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I was asked to publish my impressions of the Bundy Ranch drama. So here they are.

I've been asked to write up my impressions as I learn more about what happened at Bundy Ranch and all the drama. I'd first make clear that this is by request and that I was not at the ranch. I have not met most of the people involved. I am doing a lot of listening and communicating however. It's certainly clearing up a lot of my confusion surrounding the issue.

I'd also make the point that certain investigations are being performed, these are internal investigations undertaken by community members and they are not yet complete. So there's going to be ambiguity built into this report. But this is why I was asked to write this: the feeling is that people need to know now while other fact-finders continue their investigations. The investigators and their findings will be disclosed when they feel it's appropriate.

What I understand now is that there are 3 areas of action: there's the Bundy Ranch itself, a location known as "Base Camp" about 3 miles away on public land in a public camping area, and (at least) a third group trying to secure and push out a perimeter which encompasses all areas of action.

As it turns out, the Bundy Ranch is secured by their hand-picked operators and that's their sole mission: defend the Bundy family itself. This group operates with the implicit and explicit sanction of Mr. Bundy himself. This is the only force for which Mr. Bundy is directly responsible as it's under his sanction, on his land. These I understand are the organized "militia" on scene such as Operation Mutual Aid, Mountain Men and other 3%ers. These were the first on scene in their role as "rapid response teams". The Ranch itself is secured, buttoned down and patrolled. Nobody gets in there without an explicit invite.

Oath Keepers came in a bit later and began two operations: augment the existing security, medical, and communications forces in place AND set up the types of grassroots media coverage and press opportunities we historically generate as alt-media. This is primarily how we saw as many as 14 government officials and other figures (such as Sheriff Richard Mack) on stage speaking to the media and doing the whole PR thing.

Finally, there is Base Camp which again is on public land, it’s not on Bundy land or the land the Bundy's claim hereditary rights to. Base Camp is 100% volunteer driven and the Bundys don't manage it or lead it. It's independent. This is where unaffiliated defenders and visitors most commonly end up and it's where the media is sure to roll cameras. It's this Base Camp in which we heard the "Fruit And Nut Brigade" (unaffiliated defenders) were established by default. And this is where some of the strongest "opinions" are heard including a whole bunch of talking about the other groups, individuals, etc.

At this point it's clear to me that not a whole lot of communication/coordination happened between these groups but then who had time? At first this was a rapid response action and there was no time for a meet-and-greet and establishment of protocols whether command or basic communications.

It's also clear that some of the animosities here pre-existed this action. Having listened to some grievances and heard them corroborated to a degree, I'm at least open to hearing more in an objective manner. Mistakes get made in this movement like any other and in context (our lives on the line) they are non-trivial.

It's further clear that some operators, well more than some, a LOT of these boys are not exactly Prince Charming when it comes to communications or diplomacy. These guys are rough, tough and they mean business. They aren't there to play Patty Cake with the press or anybody else. Some of these guys are perfectly willing to lay down their lives on that land right now. They are serious. The clash between former Military (and Police for that matter) and non-militarily trained defenders seems to have got ugly. There are two reported instances of people getting "drawn down" on. Fortunately not a living soul was fired up by defenders but draw downs are past any point of comfort.

What I'm hearing also tells a very human story. I can relate to this through my years of activism and all-volunteer organizations. I'm hearing that at first, defenders went out to defend, media-savvy people started putting up a stage with mics and doing the whole PR thing and others (primarily unaffiliateds) set up kitchens, dug latrines, ran water around to different positions and just generally chipped in with whatever skills and equipment they brought. This was ad-hoc and spontaneous in nature. But when the media departed and the dust settled a bit, without that immediate need and mission, with just a bit of a break or lull in the action, all that energy, all that enthusiasm tends to turn itself inward on the group. Pesky grievances and animosities suddenly took center stage. Combine that with some almost fantastically large egos and conflicting missions and SOPs and we have the kinds of hostile language we've all been hearing with great dismay.

Again, a human story. I've seen this in leftist action and rightist actions. In fact, when have we ever done anything in the grassroots without some form of huge-ass argument taking place? Debate is our internal form of advancement but these tensions are pretty much everywhere you find volunteer driven action.

As far as names getting thrown around, Blaine, Little Dog, Bhudda, Ryan, if we didn't know them before we sure know them now (at least their names and associations) but I haven't heard anything really indictable yet. We all saw the "circle video" endlessly but I'm not hearing that such talk was a daily occurrence. I understand that circle is the decision making apparatus of Operation Mutual Aid, that was a daily decision making meeting, in other words there's one of those every day. None of these other meetings resulted in the kind of sensationalist talk that one did and that one was in response to a pretty significant event. That was the Oath Keepers ‘redeployment’ (if you will) or ‘retreat’ (if you won't) in response to the drone strike ‘intel’.

That even proved to be more divisive than is even apparent to us on the outside looking in. As a tactical measure I'm with the decision to "get off the X" or the actual target zones BUT many of the defenders there (regardless of affiliation) chose to literally stand and be fried if it came to that. HOWEVER this notion that OKs aren't welcome back is simply not the case on the ground. There are still past and present OKs there now and they are working well with other groups while others still trickle in. Posts are manned.

Today I was privy to several communications in which about a dozen misunderstandings were instantly and amicably resolved by simple communications and these mostly came down to who said what to whom at what time and what the circumstances were. There's a lot of simple misunderstanding going on here but these are mostly misunderstandings among men of good faith. There are exceptions as in Base Camp there was a fair amount of equipment literally stolen or mishandled. This is not surprising given as Base Camp was pretty much open to anybody who wandered in and it's the most likely place for agent provocs to do their damage. Theft being universally condemned by all groups operating in the area, this leaves simple Fed scumbags and their minions as the obvious culprit. We hold this lesson: we assume we are ALWAYS infiltrated and we should remain ever watchful for these disreputables going forward.

For some positive news, a lot of lessons were learned and this was the first time some of the miltias had ever worked together (with or without the often-repeated-mantra “we're NOT militia, we're OathKeepers”). New bonds of trust and friendship have been formed no matter what it looks like on the surface and this was just the beginning. I expect there will shortly come an announcement of another action, an action having nothing to do with Bundy land or the Bundy family specifically. I think we can all feel grateful that no human lives were lost to us or to the Feds (Feds have children too) and that a statement was made that was heard literally around the world.

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Excellent Constructive Post

I always appreciate your illustrations, Smudge.

wise words

If there is ever any kind of council of elders formed on the Ark, you are my first pick.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

Might require a name change lols.

How does "Smudge Of Ark" sound?

COMMUNICATIONS ARE ONGOING. I'm still meeting people and talking to them. There's another potential action being discussed that might bring us even closer together. Not really a second chance so much as ongoing opportunity. I don't want to spend the rest of our lives mulling over the Bundy thing, I want to move forward with lessons learned.

There is nothing strange about having a bar of soap in your right pocket, it's just what's happening.

Smudge of Ark

I like it!

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

Thank you--

what a gift when someone understands all sides--

the men who are NOT "Prince Charming" and the smiling/cunning PR types--

being able to build a bridge between them is almost miraculous.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

The bridge is shaky

but we are attempting to shore it up. Let's hope we are successful.

There is nothing strange about having a bar of soap in your right pocket, it's just what's happening.

Here's another post with a link that's consistent with this



Please read and share. There's more to come.

There is nothing strange about having a bar of soap in your right pocket, it's just what's happening.

Really nice job, Smudge Pot. Thank you.

Goes to show that when "men of good will" come together, good things happen. Testosterone and ego can get in the way (as do the Feds) but, enough "men of good will" can overcome the distractions and bring peace on the earth and a good outcome for all.

“It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life.”
―Emmet Fox

Smudge. Ive been down there 4

Smudge. Ive been down there 4 days. including the day before the day of and the day after the standoff.. and then I went back down to listen to TMOT and Bundy. and I must say this is close to what it looks like down there. It was very unorganized really. We are in the middle of the desert after all. To me it appears there is nothing to do there right now. Since im part of no militia and have no weapons to go carry around, I would go to jail and it would look bad for all involved if I did anyway. I just sat in the background and filmed in case the media decided to take things out of context this most recent time. I never seen any groups taking badly about others there, but everyone is an individual and speaks for themselves. So naturally everyone says something stupid. I myself have been hammered here on the daily paul for my dislike of Zimmerman. These little disagreements exist everywhere, and the government does attempt to divide and conquer. And you talk of clearing up misunderstanding but you never mention the misunderstandings really, could you clear them up for us as well.?

Repo that slipped my mind, my appologies

I'd have consulted you for this article but it honestly slipped my mind. Anyways you acted wisely, you saw potential conflict and found a way to positively contribute anyways. That role of documentarian is important and was absolutely crucial in getting the word out. Thanks for your service!

There is nothing strange about having a bar of soap in your right pocket, it's just what's happening.

could you illuminate this person on . . .

Zimmerman. Who is "he"?

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--


Off topic, divisive and unhelpful in this thread. Please do not attempt to hijack this thread, it's an order of magnitude higher in importance.

There is nothing strange about having a bar of soap in your right pocket, it's just what's happening.

I have no idea who Zimmerman is--

and I'm sorry if I offended by asking. I knew a Zimmerman 55 years ago--

and I was curious about the name connection. I have no need to hijack anything, and I'm sorry if it felt I was taking you or the thread off topic--

or being divisive. I am innocent. Honest.

*holding up my hands*

And I did appreciate your OP.

And, actually, I asked Repo--

He brought up the name--

He said it had been discussed on DP, and often there are topics I don't see--

that's all; it's not 'heavy'.

Or maybe it is, but if it is, I'm not involved with it--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Bob Dylan is divisive?

Oh, maybe you're talking about a different Zimmerman...

Seriously, Smudge, (and others) thanks for putting in the effort
to clarify the situation.

Last week on Rachel Maddow show, she did a Bundy Ranch

piece and was gleefully showing the interview where they talked about drawing a gun on someone. It was pretty embarrassing.

Great. What Foxnews starts Maddow finishes.

Want to know why FoxNews almost immediately started reporting on this issue? Because the moment FoxNews reports in any sympathetic manner, this automatically makes it a left-vs.-right issue THEREFORE our maximum reach is 50% of the population at best. No mass awareness, no mass action, partisian divide and conquor right out of the gate.

There is nothing strange about having a bar of soap in your right pocket, it's just what's happening.