Balloon Juice Bunker Standoff Day 17: Destroying the Domestic Gray Zone

I’ve written a couple of times here about how the Islamic State’s acts of terrorism are intended to destroy the Gray Zone. The Gray Zone is the civil and social space we all live in when we are in public. One of the Islamic State’s goals is for the responses to their acts of terrorism to make this public space unlivable for Muslims wherever they live by making them and their non-Muslim neighbors choose sides. The actions and stated intentions of Ammon Bundy and his followers, both at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and throughout the US, are intended to do the same thing for Americans.

We know that Ammon Bundy spent several months planning the standoff and occupation with a Montana militia man. We also know that this included establishing his own shadow government, the Harney County Committee of Safety. Today foster dad of the year and the occupiers’ resident Constitutional expert LaVoy Finicum announced that they have begun recruiting ranchers across the western United States to stop paying their fees for grazing their cattle on Federal land. According to Finicum they already have two ranchers that will come and sign a pledge to do so – one from New Mexico and one from Oregon. He also announced that he’s going to stop paying the fees for his own cattle in Arizona. The occupiers are also supposed to be holding a public meeting tonight at 6 PM PST at the Crystal Crane Hot Springs Resort in a county nearby Harney County. And Florida woman, lawyer, and talk show host for the “patriot” movement KrisAnn Hall is on her way to Burns to hold workshops on the Constitutional limits of the Federal government.

Bundy, Finicum, their fellow occupiers, and their supporters are trying to destroy the American Gray Zone. The space in which we all live when we’re not in private. The space where we are all citizens and neighbors. They are trying to do this by ginning up support for their anti-Federal beliefs that deny the legitimacy of not just the Federal government, but the American state as well. I’m not so sure they are also not opposed to the individual states that make up the Union too given their belief that the highest legitimate authority is the county sheriff. Bundy and his fellow travelers are attempting to destroy the Gray Zone by suborning other sheriffs and county officials because they can’t get the Harney County ones to side with them. This destroys the Gray Zone in two ways. First it makes it impossible for anyone to know who to trust, which increases the likelihood that people will choose sides to protect themselves. The second way it destroys the Gray Zone is that it demonstrates that might makes right. If you’ve got the most weapons, or are simply more willing to use them than anyone else, and are happy to ignore the norms, rules, mores, and laws that everyone else will abide by, then you can just take what you want. This is corrosive to the Gray Zone and ultimately to the fabric of the state and society.

We seem to have reached the point in the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and the related activities of its occupiers, where they have gone from oddity, to parody, to actual threat. And I don’t necessarily mean threat in terms of violence, though that is always a possibility. Rather their seeming objective, as they dribble out over time, is to destroy the social, public, and civic space of America. By trying to force Americans to take sides they are working to destroy the Gray Zone. While America’s civil space and civic culture is relatively robust, including its numerous regional variations, it can still be damaged. It is important to recognize that what Bundy, Finicum, and their fellow travelers want is to create an alternative civil society, one based on their imagined and fictional understanding of the US, its founding and history, and its Constitution and force everyone to either stand with them or be counted as domestic enemies of Liberty to be opposed.

133 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    One of the Islamic State’s goals is for the responses to their acts of terrorism to make this public space unlivable for Muslims wherever they live by making them and their non-Muslim neighbors choose sides.

    So it’s like blogs during primary season.

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    The second way it destroys the Gray Zone is that it demonstrates that might makes right. If you’ve got the most weapons, or are simply more willing to use them than anyone else, and are happy to ignore the norms, rules, mores, and laws that everyone else will abide by, then you can just take what you want. This is corrosive to the Gray Zone and ultimately to the fabric of the state and society.

    A remedy exists for this.

  3. 3
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: There are several. Bringing as quick and quiet an end to this mess before it can turn into a full fledge rebellion that requires significant applications of force is the best one. And this includes making arrests, bringing charges, and giving these guys and gals their days in court.

  4. 4
    Zinsky says:

    Interesting analysis, Adam. Thank you for your very thoughtful posts!

  5. 5
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I trust whatever 11 dimensional chess Obama is playing here, unlike you faithless pack of hyenas who will tear into anything that stinks of rot.

  6. 6
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Arrests, charges, and due process for everyone involved. Both the physical perps and any financial backers / co-conspirators that can be proven.

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    quick and quiet

    Seems like that should be “or.”

  8. 8
    Corner Stone says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    who will tear into anything that stinks of rot.

    I’m having spicy pork tamales, thanks for asking.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I definitely agree. My feeling is just do something. Block off the roads, and arrest anyone trespassing.

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: agreed. These knuckleheads didn’t come up with this on their own. I think someone with deep pockets and the ability to plan more than a day in advance saw what happened at the Bundy Ranch standoff and thought: 1) These guys would be perfect factotums and dupes and 2) I can use them to advance my goals. My guess is that if anyone were actually to drill way down some of the usual suspects that throw money at achieving their small government goals will be exposed.

  11. 11
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Has Hillary Clinton gotten on the phone and called Oregon yet?

  12. 12
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @efgoldman: I always commit 100%.

  13. 13
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Baud: should be both. By quiet I mean trying to keep things from escalating. These guys getting a huge firefight is what they want. So if we can avoid that happening it would be a better way to resolve this.

  14. 14
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman: No argument here.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Zinsky: You’re welcome. Thank you for the kind words.

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    These guys getting a huge firefight is what they want.

    It’s getting to be what I want too.

  17. 17
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Baud: As satisfying as that might seem, its also ultimately self defeating with this crowd.

  18. 18
    dimmsdale says:

    I’m going to ASSUME (not a happy word) that while these pissants are strutting around with their guns and puffing themselves up with fevered “patriot” fantasies, the FBI, DOJ and other relevant agencies are evolving strategies for dealing with this stuff, both in this single county and wherever it might crop up next (which, unfortunately, it will). This would include consulting the kinds of psy-ops people you call for in a hostage situation (which this is, after all) and also arraying sufficient fed, state, and local charges against these mooks to keep them weighted down with legal trouble for the rest of their lives. I’m relieved the gov hasn’t done anything stupid or inflammatory YET; I’m also concerned about the Overton window getting jacked way far to the right. The gov can’t possibly be contemplating normalizing this sort of behavior in the name of avoiding upsetting these gomers…..CAN it?

  19. 19
    NotMax says:

    Gray Zone?


    Commonweal is a perfectly cromulent term.

  20. 20
    Kay says:

    It’s really reached the stage where you don’t even have to ask “what is this or that ABOUT?”

    It’s about a few people making more and more money. As usual.

    A new, data-filled study by the Harvard scholars Theda Skocpol and Alexander Hertel-Fernandez reports that the Kochs have established centralized command of a “nationally-federated, full-service, ideologically focused” machine that “operates on the scale of a national U.S. political party.” The Koch network, they conclude, acts like a “force field,” pulling Republican candidates and office-holders further to the right. Last week, the Times reported that funds from the Koch network are fuelling both ongoing rebellions against government control of Western land and the legal challenge to labor unions that is before the Supreme Court.

  21. 21
    Central Planning says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    its also ultimately self defeating with this crowd.

    Self defeating for some more than others.

    Perhaps the Fed is letting them do all this so they can ensure there is enough crime to clearly prosecute them, and to make them less sympathetic to the rest of the general population.

  22. 22
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’d prefer we not engage in violent means to end this but I do think it’s time to consider flash bangs and tear gassing the shit out of the whole compound. Let them come choking out to open territory and arrest them one by one if needed. If that doesn’t happen we’re going to see this nutjobs on the grifter speech/breakfast prayer circuit. They will inspire and incite a whole new wave of people who think they deserve more of the commons than everyone else. And they will increasingly become to believe that armed resistance is the way to get that outcome.
    Personally, if I were in a store with my child and someone came up to me and started asking really personally invasive and threatening questions I would want my civil law infrastructure to protect me and my family.

  23. 23
    Ruckus says:

    I’ve been one who’s argued for solving this as peaceful as possible. But I think we’ve reached the point that peaceful is not possible. The morons are escalating and getting reinforcements. Morons with bullhorns. The local sheriffs and state law enforcement need to come out backing the feds and the feds need to tidy this up as neat and clean as possible.

  24. 24
    jl says:

    I see on TPM blog today that one of them drove his car into a ditch and wrecked it. He was allowed to hitch a ride back the refuge.

  25. 25

    There are reports that some sheriffs in Oregon and perhaps neighboring states sympathize with the Bundy Occupation. The Bundys began plotting this some time back. Finicum is not at all shy about saying that he is trying to involve others.

    A number of organizations track these people. Presumably the FBI does as well – there was a report on rightwing extremism a few years back that was suppressed because it was not politically correct to call Amurricans terrorists. So perhaps the FBI is teasing out the tangled web in order to muster simultaneous arrests across a dozen or more states to put a more effective end to this sedition. They do similar things for drug gangs.

    That would account for the apparent inaction.

    ETA: Also see Kay’s comment @22. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the Feds showed up at the Koch’s homes early one morning?

  26. 26
    Central Planning says:

    @Adam L Silverman:


    Thanks for the new word!

  27. 27
    Corner Stone says:

    @Central Planning: That’s the first time you have ever seen that word?

  28. 28
    jl says:

    @Corner Stone: The fact that they have been harassing and threatening the local people is serious. At some point, that has to stop. That is serious and no joking matter.

    If they do get their reinforcements, it looks like anyone who will not go along will be declared enemies of their sovereign citizen county tinpot goofball realm.

    At what point do the Paiutes sue for denial of access to what they claim is still their land? The insurrectionists say that the local natives done lost their rights to the land because white men can use it more productively (if they get a nice fat federal subsidy) and done took it from them with guns (well, actually the federal government did that, the Paiutes whipped all the local militias they met back in the day). But the insurrectionists are gracious and merciful, if the local natives show up and ask nice, they can take away all the contents of the wildlife refuge museum of native artifacts (and not come back).

  29. 29
    Ohio Mom says:

    I still don’t get why they are allowed to come and go as they please, and get stuff delivered.

  30. 30
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kay: I was thinking the Kochs when I responded to CornerStone. Though that’s poorly written. It should be tractor beam not force field. Also, Theda Skocpol has some serious professional ethics problems of her own – using Putnam’s cooked data sets being foremost among them. Also, tearing into refugees from Srebrenica and telling them they don’t know anything about political violence. Several of my colleagues at the time thought I was going to hit her with a banquet table. Good times.

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman: The guys at the refuge yes. Their fellow travelers across the country, will still be out there, newly aggrieved, and will be looking for both an outright fight and to target BLM and Forest Service and Department of Interior and state and local law enforcement when they’re least expecting it.

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Central Planning: I have a joint PhD, occasionally I like to take it out and show it off.

  33. 33
    Kay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I think the local collusion makes some sense- they’re simply not going to enforce laws re: these people but I’d still like an explanation why the FBI doesn’t enforce laws on federal land.

    The whole “they don’t want to incite” doesn’t make sense to me. I feel like they could have made low level arrests when these guys were strolling in and out of the grocery store. They took photographs of themselves using equipment and destroying property. That’s certainly enough for an agent affidavit and an arrest. They don’t actually have to arrest people as they commit the crime. It can be after.

  34. 34
    sdhays says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m struggling with the idea that guys who showed up in Oregon in the middle of winter without preparing food or sleeping bags or anything for an indefinite occupation did any “planning”. I’m definitely cynical enough to believe this, but I don’t see the evidence of any evil masterminds behind the scenes. Just evil stupid minds.

  35. 35
    Kay says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    It just reeks of astro turf to me. They don’t all have to be “in” on it. Some of them can genuinely believe they’re a diverse group of volunteers who happened to travel hundreds and hundreds of miles to converge on this bird sanctuary.

  36. 36
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Kay: Speaking of the Koch brothers…

    Jane Mayer at the New Yorker:

    It is true that, at least as far back as 1980, when Charles Koch enlisted David, then a company executive, to run for Vice-President of the United States on the Libertarian Party ticket, the brothers have publicly supported radical reform of America’s criminal-justice system. The platform of the Libertarian Party in 1980 called for an end to all prosecutions of tax evaders and the abolition of a number of federal agencies whose regulations Koch Industries and other businesses have chafed at, including the E.P.A., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Federal Election Commission, whose campaign-spending limits the brothers opposed. But the Kochs, as hard-line libertarians, have had goals quite different from those of many of their liberal allies. Their distaste for the American criminal-justice system is bound up in distrust of government and a preference for private enterprise. Until recently, the criminal-justice victims the Kochs focussed on were businessmen who had run afoul of the modern regulatory state — that is, people like them.

    Mark Holden, the Koch general counsel, who has overseen Koch Industries’ criminal-justice-reform work, acknowledges that the brothers were motivated to give money to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers after being prosecuted for environmental crimes, in 2000. In that case, a whistle-blower who worked for a Koch refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, told authorities that the company had covered up the fact that it was “hemorrhaging” benzene, a known carcinogen. The Justice Department mounted what David Uhlmann, who then oversaw the department’s environmental-crimes section, has called “one of the most significant cases ever brought under the Clean Air Act.” In a settlement, the original ninety-seven charges were dropped, including criminal charges against four company employees, but Koch Industries pleaded guilty to one count of concealing information from the government about its discharge of benzene. The company agreed to pay a ten-million-dollar fine, and to pay ten million more to improve the environment in Corpus Christi. “It was a huge overreach, a grave injustice,” Holden told me. “We were very skeptical, going forward, of criminal prosecutors having too much power. So we got involved in criminal-justice reform.”

    IOW, the Koch brothers are supporting “criminal justice reform” as part of their efforts to try to gut regulations and effective enforcement.

    Beware of new allies.

    (Via LOLGOP on Twitter.)


  37. 37
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kay: There’s been reporting where Federal law enforcement has gone off the record and indicated that they are actively trying to avoid a violent confrontation, even one that would be quick and effective, let alone something like Waco or Ruby Ridge. The stated concern is that they have estimated that what these guys want, as well as their supporters, is an armed confrontation as a go signal for much wider spread violent rebellion against Federal and state authority. So they’re keeping a low profile and collecting surveillance data and information on who’s who in the zoo so they can wind this up quietly and if possible non-violently. And I can’t find what I did with the link.

  38. 38
    jl says:

    If there was a deep pockets Mr. Big, or group of them, behind this, that would be another explanation for why the US and OR officials are going slow. Would want to wrap up the important conspirators in the investigation and have a strong case against them.

    Funny thing is that if you read the history of ranching in this area and others, if they got what they wanted, they would be fighting each other pretty soon. Before the feds came in, there were similar disputes between private land owners. Sometimes over exact same issues, sometimes over different ones. So, equipment vandalized, buildings burned, livestock rustled (often under the cover of private or do-it-yourself ‘debt collection’), fences cut, streams diverted, gets bad enough, go out and take a few pot shots at somebody.

    The nonsense can’t go on. Someone linked to an article about fed and state law enforcement presence, and they sound like the are very serious, despite fact that very little seems to be happening.

  39. 39
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Kay: I don’t disagree. These folks are not rocket scientists or strategic planners.

  40. 40
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman: I don’t disagree. I’m also not Federal law enforcement and none of them have asked for my input. I’m just passing on what I’ve seen reported.

  41. 41
    mike in dc says:

    I think the long-term remedy for this stuff is a coordinate federal and state/local effort to infiltrate, investigate and prosecute these fuckers, essentially pre-empting these kinds of showdowns by shutting down the instigators before it gets to this point. But that requires political will and operational secrecy, both of which may be lacking.
    I think the political primary process is going to siphon off national news coverage from this standoff, so if they want to provoke a confrontation, the occupiers will likely have to make their move in the next couple weeks. Conversely, if the authorities want to nudge these guys out, it makes sense to wait until early next month to begin measures to ratchet up the pressure to leave(cutting ingress, cutting power and cell/internet communication, staging law enforcement assets, etc.).

  42. 42
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It was probably this story at OPB by Sepulvado and Peacher. See the 1 PM entry.



  43. 43
    Corner Stone says:


    Funny thing is that if you read the history of ranching in this area and others, if they got what they wanted, they would be fighting each other pretty soon

    Almost always over water rights. The guys with the most guns would absolutely fence out the lesser ranches from being able to water their herd or irrigate their crops.

  44. 44
    jl says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: Thanks. I am thinking of one of the links to the OBP. I forget which one and when I read it, though.

  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: That was it. Well done. Thanks.

  46. 46
    a different chris says:

    @Adam L Silverman: But they are already doing that, and have been for quite a while. And will continue to no matter whether this ends with peaceful arrests or with bunker busters or with letting them do whatever they want.

    It’s time to prohibit all grazing on federal lands. They all need to be evicted. They aren’t paying for it, and they’re promising they won’t pay their fees in the future.

  47. 47
    SFAW says:

    @Corner Stone:

    That’s the first time you have ever seen that word?

    He/she might not listen to opera much.

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I have a joint PhD

    Well, I knew it was legal in some states, but I didn’t know they gave out advanced degrees for it.


    Well said.

    PS: Adam: I appreciate the work you put into this stuff. If I had to delve into what’s going on with those seditious bastards, I’d probably be making an inordinate number of trips to the packy, and that ain’t good.

  48. 48
    wvng says:

    Thanks for your very well informed essay on this problem. I think your comment about these goons and their fellow travelers “looking for both an outright fight and to target BLM and Forest Service and Department of Interior and state and local law enforcement” is spot on. I expect the threat level will be so great and so persistent that this particular refuge will never reopen regardless of how the current travesty ends.

  49. 49
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: And you’re back to might makes right.

  50. 50
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    As a frequent requester of one of your insightful updates on Meal Team Six, thank you. This twitter stream is covering the Bundy/Payne/Finicum meeting.

  51. 51
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Um, I am? Or what I bring up as the problem is at the core of this mentality?

  52. 52
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Almost always over water rights. The guys with the most guns would absolutely fence out the lesser ranches from being able to water their herd or irrigate their crops.

    No, it was the sheep herders versus the cattle ranchers that caused the most tension. It’s well documented in the historical series written by Max Brand.

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): I wonder why that guy keeps typing “taking” each time it’s clear he means “talking”.

  54. 54
    Corner Stone says:

    Ammon Bundy starts community meeting with video about standoff in Nevada involving his dad.

    Great. Nice fucking job there, Feds.

  55. 55
    sukabi says:

    @efgoldman: short term gains for longer term pain… the other dumbasses that haven’t jumped into the fray would hear the gov. aggression as a clarion call to “avenge” their brothers. Don’t really want to breed more terrorists do we?

  56. 56
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: The latter. Didn’t mean to suggest that you were endorsing it.

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: Autocorrect.

  58. 58
    Corner Stone says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Sorry, but that is clearly refudiated in the multiple Louis L’Amour books such as Utah Blaine, Keylock Man, the Sackett series et al.

  59. 59

    @Kay: I think “do not incite” is part of what the FBI is doing, but that’s not what I was talking about @28. I think that the FBI may be looking at connections so as to arrest as wide a swath of conspirators as possible. Maybe even clean up the Bundy mess in Nevada.

    Of course, I could be totally wrong.

  60. 60
    Corner Stone says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Sure thing. You’ve just been a little tense lately.
    Usually when that happens a few times Just Some Fuckhead and I get together for an extended weekend of acupuncture, massage, mescal, mescaline and mountaintops. What happens there…well, you get what I’m saying.

  61. 61
    SFAW says:


    Don’t really want to breed more terrorists do we?

    Well, given their (expected) level of intelligence, I envision many newly-formed craters in sparsely-populated areas, due to the newly-minted terrorists testing their suicide jackets. So, that might keep the overall number manageable.

  62. 62
    SFAW says:

    @Corner Stone:

    And where does/did Zane Grey stand on the issue?

    ETA: And you better not say “In the Grey Zone.”

  63. 63
    Corner Stone says:

    @SFAW: Most likely in The Grey Zone.

  64. 64
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Corner Stone: When will Shane arrive to save the day??!!


  65. 65
    opiejeanne says:

    @Corner Stone: Whiskey’s for drinking, water’s for fighting. (A California slogan)

  66. 66
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone: @Adam L Silverman:

    Just Some Fuckhead and I get together for an extended weekend of acupuncture, massage, mescal, mescaline and mountaintops.

    You are welcome to join us any time, Adam. We are not gay but we do a very passable imitation.

  67. 67
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SFAW: He was a dentist from Ohio; I am not sure he was really a subject matter expert. Although that probably lets him fit in with many folks on this debate.

  68. 68
    elftx says:

    The American Lands Council based in Utah may be a motivating factor for these snackless dudes. I came across the linked article through a comment on one of the Oregonian reports.

  69. 69
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Dentist from Ohio? Didn’t know that.

    Sorry about your Packers, by the way. I’m sure it was painful.

  70. 70
    amk says:

    fuck policing our own backyard, let’s go police the world. murka.

  71. 71
    GregB says:

    It is ironic that these libertarian types often use the man with a gun metaphor to indicate the coercive power of government. I have come realize that they actually lust for power themselves and are totally happy when they are the men with guns coercing and intimidating everyone who is not in their ideological corner.

    Thugs in mind and practice.

  72. 72
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SFAW: Given injuies, etc., getting that far into the playoffs was a good result. Not gonna whine.

  73. 73
    Corner Stone says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): “Ammon Bundy says his role here in Harney Co is a “one time offer.”

  74. 74
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone: You reminded me of this gem from the Wayback Machine:

    “John and I had an incredible mescaline trip and when it was over, I was straight again and he was a Democrat. I don’t usually date Republicans, especially the ex-military types that have a hard-on for The Cars but as it happened, The Cars were on the stereo and one of us had a hard-on. Next thing ya know, we’re laying on the futon with the faux aztec throw- a tangle of arms, legs and coital fluids and John says, “Hey, I’ve got some mescaline and Mount Gay rum.” I remember making the obligatory “Mount Gay” joke and we both giggled before going up to the mountaintop and coming back down hours later, both of us changed men.”

    Those were heady days.

  75. 75
    GregB says:

    By the way. How about some psy-ops alleging that Bundy is a federal plant ginning up a war so the rest of ‘Murika can be disarmed.

    Ammon Bundy is a false flag!

  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    Well you may not know it but this man is a spy.
    He’s a undercover agent for the FBI
    And he’s been sent down here to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan!

  77. 77
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I would expect its both.

  78. 78
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That’s my favorite Charlie song.



  79. 79
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Corner Stone: @Just Some Fuckhead: You all have fun and thanks for thinking of me. As for testy – I spent the better part of the past two weeks fighting a nasty head cold so was a bit out of sorts. Apologies to anyone I stomped on.

  80. 80
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @GregB: There’s plenty of that going around. Not with allegations of Bundy, but that other occupiers are. This included Bodda Bear, who was arrested last week in AZ.

  81. 81
    dimmsdale says:

    By the way, Adam, I really value your efforts and insights here. Not to put pressure on, but I’ve been checking back here all day to see what you’d end up posting on this.

    More generally, I think the Feds have an opportunity here to demonstrate how lawbreaking can be remedied without blowing everybody to bloody shards thru a bunch of SWAT/Seal Team Six nonsense–our culture has been drifting into a “shoot first and think about the consequences later” mindset for too long, supported by endless TV shows where guns solve the problem, and by the bloodthirsty commentators on CNN and Fox. Anything the Feds can do to ratchet down the inclination to pick up a gun is all to the good.

    Also, as a taxpayer who has some equity (however small) in the wildlife refuge, I do not want to see it shot to sh*t, and all the staff research and specimens destroyed, just because of these feckless, worthless goobers. Tie them up in court for the rest of their miserable lives, and cost the Koch brothers a fortune in legal fees defending them.

  82. 82
    Corner Stone says:

    “Ammon Bundy says the fears are what motivate people to do nothing. “What if this works?” he says.”

  83. 83
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone:

    “What if this works?”

    Wildlife refuges for everyone???

  84. 84
    mike in dc says:

    The Montana Freemen standoff lasted 81 days, by way of comparison. The Bundy Ranch standoff, such as it was, lasted about 4-5 weeks. I can’t see this going on indefinitely. At some point, either they will leave or there will be a major confrontation.

  85. 85
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @dimmsdale: Thanks. I’m behind though. I owe Schrodinger’s Cat a post on the actual, historic Thugee and JL a post on Yemen. I haven’t forgotten and hope to get to them this week.

  86. 86
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Dear god, you are taking requests? You’ll come to regret that choice.

  87. 87
    Jay Noble says:

    Dang can’t find it now, but these yahoo’s were blowing old school ram’s horns to announce the Apocalypse! And they weren’t joking.

    So we have 2 lovely groups on both sides of the world actively trying to bring on the Final War and the return of God/Jesus.

    I read a great deal of scifi – time to find these folks their own planets.

    As for counties being the highest level of government – county becomes kingdom becomes empire and there goes your FREEDOM!

  88. 88
    Satby says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: If he’s taking requests I want Voices of the Beehive

  89. 89
    a different chris says:

    One part of this I find fascinating, in a train wreck sort of way, is how these rancher-type guys just automatically assume their concerns are everybody’s concerns. As if all 300 million of us were also ranchers who are getting tyrannied to death by the evil Feds and their oppressive policy of charging pennies on the dollar for grazing rights. They are ranchers, everyone they know are ranchers, therefore everyone they don’t know are probably ranchers, too. So it stands to reason, they think everyone will benefit from the things they are ‘fighting’ for.

    Much like the Republicans who were stunned to find McCain lost in 2008, because they had never met anyone who wasn’t a McCain supporter, and the only possible explanation was that the election must have been rigged somehow.

  90. 90
    piratedan7 says:

    well… I would prefer not to see LE people hurt, especially since these fucksticks are craving some martyr (the tree of Liberty must be watered and all that), but I will freely admit, that I want these guys taken down and I would like the full weight of the law lowered on these folks as well. I want to see if they’ve paid their taxes, I want to see them prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If found guilty, I want them sent someplace poetic, like federal high security and living inside concrete for quite some time. After all, the Koch Brothers are gonna backroll this shit, let ’em trot out their lawyers… follow the money and then when you can prove that they inspired them, fuck them over too.

    I’m losing patience for my fellow citizens who are losing their shit every time someone from the “wrong” team comes into office and these fuckers on the hill, sending their cannon fodder out to make life more difficult for the rest of us.

  91. 91
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Satby: This is how it starts and then later he finds himself doing long distance dedications from Jason to Kaylee. I say no. He should stand firm and shun all requests (except any I might have for my judgment and taste are good).

  92. 92
    Satby says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    He should stand firm and shun all requests (except any I might have for my judgment and taste are good).

    True dat.

  93. 93
    jl says:

    @Corner Stone:

    “Ammon Bundy says the fears are what motivate people to do nothing. “What if this works?” he says.”

    I’m dong a road trip next week, get my claims on Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon posted, might swing by Carfizo Plain. Pick up some of the Sacramento River NWRs on way to Yosemite.

    I’m taking a pass on Klamath, the farmers up there are liable to shoot my ass if I get in their way.

  94. 94
    The Republic, Blah Blah Blah... says:

    @opiejeanne: Mark Twain, I believe…

  95. 95
    Corner Stone says:

    @jl: Screw you. All of Sequoia and Humboldt County is mine. Fight me.

  96. 96
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Screw you. All of Sequoia and Humboldt County is mine. Fight me.

    Now you lessen up Colonel Stone, d’you hear me? This land was squatted on by my grandpappy and his grandpappy. Why there’s Fuckhead turds all over this here piece, d’you hear me? Ya cain’t come in hereabouts flashin’ yer war booty around and intimidatin’ gawdfearin’ folks with yer roughriders. By golly, if you are a-wantin’ a range war, we’ll give ya one!!!!!

  97. 97
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    ” JL a post on Yemen ”

    Wow, thanks. Glad you remembered. I’m curious about the supposed Iranian influence. I’ve read that these Houthis are just the descendents of Zaidi Islam that has been in the area for over 1000 years, and have fought pretty much anyone who has tried to interfere with them. My Yemeni neighbors more or less agree and say Sauid Arabia is wasting its time, and the US is being ignorant worrying about them being Iranian agents of some kind. So, I am curious to know whether my impression is correct. Wikipedia is sketchy.

    Anyway, thanks in advance.

  98. 98
    jl says:

    @Corner Stone: OK, I was talking about the Sierra Sequoias. But if you are going to threaten my liberty, I’m leaving early and claiming all the CA Redwood parks.

    A guy can make a good living cutting them things down and making shingles. That was a thriving small family business model for go-getters back in the day when men were free.

    Edit. WTF am I thinking. I’m in California right now. Eff it. I’m going out in the back yard and claiming the whole damn state right now. You snooze you loose, assholes. I’ll be around to collect the rent Feb 1.

  99. 99
    GregB says:


    From what I understand the notion that the Houthi’s are Iranian lackeys is misguided.

  100. 100
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @jl: I am now the Duke of Wisconsin. You may call me Your Grace from here on out.

  101. 101
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @jl: Don’t forget your sign!

  102. 102
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Jay Noble: CNN – scroll down to the shofar…



  103. 103
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: Do you think that people gave the right of first refusal during the War of the Roses? Grab your chance, man. Do it. If you back my claim, I’ll back yours. I should be able to provide thousands of deer hunting retainers. Real ones, who can shoot – not like the poseurs the Earl of Illinois can offer.

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: Walker and his ilk? They want a feudal overlord. They will crawl to me…

  105. 105
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: I am beginning to regret my offer of an alliance.

    ETA: I am off; we will see what tomorrow holds.

  106. 106
    danielx says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    These knuckleheads didn’t come up with this on their own.

    If they didn’t, it was planned by someone with a serious grasp of political theater. I suspect you’re correct – judging from the grocery and supplies list they sent out these guys couldn’t plan a drinking party in a brewery, nor yet an orgy in a brothel. Not that decent godfearing Mormons would know anything about such matters, of course. But the long stretching out of a resolution is ridiculous – why, why, why are these bozos permitted to come and go, much less have supplies brought to them? Granted that the Feds have resources to burn and nothing but time, just how long are these guys permitted to occupy government property? Recognizing that a lot of people have been chanting about Obama tyranny for seven years now, and any sign of a mailfist response will have them howling about how they were right all along. Granted – but how long are they permitted to sit, while being encouraged by people like that asshole Pete Santilli?

    And how long until some asshole Republican presidential candidate (I know, redundancy) says “I stand behind these brave American symps – er, citizens! – and will join them behind the barricades at the first sign of unprovoked guvmint action!” Or, for that matter, a currently sitting representative, although I can’t offhand think of a congresscritter eager to appear anywhere bullets might be flying any time, not even Louie Gohmert or Steve King. Greg Abbott, absolutely, if this was happening in Texas.

    Easy for me to ask these things, I know. I will bet (from my Old perspective) fifty bucks against a stale doughnut that if armed Black Panthers or lefties with a similar ideological motivation had occupied Federal property in the 70s or 80s, after a very few days the majority of them would have been occupying body bags.

  107. 107
    jl says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: OK, now you riled me. I didn’t want to do this, but i’m sure not going to forget my grandpappy’s eight gauge shotguns mounted fore and aft on my Honda civic. Liberty and freedom is coming to free territory stolen by our bogus federal government near you. And I’m claiming it.

    Edit: they’re all drunk in WI, so I’m not going to bother with it.

  108. 108
    seaboogie says:

    I think that the only solution to this is to send a bunch of fearless peace & love hippies in, Trojan Horse style, and get their thing on with the group. They’d be all “No man, I didn’t bring an AK-47 – check it out – it’s a bong!” Let them bring lentils and edibles and guitars and put on a mini-Woodstock….those dudes would be out of there pronto. Of course, as a last resort, there is always Barry Manilow on loudspeakers, 24/7.

  109. 109
    beasley says:

    There has been a lot of talk on a lot of forums about “establishing perimeter.” How will this be done? As to closing roads, that is flat flat land and the high clearance 4 wheel drives most of those nuts are using can drive anywhere in that kind of country. As to shutting off electricity, that is a problem. Problem is described here, and another insight into how the Bundys are also ripping off the locals is given.

    It’s easy to say that a perimeter needs to be established but FBI guys don’t like to die either. There is a sniper up in that fire lookout and the view is fine for hundreds of miles. The visitor center buildings look to me as if they are very defendable.

    The mail can (and should) be shut down, and they can be arrested as they come into town. My bet is that some sympathy, although not very much now for them by some locals is also slowing the FBI down. Also, local politicians can hamper the FBI–although so can outside politicians (see the crew that visited them last week over the objections of local sheriff and congressman).

    I would however, hope the feds are keeping track of the violations and building charges which will keep most of these insurrectionists locked up for at least 20 years. I’d also hope that the Feds know where every box of supplies is coming from.

  110. 110
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @seaboogie: And don’t skimp on the patchouli!

  111. 111
    seaboogie says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    And don’t skimp on the patchouli!

    What I’m thinking, although lately I’m more of a sandalwood gal myself.

  112. 112
  113. 113
    sukabi says:

    @efgoldman: agree, just was pointing out that going in guns a blazin’ would make the problem grow.

  114. 114
    opiejeanne says:

    @jl: Blue Jay is off limits. It’s my freehold and you just keep your mitts off.

  115. 115

    @jl: “Militant Cited For Driving Without License After Van Overturns” (link.)

    At this rate, they may self-destruct.

  116. 116
    NotoriousJRT says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Balloon Juice meet-up at Malheur?

  117. 117
    opiejeanne says:

    @Raven on the Hill: He wasn’t too injured since he didn’t go to the hospital, and all they did was cite him and let him go.

  118. 118
    Central Planning says:

    @Corner Stone:

    That’s the first time you have ever seen that word?

    As far as I know, yes. I didn’t think I was living a sheltered life, but maybe I need to re-examine that.

  119. 119
    BillinGlendaleCA says:


    I’d also hope that the Feds know where every box of supplies is coming from.

    Including the dildos and lube?

  120. 120
    Central Planning says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Now who can argue with that? I think we’re all indebted to Just Some Fuckhead for clearly stating what needed to be said. I’m particulary glad that these lovely children were here today to hear that speech. Not only was it authentic frontier gibberish, it expressed a courage little seen in this day and age

  121. 121
    kc says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    That’s already happening.

  122. 122
    kindness says:

    So much for patience.

    Start by rounding up Bundy’s cattle still grazing on Federal land in Nevada. If anyone tries to stop them shoot and kill them. These guys want a revolution. Give it to them. Let their widows figure out how to live without the men folk.

    There’s some liberal pacifism, eh?

  123. 123
    Heliopause says:


    just how long are these guys permitted to occupy government property?

    Realizing I’m way late to this but in case anybody is reading, I threw out the following idea once before. It may be more than that the feds are afraid of somebody getting hurt, it may be that they are literally afraid of the far right in this country. They’ve been steadily growing in number, armaments, and anger since the 1990s. The police, military, security state, and GOP are full of sympathizers. We might have to face the possibility that the far right is getting to do whatever they want in this situation because they can, not because the feds are letting them for some strategic reason.

    I’m just throwing that out as a small possibility. I’m not endorsing it as the truth, but I can’t completely dismiss it either.

  124. 124
    fidelio says:

    @danielx: You owe me $50. You can donate it to whatever the latest pet bleg fund around here is.

  125. 125
    NCSteve says:

    So, basically, they’re doing what George Bush and Howard Baker did when they willfully escalated a tight race into a full-on Constitutional, political and social crisis.

  126. 126
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Heliopause: I’d say the opposite is true: the kid gloves are showing that we’re not afraid of their little tantrums, and that we’ll deal with them when we’re good and ready at a time that isn’t convenient to their theatrics. Mind you I think we’ve been _too_ hands-off that way, but if there’s a greater strategy in play, I think that’s the one.

  127. 127
    opiejeanne says:

    @Central Planning: Generally the same thing as spear carrier.

  128. 128
    moderateindy says:

    I’m pretty sure the Feds are simply expecting the whole thing to just slowly fade away. There really isn’t any urgency to confront. They’re basically in the middle of nowhere. Eventually the FBI will start to tighten the noose by not allowing them to resupply, or come and go. With no provocation Americans will have no sympathy for these buffoons, and the longer it goes the less patience the public will have.
    Plus, from a purely political standpoint, why give the right more fodder to possibly energize them for a higher turnout in November. The GOP is currently in disarray. Why give them an issue that might unite them?
    I have no doubt that these types like Bundy & company have no realization when it comes to the parallels they have to the Taliban. Their own ridiculous misinterperatation of the Constitution aligns with the Taliban’s bastardization of the Koran. They are an armed insurrection against their government. I’m certain they believe that their actions are blessed and inspired by god. (I’m pretty sure I remember one of the invoking Jeebus during the Bundy ranch confrontation) Does anyone believe for one second that these RWNJ wouldn’t fully endorse a theocracy for this country?
    I’ve never really been a “religion is what’s wrong with this country” type. But I truly believe that Fundamentalist Christians are the greatest danger this country faces as far as the cohesiveness, and strength of the union is concerned.

  129. 129
    blueskies says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Assumes facts not in evidence.

  130. 130
    blueskies says:

    @beasley: Nah, don’t shut down the mail. These guys are asking for snacks? Let’s send them take-out from Chipotle. Then, when they’re begging, mail them pills in bottles marked “imodium.” After they’ve OD’d on what really as Ambien, quietly cart them off.

  131. 131
    Feathers says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thugee!?! I read Confessions of a Thug for a class some years ago and have been fascinated ever since.

  132. 132
    jefft452 says:

    @efgoldman: “if federal law enforcement stops doing their job out of fear, they might as well go to the militia camps and pass out brown shirts”

    This! A thousand times, this

  133. 133

    I have come to stake mine own claim:
    “1) Everything here is mine!
    “2) Hurry up with that supper, willya?” — Nicole Hollander

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