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“Paulistinian Libertarian Organization” Killers: Leaderless Resistance Claims More Victims

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

Ron Paul

The Turn­er Diaries and Hunter, pub­lished by Green­wald’s client, the Nation­al Alliance

COMMENT: Once again, the “lead­er­less resis­tance” strat­e­gy has claimed vic­tims, with the Cliv­en Bundy Freiko­rps fig­ur­ing among the ide­o­log­i­cal assig­na­tions of the Las Vegas killers.

Par­tic­u­lar­ly note­wor­thy here is the fact that Jer­ad and Aman­da Miller were sup­port­ers of Ron Paul, Eddie the Friend­ly Spook Snow­den’s Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of choice. Nazi fel­low-trav­el­er Glenn Green­wald, Snow­den’s jour­nal­is­tic leak­er of choice, ran legal inter­fer­ence for the “lead­er­less resis­tance” strat­e­gy as an attor­ney.

Green­wald’s pro-bono efforts on behalf of his mur­der­ous Nazi clients helped to insu­late advo­cates of the sort of thing the Millers did in Las Vegas against civ­il lit­i­ga­tion aris­ing from the actu­al­iza­tion of their prin­ci­ples.

Hatri­ot Pol­i­tics Cre­at­ed the Las Vegas Killers” by Jon Avlon; The Dai­ly Beast; 6/9/2014.

EXCERPT: The obses­sive­ly anti-gov­ern­ment Hatri­ot move­ment moved from cul­ti­vat­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries to real killing on Sun­day in Las Vegas.

The Wingnut Bon­nie and Clyde duo, Jer­ad and Aman­da Miller, stormed into CiCi’s Piz­za and shot two metro cops, Alyn Beck and Igor Sol­do, at close range while shout­ing “This is a rev­o­lu­tion!” They flung the Tea Party’s favorite coiled snake Gads­den flag and a swasti­ka on the still-warm corpses and then moved to a near­by Wal­mart to mur­der a shop­per before turn­ing the guns on them­selves.

But the crime scene chronol­o­gy only tells part of the story—because the Millers’ Mas­sacre had been brew­ing for a long time, vis­i­ble online. Their Face­book pages detail a descent into a mur­der­ous rage, rail­ing against a tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment and par­rot­ing talk­ing points from fright-wing radio hosts such as Alex Jones and mili­tia move­ment groups such as the Three Per­centers while “lik­ing” the pages of con­ser­v­a­tive activist groups rang­ing from the Her­itage Foun­da­tion to Free­dom­Works and the NRA. Miller’s pro­file pic­ture was a skull wear­ing an Amer­i­can flag ban­dana against a back­drop of crossed knives over the word “Patri­ot.” . . .

. . . . Police sources con­firm that the Millers con­spired to infil­trate an uniden­ti­fied court build­ing and exe­cute pub­lic offi­cials. The Las Vegas Review-Jour­nal report­ed Mon­day that Kel­ley Field­er, who called the Millers “best friends,” said they left her with a box of doc­u­ments that offi­cials report includ­ed a writ­ten plan to mur­der court offi­cials. The box was recov­ered Sun­day dur­ing a police search of Fielder’s apart­ment. The search also found three emp­ty rifle cas­es and an emp­ty box used for hand­cuffs.

Jer­ad Miller’s anti-gov­ern­ment fren­zy was whipped up by the extreme right wing echo cham­ber. Ear­li­er this year, Miller respond­ed to calls to stand with Cliv­en Bundy in and declared com­mon cause with the rene­gade ranch­er. “I will be sup­port­ing Clive Bundy and his fam­i­ly from Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment slaugh­ter,” he wrote. “This is the next Waco! His ranch is under siege right now! The fed­er­al gov is steal­ing his cat­tle! Arrest­ing his fam­i­ly and beat­ing on them! We must do some­thing, I will be doing some­thing.” When Miller returned from Bundy’s ranch, he post­ed that “BLM [Bureau of Land Man­age­ment] snipers were all over the place.” . . .

. . . . Jer­ad Miller was a prod­uct of his envi­ron­ment, the unhinged right wing echo cham­ber and its con­stant drum­beat about gov­ern­ment tyran­ny being imposed on free­dom-lov­ing cit­i­zens. “Either you stand with free­dom, or you side with tyran­ny,” Miller wrote on his Face­book page in March. “There is no mid­dle ground. We have delud­ed our­selves into such a notion. There is no grey area.”

Miller was a vocal sup­port­er of lib­er­tar­i­an Ron Paul, post­ing dur­ing the fall of 2012: “Ron Paul is the only hope for amer­i­ca and we have all failed him, our chil­dren and our grand­chil­dren by fail­ing to demand fair cov­er­age of all pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates. . . .

Discussion

4 comments for ““Paulistinian Libertarian Organization” Killers: Leaderless Resistance Claims More Victims”

  1. Adam Kokesh, a lib­er­tar­i­an talk show host and one of the biggest boost­ers of Ron Paul’s 2012 cam­paign (he’s not as excit­ed about Rand) thinks the shoot­ers were the real vic­tims here:

    Salon
    Thurs­day, Jun 12, 2014 10:21 AM CST
    Lib­er­tar­i­an pun­dit Adam Kokesh defends Las Vegas shoot­ers for “not nec­es­sar­i­ly unjus­ti­fied vio­lence”
    The host of a talk-radio-style online show says killing cops isn’t mur­der because some­times police kill peo­ple too
    Elias Isquith

    Speak­ing on his Inter­net show on Wednes­day, lib­er­tar­i­an pun­dit, gun rights activist and for­mer res­i­dent of a D.C. prison Adam Kokesh par­tial­ly defend­ed the actions of Jer­ad and Aman­da Miller, the far-right extrem­ists who recent­ly killed two police offi­cers, a civil­ian and them­selves in a Las Vegas pub­lic shoot­ing.

    Rail­ing against the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter and USA Today for acknowl­edg­ing how the Millers were influ­enced by Kokesh, the host swore vengeance, say­ing that the SPLC and USA Today are “not going to get away with it this time.”

    He also argued that because America’s polit­i­cal insti­tu­tions — includ­ing the police — have become “homi­ci­dal … against free­dom,” it was wrong to see the Millers’ unpro­voked killing spree as acts of mur­der rather than self-defense.

    “Let’s say some­one is going around stab­bing peo­ple, like, just stab­bing peo­ple,” Kokesh said. “It’s not mur­der to kill some­one in that sit­u­a­tion. And [as] has been point­ed out about the Vegas shoot­ing, when you have police offi­cers that are going around and doing vio­lent things all day long, and then they take a break for lunch, well, it doesn’t mean all of the sud­den they’re inno­cent or they’re being peace­ful because they’re tak­ing a break from all of their oth­er anti-free­dom, rights-vio­lat­ing vio­lence,” he con­tin­ued.

    Kokesh argued next that the Millers had, if any­thing, saved lives by mur­der­ing two police. “Think of how many lives might have been saved by this inci­dent,” he urged his audi­ence. “How many peo­ple would these cops have killed had they not been killed?”

    “We can only hope that some of the offi­cers in Amer­i­ca are lis­ten­ing — if you care about your own safe­ty — to under­stand that you are hurt­ing peo­ple,” Kokesh threat­ened, “and you can only push them so far before they hit a break­ing point.”

    Ulti­mate­ly call­ing the attack an exam­ple of “not nec­es­sar­i­ly unjus­ti­fied vio­lence,” Kokesh insin­u­at­ed that the Millers’ killing spree was the government’s fault.

    “Vio­lence begets vio­lence,” Kokesh said. “Turn­ing to the insti­tu­tion of gov­ern­ment to deal with these prob­lems, an insti­tu­tion that is based on vio­lence is guar­an­teed to make the prob­lem worse.”
    Speak­ing on his Inter­net show on Wednes­day, lib­er­tar­i­an pun­dit, gun rights activist and Adam Kokesh par­tial­ly defend­ed the actions of Jer­ad and Aman­da Miller, the far-right extrem­ists who recent­ly killed two police offi­cers, a civil­ian and them­selves in a Las Vegas pub­lic shoot­ing.

    ...

    Huh. It would be inster­est­ing to know what Ayn Rand would have thought about the Millers. Might the Millers qual­i­fy for David Hick­man’s “soci­ety made him do it” defense?

    Yes, he is a mon­ster — now. But the worse he is, the worst must be the cause that drove him to this. Isn’t it sig­nif­i­cant that a soci­ety was not able to fill the life of an excep­tion­al, intel­li­gent boy, to give him any­thing to out-bal­ance crime in his eyes? If soci­ety is hor­ri­fied at his crime, it should be hor­ri­fied at the crime’s ulti­mate cause: itself. The worse the crime — the greater its guilt. What could soci­ety answer, if that boy were to say: ‘Yes, I’m a mon­strous crim­i­nal, but what are you?

    This is what I think of the case. I am afraid that I ide­al­ize Hick­man and that he might not be this at all. In fact, he prob­a­bly isn’t. But it does not make any dif­fer­ence. If he isn’t, he could be, and that’s enough. The reac­tion of soci­ety would be the same, if not worse, toward the Hick­man I have in mind. The case showed me how soci­ety can wreck an excep­tion­al being, and then mur­der him for being the wreck that it itself has cre­at­ed. This will be the sto­ry of the boy in my book.

    Hmm...maybe the Millers would fall under the “pos­si­bly awe­some, but maybe not, so we should defend their actions against soci­ety’s judge­ment just to be safe” cat­e­go­ry.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 13, 2014, 10:32 am
  2. I am not a fan of Ron Paul to say the least, but some­times he appar­ent­ly may be right. He is cur­rent­ly urg­ing cau­tion in rush­ing to blame Putin and Rus­sia for the down­ing of Flight 17 over the Ukraine. I will admit he may not be wrong all the time.

    http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Ron-Paul-Putin-Malaysian-flight/2014/07/18/id/583590/

    “Many are point­ing fin­gers at Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin for giv­ing weapons to the pro-Russ­ian Ukrain­ian rebels that are being linked to the shoot­down of the Malaysia Air­lines jet that crashed in Ukraine, but for­mer Rep. Ron Paul says that Putin should­n’t be blamed.”

    Posted by GK | July 19, 2014, 10:01 pm
  3. His­to­ry teach­es us that we learn noth­ing from his­to­ry. Includ­ing recent his­to­ry:

    Salon
    Tues­day, Jul 22, 2014 08:15 AM CST
    “A much larg­er and more dan­ger­ous move­ment”: Right-wing mili­tias thrive post-Bundy — and the media won’t talk about it0
    Cliv­en Bundy was­n’t a one-off. New report shows far-right mili­tias are grow­ing, and more fear of home-grown ter­ror
    Paul Rosen­berg

    Three months after the stand­off at the Cliv­en Bundy ranch, the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter has issued a report—”War in the West: The Bundy Ranch Stand­off and the Amer­i­can Rad­i­cal Right“—stat­ing what should have been obvi­ous at the time, but which most media cov­er­age utter­ly obscured: The stand­off was not some quirky, stand­alone event that spon­ta­neous­ly just hap­pened out of the blue. Rather, it was a high­ly coor­di­nat­ed event reflect­ing the threat of a larg­er mili­tia move­ment, which in turn has drawn togeth­er mul­ti­ple threads of far-right ide­ol­o­gy over the course of the last 40 years.

    On the pure­ly tac­ti­cal lev­el, the report notes that Bundy’s armed sup­port­ers had “over­whelm­ing tac­ti­cal supe­ri­or­i­ty” due to their pre-posi­tion­ing on the high ground above the confrontation—under the direc­tion of a Mon­tana mili­tia mem­ber and Iraq War veteran—which is a pri­ma­ry rea­son why the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment wise­ly with­drew. On a some­what broad­er lev­el, the report warns of the events’ rip­ple effect. “Just in the months since the Bundy ‘vic­to­ry,’ tense stand­offs between the BLM and antigov­ern­ment activists have tak­en place across the West — in Ida­ho, New Mex­i­co, Texas and Utah.”

    That’s in addi­tion to the vio­lent Las Vegas ram­page of Bundy sup­port­ers Jer­ad and Aman­da Miller, which left three inno­cents dead along with the two shoot­ers. And it places these events in a larg­er con­text. First in the Oba­ma era—“Since 2009, there have been 17 shoot­ing inci­dents between antigov­ern­ment extrem­ists and law enforcement”—but also beyond. It stretch­es as far back as the Whiskey Rebel­lion in the 1790s, but gain­ing much more orga­ni­za­tion­al coher­ence with the con­flu­ence of the racist, anti-Semit­ic Posse Comi­ta­tus, start­ing in the 1970s, and two more main­stream move­ments, “the Sage­brush Rebel­lion of the 1970s and 1980s and the Wise Use move­ment of the late 1980s and ear­ly 1990s.”

    “The Bundy ranch stand­off wasn’t a spon­ta­neous response to Cliv­en Bundy’s predica­ment but rather a well-orga­nized, mil­i­tary-type action that reflects the poten­tial for vio­lence from a much larg­er and more dan­ger­ous move­ment,” said Mark Potok, senior fel­low in the SPLC’s Intel­li­gence Project, and lead author of the report, in a state­ment accom­pa­ny­ing the report. “This inci­dent may have fad­ed from pub­lic view, but if our gov­ern­ment doesn’t pay atten­tion, we will be caught off guard as much as the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment was that day.”

    “SPLC’s piece is focused on the need for law enforce­ment to be ready in light of the appar­ent mil­i­tary-style plan­ning of the Bundy protest. They are argu­ing that the Bundy ranch was a trap, and that it worked,” said vet­er­an researcher Fred­er­ick Clark­son, author of ””Eter­nal Hos­til­i­ty: The Strug­gle Between Theoc­ra­cy and Democ­ra­cy,” co-founder of the group researchers blog Talk To Action, and a senior fel­low at Polit­i­cal Research Asso­ciates. “Indeed, giv­en the involve­ment of for­mer mil­i­tary and police offi­cers in the Oath Keep­ers, one of the groups involved in the stand off, that far right fig­ures would apply their knowl­edge to such sit­u­a­tions is to be expect­ed.”

    “Mark Potok observes that the episode sug­gests that there is poten­tial for ‘vio­lence from a much larg­er and more dan­ger­ous move­ment.’ It’s a good point and one all sec­tors of soci­ety need to take seri­ous­ly,” Clark­son said.

    Speak­ing to Salon, Potok him­self made it clear it was the gov­ern­ment as a whole, rather than BLM specif­i­cal­ly, that bore the brunt of the blame. “The BLM cer­tain­ly could have gone in in a bet­ter way. the optics were obvi­ous­ly ter­ri­ble…. It was not the best approach,” Potok said. “On the oth­er hand, at the end of the day, they did the right thing. They didn’t try to tough it out…. As for the BLM itself, I actu­al­ly feel sor­ry for them. This is not a law enforce­ment agency. Most­ly, peo­ple who work for BLM go to col­lege and study land-use issues.”

    The prob­lem is much more one of inter-agency coor­di­na­tion, lead­er­ship and sim­ple recog­ni­tion of the wide­spread threat of right-wing violence—a fail­ure epit­o­mized by the Oba­ma administration’s knee-jerk dis­avow­al of a Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty report on right-wing extrem­ism, leaked to right-wing media in April 2009. As Potok not­ed, this dis­avow­al came despite two basic facts: first, that a sim­i­lar report on the vir­tu­al­ly nonex­is­tent rad­i­cal left had been issued six months ear­li­er, and sec­ond, the fact the report itself was “a fair, sober and pre­scient analy­sis of what was going on.” In fact “vir­tu­al­ly every­thing that was writ­ten in that report came to pass in one way or anoth­er.”

    But it’s not just the gov­ern­ment that’s been caught flat-foot­ed. The media’s sen­sa­tion­al­ist approach obscured as much or more than it revealed, “aid­ed” as it were by its slav­ish devo­tion to “bal­anced cov­er­age.” And the con­ser­v­a­tive estab­lish­ment that first embraced, then fled from Bundy has long had a sym­bi­ot­ic part­ner­ship with the far­thest fringes whose bot­tom­less para­noia it regards as a nat­ur­al resource with­out end. Nei­ther the cor­po­rate media nor the estab­lish­ment right shows any signs of hav­ing learned any­thing last­ing from the Bundy ranch stand­off. Some future sequel, spin­off or copy­cat seems vir­tu­al­ly inevitable, above and beyond what we’ve already seen.

    The Bundy ranch stand­off may have been unique in one respect, the report admits, “in terms of its utter brazen­ness”:

    Rarely have even the most mil­i­tant of mem­bers of the antigov­ern­ment “Patri­ot” move­ment been pho­tographed aim­ing sniper rifles at the heads of law enforce­ment offi­cials. Almost nev­er has a group of heav­i­ly armed right-wing rad­i­cals, fac­ing large num­bers of equal­ly heav­i­ly armed law enforce­ment, forced the gov­ern­ment to back down.

    But it belongs on a spec­trum of sim­i­lar con­fronta­tions over the decades, and was clear­ly less lethal than many of them, includ­ing, of course the Okla­homa City bomb­ing, which left 168 peo­ple dead, includ­ing 19 babies and chil­dren.

    Part of what dis­tin­guished the Bundy ranch con­fronta­tion, the report sug­gests, was the role of Ryan Payne, a 30-year-old mili­tia man from Ana­con­da, Mon­tana, who had deployed twice to Iraq, and who played a key role in recruit­ing hun­dreds of oth­er mili­tia mem­bers to sup­port Bundy, and in posi­tion­ing the snipers, lead­ing the BLM to with­draw. Payne is a mem­ber of small local mili­tia group, the West Moun­tain Rangers, but he also “sits atop a lit­tle-known mili­tia orga­ni­za­tion called Oper­a­tion Mutu­al Aid, a group that he hoped could coor­di­nate mili­tias across the coun­try to respond to fed­er­al aggres­sions,” accord­ing to the report. SPLC inter­viewed Payne weeks after the con­fronta­tion.

    After a Bundy fam­i­ly video of their ini­tial con­fronta­tions went viral, Payne jumped into action, first talk­ing with Bundy, then dri­ving through the night with anoth­er mem­ber of his mili­tia, Jim Lardy, “a few sleep­ing bags in tow, burn­ing up cell phones hop­ing to bring every mili­tia mem­ber they could. On April 9, he sent out an urgent call for the mili­tias to mobi­lize,” say­ing that 150 mem­bers had already respond­ed, “but that num­ber is grow­ing by the hour.” Once he arrived, he took on the role of a bat­tle­field planner—a role that payed off, big time, when the BLM decid­ed to retreat, rather than pre­cip­i­tate a bloody con­fronta­tion:

    Recount­ing the day sev­er­al weeks lat­er from the Bundy com­pound, Payne smiled. In the days before the stand­off, he and Cliv­en Bundy had toured the pub­lic lands Bundy was using, look­ing for ways to defend them if nec­es­sary. He knew the bat­tle­field, planned the response by Bundy sup­port­ers, and made sure snipers were in posi­tion. In his telling, his plan­ning could not have gone more per­fect­ly.

    “Not only did they take up the very best posi­tion to over­watch every­thing, they also had the high ground, they were for­ti­fied with con­crete and pave­ment bar­ri­ers,” Payne said. “They had great lines of fire and then, when I sent in that oth­er team, for counter sniper posi­tions, [the BLM agents] were com­plete­ly locked down. They had no choice but to retreat.”

    The rea­son, he boast­ed, was “over­whelm­ing tac­ti­cal supe­ri­or­i­ty.”

    But a good case can be made that the real rea­son was strate­gic and polit­i­cal, not tac­ti­cal. Con­trary to all the right-wing para­noia, the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment has nev­er seri­ous­ly focused on the mili­tia move­ment, its antecedents and allies in a sus­tained man­ner com­men­su­rate with the threats that it pos­es, although it has han­dled some spe­cif­ic inci­dents in an exem­plary man­ner. (Iron­i­cal­ly, in con­trast, Potok told Salon that local, on-the-ground law enforce­ment has been keen­ly aware of the right-wing mili­tia threat ever since the Okla­homa City bombing—though, telling­ly, not before it.) The fact that Bundy was decades in arrears in the mon­ey he owed for graz­ing his cat­tle on pub­lic lands was just one more piece of evi­dence of how the government’s lax atti­tude toward con­ser­v­a­tive law­break­ers breeds a sense of impuni­ty and enti­tle­ment, which is also strong­ly sup­port­ed by main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive voic­es, as well as media fig­ures who strad­dle the ever-shrink­ing divide between main­stream con­ser­vatism and the law­less, vio­lence-prone fringe.

    The report not only pro­vides a broad overview of how vio­lence-prone right-wing anti-gov­ern­ment con­spir­acism and broad­er land use griev­ances have inter­act­ed since the 1970s, it also pro­vides direct evi­dence of how Bundy him­self has espoused such fringe views through­out his decades-long peri­od of refus­ing to pay the min­i­mal graz­ing fees he owes.

    But as far-reach­ing as it is, it is still remark­ably focused, Clark­son points out. “The issue in the case of the Bundy graz­ing fees, is a long stand­ing issue of fed­er­al lands in the West. But there are many such poten­tial ral­ly­ing points for the Patri­ot move­ment and its prospec­tive allies, informed by a volatile range of beliefs, many of them reli­gious.”

    While the report does men­tion reli­gion in pass­ing, as Clark­son sug­gests, there’s a great deal more out there that lies beyond its scope. “In 2001, for exam­ple, there was an anal­o­gous sit­u­a­tion when the Indi­anapo­lis Bap­tist Tem­ple, which had refused to with­hold tax­es from their employ­ee pay­checks, faced the seizure of their assets. Mili­tia groups also turned out to defend the church,” Clark­son said. In a post-Hob­by Lob­by world, who’s to say what would hap­pen with sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion today? In that case, how­ev­er, “law enforce­ment sim­ply wait­ed until almost every­one had gone home and three months lat­er seized the church with­out vio­lence,” Clark­son not­ed. “Not every such stand­off need end in vio­lence. But ide­o­log­i­cal shifts in ele­ments of the Chris­t­ian Right in recent years, also point to a grow­ing poten­tial if not actu­al prepa­ra­tion for vio­lence.”

    With this broad­er range of threats in mind, let’s refo­cus on what “The War in the West” does tell us. Most broad­ly, it takes up the mod­ern his­to­ry of the mili­tia move­ment and its kin with William Pot­ter Gale’s cre­ation of the Posse Comi­ta­tus:

    [H]istoric resis­tance to fed­er­al author­i­ty grew far sharp­er and more ide­o­log­i­cal­ly refined with the emer­gence of the mod­ern rad­i­cal right in the 1970s and 1980s, in par­tic­u­lar the racist and anti-Semit­ic Posse Comi­ta­tus. The Posse, whose name is Latin for “pow­er of the coun­ty,” pushed an espe­cial­ly rad­i­cal local­ism, orig­i­nat­ing the doc­trine of “coun­ty suprema­cy” even as it mar­ried ele­ments of the tax protest move­ment to Chris­t­ian Identity—a hereti­cal read­ing of the Bible that depicts Jews as bio­log­i­cal­ly satan­ic and peo­ple of col­or as sub­hu­man.

    In com­mon law, posse comi­ta­tus means “the author­i­ty of a law offi­cer to con­script any able-bod­ied males to assist him.” In Amer­i­can his­to­ry it refers to the the 1878 Posse Comi­ta­tus Act, a fed­er­al law pro­hibit­ing the mil­i­tary from polic­ing non-fed­er­al prop­er­ty, which was intend­ed specif­i­cal­ly to crip­ple enforce­ment of the Civ­il War Amend­ments, which grant­ed full cit­i­zen­ship and legal pro­tec­tions to for­mer slaves and their descen­dants. At its core, Gale’s Posse Comi­ta­tus seeks to ele­vate a mere statute to the lev­el of a core con­sti­tu­tion­al principle—and not just any law, but a law passed specif­i­cal­ly for the pur­pose of effec­tive­ly nul­li­fy­ing three sep­a­rate con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ments, and reduc­ing African-Amer­i­cans back to the de fac­to lev­el of slaves.

    ...

    Bundy’s con­nec­tion is not an acci­den­tal one. Although his father was a scofflaw before him, Bundy had the good for­tune of a grow­ing move­ment around him, whose lan­guage and pos­tures he read­i­ly adopt­ed as his own. Con­cern­ing the family’s his­to­ry of delin­quen­cy, the report notes:

    The Bundy fam­i­ly had been at odds with the BLM for almost half of the 20th cen­tu­ry, dat­ing back to 1953, when Cliv­en Bundy’s father, David Bundy, applied for his first per­mit to graze 95 cat­tle on the BLM’s Gold Butte allot­ment, about 600,000 acres of low-lying desert.

    Accord­ing to a detailed time­line pre­pared by High Coun­try News, David Bundy imme­di­ate­ly went into arrears on pay­ments for his per­mit.

    By the time Bundy took over his father’s claim, there was a pre-fab lan­guage of BS tai­lor-made for him to use:

    In 1994, the BLM took Bundy to fed­er­al court in order to force him to pay what then amount­ed to about $25,000 in graz­ing fees. Even then, Bundy dis­avowed the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. He attempt­ed to pay his fees to Clark Coun­ty, a gov­ern­ment body he rec­og­nized, but was turned away. On his own accord, as he told the Las Vegas Review-Jour­nal, he “fired the BLM.”

    “[T]hey’ve nev­er proven to me they own that land, and I’m will­ing to do whatever’s nec­es­sary to defend my land,” Bundy told the Rocky Moun­tain News.

    Over the next four years, “Bundy began fil­ing sov­er­eign cit­i­zen-like fil­ings with the court, acknowl­edg­ing only a ‘sov­er­eign state of Neva­da,’ not the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment,” the report notes. One exam­ple suf­fices to reveal his state of mind:

    In one let­ter to the author­i­ties, dat­ed Nov. 27, 1998, Bundy lec­tured state and fed­er­al offi­cials about how they had no author­i­ty to restrict these lands. “Neva­da offi­cials are here­by giv­en con­struc­tive notice that an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al juris­dic­tion with­out lim­i­ta­tions is being imposed upon me and my family’s life, lib­er­ty and prop­er­ty. … I have been a ranch­er and stew­ard of the range in this area for many more years than there has been a BLM…. I here­by give notice to all above named per­sons and enti­ties that this order is com­ing from a for­eign court,” he wrote.

    There’s so much BS in this let­ter, one hard­ly knows where to begin. So keep­ing it ultra-sim­ple is per­haps the best tac­tic: In fact, Bundy’s father pur­chased their ranch in 1948, two years after the BLM was formed in 1946, from a merg­er of the U.S. Graz­ing Ser­vice (estab­lished 1934) and the Gen­er­al Land Office (estab­lished 1812). Thus it is sim­ply a bald-faced lie when Bundy claims “I have been a ranch­er and stew­ard of the range in this area for many more years than there has been a BLM.” The land itself has been con­tin­u­ous­ly owned by the U.S. gov­ern­ment since its pur­chase from Mex­i­co in 1848, as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidal­go.

    Vir­tu­al­ly all of the far right’s con­spir­acist beliefs are equal­ly trans­par­ent lies, if you can trace them back far enough. But that assumes a truth-seek­ing func­tion on somebody’s part—an assump­tion that’s clear­ly unwar­rant­ed. In our age of sav­age­ly dec­i­mat­ed news­rooms, fact-free “he said/she said” jour­nal­ism appears to be the only kind that most orga­ni­za­tions can manage—a style that nat­u­ral­ly gives the advan­tage to those like Bundy who just make things up, care­ful­ly tai­lored to bol­ster their argu­ments.

    “The vast major­i­ty of reporters have lit­tle or no back­ground in cov­er­ing move­ments,” Potok told Salon.

    This is not a crit­i­cism of indi­vid­ual reports, but a reflec­tion on “what has hap­pened over 20 years col­lapse of the news media and the rise of opin­ion jour­nal­ism.” With the col­lapse of news­pa­pers, there are “very few peo­ple who are real­ly knowl­edge­able about the far right,” he said. The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter saw this trend com­ing 17 years ago, when Potok first joined the orga­ni­za­tion. “We real­ized this move­ment was being cov­ered more and more by peo­ple who didn’t know much about it. That’s in part why we’re orga­nized the way we are…. There’s a lack of that knowl­edge in the world, and we’re try­ing to fill in the gap…. The bot­tom line is the rad­i­cal right is very com­pli­cat­ed, with mul­ti­ple facets and mul­ti­ple lay­ers,” which make it quite dif­fi­cult for reporters not famil­iar with it to make sense of things on the fly.

    But the prob­lem isn’t sim­ply lack of information—it’s the pres­ence of dis­in­for­ma­tion as well, which was on full dis­play with the wide­spread embrace of Bundy as a folk hero, until he start­ed spew­ing unvar­nished racist hate speech.

    “I think that the right wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and fig­ures on talk radio act­ed despi­ca­bly dur­ing the stand­off. And I think that has been true for large sec­tions of the Repub­li­can Par­ty for many years now,” Potok said. “Sean Han­ni­ty and oth­ers lion­ized Cliv­en Bundy as some kind of great hero, stand­ing up for the Con­sti­tu­tion. He was no hero, he was a thief, a man who stole over $1 mil­lion from you and I, his fel­low Amer­i­cans. And yet these peo­ple who sup­pos­ed­ly rep­re­sent law and order were out there cheer­ing him on, until he made his unfor­tu­nate remarks about ‘the negro’, and then they ran—out of pure polit­i­cal cow­ardice.”

    But this was hard­ly an iso­lat­ed exam­ple, Potok not­ed. “The right wing of the Repub­li­can par­ty has done a hell of a lot to help move com­plete­ly fringe con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and pro­pa­gan­da from far right of our soci­ety into the polit­i­cal main­stream.” He cit­ed as an exam­ple an entry from the report’s Time­line sec­tion, pri­mar­i­ly focused on land use and the mili­tia move­ment, but with some telling entries doc­u­ment­ing their wider influ­ence, and relat­ed con­spir­acist ten­den­cies. Here’s the exam­ple:

    Jan­u­ary 2012: The Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee pass­es a res­o­lu­tion denounc­ing Agen­da 21 as a “destruc­tive and insid­i­ous scheme” to impose a “socialist/communist redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth” on Amer­i­ca, a com­plete­ly unfound­ed view of the vol­un­tary UN sus­tain­abil­i­ty plan. The res­o­lu­tion reflects how deeply Patri­ot con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about envi­ron­men­tal­ism have pen­e­trat­ed the polit­i­cal main­stream.

    In the real world, Agen­da 21 is a non-bind­ing plan to guide sus­tain­able development—economic devel­op­ment along the lines pre-sup­posed by Lock­ean the­o­ry, in which the devel­op­ment of some land leaves as much oppor­tu­ni­ty for future devel­op­ers and future gen­er­a­tions. But in the eyes of right-wing extrem­ists, there’s no dif­fer­ence at all between John Locke and Vladimir Lenin. Also in the real world, George H.W. Bush was an orig­i­nal sig­na­to­ry of Agen­da 21 at the Rio Earth Sum­mit in 1992, along with 186 oth­er heads of state.

    “It is a com­plete­ly inno­cent, feel-good doc­u­ment that can­not force any­one to do any­thing,” Potok remarked. “And yet the RNC denounced it as a ‘destruc­tive and insid­i­ous scheme’ and goes on to say it’s an attempt to destroy all prop­er­ty rights in the U.S. These things are com­plete­ly and utter­ly false.”

    But what’s even more aston­ish­ing is how this came about, Potok explained. “The John Birch Soci­ety, which infa­mous­ly attacked Pres­i­dent Eisen­how­er as a com­mu­nist agent has been run­ning around the coun­try for years telling this lie,” Potok said. “Ten years ago, nobody on the right or the left gave a damn what the John Birch Soci­ety said. But now we have the RNC sign­ing on to their con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry.”

    Indeed, when William F. Buck­ley was strug­gling to make the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment respectable, he offi­cial­ly con­demned the John Birch Soci­ety, with a show of sup­port from oth­er con­ser­v­a­tive lead­ers as they ral­lied around the cause of Bar­ry Goldwater’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Of course Bircher-style con­spir­acism nev­er went away—conspiracist tracts such as “None Dare Call It Trea­son” and “A Choice, Not An Echo”—both wild­ly pop­u­lar dur­ing Goldwater’s cam­paign and beyond—sold far more copies than Buck­ley ever dreamed of. But at least there was a con­ser­v­a­tive estab­lish­ment that offi­cial­ly dis­owned that sort of think­ing. Today, Buck­ley is dead—and so is that estab­lish­ment ethos.

    Of course, it’s not just the con­ser­v­a­tive estab­lish­ment that’s now legit­imized the Birchers. The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter is per­haps best known for its annu­al report “The Year in Hate and Extrem­ism” which reports on the num­ber of active hate groups and oth­er extrem­ists. The report is, as Potok sug­gest­ed above, a form of jour­nal­is­tic endeav­or. But in report­ing on SPLC’s 2013 report, some con­fu­sion slipped in at USA Today, which treat­ed it almost as a mat­ter of opin­ion, “bal­anced” by none oth­er than the John Birch Soci­ety!

    At least the BLM can see when it’s made a mis­take. But USA Today? I wouldn’t bet on it. “Bal­ance” is such an unques­tion­able virtue, you see. And that’s arguably the biggest rea­son why we can expect future Bundy ranch inci­dents, with even blood­i­er out­comes ahead.

    In case you’re curi­ous, the USA Today piece ref­er­enced at the end describes the John Birch Soci­ety as “a con­ser­v­a­tive, anti-com­mu­nist group based in Apple­ton, Wis, that advo­cates lim­it­ed gov­ern­ment”. The John Birch Soci­ety.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 22, 2014, 6:14 pm
  4. That’s quite a loca­tion to pick for an open car­ry demon­stra­tion where you rant about the pres­i­dent being a usurp­er for­eign­er:

    TPM Livewire
    Watch: Open Car­ry Activists Hold Event at Dealey Plaza, Site of Kennedy Assas­si­na­tion

    By Cather­ine Thomp­son July 23, 2014, 1:54 PM EDT

    A group of open car­ry gun activists who protest­ed Sat­ur­day at Dealey Plaza in Dal­las filmed a bizarre, more-than-10-minute video of their demon­stra­tion and post­ed it to YouTube.

    One activist appeared on cam­era to explain that the group, which the Dal­las Observ­er iden­ti­fied as Come And Take It Dal­las, gath­ers every third Sat­ur­day of the month to pass out Sec­ond Amend­ment lit­er­a­ture. The same speak­er then went on a rant against for­eign­ers and refers to Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma as a “usurp­er for­eign­er” born in Kenya.

    Lat­er, the cam­era focused for an extend­ed peri­od on a preach­er who was shar­ing the Grassy Knoll with the activists. The per­son behind the cam­era can be heard repeat­ed­ly say­ing “Amen” in response to the preacher’s con­dem­na­tion of a “sex­u­al charged soci­ety.”

    Watch below:
    [see video]

    So, in choos­ing the Grass Knoll for this demon­stra­tion, is the mes­sage that, had there been some­one open­ly car­ry­ing in the Grassy Knoll, JFK would have lived? Let’s hope that’s the sub­text. It prob­a­bly isn’t, con­sid­er­ing the zeit­gi­est, but let’s still hope so.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 23, 2014, 11:08 am

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