Give the feds credit. Playing the long game in the Oregon standoff worked. Not only did they bring in the last of the wannabe “militiamen” without giving them what they wanted, federal agents also nabbed the grandfather of them all.
They were going to be hailed as patriots. They were going to fire the next “shot heard ’round the world,” rally people to their cause, and spark a second “American Revolution.” They might even get to be martyrs, if they could figure out how to get federal agents to shoot at them. People would speak their names with reverence, and in the same breath with Ruby Ridge and Waco.
Instead, the people on whose behalf they claimed to be taking a stand wanted nothing to do with them. People in their own movement began to see them as a liability. Instead of the support and adoration of millions, they got a box of dildos and a heap of scorn.
Things began to unravel two weeks ago for the militants holed up at Oregon’s Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge. That’s when federal agents arrested the groups leaders in a traffic stop, as they made their way to a meeting to planned armed takeovers of federal land in Utah and a neighboring Oregon county. The feds apparently waited until the group felt so comfortable coming and going from the refuge that they got careless.
The feds managed the takedown with minimal loss of life. One militant, LaVoy Finicum, was shot and killed after he rushed at police officers while reading for his waistband, where he always carried a Colt .45.
Following the arrests, several of the militants fled the refuge, leaving just four stragglers behind: Sean and Sandy Anderson of Riggins, Idaho, Jeff Banta of Elko, Nevada and David Fry, of Ohio. Though they were indicted along with the 12 others previously arrested on charges of conspiring to impede federal officers, the four stayed put for two more weeks, dubbing themselves “Camp Finicum” and posting videos online.
I was one of those people who wondered why the government didn’t take Cliven Bundy in back in 2014. It was frustrating to watch Bundy and his supporters get away with pointing guns at law enforcement officers, threatening to kill them, and getting away with it, while a parade of unarmed black men were killed for a whole lot less. Now I understand the feds were in it for the long game.
The thing about people like the Bundys is that they’re so confident that their cowboy swagger is the real thing, and they’re so out of touch with reality that they don’t realize when they’re walking in to a trap. That’s why Cliven Bundy is now occupying an Oregon jail cell.
Federal agents nabbed papa Bundy at the Portland airport, after he flew in to take control of the occupation at the Malhuer refuge after posting on Facebook that he was headed to Oregon to join the militants. The elder Bundy was arrested on federal charges related to the April 2014 standoff at his Nevada Ranch. After his sons and others were arrested, Bundy urged the remaining stragglers to stay put and await armageddon. Bundy was so sure that he could waltz right in to Oregon, he likely never saw the feds coming.
At 10:54pm on Wednesday Cliven Bundy was booked into the Multnomah County jail on charges of conspiring to interfere with a federal officer, and posed for his long overdue mugshot. One wonders if his bluster a bravado failed him when he realized he’d never make it to baggage claim.
Meanwhile, as Bundy went to join his boys, the FBI tightened its grip around the remaining four holdouts after one of the militants went for an ATV ride, and sped back to the camp after encountering an FBI checkpoint.
Fiore landed at the Portland airport on Wednesday night, as part of a trip to show support for the militants. She was patched into the phone call between the FBI and the holdouts. Fiore, a well-known supporter of Cliven Bundy’s family, stayed on the phone with the four holdouts during intense, dramatic negotiations as she drove from Portland to .
For hours, they prayed, argued, and complained about government overreach, Common Core, the estate tax, and gun control laws they imagined had been implemented by President Barack Obama. They refused to accept any terms that involved arrest. At one point, Sandy Anderson screamed, “Just kill us and get it over with.”
That didn’t happen. Instead, they agreed to surrender on Thursday morning. At 9:30am Sean Anderson, Sandy Anderson, and Jeff Banta walked out with their hands up, calling out that they were unarmed, and surrendered themselves.
David Fry hung back, lit a cigarette, shouted something at Fiore and went back into his tent. You remember David Fry. He’s the anti-day, Hitler-loving, ISIS-supporting IT specialist who hates the government, uses federal computers, and want s Barack Obama “hung for treason.”
Agitated and still deluded that he had any leverage with which to negotiate, Fry refused to come out of his tent until he grievances were heard. After an hour of demanding that his tax dollars not be used for abortions (something the Hyde amendment has banned for the last 40 years) or drone strikes in Pakistan, complaining about not being able to get medical marijuana in his home state, and accusing the government of concealing UFO’s and “chemically castrating everybody,” Fry gave himself up without a fight. For more marijuana news check out Dank City – Cannabis News, Culture, Entertainment and Information.
And with that, the last of the militants that occupied the Malhuer refuge for 40 days are gone. Now, they’re occupying jail cells.
It was to be expected. Beyonce’s performance at the Super Bowl and the release of her new single “Formation” both put Black Lives Matter center stage. It was sure to make conservatives howl. And howl they did.
The introductions of the candidates at the Republican presidential debate New Hampshire, hosted by ABC News, was almost literally train wreck. New Jersey governor Chris Christie made his cue, and then the trouble started. When his name was called, Ben Carson appeared to sleepwalk into the wings, and just stayed there, smiling at the camera.
For a moment, if looked like Carson woke up and was about to take to the stage, when Sen. Ted Cruz was announced. Carson froze as Cruz bounded past him. A stage hand tried to wave an uncomprehending Carson onto the stage, but gave up.
As if it couldn’t get worse, Donald Trump wandered out way ahead of his cue, forcing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to dash around him, as Trump parked himself next to Carson. Then former Florida governor Jeb Bush appears, sees Trump and Carson stuck in “Park,” and gives the camera a “WTF?” look as he walks out for his cue.
When the camera cuts to the stage, and the announcer says, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Republican candidates!”, there are still three empty podiums. Carson and Trump finally make their entrances. Then the announcers finally remember poor Ohio governor John Kasich.
It wasn’t a Saturday Night Live skit. Until it became one.
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