Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

News & Supplemental  

Extremism in the defense of stupidity is a vice

There was shootout last week between police offi­cers in Louisiana and what appear to be sev­en indi­vid­u­als asso­ci­at­ed with the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens move­ment. It’s the most recent tragedy in a string of anti-gov­ern­ment attacks by fol­low­ers of the ide­ol­o­gy includ­ing Jared Lough­n­er’s shoot­ing spree last year. As Bar­ry Gold­wa­ter once famous­ly quipped, “extrem­ism in the defense of lib­er­ty is no vice”. Posse comi­ta­tus and the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens move­ment should prob­a­bly be viewed as an excep­tion to Bar­ry’s rule.

This lat­est attack result­ed in two dead and two wound­ed offi­cers in a pair of sequen­tial shootouts start­ing in the park­ing lot of an oil refin­ery. Two mem­bers of the group were also wound­ed. One of them was a mem­ber of the noto­ri­ous white suprema­cist-infest­ed “posse comi­ta­tus”:

TPM
Louisiana Ambush Sus­pect Tied To ‘Anti-Gov­ern­ment Group’

Nick R. Mar­tin August 17, 2012, 5:50 PM

A year ago, he was want­ed by Nebras­ka author­i­ties for alleged­ly mak­ing “ter­ror­is­tic threats” to law enforce­ment.

By Fri­day, inves­ti­ga­tors said Kyle Joekel, 28, was one of sev­en peo­ple involved in what was being described as a pair of ambush­es on sheriff’s deputies out­side of New Orleans. Two deputies were killed and two oth­ers wound­ed before it all came to an end ear­ly Thurs­day morn­ing.

Accord­ing to a report by the Shreve­port Times, inves­ti­ga­tors in Louisiana had Joekel on their radar for months before the shoot­ing and believed he was part of some sort of “anti-gov­ern­ment group.”

...

The details of the inci­dent were not imme­di­ate­ly clear on Fri­day after­noon, but the New Orleans Times-Picayune report­ed that the sher­iff of Gage Coun­ty believed Joekel was part of a group known as Posse Comi­ta­tus. The group, which was large­ly active in the 1970s and 80s, was seen as the pre­cur­sor to the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens move­ment.

“It just didn’t look right,” Sher­iff Mil­lard “Gus” Gustafson told the news­pa­per. “These guys would be dri­ving around at night, and they’d have weapons on the front seat. If you’re doing that, something’s wrong — you’re either hunt­ing ille­gal­ly or doing some­thing else.”

...

Posse comi­ta­tus, a far-right anti-tax/an­ti-gov­ern­ment move­ment that does­n’t rec­og­nize legal author­i­ty above the lev­el of coun­ty sher­iff, is an espe­cial­ly impor­tant rad­i­cal move­ment to under­stand with­in the con­text of the cur­rent eco­nom­ic cri­sis and the finan­cial sec­tor loot­ing that led up to it. It emerged in the 1970’s and 80’s in rur­al Amer­i­ca as a farm­ing cri­sis dis­placed and dis­lo­cat­ed rur­al com­mu­ni­ties. Not only was it a pre­de­ce­sor to the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens move­ment and the larg­er col­lec­tion of sur­vival­ist-ori­ent­ed, anti-tax/IRS, Chris­t­ian Iden­ti­ty far-right white sprema­cist under­ground that exists today. It was also a trail­blaz­er in “paper ter­ror­ism” and some very strange legal the­o­ries:

The Wash­ing­ton Month­ly
Too Weird
for The Wire
May/June/July 2008

How black Bal­ti­more drug deal­ers are
using white suprema­cist legal
the­o­ries to con­found the Feds
.

By Kevin Carey

In Novem­ber 16, 2005, Willie “Bo” Mitchell and three co-defendants—Shelton “Lit­tle Rock” Har­ris, Shelly “Wayne” Mar­tin, and Shawn Earl Gard­ner— appeared for a hear­ing in the mod­ern fed­er­al cour­t­house in down­town Bal­ti­more, Mary­land. The four African Amer­i­can men were fac­ing fed­er­al charges of rack­e­teer­ing, weapons pos­ses­sion, drug deal­ing, and five counts of first-degree mur­der. For near­ly two years the pros­e­cu­tors had been method­i­cal­ly build­ing their case, with the aim of putting the defen­dants to death. In Bal­ti­more, which has a mur­der rate eight times high­er than that of New York City, such cas­es are depress­ing­ly com­mon­place.

A few min­utes after 10 a.m., Unit­ed States Dis­trict Court Judge Andre M. Davis took his seat and began his intro­duc­to­ry remarks. Sud­den­ly, the leader of the defen­dants, Willie Mitchell, a short, unre­mark­able look­ing twen­ty-eight-yearold with close-cropped hair, leapt from his chair, grabbed a micro­phone, and launched into a bizarre solil­o­quy.

“I am not a defen­dant,” Mitchell declared. “I do not have attor­neys.” The court “lacks ter­ri­to­r­i­al juris­dic­tion over me,” he argued, to the amaze­ment of his lawyers. To sup­port these con­tentions, he cit­ed decades-old acts of Con­gress involv­ing the aban­don­ment of the gold stan­dard and the cre­ation of the Fed­er­al Reserve. Judge Davis, a Bal­ti­more-born African Amer­i­can in his late fifties, tried to inter­rupt. “I object,” Mitchell repeat­ed robot­i­cal­ly. Shelly Mar­tin and Shel­ton Har­ris fol­lowed Mitchell to the micro­phone, giv­ing the same speech ver­ba­tim. Their attor­neys tried to inter­vene, but when Harris’s lawyer leaned over to speak to him, Har­ris shoved him away.

Judge Davis ordered the three defen­dants to be removed from the court, and turned to Gard­ner, who had, until then, remained qui­et. But Gard­ner, too, intoned the same strange speech. “I am Shawn Earl Gard­ner, live man, flesh and blood,” he pro­claimed. Every time the judge referred to him as “the defen­dant” or “Mr. Gard­ner,” Gard­ner auto­mat­i­cal­ly inter­rupt­ed: “My name is Shawn Earl Gard­ner, sir.” Davis tried to explain to Gard­ner that his behav­ior was putting his chances of acquit­tal or lenien­cy at risk. “Don’t throw your life away,” Davis plead­ed. But Gard­ner wouldn’t stop. Judge Davis con­clud­ed the hear­ing, deter­mined to find out what was going on.

As it turned out, he wasn’t alone. In the pre­vi­ous year, near­ly twen­ty defen­dants in oth­er Bal­ti­more cas­es had begun adopt­ing what lawyers in the fed­er­al cour­t­house came to call “the flesh-and-blood defense.” The defense, such as it is, boils down to this: As offi­cers of the court, all defense lawyers are real­ly on the government’s side, hav­ing sworn an oath to uphold a vast, cen­tu­ry-old con­spir­a­cy to con­ceal the fact that most aspects of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment are ille­git­i­mate, includ­ing the courts, which have no con­sti­tu­tion­al author­i­ty to bring peo­ple to tri­al. The defen­dants also believed that a legal dis­tinc­tion could be drawn between their name as writ­ten on their indict­ment and their true iden­ti­ty as a “flesh and blood man.”

Judge Davis and his law clerk pored over the case files, which led them to a series of strange Web sites. The fle­s­hand- blood defense, they dis­cov­ered, came from a place far from Bal­ti­more, from peo­ple as dif­fer­ent from Willie Mitchell as peo­ple could pos­si­bly be. Its antecedents stretched back decades, involv­ing reli­gious zealots, gun nuts, tax pro­tes­tors, and vio­lent sep­a­ratists dri­ven by the­o­ries that had fueled delu­sions of Aryan suprema­cy and race war in gun-loaded com­pounds in the wilds of Mon­tana and Ida­ho. Although Mitchell and his peers didn’t know it, they were inher­it­ing the intel­lec­tu­al lega­cy of white suprema­cists who believe that Amer­i­ca was irrev­o­ca­bly bro­ken when the 14th Amend­ment pro­vid­ed equal rights to for­mer slaves. It was the ide­ol­o­gy that inspired the Okla­homa City bomb­ing, the biggest act of domes­tic ter­ror­ism in the nation’s his­to­ry, and now, a decade lat­er, it had some­how sprout­ed in the crime-rid­den ghet­tos of Bal­ti­more.
...

Note that these ideas that the US con­sti­tu­tion negates vir­tu­al­ly all fed­er­al laws (and most oth­er laws) are found in the youtube videos made by Jared Loughner...along with a strange gram­mer obses­sion. Lough­n­er sort of puts a new spin on the term “gram­mer nazi”.

Skip­ping down in the arti­cle...

...

A month after the hear­ing, Judge Davis took the unusu­al step of issu­ing a writ­ten opin­ion deny­ing all of the defendant’s “unusual—if not bizarre” argu­ments. “Per­haps they would even be humor­ous,” Davis wrote, “were the stakes not so high … It is tru­ly iron­ic that four African- Amer­i­can defen­dants here appar­ent­ly rely on an ide­ol­o­gy derived from a famous­ly dis­cred­it­ed notion: the ille­git­i­ma­cy of the Four­teenth Amend­ment.” One can under­stand his increduli­ty that four Bal­ti­more drug deal­ers might invoke a racist argu­ment that dates back to the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry. But as it turns out, that’s when the seeds of the flesh-and-blood defense were sown.

In 1878, south­ern Democ­rats pushed leg­is­la­tion through Con­gress lim­it­ing the abil­i­ty of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to mar­shal troops on U.S. soil. Known as Posse Comi­ta­tus, (Latin for “pow­er of the coun­ty”) the law’s authors hoped to con­strain the government’s abil­i­ty to pro­tect black south­ern­ers from vio­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion. The act sym­bol­i­cal­ly marked the end of Recon­struc­tion and the begin­ning of Jim Crow.

For the next eight decades, black Amer­i­cans lived under the yoke of insti­tu­tion­al racism. But by the late 1950s, the civ­il rights move­ment was grow­ing in strength. In 1957, Pres­i­dent Eisen­how­er sent 1,200 troops from the 101st Air­borne Divi­sion to Lit­tle Rock, Arkansas, so that nine black stu­dents could safe­ly enter a pre­vi­ous­ly all-white high school. The land­mark Civ­il Rights Act fol­lowed in 1964.

These devel­op­ments hor­ri­fied one William Gale, a World War II vet­er­an, insur­ance sales­man, self-styled min­is­ter of racist Chris­t­ian Iden­ti­ty the­ol­o­gy, and rav­ing anti-Semi­te. In 1971, he launched a move­ment whose impact would rever­ber­ate through the rad­i­cal fringes of Amer­i­can soci­ety for decades to come. He called it Posse Comi­ta­tus, named for the 1878 law he believed Eisen­how­er had vio­lat­ed by send­ing the troops to Lit­tle Rock. In a series of tapes and self-pub­lished pam­phlets, Gale explained that coun­ty sher­iffs were the supreme legal law enforce­ment offi­cers in the land, and that coun­ty res­i­dents had the right to form a posse to enforce the Constitution—however they, as “sov­er­eign cit­i­zens,” chose to inter­pret it. Pub­lic offi­cials who inter­fered, instruct­ed Gale, should be “hung by the neck” at high noon.

Gale’s racist beliefs were hard­ly unique. His sin­gu­lar inno­va­tion was to devise a “legal” phi­los­o­phy that was enor­mous­ly appeal­ing to dis­af­fect­ed, alien­at­ed cit­i­zens. It was a promise of pow­er, a means of assert­ing that they were the true inher­i­tors of the found­ing fathers’ ide­al, a dream they believed had been cor­rupt­ed by a vast con­spir­a­cy that only they could see. Gale’s ideas gave peo­ple on the para­noid edge of soci­ety a col­lec­tive iden­ti­ty. It told them what they des­per­ate­ly want­ed to hear: that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment was ille­git­i­mate, and that the legal weapons the state used to oppress them could be turned against the state.

Soon, Poss­es were sprout­ing across the coun­try, attract­ing vet­er­ans of the 1960s-era tax protest move­ment, Sec­ond Amend­ment abso­lutists, Chris­t­ian Iden­ti­ty adher­ents, and ardent anti-com­mu­nists who had aban­doned the John Birch Soci­ety because they felt the orga­ni­za­tion wasn’t extreme enough. Local groups would meet to share lit­er­a­ture, lis­ten to tapes of Gale’s ser­mons, and dis­cuss prepa­ra­tions for the approach­ing End Times. This extrem­ist stew pro­duced exot­ic amal­ga­ma­tions of para­noia, such as when Posse mem­bers would explain the need for local mili­tias to stock­pile weapons in order to defend white Chris­tians from blacks in the com­ing race war sparked by the inevitable eco­nom­ic col­lapse caused by the income tax and a cabal of inter­na­tion­al Jew­ish bankers bent on glob­al dom­i­nance through one world gov­ern­ment, for Satan.

While local Poss­es would peri­od­i­cal­ly con­front law enforce­ment offi­cials in the 1970s, (usu­al­ly in prop­er­ty dis­putes), they were often incom­pe­tent, and few peo­ple were hurt. But things took a seri­ous turn in 1978, when thou­sands of farm­ers ral­lied in Wash­ing­ton D.C. seek­ing relief from low com­mod­i­ty prices, high inter­est rates, and farm debt. When Con­gres­sion­al relief attempts failed, some farm­ers became sus­cep­ti­ble to ped­dlers of the Posse ide­ol­o­gy, which preached that the farm cri­sis had been brought on by the inter­na­tion­al Jew­ish bank­ing con­spir­a­cy, aban­don­ment of the gold stan­dard and a malev­o­lent Fed­er­al Reserve.

...

It’s an impor­tant les­son we can learn from the rise of posse comi­ta­tus in the 70’s and 80’s: When gov­ern­ments fail to address the eco­nom­ic trou­bles fac­ing their cit­i­zens, those cit­i­zens tend to become much more amenable to extreme nation­al­ism and con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, espe­cial­ly the exist­ing lega­cy con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries of a cabal of inter­na­tion­al jew­ish bankers. One les­son we can take away from this is that any move­ment that wants to pro­mote such theories/worldviews has an incen­tive to destroy the econ­o­my in order to rad­i­cal­ize the pop­u­lace. It’s a les­son the pub­lic real­ly needs to learn in the con­text of a glob­al reces­sion brought on by an inter­na­tion­al finan­cial cri­sis because the banks haven’t been the only sec­tors of soci­ety bailed out in the wake of the finan­cial cri­sis. A num­ber of bank­rupt polit­i­cal ide­olo­gies have also been bailed out by the gov­ern­men­t’s kid glove treat­ment of the finan­cial sec­tor after the obscene behav­ior by the banksters.

Con­tin­u­ing...

...
By 1982, Bill Gale had flown to Kansas to con­duct para­mil­i­tary train­ing and indoc­tri­na­tion for splin­ter groups of dis­af­fect­ed farm­ers. At night, a coun­try music sta­tion in Dodge City broad­cast tapes of Gale’s ser­mons. “You’re either going to get back to the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States in your gov­ern­ment,” he intoned, “or offi­cials are gonna hang by the neck until they’re dead … Arise and fight! If a Jew comes near you, run a sword through him.” As Posse ide­ol­o­gy rip­pled across the dis­tressed farm belt, vio­lence fol­lowed. Sev­er­al dead­ly con­fronta­tions between Posse adher­ents and law enforce­ment made nation­al head­lines; Ger­al­do Rivera descend­ed on Nebras­ka to doc­u­ment the “Seeds of Hate” in America’s heart­land. By 1987, Gale’s rhetoric had esca­lat­ed fur­ther. He told his fol­low­ers that “You’ve got an ene­my gov­ern­ment run­ning around … its source and its loca­tion is Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and the fed­er­al build­ings they’ve built with your tax mon­ey all over the cities in this land.”

Huck­sters and char­la­tans prowled the Mid­west as the farm cri­sis deep­ened, sell­ing des­per­ate farm­ers expen­sive sem­i­nars and prepack­aged legal defens­es “guar­an­teed” to can­cel debts and fore­stall fore­clo­sure. Since the gold stan­dard had been aban­doned in 1933, they argued, mon­ey had no inher­ent val­ue, and so nei­ther did their debts. All they had to do, farm­ers were told, was opt out of the sys­tem by send­ing a let­ter to the appro­pri­ate author­i­ties renounc­ing their driver’s license, birth cer­tifi­cate, and social secu­ri­ty num­ber. That num­ber was alleged­ly tied to a secret gov­ern­ment account held in a secure sub­ter­ranean facil­i­ty in low­er Man­hat­tan, where cit­i­zens are used as col­lat­er­al against inter­na­tion­al debts issued by the Fed and everyone’s name is on a mas­ter list, spelled in cap­i­tal letters—the very same cap­i­tal let­ters used in the offi­cial court doc­u­ments detail­ing fore­clo­sure and oth­er actions against them. The cap­i­tal let­ter name was noth­ing but an arti­fi­cial con­struct, they were told, a legal “straw man.” It wasn’t them—natural, live, flesh and blood men.

Bill Gale died on April 28, 1988, three months after being sen­tenced in fed­er­al court for con­spir­a­cy, tax crimes, and mail­ing death threats to the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice. By that time, the farm cri­sis had begun to recede. Posse ide­ol­o­gy sim­mered for the next few years, mor­ph­ing into the “Chris­t­ian Patri­ot” move­ment, which sand­ed down some of the rough­est racist and anti-Semit­ic edges while retain­ing the core beliefs of Con­sti­tu­tion­al fun­da­men­tal­ism. The patri­ots saw them­selves as “sov­er­eign cit­i­zens,” unlike the “fed­er­al cit­i­zens” who had been cre­at­ed by the 14th Amendment’s guar­an­tee of equal pro­tec­tion under the law.

The dead­ly con­fronta­tions between fed­er­al agents and extrem­ists at Ruby Ridge in 1992 and Waco, Texas in 1993 brought latent anger with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment back to a boil. The mili­tia move­ment of the 1990s built on Posse tenets of coun­ty- based, self-orga­nized para­mil­i­tary groups led by cit­i­zens express­ing their basic Con­sti­tu­tion­al rights. Most groups stuck with con­duct­ing sur­vival­ist train­ing camps and fil­ing bogus liens against hous­es owned by local judges. But a few did much more.

In 1993, a Michi­gan farmer and sur­vival­ist named James Nichols was pulled over for speed­ing. Instead of sim­ply pay­ing the fine, he argued in court that his “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen” sta­tus made him immune to pros­e­cu­tion. That same year, James’ broth­er Ter­ry tried to pay off a $17,000 debt with a fake check issued by a rad­i­cal “fam­i­ly farm preser­va­tion” group run by Posse adher­ents. Two years lat­er, Ter­ry Nichols helped to bring the Posse’s anti-gov­ern­ment hatred to its ulti­mate fruition. On April 18, 1995, he and a friend named Tim­o­thy McVeigh loaded 108 fifty-pound bags of ammo­ni­um nitrate fer­til­iz­er into a Ryder truck. The next day, McVeigh bombed the Mur­rah fed­er­al build­ing in Okla­homa City, killing 168 peo­ple on the sec­ond anniver­sary of Waco.

...

As the above arti­cle indi­cates, posse comi­ta­tus is root­ed in the desire to estab­lish a white-suprema­cist god-ordained utopia of con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly man­dat­ed real­ly real­ly real­ly small gov­ern­ment. And no Jew­ish bankers. It’s sort of ear­ly ver­sion for the broad­er spec­trum of mil­i­tant far-right move­ments we’ve seen explod­ing across the US over the last cou­ple of decades, includ­ing Okla­homa City bomber Tim­o­thy McVeigh and his direct co-con­spir­a­tors. Think of the posse comi­ta­tus world­view as sort of the John Birch Soci­ety viewed through the lens of a mil­i­tant hyper-Lib­er­tar­i­an Chris­t­ian Iden­ti­ty neo-nazi. They’re pret­ty extreme but also some­what pro­to­typ­i­cal for the hard­core ‘Patri­ot’ scene:

Cursor.org
Rush, Newspeak
and Fas­cism:
An exe­ge­sis

by David Nei­w­ert

POSTED AUGUST 30, 2003 —

V. Pro­to-Fas­cism in Amer­i­ca

by David Nei­w­ert

It’s clear by now, I hope, that fas­cism isn’t some­thing pecu­liar to Europe, but in fact grew out of an impulse that appears through­out his­to­ry in many dif­fer­ent cul­tures. This impulse is, as Roger Grif­fin puts it, “ultra-nation­al­ism that aspires to bring about the renew­al of a nation’s entire polit­i­cal cul­ture.”

We need­n’t look far to find this impulse at play in the Amer­i­can land­scape — social, reli­gious and polit­i­cal renew­al all appear as con­stant (though per­haps not yet dom­i­nant) themes of Repub­li­can pro­pa­gan­da now. But it is espe­cial­ly preva­lent on the extrem­ist right; indeed, it’s prob­a­bly a defin­i­tive trait.

Grif­fin argues that cur­rent-day fas­cism is “grou­pus­cu­lar” in nature — that is, it forms out of small­ish but vir­u­lent, poten­tial­ly lethal and cer­tain­ly prob­lem­at­ic “organ­isms”:

After the war the dank con­di­tions for rev­o­lu­tion­ary nation­al­ism “dried out” to a point where it could no longer form into a sin­gle-mind­ed slime mould. Since par­ty-polit­i­cal space was large­ly closed to it, even in its diminu­tive ver­sions, it moved increas­ing­ly into dis­parate nich­es with­in civic and uncivic space, often assum­ing a “metapo­lit­i­cal” mode in which it focussed on chang­ing the “cul­tur­al hege­mo­ny” of the dom­i­nant lib­er­al cap­i­tal­ist sys­tem. … Where rev­o­lu­tion­ary nation­al­ism pur­sued vio­lent tac­tics they were no longer insti­tu­tion­alised and move­ment-based, but of a spo­radic, anar­chic, and ter­ror­is­tic nature. To the unini­ti­at­ed observ­er it seemed that where once plan­ets great and small of ultra-nation­al­ist ener­gies had dom­i­nat­ed the skies, there now cir­cled an aster­oid belt of frag­ments, most­ly invis­i­ble to the naked eye.19

When we con­sid­er some of the oth­er his­tor­i­cal traits of fas­cism, includ­ing those it shares with oth­er forms of total­i­tar­i­an­ism, then it becomes much eas­i­er to iden­ti­fy the polit­i­cal fac­tions that are most clear­ly pro­to-fas­cist — that is, poten­tial­ly fas­cist, if not explic­it­ly so. (As Pax­ton argues, its latent expres­sion will not nec­es­sar­i­ly rep­re­sent its mature form.) Sur­vey­ing the Amer­i­can scene, it is clear that just such a move­ment already exists. And in fact, it had already inspired, before 9/11, the most hor­ren­dous ter­ror­ist attack ever on Amer­i­can soil. It calls itself the “Patri­ot” move­ment.

You may have heard that this move­ment is dead. It isn’t, quite yet. And its poten­tial dan­ger to the Amer­i­can way of life is still very much with us.

Those who have read In God’s Coun­try know that I con­clude, in the After­word, that the Patri­ot move­ment rep­re­sents a gen­uine pro­to-fas­cist ele­ment: “a unique­ly Amer­i­can kind of fas­cism.” Let’s explore this point in a lit­tle more detail.

As Grif­fin sug­gests, the “grou­pus­cu­lar” form that post­war fas­cism has tak­en seems to pose lit­tle threat, but it remains latent in the wood­work:

But the dan­ger of the grou­pus­cu­lar right is not only at the lev­el of the chal­lenge to “cul­tur­al hege­mo­ny”. Its exis­tence as a per­ma­nent, prac­ti­cal­ly unsup­press­ible ingre­di­ent of civ­il and unciv­il soci­ety also ensures the con­tin­ued “pro­duc­tion” of racists and fanat­ics. On occa­sion these are able to sub­vert demo­c­ra­t­ic, paci­fist oppo­si­tion to glob­al­i­sa­tion, as has been seen when they have infil­trat­ed the “No Logo” move­ment with a rev­o­lu­tion­ary, vio­lent dynam­ic all too eas­i­ly exploit­ed by gov­ern­ments to tar all pro­test­ers with the same brush. Oth­ers choose instead to pur­sue the path of entry­ism by join­ing main­stream reformist par­ties, thus ensur­ing that both main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive par­ties and neo-pop­ulist par­ties con­tain a fringe of ide­o­log­i­cal­ly “pre­pared” hard-core extrem­ists. More­over, while the semi-clan­des­tine grou­pus­cu­lar form now adopt­ed by hard-core activist and metapo­lit­i­cal fas­cism can­not spawn the uni­formed para­mil­i­tary cadres of the 1930s, it is ide­al­ly suit­ed to breed­ing lone wolf ter­ror­ists and self-styled “polit­i­cal sol­diers” in train­ers and bomber-jack­ets ded­i­cat­ed to a tac­tic of sub­ver­sion known in Ital­ian as “spon­taneism”. [Empha­sis mine] By read­ing the ratio­nalised hate that they find on their screens as a rev­e­la­tion they trans­form their brood­ing malaise into a sense of mis­sion and turn the servers of their book-marked web grou­pus­cules into their mas­ters.

Grif­fin iden­ti­fies this man­i­fes­ta­tion of fas­cism not only in Europe but in the Unit­ed States:

One of the ear­li­est such acts of ter­ror­ism on record harks back to hal­cy­on pre-PC days. When Kohler Gun­dolf com­mit­ted the Okto­ber­fest bomb­ing in 1980 it was ini­tial­ly attrib­uted to a “nut­ter” work­ing inde­pen­dent­ly of the organ­ised right. Yet it lat­er tran­spired that he had been a mem­ber of the West Ger­man grou­pus­cule, Wehrsport­gruppe Hoff­mann. It also emerged at the tri­al of the “Okla­homa bomber”, Tim­o­thy McVeigh, that he had been deeply influ­enced by the USA’s thriv­ing grou­pus­cu­lar right sub­cul­ture. His dis­af­fec­tion with the con­tem­po­rary state of the nation had been politi­cised by his expo­sure to the shad­owy rev­o­lu­tion­ary sub­cul­ture cre­at­ed by the patri­ot­ic mili­tias, rifle clubs and sur­vival­ists. In par­tic­u­lar, his belief that he had been per­son­al­ly called to do some­thing to break ZOG’s (the so-called Zion­ist Occu­pa­tion Gov­ern­ment) stran­gle­hold on Amer­i­ca had crys­tallised into a plan on read­ing The Turn­er Diaries by William Pierce, head of the Nation­al Alliance.20

Con­ser­v­a­tives have suc­cess­ful­ly re-air­brushed the Okla­homa City bomb­ing as the act of a sin­gle mani­ac (or two) rather than the piece of right-wing ter­ror­ism it was, derived whol­ly from an ide­o­log­i­cal stew of ven­omous hate that has simul­ta­ne­ous­ly been seep­ing into main­stream con­ser­vatism through­out the 1990s and since.
...
HN

Note that the 1980 Okto­ber­fest bomb­ing in Munich was reviewed in 2011 and the bomber was indeed part of a larg­er neo-nazi net­work but the inves­ti­ga­tors inten­tion­al­ly ignored these links and pushed the ‘lone wolf’ sto­ry in order to avoid the polit­i­cal fall out for the Ger­man right-wing. It’s a phe­nom­e­na fre­quent­ly found (often upon lat­er inves­ti­ga­tions) ‘into the many ‘lone wolf’ US domes­tic ter­ror­ists:

Wash­ing­ton Post
Behind the Lone Ter­ror­ist, a Pack Men­tal­i­ty

By Mike Ger­man
Sun­day, June 5, 2005

The FBI has long main­tained that Tim­o­thy McVeigh, who was exe­cut­ed in 2001 for the Okla­homa City bomb­ing that claimed 168 lives, was the pro­to­typ­i­cal “lone wolf” ter­ror­ist and that any­one impli­cat­ed in the bomb­ing con­spir­a­cy is behind bars. But old loose ends and trou­bling new rev­e­la­tions about McVeigh’s asso­ci­a­tion with white suprema­cist groups have led many peo­ple to won­der whether a wider con­spir­a­cy was behind the bomb­ing that took place just over 10 years ago. Rep. Dana Rohrabach­er, a Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can, is con­sid­er­ing hold­ing hear­ings to try to answer these lin­ger­ing ques­tions. What he is like­ly to dis­cov­er is not a dis­agree­ment over the facts, but a fun­da­men­tal mis­per­cep­tion of how most extrem­ist groups oper­ate.

Most peo­ple have nev­er been to a Ku Klux Klan ral­ly or a mili­tia meet­ing; you don’t stum­ble into one by walk­ing through the wrong door at the den­tist’s office. Chances are, you would­n’t know how to find where a white suprema­cist group meets in your com­mu­ni­ty. In fact, you’d prob­a­bly be shocked to learn that there was one in your com­mu­ni­ty.

I learned how extrem­ist groups oper­ate first­hand as an FBI under­cov­er agent assigned to fight domes­tic ter­ror­ism. They don’t always call them­selves the KKK or the mili­tia; they some­times use benign names that mask their true nature. They might wear Nazi sym­bols right on their sleeves, but they might not. They could be just a cou­ple of grumpy old geezers who meet for cof­fee at a local cafe, or a few young punks look­ing for trou­ble, or even one guy sit­ting in his base­ment chat­ting on neo-Nazi Web sites. But they are all part of an under­ground extrem­ist com­mu­ni­ty.

Even if you could find them, they would­n’t just wel­come you into a meet­ing. They tend to be sus­pi­cious of strangers. They use cod­ed lan­guage and sym­bols that help them dis­tin­guish insid­ers from the unini­ti­at­ed, and they are care­ful to avoid infil­tra­tors.

But every once in a while, a fol­low­er of these move­ments bursts vio­lent­ly into our world, with dead­ly con­se­quences — McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, Buford Fur­row Jr., Paul Hill, to name just a few. And all these con­vict­ed mur­der­ers were iden­ti­fied as “lone extrem­ists,” the most dif­fi­cult ter­ror­ists to stop because they act inde­pen­dent­ly from any orga­ni­za­tion.

Or do they?

Tim McVeigh seemed able to find a mili­tia meet­ing wher­ev­er he went. He was linked to mili­tia groups in Ari­zona and Michi­gan, white suprema­cist groups in Okla­homa and Mis­souri, and at gun shows he sold copies of “The Turn­er Diaries,” a racist nov­el writ­ten by the founder of a neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion. No one finds such groups by acci­dent. Eric Rudolph, who plant­ed bombs at the Atlanta Olympics, two abor­tion clin­ics and a gay night­club, grew up in the Chris­t­ian Iden­ti­ty move­ment, which iden­ti­fies whites as God’s cho­sen peo­ple and encour­ages the faith­ful to fol­low the bib­li­cal exam­ple of Phineas by becom­ing instru­ments of God’s vengeance. Aryan Nations, for­mer­ly of Hay­den Lake, Ida­ho, was a cen­ter of Chris­t­ian Iden­ti­ty thought; not inci­den­tal­ly, Buford Fur­row worked there as a secu­ri­ty guard before going on a shoot­ing ram­page at a Jew­ish day-care cen­ter in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. Paul Hill wrote of the need to take “Phineas actions” to pre­vent abor­tions and was so well known that the news media used him to speak in sup­port of Michael Griffin’s killing of abor­tion doc­tor David Gunn. That Hill lat­er shot an abor­tion provider him­self should have sur­prised no one.

The fact that these indi­vid­u­als, after being exposed to extrem­ist ide­ol­o­gy, each com­mit­ted vio­lent acts might lead a rea­son­able per­son to sus­pect the exis­tence of a wider con­spir­a­cy. Imag­ine a very smart leader of an extrem­ist move­ment, one who under­stands the First Amend­ment and crim­i­nal con­spir­a­cy laws, telling his fol­low­ers not to depend on spe­cif­ic instruc­tions.

He might tell them to divorce them­selves from the group before they com­mit a vio­lent act; to act indi­vid­u­al­ly or in small groups so that oth­ers in the move­ment could avoid crim­i­nal lia­bil­i­ty. This method­ol­o­gy cre­ates a win-win sit­u­a­tion for the extrem­ist leader — the vio­lent goals of the group are met with­out the legal con­se­quences.

Actu­al­ly, there’s no need to imag­ine this. Extrem­ist group lead­ers pro­duce a tremen­dous amount of lit­er­a­ture, includ­ing train­ing man­u­als on “lead­er­less resis­tance” and lone wolf ter­ror­ism tech­niques. These man­u­als have been around for years and now they’re even avail­able online.

...

Beyond the griz­zly real­i­ty that Louisiana police offi­cers were just ambushed and gunned down by a bunch of polit­i­cal extrem­ists, part of the rea­son that the string of attacks by the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens (and now posse comi­ta­tus) is so top­i­cal is because both posse comi­ta­tus and the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens are exam­ple of “lead­er­less resis­tance” and encour­age the cre­ation of both inde­pen­dent cells and the kinds of “inde­pen­dent” cells described in the above excerpt. It’s a type of “lead­er­less resis­tance” that’s become eas­i­er than ever before with the cre­ation of the inter­net p(The Michi­gan Mili­tia was already using the inter­net to com­mu­ni­cate its mes­sage pri­or to the Okla­homa City bomb­ing). And since folks can’t help but notice that there have quite a few right wing lone wolves in recent years, an obvi­ous ques­tion for soci­ety is just how large the sym­pa­thet­ic com­mu­ni­ty could be for these move­ments. As the pre­vi­ous arti­cle excerpt from “Rush, Newspeak and Fas­cism: An exe­ge­sis” dis­cussed, posse comi­ta­tus is a kind of extreme pro­to­type for the much larg­er Patriot/militia move­ment that has ebbed and waned in the US over the past cou­ple of decades and the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens appear to be a sort of “posse comi­ta­tus 2.0”: a posse comi­ta­tus-like world­view stripped of much of the under­ly­ing racism with an exclu­sive focus on the strange legal the­o­ries. So when we see a group of sov­er­eign cit­i­zens team up with a posse comi­ta­tus mem­ber to ambush the police it’s sort of like see­ing the past and future of US far-right polit­i­cal extrem­ism inhab­it the same sense­less act and same sense­less polit­i­cal space. And parts of that same sense­less polit­i­cal space is not only shared by a num­ber of ‘Patri­ot’ and far-right groups with a his­to­ry of vio­lence but, increas­ing­ly the Repub­li­can Par­ty:

Cursor.org
Rush, Newspeak
and Fas­cism:
An exe­ge­sis

by David Nei­w­ert

POSTED AUGUST 30, 2003 —

V. Pro­to-Fas­cism in Amer­i­ca

by David Nei­w­ert

...
The Patri­ot move­ment that inspired Tim McVeigh and his cohorts — as well as a string of oth­er would-be right-wing ter­ror­ists who were involved in some 40-odd oth­er cas­es in the five years fol­low­ing April 15, 1995 — indeed is descend­ed almost direct­ly from overt­ly fas­cist ele­ments in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. Much of its polit­i­cal and “legal” phi­los­o­phy is derived from the “Posse Comi­ta­tus” move­ment of the 1970s and ‘80s, which itself orig­i­nat­ed (in the 1960s) from the teach­ings of renowned anti-Semi­te William Pot­ter Gale, and fur­ther prop­a­gat­ed by Mike Beach, a for­mer “Sil­ver Shirt” fol­low­er of neo-Nazi ide­o­logue William Dud­ley Pelley.21

Though the Patri­ot move­ment is fair­ly mul­ti­fac­eted, most Amer­i­cans have a view of it most­ly through the media images relat­ed to a sin­gle facet — the often pathet­ic col­lec­tion of bun­glers and fan­ta­sists known as the mili­tia move­ment. More­over, they’ve been told that the mili­tia move­ment is dead.

It is, more or less. (And the whys of that, as we will see, are cru­cial here.) But the Patri­ot move­ment — oh, it’s alive and rea­son­ably well. Let’s put it this way: It isn’t going away any­time soon.

Note that this arti­cle excerpt was pub­lished in 2003, and the obser­va­tion that the Patri­ot move­ment is “dead” has, itself, expired.

Con­tin­u­ing...

...

The mili­tia “move­ment” was only one strat­e­gy in the broad coali­tion of right-wing extrem­ists who call them­selves the “Patri­ot” move­ment. What this move­ment real­ly rep­re­sents is the attempt of old nation­al­ist, white-suprema­cist and anti-Semit­ic ide­olo­gies to main­stream them­selves by strip­ping away the argu­ments about race and eth­nic­i­ty, and focus­ing almost sin­gle-mind­ed­ly on their under­ly­ing polit­i­cal and legal philoso­phies – which all come wrapped up, of course, in the neat lit­tle Manichean pack­age of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. In the process, most of their spokes­men care­ful­ly eschew race talk or Jew-bait­ing, but refer instead to “wel­fare queens” and “inter­na­tion­al bankers” and the “New World Order”.

Form­ing mili­tias was a strat­e­gy main­ly aimed at recruit­ing from the main­stream, par­tic­u­lar­ly among gun own­ers. It even­tu­al­ly fell prey to dis­re­pute and entropy, for rea­sons we’ll explore in a bit. How­ev­er, there are oth­er Patri­ot strate­gies that have proved to have greater endurance, par­tic­u­lar­ly “com­mon law courts” and their var­i­ous per­mu­ta­tions, all of which revolve around the idea of “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen­ship,” which makes every white Chris­t­ian male Amer­i­can, essen­tial­ly, a king unto him­self. The move­ment is, as always, muta­ble. It includes a num­ber of “con­sti­tu­tion­al­ist” tax-protest move­ments, as well as cer­tain “home school­ing” fac­tions and anti-abor­tion extrem­ists.

As I explained it in the After­word of In God’s Coun­try:

...[T]he Patri­ots are not Nazis, nor even neo-Nazis. Rather, they are at least the seedbed, if not the real­iza­tion, of a unique­ly Amer­i­can kind of fas­cism. This is an overused term, its poten­cy dilut­ed by overuse and over­state­ment. How­ev­er, there can be lit­tle mis­tak­ing the nature of the Patri­ot move­ment as essen­tial­ly fas­cist in the purest sense of the word. The beliefs it embod­ies fit, with star­tling clar­i­ty, the def­i­n­i­tion of fas­cism as it has come to be under­stood by his­to­ri­ans and soci­ol­o­gists: a polit­i­cal move­ment based in pop­ulist ultra­na­tion­al­ism and focused on an a core myth­ic ide­al of phoenix-like soci­etal rebirth, attained through a return to “tra­di­tion­al val­ues.”

As with pre­vi­ous forms of fas­cism, its affec­tive pow­er is based on irra­tional dri­ves and myth­i­cal assump­tions; its fol­low­ers find in it an out­let for ide­al­ism and self-sac­ri­fice; yet on close inspec­tion, much of its sup­port actu­al­ly derives from an array of per­son­al mate­r­i­al and psy­cho­log­i­cal moti­va­tions. It is not mere­ly an acci­dent, either, that the move­ment and its belief sys­tems are direct­ly descend­ed from ear­li­er man­i­fes­ta­tions of overt fas­cism in the North­west — notably the Ku Klux Klan, Sil­ver Shirts, the Posse Comi­ta­tus and the Aryan Nations. Like all these unique­ly Amer­i­can fas­cist groups, the Patri­ots share a com­min­gling of fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­tian­i­ty with their eth­nic and polit­i­cal agen­da, dri­ven by a desire to shape Amer­i­ca into a “Chris­t­ian nation.“22

Grif­fin, in The Nature of Fas­cism, appears almost to be describ­ing the Patri­ot move­ment two years before it arose, par­tic­u­lar­ly in his descrip­tion (pp. 36–37) of pop­ulist ultra-nation­al­ism, which he says “repu­di­ates both ‘tra­di­tion­al’ and ‘legal/rational’ forms of pol­i­tics in favour of preva­lent­ly ‘charis­mat­ic’ ones in which the cohe­sion and dynam­ics of move­ments depends almost exclu­sive­ly on the capac­i­ty of their lead­ers to inspire loy­al­ty and action ... It tends to be asso­ci­at­ed with a con­cept of the nation as a ‘high­er’ racial, his­tor­i­cal, spir­i­tu­al or organ­ic real­i­ty which embraces all the mem­bers of its eth­i­cal com­mu­ni­ty who belong to it.”
...

The Patri­ot move­ment cer­tain­ly is in a down cycle, and has been since the end of the 1990s. Its recruit­ment num­bers are way down. Its vis­i­bil­i­ty and lev­el of activ­i­ty are in sta­sis, if not decline. But right-wing extrem­ism has always gone in cycles. It nev­er goes away — it only becomes latent, and res­ur­rects itself when the con­di­tions are right.

And dur­ing these down peri­ods, the remain­ing True Believ­ers tend to become even more rad­i­cal­ized. There is already a spi­ral of vio­lent behav­ior asso­ci­at­ed with Patri­ot beliefs, par­tic­u­lar­ly among the younger and more para­noid adher­ents. As Grif­fin sug­gests, we can prob­a­bly expect to see an increase in these “lone wolf” kind of attacks in com­ing years.

But there is a more sig­nif­i­cant aspect to the appar­ent decline of the Patri­ot move­ment: Its believ­ers, its thou­sands of foot­sol­diers, and its agen­da, nev­er went away. These folks did­n’t stop believ­ing that Clin­ton was the anti-Christ or that he intend­ed to enslave us all under the New World Order. They did­n’t stop believ­ing it was appro­pri­ate to pre-emp­tive­ly mur­der “baby killers” or that Jews secret­ly con­spire to con­trol the world.

No, they’re still with us, but they’re not active much in mili­tias any­more. They’ve been absorbed by the Repub­li­can Par­ty.

They haven’t changed. But they are chang­ing the par­ty.

Once again, note that the above arti­cle was pub­lished in 2003. It’s been nine long years since the above obser­va­tion that the GOP had already absorbed the ‘Patriot’/militia move­ments of the 90’s and what a nine years it’s been. Now, it’s impor­tant to reit­er­ate that you aver­age GOP mem­ber would prob­a­bly find the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens to be absolute lunatics and posse comi­ta­tus to repug­nant at best. At the same time, it’s impor­tant to reit­er­ate that posse comi­ta­tus, the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, the gen­er­al ‘Patri­ot’ move­ment all share a com­mon under­ly­ing John Birch Soci­ety-style con­spir­a­to­r­i­al world­view. And it’s a con­spir­a­to­r­i­al world­view increas­ing­ly shared with the Tea Par­ty base. Now, there’s noth­ing wrong with a good con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry, but this is bad mojo:

IREHR
Tea time with the posse: Inside an Ida­ho Tea Par­ty Patri­ots con­fer­ence
Writ­ten by Devin Burghart
Mon­day, 18 April 2011 10:02

A year ago, Pam Stout, a soft-spo­ken 67 year-old retiree from Bon­ners Fer­ry, Ida­ho was fea­tured in the New York Times and asked to appear on the David Let­ter­man show. She per­formed swim­ming­ly, and por­trayed the Tea Par­ty as a whole­some move­ment of Mid­dle Amer­i­cans con­cerned about issues like TARP and health care reform.

An inside look at a recent Tea Par­ty event orga­nized by Stout shows a very dif­fer­ent side of the Tea Par­ties, and high­lights a dis­turb­ing direc­tion tak­en by many local groups.

Lit­tle talk of repeal­ing “Oba­macare” or of mod­i­fy­ing objec­tion­able pro­vi­sions of health­care leg­is­la­tion took place at Stout’s “Patri­ots Unite” event, held March 26. The impend­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty of a gov­ern­ment shut­down due to an impasse over the bud­get was hard­ly men­tioned. Nary a word was spo­ken about bailouts or tax­es. Instead, speak­ers at this Tea Par­ty event gave the crowd a heavy dose of racist “birther” attacks on Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, dis­cus­sions of the con­spir­a­cy behind the prob­lem fac­ing Amer­i­ca (com­plete with anti-Semit­ic illus­tra­tion), Chris­t­ian nation­al­ism, anti-envi­ron­men­tal­ism, and seri­ous calls for leg­is­la­tion pro­mot­ing states’ rights and “nul­li­fi­ca­tion.”

Stout, the Ida­ho state coor­di­na­tor for Tea Par­ty Patri­ots attract­ed around sev­en­ty Tea Par­ty activists from Ida­ho, Mon­tana, and Wash­ing­ton to the Coeur D’Alene Inn for the con­fer­ence. The goal: to bring iso­lat­ed Tea Par­ty groups togeth­er. Orig­i­nal­ly sched­uled as a two-day con­fer­ence, Stout not­ed that the event was short­ened because, “our work­shop pre­sen­ters are still in Wis­con­sin” pre­sum­ably engaged in Tea Par­ty anti-union orga­niz­ing efforts.

...

States’ Rights and Nul­li­fi­ca­tion

What Shea pro­posed is called the doc­trine of nul­li­fi­ca­tion, part of the seces­sion­ist states-rights posi­tion which argues that indi­vid­ual states can uni­lat­er­al­ly refuse to fol­low or enforce fed­er­al law they don’t agree with, or even aban­don their rela­tion­ship with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment com­plete­ly if they’d like. These beliefs under­lay the Con­fed­er­ates states’ ratio­nale for seced­ing dur­ing the Civ­il War era, and also under­gird­ed the defense of “legal­ized” Jim Crow seg­re­ga­tion in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, thanks to the Tea Par­ty surge, this set of ideas has moved back into the main­stream.

...

The John Birch Soci­ety and Anti-Semi­tism

After a short break, Leah South­well, the nation­al devel­op­ment offi­cer for the John Birch Soci­ety (JBS) took the stage. She made sure to point out one of the Birch orga­niz­ers in the house, Dale Pearce, from Nam­pa. South­well also intro­duced her col­league Robert Brown, the Birch Soci­ety orga­niz­er for the region.

The John Birch Soci­ety has been part of the far-right since its found­ing in 1958. It has pro­mot­ed a num­ber of anti-com­mu­nist con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries over the years, but its mem­bers occa­sion­al­ly veer off to advance more direct­ly racist or anti-Semit­ic ideas. As a result of the Tea Par­ty upsurge, the Birchers have found a more ready audi­ence will­ing to buy what they are sell­ing. That was the case in Ida­ho dur­ing this con­fer­ence.

Brown’s did a Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion with a col­lec­tion of slides enti­tled “The Pow­er of 500.” It attempt­ed to con­vey a diag­no­sis of “the root of the prob­lem” fac­ing Amer­i­ca. But in actu­al­i­ty, his speech was like a far-right ver­sion of the on-line game Mad Libs – a fill-in-the-blank con­spir­a­cy with cul­prits left to the audi­ence mem­bers imag­i­na­tions.

Some in the crowd took it upon them­selves to start shout­ing out answers. “The Tri­lat­er­al Com­mis­sion,” yelled one man. “The Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions,” blurt­ed anoth­er. “The Bilder­burg­ers,” declared a third. Brown didn’t dis­suade any of their sug­ges­tions; instead he just kept hint­ing that the real root of the prob­lem was big­ger and more omi­nous.

...

Brown cred­it­ed the John Birch Soci­ety strat­e­gy with “real change,” cit­ing poli­cies in Okla­homa such as a law pro­hibit­ing a NAFTA super­high­way pass­ing through the state, and a statute pro­hibit­ing use of Sharia law.

“The only thing that works is the John Birch Soci­ety approach,” Brown told the audi­ence. While admit­ting the big Tea Par­ty ral­lies of 2009 were a “big shot in the arm to the free­dom move­ment,” Brown cal­cu­lat­ed that the mon­ey spent to get peo­ple to those ral­lies would be bet­ter spent hir­ing orga­niz­ers (pre­sum­ably Birch orga­niz­ers) in every con­gres­sion­al dis­trict.

Dur­ing the ques­tion ses­sion, a radio host from Sand­point said, “The Birch Soci­ety used to be the whip­ping boys and laugh­ing stocks of the move­ment. How do we get beyond get­ting black­balled?

Brown said that “repeat expo­sure” to John Birch Soci­ety ideas was the key. It took him a while to get com­fort­able with the Birch Soci­ety, too, he con­fessed. He then went on to try to again link the Birchers and the Tea Par­ties, claim­ing that the way they attack the JBS is sim­i­lar to the way they try to smear the Tea Par­ty. “When you’re get­ting flack, you know you’re over tar­get,” he exclaimed, to the delight of the audi­ence.

Over lunch, many of the atten­dees expressed their pleas­ant sur­prise at the at Brown’s pre­sen­ta­tion and his approach. “I thought… “ahh, those Birchers...,’” not­ed one attendee, “but now I have a dif­fer­ent opin­ion.”

...

Robert Brown (the John Birch soci­ety rep­re­sen­ta­tive quot­ed above) was quite right when he advo­cat­ed repeat expo­sure as the best tech­nique for the John Birch Soci­ety to move past get­ting black­balled by the larg­er con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. Repeat expo­sure to their world­view has worked won­ders for the Birchers with the larg­er con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. Of course, it did­n’t hurt that the chief archi­tects for the Tea Par­ty and the con­tem­po­rary GOP have a long his­to­ry with the John Birch Soci­ety:

Examiner.com
Tea Par­ty Blood Ties: The reemer­gence of the John Birch Soci­ety in 2012

2012 Politcs
August 19, 2012
By: Gre­go­ry Boyce

In the mind of most lib­er­al think­ing Amer­i­cans who stand staunch­ly on the side of America’s strug­gling 99%, there isn’t an ounce of doubt that tens of mil­lions of fel­low hard work­ing and well-mean­ing Amer­i­cans who reli­gious­ly cast their bal­lot as “Repub­li­cans” are in real­i­ty being brain­washed, hood­winked and manip­u­lat­ed by the new {but not improved} John Birch Soci­ety and their ram­bunc­tious “grand­chil­dren”,… The Tea Par­ty.

This insid­i­ous manip­u­la­tion to dupe mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans into believ­ing “Amer­i­ca and free­dom” is under siege by Social­ism and Com­mu­nism is being orches­trat­ed by well-spo­ken, well-groomed and well-paid ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive politi­cians. Their “game” is to cre­ate in the mind of White vot­ers a strong belief that America’s White Euro­pean her­itage is under attack and if gone unchal­lenged, White Amer­i­can cul­ture will go the way of the dinosaur.

His­to­ri­ans and old­er Amer­i­cans have heard this rant before, it’s not new, indeed, cre­at­ing boogey­men while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly sell­ing fear and hatred is an ancient tac­tic that is often used by pow­er-hun­gry humans.

...

The John Birch Soci­ety is an Amer­i­can far-right polit­i­cal advo­ca­cy group that vehe­ment­ly sup­ports an anti-com­mu­nist, lim­it­ed gov­ern­ment, and “per­son­al free­dom” polit­i­cal plat­form, even if accom­plish­ing their objec­tive comes at the expense of wrong­ful­ly smear­ing Amer­i­cans who stand up for civ­il rights, labor unions, a diverse Amer­i­ca and the lim­it­ing of big busi­ness’ influ­ence in our gov­ern­ment and in our lives. It was the John Birch Soci­ety that brand­ed Amer­i­can Gen­er­al and Pres­i­dent, Dwight D. Eisen­how­er “an agent of Com­mu­nism.” Even JFK was accused by the John Birch Soci­ety as being a Com­mu­nist sym­pa­thiz­er and an Amer­i­can trai­tor. Mem­bers sim­ply believe that absolute­ly no one (that is tar­get­ed) is above their smear cam­paigns and their mod­ern day “Salem Witch Hunts”.

The John Birch soci­ety warned in a record­ed 1963 speech that still sur­vives on tape in a Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan archive, that “Amer­i­cans must always be on high alert against a takeover of Amer­i­ca in which Com­mu­nists would infil­trate the high­est offices of gov­ern­ment in the U.S. until even­tu­al­ly the office of the pres­i­den­cy is occu­pied by a Com­mu­nist, unknown to the rest of us.”

In essence this exact same speech can be heard at Tea Ral­lies across Amer­i­ca in 2012.

The ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive mantra of “The Com­mu­nists are out to get you” was sung by the Birch Soci­ety in 1958 and fifty years lat­er it’s still being sung by the Tea Partiers in the 21st cen­tu­ry. The John Birch Soci­ety and the Tea Par­ty, “two peas in a pod” or again, is it all just a coin­ci­dence?

“Behind the vel­vet cur­tains”, Koch fam­i­ly foun­da­tions have con­tributed tens of mil­lions of dol­lars to Dick Armey’s “Free­dom Works” which in turn serves as a major spon­sor to the Tea Par­ty. Tax records indi­cate that from 1998 to 2008, Koch-con­trolled foun­da­tions have donat­ed more than $196 mil­lion to its con­ser­v­a­tive foun­da­tions and insti­tu­tions.

With the cou­pling of free 24/7 media expo­sure from Rupert Mur­doch’s Fox News empire and the seem­ing­ly end­less sup­ply of mon­ey from David and Charles Koch, the Koch-Mur­doch col­lab­o­ra­tion is an ultra-con­ser­v­a­tive force that has used tal­ent­ed “actors” to build / prime a polit­i­cal base that is inspired by a fear of an Amer­i­ca that does­n’t resem­ble a Nor­man Rock­well paint­ing.

When David Koch ran to the polit­i­cal right of Rea­gan as vice pres­i­dent on the 1980 Lib­er­tar­i­an tick­et, he cam­paigned for the elim­i­na­tion of Social Secu­ri­ty, wel­fare and fed­er­al reg­u­la­to­ry agen­cies. He also cam­paigned on abol­ish­ing the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and pub­lic schools. Sounds famil­iar?

...

Oh...and by the way....

Koch Indus­tries, based out of Wichi­ta, Kansas, began with oil explo­ration and drilling in the 1930s and now man­u­fac­tures a vast vari­ety of indus­tri­al prod­ucts. From Dix­ie cups to Lycra, — a syn­thet­ic fiber known for its excep­tion­al elas­tic­i­ty — Koch Indus­tries have made the Koch broth­ers bil­lion­aires and like their father, Fred C. Koch, they view the world in ultra con­ser­v­a­tive “hues.”

Fred Koch, a MIT grad­u­ate was a found­ing father of the John Birch Soci­ety and was among a select group of ultra con­ser­v­a­tives that was cho­sen to serve on the John Birch Society’s top gov­ern­ing body.

Anoth­er coin­ci­dence? We don’t think so.

...

The takeover of the GOP by the Tea Par­ty is now a well estab­lished polit­i­cal real­i­ty in the US, as is the pri­ma­ry spon­sor­ship of the Tea Par­ty by the bil­lion­aire Koch broth­ers. But as the above arti­cle points out, a takeover of the GOP by the Tea Par­ty is, in effect, a takeover of the GOP by the John Birch Soci­ety. Or at least by the gen­er­al “there’s a com­mie hid­ing under you bed”-worldview held by the Birchers (note that the anti-com­mu­nist views of the Kock broth­ers is some­what iron­ic). Unfor­tu­nate­ly, because the John Birch Soci­ety shares so much ide­o­log­i­cal over­lap with move­ments like posse comi­ta­tus and the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, the recent surge in the pop­u­lar­i­ty of far-right con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries also means there’s going to be an inevitable increase in gen­er­al expo­sure to vio­lent rad­i­cal anti-gov­ern­ment move­ments like posse comi­ta­tus. It’s just a mouse-click away these days.

Now, to be sure, we should not equate the Tea Par­ty mem­bers with posse comi­ta­tus or the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens. The vast major­i­ty Tea Par­ty mem­bers may hold a real­ly real­ly real­ly con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal per­spec­tive. What makes the rise in the num­ber of attacks by sov­er­eign cit­i­zen cells so dis­turb­ing is that it’s a sign of the inevitable: The vast vast major­i­ty of indi­vid­u­als cur­rent­ly “drink­ing the Tea”, so to speak, are sim­ply very con­ser­v­a­tive Glenn Beck fans. While they might dream of some pret­ty rad­i­cal over­hauls of soci­ety, they would still nev­er share the kind of ultra-rad­i­cal visions of soci­ety by the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, posse comi­ta­tus or any of the oth­er rad­i­cal fringe groups that share that Bircher world­view. And as Jared Lough­n­er demon­strates, the appeal of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens is not lim­it­ed to the right-wing, espe­cial­ly when men­tal ill­ness is involved.

The threat of vio­lent rad­i­cal­ism of the posse comi­ta­tus vari­ety is noth­ing new. Tim­o­thy McVeigh and Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolf took the polit­i­cal griev­ances to the same vio­lent “next lev­el” of in the 90’s and both were steeped in the kind of “lead­er­less resis­tance” vio­lence char­ac­ter­ized by posse comi­ta­tus. And that “lead­er­less resis­tance” form of “polit­i­cal activism” is still very much in the fringe. But with esti­mates of up to 100,000 ‘hard core’ sov­er­eign cit­i­zen adher­ents and as many as 200,000 “dab­blers” in the ide­ol­o­gy we unfor­tu­nate­ly should expect a grow­ing per­cent­age of unhinged and/or des­per­ate indi­vid­u­als to become immersed in the some­times vio­lent under­world of far-right qua­si-anar­chist/qua­si-fas­cist extrem­ism in com­ing years. Many ideas that would have con­sid­ered the sole domain of con­spir­a­to­r­i­al mili­tia groups are now accept­able “red meat” suit­able for pub­lic con­sump­tion so a lot of memes push­ing the next Jared Lough­n­er are sim­ply part of the din of the dai­ly dis­course. For instance, in addi­tion to the gen­er­al “Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is a Kenyan Mus­lim Social­ist” refrain, there’s the “Oba­ma is secret­ly plan­ning on imple­ment­ing ‘Agen­da 21’ in order to turn us into a glob­al­ist com­mu­nist hell hole” meme. And that’s pret­ty much the John Birch Society/‘Patriot’ move­ment reboot­ed:

Think Progress
Repub­li­can Par­ty Offi­cial­ly Embraces ‘Garbage’ Agen­da 21 Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ries As Its Nation­al Plat­form

By Stephen Lacey on Aug 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm

If you want to under­stand just how extreme and con­spir­a­to­r­i­al many in the “main­stream” Repub­li­can par­ty have become, look no fur­ther than a res­o­lu­tion on Agen­da 21 passed qui­et­ly in Jan­u­ary.

Agen­da 21 is a com­plete­ly non-bind­ing inter­na­tion­al frame­work for sus­tain­abil­i­ty passed in 1992 at the Rio Earth Sum­mit. The frame­work, which sets out very loose aspi­ra­tional goals for mak­ing com­mu­ni­ties more effi­cient and less car­bon-inten­sive, was signed by then Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush and lat­er upheld by Pres­i­dents Bill Clin­ton and Pres­i­dent George W. Bush.

Since the frame­work was adopt­ed, right-wing con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists have pushed bizarre the­o­ries about Agen­da 21 being a cen­tral tool for the Unit­ed Nations to cre­ate a one-world gov­ern­ment and take away the rights of local prop­er­ty own­ers. In recent years, ele­vat­ed by the mega­phone of extreme pun­dits like Glenn Beck and Rush Lim­baugh, these con­spir­a­cies made their way into main­stream pol­i­tics. Today, Agen­da 21ers — many affil­i­at­ed with the Tea Par­ty and the John Birch Soci­ety — are ped­dling fears about Agen­da 21 in order to stop basic effi­cien­cy and renew­able ener­gy pro­grams on the state lev­el.

Con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists active in pol­i­tics have called Agen­da 21 “social­ism on steroids” that would cause Amer­i­cans to be “herd­ed into cen­ters like the UN wants.”

...

So what do these his­tor­i­cal­ly-chal­lenged and com­plete­ly inac­cu­rate claims have to do with the Repub­li­can par­ty? The Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee has offi­cial­ly adopt­ed these con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries as its nation­al plat­form. In Jan­u­ary, the RNC adopt­ed a res­o­lu­tion call­ing Agen­da 21 “insid­i­ous” and “covert.”

The Unit­ed Nations Agen­da 21 is being covert­ly pushed into local com­mu­ni­ties through­out the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca through the Inter­na­tion­al Coun­cil of Local Envi­ron­men­tal Ini­tia­tives (ICLEI) through local “sus­tain­able devel­op­ment” poli­cies such as Smart Growth, Wild­lands Project, Resilient Cities, Region­al Vision­ing Projects, and oth­er “Green” or “Alter­na­tive” projects

The Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee rec­og­nizes the destruc­tive and insid­i­ous nature of Unit­ed Nations Agen­da 21 and here­by expos­es to the pub­lic and pub­lic pol­i­cy mak­ers the dan­ger­ous intent of the plan.

Inter­est­ing­ly, Agen­da 21 activist Vic­to­ria Baer is a big sup­port­er of Flori­da Tea Parti­er Ted Yoho, a man who unseat Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Stearns in a major upset dur­ing a pri­ma­ry race yes­ter­day. Along with sup­port­ing the Agen­da 21 con­spir­a­cy, Yoho also believes we should abol­ish the Depart­ment of Ener­gy — the agency tasked with pro­tect­ing our nuclear waste and nuclear weapons arse­nal.

This is where the main­stream Repub­li­can par­ty is head­ed.

So what are the ori­gins of this bizarre shift in pol­i­cy? And why have Agen­da 21 activists gained such promi­nence with­in main­stream pol­i­tics?

To explore the issue, I spoke with Mark Potok of the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter. Potok has been track­ing the rise of the Agen­da 21 move­ment, which is root­ed in the John Birch Soci­ety — a rad­i­cal right-wing group that opposed the Civ­il Rights Act of 1964 because they said it infringed on states’ rights. But Potok says that the issue is much broad­er than one sin­gle con­spir­a­cy and one sin­gle group.

Stephen Lacey: Many folks with­in the Agen­da 21 move­ment have come from or are loose­ly aligned with the John Birch Soci­ety. So give us some back­ground, what is the John Birch Soci­ety, how did it get formed, and what does it rep­re­sent today?

Mark Potok: Well, it’s no sur­prise that it’s the John Birch Soci­ety that seems to be the pri­ma­ry push­er of the Agen­da 21 con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry. I say that because they are most infa­mous, real­ly, for two things. One is accus­ing Pres­i­dent Eisen­how­er of being a “Com­mu­nist agent,” which was a sur­prise cer­tain­ly to Eisen­how­er. And the oth­er, which is per­haps more like Agen­da 21, is for their pro­mo­tion of the idea that putting flu­o­ride in drink­ing water is a plot to con­vert our chil­dren and all the rest of us to Com­mu­nism. In oth­er words, this is an orga­ni­za­tion that from the very begin­ning has tout­ed com­plete­ly ludi­crous and base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. And, in fact, the John Birch Soci­ety was essen­tial­ly dri­ven out of the Con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment because it was such an embar­rass­ment.

SL: But they’ve made a resur­gence in recent years. What do they rep­re­sent today? How are they becom­ing aligned with sup­pos­ed­ly more main­stream Con­ser­v­a­tives? And how have they regained a foothold in pol­i­tics?

MP: It is hard to under­stand exact­ly how the John Birch Soci­ety has made itself more palat­able to “main­stream” con­ser­v­a­tives. The John Birch soci­ety began to reap­pear in a fair­ly sig­nif­i­cant way back in the 1990s when vir­tu­al­ly every gun show in Amer­i­ca, or every large gun show, had a booth with the orga­ni­za­tion. Back then, they were very heav­i­ly pro­mot­ing the mili­tia move­ment, as well as var­i­ous con­spir­a­cies they believed the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment was involved in. Then they sort of went qui­et with the rest of the mili­tia move­ment, which more or less petered out at the end of the 1990s. And in the last few years they have sud­den­ly reap­peared with quite remark­able suc­cess.

So the real answer to your ques­tion is that I do not quite under­stand how the John Birch Soci­ety has got­ten so many city coun­cils and coun­ty com­mis­sions and even state leg­is­la­tures to lis­ten to their non­sense. But they have. I sus­pect that it is relat­ed less to them hav­ing a huge amount of mon­ey or enor­mous num­bers of peo­ple, and more to do with the idea that we’ve become so polar­ized polit­i­cal­ly as a nation that this kind of tripe real­ly sells today. You know, what is most astound­ing of all is that the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee has adopt­ed oppo­si­tions to Agen­da 21 as a core part of its plat­form and has asked that Mitt Rom­ney include it as a part of his con­ven­tion plat­form when the GOP con­ven­tion gath­ers lat­er this month.

SL: Well, let’s get into Agen­da 21 more. For peo­ple who are para­noid about the UN pro­mot­ing a One World Gov­ern­ment, this is a gold mine for con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. How has this group evolved and become more vocal?

MP: This is very sim­i­lar to what we see going on with regard to arms con­trol, gun con­trol. The fact is, Barack Oba­ma has done lit­er­al­ly noth­ing on gun con­trol except to allow fur­ther loos­en­ing of gun reg­u­la­tions to go for­ward — for instance, to allow peo­ple to open car­ry weapons in Nation­al Parks. And yet, there are groups out there that say that as soon as he is reelect­ed — if in fact that hap­pens — he will grab all Amer­i­cans’ weapons and throw any­one who resists into con­cen­tra­tion camps that have been secret­ly built by the gov­ern­ment.

I think what’s hap­pen­ing with Agen­da 21 is some­thing very sim­i­lar. There is an enor­mous, enor­mous amount of mis­in­for­ma­tion and plain fool­ish­ness being tout­ed in the polit­i­cal main­stream as fact. We live in an era in which a Con­gress­woman [Michele Bach­mann] is per­fect­ly hap­py to accuse some­one in the Depart­ment of State, with absolute­ly no basis what­so­ev­er, of being an agent of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. My own Con­gress­man, Spencer Bau­cus, from the mid­dle of Alaba­ma, has claimed that he per­son­al­ly knows that there are 17 Social­ists secret­ly in the Con­gress. Alan West, anoth­er Con­gress­man, said the oth­er day he knew of 70 Com­mu­nists in the gov­ern­ment.

So, you know, this is the kind of garbage we are see­ing every day now. And this has been going on for quite a lit­tle while. Let’s not for­get that a can­di­date for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, Sarah Palin, just a few years ago, sug­gest­ed that the President’s attempts to pass some kind of nation­al health­care plan, or exten­sion of health­care to more peo­ple in this coun­try, was actu­al­ly a plot to set up Death Pan­els to decide whether your and my grand­moth­ers would live or die. So I just think that we live, sad­ly enough, at a time where con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries are pret­ty much destroy­ing any kind of rea­son­able polit­i­cal dia­logue in this coun­try.

SL: You point to polit­i­cal par­ti­san­ship as a main fac­tor. But as you look through­out his­to­ry at how con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists and hate groups have grown, what oth­er con­di­tions need to be in place to make these the­o­ries so preva­lent?

MP: I think that what is real­ly going on is that the world is chang­ing. And in our coun­try, we’re see­ing change in fair­ly dra­mat­ic ways. So, you see these kinds of crazy the­o­ries pop up at a time when major changes are a foot in our soci­ety — changes that real­ly cause peo­ple to strug­gle, that make a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple out there gen­uine­ly uncom­fort­able.

There are many things hap­pen­ing right now. Prob­a­bly the most sig­nif­i­cant is that we, as a coun­try, are los­ing our white major­i­ty. The cen­sus bureau has pre­dict­ed that whites will fall under 50 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion by the year 2050. Well, you know, that’s an enor­mous change. It’s already hap­pened in Cal­i­for­nia 12 years ago. And as a result, the pol­i­tics of that state changed sig­nif­i­cant­ly. So it’s those kinds of changes, along with the very seri­ous dis­lo­ca­tions caused by eco­nom­ic glob­al­iza­tion and by the kind of decline in the pow­er of the nation state.

...

If the Agen­da 21 “UN com­mu­nist takeover of the US” stuff adopt­ed by GOP seems a lit­tle too arcane for most peo­ple to latch onto, what we just saw com­ing from a judge in Texas should ade­quate­ly clar­i­fy that meme for pub­lic con­sump­tion:

TPM
Texas Judge Warns Of ‘Civ­il War, Maybe’ If Oba­ma Wins
Nick R. Mar­tin August 22, 2012, 3:26 PM

Updat­ed: August 22, 2012, 4:08 PM

Texas Judge Tom Head is wor­ried about what might hap­pen if Pres­i­dent Oba­ma wins reelec­tion in Novem­ber. There could be riots, unrest or a “civ­il war, maybe,” he told a local tele­vi­sion sta­tion this week.

Because of that, the Lub­bock Coun­ty judge has decid­ed the only way to pre­pare is to increase tax­es to help beef up local law enforce­ment.

“I’m think­ing worst case sce­nario now,” Head said dur­ing an appear­ance on FOX 34 in Lub­bock. “Civ­il unrest, civ­il dis­obe­di­ence, civ­il war, maybe. And we’re not talk­ing just a few riots here and demon­stra­tions, we’re talk­ing Lex­ing­ton, Con­cord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.”

The judge spun the elab­o­rate con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry while call­ing for a 1.7 cent hike per $100 on prop­er­ty tax­es in Lub­bock Coun­ty, a mea­sure being con­sid­ered by the com­mis­sion there. He said he feared Oba­ma would hand over sov­er­eign­ty of the Unit­ed States to the Unit­ed Nations and the unrest would nat­u­ral­ly fol­low.

Head’s role as judge is an elect­ed posi­tion akin to exec­u­tive of the coun­ty com­mis­sion, which is known as a court. He pre­sides over com­mis­sion meet­ings, pre­pares the bud­get and is in charge of the county’s emer­gency man­age­ment.

Under Head’s the­o­ry, the Unit­ed Nations would then send in peace­keep­ing troops to try to quell the vio­lence and that’s where he would draw the line. He vowed to stand in front of the county’s armored vehi­cle and stare down the U.N. troops if that hap­pens.

...

In keep­ing with “UN takeover meme”, we also find the chair­man of the House Over­sight Comit­tee push­ing the clas­sic “the gov­ern­ment is plot­ting to take your guns away so it can forcibly imple­ment a secret glob­al com­mu­nist agen­da” meme:

LA Times
Tar­get­ing Eric Hold­er, Dar­rell Issa buys into gun nut delu­sions

By David Horsey

June 22, 2012, 5:00 a.m.

The brouha­ha over Atty. Gen. Eric H. Hold­er Jr. and the con­tempt of Con­gress charge brought by U.S. Rep. Dar­rell Issa (R‑Vista) are pro­vid­ing new evi­dence that the lunatics are run­ning the Repub­li­can asy­lum.

Issa, the Repub­li­can chair­man of the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee, would have us believe Pres­i­dent Obama’s asser­tion of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege in the dis­pute — “an eleventh-hour stunt,” he called it on Fox News — is part of a White House cov­er up of some­thing much more sin­is­ter.

At issue are Jus­tice Depart­ment doc­u­ments relat­ed to a botched Bureau of Alco­hol, Tobac­co, Firearms and Explo­sives oper­a­tion run out of the bureau’s Phoenix office. As the ATF had done at least twice dur­ing the admin­is­tra­tion of George W. Bush, Oper­a­tion Fast and Furi­ous allowed ille­gal pur­chas­es of about 2,500 guns so that agents could fol­low the trail of the firearms to drug gangs in Mex­i­co. In the event, the Phoenix team lost track of the guns, only to have a cou­ple of them turn up after a fire­fight in which Bor­der Patrol Agent Bri­an Ter­ry was killed.

When Con­gress began look­ing into the failed oper­a­tion, the Phoenix office made things worse by pro­vid­ing false infor­ma­tion to the DOJ that was then passed on to the inves­ti­gat­ing com­mit­tee. Now, the com­mit­tee wants every doc­u­ment relat­ed to the inci­dent. Hold­er, backed by the pres­i­dent, is refus­ing to give Con­gress com­plete access.

In response, con­ser­v­a­tive blog­gers have gone bal­lis­tic about Obama’s invo­ca­tion of exec­u­tive priv­i­lege, com­par­ing it to Richard Nixon’s Water­gate cov­er-up.

Just what is being cov­ered up is not so appar­ent, at least to objec­tive observers. But less-than-objec­tive right-wing con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists have a ready answer: Oper­a­tion Fast and Furi­ous was part of an elab­o­rate plot to under­mine the 2nd Amend­ment and take away cit­i­zens’ guns.

Michael Van­der­boegh, a blog­ger with mili­tia ties and a long his­to­ry of talk­ing up armed resis­tance to the gov­ern­ment, asserts that the ATF pur­pose­ly let the guns go to the bad guys in Mex­i­co so that, after the ensu­ing blood­bath, the feds could jus­ti­fy a crack­down on assault weapons and gun shows.

Now, to ratio­nal human beings, that may sound total­ly ludi­crous, but not to the folks at Fox News. They have made Van­der­boegh a prime source for their cov­er­age of this dis­pute, being elas­tic enough in their mea­sure of qual­i­fi­ca­tions to iden­ti­fy him as an “online jour­nal­ist.” It’s not just Fox News, though. Vanderboegh’s curi­ous the­o­ry has been picked up and repeat­ed by Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress, includ­ing Iowa’s pre­vi­ous­ly sane Sen. Charles E. Grass­ley who, in a TV inter­view, echoed the idea that Oba­ma and Hold­er could be using the Phoenix fias­co to build a case against gun rights.

This fits in with the broad­er con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry of Wayne LaPierre, the head of the Nation­al Rifle Assn. The NRA boss has insist­ed that the rea­son Oba­ma has done noth­ing to harm the 2nd Amend­ment in his first term is so he can win anoth­er four years in office, at which point his admin­is­tra­tion will start con­fis­cat­ing guns with no fear of ret­ri­bu­tion from vot­ers. Accord­ing to LaPierre, Oba­ma is not tak­ing your guns now so he can take them lat­er.

...

And then there’s the main­stream­ing of iron­i­cal­ly mil­i­tant “pro-life” pol­i­tics:

TPM
Sher­iff Can­di­date OK With Dead­ly Force To Stop Abor­tions

Nick R. Mar­tin August 22, 2012, 7:07 PM

Frank Szabo wants the peo­ple of Hills­bor­ough Coun­ty, N.H., to know that if they elect him as sher­iff this year, he will do what­ev­er it takes to stop doc­tors from per­form­ing abor­tions — even if that means using dead­ly force.

In an inter­view on Wednes­day with local tele­vi­sion sta­tion WMUR, Szabo said he believed sher­iffs were grant­ed spe­cial pow­ers under the Con­sti­tu­tion. That means, he said, he would be empow­ered to arrest or even use dead­ly force against doc­tors for pro­vid­ing legal abor­tions for women.

“I would hope that it wouldn’t come to that, as with any sit­u­a­tion where some­one was in dan­ger,” Szabo said. “But again, specif­i­cal­ly talk­ing about elec­tive abor­tions and late term abor­tions, that is an act that needs to be stopped.”

He clar­i­fied it did not apply to cas­es in which the mother’s life was in dan­ger. “That’s a med­ical deci­sion. That’s out of the area I’m talk­ing about,” he said.

It’s not clear what kind of chance Szabo has at win­ning the race. He claims endorse­ments from Jack Kim­ball, the for­mer chair­man of the state Repub­li­can Par­ty, as well as mul­ti­ple tea par­ty groups. But WMUR report­ed that the state’s House speak­er was already call­ing for Szabo to drop out of the race after his com­ments sur­faced.

Szabo said he believed sher­iffs are giv­en enor­mous author­i­ty under his inter­pre­ta­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion. When pressed about what he would do if a pros­e­cu­tor declined to charge a doc­tor he arrest­ed, he said the answer was sim­ple.

“If they choose not to do their duty and uphold the Con­sti­tu­tion,” Szabo said, “they can be brought up on charges before what’s called a citizen’s grand jury, which is some­thing that’s not that com­mon in the Unit­ed States. But again, it is some­thing based in com­mon law that’s with­in the purview of the coun­ty sher­iff.

...

On top of the mil­i­tant “pro-life” stance did you catch the posse comi­ta­tus lin­go? “Spe­cial con­sti­tu­tion­al pow­ers” for coun­ty sher­if­f’s and “cit­i­zens’ grand juries”? That cer­tain­ly sounds famil­iar. Now, giv­en that Mr. Szabo apol­o­gized and retract­ed his state­ments, it might be easy to write off most of these fringe exam­ples of extrem­ism that don’t rep­re­sent the polit­i­cal main­stream. But that would ignore the real­i­ty that con­tem­po­rary main­stream pol­i­tics appears to be focused on the def­i­n­i­tion of “legit­i­mate rape” with­in the con­text of abor­tion restric­tion exemp­tions. It would also ignore the real­i­ty that Mr. Szabo appeared to be will­ing to tem­per his abor­tion oppo­si­tion when the health of the moth­er was a risk, which is less extreme than Vice Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Paul Ryan’s long-stand­ing stance on the top­ic. In oth­er words, once Szabo retract­ed his posi­tion on the use of lethal force against abor­tion providers, his stance on the top­ic appeared to actu­al­ly be less extreme than the GOP’s Vice Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date. And that’s just on exam­ple of the crazy state of affairs in US pol­i­tics.

Return­ing to the top­ic of the grow­ing num­ber of attacks on gov­ern­ment and law enforce­ment by by a cell of sov­er­eign cit­i­zens led a posse comi­ta­tus mem­ber, what are we to make of such a sit­u­a­tion when the nation­al meta-dis­course has start­ed to resem­ble a John Birch Soci­ety gath­er­ing? Well, for starters, it will do absolute­ly no good to sim­ply refute all aspects of this Bircher-esque world­view. Assert­ing that gov­ern­ment con­spir­a­cies can’t/don’t take place or that there isn’t a long his­to­ry of egre­gious behav­ior by pow­er inter­na­tion­al finan­cial inter­ests is both stu­pid and wrong. Bogus con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries can and should be addressed and refut­ed (usu­al­ly fair­ly eas­i­ly). Sad­ly, the best mes­sen­gers for refut­ing this ‘Patriot’/militia world­view would be the lead­ers from with­in the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment itself and that’s not very like­ly to hap­pen any­time soon.

So, can any­thing be done about the ongo­ing and growth and main­stream­ing of this sec­tor of extrem­ism? Well, one pos­i­tive approach might be to cel­e­brate the march of progress. After after, the US may be once again in the midst of some form of hys­te­ria and neo-McCarthy­ism, but when the top neo-McCarthyites in con­gress are Alan West and Michelle Bach­mann push­ing these Bircher memes at least we can cel­e­brate the far-right’s steps towards a post-racial/gen­der-neu­tral form of far-right nut­ti­ness. There was nev­er any rea­son why far-right fringe pol­i­tics in the US would have to retain its racist tenor and it appears that the next gen­er­a­tion of “sov­er­eign cit­i­zens” real­ly will encom­pass a more post-racial atti­tude. It may not be much, but it’s some­thing:

The Dai­ly Beast
The Patri­ot Movement’s New Best­seller Tests Their Anti-Racism
Jun 8, 2012 4:19 PM EDT
J.M. Berg­er

Years after the racism of The Turn­er Diaries inspired Tim­o­thy McVeigh, the Patri­ot Move­ment has embraced a new best­selling series. J.M. Berg­er reads close­ly to see what they say about race and gov­ern­ment in Amer­i­ca.

An Amer­i­can Nazi Par­ty vol­un­teer recent­ly pro­duced a three-minute online video pro­mot­ing the group’s plat­form. It spot­light­ed issues like the nation­al debt, gas prices, domes­tic oil drilling, and America’s wars.

Almost as an aside, it men­tions affir­ma­tive action. And despite some provoca­tive imagery, the video nev­er men­tions the words Jew or black, or any relat­ed eth­nic slurs. A white nation­al­ist blog­ger praised the video for not “spam­ming peo­ple with inane Holo­caust sta­tis­tics or end­less dry argu­ments over whether or not gas cham­bers exist­ed.” Many mili­tia groups now explic­it­ly tell would-be mem­bers that they can’t also belong to a hate group.

Racism just doesn’t sell like it used to.

The paint is peel­ing on the myth­i­cal age of white hege­mo­ny that once pro­vid­ed a strong back­bone for the Patri­ot move­ment, a diverse col­lec­tion of loose­ly con­nect­ed anti-gov­ern­ment groups and ide­olo­gies that moti­vat­ed Tim­o­thy McVeigh and many oth­ers.

Groups under the Patri­ot umbrel­la have often, but not always, embraced racial pol­i­tics. The movement’s ori­gins were heav­i­ly influ­enced by racist activists such as white nation­al­ist William Pierce, author of the infa­mous 1978 nov­el The Turn­er Diaries, a dystopi­an nov­el about a racist rev­o­lu­tion, which inspired a slew of imi­ta­tors and suc­ces­sors.

Since the 1990s, some with­in the move­ment have tried to side­line or rede­fine its racial politics—whether out of sin­cere con­vic­tion or to avoid an incon­ve­nient stigma—and focus on oth­er issues such as gun rights, sur­vival­ism, indi­vid­ual lib­er­ties, tra­di­tion­al moral­i­ty, and Con­sti­tu­tion­al hyper puri­ty.

This process has gone far enough to sug­gest the out­lines of what a post-racial Patri­ot move­ment might look like. Con­sid­er Ene­mies For­eign and Domes­tic, a Patri­ot-themed nov­el self-pub­lished by for­mer Navy SEAL Matthew Brack­en in 2003. Known to fans as EFAD, it’s the first in a tril­o­gy of polit­i­cal thrillers. The plot goes like this: A rogue ATF agent stages a ter­ror­ist attack and blames it on an alleged racist mili­tia (which turns out to be nei­ther racist nor a mili­tia). The attack is used as a pre­text for repres­sive gun seizures by mis­guid­ed lib­er­als, while the ATF vil­lain foments more trou­ble, killing inno­cent gun own­ers, and fram­ing them as racist ter­ror­ists. In response, a series of indi­vid­u­als and small groups rise up to car­ry out acts of resis­tance and/or ter­ror­ism, cul­mi­nat­ing in a direct con­fronta­tion with the vil­lain.

While spot­light­ing sev­er­al Patri­ot memes, the first book in the tril­o­gy has an almost mil­i­tant mul­ti­cul­tur­al drum­beat. EFAD’s heroes come from almost every imag­in­able eth­nic background—white, black, Arab and Jew­ish. Between its ser­vice­able writ­ing and self-inoc­u­la­tion against charges of racism, EFAD is prob­a­bly as close to a main­stream recruit­ment tool as the Patri­ot move­ment could hope for.

Dur­ing Feb­ru­ary and March of this year, Brack­en made the book avail­able for free as an Ama­zon Kin­dle e‑book, and sev­er­al Patri­ot blogs and Twit­ter feeds spent sig­nif­i­cant time pro­mot­ing it, result­ing in a brief stint as the No. 1 free Kin­dle book on Ama­zon. The idea was to break into the main­stream of con­ser­v­a­tive media (talk radio and the like). That effort fell short, but an online post­ing by orga­niz­ers said more than 30,000 copies were down­loaded.

EFAD rep­re­sents a sharp break from its Patri­ot Lit fore­fa­thers, most infa­mous­ly Pierce’s The Turn­er Diaries. That book has inspired at least dozens of admir­ers who tried to real­ize its con­cept of a rev­o­lu­tion born from a cam­paign of ter­ror­ism, Tim­o­thy McVeigh among them. Told from the first-per­son per­spec­tive of a ter­ror­ist named Earl Turn­er, “Diaries” drips with racial ani­mus from its open­ing pages, in which “negroes” armed with base­ball bats forcibly dis­arm white Amer­i­cans to enforce a repres­sive gun con­trol bill. This inspires a gen­er­al upris­ing tar­get­ing the gov­ern­ment, Jews, and blacks and cul­mi­nates in the use of nuclear weapons to eth­ni­cal­ly cleanse New York, Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and Tel Aviv. White encamp­ments are con­struct­ed in what remains of the Unit­ed States; “race trai­tors” (such as those who inter­mar­ried with minori­ties) are sum­mar­i­ly lynched.

In short, it is not a pleas­ant book, either for its val­ues or its mind-numb­ing prose, read­ing more like a nasty after-action report than a sto­ry. Despite its lim­i­ta­tions, The Turn­er Diaries spawned a legion of bad­ly writ­ten dystopi­an future tales of race war, which are dis­trib­uted online and in self-pub­lished tomes.

Unlike EFAD, The Turn­er Diaries and many of its imi­ta­tors preach exclu­sive­ly to the racist choir, aim­ing to inspire exist­ing racists to action rather than try­ing to attract new blood for a broad­er anti-gov­ern­ment move­ment. But EFAD’s depic­tion of a racial­ly egal­i­tar­i­an, pro-gun, anti-gov­ern­ment groundswell may be more evo­lu­tion than rev­o­lu­tion. The trilogy’s sec­ond and third books Domes­tic Ene­mies: The Recon­quista released around 2006 and For­eign Ene­mies and Trai­tors in 2009—continue to sep­a­rate racial hate and love for lib­er­ty, but they do so while draw­ing ever deep­er from the well of white racial para­noia.

Book two describes the takeover of the Amer­i­can South­west by ille­gal immi­grants, specif­i­cal­ly His­pan­ic racists out to reclaim their his­toric lands from the “grin­gos.”

This dra­mat­ic shift toward racial pol­i­tics is off­set by the fact that the book’s major pro­tag­o­nists are all brown peo­ple, from a Lebanese Arab hero­ine to a half-Cuban FBI agent to a cryp­to-Jew­ish-His­pan­ic-Amer­i­can for­mer jour­nal­ist. (The author’s olive branch to peo­ple of col­or does not, inci­den­tal­ly, extend to Mus­lims, gays, col­lege pro­fes­sors, or peo­ple with pierc­ings).

Book three, fea­tur­ing a cor­rupt pres­i­dent who invites for­eign mer­ce­nar­ies to run ram­pant on U.S. soil, sees Bracken’s con­tin­ued stip­u­la­tions against racism slow­ly but sure­ly shout­ed down by the arrival of Earl Turner’s world. After an earth­quake demol­ish­es Mem­phis, black refugees turn into a seething mob of gang-rapists and cannibals—characterizations that fea­ture mem­o­rably in The Turn­er Diaries—while urban blacks loot a path from Bal­ti­more to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., where they demand and receive a new Social­ist con­sti­tu­tion engi­neered by a thin­ly veiled car­i­ca­ture of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. The nar­ra­tive dis­claimers continue—one char­ac­ter con­demns white racist killings in the chaos after the quake, and a bat­tle-weary white racist girl near the end of the book accepts a hand of com­fort offered by a black Army medic. But these and oth­er moments of indi­vid­ual race grace are hard pressed to coun­ter­weight the vivid, lengthy depic­tion of African-Amer­i­cans en masse as can­ni­bal rapists direct­ly respon­si­ble for destroy­ing America’s Con­sti­tu­tion.

EFAD per­haps illus­trates both how far and how not-far the Patri­ot move­ment has come over the years. Inas­much as the move­ment coheres, it has shift­ed from fair­ly open and aggres­sive racism to a more ambiva­lent, con­flict­ed pos­ture. It’s not uncom­mon for Patri­ot move­ment mem­bers to vehe­ment­ly deny they are racists, even as they speak in hushed, rev­er­en­tial tones about Turn­er author William Pierce. Brack­en doesn’t have that par­tic­u­lar prob­lem. In response to an email request­ing an inter­view, he called The Turn­er Diaries a “racist screed” and insist­ed it brooks no com­par­i­son to his series, angri­ly declin­ing to answer ques­tions.

On the oth­er hand, in a recent online post­ing, Brack­en advised peo­ple who want to be safe from a pos­si­bly impend­ing civ­il war to ana­lyze where they live based on a spec­trum of rich vs. poor, urban vs. rural—and lighter skin vs. dark­er skin.

Racism has been the Achilles’ heel of efforts to uni­fy the Patri­ots for as long as the move­ment has exist­ed, with dif­fer­ent fac­tions embrac­ing wild­ly dif­fer­ent views about whether to embrace it and to what degree. The Patri­ot sub­set that declines to accept racism con­tin­ues to cope with the issue uneven­ly and defen­sive­ly. As in main­stream pol­i­tics, those who wish to par­tic­i­pate or influ­ence the direc­tion of the move­ment face pres­sure to cater to the rad­i­cal base.

The result is a mud­dled mes­sage in which racism may be vocal­ly con­demned, but race war is deemed inevitable. Tra­di­tion­al racist lan­guage is avoid­ed as taboo, but racial stereo­typ­ing is seen as “fac­ing facts.”

It is a rar­i­fied vision of a non-racist “real­ism” that can alien­ate white nation­al­ist insid­ers while look­ing to out­siders like a dis­tinc­tion with­out a dif­fer­ence.

Awww, isn’t that pre­cious: sure, a race war is inevitable, but racism is still bad. Now THAT’s progress! Any­one else feel­ing all warm and fuzzy?

Discussion

49 comments for “Extremism in the defense of stupidity is a vice”

  1. “It emerged in the 1970’s and 80’s in rur­al Amer­ica as a farm­ing cri­sis dis­placed and dis­lo­cated rur­al com­mu­ni­ties.”

    This is a key point. So many of these peo­ple were dis­placed by cor­po­rate farm­ing and de-indus­tri­al­iza­tion over the past 40 years.

    They form a core of an incip­i­ent fas­cist storm front in a sim­i­lar way as did ruined Junkers and dis­en­fran­chised mid­dle-class Weimar Ger­mans formed a core con­stituen­cy for the Nazis.

    Posted by ironcloudz | August 24, 2012, 12:24 pm
  2. This argu­ment is also referred to as the Straw­man argu­ment.

    The idea being when you are born, your birth cer­tifi­cate cre­ates a leg­el fic­tion of your­self. This cer­tifi­cate is a con­tract that the legal sys­tem uses to apply it’s force. So in Third Per­spec­tive cir­cles, the argu­ment is used that the court has no legal juris­dic­tion over your flesh and blood self, only your Straw­man paper legal fic­tion.

    Many mem­bers of these groups use the sys­tem to avoid tax­es, attend­ing court when sum­moned with their birth cer­tifi­cate, and argu­ing that any fines and penal­ties are to be enforced on the paper legal fic­tion, not the real per­son.

    In the UK, these same groups have even tried to use a mix of this and com­mon law prin­ci­ple to arrest a Court Mag­is­trate.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDWVFrdYao8&feature=related

    The sil­ly thing is, this argu­ment does not even work, and var­i­ous mem­bers of this group have been arrest­ed and charged. Then the idiots all say that the ‘estab­lish­ment’ is scared and arrest­ing peo­ple to shut them up, rather than the fact they have bro­ken var­i­ous laws and are essen­tial­ly sub­vert­ing law and democ­ra­cy.

    Posted by GW | August 25, 2012, 6:45 am
  3. @ironcloudz: Here’s an inter­est­ing essay about that farm­ing cri­sis: a glob­al agri­cul­tur­al boom in the ear­ly 70’s leads to a US farm­ing real-estate bub­ble, lulling/forcing the mid­dle class farm­ers into spec­u­la­tion and over-lever­ag­ing. And some­how the gov­ern­men­t’s cri­sis response ends up giv­ing sig­nif­i­cant­ly more sub­si­dies than ever before while still man­ag­ing to gut the mid­dle class fam­i­ly farm, allow­ing the major play­ers to pick up the pieces for pen­nies on the dol­lar. It’s a now famil­iar sto­ry.

    @GW: I found it par­tic­u­lar­ly amus­ing that actor Wes­ley Snipes was report­ed to have employed sov­er­eign cit­i­zen-style legal argu­ment in his tax eva­sion case because, real­ly, if any­one out there is a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen it’s Blade.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 26, 2012, 1:47 am
  4. @GW: The straw man the­o­ry also adds a pos­i­tive new twist to the Romney/Ryan plan to gut social secu­ri­ty and medicare: “hey, we’re not try­ing to cut your enti­tle­ments, we’re plan­ning on cut­ting your fic­tion­al leg­el straw man’s enti­tle­ments. You are still a free sov­er­eign being. Free to die. Free­dom!!!”.

    Speak­ing of laugh­able legal argu­ments, and giv­en the “straw man” legal the­o­ry you decribed, it rais­es the ques­tion of what the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens’ stance is on the Birther stuff. Could they real­ly insist that the Pres­i­dent show a valid birth cer­tifi­cate when that very sys­tem of birth cer­tifi­cates is at the heart of a secret sys­tem for com­modi­tiz­ing and trad­ing in our fel­low cit­i­zens? And the answer is, well, in some instances yes...in a high­ly racist, sex­ist, and legal­is­ti­cal­ly strange way.

    I also have to say that I was sur­prised by Ron Paul’s refusal to endorse Rom­ney or speak at the con­ven­tion. And it’s not sur­prise at Ron Paul’s revolt or the reac­tion of his del­e­gates. It was sur­prise that the RNC would basi­cal­ly pre­emp­tive­ly mug it’s youth like that. After all, the Ron Paul del­e­ga­tion is prob­a­bly a major com­po­nent of the future of the GOP. Diss­ing the Paulites is like burn­ing the bridge to the future.

    But maybe it’s all an inart­ful part of Mit­ten­s’s long await­ed “piv­ot to the cen­ter”, where the Rom­ney dis­avows all the ‘red meat’ he’s been feed­ing the base dur­ing the pri­ma­ry sea­son and Paul Ryan dis­avows Paul Ryan.

    Or maybe it’s some sort of metaphor­i­cal polit­i­cal art, like ‘mug­ging the youth’-style medicare reform art act­ed out in the form of con­ven­tion del­e­gate rule changes. It’s all part of the unveil­ing of the Romney/Ryan 2012 slo­gan:
    “You built that bridge to the future and we’re going to burn it down.

    Also, give us your mon­ey.”

    I think we have a win­ner.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 28, 2012, 11:20 pm
  5. The Left Behind Series of nov­els by Tim LaHaye and Jer­ry B. Jenk­ins presents a vivid and last­ing mul­ti­cul­tur­al motif through­out, embrac­ing many races and nation­al­i­ties. I won­der if this has had the effect of soft­en­ing some of the racist edges of the Patri­ot move­ment as exam­ined by J.M. Berg­er arti­cle cit­ed above.

    As long as you’re down with Christ, it’s all good.

    Posted by GrumpusRex | September 1, 2012, 10:38 am
  6. @GrumpuRex:
    That reminds me of a noto­ri­ous excerpt from a fan­ta­sy Domin­ion­ist snuff piece writ­ten by William Lind, a co-founder the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion (dis­cussed at length here) along­side one of the father’s of mod­ern con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment Paul Weyrich. Lind was also an ear­ly push­er of the “Cul­tur­al Marx­ist” meme (Anders Brievik was a fan of Lind and his meme). It’s a meme we see increas­ing­ly show up in main­stream pol­i­tics these days but note that the theo­crat­ic snuff piece was writ­ten sev­er­al years before 1995 and pub­lished in the Wash­ing­ton Post on April 30, 1995. This kind of rad­i­cal­ism has been main­stream­ing itself for a while:

    Ban­gor Dai­ly News
    Fri­day, May 26, 1995
    Polit­i­cal thinker takes look in future
    By John S. Day of the NEWS Staff

    The Tri­umph of the Recov­ery was marked most clear­ly by the burn­ing of the Epis­co­pal bish­op of Maine.

    She was not a par­tic­u­lar­ly bad bish­op. She was, in fact, quite typ­i­cal of Epis­co­pal bish­ops of the first quar­ter of the 21st cen­tu­ry: agnos­tic, com­pul­sive­ly polit­i­cal and rad­i­cal and giv­en to plac­ing a small idol of Isis on the altar when she said the Com­mu­nion ser­vice. by 2037, when she was tried for heresy, con­vict­ed and burned, she had out­lived her era. By that time only a hand­ful of Epis­co­palians still rec­og­nized female cler­gy, and it would have been easy enough to let the old fool rant out her final years in obscu­ri­ty. But we are a peo­ple who do our duty.

    I well remem­ber the crowd that gath­ered for the exe­cu­tion, solemn but not sad, relieved that at last, after so many years of humiliation,the major­i­ty had tak­en back the cul­ture. Civ­i­liza­tion had recov­ered its nerve. The flames that soared above the lawn before the Maine State­house that August after­noon were, as the bish­opess her­self might have said, lib­er­at­ing.”
    William S. Lind

    Wash­ing­ton — Who in the hell is William Lind, you ask?
    He’s not a mem­ber of the cit­i­zen mili­tias that have pro­claimed them­selves at war with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, and are them­selves being probed by author­i­ties for­linksto the Okla­homa City bomb­ing.
    Nor is he among the legion of anti-gun con­trol activists who saw Pres­i­dent Clin­ton’s elec­tion as anoth­er step in the gov­ern­men­t’s march to dis­arm the U.S. cit­i­zen­ry. The only gun he owns is a .22-cal­iber tar­get rifle.
    No rab­ble-rouser, this guy. His entire career has been work­ing from ins­die the polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment. Lind is direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Cul­tur­al Con­ser­vatism aof the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion, a con­ser­v­a­tive Wash­ing­ton think tank. He hosts a week­ly pro­gram, “Mod­ern War,“on the NET tele­vi­sion net­work. He’s a Dar­mouth grad­u­ate who vaca­tions near Hart­land, Main. For 10 years, Lind worked as a top aide to Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen. Gary Hart.
    So why is Lind writ­ing sto­ries about burn­ing a cler­gy­woman on the lawn in fron of the State House in Augus­ta?
    “I did it as a warn­ing,” Lind said. “Take a look at Bosnia today. It’s not a fun place to be.”
    “We in this nation are embarked in one the same kind of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism that divides nations along eth­nic and cul­tur­al lines,” he said.
    So sev­er­al years ago, Lind wrote a futur­is­tic fan­ta­sy, which was pub­lished last month in the Wash­ing­ton Post.
    Like the bet­ter-known “Turn­er Diaries” that author­i­ties say may have inspired the Okla­homa City bom­ing, it is a fic­tion­al look back at Amer­i­ca from the 21st cen­tu­ry, when lev­e­head­ed cit­i­zens from Maine, New Hamp­shire, Ver­mont and Eas­t­en Cana­da — but not Mass­a­chu­setts — took back the nation from the hat­ed Wash­ing­ton elites.

    Those peo­ple, Kind says, have become a “new class — con­temp­tu­sous of the com­mon cul­ture, unwill­ing or unable to make things work and con­cerned pri­mar­i­ly with main­tain­ing its own priv­iledged sta­tus.”
    The scary thing, Lind says,is that “I’ve seen the (Wash­ing­ton) sys­tem from the inside.
    “The pub­lic has not yet caught on to the fact that most peo­ple in gov­ern­ment don’t real­ly do any­thing or accom­plish any­thing. Their main objec­tive is mere­ly to be some­body (impor­tant),” he says.
    ...
    Because, accord­ing to Lind,“New Engand is a repos­i­to­ry of the old rules,” the heroes of his fan­ta­sy tale are that region’s farm­ers, fishermen,loggers and small busi­ness­men. He envi­sions a cul­tur­al revival “spread­ing out­ward from our rocky New Eng­land soil, dis­plac­ing sav­agery with civ­i­liza­tion a sec­ond time.”
    Lind said­his­work of fici­ton is not a call to vio­lence, but one of cog­ni­tion. Pollsshow that most Amer­i­cans think the coun­try has been hurtlin­gout of con­trol for sev­er­al decades, he says.
    “I wrote this thing as a mes­sage of hope. It sayswe can recov­er what we had. Most of Amer­i­cans believe what we had is bet­ter than what we have, ” Lind says.
    ...

    First off, William Lind, a co-founder of one of the key foun­da­tion­al con­ser­v­a­tive think-tanks of this era, was top aide of Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Gary Hart? WTF? Also, as Atrios once point­ed out, it was also some­what unbe­liev­able that Lind’s piece was pub­lished in the Wash­ing­ton Post at all, let alone less than two weeks after the Okla­homa City bomb­ing. You may be expect­ing some­thing resem­bling the Span­ish Inqui­si­tion in Lind’s 2050 fan­ta­sy, but you prob­a­bly did­n’t expect it to be a Vic­to­ri­an Span­ish Inqui­si­tion (sor­ry orphans). No one expects the Vic­to­ri­an Span­ish Inqui­si­tion (via Lex­is Nex­is):

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    April 30, 1995, Sun­day, Final Edi­tion

    UNDERSTANDING OKLAHOMA; Mil­i­tant Mus­ings: From Night­mare 1995 to My Utopi­an 2050
    By William S. Lind

    Edi­tors’ note: The inves­ti­ga­tion of the Okla­homa City bomb­ing has focused atten­tion on the polit­i­cal think­ing of mil­i­tant groups scat­tered around the coun­try, some of whom advo­cate armed resis­tance to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment and all it rep­re­sents.

    In the writ­ings of some lead­ers of this move­ment, Amer­i­ca is a coun­try already in the grip of a civ­il war. Polemi­cists for the mili­tia move­ment, while vary­ing wide­ly in their favorite caus­es, have a com­mon denom­i­na­tor: They por­tray an ille­git­i­mate fed­er­al gov­ern­ment dom­i­nat­ed by spe­cial inter­est groups in mor­tal strug­gle with patri­ots rep­re­sent­ing tra­di­tion­al Amer­i­can val­ues.

    These apoc­a­lyp­tic visions are not restrict­ed to iso­lat­ed pock­ets of rur­al Amer­i­ca but are also found in Wash­ing­ton. William Lind, a mil­i­tary writer and for­mer advis­er to Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Gary Hart, is now a cen­ter direc­tor at the con­ser­v­a­tive Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion.

    Lind wrote the fol­low­ing futur­is­tic fan­ta­sy — intend­ed as a look back from the 21st cen­tu­ry — long before the Okla­homa City bomb­ing. He did so, he said recent­ly, “to show how high a price we may pay for a gov­ern­ment that has become a ‘new class’ — con­temp­tu­ous of the com­mon cul­ture, unwill­ing or unable to make things work and con­cerned pri­mar­i­ly with main­tain­ing its own priv­i­leged sta­tus.”

    THE TRIUMPH of the Recov­ery was marked most clear­ly by the burn­ing of the Epis­co­pal bish­op of Maine.

    She was not a par­tic­u­lar­ly bad bish­op. She was, in fact, quite typ­i­cal of Epis­co­pal bish­ops of the first quar­ter of the 21st cen­tu­ry: agnos­tic, com­pul­sive­ly polit­i­cal and rad­i­cal and giv­en to plac­ing a small idol of Isis on the altar when she said the Com­mu­nion ser­vice. By 2037, when she was tried for heresy, con­vict­ed and burned, she had out­lived her era. By that time only a hand­ful of Epis­co­palians still rec­og­nized female cler­gy, and it would have been easy enough to let the old fool rant out her final years in obscu­ri­ty. But we are a peo­ple who do our duty.

    I well remem­ber the crowd that gath­ered for the exe­cu­tion, solemn but not sad, relieved that at last, after so many years of humil­i­a­tion, the major­i­ty had tak­en back the cul­ture. Civ­i­liza­tion had recov­ered its nerve. The flames that soared above the lawn before the Maine state­house that August after­noon were, as the bish­opess her­self might have said, lib­er­at­ing.

    In this Year of Our Lord 2050 we Vic­to­ri­ans have the blessed good for­tune to live once again in an age of accom­plish­ment and decen­cy. Most of the nations that cov­er the ter­ri­to­ry of the for­mer Unit­ed States are start­ing to get things work­ing again. The cul­tur­al revival we began is spread­ing out­ward from our rocky New Eng­land soil, dis­plac­ing sav­agery with civ­i­liza­tion a sec­ond time.

    I am writ­ing this down so you nev­er for­get, not you, nor your chil­dren nor their chil­dren. You did not go through the war, though you have suf­fered its con­se­quences. Your chil­dren will have grown up in a well-ordered and pros­per­ous coun­try, and that can be dan­ger­ous­ly com­fort­ing. Here, they will at least read what hap­pens when a peo­ple for­get who they are.

    Was the dis­so­lu­tion of the Unit­ed States inevitable? Prob­a­bly. Right up to the end the coins car­ried the mot­to E Pluribus Unum, just as the last dread­nought of the Impe­r­i­al and Roy­al Aus­tro-Hun­gar­i­an navy was the Viribus Uni­tis. But the real­i­ty for both empires was Ex Uno, Plu­ra.

    You see, some time around the mid­dle of the 18th cen­tu­ry we men of the West struck Faust’s bar­gain with the Dev­il. We could do any­thing, say any­thing, think any­thing with one excep­tion: Ver­weile doch, du bist so schoen (Stay, you are so beau­ti­ful). We could not rest; we could not get it right and then keep it that way. Always we must have nov­el­ty — that was the bar­gain.

    It’s fun­ny how clear­ly the Amer­i­can cen­tu­ry is marked: 1865 to 1965. The first Civ­il War made us one nation. After 1965 and anoth­er war, we dis­unit­ed — decon­struct­ed — with equal speed into blacks, whites, His­pan­ics, wom­yn, gays, vic­tims, oppres­sors, left-hand­ed albi­nos, you name it. In three decades we cov­ered the dis­tance that had tak­en Rome three cen­turies. As recent­ly as the ear­ly 1960s — God, it’s hard to believe — Amer­i­ca was still the great­est nation on earth, the most pow­er­ful, the most pro­duc­tive, the freest, a place of safe homes, duti­ful chil­dren in good schools, strong fam­i­lies and a hot lunch for orphans. By the 1990s the place had the stench of a Third World coun­try. The cities were rav­aged by punks, beg­gars and bums. Law applied only to the law-abid­ing. Schools had become day­time hold­ing pens for illit­er­ate young sav­ages. Tele­vi­sion brought the deca­dence of Weimar Berlin into every home.

    Did­n’t any­one real­ize that when the cul­ture goes it takes every­thing else with it? Of course, some peo­ple knew. But going back to a cul­ture that worked, to tra­di­tion­al, West­ern, Judeo-Chris­t­ian cul­ture, meant break­ing the Faus­t­ian bar­gain.

    ...

    Then the ham­mer blows fell. First, the cur­ren­cy col­lapsed. Infla­tion had been jerk­ing upward for years because the only way the gov­ern­ment could man­age its mas­sive debt was to pay it off in inflat­ed dol­lars. Peo­ple had adjust­ed as they did in oth­er Third World coun­tries, open­ing for­eign cur­ren­cy accounts, bar­ter­ing, bury­ing gold in the back yard. Then, in the spring of 2001, a new admin­is­tra­tion real­ly opened the valve. By that sum­mer, infla­tion was run­ning 40 per­cent per month; by fall, 400 per­cent. Finan­cial Weimar had fol­lowed cul­tur­al Weimar. The mid­dle class was wiped out.

    By the year 2005, it was obvi­ous that AIDS was spread­ing fast. Every­one had friends, rel­a­tives, neigh­bors who sud­den­ly were strick­en. But the gov­ern­ment still pumped out the same old line. Ter­ri­fied of the gay lob­by, offi­cials con­spired to reas­sure the pub­lic that there was no cause for alarm, that “homo­pho­bia” was the real prob­lem.

    In fact, the gov­ern­ment sup­pressed evi­dence to the con­trary, fear­ing to cause pan­ic. They were right. When the Los Ange­les Times broke the sto­ry that it was spread­ing by unknown means, the cities emp­tied. Most peo­ple came back, because they had to go to work or starve, though they left the chil­dren in the coun­try if they could. Peo­ple demand­ed the quar­an­tine of any­one diag­nosed as HIV pos­i­tive. Instead, the gov­ern­ment clas­si­fied the infect­ed as “dis­abled,” which made any pre­ven­tive mea­sures ille­gal dis­crim­i­na­tion.

    In the spring of 2009 the blacks of Newark rose and took over the city. They rebelled not against whites but against their real oppres­sors: the drug deal­ers and drug users, gun­men and hit men, car thieves and squat­ters and the rest of the scum who made life hell for the major­i­ty who want­ed to work and walk home safe­ly and not see their kids shot in front of their hous­es. They knew who the guilty par­ties were, and they went and got them with ropes and kitchen knives. For the first time in decades, Newark saw peace.

    Aver­age peo­ple cheered, but the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, drool­ing such pieties as “due process” and “law and order” (in a place where the law had long since ceased pro­tect­ing any­one but crim­i­nals), sent in the Nation­al Guard. The peo­ple of Newark met the troops and begged for their help, and the sol­diers either went over or went home. Wash­ing­ton ordered in the 82nd Air­borne. The New York Air Guard paint­ed pine tree insignia on its air­craft and threat­ened to bomb any fed­er­al forces approach­ing Newark. On May 3, Gov. Ephraim Logan of Ver­mont told the leg­is­la­ture that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment no longer rep­re­sent­ed the peo­ple of his state and asked for a vote of seces­sion. Ver­mont became a repub­lic the next day.

    The first Civ­il War was, on the whole, a gen­tle­man­ly affair; the sec­ond one was­n’t. Here in north­ern New Eng­land we were lucky. Because we did­n’t have many eth­nic divi­sions or cults or Deep Green­ers, we did­n’t have mili­tias shelling the cities and rav­aging the sub­urbs. Else­where, it was what Lebanon and Yugoslavia and the for­mer Russ­ian empire saw in the late 20th cen­tu­ry. The Recon­quista drove the Ang­los out of Texas, New Mex­i­co, Ari­zona and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia; the Ang­los drove the His­pan­ics out of what was left of the Amer­i­can West. Blacks and His­pan­ics in L.A. turned on each oth­er, but there were a lot more His­pan­ics. Kore­an marines land­ed in Long Beach to get their peo­ple out.

    The Deep Green­ers took over Ore­gon, and North Amer­i­cans got their first taste of total­i­tar­i­an­ism. If you weren’t one of them, you did­n’t get a Breath­ing License and they tied a plas­tic bag over your head. That last­ed three years, until the rest of the state recap­tured Port­land with Japan­ese help (they need­ed the tim­ber). Both Ore­gon and Wash­ing­ton are doing okay now; recent­ly they got the right to send non-vot­ing del­e­gates to the Diet in Tokyo.

    After the usu­al series of coups, north­ern Cal­i­for­nia end­ed up as the Azan­ian Repub­lic. It made Ore­gon seem ratio­nal by com­par­i­son. The Azan­ian gov­ern­ment in Berke­ley was, in its final incar­na­tion, run by a coali­tion of rad­i­cal fem­i­nists, Maoist guer­ril­las and mil­i­tant veg­e­tar­i­ans. The only cap­i­tal crime was eat­ing meat. The end came after Aza­nia was over­run by ani­mals who, by law, could be nei­ther killed nor neutered.

    Else­where, it took about 10 years for the hate caused by decades of ille­git­i­mate gov­ern­ment to work itself out. Not much was left of the cities or the peo­ple who had lived there, but most folks in the coun­try­side at least had been able to eat. By 2017, the South had a sec­ond Con­fed­er­a­cy going. South­ern cul­ture had stayed pret­ty strong, out­side the cities any­way. Flori­da was a mess, of course, but oth­er­wise Dix­ie did­n’t see much fight­ing.

    But it is our New Eng­land his­to­ry that con­cerns me. We were the luck­i­est. Maine and New Hamp­shire quick­ly fol­lowed Ver­mont into seces­sion, and upstate New York came in too — after ced­ing New York City to Puer­to Rico. We knew we were all in this togeth­er, so we formed the North­ern Con­fed­er­a­tion in 2010. Mass­a­chu­setts was not invit­ed, but in 2011 New Brunswick, Nova Sco­tia and New­found­land joined (Cana­da did­n’t sur­vive into the 21st cen­tu­ry). We had some tough eco­nom­ic times, but nobody starved and we had only one rum­pus on our own soil — an attempt­ed putsch by a small band of Deep Green­ers in Ver­mont that was put down by state cops with a cou­ple of fire hoses.

    But it was what hap­pened on the cul­tur­al front that real­ly made the dif­fer­ence for us. The Retro­cul­ture Move­ment had been grow­ing qui­et­ly since the mid-1990s. It was­n’t polit­i­cal, just indi­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies decid­ing to live again in the old ways. By the ear­ly 2000s there were Retro­cul­ture books, mag­a­zines, clubs, even spe­cial com­mu­ni­ties for peo­ple who want­ed to dis­cov­er how Amer­i­cans used to live and how to bring back the old ways. Some peo­ple liked one peri­od, some anoth­er, but grad­u­al­ly more and more found them­selves look­ing to the Vic­to­ri­an era as the mod­el. The Vic­to­ri­ans in Eng­land and Amer­i­ca had been an astound­ing­ly pro­duc­tive bunch, build­ing, invent­ing, cre­at­ing, con­quer­ing — all the things we need­ed to do again if we were to be civ­i­lized peo­ple.

    The fam­i­ly was the first Vic­to­ri­an insti­tu­tion to make a come­back. With every­thing else falling apart, peo­ple saw pret­ty quick­ly how impor­tant a fam­i­ly is. That would have hap­pened with­out Retro­cul­ture, but the Retro Move­ment helped us see how to make fam­i­lies work. We dug out the many books (most writ­ten by women) the Vic­to­ri­ans had pub­lished on how to make a good home, raise chil­dren and live togeth­er hap­pi­ly (the secret was sac­ri­fic­ing the late 20th cen­tu­ry’s god, the self). The good ladies of the League of Mil­i­tant Home­mak­ers made sure women put duty to hus­bands and chil­dren first; those who refused so they could pur­sue a “career” were giv­en a bright red embroi­dered “C” to wear over their left breast.

    The schools came next. We tossed out the vast accre­tion of “pro­fes­sion­al” edu­ca­tors and found ordi­nary men and women who knew their sub­jects and were ded­i­cat­ed to pass­ing on the cul­ture to a new gen­er­a­tion. The kids learned to read with Mr. McGuffy’s read­ers. They learned to fig­ure on a chalk board instead of a com­put­er that did the work for them. They learned the dif­fer­ence between right and wrong or got their bot­toms fanned until they did.

    We decon­struct­ed most of the uni­ver­si­ties. After all, they had start­ed this “mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism” hys­te­ria that end­ed up with mil­lions of peo­ple dead in the wars that fol­lowed. The ide­o­logues gone, real schol­ars emerged from hid­ing and began offer­ing Greek and Latin and the great books of West­ern civ­i­liza­tion to any­one who want­ed to learn.

    Chris­tians took back their church­es from the agnos­tic cler­gy, and the pews filled up again. The church, not the gov­ern­ment, became the prob­lem-solver when peo­ple were hun­gry or sick or old and with­out fam­i­ly. The gov­ern­ment was broke any­way and was busy defend­ing the bor­ders with not much tax base left.

    As the Vic­to­ri­an spir­it spread, stan­dards were revived. Com­mu­ni­ties decid­ed that some things were accept­able and some weren’t. Crime was­n’t; with jus­tice local­ly con­trolled and the lawyers dig­ging pota­toes, some­body who mugged on Tues­day hanged on Wednes­day.

    Enter­tain­ment was expect­ed to be decent. In a world that had grown ugly enough, there was small desire for ugli­ness in art and music as well. The Vic­to­ri­an enter­tain­ments were revived, and young peo­ple in par­tic­u­lar went in heav­i­ly for choral singing. The last rock con­cert was held in 2013 in the Cleve­land are­na. It fea­tured all the big rock bands left in North Amer­i­ca and most of the remain­ing rock fans too. The Greater Cleve­land Gar­den Club sealed the doors and pumped in a herbal com­pound, derived large­ly from Queen Anne’s lace and Vio­la odor­a­ta, that rec­ti­fied brain dam­age in the cra­nial region con­nect­ing hear­ing and taste. The fans were soon hold­ing their ears and whistling “Dix­ie,” and the ancient Rolling Stones end­ed up impro­vis­ing Albi­noni on their elec­tric gui­tars.

    By the mid-2020s, peo­ple had start­ed to speak of the Recov­ery. Things were start­ing to work again, at least for us up north. And it was obvi­ous why: The Vic­to­ri­an spir­it, and Vic­to­ri­an prac­tices, were mak­ing them work. The slo­gan became, “What worked then will work now” and, of course, it did. That broke the Faus­t­ian bar­gain. We had found where we want­ed to set­tle down and stay — right there in the age of Queen Vic­to­ria — and we did.

    In grat­i­tude to our Vic­to­ri­an exem­plars, the North­ern Con­fed­er­a­tion became, in the year 2035 A.D., the nation of Vic­to­ria. It was done by cit­i­zen peti­tion and ref­er­en­dum, the way all impor­tant ques­tions are decid­ed. In fact, there isn’t much oth­er gov­ern­ment — nor is it need­ed, now that we again have a vir­tu­ous cit­i­zen­ry. The leg­is­la­ture meets for a cou­ple of months every two years, with cit­i­zen leg­is­la­tors who are paid one hun­dred gold dol­lars per annum and can’t be reelect­ed. To pre­vent a gov­ern­ment bureau­cra­cy from grow­ing, the fed­er­al cap­i­tal moves every six months from one province to anoth­er; at last count it had 76 employ­ees. The pres­i­dent of Vic­to­ria is cho­sen by lot from among the hand­ful of reg­is­tered vot­ers who offer to serve.

    And so it was that in 2037 we burned the bish­opess. We knew this act would close and seal the old book, the book that had seen us go from decay to dis­so­lu­tion to Recov­ery. The auto-da-fe was sym­bol­ic; the Recov­ery was in fact already on sol­id ground or we would­n’t have had the moral fiber to torch the old girl.

    ...

    Sweet, no jack­boot­ed fed­er­al thugs but if you’re “con­vict­ed of mug­ging on Tues­day you’ll be hung on Wednes­day” by the locals. A con­fed­er­a­tion of cults bound by “cul­ture”. Every­thing is as it should be.

    Lind’s essay appears to be some sort of warn­ing about a debased lib­er­al mod­ern cul­ture and soci­ety and the harsh, nec­es­sary, and inevitable back­lash against that mod­ern abom­i­na­tion by the “real Amer­i­cans” (that all appear to be Chris­t­ian Domin­ion­ists). It’s also a reminder of how rad­i­cal the far-right Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist utopi­an vision can get. The ultra-“small gov­ern­ment” ide­ol­o­gy of the Chris­t­ian Dominionists/Libertarians/anarchists types does­n’t actu­al­ly mean “small author­i­ty”. The meta-sell­ing point for “small gov­ern­ment” poli­cies you see from politi­cians spew­ing out is that by “shrink­ing gov­ern­ment” you’re “free­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple”. But what we see in Lind’s vision is some­thing clos­er to what one should expect with the far-right’s envi­sioned “small gov­ern­ment”: Big Church and Big­ger Busi­ness. That part is strate­gi­cal­ly left out of the sales pitch and it’s a big deal because those far-right ultra-small gov­ern­ment poli­cies are now the GOP’s main­stream poli­cies.

    It’s all a reminder that “small­er gov­ern­ment” = “redis­tri­b­u­tion of pow­er” != “small­er author­i­ty”, espe­cial­ly when crypto­fas­cist theocrats are call­ing the shots.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 2, 2012, 1:13 am
  7. The old say­ing “there’s no such thing as bad pub­lic­i­ty” does­n’t apply in all con­texts

    Vegas Police Bust ‘Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen’ Ter­ror Plot
    KEN RITTER August 22, 2013, 10:13 PM

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — A sting oper­a­tion stopped a plot to abduct, tor­ture and kill police offi­cers to bring atten­tion to the anti­au­thor­i­ty sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment, Las Vegas police said Thurs­day.

    David Allen Brutsche and Devon Camp­bell New­man were arrest­ed at an apart­ment a few miles off the Vegas Strip before they could car­ry out a plan to snatch offi­cers, “put them on tri­al” and exe­cute them in a vacant house, Las Vegas police Lt. James See­bock said.

    ...

    The inves­ti­ga­tion began when an uniden­ti­fied under­cov­er offi­cer befriend­ed Brutsche and New­man in April, police said.

    The three par­tic­i­pat­ed in meet­ings and train­ing ses­sions about sov­er­eign cit­i­zen phi­los­o­phy and lat­er shopped for guns and dis­cussed plans to track and video­tape police offi­cers to deter­mine whom to abduct, accord­ing to a 10-page arrest report.

    They found a vacant house and rigged it with bolts drilled into wall sup­ports, cre­at­ing a makeshift jail where they planned to bind cap­tive offi­cers to cross beams for inter­ro­ga­tion, police said.

    Author­i­ties haven’t released video evi­dence, but the report states that Brutsche and New­man record­ed videos about their actions and ide­ol­o­gy to post fol­low­ing the planned abduc­tions.

    Hun­dreds of hours of con­ver­sa­tion were record­ed over the course of 30 meet­ings with the under­cov­er offi­cer, police said.

    “We need to arrest the police and take them to our jail and put them in a cell and put them on tri­al in a people’s court,” Brutsche said on July 9, accord­ing to the arrest report. “If we run into the posi­tion that they resist, then we need to kill them.”

    Dur­ing a tour of gun stores the next day, Brutsche said that what they were plan­ning was going to be big, “and that they would real­ly get a large fol­low­ing once they start­ed because of the pub­lic­i­ty,” the report said.

    Police said that when Brutsche was arrest­ed, he denied that police had author­i­ty to hold him.

    Police iden­ti­fied Brutsche as a six-time con­vict­ed felon and child sex offend­er from Cal­i­for­nia. Author­i­ties did not detail a fur­ther crim­i­nal back­ground for New­man.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 22, 2013, 8:26 pm
  8. Flori­da’s GOP law mak­ers in the House want to make it legal to car­ry con­cealed firearms with­out a per­mit dur­ing riots and nat­ur­al dis­as­ters. More specif­i­cal­ly, they want to allow you to legal­ly car­ry your con­cealed gun and go to the riot if you hap­pen to have missed all the fun. This will include emer­gen­cies declared by local offi­cials. It’s part of Flori­da’s expan­sion of the ‘Stand your ground’ laws. So at least Flori­da res­i­dents won’t need to lis­ten for the annoy­ing high pitched emer­gency broad­cast sys­tem to get alert­ed about an emer­gency. They can just wait for the flur­ry of gun shots:

    Mia­mi Her­ald
    Flori­da House bill would allow car­ry­ing guns with­out a per­mit dur­ing riots, nat­ur­al dis­as­ters
    Post­ed on Thurs­day, 04.10.14

    By Michael Van Sick­ler
    Herald/Times Tal­la­has­see Bureau

    TALLAHASSEE — Under a bill backed by the Nation­al Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion and oth­er gun groups, riots could be the newest safe haven for those car­ry­ing firearms with­out a per­mit.

    HB 209, which is expect­ed to be vot­ed on Fri­day by the Flori­da House, would allow peo­ple with clean crim­i­nal back­grounds to con­ceal firearms with­out a per­mit dur­ing emer­gen­cies — includ­ing riots and civ­il unrest like the 1996 racial dis­tur­bances that rocked south St. Peters­burg — declared by the gov­er­nor or local offi­cials.

    “To allow peo­ple to go into a riot while con­ceal­ing a gun with­out a per­mit is the def­i­n­i­tion of insan­i­ty,” said Pinel­las Coun­ty Sher­iff Bob Gualtieri. “The bill is crazy. It’s absurd.”

    Sup­port­ers of the bill say it’s intend­ed to give gun own­ers the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pro­tect their prop­er­ty while they are evac­u­at­ing from a dis­as­ter or cri­sis, such as hur­ri­canes, floods, or worse.

    “We tell peo­ple to be pre­pared dur­ing hur­ri­cane sea­son to take care of your­self for three days,” Flori­da Car­ry gen­er­al coun­sel Eric Fri­day said ear­li­er this month. “That means food, water, and also the abil­i­ty to pro­tect your­self because emer­gency ser­vices aren’t avail­able.”

    ...

    A key objec­tion is that it’s not clear in the leg­is­la­tion when it’s okay not to have a per­mit for the con­cealed firearm. Both bills say no per­mit is need­ed for those “in the act of com­ply­ing with a manda­to­ry evac­u­a­tion order dur­ing a declared state of emer­gency.”

    If some­one flees a hur­ri­cane and trav­els sev­er­al coun­ties over, either to a hotel or relative’s house, at what point are they still evac­u­at­ing? For how long are they able to claim they are evac­u­at­ing?

    On Wednes­day, the House spon­sor, Rep. Heather Fitzen­hagen, R‑Fort Myers, couldn’t pro­vide specifics to the doubters dur­ing House debate on the bill.

    “I have (the gun) on my body because I’m allowed to do it under this new law, and I get to a (hur­ri­cane) shel­ter,” Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D‑Hollywood asked Fitzen­hagen. “What hap­pens to the firearm then?”

    “The law does not allow you to bring that into a shel­ter,” Fitzen­hagen replied. “You would be able to put it some­where else in anoth­er person’s car per­haps, or a con­tain­er.”

    The Flori­da Sher­iffs Asso­ci­a­tion believes the bill is too vague, and would lead to false arrests and clash­es with police. Bran­des and Fitzen­hagen say too much speci­fici­ty would defeat the pur­pose of the bill.

    “If you refine it too much, then you don’t make it effec­tive for giv­ing peo­ple the oppor­tu­ni­ty to store their guns safe­ly,” she said.

    For Gualtieri and the Flori­da Sher­iffs Asso­ci­a­tion, the bills were made con­sid­er­ably worse in late March and ear­ly April when they were amend­ed so that local author­i­ties, not just the gov­er­nor, could declare an emer­gency.

    Under that added pro­vi­sion, riots qual­i­fied as emer­gen­cies in which res­i­dents could con­ceal guns with­out per­mits.

    “We were try­ing to work with them, but they changed the pur­pose of the bill,” Gualtieri said. “Now you don’t have to be leav­ing an area. You could be com­ing to it, you could be part of the prob­lem, exac­er­bat­ing it.”[

    On Tues­day, the Senate’s Com­mu­ni­ty Affairs Com­mit­tee agreed, strip­ping out the local emer­gency pro­vi­sion that includ­ed riots.

    But it remains in the House bill, where it will stay, said Fitzen­hagen.

    “I believe there are sce­nar­ios in which local gov­ern­ments should have the author­i­ty to call a state of emer­gency,” Fitzen­hagen said Wednes­day. “I’m not con­tem­plat­ing them call­ing a state of emer­gency for riots and then they grab their hand guns and go out there into the riot.”

    But the way the bill is writ­ten, it’s too con­fus­ing for law enforce­ment offi­cers and gun own­ers alike, Gualtieri said.

    “It would give me pause, as sher­iff, in declar­ing a state of emer­gency,” he said. “If I know cops would have to deal with god knows what, I now have to wor­ry about mak­ing a sit­u­a­tion worse.”

    The upcom­ing changes aren’t all crazy. For instance, fir­ing a warn­ing shot in Flori­da will no longer be more pun­ish­able than shoot­ing some­one.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 10, 2014, 8:54 am
  9. This is fas­ci­nat­ing: If you invite a bunch of mili­tias to your ranch and hun­ker down for an armed stand off with the Fed­er­al gov­ern­ment (see pho­tos), and the Feds don’t go in guns a blaz­ing, you can appar­ent­ly claim you’ve ‘won’. But fac­tor in that armed con­flict is pret­ty obvi­ous­ly also what these groups are pin­ing for (the PR would be amaz­ing), so we’re see­ing the “heads we win, tails we win with blood­shed” strat­e­gy at work. Because you can’t main­stream ‘crazy’ with rea­son. Whipped up pas­sions and the threat of vio­lence are what is need­ed for that kind of sit­u­a­tion:

    Think Progress
    Armed Right-Wing Mili­tia Mem­bers Descend On Neva­da To Help Ranch­er Defy Court Order

    By Ian Mill­his­er on April 11, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    We pro­vide armed response,” accord­ing to a Mon­tana mili­tia mem­ber named Jim Lordy. Lordy trav­eled to Neva­da in order to sup­port a local ranch­er for believes that he should not have to fol­low fed­er­al court orders. When he arrived there, he told a local reporter that “[w]e need guns to pro­tect our­selves from the tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment.”

    Lordy belongs to a mili­tia group called Oper­a­tion Mutu­al Aid, which pro­vides “[d]efense of pub­lic and pri­vate prop­er­ty, lives, and lib­er­ty to exer­cise God-giv­en rights, seen plain­ly in the laws of Nature, and cod­i­fied in the Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence and Bill of Rights, at the request of such par­ties in need of such defense,” accord­ing to a web­site asso­ci­at­ed with the group. Although only three mili­tia mem­bers had arrived at the Neva­da ranch by late Wednes­day, when the lat­est reports came out, oth­er mili­tia groups report­ed­ly “inun­dat­ed the [rancher’s] house­hold with calls and pledges to muster at the site.”

    The Oath Keep­ers, a right-wing law enforce­ment orga­ni­za­tion that warns about the gov­ern­ment “disarm[ing] the Amer­i­can peo­ple” and “blockad[ing] Amer­i­can cities, thus turn­ing them into giant con­cen­tra­tion camps,” also announced that it will send peo­ple to sup­port the defi­ant ranch­er.

    This con­flict aris­es out of ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy’s many years of ille­gal­ly graz­ing his cat­tle on fed­er­al lands. In 1998, a fed­er­al court ordered Bundy to cease graz­ing his live­stock on an area of fed­er­al land known as the Bunkerville Allot­ment, and required him to pay the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment $200 per day per head of cat­tle remain­ing on fed­er­al lands. Around the time it issued this order, the court also com­ment­ed that “[t]he gov­ern­ment has shown com­mend­able restraint in allow­ing this tres­pass to con­tin­ue for so long with­out impound­ing Bundy’s live­stock.” Fif­teen years lat­er, Bundy con­tin­ued to defy this court order.

    Last Octo­ber, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment returned to court and obtained a new order, pro­vid­ing that “Bundy shall remove his live­stock from the for­mer Bunkerville Allot­ment with­in 45 days of the date here­of, and that the Unit­ed States is enti­tled to seize and remove to impound any of Bundy’s cat­tle that remain in tres­pass after 45 days of the date here­of.” A third fed­er­al court order issued the same year explains that Bundy did not sim­ply refuse to stop tres­pass­ing on fed­er­al lands — he actu­al­ly expand­ed the range of his tres­pass­ing. Accord­ing to the third order, “Bundy’s cat­tle have moved beyond the bound­aries of the Bunkerville Allot­ment and are now tres­pass­ing on a broad swath of addi­tion­al fed­er­al land (the “New Tres­pass Lands”), includ­ing pub­lic lands with­in the Gold Butte area that are admin­is­tered by the BLM, and Nation­al Park Sys­tem land with­in the Over­ton Arm and Gold Butte areas of the Lake Mead Nation­al Recre­ation Area.” The third order also autho­rizes the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to “impound any of Bundy’s cat­tle that remain in tres­pass.”

    On Sat­ur­day of last week, the gov­ern­ment hired wran­glers to round up Bundy’s live­stock. As of Wednes­day, they’d impound­ed a total of 352 cat­tle. That’s when a tense stand­off broke out between a group of Bundy’s sup­port­ers and fed­er­al rangers armed with stun guns and police dogs. In one video, a ranger tack­les Bundy’s sis­ter away from a mov­ing vehi­cle (she lat­er admit­ted that she was block­ing the path of gov­ern­ment trucks short­ly before this inci­dent). Anoth­er video shows rangers using a stun gun on a pro­test­er imme­di­ate­ly after he kicks a police dog.

    Bundy, for his part, claims that “our Con­sti­tu­tion didn’t pro­vide for any­thing like the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment own­ing this land.” He’s wrong. The Con­sti­tu­tion pro­vides that “[t]he Con­gress shall have pow­er to dis­pose of and make all need­ful Rules and Reg­u­la­tions respect­ing the Ter­ri­to­ry or oth­er Prop­er­ty belong­ing to the Unit­ed States.”

    Update
    The gov­ern­ment has sus­pend­ed their enforce­ment action because mili­tia activ­i­ty was pos­ing a dan­ger to employ­ees and the pub­lic:

    How­ev­er, today the BLM said it would not enforce a court order to remove the cat­tle and was pulling out of the area.

    “Based on infor­ma­tion about con­di­tions on the ground, and in con­sul­ta­tion with law enforce­ment, we have made a deci­sion to con­clude the cat­tle gath­er because of our seri­ous con­cern about the safe­ty of employ­ees and mem­bers of the pub­lic,” BLM Direc­tor Neil Kornze said.

    Update

    Bundy still isn’t sat­is­fied:

    Ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy demand­ed of sher­iff Doug Gille­spie that all nation­al park ser­vice employ­ees work­ing on the cat­tle roundup oper­a­tion be dis­armed before 10:45 a.m.

    He gave Gille­spie one hour to com­ply, and added for the firearms to be brought to him. The demand comes on the heels of the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment pulling the plug on the roundup due to safe­ty con­cerns.

    What’s next...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 14, 2014, 9:23 am
  10. Look who’s endors­ing the Bundy ranch in its claim that the Fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has no right to reg­u­late the use of pub­lic lands:

    Media Mat­ters
    “Feds Turn From Land­lords To War­lords”: Koch Groups Back Ranch­er Mak­ing Vio­lent Threats Against Fed­er­al Gov­’t
    Blog ››› April 11, 2014 12:57 PM EDT ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Two affil­i­ates of the Koch-fund­ed Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­i­ty are help­ing con­ser­v­a­tive media pro­mote the cause of a Neva­da ranch­er who has made vio­lent threats against the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

    Cliv­en Bundy, a cat­tle ranch­er in Neva­da, has refused to remove his ani­mals from pub­lic prop­er­ty in vio­la­tion of a fed­er­al court order.

    In 1993, Bundy declined to pay gov­ern­ment fees that are required in order to allow his cat­tle to graze on the pub­lic land. In 1998 a court order told Bundy to remove his cat­tle as part of an effort to pro­tect an endan­gered desert tor­toise in the area. >He refused. In July 2013, a fed­er­al court order told Bundy to remove his cat­tle from the land or they would be con­fis­cat­ed. He dis­obeyed the order, and con­fis­ca­tion has begun. The gov­ern­ment will auc­tion the ani­mals and use the pro­ceeds to pay off the $1 mil­lion in fines that Bundy owes the gov­ern­ment.

    Bundy’s ongo­ing refusal to obey the law and court orders has become a cause célèbre for the con­ser­v­a­tive media, which has com­pared the sit­u­a­tion to dead­ly stand­offs like Waco and Ruby Ridge.

    In recent com­ments to a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist’s radio show, Bundy said, “I haven’t called no mili­tia or any­thing like that, but hey it looks like that’s where we’re at.” He added, “We got a strong army here, we have to fight.” Pre­vi­ous­ly Bundy told the Las Vegas Sun that “he keeps firearms at his ranch” and promised to “do what­ev­er it takes” to defend his cat­tle being seized, adding, “I abide by almost zero fed­er­al laws.”

    Ear­li­er this week, pro­test­ers and mem­bers of the Bundy fam­i­ly had a con­fronta­tion with law enforce­ment, where a stun gun was used to sub­due Bundy’s son, who had report­ed­ly climbed on a dump truck when he assumed it con­tained cat­tle that had been killed dur­ing con­fis­ca­tion. Mem­bers of sev­er­al mili­tia groups have made their way to Bundy’s ranch, report­ed­ly “to pro­tect the Bundys from tyran­ny.”

    Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­i­ty (AFP), the con­ser­v­a­tive non-prof­it group, was found­ed by and has been large­ly fund­ed by bil­lion­aires Charles and David Koch. The Cen­ter for Media and Democ­ra­cy report­ed that in its pre­vi­ous incar­na­tion as Cit­i­zens for a Sound Econ­o­my, AFP received $12 mil­lion of its $18 mil­lion in fund­ing from the Koch Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion.

    Dur­ing the 2012 elec­tion, AFP spent $122 mil­lion in an effort to defeat Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and Con­gres­sion­al Democ­rats. AFP has also spon­sored and orga­nized bus ral­lies and town hall meet­ings to pro­mote con­ser­v­a­tive ideas, includ­ing dereg­u­la­tion, tax cuts, and oppo­si­tion to health care reform.

    AFP has been at the fore­front of spend­ing in the 2014 elec­tion, launch­ing sev­er­al ads attack­ing the Afford­able Care Act which have come under fire for inac­cu­ra­cy by inde­pen­dent fact check­ers. As of March, AFP had aired a report­ed 17,000 tele­vi­sion ads.

    Two of its local affil­i­ates, Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­i­ty Neva­da and Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­i­ty Col­orado, have become active boost­ers of Bundy’s actions.

    AFP Nevada’s Face­book page post­ed a graph­ic attack­ing the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment (BLM) for spend­ing “one mil­lion dol­lars” to enforce the court order to round up Bundy’s cat­tle on fed­er­al land. Anoth­er pho­to attacked the Bureau for cre­at­ing a des­ig­nat­ed “First Amend­ment Area” for pro­test­ers to gath­er in near the prop­er­ty.

    ...

    AFP Neva­da also pro­mot­ed as a “must read” a blog post from con­ser­v­a­tive pun­dit Dana Loesch where she described the stand­off as “harass­ment” from the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. The group also accused the BLM of “strate­gi­cal­ly reg­u­lat­ing hard-work­ing Amer­i­cans out of busi­ness.”

    AFP Col­orado has repost­ed sev­er­al of AFP Nevada’s tweets, and has post­ed com­men­tary of its own about the issue. In one tweet, AFP Col­orado has said that the “Fed mil­i­ta­riz­ing of Neva­da stand­off is bound to fuel more sage­brush rebel­lion” and that “Feds turn from land­lords to war­lords when Neva­da ranch­er won’t bend his knee.”

    AFP Col­orado also repost­ed a tweet attack­ing the “First Amend­ment Area” from Paul Joseph Wat­son, a cor­re­spon­dent from con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones’ Infowars.

    Is there still a chance that Joe the Plumber could resume his role as the GOP’s meta-man for this year’s elec­tions? Some­one should look into that because this “we’re all Clive the Ranch­er” meme is get­ting pret­ty scary.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 14, 2014, 12:09 pm
  11. Uh oh, Har­ry Reid is say­ing that the con­fronta­tion at the Bundy ranch ‘is not over’ and Bundy’s response is a call for coun­try Sher­if­f’s across the coun­try to “dis­arm the fed­er­al bureau­crats”:

    TPM Livewire
    Har­ry Reid: Bundy Ranch Stand­off ‘Not Over’

    Cather­ine Thomp­son – April 15, 2014, 7:19 AM EDT

    Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Har­ry Reid (D‑NV) on Mon­day addressed the con­flict between the fed­er­al author­i­ties and anti-gov­ern­ment activists over a Neva­da cat­tle rancher’s self-pro­claimed right to graze his ani­mals, vow­ing the show­down in his home state is “not over.”

    “Well, it’s not over,” Reid told Las Vegas TV sta­tion KRNV. “We can’t have an Amer­i­can peo­ple that vio­late the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

    The Bureau of Land Man­age­ment was round­ing up ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy’s cat­tle after he refused to pay graz­ing fees for more than 20 years, prompt­ing hun­dreds of anti-gov­ern­ment activists — some of them armed — to flock to Bundy’s side and protest the per­ceived over­reach. Author­i­ties end­ed the round-up on Sat­ur­day, cit­ing pub­lic safe­ty con­cerns.

    Appear­ing Mon­day on Fox News’ “Han­ni­ty,” Bundy was asked to respond to Rei­d’s chal­lenge.

    “I don’t have a response for Har­ry Reid, but I have a response for every coun­ty sher­iff across the Unit­ed States,” Bundy told host Sean Han­ni­ty. “Dis­arm the fed­er­al bureau­crats.”

    Bundy’s son Aman had a more barbed response.

    “Well if he doesn’t have enough moral fiber in his bones at all to see what hap­pened, that we the peo­ple got togeth­er and made some­thing right, then I don’t think there’s any hope for him and he needs to be kicked out of office,” he said. “Even if he is a sen­ate major­i­ty leader. It doesn’t mat­ter.”

    Yikes. That call for “coun­ty sher­iffs” to essen­tial­ly declare war on the Fed­er­al gov­ern­ment sure sounds like a Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen’s call to arms which means the threat of this end­ing is vio­lence is by no means gone.

    Ugh. Ok, it’s time to hide the women and chil­dren. For real. Hide the women and chil­dren.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 15, 2014, 11:32 am
  12. Here’s a bit more on the ide­o­log­i­cal roots of the Bundy ranch show­down: Richard Mack, a for­mer Ari­zona coun­ty sher­iff and founder of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs, has been been pro­mot­ing these kinds of issues for decades. And it’s Mack and the “Oath­keep­ers” that have been sup­ply­ing the bulk of mili­tia mem­bers that sud­den­ly swooped in on the Bundy ranch:

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

    Dylan Scott – 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.”

    ...

    Note that Cliv­en Bundy is being com­pared to Gand­hi in the Nation­al Review. Some­how, Richard Mack, who was vol­un­teer­ing his wife and daugh­ter to get gunned down as human shields in the above quote, has­n’t been receiv­ing that same kind of praise.

    Con­tin­u­ing...

    ...
    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.

    ...

    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.

    Pit­cav­age linked Bundy’s beef with BLM over his cat­tle graz­ing on fed­er­al land with the “wise use” move­ment that arose in the 1990s. It was com­prised large­ly of ranch­ers and min­ers who resent­ed fed­er­al agen­cies, includ­ing BLM, that exert­ed their author­i­ty over West­ern land, Pit­cav­age said.

    “Out west, those sen­ti­ments are very much still alive, and Richard Mack is some­one who rec­og­nizes that and cap­i­tal­izes on it,” Pit­cav­age said. “For some time, one of Richard Mack­’s main areas of empha­sis has been pro­mot­ing local gov­ern­ment or just local affairs gen­er­al­ly against the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.”

    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.

    ...

    Here’s anoth­er fun fact about Richard Mack. He co-wrote a book with Randy Weaver about Ruby Ridge. It’s one of many fun facts about Richard Mack and the Oath­keep­ers in this long SPLC piece from the fall of 2009 about the resur­gence of mili­tia move­ment that began imme­di­ate­ly after Barack Oba­ma came to office. 2009 is the same year the Oath­keep­ers got start­ed. It’s a reminder that the 2009 “sum­mer of crazy” nev­er end­ed. It just kept get­ting hot­ter and hot­ter:

    South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter
    Intel­li­gence Report, Fall 2009, Issue Num­ber: 135
    Evi­dence Grows of Far-Right Mili­tia Resur­gence

    By Lar­ry Keller

    In Pen­saco­la, Fla., retired FBI agent Ted Gun­der­son tells a gath­er­ing of antigov­ern­ment “Patri­ots” that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has set up 1,000 intern­ment camps across the coun­try and is stor­ing 30,000 guil­lotines and a half-mil­lion cas­kets in Atlanta. They’re there for the day the gov­ern­ment final­ly declares mar­tial law and moves in to round up or kill Amer­i­can dis­senters, he says. “They’re going to keep track of all of us, folks,” Gun­der­son warns.

    Out­side Atlanta, a so-called “Amer­i­can Grand Jury” issues an “indict­ment” of Barack Oba­ma for fraud and trea­son because, the pan­el con­cludes, he was­n’t born in the Unit­ed States and is ille­gal­ly occu­py­ing the office of pres­i­dent. Oth­er sham “grand juries” around the coun­try fol­low suit.

    And on the site in Lex­ing­ton, Mass., where the open­ing shots of the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War were fired in 1775, mem­bers of Oath Keep­ers, a new­ly formed group of law enforce­ment offi­cers, mil­i­tary men and vet­er­ans, “muster” on April 19 to reaf­firm their pledge to defend the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion. “We’re in per­ilous times … per­haps far more per­ilous than in 1775,” says the man admin­is­ter­ing the oath. April 19 is the anniver­sary not only of the bat­tle of Lex­ing­ton Green, but also of the 1993 con­fla­gra­tion at the Branch David­i­an com­pound in Waco, Texas, and the lethal bomb­ing two years lat­er of the Okla­homa City fed­er­al build­ing — sem­i­nal events in the lore of the extreme right, in par­tic­u­lar the antigov­ern­ment Patri­ot move­ment.

    Almost 10 years after it seemed to dis­ap­pear from Amer­i­can life, there are unmis­tak­able signs of a revival of what in the 1990s was com­mon­ly called the mili­tia move­ment. From Ida­ho to New Jer­sey and Michi­gan to Flori­da, men in kha­ki and cam­ou­flage are back in the woods, gath­er­ing to prac­tice the para­mil­i­tary skills they believe will be need­ed to fend off the social­is­tic troops of the “New World Order.”

    One big dif­fer­ence from the mili­tia move­ment of the 1990s is that the face of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment — the ene­my that almost all parts of the extreme right see as the pri­ma­ry threat to free­dom — is now black. And the fact that the pres­i­dent is an African Amer­i­can has inject­ed a strong racial ele­ment into even those parts of the rad­i­cal right, like the mili­tias, that in the past were not pri­mar­i­ly moti­vat­ed by race hate. Con­tribut­ing to the racial ani­mus have been fears on the far right about the con­se­quences of Lati­no immi­gra­tion.

    Mili­tia rhetoric is being heard wide­ly once more, often from a sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of ide­o­logues, and con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries are being ener­get­i­cal­ly revived or invent­ed anew. “Paper ter­ror­ism” — the use of prop­er­ty liens, bogus legal doc­u­ments and “cit­i­zens’ grand juries” to attack ene­mies and, some­times, reap ille­gal for­tunes — is again pro­lif­er­at­ing, to the point where the gov­ern­ment has set up spe­cial efforts to rein in so-called “tax defiers” and to track threats against judges. What’s more, Patri­ot fears about the gov­ern­ment are being ampli­fied by a loud new group of osten­si­bly main­stream media com­men­ta­tors and politi­cians.

    It’s not 1996 all over again, or 1997 or 1998. Although there has been a remark­able rash of domes­tic ter­ror­ist inci­dents since Oba­ma’s elec­tion in Novem­ber, it has not reached the lev­el of crim­i­nal vio­lence, attempt­ed ter­ror­ist attacks and white-hot lan­guage that marked the mili­tia move­ment at its peak. But mili­tia train­ing events, huge num­bers of which are now view­able on YouTube videos, are spread­ing. One fed­er­al agency esti­mates that 50 new mili­tia train­ing groups have sprung up in less than two years. Sales of guns and ammu­ni­tion have sky­rock­et­ed amid fears of new gun con­trol laws, much as they did in the 1990s.

    The sit­u­a­tion has many author­i­ties wor­ried. Mili­ti­a­men, white suprema­cists, anti-Semi­tes, nativists, tax pro­test­ers and a range of oth­er activists of the rad­i­cal right are cross-pol­li­nat­ing and may even be coa­lesc­ing. In the words of a Feb­ru­ary report from law enforce­ment offi­cials in Mis­souri, a vari­ety of fac­tors have com­bined recent­ly to cre­ate “a lush envi­ron­ment for mili­tia activ­i­ty.”

    “You’re see­ing the bub­bling [of antigov­ern­ment sen­ti­ment] right now,” says Bart McEn­tire, who has infil­trat­ed racist hate groups and now is the super­vi­so­ry spe­cial agent for the U.S. Bureau of Alco­hol, Tobac­co, Firearms and Explo­sives in Roanoke, Va. “You see peo­ple buy­ing into what they’re say­ing. It’s primed to grow. The only thing you don’t have to set it on fire is a Waco or Ruby Ridge.”

    Anoth­er fed­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cial knowl­edge­able about mili­tia groups agrees. He asked not to be iden­ti­fied because he is not autho­rized to speak pub­licly about them. “They’re not at the lev­el we saw in ’94-’95,” he says. “But this is the most sig­nif­i­cant growth we’ve seen in 10 to 12 years. All it’s lack­ing is a spark. I think it’s only a mat­ter of time before you see threats and vio­lence.”

    Shots, Plots and ‘Sov­er­eigns’
    In fact, threats and vio­lence from the rad­i­cal right already are accel­er­at­ing. In recent months, men with antigov­ern­ment, racist, anti-Semit­ic or pro-mili­tia views have alleged­ly com­mit­ted a series of high-pro­file mur­ders — includ­ing the killings of six law enforce­ment offi­cers since April.

    Most of these recent mur­ders and plots seem to have been at least par­tial­ly prompt­ed by Oba­ma’s elec­tion. One man “very upset” with the elec­tion of Amer­i­ca’s first black pres­i­dent was build­ing a radioac­tive “dirty bomb”; anoth­er, a Marine, was plan­ning to assas­si­nate Oba­ma, as were two racist skin­heads in Ten­nessee; still anoth­er angry at the elec­tion and said to be inter­est­ed in join­ing a mili­tia killed two sher­if­f’s deputies in Flori­da. A man in Pitts­burgh who feared Jews and gun con­fis­ca­tions mur­dered three police offi­cers. Near Boston, a white man angered by the alleged “geno­cide” of his race shot to death two African immi­grants and intend­ed to mur­der as many Jews as pos­si­ble. An 88-year-old neo-Nazi killed a guard at the Holo­caust Muse­um in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. And an abor­tion physi­cian in Kansas was mur­dered by a man steeped in the ide­ol­o­gy of the “sov­er­eign cit­i­zens” move­ment.

    So-called sov­er­eign cit­i­zens are peo­ple who sub­scribe to an ide­ol­o­gy, orig­i­nat­ed by the anti-Semit­ic Posse Comi­ta­tus of the 1980s, that claims that whites are a high­er kind of cit­i­zen — sub­ject only to “com­mon law,” not the dic­tates of the gov­ern­ment — while blacks are mere “14th Amend­ment cit­i­zens” who must obey their gov­ern­ment mas­ters. Although not all sov­er­eigns sub­scribe to or even know about the the­o­ry’s racist basis, most con­tend that they do not have to pay tax­es, are not sub­ject to most laws, and are not cit­i­zens of the Unit­ed States.

    Author­i­ties and anec­do­tal evi­dence sug­gest that sov­er­eign cit­i­zens — who, along with tax pro­test­ers and mili­tia mem­bers, form the larg­er Patri­ot move­ment — may make up the most dra­mat­i­cal­ly reen­er­gized sec­tor of the rad­i­cal right. In Feb­ru­ary, the FBI launched a nation­al oper­a­tion tar­get­ing white suprema­cists and “militia/sovereign cit­i­zen extrem­ist groups” after not­ing an upsurge in such orga­ni­za­tions, The Wall Street Jour­nal report­ed. The aim is to gath­er intel­li­gence about “this emerg­ing threat,” accord­ing to an FBI memo cit­ed by the news­pa­per.

    Increas­ing­ly, sov­er­eign cit­i­zens are claim­ing they aren’t sub­ject to income tax­es — so much so that the Depart­ment of Jus­tice last year kicked off a Nation­al Tax Defi­er Ini­tia­tive to deal with the vol­ume of cas­es. At the same time, more and more seem to be engag­ing in “paper ter­ror­ism,” even though more than 30 states passed or strength­ened laws out­law­ing the fil­ing of unjus­ti­fied prop­er­ty liens and sim­u­lat­ing legal process (by set­ting up pseu­do-legal “com­mon law courts” and “cit­i­zens’ grand juries”) in response to sov­er­eign activ­i­ty in the 1990s.

    A Michi­gan man whose com­pa­ny alleged­ly dou­bled as the head­quar­ters of a mili­tia group, for exam­ple, was arrest­ed in May on charges that he placed bogus liens on prop­er­ty owned by cour­t­house offi­cials and police offi­cers to harass them and ruin their cred­it. In March, author­i­ties raid­ed a Las Vegas print­ing firm where meet­ings of the “Sov­er­eign Peo­ple’s Court for the Unit­ed States” were con­duct­ed in a mock court­room. Sem­i­nars alleged­ly were taught there on how to use pho­ny doc­u­ments and oth­er ille­gal means to pay off cred­i­tors. Four peo­ple were arrest­ed on mon­ey-laun­der­ing, tax and weapons charges.

    Due to a spike in “inap­pro­pri­ate com­mu­ni­ca­tions,” includ­ing many from sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, the U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice has opened a clear­ing­house in sub­ur­ban Wash­ing­ton, D.C., for assess­ing risks to court per­son­nel. The inci­dents include tele­phone and writ­ten threats against fed­er­al judges and pros­e­cu­tors, as well as bomb threats and bio­chem­i­cal inci­dents. In fis­cal 2008, there were 1,278 threats and harass­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions — more than dou­ble the num­ber of six years ear­li­er. The num­ber of such inci­dents is on pace to increase again in fis­cal 2009. Sov­er­eign cit­i­zens account for a small per­cent­age of the cas­es, but theirs are more com­plex and gen­er­al­ly require more resources, says Michael Prout, assis­tant direc­tor of judi­cial secu­ri­ty for the mar­shals. “They are resource­ful groups,” he adds.

    Some sov­er­eign cit­i­zen attempts to skirt the law have been far­ci­cal. An Arkansas jury need­ed only sev­en min­utes in April to con­vict Richard Bauer, 70, of rob­bing a bank. Bauer had argued that the gov­ern­ment took his mon­ey sev­er­al times, leav­ing him with almost noth­ing. “I’m a con­sti­tu­tion­al­ist,” he insist­ed, adding that “every sin­gle act was jus­ti­fi­able.” A month ear­li­er, a Penn­syl­va­nia man charged with drunk­en dri­ving told court offi­cials that they lacked juris­dic­tion over him because he was a “sov­er­eign man.” Then he changed his mind and plead­ed guilty. In Neva­da, a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen — per­haps a Dr. Seuss fan —used the pecu­liar punc­tu­a­tion of names that is favored by the move­ment; his name, he declared, was “I am: Sam.”

    But few of the cas­es are that amus­ing. In Feb­ru­ary, a New York man who once declared him­self a “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen” of the “Repub­lic of New York” and said that he enjoyed study­ing “the organ­ic Con­sti­tu­tion and the Bill of Rights” alleged­ly shot and killed four peo­ple. His mur­der case was pend­ing at press time.

    Swear­ing at the Gov­ern­ment
    Oath Keep­ers, the mil­i­tary and police orga­ni­za­tion that was formed ear­li­er this year and held its April muster on Lex­ing­ton Green, may be a par­tic­u­lar­ly wor­ri­some exam­ple of the Patri­ot revival. Mem­bers vow to ful­fill the oaths to the Con­sti­tu­tion that they swore while in the mil­i­tary or law enforce­ment. “Our oath is to the Con­sti­tu­tion, not to the politi­cians, and we will not obey uncon­sti­tu­tion­al (and thus ille­gal) and immoral orders,” the group says. Oath Keep­ers lists 10 orders its mem­bers won’t obey, includ­ing two that ref­er­ence U.S. con­cen­tra­tion camps.

    That same pugna­cious atti­tude was on dis­play after con­ser­v­a­tives attacked an April report from the U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty (DHS) that sug­gest­ed a resur­gence of rad­i­cal right-wing activ­i­ty was under way. “We will not fear our gov­ern­ment; they will fear us,” one man, who appeared to be on active duty in the Army, said in an angry video sent to the Oath Keep­ers blog. In anoth­er video at the site, a man who said he was a for­mer Army para­troop­er in Afghanistan and Iraq described Pres­i­dent Oba­ma as “an ene­my of the state,” adding, “I would rather die than be a slave to my gov­ern­ment.” The Oath Keep­ers site soon began hawk­ing T‑shirts with slo­gans like “I’m a Right Wing Extrem­ist and Damn Proud of It!”

    In April, Oath Keep­ers founder Stew­art Rhodes — a Yale Law School grad­u­ate and for­mer aide to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (a Texas Repub­li­can and hard-line lib­er­tar­i­an) — wor­ried about a com­ing dic­ta­tor­ship. “We know that if the day should come where a full-blown dic­ta­tor­ship would come, or tyran­ny … it can only hap­pen if those men, our broth­ers in arms, go along and com­ply with uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, unlaw­ful orders,” Rhodes told con­spir­a­cy-mind­ed radio host Alex Jones. “Imag­ine if we focus on the police and mil­i­tary. Game over for the New World Order.”

    He’s not the first to think so. In the 1990s, retired Phoenix cop and con­spir­a­cy enthu­si­ast Jack McLamb cre­at­ed an out­fit called Police Against the New World Order and pro­duced a 75-page doc­u­ment enti­tled Oper­a­tion Vam­pire Killer 2000: Amer­i­can Police Action Plan for Stop­ping World Gov­ern­ment Rule.

    It’s not known how large Oath Keep­ers is. But there is some evi­dence beyond the group’s mere exis­tence to sug­gest that today’s Patri­ots are again mak­ing inroads into law enforce­ment — the leak of the DHS report, along with those of a cou­ple of sim­i­lar law enforce­ment reports, was like­ly the work of a sworn offi­cer. Rhodes claims to know a fed­er­al offi­cer leaked the DHS report, and says Oath Keep­ers is “hear­ing from more and more fed­er­al offi­cers all the time.”

    The group does seem to be on the radar of fed­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cers. In May, a mem­ber com­plained on the group’s web­site of a vis­it to his farm by FBI agents who asked him, he said, about train­ing he pro­vides in firearms, sur­vival skills and the like.

    One Oath Keep­er is long­time mili­tia hero Richard Mack, a for­mer sher­iff of a rur­al Ari­zona coun­ty who col­lab­o­rat­ed with white suprema­cist Randy Weaver on a book and who, along with oth­ers, won a U.S. Supreme Court deci­sion that weak­ened the Brady Bill gun con­trol law in the 1990s. “The great­est threat we face today is not ter­ror­ists; it is our fed­er­al gov­ern­ment,” Mack says on his web­site. “One of the best and eas­i­est solu­tions is to depend on local offi­cials, espe­cial­ly the sher­iff, to stand against fed­er­al inter­ven­tion and fed­er­al crim­i­nal­i­ty.” Mack­’s views echo those of the Posse Comi­ta­tus, which believed that sher­iffs are the high­est law enforce­ment author­i­ties in Amer­i­ca. “I pray for the day that a sher­iff in this coun­try will arrest an IRS agent for tres­pass­ing or attempt­ing to vic­tim­ize cit­i­zens in that par­tic­u­lar sher­if­f’s coun­ty,” Mack said in a video he made for Oath Keep­ers.

    ...

    Going Main­stream
    A remark­able aspect of the cur­rent antigov­ern­ment move­ment is the extent to which it has gained sup­port from elect­ed offi­cials and main­stream media out­lets. Law­mak­ers com­plain­ing about the intru­sive­ness of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment have intro­duced 10th Amend­ment res­o­lu­tions (reassert­ing that those pow­ers not grant­ed to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment remain with the states) in about three dozen states. In Texas, Gov. Rick Per­ry raised the prospect of seces­sion sev­er­al months after Oba­ma’s inau­gu­ra­tion — a notion first brought up there in the ’90s by the mili­tia-like Repub­lic of Texas. U.S. Rep. Michele Bach­mann (R‑Minn.) said she feared that the pres­i­dent was plan­ning “reed­u­ca­tion camps for young peo­ple,” while U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R‑Ala.), evok­ing mem­o­ries of the dis­cred­it­ed com­mu­nist-hunter Sen. Joseph McCarthy, warned of 17 “social­ists” in Con­gress. Fox News host Glenn Beck, who has called Oba­ma a fas­cist, a Nazi and a Marx­ist, even re-float­ed mili­tia con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries of the 1990s alleg­ing a secret net­work of gov­ern­ment-run con­cen­tra­tion camps.

    The orig­i­nal move­ment also had its main­stream back­ers, but they were large­ly con­fined to talk radio; today, Beck is just one of the well-known cable TV news per­son­al­i­ties to air fic­ti­tious con­spir­a­cies and oth­er unlike­ly Patri­ot ideas. CNN’s Lou Dobbs has treat­ed the so-called Azt­lan con­spir­a­cy as a bona fide con­cern and ques­tioned the valid­i­ty of Oba­ma’s birth cer­tifi­cate despite his own net­work’s defin­i­tive debunk­ing of that claim. On MSNBC, com­men­ta­tor Pat Buchanan sug­gest­ed recent­ly that white Amer­i­cans are now suf­fer­ing “exact­ly what was done to black folks.” On FOX News, reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor Dick Mor­ris said, “Those cra­zies in Mon­tana who say, ‘We’re going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.‘s going to take over’ — well, they’re begin­ning to have a case.”

    At the same time, play­ers like the Nation­al Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion, which in the 1990s pub­licly attacked fed­er­al law enforce­ment agents as “jack­boot­ed thugs,” are back at it. Two months before the elec­tion last fall, firearms man­u­fac­tur­ers joined forces to pro­mote NRA mem­ber­ship in a nation­al cam­paign omi­nous­ly dubbed “Pre­pare for the Storm in 2008.”

    ...

    If all this seems like an alarm­ing sit­u­a­tion, just be thank­ful the cat­tle isn’t inclined to go sight­see­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 15, 2014, 6:46 pm
  13. With the Bundy Ranch stand­off look­ing like it’s mere­ly gone into remis­sion, the US is like­ly to be ask­ing itself the ques­tion “what would it be like if the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment lost the abil­i­ty to reg­u­late the use of fed­er­al land and it was sud­den­ly returned to states and/or local offi­cials?” for the fore­see­able future. It’s one of the many oli­garch-friend­ly ques­tions con­ve­nient­ly raised by the Bundy ranch’s war on the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment:

    Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor
    Neva­da range war: West­ern states move to take over fed­er­al land

    The fight over Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy’s cows graz­ing ille­gal­ly on fed­er­al land is a sym­bol of a much larg­er issue: con­trol of land in west­ern states, where the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is dom­i­nant.

    By Brad Knicker­bock­er, Staff writer / April 20, 2014

    Like a mus­tang tied to a fence post, many west­ern­ers for years have resist­ed Uncle Sam’s con­trol of land they say more prop­er­ly belongs to states or coun­ties – or to nobody at all except the ranch­ers, min­ers, and log­gers who work the land for its nat­ur­al resources.

    The tus­sle over Cliv­en Bundy’s 400 cows – graz­ing on fed­er­al land, although he refus­es to pay the required fees now amount­ing to more than $1 mil­lion – sharp­ens this debate, which has fea­tured state leg­is­la­tors, coun­ty offi­cials, envi­ron­men­tal­ists, and fed­er­al judges (all of whom have ruled against Mr. Bundy).

    In Salt Lake City Fri­day, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Utah, Ida­ho, New Mex­i­co, Ari­zona, Neva­da, Wyoming, Ore­gon, and Wash­ing­ton met for a “Leg­isla­tive Sum­mit on the Trans­fer of Pub­lic Lands.”

    “Those of us who live in the rur­al areas know how to take care of lands,” Mon­tana state Sen. Jen­nifer Field­er said at a news con­fer­ence. “We have to start man­ag­ing these lands. It’s the right thing to do for our peo­ple, for our envi­ron­ment, for our econ­o­my and for our free­doms.”

    In oth­er words, today’s revival of the “Sage­brush Rebel­lion” is as much about polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy as it is about great stretch­es of the large­ly-arid ter­ri­to­ry west of the 100th merid­i­an split­ting the Dako­tas and run­ning down through Texas.

    There’s a mod­ern tea par­ty polit­i­cal ele­ment to it, but it goes much far­ther back to when many west­ern ter­ri­to­ries achieved state­hood in the 19th cen­tu­ry, work­ing out deals with Wash­ing­ton (as Mor­mon Utah did over what adher­ents at the time called “plur­al mar­riages”).

    The map accom­pa­ny­ing this arti­cle [see map] shows the dif­fer­ence between the West and the rest of the coun­try. Here’s a list show­ing per­cent­ages of fed­er­al land by state, accord­ing to the Con­gres­sion­al Research Ser­vice. It includes the US Bureau of Land Man­age­ment, the US For­est Ser­vice, Nation­al Parks, and mil­i­tary bases: Neva­da 81, Alas­ka 62, Utah 67, Ore­gon 53, Ida­ho 62, Ari­zona 42, Cal­i­for­nia 48, Wyoming 48, New Mex­i­co 35, Col­orado 36.

    State law­mak­ers say they’re bet­ter pre­pared to man­age such lands, both for the envi­ron­ment and for region­al economies.

    “There is a dis­tinct dif­fer­ence in the way fed­er­al agen­cies are man­ag­ing the fed­er­al lands today,” Sen. Field­er said. “They used to do a good job, but they are ham­strung now with con­flict­ing poli­cies, politi­cized sci­ence, and an extreme finan­cial cri­sis at the nation­al lev­el. It makes it impos­si­ble for these fed­er­al agen­cies to man­age the lands respon­si­bly any­more.”

    Utah has led a leg­isla­tive charge to demand relin­quish­ment of title to cer­tain lands that exclude nation­al parks and wilder­ness study areas, reports the Deseret News in Salt Lake City.

    The “Trans­fer of Pub­lic Lands Act,” signed into law by Utah Gov. Gary Her­bert in 2012, set the stage for a for­mal show­down with the gov­ern­ment by demand­ing action under threat of law­suit, the news­pa­per reports. Oth­er states are explor­ing sim­i­lar options.

    ...

    “BLM says it’s com­mit­ted to con­serv­ing species and habi­tats in Cal­i­for­nia deserts – yet it has failed to com­ply with even the most basic require­ments for man­age­ment of desert tor­tois­es and oth­er rare and vul­ner­a­ble wildlife,” Lisa Belenky, a senior attor­ney at the Cen­ter for Bio­log­i­cal Diver­si­ty, said in a state­ment.

    A poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous con­fronta­tion was avert­ed last week when the BLM stopped round­ing up Cliv­en Bundy’s cat­tle, which had been described as “tres­pass­ing” on fed­er­al land. Hun­dreds of Bundy sup­port­ers had gath­ered, many of them armed with assault-style rifles and oth­er weapons.

    ...

    Ah, so we have state offi­cials argu­ing that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment sim­ply isn’t capa­ble of prop­er land man­age­ment due to fac­tors like an extreme finan­cial cri­sis at the nation­al lev­el (what could have caused that?). And the pro­posed solu­tion the is for the west­ern states with mas­sive por­tions of fed­er­al land to sud­den­ly assume that respon­si­bil­i­ty under the premise that they’ll do a bet­ter job. It’s cer­tain­ly pos­si­ble that the states could do a bet­ter job than the feds. Note, for exam­ple, the envi­ron­men­tal­ists that point out how the BLM was­n’t even com­ply­ing with “the most basic require­ments for man­age­ment of desert tor­tois­es and oth­er rare and vul­ner­a­ble wildlife”, so there’s clear­ly quite a bit of room for improve­ment.

    But how will the states pay for this new found respon­si­bil­i­ty? That’s not clear. At all. Although it sounds like it will involve sell­ing more min­er­al rights:

    Deseret News
    West­ern states to feds: Turn over pub­lic lands

    By Amy Joi O’Donoghue, Deseret News

    Pub­lished: Fri­day, April 18 2014 8:25 p.m. MDT

    SALT LAKE CITY — A group of law­mak­ers and pol­i­cy­mak­ers from eight West­ern states joined forces Fri­day in an all-day sum­mit in Salt Lake City to declare “enough is enough” against the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment when it comes to man­age­ment of pub­lic lands.

    “It is time states in the West came of age,” said Ida­ho House Speak­er Scott Bed­ke, R‑Twin Falls. “We are every bit as capa­ble of man­ag­ing the lands with­in our bound­aries as are the states to our east, those states east of Col­orado.”

    ...

    Bed­ke and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Wyoming, New Mex­i­co, Ari­zona, Neva­da, Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon and Utah, are part of a coali­tion of West­ern states where fed­er­al land own­er­ship has been an endur­ing com­plaint they say locks up access to min­er­al resources, strips them of rev­enue and shreds their auton­o­my when it comes to con­trol of their own house.

    “There is a dis­tinct dif­fer­ence in the way fed­er­al agen­cies are man­ag­ing the fed­er­al lands today,” said Mon­tana Sen. Jen­nifer Field­er, a co-orga­niz­er of the sum­mit.

    “They used they to do a good job, but they are ham­strung now with con­flict­ing poli­cies, politi­cized sci­ence and an extreme finan­cial cri­sis at the nation­al lev­el. It makes it impos­si­ble for these fed­er­al agen­cies to man­age the lands respon­si­bly any more.”

    Utah, where 67 per­cent of the land is in fed­er­al land own­er­ship, has led a leg­isla­tive charge to demand relin­quish­ment of title to cer­tain lands that exclude nation­al parks and wilder­ness study areas.

    The Trans­fer of Pub­lic Lands Act, spon­sored by Rep. Ken Ivory, R‑West Jor­dan and signed into law by Utah Gov. Gary Her­bert in 2012, set the stage for a for­mal show­down with the gov­ern­ment by demand­ing action under threat of law­suit.

    Oth­er states are explor­ing sim­i­lar options in a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort to not only sig­nal a show of sol­i­dar­i­ty but craft like-mind solu­tions to the prob­lem, said Utah House Speak­er Becky Lock­hart, R‑Provo.

    “The major­i­ty of these states have more fed­er­al land with­in their bor­ders than land of their own,” she said. “It is about fair­ness.”

    She deflect­ed ques­tions about how much such an effort would ulti­mate­ly cost the states involved, instead point­ing to the cost of inac­tion, on both sides.

    “I would counter with what is it cost­ing the gov­ern­ment to main­tain con­trol and man­age­ment of the fed­er­al lands. What if we don’t act? We believe the states can man­age the lands bet­ter at low­er costs and at greater returns for our tax­pay­ers and our chil­dren.”

    Both she and Ivory added that the move­ment is not “new,” with her say­ing the “great West­ern state of Illi­nois,” once had 90 per­cent of its lands in fed­er­al own­er­ship.

    But the trans­fer of pub­lic lands move­ment by Utah has come under harsh crit­i­cism by envi­ron­men­tal groups that claim it is a reck­less, cost­ly pur­suit that will only cost mil­lions and ulti­mate­ly put land­scapes at risk. Pris­tine land, they argue, will be auc­tioned off to the high­est bid­der with lit­tle regard to envi­ron­men­tal impacts.

    ...

    Sur­prise! While ille­gal ranch­ing has become the face of this lat­est “states rights” fight, it’s min­er­al rights (i.e. oli­garchs’ rights to those min­er­als) that’s on law­mak­ers’ s minds. And with a lot to min­er­als to sell, those rights could prob­a­bly come pret­ty cheap­ly. Hence the inter­est:

    Sier­ra Club calls 3‑state area ‘cli­mate dis­rupter’

    The Asso­ci­at­ed Press April 19, 2014

    SALT LAKE CITY — The Sier­ra Club brand­ed a geo­log­i­cal for­ma­tion that includes por­tions of Utah, Col­orado and Wyoming as one of six “cli­mate dis­rupter” regions in the coun­try due to its poten­tial for major fos­sil fuel devel­op­ment. The char­ac­ter­i­za­tion comes in a report that one oil com­pa­ny called inac­cu­rate.

    The envi­ron­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion, in the report titled “Dirty Fuels, Clean Futures,” says tar sands and shale oil devel­op­ment in the Green Riv­er For­ma­tion would eclipse any progress made by the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion’s strict new fuel effi­cien­cy stan­dards for vehi­cles, the Deseret News report­ed Fri­day (http://bit.ly/1llRS5T ).

    The Sier­ra Club said devel­op­ing just 10 per­cent of the shale oil in the three states would result in 48 bil­lion tons of car­bon diox­ide — eight times more than would be saved by the new fuel stan­dards.

    Group spokesman Tim Wag­n­er called on Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma to aban­don his “all of the above” ener­gy strat­e­gy, under which U.S. oil and gas pro­duc­tion would increase along with attempts to reduce pol­lu­tion. Wag­n­er says the White House instead should pur­sue clean ener­gy to help the coun­try con­tin­ue on its path of decreas­ing car­bon monox­ide emis­sions.

    “We need to ramp this up dra­mat­i­cal­ly, and we can do that,” he told the news­pa­per. “But as long as we have politi­cians, includ­ing this White House, who con­tin­ue to say we need an all-of-the-above ener­gy port­fo­lio, we will nev­er get to where we need to be in terms of this prob­lem.”

    Esto­nia-based Ene­fit issued a state­ment say­ing the report includes inac­cu­ra­cies and mis­char­ac­ter­i­za­tions about the shale oil indus­try. The com­pa­ny has min­er­al rights to a large tract of land in Utah believed to con­tain 2.6 bil­lion bar­rels of recov­er­able shale oil.

    Ene­fit con­tends that car­bon diox­ide emis­sions from shale-oil-derived fuels are overblown and based on broad esti­mates. The com­pa­ny also claims water use in the process was mis­rep­re­sent­ed by the Sier­ra Club.

    “Ene­fit real­izes the Sier­ra Club is opposed to fos­sil fuel devel­op­ment and will nev­er be a fan of oil shale projects like ours,” the com­pa­ny said. “We also real­ize that com­pa­nies and groups on all sides present infor­ma­tion in nuanced ways that speak to sym­pa­thet­ic audi­ences.

    “At the same time, how­ev­er, we believe in com­mu­ni­cat­ing as accu­rate­ly and fair­ly as pos­si­ble and we encour­age the Sier­ra Club to do the same.”

    ...

    Isn’t it neat how a ranch­ing con­flict in Neva­da is lead­ing to a ‘grass-roots’ polit­i­cal move­ment that’s poten­tial­ly going to free up vast min­er­al reserves in Utah, Col­orado, and Wymom­ing. Fun­ny how that worked out.

    But also sounds like Utah’s state reg­u­la­tors will have to have to pol­ish off their con­flict res­o­lu­tion skills once they gain over­sight over all those min­er­al-rich fed­er­al lands because the the envi­ron­men­tal­ists and the min­ing indus­try can’t seem agree on the risks of tar sands and oils shale min­ing. Hmmmm....which inter­est group will state offi­cials side with? The envi­ron­men­tal­ists or the Koch broth­ers and ALEC?

    It’s this broad­er top­ic of “states rights to sell min­er­al rights” high­light the fact that the ques­tion “should the states take over fed­er­al land reg­u­la­tions?” begs a par­al­lel ques­tion “since the states that are try­ing to change these laws obvi­ous­ly want to dra­mat­i­cal­ly increase the min­ing tak­ing place there, what will hap­pen when the Koch broth­ers and their affil­i­ates sud­den­ly become my next door neigh­bors?”

    Should we expect there be more “oop­sies”, like the recent dump­ing of nau­sea-induc­ing chem­i­cals into the West Vir­gin­ian water sup­ply on all those new­ly lib­er­at­ed lands? The facil­i­ty that leaked the chem­i­cal, which was locat­ed right next to the local water sup­ply source, was the dis­trib­u­tor of Koch-owned Geor­gia Paci­fic’s Talon™ Min­ing Reagents for dis­trib­ut­ing used chem­i­cals to break down coal ash. The facil­i­ties were also decrepit. And nobody’s quite sure of who owns what.

    Does that sound appe­tiz­ing? Because a lot more fun times like West Vir­gini­a’s “Free­dom Indus­tries” expe­ri­ence might be com­ing to the West­ern US?

    Bloomberg
    Who Runs Free­dom Indus­tries? West Vir­gini­a’s Chem­i­cal Spill Mys­tery
    By Paul M. Bar­rett Jan­u­ary 30, 2014

    Before the law­suits and the retreat into fed­er­al bank­rupt­cy court, before the change in own­er­ship in a veiled roll-up by an out-of-state coal baron, before the Jus­tice Department’s envi­ron­men­tal-crimes inves­ti­ga­tion, the pres­i­den­tial­ly declared emer­gency, and the Nation­al Guard’s arrival—nine years before all of that—the co-founder of Free­dom Indus­tries, the com­pa­ny at the cen­ter of the Jan. 9 chem­i­cal spill that cut off tap water for 300,000 West Vir­gini­ans, was con­vict­ed of siphon­ing pay­roll tax with­hold­ings to splurge on sports cars, a pri­vate plane, and real estate in the Bahamas. And 18 years before that, in 1987, before he start­ed Free­dom Indus­tries, Carl Kennedy II was con­vict­ed of con­spir­ing to sell cocaine in a scan­dal that brought down the may­or of Charleston.

    Lit­tle known, even local­ly, Free­dom was born and oper­at­ed in a felo­nious milieu pop­u­lat­ed by old friends who seemed bet­ter suit­ed to bar­tend­ing at the Charleston-area saloons they also owned. “These peo­ple who were run­ning Free­dom Indus­tries weren’t the sort you’d put in charge of some­thing like chem­i­cal stor­age that could affect the whole com­mu­ni­ty,” Dan­ny Jones, Charleston’s cur­rent may­or, says. “Who are these guys, any­way?

    Good ques­tion. Kennedy kept the books for bars and restau­rants, includ­ing a rib house May­or Jones used to own, although he hadn’t got­ten to know him well. “He was pleas­ant enough,” Jones says. Until the spill, the may­or had no idea his for­mer accoun­tant had been enmeshed with Free­dom. That real­ly seems trou­bling, Jones says, “espe­cial­ly with the cocaine stuff in his his­to­ry.”

    Kennedy’s main part­ner was a col­lege bud­dy named Den­nis Far­rell, who had some tech­ni­cal back­ground and took over Free­dom after Kennedy went to prison in 2006. By Farrell’s own account, the com­pa­ny, found­ed in 1992, near­ly ran aground on his watch. Only a res­cue in 2009 fund­ed by the fed­er­al anti­re­ces­sion stim­u­lus pro­gram kept the com­pa­ny going.

    The third mem­ber of the company’s lead­er­ship tri­ad, Gary South­ern, has served as Freedom’s pub­lic face since the spill. He lives in Mar­co Island, Fla., and says he’d been advis­ing the com­pa­ny for sev­er­al years before becom­ing full-time pres­i­dent in 2013. Not blessed with a tal­ent for pub­lic expres­sion, South­ern didn’t men­tion in the first days after the leak of 10,000 gal­lons of coal-pro­cess­ing com­pounds that Free­dom had been acquired, only 10 days ear­li­er, by Cliff For­rest.

    A dif­fer­ent sort of char­ac­ter from Kennedy, Far­rell, and South­ern, For­rest found­ed and heads Rose­bud Min­ing, the third-largest coal pro­duc­er in Penn­syl­va­nia and the 21st-largest in the coun­try. He’s a promi­nent fig­ure in his indus­try and an oppo­nent of what he calls the Oba­ma administration’s “war on coal.” Why he want­ed Freedom’s decrepit facil­i­ties for blend­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing chem­i­cals remains a mys­tery. Pub­licly, For­rest hasn’t said a word. His con­nec­tion to Free­dom wasn’t con­firmed until Jan. 17, when his lawyers put the com­pa­ny into bank­rupt­cy. The Chap­ter 11 fil­ing in Charleston required dis­clo­sure of a finan­cial paper trail that led to Forrest’s coal com­pa­ny head­quar­ters near Pitts­burgh via anoth­er enti­ty called Chem­stream Hold­ings.

    So while the spill revealed once again that porous leg­is­la­tion and murky assump­tions about indus­try self-polic­ing hin­der over­sight of dan­ger­ous chem­i­cals, it also high­light­ed a pecu­liar and deeply trou­bling ele­ment of Amer­i­can com­merce, one where hold­ing com­pa­nies and roll-ups make it dif­fi­cult to deter­mine who’s account­able.

    ...

    Much of Freedom’s com­merce comes from dis­trib­ut­ing prod­ucts made by larg­er com­pa­nies, includ­ing a chem­i­cals unit of Geor­gia-Pacif­ic owned by bil­lion­aire broth­ers Charles and David Koch. In May 2008, Geor­gia-Pacif­ic Chem­i­cals announced that Free­dom would serve as a dis­trib­u­tor of its Talon min­ing reagents—compounds that reduce ash con­tent and pre­vent the loss of com­bustible coal—in eight states: West Vir­ginia, Vir­ginia, Penn­syl­va­nia, Ohio, Mary­land, Min­neso­ta, Ken­tucky, and Michi­gan. (Four years lat­er, Geor­gia-Pacif­ic end­ed Freedom’s dis­tri­b­u­tion role, the man­u­fac­tur­er said in a writ­ten state­ment. Geor­gia-Pacif­ic didn’t explain the change and said the West Vir­ginia com­pa­ny is “still a cus­tomer of ours.”)

    In 2009, Far­rell told the Charleston Dai­ly Mail, Free­dom faced hav­ing to shut down its main Elk Riv­er loca­tion because silt buildup made it dif­fi­cult for barges to trav­el from the ter­mi­nal to the con­flu­ence with the Kanawha Riv­er. “At some point, we wouldn’t have been eco­nom­i­cal­ly fit to run the facil­i­ty,” Far­rell said. “That’s our claim to fame—the barges.” The U.S. Army Corps of Engi­neers came to the res­cue. With $400,000 in fed­er­al stim­u­lus mon­ey, the Army Corps dredged the Elk Riv­er and kept the Free­dom plant viable.
    a
    Free­dom and a con­stel­la­tion of affil­i­at­ed com­pa­nies were dis­solved and refor­mu­lat­ed sev­er­al times in the 2000s, state records show. The pur­pose of this paper shuf­fling wasn’t dis­closed. Freedom’s oper­a­tions along the Elk Riv­er did not receive much gov­ern­ment over­sight, accord­ing to records and local offi­cials. The U.S. Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency leaves reg­u­la­tion of such chem­i­cal facil­i­ties pri­mar­i­ly to the states. West Vir­ginia doesn’t view that del­e­ga­tion of author­i­ty as rea­son to reg­u­late aggres­sive­ly, how­ev­er. To the con­trary, the state prides itself on being indus­try-friend­ly, and Gov­er­nor Earl Ray Tomblin, a Demo­c­rat, rou­tine­ly cas­ti­gates what he calls fed­er­al over­reach­ing. West Vir­ginia doesn’t require inspec­tion of stor­age tanks con­tain­ing poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous coal-pro­cess­ing chem­i­cals, accord­ing to Lar­ry Zus­pan, who runs the local emer­gency plan­ning com­mit­tee in Charleston. What made the Free­dom tank farm on the city’s out­skirts unusu­al, even for West Vir­ginia, is that the region­al util­i­ty oper­ates the sole intake for the area’s pub­lic water sys­tem only a mile and a half down­riv­er.

    Also sur­pris­ing­ly close to the Free­dom site is a clus­ter of work­ing-class homes. From time to time over the years, May­or Jones says, peo­ple have com­plained to state author­i­ties about unpleas­ant odors waft­ing from the facil­i­ty. State inspec­tors have looked around but nev­er report­ed any­thing amiss, accord­ing to avail­able records. In par­tic­u­lar, they didn’t notice that a con­crete con­tain­ment wall meant to pre­vent any tank leak­age from reach­ing the riv­er was vis­i­bly cracked, Jones says. Only after the Jan. 9 spill did Free­dom dis­close that some­time in 2013 it had set aside $1 mil­lion to fix the wall and make oth­er improve­ments; for rea­sons that haven’t been clar­i­fied, the repairs hadn’t start­ed. On Jan. 25, Gov­er­nor Tomblin’s office announced that the state had ordered Free­dom to shut down and dis­man­tle the entire tank farm because all 17 tanks lack ade­quate con­tain­ment walls to pre­vent leaks from spread­ing.

    ...

    Sto­ries like this are also a reminder that extreme anti-gov­ern­ment move­ments root­ed in the sov­er­eign citizens/Posse Comi­ta­tus phi­los­o­phy aren’t just anti-gov­ern­ment. They’re poten­tial­ly very pro-oli­garch.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 20, 2014, 8:00 pm
  14. Cliv­en Bundy on ‘the Negro’, in his own words:

    TPM Livewire
    Cliv­en Bundy Won­ders If Blacks Are ‘Bet­ter Off As Slaves’ Than On Gov­’t Assis­tance

    Cather­ine Thomp­son – April 24, 2014, 6:49 AM EDT

    Now that he’s won a con­fronta­tion with the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment over graz­ing his cat­tle on fed­er­al land, Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy has time to hold court on every­thing from abor­tion to the cur­rent state of “the Negro.”

    Bundy made some racial­ly charged com­ments about gov­ern­ment assis­tance in his dai­ly news con­fer­ence Sat­ur­day, accord­ing to a New York Times sto­ry pub­lished Wednes­day.

    “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” the ranch­er began as he described a “gov­ern­ment house” in Las Vegas where he recalled that all the peo­ple who sat out­side seemed to “have noth­ing to do.”

    “And because they were basi­cal­ly on gov­ern­ment sub­sidy, so now what do they do?” he said, as quot­ed by the Times. “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? They didn’t get no more free­dom. They got less free­dom.”

    The Times reached out to spokes­peo­ple for Sens. Rand Paul (R‑KY) and Dean Heller (R‑NV), who have spo­ken in sup­port of Bundy, and for Texas Attor­ney Gen. Greg Abbott ®. Those who respond­ed dis­tanced them­selves from Bundy and his remarks.

    A spokesman for Heller, who had called Bundy and his sup­port­ers “patri­ots,” told the Times that the sen­a­tor “com­plete­ly dis­agrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist state­ments, and con­demns them in the most stren­u­ous way.”

    A spokes­woman for Abbott, who asked BLM to respond to reports that it planned to acquire land near his state’s Red Riv­er in the wake of the Bundy ranch stand­off, told the Times that the guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date’s let­ter to the agency “was regard­ing a dis­pute in Texas and is in no way relat­ed to the dis­pute in Neva­da.”

    A spokesman for Paul told the Times that the sen­a­tor was­n’t imme­di­ate­ly avail­able for com­ment on Bundy’s remarks. In a state­ment lat­er pro­vid­ed to Busi­ness Insid­er, Paul denounced the com­ments.

    “His remarks on race are offen­sive and I whole­heart­ed­ly dis­agree with him,” Paul said through a spokesman.

    In the after­math of Bundy’s stand­off with fed­er­al author­i­ties, con­ser­v­a­tives were quick to cham­pi­on the rancher’s cause, going as far as to com­pare him to civ­il rights icons. Richard Mack, a right-wing for­mer sher­iff who helped orga­nize the mili­tia that gath­ered at Bundy’s ranch, said the ranch­er and his sup­port­ers were like “Rosa Parks refus­ing to go to the back of the bus.” Nation­al Review cor­re­spon­dent Kevin D. Williamson wrote that the Bundy’s strug­gles with the law par­al­leled those of Mahat­ma Gand­hi.

    Get ready for more bold stand­offs for free­dom. Courage is con­ta­gious.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 24, 2014, 7:53 am
  15. It looks like we have a clar­i­fi­ca­tion from Cliv­en Bundy regard­ing his recent com­ments on ‘the Negro’:

    TPM Livewire
    Bundy Tries To Clar­i­fy His Slav­ery Remarks: ‘I’m Not Racist’
    Updat­ed 1:25 PM EDT, Thu Apr 24 2014
    Dylan Scott – April 24, 2014, 12:55 PM EDT

    Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy made the rounds on con­ser­v­a­tive radio shows Thurs­day, try­ing to explain his mus­ings about whether blacks had been “bet­ter off as slaves.”

    In an inter­view with con­spir­a­cy extra­or­di­naire Alex Jones, Bundy said he would appre­ci­ate it if The New York Times retract­ed their sto­ry.

    “I would appre­ci­ate that. I think they should do that,” Bundy said. “They’re mak­ing it a racist-type thing. I’m not racist.”

    Bundy also went on The Peter Schiff Show to explain his remarks, as Medi­aite report­ed. Not­ing that the word on the Inter­net was that Cliv­en Bundy is a racist, the host asked if Bundy want­ed to clar­i­fy his remarks. Here’s what Bundy said:

    I’m won­der­ing if they’re bet­ter off under a gov­ern­ment sub­sidy and their young women are hav­ing the abor­tions and their young men are in jail and their old­er women and chil­dren are sit­ting out on the cement porch with­out noth­ing to do.

    I’m won­der­ing: Are they hap­pi­er now under this gov­ern­ment sub­sidy sys­tem than they were when they were when they were slaves and they was able to their fam­i­ly struc­ture togeth­er and the chick­ens and the gar­den and the peo­ple have some­thing to do?

    So in my mind, are they bet­ter off being slaves in that sense or bet­ter off being slaves to the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment in the sense of the sub­sidy? I’m won­der­ing. The state­ment was right. I am won­der­ing.

    ...

    Ah, there we go. He meant every word of it but they were mere­ly words of won­der. Good thing that’s all cleared up.

    We now return to your reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled pro­gram­ming...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 24, 2014, 9:57 am
  16. Giv­en how dis­ap­point­ed Cliv­en Bundy was over the lack of minor­i­ty sup­port­ers at the the Bundy ranch (for mys­te­ri­ous rea­sons), this has got to hurt:

    TPM Livewire
    Han­ni­ty Dis­gust­ed With Bundy: Race Com­ments ‘Beyond Repug­nant’

    Dylan Scott – April 24, 2014, 3:29 PM EDT

    Con­ser­v­a­tive media titan Sean Han­ni­ty, for­mer­ly one of Neva­da ranch­er Clive Bundy’s strongest advo­cates, expressed his vehe­ment dis­gust Thurs­day with the lat­ter’s remarks on slav­ery.

    Bundy’s com­ments “are beyond repug­nant to me. They are beyond despi­ca­ble to me. They are beyond igno­rant to me,” Han­ni­ty said dur­ing his radio show.

    He then turned his anger toward Democ­rats who would use Bundy’s com­ments to attack con­ser­v­a­tives.

    “They want to say that con­ser­v­a­tives are racist. Con­ser­v­a­tives hate women,” Han­ni­ty said. “Con­ser­v­a­tives want old peo­ple to die, granny over the cliff. They want the young peo­ple to fend for them­selves. They want to poi­son the air and poi­son the water.”

    “Peo­ple that for the right rea­sons saw this case as gov­ern­ment over­reach now are brand­ed because of the igno­rant, racist, repug­nant, despi­ca­ble com­ments of Cliv­en Bundy,” he said.

    ...

    The times they are a‑changin’! And yet, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 24, 2014, 8:08 pm
  17. Rejoice Koch heads and fans of sub­sis­tence grave rob­bing, the cav­al­ry has arrived:

    Think Progress
    Saturday’s Ille­gal Cliv­en Bundy-Endorsed ATV Ral­ly Runs Through Sacred Amer­i­can Indi­an Sites

    By Matt Lee-Ash­ley May 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm Updat­ed: May 10, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    An ille­gal all-ter­rain vehi­cle (ATV) ride planned this week­end through Recap­ture Canyon in Utah is the lat­est flash­point between anti-gov­ern­ment activists and fed­er­al land man­agers. The ille­gal ride is already draw­ing crit­i­cism from the Nava­jo Nation, putting Amer­i­can Indi­an bur­ial sites and cul­tur­al resources at risk, and has even forced the can­cel­la­tion of a tra­di­tion­al Nava­jo War­rior wel­come home cer­e­mo­ny for vet­er­ans.

    Yet San Juan Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er Phil Lyman (R‑UT) and his sup­port­ers appear deter­mined to defy fed­er­al law by rid­ing their ATVs through Recap­ture Canyon, an area of south­east Utah known as a “mini-Mesa Verde” because it con­tains one of the high­est den­si­ties of archae­o­log­i­cal sites in the coun­try.

    Cliv­en Bundy, the Neva­da ranch­er who has refused to pay more than $1 mil­lion in graz­ing fees he owes U.S. tax­pay­ers, has report­ed­ly urged his sup­port­ers -– who include armed mili­tia mem­bers –- to join Lyman in Utah this week­end.

    “We need to help the peo­ple of Bland­ing re-estab­lish who is in con­trol of the land,” said Bundy and his wife, Car­ol, in an email that was report­ed by E&E News. “This is your next stand. Will you be there to help them like you helped us?”

    Utah Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­er Phil Lyman shares Cliv­en Bundy’s anti-gov­ern­ment views. In his show­down with fed­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cials last month, Bundy made clear he does not rec­og­nize the author­i­ty of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. “I abide by all of Neva­da state laws,” said Bundy, “But I don’t rec­og­nize the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment as even exist­ing.”

    Like the Bundy con­fronta­tion in Neva­da, the ille­gal ATV ride through Recap­ture Canyon is intend­ed to chal­lenge fed­er­al author­i­ty over pub­lic lands. Lyman, reports the Salt Lake Tri­bune, “says the planned ride aims to assert coun­ty juris­dic­tion in the face of fed­er­al ‘over­reach.’”

    The anti-gov­ern­ment views of Cliv­en Bundy and Phil Lyman are also shared by a grow­ing fringe of elect­ed offi­cials who want to sell-off or seize America’s pub­lic lands.

    Accord­ing to a new analy­sis from the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress Action Fund, a net­work of right-wing elect­ed offi­cials, orga­ni­za­tions, and promi­nent com­men­ta­tors share Mr. Bundy’s anti-gov­ern­ment views and are advanc­ing pro­pos­als to seize or sell-off fed­er­al pub­lic lands in eight West­ern states.

    This net­work of so-called ‘Bundy’s Bud­dies’ includes the Koch-fund­ed orga­ni­za­tion Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­i­ty, U.S. Sen­a­tor and pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Rand Paul (R‑KY), Utah Con­gress­man Rob Bish­op (R‑UT), and Utah State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ken Ivory. Ivory leads the Amer­i­can Lands Coun­cil — a group ded­i­cat­ed to advo­cat­ing for the seizure of fed­er­al lands.

    A new web­site from the Cen­ter for West­ern Pri­or­i­ties, BundysBuddies.org, iden­ti­fies addi­tion­al elect­ed offi­cials who share the anti-gov­ern­ment views of Bundy and Lyman.

    Most West­ern­ers reject the anti-gov­ern­ment land seizure agen­da of the so-called “Bundy’s Bud­dies.”

    Lyman and the oth­er “Bundy’s Bud­dies” who are work­ing to sell-off or seize America’s pub­lic lands are far out­side the main­stream of views in the Amer­i­can West.

    Pub­lic opin­ion research com­mis­sioned by Col­orado Col­lege in Feb­ru­ary, 2014, found that near­ly three in four West­ern­ers –- and 63 per­cent of vot­ers in Utah — are less like­ly to vote for a can­di­date who wants to sell pub­lic lands to reduce the deficit. And more than nine out of ten West­ern vot­ers view their nation­al forests, mon­u­ments, wildlife areas, and pub­lic lands as inte­gral to their state’s econ­o­my.

    ...

    Yes, the ATV cav­al­ry is com­ing to the ancient bur­ial grounds of Utah, but if Gun Own­ers of Amer­i­ca direc­tor Lar­ry Pratt (and Bundy boost­er) gets his way, they may not be there for long. There are oth­er bat­tles to wage. Every­where:

    Raw Sto­ry
    Gun lob­by­ist hope­ful that Bundy mili­tia will block feds if they try to do any­thing, any­where
    By Eric W. Dolan
    Tues­day, May 13, 2014 10:54 EDT

    The same mili­tias that pre­vent­ed the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment from round­ing up cat­tle at Cliv­en Bundy’s ranch in Neva­da could take action against fed­er­al agents all across the West­ern Unit­ed States, accord­ing to the head of a gun advo­ca­cy group.

    Gun Own­ers of Amer­i­ca direc­tor Lar­ry Pratt made the com­ments over the week­end while inter­view­ing for­mer Sher­iff Richard Mack, the founder of the posse group called the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sher­iffs and Peace Offi­cers Asso­ci­a­tion.

    ...

    “Hope­ful­ly, they are not going to be able to recov­er from this, because if there is any­thing at all sim­i­lar, be it cows or a mine or cut­ting trees or any­thing of that sort where, typ­i­cal­ly in the West, those are the kind of sit­u­a­tions where the feds think they got it all,” he said. “It is time that, hope­ful­ly Bundy is going to be the encour­age­ment — or maybe from the feds view the match in the gaso­line — that redi­rects the way the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has been han­dling its unau­tho­rized, uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, very poor stew­ard­ship of so much of the West.”

    Pratt and Mack also pro­posed a solu­tion to the drought in Cal­i­for­nia. Sher­iffs should force util­i­ties to divert water to farm­ers in arid regions in the state, they said.

    “You men­tioned min­ing and log­ging,” Mack remarked. “The oth­er one was actu­al farm­ing, where the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has turned off the water to the San Joaquin Val­ley in Cal­i­for­nia, where we get 50 per­cent of our fruits, veg­eta­bles, and nuts for this entire coun­try.”

    “You know, we need a sher­iff there that is just going to walk into the water facil­i­ty and turn it back on,” Pratt replied.

    But Mack said one sher­iff wasn’t enough. He sug­gest­ed 25 sher­iffs were need­ed.

    “Take 25 Cal­i­for­nia sher­iffs, walk up to that facil­i­ty, and say, ‘Guess what boys, we got a court order. Turn on the water, and if you don’t, we will,’” Mack explained. “That is exact­ly what it is going to take.”

    Yes, why send only one sher­iff to the San Joaquin water facil­i­ty when, obvi­ous­ly, there might be a vio­lent stand­off? 25 armed sher­iffs will clear­ly be need­ed.

    Of course, if the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has already released the water before the posse arrives they might have to pick anoth­er fight (there’s a grow­ing wish­list so that should­n’t be an issue).

    Or the ATV posse can just hang out in San Joaquin and wait for the water cri­sis to grow even worse lead­ing to even more oppor­tu­ni­ties to send in the sher­iffs. It should­n’t take too long:

    San Jose Mer­cury News
    Cal­i­for­nia Drought: San Joaquin Val­ley sink­ing as farm­ers race to tap aquifer

    By Lisa M. Krieger

    lkrieger@mercurynews.com
    Post­ed: 03/29/2014 01:28:19 PM PDT43 Com­ments | Updat­ed: about a month ago

    PIXLEY – So wet was the San Joaquin Val­ley of Steve Arthur’s child­hood that a sin­gle 240-foot-deep well could quench the thirst of an arid farm.

    Now his mas­sive rig, buck­ing and belch­ing, must drill 1,200 feet deep in search of ever-more-elu­sive water to sus­tain this wheat farm north of Bak­ers­field. As he drills, his phone rings with three new appeals for help.

    “Every­body is start­ing to pan­ic,” said Arthur, whose Fres­no-based well-drilling com­pa­ny just bought its ninth rig, off the Wyoming oil fields. “With­out water, this val­ley can’t sur­vive.”

    When water does­n’t fall from the sky or flow from reser­voirs, there’s only one place to find it: under­ground. So, three years into a dev­as­tat­ing drought, thirsty Cal­i­for­ni­ans are drain­ing the pre­cious aquifer beneath the nation’s most pro­duc­tive farm­land like nev­er before, pit­ting neigh­bor against neigh­bor in a per­verse race to the bot­tom.

    The rush to drill is dri­ven not just by his­tor­i­cal­ly dry con­di­tions, but by a host of oth­er fac­tors that pro­mote short-term con­sump­tion over long-term sur­vival — new, more mois­ture-demand­ing crops; improved drilling tech­nolo­gies; and a surge of cor­po­rate investors seek­ing prof­its for agri­cul­tur­al ven­tures.

    Now those forces are renew­ing an age-old prob­lem of envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion: Decades ago, over­pump­ing sunk half of the entire San Joaquin Val­ley, in one area as much as 28 feet. Today new areas are sub­sid­ing, some almost a foot each year, dam­ag­ing bridges and vital canals.

    Yet in Cal­i­for­nia, one of the few states that does­n’t reg­u­late how much water can be pumped from under­ground, even this has­n’t been enough to cre­ate a con­sen­sus to stop.

    “It’s our sav­ings account, and we’re drain­ing it,” said Phil Isen­berg of the Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Insti­tute of Cal­i­for­nia, a for­mer Sacra­men­to may­or and assem­bly­man. “At some point, there will be none left.”

    ‘Hit­ting bot­tom’ before long?

    The trends are alarm­ing, the pol­i­tics com­plex, but the sci­ence is rather sim­ple: The Cen­tral Val­ley — from Red­ding to Bak­ers­field — is con­sum­ing twice as much ground­wa­ter as nature is return­ing through rain and snow.

    The rate of water loss over the past two years is the largest since the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia start­ed using NASA satel­lites to mea­sure under­ground water reserves in 2003. The Cen­tral Val­ley’s reserves are shrink­ing by 800 bil­lion gal­lons a year — enough to sup­ply every res­i­dent of Cal­i­for­nia with water for sev­en months, accord­ing to Jay Famigli­et­ti, direc­tor of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Cen­ter for Hydro­log­ic Mod­el­ing.

    “We may only be a few decades away from hit­ting bot­tom,” said Famigli­et­ti, con­sid­ered one of the lead­ing experts on state water pol­i­cy.

    How­ev­er, lit­tle is being done to con­trol it. States such as Kansas and even Texas pre­vent unlim­it­ed pump­ing of ground­wa­ter. But Cal­i­for­nia has failed to reg­u­late how much ground­wa­ter is pumped, leav­ing it up to the courts to set­tle dis­putes over exces­sive use, accord­ing to Bar­ton H. “Buzz” Thomp­son Jr., pro­fes­sor of nat­ur­al resources law at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty.

    Over­pump­ing not only low­ers the water table and col­laps­es land at the sur­face, but it also low­ers water qual­i­ty and requires more pow­er to pump. Riv­er flows are low­er, and shal­low wells are exhaust­ed.

    Farm­ers have long relied on the gov­ern­men­t’s engi­neer­ing mar­vel of aque­ducts to bring sur­face water from giant reser­voirs in the north to the south. How­ev­er, the fed­er­al­ly run Cen­tral Val­ley Project allot­ted farm­ers only 20 per­cent of their share last year — and none this year. Offi­cials who man­age the State Water Project, Cal­i­for­ni­a’s oth­er major water sys­tem, have also said that they will not be releas­ing any water for farm­ers, a first in the sys­tem’s 54-year his­to­ry.

    So with the drought cut­ting off their deliv­er­ies, farm­ers say they must rely on the only source left. Those who can afford the $200,000 to $600,000 price tag are dig­ging deep­er and deep­er to tap into a once-unreach­able aquifer. Many are tak­ing out loans, bet­ting on crop yields to break even.
    ...

    Changes on the hori­zon?

    Reg­u­la­tions are anath­e­ma to most of Cal­i­for­ni­a’s farm­ers and devel­op­ers, who con­sid­er well-drilling a pri­vate prop­er­ty right — and blame envi­ron­men­tal laws such as the pro­tec­tion of endan­gered fish and the gov­ern­men­t’s unre­li­able water ship­ments for their des­per­ate sit­u­a­tion. To reduce ground­wa­ter use, they say, more dams are need­ed to store water to help them get through dry years.

    How­ev­er, change is creep­ing over the polit­i­cal hori­zon. An increas­ing num­ber of farm­ers con­cede that local, region­al or state pres­sure might be the only way to pre­serve ground­wa­ter. This sum­mer, the state will issue a draft plan to man­age ground­wa­ter. Because it sup­ports local man­age­ment with state over­sight, experts say it may suc­ceed where pre­vi­ous plans have failed.

    Pos­si­ble ground­wa­ter man­age­ment tools could include mon­i­tor­ing, report­ing and set­ting a price on water with­drawals, and even restric­tions on pump­ing.

    ...

    This year’s drought won’t be the last one, or even the worst, sci­en­tists say. Cli­mate change is expect­ed to fur­ther stress the state’s nat­u­ral­ly dry envi­ron­ment. Snowmelt runoff will decrease. Reser­voir lev­els will fall as heat evap­o­rates more water. Heat-stressed crops and pop­u­la­tion growth will build even more demand.

    Dur­ing future droughts, experts fear, ground­wa­ter may not be there to patch us through.

    In the Pix­ley wheat field, Arthur’s new­ly deep­ened $200,000 well is spurt­ing gal­lons of fresh water — a sign that there will be a har­vest this year. But how long before a deep­er well is need­ed?

    “The one thing I can’t deter­mine is how much water it is going to pro­duce,” Arthur said.

    “We were a desert before. We could be a desert again.”

    Uh oh! Now that the ground is sink­ing, even Cal­i­for­ni­a’s farm­ers are talk­ing about reg­u­lat­ing their use of a shared resource. And it sounds like it’ll be a blend of local man­age­ment with state over­sight, so the war on the Feds won’t real­ly apply. How are ‘Bundy’s Bud­dies’ going to respond to that? Declare vic­to­ry and ride on to green­er pas­tures? Or will the bat­tle sim­ply morph one of those ‘Kochs vs the locals’ fight? It’s hard to say. Civic autoim­mu­ni­ty dis­or­ders can take many forms.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 14, 2014, 9:32 am
  18. Will the ATV Free­dom Brigade make it to the big “over­throw the gov­ern­ment” ral­ly in DC? The roads should still be clear so we’ll just have to wait and see if the gov­ern­ment sur­ren­ders some time soon...

    The Wire
    May 15, 2014 8:45AM ET / Pol­i­tics
    How to Man­age Expec­ta­tions for Your Ral­ly to Over­throw the Amer­i­can Gov­ern­ment
    Abby Ohlheis­er

    Retired Army Col. Har­ry Riley expects that some­where between 10 mil­lion and 30 mil­lion peo­ple will help him shut down Wash­ing­ton on Fri­day for Oper­a­tion Amer­i­can Spring. Oper­a­tion Amer­i­can Spring, in case you did­n’t get your invi­ta­tion, is a mili­tia-heavy protest explic­it­ly aim­ing to force Barack Oba­ma, Joe Biden, Har­ry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehn­er, Nan­cy Pelosi, and Eric Hold­er from office. This is not going to hap­pen. 30 mil­lion peo­ple will not show up for Riley’s protest. And the protest will not over­throw the gov­ern­ment.

    So, for the ben­e­fit of the future of the Over­throw Oba­ma protest move­ment, here is a guide to man­ag­ing expec­ta­tions and mak­ing your attempt­ed coup the best ver­sion of itself.

    Learn from the Exam­ples of Oth­ers

    Had Riley based his esti­mate on any­thing oth­er than, we pre­sume, the num­bers he’d like to see in the papers, he’d know that promis­es to send We the Peo­ple to the door of Amer­i­can pow­er rarely meet lofty turnout esti­mates. Last Octo­ber, “10,000” truck­ers were report­ed­ly on their way to lit­er­al­ly clog the Belt­way and shut down traf­fic in protest of Wash­ing­ton pol­i­tics. In real­i­ty, about 30 truck­ers showed up, and they caused no delays worth men­tion­ing. In Novem­ber, Lar­ry Klay­man promised that “mil­lions” would show up at his ral­ly “to occu­py Wash­ing­ton D.C” and call for the over­throw of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. Instead, the crowd looked more like this:
    [see tweet]

    ...

    Look at Some Polls

    Riley’s high esti­mate of 30 mil­lion peo­ple amounts to a lit­tle under 10 per­cent of the entire U.S. pop­u­la­tion. While no one has polled reli­ably on whether Amer­i­cans want to forcibly remove Oba­ma and sev­er­al oth­er mem­bers of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment from office, we do have some polling on Amer­i­can atti­tudes towards the pres­i­dent and the gov­ern­ment in gen­er­al. Polling on impeach­ment is tough, but the most reli­able fig­ures out there seem to esti­mate that as much as 35 per­cent of the entire pop­u­la­tion would favor the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives bring­ing impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings against the pres­i­dent (depend­ing on how the Huff­in­g­ton Post asked that ques­tion, how­ev­er, results var­ied wide­ly).

    35 per­cent! That’s more than 10 per­cent, so Riley’s in the clear, right? Not exact­ly. Take a look at those atten­dance fig­ures up above. Under a mil­lion peo­ple showed up for the Mil­lion Man March. Glenn Beck­’s high­ly pub­li­cized ral­ly, at the height of his influ­ence and with a still-fresh Tea Par­ty, was under 100,000. By com­par­i­son, Oper­a­tion Amer­i­can Spring’s Face­book Page has 800 likes, and Riley’s explana­to­ry video pro­mot­ing the ral­ly has about 9,500 views:
    [see video]
    In order to get even the low Riley esti­mate, near­ly a third of all Amer­i­cans who would sup­port some sort of impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings would have to take Fri­day off from work, trav­el to Wash­ing­ton, and stand with the mili­tias for the protest. It’s not impos­si­ble that such a thing would hap­pen. But it almost cer­tain­ly won’t.

    Have a Back Up Plan

    Oper­a­tion Amer­i­can Spring has a very detailed, wide­ly-cir­cu­lat­ed plan. Mis­sion? “Restora­tion of Con­sti­tu­tion­al gov­ern­ment, rule of law, free­dom, lib­er­ty “of the peo­ple, by the peo­ple, for the peo­ple” from despot­ic and tyran­ni­cal fed­er­al lead­er­ship.” It con­tin­ues:

    Assump­tions:

    Mil­lions of Amer­i­cans will par­tic­i­pate.
    Amer­i­can vet­er­ans and patri­ots are ener­gized to end the tyran­ny, law­less­ness, and shred­ding of the US Con­sti­tu­tion.
    Gov­ern­ment is not the tar­get, it is sound; cor­rupt and crim­i­nal lead­er­ship must be replaced.
    Those in pow­er will not hes­i­tate to use force against unarmed, peace­ful patri­ots exer­cis­ing their con­sti­tu­tion­al rights.
    Patri­ots may be incar­cer­at­ed, wound­ed or god for­bid; killed.

    It goes on, out­lin­ing the plan of action, with the assump­tion that 10 mil­lion peo­ple show up to par­tic­i­pate:

    Phase 1 – Field mil­lions, as many as ten mil­lion, Patri­ots who will assem­ble in a peaceful,non-violent, phys­i­cal­ly unarmed (Spiritually/Constitutionally armed), dis­play of unswerv­ing loy­al­ty to the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca Con­sti­tu­tion and against the incum­bent gov­ern­ment lead­er­ship in Wash­ing­ton D.C., with the mis­sion to replace with law-abid­ing lead­er­ship. Go full-bore, no look­ing back, stead­fast in the mis­sion.

    Phase 2 – One mil­lion or more of the assem­bled must be pre­pared to stay in D.C. as long as it takes to see Oba­ma, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehn­er, Pelosi, and Attor­ney Gen­er­al Hold­er­re­sign or be removed from office.

    Con­sis­tent with the US Con­sti­tu­tion, as required, the U.S. Con­gress will take appro­pri­ate action, exe­cute appro­pri­ate leg­is­la­tion, deal with vacan­cies, or U.S. States appoint replace­ments for posi­tions vacat­ed con­sis­tent with estab­lished con­sti­tu­tion­al require­ments.

    Phase 3Prin­ci­pled lead­ers such as, For­mer Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Allen West, Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz, Doc­tor. Ben Car­son, Sen­a­tor Mike Lee, For­mer Sen­a­tor Jim DeMint, Sen­a­tor Rand Paul, Gov­er­nor Scott Walk­er, Sen­a­tor Jeff Ses­sions, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Trey Gowdy, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim Jor­dan, appoint­ed by their peers, would com­prise a tri­bunal and assume posi­tions of author­i­ty to con­vene inves­ti­ga­tions, rec­om­mend appro­pri­ate charges against politi­cians and gov­ern­ment employ­ees to the new U.S. Attor­ney Gen­er­al appoint­ed by the new Pres­i­dent.

    This plan would cer­tain­ly send a mes­sage, but giv­en the above, it seems pru­dent to make sure you have a Plan B in case the crowd is less than his­tor­i­cal­ly unprece­dent­ed.

    What? Sarah Palin was­n’t list­ed as one of the “prin­ci­ple lead­ers”? What hap­pened? Regard­less, it would be inter­est­ing to see how many of the ‘prin­ci­pled lead­ers’ list­ed above would be on board with the tri­bunal idea. It could be pret­ty demor­al­iz­ing to their base if they weren’t. And that’s part of what makes stunts like this so fas­ci­nat­ing: giv­en the wacky, over-the-top nature of the scheme it’s unclear what the real impact might be on the far right base that attends these kind of events. Are the orga­niz­ers real­ly going to fuel the ol’ ‘impeach the imposter!’ move­ment that start­ed back in March of 2009 (and pre­sum­ably ear­li­er)? Or are they just going to end up demor­al­iz­ing it:

    Oper­a­tion Amer­i­can Spring falls flat: ‘This is very dis­ap­point­ing,’ Tex­an says
    By Cheryl K. Chum­ley

    The Wash­ing­ton Times

    Fri­day, May 16, 2014

    Oper­a­tion Amer­i­can Spring, billed as a Fri­day morn­ing mul­ti-mil­lion patri­ot march on Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to oust lead­er­ship from the nation’s cap­i­tal — from Pres­i­dent Oba­ma to House Speak­er John Boe­her — has proven woe­ful­ly below expec­ta­tions.

    “It’s a very dis­mal turnout,” said Jack­ie Mil­ton, 61, a Jacks­boro, Texas, res­i­dent and the head of Tex­ans for Oper­a­tion Amer­i­can Spring, to The Wash­ing­ton Times. He said hopes were high when he arrived in Alexan­dria, Va., a day or so ago and found motels and hotels were sold out for 30 miles around.

    But weather’s damp­ened turnout a bit, he said.

    “We were get­ting over two inch­es of rain in hour in parts of Vir­ginia this morn­ing,” Mr. Mil­ton said. “Now it’s a nice sun­ny day. But this is a very poor turnout. It ain’t no mil­lions. And it ain’t look­ing like there’s going to be mil­lions. Hun­dreds is more like it.”

    Oper­a­tion Amer­i­can Spring was billed as far back as six months ago as a ral­ly call for patri­ot­ic Amer­i­cans to force lead­ers in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to return to a more lim­it­ed and con­sti­tu­tion­al style of gov­er­nance — and to oust those lead­ers who weren’t lis­ten­ing. Among the group’s tar­gets: Mr. Oba­ma and Mr. Boehn­er, as well as Attor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Hold­er, Sen. Major­i­ty Leader Har­ry Reid, Sen. Minor­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell, vice pres­i­dent Joe Biden and House Minor­i­ty Leader Nan­cy Pelosi.

    Ini­tial pro­jec­tions were for between 10 mil­lion and 30 mil­lion to come from around the nation and con­verge on the down­town cap­i­tal city streets out­side the White House and Capi­tol Build­ing — a num­ber the orga­niz­er of the event, Army Col. Har­ry Riley, called opti­mistic yet doable, giv­en one mil­lion mili­tia had already agreed to come.

    ...

    “This is very dis­ap­point­ing,” Mr. Mil­ton said, speak­ing of the num­bers who showed so far, while march­ing to the White House. “I’ve been tak­ing to every­body for six months, telling them to come and telling them if it’s not real­is­tic to get to D.C., … well then, go to your coun­ty cour­t­house [and protest].”

    The weath­er like­ly delayed some from show­ing, he said. But as the sun comes out, and the week­end weath­er dawns balmy, more could show, he said.

    “This isn’t just the one day thing,” Mr. Mil­ton said. “Most of our group [126 from Texas] are going to stay most of the week­end. And when the bik­ers come in, there will much more. I know Connecticut’s here. I know Colorado’s here. I think Utah, maybe.”

    He also said the some of the planned Oper­a­tion Amer­i­can Spring mem­bers who were plan­ning to head to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., instead trav­eled to Neva­da, to give sup­port to cat­tle ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy in his fight against the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment over graz­ing fees.

    “A lot that were sup­posed to come here went there instead,” Mr. Mil­ton said.

    He said his group from Texas was set up a few miles out­side the cap­i­tal city, in tents and mobile vehi­cles at a pri­vate prop­er­ty on Route 1

    Aha! Well now we know the cause Oper­a­tion Amer­i­can Spring’s down­fall: The ongo­ing Bundy Rev­o­lu­tion is steal­ing all the man­pow­er! Now it all makes sense, although this could­n’t have been very sur­pris­ing since there’s a planned “sis­ter event” at the Bundy Ranch (which must be VERY crowd­ed). So it appears the Bundy rev­o­lu­tion is going to have to run its course before the Amer­i­can Spring can tru­ly flower in DC. If only there was a drone army that rec­og­nized the moral imper­a­tive of what­ev­er the far right tribe hap­pens to be feel­ing at the moment.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 16, 2014, 11:01 am
  19. When the local stream starts run­ning dry there’s only one thing to do to pro­tect what’s left: try to access the remain­ing trick­le of water by fram­ing the whole issue into a States’ rights fight:

    AP
    May 16, 2014, 1:03 PM
    New Mex­i­co coun­ty clash­es with feds in water rights dis­pute

    WEED, N.M. — The lat­est dis­pute over fed­er­al con­trol of land and water in the West has erupt­ed along the banks of the Agua Chiq­ui­ta, a small spring-fed stream in the moun­tains of south­ern New Mex­i­co where the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has installed met­al fences and locked gates to keep cat­tle out.

    The move has enraged one rur­al coun­ty, where the sher­iff has been ordered by the coun­ty com­mis­sion to cut the locks. The U.S. attor­ney for the dis­trict of New Mex­i­co is hop­ing a meet­ing Fri­day will ease ten­sions enough to avoid an esca­la­tion like the armed stand­off last month over graz­ing rights in Neva­da.

    Decades in the mak­ing, the dis­pute in Otero Coun­ty cen­ters on whether the U.S. For­est Ser­vice has the author­i­ty to keep ranch­ers from access­ing Agua Chiq­ui­ta, which means Lit­tle Water in Span­ish. In wet years, the spring can run for miles through thick conifer for­est. This sum­mer, much of the stream bed is dry.

    The For­est Ser­vice says the enclo­sures are meant to pro­tect what’s left of the wet­land habi­tat. For­est Super­vi­sor Travis Mose­ley said the met­al fences and gates sim­ply replaced strands of barbed wire that had been wrecked over the years by herds of elk.

    The Otero Coun­ty Com­mis­sion passed a res­o­lu­tion ear­li­er this week declar­ing that the For­est Ser­vice does­n’t have a right to con­trol the water. Ranch­ers say they believe the move is an effort by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to push them from the land.

    “If we let them take over our water rights, that’s the first step. Then we would have noth­ing left here,” said Gary Stone, head of the Otero Coun­ty Cat­tle­man’s Asso­ci­a­tion.

    U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R‑N.M., said what is hap­pen­ing in Otero Coun­ty is anoth­er exam­ple of over­reach by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

    “These dis­putes could be eas­i­ly avoid­ed if fed­er­al bureau­crats would stick to their con­sti­tu­tion­al oath and respect prop­er­ty rights,” he said, adding that he’s hope­ful Fri­day’s meet­ing will bring res­o­lu­tion to the con­flict.

    Ranch­er Ed Eldridge is hope­ful too. He’s next in line to see a fence erect­ed around the water on his allot­ment.

    “I don’t think any for­eign pow­er could take us over, but we might lose our coun­try from with­in our bor­ders if we lose our con­sti­tu­tion­al rights,” said Eldridge.

    Still, Eldridge, Stone and oth­er res­i­dents aren’t look­ing for an armed stand­off with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. They say they just want their water and prop­er­ty rights rec­og­nized and respect­ed.

    Attor­ney Blair Dunn, who is rep­re­sent­ing some of the ranch­ers, said he’s wor­ried that trans­paren­cy and a media spot­light could be the only things that pre­vent the dis­pute from reach­ing a dan­ger­ous boil­ing point.

    “Gen­er­al­ly, cool­er heads pre­vail when we’re able to sit every­body down and fig­ure out some­thing that works,” Dunn said.

    ...

    So will cool­er heads pre­vail or will the ATV Brigade of Free­dom be nec­es­sary to free the Agua Chiqi­ta stream from the tyran­ny of reg­u­la­tions? Only time will tell. And hope­ful­ly time will heal some wounds too, but don’t assume the time will heal all wounds. The fes­ter­ing ones might spend that time fes­ter­ing:

    USA Today
    Sev­en states run­ning out of water
    Alexan­der E.M. Hess and Thomas C. Frohlich, 24/7 Wall St. 6:30 a.m. EDT May 25, 2014

    The Unit­ed States is cur­rent­ly engulfed in one of the worst droughts in recent mem­o­ry. More than 30% of the coun­try expe­ri­enced at least mod­er­ate drought as of last week’s data.

    In sev­en states drought con­di­tions were so severe that each had more than half of its land area in severe drought. Severe drought is char­ac­ter­ized by crop loss, fre­quent water short­ages, and manda­to­ry water use restric­tions. Based on data from the U.S. Drought Mon­i­tor, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the states with the high­est lev­els of severe drought.

    In an inter­view, U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (USDA) mete­o­rol­o­gist Brad Rippey, told 24/7 Wall St. that drought has been a long-run­ning issue in parts of the coun­try. “This drought has dragged on for three and a half years in some areas, par­tic­u­lar­ly (in) North Texas,” Rippey said.

    ...

    Drought has had a major impact on impor­tant crops such as win­ter wheat. “So much of the win­ter wheat is grown across the south­ern half of the Great Plains,” Rippey said, an area that includes Texas, Okla­homa, and Kansas, three of the hard­est-hit states. Texas alone had near­ly a quar­ter of a mil­lion farms in 2012, the most out of any state, while neigh­bor­ing Okla­homa had more than 80,000 farms, trail­ing only three oth­er states.

    In the South­west, con­cerns are less-focused on agri­cul­ture and more on reser­voir lev­els, explained Rippey. In Ari­zona, reser­voir lev­els were just two-thirds of their usu­al aver­age. Worse still, in New Mex­i­co, reser­voir stores were only slight­ly more than half of their nor­mal lev­els. “And Neva­da is the worst of all. We see stor­age there at about a third of what you would expect,” Rippey said.

    The sit­u­a­tion in Cal­i­for­nia may well be the most prob­lem­at­ic of any state. The entire state was suf­fer­ing from severe drought as of last week, and 75% of all land area was under extreme drought. “Reser­voirs which are gen­er­al­ly fed by the Sier­ra Nevadas and the south­ern Cas­cades [are] where we see the real prob­lems,” Rippey said. Restric­tions on agri­cul­tur­al water use has forced many Cal­i­for­nia farm­ers to leave fields fal­low, he added. “At [the cur­rent] usage rate, Cal­i­for­nia has less than two years of water remain­ing.”

    The U.S. Drought Mon­i­tor is pro­duced by the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, the Nation­al Ocean­ic Atmos­pher­ic Admin­is­tra­tion (NOAA), and the Nation­al Drought Mit­i­ga­tion Cen­ter at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka-Lin­coln. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the sev­en states with the high­est pro­por­tions of total area clas­si­fied in at least a state of severe drought as of May 13, 2014. We also reviewed fig­ures recent­ly pub­lished by the USDA’s Nation­al Agri­cul­tur­al Sta­tis­tics Ser­vice as part of its 2012 Cen­sus of Agri­cul­ture.

    These are the sev­en states run­ning out of water.

    7. Texas

    > Pct. severe drought: 56.1%
    > Pct. extreme drought: 39.9% (4th high­est)
    > Pct. excep­tion­al drought: 20.7% (3rd high­est)

    Much of north and cen­tral Texas, includ­ing all of the Texas Pan­han­dle, was cov­ered in excep­tion­al drought as of last week. In all, almost 40% of land area in the state expe­ri­enced extreme drought con­di­tions. Recent­ly, some have said the heavy use of water in nat­ur­al gas frack­ing process­es in North Texas is prob­lem­at­ic dur­ing the area’s drought. Addi­tion­al­ly, the drought could have a large impact on the state’s agri­cul­ture indus­try. Texas had near­ly a quar­ter of a mil­lion farms, the most out of any state in the nation, as of 2012.

    6. Okla­homa

    > Pct. severe drought: 64.5%
    > Pct. extreme drought: 50.1% (2nd high­est)
    > Pct. excep­tion­al drought: 30.4% (the high­est)

    Severe drought cov­ered over 50% of Okla­homa as of last week, up from rough­ly 33% one year ago. The state’s drought wors­ened from the mid­dle of April, when just 27% of the state expe­ri­enced severe drought. The state’s 80,000-plus farms and near­ly 310,000 hired farm work­ers have been strug­gling with the drought con­di­tions. The sit­u­a­tion is all the more dif­fi­cult because the state is sup­posed to be in the midst of its rainy sea­son. An open burn ban is in effect for the west­ern part of the state due to fire haz­ards result­ing from the drought. In March, the Okla­homa Emer­gency Drought Relief Com­mis­sion award­ed more than $1 mil­lion to sev­er­al drought-rid­den com­mu­ni­ties in the state.

    5. Ari­zona

    > Pct. severe drought: 76.3%
    > Pct. extreme drought: 7.7% (9th high­est)
    > Pct. excep­tion­al drought: 0.0%

    Unlike oth­er states suf­fer­ing the most from drought, none of Ari­zona expe­ri­enced excep­tion­al drought. Severe drought con­di­tions, how­ev­er, engulfed more than three-quar­ters of the state as of last week. While dry con­di­tions are not par­tic­u­lar­ly unusu­al in Ari­zona at this time of year, the U.S. Drought Mon­i­tor accounts for local sea­son­al pat­terns in assess­ing drought con­di­tions. More­over, the extreme heat and lighter-than-aver­age snow­fall from the win­ter have reduced the soil mois­ture to such a degree that fire haz­ards are sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er.

    4. Kansas

    > Pct. severe drought: 80.8%
    > Pct. extreme drought: 48.1% (3rd high­est)
    > Pct. excep­tion­al drought: 2.8% (6th high­est)

    Like sev­er­al states run­ning out of water, 80% of Kansas was engulfed in at least severe drought, an increase from one year ago when rough­ly 70% was cov­ered by severe drought. Com­pared to last May, how­ev­er, when excep­tion­al drought cov­ered near­ly one fifth of the state, just 2.8% of Kansas was con­sid­ered excep­tion­al­ly dry as of last week. In announc­ing the sever­i­ty of the state’s drought prob­lem, Kansas Gov­er­nor Sam Brown­back lift­ed restric­tions on tak­ing water from state-owned fish­ing lakes.

    3. New Mex­i­co

    > Pct. severe drought: 86.2%
    > Pct. extreme drought: 33.3% (6th high­est)
    > Pct. excep­tion­al drought: 4.5% (5th high­est)

    More than 86% of New Mex­i­co was cov­ered in severe drought as of last week, more than any state except for Neva­da and Cal­i­for­nia. Addi­tion­al­ly, one-third of the state was in extreme drought, worse than just a month ear­li­er, when only one-quar­ter of the state was cov­ered in extreme drought. How­ev­er, con­di­tions were bet­ter than they were one year ago, when vir­tu­al­ly the entire state was in at least severe drought, with more than 80% in extreme drought con­di­tions. NOAA fore­casts con­di­tions may improve in much of the state this sum­mer.

    2. Neva­da

    > Pct. severe drought: 87.0%
    > Pct. extreme drought: 38.7% (5th high­est)
    > Pct. excep­tion­al drought: 8.2% (4th high­est)

    Near­ly 40% of Neva­da was cov­ered in extreme drought last week, among the high­est rates in the coun­try. The drought in the state has wors­ened since the week of April 15, when 33.5% of the state was cov­ered in extreme drought. Accord­ing to the Las Vegas Val­ley Water Dis­trict (LVVWD), the main cause of the drought this year has been below aver­age snow­fall in the Rocky Moun­tains. Melt­ing snow from the Rocky Moun­tains even­tu­al­ly flows into Lake Mead, which pro­vides most of the Las Vegas Val­ley with water. John Entsminger, head of both the LVVWD and the South­ern Neva­da Water Author­i­ty, said that the effects of the drought on the state has been “every bit as seri­ous as a Hur­ri­cane Kat­ri­na or a Super­storm Sandy.”

    1. Cal­i­for­nia

    > Pct. severe drought: 100.0%
    > Pct. extreme drought: 76.7% (the high­est)
    > Pct. excep­tion­al drought: 24.8% (2nd high­est)

    Cal­i­for­nia had the nation’s worst drought prob­lem with more than 76% of the state expe­ri­enc­ing extreme drought as of last week. Drought in Cal­i­for­nia has wors­ened con­sid­er­ably in recent years. Severe drought con­di­tions cov­ered the entire state, as of last week. Gov­er­nor Jer­ry Brown declared a state of emer­gency ear­li­er this year as the drought wors­ened. Cal­i­for­nia had 465,422 hired farm work­ers in 2012, more than any oth­er state. Farm work­ers would like­ly suf­fer fur­ther if con­di­tions per­sist. The short­age of potable water has been so severe that Cal­i­for­nia is now invest­ing in long-term solu­tions, such as desali­na­tion plants. A facil­i­ty that is expect­ed to be the largest in the West­ern hemi­sphere is cur­rent­ly under con­struc­tion in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and anoth­er desali­na­tion facil­i­ty is under con­sid­er­a­tion in Orange Coun­ty.

    Uh oh, the ATV Brigade of Free­dom may not be enough to free the US from the tyran­ny of drought. We’re going to need a big­ger mir­a­cle (hope­ful­ly not too big).

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 27, 2014, 8:11 am
  20. A heav­i­ly armed man described as a “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen” assault­ed a Geor­gia cour­t­house today:

    Forsyth News
    Update: Forsyth cour­t­house shoot­er dead, was suing sher­if­f’s office

    By News­room Staff editor@forsythnews.com

    UPDATED: June 6, 2014 4:09 p.m.

    CUMMING (Updat­ed 4:06 p.m.) — Author­i­ties have iden­ti­fied the heav­i­ly armed gun­man this morn­ing who shot a vet­er­an sheriff’s deputy in the leg out­side the Forsyth Coun­ty Cour­t­house as 48-year-old Den­nis Ronald Marx of Cum­ming.

    Forsyth Coun­ty Sher­iff Duane Piper said that Marx, who was shot and killed by oth­er deputies, act­ed alone.

    Marx has been referred to as a “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen” who Piper said was due in court this morn­ing on drug and weapons charges.

    Accord­ing to Piper, Marx drove a rent­ed sil­ver Nis­san Arma­da onto the cour­t­house plaza about 9:57 a.m. and threw out spike strips to hold off law enforcement’s response before begin­ning a “full frontal assault” on the facil­i­ty.

    “It appeared he was try­ing to actu­al­ly dri­ve through the front of the cour­t­house,” Piper said. “We had a court secu­ri­ty deputy who was out­side at the time ... it looks like he saw that deputy, swerved toward him to try to run over the deputy and the deputy engaged him.”

    The deputy, Daniel Rush, approached Marx, who began fir­ing at him through the win­dow of his sport util­i­ty vehi­cle at the cour­t­house steps.

    ...

    When Marx arrived at the cour­t­house, he start­ed throw­ing out gas grenades and smoke grenades, most of which the sher­iff said were home­made.

    “He came there with the pur­pose of occu­py­ing the cour­t­house,” said Piper, adding that Marx nev­er made it inside the build­ing.

    In addi­tion to the explo­sives, Piper said Marx had assault rifles and sev­er­al oth­er weapons. The arse­nal includ­ed cs pep­per, gas and smoke grenades to obscure vision, assault rifles, flex ties and “lots of ammu­ni­tion.”

    Accord­ing to Sheriff’s Maj. Rick Doyle, author­i­ties believe Marx had legal per­mits to pos­sess the firearms used dur­ing the assault.

    “Appar­ent­ly, he’s a gun deal­er and trad­er,” Doyle said.

    While the gun­fire last­ed about two min­utes, it like­ly will be hours before down­town Cum­ming is cleared, as mul­ti­ple explo­sives are still at the scene, the sher­iff said.

    The cour­t­house, Forsyth Coun­ty Admin­is­tra­tion Build­ing, Cum­ming City Hall and sur­round­ing struc­tures were evac­u­at­ed and lat­er closed for the day. Traf­fic is being rerout­ed.

    Piper went on to note that Marx, who was no stranger to law enforce­ment, had a home on Lake­side Trail east of Cum­ming and near Lake Lanier, though he had not been liv­ing there for at least 10 days.

    Author­i­ties are search­ing the home.

    “We are quite cer­tain it’s boo­by-trapped with the pur­pose of killing law enforce­ment,” he said, adding it appears Marx had been prepar­ing for the assault for quite some time.

    The Hol­i­day Inn Express on Mar­ket Place Boule­vard, where Marx was stay­ing, is con­sid­ered a crime scene, as is his home, accord­ing to Doyle with the sheriff’s office.

    Doyle added that the assump­tion is Marx’s home is “boo­by-trapped to the hilt because he want­ed to kill as many cops as he could.”

    “It’s going to be a long, painstak­ing process to search his house, search the hotel and search his vehi­cle, which is there at the hotel,” he said.

    Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Marx was suing the sheriff’s office alleg­ing civ­il rights vio­la­tions, includ­ing exces­sive force.

    He filed an amend­ment to the com­plaint on April 2, the inclu­sion of which a judge denied, alleg­ing that a deputy had set in motion events caus­ing a death in his fam­i­ly.

    “Plain­tiff also has infor­ma­tion and receipts to ver­i­fy his state­ments to defen­dants regard­ing the seizure of plaintiff’s family’s prop­er­ty, leav­ing plain­tiff and plaintiff’s fam­i­ly with­out the means to prop­er­ly pro­tect them­selves and/or relo­cate, as is their Con­sti­tu­tion­al right, lead­ing direct­ly or indi­rect­ly to the death and/or mur­der of one mem­ber of plaintiff’s fam­i­ly,” the motion read.

    Accord­ing to court records, Marx faced many drug-relat­ed charges from August 2011, includ­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing mar­i­jua­na, pos­sess­ing a firearm or knife dur­ing the com­mis­sion of a felony and pos­ses­sion with intent to dis­trib­ute.

    The sheriff’s office, Geor­gia Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion and Bureau of Alco­hol, Tobac­co and Firearms con­tin­ue to work the scene down­town, though they say there is no fur­ther dan­ger to the pub­lic. There is no esti­ma­tion as to when the roads may reopen.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 6, 2014, 12:42 pm
  21. Two white suprema­cists that claimed to have been kicked off the Bundy ranch just killed two Las Vegas police offi­cers dur­ing a “rev­o­lu­tion­ary” sui­ci­dal killing spree:

    las vegas REVIEW-JOURNAL
    Shoot­ers in Metro ambush that left five dead spoke of white suprema­cy and a desire to kill police

    Post­ed June 8, 2014 — 11:36am Updat­ed June 9, 2014 — 12:01am

    By REVIEW-JOURNAL STAFF

    Two Las Vegas police offi­cers were killed Sun­day in what appears to be a polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed ambush in a piz­za restau­rant that spilled over to a near­by Wal-Mart, where the two shoot­ers com­mit­ted sui­cide after killing a woman in the store.

    Details are sketchy, but Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police Depart­ment sources close to the inves­ti­ga­tion say the shoot­ers shout­ed that “this is the start of a rev­o­lu­tion” before open­ing fire on the offi­cers, and draped their bod­ies with cloth show­ing a Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War-era flag. Inves­ti­ga­tors have also found para­pher­na­lia asso­ci­at­ed with white suprema­cists.

    Sun­day night, Metro homi­cide inves­ti­ga­tors and FBI agents cor­doned off and were search­ing a small apart­ment com­plex at 110 S. Bruce St., about four miles from the shoot­ing scene. A res­i­dent of the com­plex said he had spo­ken with a man who lived in the apart­ment being searched. He said the man appeared “mil­i­tant,” and often talked about con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.

    An explo­sion was heard at the apart­ment com­plex at about 9:30 p.m., but no infor­ma­tion was imme­di­ate­ly avail­able Sun­day night.

    Sher­iff Doug Gille­spie said offi­cers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Sol­do, 31, were shot while they ate lunch at CiCi’s Piz­za, 309 N. Nel­lis Blvd., at about 11:20 a.m. Sun­day. In a late after­noon news con­fer­ence he said no motive for the attack has been deter­mined.

    “It’s a trag­ic day,” the sher­iff said. “We have lost two offi­cers with young fam­i­lies.”

    Beck was a senior patrol offi­cer who had taught Advanced Offi­cer Skills Train­ing and at the Metro acad­e­my. He was hired by Metro in 2001 and had a wife and three chil­dren.

    Sol­do has been a Metro offi­cer since 2006 and had a wife and baby. Both were uni­form patrol offi­cers assigned to the North­east Area Com­mand.

    THE ATTACK

    A law enforce­ment offi­cial who has been briefed on the inci­dent said an offi­cer — uncon­firmed reports indi­cate it was Sol­do — was refill­ing a soft drink when the female shoot­er approached him from behind and shot him in the head, killing him instant­ly.

    The woman then shot the oth­er offi­cer sev­er­al times as he drew his pis­tol. Gille­spie said the offi­cer was able to return fire but it was unclear if he hit any­one.

    One offi­cer was report­ed dead at the scene, while the oth­er died lat­er in surgery at Uni­ver­si­ty Med­ical Cen­ter.

    Wit­ness­es told police one of the shoot­ers yelled “This is the start of a rev­o­lu­tion” before shoot­ing the offi­cers. Gille­spie lat­er said he could not con­firm that.

    The shoot­ers then stripped the offi­cers of their weapons and ammu­ni­tion and badges, accord­ing to a law enforce­ment offi­cial with knowl­edge of the inves­ti­ga­tion. They then cov­ered the offi­cers with some­thing that fea­tured the Gads­den flag, a yel­low ban­ner with a coiled snake above the words, “Don’t tread on Me.”

    The flag is named for Christo­pher Gads­den a Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War gen­er­al who designed it. It has recent­ly come back in vogue as an adopt­ed sym­bol of the Amer­i­can tea par­ty move­ment.

    The shoot­ers left the piz­za par­lor and head­ed into the Wal-Mart across the street at 201 North Nel­lis. Wit­ness­es at the scene report­ed hear­ing shots fired in quick suc­ces­sion inside the Wal-Mart.

    At a news con­fer­ence at about 1 p.m. Assis­tant Sher­iff Kevin McMahill said the male shoot­er, described as a tall white man, yelled “every­one get out” before shoot­ing.

    One uncon­firmed report is that the two exchanged gun­fire with a cit­i­zen who was car­ry­ing a con­cealed weapon, and that one of the shoot­ers was injured.

    A woman was shot and killed just inside the front doors of the Wal-Mart. Her name has not yet been released.

    As Metro offi­cers entered the front and back doors of the store they exchanged gun­fire with the shoot­ers, Gille­spie said.

    The female shoot­er then shot her accom­plice at least once before shoot­ing her­self in the head, a law enforce­ment offi­cial said. The wound­ed man then shot and killed him­self. Their iden­ti­ties have not been released by police.

    Both shoot­ers were report­ed­ly car­ry­ing large duf­fle bags, and a bomb squad was called to the scene. It’s unclear what, if any­thing, was found in the bags. A fire depart­ment offi­cial said the bomb squad response was “a pre­cau­tion.”

    Hec­tor Gar­cia was shop­ping in Wal-Mart’s arts and crafts aisle toward the back of the store when he encoun­tered a man bran­dish­ing a gun. He looked like he was in his 20s, was wear­ing cam­ou­flage and had a duf­fle bag draped over his shoul­der.

    He said the shoot­er appeared calm when he point­ed the gun at him and said, “Don’t run.” The gun­man, Gar­cia said, con­tin­ued walk­ing to the back of the store. Gar­cia said that store employ­ees were evac­u­at­ing cus­tomers through the back of the store.

    After the gun­man walked out of sight, Gar­cia walked out of the store. Gar­cia said he was shak­en up and couldn’t remem­ber what kind of gun the man car­ried.

    THE SHOOTERS

    The shoot­ers were a mar­ried cou­ple thought to be in their late 20s who were new to the Las Vegas Val­ley, accord­ing to a law enforce­ment offi­cial close to the inves­ti­ga­tion. Police are look­ing into their links to the white suprema­cy move­ment and found swasti­ka sym­bols dur­ing their ini­tial inves­ti­ga­tion.

    Res­i­dents of the Bruce Street apart­ment com­plex gath­ered out­side the build­ing to talk about the cou­ple whose unit was being searched.

    Sev­er­al neigh­bors iden­ti­fied the man as Jared, while one called the woman Aman­da.

    Like many of the neigh­bors con­tact­ed, Krista Koch said she didn’t know the couple’s last names. She described them as “mil­i­tant.” They talked about plan­ning to kill police offi­cers, “going under­ground” and not com­ing out until the time was right to kill.

    Bran­don Mon­roe, 22, has lived in the com­plex for about two weeks. He said the man who lived in the apart­ment that was being searched often ram­bled about con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. He often wore cam­ou­flage or dressed as Peter Pan to work as a Fre­mont Street Expe­ri­ence street per­former. A woman lived with him, Mon­roe said, but he didn’t see her as often.

    They were weird peo­ple, Mon­roe said, adding that he thought the cou­ple used metham­phet­a­mine.

    “The man told Mon­roe he had been kicked off Cliv­en Bundy’s ranch 80 miles north­east of Las Vegas while peo­ple from through­out the U.S. gath­ered there in protest of a Bureau of Land Man­age­ment roundup of Bundy’s cat­tle.” Jes­si­ca Ander­son, 27, said. She lived next door.

    Reached Sun­day, the rancher’s wife, Car­ol Bundy, said the shoot­ing and the April stand­off against the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment were not linked.

    “I have not seen or heard any­thing from the mili­tia and oth­ers who have came to our ranch that would, in any way, make me think they had an intent to kill or harm any­one,” Car­ol Bundy said.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 9, 2014, 8:47 am
  22. Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 9, 2014, 11:36 am
  23. Here’s some­thing relat­ing the shoot­ings in Las Vegas to the larg­er anti-gov­ern­ment para­noia grip­ping the nation and the dri­ve to nor­mal­ize vig­i­lante jus­tice: The two shoot­ers were orig­i­nal­ly from Indi­ana and, in a sign of the times, it turns out Indi­ana passed a law in 2012 that makes it legal to shoot cops and “pub­lic ser­vants” if you think they’re ille­gal­ly enter­ing your home or using force unlaw­ful­ly:

    Raw Sto­ry
    Rachel Mad­dow: ‘Fan­ta­sist, weapons-focused’ far right is dri­ving attacks like Vegas shoot­ings
    By David Fer­gu­son
    Tues­day, June 10, 2014 8:51 EDT

    On Mon­day night, Rachel Mad­dow devot­ed her open­ing seg­ment to study­ing the “long online trail” of clues left behind by Jer­ad and Aman­da Miller, the cou­ple who report­ed­ly shot two police offi­cers and a bystander before killing them­selves in Las Vegas on Sun­day.

    Mad­dow began by dis­cussing an NRA-backed Indi­ana law that allows cit­i­zens to open fire on police offi­cers if they believe those offi­cers are act­ing unlaw­ful­ly.

    “It is a remark­able law,” she said, “even for this cur­rent iter­a­tion of the NRA and even for Indi­ana.”

    That law didn’t get much atten­tion in the nation at large, she said, but in “non-main­stream cir­cles,” it got a huge amount of atten­tion and inspired “lots of armed resis­tance fan­ta­sists against armed tyran­ny kind of stuff, par­tic­u­lar­ly on YouTube.”

    Mad­dow then rolled clips from a pair of YouTube videos about U.S. cit­i­zens tak­ing up arms against the gov­ern­ment and not­ed that both of the videos were “liked” by Aman­da Miller.

    The slay­ings, while ghast­ly, Mad­dow said, are not far beyond the pale of what is to be expect­ed from week to week in the U.S. today. What makes them remark­able, she explained, is the polit­i­cal nature of the crimes.

    Las Vegas Assis­tant Sher­iff McMahill, at a press con­fer­ence about the shoot­ings, explained that after the Millers killed the two police offi­cers in a booth at a CiCi’s Piz­za, “the sus­pects pulled the offi­cers out of the booth and on to the ground, where they placed a Gads­den flag, that is, a ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ yel­low flag on the body of Offi­cer Beck, and they also drew a swasti­ka on top of his body.”

    They pinned a note to the oth­er offi­cer that report­ed­ly announced the begin­ning of an armed rev­o­lu­tion against the police and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, then went on to shoot a civil­ian inside a near­by Wal­mart, before killing them­selves in a mur­der-sui­cide pact.

    Raw Sto­ry report­ed Mon­day that both Millers were active on mul­ti­ple con­ser­v­a­tive web­sites, includ­ing Breitbart.com and Alex Jones’ con­spir­a­cy hub InfoWars.com. The two reg­u­lar­ly post­ed about the “New World Order,” chem­trails, mind-con­trol and oth­er far-right con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.

    “I live in Indi­ana and recent­ly a law was passed named the right to resist law.” Jer­ad Miller wrote at InfoWars in May of 2012, “As i can make out from it, if a police offi­cer kicks in my door and is not there legal­ly, then I may shoot him.”

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 10, 2014, 10:21 am
  24. There was anoth­er shootout today involv­ing law enforce­ment offi­cers and a ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zen’:

    TPM Muck­rak­er
    BLM Shoot­ing Sus­pect Is Anti-Gov­ern­ment Con­spir­a­cy The­o­rist With Pend­ing Gun Charge

    Dylan Scott – June 17, 2014, 5:36 PM EDT

    The man accused of shoot­ing two law enforce­ment mem­bers in Cal­i­for­nia, includ­ing a Bureau of Land Man­age­ment ranger, has had at least one pre­vi­ous run-in with law enforce­ment and has described him­self as the tar­get of a mas­sive gov­ern­ment con­spir­a­cy.

    Brent Dou­glas Cole, 60, was named by the Neva­da Coun­ty Sher­if­f’s Office on Mon­day as the sus­pect in Sat­ur­day’s shoot­ing that also left him wound­ed.

    Anna Fer­gu­son, assis­tant dis­trict attor­ney for Neva­da Coun­ty, con­firmed to TPM that Cole was also fac­ing mis­de­meanor charges in Neva­da Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court for alleged­ly car­ry­ing a loaded firearm. He was charged on Jan. 26.

    On Tues­day, the Union news­pa­per in Neva­da City, Calif., pub­lished an arti­cle that quot­ed from court doc­u­ments in the case. The doc­u­ments showed Cole believed he was the tar­get of a mas­sive con­spir­a­cy:

    Offi­cers act­ed with­out war­rant or any prob­a­ble cause to seize my per­son using a swat team style assault, and then start­ed look­ing for some­thing to charge me with. I was attacked and molest­ed, uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly arrest­ed, unlaw­ful­ly incar­cer­at­ed, repeat­ed­ly intim­i­dat­ed and coerced to plead guilty to hav­ing com­mit­ted a crime, held in secret for five days, and my prop­er­ty and lib­er­ty tak­en from me since Jan­u­ary 26, 2014. I am being per­se­cut­ed for being a gun own­er, and for exer­cis­ing my inher­ent Right by unwit­ting or unknow­ing accom­plices of a sedi­tious con­spir­a­cy against rights insti­tut­ed by for­eign pow­ers inim­i­cal to the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca.

    That’s in line with online pro­files, reviewed by TPM, that appear to belong to Cole and sug­gest some­one obsessed with mul­ti­ple con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, includ­ing 9/11 trutherism, flu­o­ri­dat­ed water and anti-semit­ic beliefs.

    The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, in research shared with TPM on Tues­day after­noon, linked Cole to an online pro­file in which he described him­self as “a sov­er­eign Amer­i­can Cit­i­zen attempt­ing to thwart the obvi­ous con­spir­a­cy and sub­terfuges of pow­ers inim­i­cal to the Unit­ed States.”

    “Sov­er­eigns believe that they — not judges, juries, law enforce­ment or elect­ed offi­cials — get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay tax­es,” the SPLC has writ­ten in its sum­ma­ry of sov­er­eign cit­i­zen beliefs.

    Some­one using the name Brent Dou­glas Cole uploaded Google doc­u­ments that were pur­port­ed­ly filed in his defense for the Jan­u­ary arrest. Those doc­u­ments have not been inde­pen­dent­ly ver­i­fied by TPM, but they car­ry the same case num­ber as the firearms case.

    In the doc­u­ments, Cole described him­self as “a statu­to­ry Attor­ney Gen­er­al of the Unit­ed States” and claimed the Cal­i­for­nia law under which he had been charged vio­lat­ed the Sec­ond Amend­ment. He also spelled his name in a man­ner typ­i­cal of mem­bers of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens move­ment, using low­er­case let­ters and unusu­al punc­tu­a­tion: “brent-dou­glas: cole.”

    A Face­book pro­file attrib­uted to a Brent Cole, and which also linked to the alleged doc­u­ments in the firearms case, includ­ed this quote from June 5:

    “The con­vic­tion of police that they are endowed with the author­i­ty and autho­riza­tion to to what­ev­er they wish to do to any­one, with­out any jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, and incur no lia­bil­i­ty or cul­pa­bil­i­ty for crim­i­nal acts com­mit­ted must end.”

    Cole also post­ed a num­ber of news arti­cles on Face­book sym­pa­thet­ic to the Bundy Ranch mili­tia, includ­ing a April 16 post about “an Infowars expose con­nect­ing the land grab to Har­ry Reid and a Chi­nese-backed solar farm.”

    ...

    Accord­ing to the Union news­pa­per, the BLM ranger had con­tact­ed the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol for assis­tance in its inves­ti­ga­tion of vehi­cles at the Tahoe Nation­al For­est. It was dur­ing that inves­ti­ga­tion that the two offi­cers were con­front­ed by Cole and exchanged gun­fire. The shoot­ing took place near the South Yuba Riv­er camp­ground, accord­ing to the sher­if­f’s office.

    The two law enforce­ment agents suf­fered non-life-threat­en­ing injuries in the inci­dent. Cole suf­fered mul­ti­ple gun­shot wounds, accord­ing to the Union, and was hos­pi­tal­ized as of Mon­day.

    ...

    In tan­gen­tial­ly relat­ed news, there’s a new threat Cliv­en Bundy’s right to graze on pub­lic lands whether or not he pays the fees. And it involves an even more dia­bol­i­cal gov­ern­ment con­spir­a­cy than the far right already fears: cli­mate change:

    The Los Ange­les Times
    Graz­ing on fed­er­al land under threat because of drought

    By Julie Cart June 15, 2014, 5:41 PM

    There’s not much any­one can tell Bar­ry Sorensen about Ida­ho’s Big Desert that he does­n’t know. Sorensen, 72, and his broth­er have been run­ning cat­tle in this sere land­scape all their lives, and they’ve weath­ered every calami­ty man and nature have thrown at them — until this drought came along.

    Sit­ting recent­ly in a rus­tic cab­in where he spends many months look­ing after his cat­tle, Sorensen’s voice was tinged with defeat.

    “To be hon­est with you,” he said, “I think our way of life is pret­ty much going to be over in 10 years.”

    Years-long drought has pum­meled mil­lions of acres of fed­er­al range­land in the West into dust, leav­ing a dev­as­tat­ing swath from the Rock­ies to the Pacif­ic.

    Add to that cli­mate change, inva­sive plants and wild­fire sea­sons that are longer and more severe, and con­di­tions have reached a break­ing point in many West­ern regions. The land can no longer sup­port both live­stock and wildlife.

    “All these issues — it’s chang­ing the land­scape of the West, dra­mat­i­cal­ly,” said Ken Wixom, who grazes 4,000 ewes and lambs on BLM land in the Snake Riv­er Plain. For pub­lic lands ranch­ers like him who depend on fed­er­al acreage to sus­tain their ani­mals, the mood ranges from brood­ing to sur­ren­der.

    The sit­u­a­tion was spelled out in stark terms in two recent let­ters from the fed­er­al Bureau of Land Man­age­ment. They told the ranch­ers what they already knew: Unless some­thing changes, the days of busi­ness as usu­al on the 154 mil­lion acres of fed­er­al graz­ing land are over.

    This drought-stressed range in Ida­ho can no longer sus­tain live­stock, the let­ter warned. Bet­ter plan to reduce herd num­bers by at least 30% for the spring turnout.

    “I knew it was com­ing,” said Sorensen, squint­ing as the after­noon sun poured through a win­dow.

    Sorensen’s graz­ing allot­ment is so com­pro­mised that he was forced to make mul­ti­ple adjust­ments. He wait­ed 2 1/2 weeks longer than usu­al before turn­ing out his cows and calves on BLM pas­tures, and then released only half his herd. The rest he kept on his ranch, feed­ing them hay from his own fields.

    Con­di­tions could eas­i­ly grow worse.

    Live­stock shares the range with wildlife, includ­ing the greater sage grouse, a species depen­dent on sage­brush and native grass­lands to sur­vive. The grouse pop­u­la­tion has plum­met­ed by 93% in the last 50 years, and its habi­tat has shrunk to one-quar­ter of its for­mer 240,000-square-mile range.

    If the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment grants endan­gered species pro­tec­tion to the grouse some­time next year, ranch­ing on fed­er­al land will be cut back even more, fed­er­al offi­cials say. In some regions, pub­lic lands ranch­ing might end alto­geth­er.

    The prob­lem for live­stock and wildlife alike is that the drought has been mer­ci­less on all plants in the West. Last week 60% of the 11 West­ern states were expe­ri­enc­ing some degree of seri­ous drought.

    Cli­mate change has altered weath­er pat­terns so much that veg­e­ta­tion in some regions is trans­form­ing from abun­dant sage­brush, grass and forbs to a new land­scape of weeds and cheat grass — fast-burn­ing fuels that pro­pel wild­fire and destroy range­land.

    In south­ern New Mex­i­co, the trans­for­ma­tion has gone one step fur­ther — from sage­brush to weeds to sand-blown desert — and biol­o­gists say the pat­tern is like­ly to be repeat­ed across the West.

    If that hap­pens, the eco­nom­ics of cat­tle ranch­ing will unrav­el.

    Pub­lic lands graz­ing is a rem­nant of Wash­ing­ton’s inter­est in set­tling the West by pro­vid­ing a finan­cial leg up to cov­ered-wag­on pio­neers and pri­vate inter­ests alike. Ranch­ers pay a fee, far below mar­ket rate, for each moth­er cow and calf they turn out to graze on BLM acreage.

    If pub­lic land is not avail­able, ranch­ers could find pri­vate prop­er­ty to graze their ani­mals, pay­ing as much as 16 times more than on fed­er­al ground. They could reduce their herds, los­ing valu­able genet­ics and oth­er breed­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics and get­ting per­haps $1,000 for a cow that would cost $1,600 to replace.

    Ranch­ers could bring the cat­tle to their own land and feed them with hay or alfal­fa they grow or buy. None of that is con­sis­tent with the busi­ness mod­el of a pub­lic lands ranch­er.

    “You buy hay at $200 a ton, so you feed one ton for each 100 head of cows,” said Sorensen. “If you’ve got 200 head of cows, you are feed­ing $400 to $500 dol­lars’ worth of hay a day.”

    Crit­ics of ranch­ing on fed­er­al land have lit­tle sym­pa­thy. They say the oper­a­tions are high­ly sub­si­dized by tax­pay­ers and are sec­ondary to the goal of pre­serv­ing wildlife and native ecosys­tems.

    Graz­ing receipts in fis­cal year 2013 were $12.2 mil­lion, while the pro­gram cost the gov­ern­ment $48.2 mil­lion to oper­ate. Fees are based on range con­di­tions that exist­ed in 1966, and the month­ly charge of $1.35 for a cow and calf has­n’t sig­nif­i­cant­ly changed in 50 years. Spo­radic attempts to raise fees have been fierce­ly and imme­di­ate­ly quashed.

    Ranch­ers argue that they are excel­lent stew­ards of the land and that they make improve­ments that ben­e­fit deer, birds and oth­er wildlife as well as improve water qual­i­ty.

    “With­out ranch­ers func­tion­ing, the land­scape ceas­es to func­tion,” said ranch­er Shane Rosenkrance, 52, who grazes on 110,000 acres of BLM and state land in east­ern Ida­ho.

    Equal­ly per­sua­sive argu­ments are made by biol­o­gists and con­ser­va­tion groups. They say his­toric over­graz­ing caused whole­sale changes to the land­scape and fos­tered the dam­ag­ing growth of cheat grass — which has fanned wild­fires in the West.

    ...

    And in tan­gen­tial­ly relat­ed (to tan­gen­tial­ly relat­ed) news, the planned clo­sure of the HAARP facil­i­ty in Alas­ka just got delayed for a few weeks... or maybe longer:

    Alas­ka Dis­patch
    HAARP grant­ed last-minute reprieve as Air Force con­sid­ers hand­off
    Der­mot Cole
    June 11, 2014

    The U.S. Air Force said Wednes­day it will give research insti­tu­tions and oth­er agen­cies more time to try to save the $290 mil­lion HAARP research facil­i­ty in Gakona, Alas­ka.

    An Air Force spokesman said the process of clos­ing the High Fre­quen­cy Active Auro­ral Research Pro­gram, which had been slat­ed to begin this week, will be delayed for at least sev­er­al weeks and per­haps longer.

    The agency said it may put off dis­man­tling the site for up to 10 months to allow a trans­fer to anoth­er agency, an option that has been pro­mot­ed by sci­en­tists from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alas­ka and around the world.

    HAARP, backed by the late Sen. Ted Stevens when he wield­ed great pow­er over the defense bud­get, has been used both for basic research of the ionos­phere and for inves­ti­ga­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and satel­lite tech­nol­o­gy.

    “We will pro­ceed with removal of gov­ern­ment prop­er­ty not essen­tial to oper­a­tions and will seek to reduce main­te­nance costs through addi­tion­al stor­age of equip­ment and win­ter­i­za­tion,” Air Force spokesper­son Ed Gulick said. “Air Force lead­er­ship is cur­rent­ly con­sid­er­ing the option of defer­ring the dis­man­tling for up to 10 months to allow time for a poten­tial trans­fer to anoth­er enti­ty.”

    ...

    “Air Force lead­er­ship is cur­rent­ly con­sid­er­ing the option of defer­ring the dis­man­tling for up to 10 months to allow time for a poten­tial trans­fer to anoth­er enti­ty” *gulp* It looks like the ATV Free­dom Brigade might need an upgrade.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 17, 2014, 7:24 pm
  25. It’s always been clear gov­er­nor Paul LeP­age enjoys embrac­ing the crazy, but this is tak­ing it to a whole new lev­el: Main’s gov­er­nor appears to be a rather cozy rela­tion­ship with Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen groups, to the point of spout­ing off about how the sher­iff is the high­est author­i­ty in the land. The gov­er­nor is say­ing this. If the entire GOP was­n’t already flirt­ing with Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen ide­ol­o­gy at this point this sto­ry would be a much big­ger deal as break­ing news. Still, it’s a great metaphor for what’s hap­pened to the GOP:

    TPM Muck­rak­er
    Why Did Maine’s Gov­er­nor Con­spire With ‘Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen’ Extrem­ists?

    Mike Tip­ping – June 30, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    The fol­low­ing is an excerpt from Chap­ter 1 of As Maine Went: Gov­er­nor Paul LeP­age and the Tea Par­ty Takeover of Maine, by Mike Tip­ping.

    At 8 a.m. on Feb­ru­ary 4, 2013, a sig­nal crack­led to life from the WXME radio tow­er in Aroos­t­ook Coun­ty, about a mile and a half from the Cana­di­an bor­der. The broad­cast went out local­ly on the AM band as well as the station’s online stream. The sig­nal was picked up from the Inter­net and rebroad­cast through a net­work of low-pow­er FM repeaters main­tained by vol­un­teers will­ing to skirt the edges of FCC reg­u­la­tions in towns across Maine. Lis­ten­ers tun­ing in that morn­ing were greet­ed first with a med­ley of patri­ot­ic and reli­gious songs and then by the voic­es of Jack McCarthy and Steve Mar­tin, hosts of the Aroos­t­ook Watch­men radio show.

    McCarthy and Mar­tin are two men with a cause. They believe they have access to truths that few oth­ers know or want to hear, pri­mar­i­ly that the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment is ille­git­i­mate and that the shad­owy cabal of elites who con­trol it are prepar­ing for a war on the Amer­i­can peo­ple. The 9/11 attacks, the Boston bomb­ing, most mass shoot­ings, and a wide range of oth­er events gen­er­al­ly attrib­uted to ter­ror­ists and crim­i­nals are actu­al­ly false-flag oper­a­tions per­pe­trat­ed by the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment against its own peo­ple as part of a ramp-up to a final reck­on­ing, accord­ing to the hosts. The Watch­men, who con­sid­er them­selves “Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zens” out­side gov­ern­ment con­trol, feel it’s their respon­si­bil­i­ty to reveal these con­spir­a­cies and to help wrest back con­trol of the coun­try from the usurpers. Their pro­gram is broad­cast six days a week.

    This par­tic­u­lar Mon­day morn­ing, the Watch­men dis­cussed new evi­dence that they said proved the Sandy Hook school shoot­ing was a false-flag oper­a­tion made pos­si­ble through gov­ern­ment mind con­trol. They warned that Jew­ish Sen­a­tors Diane Fein­stein, Chuck Schumer, and Joe Lieber­man were attempt­ing to dis­arm the patri­ots of Amer­i­ca so that they could begin their “holo­caust against America’s Chris­t­ian pop­u­la­tion.” They also had some­thing more local­ly rel­e­vant to talk about: McCarthy’s hour-and-a-half meet­ing, two days ear­li­er, with Maine Gov­er­nor Paul LeP­age.

    The meet­ing with the gov­er­nor had tak­en place two days after McCarthy and a group of fel­low con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists call­ing them­selves the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion held a press con­fer­ence at the State House. They stood behind a podi­um in the Hall of Flags (just out­side LePage’s suite of offices) and announced that the pres­i­dent of the Maine Sen­ate, the speak­er of the Maine House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and Gov­er­nor LeP­age had all vio­lat­ed their oaths and should be removed from office. The group explained that they had sub­mit­ted a set of “remon­strances” to all three gov­ern­ment offi­cials on Jan­u­ary 14 accus­ing them of act­ing unlaw­ful­ly and had received no reply. Under their unique inter­pre­ta­tion of the Maine Con­sti­tu­tion, this meant that all three politi­cians must sur­ren­der their elect­ed offices. The men were there to announce their inten­tion to enforce that judg­ment.

    One of the par­tic­i­pants, Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion leader Wayne Leach, made ref­er­ence to the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion and declared that “hope­ful­ly this remon­strance, which uses words, will be suf­fi­cient. The weapons, I hope, will not be used.”

    Arti­cle 1, Sec­tion 15, of the Maine Con­sti­tu­tion states that “the peo­ple have a right at all times in an order­ly and peace­able man­ner to assem­ble to con­sult upon the com­mon good, to give instruc­tions to their rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and to request, of either depart­ment of the gov­ern­ment by peti­tion or remon­strance, redress of their wrongs and griev­ances.” Most would inter­pret this pas­sage as a gen­er­al guar­an­tee of free­dom of speech and peti­tion, but Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion mem­bers seized upon the lan­guage to mean that they could sub­mit a “remon­strance” in order to “give instruc­tions to their rep­re­sen­ta­tives” that would be bind­ing on all gov­ern­ment office­hold­ers sim­ply through the fact of its sub­mis­sion.

    The remon­strances the group sub­mit­ted to LeP­age and the leg­is­la­ture accused Maine’s gov­ern­ment of being unlaw­ful, of hav­ing ille­gal­ly accept­ed and used uncon­sti­tu­tion­al cur­ren­cy (any­thing oth­er than gold and sil­ver), and of coor­di­nat­ing with UNESCO, UNICEF, NATO, and the UN to deprive Amer­i­cans of their prop­er­ty rights. An e‑mail sent to the governor’s office by Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion spokesper­son Phil Mer­let­ti, along with the remon­strance doc­u­ment, declared that leg­is­la­tors who had vio­lat­ed their oaths in this way were com­mit­ting trea­son and domes­tic ter­ror­ism. He sug­gest­ed that they lis­ten to the Aroos­t­ook Watch­men radio show for more infor­ma­tion.

    The staff at the House and Sen­ate lead­er­ship offices respond­ed to the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coalition’s sub­mis­sions as they do to most cor­re­spon­dence that tilts toward the crankish—they accept­ed the doc­u­ments polite­ly, then filed them away to be ignored. Gov­er­nor LePage’s staff act­ed much the same, just as they had with pre­vi­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tions from mem­bers of the coali­tion.

    LePage’s staff, includ­ing exec­u­tive assis­tant Mic­ki Muller, who reviews the governor’s e‑mails, had pre­vi­ous­ly shunt­ed aside requests from Mer­let­ti to meet with LeP­age regard­ing a bill to reform the Land Use Reg­u­la­to­ry Com­mit­tee, which Mer­let­ti claimed was a plot by rad­i­cal envi­ron­men­tal­ists and “a vicious act against the citizen’s unalien­able [sic] rights of Maine peo­ple.” They sim­i­lar­ly ignored a pro­pos­al from Wayne Leach that the state stop using the ille­git­i­mate U.S. dol­lar and cre­ate its own new cur­ren­cy called “MaineB­ucks.”

    This time, how­ev­er, word of the remon­strances and the press con­fer­ence made it past the exec­u­tive office gate­keep­ers and to the atten­tion of Gov­er­nor LeP­age him­self. Rather than ignor­ing the sub­mis­sion and its rad­i­cal claims, LeP­age called Mer­let­ti at home at 9 a.m. the next morn­ing in order to set up a meet­ing for that Sat­ur­day with mem­bers of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion. Accord­ing to a note that Mer­let­ti sent to his e‑mail list lat­er that day and that was for­ward­ed to LeP­age and mem­bers of his staff, the gov­er­nor was angry that he hadn’t heard about the remon­strances ear­li­er, and dur­ing the call he pledged to fire any staffers found to have been keep­ing the infor­ma­tion from him.

    Lat­er that day, LePage’s direc­tor of con­stituent ser­vices, Patri­cia Con­don, asked the Exec­u­tive Pro­tec­tion Unit of the Maine State Police to run back­ground checks on four mem­bers of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion: Mer­let­ti, McCarthy, Leach, and anoth­er man named Gary Smart.

    As McCarthy lat­er revealed in his con­ver­sa­tion with Mar­tin on the Aroos­t­ook Watch­men radio show, the meet­ing that week­end cov­ered a wide range of top­ics. The mem­bers of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion informed LeP­age that the Unit­ed Nations and the Rock­e­fellers were plot­ting to take over Maine’s North Woods. They dis­cussed the ille­git­i­ma­cy of the U.S. Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion and argued that the state should refuse to accept fed­er­al edu­ca­tion fund­ing. (Accord­ing to McCarthy, the gov­er­nor “hung his head and said you’re right” in response.) They also informed LeP­age that U.S. paper cur­ren­cy is unlaw­ful. (“He was mes­mer­ized by that,” said McCarthy.)

    Dur­ing the meet­ing, the Watch­men pre­sent­ed LeP­age with a copy of the 2012 Maine Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Acad­e­my train­ing man­u­al, which instructs law enforce­ment offi­cers on how to han­dle encoun­ters with mem­bers of the Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen move­ment. The man­u­al states that “the FBI con­sid­ers the Sov­er­eign move­ment one of the nation’s top domes­tic ter­ror­ist threats.” The Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zens in the room took issue with that infor­ma­tion and asked LeP­age to remove it from state law enforce­ment train­ing mate­ri­als.

    The man­u­al is cor­rect in its assess­ment. The same rejec­tion of gov­ern­ment author­i­ty that prompt­ed the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion to file their remon­strances often brings Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zens into con­flict with police and gov­ern­ment offi­cials. Many of the crimes they com­mit based on their beliefs are of the white-col­lar vari­ety, includ­ing bank fraud, fil­ing false liens, mon­ey laun­der­ing, ille­gal firearms sales, tax vio­la­tions and the man­u­fac­ture of false doc­u­ments. When they are con­front­ed over these vio­la­tions by police offi­cers, whom they view as agents of a fraud­u­lent gov­ern­ment, how­ev­er, the sit­u­a­tions some­times esca­late to vio­lence.

    Accord­ing to the Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion, Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen extrem­ists have killed at least six law enforce­ment offi­cers in the Unit­ed States since 2000. In one such inci­dent in 2010, two Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zens were pulled over by local police in Arkansas in a rou­tine traf­fic stop. They pulled out an AK-47, killed the two offi­cers, and fled the scene. They were even­tu­al­ly killed in a Wal­mart park­ing lot after a shootout that injured two more police offi­cers.

    In addi­tion to these more ran­dom acts of vio­lence, some Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zens have also planned sig­nif­i­cant antigov­ern­ment ter­ror­ist attacks. One of the most well-known Sov­er­eigns is Ter­ry Nichols, who helped to plan the bomb­ing of the Alfred P. Mur­rah Fed­er­al Build­ing in down­town Okla­homa City in 1995, killing 168 peo­ple and injur­ing hun­dreds more.

    On one episode of the Aroos­t­ook Watch­men show, McCarthy spoke about hav­ing met and worked with Scha­ef­fer Cox, the founder of the Alas­ka Peace­mak­ers Mili­tia, a Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen group. In Jan­u­ary 2013, Cox was sen­tenced to twen­ty-six years in prison for con­spir­ing to mur­der fed­er­al and state gov­ern­ment offi­cials, includ­ing judges and law enforce­ment agents, and for stock­pil­ing ille­gal weapons and explo­sives.

    This his­to­ry of vio­lence, much of which is detailed in the law enforce­ment man­u­al that was hand­ed to Gov­er­nor LeP­age, casts a trou­bling light on some of the top­ics of con­ver­sa­tion at the State House meet­ing that day, and some of LePage’s respons­es.

    When dis­cussing Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Justin Alfond and House Speak­er Mark Eves, both Democ­rats, McCarthy appar­ent­ly claimed that they were guilty of “high trea­son” and not­ed that the penal­ty for trea­son hadn’t changed in a hun­dred years.

    “I nev­er said it, but the gov­er­nor said it. I nev­er opened my mouth and said the word,” explained McCarthy. “The gov­er­nor looked at us and looked at his bud­dy and said, ‘They’re talk­ing about hang­ing them.’” (The “bud­dy” was appar­ent­ly a mem­ber of LePage’s legal staff.)

    Accord­ing to McCarthy, at anoth­er point in the con­ver­sa­tion, when dis­cussing fed­er­al fund­ing, LeP­age said, “If I go any fur­ther with this bill, with this refusal to accept fed­er­al mon­ey, they will sur­round this build­ing and kill me.”

    “I believe he thinks that lit­er­al­ly, absolute­ly lit­er­al­ly. I said if you call we will come and defend you,” said McCarthy on his show.

    McCarthy’s descrip­tion of LePage’s par­tic­i­pa­tion and remarks might be dis­missed as sim­ply an unfor­tu­nate series of mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions and exag­ger­a­tions of the actions of a gov­er­nor just try­ing to appease some con­stituents and sup­port­ers with­out real­ly under­stand­ing who he was talk­ing to or what he was talk­ing about. The fact that the meet­ing was far from a one-off event makes this less like­ly, how­ev­er. The Watch­men describe—and e‑mails and doc­u­ments obtained from LePage’s staff through Maine’s Free­dom of Access laws confirm—at least eight meet­ings over a peri­od of nine months in 2013, almost all more than an hour in dura­tion and some last­ing almost three hours.

    Dur­ing these reg­u­lar meet­ings, accord­ing to the par­tic­i­pants, the gov­er­nor was “edu­cat­ed” by a series of “experts” brought in by the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion on a num­ber of their con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. LeP­age also made a series of promis­es to the Watch­men that he would assist them in press­ing their cas­es of trea­son against Eves and Alfond and in pur­su­ing their wider antigov­ern­ment aims.

    At the next meet­ing with the gov­er­nor, on Feb­ru­ary 16, the lead “expert” in atten­dance was Michael Coff­man, a con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist, author, and lec­tur­er who believes that the Unit­ed Nations is attempt­ing to seize Amer­i­cans’ pri­vate prop­er­ty and ush­er in an oppres­sive one-world gov­ern­ment through the use of local sus­tain­abil­i­ty ini­tia­tives, smart growth plans, and by push­ing the “myth” of glob­al warm­ing.

    Two days lat­er, a dis­cus­sion was held on the Aroos­t­ook Watch­men show fea­tur­ing Coff­man, McCarthy, Mer­let­ti, Leach, con­ser­v­a­tive activist Roger Ek, and for­mer State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Hen­ry Joy (per­haps best known for sub­mit­ting a bill to allow north­ern Maine to secede from the rest of the state), all of whom attend­ed the meet­ing. Accord­ing to these par­tic­i­pants, top­ics of con­ver­sa­tion with the gov­er­nor includ­ed the com­ing col­lapse of soci­ety, the ille­gal­i­ty of income tax­es, the sale of the Amer­i­can peo­ple as chat­tel to the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund, the buy­ing up of ammo by the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty as part of the government’s prepa­ra­tion for the com­ing war against Amer­i­can cit­i­zens, and the UN’s plan to depop­u­late the entire north­ern tier of Maine.

    “I was very pleased with the gov­er­nor,” said Coff­man. “You know any­body can say any­thing with any kind of accent, but he seemed like he was gen­uine­ly con­cerned and agreed with us on almost every point.”

    This wasn’t the last time that LeP­age and Coff­man col­lab­o­rat­ed. At the meet­ing, LeP­age agreed to attend a talk by Coff­man being held two months lat­er at Lake Region High School in Naples. Accord­ing to an arti­cle in the Bridg­ton News describ­ing the event, the gov­er­nor attend­ed, gave open­ing remarks, and then stood by as Coff­man spoke to the audi­ence not just about his UN con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries but also about a plot he claimed was under­way to force the teach­ing of social­ism in pub­lic schools and his belief that “Barack Obama’s pres­i­den­cy is part of a plan by the Islam­ic Broth­er­hood to turn Amer­i­ca into an Islam­ic con­trolled nation.”

    LeP­age met with the Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen group for a third time in April. As the meet­ing approached, LePage’s staff exchanged e‑mails about who would have to attend along with the gov­er­nor, with none of them seem­ing to want to be in the room. “There is no ques­tion but that it be staffed,” wrote exec­u­tive assis­tant Mic­ki Mullen. LePage’s chief of staff John McGough “pulled rank” and refused. Even­tu­al­ly, LePage’s direc­tor of boards and com­mis­sions, Michael Hersey, agreed to attend, as mem­bers of the legal staff weren’t avail­able.

    Less doc­u­men­ta­tion exists for the con­tents of the April meet­ing (and the Watch­men didn’t dis­cuss it on their show), but it appar­ent­ly focused on the issue of wind pow­er. The Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion mem­bers believe that large-scale wind pow­er devel­op­ment is not just unde­sir­able but part of a con­spir­a­cy to deprive them of their land and free­dom.

    A lit­tle more than a week after the meet­ing, while speak­ing to the Skowhe­gan Cham­ber of Com­merce, LeP­age blast­ed wind pow­er and made a strange claim about one wind tur­bine in par­tic­u­lar:

    “Now, to add insult to injury, The Uni­ver­si­ty of Maine, Presque Isle–anybody here been up there to see that damn wind­mill in the back yard?,” asked LeP­age. “Guess what, if it’s not blow­ing wind out­side and they have some­body vis­it­ing the cam­pus, they have a lit­tle elec­tric motor that turns the blades. I’m seri­ous. They have an elec­tric motor so that they can show peo­ple wind pow­er works. Unbe­liev­able. And that’s the gov­ern­ment that you have here in the state of Maine.”

    The gov­er­nor was lat­er forced to recant his accu­sa­tion after his remarks made nation­al news. He tweet­ed, “It was not my inten­tion to mis­s­peak about UMP­Is wind­mill, but I admit I had mis­in­for­ma­tion.” He did not reveal the source of the false con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry.

    On May 29 the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion mem­bers held a con­fer­ence call with LeP­age and began to make some more spe­cif­ic requests of the gov­er­nor. In a let­ter that Mer­let­ti sent to LeP­age before the meet­ing, the Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen leader assert­ed a con­sti­tu­tion­al right of Main­ers to car­ry con­cealed weapons with­out a per­mit and asked that LeP­age stand up to the “anti-gun fac­tions, sup­port­ed by Social­ist and Com­mu­nist lean­ing defend­ers of the glob­al left,” and bring an emer­gency bill to pre­serve this right. He also asked LeP­age to use the pow­er of his office to “sum­mon Sher­iff Lib­er­ty” (Sher­iff Ran­dall Lib­er­ty serves Ken­nebec Coun­ty, includ­ing Augus­ta, the state cap­i­tal) to hear their com­plaints that the speak­er of the house and pres­i­dent of the sen­ate were com­mit­ting trea­son. (Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zens believe that the only legit­i­mate law enforce­ment offi­cer is an elect­ed sher­iff.) Mer­let­ti warned in his let­ter to LeP­age that if his group con­tin­ued to be ignored by the leg­is­la­ture, “we will be left with the 1776 or 1865 option. In the pur­suit of lib­er­ty there is no extrem­ism.”

    Gov­er­nor LeP­age appar­ent­ly promised to sum­mon the sher­iff, and on July 3 the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion mem­bers and the gov­er­nor met with Lib­er­ty in a board­room in the State House. The sher­iff had the time wrong ini­tial­ly, but after LeP­age called him on his cell phone, he arrived with­in five min­utes.

    “It was a mon­u­men­tal meet­ing. I think that meet­ing will def­i­nite­ly go down in his­to­ry,” said Mer­let­ti two days lat­er on the Aroos­t­ook Watch­men show.

    In the meet­ing, LeP­age asked Lib­er­ty to vis­it Maine Attor­ney Gen­er­al Janet Mills and ask Mills (a Demo­c­rat elect­ed by the leg­is­la­ture) to meet with the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion to recon­sid­er the group’s demands. Wayne Leach had pre­vi­ous­ly been rebuffed when he vis­it­ed the attor­ney general’s office on behalf of the coali­tion and asked them to arrest Speak­er Eves and Pres­i­dent Alfond.

    “The gov­er­nor stepped in at this point in time and he says ‘What you have to under­stand is that these gen­tle­men are telling you that they want you to fol­low through on this because this is a con­sti­tu­tion­al issue that they vio­lat­ed not only one time but three times,’” explained Mer­let­ti on the show. “That just put me back in my chair that the gov­er­nor would say such a thing.”

    In that meet­ing, the par­tic­i­pants also again dis­cussed the Maine Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Academy’s Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen cur­ricu­lum, and they asked about the role of the gov­er­nor and the sher­iff in the event of an attempt by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, through the Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, to insti­tute mar­tial law and bring in Russ­ian troops to invade the state.

    “They’re going to have to get by me first,” replied LeP­age, accord­ing to Mer­let­ti.

    In an inter­view, Sher­iff Lib­er­ty con­firmed the tim­ing and top­ics of dis­cus­sion of the meet­ing and said he attempt­ed to steer the con­ver­sa­tion away from “that con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry stuff” as much as pos­si­ble. Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, he com­plied with the governor’s request and vis­it­ed the offices of the attor­ney gen­er­al and coun­ty dis­trict attor­ney to ask them to hear the Con­sti­tu­tion­al­ists’ case.

    LeP­age would lat­er echo some of the Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zens’ rhetoric about sher­iffs when he stood next to the Cob­scook Bay State Park boat launch on Octo­ber 17 and declared that he wouldn’t allow the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to close the launch as part of the gov­ern­ment shut­down (which had actu­al­ly already end­ed eight hours ear­li­er).

    “The sher­iff is the chief law enforce­ment offi­cer in the state of Maine and I will autho­rize him to keep this place open,” said LeP­age.

    At the time, the remark puz­zled polit­i­cal observers. Those with­out a back­ground in Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries brushed it off as a sim­ple mis­state­ment by LeP­age.

    On August 7, the mem­bers of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Coali­tion held yet anoth­er meet­ing with Gov­er­nor LeP­age, this time to share new infor­ma­tion about their attempts to pros­e­cute Eves and Alfond. They also brought in Lise McLain, a fel­low Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen who had done some of the research that informed the movement’s the­o­ries about the ille­git­i­ma­cy of the gov­ern­ment and the courts.

    Despite Sher­iff Liberty’s inter­ces­sion, the group’s attempts to prod the attor­ney gen­er­al into action had failed. They told the gov­er­nor that their next plan was to open up a com­mon-law court in order to try the two men. The state courts that cur­rent­ly exist­ed were fraud­u­lent, accord­ing to the Watch­men, because they prac­ticed “admi­ral­ty law.” This decep­tion was revealed, they claimed, by the fact that the flags in the court­rooms had a gold fringe.

    They also informed the gov­er­nor of their recent meet­ing with the head of his administration’s risk man­age­ment depart­ment, whom they had asked to rescind the state insur­ance poli­cies cov­er­ing the house speak­er and sen­ate pres­i­dent.

    ...

    What a great metaphor.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 30, 2014, 8:58 am
  26. “You see an ille­gal. You point your gun dead at him, right between his eyes, and you say, ‘Get back across the bor­der or you will be shot,’”. This state­ment by one of the mili­tia lead­ers plan­ning on ‘sup­ple­ment­ing’ the US bor­der patrol was appar­ent­ly tak­en out of con­text:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post
    Texas ‘mili­tia’ says it’s head­ing out to help ‘secure’ bor­der
    By Lind­sey Bev­er July 8

    The immi­gra­tion sit­u­a­tion is already messy. Now an armed Texas mili­tia is plan­ning to make a move for the U.S.-Mexico bor­der, accord­ing to news reports.

    Mem­bers said the goal is not to inter­fere with law enforce­ment but to help secure the bor­der and slow the surge of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants ille­gal­ly enter­ing the coun­try.

    The group, called Oper­a­tion Secure Our Bor­der-Lare­do, was iden­ti­fied to the San Anto­nio Express-News as “Patri­ots,” “Oath­keep­ers” and “Three Per­centers,” a ref­er­ence to the 3 per­cent of colonists who took up arms against Eng­land dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War. Orga­niz­ers are using social media and a 24-hour hot­line to recruit and mobi­lize armed vol­un­teers to send to Lare­do, Tex., with­in the com­ing weeks.

    It’s uncer­tain how many peo­ple belong to the group or how many might actu­al­ly show up.

    “We’re here to sup­ple­ment and be where law enforce­ment is not and help them sup­port the bor­der,” Chris Davis, the 37-year-old list­ed leader, told the Los Ange­les Times. “There’s noth­ing mali­cious, there’s no mali­cious intent — every per­son is vet­ted. We’re just here to serve free­dom, lib­er­ty and nation­al sov­er­eign­ty.” Davis said once the group has enough man­pow­er, it will do its duty in a “legal and law­ful man­ner.”

    It’s quite a dif­fer­ent tac­tic than the one Davis announced via a YouTube video in which he alleged­ly said: “You see an ille­gal. You point your gun dead at him, right between his eyes, and you say, ‘Get back across the bor­der or you will be shot,’” the McAllen Mon­i­tor report­ed last week. Davis told the Express-News he removed the video after it was tak­en out of con­text “by a news­pa­per that sup­ports amnesty.”

    Thou­sands of migrants, includ­ing large num­bers of chil­dren, have been cross­ing into the U.S. on a reg­u­lar basis since the fall, flee­ing vio­lence in Cen­tral Amer­i­ca.

    The sit­u­a­tion Pres­i­dent Oba­ma called a human­i­tar­i­an cri­sis has moved many law­mak­ers, law enforce­ment and local res­i­dents to come up with their own solu­tions.

    Last week, hun­dreds of Cal­i­for­nia pro­test­ers took mat­ters into their own hands, form­ing a human block­ade and shut­ting down access to a Bor­der Patrol sta­tion near Mur­ri­eta as agents were try­ing to trans­port three bus­loads of immi­grant chil­dren and fam­i­lies. The protests tran­spired after Mur­ri­eta May­or Alan Long urged locals to fight immi­gra­tion trans­fers. The bus­es were forced to reroute to San Diego.

    On Mon­day, Los Ange­les May­or Eric Garcetti said Los Ange­les Police will no longer hold immi­grants for pos­si­ble depor­ta­tion with­out either a court order or an arrest war­rant.

    “The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is in charge of enforc­ing fed­er­al immi­gra­tion laws — not us at the local lev­el,” he said. “That respon­si­bil­i­ty can’t be forced onto local law enforce­ment offi­cials who already have stretched bud­gets.”

    The sit­u­a­tion has some South­ern law­mak­ers — from both par­ties — ner­vous.

    ...

    Beyond all of the ques­tions of the “OMG, how are we going to avoid anoth­er Bundy Ranch standoff?”-variety, one of the ques­tions raised by the lat­est move is who is going to pro­tect the Bundy Ranch now that his impromp­tu mili­tia is going to be bat­tling women and chil­dren in Texas? Aren’t the Feds going to seize on this oppor­tu­ni­ty to strike at the last tru­ly free ranch­er left in Neva­da?

    Oh that’s right, it’s not the Feds threat­en­ing Bundy now. It’s the coun­ty sher­iff, the one author­i­ty even Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zens rec­og­nize. And it’s not just Bundy being threat­en by the Sher­iff but the mili­tias involved too. Uh oh!

    West­ern Jour­nal­ism
    Cliv­en Bundy Is Now Fac­ing A New Threat
    “...there are con­se­quences to those actions.”

    B. Christo­pher Agee — July 7, 2014

    Months after a tense stand­off between Bureau of Land Man­age­ment offi­cers and sup­port­ers of Cliv­en Bundy, the Neva­da ranch­er is now in the crosshairs of not only fed­er­al author­i­ties, but local law enforce­ment.

    Cit­ing Bundy’s allowance of pro­test­ers onto his ranch as armed BLM agents used force to attempt to dri­ve him from the fed­er­al­ly owned prop­er­ty his fam­i­ly has used for gen­er­a­tions, Clark Coun­ty Sher­iff Doug Gille­spie made it clear he wants to see the elder­ly ranch­er pay.

    “If you step over that line,” he said in an inter­view with the Las Vegas Review-Jour­nal, “there are con­se­quences to those actions.”

    He went on to con­tend that the demon­stra­tors – many of whom belonged to state mili­tias – “stepped over that line” and “need to be held account­able for it.”

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 9, 2014, 11:37 am
  27. What’s wrong with this pic­ture? Too easy?

    The Dai­ly Ban­ter
    Min­ute­man Mili­tia Plan­ning “Oper­a­tion Nor­mandy” to Deploy 3,500 Men to Stop Bor­der “Inva­sion”
    Bob Cesca on July 23, 2014

    It’s becom­ing increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult to keep track of the far-right’s bel­li­cos­i­ty in the face of refugee chil­dren enter­ing the Unit­ed States. Not a day goes by with­out Sean Han­ni­ty, Gov. Rick Per­ry (R‑TX), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R‑TX), Bill O’Reilly or var­i­ous screech­ing mobs com­posed of towns­peo­ple from The Simp­sons bran­dish­ing torch­es, pitch­forks and AR-15s in reac­tion to the over-hyped immi­gra­tion issue. Speak­ing of Gohmert, this week he sug­gest­ed that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is allow­ing women to be raped by “ille­gal aliens.”

    And they’ve com­mit­ted at least 7,695 sex­u­al assaults. You want to talk about a war on women? This admin­is­tra­tion will not defend the women of Amer­i­ca from crim­i­nal aliens! By the thou­sands, and hun­dreds of thou­sands! Well, we know thou­sands, and we know peo­ple are com­ing in by the hun­dreds of thou­sands ille­gal­ly. And this admin­is­tra­tion wants to talk about oth­er peo­ple hav­ing a war on women when they will not defend the women that are being sex­u­al­ly assault­ed by ille­gal aliens in this coun­try!

    Maybe Gohmert got his facts mixed up (shock­er!) because the lat­est reports from the South­ern bor­der indi­cate that migrant women and chil­dren are the ones who are being sex­u­al­ly assault­ed inside the U.S. An alleged 116 cas­es of sex­u­al assault against chil­dren, some as young as five-years-old, by U.S. bor­der patrol agents have been report­ed in recent weeks. One study indi­cat­ed that near­ly half of all female migrant work­ers are sex­u­al­ly assault­ed or abused while work­ing at farms across the Mid­west.

    Despite the real­i­ty of what’s real­ly hap­pen­ing along the bor­der, the saber-rat­tling con­tin­ues in the face of the infant horde. Yes­ter­day, the infa­mous Min­ute­man mili­tia announced that it’s rais­ing an army that will include 3,500 vol­un­teers to “stop an inva­sion” and to secure the U.S.-Mexico bor­der. The militia’s co-founder, Jim Gilchrist, appears to be tak­ing his tone-deaf cues from Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krautham­mer who sug­gest­ed the con­struc­tion of anoth­er Berlin Wall. It turns out the Min­ute­man Project’s wartime cos­play event is called “Oper­a­tion Nor­mandy.” From the offi­cial Oper­a­tion Nor­mandy web­site:

    If you are famil­iar with the Nor­mandy inva­sion of France in 1944, then you have an idea how large and logis­ti­cal­ly com­pli­cat­ed this event will be. How­ev­er, there is one dif­fer­ence. We are not going to the bor­der to invade any­one. We are going there to stop an inva­sion.

    Yes, Nor­mandy. The oper­a­tion was delib­er­ate­ly named after Nor­mandy Beach, cir­ca June 6, 1944, when Allied Forces invad­ed Nazi-con­trolled Europe. What’s wrong with this pic­ture? It was the U.S., U.K. and the Allies who invad­ed at Nor­mandy on D‑Day, and the Nazis were the defend­ers against the inva­sion. That means the Min­ute­man gang has inad­ver­tent­ly (I hope) cast them­selves in the role of the Nazis, with refugee chil­dren as the Allies. The Min­ute­man Project is even call­ing the date of the deploy­ment “D‑Day” — in this case, May 1, 2015.

    The only way they could make it worse for them­selves is if Gilchrist insist­ed upon being nick­named Gen­er­alfeld­marschall Gerd von Rund­st­edt.

    ...

    How long will this last, by the way? The web­site doesn’t say. If it’s only a day or a week, what hap­pens after that? The web­site doesn’t say any­thing about that either. It also doesn’t men­tion any­thing about rein­force­ments to main­tain a fresh sup­ply of mili­tia mem­bers to fight off the, you know, lit­tle girls.

    And final­ly, I sup­pose we can rest assured know­ing that this reen­act­ment of Nor­mandy will be law­ful­ly con­duct­ed. The web­site notes in all-caps: “WHATEVER YOU DO, STAY WITHIN THE RULE OF LAW.” Well, fine, in that case, all good. Seri­ous­ly, what part of the law per­mits heav­i­ly armed civil­ians to mil­i­tar­i­ly deploy along a 2,000 mile front with high-pow­ered rifles (and lord knows what else) aimed at fam­i­lies and chil­dren? No one ever gave the Min­ute­man Project per­mis­sion to aug­ment the bor­der patrol. Speak­ing of per­mis­sion, do they intend to tres­pass on the pri­vate prop­er­ty owned by U.S. cit­i­zens who live on the bor­der? Unknown.

    If I had to wager on “Oper­a­tion Nor­mandy” (barf), I’d put my mon­ey on it nev­er hap­pen­ing. Immi­gra­tion is sure­ly an impor­tant issue, but it’s only receiv­ing this kind of bel­liger­ent atten­tion right now because Fox News shift­ed away from Beng­hazi into this overblown “inva­sion” news cycle. It’s impos­si­ble to know what they’ll be flail­ing about in May of next year. This sort of event will require plen­ty of cov­er­age from the noise machine in order to super­charge the big­otry cor­tex­es of the mili­tia loy­al­ists enough to moti­vate 3,500 of them to take time off work, pack up their guns, cool­ers and red Solo cups, and trav­el all the way to Texas, Ari­zona, New Mex­i­co and Cal­i­for­nia for I‑don’t‑know-how-long. Some­thing of this scale doesn’t hap­pen with­out media hype, and there’s a fair chance “Oper­a­tion Nor­mandy” won’t get it.

    Any­way, Jesus, they cast them­selves as the Nazis. That’s all we need to know about the seri­ous­ness of the thing.

    So Bob does­n’t think Fox is going to get excit­ed about “Oper­a­tion Nor­mandy”. Awww. There’s goes anoth­er teach­able moment, although it’s prob­a­bly for the best.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 23, 2014, 10:28 am
  28. Here’s a reminder that armed mili­tias on the look­out for refugee women and chil­dren are still patrolling the Texas bor­der:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press
    Bor­der Patrol Agent Fires at Armed Mili­tia Mem­ber

    Sat­ur­day, Aug 30, 2014 • Updat­ed at 12:59 PM CDT

    A Bor­der Patrol agent pur­su­ing a group of immi­grants in a wood­ed area near the Texas-Mex­i­co bor­der on Fri­day fired sev­er­al shots at an armed man who lat­er iden­ti­fied him­self as a mili­tia mem­ber.

    Bor­der Patrol spokesman Omar Zamo­ra said agents had been chas­ing a group of immi­grants east of Brownsville Fri­day after­noon when an agent saw a man hold­ing a gun near the Rio Grande.

    The agent fired four shots, but did not hit the man. The man then dropped his gun and iden­ti­fied him­self as a mem­ber of a mili­tia. Zamo­ra said no oth­er details were imme­di­ate­ly avail­able.

    Cameron Coun­ty Sher­iff Omar Lucio, whose agency is involved in the inves­ti­ga­tion, said the inci­dent occurred on pri­vate prop­er­ty and it appeared the man had per­mis­sion to be there. He was not arrest­ed, Lucio said.

    The man, whose name has not been released, was wear­ing cam­ou­flage and car­ry­ing a long arm that was either a rifle or shot­gun, Lucio said. The agent had lost the group of immi­grants when he turned around and saw the man hold­ing the weapon.

    An unknown num­ber of mili­tia mem­bers have come to the Texas bor­der fol­low­ing a surge in ille­gal immi­gra­tion this sum­mer.

    But Lucio said, “We real­ly don’t need the mili­tia here.” He rec­og­nized they have the right to car­ry weapons, but not­ed that with the Bor­der Patrol, Texas Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safe­ty and local law enforce­ment, there are enough agen­cies work­ing to secure the bor­der. Gov. Rick Per­ry also called as many as 1,000 Nation­al Guard mem­bers to the bor­der.

    “It just cre­ates a prob­lem from my point of view, because we don’t know who they are,” Lucio said.

    This month, the Bor­der Patrol warned its agents about mili­tia mem­bers after sev­en of them dressed in cam­ou­flage and car­ry­ing rifles appeared out of the dark and began help­ing to appre­hend immi­grants around a canal near Mis­sion. The agents ini­tial­ly mis­took them for a Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safe­ty tac­ti­cal team.

    In oth­er news...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 30, 2014, 7:13 pm
  29. @Pterrafractyl
    Also speak­ing of the bor­der, the orga­ni­za­tion Judi­cial Watch has put out the fol­low­ing alert regard­ing Isis in Ciu­dad Juarez, Mex­i­co along side the Texas City of El Paso. I can’t tell you how much I hope this report is wrong, but would also wor­ry about mili­tia ele­ments in cahoots with Isis, sim­i­lar to what Spitfielist.com has pre­sent­ed poten­tial­ly on Okla­homa City, on a Sep­tem­ber 11th, sick com­mem­o­ra­tion. Let’s hope this thought is hog wash. Any­way sin­cere thanks for your volu­mi­nous efforts to awak­en and alert.

    “Ft. Bliss Increas­es Secu­ri­ty

    AUGUST 29, 2014

    UPDATED: 08/31/2014 at 4:45 PM ET Islam­ic ter­ror­ist groups are oper­at­ing in the Mex­i­can bor­der city of Ciu­dad Juarez and plan­ning to attack the Unit­ed States with car bombs or oth­er vehi­cle born impro­vised explo­sive devices (VBIED). High-lev­el fed­er­al law enforce­ment, intel­li­gence and oth­er sources have con­firmed to Judi­cial Watch that a warn­ing bul­letin for an immi­nent ter­ror­ist attack on the bor­der has been issued. Agents across a num­ber of Home­land Secu­ri­ty, Jus­tice and Defense agen­cies have all been placed on alert and instruct­ed to aggres­sive­ly work all pos­si­ble leads and sources con­cern­ing this immi­nent ter­ror­ist threat. Specif­i­cal­ly, the gov­ern­ment sources reveal that the mil­i­tant group Islam­ic State of Iraq and Greater Syr­ia (ISIS) is con­firmed to now be oper­at­ing in Juarez, a famous­ly crime-infest­ed nar­cotics hotbed sit­u­at­ed across from El Paso, Texas. Vio­lent crimes are so ram­pant in Juarez that the U.S. State Depart­ment has issued a num­ber of trav­el warn­ings for any­one plan­ning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago. Intel­li­gence offi­cials have picked up radio talk and chat­ter indi­cat­ing that the ter­ror­ist groups are going to “car­ry out an attack on the bor­der,” accord­ing to one JW source. “It’s com­ing very soon,” accord­ing to anoth­er high-lev­el source, who clear­ly iden­ti­fied the groups plan­ning the plots as “ISIS and Al Qae­da.” An attack is so immi­nent that the com­mand­ing gen­er­al at Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, is being briefed, JW’s sources say. The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty (DHS) did not respond to mul­ti­ple inquiries from Judi­cial Watch, both tele­phon­ic and in writ­ing, about this infor­ma­tion. But two days after JW pub­lished this report Ft. Bliss imple­ment­ed increased secu­ri­ty mea­sures. The state­ment that went out to the media attrib­ut­es the move to sev­er­al recent secu­ri­ty assess­ments and the con­stant con­cern for the safe­ty of mil­i­tary mem­bers, fam­i­lies, employ­ees and civil­ians. How­ev­er, El Paso’s news­pa­per cred­it­ed JW’s Fri­day piece about ISIS ter­ror­ists plan­ning an attack on U.S. soil from Juarez as a pos­si­ble fac­tor. The dis­turb­ing inside intel­li­gence comes on the heels of news reports reveal­ing that U.S. intel­li­gence has picked up increased chat­ter among Islamist ter­ror net­works approach­ing the 13th anniver­sary of the 9/11 attacks. While these ter­ror­ists report­ed­ly plan their attack just out­side the U.S., Pres­i­dent Oba­ma admits that “we don’t have a strat­e­gy yet” to com­bat ISIS. “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” the com­man­der-in-chief said this week dur­ing a White House press brief­ing. “I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports sug­gest that folks are get­ting a lit­tle fur­ther ahead of what we’re at than what we cur­rent­ly are.” The admin­is­tra­tion has also cov­ered up, or at the very least down­played, a seri­ous epi­dem­ic of crime along the Mex­i­can bor­der even as heav­i­ly armed drug car­tels have tak­en over por­tions of the region. Judi­cial Watch has report­ed that the U.S. Bor­der Patrol actu­al­ly ordered offi­cers to avoid the most crime-infest­ed stretch­es because they’re “too dan­ger­ous” and patrolling them could result in an “inter­na­tion­al inci­dent” of cross bor­der shoot­ing. In the mean­time, who could for­get the famous words of Obama’s first Home­land Secu­ri­ty Sec­re­tary, Janet Napoli­tano; the south­ern bor­der is “as secure as it has ever been.”

    These new rev­e­la­tions are bound to impact the cur­rent debate about the bor­der cri­sis and immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy”

    http://www.judicialwatch.org/bulletins/imminent-terrorist-attack-warning-feds-us-border/

    Posted by GK | September 1, 2014, 7:51 am
  30. @GK: DHS refut­ed Judi­cial Watch’s reports of ISIS mem­bers in Juarez so let’s hope that’s the case.

    In relat­ed news, here’s a recent sto­ry that high­lights both the fact that the lat­est bout of bor­der-patrol vig­i­lante fever isn’t just fes­ter­ing in Texas:

    Nogales Inter­na­tion­al
    Bor­der mili­tia con­fronts bat researchers

    Post­ed: Tues­day, Sep­tem­ber 2, 2014 7:26 am

    By Jonathan Clark

    A group of heav­i­ly armed mili­ti­a­men con­front­ed a team of sci­en­tists who had been study­ing bats in a cave near Sonoi­ta last week, appar­ent­ly mis­tak­ing them for ille­gal bor­der-crossers or drug-smug­glers.

    No one was hurt dur­ing the late-night encounter in the Gard­ner Canyon area, but the inci­dent high­lights the poten­tial for trou­ble when cit­i­zens take up arms in hopes of defend­ing the U.S.-Mexico bor­der.

    U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion “does not endorse or sup­port any pri­vate group or orga­ni­za­tion to take bor­der secu­ri­ty mat­ters into their own hands as it could have dis­as­trous per­son­al and pub­lic safe­ty con­se­quences” the agency said in a state­ment.

    The con­fronta­tion near Sonoi­ta began at approx­i­mate­ly 11 p.m. on Aug. 23, accord­ing to a report giv­en by one of the sci­en­tists to a San­ta Cruz Coun­ty Sheriff’s deputy. The team of three researchers had been count­ing bats in Onyx Cave, and as they began walk­ing back to their camp­site near Gard­ner Canyon Road, they were flashed with a spot­light by a group of men.

    The men report­ed­ly began shout­ing at the sci­en­tists in Span­ish, and iden­ti­fied them­selves as a mili­tia group pro­tect­ing the U.S.-Mexico bor­der. The sci­en­tists iden­ti­fied them­selves and con­tin­ued to walk to their camp­site “while seek­ing cov­er,” accord­ing to the deputy’s report.

    When they arrived at their camp­site, they were again approached by the mili­ti­a­men, who pulled up on an ATV while car­ry­ing a shot­gun and wear­ing cam­ou­flage cloth­ing. This time the mili­ti­a­men were apolo­getic, but the report­ing sci­en­tist told the deputy he still cursed them out and let them know how they had made him and his col­leagues feel.

    The researchers said they weren’t direct­ly threat­ened by the mili­ti­a­men and did not see any weapons point­ed at them. Still, the report­ing per­son described the encounter as “aggres­sive” and said he was con­cerned for the safe­ty of oth­er peo­ple who were camp­ing in the area. He said he saw three mili­tia mem­bers, but sus­pect­ed there were more.

    The report was made the after­noon after the encounter, and the deputy took no addi­tion­al action on the mat­ter. “Bor­der Patrol had already dealt with the sit­u­a­tion,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Raoul Rodriguez.

    Bor­der Patrol agents from the Sonoi­ta Sta­tion had arrived at the sci­en­tists’ camp­site dur­ing the inci­dent after hav­ing been con­tact­ed by the mili­tia group. An agent con­tact­ed lat­er by the inves­ti­gat­ing deputy report­ed­ly described the mili­ti­a­men as “heav­i­ly armed,” even more so than the agent.

    Nei­ther the Bor­der Patrol nor Sheriff’s Office could pro­vide details about the mili­ti­a­men, oth­er than that they claimed to be from Col­orado.

    In a brief state­ment from the Bor­der Patrol’s Tuc­son Sec­tor, the agency said it received a phone call from a mem­ber of a mili­tia group report­ing sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty near Sonoi­ta at about 10 p.m. on Aug. 23.

    “Sonoi­ta sta­tion agents respond­ed and encoun­tered a small group of biol­o­gists study­ing bats,” it said.

    Life-chang­er

    The inci­dent at Gard­ner Canyon comes amid a recent surge in mili­tia activ­i­ty along the U.S.-Mexico bor­der in response to the recent influx of undoc­u­ment­ed Cen­tral Amer­i­can migrants, many of them minors. And while much of the mili­tia activ­i­ty has focused on Texas, some groups have come to Ari­zona.

    One mili­tia group led by for­mer Gilber­ton, Pa. Police Chief Mark Kessler arrived in San­ta Cruz Coun­ty ear­li­er this sum­mer, Rodriguez said.

    Kessler was fired by the Gilber­ton bor­ough coun­cil last Sep­tem­ber after post­ing exple­tive-filled YouTube videos of him­self fir­ing auto­mat­ic weapons while rail­ing against “lib­tards” and per­ceived ene­mies of gun rights, includ­ing Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry. He then announced he was form­ing a mili­tia, III Per­cent Penn­syl­va­nia, and began draw­ing up plans ear­li­er this sum­mer to patrol the Ari­zona-Mex­i­co bor­der.

    “Bring your gear, armor, hel­mets, first aid kits, MRE’s or canned food along with a lot of bot­tled water, but most impor­tant your ‘rifle, side arm’ & ammo!” Kessler wrote in a June 28 Face­book post to poten­tial par­tic­i­pants.

    In a sub­se­quent post on July 7, Kessler announced plans to depart July 19 “with a few friends” who were “going to patrol car­tel mule paths that lead into Ari­zona, lead­ing a small team to recon the area and set up.” The group was “expect­ing to make con­tact and be engaged by heav­i­ly armed car­tel escorts truck­ing dope into Ari­zona,” he wrote.

    Kessler and his team of 10–15 peo­ple lat­er gath­ered at a hotel in Sier­ra Vista and ven­tured into San­ta Cruz Coun­ty, Rodriguez said, where they did not cause any doc­u­ment­ed trou­ble.

    “I think they stayed a day or two, and then they left,” Rodriguez said, adding that the group was last seen head­ing for Texas.

    For Kessler, the trip to the bor­der was “absolute­ly a life chang­ing exspe­ri­ance! (sic)” he wrote in a July 25 Face­book post.

    “Learned a lot about how our bor­der patrol pro­tects our south­ern bor­ders and that not every­one on the oth­er side wants to jump the fence! They are per­fect­ly hap­py liv­ing in their coun­try! And not every­one is work­ing for car­tels! Not even the Mex­i­can mil­i­tary,” he wrote, adding: “I’m sure their (sic) are small pock­ets of mil­i­tary units assisting/working with car­tels but not every sin­gle unit as it was por­trayed to me and the crew with me!

    I can say we were expect­ing to be attacked by heav­i­ly armed car­tels and we drove 2500 miles to respond for assis­tance, will­ing to risk life and limb, not know­ing what we were walk­ing into, armed for an all out bat­tle with drug smug­glers,” Kessler wrote, adding: “thank god that didn’t hap­pen.”

    ...

    As Mark Kessler described above, his mili­tia was “expect­ing to be attacked by heav­i­ly armed car­tels” and “armed for an all out bat­tle with drug smug­glers” and he seemed quite sur­prised not to have run into any so far. In addi­tion to being just gen­er­al­ly alarm­ing, state­ments like that also raise ques­tions about the finances the mili­tias and how long they can oper­ate for before they’re forced into finan­cial retreat. Because if the funds start run­ning low and the mili­tias haven’t yet quenched their thirst for patrolling the desert, groups seek­ing to do bat­tle with heav­i­ly armed car­tels (that might be car­ry­ing some very valu­able car­go) might also become a lit­tle trig­ger-hap­py, mak­ing an already bad sit­u­a­tion much worse.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 4, 2014, 10:02 pm
  31. Here’s a reminder that the Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zens phe­nom­e­non isn’t lim­it­ed to the US:

    The Sat­ur­day Paper
    Freemen move­ment tar­gets Indige­nous Aus­tralia

    “Sov­er­eign cit­i­zens” are advis­ing Indige­nous Aus­tralians to oper­ate out­side the laws of the land.
    Ramon Glazov
    Sep 6, 2014

    Like all suc­cess­ful con­spir­a­cy sub­cul­tures, “sov­er­eign cit­i­zens” or “Freemen on the Land” nev­er stuck to one demo­graph­ic for long. Indeed, in recent years the move­ment has reached Aus­tralia. The ear­li­est freemen, how­ev­er, were Amer­i­can and far-right. From 1969 onwards, a loose net­work of white suprema­cist “Posse Comi­ta­tus” mili­tias appeared in the US, reject­ing every legal author­i­ty high­er than the coun­ty sher­iff as “uncon­sti­tu­tion­al”. As an alter­na­tive, they pro­mot­ed a pure “com­mon law” sys­tem where town­ship rul­ings would be enforced with pub­lic lynch­ings.

    Freemen believed all gov­ern­ment acts to be option­al and only enforce­able on indi­vid­u­als who con­sent­ed to them. As long as they did not acknowl­edge statu­to­ry law or the judi­cia­ry, sov­er­eign cit­i­zens claimed they were exempt from pros­e­cu­tion – as well as from tax­a­tion, debt and road rules. In courts, they sub­mit­ted ram­bling dec­la­ra­tions con­tain­ing pri­vate her­aldry, wax seals, odd­ly coloured text and sig­na­tures jot­ted in blood or unusu­al inks. Writ­ten statutes, they argued, were actu­al­ly tyran­ni­cal “admi­ral­ty laws”, nev­er meant for dry land.

    Today, the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­tre esti­mates there are 500,000 sov­er­eign cit­i­zens of var­i­ous per­sua­sions active in the US. The FBI blames the move­ment for crimes rang­ing from fraud and tax eva­sion to assault, mur­der and ter­ror­ism. In July, the Nation­al Con­sor­tium for the Study of Ter­ror­ism and Respons­es to Ter­ror­ism (START) pub­lished a sur­vey of US law enforce­ment offi­cers from 175 agen­cies who now rat­ed “sov­er­eign cit­i­zens” as their top domes­tic ter­ror threat – ahead of “Islam­ic extremists/jihadists”, “militia/patriot” groups and “racist skin­heads”.

    Since the glob­al finan­cial cri­sis, sov­er­eign cit­i­zen the­o­ries have found fol­low­ings out­side the US. In May 2013, The Irish Times report­ed that more than 100 Freemen court cas­es had been heard through­out Ire­land in that year alone. Many involved fore­clo­sure vic­tims try­ing to escape under­wa­ter mort­gages. Unusu­al­ly, non-Amer­i­can Freemen revere the US-cen­tric Black’s Law Dic­tio­nary, min­ing it for obscure Latin phras­es scarce­ly used in mod­ern court­rooms. Even the Posse Comi­ta­tus admi­ral­ty law belief has sur­vived and adapt­ed. A Cana­di­an Free­man argued that the mot­to on Canada’s coat of arms – A Mari usque ad Mare, or “From Sea to Sea” – proved he was in an admi­ral­ty court.

    In Aus­tralia, a bur­geon­ing fac­tion of Freemen is tar­get­ing Indige­nous audi­ences. A taste of the sub­cul­ture can be gleaned online, in groups such as the Trib­al Sov­er­eign Par­lia­ment of Gond­wana Land, the Orig­i­nal Sov­er­eign Trib­al Fed­er­a­tion (OSTF) and the Orig­i­nal Sov­er­eign Con­fed­er­a­tion. The last of these repeats the now-famil­iar admi­ral­ty law myth on its Face­book page and urges mem­bers to car­ry an “Affi­davit of Truth” out­lin­ing “their desired rela­tion­ship with the colony known as Aus­tralia”. Anoth­er Face­book page – Vote ‘NO’ to Con­sti­tu­tion­al Change – claims that con­sti­tu­tion­al recog­ni­tion of Abo­rig­i­nal Aus­tralians is a trick to “sur­ren­der sov­er­eign­ty”. Every­thing, it alleges, is a Tro­jan Horse. The Recog­nise campaign’s “R” logo real­ly stands for the Crown, as in “R v Defen­dant”. Wel­come to Coun­try cer­e­monies aren’t mere­ly fig­u­ra­tive but form “the only legal foot­ing the Gov­ern­ment have [sic] for so called Juris­dic­tion”. Native Title secret­ly means “Slave’s Title”, while a “tra­di­tion­al own­er” is some­one who has giv­en up their prop­er­ty, at least in ten­u­ous Latin cher­ryp­icked from Black’s Law Dic­tio­nary.

    The most quot­ed and influ­en­tial Abo­rig­i­nal Free­man guru is OSTF founder and trav­el­ling speak­er Mark McMur­trie. McMurtrie’s begin­nings weren’t in law or land-rights activism but pan­el beat­ing. In 2002, he sued the Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Islander Com­mis­sion for $33 mil­lion in dam­ages after los­ing out on a busi­ness grant worth $35,000. His four-year suit was unsuc­cess­ful. In 2007, he sued a for­mer friend over mon­ey and prop­er­ty, los­ing again.

    The fol­low­ing year, how­ev­er, McMur­trie was shown on YouTube giv­ing three-hour “com­mon law” sem­i­nars. He par­rot­ed Freemen beliefs that names in cap­i­tals on birth cer­tifi­cates and pow­er bills belonged to a fic­tion­al “cor­po­rate per­son” and not the “flesh-and-blood” nat­ur­al per­son. Some of McMurtrie’s lan­guage was still broad­ly pop­ulist – “We the Aus­tralian peo­ple…” instead of “We the orig­i­nal sov­er­eigns…” – and many of his ear­ly Free­man admir­ers were non-Indige­nous. Among them was “Peter-Andrew: Nolan©,” a men’s rights activist who encour­ages men to fight rape charges with sov­er­eign cit­i­zen tac­tics and bans women from repro­duc­ing his name with­out writ­ten per­mis­sion in red ink. On his web­site Crimes Against Fathers, Nolan ranks McMur­trie among the “Great Aus­tralian Heros [sic]”.

    After found­ing the OSTF, McMur­trie remained close to non-Abo­rig­i­nal Freemen. In 2011 he joined forces with David Wynn Miller, an Amer­i­can guru claim­ing to teach “seman­tic” tech­niques for win­ning court cas­es, most­ly involv­ing quirky punc­tu­a­tion. The two unsuc­cess­ful­ly defend­ed a client, Dr Masood Fala­ma­ki, in the Land and Envi­ron­ment Court of New South Wales. At one point Miller argued that a court doc­u­ment count­ed as a “mar­itime ves­sel”, explain­ing, “All paper is a ves­sel in a sea of space and there­fore it has to fly a ves­sel”. McMur­trie backed Miller, telling The Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald: “As a sov­er­eign trib­al man of this con­ti­nent, I view his ram­blings as rel­e­vant to my peo­ple.” His OSTF is cur­rent­ly part­nered with a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen out­fit called the Truthol­o­gy Foun­da­tion, which holds year­ly “free­dom sum­mits”. These fea­ture talks by Truthology’s cre­ator Mark Dar­win on “how you can oper­ate pri­vate­ly out­side the rules of such organ­i­sa­tions like the ATO” and work­shops by a “Mr X” on “suc­cess­ful tech­niques for negat­ing and or waiv­ing coun­cil fines, traf­fic infringe­ments and tolls”.

    McMurtrie’s tone in videos is earnest and sulky, nev­er daz­zling or glib. He’s believ­able enough as an activist, a grass­roots trag­ic, and the OSTF doesn’t imme­di­ate­ly appear dis­tinct from the rest of the land rights move­ment. In ear­ly 2012, OSTF mem­bers joined the Can­ber­ra Tent Embassy for the well-pub­li­cised protests that cost Julia Gillard her shoe. On Sun­rise, McMur­trie even appeared as a sup­posed embassy spokesman. Lat­er, sur­viv­ing embassy founder Michael Ander­son became sus­pi­cious of the OSTF’s non-Indige­nous “legal advis­ers”. Over email, he dis­tanced him­self from McMur­trie, say­ing he “attempt­ed to use the 40th cel­e­bra­tion of the Embassy as a means to legit­imise him and the OSTF”.

    Ander­son had oth­er con­cerns, too: “McMur­trie has been going around the coun­try giv­ing Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple his ‘Rebut­tal’ to charges, but when the court rejects them McMur­trie is not around to advise how next to act.”

    ...

    There’s a prob­lem beyond these word games: the cen­turies-long ero­sion of trust and respect between Indige­nous and non-Indige­nous Aus­tralia. When part of a cul­ture sens­es the court sys­tem is rigged against it, when a soci­ety has man­aged to make the terms “pro­tec­tion” and “child wel­fare” sound grim, then the OSTF men­tal­i­ty is part­ly under­stand­able. Alien­ation begets anti-pol­i­tics. Alien­at­ed peo­ple want expla­na­tions for the absur­dism they feel around cer­tain insti­tu­tions; answers to why some pro­fes­sion­al fra­ter­ni­ties give them the chills.

    Fan­tasies about tyran­ni­cal admi­ral­ty lawyers pro­vide just that. They’re the opi­ate of the exclud­ed.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 6, 2014, 6:18 pm
  32. Back in August peo­ple were ask­ing if far right GOP Sen­ate can­di­date Joni Ern­st’s “flir­ta­tion” with the fringe would hurt her in the gen­er­al elec­tion. It was a rea­son­able top­ic of spec­u­la­tion all things con­sid­ered:

    Yahoo News
    Will Joni Ernst’s flir­ta­tions with the polit­i­cal fringe haunt her in Novem­ber?
    The Iowa Repub­li­can won her Sen­ate pri­ma­ry by tack­ing hard to the right. Now she’s try­ing to win a gen­er­al elec­tion in a state that’s far from deep red.
    By Mered­ith Shin­er August 13, 2014 9:40 AM

    In the weeks since her deci­sive June U.S. Sen­ate pri­ma­ry win, Iowa Repub­li­can Joni Ernst has found her­self in the pre­car­i­ous posi­tion of being an estab­lish­ment-backed can­di­date who owes her shot at a nation­al office to some of the most con­ser­v­a­tive vot­ers in the coun­try. That means that while she’s now got the full sup­port of the Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­i­al Com­mit­tee, she is also being con­front­ed by sym­pa­thet­ic remarks she made ear­li­er on fringe top­ics before audi­ences far to the right of the Iowa gen­er­al elec­torate.

    The lat­est pri­ma­ry com­ments that could haunt her Sen­ate bid are on the top­ic of Agen­da 21, a com­mu­ni­ty plan­ning pro­vi­sion in a decades-old Unit­ed Nations treaty that’s become an object of fear and con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries on the right, and espe­cial­ly in the com­men­taries and writ­ing of Glenn Beck.

    Yahoo News has obtained video show­ing Ernst at a Jan­u­ary GOP forum in Mont­gomery Coun­ty, Iowa, warn­ing that Agen­da 21 could force Iowa farm­ers off their land, dic­tate what cities Iowans must live in, and con­trol how Iowa cit­i­zens trav­el from place to place.

    “The Unit­ed Nations has imposed this upon us, and as a U.S. sen­a­tor, I would say, ‘No more. No more Agen­da 21.’ Com­mu­ni­ty plan­ning — to the effect that it is imple­ment­ing emi­nent domain and tak­ing away prop­er­ty rights away from indi­vid­u­als — I don’t agree with that. And espe­cial­ly in a place such as Iowa, where we rely heav­i­ly upon our agri­cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ty, our rur­al com­mu­ni­ties. We don’t want to see things like emi­nent domain come into play,” Ernst said in response to a ques­tion about Agen­da 21 at the forum.

    “We don’t want to see a fur­ther push with Agen­da 21, where the Agen­da 21 and the gov­ern­ment telling us that these are the urban cen­ters that you will live in; these are the ways that you will trav­el to oth­er urban cen­ters,” Ernst con­tin­ued. “Agen­da 21 encom­pass­es so many dif­fer­ent aspects of our lives that it’s tak­ing away our indi­vid­ual lib­er­ties, our free­doms as Unit­ed States cit­i­zens. So I would adamant­ly oppose Agen­da 21. I don’t believe it is respon­si­ble, not for Unit­ed States cit­i­zens.”

    It wasn’t the only time Ernst addressed the top­ic or raised such fears dur­ing her pri­ma­ry cam­paign. “What I’ve seen, the impli­ca­tions we could have here, is mov­ing peo­ple off of their agri­cul­tur­al land and con­sol­i­dat­ing them into city cen­ters, and then telling them that you don’t have prop­er­ty rights any­more,” she told a crowd in rur­al Ida Grove in Novem­ber 2013, in response to a gen­er­al for­eign pol­i­cy ques­tion and in remarks first report­ed by the Asso­ci­at­ed Press in June.

    But with her pri­ma­ry long in the rearview mir­ror and the gen­er­al elec­tion less than 90 days away, Ernst now sounds more like a debunker of the con­spir­a­cy than an alarmist.

    When asked by Yahoo News last week in Iowa about Agen­da 21 and her pre­vi­ous remarks on the issue — an issue so obscure that sev­er­al out­side GOP cam­paign oper­a­tives approached for this sto­ry had nev­er heard of it — Ernst had changed her tune, and sound­ed more in sync with a gen­er­al elec­tion audi­ence.

    “I don’t think that the U.N. Agen­da 21 is a threat to Iowa farm­ers,” Ernst said in an inter­view in her Urban­dale cam­paign office. “I think there are a lot of peo­ple that fol­low that issue in Iowa. It may be some­thing that is very impor­tant to them, but I think Iowans are very smart and that we have a great leg­is­la­ture here, we have a very intel­li­gent gov­er­nor, and I think that we will pro­tect Iowans.”

    ...

    Ernst has expressed out-of-the-main­stream views on a range of issues, from impeach­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma to the issue of states act­ing to nul­li­fy fed­er­al law, for which she was crit­i­cized by the edi­to­r­i­al board of the Des Moines Reg­is­ter.
    ...

    Note that in addi­tion to push­ing for nul­li­fi­ca­tion of Oba­macare, Ernst has also backed the arrest of fed­er­al offi­cials try­ing to imple­ment it.

    Con­tin­u­ing...

    ...
    But her posi­tions on the 1992 U.N. rec­om­men­da­tions for coun­tries to become more envi­ron­men­tal­ly sus­tain­able — which Beckmade the basis of his nov­el “Agen­da 21,” about a “vio­lent and tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment” rul­ing “what was once known as Amer­i­ca” — are per­haps her great­est flir­ta­tion with the pol­i­tics of the con­spir­a­cy-mind­ed.

    And unlike her impeach­ment remarks, the breadth and length of her response on the top­ic of Agen­da 21 seems to belie a deep knowl­edge of the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry float­ed by con­ser­v­a­tive radio icons on an issue on which many can­di­dates would like­ly have no pre­pared talk­ing points or strong­ly held opin­ions. Many sources famil­iar with Iowa pol­i­tics note, how­ev­er, that the ques­tion of Agen­da 21 is more fre­quent­ly dis­cussed in the Hawk­eye state’s agri­cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ties than it is nation­al­ly.

    The full audio of her Novem­ber com­ments, in response to a more gener­ic ques­tion about the Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions and “the erod­ing of Amer­i­can sov­er­eign­ty via the Unit­ed Nations,” was also obtained by Yahoo News:

    ...

    For now, Ernst says she’s not con­cerned about Agen­da 21 or even people’s per­cep­tion of her pre­vi­ous remarks on the mat­ter.

    “I don’t think so,” she said, when asked whether she was wor­ried about this. “Peo­ple will think what they want to think about Agen­da 21 — but again, going back to Iowa: The Iowa way is to take care of Iowans, and that’s exact­ly what we intend to do. I think the U.N. is a far reach away from Iowa. I don’t think it’s a threat.”

    That was back in August. With Joni Ernst now lead­ing in the polls, the ques­tion is some­what dif­fer­ent now:

    TPM Cafe: Opin­ion
    Is Extrem­ism Not A Char­ac­ter Issue?

    By Ed Kil­go­re Pub­lished
    Octo­ber 1, 2014, 6:00 AM EDT

    A peren­ni­al ques­tion in every elec­tion cycle is what this or that polit­i­cal con­test — or for that mat­ter, the whole nation­al event — is “about.” Is it deter­mined by his­tor­i­cal pat­terns or “fun­da­men­tals,” as polit­i­cal sci­en­tists often insist? Is it a “ref­er­en­dum” on this or that, or a “man­date” for this or that, as ax-grinders invari­ably argue (with greater or less­er valid­i­ty)? Is it a con­test of brute force between donors and activists on the two major “teams” who are main­ly seek­ing to “ral­ly the troops?” Or is it a strug­gle for per­sua­sion focused on a rel­a­tive hand­ful of “swing vot­ers?”

    To the extent that per­sua­sion is a fac­tor, there’s an impor­tant sub­or­di­nate ques­tion that comes up again and again: are vot­ers attract­ed to or repulsed by can­di­dates on mat­ters of “char­ac­ter” or of sub­stan­tive “issues,” and what are the bound­aries of accept­able debate on both?

    This ques­tion has become unavoid­able in the piv­otal Sen­ate race in Iowa, where Repub­li­can Joni Ernst has sought to make the race a con­trast in per­son­al­i­ties (or of “char­ac­ter”) while Demo­c­rat Bruce Bra­ley has focused dogged­ly on “issues.”

    Ernst’s approach is cer­tain­ly under­stand­able. She leapt into the front-run­ner posi­tion in her pri­ma­ry not because of her skill as a debater or supe­ri­or posi­tion­ing on issues, but aside from ben­e­fit­ing from being a woman in a state starved for female lead­er­ship, and also being war vet­er­an and cur­rent Nation­al Guard offi­cer, she man­aged to run an ad that clev­er­ly con­vert­ed a fam­i­ly back­ground on hog farms into a pledge to “cas­trate” big spend­ing. It’s not what you’d call a par­tic­u­lar­ly deep pitch, but it was bril­liant­ly timed in part because it ran right after Bruce Bra­ley made the unforced error of the cycle when a video sur­faced of him ask­ing Texas tri­al lawyers for mon­ey in order to keep an “Iowa farmer” — Chuck Grass­ley — from chair­ing the Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee. Call the ad Grassley’s Revenge, a potent appeal in a state where many thou­sands have for decades rou­tine­ly vot­ed for both Tom Harkin (whose seat is being filled) and Grass­ley, despite their sharp dif­fer­ences on almost every­thing.

    So Ernst has had every rea­son to keep the gen­er­al elec­tion focused on “per­son­al­i­ty” and “char­ac­ter,” par­tic­u­lar­ly after Iowa Repub­li­cans cre­at­ed a sec­ond prob­lem for Bra­ley by man­u­fac­tur­ing a “scan­dal” where­by the con­gress­man sup­pos­ed­ly threat­ened to sue a vaca­tion-home neigh­bor whose free-range chick­ens were defe­cat­ing on his lawn. Get it? Arro­gant tri­al lawyer ver­sus farm­ers, part two.

    Bra­ley has game­ly stuck to issues, pri­mar­i­ly by ham­mer­ing Ernst for very unpop­u­lar right-wing posi­tions on the min­i­mum wage and Social Secu­ri­ty. But he’s also used issues to raise his own “char­ac­ter” issue: the claim that this mild-man­nered hog-cas­trat­ing war vet­er­an woman in the soft-focused ads is actu­al­ly an extrem­ist. And in that pur­suit he’s found plen­ty of ammu­ni­tion in Ernst’s record in the Iowa leg­is­la­ture and on the cam­paign trail, par­tic­u­lar­ly ear­ly in the 2014 cycle when she was look­ing for wingnut trac­tion.

    Ernst is cry­ing “unfair,” most notably in an exchange in their first debate last Sun­day. Bra­ley crit­i­cized her for spon­sor­ing in the leg­is­la­ture a state con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment estab­lish­ing pre­na­tal “per­son­hood” from the moment of fer­til­iza­tion, which he accu­rate­ly said would out­law now only the very ear­li­est abor­tions but also IV fer­til­i­ty clin­ics and sev­er­al types of con­tra­cep­tion. This was Ernst’s response:

    “The amend­ment that is being ref­er­enced by the con­gress­man would not do any of the things that you stat­ed it would do,” Ernst said. “That amend­ment is sim­ply a state­ment that I sup­port life.”

    That’s true in a high­ly tech­ni­cal sense — per­haps using the rea­son­ing of a tri­al lawyer — inso­far as con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ments don’t inher­ent­ly cre­ate the laws they rule out or demand, but in a more basic sense, it’s just a lie, as Ernst and her cam­paign sure­ly know. “Per­son­hood” amend­ments are so extreme they have been rou­tine­ly trounced when placed on the bal­lot (twice in Col­orado and once in Mis­sis­sip­pi). And if spon­sor­ing one of them is a “state­ment” of any­thing, it’s a state­ment of absolute sub­mis­sion to Iowa’s pow­er­ful anti­choice lob­by, in the sense of rul­ing out any of those wease­ly “excep­tions” to a total abor­tion (and “abor­ti­fa­cient”) ban.

    But the impulse to let Ernst off the hook for out­ra­geous posi­tions is fed by media cyn­i­cism as well as can­di­date men­dac­i­ty. Con­sid­er anoth­er Ernst pri­ma­ry cam­paign theme that some Democ­rats have crit­i­cized, in the eyes of the out­stand­ing polit­i­cal reporter Dave Weigel:

    The indi­vid­ual attacks on Bra­ley, at this point, aren’t indi­vid­u­al­ly impor­tant. They’re impor­tant as bricks in a wall. Democ­rats are pur­su­ing a sim­i­lar strat­e­gy, plunk­ing down tape after tape of Ernst, who spent a long time as the right-wing can­di­date in the pri­ma­ry, sound­ing like a … well, right-wing can­di­date. Mered­ith Shin­er [of AP] has the lat­est exam­ple, a debate clip in which Ernst promised that she would oppose the threat posed by the U.N.’s Agen­da 21 to sub­ur­ban­ites and farm­ers. Democ­rats seek to make vot­ers see Ernst as a Sarah Palin golem; Repub­li­cans seek to make vot­ers see Bra­ley as an unre­lat­able, law­suit-hap­py snob. It’s all very inspir­ing.

    So Democ­rats call­ing atten­tion to Ernst’s mul­ti­ple pas­sion­ate state­ments sub­scrib­ing to the insane, John Birch Soci­ety-inspired con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that the Unit­ed Nations is behind land-use reg­u­la­tions of every kind is treat­ed as the equiv­a­lent of Repub­li­cans howl­ing about Braley’s “chick­en suit.” The rea­son, I sup­pose, is that you can’t crit­i­cize a pol for pan­der­ing to “the base” dur­ing pri­maries and then “mov­ing to the cen­ter” in gen­er­al elec­tions. It’s just what you do.

    I’m sor­ry, I just don’t buy it. Extrem­ism is, or should be, a “char­ac­ter” issue. And so, too, should be flip-flop­ping. Per­son­al­ly, I respect “per­son­hood” advo­cates for tak­ing a dan­ger­ous posi­tion based on the log­i­cal exten­sion of strong­ly-held if exot­ic ideas about human devel­op­ment. I don’t respect those like Cory Gard­ner and Joni Ernst who try to weasel out of such posi­tions the moment they become incon­ve­nient.

    ...

    So is the GOP’s per­va­sive extrem­ism a char­ac­ter issue in con­tem­po­rary US pol­i­tics? Well, based on Iowa’s Ernst-expe­ri­ence it looks like the answer is “not if you do it right...”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 3, 2014, 11:21 am
  33. What do you get when you intro­duce hem­or­rhag­ic fever into the far right fever swamps? The kind of shrill hys­ter­ics that might induce a stroke and make your ears bleed:

    Think Progress
    Rush Lim­baugh: Oba­ma Wants Amer­i­cans To Get Ebo­la As Pay­back For Slav­ery

    by Igor Vol­sky Post­ed on Octo­ber 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Radio host Rush Lim­baugh sug­gest­ed on Mon­day that Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma is refus­ing to divert flights from Ebo­la-infect­ed coun­tries and close down America’s bor­ders because he believes that the nation “deserves” to be infect­ed with the virus giv­en its his­to­ry of per­pet­u­at­ing slav­ery.

    Respond­ing to a caller on his nation­al­ly syn­di­cat­ed radio show, Lim­baugh launched into a solil­o­quy about so-called polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect lib­er­als who believe that Amer­i­ca is respon­si­ble for the spread of Ebo­la in Liberia because that nation was estab­lished by freed Amer­i­can slaves. “And if it hadn’t been for that they prob­a­bly wouldn’t have [Ebo­la]. So there are some peo­ple who think we kind of deserve a lit­tle bit of this,” he said, before accus­ing elect­ed lead­ers of pur­pose­ly leav­ing the coun­try vul­ner­a­ble to the virus.

    “The dan­ger we have now is that we elect­ed peo­ple in posi­tions of pow­er and author­i­ty who think this or think like this in terms of this coun­try being respon­si­ble, this coun­try being to blame for things and it’s that kind of think­ing that leads to oppo­si­tion to shut­ting down air­ports from var­i­ous coun­tries,” Lim­baugh explained, refer­ring to the Oba­ma administration’s han­dling of the cri­sis.

    “It leads to oppo­si­tion to keep­ing these peo­ple out of the coun­try: ‘How dare we? We can’t turn our back on them! They exist because of us. We can’t turn them away!’” he said. Lis­ten:

    ...

    Though Repub­li­cans have been call­ing on the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion to impose strict trav­el bans on coun­tries with Ebo­la infec­tions, experts warn that such a pol­i­cy could make things worse.. Ill patients would have a hard­er time seek­ing treat­ment, inter­na­tion­al health per­son­nel wouldn’t be able to enter the coun­try, and local economies and the health infra­struc­tures would fur­ther be dev­as­tat­ed by a trav­el ban.

    ...

    Well, as far as far right freak outs go, at least it was just direct­ed at Oba­ma, some­thing we’ve all been thor­ough­ly vac­ci­nat­ed against by now. It could have been worse!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 7, 2014, 2:46 pm
  34. It was just a mat­ter of time:

    Media Mat­ters
    Con­ser­v­a­tive Colum­nist: Is The Gov­ern­ment Orches­trat­ing The Ebo­la Cri­sis To Con­fis­cate Guns?
    WND’s Brit­tany: Ebo­la And “Dis­pos­able FEMA Coffins” Could Point To “Mar­tial Law”
    Blog ››› 1 hour and 26 min­utes ago ››› BEN DIMIERO

    A colum­nist for con­spir­a­cy site WND asked whether the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion has “orches­trat­ed” Ebo­la and oth­er crises in order to declare “mar­tial law” and seize every­one’s guns.

    In recent weeks, con­ser­v­a­tive media fig­ures have used the Ebo­la sto­ry to attack the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion with twist­ed crit­i­cism, with radio host Michael Sav­age going so far as to sug­gest the admin­is­tra­tion was hop­ing to “infect the nation.” Now Mor­gan Brit­tany, actress and host of con­ser­v­a­tive online show PolitiChicks, pon­ders in her WND col­umn, “What If The Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ries Are True?”

    Writ­ing about a din­ner par­ty she attend­ed in “the heart of Los Ange­les” with a crowd that “would nev­er want to be thought of as con­ser­v­a­tive,” Brit­tany describes how the atten­dees were skep­ti­cal of recent gov­ern­ment state­ments about Ebo­la and oth­er issues, and claimed “every­thing that has come out of Wash­ing­ton has been mis­lead­ing or an out and out lie.”

    Accord­ing to Brit­tany, the atten­dees ques­tioned “Why is there no urgency to stop the dis­ease from enter­ing the U.S.?” She explains the con­ver­sa­tion then “veered into con­spir­a­cy ter­ri­to­ry,” includ­ing con­cerns about what Brit­tany called “$1 bil­lion worth of dis­pos­able FEMA coffins”:

    Upon hear­ing this lat­est evi­dence of the incom­pe­tence per­me­at­ing our gov­ern­ment, the con­ver­sa­tion veered into con­spir­a­cy ter­ri­to­ry. One of the men brought up the fact that Wash­ing­ton has known for months if not years that we were at risk for some sort of glob­al pan­dem­ic. Accord­ing to a gov­ern­ment sup­pli­er of emer­gency prod­ucts, the Dis­as­ter Assis­tance Response Team was told to be pre­pared to be acti­vat­ed in the month of Octo­ber for an out­break of Ebo­la. Hmm, that’s just like the fact that they knew 60,000 ille­gal chil­dren were going to be com­ing across our south­ern bor­der eight months before it hap­pened.

    Ques­tions were then brought up about the stock­pil­ing of ammu­ni­tion and weapons by Home­land Secu­ri­ty over the past cou­ple of years and the $1 bil­lion worth of dis­pos­able FEMA coffins sup­pos­ed­ly stored in Geor­gia. Why was there prepa­ra­tion being made for FEMA camps to house peo­ple in iso­la­tion? These were the ques­tions being seri­ous­ly dis­cussed.

    For the record, the “dis­pos­able FEMA coffins” Brit­tany warns of “have noth­ing to do with FEMA or any oth­er agency of the U.S. gov­ern­ment, and they were around long before Barack Oba­ma was first elect­ed to the pres­i­den­cy of the U.S. in 2008.” Accord­ing to Snopes, a pri­vate com­pa­ny that sells plas­tic con­tain­ers called grave lin­ers stored the con­tain­ers out­doors. An image of the con­tain­ers cir­cu­lat­ed online and “gave rise to wild con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries” that have been cir­cu­lat­ing online for years.

    Brit­tany con­cludes by lament­ing how peo­ple have lost trust in gov­ern­ment because of sup­posed dis­hon­esty, which cre­ates a sit­u­a­tion where “the­o­ries begin to emerge about all sorts of things.” She adds, “My fear is that this has all been orches­trat­ed from the very begin­ning,” pos­si­bly so that “guns can be seized”:

    Recent polls show that there is a cri­sis of con­fi­dence among the peo­ple. When the peo­ple lose all trust in their gov­ern­ment because of the lies they have been told over and over again, the­o­ries begin to emerge about all sorts of things. We des­per­ate­ly need some­one to rebuild the trust and restore faith in this gov­ern­ment. The dam­age that has been done is almost irrepara­ble.

    My fear is that this has all been orches­trat­ed from the very begin­ning. Who knows? Maybe the cur­rent admin­is­tra­tion needs this to hap­pen so mar­tial law can be declared, guns can be seized and the pop­u­lace can be con­trolled. Once that hap­pens ... game over.

    Last month, Brit­tany was host­ed on Fox & Friends to plug her new book, What Women Real­ly Want.

    ...

    Don’t believe Brit­tany? You will once you learn that the gov­ern­ment is hid­ing that fact that AT LEAST 10 ISIS MEMBER HAVE BEEN CAUGHT CROSSES THE US MEXICAN BORDER!!! So says far right con­gress­man Dun­can Hunter:

    MSNBC
    The Mad­dow Blog
    The bor­der bomb­shell that’s com­plete­ly wrong
    10/08/14 03:09 PM

    By Steve Benen

    Rep. Dun­can Hunter Jr. (R‑Calif.) is per­haps best known for argu­ing last year that the Unit­ed States should with­draw from nuclear talks with Iran because it is “part of the Mid­dle East­ern cul­ture” to lie. Instead, the far-right con­gress­man said, U.S. offi­cials should go after Iran “with tac­ti­cal nuclear devices and you set them back a decade or two or three.”

    And as strik­ing as this was last year, Hunter’s remarks on Fox News last night were just as amaz­ing.

    The Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can told Gre­ta Van Sus­teren, almost in pass­ing, that Islam­ic State mil­i­tants are “com­ing across the south­ern bor­der.” The Fox host, not sur­pris­ing­ly, seemed sur­prised, and it led to this exchange:

    VAN SUSTEREN: You say that they are com­ing in the south­ern bor­der, which is – changes all the dynam­ics. Do you have any infor­ma­tion or any evi­dence that they are com­ing in through the south­ern bor­der now?

    HUNTER: Yes. Yes. I have infor­ma­tion that –

    VAN SUSTEREN: Tell me what you know.

    HUNTER: I know that at least 10 ISIS fight­ers have been caught com­ing across the Mex­i­can bor­der in Texas. There’s nobody talk­ing about it.

    When Van Sus­teren asked how he knows that, the Repub­li­can con­gress­man replied, “Because I’ve asked the Bor­der Patrol.” He added that Bor­der Patrol agents “caught” Islam­ic State mil­i­tants “at the bor­der, there­fore, we know that ISIS is com­ing across the bor­der.”

    That’s quite a claim. Repub­li­cans have spent years des­per­ate­ly push­ing for an even more aggres­sive crack­down on the U.S./Mexico bor­der, and recent events – ISIS, Ebo­la, migrant chil­dren, etc. – have giv­en them new rhetor­i­cal ammu­ni­tion.

    There’s just one prob­lem: Dun­can Hunter appears to have made up his claim out of whole cloth.

    If U.S. Bor­der Patrol offi­cials had actu­al­ly caught 10 Islam­ic State mil­i­tants at our bor­der, it would be an extreme­ly impor­tant nation­al devel­op­ment. But the rea­son “there’s nobody talk­ing about it” is that this nev­er actu­al­ly hap­pened in real­i­ty.

    Dan­ny Vinik reached out to a Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty spokesper­son, who said said on the record, “The sug­ges­tion that indi­vid­u­als who have ties to ISIL have been appre­hend­ed at the South­west bor­der is cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly false, and not sup­port­ed by any cred­i­ble intel­li­gence or the facts on the ground. DHS con­tin­ues to have no cred­i­ble intel­li­gence to sug­gest ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions are active­ly plot­ting to cross the south­west bor­der.”

    Which rais­es the ques­tion of whether one con­gress­man – and only one con­gress­man – has secret knowl­edge about bizarre cir­cum­stances that no one else can ver­i­fy, or whether that con­gress­man made stuff up dur­ing a Fox News inter­view.

    Vice Pres­i­dent Biden is forced to apol­o­gize when he says things that are true, while Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress don’t have to apol­o­gize, ever, when they say things are demon­stra­bly ridicu­lous.

    ...

    Note that Hunter isn’t back­ing off the claim and is now assert­ing that a “high-lev­el source” at DHS told him. It would be inter­est­ing to learn if Hunter’s alleged source for this bomb­shell is a cur­rent DHS offi­cial or a for­mer one.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 8, 2014, 2:43 pm
  35. Here’s the lat­est indi­ca­tion that Lar­ry Klay­man of Judi­cial Watch real­ly should be con­sid­ered the unof­fi­cial id of the con­tem­po­rary GOP: It looks like Judi­cial Watch’s pre­vi­ous “ISIS on the bor­der!” claims may have been the source of Con­gress­man Dun­can Hunter’s claims that ISIS fight­ers have already been arrest­ed try­ing to cross the US/Mexican bor­der, although it’s still unclear. While Hunter’s office is now ref­er­enc­ing a new Judi­cial Watch blog post as evi­dence of the arrest of ISIS mem­bers, Hunter also appears to be stick­ing to the orig­i­nal sto­ry about a “high-lev­el source”:

    MSNBC
    The Mad­dow Blog
    GOP con­gress­man dou­bles down on ‘cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly false’ bor­der claim
    10/09/14 09:27 AM—Updated 10/09/14 10:32 AM

    By Steve Benen

    Rep. Dun­can Hunter (R‑Calif.) made a pret­ty extra­or­di­nary claim on Fox News this week, telling a nation­al tele­vi­sion audi­ence on Tues­day night that 10 Islam­ic State mil­i­tants were caught enter­ing the Unit­ed States through the Mex­i­can bor­der. The far-right con­gress­man was cat­e­gor­i­cal: Hunter said in no uncer­tain terms that this has already hap­pened, but “there’s nobody talk­ing about it.”

    The Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can added that he knows this is true “because I’ve asked the Bor­der Patrol.”

    Right-wing media out­lets were pre­dictably excit­ed by the base­less claimsNation­al Review, cit­ing Hunter’s com­ments, asked, “Could the admin­is­tra­tion real­ly suc­cess­ful­ly cov­er up some­thing as big as this?” – but there’s a small prob­lem. Nei­ther Hunter nor his allies have any ver­i­fi­able evi­dence to bol­ster the alle­ga­tions. I mean that quite lit­er­al­ly – there’s noth­ing from Bor­der Patrol, noth­ing from oth­er mem­bers of Con­gress or rel­e­vant com­mit­tees, noth­ing from the Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment, and noth­ing from the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty.

    On the con­trary, DHS described the claim as “cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly false” and Sec­re­tary Jeh John­son sug­gest­ed Hunter has no idea what he’s talk­ing about.

    And that leaves the far-right con­gress­man with a choice: Hunter can scale back his explo­sive claims or he can stick to his guns. Take a wild guess which course the Repub­li­can prefers.

    Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper said the con­gress­man stands by his com­ments. “A high lev­el source informed the con­gress­man – it was also said that DHS is active­ly dis­cour­ag­ing any talk of IS on the bor­der,” Kasper said.

    “The con­gress­man was con­vey­ing what he knows – and what he was told,” he said.

    Hmm. Hunter has no proof, but he has a source he won’t iden­ti­fy, who gave him infor­ma­tion that lit­er­al­ly no one else can ver­i­fy, about an impor­tant claim unsup­port­ed by facts.

    Wait, it gets even bet­ter.

    Kasper emailed me yes­ter­day, encour­ag­ing me to check out a blog post from a right-wing legal group called Judi­cial Watch, which also claims to have secret infor­ma­tion about ISIS ter­ror­ists arrest­ed in Texas. There’s no inde­pen­dent evi­dence to sup­port this, either, though Hunter’s office appar­ent­ly takes it quite seri­ous­ly.

    In a fol­low-up email to The Rachel Mad­dow Show, the congressman’s aide added that the 10 ISIS ter­ror­ists Hunter ref­er­enced on the air should prob­a­bly be referred to as “for­eign nation­als” with “asso­ci­a­tions” to the ter­ror­ist group. The congressman’s office did not feel the need to share this infor­ma­tion with fed­er­al law enforce­ment, the aide added, because Hunter’s source is already in law enforce­ment and there’s “no need to inform the per­son that is inform­ing us.”

    ...

    Well that clears every­thing up, does­n’t it! Also note that if you read the Judi­cial Watch blog post Hunter’s office referred as evi­dence of these arrests, the post was writ­ten after Hunter’s claims and also cites unnamed “Home­land Secu­ri­ty sources”:

    Judi­cial Watch
    JW Con­firms: 4 ISIS Ter­ror­ists Arrest­ed in Texas in Last 36 Hours

    OCTOBER 08, 2014

    Islam­ic ter­ror­ists have entered the Unit­ed States through the Mex­i­can bor­der and Home­land Secu­ri­ty sources tell Judi­cial Watch that four have been appre­hend­ed in the last 36 hours by fed­er­al author­i­ties and the Texas Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safe­ty in McAllen and Pharr.

    JW con­firmed this after Cal­i­for­nia Con­gress­man Dun­can Hunter, a for­mer Marine Corp Major and mem­ber of the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, dis­closed on nation­al tele­vi­sion that at least ten Islam­ic State of Iraq and Greater Syr­ia (ISIS) fight­ers have been caught cross­ing the Mex­i­can bor­der in Texas. The vet­er­an law­mak­er got the astound­ing intel straight from U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion (CBP), the Home­land Secu­ri­ty agency respon­si­ble for guard­ing the 1,933-mile south­ern bor­der.

    “If you real­ly want to pro­tect Amer­i­cans from ISIS, you secure the south­ern bor­der,” Hunter pro­claimed on a nation­al cable news show this week. “It’s that sim­ple. ISIS doesn’t have a navy, they don’t have an air force, they don’t have nuclear weapons. The only way that ISIS is going to harm Amer­i­cans is by com­ing in through the south­ern bor­der – which they already have.” The three-term con­gress­men went on: “They aren’t fly­ing B‑1 bombers, bomb­ing Amer­i­can cities, but they are going to be bomb­ing Amer­i­can cities com­ing across from Mex­i­co.”

    In late August JW report­ed that Islam­ic ter­ror­ist groups are oper­at­ing in the Mex­i­can bor­der city of Ciu­dad Juarez and plan­ning to attack the Unit­ed States with car bombs or oth­er vehi­cle borne impro­vised explo­sive devices (VBIED). High-lev­el fed­er­al law enforce­ment, intel­li­gence and oth­er sources con­firmed to JW that a warn­ing bul­letin for an immi­nent ter­ror­ist attack on the bor­der has been issued. Agents across a num­ber of Home­land Secu­ri­ty, Jus­tice and Defense agen­cies have all been placed on alert and instruct­ed to aggres­sive­ly work all pos­si­ble leads and sources con­cern­ing this immi­nent ter­ror­ist threat.

    ...

    So Dun­can Hunter cit­ed unnamed “high-lev­el offi­cials” in mak­ing his claim that at least 10 ISIS mem­bers have been detained on the US/Mexican bor­der, and when pressed for more infor­ma­tion Hunter’s office then refers to a blog post­ing by Judi­cial Watch writ­ten after Hunter made his tele­vised claims that also refers to unnamed sources claim­ing that 4 ISIS mem­ber have been arrest­ed in just the last 36 hours. Wel­come to the echo cham­ber. Aban­don hope all ye who enter.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 9, 2014, 11:13 am
  36. It’s nat­ur­al for teenagers to be embar­rassed by their par­ents. In this case it’s unclear who is embar­rass­ing whom:

    Salon

    Paul vs. Paul: Ron trash­es Rand’s “polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed” Ebo­la trav­el ban
    For­mer Texas con­gress­man ridicules the trav­el ban his son says is “only rea­son­able” VIDEO
    Luke Brinker
    Tues­day, Oct 21, 2014 08:24 AM CST

    As Ken­tucky Sen. Rand Paul gears up for a 2016 pres­i­den­tial bid, he is attempt­ing to dis­tance him­self from his inflam­ma­to­ry father, for­mer Texas con­gress­man Ron Paul, who har­bors for­eign pol­i­cy views anath­e­ma to the Repub­li­can base and whose warm ties with the right-wing fringe threat­en his son’s effort to por­tray him­self as a main­stream Repub­li­can.

    In a new inter­view with News­max TV, Ron Paul just made his son’s effort to keep him at arm’s length a lit­tle bit eas­i­er. Speak­ing with host J. D. Hay­worth, Ron Paul ridiculed calls for a ban on trav­el from Ebo­la-strick­en coun­tries — a trav­el ban that Rand Paul has called “only rea­son­able.”

    “For a gov­ern­ment to just ban all trav­el, I’m not much inter­est­ed in that,” Paul told Hay­worth.

    Lam­poon­ing advo­cates of an Ebo­la trav­el ban, Paul argued that an influen­za trav­el ban made far more sense.

    “Right now, the flu sea­son is start­ing,” Paul said. “You know how many peo­ple are liable to die? Tens of thou­sands. Actu­al­ly, the esti­mate is between 3,000 and 49,000 peo­ple die every year from the flu. So if you real­ly wan­na do good for the world, let’s ban all peo­ple who have a cold, because they might have the flu, and we have to stop it.

    “So right now, I would say a trav­el ban is polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed more than some­thing done for med­ical pur­pos­es,” Paul added.

    Paul the elder’s oppo­si­tion to a ban is shared by most experts. On Sun­day, the Nation­al Insti­tute of Aller­gy and Infec­tious Disease’s Dr. Antho­ny Fau­ci said in an inter­view that a trav­el ban would make track­ing peo­ple enter­ing the U.S. from West Africa more dif­fi­cult. Experts who spoke to the New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn argued that a ban could dis­cour­age med­ical vol­un­teers from trav­el­ing to afflict­ed coun­tries, giv­en that they may have a dif­fi­cult time leav­ing, and would also like­ly encour­age oth­er coun­tries to adopt coun­ter­pro­duc­tive trav­el bans.
    ...

    Well that had to lead to some awk­ward father/son con­ver­sa­tions.

    In relat­ed news, Iowa Con­gress­man Steve King was recent­ly videoed at an event with Don­ald Trump where he had a pub­lic con­ver­sa­tion about how Pres­i­dent Oba­ma was turn­ing the coun­try into a third world nation with Ebo­la and ISIS flood­ing through the bor­ders. As far as Ebo­la fear-mon­ger­ing goes, it was par for the course. It was also par for the course for Steve King and not at all sur­pris­ing giv­en the intense fever that has ful­ly infect­ed the GOP in the final stretch of the US midterms.

    What is a lit­tle sur­pris­ing, at this point, is that Iowa appears to be ready to elect Sen­a­tor that almost makes Steve King look sane in com­par­i­son. Almost. As the arti­cle points out below, the GOP’s can­di­date for the US Sen­ate, Joni Ernst, is no Sarah Palin, because, for instance, Sarah Palin isn’t actu­al­ly an elect­ed offi­cial any­more but has opt­ed for the Fox News gravy train where­as Joni Ernst is poised to become Iowa’s next sen­a­tor. See the dif­fer­ence?

    Time
    Why Joni Ernst Isn’t ‘Iowa’s Sarah Palin’

    Jay New­ton-Small

    Aug. 17, 2014
    Try­ing to turn her into a car­i­ca­ture, Democ­rats paint Ernst as “crazy”

    Updat­ed 8/18/14 at 1:08pm

    Stand­ing before a crowd at the Iowa State Fair, per­spir­ing slight­ly in sun that had final­ly emerged after two days of rain, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee Chair Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz told the crowd what she real­ly thought about Repub­li­can Iowa Sen­ate hope­ful Joni Ernst.

    “She’s like an onion of crazy; the more you peel back the lay­ers, the more dis­turb­ing it is,” Wasser­man Shultz said, fol­lowed by a cheer of audi­ence approval.

    The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­to­r­i­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee went up with a tele­vi­sion ad on Mon­day enti­tled, “Joni Ernst & Sarah Pal­in¹s Tea Par­ty Agen­da Is Too Extreme For Iowa.”Joni Ernst is the only Repub­li­can Sen­ate nom­i­nee in the coun­try who chose to cam­paign with Sarah Palin because no one is more in line with Palin’s Tea Par­ty ideas that are bad for Iowa fam­i­lies,” said Christi­na Fre­undlich, com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor of the Iowa Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty. This is the con­ven­tion­al wis­dom Democ­rats have been push­ing in this too-close-to-call race between State Sen. Ernst and Rep. Bruce Bra­ley, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date to replace retir­ing Sen. Tom Harkin, also a Demo­c­rat: Ernst is an extreme, Tea Par­ty nut job, the female ver­sion of Ted Cruz. The prob­lem with this line of rhetoric is: it’s not true.

    Ernst broke out in the pri­ma­ry, despite being enor­mous­ly out­spent by retired busi­ness­man Mark Jacobs, with a pair of inno­v­a­tive com­mer­cials. In one, she aims a gun at the cam­era while a nar­ra­tor says, “Once she sets her sights on Oba­macare, Joni’s gonna unload.” Then she fires. In anoth­er, she talks about grow­ing up on a farm cas­trat­ing pigs, and how she knows how to “cut pork.” Both drew nation­al atten­tion for their boldness—some call­ing them Pali­nesque— and in that respect, they worked. With rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle mon­ey or name recog­ni­tion, Ernst won the GOP pri­ma­ry with 56% of the vote.

    All pri­ma­ry can­di­dates say things they inevitably regret in the Gen­er­al Elec­tion and Ernst is no excep­tion. Since the Gen­er­al Elec­tion has begun, videos of Ernst talk­ing about Agen­da 21, a Glenn Beck con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry about the Unit­ed Nations’ super­sed­ing U.S. laws, states nul­li­fy­ing fed­er­al laws and impeach­ing Oba­ma have sur­faced. Ernst has since backpedaled from all of these state­ments, say­ing the impeach­ment talk, in par­tic­u­lar, was tak­en out of con­text, argu­ing that she was answer­ing a hypo­thet­i­cal ques­tion.

    To be sure, Ernst is more con­ser­v­a­tive than most Repub­li­cans in the Sen­ate. She believes life begins at con­cep­tion, and co-spon­sored a per­son­hood amend­ment in the Iowa State Sen­ate. Per­son­hood laws often ban sev­er­al types of con­tra­cep­tion, as well as Plan B, on the grounds that con­cep­tion could have tak­en place already.

    Ernst, who served more than 20 years in the mil­i­tary, includ­ing a deploy­ment to Iraq, is also enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly pro-gun. And if elect­ed, she would make it one of her top pri­or­i­ties to repeal Oba­macare. She also enjoys the sup­port of those she has been lobbed togeth­er with: Cruz and Palin.

    That said, Ernst’s oth­er endorse­ments include Mitt Rom­ney, whom she endorsed in the 2008 and 2012 Iowa cau­cus­es, and Flori­da Sen. Mar­co Rubio. She’s also the only 2014 pri­ma­ry can­di­date to be backed by both the Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Sen­ate Con­ser­v­a­tives Fund, which has fund­ed Tea Partiers look­ing to usurp estab­lish­ment can­di­dates.

    ...

    Ernst’s cam­paign argues that in the State Sen­ate, she has a record of buck­ing par­ty lines in order to com­pro­mise. She pushed her lead­er­ship to pass the Val­or Act, which banned lying about mil­i­tary medals; even though many had reser­va­tions that the bill vio­lat­ed the First Amend­ment. As a coun­ty audi­tor, she opposed a salary increase for coun­ty employ­ees. Rather than sim­ply oppos­ing it, though, she did a sur­vey of the county’s pri­vate busi­ness­es, ask­ing if any­one was increas­ing salaries dur­ing the eco­nom­ic down­turn.

    The results built sup­port oppos­ing the salary bump. She also took on her own par­ty to help pass bills which required pub­lic schools to test for dan­ger­ous tox­ins in their build­ings, pro­tect­ed fund­ing for men­tal health ser­vices for Iowans and allowed par­ents of chil­dren with severe epilep­sy to buy non-addic­tive cannabis oil.

    In oth­er words, Ernst was hard­ly the bomb-throw­ing Ted Cruz of the Iowa Sen­ate.

    To com­pare Ernst to Palin these days isn’t fair either. Palin now is more of an enter­tain­er akin to Rush Lim­baugh than a politi­cian. But Ernst does bear a resem­blance to the politi­cian Palin once was–the Palin who had an 80% approval rat­ing in Alas­ka and saw through com­pro­mise leg­is­la­tion. As a new gov­er­nor, Palin was nev­er shy about tak­ing on the estab­lish­ment, a trait which helped make her name, but it wasn’t until her stint as John McCain’s pit­bull VP choice that she became so polar­iz­ing.

    ...

    Well there we go! Com­par­ing Joni Ernst to Sarah Palin isn’t real­ly fair. While Ernst cer­tain­ly sounds like Sarah Palin when she’s push­ing things like Agen­da 21, nul­li­fi­ca­tion, and ban­ning forms of con­tra­cep­tion, Ernst also backed away from com­ments advo­cat­ing impeach­ing Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. That’s not very Pali­nesque. And once she broke with her par­ty this year to sup­port radon test­ing in schools (with friends like these...). And then lat­er this year Ernst “took on her own par­ty” (along with near­ly half of her fel­low GOP state sen­a­tors) and vot­ed in favor of allow­ing kids to use med­ical cannabis oil (which Bruce Bra­ley also sup­ports. And sort of Sarah Palin. And Rand and Ron Paul. It’s not exact­ly a bold stance at this point). Ernst is total­ly not like Sarah Palin at all! And that’s prob­a­bly good news for Joni Ernst since it turns out Sarah Palin is polit­i­cal poi­son in Iowa:

    Politi­cusUSA
    The Sup­port of Sarah Palin and the Koch Broth­ers Back­fires and Brings Down Joni Ernst
    By: Sarah Jones
    Sun­day, Octo­ber, 12th, 2014, 3:24 pm

    The Repub­li­can brand is catch­ing up with them in Iowa and it’s time for the Koch Broth­ers to rebrand again. Their name is dirt, even with the Repub­li­can base who con­tin­ue to cheer poli­cies that are harm­ful for them­selves and their chil­dren.

    By more than 2–1, the Koch Broth­ers affil­i­a­tion hurts Joni Ernst. Accord­ing to a new Iowa poll ana­lyzed by the Des Moines Reg­is­ter, the Koch Broth­ers’ sup­port for Repub­li­can Sen­ate can­di­date and cas­tra­tion expert Joni Ernst is a big fat neg­a­tive, with 50% dis­ap­prov­ing and only 21% approv­ing. Even Repub­li­cans are dis­gust­ed, with 36% find­ing the Kochs to be a noose around the castrator’s neck and only 27% approv­ing.

    You know who else hurts Joni Ernst? Sarah Palin, with only 30% say­ing her sup­port of Ernst helps and 56% say­ing it hurts. We’ve been try­ing to explain this to Repub­li­cans, but they are so des­per­ate to cater to the extrem­ist wing of their par­ty that they still believe the main­stream belief in the pow­er of Palin.. News­flash: This isn’t 2010.

    Mean­while, as Repub­li­cans stew in the tox­i­c­i­ty which is their Koch Palin brand, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bruce Bra­ley is gain­ing on Ernst, with just one point sep­a­rat­ing them now, 47/46. Pre­vi­ous­ly Ernst had been lead­ing by 6 points, though she has also gained 3 points. The Reg­is­ter cred­its “armies of Demo­c­ra­t­ic activists going door to door” for “pil­ing up the votes for Bra­ley.”

    But also, the vot­ers like Braley’s poli­cies bet­ter (total­ly not shock­ing since Democ­rats align with most of Amer­i­ca and Repub­li­cans align with the top 2%). “Like­ly vot­ers find more of Braley’s pol­i­cy posi­tions clos­er to their own views than Ernst’s posi­tions among 10 issues test­ed. A major­i­ty of like­ly vot­ers favor six of Braley’s stances to four of Ernst’s.”

    In the mat­ter of the Peo­ple ver­sus the Kochs, the Peo­ple are gain­ing.

    If the pub­lic doesn’t approve of the Koch Broth­ers’ sup­port for Joni Ernst, wait until they find out that she’s play­ing fast and loose with cam­paign finance laws to the extent that a Super PAC run­ning $1 mil­lion in TV cam­paign ads against her oppo­nent, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep. Bruce Bra­ley, “is run out of the Des Moines con­sult­ing firm of a strate­gist for Braley’s GOP oppo­nent,” accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post.

    In yet anoth­er exam­ple of why the IRS was inves­ti­gat­ing the shady behav­ior of these “tax exempt” groups buy­ing our elec­tions, WaPo con­tin­ued to explain that even though the law says the candidate’s cam­paign can’t coor­di­nate with Super­PACs:

    The super PAC, Pri­or­i­ties for Iowa Polit­i­cal Fund, is head­ed by Sara Craig, a con­sul­tant for Red­wave Com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Last year, Craig and Red­wave founder David Kochel togeth­er start­ed a sim­i­lar­ly named tax-exempt group, Pri­or­i­ties for Iowa, which ran an ad ham­mer­ing Bra­ley after he was caught on tape dis­mis­sive­ly refer­ring to GOP Sen. Chuck Grass­ley as “a farmer.”

    More recent­ly, Kochel has served as an out­side strate­gist for Braley’s oppo­nent, GOP Sen­ate can­di­date Joni Ernst. Her cam­paign has paid Kochel’s firm more than $25,000 for direct mail ser­vices this year, accord­ing to Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion reports.

    Noth­ing to see here, peeps. Total­ly legit.

    ...

    Repub­li­can can­di­dates need to be remind­ed that their num­ber one job is pre­tend­ing to be mod­er­ate until they win elec­tions. Going Sarah Palin/Koch broth­ers before an elec­tion is not a good plan. What might work for a ger­ry­man­dered House cam­paign is much more risky in a Sen­ate cam­paign. This should be obvi­ous since both Sarah Palin and David Kochh lost their cam­paigns to be our Vice Pres­i­dents, and are now doing every­thing in their pow­er to back­seat dri­ve the GOP over the crazy cliff.

    Will the GOP dri­ve over the crazy cliff and lose in Iowa or win in Iowa, take the Sen­ate, and dri­ve the whole coun­try over the cliff? We’ll find out. But if she does win, it should be real­ly inter­est­ing to see what her stance will be on fed­er­al agri­cul­tur­al sub­si­dies giv­en the Koch’s ample gift-giv­ing to the Ernst cam­paign and the Koch’s broth­ers’ stat­ed goal of end­ing agri­cul­tur­al sub­si­dies com­plete­ly.

    Ern­st’s stance on gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies is that she’s ‘philo­soph­i­cal­ly’ opposed to them but is will­ing to sup­port Iowa’s fed­er­al sub­si­dies unless we get rid of all the oth­er sub­si­dies at the same time. Yep, that’s her posi­tion.

    The Koch broth­ers are ben­e­fi­cia­ries of agri­cul­tur­al sub­si­dies but they also seem pret­ty sin­cere in their attempts to end all sub­si­dies and why not? What’s going to be eas­i­er to claw back after all the sub­si­dies have been nuked: sub­si­dies for bil­lion­aires or sub­si­dies for the rest of us?
    Over­all, it’s kind of hard to say if we should expect cuts to Lit­tleAg only or BigAg too. The Kochs seem desparate to gut all the pro­grams for the the poor but they also real­ly like mon­ey and cor­po­rate sub­si­dies ben­e­fit them too. And yet the Kochs are clear­ly will­ing to spend vast sums of their per­son­al for­tunes on get­ting peo­ple with a mis­sion to gut pro­grams for the poor elect­ed to office. So who knows whether or not the Kochs will actu­al­ly try to cre­ate the polit­i­cal dynam­ic where Ernst and the rest of the Kochto­pus get a chance to tru­ly end all agri­cul­tur­al sub­si­dies along with all oth­er sub­si­dies simul­ta­ne­ous­ly (it seems like cor­po­rate Amer­i­ca would find ways to keep their slice) but it’s pret­ty clear that Ernst would vote to just nuke all sub­si­dies, good and ill, if the oppor­tu­ni­ty aris­es. And if you lis­ten to her recent­ly unearth com­ments about how Amer­i­cans need to be taught “painful lessons” in liv­ing with­out gov­ern­ment ser­vices it’s pret­ty clear that Ernst is anx­ious to cut some non-agri­cul­ture sub­si­dies ben­e­fit­ing every­one, no mat­ter what.

    That’s one of the rea­sons the Kochs and their spon­sored can­di­dates like Joni Ernst are like a box of choco­lates. Sug­ar-free choco­lates: You nev­er know what you’ll get inside but you’d real­ly pre­fer the non-sug­ar-free ver­sion unless you hap­pen to have dia­betes. Although for Iowans that do have dia­betes and can’t afford their med­ical costs the Koch & Ernst brand of ‘sug­ar-free choco­lates’ should be avoid­ed at all costs:

    Politi­cusUSA
    Joni Ernst Promis­es Amer­i­cans a Very Painful Les­son If Elect­ed
    By: Rmuse
    Mon­day, Octo­ber, 20th, 2014, 9:30 pm

    After the 2012 gen­er­al elec­tion Repub­li­cans promised to “not be stu­pid” and tamp down on can­di­dates mak­ing state­ments that alien­at­ed vot­ers such as Willard Romney’s infa­mous “47-per­cent moochers” remark. Of course, Repub­li­cans have done noth­ing to change their mes­sage, and have instead spent the past year-and-a-half either call­ing hard­work­ing Amer­i­cans inher­ent­ly lazy for not earn­ing more than pover­ty wages, or labeled them as moochers for expect­ing a return on their tax dol­lars and con­tri­bu­tions to Medicare and Social Secu­ri­ty pen­sions con­ser­v­a­tives call “enti­tle­ments.” There has been a sub­stan­tial move­ment among well-estab­lished main­stream Repub­li­cans to cam­paign on “edu­cat­ing” Amer­i­cans about the “val­ue and cul­ture of hard work and respon­si­bil­i­ty,” and one Repub­li­can is pro­mot­ing a Koch broth­er agen­da that will teach Amer­i­cans to be self-suf­fi­cient in a nation with­out a gov­ern­ment for the peo­ple.

    Iowa Sen­ate can­di­date Joni Ernst said that “What we have to do a bet­ter job of is edu­cat­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple that they can be self-suf­fi­cient. They don’t have to rely on the gov­ern­ment to be the do-all, end-all for every­thing they need and desire, and that’s what we have fos­tered, is real­ly a gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple that rely on the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide absolute­ly every­thing for them. It’s going to take a lot of edu­ca­tion to get peo­ple out of that. It’s going to be very painful and we know that. So do we have the intesti­nal for­ti­tude to do that.”

    What Ernst claims she has the intesti­nal for­ti­tude to do is repeal Oba­macare, pri­va­tize Social Secu­ri­ty, abol­ish edu­ca­tion spend­ing, elim­i­nate food stamps, and force peo­ple to seek out church assis­tance once they have been lib­er­at­ed and edu­cat­ed in the Koch tra­di­tion of gov­ern­ment-less self-suf­fi­cien­cy. She said, “We have to take a good, hard look at enti­tle­ment pro­grams (Social Secu­ri­ty, Med­ic­aid, food stamps, unem­ploy­ment insur­ance, Oba­macare, and Medicare) and fig­ure out how to get peo­ple off of those. It’s expo­nen­tial­ly hard­er to remove peo­ple once they’ve already been on those pro­grams.”

    Ernst’s trea­tise on gov­ern­ment depen­den­cy revealed that not only is she a hard line devo­tee of tea par­ty ortho­doxy, she has a per­verse vision of America’s 20th Cen­tu­ry as a mon­u­men­tal error; because like the Koch’s she sees gov­ern­ment for the peo­ple as an abom­i­na­tion that needs to be abol­ished once and for all. Ernst laid out her Koch-lib­er­tar­i­an agen­da, includ­ing the whole­sale elim­i­na­tion of each and every one of the New Deal’s pro­tec­tions, under the guise of “edu­cat­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple that they can be self-suf­fi­cient.” In Ernst’s mind, edu­cat­ing the peo­ple is “gut­ting and anni­hi­lat­ing all gov­ern­ment ser­vices” that she open­ly admits will be “very painful” for the Amer­i­can peo­ple. How­ev­er, accord­ing to her ide­o­log­i­cal bent, Amer­i­cans will soon get over los­ing unem­ploy­ment insur­ance, health­care, dis­abil­i­ty insur­ance, Social Secu­ri­ty, Medicare, and work­place pro­tec­tions because they will have been lib­er­at­ed from the gov­ern­ment and learned a “very painful les­son in self-suf­fi­cien­cy.” It is the Koch vision for Amer­i­ca that Ernst promis­es to see through to fruition as rec­om­pense for their valu­able cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions to her Sen­ate can­di­da­cy.

    Ernst’s intent to enact an incred­i­bly cru­el pol­i­cy vision is to cor­rect what she believes are a rash of America’s past mis­takes; like pro­vi­sions in the New Deal that her Koch donors believe set Amer­i­ca on a path of total dev­as­ta­tion regard­less the ben­e­fit to all Amer­i­cans. Ernst also par­rots a typ­i­cal lib­er­tar­i­an mind­set that gov­ern­ment is evil and claims that Amer­i­cans have come to “rely on gov­ern­ment for absolute­ly every­thing” instead of “rely­ing on what church­es and pri­vate orga­ni­za­tions are doing because, as she errant­ly claims, “gov­ern­ment gives them every­thing.” Ernst means every­thing like Social Secu­ri­ty, Medicare, unem­ploy­ment insur­ance, access to afford­able health­care, work­place pro­tec­tions and the like, that her his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism informs was not only a com­plete and utter waste, but some­thing that the peo­ple nev­er need­ed in the first place. It is not clear where Ernst gets her ver­sion of ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry Utopia that was the Great Depres­sion, but she is cer­tain Amer­i­cans in food lines and work­ing 80-hour weeks for dirt-pay were not only self-suf­fi­cient, but hap­pi­ly lib­er­at­ed from gov­ern­ment pro­tec­tions.

    ...

    For most Amer­i­cans, the open hos­til­i­ty toward the Amer­i­can peo­ple by Koch-fueled Repub­li­cans like Ernst is found­ed on an innate heart­less­ness toward human­i­ty and not regard for all Amer­i­cans as “cit­i­zens.” As an aside, Ernst does not dis­play the same lev­el of heart­less­ness toward a zygote she strong­ly believes the gov­ern­ment has a bib­li­cal duty to pro­tect and care for by bestow­ing per­son­hood and con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­tec­tions by gov­ern­ment fiat. It is like­ly that the major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans do not share either the Koch broth­ers, teabag­ger Repub­li­cans, or Joni Ernst’s hatred of gov­ern­ment pro­grams or the Amer­i­can peo­ple. How­ev­er, for Repub­li­cans pant­i­ng to elect can­di­dates like Ernst to impose a Koch edu­ca­tion amount­ing to “anni­hi­lat­ing” all gov­ern­ment pro­grams has noth­ing to do with reduc­ing the size of gov­ern­ment and every­thing to do with enact­ing poli­cies that “will be very painful” for the peo­ple.

    Yes, “painful” lessons are com­ing to the US Sen­ate and Ernst is bring­ing it. To all of us. Some­what indis­crim­i­nate­ly. The cannabis oil should help.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 22, 2014, 11:02 pm
  37. Iowa GOP Sen­ate can­di­date and aspir­ing Koch Ring-wraith Joni Ernst sur­prised Iowa’s jour­nal­ists by sud­den­ly can­cel­ing meet­ings with the edi­to­r­i­al boards of a num­ber of local news­pa­pers, prompt­ing some jour­nal­ists to won­der what’s Joni sud­den­ly afraid of?

    TPM Livewire
    Joni Ernst Report­ed­ly Can­celed Major Iowa Edi­to­r­i­al Board Meet­ings
    By Daniel Strauss
    Pub­lished Octo­ber 23, 2014, 10:58 AM EDT

    Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst, the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for U.S. Sen­ate, has report­ed­ly can­celed meet­ings with major edi­to­r­i­al boards in the state.

    The can­ce­la­tion was made pub­lic by The Des Moines Reg­is­ter’s Rekha Basu, a colum­nist for the paper in a Face­book post:

    Is Joni Ernst afraid of news­pa­per edi­to­r­i­al boards? After much nego­ti­at­ing, she was sched­uled to meet his morn­ing with writ­ers and edi­tors at The Des Moines Reg­is­ter, but last night her peo­ple called to uni­lat­er­al­ly can­cel. She has also begged off meet­ings with The Cedar Rapids Gazette and The Dubuque Tele­graph-Her­ald.

    Is Ernst that sen­si­tive to the kinds of crit­i­cisms that invari­ably will come in such a high pro­file U.S. Sen­ate rac­er? Is she afraid of the scruti­ny? Sure, it’s stress­ful, but all the oth­er can­di­dates for Con­gress are doing it to get their mes­sages out, includ­ing Steven King, the tar­get of fre­quent edi­to­r­i­al crit­i­cism. Would Ernst sim­i­lar­ly thumb her nose at the press while serv­ing in the Sen­ate?

    The Des Moines Reg­is­ter’s Randy Evans tweet some­thing sim­i­lar to Basu’s post.

    .@joniernst can­celled plans to meet today w/ @DMRegister edi­to­r­i­al board. Did the same w/ Cedar Rapids Gazette. Avoid­ing tough ques­tions?— Randy Evans (@DMRevans) Octo­ber 23, 2014

    In an endorse­ment of Bra­ley by the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the paper not­ed that “Ern­st’s cam­paign failed to make time in her sched­ule.” Bloomberg Pol­i­tics’ Dave Weigel also not­ed that, accord­ing to CBS affil­i­ate KMEG14 reporter Jen Austin, “after a half dozen attempts, includ­ing emails and phone calls to Joni Ern­s’s camp we were unable to sched­ule a sit-down with the Repub­li­can can­di­date.”

    Ear­li­er in the week, the Des Moines Reg­is­ter, arguably Iowa’s most promi­nent news­pa­per, called Ernst out on her sup­port of a Per­son­hood mea­sure in a blis­ter­ing edi­to­r­i­al on Tues­day.

    Specif­i­cal­ly, the edi­to­r­i­al crit­i­cizes Ernst for say­ing dur­ing the last U.S. Sen­ate debate between her and Rep. Bruce Bra­ley (D‑IA), that a Per­son­hood amend­ment to the state Con­sti­tu­tion that she sup­port­ed “is sim­ply a state­ment that I sup­port life.”

    ...

    In a state­ment to Politi­co, Ernst spokes­woman Gretchen Hamel referred to the Reg­is­ter’s recent crit­i­cal edi­to­ri­als of Ernst.

    “Joni is barn­storm­ing the state, vis­it­ing all 99 coun­ties and talk­ing face to face with vot­ers about the issues they care about most,” Hamel said in the state­ment. “Recent edi­to­ri­als in the Des Moines Reg­is­ter make their posi­tion in this race per­fect­ly clear, and it’s one that many vot­ers across our state seem to dis­agree with. With less than 12 days to go, time is pre­cious and Joni wants to spend every minute talk­ing to unde­cid­ed vot­ers, hear­ing their con­cerns, and demon­strat­ing why we need a change in Wash­ing­ton.”

    Rick Green, the pres­i­dent and pub­lish­er of the Reg­is­ter, said his pub­li­ca­tion was dis­ap­point­ed, not angry, with Ern­st’s can­ce­la­tion, accord­ing to Politi­co:

    We were dis­ap­point­ed by the Ernst camp’s deci­sion to not spend an hour with the edi­to­r­i­al board and share her vision for our state and the rest of the coun­try. This has been an incred­i­bly nasty, com­pet­i­tive race where both sides have spent mil­lions and aired tens of thou­sands of TV spots. Unde­cid­ed vot­ers I talk to want Sen. Ernst to break through the rhetoric and cacoph­o­ny of cam­paign ads about hogs, Oba­macare and bal­anced bud­gets. It’s a time for shar­ing specifics. It’s a chance to have a seri­ous con­ver­sa­tion about vision, pri­or­i­ties, the econ­o­my, nation­al secu­ri­ty, for­eign rela­tions and Social Secu­ri­ty. I’m not angry she snubbed the Des Moines Reg­is­ter edi­to­r­i­al board, which is in final delib­er­a­tions about our Sen­ate endorse­ment. It tru­ly isn’t about us. We want­ed to dis­cuss the future of the state and allow Joni Ernst to share insights and spe­cif­ic respons­es to the con­cerns and ques­tions of Iowans and vot­ers. It’s unfor­tu­nate that can­not hap­pen.

    The TPM Poll­track­er aver­age finds Ernst with a 1.1 lead over Bra­ley.

    Wow. With less than two weeks to go main­tains Joni Ern­st’s anti-jour­nal­ist cone of silence remains with the race sta­tis­ti­cal­ly tied. And then she can­cels all of her inter­views with local edi­tors at the last min­utes and instead we get anoth­er round of pig cas­tra­tion ads with Joni telling us:

    “Dirty, noisy and it stinks. Not this lot. I’m talk­ing about the one in Wash­ing­ton. Too many typ­i­cal D.C. politi­cians hog­ging, wast­ing and full of — well, let’s just say bad ideas. It’s time to stop spend­ing mon­ey we don’t have and bal­ance the bud­get.”

    It’s kind of a hilar­i­ous­ly dark coin­ci­dence that the cas­tra­tion ads have been part of what fueled Ern­st’s pop­u­lar­i­ty since they’re intend­ed to show her com­mit­ment to mak­ing the most painful cuts you can imag­ine to pub­lic ser­vices which is an alarm­ing­ly accu­rate descrip­tion of what she would do giv­en the chance and some­thing you would think she would­n’t be brag­ging about. So those cas­tra­tion ad blitzes do sort of act as a con­cise sum­ma­ry of her plat­form. Who needs to talk to the local media? She’s wants to cas­trate gov­ern­ment ser­vices. What else is there to say?

    Ok, maybe she could talk about the oth­er hot top­ic that just hit the Ernst cam­paign: her 2012 talk at an NRA even where she casu­al­ly dropped a line about her pre­pared­ness to use her guns for armed rev­o­lu­tion:

    TPM Livewire
    GOP­er Ernst Promis­es To Use Her Gun If Gov­’t Decides Rights Aren’t ‘Impor­tant
    By Daniel Strauss
    Pub­lished Octo­ber 23, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT

    Dur­ing an Nation­al Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion event in Iowa in 2012, state Sen. Joni Ernst, now the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for Sen­ate in the state, said she car­ries a 9‑millimeter gun around every­where and believes in the right to use it even if it’s against the gov­ern­ment if they dis­re­gard her rights.
    .
    “I have a beau­ti­ful lit­tle Smith & Wes­son, 9 mil­lime­ter, and it goes with me vir­tu­al­ly every­where,” Ernst said dur­ing a speech at the NRA’s Iowa Firearms Coali­tion Sec­ond Amend­ment Ral­ly in Sears­boro, Iowa, as flagged by The Huff­in­g­ton Post on Thurs­day. “But I do believe in the right to car­ry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my fam­i­ly — whether it’s from an intrud­er, or whether it’s from the gov­ern­ment, should they decide that my rights are no longer impor­tant.”

    As TPM pre­vi­ous­ly not­ed, Ernst pre­vi­ous­ly sug­gest­ed in a sur­vey that she sup­port­ed leg­is­la­tion that would let local law enforce­ment arrest fed­er­al offi­cials involved in imple­ment­ing Oba­macare.

    TPM has reached out to the Ernst cam­paign and will update when we hear back.

    ...

    It looks like some­one needs to reign in their inner-Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen (there can be only one). We already had to wor­ry about Joni advo­cat­ing nul­li­fi­ca­tion and the arrest of fed­er­al employ­ees. Now we’re find­ing out she’s been talk­ing about her readi­ness for a shootout with “the gov­ern­ment” at NRA events. It’s start­ing to feel like Cliv­en nev­er left.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 23, 2014, 10:26 pm
  38. Fox News’s Chris Wal­lace just pre­dict­ed that the GOP would try to impeach Oba­ma if exec­u­tive action is tak­en on immi­gra­tion. If you’re won­der­ing where Wal­lace’s pre­dict­ed con­fi­dence is com­ing from, here’s an exam­ple:

    Think Progress
    Iowa Con­gress­man: Impeach Oba­ma If He Grants Depor­ta­tion Relief To Undoc­u­ment­ed Immi­grants

    by Josh Israel Post­ed on August 3, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Just five days after House Speak­er John Boehn­er (R‑OH) attempt­ed to dis­miss talk of impeach­ment as a “scam start­ed by Democ­rats at the White House,” a key Repub­li­can mem­ber of the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee told Fox News Sun­day that the Repub­li­can House should impeach Pres­i­dent Oba­ma if he uses his exec­u­tive author­i­ty to defer depor­ta­tion for mil­lions of undoc­u­ment­ed adults.

    Rep. Steve King (R‑IA), who has led the charge to elim­i­nate the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA), suc­cess­ful­ly pushed this week to pass a House bill to defund the renew­al of the deferred sta­tus for hun­dreds of thou­sands of undoc­u­ment­ed res­i­dents brought to the Unit­ed States as chil­dren.

    Asked by host Chris Wal­lace about the prob­a­bil­i­ty of exec­u­tive action by the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion to stop deport­ing the mil­lions of undoc­u­ment­ed adults, King made it clear that this would be an impeach­able offense. If Oba­ma should take uni­lat­er­al action to expand DACA beyond its cur­rent lev­els, he said, “Con­gress has to sit down and have a seri­ous look at the rest of this con­sti­tu­tion and that includes that ‘i’ word we don’t want to say.” Wal­lace pressed him to clar­i­fy the threat:

    Wal­lace: But you’re say­ing if he were to do that then impeach­ment would be on the table?

    King: I think then we have to start, sit down and take a look at that. Where would we draw the line oth­er­wise? If that’s not enough to bring that about, then I don’t know what would be.

    Watch the video:
    [see video]

    ...

    Speak­er Boehn­er, iron­i­cal­ly, urged Pres­i­dent Oba­ma to take uni­lat­er­al exec­u­tive action to address the bor­der cri­sis this week — a day after almost every House Repub­li­can in his cau­cus vot­ed to sue the pres­i­dent for using sim­i­lar author­i­ty to imple­ment Oba­macare.

    Keep in mind that Con­gress­man King was far from the only GOP­er push­ing impeach­ment over immi­gra­tion action at the time, but that was also sev­er­al months ago and not the eve of an elec­tion. So utter­ing the ‘i’ word was a rel­a­tive­ly low-risk move for Con­gress­man King.

    How about clos­er to the elec­tion? Well, Steve King cer­tain­ly has­n’t been shy about reit­er­at­ing his calls for impeach­ment, but he laid out a new plan a cou­ple of weeks ago that might be con­sid­ered an alter­na­tive to impeach: call for protests that sur­round the White House “until he let’s go of this uncon­si­tu­tion­al action”. In oth­er words, instead of imme­di­ate­ly jump­ing to impeach­ing, Steve King wants to see the GOP lead some sort of ‘Occu­py the White House’ move­ment first:

    The Blaze
    GOP law­mak­er: Impeach­ment should be an option if Oba­ma moves on immi­gra­tion
    Oct. 27, 2014 9:31am Pete Kasper­ow­icz

    Rep. Steve King (R‑Iowa) says Repub­li­cans should keep open the option of impeach­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma if he moves aggres­sive­ly to cre­ate a legal sta­tus for mil­lions of ille­gal immi­grants after the elec­tion.

    “We know there is the ‘I’ word in the Con­sti­tu­tion that none of us want to say or act on,” King told News­Max.

    “In this con­text, every­thing is on the table,” he added. “We can­not have a pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States that believes that he can make up the law as he goes.”

    King stressed that Repub­li­cans shouldn’t move imme­di­ate­ly to impeach Oba­ma. “I’m not advo­cat­ing that’s the first card to play, but it sure­ly is not one that you take off the table,” he said.

    But he said Con­gress should be pre­pared to defend the Con­sti­tu­tion “at all costs.”

    “A law­less pres­i­dent in the Unit­ed States occu­py­ing the White House was not some­thing our found­ing fathers ever imag­ined would hap­pen,” he said. “Well, I guess they did, because they put that pro­vi­sion in the Con­sti­tu­tion to deal with it.”

    As an inter­me­di­ate step before impeach­ment, King repeat­ed that Con­gress should con­vene and pos­si­bly act to blunt Obama’s move. King has said he would fly imme­di­ate­ly to Wash­ing­ton if need­ed, and said he hoped House Speak­er John Boehn­er (R‑Ohio) would be ready to call oth­er mem­bers back.

    King also sug­gest­ed that protests around the White House might also help let Oba­ma know that peo­ple oppose his effort to legal­ize mil­lions of ille­gal immi­grants.

    “I don’t fig­ure that going to the Capi­tol and ask­ing peo­ple to come there to sur­round the Capi­tol does us any good, but sur­round­ing the White House might,” he said. “If we’re not going to go there and protest out­side the gates of the president’s res­i­dence, until he lets go of this uncon­sti­tu­tion­al action, then I don’t know how we stop this.”

    ...

    Occu­py the White House here we come! It should be inter­est­ing to see how wild those protests get. Assum­ing the pro­tes­tors aren’t wav­ing Con­fed­er­ate flags and call­ing for the pres­i­dent to “leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to fig­u­ra­tive­ly come out with his hands up” these protests should be far more telegenic than any drawn out impeach­ment process.

    Of course, since there’s a strong like­li­hood this protest strat­e­gy won’t achieve the desired results, it’s very pos­si­ble that this White House protest plan was pure­ly Steve King’s wish­ful think­ing. So maybe the GOP will just stick with the ‘i’ word.

    Then again, since the actu­al­ly via­bil­i­ty and the like­li­hood of suc­cess­ful for their Oba­ma-oppo­si­tion schemes isn’t real­ly an issue for the GOP, maybe a high pro­file protest strat­e­gy real­ly is the best option for the GOP, at least as some sort of impeach­ment appe­tiz­er. Just imag­ine all of those scenes of mas­sive crowds out­side the White House and what it could do to ral­ly the pub­lic around the move­ment. Just imag­ine...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 3, 2014, 8:08 pm
  39. And the GOP’s civ­il war has begun. No, not the civ­il war between the sane and insane wing of the par­ty. You can’t fight the dead. No, less than weeks after the midterms, what the GOP now faces isn’t even the ‘impeach­ment vs shut­down’ civ­il war. It’s the ‘impeach­ment and shut­down vs shut­down only vs add to Boehn­er’s lame law­suit vs don’t do any­thing’ civ­il war. It’s one of the GOP’s strange peri­od­ic civ­il wars where all sides pret­ty much share the same goal, but they’re not quite sure how to get there. And because this is the GOP we’re talk­ing about, it just might dis­solve into an intra-par­ty civ­il war. A war over how much crazi­ness the par­ty needs to exude in order to ade­quate­ly express its out­rage over the gov­ern­ment not being as mean as pos­si­ble to dis­em­pow­ered immi­grants. Because that’s how the GOP rolls:

    TPM Livewire
    House GOP­er Dis­miss­es Impeach­ment: ‘Have You Met Joe Biden?’ (VIDEO)
    By Dylan Scott Pub­lished Novem­ber 15, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    One promi­nent House Repub­li­can had a ready-made one-lin­er when asked about the impeach­ment rum­blings pop­ping up among some of his col­leagues as Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma pre­pares to take exe­cu­tion action on immi­gra­tion.

    “Have you met Joe Biden?” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R‑SC), the man tasked with over­see­ing the spe­cial Beng­hazi com­mit­tee, told Fox News’s Bill O’Reil­ly on Thurs­day, “is my response to that. So, no. Nobody is dis­cussing impeach­ment except for pun­dits and com­men­ta­tors.”

    “First of all, impeach­ment is a pun­ish­ment. It’s not a rem­e­dy,” Gowdy said. “Sec­ond of all, the only peo­ple who want us to talk about impeach­ment are the pres­i­den­t’s allies.”

    Gowdy did, how­ev­er, ref­er­ence “the appro­pri­a­tions process” as a pos­si­ble response to Oba­ma’s actions.

    As we can see, Trey Gowdy, a mem­ber of the “shut­down” clan, uses the “appro­pri­a­tions process” ver­bal sign to indi­cate his intra-GOP gang alle­giance. It’s a pow­er­ful gang with pow­er­ful mem­bers:

    TPM Livewire
    Her­itage Greas­es Shut­down Wheels: ‘No Blank Check For Amnesty’
    By Dylan Scott Pub­lished Novem­ber 14, 2014, 1:53 PM EST

    Con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­can lead­ers seem hell­bent on avoid­ing a gov­ern­ment shut­down over Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma’s exec­u­tive actions on immi­gra­tion, but their right flank is agi­tat­ing for a fight.

    Her­itage Action put out a state­ment Fri­day urg­ing the GOP to block or pre­empt the actions, expect­ed to pro­tect up to 5 mil­lion peo­ple from depor­ta­tion, or else any long-term fund­ing bill that Con­gress were to pass would sim­ply be “a blank check for amnesty.”

    “The con­ver­sa­tion in Wash­ing­ton today is dis­con­nect­ed from the mes­sage deliv­ered by vot­ers just ten days ago. Pres­i­dent Obama’s amnesty pol­i­cy was on the bal­lot and it was thor­ough­ly reject­ed,” Her­itage Action CEO Michael Need­ham said in the state­ment. “Unless Con­gress pre­empts or blocks the President’s promised exec­u­tive action, a long-term fund­ing bill is lit­tle more than a blank check for amnesty.”

    Rank-and-file Repub­li­cans are already pres­sur­ing their lead­er­ship to block any fund­ing for Oba­ma’s pledged actions as part of upcom­ing gov­ern­ment spend­ing bills.

    And keep in mind that the “gov­ern­ment shut­down” gang does­n’t just include the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. The Speak­er of the House is also flash­ing “shut­down” gang signs, although it’s not the only sign he’s flash­ing:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post
    John Boehn­er Keeps Immi­gra­tion Show­down On The Table
    Post­ed: 11/13/2014 5:23 pm EST Updat­ed: 11/13/2014 10:59 pm EST

    Elise Foley Become a fan elise@huffingtonpost.com

    House Speak­er John Boehn­er (R‑Ohio) kept the threat of a gov­ern­ment shut­down alive on Thurs­day when asked about Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma’s plans for exec­u­tive action on immi­gra­tion.

    The speak­er was asked at a press con­fer­ence whether he believes that a gov­ern­ment fund­ing bill should include lan­guage to block the pres­i­dent from mak­ing sweep­ing changes to immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy, which Oba­ma may do as soon as next week.

    “We’re going to fight the pres­i­dent tooth and nail if he con­tin­ues down this path. This is the wrong way to gov­ern,” Boehn­er said. Lat­er, he added, “All of the options are on the table. We’re hav­ing dis­cus­sions with our mem­bers, and no deci­sions have been made as to how we will fight this if he pro­ceeds.”

    Oba­ma’s planned exec­u­tive action could lead to mil­lions of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants being allowed to stay and work legal­ly on a pro­vi­sion­al basis, some­thing Repub­li­cans have decried as “amnesty” and called uncon­sti­tu­tion­al.

    Fifty-nine House Repub­li­can mem­bers have signed on to a let­ter from Rep. Matt Salmon (R‑Ariz.) urg­ing the head of the Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee to include lan­guage in fund­ing bills to block Oba­ma’s exec­u­tive action on immi­gra­tion.

    “As you know, the Con­gress has the pow­er of the purse and should use it as a tool to pre­vent the Pres­i­dent from imple­ment­ing poli­cies that are con­trary to our laws and the desire of the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” the let­ter reads.

    Rep. Steve King (R‑Iowa) issued a state­ment on Thurs­day also call­ing for the House to use its “pow­er of the purse” to block “Obama’s antic­i­pat­ed, uncon­sti­tu­tion­al act to be imple­ment­ed, for if it is it will destroy the pil­lars of Amer­i­can Excep­tion­al­ism”

    “The audac­i­ty of this Pres­i­dent to think he can com­plete­ly destroy the Rule of Law with the stroke of a pen is unfath­omable to me,” he said. “It is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, it is cyn­i­cal, and it vio­lates the will of the Amer­i­can peo­ple. Our Repub­lic will not stand if we tol­er­ate a Pres­i­dent who is set upon the com­plete destruc­tion of the Rule of Law.”

    Boehn­er said in his press con­fer­ence that their goal “is to stop the pres­i­dent from vio­lat­ing his own oath of office and vio­lat­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion. It’s not to shut down the gov­ern­ment.”

    He said House Repub­li­cans can find oth­er ways, even beyond the gov­ern­ment fund­ing mea­sures, to respond if Oba­ma makes immi­gra­tion changes with­out Con­gres­sion­al approval.

    ...

    A sim­i­lar fight over immi­gra­tion is brew­ing in the Sen­ate, where Repub­li­can mem­bers have sim­i­lar­ly promised to do any­thing they can to keep Oba­ma’s exec­u­tive action from being imple­ment­ed.

    “If the pres­i­dent ille­gal­ly tries to grant amnesty to mil­lions of more peo­ple, I believe Con­gress should use every avail­able tool to stop that amnesty and to defend the rule of law,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑Texas) told The Huff­in­g­ton Post on Thurs­day.

    But Sen­ate Repub­li­can Leader Mitch McConnell (R‑Ky.) said at a Thurs­day press con­fer­ence that Repub­li­cans “will not be shut­ting the gov­ern­ment down or threat­en­ing to default on the nation­al debt.”

    Yes, as John Boehn­er put it, “all options are on the table”:

    “We’re going to fight the pres­i­dent tooth and nail if he con­tin­ues down this path. This is the wrong way to gov­ern,” Boehn­er said. Lat­er, he added, “All of the options are on the table. We’re hav­ing dis­cus­sions with our mem­bers, and no deci­sions have been made as to how we will fight this if he pro­ceeds.”

    ...

    Boehn­er said in his press con­fer­ence that their goal “is to stop the pres­i­dent from vio­lat­ing his own oath of office and vio­lat­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion. It’s not to shut down the gov­ern­ment.”

    He said House Repub­li­cans can find oth­er ways, even beyond the gov­ern­ment fund­ing mea­sures, to respond if Oba­ma makes immi­gra­tion changes with­out Con­gres­sion­al approval.

    So the mes­sage from the GOP’s top offi­cial in the House is that:
    1. All options are on the table.
    2. House Repub­li­cans can find oth­er ways, even beyond the gov­ern­ment fund­ing mea­sure (shut­down threats).
    3. No deci­sions a have been made, and dis­cus­sions are ongo­ing.

    Was John Boehn­er just cryp­ti­cal­ly flash an “impeach­ment” gang sign in the mid­dle of his rant about all options being on the table? Keep in mind that Rep. Matt Salmon — the author of the dec­la­ra­tion above “urg­ing the head of the Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee to include lan­guage in fund­ing bills to block Oba­ma’s exec­u­tive action on immi­gra­tion,” that received 59 sig­na­tures — and Rep. Steve King are both also throw­ing out “impeach­ment” gang signs too. So it might be tempt­ing to think that Boehn­er is attempt­ing to make it look like he’s a mem­ber of the “impeach and shut­down” gang too. But there’s anoth­er option. A much, much lamer option:

    The Rachel Mad­dow Show
    The Mad­dow Blog
    Boehn­er may expand anti-Oba­ma law­suit that doesn’t exist
    11/14/14 09:48 AM

    By Steve Benen

    In all like­li­hood, House Speak­er John Boehn­er (R‑Ohio) does not want to shut down the gov­ern­ment. He’d prob­a­bly also pre­fer to avoid a point­less pres­i­den­tial impeach­ment cru­sade.

    But the Repub­li­can leader also real­izes many in his par­ty want both a shut­down and impeach­ment, putting the Speak­er in a posi­tion where he’ll need to find some alter­na­tive approach that rebukes the White House, sati­ates his rabid allies, but doesn’t actu­al­ly do any­thing mean­ing­ful or poten­tial­ly scan­dalous.

    Robert Cos­ta and Ed O’Keefe report that Boehn­er has just such a solu­tion in mind.

    House Speak­er John A. Boehn­er (R‑Ohio) is con­sid­er­ing expand­ing a pro­posed fed­er­al law­suit over Pres­i­dent Obama’s exec­u­tive orders to include action on immi­gra­tion. Fil­ing a sep­a­rate law­suit over the president’s author­i­ty to pro­tect mil­lions of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants from depor­ta­tion is anoth­er option that gained trac­tion Thurs­day dur­ing talks among par­ty lead­ers.

    The idea to use the courts as an ini­tial means of dis­sent, should the pres­i­dent move for­ward in the com­ing weeks to pro­tect mil­lions from depor­ta­tion, moved to the front of the House GOP’s play­book after the lead­er­ship reviewed it. Boehn­er report­ed­ly wants to respond force­ful­ly and quick­ly should the pres­i­dent act and believes a law­suit would do that, as well as sig­nal to con­ser­v­a­tives in his con­fer­ence that he shares their frus­tra­tions about the president’s use of exec­u­tive pow­er.

    And if the goal is to give the appear­ance of action with­out doing any­thing too mean­ing­ful, this might do the trick. Repub­li­cans are con­vinced exec­u­tive actions on immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy are a fla­grant vio­la­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion – but only when Oba­ma does it? Fine, go to the courts.

    The law­suit would almost cer­tain­ly fail, but that’s not real­ly the point. By pur­su­ing a legal recourse, Boehn­er gets to “stand up” to Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, he gives Repub­li­cans some­thing spe­cif­ic to ral­ly behind, and he throws cold water on the more ridicu­lous alter­na­tive tac­tics. All he has to do is add some com­plaints to his cur­rent anti-Oba­ma law­suit.

    Of course, that’d be eas­i­er if the anti-Oba­ma law­suit actu­al­ly exist­ed.

    Boehn­er first announced his plan to sue the pres­i­dent back in June. A month lat­er, the Speaker’s office for­mal­ly unveiled the leg­is­la­tion to autho­rize the lit­i­ga­tion, a case intend­ed to force the imple­men­ta­tion of an obscure pro­vi­sion of the Afford­able Care Act which Repub­li­cans don’t actu­al­ly want to see imple­ment­ed.

    A month after that, House Repub­li­cans agree to pay a D.C. law firm $500 an hour, in tax­pay­er mon­ey, to han­dle the case.

    And since then, bup­kis. Repub­li­cans hired a law firm to over­see the lit­i­ga­tion, but the firm changed its mind in Sep­tem­ber and dropped the case. GOP lead­ers then hired a sec­ond firm, only to learn a month lat­er that it dropped the case, too.

    Now Boehn­er wants to add com­plaints to law­suit, though at present, there is no law­suit.

    ...

    Yes, while John Boehn­er might sort of sound like he’s on team “impeach and shut­down”, he’s also flash­ing the gang sign for “lame law­suit that law firms keep quit­ting” which is the lamest pos­si­ble gang sign he can flash at this point. It’s almost insult­ing to the base. And with Mitch McConnell hint­ing at no shut­down or impeach­ment, and John Bohn­er hint­ing that he’s plan­ning on mere­ly pre­tend­ing he’s inter­est­ed “all options on the table” but is real­ly just inter­est­ed in expand­ing his sad law­suit, it’s look­ing like we can expect the GOP to enter the 2016 pri­ma­ry sea­son with a base that is both whipped into an impeachment/shutdown fren­zy and left deeply want­i­ng. Don’t for­get: the the first debate is set for Sep­tem­ber 2015. And that means the whole GOP 2016 Pri­ma­ry crazy train is going to leave the sta­tion dur­ing time that when the GOP base wants to derail gov­ern­ment more than ever with­out any sort of viable vent­ing from the GOP lead­er­ship.

    When John Boehn­er says ‘all options are on the table’ but ends up real­ly only offer­ing the lamest option pos­si­ble while toy­ing with the base’s anti-immi­grant hopes and dreams right before the 2016 pri­ma­ry, we should prob­a­bly expect that all options are indeed going to be on the table. But not the “show­down with the Pres­i­dent” table. The 2016 GOP nom­i­na­tion table. The base will not be ignored.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 16, 2014, 7:05 am
  40. Okla­homa Sen­a­tor Tom Coburn is warn­ing that if Pres­i­dent Oba­ma issues an exec­u­tive order on immi­gra­tion peo­ple will sud­den­ly think “Well, if the law does­n’t apply to the pres­i­dent ... then why should it apply to me?” And then vio­lence and anar­chy will ensue:

    USA Today
    GOP sen­a­tor warns of vio­lence after immi­gra­tion order
    Susan Page, 9:05 a.m. EST Novem­ber 20, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Okla­homa Sen. Tom Coburn warns there could be not only a polit­i­cal firestorm but acts of civ­il dis­obe­di­ence and even vio­lence in reac­tion to Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s exec­u­tive order on immi­gra­tion Thurs­day.

    “The coun­try’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move out­side the author­i­ty of the pres­i­dent, and it’s going to be a very seri­ous sit­u­a­tion,” Coburn said on Cap­i­tal Down­load. “You’re going to see — hope­ful­ly not — but you could see instances of anar­chy. ... You could see vio­lence.”

    Coburn, 66, is a con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can but one who has a per­son­al rela­tion­ship with Oba­ma. They entered the Sen­ate in the same class, elect­ed in 2004, and the new sen­a­tors from oppo­site ends of the polit­i­cal spec­trum and their spous­es imme­di­ate­ly hit it off at an ori­en­ta­tion din­ner. Last year, the pres­i­dent wrote a trib­ute in Time mag­a­zine to Coburn as “some­one who speaks his mind (and) sticks to his prin­ci­ples.”

    “I real­ly like the guy,” Coburn, 66, told USA TODAY’s week­ly video news­mak­er series Wednes­day. “I thought he’s neat, and I think Michelle’s a neat lady.”

    That his­to­ry gives Coburn’s stark assess­ment a spe­cial sting. On immi­gra­tion, he accus­es Oba­ma of act­ing like “an auto­crat­ic leader that’s going to dis­re­gard what the Con­sti­tu­tion says and make law any­way.” He says changes in immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy require pas­sage by Con­gress, not just the pres­i­den­t’s sig­na­ture — a charge the White House dis­putes and on which legal experts dis­agree.

    “Instead of hav­ing the rule of law han­dling in our coun­try today, now we’re start­ing to have the rule of rulers, and that’s the total antithe­sis of what this coun­try was found­ed on,” Coburn says. “Here’s how peo­ple think: Well, if the law does­n’t apply to the pres­i­dent ... then why should it apply to me?”

    ...

    Yes, when pres­i­dents issue the exec­u­tive orders the rule of law col­laps­es. It’s just what hap­pens.

    So, as Josh Mar­shall asks below, just what will that vio­lence and anar­chy look like this time around since it’s not real­ly clear who the aggriev­ed par­ty is in this sit­u­a­tion. Might we be in store for a return of Bundy Ranch-style stand­offs with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment by GOP-friend­ly far right anti-immi­grant mili­tia groups that attempt to impose their own anti-immi­grant poli­cies? Maybe?

    TPM Edi­tor’s Blog
    What Would That Look Like?

    By Josh Mar­shall Pub­lished Novem­ber 20, 2014, 2:12 AM EST

    As you can see from the sto­ry we post­ed Wednes­day evening, retir­ing Sen. Tom Coburn ® of Okla­homa is half warn­ing, half threat­en­ing that the Pres­i­den­t’s impend­ing immi­gra­tion exec­u­tive order could lead to “instances of anar­chy [or] vio­lence.” That sug­ges­tion speaks for itself on var­i­ous lev­els. But in his con­ver­sa­tion with USATo­day’s Susan Page, in addi­tion to sug­ges­tions of “anar­chy” and “vio­lence”, Coburn also spoke about acts of “civ­il dis­obe­di­ence.”

    And that made me think, I won­der what he has in mind? What would that look like?

    Civ­il dis­obe­di­ence can take a myr­i­ad of forms. But in most of the cas­es we know from his­to­ry it is either the weapon of an oppressed group or focus­es on oppres­sive or ille­git­i­mate gov­ern­ment action. What­ev­er you think of what the Pres­i­dent is doing, though, it’s dif­fi­cult to see how either of those apply. In a very nar­row sense, the whole game here is the Pres­i­dent declin­ing to act rather than act­ing.

    Now, declin­ing to act can be as ille­git­i­mate as act­ing. I can think of numer­ous con­crete exam­ples that would illus­trate the point. But in pure­ly prac­ti­cal terms, it does chal­lenge the idea of civ­il dis­obe­di­ence since there’s lit­tle in the way of gov­ern­ment action to piv­ot against or protest. Again, it’s inac­tion.

    More sub­stan­tive­ly, who is the oppressed or injured group? Yes, you could man­u­fac­ture some con­struct about how we’re all col­lec­tive­ly oppressed by an attack on the rule of law. But that’s a bit strained — quite apart from the fair­ly broad agree­ment that the Pres­i­dent has this pow­er, whether or not it’s pru­dent to exer­cise it. The con­crete idea seems to be that anti-immi­gra­tion Amer­i­cans — and let’s be hon­est, main­ly white peo­ple — are oppressed in some way by hav­ing undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants be able to walk around in the open and be able to work in the open.

    Not to be too joc­u­lar but I guess anti-immi­grant activists could lay down on the side­walk in the way of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants try­ing to walk to school and chal­lenge the author­i­ties to arrest them or lay down in the streets in the path of undoc­u­ment­ed work­ers dri­ving to work?

    ...

    Need­less to say, the prac­ti­cal chal­lenges of civ­il dis­obe­di­ence in this case sim­ply dra­ma­tize the inher­ent silli­ness of any of this con­sti­tut­ing any form of oppres­sion. And while I could imag­ine vio­lence over this, let’s be hon­est, it would almost cer­tain­ly be racial­ly moti­vat­ed vio­lence or your stan­dard order anti-gov­ern­ment ‘regain our lib­er­ties’ sort of activ­i­ty that usu­al­ly stays rel­a­tive­ly close to the ground in ridicu­lous bor­der mili­tia type non­sense but occa­sion­al­ly flares up into some­thing tru­ly awful.

    ...

    Dur­ing try­ing times like these, when threats of vio­lence and anar­chy are on the hori­zon, some­times the only source of relief is just hold­ing your loved ones clos­er and hop­ing every­thing works out. Although keep in mind that the ‘hug a loved one’ form of stress relief should­n’t be used in some sit­u­a­tions.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 20, 2014, 10:07 am
  41. Well, now that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma went ahead and, uh, ‘under­mined the rule of law’ with his exec­u­tive actions over immi­gra­tion, one of the next obvi­ous ques­tion is when Lati­nos are going to engage in mass eth­nic cleans­ing. Ok, that may not be an obvi­ous ques­tion for every­one. But for indi­vid­u­als that, for instance, craft­ed Ari­zon­a’s noto­ri­ous “papers, please” law tar­get­ing Lati­nos(and advised Mitt Rom­ney), the ques­tion of when the Lati­no-led eth­nic cleans­ing starts is an obvi­ous ques­tion:

    TPM Livewire
    Kobach: Oba­ma’s Law­less­ness Could Lead To ‘Eth­nic Cleans­ing’ In Amer­i­ca

    By Ahiza Gar­cia Pub­lished­No­vem­ber 20, 2014, 5:02 PM EST

    Kansas Sec­re­tary of State Kris Kobach ® on Sun­day warned that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s exec­u­tive actions and gen­er­al “law­less­ness” on immi­gra­tion could lead to “eth­nic cleans­ing.”

    Kobach, a vocal advo­cate of the anti-immi­grant move­ment, claimed dur­ing his radio talk show that there was a strat­e­gy to replace Amer­i­can vot­ers with His­pan­ic ones who favored social­ism.

    “The long term strat­e­gy of, first of all, replac­ing Amer­i­can vot­ers with ille­gal aliens, recent­ly legal­ized, who then become U.S. cit­i­zens,” Kobach said. “There is still a decid­ed bias in favor of big­ger gov­ern­ment not small­er gov­ern­ment. So maybe this strat­e­gy of replac­ing Amer­i­can vot­ers with new­ly legal­ized aliens, if you look at it through an eth­nic lens, ... you’ve got a locked in vote for social­ism.”

    Koback also respond­ed to a caller who was con­cerned about eth­nic cleans­ing, which the caller claimed was a threat from immi­grant and His­pan­ic rights groups.

    “What hap­pens, if you know your his­to­ry, when one cul­ture or one race or one reli­gion over­whelms anoth­er cul­ture or race?” the caller asked. “When one race or cul­ture over­whelms anoth­er cul­ture, they run them out or they kill them.”

    Kobach then respond­ed with his take.

    “What pro­tects us in Amer­i­ca from any kind of eth­nic cleans­ing is the rule of law, of course,” Kobach said. “And the rule of law used to be unas­sail­able, used to be tak­en for grant­ed in Amer­i­ca. And now, of course, we have a Pres­i­dent who dis­re­gards the law when it suits his inter­ests. And, so, you know, while I nor­mal­ly would answer that by say­ing, ‘Steve, of course we have the rule of law, that could nev­er hap­pen in Amer­i­ca,’ I won­der what could hap­pen. I still don’t think it’s going to hap­pen in Amer­i­ca, but I have to admit, that things are, things are strange and they’re hap­pen­ing.”

    ...

    In relat­ed ‘rule of law’ news...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 21, 2014, 3:24 pm
  42. Fol­low­ing the ambush-style assassination/suicide of two New York City police offi­cer by a deranged man out to get revenge for the death of Eric Gar­ner (after shoot­ing his girl­friend), a pro­file of the shoot­er, Ismaaiyl Brins­ley, is start­ing to trick­le in although it’s still going to be a while before we get a bet­ter sense of the influ­ences that may have moti­vat­ed the shoot­er beyond a base desire for revenge.

    So, it’s worth recall­ing that, unlike Jer­ad and Aman­da Miller, the motives that drove the last ambush-style shoot­ings of two police offi­cers is still some­what unclear:

    The Morn­ing Call
    Com­put­ers, phones key in Eric Frein pros­e­cu­tion

    By Lau­rie Mason Schroed­er Of The Morn­ing Call

    Novem­ber 21,2014, 2:49 PM

    Eric Frein may con­sid­er him­self a fron­tier sur­vival­ist who can live off the land, but new­ly unsealed search war­rants show that the case against him relies heav­i­ly on tech­nol­o­gy.

    The war­rants, issued ear­ly in the man­hunt and made pub­lic last week, show that police removed data from com­put­ers and mem­o­ry cards found in Frein’s home, and also searched the phone of Justin Smith, an East Strouds­burg man who described him­self to The Morn­ing Call as Frein’s “only friend.”

    Police say Frein stayed at Smith’s apart­ment on Sept. 11, one day before he alleged­ly gunned down two state troop­ers at the Bloom­ing Grove bar­racks in Pike Coun­ty. Police say Frein cut his hair into a mohawk, as part of men­tal prepa­ra­tion for the shoot­ing, in Smith’s bath­room.

    On the night of Sept. 12, police say, Frein sent Smith a text mes­sage: “All is good.”

    Smith has not been impli­cat­ed in the killings or accused of help­ing Frein.

    The war­rants don’t say what infor­ma­tion was gleaned from the seized devices, which include two Apple iPhones, an iPad, two Leno­va ThinkPads and sev­er­al com­put­er hard dri­ves and mem­o­ry cards. But a war­rant request shows that inves­ti­ga­tors were look­ing for clues into Frein’s Inter­net activ­i­ty and pass­words.

    Pre­vi­ous court fil­ings show that Frein searched the terms “can police track cell phones” and “how to escape a man­hunt.” He also looked for a “bal­lis­tics tra­jec­to­ry cal­cu­la­tor” and infor­ma­tion on “caching food,” accord­ing to court records.

    ...

    Frein, 31, of Canaden­sis, is accused of killing State Police Cor­po­ral Bry­on Dick­son and seri­ous­ly injur­ing troop­er Alex Dou­glass in the ambush-style attack. He then led police on a 48-day man­hunt, before being appre­hend­ed by U.S. mar­shals at an aban­doned air­plane hangar near the Birch­wood Resort in Pocono Town­ship, about 30 miles from the shoot­ing scene.

    He’s charged with mur­der of a law enforce­ment offi­cer, ter­ror­ism and numer­ous oth­er crimes. Pros­e­cu­tors are seek­ing the death penal­ty.

    In a let­ter he alleged­ly wrote to his par­ents, Frein said that he com­mit­ted the crime in an effort to spark a change in the gov­ern­ment.

    “Ten­sion is high at the moment and the time seems right for a spark to ignite a fire in the hearts of men,” he alleged­ly wrote.

    Frein is being held with­out bail in the Pike Coun­ty prison. Frein’s pub­lic defend­ers, Michael Wein­stein and Robert Bernathy, were not avail­able for com­ment Fri­day.

    Note that Frein is prob­a­bly a far right lunatic, but it’s still unclear what par­tic­u­lar strain of far right luna­cy he fol­lows. It’s all a reminder that the influ­ences that shaped Ismaaiyl Brins­ley’s life and led him to become a cop-killing wannabe mar­tyr are by no means unique. Trag­i­cal­ly.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 20, 2014, 7:30 pm
  43. Oh great. The spir­it of Cliv­en Bundy is haunt­ing a gold mine in Ore­gon:

    TPM Muck­rak­er
    Is This The Next Bundy Ranch? Mili­tia Men And Oath Keep­ers Swarm To Ore­gon

    By Cather­ine Thomp­son
    Pub­lished April 17, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT

    Oh what hell the Bundy Ranch hath wrought.

    A dis­pute between the Bureau of Land Man­age­ment and gold min­ers in South­west­ern Ore­gon drew imme­di­ate com­par­isons to the 2014 stand­off at Cliv­en Bundy’s Neva­da ranch as word of the fresh con­flict wound its way through the blo­gos­phere this week.

    Many of the ingre­di­ents were the same: a dis­agree­ment over prop­er­ty rights, a remote locale and a band of armed activists com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing the land own­er’s rights under the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    There’s one key dif­fer­ence, though. In inter­views with TPM and local news out­lets, the play­ers involved in the min­ing dis­pute have been adamant about pre­vent­ing the sit­u­a­tion in Ore­gon from esca­lat­ing the way the stand­off in Bunkerville, Neva­da did. Despite their best inten­tions, the allure of an armed con­flict with fed­er­al agents has still proved irre­sistible to self-styled mili­tia mem­bers who flocked to the area from across the coun­try to stir up trou­ble.

    At issue is a dis­agree­ment over how to inter­pret records of the mines’ own­er­ship, a spokesman for the BLM’s Med­ford dis­trict office told TPM in a phone inter­view.

    Jim Whit­ting­ton said it boils down to there being two dif­fer­ent types of rights to the land: min­ing rights and sur­face rights. He said the two men involved in the dis­pute own the min­ing rights to the land, but not the sur­face rights. The BLM’s records, Whit­ting­ton said, show that the sur­face rights at the Sug­ar Pine Mine were ced­ed to the agency in 1961 by the par­ty that owned the claim at that time. He said the BLM in March served the Sug­ar Pine Mine with two let­ters say­ing as much.

    Co-own­ers Rick Bar­clay and George Back­es have argued, how­ev­er, that they still pos­sess the sur­face rights on the Sug­ar Pine Mine claim. Bar­clay said Thurs­day night on local tele­vi­sion sta­tion KDRV that the BLM had served him with a “cease and desist let­ter” despite hav­ing showed him no proof that the agency retained the sur­face rights to his land.

    “It’d be like some­body com­ing to your house say­ing ‘This is mine now. You got 14 days to take your house out and 30 days to take down your fences and every­thing you own,’ ” Bar­clay told the news sta­tion. “The aver­age person’s going to say well, where’s your proof? I want my day in court before they destroy or force me to remove any of my prop­er­ty from my mine.”

    Whit­ting­ton said that the agency does not plan to take such dras­tic action.

    “We’re not at all dis­put­ing that there’s a valid min­ing claim there,” he told TPM, adding that the dis­pute over who owns sur­face rights on the Sug­ar Pine Mine claim could be hashed out through what it like­ly to be a lengthy admin­is­tra­tive appeal process.

    Bar­clay, being sus­pi­cious of the fed­er­al agency, told KDRV that he’d enlist­ed the help of a local chap­ter of the Oath Keep­ers, a loose-knit nation­al orga­ni­za­tion of cur­rent and for­mer mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment offi­cers who pledge to defend the Con­sti­tu­tion against gov­ern­ment over­reach, to pro­vide secu­ri­ty on the prop­er­ty while he goes through the appeal process.

    A call for vol­un­teer per­son­nel on the Josephine Coun­ty Oath Keep­ers’ web­site quick­ly made the rounds this week among self-styled mili­tia mem­bers on Face­book and YouTube:
    ...

    Mary Emer­ick, a spokes­woman for the Josephine Coun­ty Oath Keep­ers, has been field­ing phone calls from inter­est­ed vol­un­teers from all over the coun­try. At least one activist was turned away from the prop­er­ty because he had out­stand­ing issues with law enforce­ment, Emer­ick told TPM in a phone inter­view.

    “I am aware that peo­ple are just lit­er­al­ly get­ting in their cars,” she said. “How­ev­er, we also know that some of those peo­ple are on sort of a list and are not going to be wel­comed at the camp.”

    “We are very care­ful about who we let in to this stag­ing area,” Emer­ick added. “This is not some kind of field fes­ti­val or a stand­off with the BLM. We are just help­ing to pro­tect rights.”

    Emer­ick declined to reveal just how many activists were pro­tect­ing the land, cit­ing safe­ty con­cerns. She did offer that there was round-the-clock secu­ri­ty at the mine itself and that the activists were armed.

    As for the peo­ple com­par­ing her group’s effort to the Bundy Ranch stand­off, Emer­ick said that was “pure spec­u­la­tion.”

    Bar­clay, the Sug­ar Pine Mine co-own­er, was so tak­en aback by the out­sized response from activists that he told a local news­pa­per, The Mail Tri­bune, that the oper­a­tion was becom­ing a “cir­cus.”

    “What you’re see­ing is most­ly a spec­ta­cle caused by social media and ‘key­board com­man­dos’ whoop­ing it up,” he told the news­pa­per. “A lot of the stuff going around on social media is absolute bull—-.”

    Bar­clay also issued a plea through the news­pa­per for his sup­port­ers to “stop call­ing the BLM and threat­en­ing their per­son­nel.”

    Whit­ting­ton con­firmed to TPM that agency employ­ees have been receiv­ing threats.

    “There have been some ques­tion­able phone calls,” he said. “Our posi­tion on threats to employ­ees is that we take it very seri­ous­ly and that we’re going to inves­ti­gate those cred­i­ble threats.”

    Whit­ting­ton said that the BLM is aware of the sit­u­a­tion at the Sug­ar Pine Mine. The agency instruct­ed its employ­ees not to enter that area and informed local law enforce­ment that it planned to stay away, he said.

    Emer­ick said that her group did not want to esca­late the mine own­ers’ dis­pute with the BLM, either.

    “I think every­body’s pret­ty much in agree­ment that we’re not look­ing to start some kind of issue out there,” she told TPM. “We just would like to see the due process played out.”

    ...

    Ok, to sum­ma­rize:
    1. There’s dis­pute between the BLM and the own­ers of the Sug­ar Pine Mine gold min­ers in South­west­ern Ore­gon over whether or not their rights include only min­ing rights, or min­ing and sur­face rights.

    2. Co-own­ers Rick Bar­clay and George Back­es argue the still pos­sess sur­face rights and Bar­clay, being sus­pi­cious of the BLM, con­tact­ed the Oath Keep­ers to pro­vide secu­ri­ty at the mine while he goes through the appeal process with the BLM, telling local news that he did it because he was wor­ried the BLM would remove or destroy their equip­ment before they could appear in court to appeal.

    3. The Oath Keep­ers call out for vol­un­teers and a bunch of armed peo­ple show up.

    4. So many Oath Keep­ers show up that Bar­clay tells a local news­pa­per that the oper­a­tion was becom­ing an “cir­cus”.

    5. Oath Keep­ers start send­ing the BLM employ­ees threat­en­ing phone calls.

    6. And, final­ly, Bar­clay and the Oath Keep­ers deny that there are any par­al­lels with the Bundy Ranch stand­off.

    Well, we haven’t had­n’t any lec­tures about “the Negro” yet, so that’s one point of diver­gence between the Bundy Ranch stand­off and Sug­ar Pine Mine Cir­cus.

    We also haven’t seen the flood of sup­port for the min­ers from elect­ed offi­cials across the nation like we saw with the Bundy Ranch stand­off (before they fled) so that’s also some­thing dif­fer­ent.

    Will these dif­fer­ence remain as the cir­cus goes on? We’ll just have to wait and see. But keep in mind that one of the things the Oath Keep­ers call for is a return to the gold stan­dard, so a show­down at a gold mine has got to be like crack for Oath Keep­ers which mean get­ting the cir­cus to leave town might not be easy.

    And then there’s the oth­er gold­en crack­heads that are undoubt­ed­ly look­ing to take a hit...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 17, 2015, 2:47 pm
  44. Oh look, the Sug­ar Pine Mine “cir­cus” is final­ly get­ting its ring­leader. Or, at least, a cou­ple of ring­leader rep­re­sen­ta­tives:

    Ore­gon mine that sum­moned armed guards in land dis­pute files appeal
    PORTLAND, Ore. | By Shel­by Sebens

    Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:48pm EDT

    (Reuters) — The own­ers of an Ore­gon gold mine who called in armed activists to pro­tect their claim amid a bit­ter land use dis­pute with the U.S. gov­ern­ment have appealed a fed­er­al stop-work order, U.S. offi­cials said on Thurs­day.

    But ten­sions remained high at the Sug­ar Pine Mine out­side of Med­ford ahead of a planned protest lat­er on Thurs­day over what mine sup­port­ers see as fed­er­al over­reach, even as the own­ers insist they want to avoid a high-pro­file stand­off.

    “We appre­ci­ate and share the min­ing claimants’ inter­est in peace­ful­ly resolv­ing the mat­ter through the nor­mal reg­u­la­to­ry and admin­is­tra­tive process­es that are in place for such mat­ter,” Bureau of Land Man­age­ment spokesman Tom Gorey said in a state­ment, con­firm­ing the appeal had been received.

    A spokesman for the min­ers, Ker­by Jack­son, con­firmed paper­work had been filed to keep offi­cials from “burn­ing or break­ing any­thing” on the prop­er­ty, but gave no more details.

    Min­ers and sup­port­ers, some flock­ing from oth­er states, would gath­er on Thurs­day at Ore­gon BLM offices, accord­ing to the con­ser­v­a­tive Oath Keep­ers activist net­work.

    Mine co-own­er Rick Bar­clay sum­moned guards from the group fol­low­ing a stop-work order he received last month after offi­cials said they found equip­ment on site indi­cat­ing oper­a­tions incon­sis­tent with stan­dard mine devel­op­ment require­ments.

    ...

    The min­ers say they want to avoid a stand­off like last year’s fight between Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in which the BLM sought to seize cat­tle because Bundy refused to pay graz­ing fees. Fed­er­al agents ulti­mate­ly backed down.

    Offi­cials closed BLM offices in Med­ford and near­by Grants Pass to the pub­lic on Thurs­day ahead of the protest. The BLM said it had also told employ­ees to avoid the mine because of the armed activists.

    “The safe­ty of our employ­ees and the pub­lic con­tin­ues to be our top pri­or­i­ty,” Gorey said, urg­ing demon­stra­tors to remain peace­ful.

    Oath Keep­ers spokes­woman Mary Emer­ick said more sup­port­ers were en route to fill jobs for a long-haul protest, from secu­ri­ty to cook­ing. Cliv­en Bundy’s son, Ammon, said two fam­i­ly rep­re­sen­ta­tives had trav­eled to Ore­gon, and the fam­i­ly was mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

    Yep! The Bundy’s are com­ing to Ore­gon! Maybe they’ll help pro­tect the paper­work that

    ...had been filed to keep offi­cials from “burn­ing or break­ing any­thing” on the prop­er­ty, but gave no more details.

    Of course, giv­en that the mine own­ers told the media that the rea­son for call­ing in the Oath Keep­ers when all this start­ed was to pre­vent BLM offi­cial from dam­ag­ing their equip­ment at the mine, it does­n’t seem like pro­tect­ing the appeals paper­work is what any of them have in mind.

    Maybe the Bundys will be able to give some advice on how to pro­ceed now that there are rep­re­sen­ta­tives on the scene. Or maybe they already have:

    Mail Tri­bune

    Armed pro­test­ers gath­er at Med­ford BLM office over Sug­ar Pine Mine dis­pute
    Sup­port­ers of con­test­ed claim say agency is tram­pling min­ers’ rights

    By Thomas Mori­ar­ty

    Post­ed Apr. 23, 2015 at 3:16 PM
    Updat­ed at 8:01 PM

    More than 100 pro­test­ers, some of them armed, descend­ed Thurs­day after­noon on the U.S. Bureau of Land Man­age­men­t’s Med­ford Dis­trict office to protest the agen­cy’s reg­u­la­to­ry action against a gold mine in rur­al Josephine Coun­ty.

    Sup­port­ers of the Sug­ar Pine Mine claim BLM offi­cials lied when they said own­ers George Back­es and Rick Bar­clay were required to file a plan of oper­a­tions for what the agency described as pre­vi­ous­ly unknown min­ing activ­i­ty on the claim, locat­ed west of Mer­lin in the Gal­ice Min­ing Dis­trict. The agency told them they had to either file a plan or remove their equip­ment.

    “This sign sucks, and so does the BLM,” read one of dozens of signs dis­played by pro­test­ers in the agen­cy’s park­ing lot. Many of the pro­test­ers were mem­bers of the Oath Keep­ers move­ment, a nation­al orga­ni­za­tion of peo­ple who claim to be for­mer and cur­rent law enforce­ment and mil­i­tary per­son­nel sworn to dis­obey “uncon­sti­tu­tion­al” orders by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

    Mary Emer­ick, spokesper­son for the local Oath Keep­ers, said the group has had vol­un­teers arrive from through­out the west­ern Unit­ed States since it began guard­ing the mine. “We had three peo­ple dri­ve all night to get here from Mon­tana,” she said.

    The BLM closed its Med­ford office because of the protests, cit­ing safe­ty con­cerns. A num­ber of the pro­test­ers open­ly dis­played hol­stered firearms.

    Armed vol­un­teers from the Oath Keep­ers have main­tained a con­stant pres­ence around the Josephine Coun­ty mine since last week fol­low­ing a request by the min­ers, who said they feared the BLM would destroy their cab­in and equip­ment on their claim before they could appear in court to appeal the agen­cy’s non­com­pli­ance order.

    “We decid­ed to stand up for our rights, and I don’t think we did wrong with the crowd we have here,” Back­es said, prompt­ing cheers from the pro­test­ers.

    The min­ers con­tend they legal­ly con­trol all of the land and resources with­in the claim, which they said has been con­tin­u­ous­ly mined since the 1800s, pre­dat­ing the Sur­face Resources Act of 1955, which made future claims apply only to min­er­al rights. The BLM says the land belongs to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment and that the min­ers have to file a plan of oper­a­tions for any min­ing activ­i­ties.

    “(The min­ers) have a par­tic­u­lar inter­pre­ta­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion that has not been rec­og­nized by any fed­er­al court,” said BLM spokesman Tom Gorey.

    Joseph Rice, iden­ti­fied as the Oath Keep­ers’ Josephine Coun­ty coor­di­na­tor, said local news media were com­plic­it in spread­ing what he called “dis­in­for­ma­tion” by local BLM pub­lic affairs offi­cer Jim Whit­ting­ton.

    “What I’ve seen is an edi­to­ri­al­ized view­point,” he said. Rice said the Oath Keep­ers intend to keep guard­ing the mine until Back­es and Bar­clay are able to appear in court.

    “I’m hap­py to go to court, if I can even get to court with­out them burn­ing my stuff down,” Bar­clay said.

    Gorey said the agency does­n’t know where the min­ers’ fears of cab­in burn­ing orig­i­nat­ed.

    “There’s no threat to their cab­in or equip­ment — there’s nev­er been,” he said, adding that rumors on social media are con­tribut­ing to what he described as a “non-pos­i­tive dia­logue.” “There’s just no truth to it. It’s a false nar­ra­tive.”

    Gorey said there seems to be a strain of para­noia that the BLM is part of a vast gov­ern­ment con­spir­a­cy against the min­ers.

    “It’s vir­tu­al­ly impos­si­ble to refute,” he said, point­ing to the dif­fi­cul­ty inher­ent in dis­prov­ing the exis­tence of a con­spir­a­cy. “I think once some­one sum­moned in the Oath Keep­ers, this took on a whole new dimen­sion and then it was asso­ci­at­ed with (Cliv­en) Bundy and this whole issue of fed­er­al own­er­ship of lands ver­sus pri­vate own­er­ship ver­sus state own­er­ship and does the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment own this land, which we would con­tend, yes, belongs to all of the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

    Com­par­isons to Bundy, a Neva­da ranch­er whose 2014 dis­pute with the BLM over graz­ing rights drew armed sup­port­ers from through­out the coun­try, have been numer­ous since the min­ers’ dis­pute became pub­lic, although sup­port­ers have reject­ed notions that they’re engaged in a sim­i­lar stand­off. (Reports that Bundy would appear at the Med­ford ral­ly were appar­ent­ly incor­rect.)

    ...

    “The min­ers con­tend they legal­ly con­trol all of the land and resources with­in the claim, which they said has been con­tin­u­ous­ly mined since the 1800s, pre­dat­ing the Sur­face Resources Act of 1955, which made future claims apply only to min­er­al rights...”

    Well that sure has a famil­iar ring to it....

    But keep in mind that there are still some sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences between the Bundy Ranch freak out and the Sug­ar Pine mine cir­cus: Cliv­en Bundy called in the Oath Keep­ers because he was sov­er­eign cit­i­zen that’s sim­ply opposed to Fed­er­al laws entire­ly. These mine own­ers, on the oth­er hand, claim to have mere­ly called in the Oath Keep­ers to pro­tect their stuff while they await their day in court to appeal BLM’s order.

    It rais­es a rather intrigu­ing ques­tion: Does call­ing in the Oath Keep­ers for a show­down with the gov­ern­ment for arguably less dubi­ous rea­sons than Cliven’s, but still quite dubi­ous rea­sons over­all, count as progress?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 23, 2015, 11:04 pm
  45. A man named Gavin Long has been iden­ti­fied as the shoot­er in the ambush-style killing of three Baton Rouge police and injur­ing of three oth­ers. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Long appears to be asso­ci­at­ed with an anti-police move­ment known for vio­lence. More sur­pris­ing­ly, since Long was an African Amer­i­can ex-marine, is that the anti-police move­ment he was part of is a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen off­shoot:

    Kansas City Star

    Kansas City man iden­ti­fied as sus­pect in killings of three Baton Rouge police offi­cers

    * Mul­ti­ple sources have iden­ti­fied the man as Gavin Eugene Long, 29, of Kansas City
    * Three oth­er offi­cers were injured in the attack
    * Man at address list­ed for Long shows gun when ask­ing Star reporter to leave

    July 17, 2016 4:46 PM

    Online the shoot­er called him­self Cos­mo Sete­pen­ra, and more than a week before he killed three police offi­cers Sun­day in Baton Rouge, La., he told a YouTube audi­ence he didn’t want to be asso­ci­at­ed with orga­nized groups in case any­thing hap­pened to him.

    “I’m affil­i­at­ed with the spir­it of jus­tice: noth­ing else, noth­ing more, noth­ing less,” he said in the clip.

    Cos­mo Setepenra’s real name was Gavin Eugene Long, and he was from Kansas City. As the nation took in yet anoth­er hor­rif­ic mur­der­ous ram­page, pub­lic records, social media and rec­ol­lec­tions from for­mer class­mates paint a pic­ture of a puz­zling per­son­al­i­ty:

    He was a mil­i­tary vet­er­an with­out a crim­i­nal record. He had a robust online pres­ence, where in “Con­vos with Cos­mo” he doled out every­thing from health tips to advice to help men reach “com­plete and full mas­culin­i­ty.”

    He took up anti-gov­ern­ment views, and while he said he didn’t want to be affil­i­at­ed with any orga­nized groups, he was a mem­ber of a bizarre off­shoot of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment and had been asso­ci­at­ed with the Nation of Islam. He saw police as part of the gov­ern­ment and was out­raged by the recent spate of police shoot­ings of black men.

    Fol­low­ers of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment believe the gov­ern­ment is cor­rupt and has no juris­dic­tion over them. Fed­er­al author­i­ties con­sid­er the move­ment a domes­tic ter­ror­ist threat, and the move­ment con­tin­ues to swell, with vio­lent inci­dents erupt­ing reg­u­lar­ly.

    Long declared him­self a sov­er­eign in records filed with the Jack­son Coun­ty recorder of deeds last year.

    “No doubt at all,” said J.J. Mac­Nab, an author who for two decades has been track­ing anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ists. “He’s 100 per­cent sov­er­eign cit­i­zen.”

    Mac­Nab said Long fell into the Moor­ish Sov­er­eign cat­e­go­ry, more specif­i­cal­ly the Washitaw Nation of Mu’urs.

    “This group believes that they are indige­nous to the con­ti­nent and there­fore above all fed­er­al, state and local laws,” said Mac­Nab, who also is a fel­low at George Wash­ing­ton University’s Cen­ter for Cyber and Home­land Secu­ri­ty. “These doc­u­ments show Long’s attempt to sep­a­rate his flesh and blood ‘indige­nous’ self from his legal enti­ty self.”

    Long filed the doc­u­ment with the Jack­son Coun­ty recorder in May 2015, say­ing he was with the Unit­ed Washitaw de Dug­dah­moundyah Mu’ur Nation, Mid-West Washita Tribes.

    The doc­u­ment includ­ed a “live claim birth” record in which he changed his name to Cos­mo Ausar Sete­pen­ra.

    A search of his online post­ings found that Long told a YouTube audi­ence in a video post­ed July 10 — a few days after the Dal­las sniper shoot­ing — that he had trav­eled to Dal­las and was in the city dur­ing the attack that killed five offi­cers. He called the inci­dent “jus­tice.”

    He opined on how his­to­ry shows that “100 per­cent of rev­o­lu­tions, of vic­tims fight­ing their oppres­sion, from vic­tims fight­ing their bul­lies, 100 per­cent have been suc­cess­ful through fight­ing back, through blood­shed.”

    “Zero have been suc­cess­ful just over sim­ply protest­ing,” Long told his audi­ence in a calm tone. “It doesn’t. … It has nev­er worked and it nev­er will. You got to fight back.”

    A day after the Dal­las attacks, Long said that “it’s time for the men to start sac­ri­fic­ing.”

    “With the broth­er killing the police, it’s jus­tice,” he said. “My reli­gion is the reli­gion of jus­tice. ... I was a Chris­t­ian once, I was a Mus­lim once, I was all that. But my reli­gion is jus­tice.”

    He informed his audi­ences that the “sac­ri­fices I make and the sac­ri­fices I will make” are ded­i­cat­ed to black women and youth. He referred to the movie “Dea­cons for Defense,” based on the true sto­ry about an armed self-defense group of African-Amer­i­cans who pro­tect­ed civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tions in the U.S. dur­ing the 1960s.

    “It’s a time for peace, but it’s a time for war,” he said. “And most of the times when you want peace, you got­ta go to war.”

    He encour­aged “real” and “alpha” indi­vid­u­als who want­ed change to move away from protests in order to invoke change.

    “It’s only fight­ing back or mon­ey,” Long said. “That’s all they care about. Rev­enue and blood. Rev­enue and blood. Rev­enue and blood.”

    Kansas City con­nec­tions

    It was unclear where Long was born or grew up, but he grad­u­at­ed from Grand­view High School in 2005 and lived in the 4600 block of Craig Avenue in Grand­view. Class­mates remem­bered him as a big, qui­et guy who was easy to get along with. He wouldn’t say a lot, but when he did, it was humor­ous, a friend who grad­u­at­ed with Long said.

    The class­mates who spoke to The Star asked not to be iden­ti­fied.

    The friend remem­bered Long entered the U.S. Marines after high school and slimmed down. He was dis­charged after a few years for health rea­sons, and spent some time in the hos­pi­tal after a phys­i­cal injury.

    After get­ting out, Long went off the grid and trav­eled to Africa, where he spent some time.

    “While he was in Africa, he had talked about how he found Islam and he was writ­ing a book,” the class­mate said. “He had kind of — I wouldn’t call it gone off the rock­er — but it was a lit­tle weird.”

    Long even­tu­al­ly start­ed advo­cat­ing that there was some type of gov­ern­ment con­spir­a­cy, that gov­ern­ment was out to get peo­ple and peo­ple need­ed to stand up for their rights.

    “He had gone full-on anti-gov­ern­ment and anti-estab­lish­ment,” a friend said. “He was def­i­nite­ly not a full-on rad­i­cal, but he had a dif­fer­ent take than a nor­mal per­son.”

    A dif­fer­ent class­mate said Long had always been a per­son who defend­ed those who were mis­treat­ed.

    “He was nev­er about any­thing neg­a­tive,” the friend said. “I would say he was man for jus­tice but I would say he stood for what he stood for. He wasn’t scared or embar­rassed to say what he believed in.”

    The class­mate said he was shocked that Long was iden­ti­fied as the gun­man.

    “I real­ly can’t speak on what his motives were,” the class­mate said. “I nev­er would have thought of him doing any­thing that rad­i­cal.”

    Accord­ing to mil­i­tary records, Long joined the mil­i­tary right after high school, serv­ing as a Marine from 2005 to 2010 and ris­ing to the rank of sergeant. He served in Iraq from June 2008 to Jan­u­ary 2009, and records show he received sev­er­al medals, includ­ing one for good con­duct. Long, who received an hon­or­able dis­charge, was list­ed as a “data net­work spe­cial­ist.”

    On his web­site, Long said he he spent two years in Japan and com­plet­ed one tour in Iraq while serv­ing in the Marines. When sta­tioned in San Diego, he says, he “became a high­ly esteemed and sought after nutri­tion­ist and per­son­al train­er.”

    After the Marines, he attend­ed the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alaba­ma for one semes­ter, in the spring of 2012, accord­ing to uni­ver­si­ty spokesman Chris Bryant. Uni­ver­si­ty police had no inter­ac­tion with Long dur­ing that time, Bryant said.

    On his web­site, Long says he received an asso­ciate degree in gen­er­al stud­ies from Cen­tral Texas Col­lege, then attend­ed Clark Atlanta Uni­ver­si­ty, where he was on the dean’s list.

    Records show that he mar­ried Airey­ona Osha Hill on July 25, 2009, at the Pil­grim Chapel on Gill­ham Road. Two years lat­er, he filed for divorce. Records sug­gest the cou­ple did not have chil­dren.

    ...

    “A search of his online post­ings found that Long told a YouTube audi­ence in a video post­ed July 10 — a few days after the Dal­las sniper shoot­ing — that he had trav­eled to Dal­las and was in the city dur­ing the attack that killed five offi­cers. He called the inci­dent “jus­tice.”

    Yikes, although note that he does­n’t claim in his Youtube video to actu­al­ly have been there dur­ing the attack in Dal­las. Still, you have to if any oth­er black sov­er­eign cit­i­zens were in Dal­las dur­ing the shoot­ing. Espe­cial­ly oth­er mem­bers of the “Washitaw Nation of Mu’urs”, the par­tic­u­lar sect of the Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zens Long belonged to.

    You also have to won­der about how many oth­er sov­er­eign cit­i­zens in gen­er­al of any race may have been in Dal­las dur­ing the shoot­ing or the anti-police protests in gen­er­al. Because as Gavin Long’s demon­strates, the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen-influ­enced kalei­do­scope of anti-gov­ern­ment ide­olo­gies cre­ate an ide­o­log­i­cal meet­ing point for groups that you would­n’t nor­mal­ly assume are prone towards coop­er­a­tion. After all, Cliv­en Bundy and the Bundy Brigade’s armed stand­offs were very much inspired by sov­er­eign cit­i­zen-esque philoso­phies, but Cliv­en Bundy isn’t the kind of fel­low you would expect to have much in com­mon with Gavin “Cos­mo” Long.

    And yet, as the arti­cle below which dis­cuss­es two Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zens who were caught plot­ting police assas­si­na­tion last year points out, the Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment is among the fastest grow­ing sov­er­eign cit­i­zen strains in recent years. So it appears that at least some indi­vid­u­als with a black sep­a­ratist mind­set who you would expect to be turned off by the white-suprema­cist his­to­ry of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment are still hap­py to bor­row its anti-gov­ern­ment ideas:

    Kansas City Star

    Sov­er­eign cit­i­zens now con­sist of all col­ors and creeds

    By JUDY L. THOMAS
    August 29, 2015 5:01 PM

    The case made head­lines last fall in the midst of the Fer­gu­son unrest.

    Two men with ties to the New Black Pan­ther Par­ty were charged with acquir­ing weapons in what was lat­er revealed to be a plot to kill two pub­lic offi­cials and blow up a police sta­tion.

    The two plead­ed guilty in June and will be sen­tenced Thurs­day in fed­er­al court in St. Louis. And in a less­er-known twist, one of the African-Amer­i­can defen­dants is an adher­ent of a move­ment that has its ori­gins in racist and anti-Semit­ic beliefs.

    Ola­ju­won Ali Davis is a “Moor­ish nation­al” — an off­shoot of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment.

    Experts and author­i­ties say the case illus­trates the chang­ing face of the move­ment, whose mem­bers believe the gov­ern­ment is cor­rupt and out of con­trol and has no juris­dic­tion over them.

    While today’s move­ment remains large­ly white and still has some fol­low­ers with racist lean­ings, a surge in the num­ber of non­white sov­er­eign cit­i­zens is under­way across the coun­try. And the biggest growth, experts say, is with­in an African-Amer­i­can branch called Moor­ish sov­er­eigns, which is dis­sem­i­nat­ing its ideas to a whole new batch of recruits.

    “It’s a new world,” said J.J. Mac­Nab, an author who for two decades has been track­ing anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ists. “And Mis­souri is like ground zero.”

    The com­mon denom­i­na­tor between sov­er­eign cit­i­zens and more left-wing black sep­a­ratists, Mac­Nab said, is the sense of being pow­er­less and hav­ing no voice.

    “You have a group of right-wing peo­ple who feel voice­less,” said Mac­Nab, who also is a fel­low at George Wash­ing­ton University’s Cen­ter for Cyber and Home­land Secu­ri­ty. “You look at the angst in Fer­gu­son and you hear a lot of the same things. They would not rec­og­nize it in each oth­er, but they have a lot of the same com­plaints, which is that the world is chang­ing and we don’t get a say in it.”

    Bob Har­ris, a for­mer Fed­er­al Bureau of Pris­ons case man­ag­er who teach­es law enforce­ment offi­cers how to iden­ti­fy and han­dle domes­tic extrem­ists, acknowl­edged the irony of a move­ment with white suprema­cist roots being joined by an African-Amer­i­can group. But today’s sov­er­eigns, he said, aren’t like those of pre­vi­ous decades.

    “They are much more reflec­tive of the demo­graph­ics of soci­ety today,” he said. “You have white peo­ple, you have African-Amer­i­cans, you have Asians, you have Native Amer­i­cans. The sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment has real­ly become a melt­ing pot.”

    And Moor­ish nation­als are increas­ing­ly occu­py­ing a big­ger por­tion of the pot, experts say.

    “In the last sev­er­al years, it’s explod­ed,” said Kory Flow­ers, a sergeant with the Greens­boro, N.C., police depart­ment who trains offi­cers and elect­ed offi­cials on sov­er­eign cit­i­zen tac­tics.

    A Kansas City area sov­er­eign cit­i­zen told The Star that he’s not at all sur­prised to hear about African-Amer­i­cans tak­ing up sov­er­eign ide­olo­gies.

    “It just shows that more and more peo­ple are fed up with the gov­ern­ment,” said Ken Auman, who has filed dozens of motions in law­suits around the metro area, accus­ing city and coun­ty offi­cials of cor­rup­tion, harass­ment and vio­lat­ing his rights.

    Auman said he wel­comes African-Amer­i­can sov­er­eign cit­i­zens into the fold.

    The shift comes at a time when author­i­ties say the loose­ly orga­nized move­ment, which has been around in var­i­ous forms for decades, is expe­ri­enc­ing a surge in vio­lence — a trend The Star explored in a series of sto­ries in April.

    A Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty assess­ment issued ear­li­er this year said there have been 24 vio­lent inci­dents asso­ci­at­ed with sov­er­eign cit­i­zens since 2010. And the FBI now con­sid­ers sov­er­eign cit­i­zen extrem­ists “as com­pris­ing a domes­tic ter­ror­ist move­ment.”

    Mov­ing inward

    Har­ris said much of the Moor­ish sov­er­eign activ­i­ty in the past six or sev­en years has been con­cen­trat­ed along the East­ern Seaboard. But now, he said, it’s spread­ing.

    “The Fer­gu­son riots brought a lot of them out of the wood­work,” he said, “and a lot of them from oth­er parts of the coun­try are com­ing into Fer­gu­son, Kansas City and the St. Louis area to recruit.”

    He said it’s hard to tell exact­ly how many Moor­ish sov­er­eigns are scat­tered through­out the coun­try.

    “I would say their num­bers nation­wide prob­a­bly total in the few thou­sand,” he said. Esti­mates of tra­di­tion­al sov­er­eign cit­i­zens run as high as 400,000. “But it is grow­ing.”

    Mark Pit­cav­age, direc­tor of inves­tiga­tive research for the Anti-Defama­tion League, said he sees plen­ty of signs of the Moor­ish sov­er­eign expan­sion, in part because of social media.

    “All sorts of Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zen videos on YouTube and links on Face­book have spread these ideas very quick­ly,” Pit­cav­age said. “It also explains why the move­ment has attract­ed a lot of younger peo­ple.”

    Anoth­er rea­son, he said, is that sov­er­eign cit­i­zens who were sent to prison in the 1990s and ear­ly 2000s start­ed teach­ing the tac­tics to oth­er pris­on­ers.

    “We’ve seen evi­dence of this in Chica­go, Detroit and Bal­ti­more, where even mem­bers of some street gangs have start­ed adopt­ing Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zen stuff,” he said.

    Although most of their crim­i­nal activ­i­ty has involved mort­gage and prop­er­ty fraud, the pro­lif­er­a­tion is a con­cern, Har­ris said.

    “Right now, they’re more into the social upheaval move­ment rather than attacks on law enforce­ment,” he said. “But with their loose affil­i­a­tion with the New Black Pan­ther Par­ty, who have called for the killing of police offi­cers, that could change.”

    ...

    Moor­ish ori­gins

    Moor­ish sov­er­eigns take their name from the Moor­ish Sci­ence Tem­ple of Amer­i­ca, a reli­gion found­ed in 1925 by Noble Drew Ali, said Spencer Dew, assis­tant pro­fes­sor of reli­gious stud­ies at Cen­te­nary Col­lege of Louisiana.

    “He start­ed this reli­gion to say, ‘Look, God doesn’t want us to be sec­ond-class cit­i­zens. God has a design for what the world should look like and what Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy should look like, and we need a piece of that. We need full respect,’” Dew said.

    The Moors believe that African-Amer­i­cans set­tled in what is now the Unit­ed States long before any­one else, includ­ing Native Amer­i­cans, Dew said. Some have used that tenet, and a 1787 treaty between the U.S. and Moroc­co, to push the sov­er­eign ide­ol­o­gy that they have indige­nous rights and aren’t sub­ject to U.S. law.

    Dew said, how­ev­er, that the major­i­ty of Moor­ish Sci­ence Tem­ple fol­low­ers do not adhere to sov­er­eign ide­ol­o­gy.

    “I think it’s a shame that all some folks know about Moor­ish sci­ence is some guy sell­ing false paper­work off the Inter­net,” he said. “That does an injus­tice to the deep his­to­ry of an inter­est­ing reli­gion and the Moors who are try­ing to wor­ship God and be good cit­i­zens.”

    Pit­cav­age said because the Moor­ish Sci­ence Tem­ple sect is not uni­fied, deci­sions on what to do about sov­er­eign ide­ol­o­gy are almost on a tem­ple-by-tem­ple basis.

    “There are peo­ple in the Moor­ish Sci­ence Tem­ple who try to warn fol­low­ers to stay out of this, but some of the Moor­ish tem­ples are almost tak­en over by Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zens,” he said.

    The home office of the Moor­ish Sci­ence Tem­ple of Amer­i­ca has a state­ment on its web­site denounc­ing the Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment.

    “We assertive­ly declare that the Moor­ish Sci­ence Tem­ple of Amer­i­ca Inc. is in no form or fash­ion a Sov­er­eign Cit­i­zen Move­ment or a Tax Pro­tes­tor Move­ment, con­se­quent­ly our teach­ings are dia­met­ri­cal­ly opposed to that ide­ol­o­gy,” it says.

    But Flow­ers, the Greens­boro police sergeant, said author­i­ties start­ed see­ing the Moor­ish sov­er­eign move­ment “just explode” after the reces­sion in 2008: “And we haven’t seen it slow down.”

    Indeed, he said, he came across a Moor­ish sov­er­eign last year on a flight to Okla­homa City, where he was con­duct­ing a train­ing ses­sion.

    “He gets on the plane wear­ing a fez and sits right behind me,” he said. “And he was going to Hous­ton to scout out recent­ly fore­closed hous­es to cre­ate false deeds on. What’s the chances of that?”

    The man, Flow­ers said, is now in prison.

    St. Louis case

    On Nov. 21, three days before the St. Louis Coun­ty pros­e­cut­ing attor­ney announced that a grand jury would not indict Dar­ren Wil­son, the then-Fer­gu­son police offi­cer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown to death, author­i­ties arrest­ed Davis and Bran­don Orlan­do Bald­win.

    The men were orig­i­nal­ly charged with ille­gal­ly pur­chas­ing firearms and lat­er with “con­spir­a­cy to dam­age or destroy by use of explo­sive a build­ing, vehi­cle and oth­er prop­er­ty,” which includ­ed plans to kill Ferguson’s police chief and the coun­ty pros­e­cu­tor.

    Media reports at the time cit­ed sources who said the defen­dants’ plans also includ­ed plant­i­ng a bomb on the obser­va­tion deck of the Gate­way Arch, a detail not men­tioned in the indict­ment. The men plead­ed guilty in June and face sev­en years in prison.

    U.S. Attor­ney Richard Calla­han said in a state­ment after their guilty pleas that “the dis­rup­tion of this plot, com­ing as it did on the eve of the expect­ed grand jury announce­ment, undoubt­ed­ly saved lives. Luck­i­ly for all of us, we’ll nev­er know just how many.”

    Davis, 23, has a Kansas City con­nec­tion. At a hear­ing in June, he told the judge he had attend­ed three years at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mis­souri-Kansas City, major­ing in eco­nom­ics.

    Davis was fea­tured in a March 2012 “Tat­too of the Week” col­umn in Uni­ver­si­ty News, the stu­dent news­pa­per. His tat­too, which cov­ered most of his back, depict­ed a pan­ther attack­ing an eagle.

    (A uni­ver­si­ty spokesman said a stu­dent by that name attend­ed UMKC from 2010 to 2012.)

    Davis explained his sov­er­eign beliefs in a video post­ed on YouTube in Novem­ber 2013.

    “I am Ola­ju­won Ali, native of North Amer­i­ca and free Moor­ish nation­al of North­west Amex­em,” he said on the video. “Do you find your­selves being oppressed? Are you tired of being taxed? Are you tired of being harassed and assault­ed and threat­ened by police sim­ply because you are black? There is a solu­tion. And that solu­tion is called nation­al­i­ty.”

    Davis said that in April 2013, he filed his “name cor­rec­tion and nation­al­i­ty” with the St. Louis Coun­ty recorder of deeds.

    Because of that, he said, “I am no longer a slave to the matrix. Thus, I am no longer oblig­at­ed to pay tax­es. I am no longer oblig­at­ed to fol­low cer­tain poli­cies and ordi­nances that may be enforced by the same police who are sup­posed to be here to pro­tect and serve.”

    On the video, Davis dis­played a pho­to of his ID card, some­thing sov­er­eign cit­i­zens often use in place of tra­di­tion­al iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. It list­ed his race as “human” and his nation­al­i­ty as “Moor­ish-Amer­i­can.”

    ...

    Pit­cav­age and oth­ers note that as the sov­er­eign move­ment con­tin­ues to grow, most fol­low­ers today aren’t aware of its racist roots.

    “Even though the move­ment was start­ed by white suprema­cists, what they focused on were anti-gov­ern­ment ideas,” Pit­cav­age said. “So with each sub­se­quent decade, white suprema­cists have become an ever small­er and less impor­tant part of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment.”

    And that, he said, has made it eas­i­er for African-Amer­i­cans and oth­ers to become sov­er­eign cit­i­zens.

    “Because it’s all about the gov­ern­ment.”

    “Even though the move­ment was start­ed by white suprema­cists, what they focused on were anti-gov­ern­ment ideas...So with each sub­se­quent decade, white suprema­cists have become an ever small­er and less impor­tant part of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment.”

    It may be incred­i­bly iron­ic that the black sep­a­ratist Moor­ish sov­er­eign cit­i­zens retooled an ide­ol­o­gy deeply root­ed in white suprema­cist prin­ci­ples, but it is what it is. Iron­ic and now trag­ic after the Baton Rouge ambush. And almost trag­ic last year too if this pre­vi­ous plot by Moor­ish sov­er­eigns described above had­n’t been thwart­ed. It will be inter­est­ing to see if Long had any con­tact with Ola­ju­won Ali Davis giv­en the sev­er­al years Davis spent in Kansas City that coin­cid­ed with the years after Long left the mil­i­tary.

    So we have anoth­er dead­ly police ambush by anoth­er heav­i­ly-armed dis­turbed indi­vid­ual and there’s no short­age of heav­i­ly-armed dis­turbed indi­vid­u­als in Amer­i­ca. While that does­n’t bode well dur­ing this peri­od of ele­vat­ed ten­sions between police and com­mu­ni­ties, on the plus side at least the Moor­ish sov­er­eign move­ment is so weird and inco­her­ent that it’s like­ly to have extreme­ly lim­it­ed appeal. Sure, it’s grow­ing fast in recent years, but that’s in part because it was such a small move­ment to begin with. Of course, that also means that who­ev­er does join is, at a min­i­mum, a deeply con­fused indi­vid­ual, and move­ments con­cen­trat­ed with con­fused indi­vid­u­als can get scary. Still, giv­en the chal­lenges of pre­vent­ing armed lunatics from wreak­ing hav­oc in heav­i­ly armed soci­eties, at least the armed lunatics tend to seem like lunatics the more soci­ety gets to know them after they go on their killing sprees. Imag­ine how much worse it would be if peo­ple like Mic­ah X. John­son or Gavin “Cos­mo” Long who are clear­ly pro­mot­ing race war memes did­n’t seem like unhinged lunatics intent on mak­ing a bad sit­u­a­tion worse. The cur­rent bad sit­u­a­tion real­ly would be a lot worse if that was the case.

    It’s all a reminder that while it’s incred­i­bly dis­heart­en­ing that these lunatics keep engag­ing in sui­ci­dal killing sprees with the clear intent of poi­son­ing race rela­tions in the US, it’s real­ly quite for­tu­nate that all of these indi­vid­u­als turn out to be obvi­ous­ly unhinged lunatics intent of poi­son­ing race rela­tions in the US. The under­ly­ing luna­cy that leads to these mur­der sprees obvi­ous­ly don’t help, but the obvi­ous­ness of the under­ly­ing luna­cy sure does in the after­math.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 18, 2016, 6:23 pm
  46. There was some hor­ri­ble sov­er­eign cit­i­zen-relat­ed news this week com­ing out of Col­orado that’s so hor­ri­ble it’s almost unbe­liev­able: The Rocky Moun­tain Fur Con just got can­celed! Pos­si­bly for­ev­er! Just when it seems like things can’t get worse in the world, it gets worse.

    How did the annu­al Den­ver, Col­orado con­ven­tion for ‘fur­ries’ — peo­ple who dress up as ani­mals for fun — implode all of a sud­den? Well, that’s where the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen angle comes in. Along with a neo-Nazi angle. And, yes, both of those angles are also fur­ry angles. Far-right fur­ry angles:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Neo-Nazis Are Tear­ing Apart the Fur­ry World
    A putsch, death threats, sex offenders—just because peo­ple dress up like ani­mals doesn’t mean their fights aren’t human.

    Kel­ly Weill
    04.13.17 8:00 PM ET

    The war began when a fas­cist par­ty and its arm­band-clad leader led a putsch. Antifas­cists mobi­lized in response. Threats of vio­lence ensued.

    Then the Rocky Moun­tain Fur Con can­celed all future events.

    The Fur Con is an annu­al sum­mit in Den­ver, Col­orado, for “fur­ries,” peo­ple who present them­selves as ani­mals, from don­ning full-body fur suits to adopt­ing “fur­sonas” for their char­ac­ter. And just as in the rest of Amer­i­ca, a lot of fur­ries resem­ble Nazis late­ly.

    In Col­orado, this splin­ter group calls itself the Fur­ry Raiders. In 2016 the Raiders sent fur fly­ing when they reserved a large block of Fur Con hotel rooms, spark­ing a fight that has last­ed a year and led to death threats, alle­ga­tions of tax eva­sion, intrigue around a sus­pect­ed sov­er­eign cit­i­zen, and the dis­cov­ery a sex offend­er on the Fur Con board. On Mon­day, Fur Con lead­ers chick­ened out of the con­ven­tion alto­geth­er.

    The Fur­ry Raiders’ leader, a man named Foxler who dress­es in a fox suit with a Nazi-like arm­band (no swasti­ka, only a paw print), told The Dai­ly Beast the convention’s can­cel­la­tion all stems from a big mis­un­der­stand­ing.

    “You could say a whole bunch of unfor­tu­nate events led to the par­tic­u­lar issue,” he said.

    Foxler claims he’s not try­ing to evoke Hitler, nev­er mind his name (a com­bi­na­tion of “Fox” and his sup­posed sur­name “Miller”), his Nazi-like arm­band (he says is based on a char­ac­ter in an old video game), or pic­tures of him throw­ing his arm up in a Nazi-like salute (an acci­dent, he said).

    Foxler recent­ly tweet­ed at white nation­al­ist Richard Spencer, and post­ed about “aryan” dogs online, though he says his group has no polit­i­cal agen­da.

    Fas­cist fur­ries are noth­ing new, but until recent­ly, “they were rare indi­vid­u­als who were more inter­est­ed in uni­form fetish than espous­ing Nazi ide­ol­o­gy,” Deo, anoth­er fur­ry told The Dai­ly Beast.

    But the rise of the alt-right has ush­ered in the #Alt­Fur­ry, a hash­tag under which right-lean­ing fur­ries can orga­nize, and the unini­ti­at­ed can encounter more car­toon rab­bits in Nazi uni­form than they pos­si­bly expect­ed to see in their life­times.

    So-called alt-fur­ries are also orga­niz­ing offline in groups like the Fur­ry Raiders, which Foxler leads. Although the Fur­ry Raiders “do not have any polit­i­cal agen­da or stance as a group,” the group says on its web­site, many wear the same arm­band as Foxler. Foxler says he’s nev­er paid much atten­tion to World War II his­to­ry, and didn’t notice the sim­i­lar­i­ties.

    But Foxler’s claims aren’t enough for many main­stream fur­ries, who accuse him and the Fur­ry Raiders of being far-right and using strong-arm tac­tics to manip­u­late Colorado’s fur­ry scene.

    “They are an orga­ni­za­tion with a very con­fus­ing past and a very con­fus­ing his­to­ry,” Zachary Brooks, chair­man of the Fur Con told The Dai­ly Beast. “The com­mu­ni­ty had tak­en a lot of issue regard­ing some sym­bol­ism that the head of the Fur­ry Raiders had cho­sen to uti­lize for his group. It was caus­ing a lot of con­tro­ver­sy.”

    Every year, Fur Con reserves a block of hotel rooms for con­ven­tion-goers, who rent out indi­vid­ual rooms for the August con­ven­tion. But in 2016, the Fur­ry Raiders snatched up a large por­tion of the reserved rooms, in what oth­er fur­ries con­demned as a pow­er grab.

    “When I real­ized what hotel it was gonna be at, I went to the hotel the next day and signed up for a cor­po­rate account,” Foxler said, adding he booked at least 30 rooms. “I had like a spare 10 extra rooms.”

    Fur Con orga­niz­ers and atten­dees were dis­pleased.

    “Despite direct com­mu­ni­ca­tions with them, the Den­ver-based group known as the Fur­ry Raiders declined to drop their reser­va­tions at the Crowne Plaza,” Brooks wrote con­ven­tion atten­dees in a state­ment last April. “We have exhaust­ed all of the means that we have to offi­cial­ly try to get them to release the rooms, but we’re sor­ry to say that nei­ther the con­ven­tion nor the hotel cur­rent­ly have poli­cies in place to pre­vent this behav­ior, though we strong­ly dis­ap­prove of it.”

    “It end­ed up being a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of rooms that pre­vent­ed our oth­er atten­dees from com­ing in and enjoy­ing the con­ven­tion,” Brooks told The Dai­ly Beast. “It was seen by many as a mali­cious act by them to try to con­trol who could and couldn’t attend. So that’s what real­ly began the con­tro­ver­sy with them.”

    Out­rage at the over­book­ing led oth­er con­ven­tion-goers to research the group hold­ing the hotel rooms hostage, a for­mer orga­niz­er named New­lyn said. And when fur­ries start­ed inves­ti­gat­ing the Fur­ry Raiders, they said they uncov­ered ties between the group and lead­ers of the Fur Con.

    “I think that par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion was a start to the over­all cause-and-effect that fol­lowed,” New­lyn told The Dai­ly Beast of the hotel room dis­pute. “Announce­ment of inves­ti­ga­tions led to peo­ple inside and out­side the Con­ven­tion doing their own research, lead­ing to the out­lash of pub­lic opin­ion regard­ing [the Fur Con], and the need for change in the com­mu­ni­ty.”

    And in the ensu­ing months, the fur­ry com­mu­ni­ty did some soul-search­ing. While the #Alt­Fur­ry hash­tag grew in pop­u­lar­i­ty at the tail end of 2016 and into 2017, a left-wing move­ment rose to meet them. The antifa fur­ry move­ment coa­lesced around a ral­ly­ing cry of “Nazi Furs Fuck Off,” and began orga­niz­ing to block per­ceived Nazis from fur­ry gath­er­ings.

    In Jan­u­ary 2017, the Fur­ry Raiders’ hotel putsch was still on some anti-fas­cist furs’ minds when a group began dis­cussing the Fur­ry Raiders on Twit­ter.

    “My friend made a tweet and I respond­ed with a joke say­ing ‘can’t wait to punch these nazis,’” Deo said.

    Deo said she had not planned on attend­ing the Fur Con. She wrote the tweet days after Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s inau­gu­ra­tion, dur­ing which a pro­test­er had punched Richard Spencer in the face, inspir­ing a viral video and a meme about punch­ing Nazis.

    Then some­one on Twit­ter told Deo she would enjoy watch­ing Deo get shot at the con­ven­tion.

    Deo reached out to Fur Con orga­niz­ers to warn them of the gun threat. The Mar­riott hotel where the con­ven­tion was sched­uled to take place also learned of the threat. The hotel con­sult­ed with Den­ver Police who deemed the exchange a cred­i­ble threat. The Mar­riott asked Fur Con orga­niz­ers to pro­vide a secu­ri­ty force, which would have cost over $20,000, about a third of the convention’s oper­at­ing bud­get, accord­ing to Brooks. But Deo said the con­ven­tion orga­niz­ers were slow­er to respond.

    “I emailed RMFC [Rocky Moun­tain Fur Con] secu­ri­ty to warn them of the threat,” Deo said. “RMFC nev­er respond­ed to my email.”

    Instead, Deo received a strange let­ter in the mail late last month. Snail mail is a big deal for fur­ries, many of whom choose not to reveal their real names, let alone their home address­es. And the notice—purportedly a cease and desist order—that found its way to Deo’s home was full of threat­en­ing pseu­do-legal jar­gon. It was signed by Kendal Emery, the Fur Con founder who still sat on the convention’s board.

    Intro­duc­ing him­self as a mem­ber of the Fur Con board, Emery claimed to be “in pos­ses­sion of what appears as False state­ments issued by you and your oth­er poten­tial­ly dam­ag­ing crim­i­nal activ­i­ties caus­ing sub­stan­tial com­mer­cial injury dam­ages against us and ours and pos­si­ble oth­er plain­tiffs includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to Fur­ry Raiders… and many oth­er yet to be dis­cov­ered and named in a pos­si­ble class action law­suit as we con­tin­ue to inves­ti­gate these poten­tial crimes.”

    Emery also blamed Deo for the gun threat she received, and accused her of incite­ment to riot and “crim­i­nal activ­i­ties such as cre­at­ing an entire meme… that we are some­thing we are not which may rise to the lev­el of felo­nious activ­i­ties.”

    Final­ly, the let­ter banned Deo from Fur Con.

    At the bot­tom was Emery’s red fin­ger­print, a sym­bol some­times used by mem­bers of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment, who believe them­selves inde­pen­dent of the U.S. legal sys­tem. “My first thought was it was a fake let­ter, sent by some­one try­ing to threat­en me,” Deo said. “But I looked into it and the let­ter sent on behalf of RMFC by Kendal Emery was real. So I talked to a few lawyers, who explained how the let­ter was crazy bull­shit. I hired one to write a response let­ter any­way, even if there was no need to reply to this sov­er­eign cit­i­zen mess.”

    She also tweet­ed a copy of the let­ter. Fur­ries were quick to point out its irreg­u­lar­i­ties. The let­ter banned Deo from ever attend­ed the Fur Con, a sig­nif­i­cant move from Emery, who had pre­vi­ous­ly boast­ed of nev­er ban­ning con­fer­ence atten­dees, accord­ing to Dog­patch Press, a fur­ry news site. Fur­ries began sift­ing through old sto­ries of Emery’s past and spec­u­lat­ing whether he was a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen.

    In an inter­view with The Dai­ly Beast, Emery denied being a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen.

    “I am a cit­i­zen of the Unit­ed States,” Emery said. The red fin­ger­print at the bot­tom of his self-issued legal let­ter, “just means it’s me that wrote it.”

    Brooks said Emery had writ­ten the let­ter, but that it had Fur Con’s bless­ing.

    “The let­ter was ini­ti­at­ed by him,” Brooks told The Dai­ly Beast. “The board was aware of it, but he made the final deci­sion to send it.”

    Emery’s account was slight­ly dif­fer­ent. “That was the opin­ion of the whole [Fur Con] board,” he said of the deci­sion to ban Deo and send her the wild legal threat.

    The letter’s ambigu­ous ori­gin led some fur­ries to spec­u­late that the Fur Con was over-friend­ly with the Fur­ry Raiders, whom the let­ter named as pos­si­ble plain­tiffs in a class-action suit over Deo’s tweets.

    Deo offered up what she said is evi­dence of Emery’s asso­ci­a­tion with the Fur­ry Raiders, a video show­ing Emery and Foxler play-fight­ing at the 2016 con­ven­tion. Emery told The Dai­ly Beast that he and Foxler were friends, but said that friend­ship did “absolute­ly not” con­tribute to his deci­sion to ban Deo.

    Alarmed by the let­ter, fur­ries demand­ed greater account­abil­i­ty from the con­fer­ence, demand­ing the Fur Con dis­avow fas­cists in their ranks.

    But when they dug into the con­ven­tion and its lead­ers, they found oth­er prob­lems.

    Until recent­ly, the Fur Con claimed to be run by a 501(c)(3) non­prof­it, but fur­ry news site Flayrah found that the convention’s par­ent com­pa­ny had its non­prof­it sta­tus revoked in 2011 by the IRS for “fail­ure to file a Form 990-series return or notice for three con­sec­u­tive years.” (Brooks told The Dai­ly Beast that, while they had lost their fed­er­al tax-exempt sta­tus, they were still reg­is­tered as a state non­prof­it in Col­orado.)

    Then the fur­ries learned Emery was a reg­is­tered sex offend­er for his 1993 con­vic­tion for sex­u­al con­tact with a minor. Emery’s past had been some­thing of an open secret since 2008, when fur­ry forums got wind of his crim­i­nal his­to­ry and he stepped down as head of the con­ven­tion in 2008.

    “They decid­ed to drag up my past, which has noth­ing to do with this,” Emery told The Dai­ly Beast, chalk­ing the fur­ries’ moti­va­tion up to “when you are los­ing an argu­ment, you do your best to dis­cred­it your foe in any way you can.”

    On Mon­day, it was announced Fur Con was canceled—possibly for good.

    “Last month, we were faced with a sud­den and dras­tic increase in secu­ri­ty costs amount­ing to more than a third of our entire exist­ing oper­at­ing bud­get,” Brooks wrote in a state­ment. “This cost increase stemmed direct­ly from the very pub­lic threats of vio­lence against one anoth­er by mem­bers of this com­mu­ni­ty, as well as the neg­a­tive back­lash from mis­in­for­ma­tion spread about the con­ven­tion, its staff and atten­dees. There­fore, Rocky Moun­tain Fur Con 2017 is offi­cial­ly can­celed. I will no longer con­tin­ue to sub­ject my staff and our com­mu­ni­ty to the lies, hate, vio­lence and slan­der that was dis­sem­i­nat­ed by a small, vocal minor­i­ty.”

    If the state­ment was vague about who it con­sid­ered to be the “vocal minor­i­ty” spread­ing “lies, hate, vio­lence and slan­der,” Emery was not. He told The Dai­ly Beast that Deo’s joke about punch­ing a Nazi, and not the threat of a gun led police to declare Fur Con a secu­ri­ty risk.

    “First of all, the per­son who [made the gun threat] wasn’t a Fur­ry Raider, and sec­ond of all, if it was, all she said was it would be fun­ny if some­body did bring a gun shot you,” Emery said, adding that, “I don’t think that would be fun­ny, I think that would be trag­ic.”

    “All the sto­ries about ‘oh, we closed because I’m a sex offend­er,’ ‘we closed because of tax eva­sion,’ no,” Emery said. “We closed because of the vio­lence.”

    For­mer atten­dees said the clo­sure came as a dis­ap­point­ment. “I’ve gone to this con in the past and sin­cere­ly enjoyed myself,” one per­son wrote on the Fur Con’s Face­book page after the can­cel­la­tion. “I’m sor­ry to see it crash and burn due to utter­ly incom­pe­tent lead­er­ship.”

    “I am sad­dened by the shut­down,” New­lyn, the for­mer vol­un­teer, said. “It has affect­ed a large num­ber of peo­ple not only here in Col­orado but around the world, some of whom could only attend RMFC each year due to real-life respon­si­bil­i­ties. I have eight years of great mem­o­ries from this Con­ven­tion, and I’ll cher­ish them for­ev­er.”

    ...

    For now, the Col­orado fur­ry community’s alt-right and anti-fas­cists will have to hash out their dif­fer­ences out­side the con­ven­tion hall.

    “The main issue that led to the shut­down was the con­flict between the Fur­ry Raiders and the antifa furs,” Brooks said. “It was not what we want­ed to do.”

    ...

    “So-called alt-fur­ries are also orga­niz­ing offline in groups like the Fur­ry Raiders, which Foxler leads. Although the Fur­ry Raiders “do not have any polit­i­cal agen­da or stance as a group,” the group says on its web­site, many wear the same arm­band as Foxler. Foxler says he’s nev­er paid much atten­tion to World War II his­to­ry, and didn’t notice the sim­i­lar­i­ties.”

    He did­n’t notice the sim­i­lar­i­ties. Bwah! While “Foxler” might be a neo-Nazi in a neo-Nazi Fox’s out­fit, he’s clear­ly a troll at heart. A troll Nazi at heart. And as we just saw, after Foxler’s appar­ent­ly Fur Con pow­er grab involv­ing the over­book­ing of the con­ven­tion hotel rooms and the sub­se­quent twit­ter spat involv­ing vio­lent threats led to the Den­ver police’s demands for addi­tion­al secu­ri­ty for the con­ven­tion, it was Foxler’s appar­ent sov­er­eign cit­i­zen friend on the Fur Con com­mit­tee who sent a let­ter to “Deo” — one of Foxler’s crit­ics — ban­ning her from the con­ven­tion. And he signed the let­ter with a red fin­ger­print:

    ...
    Final­ly, the let­ter banned Deo from Fur Con.

    At the bot­tom was Emery’s red fin­ger­print, a sym­bol some­times used by mem­bers of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment, who believe them­selves inde­pen­dent of the U.S. legal sys­tem. “My first thought was it was a fake let­ter, sent by some­one try­ing to threat­en me,” Deo said. “But I looked into it and the let­ter sent on behalf of RMFC by Kendal Emery was real. So I talked to a few lawyers, who explained how the let­ter was crazy bull­shit. I hired one to write a response let­ter any­way, even if there was no need to reply to this sov­er­eign cit­i­zen mess.”
    ...

    The red fin­ger­print was just a coin­ci­dence and was­n’t a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen call sign at all! Uh huh.

    So now Den­ver has lost of lit­tle bit of its fur­ry good­ness. Pos­si­bly for­ev­er. And yes, that real­ly all hap­pened. And will pre­sum­ably hap­pen to fur­ries else­where now that Fur­ry­dom has become an Alt Right bat­tle­ground.

    It’s all quite sad. And cer­tain­ly does­n’t bode well for oth­er fur­ry-ish groups out there. At least the Bronies are still main­tain­ing their whole­some­ness. Most­ly.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 13, 2017, 10:09 pm
  47. Don­ald Trump gave remarks to the Nation­al Peace Offi­cers’ Memo­r­i­al Ser­vice cer­e­mo­ny today, focus­ing his com­ments on the dan­gers fac­ing police. He also declared this week “Police Week” and ordered the White House to be lit in blue. In terms of reach­ing out to law enforce­ment it was pret­ty good optics.

    So with the entire week now Police Week, hope­ful­ly some­one will have a chance to ask Trump this week about his deci­sion (that filled groups like the KKK with glee) to order the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty’s “Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism” (CVE) pro­gram to focus exclu­sive­ly on Islamist vio­lence, to the exclu­sion of groups like the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens and relat­ed mili­tia move­ments. Because that deci­sion prob­a­bly was­n’t the best way to reduce vio­lence against police:

    The Guardian

    They hate the US gov­ern­ment, and they’re mul­ti­ply­ing: the ter­ri­fy­ing rise of ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zens’

    While US counter-ter­ror­ism efforts remain locked on Islamist extrem­ism, the grow­ing threat from home­grown, rightwing extrem­ists is even more press­ing

    J Oliv­er Con­roy
    Mon­day 15 May 2017 06.00 EDT

    On 20 May 2010, a police offi­cer pulled over a white Ohio mini­van on Inter­state 40, near West Mem­phis, Arkansas. Unbe­known to offi­cer Bill Evans, the occu­pants of the car, Jer­ry Kane Jr, and his teenage son, Joseph Kane, were self-described “sov­er­eign cit­i­zens”: mem­bers of a grow­ing domes­tic extrem­ist move­ment whose adher­ents reject the author­i­ty of fed­er­al, state and local law.

    Kane, who trav­eled the coun­try giv­ing instruc­tion­al sem­i­nars on debt eva­sion, had been pos­ing as a pas­tor. Reli­gious lit­er­a­ture was laid out con­spic­u­ous­ly for any­one who might peer into the van, and, when Evans ran the van’s plates, they came back reg­is­tered to the House of God’s Prayer, an Ohio church. Also in the van, though Evans did not know it, were weapons Kane had bought at a Neva­da gun show days ear­li­er.

    Kane had been in a series of run-ins with law enforce­ment. After the most recent inci­dent, a month ear­li­er, he had decid­ed that the next time a law enforce­ment offi­cer both­ered him would be the last.

    Anoth­er offi­cer patrolling near­by, Sgt Bran­don Paud­ert, began to won­der why Evans was tak­ing so long on a rou­tine traf­fic stop. When he pulled up at the scene, he saw Evans and Kane speak­ing on the side of the high­way. Evans hand­ed him some puz­zling paper­work that Kane had pro­vid­ed when asked for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion – vague­ly offi­cial-look­ing doc­u­ments filled with cryp­tic lan­guage. He exam­ined the papers while Evans pre­pared to frisk Kane.

    Sud­den­ly, Jer­ry Kane turned and tack­led Evans, knock­ing him down into a ditch. The younger Kane vault­ed from the pas­sen­ger side of the mini­van and opened fire with an AK-47. Evans, an expe­ri­enced offi­cer who also served on the Swat team, was fatal­ly wound­ed before he even drew his weapon. Paud­ert was struck down moments lat­er while return­ing fire.

    As the two offi­cers bled out on the side of the high­way, the Kanes jumped back in their van and sped off. A FedEx truck­er who wit­nessed the shoot­ing called 911.

    The Kanes’ ide­o­log­i­cal beliefs – which the Anti-Defama­tion League (ADL) believes are shared by “well into the tens of thou­sands” of Amer­i­cans – put them under the broad umbrel­la of the “Patri­ot” move­ment, a spec­trum of groups who believe the US gov­ern­ment has become a total­i­tar­i­an and repres­sive force.

    Although the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is report­ed­ly plan­ning to restruc­ture the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s coun­ter­ing vio­lent extrem­ism (CVE) pro­gram to focus exclu­sive­ly on rad­i­cal Islam, a 2014 nation­al sur­vey of 175 law enforce­ment agen­cies ranked sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, not Islam­ic ter­ror­ists, as the most press­ing ter­ror­ist threat. The sur­vey ranked Islam­ic ter­ror­ists a close sec­ond, with the fol­low­ing top three threats all domes­tic in ori­gin and some­times over­lap­ping: the mili­tia move­ment, racist skin­heads, and the neo-Nazi move­ment.

    Though the fed­er­al CVE pro­gram already devotes almost the entire­ty of its resources to orga­ni­za­tions com­bat­ting jihadism, the White House feels that the cur­rent name is “need­less­ly ‘polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect’”, an anony­mous gov­ern­ment source told CNN.

    Paudert’s father – who also hap­pened to be the West Mem­phis chief of police – was dri­ving home with his wife when he heard chat­ter on the police scan­ner about an offi­cer-down sit­u­a­tion on the inter­state.

    He head­ed to the scene, assum­ing a state troop­er had been attacked. He then saw a fig­ure in uni­form sprawled at the bot­tom of the embank­ment. It was Bill Evans, his gun still locked in its hol­ster.

    Paud­ert then saw anoth­er body lying on the asphalt behind the vehi­cles. One of his offi­cers tried to block him from going fur­ther. “Please,” he plead­ed, “don’t go around there.” Paud­ert shoved him aside. As he came around the cor­ner he saw his son, Bran­don. Part of his head had been blown off. His arm was out­stretched and his pis­tol still clutched in his hand.

    Images of his son as a child, grow­ing up, flood­ed through his mind. Then he saw his wife, who had been wait­ing in the car, com­ing toward him. He moved to stop her. “Is it Bran­don?” she asked. “Yes, it is,” he said. “Is he OK?” she asked. “No,” he said, and she broke down.

    Paud­ert died at the scene. He had been shot 14 times, and Evans, who died at the hos­pi­tal, had been hit 11 times, sug­gest­ing that Joseph Kane had shot them again after they were already on the ground, wound­ed.

    Both offi­cers had been wear­ing bal­lis­tic vests, which the rifle rounds from 16-year-old Joseph Kane’s AK-47 punched through as if they were cloth.

    The Kanes’ mini­van was spot­ted 90 min­utes lat­er in a Wal­mart park­ing lot. Offi­cers from mul­ti­ple law enforce­ment agen­cies closed in. A shootout erupt­ed. The Kanes man­aged to wound two more law enforce­ment offi­cers before they were killed.

    Cop killers and rightwing extrem­ism: an over­lap

    In 2009, Daryl John­son, a career fed­er­al intel­li­gence ana­lyst, wrote a report pre­dict­ing a resur­gence of what he called “rightwing extrem­ism”.

    Repub­li­cans were enraged by what they saw as polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed alarmism con­flat­ing non­vi­o­lent con­ser­v­a­tive and lib­er­tar­i­an groups with ter­ror­ists, and espe­cial­ly angry at the report’s pre­dic­tion that Iraq and Afghanistan vet­er­ans would be tar­gets for recruit­ment by extrem­ist groups.

    John­son defend­ed the report’s con­clu­sions as the prod­uct of rea­soned and non­par­ti­san analy­sis. An Eagle Scout and reg­is­tered Repub­li­can raised in a con­ser­v­a­tive Mor­mon fam­i­ly, he says he was par­tic­u­lar­ly per­plexed by the accu­sa­tion that he was guilty of an anti-con­ser­v­a­tive agen­da. But the then sec­re­tary of home­land secu­ri­ty, Janet Napoli­tano, bow­ing to polit­i­cal pres­sure, dis­claimed the report and ordered Johnson’s team dis­solved. John­son left gov­ern­ment and start­ed a pri­vate con­sul­tan­cy.

    The eight years since seem to have borne out Johnson’s pre­dic­tion. The year he left gov­ern­ment, 2010, there was a sui­cide plane attack on the IRS build­ing in Austin; then came a series of oth­er inci­dents includ­ing the 2012 shoot­ing of the Sikh tem­ple in Wis­con­sin and the 2015 shoot­ing of the Emanuel AME black church in Charleston.

    Accord­ing to data from the Anti-Defama­tion League, at least 45 police offi­cers have been killed by domes­tic extrem­ists since 2001. Of these, 10 were killed by left­wing extrem­ists, 34 by rightwing extrem­ists, and one by home­grown Islamist extrem­ists.

    In 2009, a man with white suprema­cist and anti-gov­ern­ment views shot five police offi­cers in Pitts­burgh, three fatal­ly.

    In 2012, self-described sov­er­eign cit­i­zens shot four sheriff’s deputies, two fatal­ly, in St John the Bap­tist, a Louisiana parish.

    In 2014, two Las Vegas police offi­cers eat­ing lunch were killed by a hus­band-and-wife pair inspired by the Patri­ot move­ment; the cou­ple were killed by police before fol­low­ing through on their plan to take over a cour­t­house to exe­cute pub­lic offi­cials.

    The same year, sur­vival­ist Eric Frein ambushed a Penn­syl­va­nia state police bar­racks, assas­si­nat­ing one state troop­er and wound­ing anoth­er, then led law enforce­ment on a 48-day man­hunt.

    In 2016, a marine vet­er­an-turned-sov­er­eign cit­i­zen killed three law enforce­ment offi­cers in Baton Rouge and wound­ed three oth­ers.

    John­son and oth­er ter­ror­ism experts wor­ry that a gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple who came of age in the shad­ow of 9/11 may not under­stand that his­tor­i­cal­ly, most ter­ror attacks in the US have been domes­tic in ori­gin.

    In fact, a 2016 report by the US Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office not­ed that “of the 85 vio­lent extrem­ist inci­dents that result­ed in death since Sep­tem­ber 12, 2001, far-rightwing vio­lent extrem­ist groups were respon­si­ble for 62 (73%) while rad­i­cal Islamist vio­lent extrem­ists were respon­si­ble for 23 (27%).” (The report counts the 15 Belt­way sniper shoot­ings in 2002 as rad­i­cal Islamist attacks, though the per­pe­tra­tors’ motives are debat­ed.)

    John­son said: “There are a lot of peo­ple – mil­len­ni­als – who have no idea of Okla­homa City and what hap­pened there in 1995.”

    The Okla­homa City bomb­ing, which killed 168 peo­ple, includ­ing 19 chil­dren, was wide­ly assumed to be relat­ed to Mid­dle East­ern ter­ror­ism, but the per­pe­tra­tor turned out to be some­one quin­tes­sen­tial­ly mid­dle Amer­i­can: a white Gulf war vet­er­an, Tim­o­thy McVeigh, who used his mil­i­tary knowl­edge to build a huge truck bomb out of com­mer­cial fer­til­iz­er. He and his col­lab­o­ra­tor Ter­ry Nichols – who described him­self as a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen – saw the attack as the open­ing gam­bit in an armed revolt against a dic­ta­to­r­i­al and glob­al­ist fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

    More specif­i­cal­ly, the bomb­ing was con­ceived as pay­back for two fed­er­al law enforce­ment oper­a­tions that had become cul­tur­al flash­points for the Amer­i­can far right: the inci­dents at Ruby Ridge, Ida­ho, in 1992, where a fun­da­men­tal­ist, Vic­ki Weaver, was killed by an FBI sniper’s bul­let while hold­ing her baby, and at Waco, Texas, in 1993, where fed­er­al agents nego­ti­at­ed a 51-day stand­off with the Branch David­i­an cult that only end­ed when most of the David­i­ans died in a hor­rif­ic fire.

    An explo­sion in activ­i­ty by far-right mili­tias since the 1980s

    Part­ly as a con­se­quence of the 1980s farm cri­sis, which left Amer­i­can farm­ers with crip­pling lev­els of debt, the 1990s saw an explo­sion in activ­i­ty by far-right mili­tias and fringe polit­i­cal and reli­gious groups.

    Gary Noes­ner, a retired FBI agent who served as the chief hostage nego­tia­tor dur­ing Ruby Ridge and Waco, as well as an 81-day stand­off with the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen-influ­enced Mon­tana Freemen in 1996 and the response to a bar­ri­cade and kid­nap­ping inci­dent by the Repub­lic of Texas mili­tia group in 1997, sees numer­ous par­al­lels between the polit­i­cal cli­mate then and now.

    “Many of [the peo­ple attract­ed to such move­ments] are guys my age, mid­dle-aged white guys. They’re see­ing pro­found change and see­ing that they have been left behind by the eco­nom­ic suc­cess of oth­ers and they want to return to a nev­er-exis­tent idyl­lic age when every­one was hap­py and every­one was white and every­one was self-suf­fi­cient.”

    Thanks to the stand­off between the Bundy fam­i­ly and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, as well as the head­line-grab­bing 2016 occu­pa­tion of the Mal­heur wildlife pre­serve in Ore­gon, the pre­vi­ous­ly dor­mant mili­tia move­ment has recent­ly explod­ed in pop­u­lar­i­ty.

    Mili­tia mem­bers are not nec­es­sar­i­ly sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, but their beliefs are inter­twined. Today’s sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment can be traced in part to two pop­u­lar Patri­ot ide­olo­gies: the Posse Comi­ta­tus move­ment, built around the the­o­ry that elect­ed coun­ty sher­iffs are the high­est legit­i­mate law offi­cers, and the Freemen-on-the-Land move­ment, a fringe ide­ol­o­gy whose adher­ents believe them­selves sub­ject only to their own con­vo­lut­ed, con­spir­a­to­r­i­al, and selec­tive inter­pre­ta­tion of com­mon law.

    There was sig­nif­i­cant over­lap between the Patri­ot move­ment and white nation­al­ism. One of the movement’s foun­da­tion­al texts was The Turn­er Diaries, a 1978 nov­el by the white suprema­cist William Luther Pierce that describes a near future in which a small group of patri­ots fight­ing the extinc­tion of the white race work to bring about a race war and the even­tu­al geno­cide of non-white peo­ples.

    McVeigh, who con­sid­ered the book a blue­print for the com­ing rev­o­lu­tion, was car­ry­ing an excerpt when he was arrest­ed, although he lat­er said he did not agree with the book’s racial con­tent.

    At the time, the Okla­homa City bomb­ing actu­al­ly appeared to spell the end of the mili­tia move­ment: it led to a law enforce­ment crack­down and an evap­o­ra­tion of pub­lic sym­pa­thy for the rad­i­cal right. McVeigh, unre­pen­tant to the end, was exe­cut­ed in 2001, three months to the day before 9/11 made domes­tic ter­ror­ism seem like a dis­tant mem­o­ry.

    The rise of sov­er­eign cit­i­zens is linked to home fore­clo­sures

    Today, the face of domes­tic ter­ror looks dif­fer­ent from in McVeigh’s day – some­times lit­er­al­ly. Some extrem­ists – such as Jer­ry Kane, who was an unem­ployed truck dri­ver – still fit rough­ly into the Amer­i­can pop­u­lar image: blue-col­lar white men hid­ing in the woods and train­ing for dooms­day. But many do not. Not all, for exam­ple, are peo­ple on the eco­nom­ic mar­gins. In 2012, Christo­pher Lacy, a soft­ware engi­neer with sov­er­eign beliefs who had start­ed a new job only a week ear­li­er, shot a Cal­i­for­nia state troop­er in the head dur­ing a rou­tine traf­fic stop.

    Fur­ther­more, not all sov­er­eign cit­i­zens are white: Gavin Long, a black sov­er­eign cit­i­zen, killed three law enforce­ment offi­cers in Louisiana last year. An increas­ing num­ber of black Amer­i­cans are com­ing to the sov­er­eign move­ment from the Moor­ish Sci­ence Tem­ple, a black Mus­lim church that believes African Amer­i­cans are the descen­dants of ancient Moors.

    Experts believe white nation­al­ism has waned in influ­ence on some ele­ments of the rad­i­cal right, open­ing the move­ment to any­one enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly anti-gov­ern­ment and anti-law enforce­ment.

    “This is no longer a white suprema­cist move­ment,” said JJ Mac­Nab, an expert on sov­er­eign cit­i­zens and mili­tias and the author of the forth­com­ing book The Sedi­tion­ists: Inside the Explo­sive World of Anti-Gov­ern­ment Extrem­ism in Amer­i­ca.

    “There is still racism and big­otry,” she said. “Some of this is sit­u­a­tion­al. If there are two mem­bers of your 12-per­son mili­tia who are black, who are con­ser­v­a­tives, mil­i­tary vet­er­ans, what­ev­er – they are your broth­ers. You would kill for them and you would die for them. But two black guys in Fer­gu­son, on the oth­er side of the polit­i­cal spec­trum – if there is a hier­ar­chy of hatred, they are as low as you can get, low­er than ani­mals.”

    ...

    A gen­er­a­tional change is tak­ing place as the anti-gov­ern­ment move­ment attracts younger peo­ple. Many come from a clus­ter of amor­phous inter­net com­mu­ni­ties, Mac­Nab not­ed, includ­ing far-right trolls, the hack­ing col­lec­tive Anony­mous, and Cop­watch, whose sup­port­ers upload crit­i­cal videos of police on YouTube.

    Younger and old­er sov­er­eigns get an over­whelm­ing share of their news from Infowars, the media chan­nel of the con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones, and RT, the pro­pa­gan­da net­work known for push­ing neg­a­tive sto­ries about the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment.

    Repeat­ing the cycle

    To the knowl­edge of Daryl John­son, the for­mer Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty (DHS) intel­li­gence ana­lyst, there are no longer any DHS ana­lysts mon­i­tor­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ism full time. (When asked about it, a DHS rep­re­sen­ta­tive said: “This is a ques­tion for the FBI.”)

    “The FBI is the only US gov­ern­ment agency that still has full-time ana­lysts assess­ing threats from the far right,” John­son said, “and their ana­lyt­i­cal cadre could be mea­sured in the dozens.”

    The FBI declined to com­ment. An FBI press offi­cer not­ed that hold­ing extrem­ist opin­ions was not a crime, and the FBI only inves­ti­gat­ed peo­ple sus­pect­ed of break­ing fed­er­al law.

    In the mean­time, renam­ing CVE to focus only on rad­i­cal Islam will mere­ly fur­ther “alien­ate Mus­lims – jus­ti­fy their fears, and rein­force them as well”, John­son said.

    Among some of the anti-gov­ern­ment groups Mac­Nab tracks, Trump has enjoyed some­thing of a hon­ey­moon since the elec­tion, she said. But she believes that it won’t last: when they real­ize Trump is not the panacea they thought he was, they will feel used, and turn against him.

    Extrem­ist sen­ti­ment fol­lows cer­tain his­tor­i­cal pat­terns, accord­ing to Mac­Nab; the last cycle moved through a series of spe­cif­ic man­i­fes­ta­tions – tax resis­tance, sov­er­eign ide­ol­o­gy, the mili­tia era – before end­ing with Okla­homa City.

    “We are now repeat­ing that cycle,” Mac­Nab said, and get­ting near the end.

    “To the knowl­edge of Daryl John­son, the for­mer Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty (DHS) intel­li­gence ana­lyst, there are no longer any DHS ana­lysts mon­i­tor­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ism full time. (When asked about it, a DHS rep­re­sen­ta­tive said: “This is a ques­tion for the FBI.”)”

    Does the DHS have any­one ded­i­cat­ed to mon­i­tor­ing domes­tic far-right move­ments like the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens? Appar­ent­ly not and there’s no sign of that chang­ing:

    ...
    Although the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is report­ed­ly plan­ning to restruc­ture the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s coun­ter­ing vio­lent extrem­ism (CVE) pro­gram to focus exclu­sive­ly on rad­i­cal Islam, a 2014 nation­al sur­vey of 175 law enforce­ment agen­cies ranked sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, not Islam­ic ter­ror­ists, as the most press­ing ter­ror­ist threat. The sur­vey ranked Islam­ic ter­ror­ists a close sec­ond, with the fol­low­ing top three threats all domes­tic in ori­gin and some­times over­lap­ping: the mili­tia move­ment, racist skin­heads, and the neo-Nazi move­ment.

    Though the fed­er­al CVE pro­gram already devotes almost the entire­ty of its resources to orga­ni­za­tions com­bat­ting jihadism, the White House feels that the cur­rent name is “need­less­ly ‘polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect’”, an anony­mous gov­ern­ment source told CNN.
    ...

    Though the fed­er­al CVE pro­gram already devotes almost the entire­ty of its resources to orga­ni­za­tions com­bat­ting jihadism, the White House feels that the cur­rent name is “need­less­ly ‘polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect’”, an anony­mous gov­ern­ment source told CNN.”

    Yes, not only was the Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism (CVE) pro­gram direct­ed to exclu­sive­ly focus on Islamists and ignore the biggest threat to cops — far-right move­ments like the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens — but appar­ent­ly the name “Coun­ter­ing Vio­lent Extrem­ism” was too polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect because it isn’t also sole­ly focused on Islamists. All in all, there appears to be some sort of polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness intend­ed to pro­tect the feel­ings of non-Islamist far-right nut jobs who har­bor fond feel­ings towards mili­tia groups and sov­er­eign cit­i­zens and also the feel­ings of the actu­al mili­tia and sov­er­eign cit­i­zen mem­bers.

    So while turn­ing the White House blue is a nice touch, it’s impor­tant to keep in mind this week that there are much bet­ter ways to tru­ly cel­e­brate Police Week. Like, for instance, end­ing the polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness that is lead­ing to the sys­tem­at­ic depri­or­i­ti­za­tion by law enforce­ment of the very groups oper­at­ing with­in the US that pose the great­est dan­ger towards police. Address­ing that would be quite a cel­e­bra­tion of Police Week.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 15, 2017, 6:27 pm
  48. Oh look at that: it turns out the gun­man who just shot up a Waf­fle House near Nashville wear­ing noth­ing but a jack­et, Travis Reink­ing, is a self-described sov­er­eign cit­i­zen. He made this self-dec­la­ra­tion last year in DC at the entrance of the White House when he told secret ser­vice agents that he need­ed to see Pres­i­dent Trump. Dur­ing that encounter he also informed the agents that, as a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen, he had a right to inspect the grounds. He then took off his tie, balled it into a fist, con­tin­ued walk­ing toward the White House and told agents they could arrest him if need­ed, at which point he was indeed arrest­ed.

    But Reink­ing did­n’t have a gun on hand when tried to vis­it Trump, which indi­cates he prob­a­bly was­n’t try­ing to harm the pres­i­dent, which makes sense if the guy con­sid­ers him­self a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen giv­en the hero sta­tus Trump holds for much of the far right. It’s also worth recall­ing how the neo-Nazi Park­land, Flori­da, shoot­er, Niko­las Cruz, once bragged about writ­ing a let­ter to Trump and receiv­ing a response. So we appear to have anoth­er mur­der­ous Trump fan going on ram­page.

    And as we should expect at this point, Reink­ing also has an exten­sive his­to­ry of men­tal health issues, includ­ing delu­sions that Tay­lor Swift had hacked his phone.

    So while we don’t yet have a clear motive for the Waf­fle House shoot­ing, at this point it looks like this case appears has a lot of par­al­lels with Jared Lough­n­er’s attack on Gab­by Gif­fords: a clear­ly men­tal­ly ill per­son gets seduced by an extrem­ist far right ide­ol­o­gy and ends up going on a shoot­ing spree:

    USA Today

    Waf­fle House sus­pect Travis Reink­ing deemed him­self a ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zen,’ part of anti-gov­ern­ment group

    Christal Hayes,
    Pub­lished 9:48 p.m. ET April 22, 2018 | Updat­ed 8:39 a.m. ET April 23, 2018

    The sus­pect­ed gun­man on the run after rid­dling a Ten­nessee Waf­fle House with bul­lets dubbed him­self a “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen,” before being arrest­ed in July 2017 out­side the White House.

    Travis Reink­ing, 29, used that term — which the FBI has also used to describe a group of anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ists — dur­ing a clash last year with the Secret Ser­vice, accord­ing to a police report obtained by USA TODAY.

    Reink­ing told agents he need­ed to see Pres­i­dent Trump and defined him­self as sov­er­eign cit­i­zen who had a right to inspect the grounds, accord­ing to an arrest report by the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police Depart­ment in D.C. He was arrest­ed on an unlaw­ful entry charge after refus­ing to leave the area.

    The FBI has said sov­er­eign cit­i­zens “believe that even though they phys­i­cal­ly reside in this coun­try, they are sep­a­rate or ‘sov­er­eign’ from the Unit­ed States.”

    The agency has also defined sov­er­eign cit­i­zens as “anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ists who claim the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is oper­at­ing out­side its juris­dic­tion and they are there­fore not bound by gov­ern­ment authority—including the courts, tax­ing enti­ties, motor vehi­cle depart­ments, and even law enforce­ment.”

    It’s unknown if Reink­ing’s 2017 sov­er­eign cit­i­zen self-des­ig­na­tion was in line with the FBI’s def­i­n­i­tion or if it played any role in the Anti­och, TN Waf­fle House attack, which left four dead.

    A motive has not been released and inves­ti­ga­tors are con­tin­u­ing to probe Reink­ing’s back­ground, which includes sev­er­al past inci­dents with law enforce­ment.

    In June 2017, Reink­ing threat­ened some­one with an AR-15 then drove to a pub­lic pool and exposed him­self to oth­ers, said the USA TODAY Net­work’s Ten­nessean, cit­ing police records. He has also threat­ened to kill him­self and said he thought singer Tay­lor Swift was stalk­ing him, accord­ing to the Asso­ci­at­ed Press.

    Many sov­er­eign cit­i­zens are harm­less or com­mit pet­ty or “quirky” crimes but some have been known to become vio­lent, the FBI says.

    The bureau says usu­al­ly, these indi­vid­u­als believe the law does­n’t apply to them and don’t have to pay tax­es or fol­low oth­er norms. They believe gov­ern­ments are ille­gal and grav­i­tate to con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.

    “If some­one chal­lenges their ide­ol­o­gy, the behav­ior of these sov­er­eign-cit­i­zen extrem­ists quick­ly can esca­late to vio­lence,” the FBI said in 2010, not­ing the move­ment is like­ly to con­tin­ue to grow because it is “fueled by the Inter­net.”

    There weren’t any reports of vio­lence in the 2017 White House inci­dent. Author­i­ties say Reink­ing took off his tie, balled it into a fist, con­tin­ued walk­ing toward the White House and told agents they could arrest him if need­ed.

    “Do what you need to do. Arrest me if you have too,” he said, accord­ing to the report.

    The sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment has con­tin­ued over the years. The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, a non­prof­it legal advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion that tracks hate groups, has con­tin­ued to mon­i­tor such indi­vid­u­als and their crimes and has writ­ten about near­ly 10 inci­dents this year.

    The SPLC notes these indi­vid­u­als usu­al­ly take part in protests against gov­ern­ments or use “paper ter­ror­ism,” which is fil­ing bogus law­suits and fake liens on prop­er­ties, to car­ry out their mis­sion of dis­or­der.

    But some­times, these indi­vid­u­als have got­ten vio­lent.

    ...

    ———-

    “Waf­fle House sus­pect Travis Reink­ing deemed him­self a ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zen,’ part of anti-gov­ern­ment group” by Christal Hayes; USA TODAY; 04/220/2018

    Reink­ing told agents he need­ed to see Pres­i­dent Trump and defined him­self as sov­er­eign cit­i­zen who had a right to inspect the grounds, accord­ing to an arrest report by the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police Depart­ment in D.C. He was arrest­ed on an unlaw­ful entry charge after refus­ing to leave the area.”

    And that dec­la­ra­tion of his sov­er­eign cit­i­zen sta­tus at the White House is just one aspect of his back­ground that indi­cates he has men­tal seri­ous men­tal health issues:

    ...
    In June 2017, Reink­ing threat­ened some­one with an AR-15 then drove to a pub­lic pool and exposed him­self to oth­ers, said the USA TODAY Net­work’s Ten­nessean, cit­ing police records. He has also threat­ened to kill him­self and said he thought singer Tay­lor Swift was stalk­ing him, accord­ing to the Asso­ci­at­ed Press.
    ...

    So we’ll see what the sto­ry is with this guy as it unfolds. But don’t for­get that, while his obvi­ous men­tal issues will no doubt play a role in his deci­sion to shoot up a Waf­fle House, the vast, vast major­i­ty of men­tal­ly ill peo­ple aren’t vio­lent.

    And that’s why his appar­ent fas­ci­na­tion with the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens is an impor­tant fac­tor: men­tal ill­ness on its own does­n’t tend pro­duce vio­lent indi­vid­u­als. Men­tal ill­ness + vio­lent polit­i­cal ide­olo­gies, on the oth­er hand...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 23, 2018, 3:24 pm
  49. It looks like the US Supreme Court is poised to become a far right rub­ber stamp for at least the next gen­er­a­tion fol­low­ing the announced retire­ment of Jus­tice Kennedy, thus ensur­ing a deep dys­func­tion in the US gov­ern­ment for decades to come. And now we have reports that the Koch broth­ers’ front group, Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­i­ty, is going to be join­ing the coali­tion of polit­i­cal advo­ca­cy groups that will be shap­ing who Pres­i­dent Trump nom­i­nates to replace Kennedy and sell­ing that nom­i­nee to the Amer­i­can pub­lic. This coali­tion will of course be heav­i­ly influ­enced by the far right reli­gious net­works that com­prise one of the key branch­es of the Amer­i­can coali­tion of right-wing pow­er mon­gers. So the far right rub­ber stamp that will be direct­ing the direc­tion of US law for decades to come is prob­a­bly going to involve a hefty dose of mas­sive dereg­u­la­tion for every­thing except Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ist reli­gious whim. In oth­er words, the upcom­ing Amer­i­can Hand­maid­’s Tale will be a Koch-friend­ly tale. Extreme­ly lim­it­ed gov­ern­ment on the wealthy and indus­try, and hard right social con­ser­vatism enshrined in law for the rab­ble.

    So it’s prob­a­bly worth not­ing that kind of philo­soph­i­cal legal mon­stros­i­ty that’s going to emerge from the US Supreme Court in com­ing decades — where laws intend­ed to pro­tect the pub­lic good are large­ly deemed uncon­sti­tu­tion­al via a patch­work of ques­tion­able far right legal the­o­ries, except when there’s a Bib­li­cal fun­da­men­tal­ist jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the law — is eeri­ly sim­i­lar to the kind of legal phi­los­o­phy we find in the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment. As the fol­low­ing SPLC inter­view of “Judge Anna” lays out, when you exam­ine what the ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zens’ believe, it’s large­ly the belief that the only valid law is local law ‘com­mon law’ and Bib­li­cal Law, and every­thing else can be ignored as invalid because the US gov­ern­ment is ille­git­i­mate. Which is basi­cal­ly a more extreme ver­sion of much of the right-wing legal move­ments designed by and for bil­lion­aires and theocrats.

    It’s more or less a tru­ism that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is large­ly ille­git­i­mate in Amer­i­can right-wing cir­cles thanks to the key role the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has played in thwart­ing the ambi­tions of bil­lion­aires like the Kochs by facil­i­tat­ing things like income tax­es, the rise of the New Deal and Great Soci­ety safe­ty-net pro­grams, busi­ness reg­u­la­tions, and and expand­ing civ­il rights. And it’s more or less a tru­ism in right-wing pow­er mon­ger net­works that the Bib­li­cal fun­da­men­tal­ist world­view should be the offi­cial nation­al world­view and afford­ing a spe­cial place in the legal frame­work of the US.

    Don’t for­get that the lib­er­tar­i­an­ism the Koch’s endorse is very open to the lib­er­ty of local com­mu­ni­ties to cre­ate a theoc­ra­cy as long as the theoc­ra­cy is busi­ness-friend­ly. And that’s music to a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen’s ears. In oth­er words, the oligarch/theocrat coali­tion agen­da that is about to get tur­bo-charged for the next 50+ years has a great deal of over­lap with the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen agen­da, which is unfor­tu­nate­ly going to be worth keep­ing in mind as the this Supreme Court nom­i­na­tion process plays out. And it’s espe­cial­ly worth keep­ing in mind on Inde­pen­dence Day, July 4th, because if there’s one thing that tru­ly threat­ens the inde­pen­dence of the Unit­ed States at this point it’s a far right world­view that views almost every­thing the US gov­ern­ment does as fun­da­men­tal­ly ille­git­i­mate. When the very idea of a gov­ern­ment with laws and pow­ers to help the poor, address inequities, and pro­tect the pub­lic good is declared uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, there iron­i­cal­ly isn’t going to be much inde­pen­dence left because every­thing will be owned and run by pow­er­ful pri­vate inter­ests like the Kochs.

    Also don’t for­get that the John Birch/far right con­spir­a­cy world­view that has tak­en hold in the Amer­i­can right, thanks in large part to the rise of peo­ple like Alex Jones who por­tray the crimes of the pow­er­ful that are typ­i­cal­ly far right in nature as part of left-wing con­spir­a­cy, is also heav­i­ly over­lap­ping with both the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen and Koch world­view that frames most of the growth of post-Civ­il War US gov­ern­ment (all the stuff that helps aver­age peo­ple) as fun­da­men­tal­ly ille­git­i­mate. In all three cas­es the prob­lems of soci­ety are blamed on Pro­gres­sive poli­cies and framed as part of a com­mu­nist/­so­cial­ist/an­ti-Chris­tian/an­ti-White con­spir­a­cy that has tak­en over the US gov­ern­ment and must be view as ille­git­i­mate. The main­stream right-wing world­view in Amer­i­ca today and the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens have a shock­ing amount of over­lap in a num­ber of key areas.

    So with all that in mind, here’s a peak into the world of Judge Anna Riezinger, one of the lead­ing sov­er­eign cit­i­zen fig­ures on the inter­net these days. She has declared her­self a judge in the real state of Alas­ka, not the ille­git­i­mate offi­cial state of Alas­ka.

    As the arti­cle notes, a cen­tral tenet of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens is their belief that the 14th Amend­ment of the US Con­sti­tu­tion, which grant­ed the freed slaves cit­i­zen­ship by grant­i­ng cit­i­zen­ship to every­one born on US soil, also ush­ered in the era of the ille­git­i­mate fed­er­al gov­ern­ment that actu­al­ly enslaved every­one. Every­one except sov­er­eigns who file the cor­rect paper­work to legal­ly assert their free­dom.

    And as the arti­cle also notes, this fix­a­tion on the 14th Amend­ment has led to the remark­able asser­tion by sov­er­eigns that the only peo­ple in the US oblig­at­ed to pay fed­er­al income tax­es is black peo­ple. Yep. The way sov­er­eigns see it, the 14th amend­ment grant­ed the freed slaves cit­i­zen­ship in an ille­gal Unit­ed States cor­po­ra­tion only. But the sov­er­eigns only rec­og­nize states as legit­i­mate gov­ern­ments and there­fore only rec­og­nize state cit­i­zen­ship. As such, the slaves and their descen­dant are the only real cit­i­zens of that fake ille­git­i­mate ‘Unit­ed States’ that was cre­at­ed by the 14th Amend­ment. All of the white peo­ple at the time were mere­ly tricked into accept­ing cit­i­zen­ship in this fake ille­git­i­mate fed­er­al gov­ern­ment (basi­cal­ly, Lin­col­n’s gov­ern­ment). There­fore, the log­ic goes, the only peo­ple who are oblig­ed to pay fed­er­al income tax­es in the Unite States are black peo­ple because all the white peo­ple should actu­al­ly con­sid­er them­selves sov­er­eign nation­als and cit­i­zens of the real state gov­ern­ments.

    As zany as that all sounds, keep in mind the ‘Ten­thers’ and the fact that one of the ani­mat­ing legal the­o­ries in con­tem­po­rary right-wing cir­cles is the idea that almost all fed­er­al laws are invalid because the 10th Amend­ment only grants the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment pow­ers explic­it­ly laid out in the con­sti­tu­tion, nul­li­fy­ing almost all fed­er­al law. For exam­ple, recall how 10th Amend­ment nul­li­fi­ca­tion prin­ci­ples was the ratio­nal Ted Cruz used when propos­ing his “Health Care Com­pact” scheme to replace Oba­macare that he got from the enter for Tenth Amend­ment Stud­ies at the right-wing Texas Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Foun­da­tion think-tank. Also recall how 10th Amend­ment nul­li­fi­ca­tion is pop­u­lar the Bundy-friend­ly Repub­li­cans like Kel­li Ward of Ari­zona. And while the ‘Ten­thers’ aren’t quite the same of the sov­er­eigns with their ‘14th Amend­ment ush­ered in an evil cor­po­ra­tion’ fix­a­tion (although they heav­i­ly over­lap), they are both exam­ples of far right ide­olo­gies pred­i­cat­ed on a par­tic­u­lar legal loop­hole that some­how inval­i­dates almost all fed­er­al laws.

    And since it’s hard to imag­ine that the new right-ward qua­si-per­ma­nent lurch that the US Supreme Court is about to take won’t end up empow­er the ‘Ten­ther’ and sov­er­eign cit­i­zen legal per­spec­tives in the gen­er­al sense of view­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment as ille­git­i­mate and invalid, the world of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen is sud­den­ly become much more trag­i­cal­ly poignant. So here’s an SPLC inter­view of ‘Judge Anna’, one of the lead­ing lights of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen world.:

    The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter

    Inter­view with a sov­er­eign: Judge Anna’s world

    Bren­dan Joel Kel­ley
    Decem­ber 15, 2017

    On an unsea­son­ably warm and clear after­noon in Anchor­age, Alas­ka, in ear­ly Decem­ber, Anna Maria Riezinger, aka Anna von Reitz, a self-pro­claimed judge and inter­net guru in the anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ist sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment, con­cludes a three-hour inter­view in a sub­ur­ban home with a com­plex series of pre­scrip­tions for the vis­it­ing Hate­watch reporter.

    “You have to go back and reclaim your trade name,” she advis­es. “You have to recon­vey it to the soil and the land, both the nation­al and inter­na­tion­al juris­dic­tion. You have to go through all this process and all of this devel­op­ment of a pub­lic paper trail in order to reestab­lish who you are.”

    Less than a week lat­er, she repeats a ver­sion of the instruc­tions on her blog in a post titled “How Many Times Do I Have to Say This?” “[E]very day, I give every­one the tools to defend them­selves from the ‘pre­sump­tion’ of ‘fed­er­al cit­i­zen­ship’ that is the ‘enabling clause’ of all these abus­es and prob­lems,” she writes.

    Indeed, Riezinger has new arti­cles on the inter­net preach­ing the ille­git­i­ma­cy of the fed­er­al, state and local gov­ern­ments near-dai­ly, iter­at­ing their imag­ined crimes and pro­scrib­ing com­plex yet vague steps for Amer­i­cans to escape the yoke of what she believes is an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al cor­po­ra­tion oper­at­ing in the guise of your gov­ern­ment and its offi­cials.

    Riezinger is a pro­lif­ic lec­tur­er on the top­ic through­out the inter­view, though less vehe­ment in per­son than she is in her writ­ings. “One gets the sense she’s got a lot of time on her hands and an inter­net con­nec­tion,” offers Mark Pit­cav­age, senior research fel­low at the Anti-Defama­tion League’s Cen­ter on Extrem­ism, who has tracked the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment for decades. “She comes up with a lot of ver­biage and a lot of harangu­ing; she’s a great haranguer.”

    Though she’s based in one of the most geo­graph­i­cal­ly remote states, and the “com­mon law court” she admin­is­ters as a “judge” has a small num­ber of adher­ents by her own admis­sion, Riezinger is one of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen movement’s more pop­u­lar and influ­en­tial gurus on the inter­net. (It should be not­ed Riezinger and the major­i­ty of her ilk reject the term “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen,” con­sid­er­ing it an oxy­moron; the term she uses is “state nation­al.”)

    Riezinger and oth­er gurus of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment use a sim­ple hook to recruit new believ­ers to their anti-gov­ern­ment cru­sade: You’ve been screwed by an ille­git­i­mate tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment which seeks to deprive you of your god-giv­en rights along with your finances; fol­low our instruc­tions and you can free your­selves from laws you dis­agree with and stop pay­ing tax­es as well.

    “They’re anti-gov­ern­ment in the purest sense, in that they have found a way to ratio­nal­ize ignor­ing, basi­cal­ly, the entire gov­ern­ment,” Pit­cav­age says. “The sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment believes that long ago a con­spir­a­cy start­ed to infil­trate and sub­vert the orig­i­nal and legit­i­mate gov­ern­ment in the Unit­ed States, slow­ly replac­ing it with an ille­git­i­mate de fac­to tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment. And no law, rule, reg­u­la­tion, tax or court order that it pro­duces is at all legit­i­mate.”

    The FBI “con­sid­ers sov­er­eign-cit­i­zen extrem­ists as com­pris­ing a domes­tic ter­ror­ism move­ment,” a 2011 law enforce­ment bul­letin declared. When indi­vid­u­als’ sov­er­eign anti-gov­ern­ment beliefs spur them to vio­lence, law enforce­ment offi­cers are often the tar­gets. Since 2010, at least 10 law enforce­ment offi­cers were killed by sov­er­eigns.

    But more often, sov­er­eigns’ weapon of choice against the gov­ern­ment they believe is invalid is paper. Sov­er­eigns, fol­low­ing the direc­tion of gurus like Riezinger, flood court sys­tems with doc­u­ment fil­ings writ­ten in pseu­do-legal non­sen­si­cal lan­guage, chok­ing up the sys­tem. Some­times these are bogus prop­er­ty liens, often filed in retal­i­a­tion against pub­lic offi­cials, intend­ed to ruin their target’s cred­it rat­ing or insti­gate an IRS audit. This is known as “paper ter­ror­ism.”

    In some instances, sov­er­eigns set up their own “com­mon law courts” or “com­mon law grand juries,” such as the one in Alas­ka Riezinger pre­sides over as a “judge.”

    “One of the things the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment likes to do is cre­ate fake things,” Pit­cav­age says. “They can do every­thing from fake coun­tries and fake colonies to fake Indi­an tribes to diplo­mats, but a lot of them like to cre­ate fic­ti­tious gov­ern­men­tal agen­cies or enti­ties, like bogus courts.”

    Riezinger earned a taste of infamy in late 2015 by issu­ing a let­ter call­ing for fed­er­al agents to arrest Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, the con­gress and the sec­re­tary of the trea­sury. The fact check­ing site Snopes.com saw fit to debunk the claim that an “Alas­ka State Judge” issued the demand for the arrests, though the let­ter got lit­tle atten­tion out­side of sov­er­eign cir­cles.

    In Feb­ru­ary 2014, Riezinger had sim­i­lar­ly issued a pseu­do-legal judge­ment against then-Gov­er­nor Sean Par­nell of Alas­ka, as well as the lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, attor­ney gen­er­al and supreme court of the state, order­ing them to “self-cor­rect.” She con­tin­ued, “Fail­ure to time­ly do so and pro­vide rem­e­dy to those who have been harmed may result in you being pros­e­cut­ed for imper­son­at­ing Amer­i­can offi­cials, dou­ble indem­ni­ty fines, up to ten (10) years in prison for per offense, com­mer­cial com­pen­sato­ry dam­age claims, and dis­so­lu­tion of the IMF, fran­chise, agency, bank or oth­er cor­po­rate char­ter of the legal fic­tion enti­ty you work for.”

    Riezinger, 61, traces the ori­gin of her “awak­en­ing” to the real­iza­tion the gov­ern­ment is a scam to late 1974, when she was work­ing at her first job. Pres­i­dent Nixon had left office, and his suc­ces­sor Ger­ald Ford chose Nel­son Rock­e­feller, one of the country’s rich­est men, as his vice pres­i­dent. This required con­gres­sion­al con­fir­ma­tion, and Riezinger says she recalls watch­ing the con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing.

    As she recalls it, Rock­e­feller was asked, “‘Mr. Rock­e­feller, how much did you make in per­son­al income last year?’ He said some­thing out­ra­geous like $480 mil­lion. The next ques­tion was, ‘How much do you pay in fed­er­al income tax­es?’ ‘Noth­ing.’ You could hear the air just go whoosh out of the room.

    “Right at that moment, I knew for a cer­tain­ty that some­thing was rot­ten in Den­mark,” Riezinger says. “How could I, a lit­tle girl mop­ping floors and bussing tables, be pay­ing a third of what lit­tle she was mak­ing in fed­er­al income tax­es and oth­er kinds of deduc­tions, and he could get away scot-free? Right there I had an awak­en­ing and it stuck firm­ly in my brain for­ev­er after­ward.”

    ...

    Accord­ing to Con­gres­sion­al Quar­ter­lyCQ Almanac 1974, Rock­e­feller paid $5,116,692 in fed­er­al tax­es between 1969 and 1973. He told con­gress dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings he’d paid no fed­er­al income tax­es in 1970 due to a large cap­i­tal gains tax pay­ment and an income drop from one trust; he sub­se­quent­ly paid a back-tax of $104,180 in income tax for 1970.

    Riezinger says she went on to study 125,000 pages of IRS code and man­u­als years lat­er. “I real­ized it was my own igno­rance one way or anoth­er that was going to by my undo­ing; if there was any undo­ing to be done, it was going to be because I didn’t fig­ure this out.”

    Among the rev­e­la­tions she shares with the Hate­watch reporter: “I think the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter should be alert­ed — if you’re a black per­son, then you have to pay fed­er­al income tax­es. But if you’re just Joe Aver­age out there, an Amer­i­can born in one of the states work­ing in a pri­vate job, you’re not oblig­at­ed to pay fed­er­al tax­es, and nev­er were.”

    Odd as it sounds, Riezinger’s asser­tion regard­ing African Amer­i­cans is a cen­tral tenet of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment. Pit­cav­age calls it the sec­ond most impor­tant sov­er­eign cit­i­zen con­tention, after the fun­da­men­tal asser­tion that many years ago a con­spir­a­cy infil­trat­ed and sub­vert­ed the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment.

    “After the 13th Amend­ment freed the slaves, the 14th Amend­ment gave them cit­i­zen­ship. For sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, it did much more,” Pit­cav­age explains. In the eyes of sov­er­eigns, “new­ly freed slaves became not state cit­i­zens like you and me, but Unit­ed States cit­i­zens. More­over, the con­spir­a­cy want­ed every­body else to become cit­i­zens of the Unit­ed States as well, then you vol­un­tar­i­ly sub­ject your­self to its laws, reg­u­la­tions and tax­es. Sov­er­eigns believe the 14th Amend­ment was the mech­a­nism by which every­one but sov­er­eign cit­i­zens were slaves to ille­git­i­mate gov­ern­ment.”

    Riezinger and oth­er sov­er­eigns believe they are not Unit­ed States cit­i­zens, but state nation­als, because the Unit­ed States is a cor­po­ra­tion ille­gal­ly gov­ern­ing the repub­lic via a ter­ri­to­r­i­al gov­ern­ment and a munic­i­pal gov­ern­ment, whose laws and tax­es, includ­ing Social Secu­ri­ty, are only legal­ly applic­a­ble to African Amer­i­cans and employ­ees of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. Fed­er­al and state gov­ern­ments, courts and law enforce­ment have no juris­dic­tion over state nation­als who’ve extri­cat­ed them­selves from that sys­tem in a process they call “redemp­tion.”

    Which leads us to the com­mon law courts, or com­mon law grand juries, such as the one Riezinger pre­sides over in Alas­ka. “Our coun­try has its own his­to­ry as regards what law is,” Riezinger says. “I just am fol­low­ing along in that tra­di­tion.” She refers to the laws by which she adju­di­cates as “the law of the land,” as opposed to the law of the sea, admi­ral­ty law, inter­na­tion­al law and glob­al law.

    In her view, statu­to­ry laws and code are applic­a­ble to cor­po­ra­tions only (also, unless you’ve redeemed your­self via her process­es, you are a cor­po­rate fran­chise and have been one since your birth cer­tifi­cate and sub­se­quent Social Secu­ri­ty num­ber were issued). “You have law for peo­ple and you have law for cor­po­ra­tions,” she says. “The Amer­i­can com­mon law is the law that is owed the peo­ple, and the mar­itime and admi­ral­ty law is what is owed to cor­po­ra­tions and fed­er­al cit­i­zens who are employ­ees of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.”

    Glob­al law, she explains, con­sists of three tenets: “to keep the peace; to respect free will, with­in the para­me­ters of each indi­vid­ual will so that I’m not impress­ing my will on you; and to treat oth­ers as you’d like to be treat­ed your­self.”

    But Amer­i­can com­mon law, “the law of the land,” she says, is sim­ply based on the bib­li­cal ten com­mand­ments. “It was adopt­ed because basi­cal­ly the ten com­mand­ments were accept­able both to the Jews and to the gen­tiles and that’s why they basi­cal­ly arrived at that con­clu­sion, that every­body agreed these were ten things nobody should do.”

    Riezinger offers lit­tle sub­stan­ti­a­tion for her self-pro­claimed role as a judge in her com­mon law court. She once wrote, “I am sick and tired of hav­ing peo­ple say I am not a judge and ask­ing me in what sense am I a judge and com­ing up with all these sil­ly sup­po­si­tions and accu­sa­tions… I am a Judge of the actu­al Alas­ka State, one of the Sev­er­al States of the Con­ti­nen­tal Unit­ed States. I occu­py the actu­al pub­lic office and oper­ate the actu­al Alas­ka State Supe­ri­or Court.”

    That posi­tion affords her the abil­i­ty to make civ­il judge­ments like the ones against Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, con­gress and the Alas­ka gov­ern­ment offi­cials men­tioned above. But, she says, she oper­ates a small court for state nation­als in Alas­ka to reclaim their non-fed­er­al polit­i­cal sta­tus and set­tle dis­putes as well.

    “The state of Alas­ka stopped offer­ing jus­tice of the peace ser­vices some time ago… As far as we’re con­cerned, we have a need for such ser­vices and we have the right to self-gov­ern and do this. So we set up peo­ple that want to reclaim their state nation­al sta­tus and who want to live under the law of the land instead of the law of the sea.”

    She describes the work as pri­mar­i­ly set­tle­ments of prop­er­ty dis­putes or inher­i­tances (the tes­ta­ment in your fam­i­ly bible is the legal doc­u­ment required in the lat­ter instance).

    “We have only a few peo­ple,” she says of the par­tic­i­pants in her court. “By far most peo­ple aren’t aware of these issues; they aren’t think­ing in terms of need­ing to take back their birthright polit­i­cal sta­tus. They’re not oper­at­ing under a jus­tice of the peace sys­tem. So we don’t have a lot of work that we do, but we do some, and some of the work that we do is impor­tant because it’s impor­tant in terms of main­tain­ing Alaska’s claim to things — if there’s no land juris­dic­tion under­ly­ing it, there’s no sea juris­dic­tion either.”

    Alas­ka is no stranger to sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, though the state sees less instances of paper ter­ror­ism than in the con­tigu­ous U.S. In 2014, a 64-year-old Delta Junc­tion man named Bernard Good­no was arrest­ed for dri­ving a 1985 Ford Pin­to with a hand­writ­ten license plate read­ing, “Approved Nation­al Non-Com­mer­cial Pri­vate Prop­er­ty With­out Prej­u­dice UCC 1–308 1–303.6,” report­ed the Fair­banks Dai­ly News-min­er. Upon being pulled over, he offered state troop­ers a card read­ing, “Con­sti­tu­tion­al Rights Inves­ti­ga­tor Sov­er­eign Civil­ian With­out Prej­u­dice UCC 1–308 / 1–303.6 Ques­tions Answered – Pay­ment Required $15,000 gold fee required for the ser­vice. No Con­tract = No Con­tract. This is a con­tract offer. Accep­tance is sub­ject to pay­ment.”

    Sov­er­eigns believe — Riezinger includ­ed — that licens­es of any kind sub­ject you to cor­po­rate or com­mer­cial laws, and you are not required as a state nation­al to pos­sess such licens­es. “Any­time you see a license, a red flag should go up and you should go, ‘oh, what am I doing that’s ille­gal?’” Riezinger says, fur­ther explain­ing, “licens­ing in legal terms is get­ting a per­mit from the gov­ern­ment to do some­thing that would oth­er­wise be ille­gal.”

    In 2015, an Alas­ka sov­er­eign from Togiak named Kevin Ramey was arraigned for fail­ing to show up for a hear­ing regard­ing over $84,000 in child sup­port he owed. Asked if he under­stood the charges, Ramey replied, accord­ing to local pub­lic radio sta­tion KDLG, “It says if you’re not a U.S. cit­i­zen you could be deport­ed. I know I have three cit­i­zen­ships: No. 1, in heav­en, No. 2, in Amer­i­ca, No. 3, in Cal­i­for­nia — and that my pri­ma­ry cit­i­zen­ship, is of course, in heav­en. So I was kind of won­der­ing, are you guys going to deport me to heav­en?”

    As amus­ing as those inci­dents sound, sov­er­eign cit­i­zens pur­su­ing their anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ist beliefs have wreaked hav­oc else­where in Amer­i­ca. In fact, a for­mer asso­ciate of Riezinger’s — anoth­er self-pro­claimed judge — is await­ing tri­al in Col­orado for a slew of felonies, along with sev­en of his asso­ciates.

    Bruce Doucette, a “Supe­ri­or Court Judge” for “The People’s Grand Jury,” faces charges includ­ing vio­lat­ing the Col­orado Orga­nized Crime Con­trol Act, attempt­ing to influ­ence a pub­lic ser­vant, extor­tion, retal­i­a­tion against a judge, crim­i­nal imper­son­ation, fail­ure to pay tax­es and offer­ing a false instru­ment for record­ing.

    Doucette and his group, accord­ing to the indict­ment, threat­ened pub­lic offi­cials with charges of trea­son and filed false liens against them after a mem­ber of their group was arrest­ed on sus­pi­cion of vio­lat­ing a pro­tec­tion order.

    “My sense was that Doucette was orig­i­nal­ly kind of a dis­ci­ple of Anna [Riezinger],” Pit­cav­age says, “but he basi­cal­ly even­tu­al­ly became more impor­tant than she did.”

    Doucette and Riezinger had a pub­lic falling out on the inter­net in March of this year, less than a month before Doucette was indict­ed. In a post titled “An End to My Asso­ci­a­tion with Bruce Doucette and Michael R. Hamil­ton,” Riezinger wrote, “From this time for­ward and until such time as a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion may be reached let it be per­fect­ly clear that I do not con­done what Bruce Doucette and Michael R. Hamil­ton are doing or teach­ing, the assump­tions they are mak­ing, the new pow­ers they are assum­ing for them­selves, nor the new and dif­fer­ent duties they are try­ing to foist off onto the Grand Juries and Con­ti­nen­tal Mar­shals.” [Hamil­ton, a “judge” from Louisiana and sov­er­eign guru, was not charged in Doucette’s indict­ment.]

    Riezinger says she warned Doucette against the actions that result­ed in his arrest. “We actu­al­ly dis­agreed because of his legal trou­bles, or what he was pre­sum­ing and prepar­ing to do. I told him, ‘don’t do that, because you’re tres­pass­ing on a fed­er­al area.’” Basi­cal­ly, Riezinger says she told Doucette that if he inter­fered with pub­lic offi­cials, he would be oper­at­ing out­side of his com­mon law juris­dic­tion.

    Riezinger has often dis­agreed with oth­er promi­nent online thought lead­ers in the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens move­ment. “The move­ment real­ly sort of revolves around gurus, peo­ple like Doucette or Judge Anna, who are the ones who come up with all the pseu­do-legal notions and all the pseu­do-legal tac­tics and teach them and moti­vate peo­ple to fol­low them,” Pit­cav­age says.

    Like most extrem­ist move­ments, the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment is extreme­ly frac­tious, and very vul­ner­a­ble to feud­ing and fight­ing with­in the move­ment,” he con­tin­ues. “It tends to come about for one or both of two rea­sons. The first is per­son­al­i­ty types. When you get one guru and you get anoth­er guru it’s pret­ty easy for sparks to start run­ning… [Sec­ond,] it’s all pseu­do in nature, so Anna’s the­o­ries are not going to be the same as Guru X’s the­o­ries. This becomes a prob­lem for both Anna and Guru X because they each have to prove to their fol­low­ers that they are right, not the oth­er per­son.”

    Riezinger insists she’s not pro­mot­ing crim­i­nal­i­ty by teach­ing the ille­git­i­ma­cy of fed­er­al, state and local gov­ern­ments and courts. “There is a mis­un­der­stand­ing here,” she says, explain­ing she gets calls from crim­i­nals who’ve com­mit­ted fraud and told her, “but we’re state nation­als, we were born in this coun­try and this statu­to­ry law shouldn’t apply to us!”

    She says she tells her fol­low­ers, “This is not a get out of jail free card for crim­i­nals. You’re hurt­ing actu­al peo­ple and you’re using pub­lic ser­vices to do it. In gen­er­al peo­ple are so igno­rant that it’s a con­stant process of edu­cat­ing them and mak­ing them think in terms of what their actions actu­al­ly do.”

    Riezinger’s stance may seem docile com­pared to the paper ter­ror­ism of Doucette and his group, or the sov­er­eigns who use vio­lence against law enforce­ment offi­cers or oth­ers. Indeed, the sov­er­eign guru who polite­ly served cof­fee to a Hate­watch reporter and occa­sion­al­ly signs her online mis­sives “Grand­ma” doesn’t come across as a domes­tic ter­ror­ist.

    “She is not one of the biggest fire­brands of the move­ment,” Pit­cav­age acknowl­edges. “She’s not some­one who her­self rep­re­sents a phys­i­cal threat in all like­li­hood. She’s not incit­ing peo­ple to vio­lence the way some oth­er peo­ple in the move­ment do. So the main threat she pos­es is sim­ply that she will end up recruit­ing more peo­ple into the move­ment. Once you’re in the move­ment, its ide­ol­o­gy can affect you, it can in a vari­ety of ways spur you to all sorts of ille­gal action, includ­ing vio­lent action.”

    ———-

    “Inter­view with a sov­er­eign: Judge Anna’s world” by Bren­dan Joel Kel­ley; The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter; 12/15/2017

    “Indeed, Riezinger has new arti­cles on the inter­net preach­ing the ille­git­i­ma­cy of the fed­er­al, state and local gov­ern­ments near-dai­ly, iter­at­ing their imag­ined crimes and pro­scrib­ing com­plex yet vague steps for Amer­i­cans to escape the yoke of what she believes is an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al cor­po­ra­tion oper­at­ing in the guise of your gov­ern­ment and its offi­cials.”

    Anna Riezinger is a con­sti­tu­tion­al law lumi­nary. At least she is a lumi­nary to the small group of fol­low­ers who agree to give her legal juris­dic­tion over them as a judge. A judge who most­ly set­tles dis­putes.

    ...
    Riezinger is a pro­lif­ic lec­tur­er on the top­ic through­out the inter­view, though less vehe­ment in per­son than she is in her writ­ings. “One gets the sense she’s got a lot of time on her hands and an inter­net con­nec­tion,” offers Mark Pit­cav­age, senior research fel­low at the Anti-Defama­tion League’s Cen­ter on Extrem­ism, who has tracked the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment for decades. “She comes up with a lot of ver­biage and a lot of harangu­ing; she’s a great haranguer.”

    Though she’s based in one of the most geo­graph­i­cal­ly remote states, and the “com­mon law court” she admin­is­ters as a “judge” has a small num­ber of adher­ents by her own admis­sion, Riezinger is one of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen movement’s more pop­u­lar and influ­en­tial gurus on the inter­net. (It should be not­ed Riezinger and the major­i­ty of her ilk reject the term “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen,” con­sid­er­ing it an oxy­moron; the term she uses is “state nation­al.”)
    ...

    And note how eeri­ly sim­i­lar Riezinger’s sales pitch sounds to the what it now the stan­dard GOP meta-mes­sage: “You’ve been screwed by an ille­git­i­mate tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment which seeks to deprive you of your god-giv­en rights along with your finances; fol­low our instruc­tions and you can free your­selves from laws you dis­agree with and stop pay­ing tax­es as well.” Isn’t that basi­cal­ly the GOP’s meta-meme at this point?

    ...
    Riezinger and oth­er gurus of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment use a sim­ple hook to recruit new believ­ers to their anti-gov­ern­ment cru­sade: You’ve been screwed by an ille­git­i­mate tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment which seeks to deprive you of your god-giv­en rights along with your finances; fol­low our instruc­tions and you can free your­selves from laws you dis­agree with and stop pay­ing tax­es as well.

    “They’re anti-gov­ern­ment in the purest sense, in that they have found a way to ratio­nal­ize ignor­ing, basi­cal­ly, the entire gov­ern­ment,” Pit­cav­age says. “The sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment believes that long ago a con­spir­a­cy start­ed to infil­trate and sub­vert the orig­i­nal and legit­i­mate gov­ern­ment in the Unit­ed States, slow­ly replac­ing it with an ille­git­i­mate de fac­to tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment. And no law, rule, reg­u­la­tion, tax or court order that it pro­duces is at all legit­i­mate.”
    ...

    And if declar­ing your­self a judge seems over­ly ambi­tious, keep in mind that some of these sov­er­eign cit­i­zen lumi­nar­ies end up declar­ing their own coun­tries. Now that’s ambi­tion:

    ...
    The FBI “con­sid­ers sov­er­eign-cit­i­zen extrem­ists as com­pris­ing a domes­tic ter­ror­ism move­ment,” a 2011 law enforce­ment bul­letin declared. When indi­vid­u­als’ sov­er­eign anti-gov­ern­ment beliefs spur them to vio­lence, law enforce­ment offi­cers are often the tar­gets. Since 2010, at least 10 law enforce­ment offi­cers were killed by sov­er­eigns.

    But more often, sov­er­eigns’ weapon of choice against the gov­ern­ment they believe is invalid is paper. Sov­er­eigns, fol­low­ing the direc­tion of gurus like Riezinger, flood court sys­tems with doc­u­ment fil­ings writ­ten in pseu­do-legal non­sen­si­cal lan­guage, chok­ing up the sys­tem. Some­times these are bogus prop­er­ty liens, often filed in retal­i­a­tion against pub­lic offi­cials, intend­ed to ruin their target’s cred­it rat­ing or insti­gate an IRS audit. This is known as “paper ter­ror­ism.”

    In some instances, sov­er­eigns set up their own “com­mon law courts” or “com­mon law grand juries,” such as the one in Alas­ka Riezinger pre­sides over as a “judge.”

    “One of the things the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment likes to do is cre­ate fake things,” Pit­cav­age says. “They can do every­thing from fake coun­tries and fake colonies to fake Indi­an tribes to diplo­mats, but a lot of them like to cre­ate fic­ti­tious gov­ern­men­tal agen­cies or enti­ties, like bogus courts.”
    ...

    But a self-declared judge like Riezinger can still engage in all sorts of antics using their self-declared judi­cial pow­ers. Like when she issued a let­ter call­ing for fed­er­al agents to arrest Pres­i­dent Oba­ma:

    ...
    Riezinger earned a taste of infamy in late 2015 by issu­ing a let­ter call­ing for fed­er­al agents to arrest Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, the con­gress and the sec­re­tary of the trea­sury. The fact check­ing site Snopes.com saw fit to debunk the claim that an “Alas­ka State Judge” issued the demand for the arrests, though the let­ter got lit­tle atten­tion out­side of sov­er­eign cir­cles.

    In Feb­ru­ary 2014, Riezinger had sim­i­lar­ly issued a pseu­do-legal judge­ment against then-Gov­er­nor Sean Par­nell of Alas­ka, as well as the lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, attor­ney gen­er­al and supreme court of the state, order­ing them to “self-cor­rect.” She con­tin­ued, “Fail­ure to time­ly do so and pro­vide rem­e­dy to those who have been harmed may result in you being pros­e­cut­ed for imper­son­at­ing Amer­i­can offi­cials, dou­ble indem­ni­ty fines, up to ten (10) years in prison for per offense, com­mer­cial com­pen­sato­ry dam­age claims, and dis­so­lu­tion of the IMF, fran­chise, agency, bank or oth­er cor­po­rate char­ter of the legal fic­tion enti­ty you work for.”
    ...

    Inter­est­ing­ly, when Riezinger recounts the ori­gin of her ‘awak­en­ing’ to the real­iza­tion that the ‘gov­ern­ment is a scam’, it goes back to 1974, when Ger­ald Ford chose Nel­son Rock­e­feller as vice pres­i­dent. And when Riezinger heard that Rock­e­feller, one of the wealth­i­est peo­ple in the coun­try, paid noth­ing income tax­es dur­ing a tele­vised con­gres­sion­al hear­ing (it turns out she mis­heared him and he only did­n’t pay income tax­es in 1970 due to cir­cum­stances), she arrived at the con­clu­sion that “some­thing was rot­ten in Den­mark”, which start­ed her down the path to becom­ing a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen lumi­nary. And sure, it would pret­ty obscene for some­one like Nel­son Rock­feller to avoid pay­ing income tax­es. But it’s also hard to avoid the con­clu­sion that becom­ing a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen in response to bil­lion­aires not pay­ing their tax­es has got to be one of the worst pos­si­ble respons­es to tax unfair­ness one can imag­ine. It’s like when peo­ple fool­ish­ly embrace a low ‘flat tax’ as a mech­a­nism for clos­ing tax loop­holes for the wealthy, except much worse:

    ...
    Riezinger, 61, traces the ori­gin of her “awak­en­ing” to the real­iza­tion the gov­ern­ment is a scam to late 1974, when she was work­ing at her first job. Pres­i­dent Nixon had left office, and his suc­ces­sor Ger­ald Ford chose Nel­son Rock­e­feller, one of the country’s rich­est men, as his vice pres­i­dent. This required con­gres­sion­al con­fir­ma­tion, and Riezinger says she recalls watch­ing the con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing.

    As she recalls it, Rock­e­feller was asked, “‘Mr. Rock­e­feller, how much did you make in per­son­al income last year?’ He said some­thing out­ra­geous like $480 mil­lion. The next ques­tion was, ‘How much do you pay in fed­er­al income tax­es?’ ‘Noth­ing.’ You could hear the air just go whoosh out of the room.

    “Right at that moment, I knew for a cer­tain­ty that some­thing was rot­ten in Den­mark,” Riezinger says. “How could I, a lit­tle girl mop­ping floors and bussing tables, be pay­ing a third of what lit­tle she was mak­ing in fed­er­al income tax­es and oth­er kinds of deduc­tions, and he could get away scot-free? Right there I had an awak­en­ing and it stuck firm­ly in my brain for­ev­er after­ward.”

    ...

    Accord­ing to Con­gres­sion­al Quar­ter­lyCQ Almanac 1974, Rock­e­feller paid $5,116,692 in fed­er­al tax­es between 1969 and 1973. He told con­gress dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings he’d paid no fed­er­al income tax­es in 1970 due to a large cap­i­tal gains tax pay­ment and an income drop from one trust; he sub­se­quent­ly paid a back-tax of $104,180 in income tax for 1970.

    Riezinger says she went on to study 125,000 pages of IRS code and man­u­als years lat­er. “I real­ized it was my own igno­rance one way or anoth­er that was going to by my undo­ing; if there was any undo­ing to be done, it was going to be because I didn’t fig­ure this out.”
    ...

    Riezinger says she went on to study 125,000 pages of IRS code and man­u­als years lat­er. “I real­ized it was my own igno­rance one way or anoth­er that was going to by my undo­ing; if there was any undo­ing to be done, it was going to be because I didn’t fig­ure this out.””

    And now you know that read­ing 125,000 pages of IRS code and man­u­als isn’t for the faint of heart. For instance, with­out the prop­er ground­ing you might end up fix­at­ed on the 14th Amend­ment and con­vinced that the gov­ern­ment is an evil fake cor­po­rate front that ille­gal­ly grant­ed cit­i­zen­ship to a fake ‘Unit­ed States’ coun­try after the Civ­il War and there­fore only the descen­dants of slaves are required to pay income tax­es:

    ...
    Among the rev­e­la­tions she shares with the Hate­watch reporter: “I think the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter should be alert­ed — if you’re a black per­son, then you have to pay fed­er­al income tax­es. But if you’re just Joe Aver­age out there, an Amer­i­can born in one of the states work­ing in a pri­vate job, you’re not oblig­at­ed to pay fed­er­al tax­es, and nev­er were.”

    Odd as it sounds, Riezinger’s asser­tion regard­ing African Amer­i­cans is a cen­tral tenet of the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment. Pit­cav­age calls it the sec­ond most impor­tant sov­er­eign cit­i­zen con­tention, after the fun­da­men­tal asser­tion that many years ago a con­spir­a­cy infil­trat­ed and sub­vert­ed the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment.

    “After the 13th Amend­ment freed the slaves, the 14th Amend­ment gave them cit­i­zen­ship. For sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, it did much more,” Pit­cav­age explains. In the eyes of sov­er­eigns, “new­ly freed slaves became not state cit­i­zens like you and me, but Unit­ed States cit­i­zens. More­over, the con­spir­a­cy want­ed every­body else to become cit­i­zens of the Unit­ed States as well, then you vol­un­tar­i­ly sub­ject your­self to its laws, reg­u­la­tions and tax­es. Sov­er­eigns believe the 14th Amend­ment was the mech­a­nism by which every­one but sov­er­eign cit­i­zens were slaves to ille­git­i­mate gov­ern­ment.”

    Riezinger and oth­er sov­er­eigns believe they are not Unit­ed States cit­i­zens, but state nation­als, because the Unit­ed States is a cor­po­ra­tion ille­gal­ly gov­ern­ing the repub­lic via a ter­ri­to­r­i­al gov­ern­ment and a munic­i­pal gov­ern­ment, whose laws and tax­es, includ­ing Social Secu­ri­ty, are only legal­ly applic­a­ble to African Amer­i­cans and employ­ees of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. Fed­er­al and state gov­ern­ments, courts and law enforce­ment have no juris­dic­tion over state nation­als who’ve extri­cat­ed them­selves from that sys­tem in a process they call “redemp­tion.”
    ...

    Riezinger and oth­er sov­er­eigns believe they are not Unit­ed States cit­i­zens, but state nation­als, because the Unit­ed States is a cor­po­ra­tion ille­gal­ly gov­ern­ing the repub­lic via a ter­ri­to­r­i­al gov­ern­ment and a munic­i­pal gov­ern­ment, whose laws and tax­es, includ­ing Social Secu­ri­ty, are only legal­ly applic­a­ble to African Amer­i­cans and employ­ees of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. Fed­er­al and state gov­ern­ments, courts and law enforce­ment have no juris­dic­tion over state nation­als who’ve extri­cat­ed them­selves from that sys­tem in a process they call “redemp­tion.””

    White Amer­i­cans are actu­al­ly ‘state nation­als’ tricked into accept­ing a fake cit­i­zen­ship under a fake ‘US fed­er­al gov­ern­ment’ that is a giant cor­po­rate hoax per­pe­trat­ed after the Civ­il War. There is no ‘Unit­ed States’, except for fed­er­al employ­ees and the descen­dants of slaves. And once white Amer­i­cans go through the legal process of “redemp­tion” they are no longer under the juris­dic­tion of fed­er­al and state gov­ern­ments, courts and law enforce­ment. That’s what Riezinger teach­es her adher­ents and free­dom from that kind of “redemp­tion” is one of the pri­ma­ry legal ser­vices she offers.

    But free­ing peo­ple from the Unit­ed States isn’t the only ser­vice Riezinger offers her flock. She also adju­di­cates per­son­al dis­putes as part of a ‘com­mon law court’, based on her inter­pre­ta­tion of the Bib­li­cal 10 com­mand­ments:

    ...
    Which leads us to the com­mon law courts, or com­mon law grand juries, such as the one Riezinger pre­sides over in Alas­ka. “Our coun­try has its own his­to­ry as regards what law is,” Riezinger says. “I just am fol­low­ing along in that tra­di­tion.” She refers to the laws by which she adju­di­cates as “the law of the land,” as opposed to the law of the sea, admi­ral­ty law, inter­na­tion­al law and glob­al law.

    In her view, statu­to­ry laws and code are applic­a­ble to cor­po­ra­tions only (also, unless you’ve redeemed your­self via her process­es, you are a cor­po­rate fran­chise and have been one since your birth cer­tifi­cate and sub­se­quent Social Secu­ri­ty num­ber were issued). “You have law for peo­ple and you have law for cor­po­ra­tions,” she says. “The Amer­i­can com­mon law is the law that is owed the peo­ple, and the mar­itime and admi­ral­ty law is what is owed to cor­po­ra­tions and fed­er­al cit­i­zens who are employ­ees of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.”

    Glob­al law, she explains, con­sists of three tenets: “to keep the peace; to respect free will, with­in the para­me­ters of each indi­vid­ual will so that I’m not impress­ing my will on you; and to treat oth­ers as you’d like to be treat­ed your­self.”

    But Amer­i­can com­mon law, “the law of the land,” she says, is sim­ply based on the bib­li­cal ten com­mand­ments. “It was adopt­ed because basi­cal­ly the ten com­mand­ments were accept­able both to the Jews and to the gen­tiles and that’s why they basi­cal­ly arrived at that con­clu­sion, that every­body agreed these were ten things nobody should do.”

    Riezinger offers lit­tle sub­stan­ti­a­tion for her self-pro­claimed role as a judge in her com­mon law court. She once wrote, “I am sick and tired of hav­ing peo­ple say I am not a judge and ask­ing me in what sense am I a judge and com­ing up with all these sil­ly sup­po­si­tions and accu­sa­tions… I am a Judge of the actu­al Alas­ka State, one of the Sev­er­al States of the Con­ti­nen­tal Unit­ed States. I occu­py the actu­al pub­lic office and oper­ate the actu­al Alas­ka State Supe­ri­or Court.”

    That posi­tion affords her the abil­i­ty to make civ­il judge­ments like the ones against Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, con­gress and the Alas­ka gov­ern­ment offi­cials men­tioned above. But, she says, she oper­ates a small court for state nation­als in Alas­ka to reclaim their non-fed­er­al polit­i­cal sta­tus and set­tle dis­putes as well.

    “The state of Alas­ka stopped offer­ing jus­tice of the peace ser­vices some time ago… As far as we’re con­cerned, we have a need for such ser­vices and we have the right to self-gov­ern and do this. So we set up peo­ple that want to reclaim their state nation­al sta­tus and who want to live under the law of the land instead of the law of the sea.”

    She describes the work as pri­mar­i­ly set­tle­ments of prop­er­ty dis­putes or inher­i­tances (the tes­ta­ment in your fam­i­ly bible is the legal doc­u­ment required in the lat­ter instance).

    “We have only a few peo­ple,” she says of the par­tic­i­pants in her court. “By far most peo­ple aren’t aware of these issues; they aren’t think­ing in terms of need­ing to take back their birthright polit­i­cal sta­tus. They’re not oper­at­ing under a jus­tice of the peace sys­tem. So we don’t have a lot of work that we do, but we do some, and some of the work that we do is impor­tant because it’s impor­tant in terms of main­tain­ing Alaska’s claim to things — if there’s no land juris­dic­tion under­ly­ing it, there’s no sea juris­dic­tion either.”
    ...

    “She describes the work as pri­mar­i­ly set­tle­ments of prop­er­ty dis­putes or inher­i­tances (the tes­ta­ment in your fam­i­ly bible is the legal doc­u­ment required in the lat­ter instance).”

    So it’s basi­cal­ly a ‘Sharia for Chris­tians’ ser­vice. And it’s a ser­vice that any Amer­i­can (who hap­pens to be white) can appar­ent­ly offer any oth­er Amer­i­can (who also hap­pens to be white). All they have to do is edu­cate them­selves on the mys­ter­ies of Amer­i­can com­mon law vs Admi­ral­ty law, declare them­selves a judge, and find a bunch of peo­ple who agree to rec­og­nize their judi­cial author­i­ty.

    Of course, self-declared sov­er­eign judges like Riezinger might not lim­it their judi­cial actions to ‘redeem­ing’ peo­ple from their false enslave­ment to the ‘Unit­ed States’ cor­po­ra­tion. They also have a predilec­tion for declar­ing gov­ern­ment offi­cials as trea­so­nous, which is what “The Peo­ple’s Grand Jury” did in Col­orado recent­ly. Led by Bruce Doucette, one of Riezinger’s rival self-declared judges, a group of eight sov­er­eigns threat­ened dozens of elect­ed offi­cials and judges across the state. And as we’ve seen before, when sov­er­eign cit­i­zens start throw­ing around trea­son alle­ga­tions, calls for pub­lic hang­ings are implied. It’s one of those times when the sov­er­eigns go from unnerv­ing role-play­ers to pub­lic threats:

    ...
    Alas­ka is no stranger to sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, though the state sees less instances of paper ter­ror­ism than in the con­tigu­ous U.S. In 2014, a 64-year-old Delta Junc­tion man named Bernard Good­no was arrest­ed for dri­ving a 1985 Ford Pin­to with a hand­writ­ten license plate read­ing, “Approved Nation­al Non-Com­mer­cial Pri­vate Prop­er­ty With­out Prej­u­dice UCC 1–308 1–303.6,” report­ed the Fair­banks Dai­ly News-min­er. Upon being pulled over, he offered state troop­ers a card read­ing, “Con­sti­tu­tion­al Rights Inves­ti­ga­tor Sov­er­eign Civil­ian With­out Prej­u­dice UCC 1–308 / 1–303.6 Ques­tions Answered – Pay­ment Required $15,000 gold fee required for the ser­vice. No Con­tract = No Con­tract. This is a con­tract offer. Accep­tance is sub­ject to pay­ment.”

    Sov­er­eigns believe — Riezinger includ­ed — that licens­es of any kind sub­ject you to cor­po­rate or com­mer­cial laws, and you are not required as a state nation­al to pos­sess such licens­es. “Any­time you see a license, a red flag should go up and you should go, ‘oh, what am I doing that’s ille­gal?’” Riezinger says, fur­ther explain­ing, “licens­ing in legal terms is get­ting a per­mit from the gov­ern­ment to do some­thing that would oth­er­wise be ille­gal.”

    In 2015, an Alas­ka sov­er­eign from Togiak named Kevin Ramey was arraigned for fail­ing to show up for a hear­ing regard­ing over $84,000 in child sup­port he owed. Asked if he under­stood the charges, Ramey replied, accord­ing to local pub­lic radio sta­tion KDLG, “It says if you’re not a U.S. cit­i­zen you could be deport­ed. I know I have three cit­i­zen­ships: No. 1, in heav­en, No. 2, in Amer­i­ca, No. 3, in Cal­i­for­nia — and that my pri­ma­ry cit­i­zen­ship, is of course, in heav­en. So I was kind of won­der­ing, are you guys going to deport me to heav­en?”

    As amus­ing as those inci­dents sound, sov­er­eign cit­i­zens pur­su­ing their anti-gov­ern­ment extrem­ist beliefs have wreaked hav­oc else­where in Amer­i­ca. In fact, a for­mer asso­ciate of Riezinger’s — anoth­er self-pro­claimed judge — is await­ing tri­al in Col­orado for a slew of felonies, along with sev­en of his asso­ciates.

    Bruce Doucette, a “Supe­ri­or Court Judge” for “The People’s Grand Jury,” faces charges includ­ing vio­lat­ing the Col­orado Orga­nized Crime Con­trol Act, attempt­ing to influ­ence a pub­lic ser­vant, extor­tion, retal­i­a­tion against a judge, crim­i­nal imper­son­ation, fail­ure to pay tax­es and offer­ing a false instru­ment for record­ing.

    Doucette and his group, accord­ing to the indict­ment, threat­ened pub­lic offi­cials with charges of trea­son and filed false liens against them after a mem­ber of their group was arrest­ed on sus­pi­cion of vio­lat­ing a pro­tec­tion order.

    “My sense was that Doucette was orig­i­nal­ly kind of a dis­ci­ple of Anna [Riezinger],” Pit­cav­age says, “but he basi­cal­ly even­tu­al­ly became more impor­tant than she did.”
    ...

    But the sov­er­eigns aren’t just feud­ing with a gov­ern­ment they see as ille­git­i­mate. They of course also feud with each oth­er, as Riezinger an Doucette have been doing:

    ...
    Doucette and Riezinger had a pub­lic falling out on the inter­net in March of this year, less than a month before Doucette was indict­ed. In a post titled “An End to My Asso­ci­a­tion with Bruce Doucette and Michael R. Hamil­ton,” Riezinger wrote, “From this time for­ward and until such time as a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion may be reached let it be per­fect­ly clear that I do not con­done what Bruce Doucette and Michael R. Hamil­ton are doing or teach­ing, the assump­tions they are mak­ing, the new pow­ers they are assum­ing for them­selves, nor the new and dif­fer­ent duties they are try­ing to foist off onto the Grand Juries and Con­ti­nen­tal Mar­shals.” [Hamil­ton, a “judge” from Louisiana and sov­er­eign guru, was not charged in Doucette’s indict­ment.]

    Riezinger says she warned Doucette against the actions that result­ed in his arrest. “We actu­al­ly dis­agreed because of his legal trou­bles, or what he was pre­sum­ing and prepar­ing to do. I told him, ‘don’t do that, because you’re tres­pass­ing on a fed­er­al area.’” Basi­cal­ly, Riezinger says she told Doucette that if he inter­fered with pub­lic offi­cials, he would be oper­at­ing out­side of his com­mon law juris­dic­tion.

    Riezinger has often dis­agreed with oth­er promi­nent online thought lead­ers in the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens move­ment. “The move­ment real­ly sort of revolves around gurus, peo­ple like Doucette or Judge Anna, who are the ones who come up with all the pseu­do-legal notions and all the pseu­do-legal tac­tics and teach them and moti­vate peo­ple to fol­low them,” Pit­cav­age says.

    Like most extrem­ist move­ments, the sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment is extreme­ly frac­tious, and very vul­ner­a­ble to feud­ing and fight­ing with­in the move­ment,” he con­tin­ues. “It tends to come about for one or both of two rea­sons. The first is per­son­al­i­ty types. When you get one guru and you get anoth­er guru it’s pret­ty easy for sparks to start run­ning… [Sec­ond,] it’s all pseu­do in nature, so Anna’s the­o­ries are not going to be the same as Guru X’s the­o­ries. This becomes a prob­lem for both Anna and Guru X because they each have to prove to their fol­low­ers that they are right, not the oth­er per­son.”
    ...

    It’s a sov­er­eign guru free for all!

    Which, if course, is exact­ly what we should expect from a move­ment that assumes every ran­dom per­son can declare them­selves a legal judge based on a self-declared supe­ri­or knowl­edge of arcane legal the­o­ries. If it was­n’t for the exis­tence of the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment as a uni­fy­ing force it’s hard to imag­ine a nation of sov­er­eigns would­n’t imme­di­ate­ly descend into a civ­il war.

    And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle describes, sov­er­eign civ­il was is sort of what hap­pened to Anna Riezinger this year when John Harold Fulks, the self-declared “Gov­er­nor for the Gov­ern­ment of The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca” signed an arrest war­rant for Riezinger, her hus­band, and the oper­a­tor of a con­spir­a­cy web­site in response to claims Riezinger made online last year. Accord­ing to Fulks, Riezinger told her fol­low­ers that the Gen­er­al Post Office, an “agency” of Fulk­s’s “Gov­ern­ment of The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca”, was gath­er­ing an “army” and plan­ning to invade Riezinger’s self-declared nation of the “Con­ti­nen­tal unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca”. Yep, that hap­pened.

    So Riezinger warns that Fulk­s’s rival fake sov­er­eign nation is about invade her own fake sov­er­eign nation, and Fulks responds with a fake arrest war­rant. Which, again, is exact­ly what we should expect from a move­ment based on the idea of ran­dom groups can just declare their own nations on a whim:

    The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter

    Sov­er­eign spat

    June 12, 2018
    Bren­dan Joel Kel­ley

    The tit­u­lar head of a fic­ti­tious gov­ern­ment has issued an “inter­na­tion­al arrest war­rant” for a self-pro­claimed judge who’s an influ­en­tial guru in the antigov­ern­ment extrem­ist sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment.

    The prac­tice of sov­er­eign cit­i­zens found­ing their own pre­tend gov­ern­ments is fair­ly com­mon. Sov­er­eign cit­i­zens believe that the U.S. gov­ern­ment has been ille­git­i­mate since the pas­sage of the Four­teenth Amend­ment and the end of the gold stan­dard. They believe both events turned the Unit­ed States into a cor­po­ra­tion and its cit­i­zens into cor­po­rate slaves.

    John Harold Fulks signed the afore­men­tioned arrest order as “Gov­er­nor for the Gov­ern­ment of The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca”; the sov­er­eign judge named in the doc­u­ment is Alas­ka-based Anna Maria Riezinger, aka Anna von Reitz. Riezinger’s hus­band (and “Hered­i­tary Head of State for The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca”), James Clin­ton Belch­er, and a con­spir­a­cy web­site pro­pri­etor named Destry Payne are also named in the bogus arrest war­rant that offers a glimpse into the con­vo­lut­ed log­ic of the move­ment itself.

    The war­rant was in response to claims von Reitz made online in April 2017. She told her fol­low­ers that the Gen­er­al Post Office, which is an “agency” of Fulks “Gov­ern­ment of The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca” was gath­er­ing an “army” and plan­ning to invade the Con­ti­nen­tal unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca (sic), which is the psue­do nation that von Reitz belongs to. She warned peo­ple against sup­port­ing the Gen­er­al Post Office and called the “Gov­ern­ment of The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca” ille­git­i­mate say­ing “you can call your­self God, Moth­er and apple pie for all I care and the answer is still all the same. You have no right to be here caus­ing trou­ble on our soil.”

    The charges in the doc­u­ment against Riezinger, Belch­er and Payne include “pub­lish­ing inter­na­tion­al pro­pa­gan­da on behalf of a for­eign Monarch, mak­ing false claims against the Gov­ern­ment of The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca, incit­ing vio­lence and rev­o­lu­tion, there­by incit­ing inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism on behalf of a for­eign com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment, as well as vio­la­tions of numer­ous Arti­cles with­in the Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Human Rights.”

    The order also states “that any and all are here­by autho­rized to detain, incar­cer­ate, and in the case of vio­lent resis­tance, use dead­ly force against” the trio of sov­er­eigns.

    “These peo­ple are whack­jobs that think because they made a claim on aban­don­ment on the name ‘The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca’ that they own it,” Riezinger wrote in an email to Hate­watch regard­ing her sov­er­eign foes.

    As for the pho­ny arrest war­rant, Riezinger wrote, “that has become a fash­ion­able thing to issue arrest war­rants with no author­i­ty and no court and no enforce­ment to back them up as a pub­lic­i­ty stunt.”

    ...

    Some sov­er­eign cit­i­zens engage in fraud­u­lent pseu­do-judi­cial activ­i­ty to fur­ther their agen­das, and oth­ers have resort­ed to vio­lence, espe­cial­ly against law enforce­ment, when they felt their free­doms were infringed upon.

    Promi­nent sov­er­eigns are often involved in spats with one anoth­er, as with the fake arrest war­rant issued by a “gov­er­nor” to a com­pet­ing “judge.” Riezinger is no stranger to these spats. In 2017 she beefed on the inter­net with anoth­er sov­er­eign “judge,” Bruce Doucette of Col­orado, and pub­licly dis­as­so­ci­at­ed her­self from him less than a month before Doucette was indict­ed on a slew of charges relat­ed to his activ­i­ties as a sov­er­eign cit­i­zen. They includ­ed par­tic­i­pat­ing in a rack­e­teer­ing enter­prise, retal­i­at­ing against a judge and attempt­ing to influ­ence a pub­lic ser­vant.

    Doucette was sen­tenced last month to 38 years in prison as a result of the case, and Riezinger swift­ly issued a “told you so” email, writ­ing, “I did noth­ing wrong and I am not in trou­ble. I obeyed and hon­ored the Pub­lic Law and the juris­dic­tions set forth under the Con­sti­tu­tions. I advised them to do the same. They chose oth­er­wise. I am still here and they are in jail. It isn’t my fault that they are, and it gives me no joy that I was right.”

    Riezinger and the group which wrote the spu­ri­ous arrest war­rant, the Gov­ern­ment of The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca, have been feud­ing online spo­rad­i­cal­ly for years, and seem unlike­ly to stop any­time soon. Riezinger con­clud­ed her email to Hate­watch by writ­ing, “Unfor­tu­nate­ly, there are a lot of igno­rant peo­ple out there.”

    ———-

    “Sov­er­eign spat” by Bren­dan Joel Kel­ley; The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter; 06/12/2018

    The prac­tice of sov­er­eign cit­i­zens found­ing their own pre­tend gov­ern­ments is fair­ly com­mon. Sov­er­eign cit­i­zens believe that the U.S. gov­ern­ment has been ille­git­i­mate since the pas­sage of the Four­teenth Amend­ment and the end of the gold stan­dard. They believe both events turned the Unit­ed States into a cor­po­ra­tion and its cit­i­zens into cor­po­rate slaves.”

    Yes you too can start your own gov­ern­ment. It’s a pret­ty nifty sales pitch for a move­ment. But as we can see, that sales pitch comes with a down­side: all those new gov­ern­ments might go to war with each oth­er:

    ...
    John Harold Fulks signed the afore­men­tioned arrest order as “Gov­er­nor for the Gov­ern­ment of The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca”; the sov­er­eign judge named in the doc­u­ment is Alas­ka-based Anna Maria Riezinger, aka Anna von Reitz. Riezinger’s hus­band (and “Hered­i­tary Head of State for The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca”), James Clin­ton Belch­er, and a con­spir­a­cy web­site pro­pri­etor named Destry Payne are also named in the bogus arrest war­rant that offers a glimpse into the con­vo­lut­ed log­ic of the move­ment itself.

    The war­rant was in response to claims von Reitz made online in April 2017. She told her fol­low­ers that the Gen­er­al Post Office, which is an “agency” of Fulks “Gov­ern­ment of The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca” was gath­er­ing an “army” and plan­ning to invade the Con­ti­nen­tal unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca (sic), which is the psue­do nation that von Reitz belongs to. She warned peo­ple against sup­port­ing the Gen­er­al Post Office and called the “Gov­ern­ment of The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca” ille­git­i­mate say­ing “you can call your­self God, Moth­er and apple pie for all I care and the answer is still all the same. You have no right to be here caus­ing trou­ble on our soil.”

    The charges in the doc­u­ment against Riezinger, Belch­er and Payne include “pub­lish­ing inter­na­tion­al pro­pa­gan­da on behalf of a for­eign Monarch, mak­ing false claims against the Gov­ern­ment of The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca, incit­ing vio­lence and rev­o­lu­tion, there­by incit­ing inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism on behalf of a for­eign com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment, as well as vio­la­tions of numer­ous Arti­cles with­in the Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Human Rights.”
    ...

    And note how the arrest war­rant called for the pos­si­ble use of dead­ly force, which is a reminder that this isn’t just real­ly intense LARP­ing. If it was just real­ly intense LARP­ing that would be pret­ty impres­sive:

    ...
    The order also states “that any and all are here­by autho­rized to detain, incar­cer­ate, and in the case of vio­lent resis­tance, use dead­ly force against” the trio of sov­er­eigns.
    ...

    So Riezinger warns her fol­low­ers that this rival gov­ern­ment was build­ing an army to invade them, and the rival gov­ern­ment issues an arrest war­rant that calls for the pos­si­ble use of dead­ly force. So how does ‘judge’ Riezinger respond to this esca­la­tion of sov­er­eign antics? By declar­ing that the rival pre­tend nation is a bunch of “whack­jobs” because they think they can sim­ply declare their own gov­ern­ment by claim­ing pos­ses­sion of the aban­doned name ‘The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca’. Which is an iron­i­cal­ly valid point by Riezinger:

    ...
    “These peo­ple are whack­jobs that think because they made a claim on aban­don­ment on the name ‘The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca’ that they own it,” Riezinger wrote in an email to Hate­watch regard­ing her sov­er­eign foes.

    As for the pho­ny arrest war­rant, Riezinger wrote, “that has become a fash­ion­able thing to issue arrest war­rants with no author­i­ty and no court and no enforce­ment to back them up as a pub­lic­i­ty stunt.”

    ...

    Riezinger and the group which wrote the spu­ri­ous arrest war­rant, the Gov­ern­ment of The Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca, have been feud­ing online spo­rad­i­cal­ly for years, and seem unlike­ly to stop any­time soon. Riezinger con­clud­ed her email to Hate­watch by writ­ing, “Unfor­tu­nate­ly, there are a lot of igno­rant peo­ple out there.”

    “Unfor­tu­nate­ly, there are a lot of igno­rant peo­ple out there.” Indeed.

    So as we can see, with the sov­er­eign cit­i­zens we have a move­ment that views the post-Civ­il War US gov­ern­ment as fun­da­men­tal­ly ille­git­i­mate and a crime against white Amer­i­cans. And this move­ment offers a solu­tion that promis­es to free peo­ple from hav­ing to pay tax­es or fol­low any law oth­er than their per­son­al inter­pre­ta­tion of com­mon law. It’s cer­tain­ly hard to ignore the par­al­lels to con­tem­po­rary Repub­li­can Par­ty.

    And it’s hard to ignore the real­i­ty that the US Supreme Court is now poised to veer toward this fun­da­men­tal view that most US laws (espe­cial­ly those involves tax­es, reg­u­la­tions, and pro­tec­tions for minori­ties) are ille­git­i­mate with the notable excep­tion of laws based on a Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ist inter­pre­ta­tion of Bib­li­cal law.

    Sure, the Trump/Koch/Alex Jones Supreme Court of the next 50 years is pre­sum­ably going to be unfriend­ly towards the idea of peo­ple declar­ing their own gov­ern­ments which is very dif­fer­ent from the sov­er­eigns, but that’s to be expect­ed. And nei­ther would Riezinger or Fulks be super pleased if one of the mem­bers of their own self-declared gov­ern­ments decid­ed to form a new self-declared gov­ern­ment. A utopi­an soci­ety that’s con­stant­ly splin­ter­ing, down to poten­tial­ly soci­eties of ‘one’, isn’t going to remain a soci­ety for very long. It’s going to be a neigh­bor­hood of bit­ter rival nations at war with each oth­er, as we can see.

    And that incom­pat­i­bil­i­ty of per­pet­u­al­ly splin­ter­ing soci­eties with the very con­cept of soci­ety points towards one of the aspects of gov­er­nance that both the sov­er­eigns and the Kochs don’t seem to grasp: one of the pri­ma­ry pur­pos­es of soci­ety is fig­ur­ing out how we can all live togeth­er bet­ter and break­ing up into rival nations is kind of the oppo­site of that. Excep­tions apply, of course, like the sit­u­a­tion the Amer­i­can colonist faced dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War when they were lit­er­al­ly fight­ing for the idea of democ­ra­cy and a gov­ern­ment ‘run by and for the peo­ple’ (ignor­ing the moral abom­i­na­tion of slav­ery). But once you have a democ­ra­cy in place, the idea of just balka­niz­ing due to seem­ing­ly irrec­on­cil­able dif­fer­ences over pol­i­cy mat­ters and cul­tur­al issues sud­den­ly becomes moral­ly out­ra­geous. The idea that we are moral­ly oblig­ed to fig­ure out how to live togeth­er in a way that works out well for every­one is an idea that appears to escape extrem­ists of all sorts, whether it’s sov­er­eign cit­i­zens, theo­crat­ic author­i­tar­i­ans, or author­i­tar­i­an ‘lib­er­tar­i­an’ bil­lion­aires like the Kochs.

    It’s all a reminder that the only form of soci­etal extrem­ism tru­ly com­pat­i­ble with a sta­ble and suc­cess­ful democ­ra­cy is a soci­ety that takes extreme­ly seri­ous­ly the chal­lenge of cre­at­ing a soci­ety that’s enjoy­able and just life for as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble. And, yes, the sov­er­eigns and Kochs will undoubt­ed­ly choose to reject and under­mine such a soci­ety, but that’s all part of the chal­lenge. A chal­lenge to soci­ety to keep its inde­pen­dence by con­tin­u­al­ly becom­ing more self-aware and just and under­stand­ing and nice (and maybe adopts some fed­er­al pro­grams to imple­ment some of those nice goals). Because that sounds like an extreme­ly desir­able soci­ety and an extreme­ly desir­able soci­ety should only need one Inde­pen­dence Day.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 4, 2018, 6:44 pm

Post a comment