The Trials of Snack Team Six: The Contemptening

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When last we left our intrepid heroes they were attempting to impeach, post facto, the credibility of Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward. In our most recent installment, however, Ammon Bundy’s attorney has decided that what this trial needs is more references to the late LaVoy Finicum! Maxine Berstein, doing yeoman’s (yeowoman? yeoperson?) at The Oregonian, has the details:

U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown on Thursday threatened to hold Ammon Bundy’s lawyer in contempt of court each time he defies her order and tries to delve into the circumstances surrounding the officer-involved fatal shooting of refuge occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum during trial.

The judge told attorney Marcus Mumford that she’d fine him $1,000 each time he raises the issue in front of jurors in the federal conspiracy trial of Bundy and six others stemming from the 41-day takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

“I have ruled on this issue and it appears to me you disregard it,” Brown told Mumford after excusing the jury for a morning restroom break.

“Do you understand what I’m saying … yes or no?” the judge asked Mumford as he was about to explain. She cut him off, requesting a simple answer, just as he’s done to witnesses on the stand.

“I don’t understand. Your honor says I’m asking improper questions?” Mumford said.

The judge pointed to Mumford’s questioning of rancher Andy Dunbar, whose property is adjacent to the eastern Oregon refuge, about what he learned on Jan. 26 about the fatal shooting of Finicum.

“You are not to do that,” Brown said.

“You’re telling me I’m allowed to inquire about the shooting, but not the circumstances of the shooting?” Mumford asked.

Brown reminded him: Anything about Finicum’s shooting death, beyond that it occurred and the date, isn’t allowed to be discussed in front of jurors.

“I can understand the words,” Mumford told her.

“I hope you can comply,” the judge said.

The admonition followed days of directions by the judge to Mumford about restricting his questions during cross-examination to the testimony elicited during prosecutors’ direct examination of witnesses. She has frequently sustained prosecutors’ objections to Mumford’s lines of questioning because they were either irrelevant or “beyond the scope” of the direct testimony during the past two weeks of trial.

The judge instructed Mumford and all other attorneys to take any concerns up with her outside the presence of the jury if they want to ask questions that go beyond her order.

Tune back in on Monday for our next installment of How the Snack Team Digests. Same Bundy time, same Bundy station!



Late-Night ‘Exactly What You Expected’ Open Thread: Don Trump, Yer LAWN ORDURE Candidate!

“They know who has has a gun, who shouldn’t be having a gun.” If they can’t pass the time-honored paper bag test, for instance. Or just if it’s obvious they’re “not from around here.” THOSE people. Does he need to spell it out any more clearly?

‘But racism didn’t exist until you outside agitators riled up our colored folk!’ – NC legislator



Electile Dysfunction (Open Thread)

After getting pantsed by Trump repeatedly, the Beltway media might be in the process of remembering how to do their jobs, but this still made me laugh:

As of this posting, the cops in NYC are still trying to sort out who set off the bomb that injured 29 people. They’re calling it an “intentional blast” and have found a second device that may have been another bomb that failed to detonate.

The Washington Post has an interesting article authored by Terrence McCoy. It’s about a dangerous explosion of another type: the proliferation of open carry laws nationwide. It focuses on one Trump-supporting dude in Georgia who is too afraid to shop at Walmart without his AR-15. An excerpt:

Jim [Cooley] goes everywhere now with a gun — if not the AR-15, then his sidearm — and is so reliant on one being close by that it surprises him to think the majority of his life was lived otherwise. He was raised in a working-class family in Chicago, where he can’t imagine living now because of its strict gun laws. But they didn’t bother him then. He didn’t hunt. He didn’t fear for his safety. If his dad had a gun, no one knew. He grew up without a gun, went to church without a gun, married Maria without a gun, began raising two children without a gun, and settled into a life that felt as safe as it was dependable.

But then it began unraveling, starting when he was fired from a trucking job days after telling Maria, who was pregnant with their first child, to quit her job and focus on the baby, that he could support them both. Their first bankruptcy filing wasn’t far behind, then the second, and the third, and then they were moving to Florida, where Maria had family and where Jim got a job with a grocery chain. It transferred him to Winder, and he moved the family into a middle-class neighborhood struggling with crime and drugs.

So here’s at least one Trump supporter who actually is dealing with “economic anxiety.” The article alludes to “crime and drugs” in his Georgia neighborhood but doesn’t elaborate on any actual dangers Cooley faces other than money woes. Those suck for sure, but they aren’t something you can shoot.

The article suggests Cooley is living on disability checks and that he went broke when he incurred huge hospital bills after having a heart attack while uninsured. Trump and the state and local-level GOP knobs this dude probably also supports want to slash the social safety net and kill the ACA, thus ensuring millions more Americans go broke from medical bills.

But these facts probably don’t enter into Cooley’s calculus. He’s afraid, so he arms himself with weapons of war, and he supports a racist, sexist, xenophobic demagogue who promises “change,” even though the few changes Trump has articulated would negatively affect Cooley.

It’s not a rational choice, any more than the decision to carry an assault rifle into Walmart is. Oddly, Trump and the gun both seem to function as penis extenders.



Snack Team Six Trial Day 3: The Political Prisoner is in Court Your Honor

 

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Today, Ammon Bundy the leader of Snack Team Six, appeared in court wearing his prison scrubs to make the point that he is a political prisoner.

“Mr. Bundy desires to appear as he is, a political prisoner not free to dress as if presumed innocent,” attorney J. Morgan Philpot said, reading his client’s statement. “He would prefer to drop the facade and appear as the political prisoner he has been made.”

U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown asked Bundy to stand. She inquired whether it was his choice to appear in jail attire, and if anyone took his suit away.

“Your honor, I have no comment,” he replied.

The judge told him she must know if his decision was voluntary.

“I have no comment,” he repeated.

Philpot interjected, “Mr. Bundy feels he really has no choice — that that’s been taken from him.”

It appears that Mr. Bundy and the rest of Snack Team 6 seem intent on turning Judge Brown’s court into a circus to suit their own purposes. It remains to be seen just how successful they will be.



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.



Open Thread: Paul Ryan Sucking Up to the NRA Again

The exact language is still in flux, and multiple sources said discussions are ongoing. But Speaker Paul Ryan’s office and other leadership staff have been researching ways they can punish Democrats for their controversial occupation of the House floor to protest the chamber’s lack of response to the Orlando, Florida, shooting massacre.

GOP lawmakers are expected to discuss the matter next week upon returning from their summer recess. While no votes have been scheduled, some members have been given notice that the response could come to the floor in September.

One option that’s been floated is a resolution broadly stating a sentiment that such tactics shouldn’t be allowed and will be sanctioned somehow going forward. Others are hoping Republicans will publicly rebuke certain Democrats they say “intimidated” nonpartisan House staff members during the late-June incident…

House Republicans were furious when Democrats took over the House floor, a breach of decorum that shut down the chamber for 25 hours after Ryan refused to allow a vote on a gun-control bill. GOP lawmakers seethed in conference meetings following the incident — which garnered loads of favorable press for the Democrats — and demanded that Ryan act to rebuke them.

Republicans say the Democrats’ actions endangered the institution by undermining rules that have governed the chamber for 250 years. Even senior Democrats privately expressed concern about potential long-term fallout, particularly if they’re eventually in the majority and Republicans resort to the same kind of tactics…

Repubs are furious that the Democrats got all that favorable media attention for nothing more than actually acting on their stated principles, and in the process made the GOP look like two-bit gunsels failing to enforce their NRA bosses’ bidding. Because screaming for security to strongarm an elderly civil rights hero and a military vet who lost her legs in combat… wasn’t the ‘strong daddy’ image the Repubs were trying to project.

Republicans have also taken issue with how a few Democrats in particular acted during the protest. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters in July that nonpartisan House staff complained to him that Democrats were bullying floor employees, even knocking something out of one staffer’s hand when the person was trying to restore order.

McCarthy said his staff was investigating the matter, had talked to multiple witnesses and was seeking video footage to verify the account. POLITICO has not independently verified his assertion.

IIRC, McCarthy is the mook who lost his shot at the Speakership because he couldn’t resist bragging in front of cameras that Gowdy’s most recent BenghaziAIEEEE!!! hearings were a stunt to take down that uppity Clinton woman. He’s not dumb enough that he still wants to take the job away from Ryan, is he?



Early Hours Aggregation/Aggravation Open Thread

Betcha Susan Collins is feeling pretty smart right now…

Barely 24 hours after Donald Trump delivered a speech intended to reset his staggering presidential campaign, his off-the-cuff suggestion that people resort to violence against his opponent has him right back in the ditch.

At a rally in North Carolina on Tuesday, Trump applied his signature sarcasm to a political third rail, stating that “the Second Amendment” may be the only way to stop Clinton from getting to appoint federal judges if she defeats him in November…

Trump’s surrogates, already positioned on television sets, were left without any plausible response as media coverage of the presidential campaign focused on the GOP nominee’s latest misstep. “Mr. Trump was saying exactly what he said,” spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said on CNN. The campaign itself put out a “statement on dishonest media” that did not even attempt to clean up Trump’s comment…

Official NRA statement:

Guy who ghost-wrote Art of the Deal:


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