Majority of One

A Continuation—Number 2

Four years ago I posted on the Edward Snowden business:

Snowden has seen something that is wrong with this country, and he has acted to correct it. From his point of view. The issue is currently being batted about in the halls of government, and some are saying PRISM and FISA are bad, and some are saying they are good. The discussion will likely go on for some time, and in the end some disagreement is sure to persist.

In the mean time Snowden has nullified all those other votes with his one vote. He has become a Majority of One. It would appear that sometimes it is necessary to destroy one part of democracy in order to save another part.

There’s a long tradition of defying the law to do what’s right. Mohandas Gandhi was one such person. Martin Luther King was another. We have to wonder whether Snowden saw himself in the same light as these two. Both saw a wrong that needed to be corrected, and both went beyond the law. Of course, there’s a difference. Gandhi and King owned up, didn’t flee, didn’t back away. They offered themselves up to suffer the legal consequences of their actions. Both were murdered. Snowden, to the contrary, sought refuge from justice within the purview of one of the most corrupt and anti-democratic regimes on the planet, refusing to submit to the legal consequences of what he did. It takes some of the shine off.

That said, I never condoned Snowden’s methods. The government actions he exposed were not part of a great scheme to subjugate people and to suppress equal opportunity under the law. Furthermore, there is serious question whether anybody’s civil rights were in jeopardy. Snowden figured he had a vote in the matter, and he cast it—a majority of one.

There’s more.

While the Edward Snowden affair was still fresh in people’s minds, others figured they had a better lock on what was right and just than the American court system. There was the episode I titled High-Pocket Pickpocket.

Bundy’s family has been grazing cattle on the disputed piece of public land since the 1800s. The government allows private entities to use public lands for commercial purposes on a fee basis. The trouble with Bundy began in 1993 when the government changed the rules for grazing in this area, and Bundy quit paying the fees in protest. From all appearances, Bundy is getting a lot of support from locals and from out-of-towners who share a disdain for government regulations:

What I found most impressive was the support Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy got from those whose pockets he was picking. The cold facts are this. Bundy’s ranch was grazing its cattle on government land for which a fee was required. He refused to pay the fee. In essence, he was getting for free the use of the land and the grazing. Contrast this to somebody in competition with the Bundy ranch. The competition, those raising cattle and selling to the same market, either owned their land or else leased it, often from the government. It’s a nice arrangement for Bundy, he can 1) undercut the competition and still break even, or 2) he can go head to head with the competition and pocket more of the proceeds. Either way, it’s a win for Bundy. As I mentioned three years ago, this arrangement put Bundy ahead of his competition to the tune of $1.3 million over the previous 20 years. And civil liberties be damned.

What really caught the news was the armed confrontation with government agents. Bundy’s friends and neighbors were not of the same ilk as Gandhi and King. They brought their guns. And they pointed them at the G-men. There were further developments and ultimately consequences. See the image above from the FBI video in Oregon last year. Bundy’s sons and some like-minded people took command of a government building in the wilderness and held out for several days. They had guns. As the confrontation with the FBI came to a conclusion, one of the Bundy fans, Robert LaVoy Finicum, was shot and killed by an agent. So much for a majority of one.

Subsequently there was a trial, and the anti-government gunmen were acquitted of the charges against them. Additionally, an FBI agent who participated in the confrontation with Finicum has been indicted for making false statements concerning the event:

An FBI agent, W. Joseph Astarita, is alleged to have fired two shots at Finicum’s pickup, one of which penetrated the roof of the pickup and exited through a window. FBI agents were believed to have recovered the ejected empty cartridges. A five-count indictment for lying about the circumstances at the scene of Finicum’s death, and obstruction of justice, has been obtained in Portland against Astarita by the Department of Justice. He is being represented by a public defender.

There have been other developments. The consequences of Bundy and supporters pointing guns at federal agents are winding their way through the justice system. The first to go down has been one Gregory Burleson:

The weight of a heavy sentence landed in the quiet federal courtroom Wednesday morning, leaving Gregory Burleson occasionally stroking his graying beard and his attorney pleading unsuccessfully for leniency.

The 53-year-old Burleson was the first to be sentenced for his role in the 2014 standoff between federal agents and supporters of Cliven Bundy near his Nevada ranch.

He got 68 years in prison.

Again, so much for a majority of one. An additional Bundy friend has been convicted and is due to be sentenced in September, unlikely to get the breaks obtained by Burleson. Four others obtained acquittals on offenses related to the ranch standoff, but they are now schedule for trial on federal charges. Once that trial is concluded, according to the Los Angeles Times, Cliven Bundy and his son Ammon will go to trial for their part.

As you may have guessed, that’s not the end of the list of people who think American law is for other people. Most recently we have the case of former  Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In years past he made a name for himself as the toughest sheriff in the United States of A. This by being rough on prisoners and also on those not yet prisoners. On multiple occasions the courts have had to smack Sheriff Joe down for wandering outside the laws governing civil rights in this country. Bypassing all that and getting to the most recent, a federal judge enjoined the sheriff from enforcing his policy of profiling suspected illegal aliens, an injunction which he disregarded. He was charged with contempt of court, and about the same time the voters of Maricopa County ended his decades-long tenure. And the majority of one has also come to an end:

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio committed a crime by defying a court order to stop detaining suspected undocumented immigrants, a judge ruled on Monday, in the latest rebuke for a once-popular politician who was voted out of office last year.

United States District Judge Susan R. Bolton found Mr. Arpaio, 85, guilty of criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. Mr. Arpaio’s lawyers said he would appeal.

So that’s what it all comes to. There is the rule of law, and there is personal preference. Keep your personal preference close to your heart and defy the law at your peril:

Lying here in the darkness
I hear the sirens wail
Somebody going to emergency
Somebody’s going to jail

And Edward Snowden will need to learn to speak Russian.

There’s something happening here

Possibly the first of a long series

AmmonBundy-01IMG

Hey, children. What’s going down?

There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

Are these people for real? Let’s check the temperature:

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon — In the pivotal fourth day of armed occupation on federal land here, militants held tight to a cluster of small buildings behind a blockaded access road as the FBI mulled its next move.

The group’s leader, Ammon Bundy, appeared Tuesday at a now-daily press conference despite a light snowstorm, carrying a copy of the Constitution in his front pocket, and — though speaking softly — pledged something radical: to match what he sees as federal intimidation with intimidation of his own.

“We understand what it means to be part of a community, and that there is no place for fear and intimidation in a community,” said Ammon Bundy, the group’s leader. “It’s the responsibility and duty of the people to remove that intimidation.”

He and his followers want this refuge and millions of federally owned acres in the West transferred back to “the people,” which seems to mean local or state authority. They also want two local ranchers — Dwight Hammond Jr., and his son Steven — released from federal prison, where they are serving a five year sentence for arson on federal land.

“He and his followers want this refuge and millions of federally owned acres in the West transferred back to ‘the people.’” Back to the people? Really? Does he mean back to the United States of America? Does he mean back to me? Last time I looked, I am “the people.” I am the United States of America. He wants this land transferred back to me? I can hardly believe it. I never realized what a friend I had in Ammon Bundy. To think he’s doing all this for me.

But wait, children, what’s that sound? Methinks there’s something going down. From all appearances, what theses miscreants want is for the land to come into their own possession. That would effectively remove it from my possession. And all this while I thought I was one of the people.

Some perspective is in order. Once all this land belonged to the United States of America. Well, almost all. Here’s the history:

The Territory of Oregon was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from August 14, 1848, until February 14, 1859, when the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Oregon. Originally claimed by several countries (See Oregon Country), the region was divided between the U.S. and Great Britain in 1846.

Obviously, at the time the United States acquired this territory, there was existing private ownership. I will not cover the details of that, but suffice it to acknowledge that the U.S. government owned the vast predominance of this land. It still does own large portions, including the part in current dispute by “two local ranchers — Dwight Hammond Jr., and his son Steven.”

One sore spot of contention appears to surround the method by which the federal government acquired disputed land from private owners by force of law. Note that, force of law. The Hammonds attempted to bypass the law and are currently serving prison sentences for violations of other laws. One thing that stands out is that the Bundys, not succeeding by legal means, are now going the short route, so they think. That is something that remains to be seen.

In the mean time the fun times have started to roll:

Social media has been having a field day with the hashtags, starting with  and#VanillaISIS and spinning off from there: #Yeehawd, #Yeehawdists, ,#CowTippingTerrorists, and more.

Yes, there is more:

Every successful revolution starts with takeover of closed visitor center with gift shop.

And more:

If your master plan is to overthrow the world’s most powerful government and you attack a remote bird sanctuary you might be

Oh, Jesus! There’s even more:

Oregon militiamen are willing to be martyred for their cause. And if they die, they will receive 72 cousins in the afterlife.

My final one, I promise:

What’s worse than one person with mental health issues with a gun? 150 of them. Together.

I need to leave it there. There’s a feeling that comes over me when I’m commenting on something like this and I suddenly realize I may be having too much fun. Time to stop.

See y’all later. Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Sunshine Patriots

From the OAS Web site

From the OAS Web site

This was previously one of my Size One Hat Alerts. Particularly:

Operation American Spring Leader Says God Will Lead Millions Against Obama’s ‘Socialist-Fascist-Communist-Marxist’ Dictatorship

Operation American Spring is a truly grassroots movement by serious Americans committed to Constitutional Principles, responding to a an overreaching, unresponsive and dismissive federal government which is made up of a cabal of elected but oath-breaking officials, who ignore the Constitution.

Of course, I, and others,, eagerly waited. What a spectacle this promised to be. Imagine if you can. Millions (OK, maybe just a million or so) of red-blooded American patriots marching up to the seat of power “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Actually, more than a petition for a redress of grievances was in store. There would be demands. Additionally these patriots would be reinforced by an unworldly power:

I think it will work. I think God is behind it. He is going to give us a clear path, right into Washington D.C. and that’s what we’re going to ask for. At the same time we’re working on a formal declaration of demands that we’re going to present, we don’t know exactly who to yet or how they will be presented, but this will back up what it is we’re asking for with regard to these people to step down. We’re trust there’s going to be about 10 million or more people that are going to be there to back this up, verified, validated.

They would also have the backing of an imaginary person in the sky. This was not to be missed. So with baited breath we waited.

That’s the problem. We waited.

Operation American Spring falls flat: ‘This is very disappointing,’ Texan says

Operation American Spring, billed as a Friday morning multi-million patriot march on Washington, D.C., to oust leadership from the nation’s capital — from President Obama to House Speaker John Boeher — has proven woefully below expectations.

“It’s a very dismal turnout,” said Jackie Milton, 61, a Jacksboro, Texas, resident and the head of Texans for Operation American Spring, to The Washington Times. He said hopes were high when he arrived in Alexandria, Va., a day or so ago and found motels and hotels were sold out for 30 miles around.

“We were getting over two inches of rain in hour in parts of Virginia this morning,” Mr. Milton said. “Now it’s a nice sunny day. But this is a very poor turnout. It ain’t no millions. And it ain’t looking like there’s going to be millions. Hundreds is more like it.”

Operation American Spring was billed as far back as six months ago as a rally call for patriotic Americans to force leaders in Washington, D.C., to return to a more limited and constitutional style of governance — and to oust those leaders who weren’t listening. Among the group’s targets: Mr. Obama and Mr. Boehner, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, vice president Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Initial projections were for between 10 million and 30 million to come from around the nation and converge on the downtown capital city streets outside the White House and Capitol Building — a number the organizer of the eventArmy Col. Harry Riley, called optimistic yet doable, given one million militia had already agreed to come.

These are the times that try men’s souls. Talk about your “summer soldier and the sunshine patriot.” A few inches or rain, and it’s duck and cover for some. Of course there is the possibility the weather was not to blame. The previous day the Los Angeles Clippers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 89 to 104. That would put a damper on any true patriot.

Of course, there’s another possibility. It’s not just the streets of Washington, D.C. calling for the attention of all true American patriots. The plight of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, already the victim of government oppression, still needs to be addressed. If there is a breath of truth to the following report, then Mr. Bundy could make use of all 10 million (not 30 million) of those patriots who stayed home on Friday:

The situation at the ranch, where armed militiamen and “Patriots” are camped out, has deteriorated so badly that competing factions apparently drew weapons on one another during heated arguments.

We wrote on Wednesday about how tensions flared when a paranoid rumor of an imminent drone strike on the encampment began circulating. The team that primarily circulated the drone-strike rumor – Stewart Rhodes’ Oath Keepers – also began advising people to pull out, which sparked the wrath of militiamen.

Those militiamen voted to oust the Oath Keepers, and a couple even spoke of shooting Rhodes and his men in the back, which they deemed the proper battlefield treatment of “deserters”.

Now Rhodes has replied to their accusations in a video in which he teamed up with fellow Oath Keepers Steve Homan, Robert Casillas and Brandon Ropolla (the latter of whom are also affiliated with Mike Vanderboegh’s so-called “III Percent” movement) to attack the “nutcases” that Rhodes said have assumed control of the militia camp at the Bundy Ranch.

We definitely need true patriots such as these to protect us from our oppressive, fascist, communist government. Hopefully we will not need additional true patriots to protect us from true patriots such as these.

Joe For America

My apologies. It’s been a while since I posted something from Joe for America. I had to troll another Facebook feed to pick up on this. This is one resource I can always count on.

From Joe For America

From Joe For America

But to the story.

What you might not know is that Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is not really a racist. No, really. The lliberal New York Times has doctored a video clip of Bundy to paint him as a racist:

NY Times Hoax Exposed: Video Clip Edited to Paint Bundy as Racist

NY Times hoax is tantamount to character assassination. Cliven Bundy’s comments were taken out of context, leaving the rancher looking like a backward bigot.

As an old white guy, he used the language of his day, which is politically incorrect today, no doubt about it. In the full length video, however, you see a man passionately aware of the effect of government subsidy programs. Statistics bear out his comments on the high rate of abortions and arrests among blacks. His genuine desire for improved family life for blacks, Hispanics and whites comes across loud and clear in the full length video. Maybe he’s not such a backward, old white guy after all.

Old white guys everywhere, this is great news. Bundy is not a racist, after all. What a relief! Now we need to convince all those other white guys:

Sean Hannity and Fox News quickly distance themselves from Cliven Bundy

By Arturo Garcia
Thursday, April 24, 2014 18:08 EDT

Fox News host Sean Hannity denounced Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy on his radio show on Thursday following Bundy’s repeated comments wondering if “Negroes” are better off as slaves, while his network continued to shift from promoting Bundy to ignoring him.

Forget about Fox News. Even Republicans have been bailing on Bundy.

Republicans denounce rancher Cliven Bundy’s racist comments

By STEPHANIE CONDON CBS NEWS April 24, 2014, 1:44 PM

Last Updated Apr 24, 2014 5:43 PM EDT

After previously sympathizing with Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who refuses to pay the more than $1 million in fees he owes the federal government, Republicans are denouncing Bundy’s most recent, racist comments.
Bundy has garnered notable right-wing support for his refusal to recognize the government’s authority over federal land. His latest comments, however, targeted African-Americans who depend on public housing and went so far as to suggest that black Americans were better off as slaves.

So, all the old white guys, plus Sean Hannity, are deserting Bundy in his time of need. But not Joe for America:

BREAKING: Bundy Stands By His Words on Race (VIDEO)

Cliven Bundy invited minorities to attend a gathering where he clarified and stood by his comments on race, which were deemed racist by the New York Times:

Watch the video here:

The mainstream media is determined to personally destroy this man in order to help Harry Reid and the Obama Administration continue to erode our rights as Americans. The New York Times edited a video of Bundy to make him look evil, abdicating their position as journalists and proving they’re nothing more than tools of fascism.

I truly believe that.

You can’t watch the video here, because I could not capture a link to it. You have to go to the JFA site and watch the video there.

JFA also reports that Army veteran Jason Bullock, who was doing duty as one of Bundy’s bodyguards, is black. Bullock is quoted as saying, “Mr. Bundy is not a racist. … Ever since I’ve been here, he’s treated me with nothing but hospitality. He’s pretty much treating me just like his own family.”

Not only is JFA sticking by Bundy, Austin talk show host Alex Jones remains loyal.

AUDIO: Bundy Doubles Down, Calls On New York Times To Retract Accurate Quotes

Blog ››› April 24, 2014 3:09 PM EDT ››› BEN DIMIERO & OLIVER WILLIS

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy appeared on Alex Jones’ radio show today to do damage control over comments he made about “the Negro” and how he wonders whether blacks were “better off as slaves” than on government assistance.

During the appearance, Bundy denied that he is racist, called on The New York Times to retract their accurate quotes of him discussing “cotton picking,” and repeatedly restated his offensive views on slavery. Bundy also defended himself by explaining “there’s a black man right in my front yard right now” as part of the militia siding with him against the government.

Alex Jones, who has been one of Bundy’s many media allies during his fight against the government, introduced the appearance by telling Bundy, “you’re a man of your word and honorable. I believe you’re a good man.”

I mean, man, when you’ve got Alex Jones at your back, there’s no way you’re a racist. What more needs to be said to convince left-wing radicals (and some old white men) that Bundy is not a racist?

Alex Jones? Really? Maybe you don’t know Alex Jones:

Alexander Emerick “Alex” Jones (born February 11, 1974) is an American radio host, author, conspiracy theorist and documentary filmmakerd.  His syndicated news/talk show The Alex Jones Show, based in Austin, Texas, airs via the Genesis Communication Network on more than 90 AM, FM, and shortwave radio stations across the United States and on the Internet. His websites include Infowars.com and PrisonPlanet.com. His YouTube channel has been viewed over 360 million times.

Jones has been the center of many controversies, including his statements about gun control in the wake of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. He has accused the U.S. government of being involved in the Oklahoma City bombing, the September 11 attacks, and the filming of fake Moon landings to hide NASA’s secret technology and the killing of “thousands of astronauts”. He believes that government and big business have colluded to create a New World Order through “manufactured economic crises, sophisticated surveillance tech and—above all—inside-job terror attacks that fuel exploitable hysteria”. Jones describes himself as a libertarian and a conservative.

[Some links deleted]

That should say enough. I mean, Jones says what real Americans want to hear. Of course, if you tell too much truth you’re going to turn people off. Author Will Bunch has noted Jones’ more extreme views soon earned him a “no, thank you” from some of his original outlets.

In the mode of many followers of White House hopeful Ron Paul, Jones’s muddled view mixed ideas of both conventional liberals and the far left—the 9/11 “truther” view of the attacks as a U.S. government inside job and disagreement with the Patriot Act and the two wars launched under George W. Bush—with hard-right views, especially after Obama’s 2008 election. A generation ago, someone like Jones might be rolling diatribes off a mimeograph machine, but today he’s aired on roughly sixty stations (it used to be more before his 9/11 inside-job rants)—with a weekly audience estimated at two million—and is heard everywhere streaming over the Internet, with two popular Web sites, PrisonPlanet.com and InfoWars.com. His highly conspiratorial tone and Web-oriented approach brings in a younger demographic than do Beck and other well-known talkers. It has been reported that more people visit Jones’s Web sites than Rush Limbaugh’s, for example. The Internet has also proved a fruitful incubator for the fringe ideas that have both broadened Jones’s influence and seeped into the groundwater of mainstream discourse as conspiracy theories about everything from a nonexistent “Obama gun confiscation” to the fictitious “FEMA detention camps” where law-abiding Americans would be herded.

Bunch, Will (2010-08-31). The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama (Kindle Locations 1209-1218). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

More specifically:

In 2001, his show was syndicated on approximately 100 stations. After the 9/11 terrorist attack, Jones began to speak of a conspiracy by the Bush administration as being behind the attack, which caused a number of the stations that had previously carried him to drop his program.

[Link deleted from the original]

Jones’ efforts to resuscitate Bundy have been little short of heroic:

Trying to explain away the offensive nature of Bundy’s comments, Jones said Bundy had told him on the phone that “they’ve traded a new form of slavery for an old form of slavery.” Jones characterized that assertion as a “libertarian, conservative refrain that I’ve heard from every libertarian and conservative black leader I’ve had on this show.”

Jones proceeded to ask Bundy what he thinks “of The New York Times trying to take this out of context and spin it.” Bundy responded that the Times is “totally wrong” if they think he’s a racist, before restating that he’s “not saying the one way or the other, but I am wondering — it seems to me like maybe they were happier, maybe they did have better families,and their family structure was better” under slavery. (For his part, Jones clarified that he was “not endorsing slavery or segregation.”)

During the interview Jones prodded Bundy on whether the Times had quoted him accurately. After Bundy claimed he “didn’t say nothing about picking cotton” (he did), Jones called his supposed debunking a “bombshell,” “unbelievable,” and “amazing.” (During the interview, Jones appeared to be unaware that video exists of Bundy’s remarks.) At Jones’ prompting, Bundy declared that the Times “should” retract their report.

I noted that Bundy wants to cast himself as a man in the tradition of the Western Frontier. I take this to mean in the tradition that a man is as good as his word:

Unfortunately for Mr. Bundy, this is the 21st century, the age of the Internet, the age of people taking note of what you say, the age of capturing stuff on video. I am sure Bundy wishes for the days of the Old West, the days when a man was as good as his word, and before the tape recorder had been invented.

In response to Bundy’s remarks somebody, most likely a left-leaning liberal, posted a cute meme on Facebook. It says, “Why is it you never hear Conservative American Christians stating that white people on Government Assistance would be better off being slaves?” Here it is.

WhitePeopleOnWelfare

But this post is about Joe of America—who might also wish for the days when a man was as good as his word. I will just let it go at that.