Bundy Bunch Update: The Trial Begins


(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!

That Didn’t Take Long

ETA: Once again, proof that I belong to no organized political blog; I’m Juicer.  I swear Betty’s post wasn’t there when I started this, and as usual, I didn’t stop to look before I hit publish.  I think I’ll leave this  up as (a) an object lesson in attention-must-be-paid and (b) because you can never have too much thread to shower our opponents with disdain.

Apologies to all offended.

So, the Incompressible Jizztrumpet reboot lasted…well, I’m not saying you need femtosecond-accuracy here, but not long, brothers and sisters. Not long.


Yesterday it’s all, “Hey — his economic plan is warmed over ZEGS-gruel, seasoned with some pants on fire, but at least there was no visible froth on his grubby mien.”

Today, having struggled free of the Manafort manacles strapping him to the teleprompter, the Hamster Heedit Bampot went away and boiled his nappy:

“If she gets to pick her judges,” Trump said, “nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is.”

To put that into the plainest of terms:  the nominee of one of the two major parties  in the United States just said that if his opponent were to win, then she could — and by context, should — face armed rebellion. (ETA: per both comments below and Betty C. before, this could as easily be read as a call for assassination.)

That, my friends, is John Calhoun’s dumber younger brother, up on his hind legs, urging his supporters to follow General Pickett’s division up the ridge, (ETA: or, perhaps, to attempt a little John Wilkes Booth action) in pursuit of the same end as the party of treason sought 150 years ago: the destruction of the American Republic.

It would make me yet more furious, except that it does appear that Trump knows, or embodies his Karl Marx:  first time tragedy, second time (tragic) farce.

In any event, we now have yet further proof of the obvious:  there is no “presidential” Trump.  There is only the same Cheeto-faced, ferret-wearing shitgibbon we’ve come to know and loathe.

Image:  Anthony Palamades, An Officer Blowing a Trumpetfirst half of the seventeenth century.

Good News: Cliven Bundy Arrested on His Way to Malheur Lake

Per the Oregonian:

Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who touched off one armed showdown with federal authorities and applauded another started in Oregon by his sons, was arrested late Wednesday at Portland International Airport and faces federal charges related to the 2014 standoff at his ranch.

Bundy, 74, was booked into the downtown Multnomah County jail at 10:54 p.m.

He faces a conspiracy charge to interfere with a federal officer — the same charge lodged against two of his sons, Ammon and Ryan, for their role in the Jan. 2 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns. He also faces weapons charges…

The last four occupiers, who have camped alone since Jan. 28 at the headquarters compound, agreed Wednesday night to surrender in the morning. They did so after FBI tactical teams infiltrated refuge buildings undetected overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday. The FBI then hemmed in the occupiers with armored vehicles and negotiated with them for five hours to reach the surrender agreement…

If anything good can come out of this deplorable shitshow, it would be getting Cliven Bundy away from his heavily armed Nevada playpen and under adult supervision — without more bloodshed. Should this discourage the remaining Feeble Four loons into surrendering come morning, all the better. Let them stand on their hind legs and bleat about “constitutional law” in a situation where they can’t destroy more of our mutual property. I’m guessing (hoping) all the Facebook-fierce “patriots” ginning each other up to join the rebellion!!! will suddenly realize how vital it is that they finish re-organizing their bug-out bags and writing coded messages on dollar bills safely in their own communities, since Burns and the other communities near Malheur Lake have suffered enough already.
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Bulldozers And Baloney

So, remember in Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy how Ford Prefect managed to get Arthur Dent away from lying down in front of a bulldozer that was trying to tear down Arthur’s house by convincing the bulldozer driver that Arthur didn’t really need to be physically there wallowing in the mud, and that if the wrecking crew just assumed Arthur was going to be there and wasn’t actually there, then the bulldozer guys didn’t actually have to be there either and everyone could go down to the pub and have a pint (which is what Ford and Arthur did)?

Yeah, it’s apparently exactly like that in Oregon.

“Right now, they are allowed to come and go as they want,” says Bill Fugate, a spokesman for the Oregon State police.

The unknown number of militia men involved in the stand off are calling themselves Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. The group sent an alert message to supporters Monday asking for snacks as they are holed up in the refuge center, but authorities confirm that they are free to drive to the grocery store and pick up snacks.

Fugate says that to his knowledge, law enforcement are “not monitoring what they are doing.”

“We are not monitoring their movements,” Fugate says.

Because, officer, it’s vitally important that we go to the right now and have a few stiff ones, you see, and you can just assume we’re occupying the place and we’ll get some Funyuns and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos while we’re out and then hey, we return the favor and you guys can grab some beers once we get back, see?

Hey, why not. Pretty sure General Washington would have agreed to the whole thing too.

It’s Barbaric, But Hey, It’s Home

Apparently Aladdin and Princess Jasmine are terrorist masterminds, who knew?


I’m gonna go ahead and bet that factoring in Democrats that we end up with that fabulous TWENTY-SEVEN PERCENT of all American voters will agree to anything thing yet again, yadda yadda America has a dangerous military Genie deficit SO LET’S BOMB AGRABAH AND GET THAT JAFAR DUDE YEEEHAAAAAA.

On the other hand, Iago is pretty suspicious for a parrot…

EDIT: Full PPP poll results in PDF form here. Far scarier than bombing a fictional country is the very real problem that having 46% of your voters wanting a national database of Muslims presents, assholes.

EDIT 2: Yep, 19% of Democrats also want to bomb a fictional Disney sultanate.

18 U.S. Code § 2331: The US Definition of Terrorism

In his post earlier today about the exciting new (potential) developments in Rowan County, KY Zandar asked when we could start calling these types of events or statements of intent domestic terrorism. The US definition of terrorism can be found in the criminal code. Specifically, 18 U.S. Code § 2331. The section that defines domestic terrorism is Part 5 (A) through (C(. I think Part 5 (B) i and i are likely the answer to Zandar’s quite appropriate question.

18 USC § 2331 states:

(1) the term “international terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum;

(2) the term “national of the United States” has the meaning given such term in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act;

(3) the term “person” means any individual or entity capable of holding a legal or beneficial interest in property;

(4) the term “act of war” means any act occurring in the course of—
(A) declared war;
(B) armed conflict, whether or not war has been declared, between two or more nations; or
(C) armed conflict between military forces of any origin; and

(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

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Battle Flag Acquisition Strategies


Early this morning, I was doing some research on the endurance of corporate culture, studying how sometimes the spirit of a smaller, acquired firm can permeate the larger, acquiring organization. It’s not unusual for a big behemoth to acquire a scrappy smaller company solely for the purpose of infusing the moribund giant with fresh blood, and when the companies’ interests align, it can create an unstoppable marketplace force…for a while.

With that dynamic still on my mind, I moseyed over to Booman’s place and read a post that hit upon something that has been bothering me about the focus on the rebel flag in the wake of the domestic terrorist massacre in Charleston:

But the focus on the Confederate Flag can have an unfortunate side effect. What, after all, does that flag mean when it doesn’t simply mean white supremacy?

It’s meaning in those cases in nearly identical to the meaning of the modern conservative movement. It’s about disunion, and hostility to the federal government, and state’s rights. It’s anti-East Coast Establishment and anti-immigrant. It’s about an idealized and false past and preserving outworn and intolerant ideas. It’s about a perverse version of a highly provincial and particularized version of (predominantly) Protestant Christianity that has evolved to serve the interests of power elites in the South. It’s about an aggrieved sense of false persecution where white men are playing on the hardest difficulty setting rather than the easiest, and white Christians are as threatened as black Muslims and gays and Jews.

“Those blacks are raping our women and they have to go.”

That’s what the Confederate Flag is all about, but it’s also the basic message of Fox News and the whole Republican Party since the moment that Richard Nixon promised us law and order.

But it’s not black people who have to go.

It’s this whole Last Cause bullshit mentality that fuels our nation’s politics and lines the pockets of Ted Cruz just as surely as it has been lining the pockets of Walmart executives.

Today, maybe the governor down there had an epiphany. Maybe this massacre was the last straw. But, tomorrow, we’ll all be right back where we began with Congress acting like an occupying Confederate Army.

If we solve a symbolic problem and leave the rest untouched, then what will really change?

You can’t bury the Confederate Flag without, at the same time, burying the Conservative Movement.

Let’s get on with it.

He’s right. For many white people, the rebel flag represented moldy old myths about the antebellum South. But think about how nicely that mythology dovetailed with the lies about the pre-Civil Rights era that paleocons like Pat Buchanan tell themselves.

Like a moribund corporation, the GOP acquired Confederate culture with the Southern strategy, harnessing the racism in the South and its echo nationwide to build the present day Republican Party. That’s why Ronald Reagan launched his presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi. That’s why an always-wrong, New York City-born legacy hire who is relentlessly eager to send other people’s kids off to die in glorious causes is tweeting nonsense that his ancestors would find…puzzling:

So, the rebel flag should come down in South Carolina and every other state capitol in the former Confederacy, and with surprising (to me) swiftness, it looks like it will. That will be more than a symbolic victory; it will be the partial righting of a very old wrong.

But there’s a danger in “otherizing” the South in this context. It’s not wrong to condemn its blinkered myth-making and prideful backwardness, but there’s a hazard in moral preening within and outside of Dixie, a risk of declaring a tidy victory when the dinosaurs in the state capitols of the former Confederacy finally sink into the tarpit they’ve thrashed in for 150 years.

The risk is that we’ll lose focus on the modern day “Congress acting like an occupying Confederate Army,” as Booman put it. At its core, the Southern strategy was an attempt to roll back progress by hitching the anti-New Dealers’ star to the creaky old Confederate wagon. Its organizers weren’t all or even mostly slack-jawed yokels waving rebel flags. They included a fiery libertarian business man from Phoenix, a glib B-movie pitchman who hailed from Northern Illinois and a twitchy, paranoid Quaker from California.

To achieve true victory, we have to finally drive a stake through the heart of the Southern strategy, not just the Confederacy. So let’s make expunging the rebel flag from the public square the opening salvo in a larger battle to take our country back. Yes, that’s right, TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK. With no lies and decaying myths about what that means. The flag that represents it isn’t spotless. Its founding was rooted in slavery, genocide and the oppression of women. But unlike its dying counterpart, this flag is worth saving.