Friday, January 15, 2016

Bundys and Rebranding the Revolting

By Bob Ferris

I remember going to football games when I was young and program salesmen circulating around the crowd extolling their products and how no one could know the players without a program.  Red hot, they said.  I feel the same way now when looking at the white supremacy and anti-government movement.  With all the names and deceptive aliases it is a little like the arena scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian (above) only with a lot of malevolence and without any hint of humor.   And it has terrific relevancy as we look at the all-star team of anti-American bigots Cliven Bundy’s boys have gathered on a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon.

When exactly did words lose meaning?  When did it become acceptable for those trying to rip the guts out of the US Constitution to label themselves “constitutional?”  When did it become cool to act like a traitor and label oneself a “patriot?”  Along these lines I wonder if the dildo dashing Jon Ritzheimer (above) understands that his patriotism claims and Marine pedigree seem somewhat hollow and soured when one understands that the reason he is no longer a Marine was his personal choice to get another tattoo rather than adhere to the Marine Corps’ pretty reasonable tattoo policy?  Choosing “ink”over country and service seems hardly the act of a “patriot,” but rubbing bacon on a Koran is certainly the act of a bigot.

And now the amorphous glob of ammo-sexual wingdings has once again called upon the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officer Association —the latest iteration of the infamous Posse Comitatus (1,2)—run by former Sheriff Richard Mack made famous by his on-camera statement of a Bundy Stand-off strategy to surround the domestic terrorists with women as shields (wonder why Ammon often walks with women and children?).  Now I suppose labeling this group “constitutional” gives it some sort of ill-deserved gravitas, but I wonder if those sheriffs who belong to this organization understand that the word “sheriff” does not appear once in the US Constitution and does not even appear in all the state constitutions either.  But that seems of little import these folks.

The flag should not be used as "wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery", or for covering a speaker's desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general (exception for coffins)… Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset, although the Flag Code permits night time display "when a patriotic effect is desired" and the flag is illuminated. Similarly, the flag should be displayed only when the weather is fair, except when an all-weather flag is displayed. US Flag Code
My sense is that all this re-branding of law breakers as "law enforcers," bigots as "constitutionalists" and traitors as "patriots" makes these folks feel better about themselves and what they are doing, but true Americans should be outraged.  Moreover, true Americans understand that it is inappropriate and disrespectful to drape a US flag over the refuge sign and display it 24 hours a day in bad weather (see US Flag Code) but in reality this tells a lot of the story of the occupiers who are big on overt displays and unsupportable rhetoric, but weak on rules, details and history.

Real Americans those who embrace the rule of law, celebrate the US Constitution and treat our flag properly and with respect want the Bundys jailed and these other folks punished.  They organizing peaceful and unarmed demonstrations to make their wishes known to other Americans and elected officials.  These are our lands legal held and managed as provided under the Property Clause  (Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2) of the US Constitution.

The first set of rallies for the refuge and public lands in general will be held Tuesday January 19 at noon in Portland (event details here) and Eugene (event details here).  Come to these or organize your own.


  1. I have read your writings and while I find many points of agreement with you, I'm not in total lockstep with the tone.

    It's clear that many involved are a maladjusted and have no real grasp of constitutional law.Some just like to incite and agitate, and some are just wrong in their hypothesis.

    Nevertheless, some of their positions on government overreach are valid, even as their method is currently uncalled for.

    But as a curiosity, I would like to know your position on a hypothetical:

    If these people had simply gone in unarmed, committing no illegal entry, theft, or vandalism, nor made any attempt to disrupt operations at all, in fact simply being there and protesting, how would you feel about that?

    1. That is a very different situation indeed. My core objections to this are public opinion should not be influenced by guns or threats of violence. My second objection is that protests should not be based on lies or misunderstandings about laws or legal situations. My third objection is that this is part of or the result of a massive misinformation campaign by folks wanting access to our public lands for their own enrichment. My tone is one reacting to all three of those factors and while you may not agree with it I think that trying to steal our public lands is pretty serious business.

    2. I held my tuning fork up to the speakers, Bob, and hearing no beats, decided that your tone is good and resonates with me.

      Had they followed the hypothetical, I would have supported their right to peacefully assemble. They didn't, they took the lazy way to try to prevail. The group has spun the Hammonds' corrected sentences as double-jeopardy, and overly harsh for 'accidentally' setting BLM lands on fire. They should be working with their legislators to repeal mandatory sentencing. None of them showed up in Oregon to protest the sentencing of the doctor that killed his neighbors' cattle for repeatedly knocking down the doctor's fences, then made the neighbors financially whole (paying about four times market value), and was still prosecuted by the DA. Private property subordinates to cattle--it was not open range. These are self-serving thugs, for whom rules do not apply, unless in their favor. When the rules are not, just spin the rule with BS, wrap a flag on it, and yell "Constitution" loudly.