what Andrews sug­gests so there appears to be a split of sorts between the Andrews Oath Keep­ers and the local Oath Keep­ers or they want to main­tain a pub­lic dis­tance.

    To add to the con­fu­sion, Andrews sort of trash­es the local Oath Keep­ers as New World Order con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists and seems to dis­tin­guish him­self as be gen­er­al­ly against the oppres­sion that the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion is about to unleash (and he’s there to guard his Infowars.com friend).

    Also, Andrews wants to get 50 black Fer­gu­son pro­test­ers and give them AR-15s in a big armed stand­off next. Yes, that’s his idea. 50 Fer­gu­son pro­test­ers and the Oath Keep­ers in an armed protest. And this is sup­posed to help the pro­test­ers.

    It’s all rather con­fus­ing:

    Gawk­er

    Whose Side Are the Oath Keep­ers in Fer­gu­son On?
    Andy Cush
    Filed to: Oath Keep­ers 8/18/15 10:00am

    Sam Andrews received three phone calls dur­ing an hour-long lunch at a Piz­za Hut in St. Louis Coun­ty, Mis­souri, last week. Andrews is a mem­ber of the group called the Oath Keep­ers, and the callers were fel­low Oath Keep­ers, con­grat­u­lat­ing and ques­tion­ing him about his lat­est “oper­a­tion”: Over the pre­vi­ous two nights, in near­by Fer­gu­son, he’d led a group of five white men with assault rifles and body armor to the scene of the protests mark­ing the one-year anniver­sary of Michael Brown’s death. It had been a grab­by image for the media con­vened there, and he rel­ished the atten­tion.

    “My guys are emi­nent­ly qual­i­fied,” Andrews said to one caller. “We know way more about weapons than the St. Louis Coun­ty Police Depart­ment.” Lat­er in the same con­ver­sa­tion, he prac­ti­cal­ly spat into his cell­phone while dis­cussing St. Louis Coun­ty Police Chief Jon Bel­mar. “Do you believe the shit com­ing out of your mouth?” he said, address­ing a mock Bel­mar. “‘Cause we don’t believe it.”

    After the first night, Bel­mar had decried the Oath Keep­ers’ pres­ence, call­ing it “both unnec­es­sary and inflam­ma­to­ry.” That had not kept Andrews and his heav­i­ly armed men from spend­ing a sec­ond night walk­ing Ferguson’s West Floris­sant Avenue, the street at the cen­ter of the protests since Brown was shot and killed by Fer­gu­son police offi­cer Dar­ren Wil­son in August 2014.fi

    They had come to town at the behest of Joe Big­gs, a writer for the con­spir­acist web­site InfoWars, who request­ed pro­tec­tion from the Oath Keep­ers after a St. Louis Post-Dis­patch jour­nal­ist was attacked and robbed while report­ing on loot­ers from West Floris­sant Sun­day night. This was the Oath Keep­ers’ sec­ond high-pro­file mis­sion to West Floris­sant. Months after Brown’s death, in an oper­a­tion also led by Andrews, mem­bers of the group could be seen stand­ing on rooftops along the avenue, car­ry­ing heavy weapon­ry and dressed in mil­i­tary fatigues, intend­ing to pro­tect busi­ness own­ers and res­i­dents from loot­ers.

    Bel­mar, the police chief, was not the only one unhap­py to see them again. Demon­stra­tors greet­ed the group with a mix of baf­fle­ment and anger, and even with­in the Oath Keep­ers orga­ni­za­tion, Andrews’ actions were met with sus­pi­cion. Even by the stan­dards of a lib­er­tar­i­an-mind­ed vig­i­lante orga­ni­za­tion, Sam Andrews is a bit of a free­lancer: He resides in St. Louis Coun­ty, but he has nev­er attend­ed a meet­ing of the greater St. Louis chap­ter of the Oath Keep­ers, and he seems to dis­dain those who do attend. Big­gs, whom Andrews counts as a per­son­al friend, asked him direct­ly about an Oath Keep­ers body­guard detail, and Andrews called the infor­mal group of men with whom he usu­al­ly works into action, with­out so much as noti­fy­ing the local Oath Keep­ers about it, much less obtain­ing their per­mis­sion.

    The Oath Keep­ers, a group found­ed in 2009, is pri­mar­i­ly com­posed of cur­rent and for­mer police and mil­i­tary mem­bers who see them­selves as the truest guardians of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion. Like cou­ples renew­ing their wed­ding vows, mem­bers pub­licly reaf­firm the oaths they took upon join­ing the service—oaths tak­en not in the name of politi­cians, the group’s web­site reads, but in the name of the Con­sti­tu­tion itself. Oath Keep­ers also take a vow to dis­obey what they call “uncon­sti­tu­tion­al” orders, such as orders to dis­arm the Amer­i­can peo­ple, to impose mar­tial law, and to “block­ade Amer­i­can cities, thus turn­ing them into giant con­cen­tra­tion camps.”

    Those hypo­thet­i­cals sound a lot like the fears of right-wing con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists, and accord­ing to the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, that’s exact­ly what the Oath Keep­ers are. The SPLC brands the Oath Keep­ers as a “fierce­ly antigov­ern­ment” extrem­ist group, and states that its offi­cial claim to 30,000 mem­bers is like­ly exag­ger­at­ed. Like all Oath Keep­ers I’ve spo­ken to, Andrews takes umbrage with being labeled an extrem­ist. He also believes that the 30,000 num­ber is low.

    “We prob­a­bly signed up 2,500 peo­ple in the last 48 hours,” he said, refer­ring to the media blitz that ensued after he and his crew showed up in Fer­gu­son. By Andrews’ esti­ma­tion, the real fig­ure is clos­er to 50,000. He also claimed, per­haps improb­a­bly, that there were many more Oath Keep­ers on the ground in Fer­gu­son than were shown in media reports—“people on the perime­ter, in over­watch posi­tions,” he said, and “black guys in the crowd that are watch­ing our backs.” He declined to answer when I asked him for a ball­park fig­ure.

    Andrews, a tall fifty­ish man who dri­ves a jacked-up pick­up truck with a cam­ou­flage paint job and speaks with the oro­tund charis­ma of a TV pun­dit, said that he joined the Oath Keep­ers after he saw the group’s web­site. “Wow,” he remem­bers think­ing to him­self. “This is the only orga­ni­za­tion that’s pub­licly say­ing that our politi­cians and our police and our mil­i­tary should fol­low our laws.” He said that he worked for years over­seas as a con­trac­tor with a three-let­ter agency, but declined to say which, cit­ing a non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment, and also that he has trained police SWAT teams across the coun­try. When he’s not lead­ing Oath Keep­ers into Fer­gu­son or head­ing to Ore­gon to assist a min­er in a Cliv­en Bundy-style stand­off with the fed­er­al Bureau of Land Man­age­ment, like he did ear­li­er this year, Andrews works as a weapons engi­neer, he said. Arti­cles in the Post-Dis­patch and on Patch.com iden­ti­fy him as the own­er of Tier One Weapon Sys­tems, a gun sell­er and cus­tom man­u­fac­tur­er, but Andrews denied own­er­ship of the com­pa­ny, stat­ing that “every­thing in the media is sub­ject to severe scruti­ny.”

    He draws a line between him­self and the Oath Keep­ers he calls “Chick­en Littles”—those who think the sky is falling, or that the U.S. gov­ern­ment will immi­nent­ly enslave its own cit­i­zens, forc­ing them to par­tic­i­pate in a one-world gov­ern­ment called the New World Order. Still, he is mis­trust­ful of author­i­ty and full of uncon­ven­tion­al notions about how the world works. He believes that the Post-Dis­patch is an arm of the St. Louis Coun­ty gov­ern­ment and that CNN answers to the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice.

    When I asked if he meant this lit­er­al­ly, he said, “Yeah, lit­er­al­ly.” He believes that tax brack­ets exist so the gov­ern­ment can avoid revolt by rais­ing people’s tax­es piece­meal, one brack­et at a time, rather than all at once. When I sug­gest­ed that brack­ets sim­ply allow the gov­ern­ment to tax peo­ple on a gra­di­ent accord­ing to their income, he leaned for­ward over the table and squint­ed, as he often does when empha­siz­ing a point, and said “That’s the lie.”

    The sight of a group of white men casu­al­ly strolling West Floris­sant while armed to the teeth under­stand­ably riled some black pro­test­ers, both because the white men them­selves looked men­ac­ing and because the police seemed will­ing to tol­er­ate that men­ace.

    ...

    Mis­souri is an open-car­ry state, mean­ing that in the­o­ry, black activists would be allowed to bring their guns to a protest, as long as they had the prop­er per­mits. But not nec­es­sar­i­ly in prac­tice: On Mon­day night, while Oath Keep­ers open­ly dis­played their rifles, three black men were arrest­ed in a flur­ry of batons and pep­per spray because police sus­pect­ed they were car­ry­ing hand­guns, the Guardian report­ed. None of the men were armed.

    Andrews told me that his inter­ests and the pro­test­ers’ are actu­al­ly quite sim­i­lar. In his view, the Oath Keep­ers were in Fer­gu­son last week not only to guard Joe Big­gs, but to ensure that every­one assem­bled was safe, cops and pro­test­ers alike. “We’re total­ly pro-pro­test­er, and we’re pro-law­ful law enforcement—which we haven’t seen a lot of, recent­ly in St. Louis,” he said. In March, the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice released a report detail­ing the sys­tem­at­ic racism of the Fer­gu­son Police Depart­ment, which almost exclu­sive­ly arrest­ed black peo­ple between 2012 and 2014. Andrews him­self said he refus­es to car­ry iden­ti­fi­ca­tion when he goes to Fer­gu­son, to protest the fact that the police keep ille­gal­ly demand­ing peo­ple show I.D. The cops, he said, are “a bunch of fuck­ing crooks.”

    Mark Potok, a senior fel­low at the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, told me he con­sid­ers the Oath Keep­ers’ sup­port of pro­test­ers to be disin­gen­u­ous, cooked up ex post fac­to after they were wide­ly vil­i­fied by demon­stra­tors and in the media. Accord­ing to Potok, the group’s stat­ed rea­son for attending—to pro­tect a jour­nal­ist work­ing for InfoWars’ Alex Jones, who Potok calls “the most pro­lif­ic and unhinged con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist in America,”—shows that they only want­ed to advance their own apoc­a­lypse-mind­ed pol­i­tics.

    “I think they real­ized rather quick­ly that very few peo­ple looked on them kind­ly, and all of a sud­den they became defend­ers of black protest against police vio­lence,” Potok said. “The real­i­ty is they’ve nev­er said any­thing like that in their entire his­to­ry. I think it’s ludi­crous.”

    But Andrews’ fury at the police seems gen­uine. And it is not sur­pris­ing at all in the con­text of the Oath Keep­ers’ beliefs. Among the group’s “Dec­la­ra­tion of Orders We Will Not Obey” sits an entry for war­rant­less search­es of Amer­i­can people—a call­back to the Fourth Amend­ment and the 18th-cen­tu­ry search­es that inspired it, and one that has a rough mod­ern ana­log in stop-and-frisk. Rand Paul, the 2016 pres­i­den­tial can­di­date whose plat­form hews most close­ly to the Oath Keep­ers’ extreme small-gov­ern­ment ide­ol­o­gy, penned a Time op-ed against police mil­i­ta­riza­tion that was par­tial­ly inspired by Fer­gu­son. (Stew­art Rhodes, the founder of Oath Keep­ers, start­ed his polit­i­cal career as an aide to Ron Paul, Rand’s father.)

    It’s easy to see why an Oath Keep­er who is sure that the U.S. gov­ern­ment aims to impose mar­tial law and round up its cit­i­zens into con­cen­tra­tion camps might be spooked by the con­tem­po­rary Hum­mer-dri­ving and rifle-wield­ing Amer­i­can police force. In June, the Pen­ta­gon forced the Fer­gu­son Police Depart­ment to return two Humvees it obtained through a fed­er­al pro­gram that allows local law-enforce­ment agen­cies the use of U.S. mil­i­tary equip­ment, cit­ing an appar­ent record-keep­ing or pro­to­col error by Mis­souri state author­i­ties. The Oath Keep­ers may loathe mil­i­ta­rized police, but its mem­bers and the decom­mis­sioned vehi­cles share a sim­i­lar prove­nance: Both are cast-off mil­i­tary sur­plus, look­ing for some­thing to do in the domes­tic are­na. The only dif­fer­ence is that the Hum­mers are offi­cial­ly sanc­tioned.

    ....

    One of the peo­ple who called Andrews over lunch was Lar­ry A. Kirk, who is unusu­al among Oath Keep­ers in that he is not only still on active police duty but is the chief of a depart­ment, in Old Mon­roe, Mo., a town of 265 peo­ple about 30 miles north­west of Fer­gu­son. Kirk had praised Andrews’ efforts but gen­tly chid­ed him for not hav­ing giv­en the local chap­ter a heads-up.

    A minor celebri­ty among Lib­er­tar­i­ans for his sup­port of mar­i­jua­na legal­iza­tion and oppo­si­tion to seat­belt laws, Kirk is more will­ing than Andrews to allow that polic­ing and racism are inter­con­nect­ed issues. Kirk is white, as is 97 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion of Old Mon­roe as of the 2010 cen­sus. Point­ing to mar­i­jua­na incar­cer­a­tion rates that are many times high­er for black men than any oth­er demo­graph­ic despite rel­a­tive­ly equal use across races, Kirk said, “Indi­vid­u­al­ly, you don’t have to be racist, but there are sys­tem­at­ic things in our soci­ety right now that are racist that we don’t rec­og­nize a lot of the time...I think that’s why you see a lot more con­cern [about police abuse] in the black com­mu­ni­ty.”

    Where Kirk and Andrews agree—and where they might clash with main­line Black Lives Mat­ter activists—is that one key to end­ing police oppres­sion in black com­mu­ni­ties should be law­ful­ly arm­ing res­i­dents there. “Arm your­selves with weapons and arm your­selves with knowl­edge,” Andrews said. “If you intro­duce weapons with skills and knowl­edge about your rights, it will absolute­ly solve the prob­lem, and quick­ly.” Andrews said that many of the pro­test­ers he had spo­ken with on Mon­day and Tues­day asked him what kind of gun he was car­ry­ing, to which he answered “It’s the kind you should be car­ry­ing so the police can’t abuse you.” He was car­ry­ing a cus­tom-built AR-15 assault rifle.

    Kirk does not believe that guns are a mir­a­cle cure—he’s also an ardent sup­port­er of body cam­eras on cops and end­ing the drug war, for instance—but he does believe they’re use­ful as a visu­al affir­ma­tion that a per­son knows his rights. “It’s empow­er­ing to know that you can pro­tect your­self in a sit­u­a­tion,” he said. “A lot of peo­ple will take that as, ‘What are you try­ing to say, that they should shoot cops if they get stopped?’ But that’s not the point. I think that if an offi­cer walks up to a young black man, and the young man under­stands the laws, and he knows that he has the right to con­cealed-car­ry or open-car­ry, then that offi­cer is more reluc­tant to try to push the bound­aries. There are offi­cers who are like, ‘I know the law, and this per­son doesn’t, and I can get away with a lit­tle more than I nor­mal­ly can.’ [Car­ry­ing a weapon] is a sign that that young man is edu­cat­ing him­self on what his rights are.”

    The Oath Keep­ers aren’t the first group to sug­gest arm­ing the black pop­u­lace as a solu­tion to police oppres­sion. Charles Mayo, the only Fer­gu­son activist I spoke with who had a rel­a­tive­ly pos­i­tive view of the Oath Keep­ers, not­ed that in 1967, armed mem­bers of the Black Pan­ther Par­ty marched on the Cal­i­for­nia State Capi­tol to protest the pas­sage of the Mul­ford Act, which would out­law open­ly car­ry­ing guns in the state. The bill was pro­posed par­tial­ly in response to the Black Pan­thers’ police patrols, a kind of sym­bol­ic the­ater that saw armed par­ty mem­bers respond­ing to police calls and inform­ing arrestees of their rights while they were being arrest­ed. “It’s par­al­lel to when Huey New­ton and them were telling black peo­ple that you have the right to pro­tect your land, your prop­er­ty, and have a gun on your per­son,” Mayo said. Through­out changes in gun laws in the decades since then, he con­tin­ued, “you’ve always had a right to bear arms.”

    Short­ly after that march on the Cal­i­for­nia capi­tol, leg­is­la­tors passed the Mul­ford Act and then-gov­er­nor Ronald Rea­gan signed it, end­ing legal open-car­ry in the state. In oth­er words, when the Pan­thers used guns to demon­strate their knowl­edge of their rights, exact­ly as the Oath Keep­ers are doing and instruct­ing Ferguson’s black res­i­dents to do, the state of Cal­i­for­nia enact­ed a new law to stop them from doing it.

    Mayo said that he clashed with the Oath Keep­ers in Fer­gu­son after first encoun­ter­ing them last year, but they even­tu­al­ly estab­lished a rap­port. Still, he said, it’s under­stand­able that oth­er black activists don’t trust them. “You have African-Amer­i­can men see­ing cau­casian men with guns, open­ly,” he said. “Through­out our his­to­ry, with what we’ve been through, it’s a nat­ur­al instinct to be afraid of that.”

    Sep­a­rate­ly, Mayo and Andrews both spoke almost wist­ful­ly about an idea that the Oath Keep­ers had dis­cussed with sim­pati­co Fer­gu­son pro­test­ers last week: What if a group of Oath Keep­ers and a group of armed black activists all stood togeth­er on West Floris­sant in defi­ance of the cops? “We get 10 activists with con­cealed-car­ry per­mits, and we get 10 Oath Keep­ers, and we alter­nate them side-by-side,” said Andrews, blus­tery as ever. “I’ll pro­vide the AR-15s, and we stand in front of the police and go, ‘What now? What now, bitch­es?’”

    On Fri­day, Andrews announced the plan to the web­site Red Dirt Report. The idea had esca­lat­ed con­sid­er­ably in the two days that had passed since our lunch meet­ing. There will be 50 black activists march­ing through Fer­gu­son with rifles, he said, and the march will take place some­time with­in the next few weeks. Andrews promised an “icon­ic” spec­ta­cle, like Mar­tin Luther King’s march on Wash­ing­ton, or the rais­ing of the flag at Iwo Jima.

    Wednes­day evening, in the dim­ly-lit mul­ti-pur­pose room of a pub­lic library in St. Peters, Mo., Kirk addressed two dozen or so atten­dees at the month­ly meet­ing of the Oath Keep­ers’ greater St. Louis chap­ter. The crowd ranged in age from about 25 to about 65, with a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion on the upper end of that spec­trum. A small hand­ful resem­bled the for­mi­da­ble para­mil­i­tary troop­ers seen in Fer­gu­son, but many looked like they’d be more at home on a couch watch­ing foot­ball, or atop a ride-on lawn­mow­er.

    Much of the pro­ceed­ings were ded­i­cat­ed to dis­cussing the mer­its of ama­teur radio, which, one attendee said, might help dur­ing any “impend­ing dis­as­ter, finan­cial col­lapse,” that kind of thing. One of the few female mem­bers passed around an infor­ma­tion­al sheet about a man in her city whom the munic­i­pal gov­ern­ment “is real­ly com­ing down hard on” because he ille­gal­ly owns two chick­ens. The chapter’s leader—a heav­i­ly beard­ed and light­ly pot­bel­lied alter­na­tive med­i­cine prac­ti­tion­er named Doc Weed—wore sus­penders, a shirt pat­terned with the Con­fed­er­ate Bat­tle Flag, and a sun-beached Ron Paul cam­paign base­ball hat. Every­one in atten­dance was white.

    Kirk’s speech touched on the same points as his ear­li­er phone call to Andrews: Remem­ber that being an Oath Keep­er is about pro­tect­ing people’s Con­sti­tu­tion­al rights. Care­ful­ly con­sid­er what you say to the media. If you’re plan­ning on grab­bing an assault rifle and head­ing into the most close­ly-watched stretch of road in Amer­i­ca, you might con­sid­er telling some­one first. The room seemed split in its atti­tude about Andrews’ Fer­gu­son oper­a­tion. Only one Oath Keep­er who’d patrolled Fer­gu­son was in atten­dance, a for­mer Naval engi­neer named Jim Fau­pel. After Kirk spoke, an attendee rose his hand and asked whether it had been con­firmed that the Fer­gu­son patrollers were real­ly Oath Keep­ers at all.

    That ques­tion may point to a larg­er com­mu­ni­ca­tion break­down and iden­ti­ty cri­sis with­in the Oath Keep­ers. Are they the fear­some cit­i­zen sol­diers who showed up in Fer­gu­son, or the san­dal-wear­ing ham radio enthu­si­asts who con­gre­gat­ed in St. Peters the fol­low­ing night? Jour­nal­ist Jus­tine Shar­rock pon­dered a sim­i­lar ques­tion in a thor­ough 2010 pro­file of the Oath Keep­ers in Moth­er Jones. “In the months I’ve spent get­ting to know the Oath Keep­ers, I’ve tog­gled between view­ing them either as poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists or as crafty intel­lec­tu­als with the savvy to ral­ly politi­cians to their side,” Shar­rock wrote. “The answer, I came to real­ize, is that they cov­er the whole spec­trum.”

    The Oath Keep­ers I spoke to weren’t mono­lith­ic in their views, but I didn’t meet any­one I’d describe as left-of-cen­ter. Andrews extolled the virtues of Don­ald Trump, and anoth­er mem­ber lament­ed sup­pos­ed­ly con­ser­v­a­tive politi­cians who pre­side over bal­loon­ing gov­ern­ment bud­gets. Kirk, a Mor­mon and a social­ly lib­er­al Libertarian—his pas­sion for per­son­al free­dom leads him to sup­port gay mar­riage and pot legal­iza­tion just as it guides him toward Sec­ond Amend­ment advocacy—represents the great­est devi­a­tion from the Oath Keep­er norm that I encoun­tered.

    Still, deep para­noia is, with­in the group, a main­stream out­look. Stew­art Rhodes, its founder, once penned an op-ed hypoth­e­siz­ing that “Hitlery Clin­ton” would dis­arm all cit­i­zens and pro­claim those who resist­ed to be “ene­my com­bat­ants,” and the Oath Keep­ers web­site reg­u­lar­ly and explic­it­ly invokes the New World Order.

    What does it add up to? Oath Keep­ers has a nation­al board, and local chap­ters have lead­ers like Doc Weed, but there isn’t much of a hier­ar­chy beyond that. Sam Andrews wasn’t act­ing on anyone’s orders or approval when he went to West Floris­sant; he decid­ed the sit­u­a­tion called for the Oath Keep­ers, and then he gath­ered his guns and went.

    Lar­ry Kirk believes that the con­fu­sion that ensued is emblem­at­ic of the organization’s “grow­ing pains,” and that in the future, more con­sid­er­a­tion might need to be giv­en to what does and doesn’t con­sti­tute an offi­cial Oath Keep­ers action.

    “Let’s imag­ine if a group of us got togeth­er to go to Mon­tana right now,” Kirk said at the meet­ing, refer­ring to the White Hope Mine, where mem­bers of Oath Keep­ers and sim­i­lar­ly mind­ed groups are engaged in yet anoth­er Bundyesque dis­pute, this time with the U.S. For­est Ser­vice, over a cop­per, zinc, sil­ver, and gold mine that sits on pub­lic land. “It’s always hos­pitable to con­tact your local orga­ni­za­tion” and let them know that you’re com­ing, he said.

    “If a mili­tia group shows up”—-in Fer­gu­son, Mon­tana, or else­where, he continued—“Or any oth­er type of group that’s armed, or dressed in bat­tle fatigues...You could have any group show up, and as long as you’re wear­ing an Oath Keep­er hat, then all of a sud­den every­body in the group is an Oath Keep­er.”

    In oth­er words, as with oth­er decen­tral­ized move­ments like Anony­mous, Occu­py, or even Black Lives Mat­ter, there’s not much stop­ping any crank who wants to claim alle­giance to the Oath Keep­ers. Feel like don­ning a skull ban­dana, going on YouTube, and advo­cat­ing for the armed over­throw­al of the U.S. gov­ern­ment under the Oath Keep­ers ban­ner? Go right ahead. In an orga­ni­za­tion whose very rai­son d’être is resis­tance to a per­ceived tyran­ni­cal author­i­ty, why would any­one fol­low orders?

    Here’s where we learn where the “let’s get 50 AR-15s and 50 Fer­gu­son pro­test­ers and have a show­down!” idea came from. Sup­port from the pro­tes­tors was­n’t exact­ly over­whelm­ing since it seemd to be lim­it­ed to one guy, Charles Mayo:

    ...

    The Oath Keep­ers aren’t the first group to sug­gest arm­ing the black pop­u­lace as a solu­tion to police oppres­sion. Charles Mayo, the only Fer­gu­son activist I spoke with who had a rel­a­tive­ly pos­i­tive view of the Oath Keep­ers, not­ed that in 1967, armed mem­bers of the Black Pan­ther Par­ty marched on the Cal­i­for­nia State Capi­tol to protest the pas­sage of the Mul­ford Act, which would out­law open­ly car­ry­ing guns in the state. The bill was pro­posed par­tial­ly in response to the Black Pan­thers’ police patrols, a kind of sym­bol­ic the­ater that saw armed par­ty mem­bers respond­ing to police calls and inform­ing arrestees of their rights while they were being arrest­ed. “It’s par­al­lel to when Huey New­ton and them were telling black peo­ple that you have the right to pro­tect your land, your prop­er­ty, and have a gun on your per­son,” Mayo said. Through­out changes in gun laws in the decades since then, he con­tin­ued, “you’ve always had a right to bear arms.”

    Short­ly after that march on the Cal­i­for­nia capi­tol, leg­is­la­tors passed the Mul­ford Act and then-gov­er­nor Ronald Rea­gan signed it, end­ing legal open-car­ry in the state. In oth­er words, when the Pan­thers used guns to demon­strate their knowl­edge of their rights, exact­ly as the Oath Keep­ers are doing and instruct­ing Ferguson’s black res­i­dents to do, the state of Cal­i­for­nia enact­ed a new law to stop them from doing it.

    Mayo said that he clashed with the Oath Keep­ers in Fer­gu­son after first encoun­ter­ing them last year, but they even­tu­al­ly estab­lished a rap­port. Still, he said, it’s under­stand­able that oth­er black activists don’t trust them. “You have African-Amer­i­can men see­ing cau­casian men with guns, open­ly,” he said. “Through­out our his­to­ry, with what we’ve been through, it’s a nat­ur­al instinct to be afraid of that.”

    Sep­a­rate­ly, Mayo and Andrews both spoke almost wist­ful­ly about an idea that the Oath Keep­ers had dis­cussed with sim­pati­co Fer­gu­son pro­test­ers last week: What if a group of Oath Keep­ers and a group of armed black activists all stood togeth­er on West Floris­sant in defi­ance of the cops? “We get 10 activists with con­cealed-car­ry per­mits, and we get 10 Oath Keep­ers, and we alter­nate them side-by-side,” said Andrews, blus­tery as ever. “I’ll pro­vide the AR-15s, and we stand in front of the police and go, ‘What now? What now, bitch­es?’

    On Fri­day, Andrews announced the plan to the web­site Red Dirt Report. The idea had esca­lat­ed con­sid­er­ably in the two days that had passed since our lunch meet­ing. There will be 50 black activists march­ing through Fer­gu­son with rifles, he said, and the march will take place some­time with­in the next few weeks. Andrews promised an “icon­ic” spec­ta­cle, like Mar­tin Luther King’s march on Wash­ing­ton, or the rais­ing of the flag at Iwo Jima.

    ...

    Ok, so Sam Andrews, per­son­al friend of Infowars.com jour­nal­ist Joe Big­gs, had a chat with the one pro­test­er that was­n’t wary of the group about get­ting 10 AR-15s for 10 pro­test­ers to march side-by-side with 10 Oath Keep­ers, and now the plan is up to 50 AR-15s and the march is planned for a few weeks. Because, as we saw above...

    ...
    Where Kirk and Andrews agree—and where they might clash with main­line Black Lives Mat­ter activists—is that one key to end­ing police oppres­sion in black com­mu­ni­ties should be law­ful­ly arm­ing res­i­dents there. “Arm your­selves with weapons and arm your­selves with knowl­edge,” Andrews said. “If you intro­duce weapons with skills and knowl­edge about your rights, it will absolute­ly solve the prob­lem, and quick­ly.” Andrews said that many of the pro­test­ers he had spo­ken with on Mon­day and Tues­day asked him what kind of gun he was car­ry­ing, to which he answered “It’s the kind you should be car­ry­ing so the police can’t abuse you.” He was car­ry­ing a cus­tom-built AR-15 assault rifle.
    ...

    “Where Kirk and Andrews agree—and where they might clash with main­line Black Lives Mat­ter activists—is that one key to end­ing police oppres­sion in black com­mu­ni­ties should be law­ful­ly arm­ing res­i­dents there”.
    Yes, let’s hope the main­line Black Lives Mat­ter activists would clash with the idea that “If you intro­duce weapons with skills and knowl­edge about your rights, it will absolute­ly solve the prob­lem, and quick­ly.” They def­i­nite­ly might clash with that idea. Clash with, you know, words and stuff. They’re prob­a­bly not super into AR-15 activism.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 18, 2015, 11:02 pm
  20. Look whose rid­ing to the res­cue of Kim Davis, the Rowan Coun­ty, Ken­tucky clerk who spent six days in jail after refus­ing to val­i­date same-sex cou­ple mar­riage licens­es over per­son­al reli­gious con­vic­tions (and also order­ing her staff to also refuse the licens­es regard­less of their per­son­al beliefs): The Oath Keep­ers!

    Yep. Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes claims that his group would have pre­vent­ed Davis’s arrest­ing and jail­ing in the first place had they been on the scene at the time. But now that she’s been released, they’re pledg­ing to pre­vent her from get­ting arrest­ed again:

    Right-Wing Watch
    Oath Keep­ers Send Armed Guards To Pro­tect Kim Davis From US Mar­shals

    Sub­mit­ted by Miran­da Blue on Thurs­day, 9/10/2015 11:40 am

    The Oath Keep­ers, the anti-gov­ern­ment “Patri­ot” group that mount­ed an armed stand­off with the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment at the Bundy Ranch, sta­tioned armed guards out­side of mil­i­tary recruit­ment cen­ters after the Chat­tanooga shoot­ing, and unset­tled Fer­gu­son pro­tes­tors when they showed up car­ry­ing assault weapons, is now offer­ing anti-gay Ken­tucky clerk Kim Davis a “secu­ri­ty detail” to pro­tect her from fur­ther arrest if she con­tin­ues to defy the Supreme Court’s mar­riage equal­i­ty rul­ing.

    Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes announced yes­ter­day that he had reached out to Davis’ lawyers at Lib­er­ty Coun­sel to offer the pro­tec­tion of his group, which he says is already form­ing a pres­ence in Rowan Coun­ty, Ken­tucky, where Davis was recent­ly released from jail after pro­hibit­ing her office from issu­ing mar­riage licens­es. Rhodes said in a state­ment that his posi­tion has noth­ing to do with gay mar­riage, but rather his con­vic­tion that Davis had been ille­gal­ly detained by the fed­er­al judge who held her in con­tempt for vio­lat­ing mul­ti­ple court orders.

    ...

    Rhodes said that the Rowan Coun­ty sher­iff should have blocked U.S. Mar­shals from detain­ing Davis, but since nei­ther the sher­iff nor the state’s gov­er­nor will do their “job” and “inter­cede” on behalf of Davis, the Oath Keep­ers will have to do it instead. “As far as we’re con­cerned, this is not over,” he said, “and this judge needs to be put on notice that his behav­ior is not going to be accept­ed and we’ll be there to stop it and inter­cede our­selves if we have to. If the sher­iff, who should be inter­ced­ing, is not going to do his job and the gov­er­nor is not going to do the governor’s job of inter­ced­ing, then we’ll do it.”

    Pey­man sug­gest­ed that he meet with the Rowan Coun­ty sher­iff to “edu­cate him” on his respon­si­bil­i­ty to block the actions of the fed­er­al courts, but in the mean­time, Rhodes said, “our guys are already there and more com­ing” and they are ready to “lead by exam­ple” by pre­vent­ing Davis from being arrest­ed again.

    When Rhodes asked Pey­man what he would have done if he were sher­iff of Rowan Coun­ty when Davis was detained, Pey­man said he would have stopped the arrest.

    “This is exact­ly the kind of thing that our Found­ing Fathers dealt with when deal­ing with the mag­is­trates and the offi­cers of the crown who want­ed to run roughshod over the rights of the colonists with­out a jury indict­ment, with­out any of that,” Rhodes declared. “Same thing. They’re going to show their pow­er and show you who’s boss.”

    Although Rhodes’s anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ism does­n’t always align with the Reli­gious Right, his rhetoric on Davis not far from that of the Fam­i­ly Research Coun­cil’s Tony Perkins, who said that U.S. Mar­shals and coun­ty prison offi­cials should have refused to par­tic­i­pate in Davis’ deten­tion because they have no oblig­a­tion to fol­low “laws that have no moral foun­da­tion that are actu­al­ly in con­tra­dic­tion to moral law and truth.”

    Note that when Stew­art Rhodes says:

    This is exact­ly the kind of thing that our Found­ing Fathers dealt with when deal­ing with the mag­is­trates and the offi­cers of the crown who want­ed to run roughshod over the rights of the colonists with­out a jury indict­ment, with­out any of that,” Rhodes declared. “Same thing. They’re going to show their pow­er and show you who’s boss.”

    The “mag­is­trates and the offi­cers of the crown” that did­n’t agree Davis’s legal log­ic includ­ed the Supreme Court. And it was­n’t just some 5–4 deci­sion. The Supreme Court’s denial of her request was a one-line order and no dis­sents were not­ed which means even Supreme Court’s Legion of Doom was­n’t moved by her case.

    But also note that when Rhodes says:

    As far as we’re con­cerned, this is not over...and this judge needs to be put on notice that his behav­ior is not going to be accept­ed and we’ll be there to stop it and inter­cede our­selves if we have to. If the sher­iff, who should be inter­ced­ing, is not going to do his job and the gov­er­nor is not going to do the governor’s job of inter­ced­ing, then we’ll do it.”

    on one point he might be cor­rect. This prob­a­bly isn’t over.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 11, 2015, 2:58 pm
  21. In case you were plan­ning on attend­ing the Oath Keep­ers’ arrest-pre­ven­tion armed stand­off thing for Rowan coun­ty, Ken­tucky clerk Kim Davis, it does­n’t look like it’s going to hap­pen. She might still get arrest­ed due to some new attempt to pre­vent the issuance of same-sex mar­riage licences from her coun­try clerk office, but she does­n’t want Oath Keep­er pro­tec­tion. Davis’s lawyers informed the Oath Keep­ers that she will be turn­ing down their request for armed pro­tec­tion against what Oath Keep­er founder Stew­art Rhodes char­ac­ter­izes as her ille­gal jail­ing with­out due process:
    “We have not talked to Mrs. Davis direct­ly, and there­fore we don’t know her rea­son­ing or ulti­mate intent, but we do note that civ­il dis­obe­di­ence where the per­son is will­ing to allow them­selves to be unlaw­ful­ly arrest­ed and are will­ing to go to jail to make a point, is a time hon­ored, respectable, and hon­or­able Amer­i­can tra­di­tion going back to Hen­ry David Thore­au. We must respect that if it turns out to be her cho­sen strat­e­gy. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and such non-resis­tant civ­il-dis­obe­di­ence can be a pow­er­ful tool in resist­ing tyran­ny. Or it may be that she is con­fi­dent of mak­ing an accom­mo­da­tion. We don’t know, but regard­less we will respect her wish­es and stay out of it.”
    Yes, civ­il dis­obe­di­ence that does­n’t involve an armed stand­off is also an hon­or­able form of protest. Now you know. So if you were plan­ning on mak­ing your way to Ken­tucky for this big show­down with the feds, it’s been called off. Rhodes rec­om­mends you save your gas mon­ey for “our planned upcom­ing oper­a­tion to guard Texas bor­der ranch­es against drug car­tel vio­lence and inva­sion”:

    Right-Wing Watch
    Kim Davis Declines Oath Keep­ers’ Offer Of Armed Guard

    Sub­mit­ted by Miran­da Blue on Fri­day, 9/11/2015 7:31 pm

    Yes­ter­day, we report­ed that the Oath Keep­ers, a “Patri­ot” move­ment group best known for the stand­off at the Bundy Ranch and for show­ing up heav­i­ly armed to the protests in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, was con­verg­ing on Ken­tucky to offer a “secu­ri­ty detail” to anti-gay clerk Kim Davis to pro­tect her from fur­ther arrest for refus­ing to do her job and issue mar­riage licens­es to same-sex cou­ples.

    Now, almost as soon as they arrived, the Oath Keep­ers are pack­ing up and going home. Oath Keep­ers leader Stew­art Rhodes writes in an email to mem­bers today that Davis, through her attor­neys at the Reli­gious Right legal group Lib­er­ty Coun­sel, has (prob­a­bly wise­ly) declined their offer of assis­tance. He encour­ages mem­bers to save their gas mon­ey for anoth­er mis­sion, such as “our planned upcom­ing oper­a­tion to guard Texas bor­der ranch­es against drug car­tel vio­lence and inva­sion”.:

    Upon request by Kim Davis’ legal team, Oath Keep­ers is can­cel­ing the planned secu­ri­ty detail for Mrs. Davis in More­head, Ken­tucky.

    Oath Keep­ers has been con­tact­ed by Kim Davis’ legal team at Lib­er­ty Coun­sel, and they have, on her behalf, declined our offer of assis­tance in pro­tect­ing her from a pos­si­ble repeat incar­cer­a­tion by Fed­er­al Dis­trict Court judge David Bun­ning. We will, of course, respect her wish­es, and are here­by issu­ing a stand-down for our secu­ri­ty vol­un­teers who were plan­ning on deploy­ing to More­head, Ken­tucky on Mon­day.

    Oath Keep­ers will NOT be con­duct­ing a secu­ri­ty detail for Mrs. Davis. We always seek the full con­sent and coop­er­a­tion of any­one we pro­tect, and we must respect their wish­es if they decline that pro­tec­tion. Any­one who was plan­ning on going to More­head, KY to serve on the secu­ri­ty detail are now asked to not do so. We do thank you most sin­cere­ly for your will­ing­ness to step up, as unpaid vol­un­teers, in defense of due process. That was a very hon­or­able intent, and we com­mend you.

    This is a free coun­try, and of course you are free to still go there on Mon­day and peace­ably assem­ble to express your sup­port for her due process rights and your oppo­si­tion to arbi­trary arrest if you want to, but Oath Keep­ers will not be con­duct­ing a secu­ri­ty detail, and she appar­ent­ly does not want any­one else to do so. There­fore, we encour­age you to save your gas mon­ey and time off work for anoth­er secu­ri­ty detail, at anoth­er time (such as for our planned upcom­ing oper­a­tion to guard Texas bor­der ranch­es against drug car­tel vio­lence and inva­sion).

    We have not talked to Mrs. Davis direct­ly, and there­fore we don’t know her rea­son­ing or ulti­mate intent, but we do note that civ­il dis­obe­di­ence where the per­son is will­ing to allow them­selves to be unlaw­ful­ly arrest­ed and are will­ing to go to jail to make a point, is a time hon­ored, respectable, and hon­or­able Amer­i­can tra­di­tion going back to Hen­ry David Thore­au. We must respect that if it turns out to be her cho­sen strat­e­gy. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and such non-resis­tant civ­il-dis­obe­di­ence can be a pow­er­ful tool in resist­ing tyran­ny. Or it may be that she is con­fi­dent of mak­ing an accom­mo­da­tion. We don’t know, but regard­less we will respect her wish­es and stay out of it.

    Rhodes ends with a “spe­cial mes­sage to our crit­ics”:

    As for the many harsh crit­ics of our offer to pro­tect Mrs. Davis, it is frankly sad that so many Amer­i­cans can­not under­stand tak­ing a stand in defense of some­one’s due process rights regard­less of who that per­son is, what they stand for, or what they are accused of doing or have done. That should not mat­ter, and all that should mat­ter is our com­mon ground of the Bill of Rights and the hard-won rights of due process and in par­tic­u­lar jury tri­al. As I told one per­son who wrote in:

    You can’t see past your oppo­si­tion to what she did long enough to see our point about due process and the dan­gers of hav­ing judges use their con­tempt pow­er like a mag­ic wand to put peo­ple into indef­i­nite deten­tion till they sub­mit. Please try to focus on the due process rights of the accused, not on the par­tic­u­lar crime. I would, and have, stood up for the due process rights or any­one, regard­less of the accu­sa­tions made against them. I did so dur­ing the Bush Admin, when I stood up for the due process rights of Yasir Ham­di and Jose Padi­la, both of whom are Mus­lim Amer­i­cans who were held in indef­i­nite deten­tion by Bush. I also stood up for the due process rights of the detainees at Guan­tanamo Bay. And the paper I wrote at Yale Law about that won Yale’s top prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. But that was dur­ing the Bush years, and was a harsh crit­i­cism of what a Repub­li­can was doing to Mus­lims. so the left­ist pro­fes­sors at Yale ate it up.

    Now, with the shoe on the oth­er foot, left­ists are appar­ent­ly as blind to the bedrock issues of due process for some­one they despise — Davis — as the Bush sup­port­ers were when it came to some­one they despised — Jose Padil­la and Yasir Ham­di.

    Clear­ly, in Amer­i­ca, what mat­ters most is whether the accused is seen as a “good guy” or a “bad guy” and if seen as being bad, then there is zero con­cern for due process and peo­ple will clam­or for expe­dit­ed pun­ish­ment. I sup­pose that is just a reflec­tion of human nature. But sad nonethe­less.

    Now, after a cycle of the Repub­li­cans in pow­er, and then the Democ­rats, with both expo­nen­tial­ly grow­ing the mil­i­tary indus­tri­al com­plex, nation­al secu­ri­ty sur­veil­lance state over us, I see that Orwell was right when he said “If you want a vision of the future, imag­ine a boot stamp­ing on a human face — for­ev­er.” It does­n’t mat­ter to me whether it is a right boot or a left boot. Or whether you think the per­son being smashed deserves it. I oppose it. — Stew­art

    “There is more than one way to skin a cat, and such non-resis­tant civ­il-dis­obe­di­ence can be a pow­er­ful tool in resist­ing tyran­ny”
    What a rev­o­lu­tion­ary con­cept.

    And also note Stew­art’s bizarre equiv­o­ca­tion of his past defense of the con­cept of due process for peo­ple like Yasir Ham­di and Jose Padi­la by writ­ing an award win­ning paper and his cur­rent quest to estab­lish an ‘armed show­down with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment upon request’-public ser­vice:

    ...
    You can’t see past your oppo­si­tion to what she did long enough to see our point about due process and the dan­gers of hav­ing judges use their con­tempt pow­er like a mag­ic wand to put peo­ple into indef­i­nite deten­tion till they sub­mit. Please try to focus on the due process rights of the accused, not on the par­tic­u­lar crime. I would, and have, stood up for the due process rights or any­one, regard­less of the accu­sa­tions made against them. I did so dur­ing the Bush Admin, when I stood up for the due process rights of Yasir Ham­di and Jose Padi­la, both of whom are Mus­lim Amer­i­cans who were held in indef­i­nite deten­tion by Bush. I also stood up for the due process rights of the detainees at Guan­tanamo Bay. And the paper I wrote at Yale Law about that won Yale’s top prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. But that was dur­ing the Bush years, and was a harsh crit­i­cism of what a Repub­li­can was doing to Mus­lims. so the left­ist pro­fes­sors at Yale ate it up.

    Now, with the shoe on the oth­er foot, left­ists are appar­ent­ly as blind to the bedrock issues of due process for some­one they despise — Davis — as the Bush sup­port­ers were when it came to some­one they despised — Jose Padil­la and Yasir Ham­di.
    ...

    Yes, armed show­downs and writ­ing a paper mak­ing a legal and philo­soph­i­cal argu­ment are appar­ent­ly more or less the same thing. What a rev­o­lu­tion­ary con­cept.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 13, 2015, 9:09 pm
  22. The Oath Keep­ers have decid­ed to wade into the top­ic of mass shoot­ings. Their plan? Open­ing new col­lege and maybe even high school Oath Keep­er chap­ters where kids can learn how to use a “war­rior mind­set” in the face of an armed killer. The pro­grams are also appar­ent­ly going to include anti-anti-bul­ly­ing lessons, since the Oath Keep­ers seem to believe that anti-bul­ly­ing pro­grams in schools are part of a gov­ern­ment plot to con­di­tion kids to not fight back in order to cre­ate a docile pop­u­lace so we can all be sent to death camps:

    Right Wing Watch
    Oath Keep­ers Start­ing Col­lege Chap­ters So Stu­dents Will Stop ‘Coop­er­at­ing In Their Own Mur­ders’
    Sub­mit­ted by Miran­da Blue on Tues­day, 10/13/2015 11:59 am

    The armed anti-gov­ern­ment group Oath Keep­ers unveiled its strat­e­gy to pre­vent school shoot­ings last week, announc­ing its inten­tion to form col­lege — and even­tu­al­ly high school — chap­ters, which the group will use to train stu­dents to “stop sub­mit­ting and coop­er­at­ing in their own mur­ders” and resist the com­ing gov­ern­ment “death camps.”

    In an arti­cle on the group’s web­site, Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes and media direc­tor Jason Van Taten­hove wrote that the stu­dents killed in the recent shoot­ing at a com­mu­ni­ty col­lege in Ore­gon died because they were “con­di­tioned” to be “pas­sive, sub­mis­sive and ‘non-vio­lent.’”

    The two went on to warn that this “con­di­tion­ing” makes chil­dren not just “sub­mis­sive” to mass shoot­ings, but also to “gov­ern­ment vio­lence, abuse, and oppres­sion”:

    Remem­ber, this pas­sive vic­tim con­di­tion­ing makes them sub­mis­sive not just to pri­vate vio­lence, abuse, and oppres­sion, but also to gov­ern­ment vio­lence, abuse, and oppres­sion. And we believe this is the big-pic­ture goal of such social con­di­tion­ing – a nation of pas­sive, sub­mis­sive, and obe­di­ent serfs. Those of us who are police, mil­i­tary and first-respon­der vet­er­ans under­stand the need for the war­rior mind­set of deci­sive action, and we need to pass it on. It is our duty to teach our young peo­ple to defend them­selves and each oth­er. This effec­tive answer does not rely on politi­cians, but will be done by the peo­ple them­selves, and we will lead the way.

    In an inter­view with Red List News, the two went into more detail, with Van Taten­hove warn­ing that anti-bul­ly­ing pro­grams in schools, specif­i­cal­ly, are “brain­wash­ing chil­dren” into being “docile.”

    “Whether it’s an active shoot­er that kills them, or lat­er on a death camp some­where down the road because they’ve been con­di­tioned nev­er to fight back,” he warned, “it only leads to death.”

    Rhodes agreed: “The same sub­mis­sive and servile, sheep-like mind­set that chil­dren are being taught is exact­ly what they’re going to do polit­i­cal­ly, too, when it comes to their own gov­ern­ment. They’re nev­er going to stand up to it. So I think the con­di­tion­ing is inten­tion­al to make them eas­i­ly mur­dered by mass shoot­ers, and I also think it’s inten­tion­al to make them servile and sub­mis­sive before the pow­ers that be who want a com­pli­ant, sub­mis­sive pop­u­la­tion.

    “Whether it’s an active shoot­er that kills them, or lat­er on a death camp some­where down the road because they’ve been con­di­tioned nev­er to fight back...it only leads to death.”

    Final­ly, some­one is stand­ing up to the anti-bul­ly­ing bul­lies that want to bul­ly us all into death camps. Well, ok, not final­ly. The right-wing has been oppos­ing anti-bul­ly­ing leg­is­la­tion for years. But now we’re see­ing anti-bul­ly­ing pro­grams put in the “prepa­ra­tion for gov­ern­ment death camps” con­text. That’s kind of new.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 14, 2015, 9:47 am
  23. Did you know that vot­ers can actu­al­ly pass Oath Keep­er-backed mea­sures that grant author­i­ty to local offi­cials to nul­li­fy state and fed­er­al laws they find uncon­sti­tu­tion­al? It’s true! Grant­ed, the pas­sage of such mea­sures does­n’t actu­al­ly grant that author­i­ty to local offi­cials since that could be uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, but vot­ers can still vote for it:

    Raw Sto­ry
    Ore­gon vot­ers pass right-wing mea­sure forc­ing sher­iff to act like an Oath Keep­er mili­tia mem­ber

    Travis Get­tys
    04 Nov 2015 at 11:01 ET

    Vot­ers in one Ore­gon coun­ty approved a mea­sure that would basi­cal­ly require the sher­iff to act like an Oath Keep­er mili­tia mem­ber.

    Coos Coun­ty vot­ers approved a “Sec­ond Amend­ment Preser­va­tion Mea­sure” Tues­day that would grant the sher­iff author­i­ty to decide which state and fed­er­al gun laws are uncon­sti­tu­tion­al — and then keep author­i­ties from enforc­ing those reg­u­la­tions, report­ed The Ore­gon­ian.

    The mea­sure was pushed ear­li­er this year by mem­bers of the Oath Keep­ers, which is pri­mar­i­ly made up of cur­rent and for­mer law enforce­ment and mil­i­tary per­son­nel who have vowed to dis­obey laws they believe are uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, and oth­er gun lovers.

    The gun activists asked coun­ty com­mis­sion­ers in Feb­ru­ary to adopt the ordi­nance — which is near­ly iden­ti­cal to mea­sures approved by com­mis­sion­ers across the state in Wal­lowa and Wheel­er coun­ties — but elect­ed offi­cials declined to do so, cit­ing con­cerns over its con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty.

    “When peo­ple come in here and tell me to remem­ber my Con­sti­tu­tion and remem­ber my oath, I want you to know I do, and I hope you do, too,” said Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er Earl Fish­er at the time. “I hope you read the whole thing, not [just] the part that you like.

    “This is not a free-will doc­u­ment,” Fish­er con­tin­ued. “It’s deter­mined by laws — that’s what makes our civ­i­liza­tion work.”

    But Rob Tay­lor, a retired opti­cian who pushed the mea­sure along­side Oath Keep­er mem­ber Chris Brum­bles, was unde­terred and gath­ered enough sig­na­tures to place the issue before vot­ers — who over­whelm­ing­ly approved the mea­sure.

    ...

    How­ev­er, gun-con­trol activists warned the mea­sure would like­ly cost Coos Coun­ty tax­pay­ers and end up being struck down by a court as uncon­sti­tu­tion­al.

    “The Coos Coun­ty ref­er­en­dum to nul­li­fy state firearms law and require the sher­iff to ana­lyze whether fed­er­al and state firearms laws are con­sti­tu­tion­al dis­plays a gross mis­un­der­stand­ing of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion,” said Robyn Thomas, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Law Cen­ter to Pre­vent Gun Vio­lence. “The mea­sure mis­us­es con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­vi­sions to sup­port the propo­si­tion that a juris­dic­tion may dis­obey fed­er­al and state laws when res­i­dents dis­agree with those laws on polit­i­cal grounds.”

    The mea­sure ele­vates the role of the coun­ty sher­iff — which many far-right groups believe to be the high­est legal author­i­ty in the U.S.

    The idea was pro­mot­ed decades ago by the anti-gov­ern­ment “Posse Comi­ta­tus” move­ment, which gave birth to sov­er­eign cit­i­zens and believes that all gov­ern­ment is ille­git­i­mate above the coun­ty lev­el.

    Right-wing groups such as the Oath Keep­ers and the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs and Peace Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion have repack­aged some of those ideas, while down­play­ing the Posse Comi­ta­tus movement’s overt­ly racist and anti-Semit­ic ele­ments.

    Vot­ers have now approved a mea­sure that requires sher­iffs to fall in line with those fringe legal the­o­ries or face a $2,000 fine.

    Tay­lor, the measure’s cham­pi­on, admit­ted the ordi­nance was large­ly sym­bol­ic, and Coos Coun­ty Sher­iff Craig Zan­ni said he didn’t expect it would change his duties because he didn’t have the resources to enforce state law on back­ground checks, any­way.

    But gun-con­trol activists said the mea­sure could allow crim­i­nals to evade Ore­gon state law and obtain firearms they could lat­er use in vio­lent crime.

    “What they are doing is adver­tis­ing to crim­i­nals, ‘Come to Coos Coun­ty and buy a gun ille­gal­ly,’” said Pen­ny Okamo­to, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Cease­fire Ore­gon.

    “Vot­ers have now approved a mea­sure that requires sher­iffs to fall in line with those fringe legal the­o­ries or face a $2,000 fine.”
    Wow, so the sher­iffs gets fined if they don’t cre­ate uncon­sti­tu­tion­al show­downs over state and fed­er­al gun laws? It looks like the Bundy Ranch may need to relo­cate! You also have to won­der how many oth­ers might be think­ing about relo­cat­ing to Coos Coun­ty now that this mea­sure passed. Maybe not relo­cate per­ma­nent­ly, but just until they’ve fin­ished amass­ing their ille­gal weapons stock­pile in prepa­ra­tions for a vio­lent rev­o­lu­tion:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press
    Anti-US activist con­vict­ed of buy­ing gun for ‘rev­o­lu­tion’

    Matthew Brown
    Updat­ed 2:42 pm, Thurs­day, Novem­ber 5, 2015

    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Jurors on Thurs­day con­vict­ed an anti-gov­ern­ment activist on firearms charges after author­i­ties said he sought out high-pow­ered weapon­ry for a com­ing “sec­ond Amer­i­can rev­o­lu­tion.”

    William Kris­stofer Wolf of Mon­tana was arrest­ed after buy­ing an auto­mat­ic, sawed-off shot­gun for $720 from an under­cov­er FBI agent nick­named “Dirty” in a truck stop park­ing lot. He was found guilty of pos­ses­sion of a machine gun and fail­ing to reg­is­ter a firearm.

    Auto­mat­ic weapons that can fire mul­ti­ple rounds with a sin­gle pull of the trig­ger are con­sid­ered machine guns under fed­er­al law.

    Wolf tes­ti­fied that he was seek­ing a legal ver­sion of the same weapon and intend­ed to use it for home defense. But the 53-year-old car­pen­ter and host of an anti-gov­ern­ment web­cast also acknowl­edged that he want­ed to acquire a flamethrow­er and spoke of tar­get­ing judges, elect­ed offi­cials and law enforce­ment in an antic­i­pat­ed con­flict between the Unit­ed States and its cit­i­zens.

    “Once this goes down, once the war starts, I will do every­thing I can to end the war quick­ly,” Wolf tes­ti­fied. He added that he hoped for but did not expect a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion.

    He faces up to 10 years in prison on each weapons charge. A sen­tenc­ing date was not imme­di­ate­ly set by U.S. Dis­trict Judge Susan Wat­ters.

    Gov­ern­ment wit­ness­es includ­ing an under­cov­er agent tes­ti­fied that Wolf sought out a weapon that he knew to be ille­gal and appeared ready to use it when he was arrest­ed in March.

    Dur­ing what was his sec­ond meet­ing with Wolf, the under­cov­er agent said he was sur­prised to hear the defen­dant talk open­ly of build­ing or attain­ing a flamethrow­er capa­ble of defeat­ing police body armor and an armored vehi­cle that recent­ly had been pur­chased by the Boze­man Police Depart­ment.

    Con­trary to defense asser­tions that Wolf “talked a lot” but showed no inten­tion to act on his extreme beliefs, the agent said Wolf appeared ready to act.

    Fed­er­al Defend­er Mark Wern­er argued that the under­cov­er agent and a paid FBI infor­mant who encour­aged Wolf to buy the Russ­ian-made shot­gun entrapped his client. The bureau said it paid the infor­mant $9,000.

    ...

    On his web­cast, The Mon­tana Repub­lic, Wolf railed against fed­er­al immi­gra­tion poli­cies and the admin­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and advo­cat­ed for direct action to restore a Con­sti­tu­tion-based gov­ern­ment.

    He com­pared shoot­ing police offi­cers to “shoot­ing gophers” and pro­posed cit­i­zen arrests of judges by mili­tia-like “safe­ty com­mit­tees,” accord­ing to author­i­ties and excerpts from the show played for jurors dur­ing a three-day tri­al.

    Dur­ing his final broad­cast, in Novem­ber 2014, Wolf said it was “time to stop talk­ing for me ... it is time for me to start putting my mon­ey where my mouth is.”

    At his arraign­ment in April, Wolf said he did not rec­og­nize the fed­er­al court’s juris­dic­tion and refused to enter a plea on the charges against him. A mag­is­trate judge entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

    Pros­e­cu­tors said it was­n’t Wolf’s beliefs that were on tri­al, but his delib­er­ate attempt to attain an ille­gal 12-gauge shot­gun with a short­ened bar­rel that was capa­ble of fir­ing 10 shots in less than two sec­onds.

    “This was an under-the-table deal for an ille­gal firearm at the back of a truck stop with a guy named ‘Dirty,’ ” Assis­tant U.S. Attor­ney Bryan Whit­tak­er told jurors dur­ing clos­ing argu­ments. Wolf “was a man who espoused vio­lence. He want­ed to acquire the most dan­ger­ous weapons he could.”

    “At his arraign­ment in April, Wolf said he did not rec­og­nize the fed­er­al court’s juris­dic­tion and refused to enter a plea on the charges against him. A mag­is­trate judge entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.”
    In case it was­n’t clear, yes, Wolf is a ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zen’. And while it sounds like the cur­rent sher­iff of Coos Coun­ty won’t be swayed by this new mea­sure and would be unlike­ly to cre­ate a stand­off if this guy had been buy­ing weapons in his coun­ty, you have to won­der how many coun­ties out there are run by sher­iffs that actu­al­ly would cre­ate a show­down. Might a coun­ty adja­cent to Coos Coun­ty be inclined to cre­ate such a show­down fol­low­ing the arrest of some­one amass­ing an arse­nal of ille­gal weapons if a sim­i­lar mea­sure was passed? It seems pos­si­ble.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 5, 2015, 3:30 pm
  24. The pro­posed AR-15 armed joint Oath Keeper/Ferguson pro­test­er march, an idea float­ed by St. Louis Oath Keep­er leader Sam Andrews a few months ago, just hap­pened. There were indeed Oath Keep­ers present. And AR-15s. And the media. And that was about it:

    The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter
    Break­away Oath Keep­er Attempts to Arm Pro­test­ers in Fer­gu­son

    Ryan Lenz
    Novem­ber 17, 2015

    A protest that for months was billed in right-wing media as an “epic rights flex­ing march” –– an Oath Keep­er arm­ing black res­i­dents with AR-15s and march­ing them through the streets of Fer­gu­son –– turned out to be lit­tle more in the end than an exer­cise in futil­i­ty.

    Sam Andrews, the for­mer leader of the Oath Keep­ers in St. Louis, led the march on Tues­day from a pub­lic tran­sit pavil­ion to the Fer­gu­son Police Depart­ment and back. But there were no armed black pro­tes­tors from Fer­gu­son at his side, as he had promised. Instead, the two dozen or so who came were gun rights enthu­si­asts, Oba­ma birthers and Andrews’s fam­i­ly and friends.

    A protest that attract­ed so much atten­tion, and ulti­mate­ly led to Andrews leav­ing the Oath Keep­ers over an argu­ment with founder Stew­art Rhodes, proved in the end to be a glimpse at the com­pli­cat­ed inter­nal pol­i­tics of an orga­ni­za­tion that has worked hard to put itself at the cen­ter of the most con­tentious issues on the Amer­i­can cul­tur­al land­scape, from LGBT rights to land rights.

    And as the protest was about to begin, Andrews was eager to explain why.

    “The [Oath Keep­ers] lead­er­ship didn’t want black peo­ple to be armed in a protest,” Andrews told Hate­watch on Tues­day. “They didn’t want to see black peo­ple oppos­ing the police. They were per­fect­ly OK see­ing white peo­ple and peo­ple of dif­fer­ent col­ors point­ing their rifles at fed­er­al agents at the Bundy Ranch. But you can’t have black peo­ple march­ing for their rights with their rifles point­ed at the ground.”

    Com­prised of law enforce­ment and for­mer mil­i­tary per­son­nel who fear the Con­sti­tu­tion is being under­cut by a tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment, the Oath Keep­ers under­stood that arm­ing pro­tes­tors against the police who make up poten­tial Oath Keep­er recruits was almost self-sac­ri­fi­cial, Andrews said. But if the 2nd Amend­ment was absolute, as Andrews and the Oath Keep­ers believe, there was no rea­son not to arrange the protest.

    Unless the ques­tion was of whether to arm black peo­ple.

    In August, Andrews told Newsweek that “fear had con­tributed to destruc­tive protests” and his inten­tions were to bring the same mes­sage to the inner city as they brought to Neva­da in April 2014, when hun­dreds of armed Oath Keep­ers defend­ed cat­tle ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy in his fight with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

    “They don’t know how to react to the abuse, so they throw rocks and bot­tles and do oth­er sil­ly stuff, but we are fly­ing black Oath Keep­ers from around the coun­try to edu­cate the black lead­ers and the peo­ple of Fer­gu­son that not only can you open car­ry, you should open car­ry,” Andrews told the mag­a­zine. “The peace­ful pro­tes­tors, the law­ful peo­ple which make up the vast major­i­ty of pro­test­ers, should be qui­et­ly stand­ing there with rifles, say­ing, ‘We’re not going to take this abuse any­more.’”

    Rhodes, how­ev­er, told Rea­son mag­a­zine that he ques­tioned Andrews inten­tions and cau­tioned him from mak­ing it seem they were train­ing Fer­gu­son res­i­dents to “con­front the cops.”

    “He could not take con­struc­tive crit­i­cism,” Rhodes told Rea­son. “All we were doing is say­ing, ‘Look, Sam, don’t make it sound like we’re gonna arm vio­lent peo­ple who were riot­ers. We’re gonna arm the good peo­ple of Fer­gu­son, to stand up for their rights against the police and to con­trol the hoods.’ ”

    The hoods? It is that cul­tur­al dis­con­nect that has land­ed the Oath Keep­ers in such hot water in Fer­gu­son, at almost every step along the way.

    ...

    Per­haps it is no won­der that the turnout on Tues­day was so slim. The weath­er may have been a con­tribut­ing fac­tor, but long before the protest began, there were rum­blings of dis­trust.

    On one Face­book group, the Huey P. New­ton Gun Club, dis­cus­sion ran the gamut, with some con­cerned that the very ide­ol­o­gy of the Oath Keep­ers would under­mine the mis­sion.

    “Don’t touch the Oath Keep­ers,” a user iden­ti­fied as Joe Kel­ly wrote. “They’re vig­i­lantes whose con­cept of open car­ry is about white aggres­sion and the defense of white pow­er and priv­i­lege. They need 50 blacks on their parade to serve as a foil for an agen­da that is pure­ly white suprema­cist.”

    But no one came to pro­vide the foil, and the Oath Keep­ers have nev­er open­ly espoused a white suprema­cist ide­ol­o­gy. Rhodes’ con­cern over arm­ing black pro­test­ers against police was either the unfor­tu­nate real­i­ty of find­ing his group at the nexus of race and the 2nd Amend­ment, or sim­ply a polit­i­cal wor­ry that even Andrews under­stood.

    “There are two things we could accom­plish,” Andrews told Hate­watch. “One is black peo­ple and white peo­ple are going to stand togeth­er and exer­cise their rights, to show minori­ties all around the coun­try that you have the right to defend your­self and open car­ry.” Andrews con­tin­ued, “The sec­ond thing is nobody shows up, and it proves my point: that peo­ple are com­plete­ly afraid of these ser­i­al rights abusers called the St. Louis Coun­ty Police and the St. Louis City Police.”

    When the time came to march, Andrews’s sec­ond pre­dic­tion came true. There were more cam­eras than guns, and more news reporters than pro­test­ers, none of whom were from Fer­gu­son, and only few armed with rifles.

    The lone armed black pro­tes­tor was Paul Berry III, from Bridgeton, Mo., who is explor­ing a con­gres­sion­al run in Missouri’s 1st Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict. An avowed con­sti­tu­tion­al­ist, Berry car­ried an assault rifle slung over his shoul­der for the short march because, he said, Amer­i­cans’ rights are being sys­tem­i­cal­ly under­cut.

    “By doing this today, the guys tomor­row will know that when they march around the street, that they’re not going to be killed by law enforce­ment, or any­body else,” Berry said dur­ing a speech in front of the police sta­tion. “What’s the point of hav­ing [the Con­sti­tu­tion] if we’re not going to respect it. This is Amer­i­ca. And peo­ple need to fig­ure out what’s the best solu­tion.”

    “Sam Andrews, the for­mer leader of the Oath Keep­ers in St. Louis, led the march on Tues­day from a pub­lic tran­sit pavil­ion to the Fer­gu­son Police Depart­ment and back. But there were no armed black pro­test­ers from Fer­gu­son at his side, as he had promised. Instead, the two dozen or so who came were gun rights enthu­si­asts, Oba­ma birthers and Andrews’s fam­i­ly and friends.”
    Yeah, that’s prob­a­bly for the best that this was lim­it­ed to Sam Andrews and his friends and asso­ciates. The whole “you’ll secure your rights via armed show­downs with the gov­ern­ment”/nul­li­fi­ca­tion meme may not work the same for heav­i­ly armed young black pro­test­ers as it does for folks like Cliv­en Bundy and the Oath Keep­ers. It’s all part of why it was prob­a­bly wise of the Oath Keep­er founder and leader, Stew­art Rhodes, to keep his dis­tance from this par­tic­u­lar instance of far-right pub­lic trolling:

    ...

    Rhodes, how­ev­er, told Rea­son mag­a­zine that he ques­tioned Andrews inten­tions and cau­tioned him from mak­ing it seem they were train­ing Fer­gu­son res­i­dents to “con­front the cops.”

    “He could not take con­struc­tive crit­i­cism,” Rhodes told Rea­son. “All we were doing is say­ing, ‘Look, Sam, don’t make it sound like we’re gonna arm vio­lent peo­ple who were riot­ers. We’re gonna arm the good peo­ple of Fer­gu­son, to stand up for their rights against the police and to con­trol the hoods.’ ”

    The hoods? It is that cul­tur­al dis­con­nect that has land­ed the Oath Keep­ers in such hot water in Fer­gu­son, at almost every step along the way.

    ...

    And while it’s under­tand­able that the Oath Keep­ers would­n’t want to be per­ceived as train­ing Fer­gu­son res­i­dent to con­front the cops, Rhodes’s con­cerns over his orga­ni­za­tion being asso­ci­at­ed with arm­ing “vio­lent peo­ple” (Rhodes’s inter­pre­ta­tion of the young pro­test­ers Andrews was try­ing to arm) were prob­a­bly mis­placed. Or rather, jux­ta­posed with the real­i­ty that it’s real­ly prob­a­bly not a good idea for young black pro­test­ers to be caught pub­licly asso­ci­at­ing with vio­lent groups like the Oath Keep­ers. That would just be an awful pub­lic rela­tions move on the part of the pro­test­ers. For­tu­nate­ly, that was also avoid­ed.

    So that all prob­a­bly ends the Oath Keep­er­s’s unof­fi­cial exper­i­ment in “AR15 out­reach” with the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment. Although, after three white suprema­cists shot five pro­test­ers in Min­neapo­lis after pre­vi­ous infil­trat­ing and film­ing the protests in pre­vi­ous days, it will be inter­est­ing to see if the Oath Keep­ers make anoth­er “AR-15 out­reach” attempt to arm Black Lives Mat­ters pro­test­ers:

    Star Tri­bune
    Social media offer­ing clues into shoot­ing sus­pects’ motives
    Days after a YouTube video went pub­lic, four men were arrest­ed in con­nec­tion with Mon­day night’s shoot­ing of five pro­test­ers.

    By Abby Simons
    Novem­ber 24, 2015 — 10:08pm

    In the glow of a vehicle’s inte­ri­or light, the YouTube video shows two masked men as they cruise down Lyn­dale Avenue in Min­neapo­lis one night last week. The dri­ver, who iden­ti­fies him­self as “Saiga­Ma­rine,” doesn’t hes­i­tate to make his agen­da clear.

    “We are locked and loaded,” he says, hold­ing up a black 1911-style pis­tol. As he flash­es the gun, he explains amid racial slurs that the men are head­ed to the Black Lives Mat­ter protest orut­side Min­neapo­lis’ Fourth Precinct police head­quar­ters. Their mis­sion, he says, is “a lit­tle reverse cul­tur­al enrich­ing.”

    “We’re gonna see if we can have our­selves a lit­tle look-see,” adds his pas­sen­ger, who iden­ti­fies him­self as “Black Pow­der Ranger.”

    Saiga­Ma­rine tells view­ers to stay tuned. “Stay white,” he says as he signs off.

    On Tues­day, days after that video went pub­lic, four men were arrest­ed in con­nec­tion with Mon­day night’s shoot­ing of five pro­test­ers a block from the Fourth Precinct head­quar­ters in an act that drew con­dem­na­tion coast to coast.

    ...

    Monday’s shoot­ings caused an uproar among pro­test­ers encamped at the Fourth Precinct head­quar­ters since 24-year-old Jamar Clark was fatal­ly shot dur­ing a strug­gle with two Min­neapo­lis police offi­cers ear­ly Nov. 15. Many said they believe police did not move quick­ly enough to assist the wound­ed or appre­hend the shoot­ers, some of whom were believed to have vis­it­ed the protest site more than once. Min­neapo­lis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, how­ev­er, laud­ed police for work­ing through the night to make the arrests.

    Still, the shoot­ings gal­va­nized pro­test­ers, who said Tues­day that the shots rang out after they attempt­ed to dri­ve the men, who they described as “white suprema­cists,” from the area.

    Wit­ness­es to the shoot­ings said they con­front­ed the men before they fired and forced them from the protest area. Accord­ing to a video inter­view with two men imme­di­ate­ly after­ward, the group demand­ed that the assailants remove their masks. When they refused, a scuf­fle ensued. As the crowd began to push the men out, shots were fired.

    While police didn’t pub­licly con­nect Scarsel­la to the YouTube video from last week, social media offered a glimpse into his polit­i­cal lean­ings.

    A Face­book page for him dis­plays a “Bon­nie Blue Flag,” an unof­fi­cial ban­ner of the Con­fed­er­a­cy.

    “This isn’t the Soma­lian flag, (by the way),” he wrote beneath the post.

    Mean­while, the Face­book page of the Min­neapo­lis man released from cus­tody shows a pro­file pho­to that fea­tures him armed and don­ning full mil­i­tary gear. He describes his occu­pa­tion sim­ply as “Sav­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion.”

    The man, who bears a strik­ing resem­blance to the masked “Saiga­Ma­rine,” also dis­plays an affin­i­ty for firearms. On a cache of a now-delet­ed Insta­gram page, he describes him­self as a for­mer Marine infantry­man and Iraq war vet­er­an, as well as a firearms mod­el and sup­port­er of the Sec­ond Amend­ment.

    He also appeared to be well-known on /k/, a pop­u­lar weapons mes­sage board on the web­site 4chan where racist com­ments are some­times post­ed. There, he was known as Saiga­Ma­rine, among oth­er monikers, and news of his arrest rever­ber­at­ed among the anony­mous users.

    “What an idiot,” one wrote. “Play stu­pid games, win stu­pid prizes. Nev­er should’ve trolled that protest so hard.”

    ‘It’s boil­ing’

    Sev­er­al days before Monday’s shoot­ings, the masked men from the YouTube video made an appear­ance at the Fourth Precinct protests under the guise of being in sup­port of Clark, accord­ing to video cap­tured by alter­na­tive media web­site Uni­corn Riot.

    “Things are get­ting heat­ed,” Saiga­Ma­rine told a Uni­corn Riot reporter. “They always expect one of us to do some­thing. They expect one of us to be in the wreck­age of all this. It’s boil­ing. It’s going to be hap­pen­ing soon.”

    On his cam­ou­flage coat was a patch bear­ing the logo for /k/.

    The sec­ond man in the YouTube video turned to the cam­era, while anoth­er masked man snick­ered.

    “All these folks here should get the jus­tice and peace that they deserve. And what we real­ly need to do here is reach out to our com­mu­ni­ties, espe­cial­ly our melanin-enriched com­mu­ni­ties,” the sec­ond man said.

    Pro­test­ers soon grew sus­pi­cious and con­front­ed the men, who said they were sim­ply there to watch and film. The pro­test­ers, doubt­ful, let them move on.

    On Tues­day, as the shoot­ing vic­tims recov­ered, a sound­less video appeared online. The six-minute footage, believed to have been filmed by the shoot­ing sus­pects, shows them approach­ing the encamp­ment only to be con­front­ed by a group of men and women, some of whom would lat­er be shot.

    After what appears to be a heat­ed exchange, the cam­era shakes and cuts to black.

    Yes, a group of three armed white suprema­cist, one of whom appears to spe­cial­ized in trolling, first showed up up at the protests under the guise of sup­port­ing the pro­test­ers and told a reporter:

    ...

    Sev­er­al days before Monday’s shoot­ings, the masked men from the YouTube video made an appear­ance at the Fourth Precinct protests under the guise of being in sup­port of Clark, accord­ing to video cap­tured by alter­na­tive media web­site Uni­corn Riot.

    “Things are get­ting heat­ed,” Saiga­Ma­rine told a Uni­corn Riot reporter. “They always expect one of us to do some­thing. They expect one of us to be in the wreck­age of all this. It’s boil­ing. It’s going to be hap­pen­ing soon.”

    ...

    And then, three days lat­er, they show up armed and once again attempt to infil­trate the protests. But this time they’re turned back from the crowd and end up get­ting involved in a scuf­fle where five pro­test­ers are shot. And it’s all filmed and put on Youtube the next day and this was less than a week after the Oath Keep­ers’ “open car­ry for Black Lives Mat­ter” AR-15 out­reach march in Fer­gu­son. As unhelp­ful and/or hate­ful­ly mur­der­ous all of this behav­ior from the far-right is towards the BLM pro­test­ers, it’s worth keep­ing in mind that, in terms of high­light­ing the fact that non-vio­lent pro­test­ers fight­ing for greater jus­tice are actu­al­ly some of the best allies of law and order, you almost could­n’t ask for a bet­ter set of trolls.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 24, 2015, 11:36 pm
  25. Oh look, the Bundy Ranch Cir­cus is hit­ting the road again. This time, Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne (who bragged orga­niz­ing the Bundy Ranch mili­tias into sniper units point­ed at the BLM agents), and Jon Ritzheimer (the guy who orga­nized the “draw Muham­mad” con­test in Ari­zona and then tried to raise $10 mil­lion in a GoFundMe to pro­tect his fam­i­ly) have descend­ed on the Har­ney Basin in Ore­gon to demand that the local sher­iff cre­ate a “safe haven” for two ranch­ers, Dwight and Steven Ham­mond, after the two were resen­tenced to prison fol­low­ing a deci­sion that they were ille­gal­ly giv­en a sen­tence less than the manda­to­ry min­i­mum after the two were con­vict­ed for ille­gal­ly burn­ing on fed­er­al lands. As we might expect, var­i­ous Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen-like legal the­o­ries are being bandies about by the trio as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for their antics which, of course, includes threats of vio­lence and a desire to start anoth­er armed show­down with the gov­ern­ment:

    The Ore­gon­ian
    Mili­ti­a­men, ranch­ers in show­down for soul of Burns

    By Les Zaitz | The Oregonian/OregonLive

    on Decem­ber 30, 2015 at 5:00 AM, updat­ed Decem­ber 31, 2015 at 5:05 PM

    BURNS – The strangers car­ry­ing the whis­per of dan­ger arrived in the vast ter­ri­to­ry of the Har­ney Basin just before the hol­i­days.

    Ammon Bundy once helped his father repulse the gov­ern­ment in an armed show­down on a Neva­da desert. He was Tasered for his effort.

    Ryan Payne, an elec­tri­cian from Mon­tana, joined that same stand­off and boast­ed of orga­niz­ing civil­ians into sniper squads that drew a bead on fed­er­al agents.

    And not long ago, Jon Ritzheimer wor­ried the FBI with his threat­en­ing rants against Mus­lims in Ari­zona and else­where, accord­ing to press reports.

    Now, the men say, they are in Burns to help Dwight and Steven Ham­mond.

    The Ham­monds are father and son ranch­ers, due to report to fed­er­al prison on Mon­day. They were con­vict­ed in 2012 of arson for light­ing pub­lic land on fire adja­cent to their ranch land south of Burns. They have been impris­oned once and must return for an addi­tion­al term after fed­er­al appel­late judges said they had been ille­gal­ly sen­tenced the first time.

    Self-styled patri­ots and mili­ti­a­men gath­er­ing in Burns don’t want that to hap­pen, declar­ing the Ham­monds’ impris­on­ment ille­gal under the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion.

    They have latched on to the Ham­monds as their lat­est cause to stand against the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

    “I am here now try­ing to empow­er and moti­vate the peo­ple of this com­mu­ni­ty to take a stand against tyran­ny and show them that I will glad­ly stand with them,” Ritzheimer said.

    The Ham­monds don’t want to be part of the out­siders’ cause, and nei­ther do many in Har­ney Coun­ty.

    But that has­n’t stopped the strangers from sum­mon­ing help from mili­tia groups across the coun­try. They are vague about their inten­tion and their plans, unset­tling the com­mu­ni­ty and putting law enforce­ment on edge. The mili­tia plan a ral­ly and a parade on Sat­ur­day, cir­cling the coun­ty cour­t­house that hous­es the sher­if­f’s office.

    The mili­tia mem­bers have been insist­ing that Har­ney Coun­ty Sher­iff Dave Ward cre­ate a sanc­tu­ary so the Ham­monds will be immune from sur­ren­der­ing. Ward met with the mili­ti­a­men and reject­ed that demand. The mili­tia has since labeled him an “ene­my of the peo­ple.” Ward said he has received emailed death threats among thou­sands of mes­sages from across the coun­try regard­ing the Ham­monds.

    Two weeks ago, Bundy and Payne roused 60 or so local cit­i­zens to their cause at a com­mu­ni­ty meet­ing. They rent­ed the Memo­r­i­al Build­ing at the fair­grounds for the night. They taped them­selves lec­tur­ing the locals on their rights, on the Con­sti­tu­tion, and on their duty to pro­tect them­selves.

    The Har­ney Coun­ty sit­u­a­tion is the sec­ond time this year Ore­gon has been the nation­al ral­ly­ing point for mili­tias. Last spring, min­ers fight­ing with the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment over paper­work out­side Med­ford found them­selves enveloped with mili­tia defend­ers. Mili­tia mem­bers even­tu­al­ly left – but only after claim­ing they beat back the gov­ern­ment. An admin­is­tra­tive law judge tem­porar­i­ly stopped BLM action against the min­ers.

    ...

    Neva­da show­down

    Mili­ti­a­men by the hun­dreds flowed to Neva­da that year to help ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy. The BLM was cor­ralling his cat­tle that it said were tres­pass­ing on pub­lic land. The agency said Bundy had­n’t paid graz­ing fees for 20 years, amass­ing more than $1 mil­lion in bills.

    Payne, an Army vet­er­an, came to the rancher’s defense. In lat­er inter­views, Payne said he was the “mili­tia advis­er” to Bundy. Payne helped array armed civil­ians against the fed­er­al agents.

    “We had counter-sniper posi­tions on their sniper posi­tions. We had at least one guy—sometimes two guys—per BLM agent in there,” Payne told a Mon­tana week­ly, the Inde­pen­dent. “If they made one wrong move, every sin­gle BLM agent in that camp would’ve died.”

    Ammon Bundy, Cliv­en Bundy’s third son, was there too.

    As the nation watched, the BLM called off the cat­tle col­lec­tion and with­drew in the face of the armed mili­tia. The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, which tracks hate groups across the coun­try, said in a 2014 report on the Bundy stand­off that the gov­ern­men­t’s retreat empow­ered the mili­ti­a­men.

    Ryan Lenz with the law cen­ter was on the ground in Neva­da and lat­er inter­viewed Payne for the report. Lenz said the Har­ney Coun­ty devel­op­ment isn’t sur­pris­ing.

    “What’s hap­pen­ing is very much what every­one feared would hap­pen in the after­math of the Bundy stand­off,” Lenz said. “The rule of law was sus­pend­ed with the bar­rel of a gun.”

    Aid­ing the Ham­monds

    Bundy and Payne say they met with both Dwight and Susan Ham­mond at their home in Novem­ber. Bundy said he helped the ranch­ers move cows one day.

    The Ham­monds ini­tial­ly accept­ed the mili­ti­a’s offer of help to avoid prison, Bundy said. But the Ham­monds changed their minds after being warned by fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors to stop com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the mili­tia, Bundy wrote in a blog post.

    The Ham­monds declined inter­view requests and did­n’t respond to writ­ten ques­tions about their deal­ings with the mili­ti­a­men. A Boise lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the Ham­monds said in a let­ter to the sher­iff that Bundy did­n’t speak for the ranch­ers and that they intend­ed to sur­ren­der as required.

    Bundy and Payne and their asso­ciates are per­sist­ing, though. They explain in delib­er­ate, calm tones their rea­son­ing.

    The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment claims title to most of the land in Har­ney Coun­ty, the ninth largest coun­ty in the Unit­ed States. Bundy and Payne main­tain that Arti­cle 1, Sec­tion 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion lim­its what the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment can own, and that the gov­ern­men­t’s claim to much of Har­ney Coun­ty vio­lates that lim­it. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment con­se­quent­ly has no author­i­ty to pros­e­cute the Ham­monds.

    Bundy and Payne, who said he has moved to Har­ney Coun­ty, have pressed the mat­ter on sev­er­al fronts. They have insist­ed that Ward, the sher­iff, pro­tect the Ham­monds. They have writ­ten oth­er elect­ed offi­cials in the coun­ty and in Ore­gon assert­ing the same demand.

    Some res­i­dents have shown inter­est in the group’s cause.

    Locals vot­ed sev­en of their own onto a new Har­ney Coun­ty Com­mit­tee of Safe­ty, includ­ing ranch­ers, a retired fire chief, and a tax pre­par­er.

    Payne and Bundy said the com­mit­tee would decide how to address the Ham­mond con­flict. But Bundy quick­ly cre­at­ed a web­site for the group and draft­ed a sharply-word­ed let­ter to the sher­iff for the com­mit­tee to issue.

    Cit­i­zens on the com­mit­tee said they autho­rized none of it.

    Local dis­sent

    Chris Briels, Burns fire chief for 24 years, said he was intrigued by the con­sti­tu­tion­al argu­ments raised by Payne and Bundy. But he said he also felt pushed too hard by Bundy to act. Briels said he is no anar­chist.

    The mili­tia, Briels said, “seems like a bunch of peo­ple ready to shoot. I don’t want that in my coun­ty.”

    Melo­di Molt, a ranch­er and for­mer pres­i­dent of Ore­gon Cat­tle­Women, joined Briels on the new com­mit­tee. She’s trou­bled by what’s hap­pened to the Ham­monds – but also wor­ried about what her com­mu­ni­ty faces with the out­siders.

    “We’re not from the mili­tia,” said Molt. “We’re not going to come in with guns and over­throw the gov­ern­ment.”

    The state’s largest agri­cul­ture asso­ci­a­tions have vig­or­ous­ly defend­ed the Ham­monds since they were charged but want no part of the brew­ing mili­tia action.

    “I don’t think peo­ple lin­ing up in front of them with weapons or any kind of threats are going to help the Ham­monds at all,” said Bar­ry Bushue, Ore­gon Farm Bureau pres­i­dent.

    Bil­ly Williams, Ore­gon’s U.S. attor­ney, has also weighed in. In a lengthy state­ment to the Burns Times-Her­ald, Williams explained why the Ham­monds were pros­e­cut­ed. He then warned: “Any crim­i­nal behav­ior con­tem­plat­ed by those who may object to the court’s man­date that harms some­one will not be tol­er­at­ed and will result in seri­ous con­se­quences.”

    Payne and Bundy say it’s up to local res­i­dents what hap­pens next. If the locals decide to declare the coun­ty a sanc­tu­ary for the Ham­monds, the mili­tia is ready.

    “We’re send­ing the mes­sage: We will pro­tect you,” Payne said.

    Such talk rat­tles the com­mu­ni­ty, as has con­duct locals blame on the strangers.

    Ten­sions per­sist.

    A Utah man tied to Bundy and Payne dis­rupt­ed a state court ses­sion, insist­ing the judge empan­el a spe­cial grand jury to inves­ti­gate the Ham­mond mat­ter. Fed­er­al employ­ees report they have been fol­lowed around town and to their homes. Payne said no one in his group has fol­lowed fed­er­al employ­ees. But he acknowl­edged knock­ing on the front door of a home fea­tur­ing a hand­made “Go Home Bundys” sign. Payne said he want­ed to under­stand the home­own­er’s con­cerns.

    Signs on street poles pro­nounce, “Mili­tia go home!”

    Oth­ers reply: “You are the mili­tia.”

    One episode in par­tic­u­lar has upset the com­mu­ni­ty.

    The sher­iff said three mili­ti­a­men and one woman, one with a gun strapped to his hip, engaged his 74-year-old moth­er and 78-year-old father at a yard sale being held at the Amer­i­can Legion. When the men crit­i­cized the sher­iff, his moth­er bris­tled, and said she did­n’t need their pro­tec­tion from the gov­ern­ment.

    Lat­er, the men showed up at the sher­if­f’s office to com­plain about the exchange involv­ing his moth­er.

    She had, they said, threat­ened them.

    “The mili­tia mem­bers have been insist­ing that Har­ney Coun­ty Sher­iff Dave Ward cre­ate a sanc­tu­ary so the Ham­monds will be immune from sur­ren­der­ing. Ward met with the mili­ti­a­men and reject­ed that demand. The mili­tia has since labeled him an “ene­my of the peo­ple.” Ward said he has received emailed death threats among thou­sands of mes­sages from across the coun­try regard­ing the Ham­monds.
    Yep, you’re either with ’em, or you’re an “ene­my of the peo­ple,” despite the fact that the vast major­i­ty of “the peo­ple” liv­ing in that area don’t actu­al­ly want a mili­tia-led show­down, includ­ing the Ham­monds. It also does­n’t help if you’re the moth­er or father of an “ene­my of the peo­ple”.

    ...
    The sher­iff said three mili­ti­a­men and one woman, one with a gun strapped to his hip, engaged his 74-year-old moth­er and 78-year-old father at a yard sale being held at the Amer­i­can Legion. When the men crit­i­cized the sher­iff, his moth­er bris­tled, and said she did­n’t need their pro­tec­tion from the gov­ern­ment.

    Lat­er, the men showed up at the sher­if­f’s office to com­plain about the exchange involv­ing his moth­er.

    She had, they said, threat­ened them.

    Yes, it’s the 74-year-old moth­er of the coun­try sher­iff that’s the big threat in this sit­u­a­tion. Jon Ritzheimer might need a new GoFundMe page.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 2, 2016, 4:07 pm
  26. So the mili­tia mem­bers who descend­ed on Har­ney Coun­ty, Ore­gon under the ban­ner of offer­ing “pro­tec­tion” from state and fed­er­al offi­cials to a pair of ranch­ers just made it com­plete­ly clear that they have a lot more than just “pro­tect­ing” the ranch­ers in mind: Fol­low­ing a planned protest by the mili­tias and oth­er Ham­mond sup­ports on Sat­ur­day, Ammon Bundy just took a group of appar­ent­ly 100 mili­tia mem­bers to seize con­trol of the Mal­heur Wildlife Refuge head­quar­ters, and pro­claimed that they won’t leave until their demands are met. And they’re will­ing to die or spend years in that refuge in order to see their demands met.

    And what are those demands? Well, there’s the expect­ed demand that the arson charges are dropped against the Ham­monds. And then there’s the demand that prob­a­bly put a smile on the face of folks like the Koch broth­ers who used the pre­vi­ous Bundy show­down to pro­mote an agen­da for hav­ing fed­er­al gov­ern­ment liq­ui­date pub­lic lands and sell them off to the Kochs. It’s their demand that the wildlife refuge be shut down for­ev­er, and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment relin­quish­es con­trol over and give it all to pri­vate inter­ests.

    That’s right. Ammon Bundy, and appar­ent­ly a hun­dred oth­er mili­tia mem­bers, just declared that they’re will­ing to die unless their Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen world­view gets declared the law of the land. And it’s a world­view that just hap­pens to coin­cide with the inter­ests the Koch broth­ers.

    Might we be in store for anoth­er round of Koch-backed ‘Bundy Bud­dies’ groups sud­den­ly pop­ping up? Or did Cliv­en Bundy’s pre­vi­ous com­ments on “the Negro” sort of end the via­bil­i­ty of the Bundy clan to reignite the mag­ic that made them a right-wing media dar­ling back in 2014. We’ll see, but in the mean time, some ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zens’ just took them­selves hostage again:

    The Oregonian/OregonLive
    Mili­tia takes over Mal­heur Nation­al Wildlife Refuge head­quar­ters

    By Les Zaitz

    on Jan­u­ary 02, 2016 at 6:15 PM, updat­ed Jan­u­ary 03, 2016 at 5:27 PM

    Update at 9:15 p.m.: State­ment from Har­ney Coun­ty Sher­iff Dave Ward: “After the peace­ful ral­ly was com­plet­ed today, a group of out­side mil­i­tants drove to the Mal­heur Wildlife Refuge, where they seized and occu­pied the refuge head­quar­ters. A col­lec­tive effort from mul­ti­ple agen­cies is cur­rent­ly work­ing on a solu­tion. For the time being please stay away from that area. More infor­ma­tion will be pro­vid­ed as it becomes avail­able. Please main­tain a peace­ful and unit­ed front and allow us to work through this sit­u­a­tion.”

    The Bundy fam­i­ly of Neva­da joined with hard-core mili­ti­a­men Sat­ur­day to take over the head­quar­ters of the Mal­heur Nation­al Wildlife Refuge, vow­ing to occu­py the remote fed­er­al out­post 30 miles south­east of Burns for years.

    The occu­pa­tion came short­ly after an esti­mat­ed 300 marchers — mili­tia and local cit­i­zens both — parad­ed through Burns to protest the pros­e­cu­tion of two Har­ney Coun­ty ranch­ers, Dwight Ham­mond Jr. and Steven Ham­mond, who are to report to prison on Mon­day.

    Among the occu­piers is Ammon Bundy, son of Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy, and two of his broth­ers. Mili­tia mem­bers at the refuge claimed they had as many as 100 sup­port­ers with them. The refuge, fed­er­al prop­er­ty man­aged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice, was closed and unoc­cu­pied for the hol­i­day week­end.

    In phone inter­views from inside the occu­pied build­ing Sat­ur­day night, Ammon Bundy and his broth­er, Ryan Bundy, said they are not look­ing to hurt any­one. But they would not rule out vio­lence if police tried to remove them, they said.

    “The facil­i­ty has been the tool to do all the tyran­ny that has been placed upon the Ham­monds,” Ammon Bundy said.

    “We’re plan­ning on stay­ing here for years, absolute­ly,” he added. “This is not a deci­sion we’ve made at the last minute.”

    Nei­ther man would say how many peo­ple are in the build­ing or whether they are armed. Ryan Bundy said there were no hostages, but the group is demand­ing that the Ham­monds be released and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment relin­quish con­trol of the Mal­heur Nation­al For­est.

    He said many would be will­ing to fight — and die, if nec­es­sary — to defend what they see as con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed rights for states, coun­ties and indi­vid­u­als to man­age local lands.

    “The best pos­si­ble out­come is that the ranch­ers that have been kicked out of the area, then they will come back and reclaim their land, and the wildlife refuge will be shut down for­ev­er and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment will relin­quish such con­trol,” he said. “What we’re doing is not rebel­lious. What we’re doing is in accor­dance with the Con­sti­tu­tion, which is the supreme law of the land.”

    Gov­ern­ment sources told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the mili­tia also was plan­ning to occu­py a closed wild­land fire sta­tion near the town of French­glen. The U.S. Bureau of Land Man­age­ment posts crews there dur­ing the fire sea­son.

    Law enforce­ment offi­cials so far have not com­ment­ed on the sit­u­a­tion. Ore­gon State Police, the Har­ney Coun­ty Sher­if­f’s Office and the FBI were involved.

    Ammon Bundy post­ed a video on his Face­book page call­ing on patri­ots from across the coun­try to report to the refuge – with their weapons.

    The dra­mat­ic turn came after oth­er mili­tia groups had tried to damp­en com­mu­ni­ty con­cerns they meant trou­ble.

    Bran­don Cur­tiss, a mili­tia leader from Ida­ho, told The Oregonian/OregonLive he knew noth­ing about the occu­pa­tion. He helped orga­nize Sat­ur­day’s protest and was at the Har­ney Coun­ty Fair­grounds with dozens of oth­er mili­tia for a post-parade func­tion. Anoth­er mili­tia leader, BJ Sop­er, took to Face­book to denounce the occu­pa­tion.

    The occu­pa­tion is being led by hard-core mili­tia who adopt­ed the Ham­mond cause as their own.

    Ammon Bundy met with Dwight Ham­mond and his wife in Novem­ber, seek­ing a way to keep the elder­ly ranch­er from hav­ing to sur­ren­der for prison. The Ham­monds pro­fessed through their attor­neys that they had no inter­est in ignor­ing the order to report for prison.

    Ammon Bundy said the goal is to turn over fed­er­al land to local ranch­ers, log­gers and min­ers. He said he met with 10 or so res­i­dents in Burns on Fri­day to try to recruit them, but they declined.

    “We went to the local com­mu­ni­ties and pre­sent­ed it many times and to many dif­fer­ent peo­ple,” he said. “They were not strong enough to make the stand. So many indi­vid­u­als across the Unit­ed States and in Ore­gon are mak­ing this stand. We hope they will grab onto this and real­ize that it’s been hap­pen­ing.”

    Among those join­ing Bundy in the occu­pa­tion are Ryan Payne, U.S. Army vet­er­an, and Blaine Coop­er. Payne has claimed to have helped orga­nize mili­tia snipers to tar­get fed­er­al agents in a stand­off last year in Neva­da. He told one news orga­ni­za­tion the fed­er­al agents would have been killed had they made the wrong move.

    He has been a steady pres­ence in Burns in recent weeks, ques­tion­ing peo­ple who were crit­i­cal of the mili­ti­a’s pres­ence. He typ­i­cal­ly had a hol­stered sidearm as he moved around the com­mu­ni­ty.

    ...

    Coop­er, anoth­er mili­tia leader, said at that meet­ing he par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Bundy stand­off in Neva­da.

    “I went there to defend Cliv­en with my life,” Coop­er said.

    “He said many would be will­ing to fight — and die, if nec­es­sary — to defend what they see as con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed rights for states, coun­ties and indi­vid­u­als to man­age local lands.”
    That’s a pret­ty good way to sum­ma­rize their stat­ed goals: Either their con­sti­tu­tion­al the­o­ries become fed­er­al land man­age­ment law, and they will vio­lent­ly defend that wildlife man­age­ment build­ing until that hap­pens.

    And Jon Ritzheimer even made his ‘good­bye cru­el world’ sui­cide video. He actu­al­ly address­es Dwight Ham­mond, who told author­i­ties he’s plan­ning on report­ing to prison instead of join­ing the armed land man­age­ment insur­rec­tion, and asks Ham­mond to die with the mili­tia instead of choos­ing to die in prison, labeled a ter­ror­ist, at ~4:20 — 5:20 in the video.

    Pre­sum­ably the Ham­monds are going to show up for jail since that’s what their lawyer is indi­cat­ing at this point, but it’s also worth not­ing that, accord­ing to this arti­cle below from 1994 about the Ham­monds and their squab­bles with the BLM, the Ham­monds were using legal argu­ments that were awful­ly close to what Cliv­en Bundy was using to reject pay­ing his graz­ing fees: use of that land was a his­toric right that his fam­i­ly has had since 1871 so no coor­di­na­tion with fed­er­al land man­agers was required. Anoth­er par­al­lel with the Bundys was the Ham­monds’ repeat­ed threats to kill BLM offi­cials over the years. And there’s even a par­al­lel with the Ham­monds’ cur­rent legal predica­ment: fol­low­ing a let­ter on their behalf from Ore­gon’s Sen­a­tor Bob Smith, the jail time they were fac­ing over their obstruc­tion of a fed­er­al fence (which was being built after the Ham­mond’s repeat­ed vio­la­tions of fed­er­al lands) using a con­struc­tion vehi­cle was sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduced...in the sense that the charges appear to have been dropped com­plete­ly since the hear­ings were post­poned indef­i­nite­ly accord­ing to the arti­cle below and there’s no indi­ca­tion he was ever sen­tenced.

    So if Ham­mond does end up join­ing with the mili­tia in this lat­est armed stand­off, we can be a lit­tle sur­prised but not super sur­prised since almost noth­ing about this sit­u­a­tion is sur­pris­ing:

    High Coun­try News
    Ranch­ers arrest­ed at wildlife refuge

    Kathie Durbin Oct. 3, 1994

    BURNS, Ore. — The arrest of Dwight Ham­mond, a hot-tem­pered east­ern Ore­gon cat­tle ranch­er, has gal­va­nized a nasty cam­paign of ret­ri­bu­tion against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice.

    It all began when fed­er­al agents arrest­ed Ham­mond and his son Steven, Aug. 3. That turned a long-sim­mer­ing dis­pute over cat­tle, fences and water on the Mal­heur Wildlife Refuge into a bizarre Old West show­down.

    Fed­er­al offi­cials and a fence-build­ing crew were attempt­ing to build a fence to keep the Ham­monds’ cat­tle from tres­pass­ing on the refuge. When Ham­mond and his son obstruct­ed fed­er­al work­ers, they were tak­en into cus­tody by nine fed­er­al agents, five of whom were armed.

    The Ham­monds were charged with two counts each of felony “dis­turb­ing and inter­fer­ing with” fed­er­al offi­cials or fed­er­al con­trac­tors. The Ham­monds spent one night in the Deschutes Coun­ty Jail in Bend, and a sec­ond night behind bars in Port­land before they were hauled before a fed­er­al mag­is­trate and released with­out bail.

    On Aug. 10, near­ly 500 incensed ranch­ers showed up at a ral­ly in Burns fea­tur­ing wise-use speak­er Chuck Cush­man of the Amer­i­can Land Rights Asso­ci­a­tion, for­mer­ly the Nation­al Inhold­ers Asso­ci­a­tion. Cush­man lat­er issued a fax alert urg­ing Ham­mond’s sup­port­ers to flood refuge employ­ees with protest calls. Some employ­ees report­ed get­ting threat­en­ing calls at home.

    Cush­man plans to print a poster with the names and pho­tos of fed­er­al agents and refuge man­agers involved in the arrest and dis­trib­ute it nation­al­ly. “We have no way to fight back oth­er than to make them pari­ahs in their com­mu­ni­ty,” he said.

    Pick­ing up the theme, the Ore­gon Lands Coali­tion declared in a recent newslet­ter, “It’s time to get out the yel­low rib­bons — this is a hostage sit­u­a­tion!”

    On Aug. 11, Rep. Bob Smith, R‑Ore., weighed in on the Ham­monds’ behalf in a let­ter to U.S. Inte­ri­or Sec­re­tary Bruce Bab­bitt. “The acts of your agents last week cause my con­stituents to lose faith in their gov­ern­ment,” wrote Smith, who was under the erro­neous impres­sion that Ham­mond was arrest­ed at his home rather than on refuge land.

    The pres­sure appar­ent­ly paid off. On Aug. 15, the U.S. attor­ney’s office in Port­land reduced the charges against the Ham­monds from felonies car­ry­ing a max­i­mum penal­ty of three years in fed­er­al prison and a $250,000 fine to mis­de­meanors that could mean jail terms of up to one year and fines of up to $100,000 on each count. A hear­ing on the charges, orig­i­nal­ly sched­uled for ear­ly Sep­tem­ber, has been post­poned indef­i­nite­ly.

    ...

    Accord­ing to the Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice, Dwight Ham­mond had repeat­ed­ly vio­lat­ed a spe­cial per­mit that allowed him to move his cows across the refuge only at spe­cif­ic times. In June, refuge man­ag­er For­rest Cameron noti­fied Ham­mond that his right to graze cat­tle and grow hay on the lush water­fowl haven south of Burns was revoked. The feds also said they planned to build a fence along the refuge bound­ary to keep Ham­mond’s cows out of an irri­ga­tion canal.

    The events of Aug. 3 are out­lined in the sworn affi­davit of spe­cial agent Earl M. Kisler, who assist­ed in the Ham­monds’ arrest. On the day the fence was to be built, the crew and refuge offi­cials arrived to find Ham­mond had parked his Cater­pil­lar scraper square­ly on the bound­ary line and dis­abled it, remov­ing the bat­tery and drain­ing fuel lines. When a tow truck arrived to move it, Dwight Ham­mond showed up, leaped to the con­trols of the scraper and hit a lever that low­ered the buck­et, nar­row­ly miss­ing anoth­er spe­cial agent. Mean­while, said Kisler, Steve Ham­mond shout­ed obscen­i­ties at fed­er­al offi­cials. Nei­ther Ham­mond resist­ed arrest.

    “The refuge has been try­ing to work with Ham­mond for many years,” said agency spokes­woman Susan Saul. A thick file at refuge head­quar­ters reveals just how patient refuge man­agers have been. Ham­mond alleged­ly made death threats against pre­vi­ous man­agers in 1986 and 1988 and against Cameron, the cur­rent man­ag­er, in 1991 and again this year. Saul said Ham­mond has nev­er giv­en the required 24 hours’ notice before mov­ing his cows across the refuge and that he allowed the cows to linger for as long as three days, tres­pass­ing along streams and tram­pling young wil­lows that refuge work­ers had plant­ed to repair dam­age wrought by years of over­graz­ing.

    Susie Ham­mond, Dwight’s wife, said the cat­tle trail is a “his­toric right of way” that has been in use since 1871. “We have nev­er had a per­mit,” she said. “We have a right to use it.”

    “A thick file at refuge head­quar­ters reveals just how patient refuge man­agers have been. Ham­mond alleged­ly made death threats against pre­vi­ous man­agers in 1986 and 1988 and against Cameron, the cur­rent man­ag­er, in 1991 and again this year
    And yet, fol­low­ing their arrest and pos­si­ble jail time after they almost injured a con­trac­tor dur­ing their fence-block­ing stunt, the ral­ly­ing cry from the Ham­monds’ sup­port­ers were things like, “It’s time to get out the yel­low rib­bons — this is a hostage sit­u­a­tion!”

    That was, of course, before Sen­a­tor Smith inter­venes and the charges were all post­poned indef­i­nite­ly:

    ...
    On Aug. 11, Rep. Bob Smith, R‑Ore., weighed in on the Ham­monds’ behalf in a let­ter to U.S. Inte­ri­or Sec­re­tary Bruce Bab­bitt. “The acts of your agents last week cause my con­stituents to lose faith in their gov­ern­ment,” wrote Smith, who was under the erro­neous impres­sion that Ham­mond was arrest­ed at his home rather than on refuge land.

    The pres­sure appar­ent­ly paid off. On Aug. 15, the U.S. attor­ney’s office in Port­land reduced the charges against the Ham­monds from felonies car­ry­ing a max­i­mum penal­ty of three years in fed­er­al prison and a $250,000 fine to mis­de­meanors that could mean jail terms of up to one year and fines of up to $100,000 on each count. A hear­ing on the charges, orig­i­nal­ly sched­uled for ear­ly Sep­tem­ber, has been post­poned indef­i­nite­ly.
    ...

    Yes, if the Ham­monds’ self-declared “his­toric right of way” of their favorite cat­tle trails or oth­er legal the­o­ries are declared the law of the land, folks like the Ham­monds will because cre­at­ed “hostage sit­u­a­tions” by open­ly defy­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment and then decry­ing the fed­er­al tyran­ny when they’re arrest­ed for it. At least, that was back in 1994. Flash for­ward to 2016, and how these self-declared “hostage sit­u­a­tions” not only involve demands that folks like Ham­monds see their charges dropped (again), but now entire wildlife refuges need to be pri­va­tized too. And if that does­n’t hap­pen, the hostages will refuse to free them­selves and con­tin­ue hold­ing them­selves hostage.

    That’s the sit­u­a­tion, which is part of why the 1994 ral­ly­ing cry, “It’s time to get out the yel­low rib­bons — this is a hostage sit­u­a­tion!” has become odd­ly appro­pri­ate again. How so? Well, the yel­low rib­bon as a sym­bol of peo­ple held in cap­tiv­i­ty became pop­u­lar­ized with the tak­ing of US hostages by Iran­ian Islam­ic rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies in 1979, and lat­er became a sym­bol of pro-democ­ra­cy move­ments. And part of the great­est pow­er of democ­ra­cy is that we all get to share the sov­er­eign­ty instead of it resid­ing exclu­sive­ly in the hands of the self-anoint­ed ones (with guns). So those yel­low pro-democ­ra­cy rib­bons are par­tial­ly about bring­ing sov­er­eign­ty to all of the cit­i­zens (which, of course, involves cre­at­ing and enforc­ing laws). And yet now we have a group of ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zens’ that just effec­tive­ly took them­selves hostage unless we all agree to skip the nor­mal demo­c­ra­t­ic mech­a­nism of vot­ing, law and order, and non-vio­lent civ­il dis­obe­di­ence, and instead allow their self-hostage-tak­ing antics to result in us all agree­ing to their demands. Demands which hap­pen to be root­ed in strange ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zen’ legal the­o­ries that would impose a far-right theoc­ra­cy on us all.

    Yep, this is def­i­nite­ly a yel­low rib­bon sit­u­a­tion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 3, 2016, 9:01 pm
  27. With the lat­est armed mili­tia stand­off in Ore­gon still in its ear­ly stages (they warned it could go on for years), it’s worth not­ing that, unlike with the 2014 show­down at the Bundy Ranch, this lat­est show­down is prob­a­bly going to remain Oath Keep­er-free:

    Talk­ing Points Memo News
    Oath Keep­ers Founder: Bundy’s Ore­gon Effort ‘Man­u­fac­tured By Pot­heads’

    By Sara Jerde
    Pub­lished Jan­u­ary 4, 2016, 12:15 PM EST

    The founder of the Oath Keep­ers, a loose­ly orga­nized anti-gov­ern­ment mili­tia group, crit­i­cized Ammon Bundy for protest­ing the arson con­vic­tions of a pair of Ore­gon ranch­ers short­ly before Bundy led the takeover of an emp­ty nation­al wildlife refuge on Sat­ur­day.

    Stew­art Rhodes, pres­i­dent and founder of the Oath Keep­ers, post­ed a video state­ment on the ranch­ers’ sit­u­a­tion in which he crit­i­cized the son of infa­mous Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy for tak­ing up the cause of Dwight and Stew­art Ham­mond. Rhodes brand­ed those involved with Ammon Bundy’s protest as “pot­heads.”

    “The Oath Keep­ers will not be involved in an armed stand off that’s being man­u­fac­tured by pot­heads who want a fight because this is going to be a bad fight, not a right­eous moral high ground fight,” Rhodes said in the video, which was post­ed Thurs­day.

    On Sat­ur­day, Bundy led group of armed mili­tia mem­bers who splin­tered off from a peace­ful protest march in sup­port of the Ham­monds and occu­pied the Mal­heur Nation­al Wildlife Refuge.

    A lawyer for the Ham­monds has said Bundy doesn’t speak for the father-son duo. Rhodes point­ed to that as a rea­son why Bundy should call off his protest.

    “If they don’t want their fam­i­ly in the mid­dle of an armed stand off, I don’t think it’s right for us to go in there and try to force that on them,” Rhodes said. “I think that’s the wrong way to go.”

    The Ham­monds, who were con­vict­ed of arson in 2012, have already served time in jail for set­ting a fire that spread to fed­er­al land. But an appel­late judge recent­ly ruled that the two men need­ed to serve addi­tion­al time in keep­ing with the fed­er­al manda­to­ry min­i­mum sen­tence for the crime.

    Bundy has argued that the Ham­monds weren’t giv­en a fair tri­al, which Rhodes also dis­put­ed in his response.

    “If you’re gonna stand up against abuse, you bet­ter have your ducks in a row and be able to show that this was not a fair tri­al,” Rhodes said.

    Bundy post­ed his own response Fri­day to Rhodes’ video and said that while he has respect for Rhodes, the Oath Keep­ers founder “does not under­stand what is tru­ly tran­spir­ing or he has cho­sen to be in oppo­si­tion.”

    Bundy also assert­ed that he spoke to the Ham­monds, whom he sug­gest­ed gave his group their bless­ing.

    “They have said mul­ti­ple times that this is about Har­ney Coun­ty, that this is about the Unit­ed States and each per­son in it, that if we do not stand and put these things to an end that what has hap­pened to them will hap­pen to more and more peo­ple,” Bundy said. “And it is that sim­ple. That the bla­tant vio­la­tions of the Con­sti­tu­tion will become the nor­mal, will become a prece­dence. This is their mes­sage, that this is what they have very clear­ly com­mu­ni­cat­ed to me. That this is more than about them and that they sup­port us stand­ing.”

    ...

    “The Oath Keep­ers will not be involved in an armed stand off that’s being man­u­fac­tured by pot­heads who want a fight because this is going to be a bad fight, not a right­eous moral high ground fight”
    Those are some strong words from the head of the Oath Keep­ers, and would seem to sug­gest that the legal the­o­ries under­pin­ning this lat­est armed stand­off between the ‘sov­er­eign citizen’-leaning mili­tias and the gov­ern­ment don’t even meet the Oath Keep­ers’ bar for a sit­u­a­tion that war­rants an armed show­down. And that’s not exact­ly a high bar, so it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how much sup­port Ammon Bundy and his crew can gar­ner from across the pre­vi­ous­ly pro-Bundy branch­es of the far-right.

    Of course, we should­n’t for­get that Stew­art Rhodes and the Oath Keep­ers don’t exact­ly have the best rela­tion­ship with some of the fig­ures lead­ing this lat­est stand­off. After all, Ryan Payne, the fel­low who bragged about set­ting up mili­tia sniper teams and who is help­ing lead the cur­rent show­down in Ore­gon, open­ly dis­cussed shoot­ing Rhodes dur­ing the 2014 Bundy ranch show­down after Rhodes pulled his Oath Keep­ers out of “a kill zone” that nev­er was:

    South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter
    Hate­watch
    Back at the Bundy Ranch, It’s Oath Keep­ers vs. Mili­ti­a­men as Wild Rumors Fly

    David Nei­w­ert
    April 30, 2014

    It was the immi­nent drone attack that final­ly did it.

    Para­noid rumors are not only com­mon at gath­er­ings of antigov­ern­ment “Patri­ots,” they’re prac­ti­cal­ly the entire rai­son d’etre for them. So when a wild and para­noid rumor began cir­cu­lat­ing – that Attor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Hold­er was prepar­ing a drone strike on the armed mili­ti­a­men who gath­ered at Cliv­en Bundy’s ranch in Neva­da – it unleashed a rift with­in the camp, which is brim­ming with fear, rage, testos­terone and firearms.

    ...

    Appar­ent­ly, some­one with­in one of the major fac­tions at the camp, the Oath Keep­ers, relayed word of the immi­nent drone attack to his lead­ers. Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes respond­ed by pulling his peo­ple out of what they called “the kill zone” (the area the sup­posed drone would be strik­ing). When the oth­er mili­ti­a­men learned that the Oath Keep­ers had pulled out, they were out­raged.

    As you can see in the video below, the angry mili­ti­a­men – led by a Mon­tana “Patri­ot” named Ryan Payne, who has been act­ing as the spokesman for the mili­ti­a­men at the ranch – held an impromp­tu gath­er­ing at the camp to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion. They open­ly talk about shoot­ing Rhodes and oth­er Oath Keep­ers lead­ers – because in their view, the Oath Keep­ers’ actions con­sti­tut­ed “deser­tion” and “cow­ardice” – and describe how “the whole thing is falling apart over there.” At the end, they vote unan­i­mous­ly to oust the Oath Keep­ers, or at least its lead­er­ship, from the Bundy Ranch camp.

    PAYNE: We are open to gen­tle­man­ly con­ver­sa­tion. But this man and the peo­ple that obeyed that order have vio­lat­ed my per­son­al creed. You don’t fu cking walk in and say, ‘I’m sor­ry,’ and you’re back in, broth­er. You can walk in and say you’re sor­ry, and you’re lucky that you’re not get­ting shot in the back. Because that’s what hap­pens to desert­ers on the bat­tle­field.

    For his part, Rhodes and his fel­low Oath Keep­ers are keep­ing a stiff upper lip about the rejec­tion. Rhodes him­self has returned to his Mon­tana home, report­ed­ly for a fam­i­ly birth­day, and his under­lings say he plans to return. Oath Keep­ers orga­niz­er Elias Alias (aka Franklin Shook) described the inci­dent on the group’s web­site as an effort “to sab­o­tage the Bundy stand against the gov­ern­ment,” and report­ed that oth­er “Patri­ot” move­ment lead­ers, includ­ing mili­tia­man Mike Van­der­boegh and Sher­iff Richard Mack, remain firm­ly with­in their camp.

    Alias also tried to explain the incom­ing-drone rumor:

    Yes, it is true: Oath Keep­ers received a bizarre bit of leaked info which could not be ver­i­fied but which also could not be ignored. Our con­tact is con­nect­ed with the Depart­ment of Defense – or ‘was’. The info we received stat­ed that Eric Hold­er of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice had okayed a drone strike on the Bundy ranch near Bunkerville, Neva­da, with­in a 48 hour peri­od over the week­end of April 26/27, 2014.

    That, for­tu­nate­ly, turned out to be ‘dis-info’ – a false rumor. And though it came from a trust­ed source, Oath Keep­ers could nei­ther prove nor dis­prove it.

    In the ensu­ing pan­ic at the camp, “Oath Keep­ers advised peo­ple there to con­sid­er evac­u­a­tion,” Alias said. He referred to the angry reac­tion of the mili­ti­a­men as “back­wash”.

    He also admit­ted that there was a great deal of con­tention about how $40,000 raised on behalf of the Bundy fam­i­ly through the Oath Keep­ers was han­dled, since the orga­ni­za­tion wound up only writ­ing the fam­i­ly a check for $12,500.

    Anoth­er YouTube video, which has since been removed, but tran­scripts of which were post­ed at Dai­lyKos, revealed the depths of the militiamen’s ani­mus towards Rhodes and his orga­ni­za­tion. One of them – the nom­i­nal “head of secu­ri­ty” for the Bundy fam­i­ly, a man nick­named “Boo­da Bear” – rants angri­ly:

    My guys sleep in the dirt out here, we’re on shifts for 14 hours a day and try­ing to make sure that this fam­i­ly stays safe and secure ... and just so every­body knows, as Boo­da, head of secu­ri­ty for the Bundy Fam­i­ly I can swear on the white skin that cov­ers my ass there will not be an Oath Keep­er — there WILL NOT BE AN OATH KEEPER allowed to set foot on the inter­nal ranch prop­er­ty.

    Alias respond­ed to these slurs by sug­gest­ing that “Boo­da” and pals were actu­al­ly FBI plants:

    Some of the pur­port­ed “lead­ers” of the mili­tia at the ranch are doing exact­ly what any agent provo­ca­teur would do after hav­ing infil­trat­ed the mili­tia and claimed a role in lead­er­ship. Did you notice the mas­sive ego about who is going to com­mand who? Did you notice the dra­ma in the ten­den­cy to speak of Oath Keep­ers as if we were a mili­tia, which we are not. These mili­tia “lead­ers” would judge us by bat­tle­field stan­dards even though there has not been a “bat­tle­field” since April 12, 2014? They would shoot us for deser­tion? Real­ly? That is amaz­ing, and is the kind of bum­bling con­scious­ness which a con­di­tioned and pro­grammed spe­cial war­fare offi­cer or a fed­er­al agent would offer if he had to think on his feet of a sud­den.

    ...

    “PAYNE: We are open to gen­tle­man­ly con­ver­sa­tion. But this man and the peo­ple that obeyed that order have vio­lat­ed my per­son­al creed. You don’t fu cking walk in and say, ‘I’m sor­ry,’ and you’re back in, broth­er. You can walk in and say you’re sor­ry, and you’re lucky that you’re not get­ting shot in the back. Because that’s what hap­pens to desert­ers on the bat­tle­field.
    Yep, one of the lead­ers of the cur­rent stand­off, Ryan Payne, want­ed to shoot the Oath Keep­ers in 2014 after Rhodes pulled his men out of the “kill zone” fol­low­ing the warn­ing to the Bundy ranch mili­tias from an Oath Keep­er source that a gov­ern­ment drone attack was com­ing. And Oath Keep­ers respond­ed by sug­gest­ing that Payne might him­self be a gov­ern­ment agent provo­ca­teur.

    Some of the pur­port­ed “lead­ers” of the mili­tia at the ranch are doing exact­ly what any agent provo­ca­teur would do after hav­ing infil­trat­ed the mili­tia and claimed a role in lead­er­ship. Did you notice the mas­sive ego about who is going to com­mand who? Did you notice the dra­ma in the ten­den­cy to speak of Oath Keep­ers as if we were a mili­tia, which we are not. These mili­tia “lead­ers” would judge us by bat­tle­field stan­dards even though there has not been a “bat­tle­field” since April 12, 2014? They would shoot us for deser­tion? Real­ly? That is amaz­ing, and is the kind of bum­bling con­scious­ness which a con­di­tioned and pro­grammed spe­cial war­fare offi­cer or a fed­er­al agent would offer if he had to think on his feet of a sud­den.

    So if you’re one of the cur­rent occu­pants of the wildlife refuge head­quar­ters, and the prospect of liv­ing there indef­i­nite­ly with a hun­dred oth­er mili­tia types (and pre­sum­ably a lim­it­ed sup­ply of food, water, and toi­let paper) starts sound­ing less and less appeal­ing, at least there is some good news: Ryan Payne might not shoot you when you leave...assuming he’s actu­al­ly a fed­er­al agent. It’s not great news, although pret­ty iron­ic.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 4, 2016, 2:33 pm
  28. It sounds like author­i­ties have a plan for deal­ing with the Bundy-led pro-sedi­tion group who decid­ed to occu­py a wildlife refuge in rur­al Ore­gon until the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment pri­va­tizes fed­er­al lands (and what­ev­er oth­er demands they can come up with): Just cut off the pow­er to the build­ing and wait for the freez­ing tem­per­a­tures and lack of sup­plies to force them out. So the mili­tia occu­py­ing that build­ing will prob­a­bly get their win­ter sur­vival skills put to the test fair­ly soon which means we have to hope they don’t end up acci­den­tal­ly light­ing the place on fire in an attempt to stay warm and ‘Waco’-ing them­selves in the process.

    But if they can some­how find a way to sus­tain­ably sur­vive in these con­di­tions for a mat­ter of weeks or longer, it also means that this stand­off could end up hav­ing a real impact on the GOP pri­ma­ry since a big chunk of the GOP base is inevitably going to be at least mod­er­ate­ly sym­pa­thet­ic to any enti­ty that’s look­ing for a show­down with the gov­ern­ment. And that means gen­er­al din com­ing from the remain­ing occu­pants of the 2016 GOP Clown Car is prob­a­bly going to be forced to include a lot more uncom­fort­able procla­ma­tions of sym­pa­thy and dis­ap­proval:

    The New York Times
    Repub­li­can Can­di­dates Tread Care­ful­ly to Ore­gon Protest Stand­off

    By Alan Rappe­port

    1/5/2015 11:49 am ET

    The Repub­li­can Par­ty is one that espous­es the virtues of lim­it­ed gov­ern­ment, but this year’s group of pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates is tread­ing care­ful­ly as a stand­off between author­i­ties and armed antigov­ern­ment pro­test­ers in Ore­gon drags on.

    While some Repub­li­cans were sup­port­ive of the plight of Cliv­en Bundy’s clash with the gov­ern­ment in 2014 over the use of fed­er­al lands, most pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates are sid­ing with law and order this time around. But they are doing so with vary­ing degrees of empa­thy about the cause of the armed pro­test­ers, who took over a remote wildlife refuge over the pros­e­cu­tion of two ranch­ers.

    A roundup of what they have had to say:

    Sen­a­tor Mar­co Rubio: “You can’t be law­less,” Mr. Rubio told KBUR radio. “We live in a repub­lic. There are ways to change the laws of this coun­try and the poli­cies. If we get frus­trat­ed with it, that’s why we have elec­tions.”

    Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz: “Every one of us has the con­sti­tu­tion­al right to protest and speak our minds. But we don’t have a con­sti­tu­tion­al right to use force and vio­lence and to threat­en force and vio­lence on oth­ers.”

    Sen­a­tor Rand Paul: “I’m sym­pa­thet­ic to the idea that the large col­lec­tion of fed­er­al lands ought to be turned back to the states and the peo­ple, but I think the best way to bring about change is through pol­i­tics,” Mr. Paul told The Wash­ing­ton Post. “That’s why I entered the elec­toral are­na. I don’t sup­port any vio­lence or sug­ges­tion of vio­lence toward chang­ing pol­i­cy.”

    For­mer Sen­a­tor Rick San­to­rum: “I cer­tain­ly don’t like the tac­tics they are using,” Mr. San­to­rum told CNN. “We have room for pro­test­ers and we have room for peo­ple exer­cise their rights, at the same time there are con­se­quences that have to be paid for peo­ple who do break the law.”

    Gov. Chris Christie: “There has to be an appro­pri­ate mix of firm­ness in terms of the enforce­ment of the law and care to make sure that you do not undu­ly put human life at risk.In the end the job of law enforce­ment is to enforce the law.”

    Ben Car­son: “I would think that we should try to look at things from both per­spec­tives. Why, in fact, do these ranch­ers feel that way? Let’s hear their griev­ances. I don’t con­done them tak­ing over, you know, a fed­er­al build­ing. You know, we have bet­ter ways of express­ing our dis­plea­sure than that.”

    Gov. John Kasich: “I haven’t heard about this,” Mr. Kasich said in an inter­view with The Des Moines Reg­is­ter on Mon­day. “When did this come out?”

    So, in con­trast to the GOP’s broad embrace of Cliv­en Bundy’s 2014 stand­off, this time around the GOP can­di­dates list­ed above appeared to be large­ly dis­ap­prov­ing of the Bundy band’s tac­tics with the excep­tion of Rand Paul and Ben Car­son.

    But also notice whose opin­ion on the mat­ter isn’t list­ed above: cur­rent front-run­ner Don­ald Trump. It’s an odd silence con­sid­er­ing the amount of atten­tion this sto­ry has received in the last few days. But when you fac­tor in that the Trump cam­paign’s “Vet­er­ans for Trump” co-chair in New Hamp­shire, Jer­ry DeLe­mus, was actu­al­ly part of the orig­i­nal Bundy Ranch stand­off, maybe the silence isn’t so odd. And more just awk­ward:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    ‘Vet­er­an for Trump’ Backed the Bundys

    The can­di­date hasn’t weighed in on the mili­tia protest over fed­er­al lands in Ore­gon, but his ‘Vet­er­ans for Trump’ coali­tion co-chair was a mem­ber of the last band of mer­ry men, led by Cliv­en Bundy, to take over fed­er­al land.

    Gideon Resnick
    01.05.16 12:00 AM ET

    Jer­ry DeLe­mus may be from New Hamp­shire, but his heart is in Ore­gon, where the off­spring of his beloved for­mer asso­ciate Cliv­en Bundy are hold­ing a refuge on fed­er­al land hostage.

    The 61-year-old with a white close-cropped goa­tee, often pic­tured in var­i­ous forms of mil­i­taris­tic camo gear, went on a 41-hour road trip to Neva­da in 2014 to sup­port the efforts of Cliv­en Bundy and his ranch­ers in their stand­off with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. Now over a year lat­er, Dele­mus serves as a co-chair for the “Vet­er­ans for Trump” coali­tion in New Hamp­shire.

    While oth­er GOP can­di­dates have either remained silent or cho­sen to dis­tance them­selves from the action in Ore­gon, Trump has the most direct con­nec­tion to one of the movement’s biggest sup­port­ers, who heads a key Trump coali­tion in a crit­i­cal state.

    DeLe­mus, who did not respond to a request for com­ment for this arti­cle, has a his­to­ry of pro­mot­ing mili­tia action. In 2013 he tried to turn the Rochester, New Hamp­shire wing of Glenn Beck’s 9–12 Group into a mili­tia, at that time, to fight against the pos­si­bil­i­ty of anoth­er finan­cial col­lapse.

    “I believe that we have anoth­er finan­cial col­lapse com­ing soon and it will be worse than the one in 2008,” Dele­mus warned. “There are stark dif­fer­ences we must real­ize that we have near­ly a 0% inter­est rate and our debt is near­ly dou­ble. Not to men­tion our cred­it rat­ing has been dropped. On top of this we have a gov­ern­ment that has no respect or regard for the rule of law as pro­vid­ed in our Con­sti­tu­tion.

    If we do not stand against this insan­i­ty we can be sure we will ful­ly slip into tyran­ny. We are in a sim­i­lar posi­tion our Found­ing Fathers found them­selves in and their deci­sion to stand was equal­ly dif­fi­cult.”

    DeLe­mus is per­haps best known this cam­paign cycle for arrang­ing a New Hamp­shire town hall in Sep­tem­ber dur­ing which Trump failed to cor­rect a man in the audi­ence who called Pres­i­dent Oba­ma a Mus­lim (some­thing which now seems mod­est com­pared to Trump’s recent state­ments).

    New Hamp­shire State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan Itse, now a local town chair for Trump, intro­duced leg­is­la­tion to estab­lish a per­ma­nent state defense force after hear­ing Dele­mus speak, but it was deemed inex­pe­di­ent and died. He thinks that it’s still nec­es­sary.

    “I am still inter­est­ed in requir­ing the orga­ni­za­tion of the mili­tia in the con­sti­tu­tion­al sense (RSA 111 State Guard). That is a mili­tia of which the Gov­er­nor is the Com­man­der in Chief,” he told The Dai­ly Beast. “I have made sev­er­al attempts to require its orga­ni­za­tion. For sev­er­al terms, the claim was that it would cost too much.”

    He said he didn’t know what Trump would do if he were pres­i­dent now.

    ...

    One of the rea­sons why Dele­mus likes Trump so much is that he too abhors polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. In June last year, the rad­i­cal wan­na-be mili­tia­man planned on sched­ul­ing a “Draw Muhammed” event in New Hamp­shire sim­i­lar to the one which turned vio­lent in Gar­land, Texas.

    “I’m not wor­ried about tak­ing a risk,” he said at the time. “It’s more impor­tant to defend our way of life in this coun­try, our con­sti­tu­tion­al rights, for every­body.”

    Trump may not have been a big fan of this plan as he has pre­vi­ous­ly crit­i­cized Pamela Geller, the Islam­o­pho­bic writer behind the orig­i­nal Texas event.It is unclear at this stage if Dele­mus will make a jour­ney out to Ore­gon to rekin­dle his role as “com­man­der of Camp Lib­er­ty,” his so-called title as he enforced secu­ri­ty at the Bundy ranch in 2014.

    “I have not spo­ken to Jer­ry DeLe­mus about this sit­u­a­tion at all,” Dan Tam­bu­rel­lo, anoth­er co-chair of Vet­er­ans for Trump and a state rep­re­sen­ta­tive in New Hamp­shire told The Dai­ly Beast. He said the group does not have an offi­cial stance on the mili­tia occu­pa­tion at the moment. But Tam­bu­rel­lo thinks Trump is the best-equipped per­son to deal with it.

    “I have no doubts a Pres­i­dent Trump would seek a ratio­nal res­o­lu­tion to the sit­u­a­tion, while care­ful­ly find­ing and deal­ing with the root cause,” Tam­bu­rel­lo said. “Don­ald Trump is the world’s great­est nego­tia­tor; he would be ful­ly capa­ble of bring­ing things to a just con­clu­sion con­sid­er­ing all par­ties and the law.”

    He added that he doesn’t have a great deal of knowl­edge about the Bundys lat­est anti-gov­ern­men­tal stand.

    “I have not exam­ined the sit­u­a­tion in Ore­gon in detail, so I do not have an opin­ion at this time. I do believe law-abid­ing cit­i­zens have an inher­ent right of self defense and I am also a firm believ­er in the sec­ond amend­ment of the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion.”

    Trump’s cam­paign has not respond­ed to a request for com­ment about the issue and many can­di­dates, on both the left and right side of the aisle, had lit­tle to say on Sun­day when asked by The Dai­ly Beast. A spokesman for Mike Huckabee’s cam­paign sim­ply respond­ed “what hap­pened?” when asked and by the end of the day no one had a state­ment on the events which had tran­spired.

    On Mon­day, one of the few can­di­dates to dis­cuss the issue at all was Ted Cruz, who inter­est­ing­ly enough has his own ties to Jer­ry Dele­mus after Cruz joined a small group of law­mak­ers who briefly defend­ed rogue cat­tle ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy.

    In 2014, Cruz said he backed the core rea­sons behind Bundy’s fight for free­dom call­ing it an “unfor­tu­nate and trag­ic cul­mi­na­tion of the path that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has set the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment upon.”

    “The details of the Bundy mat­ter may be com­pli­cat­ed,” Cruz said. “But I think the rea­son that this issue is resonating—it’s res­onat­ing in Neva­da and Texas, and res­onat­ing across the country—is that for five years, we have seen our lib­er­ty under assault. We have seen our lib­er­ty under assault from a fed­er­al gov­ern­ment that seems hell-bent on expand­ing its author­i­ty over every aspect of our lives.”

    Now, near­ly two years lat­er, Cruz took a dif­fer­ent tack and said that the mili­ti­a­men should “stand down peace­ably.”

    “We don’t have a con­sti­tu­tion­al right to use force and vio­lence and to threat­en force and vio­lence against oth­ers,” he added to reporters in Iowa on Mon­day.

    ...

    Trump hasn’t com­ment­ed on the Ore­gon stand off but it wouldn’t be entire­ly out of char­ac­ter if he came out and sup­port­ed his mil­i­taris­tic co-chair and the Bundys. In 2014, dur­ing an inter­view with Sean Han­ni­ty, Trump said Cliv­en Bundy was mak­ing an admirable effort.

    “I like his spir­it, I like his spunk,” Trump said. “He ought to go and cut a good deal right now.

    “I like his spir­it, I like his spunk...He ought to go and cut a good deal right now.”
    That was Trump’s take on Cliv­en Bundy’s 2014 stand­off which is part of why, as the arti­cle indi­cates, it wouldn’t be entire­ly out of char­ac­ter if he came out in sup­port of the lat­est Bundy-led act of sedi­tion.

    It all begs the ques­tion of just what kind of deal a Pres­i­dent Trump would have accept­ed back in 2014 and what might he accept with the Ore­gon insur­rec­tion now? We can only spec­u­late since his cam­paign has yet to elu­ci­date his stance on this lat­est stand­off. But as Dean Obei­dal­lah points out below, giv­en the fact that Ammon Bundy has pledge not to leave until the polit­i­cal poli­cies he wants to see imple­ment (pri­va­tiz­ing fed­er­al lands) are put in place and giv­en the fact that he’s threat­en­ing vio­lence if any attempts are made to remove him and his fol­low­ers, it’s not very hard to clas­si­fy the stand­off as not just an act of sedi­tion but a full blown act of ter­ror­ism. And while it seems high­ly unlike­ly that Trump would actu­al­ly clas­si­fy this lat­est stand­off as an act of ter­ror­ism giv­en the pol­i­tics of the sit­u­a­tion, it’s worth recall­ing that, if this was actu­al­ly treat­ed as an act of ter­ror­ism, Trump has already advo­cat­ed that the fam­i­lies of ter­ror­ists should be “tak­en out” in retal­i­a­tion:

    CNN
    Trump, call Ore­gon siege ter­ror­ism

    By Dean Obei­dal­lah

    Updat­ed 8:32 AM ET, Tue Jan­u­ary 5, 2016

    (CNN)On the day that Don­ald Trump released a new cam­paign ad in which he promised to keep us safe from Islam­ic ter­ror­ism, an armed group of Amer­i­can extrem­ists was wag­ing a bat­tle against the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in Ore­gon.

    But don’t hold your breath for Trump to put out an ad con­demn­ing right-wing ter­ror­ists even though they have tak­en more lives on Amer­i­can soil in the past 15 years than Islam­ic ter­ror­ists. Of course, if those mil­i­tants occu­py­ing a fed­er­al pre­serve in Ore­gon were Mus­lims, Trump would be talk­ing about this siege non­stop. (As would the media, but non-Mus­lim ter­ror­ists appear not to be as much of a rat­ings boon as Mus­lim ter­ror­ists.)

    Let’s not mince words: The siege of the Ore­gon fed­er­al wildlife pre­serve is an attack upon the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca by peo­ple who oppose the author­i­ty of our nation’s fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. As the Ore­gon police stat­ed Sun­day, the goal of these men is: “To over­throw the coun­ty and fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in hopes to spark a move­ment across the Unit­ed States.”

    Sim­ply put, this is a ter­ror­ist act. And that’s not just my view. CNN’s nation­al secu­ri­ty ana­lyst Juli­ette Kayyem, who served as an assis­tant sec­re­tary in the U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty, penned an arti­cle Sun­day spelling out why this is a ter­ror­ist act based on her expe­ri­ence as an expert.

    And in review­ing the fed­er­al statute that defines “domes­tic ter­ror­ism,” it would appear the actions of these peo­ple ful­fill the key ele­ments. Specif­i­cal­ly, the armed group has com­mit­ted an act dan­ger­ous to human life with their stand­off and are seek­ing “to influ­ence the pol­i­cy of a gov­ern­ment by intim­i­da­tion or coer­cion.”

    Just so it’s clear, this was not a spur-of-the-moment action. As Ammon Bundy, one of the lead­ers, not­ed: “This is not a deci­sion we’ve made at the last minute.” Bundy also declared they are pre­pared to stay on the land as long as it takes to com­pel the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to give in to their demands.

    Even more alarm­ing is that the mil­i­tants have warned that they would use vio­lence to achieve their polit­i­cal goals, if need be. Ryan Bundy, Ammon’s broth­er, told a reporter that they are wil­ing to kill and be killed if nec­es­sary. Anoth­er mem­ber of the group told a reporter, in words echo­ing what we expect to hear from a jihadist before a ter­ror attack, “I came here to die.”

    The ques­tion now is how will the GOP fron­trun­ner Trump respond? This is a man, as we all are aware, who refus­es to be polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect and is clear­ly not afraid to speak his mind. And he has offered sweep­ing and head­line-grab­bing pre­scrip­tions to counter ter­ror­ism. For exam­ple, after the San Bernardi­no ter­ror­ist attack per­pe­trat­ed by two Mus­lims, he vowed to ban all 1.5 bil­lion Mus­lims from around the world from com­ing to Amer­i­ca.

    Will Trump now respond by call­ing for a ban on white men of a cer­tain age from buy­ing guns? Or at least require more of a back­ground check before white men can pur­chase guns? After all, since 1982, 64% of the mass shoot­ings in the Unit­ed States were car­ried out by whites, all of whom were men, with the excep­tion of one involv­ing a white woman.

    Trump has also made it clear that not only should ter­ror­ists be killed, but so should their fam­i­lies: “The oth­er thing with the ter­ror­ists is you have to take out their fam­i­lies.”

    Under this Trump doc­trine, it would mean that if the Ore­gon mil­i­tants were adju­di­cat­ed as ter­ror­ists, the gov­ern­ment would kill their fam­i­lies as well. Or does Trump have an excep­tion to his edict for non-Mus­lim ter­ror­ists?

    We don’t know, because as of the writ­ing of this arti­cle, Trump has not pub­licly com­ment­ed on the Ore­gon siege. At least his fel­low GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have. Ted Cruz urged the Ore­gon peo­ple to “stand down” while Mar­co Rubio has called them “law­less.” The two have avoid­ed dub­bing them ter­ror­ists.

    I doubt Trump will make the Ore­gon siege a cam­paign issue. After all, this is a guy who has been hes­i­tant to vocal­ly crit­i­cize the white suprema­cist groups that have been pub­licly sup­port­ing him. True, Trump has fired two cam­paign staffers over racist posts on social media, but when he was asked in August if he would flat out repu­di­ate the endorse­ment of for­mer Ku Klux Klan grand wiz­ard David Duke, Trump respond­ed in a less than emphat­ic way to the reporter: “Sure, I would if that would make you feel bet­ter.”

    ...

    “I doubt Trump will make the Ore­gon siege a cam­paign issue. After all, this is a guy who has been hes­i­tant to vocal­ly crit­i­cize the white suprema­cist groups that have been pub­licly sup­port­ing him.”
    And that pret­ty much sum­ma­rizes the sit­u­a­tion: Trump can’t crit­i­cize the Bundy move­ment too much because peo­ple that want to over­throw soci­ety are a core com­po­nent of the Trump base. Of course, that’s basi­cal­ly the base of the rest of Trump’s GOP pri­ma­ry oppo­nents too. And since vir­tu­al­ly all of his oppo­nents have already come out against this lat­est act of Bundy sedi­tion, that also leaves a mighty big polit­i­cal oppor­tu­ni­ty for the GOP’s Strong­man can­di­date to make it very clear to the pro-insur­rec­tion wing of the GOP base that he’s their man and he’ll be will­ing to cut all sorts of deals with them once he becomes pres­i­dent.

    Sure, back­ing the Bundys and embrac­ing the mili­tias might com­pli­cate actu­al­ly becom­ing Pres­i­dent. But that’s part of the util­i­ty of embrac­ing pro-insur­rec­tion move­ments as part of your Pres­i­den­tial bid dur­ing a peri­od of mass delu­sion and despair: even if you lose, there’s still an even high­er office you can claw your way into lat­er.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 5, 2016, 3:10 pm
  29. Don­ald Trump final­ly chimed in on the Bundy Brigade’s stand­off in Ore­gon: as with the rest of the GOP’s for­mer Bundy sup­port­ers, this par­tic­u­lar armed stand­off isn’t get­ting any love:

    The Hill
    Trump: I’ll close deal, win Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion

    By Bob Cusack — 01/06/16 06:00 AM EST

    NEW YORK — Don­ald Trump on Tues­day pre­dict­ed he will win the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, uni­fy the par­ty and expand the GOP map in the gen­er­al elec­tion by win­ning states such as Penn­syl­va­nia.

    In an exclu­sive inter­view with The Hill, Trump was more con­fi­dent than ever that he will face off against Hillary Clin­ton this fall.

    “I’ve been a clos­er all my life,” the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man said in his office at Trump Tow­er. “It’s what I do — I win. Oth­er peo­ple don’t win. I know more about win­ning than any­one.”

    “I close. Oth­er peo­ple don’t close,” the GOP front-run­ner added.

    ...

    Through­out the 30-minute inter­view, Trump repeat­ed­ly men­tioned his poll num­bers and the size of the crowds who show up to see him in states from Mass­a­chu­setts to Mis­sis­sip­pi.

    Halfway through, he pon­dered why media out­lets say “Demo­c­ra­t­ic debates” instead of “Demo­c­rat debates.” When told Democ­rats pre­fer Demo­c­ra­t­ic, Trump said “that’s not gram­mat­i­cal­ly cor­rect” and “so wrong.”

    Oth­er issues he addressed in the inter­view includ­ed:

    ...

    • The stand­off in Ore­gon. Armed pro­test­ers on Sat­ur­day night broke into a fed­er­al­ly owned wildlife facil­i­ty and indi­cat­ed they wouldn’t leave until the U.S. gov­ern­ment halts its “tyran­ny.” Cruz and Rubio on Mon­day called on the pro­test­ers to “stand down.” Trump on Tues­day agreed: “You have to main­tain law and order, no mat­ter what.”

    “You have to main­tain law and order, no mat­ter what.”
    Awww. No mili­tia love from the Trump­ster!

    Did the Bundy Brigade final­ly jump the shark with its polit­i­cal patrons? Per­haps, but that does­n’t mean folks won’t even­tu­al­ly warm up to shark jump­ing. Espe­cial­ly if they’re recent fans:

    Talk­ing Points Memo News
    Out­side Patri­ot Groups Are Warm­ing Up To The Bundy Siege In Ore­gon

    By Tier­ney Sneed
    Pub­lished Jan­u­ary 6, 2016, 11:31 AM EST

    The takeover of a fed­er­al wildlife refuge in Ore­gon by armed anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ists Sat­ur­day was ini­tial­ly a step too far for some oth­er hard-right patri­ot groups. But with the occu­piers, led by Ammon Bundy, com­mand­ing nation­al media atten­tion for much of the week, their once-skep­ti­cal fel­low trav­el­ers have start­ed to come around.

    It’s a sub­tle shift, but in inter­views this week some of the most stri­dent extrem­ist crit­ics of the move on the refuge have con­ced­ed that the pub­lic­i­ty the action has pro­duced is help­ful to their cause. And some of the crit­ics have even got­ten in on the action, claim­ing to act as back chan­nels for com­mu­ni­ca­tions among the armed occu­piers, law enforce­ment, and the local com­mu­ni­ty.

    Ear­li­er in the week, groups like the Three Per­centers Club Ore­gon and the Oath Keep­ers post­ed state­ments con­demn­ing the deci­sion to occu­py the refuge cen­ter in Ore­gon after a demon­stra­tion protest­ing the fed­er­al jail sen­tence fac­ing two local ranch­ers, Dwight and Steven Ham­mond. While mem­bers of those groups were involved in orga­niz­ing the protest that pre­ced­ed the occu­pa­tion of the refuge, they decried occu­piers’ tac­tics in the imme­di­ate after­math and claimed they were unaware of the plans to make a stand at the refuge.

    But now, while they still say it was not a part of the orig­i­nal plan to take over the Mal­heur Nation­al Wildlife Refuge, they agree with the occu­piers’ mes­sage and even appre­ci­ate the atten­tion the siege is bring­ing to the griev­ances they have against the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

    BJ Sop­er, of the Cen­tral Ore­gon Con­sti­tu­tion­al Guard, hasn’t been shy about the betray­al he felt when a group of demon­stra­tors — report­ed­ly led by Ammon Bundy — broke off from the protest he helped plan Sat­ur­day to lay siege to unoc­cu­pied com­pound.

    “Over the weeks that we were out there we promised the com­mu­ni­ty that noth­ing would hap­pen with­out their sup­port, and obvi­ous­ly the com­mu­ni­ty at that time did­n’t sup­port that step,” Sop­er told TPM over the phone Tues­day while dri­ving back the 130 miles to Burns from his home in Red­mond. He said he still thinks there were bet­ter options, but as time has gone on he under­stands how they got to that point.

    “There’s a lot of frus­tra­tion built up in the west­ern Unit­ed States that has to do with out the lands are being man­aged and reg­u­lat­ed and what I am see­ing here is that com­ing to a head,” Sop­er said.

    Like­wise, Bran­don Cur­tiss — pres­i­dent of the mili­tia group Three Per­cent of Ida­ho — told TPM Mon­day that “We just don’t agree with the way it was exe­cut­ed. We cer­tain­ly under­stand the frus­tra­tion of the peo­ple there want­i­ng to get the mes­sage out.”

    Cur­tiss was con­cerned, like Sop­er, that Bundy’s group had vio­lat­ed the com­mu­ni­ty’s wish­es and had not worked “through the prop­er chan­nels.”

    How­ev­er, Sop­er told TPM, some of the res­i­dents of the small Ore­gon town have warmed up to the goals of the siege.

    “They’re start­ing to change their tune out there. The com­mu­ni­ty has set­tled down, the dust is set­tling and they’re start­ing to sup­port these guys — by the dozens if not more,” Sop­er said.

    He said he is return­ing to Burns, hav­ing had gone home after the protest, in order to sit down with the com­mu­ni­ty.

    “They’re ask­ing me, how can we sup­port these guys with­out phys­i­cal­ly being there with them and that’s an inter­est­ing sce­nario,” Sop­er said.

    Both Sop­er and Cur­tiss also said they have been com­mu­ni­cat­ing with those inside of the refuge cen­ter as well as the author­i­ties on the scene. (Cur­tiss stressed that he wasn’t an offi­cial medi­a­tor but was “help­ing both sides under­stand” each oth­er)

    Sop­er said he spoke to Har­ney Coun­ty Sher­iff David Ward Sun­day night before head­ing home and again Tues­day morn­ing.

    “I had a very good con­ver­sa­tion with him. I offered him any assis­tance that he would be will­ing to accept,” Sop­er said.

    He said that Ward gave him the heads up that author­i­ties were plan­ning on erect­ing road­blocks on the roads lead­ing into the refuge cen­ter in order to estab­lish a perime­ter.

    (When asked for com­ment by TPM, a pub­lic infor­ma­tion offi­cer at the Har­ney Coun­ty Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter said, “We can’t con­firm any­thing on that.”)

    Sop­er expect­ed an influx of sup­port­ers enter­ing the town in the days to come, not­ing that it would have tak­en the few days for sup­port­ers to pack up and dri­ve to Ore­gon.

    “If they can’t get out of the refuge to be with them then they’re going to be in the town and that pos­es inter­est­ing sce­nar­ios as well,” he said.

    ...

    Well, at least the groups that were work­ing with the protests against the Ham­monds’ jail­ing before the Bundy Brigade’s sur­prise occu­pa­tion of the refuge are becom­ing a lit­tle more recep­tive to the whole “pri­va­tize the fed­er­al lands or we nev­er go away” scheme. That’s sort of progress. And as one of the protest orga­niz­ers put it, the town of Burns, OR, is warm­ing to the mili­tia too. At least dozens of them:

    ...
    “They’re start­ing to change their tune out there. The com­mu­ni­ty has set­tled down, the dust is set­tling and they’re start­ing to sup­port these guys — by the dozens if not more,” Sop­er said.
    ...

    Keep in mind that Burns has a pop­u­la­tion of ~2,800, so dozens of sup­port­ers among the town res­i­dents is also just a few per­cent­age of the total pop­u­la­tion. That rel­a­tive lack of sup­port might frus­trate most move­ments, but when you’re group has names like “The Three Per­centers Club Ore­gon” get­ting a few per­cent to back your cause is right on track! At least that’s one way to spin it.

    But also note the pre­dic­tion of an influx of out­side sup­port­ers, some­thing that’s very pos­si­ble if enough of the broad­er mili­tia move­ment decides this show­down is a sword worth falling on:

    ...
    Sop­er expect­ed an influx of sup­port­ers enter­ing the town in the days to come, not­ing that it would have tak­en the few days for sup­port­ers to pack up and dri­ve to Ore­gon.

    “If they can’t get out of the refuge to be with them then they’re going to be in the town and that pos­es inter­est­ing sce­nar­ios as well,” he said.
    ...

    “If they can’t get out of the refuge to be with them then they’re going to be in the town and that pos­es inter­est­ing sce­nar­ios as well”
    So the mili­tia protests on Sat­ur­day in the town of Burns that sud­den­ly got could seem­ing­ly per­ma­nent­ly relo­cat­ed to the wildlife refuge head­quar­ters could be be sud­den­ly reignit­ed if new mili­tia mem­bers start flood­ing the town. Espe­cial­ly if, as Sop­er sug­gests, the roads to and from the refuge are blocked and protest­ing in the town itself is the only option.

    But also note that, accord­ing to local author­i­ties, the Bundy Brigade is free to come and go from the refuge, which rais­es all sorts of inter­est­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties, espe­cial­ly since the refuge dwellers are cur­rent­ly plead­ing for sup­plies:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire
    Law Enforce­ment Con­firms Mili­ti­a­men Are Free To Come and Go From Refuge

    By Lau­ren Fox
    Pub­lished Jan­u­ary 6, 2016, 11:54 AM EST

    Their sup­plies look to be dwin­dling and mili­tia men who over­took the Mal­heur Wildlife Refuge in Ore­gon have plead­ed with sym­pa­thiz­ers to send food, but law enforce­ment tell TPM that the men are free to resup­ply on their own.

    “Right now, they are allowed to come and grow as they want,” says Bill Fugate, a spokesman for the Ore­gon State police.

    Fugate says that to his knowl­edge, law enforce­ment are “not mon­i­tor­ing what they are doing.”

    “We are not mon­i­tor­ing their move­ments,” Fugate says.

    “Right now, they are allowed to come and grow as they want,” says Bill Fugate, a spokesman for the Ore­gon State police.
    And that pre­sum­ably means they can stock up on all sorts of sup­plies. Food. Ammo. More ammo. And maybe even more vehi­cles to block access and use for defen­sive posi­tions dur­ing the much fear raid by author­i­ties. That might be some­thing they’re inter­est­ing in, con­sid­er­ing their recent activ­i­ties involv­ing repo­si­tion­ing vehi­cles for defen­sive pur­pos­es:

    Talk­ing Points Memo News
    Bundy: Mili­tia Men Take Defen­sive Posi­tion Over Fears Of Raid By Feds

    By REBECCA BOONE
    Pub­lished Jan­u­ary 6, 2016, 9:36 AM EST

    BURNS, Ore. (AP) — The small, armed group occu­py­ing a remote nation­al wildlife pre­serve in Ore­gon has said repeat­ed­ly that local peo­ple should con­trol fed­er­al lands — a sen­ti­ment that frus­trates crit­ics who say the lands are already man­aged to help every­one from ranch­ers to recre­ation­al­ists.

    With the takeover enter­ing its fourth day Wednes­day, author­i­ties had not removed the group of rough­ly 20 peo­ple from the Mal­heur Nation­al Wildlife Refuge in east­ern Ore­gon’s high desert coun­try. But mem­bers of the group — some from as far away as Ari­zona and Michi­gan — were grow­ing increas­ing­ly tense, say­ing they feared a fed­er­al raid.

    Ari­zona ranch­er LaVoy Finicum said Tues­day evening that he believes fed­er­al offi­cials have issued war­rants for the arrest of five group mem­bers — includ­ing him­self and Ammon Bundy — but Finicum offered no details.

    The FBI in Port­land referred calls to the Har­ney Coun­ty Joint Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter, which said in a state­ment it had no infor­ma­tion on arrests or arrest war­rants and that author­i­ties were “still work­ing on a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion.”

    Bundy said they would take a defen­sive posi­tion antic­i­pat­ing a pos­si­ble raid. Late Tues­day, the group moved a large plow vehi­cle to block the refuge’s dri­ve­way.

    Bundy told reporters Tues­day the group would leave when there was a plan in place to turn over fed­er­al lands to locals — a com­mon refrain in a decades-long fight over pub­lic lands in the West.

    “It is our goal to get the log­ger back to log­ging, the ranch­er back to ranch­ing,” said the son of Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy, who was involved in a high-pro­file 2014 stand­off with the gov­ern­ment over graz­ing rights.

    ...

    “Bundy said they would take a defen­sive posi­tion antic­i­pat­ing a pos­si­ble raid. Late Tues­day, the group moved a large plow vehi­cle to block the refuge’s dri­ve­way.”
    So if any­one has an extra vehi­cle and wants to fill it with snacks and warm blan­kets, it sounds like you can just sort of head up to the camp and help cre­ate a sup­ply con­voy. And if you’re real­ly ded­i­cat­ed, you can just add your vehi­cle to their “defen­sive posi­tions” and stay join the par­ty! Grant­ed, there’s going to be even more sup­plies required if you decide to stay espe­cial­ly if the stand­off last years like Bundy said it might.

    In oth­er words, if you decide to stay and join refuge par­ty, def­i­nite­ly do not skimp on the ener­gy drinks. You real­ly don’t want Ryan Payne’s blood sug­ar to drop too low. That’s when all the fun and games might come to the bloody end your mili­tia bud­dies are hav­ing so much fun fear­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 6, 2016, 10:33 am
  30. Don­ald Trump fleshed out his strat­e­gy in an inter­view with the New York Times for how a Trump White House would deal with mili­tia show­downs: He’ll tell the mili­tia they have to leave the prop­er­ty, and if they don’t leave he would invite their lead­ers to nego­ti­ate and use his pow­ers of deal­ing-mak­ing to cut a deal with them:

    The New York Times

    Don­ald Trump Says He Favors Big Tar­iffs on Chi­nese Exports

    By Mag­gie Haber­man
    Jan 7, 2016 11:21 am ET

    Don­ald J. Trump said he would favor a 45 per­cent tar­iff on Chi­nese exports to the Unit­ed States, propos­ing the idea dur­ing a wide-rang­ing meet­ing with mem­bers of the edi­to­r­i­al board of The New York Times.

    Mr. Trump also spoke at length about the stand­off with armed pro­test­ers who last Sat­ur­day seized the head­quar­ters at a fed­er­al wildlife refuge in Ore­gon, sug­gest­ing that he would have called the leader of the group to try to make a deal to end it — and would have act­ed against them if nego­ti­a­tions failed because “you can­not let peo­ple take over fed­er­al prop­er­ty.”

    ...

    In address­ing the Ore­gon stand­off, Mr. Trump also spoke about the “great anger out there” that appears to be fuel­ing the sit­u­a­tion in Burns, Ore.

    “I think what I’d do, as pres­i­dent, is I would make a phone call to who­ev­er, to the group,” he said, adding lat­er, “I’d talk to the leader. I would talk to him and I would say, ‘You got­ta get out — come see me, but you got­ta get out.’”

    “You can­not let peo­ple take over fed­er­al prop­er­ty,” Mr. Trump said. “You can’t, because once you do that, you don’t have a gov­ern­ment any­more. I think, frankly, they’ve been there too long.”

    Mr. Trump said he wasn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly sug­gest­ing a large-scale mil­i­tary action, but that “at a cer­tain point you have to do some­thing and you have to be firm and you have to be strong, you have to be a gov­ern­ment.”

    So Trump’s open­ing bid in deal­ing with armed going seiz­ing Fed­er­al prop­er­ty is that he’ll even­tu­al­ly maybe use force to remove them, but before that hap­pens he’ll invite them nego­ti­ate with Trump him­self to cut a deal. And his rea­son­ing for this approach is that, “You can­not let peo­ple take over fed­er­al property...You can’t, because once you do that, you don’t have a gov­ern­ment any­more. I think, frankly, they’ve been there too long.”

    Now, it’s quite rea­son­able that Trump oppos­es the armed seizure of fed­er­al prop­er­ty because allow­ing that to hap­pen would be a par­tic­u­lar­ly dan­ger­ous prece­dent that under­mines the foun­da­tion of how soci­ety gov­erns itself. But isn’t the promise that the lead­ers of these armed mili­tias will first get to nego­ti­ate direct­ly with Trump so they can “cut a deal” before Trump decides to use force to remove them basi­cal­ly set­ting the same prece­dent that Trump says he wants to avoid? Is this how we’re going to exer­cise the first amend­ment right to peti­tion the gov­ern­ment? Just start an armed show­down the pur­pose of set­ting up a nego­ti­a­tion with the Pres­i­dent?

    Well, if we lis­ten to Trump com­ments back in 2014 over the Cliv­en Bundy ranch stand­off, yes, set­ting up an armed show­down with the gov­ern­ment cre­ates “a great posi­tion” to cut “a great deal” with the gov­ern­ment:

    Fox Nation
    Trump: Bundy Should Make a Deal, Putin ‘Toy­ing’ With Oba­ma

    Pub­lished April 17, 2014

    SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: It appears that ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy’s fight with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is not fin­ished tonight. Sen­a­tor Har­ry Rei­d’s son is now dou­bling down on his dad’s com­ments, claim­ing that Cliv­en Bundy is not a vic­tim and should be pros­e­cut­ed. Now, in a few min­utes, the Bundy fam­i­ly, includ­ing Cliv­en Bundy, will be here exclu­sive­ly to respond.

    But first, reac­tion to this and much, much more in the polit­i­cal world, the one and only Don­ald Trump. How are you?

    DONALD TRUMP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Hi.

    HANNITY: I am on this sea­son’s “Appren­tice.”

    TRUMP: That’s right. I under­stand you’re help­ing a very good friend of yours.

    HANNITY: Ger­al­do and...

    TRUMP: He’s doing well.

    HANNITY: You’re not going to give me any — any clues...

    ...

    HANNITY: You know, over the years, we’ve been friends. I have fol­lowed cas­es you’ve been involved in, land dis­putes, gov­ern­ment bureau­cra­cies. You got to deal with bald eagles. You got to deal with — in this case, it’s a desert tor­toise.

    TRUMP: Right.

    HANNITY: I don’t like heavy-hand­ed gov­ern­ment — 200 agents, snipers sur­round­ing a ranch. Seems a lit­tle over the top to me.

    TRUMP: It’s over the top. It’s very strong. I like him. But you also have to say — and I watched you last night with the lit­tle debate you had going, and she did a very good job.

    HANNITY: Tama­ra.

    TRUMP: Because you do have cer­tain law. You know, I mean, you have it all through­out the Unit­ed States, and they pay their fees and they pay all sorts of graz­ing fees and things that I’m not so accus­tomed to. You know, if I were Cliv­en — and I like him, I like his spir­it, his spunk and I like the peo­ple that — you know, they’re so loy­al...

    HANNITY: I do, too.

    TRUMP: I do like him. I respect him. He ought to go and cut a good deal right now. That’s the best thing that could hap­pen for every­body. It’s real­ly vicious. I’m not involved very much in it. I see it a lit­tle bit by watch­ing you. But he ought to go out and cut a great deal.

    HANNITY: Yes. Actu­al­ly, I think that’s good advice. At this point...

    TRUMP: Yes. What’s he going to do? Are they going to start shoot­ing each oth­er over graz­ing fees?

    HANNITY: Hon­est­ly, my broth­er-in-law was there all week­end and he thought it was com­ing to that. He said...

    TRUMP: Well, a lot of peo­ple thought that. He ought to go out. He’s in a great posi­tion, I think, to cut a great deal, and that’s what he should do.

    “He’s in a great posi­tion, I think, to cut a great deal, and that’s what he should do.”
    Yep, back in 2014, Cliv­en Bundy was “in a great posi­tion” to “cut a great deal” with the gov­ern­ment over his refusal to pay his graz­ing fees. That “great posi­tion” being an armed stand­off cre­at­ed after he invit­ed a slew of mili­tias to set up camp on his prop­er­ty.

    So there we have it. Vote for Trump if you want to tran­si­tion to a form of gov­ern­ment were armed stand­offs put you in “a great posi­tion” to “cut a great deal” with the gov­ern­ment. Sure, Trump hints at the use of force if you can’t reach that deal with the Nego­tia­tor in Chief. But it’s hard to say that a post-nego­ti­a­tion use of force isn’t actu­al­ly desired con­se­quences when you’re talk­ing about armed mili­tias that are going around the nation active­ly look­ing for oppor­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate armed stand­offs so they can show the world how they’re liv­ing under tyran­ny. It’s sort of a win-win sit­u­a­tion for the mili­tias: “cut the deal” or get the vio­lent con­flict they clear­ly want so they can achieve mar­tyr­dom (and 72 acres of reg­u­la­tion free pub­lic lands up in mili­tia heav­en).

    Giv­en all that, you have to about Trump’s atti­tude towards all the non-vio­lent pro­test­ers that rou­tine­ly attend his ral­ly now that’s he’s re-endorsed armed stand­offs as a “great” start­ing point for “cut­ting a deal” with your polit­i­cal lead­ers. Oh, right. We already know his posi­tion on non-vio­lent pro­test­ers...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 7, 2016, 2:55 pm
  31. John McCain recent­ly joined the grow­ing list of Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors think­ing about skip­ping the GOP con­ven­tion in Cleve­land this year. His rea­son? Well, his stat­ed rea­son is that he’s got a cam­paign to run, which is cer­tain­ly true. As the arti­cle below points out, he’s polling even with his Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent and his pri­ma­ry against Kel­li Ward isn’t until August so he’s not even past that phase of the cam­paign yet.

    But as the arti­cle below also points out, he’s got addi­tion­al rea­sons to avoid the con­ven­tion this year, like avoid­ing Trump-relat­ed chaos:

    Cronkite News

    McCain to skip GOP con­ven­tion to focus on elec­tion

    Post­ed Apr 20, 2016, 9:22 am

    Lau­ren Clark & Jes­si­ca Swarn­er

    U.S. Sen. John McCain will not attend the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Cleve­land this July but will be “work­ing and cam­paign­ing through­out Ari­zona,” a cam­paign offi­cial con­firmed Tues­day.

    “He (McCain) has always tak­en every elec­tion seri­ous­ly, this year is no dif­fer­ent,” McCain cam­paign spokes­woman Lor­na Romero said.

    The announce­ment comes as a new poll shows the Ari­zona Repub­li­can and like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirk­patrick, D‑Flagstaff, tied at 42 per­cent of vot­ers sur­veyed, a fact seized on by Kirkpatrick’s cam­paign.

    “Ann Kirk­patrick has John McCain in the tough­est re-elec­tion fight of his career,” said D.B. Mitchell, a spokesman for the Democrat’s cam­paign. He said McCain “hid­ing from the con­ven­tion for the first time in three decades” won’t change the fact that he is los­ing sup­port in the polls.

    But one con­sul­tant sug­gest­ed that McCain’s deci­sion has less to do with a Kirk­patrick chal­lenge and more to do with the sen­a­tor try­ing to dis­tance him­self from cur­rent GOP pres­i­den­tial fron­trun­ner Don­ald Trump and the expect­ed par­ty “blood­bath” in Cleve­land.

    Bill Scheel of Phoenix con­sult­ing firm Javeli­na said sen­a­tors in pur­ple states “are scared to death by get­ting dragged down by Don­ald Trump or (Texas Sen.) Ted Cruz and want to cre­ate as much dis­tance as pos­si­ble.”

    But it’s not Kirk­patrick that McCain will be fac­ing in August, when he will face Repub­li­can chal­lengers Kel­li Ward and Alex Meluskey in the GOP pri­ma­ry.

    “It means McCain is start­ing to feel the heat in his home state,” said Joel Andres Fre­wa, a spokesman for the Meluskey cam­paign.

    He said that while McCain is back in Ari­zona cam­paign­ing, Meluskey will be at the con­ven­tion as a del­e­gate “rep­re­sent­ing the voice of the peo­ple.”

    Ward said McCain’s deci­sion “speaks vol­umes.”

    “Our pri­ma­ry is in August and the con­ven­tion is in July,” Ward said. “It shows he’s pret­ty wor­ried and should be in Ari­zona.”

    But one Repub­li­can polit­i­cal con­sul­tant said McCain’s deci­sion looks beyond the pri­ma­ry to the gen­er­al elec­tion. Jason Rose said McCain’s deci­sion to stay away from the “calami­tous” con­ven­tion was “dis­play­ing his savvy.”

    “It’s a smart play in the short term, and it’s a smart play in the long term,” he said.

    But oth­ers insist the deci­sion to skip the con­ven­tion shows signs of weak­ness from the McCain cam­paign.

    A Rocky Moun­tain Poll released Fri­day showed McCain and Kirk­patrick get­ting 42 per­cent each in a tele­phone sur­vey of 564 reg­is­tered vot­ers.

    The poll showed Kirk­patrick solid­i­fy­ing sup­port among Democ­rats and lead­ing in rur­al areas – which tra­di­tion­al­ly lean Repub­li­can – by a mar­gin of 43 to 39 per­cent. The poll had a mar­gin of error of plus or minus 4.2 per­cent.

    “He’s obvi­ous­ly run­ning scared because he’s in real trou­ble,” said Rodd McLeod, a Demo­c­ra­t­ic polit­i­cal con­sul­tant.

    McLeod said he thinks the Repub­li­can brand is becom­ing more and more “unap­pe­tiz­ing” as the elec­tion cycle goes on, which means the even­tu­al GOP nom­i­nee will not be pop­u­lar in Ari­zona – giv­ing McCain rea­son to stay far away from the “ugly fight” that is brew­ing.

    ...

    Kyle Kondik, man­ag­ing edi­tor of Sabato’s Crys­tal Ball at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Virginia’s Cen­ter for Pol­i­tics, said there’s anoth­er rea­son McCain may not be enthu­si­as­tic about going to Cleve­land.

    While McCain has pledged to sup­port the party’s nom­i­nee, Kondik said he is unlike­ly to do so with gus­to. McCain has feud­ed with Trump, who belit­tled the senator’s war record, and referred to Cruz on the floor of the Sen­ate as a “wacko bird,” Kondik not­ed.

    “No won­der why McCain wouldn’t want to go to the con­ven­tion,” he said.

    “But one Repub­li­can polit­i­cal con­sul­tant said McCain’s deci­sion looks beyond the pri­ma­ry to the gen­er­al elec­tion. Jason Rose said McCain’s deci­sion to stay away from the “calami­tous” con­ven­tion was “dis­play­ing his savvy.””
    Skip­ping the con­ven­tion is savvy. Well, a pos­i­tive spin on it. But pos­si­bly an accu­rate one. It depends on whether or not Don­ald Trump makes fun of him at the con­ven­tion for skip­ping. Don’t for­get that the con­ven­tion is in July, and McCain’s pri­ma­ry is in August. How Trump treats McCain at the con­ven­tion could have a real impact on McCain’s chances of even win­ning the pri­maries. At the same time, whether or not Trump does any­thing to trash or mock McCain at the con­ven­tion, it’s not at all clear Trump can even con­trol his Trumpian hordes from doing some­thing so trep­i­da­tion is some­what under­stand­able this year. It’s not 2008. So we’ll see if it was the right move. It’s hard to say it’s the wrong one at this point. Espe­cial­ly since a recent Gravis Poll (buy­er beware) has Ward lead­ing McCain:

    Politi­cus USA

    Tea Par­ty Insur­gent Kel­li Ward Leads John McCain In Ari­zona GOP Sen­ate Race Poll

    By Kei­th Brekhus on Sat, Aug 22nd, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    A Gravis Mar­ket­ing poll con­duct­ed on August 15th and released August 21st, found Sen­a­tor John McCain trail­ing his Repub­li­can tea par­ty chal­lenger Kel­li Ward by a 45 to 36 per­cent mar­gin. Ward, who rep­re­sents Ari­zona state sen­ate dis­trict 5 in the North­west part of the state, is a far right politi­cian.

    Ward has drawn media atten­tion in the past for con­ven­ing a pub­lic hear­ing on “chem­trails” and for tak­ing extreme posi­tions on gun rights, immi­gra­tion, and oppo­si­tion to gov­ern­ment involve­ment in health care. She is also the lone Ari­zona Sen­a­tor to have vot­ed against ade­quate­ly fund­ing the Depart­ment of Child Safe­ty in 2014.

    Ward’s extreme posi­tions have not dis­qual­i­fied her in the eyes of Repub­li­can vot­ers, how­ev­er. For the tea par­ty faith­ful, Ward’s ampli­fied anti-fed­er­al gov­ern­ment rhetoric and her will­ing­ness to enter­tain con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, is a wel­come con­trast to McCain’s cen­ter right poli­cies. Many Ari­zona Repub­li­cans despise Sen­a­tor McCain as a RINO (Repub­li­can In Name Only).

    The McCain cam­paign dis­missed the poll cit­ing Gravis’ track record of over­es­ti­mat­ing sup­port for insur­gent tea par­ty can­di­dates. While it is not unusu­al for campaign’s to try to spin away bad poll num­bers, team McCain may have a valid crit­i­cism.

    ...

    Democ­rats will be watch­ing the Ari­zona Repub­li­can Sen­ate pri­ma­ry with inter­est, because while Ward may be more pop­u­lar than John McCain with right-wing vot­ers, she is almost cer­tain­ly more like­ly to lose to a Demo­c­rat in a gen­er­al elec­tion.

    The Gravis Mar­ket­ing poll bears out the dis­par­i­ty in strength between the two can­di­dates. The poll showed that while McCain held a 13-point lead over Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gress­woman Ann Kirk­patrick, Ward’s lead was just 5 per­cent­age points. A Ward pri­ma­ry vic­to­ry would imme­di­ate­ly turn the Ari­zona Sen­ate race from a lean Repub­li­can race to a toss up, increas­ing the like­li­hood that the Democ­rats retake con­trol of the U.S. Sen­ate.

    “The Gravis Mar­ket­ing poll bears out the dis­par­i­ty in strength between the two can­di­dates. The poll showed that while McCain held a 13-point lead over Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­gress­woman Ann Kirk­patrick, Ward’s lead was just 5 per­cent­age points. A Ward pri­ma­ry vic­to­ry would imme­di­ate­ly turn the Ari­zona Sen­ate race from a lean Repub­li­can race to a toss up, increas­ing the like­li­hood that the Democ­rats retake con­trol of the U.S. Sen­ate.
    Keep in mind that the Gravis poll prob­a­bly leans Tea Par­ty and over­states Ward’s lead over McCain as the McCain cam­paign (and past evi­dence) is sug­gest­ing. So if it’s biased, McCain’s 8 point rel­a­tive advan­tage against his Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent com­pared to Ward is prob­a­bly even greater. Who knows if McCain is real­ly behind Ward. Time and more polls will tell.

    But the fact that McCain might be skip­ping the con­ven­tion out of fears of Trump-relat­ed con­flicts rais­es an inter­est­ing ques­tion about the Trump phe­nom­e­na: There’s plen­ty of spec­u­la­tion over how Trump might impact the GOP in the gen­er­al elec­tion, but how his impact on the GOP pri­maries? Ari­zon­a’s Sen­ate pri­ma­ry is unusu­al­ly late, but Trump his no doubt had some sort of impact all sorts of GOP pri­ma­ry races. So how have all those race where the GOP “estab­lish­ment” can­di­date faced a Tea Par­ty oppo­nent been impact­ed by the Trumpian rev­o­lu­tion? It seems like any new vot­ers Trump draws into the process would be lean­ing Tea Par­ty gen­er­al­ly speak­ing. Could that be impact­ing John McCain’s chances of going down in the pri­maries in a his­toric defeat by a Tea Par­ty insur­gent? Trump trashed McCain ear­ly on, so that pre­sum­ably did­n’t help McCain this elec­tion sea­son as Trump surged into front-run­ner sta­tus and won over­whelm­ing­ly in Ari­zon­a’s pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry.

    How Trump impacts the GOP’s gen­er­al elec­tion per­for­mance by chang­ing the out­comes of GOP pri­maries or just sour­ing the GOP vot­ers on Trump’s ene­mies with­in the GOP in the gen­er­al elec­tion will be an inter­est­ing ques­tion for poll­sters and polit­i­cal his­to­ri­ans to exam­ine as they pick over the scars Trump leaves on the GOP. But whether or not the Trump cam­paign impact­ed John McCain’s pri­ma­ry race isn’t real­ly in ques­tion. The Trump cam­paign is def­i­nite­ly impact­ing McCain’s pri­ma­ry. Very direct­ly. Unless you assume Roger Stone isn’t affil­i­at­ed with the Trump cam­paign:

    The Ari­zona Repub­lic

    Roger Stone, blast­ed by Ted Cruz, work­ing for Kel­li Ward?

    Dan Now­ic­ki, 3:22 p.m. MST March 28, 2016

    Roger Stone, the vet­er­an Repub­li­can polit­i­cal con­sul­tant who has bat­tled with Sen. Ted Cruz over a Nation­al Enquir­er arti­cle alleg­ing that Cruz cheat­ed on his wife with five women, appar­ent­ly is work­ing for Ari­zona U.S. Sen­ate Repub­li­can chal­lenger Kel­li Ward.

    Stone, a for­mer advis­er to Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial front-run­ner Don­ald Trump, tweet­ed last week that he would be work­ing for Ward, the for­mer state sen­a­tor from Lake Hava­su City who is chal­leng­ing incum­bent U.S. Sen. John McCain, R‑Ariz., in the Aug. 30 pri­ma­ry.

    Stone’s tweet, which Ward’s Twit­ter account retweet­ed, said: “I will be work­ing for @kelliwardaz — GOP Pri­ma­ry- August-Kiss @JohnMcCain good­bye !”

    Nei­ther Stone nor Ward or her cam­paign imme­di­ate­ly respond­ed Mon­day to The Ari­zona Repub­lic’s requests for clar­i­fi­ca­tion about Stone’s role with the Ari­zona cam­paign.

    Stone, whose long career dates to Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon’s era, most recent­ly has been asso­ci­at­ed with Trump, although they no longer have offi­cial ties.

    ...

    Stone’s tweet, which Ward’s Twit­ter account retweet­ed, said: “I will be work­ing for @kelliwardaz — GOP Pri­ma­ry- August-Kiss @JohnMcCain good­bye !””
    That’s both unam­bigu­ous and ambigu­ous. It’s clear that Stone is work­ing for Ward, but it’s unclear what he’s doing. He has to plan the #DaysOfRage, after all. There’s only so much time Stone will have for Ward. But mess­ing with McCain and poten­tial­ly cost­ing him the pri­ma­ry is pret­ty syn­er­gis­tic for Trump giv­en his rela­tion­ship with McCain so we prob­a­bly should­n’t be super sur­prised if Stone decides to invest con­sid­er­able resources into Ward’s cam­paign. That’s a scalp. Plus it bol­sters his wise guy rep.

    Then again, when you read Kel­li Ward’s offi­cial expla­na­tion for the sit­u­a­tion, we prob­a­bly won’t hear much more about Stone work­ing for Ward even if he does because she’s claim­ing to know noth­ing about him and has nev­er met him:

    Politi­co

    Sen­ate Repub­li­cans rebuke Lee — SCOTUS CHARM OFFENSIVE FALLING FLAT – What Paul Ryan heard about Trump abroad — HOUSE TRUMP BACKERS: WE’LL LOCK UP NOMINATION

    04/15/16 07:17 AM EDT

    By Seung Min Kim

    With an assist from Burgess Everett

    ...

    WARDING OFF THE STONE ZONE – Con­tro­ver­sial GOP oper­a­tive and Trump con­fi­dante Roger Stone said last month that he’s now work­ing for Kel­li Ward, who is run­ning against Sen. John McCain in the GOP pri­ma­ry in Ari­zona. But Ward says that Stone is not offi­cial­ly work­ing for the cam­paign – though she didn’t deny that he may be aid­ing her steep bat­tle. “As far as I know, he does not work direct­ly for us,” she said. “I don’t know Roger Stone, I’ve nev­er met him and nev­er talked to him.”

    ...

    “As far as I know, he does not work direct­ly for us...I don’t know Roger Stone, I’ve nev­er met him and nev­er talked to him.”
    Roger is oper­at­ing in stealth-mode. Except for the tweets. But it’s pret­ty clear that Stone is cook­ing up some­thing against McCain, which makes McCain’s deci­sion to skip the con­ven­tion at least some­what savvy. Cleve­land in July is the dirty tricks dan­ger zone for John McCain. Stone’s pres­ence in Ward’s cam­paign makes that clear. You have to won­der if sim­i­lar oper­a­tions are going against oth­er out­spo­ken oppo­nents of Trump fac­ing a pri­ma­ry this year. If so, it could one of the ways Trump shapes the GOP in the long-run.

    And let’s not for­get that Ward, a Trump ally in the gen­er­al elec­tion if she gets the nom­i­na­tion, might be more able to ben­e­fit for Trumpian tail­winds if The Don­ald real­ly does bring out new vot­ers. McCain isn’t get­ting Trump’s endorse­ment, and would­n’t want it in the gen­er­al elec­tion. Ward would and would ben­e­fit from it. So her cam­paign does have a big argu­ment going for it in this year’s hypo­thet­i­cal gen­er­al elec­tion pri­mar­i­ly and that argu­ment is a Trumpian boost. Ward will get Trump vot­er votes McCain won’t. Trump is basi­cal­ly Tea Par­ty, but not quite Koch. Trump vot­ers in Ari­zona will prob­a­bly love Ward. Ward is the like­li­er win­ner in 2016. At least there’s a com­pelling case to be made for that and with the Sen­ate pri­ma­ry in August she’ll have plen­ty of time to make that case. And if Trump inter­venes of Ward’s behalf to help her win the pri­ma­ry, he’s the GOP’s king­mak­er at that pow­er. It works with his God­fa­ther image pro­jec­tion.

    So McCain’s cam­paign had bet­ter be on its toes if it’s going to make it through the pri­ma­ry. Roger Stone is one the scene and Trump pre­sum­ably smells fear after the con­ven­tion skip announce­ment. That’s got to trig­ger some sort of feed­ing instinct or some­thing. It’s going to be a long, hot sum­mer in Ari­zona.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 24, 2016, 1:31 am
  32. With John McCain join­ing in on Don­ald Trump’s ‘Oba­ma caused the Orlan­do ter­ror attack’ meme today, it’s worth keep­ing in mind that Sen­a­tor McCain has­n’t had his pri­ma­ry yet and still has to ensure that he does­n’t con­tin­ue los­ing ground and State Sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward does­n’t con­tin­ue gain­ing ground. And as the arti­cle below points out, it’s also worth keep­ing in mind that for a GOP­er like McCain who has nev­er been real­ly embraced by the Tea Par­ty fac­tion of the GOP, the best way to ensure he beats Ward in the August 30th pri­ma­ry is to become Don­ald Trump:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    How Trump­ism explains John McCain’s claim that Oba­ma is ‘respon­si­ble’ for Orlan­do

    By Chris Cil­liz­za
    June 16 at 4:43 PM

    John McCain is no Don­ald Trump fan. But even he is feel­ing the grav­i­ta­tion­al pull of The Don­ald. (Or, should I say, Mr. Trump.)

    Wit­ness his com­ments Thurs­day that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is “direct­ly respon­si­ble” for the Islam­ic State-inspired attack in Orlan­do over the week­end. McCain quick­ly back­tracked, issu­ing a state­ment via Twit­ter mak­ing clear he “mis­spoke” and that what he meant to say was that Oba­ma’s Iraq poli­cies — and not Oba­ma him­self — were respon­si­ble for the rise of the Islam­ic State.

    [see tweet]

    Okay. It’s of course pos­si­ble that McCain mis­spoke, although accord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post’s Mike DeBo­nis, who was one of the reporters McCain was talk­ing to when he unleashed this quote, McCain was giv­en a chance to clean up the mess right then and there, and did­n’t:

    When pressed by a reporter on the claim that Oba­ma was “direct­ly” respon­si­ble, McCain reit­er­at­ed his point — that Oba­ma should not have with­drawn com­bat troops from Iraq: “He pulled every­body out of Iraq, and I pre­dict­ed at the time that ISIS would go unchecked, and there would be attacks on the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca,” he said. “It’s a mat­ter of record, so he is direct­ly respon­si­ble.”

    I don’t have the abil­i­ty to crawl into McCain’s brain and see exact­ly what he meant at the moment. But, I do think that it’s not unrea­son­able to see Trump’s influ­ence — both on polit­i­cal rhetoric and on Repub­li­can pol­i­tics — here.

    Trump has turned rhetor­i­cal excess into an art form. He says and does things that oth­er politi­cians won’t and, in so doing, dom­i­nates the con­ver­sa­tion vir­tu­al­ly every day. The effect of Trump’s will­ing­ness to “go there” rhetor­i­cal­ly is that it ups the ante for every oth­er Repub­li­can when asked about, say, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma.

    “He’s a good man, but I dis­agree with his poli­cies” is no longer the sort of thing a GOP pol can say. When you have your pre­sump­tive pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee insist­ing that Oba­ma should resign with­in 24 hours of the Orlan­do shoot­ing, there is an expec­ta­tion from the par­ty base that you match that rhetoric.

    McCain has shown a pen­chant for chan­nel­ing the base’s sen­ti­ments in the past. Remem­ber “com­plete the dang fence” dur­ing his 2010 pri­ma­ry fight against for­mer Rep. J.D. Hay­worth? That, of course, came just a few years removed from McCain’s lead­ing role in one of the first attempts at com­pre­hen­sive immi­gra­tion reform.

    Which brings me to the polit­i­cal influ­ence that Trump is bring­ing to bear on McCain. Like in 2010, McCain faces a pri­ma­ry chal­lenge. Unlike 2010, it appears to be a more seri­ous one — in the form of physi­cian and for­mer state sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward. A PPP poll released last month showed McCain at 39 per­cent to Ward’s 26 per­cent. And there were plen­ty of oth­er warn­ing signs for the incum­bent. Just 1 in 3 (35 per­cent) of Repub­li­can vot­ers approve of the job he is doing; among those who iden­ti­fy them­selves as “very con­ser­v­a­tive,” that approval rat­ing is a dis­mal 18 per­cent.

    McCain has nev­er been the best friend of the Repub­li­can base. But the rise of Trump has mas­sive­ly embold­ened a seg­ment of the GOP base that are not, to put it mild­ly, McCain vot­ers. McCain is, of course, aware of how Trump­ism works against him in a Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry. And he also knows that the quick­est way to Repub­li­can base vot­ers’ hearts is via some bash­ing of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma.

    2+2 = McCain on Thurs­day.

    ...

    ““He’s a good man, but I dis­agree with his poli­cies” is no longer the sort of thing a GOP pol can say. When you have your pre­sump­tive pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee insist­ing that Oba­ma should resign with­in 24 hours of the Orlan­do shoot­ing, there is an expec­ta­tion from the par­ty base that you match that rhetoric.

    Oh dear. It appears that John McCain has become a cap­tive of the man who mocked him for being a cap­tive in Viet­nam. This real­ly isn’t the best way to end a polit­i­cal career but it is what it is.

    So did Kel­li Ward also climb aboard the ‘Oba­ma cause Orlan­do’ Trump train? Uh, not quite, but some­thing very sim­i­lar.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 16, 2016, 7:54 pm
  33. Is for­mer Ari­zona State Sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward — John McCain’s 2016 pri­ma­ry chal­lenger and big fan of the Bundy fam­i­ly and their armed stand­offs — about to get the Trump White House­’s back­ing for a pri­ma­ry chal­lenge against GOP Sen­a­tor Jeff Flake, some­one with a rather testy rela­tion­ship with Don­ald Trump? If we go by Ward’s recent talk about how she met with White House and was “encour­aged” to run, then, yes, it’s pos­si­ble we’re going to see a White House backed pri­ma­ry chal­lenge in 2018 with Ward lead­ing the Trumpian charge:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    Flake chal­lenger Kel­li Ward meets with Trump’s White House

    Michael R. Blood
    Pub­lished 8:11 p.m. MT July 17, 2017 | Updat­ed 8:28 p.m. MT July 17, 2017

    A con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can who is run­ning to unseat Ari­zona Sen. Jeff Flake said Mon­day she has met with White House offi­cials about the cam­paign.

    The June meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton points to uneasy ties between Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Flake, a Repub­li­can who was an out­spo­ken crit­ic of the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man in last year’s pres­i­den­tial con­test.

    “I was encour­aged,” Kel­li Ward said of the meet­ing, but she would­n’t divulge details of what was dis­cussed or who attend­ed the sit-down.

    The for­mer state sen­a­tor, who sought to unseat Ari­zona Repub­li­can Sen. John McCain in 2016, called Flake inef­fec­tive and a drag on the Trump agen­da in the Sen­ate.

    Ward acknowl­edged that oust­ing an incum­bent is dif­fi­cult but point­ed to Trump’s sur­prise win in 2016 and added that “times have changed.”

    Flake, a for­mer con­gress­man, is fac­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that he could face mul­ti­ple GOP chal­lengers in the 2018 pri­ma­ry in a bid for a sec­ond term.

    The sen­a­tor has said he did­n’t vote for Trump and sup­ports the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment, a deal the pres­i­dent intends to rene­go­ti­ate or dis­man­tle. But Flake has point­ed out he has sup­port­ed the pres­i­den­t’s Supreme Court and cab­i­net picks.

    He has­n’t said how he will vote on the Repub­li­can health care bill, but recent­ly applaud­ed the inclu­sion of an amend­ment that would allow insur­ers to sell bare-bones, low-cost cov­er­age.

    ...

    ———-

    “Flake chal­lenger Kel­li Ward meets with Trump’s White House” by Michael R. Blood; pp+; 07/17/2017

    ““I was encour­aged,” Kel­li Ward said of the meet­ing, but she would­n’t divulge details of what was dis­cussed or who attend­ed the sit-down.”

    She was “encour­aged” by the White House, accord­ing to Ward. It’s not exact­ly a ring­ing endorse­ment, but it’s bet­ter than noth­ing.

    Although if the fol­low­ing report about White House meet­ings with two oth­er poten­tial can­di­dates is any indi­ca­tion of the White House­’s cal­cu­lus, that “encour­age­ment” may be bet­ter than noth­ing, but prob­a­bly not much bet­ter than noth­ing since Ward appears to be viewed as not only the least elec­table of the three, but also a poten­tial spoil­er that could siphon off votes for whichev­er chal­lenger the White House gets behind:

    Politi­co

    White House squeezes Jeff Flake

    The Ari­zona sen­a­tor’s poten­tial GOP pri­ma­ry foes have been in talks with the pres­i­dent and top admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials.

    By Alex Isen­stadt
    07/17/2017 05:12 AM EDT

    The White House has met with at least three actu­al or prospec­tive pri­ma­ry chal­lengers to Ari­zona Sen. Jeff Flake in recent weeks, a reflec­tion of Don­ald Trump’s strained rela­tions with the sen­a­tor and the lat­est sign of the president’s will­ing­ness to play hard­ball with law­mak­ers who cross him — even Repub­li­can incum­bents.

    Flake, a long­time Trump crit­ic who refused to endorse the pres­i­dent dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, is one of a hand­ful of unde­cid­ed Repub­li­can votes on the Oba­macare repeal effort. He’s also one of the most vul­ner­a­ble Repub­li­cans up for reelec­tion in 2018.

    Since tak­ing office, Trump has spo­ken with Ari­zona state Trea­sur­er Jeff DeWit, a top offi­cial on his 2016 cam­paign, on at least two occa­sions, accord­ing to two sources famil­iar with the talks. More recent­ly, since June, White House offi­cials have also had dis­cus­sions with for­mer state Sen. Kel­li Ward, who has announced her bid, and for­mer Ari­zona GOP Chair­man Robert Gra­ham, who like DeWit is explor­ing a cam­paign.

    At a Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee meet­ing out­side of San Diego in May, David Bossie, Trump’s deputy cam­paign man­ag­er and the pres­i­dent of the influ­en­tial con­ser­v­a­tive out­side group Cit­i­zens Unit­ed, told Gra­ham that either he or DeWit would like­ly get sub­stan­tial back­ing from con­ser­v­a­tives should either enter the con­test, accord­ing to three peo­ple famil­iar with the con­ver­sa­tion.

    “Maybe [Flake] should get back on the Trump team. A lot of peo­ple believe in Trump’s poli­cies,” said for­mer Mari­co­pa Coun­ty Sher­iff Joe Arpaio, a promi­nent immi­gra­tion hard-lin­er who backed Trump, not­ing that the pres­i­dent remained pop­u­lar in Ari­zona. “There’s a silent major­i­ty that’s still there, and still in this state, so watch out.”

    Gra­ham, who has begun review­ing polling and pur­chas­ing cam­paign web­site address­es, was present at a meet­ing this spring of top GOP donors in Ari­zona that was also attend­ed by Chris Ban­non, White House chief strate­gist Steve Bannon’s younger broth­er and a Uni­ver­si­ty of Ari­zona offi­cial. At the top of the agen­da, accord­ing to three peo­ple famil­iar with the event, was a prospec­tive Gra­ham pri­ma­ry against Flake. Dur­ing the meet­ing, which was also attend­ed by Ari­zona Car­di­nals exec­u­tive Michael Bid­will, sev­er­al donors expressed mount­ing frus­tra­tion with the incum­bent.

    Those famil­iar with the gath­er­ing stressed that Chris Ban­non, who is wide­ly viewed as a con­duit to his pow­er­ful broth­er, was more of a lis­ten­er than active par­tic­i­pant and did not artic­u­late his feel­ings about a Flake chal­lenge.

    Chris Ban­non did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    The bad blood between Trump and Flake dates back to the 2016 pres­i­den­tial race, when Flake was fre­quent­ly crit­i­cal of the pres­i­dent. In the wan­ing days of the cam­paign, Trump became so angry with the Ari­zona sen­a­tor that he pro­posed bankrolling a 2018 pri­ma­ry cam­paign against him. Back­stage before a ral­ly in the state, the pres­i­dent vent­ed that he want­ed to find a chal­lenger to run against Flake and that he’d spend $10 mil­lion out of his own pock­et to defeat him.

    Trump is keep­ing close tabs on Flake’s for­tunes back home. Dur­ing a meet­ing with a small group of state Repub­li­can Par­ty chairs in the Oval Office on Tues­day, he asked Ari­zona GOP Chair­man Jonathan Lines for an update on the race. Lines respond­ed by telling the pres­i­dent that the state par­ty did not get involved in pri­maries, accord­ing to three peo­ple famil­iar with the exchange.

    “The mutu­al dis­like runs deep,” said Con­stan­tin Quer­ard, a Repub­li­can strate­gist who over­saw Ted Cruz’s 2016 cam­paign in the state. “That both com­pli­cates [Flake’s] path to re-elec­tion by putting him at odds with much of the Ari­zona GOP, and it makes it very like­ly that if he gets a pri­ma­ry chal­lenger that the Trump team likes, that chal­lenger will be fund­ed and sup­port­ed in a way that makes beat­ing Flake the most like­ly out­come.”

    White House spokesper­sons did not return requests for on-the-record com­ment about the pres­i­den­t’s rela­tion­ship with Flake.

    A Flake spokesman, Joshua Daniels, declined to com­ment on the senator’s con­ver­sa­tions with the admin­is­tra­tion but not­ed that he had “vot­ed with Pres­i­dent Trump over 95 per­cent of the time this year” and had aggres­sive­ly backed sev­er­al White House pri­or­i­ties, includ­ing the suc­cess­ful push to con­firm Supreme Court Jus­tice Neil Gor­such.

    White House offi­cials deny they are active­ly recruit­ing a chal­lenger or that any deci­sion has been made to tar­get Flake. With­in the high­est lev­els of the admin­is­tra­tion, there is hes­i­tan­cy to antag­o­nize the sen­a­tor, whose sup­port is need­ed as the pres­i­dent strug­gles to push his ambi­tious agen­da through Con­gress. There is also some skep­ti­cism that Flake, who has spent over 15 years in elect­ed office and hails from a promi­nent Ari­zona polit­i­cal fam­i­ly, can be defeat­ed in a pri­ma­ry.

    An admin­is­tra­tion-backed pri­ma­ry chal­lenge to Flake would also fur­ther inflame ten­sions with Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell, who over the last sev­er­al weeks has had sev­er­al run-ins with the White House over polit­i­cal plan­ning. McConnell, who is fierce­ly pro­tec­tive of GOP incum­bents and has vowed to pro­tect those fac­ing pri­maries, recent­ly became enraged when a Trump-sanc­tioned out­side group launched an adver­tis­ing blitz tar­get­ing Repub­li­can Sen. Dean Heller of Neva­da, who was also crit­i­cal of the pres­i­dent dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, over his refusal to back the Oba­macare repeal plan.

    Even so, there has been ongo­ing talk at the White House about how a prospec­tive race would play out. Among the ques­tions raised, accord­ing to two peo­ple who have dis­cussed the mat­ter with the admin­is­tra­tion direct­ly, sur­rounds the can­di­da­cy of Ward, a brash con­ser­v­a­tive who was crushed by Repub­li­can Sen. John McCain in a 2016 pri­ma­ry. A well-known fig­ure in the state, she could siphon sup­port from DeWit or Gra­ham, both of whom are regard­ed as more viable can­di­dates.

    The delib­er­a­tions under­score the administration’s dis­dain for Flake. Months before the elec­tion, the sen­a­tor said he wouldn’t endorse Trump, urged oth­er Repub­li­cans to do the same, and declared that he wouldn’t be attend­ing the GOP con­ven­tion because he had to mow his lawn.

    After the Octo­ber emer­gence of the “Access Hol­ly­wood” tape, in which Trump was heard brag­ging about sex­u­al­ly assault­ing women, Flake called on him to with­draw from the race and said he might write in inde­pen­dent can­di­date Evan McMullin, a leader of the 2016 Nev­er Trump move­ment. More recent­ly, Flake said the pres­i­dent lacked an “accept­able ratio­nale” for fir­ing FBI Direc­tor James Comey — a tweak that angered the president’s team.

    In a state filled with con­ser­v­a­tive vot­ers who flocked to Trump’s anti-immi­gra­tion views and promise to build a wall on the south­ern bor­der, Flake’s attacks stood out. Trump won Arizona’s GOP pri­ma­ry by more than 20 per­cent­age points before car­ry­ing the state in the gen­er­al elec­tion.

    Among the president’s most vocal sup­port­ers, the feel­ing of betray­al is par­tic­u­lar­ly intense.

    “He’s the pres­i­dent, so we should stick by him, espe­cial­ly on the Repub­li­can side,” said Arpaio, not­ing that Flake was one of a small group of sen­a­tors who had vocal­ly opposed Trump.

    Yet the com­plaints about Flake extend to oth­er per­ceived apos­tasies, includ­ing his 2016 push to pass a bipar­ti­san gun con­trol bill, his open­ness to nego­ti­ate with for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma over a nuclear pact with Iran, and his push to lift the U.S. embar­go on trav­el to Cuba. While his sup­port­ers praise him as an inde­pen­dent-mind­ed law­mak­er who charts his own path, Flake’s detrac­tors deride him as a grand­stander — one all too will­ing to poke his par­ty in the eye.

    Many of those in the state who pro­vid­ed Trump with finan­cial back­ing in 2016 have begun talk­ing up the pos­si­bil­i­ty of find­ing a pri­ma­ry chal­lenger, with DeWit and Gra­ham among those most fre­quent­ly men­tioned. Oth­ers hold out hope that GOP Rep. Martha McSal­ly, a ris­ing star, or for­mer Gov. Jan Brew­er, a vig­or­ous Trump backer, will enter the race.

    Don Shoot­er, a state leg­is­la­tor and an out­spo­ken backer of the pres­i­dent, pre­dict­ed that a Flake chal­lenger would imme­di­ate­ly be able to raise between $10 mil­lion and $15 mil­lion from donors eager to see the incum­bent unseat­ed. “They’re moti­vat­ed to take Jeff Flake out,” he said.

    ...

    ———-

    “White House squeezes Jeff Flake” by Alex Isen­stadt; Politi­co; 07/17/2017

    “At a Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee meet­ing out­side of San Diego in May, David Bossie, Trump’s deputy cam­paign man­ag­er and the pres­i­dent of the influ­en­tial con­ser­v­a­tive out­side group Cit­i­zens Unit­ed, told Gra­ham that either he or DeWit would like­ly get sub­stan­tial back­ing from con­ser­v­a­tives should either enter the con­test, accord­ing to three peo­ple famil­iar with the con­ver­sa­tion.”

    So Ari­zona state Trea­sur­er Jeff DeWit or for­mer Ari­zona GOP Chair­man Robert Gra­ham might get sub­stan­tial White House back­ing if they enter the pri­ma­ry. But no men­tion of Ward. But there is men­tion of Ward in terms of con­cerns that she might bleed votes from Gra­ham or DeWitt:

    ...
    Even so, there has been ongo­ing talk at the White House about how a prospec­tive race would play out. Among the ques­tions raised, accord­ing to two peo­ple who have dis­cussed the mat­ter with the admin­is­tra­tion direct­ly, sur­rounds the can­di­da­cy of Ward, a brash con­ser­v­a­tive who was crushed by Repub­li­can Sen. John McCain in a 2016 pri­ma­ry. A well-known fig­ure in the state, she could siphon sup­port from DeWit or Gra­ham, both of whom are regard­ed as more viable can­di­dates.
    ...

    That does­n’t sound very encour­ag­ing for Ward.

    And note who was sit­ting on at least one of these meet­ings: Steve Ban­non’s younger broth­er who hap­pens to be a Uni­ver­si­ty of Ari­zona offi­cial and seen as a con­duit to his broth­er:

    ...
    Gra­ham, who has begun review­ing polling and pur­chas­ing cam­paign web­site address­es, was present at a meet­ing this spring of top GOP donors in Ari­zona that was also attend­ed by Chris Ban­non, White House chief strate­gist Steve Bannon’s younger broth­er and a Uni­ver­si­ty of Ari­zona offi­cial. At the top of the agen­da, accord­ing to three peo­ple famil­iar with the event, was a prospec­tive Gra­ham pri­ma­ry against Flake. Dur­ing the meet­ing, which was also attend­ed by Ari­zona Car­di­nals exec­u­tive Michael Bid­will, sev­er­al donors expressed mount­ing frus­tra­tion with the incum­bent.

    Those famil­iar with the gath­er­ing stressed that Chris Ban­non, who is wide­ly viewed as a con­duit to his pow­er­ful broth­er, was more of a lis­ten­er than active par­tic­i­pant and did not artic­u­late his feel­ings about a Flake chal­lenge.
    ...

    Steve Ban­non’s broth­er was sit­ting in on at least the meet­ing with Rober Gra­ham. That’s cer­tain­ly a sign of inter­est.

    So is that the final nail in the cof­fin of Ward’s Sen­ate ambi­tions? Nope. Kel­li Ward has a Plan B:

    AZ Cen­tral

    Roberts: Kel­li Ward says McCain should quit so she can take over

    Lau­rie Roberts, The Repub­lic | azcentral.com Pub­lished 11:34 a.m. MT July 21, 2017 | Updat­ed 2:53 p.m. MT July 21, 2017

    Leave it to Kel­li Ward to see Sen. John McCain’s brain tumor as an oppor­tu­ni­ty for per­son­al advance­ment.

    And she, a doc­tor. How cal­lous can you be?

    Ward, who was trounced by McCain in last year’s elec­tion, is now try­ing to knock off Sen. Jeff Flake in next year’s elec­tion.

    Because appar­ent­ly one drub­bing by her own par­ty isn’t enough.

    But now, it seems, Ward has fig­ured a dif­fer­ent way to get to Wash­ing­ton.

    Right over the still-alive-and-kick­ing body of Sen. McCain.

    On Wednes­day, the day McCain announced that he had brain can­cer, Ward post­ed this mis­sive to Face­book: “Wish­ing Mr. McCain com­fort and peace as he and his fam­i­ly cope with his diag­no­sis and treat­ment.” Accom­pa­ny­ing her Face­book post were two pic­tures of her cam­paign vol­un­teers, com­plete with Ward stick­ers and signs.

    [see image of Ward tweet]

    We can’t wait for McCain. Real­ly?

    On Thurs­day, she told an Indi­ana talk radio sta­tion that she hopes he’ll resign ASAP and that Gov. Doug Ducey will give her the job.

    “I hope that Sen­a­tor McCain is going to look long and hard at this, that his fam­i­ly and his advis­ers are going to look at this, and they’re going to advise him to step away as quick­ly as pos­si­ble,” she said on Indi­ana radio WOWO 1190 AM. “So that the busi­ness of the coun­try and the busi­ness of Ari­zona being rep­re­sent­ed at the fed­er­al lev­el can move for­ward.”

    Nat­u­ral­ly, with her — Chem Trail Kel­li — at the helm.

    Ward said Don­ald Trump’s agen­da “can’t be at a stand­still while we wait for John McCain to deter­mine what he’s going to do.”

    “Because you prob­a­bly real­ize that with John McCain out of com­mis­sion we don’t have 51 votes on the Repub­li­can side,” she said. “That can’t stand. We can’t have until the 2018 elec­tion, wait­ing around to accom­plish the Trump agen­da ... and we can’t be at a stand­still while we wait for John McCain to deter­mine what he’s going to do.”

    Don’t blame McCain for GOP’s inac­tion

    Two things.

    1. Repub­li­cans do have 51 votes even though McCain is absent. Some­one who has spent the last three years run­ning for the U.S. Sen­ate should know that.

    2. Trump’s agen­da isn’t at a stand­still because McCain has can­cer. It’s at stand­still because Trump can’t gov­ern, even with both cham­bers of Con­gress run by his own par­ty.

    Ward, who hasn’t seen McCain’s med­ical records, pro­nounced it unlike­ly that he can return to the Sen­ate “at full force.”

    That’s why he should get out of the way and Ducey should appoint her to take his place. Real­ly.

    “I have a proven track record of years in the Ari­zona state Sen­ate of being extreme­ly effec­tive and of lis­ten­ing to the voice of the peo­ple that I rep­re­sent. And you know, I made an extreme­ly good show­ing against Sen. McCain against all odds.”

    Yes, she real­ly said these things

    Again, real­ly.

    ...

    Hey, at least, Sen. McCain’s is get­ting treat­ment for his can­cer.

    Sad­ly, Kel­li Ward’s dis­turb­ing ten­den­cy to become delu­sion­al remains undi­ag­nosed.

    ———-

    “Roberts: Kel­li Ward says McCain should quit so she can take over” by Lau­rie Roberts; The Repub­lic | azcentral.com; 07/21/2017.

    “On Wednes­day, the day McCain announced that he had brain can­cer, Ward post­ed this mis­sive to Face­book: “Wish­ing Mr. McCain com­fort and peace as he and his fam­i­ly cope with his diag­no­sis and treat­ment.” Accom­pa­ny­ing her Face­book post were two pic­tures of her cam­paign vol­un­teers, com­plete with Ward stick­ers and signs”

    Ok, so is she try­ing to give John McCain a stroke on top of his brain tumor? If so, that was a pret­ty good attempt. Hor­ri­ble, but well done from a mali­cious trolling stand­point. Although not as good/malicious as this one:

    ...
    “I hope that Sen­a­tor McCain is going to look long and hard at this, that his fam­i­ly and his advis­ers are going to look at this, and they’re going to advise him to step away as quick­ly as pos­si­ble,” she said on Indi­ana radio WOWO 1190 AM. “So that the busi­ness of the coun­try and the busi­ness of Ari­zona being rep­re­sent­ed at the fed­er­al lev­el can move for­ward.
    ...

    And not near­ly as not as good as this appar­ent attempt to give every­one a stroke:

    >
    ...
    “Because you prob­a­bly real­ize that with John McCain out of com­mis­sion we don’t have 51 votes on the Repub­li­can side,” she said. “That can’t stand. We can’t have until the 2018 elec­tion, wait­ing around to accom­plish the Trump agen­da ... and we can’t be at a stand­still while we wait for John McCain to deter­mine what he’s going to do.”
    ...

    *Sigh* Oh Kel­li...

    ...
    Two things.

    1. Repub­li­cans do have 51 votes even though McCain is absent. Some­one who has spent the last three years run­ning for the U.S. Sen­ate should know that.

    2. Trump’s agen­da isn’t at a stand­still because McCain has can­cer. It’s at stand­still because Trump can’t gov­ern, even with both cham­bers of Con­gress run by his own par­ty.
    ...

    Some­one should prob­a­bably pull Ward away from her schem­ing for a Sen­ate seat to let her know about what’s actu­al­ly going on in the Sen­ate.

    And note that there is one addi­tion­al rea­son the GOP’s agen­da can’t make it through the Sen­ate despite its 52 seats and it has noth­ing to do with Trump:

    3. The GOP agen­da that Trump inher­it­ed and is try­ing to imple­ment is polit­i­cal poi­son which is why you’re find­ing GOP­ers start­ing to get nau­seous about it.

    Don’t for­get about that one.

    We’ll see if Ward’s com­ments sink her in the polls but it seems pret­ty like­ly that this vul­ture-like behav­ior isn’t going to increase the num­ber of votes she’s siphons off in the upcom­ing pri­ma­ry. Still, the extra-far-right fac­tion of the Ari­zona GOP wants a Trumpian Sen­a­tor and at this point they have two GOP­ers that aren’t exact­ly on Team Trump in the GOP’s weird Trump/Bannon vs “The Estab­lish­ment” fac­tion sys­tem. And that’s going to make GOP pri­maries in Ari­zona extra inter­est­ing in com­ing years. But it may not be Kel­li Ward who fills that role.

    She always has Plan C.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 21, 2017, 7:59 pm
  34. Here’s an inter­est­ing devel­op­ment on the Trump team’s plans to find a pri­ma­ry oppo­nent for Ari­zona GOP Sen­a­tor Jeff Flake: So remem­ber how Trump sur­ro­gates, includ­ing Stave Ban­non’s broth­er, were look­ing like they had con­clud­ed that look­ing at three pos­si­ble can­di­dates — Ari­zona state Trea­sur­er Jeff DeWit, for­mer Ari­zona GOP Chair­man Robert Gra­ham, and for­mer state Sen. Kel­li Ward — and con­clud­ed that Gra­ham and DeWit were eas­i­ly the best shots and the extra-far-right Ward risked siphon­ing votes away from them, allow­ing Flake to make it through the pri­ma­ry?

    Well, Robert Mer­cer has decid­ed to weigh on on the pri­ma­ry race. With a $300,000 dona­tion for Kel­li Ward:

    Politi­co

    Top Trump donor ponies up to take out Flake

    Robert Mer­cer is donat­ing $300,000 to a super PAC back­ing Kel­li Ward, who is run­ning against the GOP sen­a­tor in a pri­ma­ry next year.

    By ALEX ISENSTADT
    08/09/2017 03:14 PM EDT

    One of Don­ald Trump’s most gen­er­ous polit­i­cal bene­fac­tors is pro­vid­ing a six-fig­ure dona­tion to a super PAC devot­ed to unseat­ing Sen. Jeff Flake, an Ari­zona Repub­li­can who has been fierce­ly crit­i­cal of the pres­i­dent.

    Robert Mer­cer, a reclu­sive hedge fund bil­lion­aire who was inti­mate­ly involved in Trump’s rise and helped to bankroll his 2016 cam­paign, is con­tribut­ing $300,000 to a super PAC sup­port­ing for­mer state Sen. Kel­li Ward, who is chal­leng­ing Flake in a Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry next year.

    It’s the lat­est sign that Trump’s polit­i­cal machine is prepar­ing to take on Flake, whose per­sis­tent attacks have angered the pres­i­dent. The White House has met with Ward and two oth­er Repub­li­cans who are mulling pri­ma­ry chal­lenges to the Ari­zona sen­a­tor, state Trea­sur­er Jeff DeWit and for­mer state GOP Chair­man Robert Gra­ham.

    A long­time Trump crit­ic, Flake has made waves with the release of his new book, “Con­science of a Con­ser­v­a­tive.” He argues that his par­ty is in denial about the Trump pres­i­den­cy and blames the GOP for his rise. Over the past week, Flake has launched a nation­al TV tour in which he’s made the case that his par­ty has tak­en the wrong course.

    Dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, Flake refused to endorse Trump and called on him to with­draw after the release of the “Access Hol­ly­wood” tape, in which Trump was heard boast­ing about grop­ing women. The sen­a­tor refused to attend the GOP con­ven­tion, say­ing that he had to stay home to mow his lawn.

    His jabs ran­kled can­di­date Trump, who at one point said that he would be will­ing to spend $10 mil­lion of his own mon­ey to defeat Flake in a 2018 pri­ma­ry.

    And dur­ing a press brief­ing last week, White House press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee Sanders declined to rule out the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the pres­i­dent would help finance an anti-Flake pri­ma­ry effort.

    “Sen. Flake would serve his con­stituents much bet­ter if he was less focused on writ­ing a book and attack­ing the pres­i­dent” and more involved in “pass­ing leg­is­la­tion,” she said.

    Ties between the Mer­cer fam­i­ly and Trump run deep. Mercer’s daugh­ter, Rebekah, is close to sev­er­al of the president’s clos­est aides, includ­ing chief strate­gist Steve Ban­non. In August 2016, Rebekah Mer­cer, a major GOP donor in her own right, played an instru­men­tal role in engi­neer­ing a shake­up that placed Ban­non and Kellyanne Con­way, now a White House coun­selor, atop Trump’s cam­paign.

    In Decem­ber, then-pres­i­dent-elect Trump, Ban­non, and Con­way attend­ed a lav­ish “Vil­lains and Heroes”-themed cos­tume par­ty at the Mer­cer family’s Long Island home.

    Robert Mer­cer also con­tributed to the pro-Ward super PAC, Kel­li­PAC, dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, when Ward unsuc­cess­ful­ly chal­lenged GOP Sen. John McCain. Mer­cer is a pri­ma­ry fun­der of the pro-Trump web­site Bre­it­bart, which pub­lished a num­ber of flat­ter­ing sto­ries about Ward dur­ing her pre­vi­ous bid.

    “We are so grate­ful to Mr. Mer­cer for his coura­geous sup­port for Kel­li Ward, a true con­ser­v­a­tive cham­pi­on. Ear­ly invest­ments in a cam­paign like this are so valu­able,” said Doug McK­ee, KelliPAC’s chair­man, said in a state­ment. “Kel­li is in prime posi­tion to car­ry her mes­sage of account­able, con­sti­tu­tion­al gov­ern­ment all the way to the Unit­ed States Sen­ate. Inter­est from addi­tion­al donors is pour­ing in, and we are con­fi­dent that lead­er­ship like Mr. Mercer’s will allow us to run a robust win­ning effort all the way to Novem­ber of 2018.”

    ...

    Flake is one of the most vul­ner­a­ble GOP sen­a­tors up for reelec­tion in 2018, and many senior Repub­li­cans are wor­ried that his man­i­festo will hurt his prospects — and fur­ther inflame ten­sions with the admin­is­tra­tion. With­in Ari­zona, some of Trump’s biggest donors have been search­ing out a pri­ma­ry oppo­nent to chal­lenge the sen­a­tor.

    The pres­i­dent has yet to declare his sup­port for any of Flake’s prospec­tive oppo­nents, yet he is keep­ing tabs on the pri­ma­ry. Dur­ing a recent meet­ing in the Oval Office, Trump asked the Ari­zona GOP chair­man, Jonathan Lines, for an update on the con­test.

    ———-

    “Top Trump donor ponies up to take out Flake” by ALEX ISENSTADT; Politi­co; 08/09/2017

    “Robert Mer­cer, a reclu­sive hedge fund bil­lion­aire who was inti­mate­ly involved in Trump’s rise and helped to bankroll his 2016 cam­paign, is con­tribut­ing $300,000 to a super PAC sup­port­ing for­mer state Sen. Kel­li Ward, who is chal­leng­ing Flake in a Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry next year.”

    $300,000 ain’t chump change, and there’s a lot more mon­ey where that came from.

    And it’s not just direct cash infu­sions that the Mer­cers are poten­tial­ly offer­ing Ward. As the bil­lion­aires behind Bre­it­bart there’s all sorts of pro-Ward press in a pub­li­ca­tion bound to have sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence in with GOP pri­ma­ry vot­ers that they can offer too:

    ...
    Ties between the Mer­cer fam­i­ly and Trump run deep. Mercer’s daugh­ter, Rebekah, is close to sev­er­al of the president’s clos­est aides, includ­ing chief strate­gist Steve Ban­non. In August 2016, Rebekah Mer­cer, a major GOP donor in her own right, played an instru­men­tal role in engi­neer­ing a shake­up that placed Ban­non and Kellyanne Con­way, now a White House coun­selor, atop Trump’s cam­paign.

    In Decem­ber, then-pres­i­dent-elect Trump, Ban­non, and Con­way attend­ed a lav­ish “Vil­lains and Heroes”-themed cos­tume par­ty at the Mer­cer family’s Long Island home.

    Robert Mer­cer also con­tributed to the pro-Ward super PAC, Kel­li­PAC, dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, when Ward unsuc­cess­ful­ly chal­lenged GOP Sen. John McCain. Mer­cer is a pri­ma­ry fun­der of the pro-Trump web­site Bre­it­bart, which pub­lished a num­ber of flat­ter­ing sto­ries about Ward dur­ing her pre­vi­ous bid.
    ...

    So that’s a pret­ty big boost to Ward’s ambi­tions. And it’s not the only news she got this week. One day after the reports about Mer­cer’s dona­tion we learn about anoth­er group :

    The Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    2 Trump back­ers join Kel­li Ward’s cam­paign to unseat Jeff Flake

    Aug 11, 2017 Updat­ed

    PHOENIX — A polit­i­cal oper­a­tive who helped raise mil­lions of dol­lars to sup­port Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s 2016 cam­paign is join­ing the U.S. Sen­ate cam­paign of for­mer Ari­zona state Sen. Kel­li Ward.

    Thurs­day’s announce­ment that Great Amer­i­ca PAC founder Eric Beach was join­ing Ward’s pri­ma­ry cam­paign to unseat Repub­li­can Sen. Jeff Flake comes a day after anoth­er Trump sup­port­er, Robert Mer­cer, donat­ed $300,000 to Ward’s super-PAC.

    The polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee Beach found­ed was inde­pen­dent but raised more than $28 mil­lion to back Trump. The announce­ment said Great Amer­i­ca PAC exec­u­tive direc­tor Brent Low­der is also join­ing Ward’s cam­paign.

    Ward called both “high­ly accom­plished polit­i­cal oper­a­tives with strong track records of suc­cess,” who are com­mit­ted to help­ing her win.

    ...

    ———-

    “2 Trump back­ers join Kel­li Ward’s cam­paign to unseat Jeff Flake”; The Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 08/11/2017

    “Thurs­day’s announce­ment that Great Amer­i­ca PAC founder Eric Beach was join­ing Ward’s pri­ma­ry cam­paign to unseat Repub­li­can Sen. Jeff Flake comes a day after anoth­er Trump sup­port­er, Robert Mer­cer, donat­ed $300,000 to Ward’s super-PAC.”

    Yep, the founder of the pro-Trump Great Amer­i­ca PAC is join­ing Ward’s cam­paign. Along with its exec­u­tive direc­tor. Pre­sum­ably to raise mon­ey:

    ...
    The polit­i­cal action com­mit­tee Beach found­ed was inde­pen­dent but raised more than $28 mil­lion to back Trump. The announce­ment said Great Amer­i­ca PAC exec­u­tive direc­tor Brent Low­der is also join­ing Ward’s cam­paign.
    ...

    We now have a far-right pro-Trump clan of bil­lion­aires and a pro-Trump small donor-tar­get­ing super-PAC sud­den­ly jump­ing on board the Ward train. That cer­tain­ly changes the race dynam­ic in the upcom­ing Ari­zona GOP Sen­ate pri­ma­ry. It’ll be one to watch. Trump and Mer­cer vs Flake.

    And giv­en that Great Amer­i­ca PAC is an exist­ing pro-Trump super PAC that pre­sum­ably raised mon­ey from peo­ple all around the coun­try in 2016, it rais­es the ques­tion of how much out-of-state small donor cash from all around the US is going to be back­ing Ward on top of the out-of-state bil­lion­aire cash. That will also be some­thing to watch since they know­ing­ly raised mon­ey for some­one they thought was from Chi­na back in Octo­ber of 2016.

    Although it’s unclear how much of any of the mon­ey raised by these guys will actu­al­ly be used to help the Ward cam­paign giv­en Great Amer­i­ca PAC’s track record. As Red State, a con­ser­v­a­tive nev­er-Trumper haven these days, warned its audi­ence back in May 2016 from after Politi­co wrote a piece on how an abun­dance of scam pro-Trump super-PACs where start­ing to hin­der the Trump cam­paign by siphon­ing off funds (the Great Grift is always hun­gry), it appears that Great Amer­i­ca PAC was a par­tic­u­lar­rly notably scam­my PAC. Even Roger Stone called it a scam, although that was in part because Great Amer­i­ca scam PAC siphoned from Stone’s own scam PACs:

    Red State

    Top Trump Advis­er Says Pro-Trump Great Amer­i­ca PAC Is A Scam While Run­ning An Alleged Scam Him­self

    Post­ed at 12:30 pm on May 16, 2016
    by streiff

    There is so much awe­some here that I don’t even know where to begin.

    If you’ve paid any atten­tion at all to Don­ald Trump’s career this will come as no sur­prise that a man who has made his way in the world as a scam is sud­den­ly, him­self, beset by scam­mers..

    As Don­ald Trump rush­es to start col­lect­ing the $1 bil­lion expect­ed to be nec­es­sary to com­pete for the White House, one of his biggest chal­lenges may come from those claim­ing to sup­port him.

    An increas­ing num­ber of unau­tho­rized groups are invok­ing the pre­sump­tive GOP nominee’s name to raise mon­ey, sug­gest­ing that they’ll use the cash to sup­port his cam­paign, even as some appear to be spend­ing most of their mon­ey on con­tracts with favored con­sul­tants.

    Trump’s cam­paign and its allies wor­ry that the groups are doing lit­tle to help the cam­paign and may be doing more harm than good by siphon­ing off cash that would oth­er­wise go to the campaign’s fledg­ling fundrais­ing effort. The cam­paign has dis­avowed sev­er­al of the groups, demand­ing they stop using the candidate’s name in fundrais­ing appeals and call­ing at least one super PAC found­ed by a Trump advis­er a “big-league scam.” But appeals keep com­ing from oth­er groups, with more now join­ing the scrum, and rival groups accus­ing one anoth­er of being scams.

    And mon­ey sent to Trump super PACs is inevitably mon­ey well spent:

    Thus it can be hard for online con­trib­u­tors to dis­tin­guish among the groups tout­ing sup­port for Trump. An out­fit called Restore Amer­i­can Free­dom and Lib­er­ty has blast­ed out emails trum­pet­ing the lat­est polls show­ing Trump tying Hillary Clin­ton, end­ing with a big red CONTRIBUTE but­ton. Accord­ing to its cam­paign finance dis­clo­sures, the group has raised more than $215,000 but spent just $2,000 on ads — split between Ted Cruz and Ben Car­son. Most of the mon­ey went to a New York com­pa­ny called Ama­gi Strate­gies, for what the dis­clo­sures said was fundrais­ing, man­age­ment and research.

    POLITICO, how­ev­er, buries its lede. To date the high­est pro­file pro-Trump PAC has been Great Amer­i­ca PAC. Nat­u­ral­ly, it, like all Don­ald Trump enter­pris­es, attracts only the best peo­ple.

    The PAC has spent more than $1 mil­lion so far on pro-Trump ads but raised eye­brows with a TV spot that looked unpro­fes­sion­al and asked sup­port­ers to call a toll-free num­ber to donate. One of its strate­gists, Jesse Ben­ton, was con­vict­ed this month of buy­ing an endorse­ment for Ron Paul in 2012. And Amy Kre­mer, a tea par­ty activist who was an ear­ly leader of the group, quit this month over a dis­agree­ment with Beach.

    The PAC’s trea­sur­er is Dan Backer, whose con­sult­ing firm, DB Capi­tol Strate­gies, has been paid more than $2,000. Backer is also the trea­sur­er of PACs such as Con­ser­v­a­tive Action Fund and Tea Par­ty For­ward that have spent more on their own oper­at­ing expens­es than on their stat­ed caus­es.

    Noth­ing increas­es donor con­fi­dence like hav­ing a con­vict­ed felon and alleged scam­mer run­ning an orga­ni­za­tion.

    Long­time Trump ally Roger Stone has warned donors to “beware” of Great Amer­i­ca PAC, brand­ing it a “scam.”

    Beware ‑Con­vict­ed felon @JesseBenton and Clin­ton stooge @EdRoliins get caught run­ning SCAM Pro- @realDonaldTrump PAC https://t.co/e3OaMfnahM— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) May 6, 2016

    Part of this is dis­gruntle­ment is because Roger Stone has been rais­ing mon­ey to finance his rent-a-mob effort to pre­vent “vote steal­ing” at the Cleve­land Con­ven­tion and any­thing sent to Great Amer­i­ca PAC cuts into his abil­i­ty to finance racists, neo-nazis, and oth­er key Trump con­stituen­cies from mak­ing the trip.

    Not to be out­done, Trump “cam­paign man­ag­er” and vicious niblet, Corey Lewandows­ki, has accused Roger Stone of run­ning a scam::

    “Big league scam,” Trump cam­paign man­ag­er Corey Lewandows­ki told The Hill.

    “We sent a cease-and-desist let­ter to this PAC in Octo­ber and want noth­ing to do with this,” he said. “These guys are scam artists doing it for their own per­son­al ben­e­fit and seek­ing to prof­i­teer off Trump’s name. Peo­ple should not give to this or any oth­er super-PAC claim­ing to sup­port Don­ald Trump for pres­i­dent.”

    ...

    ———-

    Trump’s cam­paign and its allies wor­ry that the groups are doing lit­tle to help the cam­paign and may be doing more harm than good by siphon­ing off cash that would oth­er­wise go to the campaign’s fledg­ling fundrais­ing effort. The cam­paign has dis­avowed sev­er­al of the groups, demand­ing they stop using the candidate’s name in fundrais­ing appeals and call­ing at least one super PAC found­ed by a Trump advis­er a “big-league scam.” But appeals keep com­ing from oth­er groups, with more now join­ing the scrum, and rival groups accus­ing one anoth­er of being scams.”

    First, note that the pri­ma­ry rea­son Cory Lewandows­ki called Roger Stone’s super-PAC a “big-league scam” is because Stone’s new super-PAC was try­ing to rais­ing mon­ey to dam­age Trump’s pri­ma­ry oppo­nents, which just looks bad. And they were already doing that fake dis­as­so­ci­a­tion the­atrics pre­tend­ing Trump had noth­ing to do with Stone after Stone for­mal­ly left the cam­paign in the Fall of 2015 (to obvi­ous­ly be and “inde­pen­dent” dirty-trick­ster). So Lewandowski’s “Big-league scam” com­ment was part of those the­atrics.

    And sec­ond­ly, yes, Great Amer­i­ca PAC’s strate­gist, Jesse Ben­ton, is Ron Paul’s grans­don-by-mar­riage who was caught buy­ing an import Iowan GOP Sen­a­tor’s sup­port in the 2012 pri­maries, out-com­pet­ing Michelle Bach­mann, So we’ll see if Ben­ton jumps aboard the Ward fol­ly trol­ley. But it just might win with these resources behind it. And get elect­ed and derail things. Ben­ton has to want in on that.

    And yes, Stone’s charge that Great Amer­i­ca PAC was a scam was a bit self-inter­est­ed giv­en his own com­pet­ing scams, but it appears he was cor­rect about Great Amer­i­ca PAC. It was indeed pret­ty scam­my:

    ...
    The PAC has spent more than $1 mil­lion so far on pro-Trump ads but raised eye­brows with a TV spot that looked unpro­fes­sion­al and asked sup­port­ers to call a toll-free num­ber to donate. One of its strate­gists, Jesse Ben­ton, was con­vict­ed this month of buy­ing an endorse­ment for Ron Paul in 2012. And Amy Kre­mer, a tea par­ty activist who was an ear­ly leader of the group, quit this month over a dis­agree­ment with Beach.

    The PAC’s trea­sur­er is Dan Backer, whose con­sult­ing firm, DB Capi­tol Strate­gies, has been paid more than $2,000. Backer is also the trea­sur­er of PACs such as Con­ser­v­a­tive Action Fund and Tea Par­ty For­ward that have spent more on their own oper­at­ing expens­es than on their stat­ed caus­es.

    So while sign­ing up Great Amer­i­ca Pac vet­er­ans might be good for the Ward cam­paign, it’s hard to say it’s good for Ward’s small donors. Mer­cer can fill in for the grift-tax. It’s just one part of the Mer­cer’s full-spec­trum assault on gen­er­al progress and appar­ent­ly the new dom­i­nant GOP busi­ness mod­el.

    So if you sim­ply must sub­si­dize Robert Mer­cer and donate to Kel­li Ward in 2018, donate with cau­tion. Extreme cau­tion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 11, 2017, 10:05 pm
  35. Now that Steve Ban­non has declared ‘war’ on ‘the Estab­lish­ment’ and threat­ened to find pri­ma­ry chal­lengers for every GOP Sen­a­tor who isn’t Ted Cruz — in keep­ing with Ban­non’s gener­ic strat­e­gy of extreme ‘anti-Estab­lish­ment’ pos­tur­ing in order to push an extreme pro-Estab­lish­men­t/pro-bil­lion­aire far right agen­da — here’s a look at how those intra-GOP ten­sions are play­ing out in Ari­zona, where both the Trump admin­is­tra­tion and Steven Ban­non have already declared war on GOP Sen­a­tor Jeff Flake. It’s shap­ing up to be a fas­ci­nat­ing pri­ma­ry because, while it might seem extra bad for Sen­a­tor Flake to have both Ban­non and Trump out to take him down, as the arti­cle makes clear, it’s very unclear how this pri­ma­ry threat process is actu­al­ly going to be play out. Far right nut job Kel­li Ward has already thrown her hat in the ring and is already beat­ing Flake by a large mar­gin in the polls. Both Ban­non and Trump have encour­aged Ward’s chal­lenge, but lin­ger­ing fears about Ward’s appeal in the gen­er­al elec­tion have the White House report­ed­ly look­ing for a dif­fer­ent chal­lenger to get behind. The Trump/Bannon pri­ma­ry chal­lenge against Jeff Flake might have its own pri­ma­ry chal­lenge.

    It’s also fas­ci­nat­ing because it’s unclear who Jeff Flake should root for: some­one like Kel­li Ward who is already beat­ing him in the GOP pri­ma­ry polls but would prob­a­bly be less com­pet­i­tive in a gen­er­al elec­tion, or a less con­tro­ver­sial chal­lenger who might have have Ward’s appeal to the hard core base but won’t suf­fer from her obvi­ous gen­er­al elec­tion lia­bil­i­ties.

    And the fol­low­ing report reminds us of anoth­er anom­aly head­ing into the 2018 mid-terms that will add to Flake’s pri­ma­ry headache: big GOP donors (the real ‘Estab­lish­ment’) are so pissed about the GOP not pass­ing the big leg­is­la­tion they want that they’re already with­hold­ing mon­ey. Mon­ey that would nor­mal­ly be going to incum­bents like Flake. In oth­er words, the Bannon/Trump “war on ‘the Estab­lish­ment’ ” might expe­ri­ence its own war and this is all hap­pen­ing at the same time the real ‘Estab­lish­ment’ (very wealthy donors) is a declar­ing of its own on these same incum­bent GOP­ers. And in the midst of all this fight­ing, it’s hard to ignore that they’re all fight­ing for pret­ty much the same pro-bil­lion­aire far right agen­da. It’s depress­ing, but still fas­ci­nat­ing:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    Flake’s vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty feeds GOP Sen­ate con­cerns

    By: Eri­ca Wern­er and Bob Christie,
    Octo­ber 9, 2017 , 3:34 pm

    Ari­zona Repub­li­can Sen. Jeff Flake’s re-elec­tion race is becom­ing a case study in the GOP’s con­vul­sions among the estab­lish­ment, a furi­ous base and angry donors.

    After buck­ing Don­ald Trump in a state the pres­i­dent won, Flake is bot­tom­ing out in polls. Yet Repub­li­cans look like they may be stuck with a hard-core con­ser­v­a­tive chal­lenger who some fear could win the pri­ma­ry but lose in the gen­er­al elec­tion.

    A White House search for a can­di­date to replace for­mer state Sen. Kel­li Ward in the pri­ma­ry appears to have hit a wall. And now con­ser­v­a­tives want to turn Ari­zona into the lat­est exam­ple of a Trump Train out­sider tak­ing down a mem­ber of the GOP estab­lish­ment.

    “Peo­ple are fool­ing them­selves if they think Jeff Flake is any­thing but a walk­ing dead mem­ber of the Unit­ed State Sen­ate,” said Andy Sura­bi­an, whose Great Amer­i­ca Alliance is back­ing Ward.

    “I don’t see how he sur­vives a pri­ma­ry. I don’t see how he sur­vives a gen­er­al. The num­bers just don’t add up,” added Sura­bi­an, who worked at the White House as an advis­er to Steve Ban­non, then the president’s top strate­gist.

    Despite dis­con­tent among some Repub­li­cans over Ward, Ban­non met with her last week at a con­ser­v­a­tive con­fer­ence in Col­orado Springs to encour­age her cam­paign, accord­ing to a Repub­li­can offi­cial who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­close the pre­vi­ous­ly unre­port­ed pri­vate meet­ing.

    Ward unsuc­cess­ful­ly chal­lenged Arizona’s senior sen­a­tor, John McCain, in last year’s elec­tion, los­ing in the pri­ma­ry by a wide mar­gin. But in Flake, she would face a more vul­ner­a­ble can­di­date at a moment when the GOP estab­lish­ment is on the defen­sive, fac­ing a sim­mer­ing anti-incum­bent mood height­ened by Repub­li­cans’ fail­ure to make good on sev­en years of promis­es to scrap Barack Obama’s health care law.

    Flake is in dan­ger of becom­ing the lat­est vic­tim of this vot­er wrath. Yet, rather than mak­ing an effort to soothe pro-Trump GOP vot­ers, he’s all but dared them to take him down by kick­ing off his cam­paign with an anti-Trump man­i­festo, “Con­science of a Con­ser­v­a­tive,” a book in which he bemoaned his party’s fail­ure to stand up to Trump in last year’s pres­i­den­tial race.

    “We pre­tend­ed that the emper­or wasn’t naked,” Flake wrote.

    Trump, in turn, has lashed out at Flake on Twit­ter, call­ing him “tox­ic,” and praised Ward. White House offi­cials say there’s lit­tle chance Trump will have a change of heart over sup­port­ing Flake. One offi­cial, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­close pri­vate delib­er­a­tions, said Trump is irri­tat­ed not only by Flake’s pub­lic crit­i­cism, but by what Trump sees as the senator’s attempts to use his cri­tiques of the pres­i­dent to gain atten­tion.

    Nev­er­the­less, Flake, 54, insists he won’t be get­ting out of the race. The pri­ma­ry is Aug. 29.

    ...

    Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell, R‑Ky., has pro­tect­ed vul­ner­a­ble GOP sen­a­tors in the past, but his abil­i­ty to do so in the future was thrown into ques­tion last month by Sen. Luther Strange’s loss to rab­ble-rous­ing Roy Moore in a runoff in Alaba­ma. A McConnell-aligned super PAC had spent around $9 mil­lion to help Strange.

    Trump was encour­aged by McConnell and oth­ers to back Strange, a deci­sion which he report­ed­ly now regrets and which only added to the fric­tions between the pres­i­dent and the Sen­ate leader. Flake’s can­di­da­cy could pro­vide occa­sion for yet more con­flict between the two, giv­en the pos­si­bil­i­ty that they will be on oppo­site sides in the pri­ma­ry.

    Adding to Flake’s prob­lems, dona­tions to the Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­i­al Com­mit­tee, the Sen­ate GOP cam­paign arm, have dried up after the GOP failed to deliv­er on repeal­ing and replac­ing the Oba­ma health law. Some donors say they intend to with­hold mon­ey from incum­bent sen­a­tors like Flake until they start deliv­er­ing on Trump’s agen­da, a strat­e­gy encour­aged pri­vate­ly by some top White House offi­cials.

    “Donors are going to start cut­ting off fund­ing for all sen­a­tors until they get Trump’s ini­tia­tives passed,” said Roy Bai­ley, a Trump sup­port­er and fundrais­er in Texas. “I think there’s a real kind of move­ment going around that is catch­ing momen­tum.”

    Flake’s cam­paign points to strong fundrais­ing num­bers and upcom­ing events includ­ing a fundrais­ing vis­it Mon­day by Flori­da GOP Sen. Mar­co Rubio. But Flake can’t even count on sup­port from fel­low mem­bers of his Ari­zona del­e­ga­tion. GOP Rep. Trent Franks demurred when asked if he would be sup­port­ing Flake for re-elec­tion

    “I’m prob­a­bly not going to, for a lot of rea­sons, not going to address that,” Franks said. “Obvi­ous­ly, Sen. Flake knows how pro­found­ly bewil­dered and dis­ap­point­ed I was with his actions that, in the gen­er­al elec­tion last year, if every­one had fol­lowed that line of rea­son­ing, would have result­ed in Hillary Clinton’s elec­tion.”

    Franks’ name is one of sev­er­al that have cir­cu­lat­ed as poten­tial pri­ma­ry chal­lengers to Flake, along with Rep. Paul Gosar, state uni­ver­si­ty board mem­ber Jay Heil­er and for­mer state GOP Chair­man Robert Gra­ham. Sev­er­al Repub­li­cans said the White House has been search­ing for some alter­na­tive to Ward.

    Yet Ward shows no sign of step­ping aside, and anoth­er con­sid­er­a­tion, usu­al­ly unspo­ken, is McCain’s brain can­cer, which will like­ly mean anoth­er vacant Sen­ate seat at some point in the future.

    Ward’s errat­ic his­to­ry, which caus­es main­line Repub­li­cans to view her as dam­aged goods, is under­scored by com­ments she made after McCain’s July can­cer diag­no­sis, where she urged him to step down and sug­gest­ed she should be con­sid­ered to replace him.

    “Look, you see what her num­bers were in the McCain race – I don’t know what would make us think dif­fer­ent now,” said Rep. David Schweik­ert, R‑Ariz. Whichev­er Repub­li­can emerges from the pri­ma­ry will like­ly face Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep. Kyrsten Sine­ma, seen as a strong can­di­date.

    It’s all adding to a sea­son of trou­ble for GOP sen­a­tors such as Flake and Dean Heller of Neva­da, who also faces a pri­ma­ry chal­lenge from the right. The good news for Sen­ate Repub­li­cans, who hold a 52–48 major­i­ty, is that they have an extreme­ly favor­able map next year that has them defend­ing only two gen­uine­ly endan­gered incum­bents, Flake and Heller, while Democ­rats are on defense in 10 states Trump won.

    ———-

    “Flake’s vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty feeds GOP Sen­ate con­cerns” by Eri­ca Wern­er and Bob Christie; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 10/09/2017

    “After buck­ing Don­ald Trump in a state the pres­i­dent won, Flake is bot­tom­ing out in polls. Yet Repub­li­cans look like they may be stuck with a hard-core con­ser­v­a­tive chal­lenger who some fear could win the pri­ma­ry but lose in the gen­er­al elec­tion.”

    It’s a quite a fight: Jeff Flake, now an unpop­u­lar incum­bent, has already cratered in the polls and fall­en behind the far right ‘anti-Estab­lish­ment’ Kel­li Ward. But if Ward real­ly does defeat Flake in the pri­maries that could eas­i­ly become a Pyrrhic vic­to­ry that results in a loss in the gen­er­al elec­tion.

    It’s one of the rea­sons the White House is appar­ent­ly still shop­ping around for some­one oth­er than Ward. But not Ban­non, who recent­ly met with Ward and encour­aged her pri­ma­ry chal­lenge:

    ...
    A White House search for a can­di­date to replace for­mer state Sen. Kel­li Ward in the pri­ma­ry appears to have hit a wall. And now con­ser­v­a­tives want to turn Ari­zona into the lat­est exam­ple of a Trump Train out­sider tak­ing down a mem­ber of the GOP estab­lish­ment.

    “Peo­ple are fool­ing them­selves if they think Jeff Flake is any­thing but a walk­ing dead mem­ber of the Unit­ed State Sen­ate,” said Andy Sura­bi­an, whose Great Amer­i­ca Alliance is back­ing Ward.

    “I don’t see how he sur­vives a pri­ma­ry. I don’t see how he sur­vives a gen­er­al. The num­bers just don’t add up,” added Sura­bi­an, who worked at the White House as an advis­er to Steve Ban­non, then the president’s top strate­gist.

    Despite dis­con­tent among some Repub­li­cans over Ward, Ban­non met with her last week at a con­ser­v­a­tive con­fer­ence in Col­orado Springs to encour­age her cam­paign, accord­ing to a Repub­li­can offi­cial who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­close the pre­vi­ous­ly unre­port­ed pri­vate meet­ing.
    ...

    But while these chal­lenges fac­ing Jeff Flake’s pri­ma­ry chal­lenge are no doubt good news for Flake, it’s still not clear who he should be qui­et­ly root­ing for to become his ulti­mate chal­lenger: Ward or an alter­na­tive who is pre­sum­ably less polit­i­cal­ly tox­ic than Ward in the gen­er­al elec­tion. Or per­haps both, turn­ing the pri­ma­ry into a three-way race? A Ban­non-backed Ward and a dif­fer­ent White House-backed chal­lenger both tak­ing on Flake, split­ting the ‘anti-Estab­lish­ment’ vote.

    Might we see a three-way sit­u­a­tion devel­op or will the White House just get behind Ward? It’s a sig­nif­i­cant ques­tion now that Ban­non has declared war on almost all GOP incum­bents, because unlike all those the­o­ret­i­cal pri­ma­ry chal­lenges, the Ari­zona chal­lenge is hap­pen­ing now. So any­thing the White House does in this pri­ma­ry is undoubt­ed­ly being watched by poten­tial pri­ma­ry chal­lengers all over the US. And not just in the eight states where GOP incum­bent Sen­a­tors are run­ning in 2018. Don’t for­get that every House mem­ber in every state is up for reelec­tion too. A lot of eyes are going to be on the White House­’s han­dling of its Ward dilem­ma.

    At the same time, quite a few eyes are going to be on the big mon­ey donors and how they treat Flake. Because if the donors are seri­ous­ly threat­en­ing to with­hold mon­ey from incum­bents unless things like Trump­care and the Trump tax cuts come to fruition — two Estab­lish­ment agen­da items that are polit­i­cal­ly sui­ci­dal giv­en how unpop­u­lar and lit­er­al­ly life-threat­en­ing they are to aver­age peo­ple — and that with­hold­ing remains the case even in the face a Bannon/White House cam­paign to find pri­ma­ry chal­lengers, that means every incum­bent is being put in a sig­nif­i­cant polit­i­cal damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t box. And “top White House offi­cials” qui­et­ly approve of the donors issu­ing this threat. It’s a coor­di­nat­ed effort:

    ...
    Adding to Flake’s prob­lems, dona­tions to the Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­i­al Com­mit­tee, the Sen­ate GOP cam­paign arm, have dried up after the GOP failed to deliv­er on repeal­ing and replac­ing the Oba­ma health law. Some donors say they intend to with­hold mon­ey from incum­bent sen­a­tors like Flake until they start deliv­er­ing on Trump’s agen­da, a strat­e­gy encour­aged pri­vate­ly by some top White House offi­cials.

    “Donors are going to start cut­ting off fund­ing for all sen­a­tors until they get Trump’s ini­tia­tives passed,” said Roy Bai­ley, a Trump sup­port­er and fundrais­er in Texas. “I think there’s a real kind of move­ment going around that is catch­ing momen­tum.”
    ...

    So what this means for the GOP incum­bents is that the donors, Ban­non, and White House have all man­aged to cre­ate a sit­u­a­tion where the most ‘anti-Estab­lish­ment’ thing these Sen­a­tors can do is oppose the Trump agen­da. And that might actu­al­ly be the most polit­i­cal­ly pop­u­lar thing they can do dur­ing this strange polit­i­cal moment like we find our­selves. The GOP base is both super pissed at the GOP not get­ting of its sig­na­ture agen­da items done but simul­ta­ne­ous­ly super pissed when they learn the details of the GOP’s actu­al pro­pos­als. It’s anoth­er damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t box GOP box.

    But now that the White House, Steve Ban­non, and big donors all appear to have gelled around a strat­e­gy of issu­ing threats to GOP incum­bents under the ban­ner of pun­ish­ing these incum­bents for not pass­ing an agen­da that even the GOP base dis­liked it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble for GOP­ers like Jeff Flake to turn spats with Trump and the Trump agen­da into a sort of ‘anti-Estab­lish­ment’ cred. Don’t for­get, the mas­sive tax cuts for the rich are the next big agen­da item. And the donors REALLY want a mas­sive tax cut for them­selves. That’s why they’re issu­ing this threat. And those tax cut pro­pos­als are guar­an­teed to be incred­i­bly unpopular.The mega-donors are hun­gry for a mas­sive tax cut after fail­ing the Oba­macare repeal failed and that’s why there’s already spec­u­la­tion that the tax cuts will fail. It’ll be the same fate as Trump­care: so unpop­u­lar even the GOP can’t pass it.

    So when all these GOP incum­bents start fac­ing simul­ta­ne­ous threats from both the mega donors and the ‘anti-Estab­lish­ment’ Ban­non-wing to pass a mas­sive­ly unpop­u­lar tax cut for the rich, that cre­ates a remark­able open for these GOP incum­bents who have sud­den­ly found them­selves to be the next cat­e­go­ry of expend­able human being in the GOP agen­da: oppos­ing the Trump/Establishment pro-bil­lion­aire agen­da could become the real ‘anti-Estab­lish­ment’ posi­tion for a GOP incum­bent politi­cian to take. But it will only work if they make the kinds of cri­tiques that the GOP base gen­er­al­ly feels, like dis­ap­point­ment in how the Trump/Establishment agen­da is clear­ly writ­ten by and for the mega-rich. It’s a mas­sive polit­i­cal open­ing that these inc­u­men­bents are almost get­ting pushed into tak­ing by this bizarre GOP civ­il war. If these incum­bents are going to be fac­ing damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t choic­es no mat­ter what, they might as well be damned with dig­ni­ty. And not just for the dig­ni­ty. Oppos­ing the Trump/Bannon/Establishment agen­da just might be good pol­i­tics too.

    We’ll see. The par­ty is nuts so who knows what sort of pri­ma­ry envi­ron­ment will ulti­mate­ly unfold. But it’s hard to ignore the amaz­ing unfold­ing cir­cum­stance where the White House and Ban­non’s far right insur­gency move­ment appears to be plan­ning on main­tain­ing that ‘anti-Estab­lish­ment’ polit­i­cal pos­tur­ing by pub­licly run­ning against the GOP Con­gress. And those con­gres­sion­al GOP­ers are being put in a posi­tion where polit­i­cal log­ic is almost beg­ging them to pub­licly oppose the wild­ly unpop­u­lar agen­da GOP mega-donor agen­da the White House and Ban­non are try­ing to get passed.

    With the GOP in com­plete con­trol and still flail­ing it does­n’t have a lot of slo­ga­neer­ing option head­ing into 2018. But that still leaves the GOP the option of run­ning against itself. And that might end up being the best strat­e­gy for the par­ty. It’s absolute­ly fas­ci­nat­ing. Sad! But fas­ci­nat­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 10, 2017, 10:22 pm
  36. Ari­zona State Sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward appears to have a new strat­e­gy to boost her flail­ing bid — cur­rent in sec­ond place — to secure the GOP’s US Sen­ate nom­i­na­tion. And it appears to be a strat­e­gy designed to woo sup­port­ers away from far right sher­iff Joe Arpaio, who is run­ning a dis­tant third but still man­ag­ing to split the far right vote with Ward: Kel­li is going on a far right celebri­ty bus tour!

    It’s not going to be much of a tour. Just a two-day eight-stop tour in all. But what it lacks in dura­tion, it makes up for far right inten­si­ty, but this is one hel­lu­va line­up:

    * Steve King, the far right Iowa con­gress­man who can’t seem to stop retweet­ing neo-Nais.

    * Paul Gosar, the far right Ari­zona con­gress­man who has been recent­ly caught net­work­ing with Euro­pean fas­cists.

    * Tomi Lahren, the right-wing pun­dit dubbed the ‘white pow­er Bar­bie’.

    * Ken­tucky Sen­a­tor Rand Paul, friend of neo-Con­fed­er­ates every­where.

    Oh, and one more fig­ure, who man­ages to be even more open­ly neo-Nazi than the rest:

    * ‘Alt Right’ celebri­ty fig­ure Mike Cer­novich, the pro-rape hyper-misog­y­nist blog­ger who has some­how made a career out of get­ting lib­er­als fired for sex­u­al harass­ment.

    So this is where the GOP is these days: open­ly palling around with fig­ures like Mike Cer­novich is not only no longer a polit­i­cal lia­bil­i­ty. It’s appar­ent­ly a polit­i­cal asset, at least in a GOP pri­ma­ry. Let the hate bus tour com­mence:

    Phoenix New Times

    Kel­li Ward Going on Bus Tour With Right-Wing Celebs to Boost Sen­ate Cam­paign

    Dil­lon Rosen­blatt | August 17, 2018 | 1:39pm

    Kel­li Ward announced on Fri­day she will be going on a statewide bus tour through­out Ari­zona next week to bol­ster her cam­paign for U.S. Sen­ate.

    The two-day tour will make eight stops, start­ing in Lake Hava­su City and end­ing in Yuma.

    This does­n’t sound much like news until you find out who will be join­ing her.

    “A host of high-pro­file speak­ers, as well as state and local dig­ni­taries, will join Dr. Ward on her ‘Road to Vic­to­ry’ tour,” her web­site states.

    For starters, there’s Ari­zona Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul Gosar, fresh off his far-right Lon­don trip paid by an anti-Mus­lim think tank. Ken­tucky Sen­a­tor Rand Paul, and con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist and Piz­za­gate founder Mike Cer­novich.

    Cer­novich recent­ly con­tributed to the fir­ing of Guardians of the Galaxy direc­tor James Gunn over decades-old tweets about rape and pedophil­ia. Iron­i­cal­ly, Cer­novich has a his­to­ry of rape tweets, and was once arrest­ed for rape in 2003. The rape charge was ulti­mate­ly dropped, and he was con­vict­ed of mis­de­meanor bat­tery. The record was lat­er expunged.

    This ought to be quite a road trip.

    But that’s not all who will be join­ing the con­ser­v­a­tive Sen­ate-hope­ful in the days before Ari­zon­a’s pri­ma­ry elec­tion on August 28.

    Tomi Lahren, who crit­ics call “White Pow­er Bar­bie,” will be mak­ing a return trip to Ari­zona after her Amer­i­can Mon­ey Tour came to Glen­dale and Mesa last month. Steve King, a Repub­li­can con­gress­man from Iowa who has a pret­ty infa­mous his­to­ry of mak­ing racist remarks over the years, will also be join­ing. Find the com­plete list here on Ward’s offi­cial site.

    The names seem to get more con­tro­ver­sial as you go through, but these are the peo­ple Ward wants to iden­ti­fy with in a com­pet­i­tive Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry against her oppo­nents, Joe Arpaio and Martha McSal­ly.

    Ward recent­ly made news for doc­tor­ing a tweet from Don­ald Trump that her cam­paign used on mail­ers allud­ing to the fact he is endors­ing her, which he has not. Trump has not yet endorsed any can­di­date for the Ari­zona Sen­ate race that has been gain­ing tons of nation­al atten­tion since Jeff Flake announced he would not seek re-elec­tion.

    Ward’s spokesper­son said, “Like Dr. Ward, all of our guests, as well as nation­al and state dig­ni­taries, are strong on bor­der secu­ri­ty and sup­port­ers of the Amer­i­ca First agen­da. Our cam­paign needs to com­pete with the media and amnesty advo­cates who are prop­ping up an open bor­ders can­di­date in Martha McSal­ly.”

    New poll num­bers from OH Pre­dic­tive Insights show that Ward may be falling well behind McSal­ly in the race, with Arpaio a dis­tant third.

    ...

    ———-

    “Kel­li Ward Going on Bus Tour With Right-Wing Celebs to Boost Sen­ate Cam­paign” by Dil­lon Rosen­blatt; Phoenix New Times; 08/17/2018

    “The two-day tour will make eight stops, start­ing in Lake Hava­su City and end­ing in Yuma.”

    Two days, eight stops, and all the far right fer­vor you can han­dle. There’s Rand Paul, Paul Gosar, Steve King, Tomi Lahren, and ‘Alt-Right’ celebri­ty misog­y­nist Mike Cer­novich:

    ...
    This does­n’t sound much like news until you find out who will be join­ing her.

    “A host of high-pro­file speak­ers, as well as state and local dig­ni­taries, will join Dr. Ward on her ‘Road to Vic­to­ry’ tour,” her web­site states.

    For starters, there’s Ari­zona Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul Gosar, fresh off his far-right Lon­don trip paid by an anti-Mus­lim think tank. Ken­tucky Sen­a­tor Rand Paul, and con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist and Piz­za­gate founder Mike Cer­novich.

    Cer­novich recent­ly con­tributed to the fir­ing of Guardians of the Galaxy direc­tor James Gunn over decades-old tweets about rape and pedophil­ia. Iron­i­cal­ly, Cer­novich has a his­to­ry of rape tweets, and was once arrest­ed for rape in 2003. The rape charge was ulti­mate­ly dropped, and he was con­vict­ed of mis­de­meanor bat­tery. The record was lat­er expunged.

    This ought to be quite a road trip.

    But that’s not all who will be join­ing the con­ser­v­a­tive Sen­ate-hope­ful in the days before Ari­zon­a’s pri­ma­ry elec­tion on August 28.

    Tomi Lahren, who crit­ics call “White Pow­er Bar­bie,” will be mak­ing a return trip to Ari­zona after her Amer­i­can Mon­ey Tour came to Glen­dale and Mesa last month. Steve King, a Repub­li­can con­gress­man from Iowa who has a pret­ty infa­mous his­to­ry of mak­ing racist remarks over the years, will also be join­ing. Find the com­plete list here on Ward’s offi­cial site.

    The names seem to get more con­tro­ver­sial as you go through, but these are the peo­ple Ward wants to iden­ti­fy with in a com­pet­i­tive Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry against her oppo­nents, Joe Arpaio and Martha McSal­ly.
    ...

    And if it was­n’t already clear that Ward is des­per­ate to wres­tle the far right vot­ers away from Arpaio, this bus tour was announce days after Ward’s cam­paign was caught doc­tor­ing a tweet by Don­ald Trump that made it sound like he endorsed her:

    ...
    Ward recent­ly made news for doc­tor­ing a tweet from Don­ald Trump that her cam­paign used on mail­ers allud­ing to the fact he is endors­ing her, which he has not. Trump has not yet endorsed any can­di­date for the Ari­zona Sen­ate race that has been gain­ing tons of nation­al atten­tion since Jeff Flake announced he would not seek re-elec­tion.

    Ward’s spokesper­son said, “Like Dr. Ward, all of our guests, as well as nation­al and state dig­ni­taries, are strong on bor­der secu­ri­ty and sup­port­ers of the Amer­i­ca First agen­da. Our cam­paign needs to com­pete with the media and amnesty advo­cates who are prop­ping up an open bor­ders can­di­date in Martha McSal­ly.”

    New poll num­bers from OH Pre­dic­tive Insights show that Ward may be falling well behind McSal­ly in the race, with Arpaio a dis­tant third.
    ...

    And that lack of an endorse­ment by Trump is rather notable in terms of the broad­er polit­i­cal pic­ture in the US because the two can­di­dates who clear­ly rep­re­sent the Trumpian-world­view in this race are Ward and Arpaio. So if they end up split­ting the vote that more less guar­an­tees Marth McSal­ly wins the pri­ma­ry nom­i­na­tion.

    Recall the reports from last year about how the White House we only give Ward mild sup­port and Steve Ban­non assessed the Ari­zona Sen­ate race and con­clud­ed Ward was unlike­ly to win. Also recall how Trump actu­al­ly par­doned Joe Arpaio, so while Trump has yet to endorse any of the Ari­zona GOP can­di­dates yet, Arpaio did get a pret­ty big proxy endorse­ment with that par­don. You have to won­der if that par­don was actu­al­ly done with the intent of hav­ing Arpaio run for the Sen­ate to split the far right vote with Ward and ensure the ‘mod­er­ate’ McSal­ly wins. If so, it would appear to rep­re­sent a strate­gic retreat from Trump­ism by the White House in order to keep that Sen­ate seat.

    Also recall how Robert Mer­cer did end up donat­ing $300,000 to Ward’s cam­paign. So it would be inter­est­ing to know if Mer­cer was at all involved in arrang­ing for this ‘Hate Bus tour’.

    You also have to won­der how the Ward cam­paign is plan­ning on address­ing the fact that Mike Cer­novich is a leader of the ‘Alt Right’ and one of the most promi­nent misog­y­nists today. He might be good for get­ting votes in a GOP pri­ma­ry but Cer­novich prob­a­bly isn’t going to play well in the gen­er­al cam­paign if Ward’s Bus tour gam­bit actu­al­ly earns her the nom­i­na­tion. Well, we just got our answer: Kel­li Ward was just inter­view by Kasie Hunt on Kasie DC and gave the fol­low­ing answer when asked about why she was accept­ing the sup­port of MIke Cer­novich: “I don’t real­ly know what Mike Cer­novich’s views are. I know he’s got an audi­ence and I want to serve every­one”:

    AZ GOP Sen can­di­date Kel­li Ward will go on a bus tour w/ Mike Cer­novich, an alt-right activist asso­ci­at­ed w/ the Piz­za­Gate conspiracy.JUST NOW: “I don’t real­ly know what Mike Cer­novich’s views are. I know he’s got an audi­ence and I want to serve every­one” Ward said pic.twitter.com/ZRaKrYRPJq— Kasie DC (@KasieDC) August 20, 2018

    Yep, Kel­li Ward denied know­ing any­thing about the guy she invit­ed on her bus tour.

    Of course, as far­ci­cal as such denials are, they’re going to become even more far­ci­cal after the tour, so it will be inter­est­ing to hear her answers to the inevitable fol­low up ques­tions after the tour.

    So we have Don­ald Trump seem­ing­ly run­ning away from and sab­o­tag­ing Kel­li Ward, and Kel­li Ward seem­ing­ly run­ning away from Mike Cer­novich at the same time she’s tour­ing with him. And yet they all are clear­ly ide­o­log­i­cal­ly on the same page and polit­i­cal allies. It’s a reflec­tion of the ongo­ing chal­lenge in the ‘drop­ping of the mask’ phase of main­stream­ing of the far right: The way to make peo­ple like Mike Cer­novich polit­i­cal­ly palat­able in the future is to pal around with him today while pre­tend­ing you don’t know him. It’s kind of like expo­sure ther­a­py for a soci­ety, except you’re try­ing to make soci­ety no longer afraid of Nazis, which isn’t actu­al­ly very ther­a­peu­tic and more like slow poi­son.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 19, 2018, 7:07 pm
  37. Sen­a­tor John McCain died Sat­ur­day after a bat­tle with brain can­cer. His death also came about a day after his fam­i­ly announced that he would no longer be seek­ing treat­ment. This led to the expect­ed out­pour­ing of pub­lic com­ments to com­mem­o­rate his pass­ing. And those expec­ta­tions include the pres­i­dent, which is a par­tic­u­lar­ly awk­ward sit­u­a­tion in this case giv­en the his­to­ry of hos­til­i­ty between McCain and Pres­i­dent Trump. McCain explic­it­ly asked that Trump not attend his funer­al, a request by McCain that should come as no sur­prise when you recall Trump’s 2015 dec­la­ra­tion that he only likes war heroes were weren’t cap­tured. That’s the kind of dis that will get you blocked from a funer­al.

    So it should prob­a­bly come as no sur­prise to learn that Trump per­son­al­ly blocked the White House from issu­ing a state­ment on McCain’s pass­ing and instead Trump issued a brief mean­ing­less tweet before going off to play golf (the tweet praised McCain’s fam­i­ly alone). It was about as icy cold an acknowl­edge­ment of McCain’s death as Trump could get away with.

    And yet, as cold as that was, Pres­i­dent Trump’s dis was­n’t actu­al­ly the most inap­pro­pri­ate response to McCain’s death. That prize goes to none oth­er than Kel­li Ward, the far right Ari­zona state sen­a­tor who chal­lenged McCain in the 2016 pri­ma­ry. She’s run­ning again in the 2018 pri­ma­ry and it’s on Tues­day, two days away. So it’s worth not­ing that Ward’s Trump-league McCain-dis was all done by Ward in the final stretch of a race where she’s in sec­ond place in the polls.

    Also recall how Ward has pre­vi­ous­ly cit­ed her expe­ri­ence as a physi­cian to call for McCain to resign in 2016 over his age (this was before the brain can­cer diag­no­sis), sug­gest­ing that his mind was inevitably declin­ing and that Ward should replace him instead. Also recall how Ward refused to denounce the calls to hang McCain for trea­son by Oath Keep­er’s leader Stew­art Rhodes at a 2015 event Ward attend­ed.

    So, giv­en their his­to­ry, we prob­a­bly should­n’t have expect­ed Ward to be over­ly effu­sive with praise for McCain at this moment. But even with those low expec­ta­tions, the Ward cam­paign some­how found a way to go low­er than expect­ed:

    First, the Ward cam­paign accused the McCain fam­i­ly of inten­tion­al­ly tim­ing the state­ment Fri­day about McCain end­ing treat­ment to cre­ate a nar­ra­tive that por­trays Ward in a neg­a­tive light. So Ward and her cam­paign were claim­ing that the McCain’s made the deci­sion to end med­ical treat­ment, which amounts to an announce­ment of impend­ing death, was timed to screw her. McCain did a deathbed ‘I stab at thee’ act against her. Again, it was a Trump-league trolling effort on Ward’s part.

    And her cam­paign also claimed that the announce­ment was an attempt to dis­tract from the start of Ward’s “Bus Tour” that was also start­ing Fri­day. This is the bus tour where Ward is try­ing to shore up her far right sup­port in the pri­ma­ry (which she is cur­rent­ly split­ting with Joe Arpaio) with a cast of speak­ers like Rep. Steve King, Sen­a­tor Rand Paul, con­ser­v­a­tive com­men­ta­tor Tomi Larhren, and ‘Alt Right’ hyper-misog­y­nist Mike Cer­novich. And that coin­ci­dence was seen as any­thing but a coin­ci­dence by the Ward cam­paign.

    McCain died a few hours after these sus­pi­cions were expressed. Ward went on to attack the media for caus­ing this lat­est con­tro­ver­sy.

    So as bad as icy as Trump’s response was, it could have been ici­er. And in Kel­li Ward’s case it was actu­al­ly ici­er. She took McCain’s deci­sion to announce his impend­ing death as a per­son­al attack.

    Ward even­tu­al­ly issued a state­ment that was nice sound­ing about McCain which Trump did­n’t do. It was cer­tain­ly Trump-league aban­don­ment of decen­cy Ward’s part, which may or may not help in Tues­day’s pri­maries. We’ll see. Keep in mind that McCain is more pop­u­lar with Ari­zon­a’s Democ­rats than Repub­li­cans these days. Diss­ing him on his deathbed might actu­al­ly be polit­i­cal­ly pop­u­lar in the Trump era for all we know.

    And while it’s hard to imag­ine that the McCain fam­i­ly real­ly did time this announce­ment to mess with Ward’s flail­ing cam­paign, if it real­ly is the case McCain’s fam­i­ly did actu­al­ly inten­tion­al­ly time that high­ly per­son­al announce­ment to make Ward look bad, that was a job well done because they man­aged to make Ward’s cam­paign look remark­ably bad at the last minute:

    AZCentral.com

    Kel­li Ward sug­gests John McCain state­ment on end­ing treat­ment timed to hurt her cam­paign

    Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Ari­zona Repub­lic Pub­lished 5:50 p.m. MT Aug. 25, 2018 | Updat­ed 12:49 p.m. MT Aug. 26, 2018

    Kel­li Ward sug­gest­ed Sat­ur­day that the state­ment issued Fri­day by U.S. Sen. John McCain’s fam­i­ly about end­ing treat­ment for brain can­cer was intend­ed to hurt her U.S. Sen­ate cam­paign.

    McCain died Sat­ur­day hours after her remarks.

    Ward, a con­ser­v­a­tive for­mer state sen­a­tor from Lake Hava­su City, is in a three-way race for the Repub­li­can U.S. Sen­ate nom­i­na­tion in Tues­day’s Ari­zona pri­ma­ry.

    Ward wrote on Face­book that “I think they want­ed to have a par­tic­u­lar nar­ra­tive that they hope is neg­a­tive to me.”

    Her com­ment was made under a Face­book post by one of her cam­paign staffers, who ques­tioned if it was “just a coin­ci­dence” that the McCain fam­i­ly released the state­ment the same day that Ward was kick­ing off her cam­paign bus tour, “or if it was a plan to take media atten­tion off her cam­paign?”

    “I’m not say­ing it was on pur­pose but it’s quite inter­est­ing,” Jonathan Williams wrote.

    Aaron Bor­ders, the one­time sec­ond-vice chair­man of a Mari­co­pa Coun­ty Repub­li­can Par­ty group, took screen­shots of Ward’s remarks on Sat­ur­day and con­demned her remark on social media, and in an inter­view with The Ari­zona Repub­lic.

    “It’s wild­ly inap­pro­pri­ate,” said Bor­ders, who is sup­port­ing Ward’s rival, U.S. Rep. Martha McSal­ly, in the GOP race. “It’s class­less. It’s not decent ... it’s very nar­cis­sis­tic. It’s a nar­cis­sist com­ment to sit there and think that the McCain fam­i­ly made this deci­sion to inter­fere with your bus tour.”

    Ward’s cam­paign spokesman, Zach­ery Hen­ry, did not return a call from The Ari­zona Repub­lic to dis­cuss her com­ment. Ward’s online com­ment appeared to be tak­en down a short time after she post­ed it.

    In a fol­low-up com­ment on Face­book, Ward wrote that she prays for McCain “as a man who is suf­fer­ing” and that “the media” is at fault:

    “The media loves a nar­ra­tive. I’ve said again and again to pray for Sen­a­tor McCain & his fam­i­ly. These deci­sions are ter­ri­ble to have to make. I feel com­pas­sion for him and his fam­i­ly as they go through this. It’s not the McCains cre­at­ing a nar­ra­tive — it’s the media mak­ing some­thing out of noth­ing.

    “The media, the left, and the Estab­lish­ment have the agen­da. They’ve been attack­ing me over fake sto­ries for a year on this issue. I ran against Mr. McCain. I don’t agree with his vot­ing record and rhetoric. I pray for him as a man who is suf­fer­ing.”

    Lat­er Sat­ur­day, short­ly after McCain’s death was announced, Ward post­ed her con­do­lences on Twit­ter. “May God grant the McCain fam­i­ly com­fort and peace dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time.”

    We are sad­dened to hear of the pass­ing of @SenJohnMcCain. His decades of ser­vice will not be for­got­ten by the men & women of Ari­zona. May God grant the McCain fam­i­ly com­fort and peace dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time.— Dr. Kel­li Ward (@kelliwardaz) August 26, 2018

    Ward is in a three-way race for the pri­ma­ry elec­tion, where she faces for­mer Mari­co­pa Coun­ty Sher­iff Joe Arpaio of Foun­tain Hills in addi­tion to the front-run­ning McSal­ly, a two-term con­gress­woman from Tuc­son.

    Incum­bent Repub­li­can U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake is not seek­ing re-elec­tion this year.

    For years, Ward has raged at and about McCain, who hand­i­ly defeat­ed her in his own 2016 Sen­ate GOP pri­ma­ry. She has lam­bast­ed him for his age, his pol­i­cy posi­tions, and his crit­i­cism of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s pol­i­tics and poli­cies.

    In the days before her defeat in the 2016 pri­ma­ry elec­tion, Ward reaped a heap of nation­al head­lines — and con­dem­na­tion — after broad­sid­ing him for his age.

    In an inter­view at the time on MSNBC’s “MTP Dai­ly,” Ward said as a physi­cian she knew “what hap­pens to the body and the mind at the end of life” and that McCain has got­ten “weak” and “old.” In anoth­er inter­view with Politi­co, Ward raised the pos­si­bil­i­ty of McCain dying in office should Ari­zona vot­ers trust him with a sixth, six-year Sen­ate term.

    ...

    ———–

    “Kel­li Ward sug­gests John McCain state­ment on end­ing treat­ment timed to hurt her cam­paign” by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez; AZCentral.com; 08/25/2018

    “McCain died Sat­ur­day hours after her remarks.”

    Oops. Not the best tim­ing. Maybe McCain decid­ed to die ear­ly just to thwart Kel­li again.

    As Kel­li put it on Face­book hours before McCain’s death, “I think they want­ed to have a par­tic­u­lar nar­ra­tive that they hope is neg­a­tive to me”:

    ...
    Ward, a con­ser­v­a­tive for­mer state sen­a­tor from Lake Hava­su City, is in a three-way race for the Repub­li­can U.S. Sen­ate nom­i­na­tion in Tues­day’s Ari­zona pri­ma­ry.

    Ward wrote on Face­book that “I think they want­ed to have a par­tic­u­lar nar­ra­tive that they hope is neg­a­tive to me.”

    Her com­ment was made under a Face­book post by one of her cam­paign staffers, who ques­tioned if it was “just a coin­ci­dence” that the McCain fam­i­ly released the state­ment the same day that Ward was kick­ing off her cam­paign bus tour, “or if it was a plan to take media atten­tion off her cam­paign?”

    “I’m not say­ing it was on pur­pose but it’s quite inter­est­ing,” Jonathan Williams wrote.
    ...

    So some­how the McCain fam­i­ly noti­fy­ing the pub­lic of his immi­nent end was part of a “par­tic­u­lar nar­ra­tive” that would be neg­a­tive to Kel­li. Now why is that? Oh right, because she’s spent years spar­ring with McCain and alleged that he was too old to be in office and she should replace him:

    ...
    For years, Ward has raged at and about McCain, who hand­i­ly defeat­ed her in his own 2016 Sen­ate GOP pri­ma­ry. She has lam­bast­ed him for his age, his pol­i­cy posi­tions, and his crit­i­cism of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s pol­i­tics and poli­cies.

    In the days before her defeat in the 2016 pri­ma­ry elec­tion, Ward reaped a heap of nation­al head­lines — and con­dem­na­tion — after broad­sid­ing him for his age.

    In an inter­view at the time on MSNBC’s “MTP Dai­ly,” Ward said as a physi­cian she knew “what hap­pens to the body and the mind at the end of life” and that McCain has got­ten “weak” and “old.” In anoth­er inter­view with Politi­co, Ward raised the pos­si­bil­i­ty of McCain dying in office should Ari­zona vot­ers trust him with a sixth, six-year Sen­ate term.
    ...

    And, of course, after the out­cry over the Ward cam­paign’s com­ments, Ward blamed the whole sit­u­a­tion on the media:

    ...
    In a fol­low-up com­ment on Face­book, Ward wrote that she prays for McCain “as a man who is suf­fer­ing” and that “the media” is at fault:

    “The media loves a nar­ra­tive. I’ve said again and again to pray for Sen­a­tor McCain & his fam­i­ly. These deci­sions are ter­ri­ble to have to make. I feel com­pas­sion for him and his fam­i­ly as they go through this. It’s not the McCains cre­at­ing a nar­ra­tive — it’s the media mak­ing some­thing out of noth­ing.

    “The media, the left, and the Estab­lish­ment have the agen­da. They’ve been attack­ing me over fake sto­ries for a year on this issue. I ran against Mr. McCain. I don’t agree with his vot­ing record and rhetoric. I pray for him as a man who is suf­fer­ing.”
    ...

    Final­ly, after blam­ing the media, Ward issued a gener­ic tweet offer­ing her con­do­lences to the McCain fam­i­ly:

    ...
    Lat­er Sat­ur­day, short­ly after McCain’s death was announced, Ward post­ed her con­do­lences on Twit­ter. “May God grant the McCain fam­i­ly com­fort and peace dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time.”

    We are sad­dened to hear of the pass­ing of @SenJohnMcCain. His decades of ser­vice will not be for­got­ten by the men & women of Ari­zona. May God grant the McCain fam­i­ly com­fort and peace dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time.— Dr. Kel­li Ward (@kelliwardaz) August 26, 2018

    ...

    At least Ward’s tweet said some­thing nice about McCain him­self. So in that sense this was actu­al­ly less cold than Trump’s over­all response.

    Still, it was a high­ly Trumpian act by Ward and her cam­paign over­all. And that’s going to be one of the more grim things to watch: will Ward’s deathbed spat with the McCain’s actu­al­ly help her in the pri­ma­ry? Don’t for­get that John McCain is more pop­u­lar with Democ­rats than Repub­li­cans in Ari­zona. So it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble Ward’s crass whin­ing fol­lowed by an attack on the media will actu­al­ly help her. Don’t for­get the grim real­i­ty that it’s the Trump-lov­ing GOP base vot­ing in Ari­zon­a’s GOP pri­ma­ry. For all we know being extra tacky with McCain’s death was part of some sort of cal­cu­lat­ed ‘Trumpian gaffe’ strat­e­gy. This is where we are.

    So we’ll see whether or not Ward’s Trumpian deathbed trolling will pay off in the pri­maries. Ari­zon­a’s pri­ma­ry vote is a cou­ple days away (Tues­day, August 28) and Martha McSal­ly is only lead­ing Ward by 8 points accord­ing to Fri­day’s Real Clear Pol­i­tics polling aver­age. So Ward’s cam­paign decid­ed to pick a fight with McCain (hours before he died) three days before the pri­maries. That sure sounds like this is a fight they real­ly want­ed to pick. And they did. And then McCain died a few hours lat­er which made pick­ing this fight look extra bad. Or did it? Per­haps this was extra good? That’s for Ari­zon­a’s GOP pri­ma­ry vot­ers to decide. Which they wlll do on Tues­day.

    So let’s hope we don’t see Kel­li Ward surge in the final days of this pri­ma­ry race as this Trumpian gaffe plays out. There were plen­ty of rea­sons to be crit­i­cal of McCain, but it’s nev­er a good sign when the far right suc­cess­ful­ly employs the aban­don­ment of the pre­tense of decen­cy as a polit­i­cal strat­e­gy. That’s just omi­nous. So if that’s the kind of strat­e­gy Ward is employ­ing in the final days of the pri­ma­ry and if that strat­e­gy works, that’s going to be extra omi­nous. So let’s hope that does­n’t hap­pen. Ari­zon­a’s GOP polit­i­cal scene is already omi­nous enough.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 26, 2018, 10:01 pm
  38. It looks like far right Ari­zona state sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward, who is trail­ing in her bid to win the GOP nom­i­na­tion for US Sen­ate in tomor­row’s pri­ma­ry, decid­ed to throw some fuel on the fire cre­at­ed by Ward and her cam­paign over this week­end when they charged the McCain fam­i­ly with try­ing to sab­o­tage Ward’s cam­paign by tim­ing the announce­ment of McCain’s deci­sion to end med­ical treat­ment for brain can­cer on Fri­day, the same day of Ward’s far right bus tour: Ward sent out a tweet today declar­ing that “polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is like a can­cer!” This is right after Ward took flak over her com­ments right before McCain died from brain can­cer and appears to be a response to all the crit­i­cism she received over the week­end. It’s some pret­ty epic trolling.

    Ward also whined about some crit­i­cism she received, say­ing “Now they call us ‘degen­er­ate’ & ‘trash peo­ple.’ Are there no depths to which these peo­ple won’t sink?” This was in response to GOP strate­gist Rick Wil­son over the week­end that, “Once again, a nation­al reminder that Kel­li Ward is a trash per­son sup­port­ed by trash peo­ple.” But Ward’s cam­paign spokesman assured us that Ward’s post about polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness had noth­ing to do with the crit­i­cism she received about the McCain’s death and it was actu­al­ly just Ward respond­ing to efforts to silence con­ser­v­a­tives more broad­ly by the Estab­lish­ment and the media. Ward’s spokesman went on to sug­gest that the alleged silenc­ing of con­ser­v­a­tive voic­es kills those voic­es and that’s why the can­cer metaphor for used.

    So one day before the pri­ma­ry vote, and two days after Ward attracts a whole bunch of crit­i­cism over pick­ing a fight with the McCain fam­i­ly over their deci­sion to end McCain’s brain can­cer treat­ment, Ward tweets out that polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is a can­cer, which he spokesman assures us had noth­ing to do with McCain’s death and was mere­ly a metaphor describ­ing the silenc­ing of con­ser­v­a­tive voic­es (and by “silenc­ing”, he means crit­i­ciz­ing). Again, that is some world class Trump-league trolling and it’s hard to imag­ine that this was­n’t some very cal­cu­lat­ed trolling designed to get as much atten­tion as pos­si­ble and help her in tomor­rows pri­ma­ry vote.

    And that’s where the GOP is today in the era of Trump: mak­ing troll­ish can­cer jokes about John McCain days after his death and then troll­ish­ing deny­ing it is prob­a­bly good pri­ma­ry pol­i­tics. At least that’s the polit­i­cal bet Kel­li Ward is mak­ing:

    AZCentral.com

    After John McCain’s death, Kel­li Ward says, ‘Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is like a can­cer!’

    Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Ari­zona Repub­lic
    Pub­lished 10:25 a.m. MT Aug. 27, 2018 | Updat­ed 11:04 a.m. MT Aug. 27, 2018

    Two days after U.S. Sen. John McCain’s death fol­low­ing a 13-month bat­tle with brain can­cer, Repub­li­can can­di­date for U.S. Sen­ate Kel­li Ward has com­pared “polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness” to can­cer.

    Ward post­ed the remark on Twit­ter ear­ly Mon­day amid intense crit­i­cism of anoth­er one of her social media posts from Sat­ur­day.

    In that post, Ward insin­u­at­ed that the announce­ment from the McCain fam­i­ly that he was end­ing med­ical treat­ment was timed to hurt her can­di­da­cy. In the final stretch of the pri­ma­ry race, Ward was on a “Road to Vic­to­ry” bus tour and was hop­ing to make pos­i­tive head­lines of her own.

    Ward wrote, “I think they want­ed to have a par­tic­u­lar nar­ra­tive that is neg­a­tive to me.” She imme­di­ate­ly drew wide­spread con­dem­na­tion for the post, with peo­ple accus­ing her of being self-obsessed and dis­re­spect­ful. She took down the post.

    On Mon­day, the day before the pri­ma­ry elec­tion, she appeared to dou­ble down on Twit­ter.

    “Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is like a can­cer!” she wrote.

    Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is like a can­cer!— Dr. Kel­li Ward (@kelliwardaz) August 27, 2018

    She lashed out at her crit­ics, writ­ing, “Now they call us ‘degen­er­ate’ & ‘trash peo­ple.’ Are there no depths to which these peo­ple won’t sink?”

    Ward post­ed a sam­pling of some of the respons­es she received, includ­ing one from GOP strate­gist Rick Wil­son, who con­demned her and her sup­port­ers.

    “Once again, a nation­al reminder that Kel­li Ward is a trash per­son sup­port­ed by trash peo­ple,” Wil­son wrote.

    Ward’s cam­paign spokesman, Zach­ery Hen­ry, said Ward’s post about polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness had noth­ing to do with the fall­out from her com­ment about McCain’s health. He said it was a reac­tion to efforts to silence con­ser­v­a­tives more broad­ly.

    “Dr. Ward feels strong­ly that polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is used as a tool by the Estab­lish­ment and the media to silence con­ser­v­a­tives. Silenc­ing oppos­ing voic­es even­tu­al­ly kills those voic­es and their mes­sages.

    “So yes, polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is like a can­cer.”

    Hen­ry added, “She was­n’t talk­ing about McCain at all. She’s railed against the rul­ing class ... since at least 2015.”

    In the final stretch of the pri­ma­ry race, McCain’s death has eclipsed cov­er­age of all polit­i­cal cam­paigns. Ward is in a three-way race for the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for the U.S. Sen­ate seat held by Sen. Jeff Flake. She is vying against for­mer Mari­co­pa Coun­ty Sher­iff Joe Arpaio, of Foun­tain Hills, and Rep. Martha McSal­ly, a two-term con­gress­woman.

    Polling sug­gests McSal­ly, the GOP estab­lish­ment favorite, is ahead.

    In 2016, Ward unsuc­cess­ful­ly chal­lenged McCain from the right for the GOP nom­i­na­tion for that sen­ate seat. McCain eas­i­ly defeat­ed Ward.

    ...

    ———-

    “After John McCain’s death, Kel­li Ward says, ‘Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is like a can­cer!’ ” by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez; AZCentral.com; 08/27/2018

    “Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is like a can­cer!”

    Classy. And oh so cal­cu­lat­ed, along with the high­ly cal­cu­lat­ed whin­ing about how the crit­i­cism she received:

    ...
    She lashed out at her crit­ics, writ­ing, “Now they call us ‘degen­er­ate’ & ‘trash peo­ple.’ Are there no depths to which these peo­ple won’t sink?”

    Ward post­ed a sam­pling of some of the respons­es she received, includ­ing one from GOP strate­gist Rick Wil­son, who con­demned her and her sup­port­ers.

    “Once again, a nation­al reminder that Kel­li Ward is a trash per­son sup­port­ed by trash peo­ple,” Wil­son wrote.
    ...

    And, despite Ward actu­al­ly post­ing crit­i­cism she received in response to her spat with the McCain fam­i­ly, Ward’s spokesman assures us that Ward was in way refer­ring to what tran­spired over the week­end and instead Ward’s “polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is can­cer” tweet was mere­ly response to attempts to silence con­ser­v­a­tives which is killing their voic­es:

    ...
    Ward’s cam­paign spokesman, Zach­ery Hen­ry, said Ward’s post about polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness had noth­ing to do with the fall­out from her com­ment about McCain’s health. He said it was a reac­tion to efforts to silence con­ser­v­a­tives more broad­ly.

    “Dr. Ward feels strong­ly that polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is used as a tool by the Estab­lish­ment and the media to silence con­ser­v­a­tives. Silenc­ing oppos­ing voic­es even­tu­al­ly kills those voic­es and their mes­sages.

    “So yes, polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness is like a can­cer.”
    ...

    And it was straight out of the Trump play­book:

    1. Say some­thing out­ra­geous that push­es the envel­op of decen­cy.

    2. Wait for the inevitable crit­i­cism.

    3. Equate that crit­i­cism with “silenc­ing my voice” or some sort of oppres­sion.

    4. Attack the media and ‘elites’ while wal­low in self-pity over how your rights were vio­lat­ing by all this crit­i­cism.

    5. Rinse and repeat. Some­times mul­ti­ple times a day.

    We’ll find out after tomor­row’s pri­maries if this Trumpian tac­tic will help Ward or if it back­fires. Ward’s cam­paign is clear­ly bet­ting these kinds of antics are going to help. And while it seems unlike­ly that these pub­lic­i­ty stunt con­tro­ver­sies will be enough to close the gap, it’s hard to imag­ine this kind of Trump-league trolling is going to her her very much either.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 27, 2018, 2:59 pm
  39. Here’s a quick update on what far right Ari­zona state sen­a­tor Kel­li Ward has been up to and how she’s impact­ing the Ari­zona GOP’s state-wide strat­e­gy head­ing into the 2020 elec­tions: Fol­low­ing the 2018 midterms, where Ari­zona Repub­li­cans end­ed up los­ing a num­ber of long-held seats, the ques­tion of whether or not the Ari­zona GOP’s loss­es were due to an inad­e­quate embrace of Trump or a back­lash against Trump. It’s a rather cru­cial ques­tion from a polit­i­cal strat­e­gy stand­point and as the fol­low­ing arti­cle from Jan­u­ary of this year about the fight over who will lead the Ari­zona state GOP makes clear, the Ari­zona GOP did­n’t have an answer to that cru­cial ques­tion in mind. And it became an espe­cial­ly cru­cial ques­tion for the Ari­zona GOP after Kel­li Ward — known for her embrace of pret­ty much any ran­dom non­sense that bub­bles up from the far right con­spir­a­cy dis­in­fo­tain­ment com­plex — decid­ed to run for the posi­tion of state GOP chair­man. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, there was a huge split with­in a the par­ty. On one side was the Ari­zona state GOP lead­ers who favored a the rel­a­tive­ly mod­er­ate incum­bent chair­man Jonathan Lines. Ward was the clear favorite for the ‘Tea Par­ty’ grass roots base. And after a day of tense vot­ing, Kel­li Ward won and became the face of the Ari­zona state GOP:

    Ari­zona Repub­lic

    Con­ser­v­a­tive Kel­li Ward to lead Ari­zona Repub­li­can Par­ty after upset

    Yvonne Wingett Sanchez
    Pub­lished 3:37 p.m. MT Jan. 26, 2019 | Updat­ed 9:47 a.m. MT Jan. 30, 2019

    Kel­li Ward, the bomb-throw­ing con­ser­v­a­tive for­mer state sen­a­tor and loy­al­ist to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, upend­ed the race to lead the Ari­zona Repub­li­can Par­ty by beat­ing the estab­lish­ment favorite and incum­bent GOP chair­man, Jonathan Lines.

    In doing so, Repub­li­cans from across the state on Sat­ur­day chose a more right-wing vision head­ed into the 2020 elec­tion cycle where Ari­zona is poised to reach bat­tle­ground sta­tus.

    The elec­tion could have far-reach­ing impli­ca­tions for how the par­ty mes­sages to vot­ers and how it spends mon­ey on races.

    Ward’s ouster of Lines also rais­es ques­tions about the state par­ty’s rela­tion­ship in the near future with the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, the Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­i­al Com­mit­tee and the Nation­al Repub­li­can Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee. Spokes­peo­ple for the groups either did not respond to the news­pa­per’s request for com­ment or declined to talk.

    Dur­ing the row­dy state GOP meet­ing, the com­mit­teemen embraced Ward, who emerged over the past two elec­tion cycles as a pop­u­lar per­son­al­i­ty among the grass­roots Repub­li­cans who large­ly rep­re­sent Trump’s base and so-called “tea par­ty” con­ser­v­a­tives even as she failed to win the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for U.S. Sen­ate in back-to-back pri­maries.

    Kel­li Ward pitch­es for @azgop chair https://t.co/7dMJLCi3hh
    — Yvon­neWingett­Sanchez ?? (@yvonnewingett) Jan­u­ary 26, 2019

    In doing so, the par­ty com­mit­teemen reject­ed a more mod­er­ate vision for Ari­zona GOP pol­i­tics asso­ci­at­ed with the long-serv­ing late U.S. Sen. John McCain and for­mer U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, sow­ing frus­tra­tion with some who said they may aban­don their par­ty reg­is­tra­tion under Ward’s lead­er­ship.

    McCain eas­i­ly defeat­ed Ward’s pri­ma­ry chal­lenge in 2016; Sen. Martha McSal­ly, R‑Ariz., defeat­ed her in the 2018 pri­ma­ry.

    “Don’t get me start­ed on this.... great day for Az Democ­rats,” McCain’s daugh­ter, tele­vi­sion com­men­ta­tor Meghan McCain, wrote on Twit­ter as it became clear Ward would win.

    Don’t get me start­ed on this.... great day for Az Democ­rats
    — Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) Jan­u­ary 26, 2019

    Ward’s sup­port­ers demand­ed the vote be tak­en via roll call, which cre­at­ed a chaot­ic vot­ing sys­tem for some.

    Sup­port­ers of Lines, who had been an ally of McCain’s, were shocked and in dis­be­lief. There were hushed tones in the room as the results were announced.

    Lines con­grat­u­lat­ed Ward on her win, accord­ing to her spokesman, Zach­ery Hen­ry. The two hugged and he wished her the best of luck dur­ing her two-year tenure.

    In an inter­view with The Ari­zona Repub­lic, Lines said it had been “my great­est plea­sure to serve the Ari­zona Repub­li­can Par­ty. And I wish Dr. Ward suc­cess for the 2020 elec­tions.”

    Ward was sworn in as the new state GOP chair­woman on Sat­ur­day. She told The Repub­lic she does­n’t plan to take a salary for the job.

    Both sides entered the day unsure of how it would unfold, giv­en unrest with Lines’ per­for­mance dur­ing the 2018 cycle and Ward’s strong ties to the rank-and-file Repub­li­cans who see her as one of them.

    The room seemed to turn in Ward’s favor after she took the stage and ener­get­i­cal­ly remind­ed them of the loss­es under Lines. She cast her­self as an enthu­si­as­tic voice for Ari­zona con­ser­v­a­tives.

    “We have to win 2020 for Pres­i­dent Trump, we’ve got to win back the ground we lost in the midterms in 2018 and I pledge to do just that,” Ward said dur­ing her three-minute can­di­date speech where she said she would invig­o­rate Repub­li­cans who feel left out of the process. “Mark my words: These next two years will be the most impor­tant two years for this great state of Ari­zona.”

    Many jumped to their feet in applause. She was clear­ly the crowd favorite.

    Lines and his more estab­lish­ment sup­port­ers tout­ed his suc­cess­es and desire to uni­fy the par­ty. His re-elec­tion cam­paign was backed by the state’s top GOP lead­ers, includ­ing Ward’s 2018 pri­ma­ry rival — McSal­ly — and Gov. Doug Ducey, for­mer Sen. Jon Kyl and for­mer Gov. Jan Brew­er.

    In mak­ing his pitch to the hun­dreds gath­ered at the church, Lines tout­ed his fundrais­ing suc­cess­es last cycle, ded­i­ca­tion to the GOP agen­da under Trump, and his get-out-the-vote efforts that helped turn out a record num­ber of Repub­li­cans last cycle.

    Lines’ remarks did not fire up the crowd in the same way Ward did. He appeared fid­gety and ner­vous through­out the day, chew­ing on the end of a pen and star­ing at a note­book as votes were called.

    Ward, who was a state sen­a­tor from Lake Hava­su City, has had a his­to­ry of con­tro­ver­sies since enter­ing Ari­zon­a’s polit­i­cal scene.

    In 2014, she host­ed a meet­ing in King­man to dis­cuss con­cerns about “chem­trails,” the fringe con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that air­planes are spray­ing dan­ger­ous chem­i­cals into the air through their con­trails. Ward said she nev­er believed in “chem­trails” her­self, but crit­ics said she wast­ed tax­pay­er resources to pan­der to those who did. McCain’s 2016 cam­paign dubbed her “Chem­trail Kel­li,” a term her cam­paign denounced as sex­ist.

    As a Repub­li­can insur­gent who took on McCain, the par­ty’s 2008 pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, Ward became a favorite of con­ser­v­a­tive pun­dits such as Sean Han­ni­ty and Lau­ra Ingra­ham. She also has had asso­ci­a­tions with con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures on the right, such as Paul Nehlen, a self-described “Pro-White” Wis­con­sin con­gres­sion­al can­di­date who was dis­avowed by the GOP, and con­spir­a­cy-the­o­rist Alex Jones.

    Last year, she drew neg­a­tive nation­al atten­tion by sug­gest­ing that McCain’s fam­i­ly timed the announce­ment about his end­ing treat­ment for brain can­cer to hurt her Sen­ate cam­paign. McCain died Aug. 25, just a few days before Ari­zon­a’s Aug. 28 pri­ma­ry elec­tion.

    Ward’s win rais­es ques­tions about the state party’s future rela­tion­ship with nation­al Repub­li­can groups who work to elect Repub­li­cans here and across the nation. Some of those groups have viewed her as a fringe-Repub­li­can whose views are not aligned with the brand of can­di­dates they have worked to advance, such as McSal­ly. Those groups may take a fresh look at how they may invest in the par­ty, or whether they will want to find oth­er enti­ties to run their resources through.

    Saturday’s day­long gath­er­ing at a north-cen­tral Phoenix church dis­plays the fis­sures that appear to have deep­ened fol­low­ing the party’s bru­tal loss­es in 2018, name­ly Demo­c­rat Kyrsten Sine­ma’s vic­to­ry over McSal­ly for Flake’s U.S. Sen­ate seat. The statewide offices of sec­re­tary of state and state super­in­ten­dent of pub­lic instruc­tion also flipped to Democ­rats. McSal­ly wound up in the Sen­ate any­way this year after Ducey appoint­ed her to fill the seat vacat­ed by Kyl.

    Dur­ing the some­times-row­dy gath­er­ing of the party’s state com­mit­tee, some rank-and-file Repub­li­cans open­ly blamed Lines for the set­backs while oth­ers said they were because of anti-Trump sen­ti­ment that could be beat back in 2020 with the right mix of mes­sag­ing and can­di­dates.

    Pat Sex­ton, a retired teacher from Tuc­son, said she vot­ed for Ward because of last cycle’s loss­es.

    “Things could have been done a lot bet­ter,” Sex­ton said. “Down there, we lost Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict 2 — it went to Demo­c­rat Ann Kirk­patrick.”

    “I don’t real­ly know how much help the state Repub­li­can Par­ty was for us,” Sex­ton said.

    Palmer Miller, of Casa Grande, threw his sup­port to Ward, hop­ing for a fresh voice. He was impressed with the way she ran her 2018 Sen­ate cam­paign and hopes she works across GOP fac­tions to uni­fy the par­ty head­ing into the crit­i­cal 2020 race.

    “She’ll have a fresh look at it, and that’s good,” Miller said. “I think she has charis­ma where she’ll be able to bring peo­ple togeth­er and keep them togeth­er. I’ve always been impressed with her cam­paign and how she presents her­self.”

    Ward will take the helm of an orga­ni­za­tion flush with about half a mil­lion dol­lars.

    Sat­ur­day’s elec­tion clos­es a bit­ter bat­tle for the chair­man­ship of the state GOP, where ques­tions were raised about the han­dling of her cam­paign com­mit­tee’s finances. And in the weeks lead­ing up to the elec­tion, it sur­faced in a police report that her hus­band, Michael, was accused of spit­ting in the eye of one of her for­mer vol­un­teers because the vol­un­teer sub­se­quent­ly sup­port­ed her for­mer polit­i­cal foe, McSal­ly.

    ...

    ———-

    “Con­ser­v­a­tive Kel­li Ward to lead Ari­zona Repub­li­can Par­ty after upset” by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez; Ari­zona Repub­lic; 01/26/2019

    “The elec­tion could have far-reach­ing impli­ca­tions for how the par­ty mes­sages to vot­ers and how it spends mon­ey on races.”

    Yeah, elect­ing Kel­li Ward to be head of your state par­ty could def­i­nite­ly have far-reach­ing impli­ca­tions for how the par­ty mes­sages vot­ers and how it spends mon­ey. And it sounds like those impli­ca­tions could include a break­down in coor­di­na­tion with the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, the Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­i­al Com­mit­tee and the Nation­al Repub­li­can Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee, pre­sum­ably over con­cerns that any mon­ey giv­en to the Ari­zona GOP at this point will be spent on far right antics that only appeal to far right base. But at the same time, note how Ward is the dar­ling of right-wing media fig­ures like Sean Han­ni­ty, Lau­ra Ingra­ham, and Alex Jones. So this strug­gle in the Ari­zona GOP is reflec­tive of the larg­er strug­gle with­in the GOP over whether or not an enthu­si­as­tic open embrace of ‘the crazy’ is good pol­i­tics or not. Kel­li Ward’s spe­cial­ty is ‘the crazy’ so if the Ari­zona GOP decides to go down that path she can do it with gus­to. But there is a real divide over whether or not that’s good pol­i­tics and so, whether or not Ward won or Lines won, the elec­tion of the state GOP chair­man was going to have a con­tentious out­come. Espe­cial­ly because it sounds like the out­come was not at all expect­ed and Ward only won over the sup­port she need­ed after giv­ing a rous­ing speech that blamed the GOP’s poor 2018 midterm out­come on a lack of enough open sup­port for Trump. So her vic­to­ry in this chair­man­ship fight appears to sig­nal a vic­to­ry in that fight over whether or not the Ari­zona is going to run towards Trump or keep a safe dis­tance in 2020. It’s going to be a full embrace:

    ...
    Ward’s ouster of Lines also rais­es ques­tions about the state par­ty’s rela­tion­ship in the near future with the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, the Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­i­al Com­mit­tee and the Nation­al Repub­li­can Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee. Spokes­peo­ple for the groups either did not respond to the news­pa­per’s request for com­ment or declined to talk.

    ...

    Ward’s sup­port­ers demand­ed the vote be tak­en via roll call, which cre­at­ed a chaot­ic vot­ing sys­tem for some.

    Sup­port­ers of Lines, who had been an ally of McCain’s, were shocked and in dis­be­lief. There were hushed tones in the room as the results were announced.

    Lines con­grat­u­lat­ed Ward on her win, accord­ing to her spokesman, Zach­ery Hen­ry. The two hugged and he wished her the best of luck dur­ing her two-year tenure.

    ...

    Both sides entered the day unsure of how it would unfold, giv­en unrest with Lines’ per­for­mance dur­ing the 2018 cycle and Ward’s strong ties to the rank-and-file Repub­li­cans who see her as one of them.

    The room seemed to turn in Ward’s favor after she took the stage and ener­get­i­cal­ly remind­ed them of the loss­es under Lines. She cast her­self as an enthu­si­as­tic voice for Ari­zona con­ser­v­a­tives.

    “We have to win 2020 for Pres­i­dent Trump, we’ve got to win back the ground we lost in the midterms in 2018 and I pledge to do just that,” Ward said dur­ing her three-minute can­di­date speech where she said she would invig­o­rate Repub­li­cans who feel left out of the process. “Mark my words: These next two years will be the most impor­tant two years for this great state of Ari­zona.”

    Many jumped to their feet in applause. She was clear­ly the crowd favorite.

    Lines and his more estab­lish­ment sup­port­ers tout­ed his suc­cess­es and desire to uni­fy the par­ty. His re-elec­tion cam­paign was backed by the state’s top GOP lead­ers, includ­ing Ward’s 2018 pri­ma­ry rival — McSal­ly — and Gov. Doug Ducey, for­mer Sen. Jon Kyl and for­mer Gov. Jan Brew­er.

    ...

    As a Repub­li­can insur­gent who took on McCain, the par­ty’s 2008 pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, Ward became a favorite of con­ser­v­a­tive pun­dits such as Sean Han­ni­ty and Lau­ra Ingra­ham. She also has had asso­ci­a­tions with con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures on the right, such as Paul Nehlen, a self-described “Pro-White” Wis­con­sin con­gres­sion­al can­di­date who was dis­avowed by the GOP, and con­spir­a­cy-the­o­rist Alex Jones.

    ...

    Ward’s win rais­es ques­tions about the state party’s future rela­tion­ship with nation­al Repub­li­can groups who work to elect Repub­li­cans here and across the nation. Some of those groups have viewed her as a fringe-Repub­li­can whose views are not aligned with the brand of can­di­dates they have worked to advance, such as McSal­ly. Those groups may take a fresh look at how they may invest in the par­ty, or whether they will want to find oth­er enti­ties to run their resources through.
    ...

    So get ready for some car­toon­ish­ly scary and zany far right antics com­ing out of the Ari­zona GOP in 2020. Even the nation­al Repub­li­cans are think­ing about stay­ing away. They know what a Ward chair­man­ship means. For exam­ple, check out the lat­est fundrais­ing pitch sent out by Ward to raise mon­ey in the fed­er­al Sen­ate race against Demo­c­rat Mark Kel­ly: Ward’s email points to a 2015 CNN inter­view where Kel­ly says, “where there are more guns, peo­ple are less safe.” The email then adds, “Sup­port the Repub­li­can Par­ty of Ari­zona today and, togeth­er, we’ll stop gun-grab­ber Mark Kel­ly dead in his tracks.”

    Now, using lan­guage about stop­ping polit­i­cal oppo­nents “dead in their tracks” is obvi­ous­ly prob­lem­at­ic for a num­ber of rea­sons, espe­cial­ly when the per­son send­ing this mes­sage is a far right nut job like Kel­li Ward who has a long-stand­ing cozy rela­tion­ship with the mili­tia move­ment and a his­to­ry of sup­port­ing armed stand­offs like the Bundy stand­offs. Oh, and Ward also noto­ri­ous­ly shared the stage in 2015 with Oath Keep­er founder Stew­art Rhodes when he called for John McCain to be tried for trea­son and exe­cut­ed. She did­n’t say any­thing. She was open­ly con­sid­er­ing pri­ma­ry­ing McCain for his Sen­ate seat that year. And it’s extra prob­lem­at­ic to use “stop them dead in their tracks” lan­guage when it’s in oppo­si­tion to their stance on gun con­trol laws. But Kel­li Ward man­aged to make it far worse. Because this email was tar­get­ing Mark Kel­ly, hus­band of for­mer Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Gab­by Gif­fords who was shot by a men­tal­ly ill man hyped up on right-wing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry videos. Kel­li Ward’s fund-rais­ing word play was a dog-whis­tle back to an Yep, the Ari­zona state GOP chair­man Kel­li Ward just sent a fund-rais­ing email out about stop­ping Gab­by Gif­ford’s hus­band dead in his tracks over a 2015 state­ment on gun con­trol. That’s the kind of pol­i­tics the Ari­zona GOP signed itself up for when it made Kel­li Ward the chair­man of the par­ty because this is what she does. So this is just a taste of what’s to come from the GOP in Ari­zona in 2020:

    Bloomberg

    State GOP Chief Wants to Stop Can­di­date ‘Dead’: Cam­paign Update

    By Steven T. Den­nis

    Sep­tem­ber 6, 2019, 5:52 AM CDT
    Updat­ed on Sep­tem­ber 6, 2019, 10:28 AM CDT

    * Check back here for live updates from the 2020 cam­paign trail
    * Star­bucks’ Schultz says he won’t mount inde­pen­dent cam­paign

    The chair­woman of the Repub­li­can Par­ty in Ari­zona is try­ing to raise mon­ey by say­ing the GOP is going to stop pro-gun-con­trol Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­ate can­di­date Mark Kel­ly “dead in his tracks.”

    The stark word­ing from Ari­zona GOP chair­man Kel­li Ward was direct­ed at for­mer astro­naut Kel­ly, whose wife, for­mer Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Gab­by Gif­fords, was shot in the head and severe­ly wound­ed in a mass shoot­ing in 2011 while meet­ing with con­stituents. Six peo­ple were killed in the attack and more than a dozen oth­ers were wound­ed.

    The email cites Kelly’s state­ment in a 2015 CNN inter­view that “where there are more guns, peo­ple are less safe.”

    “Sup­port the Repub­li­can Par­ty of Ari­zona today and, togeth­er, we’ll stop gun-grab­ber Mark Kel­ly dead in his tracks,” Ward said.

    Ward has close­ly aligned her­self with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and has a his­to­ry of con­tro­ver­sial state­ments. Kel­ly is run­ning against Sen­a­tor Martha McSal­ly next year in one of the most com­pet­i­tive Sen­ate races in the coun­try. McSal­ly was appoint­ed to the seat, long held by the late John McCain, after los­ing to Demo­c­rat Kyrsten Sine­ma in the 2018 Sen­ate con­test.

    ...

    ———-

    “State GOP Chief Wants to Stop Can­di­date ‘Dead’: Cam­paign Update” by Steven T. Den­nis; Bloomberg; 09/06/2019

    “The stark word­ing from Ari­zona GOP chair­man Kel­li Ward was direct­ed at for­mer astro­naut Kel­ly, whose wife, for­mer Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Gab­by Gif­fords, was shot in the head and severe­ly wound­ed in a mass shoot­ing in 2011 while meet­ing with con­stituents. Six peo­ple were killed in the attack and more than a dozen oth­ers were wound­ed.”

    Is this patho­log­i­cal or cal­cu­lat­ed? The fact that we have to gen­uine­ly ask is anoth­er sign of how Kel­li Ward falls square­ly in the Trump wing of the GOP, includ­ing Trump’s ‘crazy or cal­cu­lat­ed?’ gas-light­ing mys­tique. This is what the Ari­zona GOP vot­ed for when they made Ward the chair­man. A 2020 mes­sag­ing cam­paign of cryp­ti­cal­ly threat­en­ing themes and dis­in­for­ma­tion. There will no doubt be many more
    emails like this com­ing out of the Ari­zona Repub­li­can par­ty over the next year and a half. Espe­cial­ly because it sounds like fund-rais­ing has col­lapsed under Ward so far this year so they are prob­a­bly get­ting a lit­tle des­per­ate with their mes­sag­ing. So expect more scary fund-rais­ing antics like this com­ing out of Kel­li Ward’s office because, again, this is what she does and that’s what the Ari­zona GOP vot­ed for in Jan­u­ary when they chose Ward over Lines. They vot­ed for the extra scary weird far right 2020 mes­sag­ing path.

    So Kel­li Ward won some sort of bat­tle for the heart and soul of the Ari­zona Repub­li­can par­ty in Jan­u­ary and now she’s par­ty chair. So the Ari­zona GOP is poised to get extra scary and weird in 2020. This was quite a Kel­li Ward update.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 8, 2019, 9:34 pm

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