Lawyers, Guns, and Money

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Bundy Gang terrorist holdout Sean Anderson screams death threats (YouTube video screen cap)

I’m hiding in Honduras – I’m a desperate man
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The shit has hit the fan

Warren Zevon

Today is Day 37 of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The Bundy Gang terrorists have created one martyr after the “suicide by cop” of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum. Four armed holdouts are still camped at the refuge, anticipating a shoot-out with law enforcement. It’s uncertain how this will end.

In an well-written article, Raw Story’s Arun Gupta dissects the problems with the FBI’s response to this terrorist incident, not the least of which is the failure to bring terrorism charges. Gupta has been covering this story from Burns, Oregon.

The lax approach for weeks at Malheur made Burns a magnet for armed militiamen who spread fear in the town. The refuge became a platform for the Bundy militia to promote its radical interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and organize their armed rebellion.

The Bundy episode also exposed how the legal framework of the “war on terror” is used primarily on racial, religious and political grounds. Anti-terrorism laws should be repealed, but it’s notable that the Bundy militia’s actions match the definition of domestic terrorism precisely: “acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State” and that “appear to be intended … to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.”

The armed band has held the Malheur Refuge for more than a month now. The Bundys told reporters they would “kill or be killed if necessary.” They were setting up shadow governments in Eastern Oregon as a step toward overthrowing the U.S. government. Local and federal government employees were threatened. Most recently, Cliven Bundy sent the Harney County sheriff a notarized letter claiming “possession” of the refuge.

But there is no indication arrestees will be charged with domestic terrorism or that the scores of people who came by the refuge offering supplies or aid will be charged with providing material support for terrorism.

..The Bundys are also being spared the throw-the-book-at-them response prosecutors use in post-9/11 terror cases. The contrast is telling because whereas the Bundys plotted actively and openly to use violence to further political ends, the majority of terror cases are cooked up by the FBI. They trap “mentally ill or … economically desperate” Muslim-Americans who wind up with decades-long sentences. Sometimes the charges are astonishingly minor, such as a U.S.-born college student who accepted a 15-year sentence, rather than the 70 years sought by prosecutors, by saying he knew a houseguest was carrying sleeping bags and waterproof socks to an al Qaeda contact in Afghanistan. This severity also extended to Occupy Wall Street. In Cleveland and Chicago, white male anarchists received lengthy sentences after they were goaded, bribed and guided by undercover police and FBI informants to participate in fake terror plots.

The list of convicted terrorists in U.S. prisons consists mostly of Muslims, leftists, and environmentalists. There are very few right-wingers – notably Terry Nichols and Eric Rudolph.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that in addition to guns the Bundys are working the lawyers and money angles. The Eugene-based Arnold Law Firm now represents the terrorists, and has set up a website to collect donations for legal bills.

Over the course of the terrorist takeover, The Oregonian has done some really excellent journalism. They told the story of the Burns Paiute Tribe, who were forcibly evicted from their 1.5 million acre reservation by the U.S. Army in 1879. Unlike the Bundys, the tribe can make a good case for having suffered from government oppression.

The tribe later recovered a fraction of its former reservation, 760 acres on the outskirts of town, after agreeing to pay the federal government for the land.

The Oregonian also put the recent events in context by comparing the Bundy Gang takeover to 1970s Marxist terrorists in Oregon and a 1979 takeover of the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia by dispossessed black residents.

More info:
Government inaction gave Bundy militants a platform to spread their anti-government delusions
Ethical Questions Surround Ammon Bundy’s Legal Team, Strategy
Burns Paiutes to Ammon Bundy: You’re not the victim
Oregon standoff: Feds forcibly removed black occupiers from wildlife refuge in 1979

5 Comments

The $675,000 Question

Last night, Hillary Clinton told Anderson Cooper that she doesn’t regret taking $675,000 from Goldman Sachs for making three speeches. It wasn’t a good answer. Bear in mind that many Americans won’t earn that much money in a lifetime of hard work.

Hillary justifies her outrageous speaking fees because other former Secretaries of State did the same thing.

In the MSNBC debate tonight, Rachel Maddow offered Hillary a do-over on the same question. The answer was better this time. But everybody knows that these exorbitant speaking fees are not buying inspiring rhetoric or even policy advice. It’s just a way to funnel enormous sums to political allies.

Politifact:

January 2014 to March 2015, Clinton lists a total of 51 speech fees that have been added to her personal account from a variety of companies. Not including her husband’s fees which also appear on the same disclosure, Clinton’s speech fees end up totaling more than $11 million.

In tonight’s debate, Chuck Todd asked Hillary if she would release the transcripts of her Goldman Sachs speeches. “I will look into it,” was her response.

More info:
Hillary Clinton: I Took $675,000 In Speaking Fees From Wall Street Because I Didn’t Know I Would Run For President
Clinton will ‘look into’ releasing Goldman Sachs speech transcripts

15 Comments

Land Grabbers Use Deceptive Video to Spread Anti-Government Hate

Rep. Ken Ivory’s American Lands Council is using a misleading video on Facebook to claim that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) deliberately started a 2012 wildfire in Oregon in order to kill cattle grazing on public land. In reality, the 161,000-acre Miller Homestead Fire was lightning-caused.

As is typical for grass fires, the fire front was fast-moving and could only be controlled using back burning techniques to create firebreaks (known as “black line” in firefighting parlance). It’s usually too slow and too dangerous to fight a grass fire directly using hand crews and bulldozers.

To add insult to injury, this bogus BLM smear video was paid for by taxpayers.

Ivory, R-West Jordan, was a co-founder and CEO of the American Lands Council, to which 47 counties in Western states spent a combined $219,000 of taxpayer money in 2014 to be members, according to the Center for Western Priorities.

The same lies were put on the Web last December by Ammon Bundy, claiming “BLM Destroying Ranches by Fire: Feds Burning Cows ALIVE, Torching Homes, Imprisoning Ranchers!” The baseless allegations against the BLM were intended to highlight alleged hypocrisy in the prosecution of two ranchers for earlier incidents of arson on public lands. A few weeks later Bundy led an armed terrorist takeover of the Malheur National Wildife Refuge on January 2.

From the official press release on the Miller Homestead Fire:

Two structures are reported lost in the incident: one, a long-abandoned, roofless mobile home, and the other a single structure within the M.S. Davies homestead (other infrastructure in this area was unharmed). It is also reported some livestock have been lost, though accurate counts have not been confirmed. All residences affected by the Miller Homestead fire have been successfully protected…

Firefighters successfully protected all residences and the hamlet of Frenchglen, but this doesn’t stop the anti-government fanatics from accusing the BLM of “torching homes”!

From the final report on the same fire:

Local Coordination – Local landowners and permittees were engaged from the initial attack on. A member of the Incident Management Type 3 Team stated, “Local folks worked well with BLM staff during those first few days. There was lots of coordination. BLM crews helped cut fences, open gates and secure cattle.” A landowner and permittee stated, “They worked with me on letting me build direct line that saved important feed from being part of a backfire. They got ideas from me for tying in black line, and it worked.”

Another said that initial attack priorities were set and communicated early with all involved.

Others noted that the Burns District tries to hire local young people for the crews when possible. This helps with knowing people and the land. One stated there is a strong sense that this is their home, and they want to protect it.

…Cattle represent a significant investment and their livelihood to their owners, and great lengths appear to have been taken to get them to safety in conjunction with fire activities.

An example of this occurred at Lone Tree Lake, a small dry reservoir. Six ranchers and a BLM law enforcement officer stayed with about 200 head of cattle while the fire burned around them. Just prior to the fire front reaching them, they burned out around the small dry reservoir to provide a black line for additional safety for the cattle and themselves. Fire managers were aware of this situation, and a helitack crew gave advice on where and when to ignite backfires.

Bear in mind that safety is always of paramount concern in wildland firefighting. Yet BLM personnel took personal risks in order to preserve property for ranchers during this fire.

More info:
Rolly: Video’s claim that BLM sparked devastating Oregon fires goes up in smoke
Inciweb: Miller Homestead Fire (2012)
Final Review Report for the Long Draw and Miller Homestead Fires (PDF)

2 Comments

If you’re excited about a caucus saying the Pledge of Allegiance, you’re excited about the wrong thing

No, seriously.

The AFA propaganda website, One News Now, has an article about the Iowa caucuses and they quote a first time caucus goer:

Mindy Breaux was one of those. A first-time caucus-goer and a homeschool mother of four, she tells OneNewsNow she was energized by the process.

“We went into the main hall and someone stood up and the first thing we did was recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which I was pretty excited about. I didn’t know they were going to do that,” she shares.

Yep.  That’s how low her expectations of other Americans happen to be – she was excited they said an organized Pledge.

1 Comment

Iowa Caucus Thoughts

Last night’s Iowa caucus results have the political world atwitter.

The only good news from the Republican side is that Donald Trump did not win.  Other than that, universally disliked Ted Cruz won and aggressive simpleton Marco Rubio pulled off third place behind Trump.

The Democratic side is more interesting.

Hillary Clinton is an impressive candidate.  Almost the entire Democratic establishment supports her candidacy and, by all appearances, she barely pulled off ridiculously narrow victory over Bernie Sanders.

Clinton’s narrow win reveals an interesting paradox. The first viable female candidate for President is part and parcel of the establishment and an old white guy from New England is the insurgent outsider. Anyone who predicted that outcome would be regarded as slightly mad. Hillary Clinton is shrewd, intelligent, and puts in truly inhuman amounts of work. She’s a battle hardened veteran of decades of right wing smears and attacks. She’s probably one of the best policy minds we’ve seen. She is, however, a slightly awkward campaigner; she’s clearly uncomfortable with attack politics and so she often bungles her attacks.

Bernie, by contrast, is more of a wildcard. Younger voters respond to his message, but he seems to be more of a shoot from the hip kind of politician when it comes to tactical choices.

The smart money is still on a Clinton victory in the Democratic primary. But the next few months have some very interesting potential.

9 Comments

Microsoft Springs Up With A Free Voting APP Just Before The Iowa Caucus

I’m glad Bernie Sanders is casting doubt on serious concerns about his candidacy. “Some” might call him a conspiracy theorist, to shut down the conversation. It works every damn time in America. I’ve called it a post hypnotic suggestion in the past, and I’m still calling it that. As far as I know, none of the media has called out that particular big gun on Sanders yet.

I’ve always loved computers, but I’ll be the first one to tell you they don’t have any place in elections. A Computer will do anything the programmer tells it to do. The internet, in essence. is just a really, damned, big computer.

I wrote this letter to Bill Gates in mid 2006 on BradBlog:

AN OPEN LETTER TO BILL GATES CONCERNING VOTING MACHINES

Dear Mr. Gates:

I heard you on NPR’s “What I believe” series , talking about your hopes and dreams concerning computers and other very important issues facing today’s world. I too share your love of computers and have always thought they were the greatest invention of my lifetime. I even taught myself programming and published a little known program called “Cyber Print” for Atari in 1988 just before they went out of business. Don’t worry, I now own a PC and find it to be perfect for my needs.

Who could image a machine that could not only allow somebody to compose and orchestrate their own musical score, create incredible works of art, or think of virtually any question that popped into their mind and actually have the answer in the time it takes to boot up their PC and hop on the internet. Wow!

Many years ago I was with some friends, and the subject of computers came up. Somebody I had never met said something that seemed so stupid to me at the time, that for a moment, had put me in a state of rage! He said that computers were the “appliance from hell”. I was speechless that somebody could say something so ignorant and literally could not think of a thing to say.

Today, I feel he may have been right! Whether you are a conspiracy nut or not these days, nobody can argue that computers, intentionally or not, are keeping us from knowing our votes are being counted at the polls. Something so horrifying that apparently, people don’t want to believe it. This news is traveling slowly to say the least. Not from any lack of notification on my part though. Just ask anybody at the local news hotlines or members of the Voting Equipment Selection Commitee here.

I walked the streets and collected hundreds of signatures for a group of local activists in Utah last year soliciting for paper ballots. I even got to speak at a local rally for my efforts and told of my ease at gathering signatures from both sides of this 21st century political divide we find ourselves in. Although I didn’t ask, I assumed most of people I talked to must have been republican. Almost all of these people did not know that these machines were secretly programmed, but nearly everybody I talked to signed up immediately and were very appreciative that somebody was trying to fix this obvious problem.

Despite all my, and many others efforts and money, local officials elected to buy an unverifiable system for the 2006 midterm elections. I also understand the democrats aren’t planning to organize an exit poll this year. Maybe they are too busy getting one together for the next Kiev race! We all know how goofy those Russian elections can get!

This is where I hope you might come in. Although I don’t think it takes any great knowledge of computers to understand this problem, I’ll bet your thoughts on this disturbing matter would promote our cause faster then any thousand computer scientists. And I’ll bet those same scientists would be very happy to get back to their regular day jobs, and leave the task of producing verifiable voting procedures to competent professionals who get paid for that sort of thing!

I’m sure that your great American success story could only be enhanced by your bravery to come out against any corporation that would sell, or polling officials that would buy, a machine designed to count votes, without providing complete transparency. Some things are just too important to get all mixed up in a legal conundrum. In other words, they tell us we are lucky to live in the greatest democracy in the world, and I’m just asking for the right to have my ONE vote registered AND counted on election day.

Thank You!

When I got a forum on OneUtah, I published it again. I probably shouldn’t have included Bill Gates’s famous smiling mugshot. Maybe that’s why he never responded, even though it put me on Googles front page for about 8 years, and usually at the top. Try it: Type (an open letter to bill gates) into Goggle. I’m currently number one, but I’m interested to see what happens now. Read my whole post to find out why I don’t really trust Gates, and many others, in regards to voting integrity.

Here’s Microsoft’s reply to those who might have concerns about it’s new APP:

“Microsoft is providing technology and services solely to administer and facilitate a neutral, accurate, efficient reporting system for the caucuses. We are proud to partner with the Iowa Democratic and Republican parties to ensure accurate results on caucus night.”

What we need, is hand marked, hand counted ballots. I’m a true Luddite about that!

11 Comments

Malheur NWR Terrorists Surrounded Now, Surrendering

Roadblock

After the arrest of eight Bundy Gang terrorists on Tuesday night, the FBI and Oregon State Police finally set up roadblocks outside the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge HQ that has been occupied for 26 days. However, the FBI offered to let everyone leave peacefully. Three arrests were made at a checkpoint, but others were allowed to go.

Throughout the day Wednesday David Fry, a 27-year-old Ohioan who has kept up a near-constant video live stream in the occupation’s last days, remained at the refuge. His YouTube channel, DefendYourBase, broadcast belligerent statements from the holdouts. That night, Fry said that only five people remained, and that those who departed had left their weapons behind.

OregonLive:

Jason Patrick, a former roofer from Georgia, had stepped in to organize the estimated 10 or so people who remained at the federal reserve after the arrest the day before of leaders Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne and the killing of occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum.

…But Patrick was among those who apparently were on their way out Wednesday evening, supporters said. [Patrick was arrested by the FBI]

Duane Ehmer, the much-photographed horse-mounted cowboy from Irrigon, Oregon, was confirmed to have left.

“We have him and his horse,” a law enforcement official said.

…Bundy called on the last occupiers to “please stand down,” his attorney said on the steps of the federal courthouse in downtown Portland.

…A steady trickle of occupiers already had taken up offers to leave, including one of the last remaining leaders, Blaine Cooper [real name: Stanley Blaine Hicks]. Cooper, who is typically active on social media, was quiet on Wednesday and his whereabouts remain unknown.

Mug shots
Shown in the top row are Ammon Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho; Ryan Bundy, 43, of Bunkerville, Nevada; Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada; and Shawna Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah. Shown in the bottom row are Ryan Waylen Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Montana; Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, 45, of Cottonwood, Arizona; and conservative radio host Pete Santilli, 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Jon Eric Ritzheimer, 32, also turned himself into the FBI in Phoenix on a federal charge related to the occupation.

UPDATES:
A few militant stragglers remain at Oregon wildlife refuge — drinking beer, smoking weed and waiting to die

More info:
FBI tells militants in Oregon: Actions are not without consequences
Harney County Sheriff On Standoff: ‘This Cannot Happen In America’
Meet The New Leader Of The Oregon Standoff
Berserk militant promises ‘bloodbath’ as feds move in: ‘This is a free-for-all Armageddon’
Occupiers leaving amid mounting calls to end the takeover
3 More Militiamen Arrested Outside Of Oregon Wildlife Refuge
‘First Ruby Ridge and Waco — now Burns’: Militant leaders issue warning after LaVoy Finicum’s death
Wikipedia: Occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
Oregon standoff: A timeline of how the confrontation unfolded

69 Comments

Robert Reich: ‘Six Responses to Bernie Skeptics’

Bernie skeptics

How to respond to Bernie skeptics? Watch our latest video to find out.

Posted by Robert Reich on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Via MoveOn.org. In case anyone has forgotten, Robert Reich was President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor.

8 Comments

Malheur Terrorist Takeover, Day 25


BREAKING: Leader of Oregon occupation Ammon Bundy, at least 8 others arrested

Video: OregonLive

The Oregonian’s OregonLive website keeps up to date with the latest developments in the ongoing Bundy Gang terrorist occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. We are now on Day 25, and there is no sign of action from federal law enforcement.

Negotiations between terror group leader Ammon Bundy and the FBI seem to have broken down because all Bundy wants to negotiate are the terms under which the entire U.S. Government is supposed to surrender to HIM. Because nobody else understands what our Constitution says about public property, or something.

More info:
Have you signed the WH petition to arrest Malheur Refuge occupiers?
Oregon standoff venue changes to Grant County, where counter-protesters await
Drunk Wannabe Militia Man Arrested On Way To Join Standoff (VIDEO)
An Oregon man involved in the armed standoff has been arrested on multiple charges today
Ammon Bundy: Militiamen Are ‘Actually Protecting Rights Of All’
Twitter: #OregonStandoff

Background:
Wikipedia: Occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

16 Comments

Morning In America; In Earnest

I think we all knew that Bernie Sanders wouldn’t have used one of Simon and Garfunkel’s most beautiful songs in a political campaign without permission.

I love Art Garfunkle’s explanation of why he approved. The last lines of his poem from 2001 are the terrible truth, but maybe there’s a chance to be some place better then where we are now:

And in our hearts, love of the physical entity. America. Identity in doubt. We can’t go home again, so we’re runaway vagabonds, lost in twilight, wondering what we’re about.

–Art Garfunkel 9/11/2001

6 Comments

Ted Cruz’s Health Insurance Nonsense

Ted Cruz has taken to wandering the countryside claiming that he lost his health insurance because of Obamacare.

Ted Cruz is a Republican.

Ted Crus is a liar.

But, I repeat myself.

Cruz had insurance from his wife’s employer. When she stopped working to campaign full time, he lost that coverage.

Now, since that is a qualifying life event, he had options. For example, COBRA. He could have signed up for insurance through the exchange. As a US Senator, he could get coverage through the US government (although he’s required to purchase it through the exchange). He could have called an insurance company and purchased insurance. He could have assigned one of his aides to do it for him.

He did not.

IOW, Ted Cruz deliberately allowed his family to go without insurance when he had multiple options.

 

11 Comments

Bishop-Chaffetz Bill Is An Attack On Our Public Lands

Today we finally got a look at the Bishop-Chaffetz Public Lands Initiative discussion draft, covering public lands issues in 7 eastern Utah counties. It was not worth the wait.

From the Center for Western Priorities:

After years of work, Congressman Rob Bishop released a draft of his long-awaited Public Lands Initiative (PLI) bill on Wednesday. Early reporting already shows Congressman Bishop trying to spin his bill as a balanced and collaborative success story, even before the public has an opportunity to review the legislation.

Don’t be fooled: The draft Public Lands Initiative bill is an extreme and deceptive attack on our nation’s public lands that does little for conservation. The legislation is another ideological vehicle for Congressman Bishop to express his disdain for national public lands, rather than a true attempt at addressing diverse stakeholder needs.

Rep. Bishop stated recently that “people will win and people will lose” in his bill. There’s no doubt that the winners Bishop picked are big oil and gas companies and Utah’s misguided public lands policy, while the losers include hikers, campers, sportsmen and women, Native American tribes, and the American people.

  • The worst part of the bill is that the 40 areas Congressman Bishop calls “Wilderness” would not be designated wilderness as it’s been understood since the passage of the Wilderness Act over 50 years ago. “It is a designation in name only, and that alone makes the bill a nonstarter,” says Aaron Weiss, spokesman for the Center for Western Priorities.
  • Unspoiled public lands that are currently set aside as BLM wilderness study areas would be given up forever and released for industrial uses.
  • The bill also creates so-called “energy zones,” i.e. areas open to expedited oil, gas, and other mineral leasing and development.
  • The bill seeks to open up disputed RS 2477 right-of-way claims to motorized travel.
  • Bishop wants to prohibit any new national monument designations by presidential proclamation.
  • Congressman Bishop just waged a vicious and ultimately unsuccessful battle against America’s most successful parks program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Fresh off his defeat, Bishop is now trying to gut LWCF within Utah by banning land management agencies from using LWCF funds to protect land inside new wilderness and conservation areas.

More info:
Public Lands Initiative discussion draft
Bishop Public Lands Proposal Unveiled, Already Sparking Criticism
Bishop public lands bill unveiled amid support, criticism
Rob Bishop’s “Public Lands Initiative” is an Insidious Attack on Our Public Lands

UPDATE:
New House Bill Gives Away Public Lands, Creates Pseudo-Wilderness Areas

[O]ver the past several months there have been many significant changes made to the bill, turning it from a gesture of compromise to a divisive bill that includes Bundy-style public land giveaways, pseudo-wilderness protections, accelerated oil and gas development, and the marginalization of several original stakeholder groups.

6 Comments

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