Bundy Bunch Trial Update Day 2!

The first witness called by the prosecution as they began to make their case today was Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward.  Sheriff Ward testified that:

“I was told my responsibility was to prevent them from going to prison, and if I didn’t do those things, they would bring hundreds of people to town to do my job for me,” Ward testified.

The ultimatum “in my mind, sounded bad,” the sheriff said.

Bundy also referenced the 2014 standoff with federal officers outside his father Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada, calling Bunkerville “a great victory” because the federal government was forced to retreat.

Ward said he encouraged Bundy and Payne to work through lawful channels rather than contemplating civil unrest, and stressed that the community would not tolerate the type of actions that occurred at Bunkerville.

Ward said he made it clear to the two men that, “We could not have violence or bloodshed in our community.”

He also testified that:

In a followup call, after it became apparent Ammon Bundy was taking a leadership role, the sheriff cautioned him. If anything goes wrong in the community, Ward said, “you’re going to be held responsible for it.”

Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office was being flooded with with emails and phone calls seeking his intervention in the Hammonds’ situation. The agency was seeing 10 times the usual volume, he said, and it was impossible to keep up.

Among those were two November 2015 emails from co-defendant Neil Wampler. On Nov. 17, Wampler wrote that the sheriff had two options for handling the Hammond case: Protect your constituents or “see your county invaded by some of the most determined and organized and armed citizens alive in this country today.

“The Bundys have sent out a nationwide alert.”

Three days later, Wampler sent another email to Ward. Part of it read, “I assure you that our determination to protect the Hammonds is no Bluff…Hundreds of armed citizens, including yours truly, are prepared and waiting for the call WE AIN’T PLAYIN’. As Sheriff Poindexter said, let the chips fall where they may.”

Ammon Bundy also issued him an ultimatum:

“You have one week, sheriff,” Ward said Bundy told him, before adding something to the effect of, “One week to do the right thing.”

Click on over to read all of Maxine Bernstein’s excellent coverage of the trial. Here’s the rest of today’s highlights and a lay out of where things go from here.

We’ll be back tomorrow night, good citizens, to check in on how the Bundys Turn. Same Bundy time, same Bundy station.



Bundy Bunch Update: The Trial Begins

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(Worst Episode of Hollywood Squares Ever!)

Much to LAO and Bella Q’s delight, the trial for the remaining defendants – as in those who hadn’t pled out or had their charges dropped – in the Bundy family led Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Occupation began this week in Federal Court in Oregon. The lines to get in were long! The Prosecution opened up their case today, delineating how the Bundys and several of their codefendants had carefully planned their actions and that they were in clear violation of numerous Federal laws.

Barrow, during opening statements in the long-anticipated Oregon standoff trial, used Ammon Bundy’s own words caught on video Jan. 2 to argue that Bundy and his co-defendants aren’t being prosecuted for holding a political protest, but for leading an armed occupation of the refuge.

He played a video of Bundy standing atop a snowbank in the Safeway parking lot in Burns in his blue plaid flannel jacket and cowboy hat, declaring, “Those who understand what has happened here … I’m asking you to follow me to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. We’re going to make a hard stand. … We’re going to insist the Constitution be protected here in this country.”

“We are not prosecuting the defendants because they don’t like the government,” Barrow said. “In Ammon Bundy’s words, ‘This was much more than a protest.’ They were taking a ‘hard stand.’ ”

One of Ammon Bundy’s attorney’s, however, laid out a competing argument to justify his clients actions:

Marcus Mumford, a lawyer for Ammon Bundy, told the court that the peaceful demonstration was an effort to draw attention to the federal government’s illegal control and mismanagement of public lands. He said Bundy was attempting to use a provision of the law known as adverse possession to retake land improperly seized by the federal government many decades ago.

“The government has been squatting on this land for years, illegally and contrary to how (the U.S.) Congress intended,” Mumford said in a telephone interview on Monday.

We’ll be checking in all week, in between restocking the Balloon Juice Bunker – just in case… Those of you readers in NY and Ohio that are on LAO and Bella Q watch – please confirm receipt of your schedules and acknowledge your shift assignments in the comments!



The “Alt-Right” Is… Neither an Alternative, Nor Correct

From the Washington Post, company paper in the town whose monopoly industry is national politics:

On the eve of a planned speech here on Donald Trump’s ties to the “alt-right,” Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday accused her Republican opponent of “taking a hate movement mainstream.”

Clinton is scheduled to deliver remarks Thursday about a conservative movement often associated with white nationalism and fervent anti-immigration views that has cheered Trump’s candidacy, including his campaign’s recent hiring of the chairman of a website that caters to the alt-right.

“Donald Trump has shown us who he is, and we ought to believe him,” Clinton told host Anderson Cooper Wednesday night on CNN. “He is taking a hate movement mainstream. He’s brought it into his campaign. He’s bringing it to our communities and our country.”…

The alt-right began with a speech conservative writer Paul Gottfried delivered in 2008, after the Republican Party’s electoral wipeout. Gottfried called for an “alternative right” that could defeat “the neoconservative-controlled conservative establishment.” That idea was soon adopted by the “identitarian” nationalist Richard Spencer, who founded an Alternative Right website, but it was also claimed by supporters of Ron Paul and conservatives who opposed multiculturalism…

And “misogynist neo-Nazi xenophobes” just didn’t seem mainstream-friendly.

But it was Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that brought the movement into the mainstream. From the moment he told a national audience that Mexico was sending rapists and drug-dealers across the border, Trump surged in the polls….
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Open Thread RNC Recap, Day One: “The Weaponization of Fear”

Commentor Raven pointed out that’s the honest tag for the goals of the RNC opening day, aka “Make America Safe Again”. There is so much richness to choose from… like a fishpacking facility catching fire and setting off an explosion in the fertilizer factory next door…


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Late-Night ‘Good Show, Melania!’ Open Thread

One suspects (hopes) this can only get better…

Look at it from Melania’s point of view. She’s a nice sensible bureaucrat’s daughter from the Balkans, who fought her way up from a suspiciously nice apartment and somewhat better outfits than any of her schoolmates could afford, to a design school in Italy, through the slog of low-level ‘modelling’ in New York, to a fortuitous introduction to a celebrity real estate developer and (what we’re told is) a nice secure pre-nup contract. Life as the arm-candy to a D-list celebrity “rich guy” isn’t exactly a sinecure, but she’s put in the work. Her only son attends an expensive Manhattan private school, her parents have a nice apartment in NYC, and there’s lots of professional athletes work harder at staying in peak physical condition for far lesser rewards. Now — just as the old man should be handing off his more strenuous tasks to the offspring of previous wives — a bunch of ambitious underlings have talked the dumb bugger into pouring his money, energy and market reputation into a noisy, embarrassing, tedious pursuit of a job he’s not gonna get.

Think of her little son, Barron; the older Trump kids have finished their expensive educations, they’ve all got their own side businesses (siphoning money out of the family till), once this public sh*tshow falls apart they’ll scatter to the upper-class winds and pretend they had no idea what maggot Daddy got into his brain. But Barron? Melania’s elderly parents? The only resource they’ve got is… Melania.
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Open Thread: Chris Hayes Has Apologized for Steve King

sorry about steve king tshirt raygunsite via iowa old lady

(Raygun Products via commentor Iowa Old Lady)
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Rep. Steve “The Dumb One” King could not bear to let a whole week of Repub arseholery go on wide broadcast without contributing his own special blend of xenophobia and ignorance to the mix. Per Gawker:

During a discussion of the Republican party’s overwhelmingly white leadership on MSNBC, birther congressman Steve King chimed in on Monday to remind everyone that white people are very good (perhaps even better??) compared to “other sub-groups of people.”

“This whole ‘white people’ business does get a little tired,” said King. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where these contributions that have been made by these categories of people that you’re talking about—where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization?”…

I can see Hayes — not a battler by nature — being too dumbfounded to respond to a statement so wrong on so many levels. But he could have let the other panel members point out how wrong King was, in the moment. That’s how the modern GOP has succeeded so far: by screaming out lies faster than the sane people can rebut them.



Late Night Nightmare Fuel Open Thread: Open Carry in Cleveland Today

Per CNN:

The head of Cleveland’s largest police union is calling on Ohio Gov. John Kasich to temporarily restrict the state’s gun laws during this week’s Republican National Convention following Sunday’s shooting in Louisiana that killed three officers and wounded at least three others.

“We are sending a letter to Gov. Kasich requesting assistance from him. He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something — I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point,” Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, told CNN. “They can fight about it after the RNC or they can lift it after the RNC, but I want him to absolutely outlaw open-carry in Cuyahoga County until this RNC is over.”

So-called “open carry” gun laws in Ohio allow for licensed firearm owners to wear their weapons in public. With the exception of a small “secure zone” inside and around the Quicken Loans Arena, residents, delegates and protesters are legally permitted to walk around the city — including within its 1.7 square mile regulated “event zone” — with any firearm not explicitly banned by the state.

Kasich, responding to the request, said: “Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested.”…

Governor Kasich is not gonna be anywhere near Cleveland this week. And if, goddess forfend, something terrible involving open-carry participants were to happen, it would redound very badly on those people in the RNC currently supporting a presidential candidate who is not John Kasich. The Governor washes his hands before the crowd

Loomis also said officers here would begin ramping up inspections and oversight over anyone who is holstering a weapon entering the downtown area, where the Republican convention is scheduled to begin on Monday.

“We are going to be looking very, very hard at anyone who has an open carry,” he said. “An AR-15, a shotgun, multiple handguns. It’s irresponsible of those folks — especially right now — to be coming downtown with open carry AR’s or anything else. I couldn’t care less if it’s legal or not. We are constitutional law enforcement, we love the Constitution, support it and defend it, but you can’t go into a crowded theater and scream fire. And that’s exactly what they’re doing by bringing those guns down there.”…

The first key test for law enforcement comes Monday, as the convention opens, when Citizens for Trump and Black on Black Crime, Inc., which has marched in the past with Black Lives Matter-affiliated protestors, are among the many groups that are set to protest.
Citizens for Trump is scheduled to hold a rally expected to attract more than a thousand people to Settler’s Landing Park, less than a mile from where Republican delegates will be gathering at the Quicken Loans Arena…

Alfred Porter Jr., president of Black on Black Crime, Inc., a four-decade-old anti-violence group, told CNN it would not alter a planned demonstration Monday in Cleveland’s downtown Public Square.
“Nothing has changed because I still feel the same way, our message will still be the same,” Porter said on Sunday afternoon. “We refuse to let anybody who has a simplistic or violent or hateful message stop the type of message that we have been sending out for accountability. Our message is not to go out there and start murdering police officers.”…

Responsible Republicans respond:

Hours after the head of Cleveland’s police union pleaded with the governor to suspend Ohio’s open-carry laws during the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump’s spokesperson told ThinkProgress she is “not nervous at all” that people are walking around the city with assault weapons.

“I am recommending that people follow the law,” Katrina Pierson said Sunday when asked whether she believes people should arm themselves in the convention zone. Under Ohio law, residents over 21 years old who have permits can openly carry guns in public…

Jeff Larson, the CEO of the RNC, agreed with the governor.

“[Open carry] is in the Constitution in Ohio, so the governor can’t relax it for a day or tighten it up for five days,” he told reporters at a press conference Sunday. Waving away the police union’s safety concerns, Larson added, “I feel good about the security plan. I think it’s going to be fine.”…