David (L) and Charles Koch


Rancher Cliven Bundy, who successfully called for right wing paramilitary intervention in his two-decade dispute with the federal government, had the support of conservative nonprofit group Americans For Prosperity, which is largely funded by the Koch brothers.

This weekend, federal officials de-escalated a brewing “range war” with armed ‘Patriot’ militias that had threatened violence against federal employees. Three arrests took place last week, and a scuffle broke out on Wednesday, as protesters confronted agents of the Bureau of Land Management enforcing a federal court order to remove Bundy’s cattle from federally-managed lands. Bundy’s fight naturally appeals to the billionaire Koch brothers, who have a longstanding agenda to privatize federal lands.

Oliver Willis reported on the AFP affiliates’ endorsement of Bundy at Media Matters.

AFP Nevada’s Facebook page posted a graphic attacking the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for spending “one million dollars” to enforce the court order to round up Bundy’s cattle on federal land. Another photo attacked the Bureau for creating a designated “First Amendment Area” for protesters to gather in near the property.

On its Twitter page, AFP Nevada is more strident in its support of Bundy and in attacking the federal government.

AFP Nevada has promoted the hashtag #BundyBattle, which supporters are using to showcase their message. In one tweet, AFP Nevada posted a graphic attacking the cattle round up and said they had a “bone to pick” with the Bureau of Land Management.

Another AFP Nevada tweet attacked the “First Amendment Area” with a photo of cow manure and the caption “This is what we think about ‘First Amendment Areas’.”

David Koch pushed a privatization agenda when he ran for president as a libertarian in 1980, and the sale of the commons remains a priority for his brother Charles, too. As ThinkProgress reported last year, the Koch-backed AFP has also engaged in a campaign to privatize federal lands.

ALEC and Americans for Prosperity have been fanning the fire under these efforts to “reclaim” federal public lands. ALEC is a conservative corporate front group funded by fossil-fuel interests such as the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil that develops model legislation for state legislators to introduce in their legislatures, and it has endorsed many of the bills turning public lands over to the states. As the Associated Press reported, “Lawmakers in Utah and Arizona have said the legislation is endorsed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that advocates conservative ideals, and they expect it to eventually be introduced in other Western states.”

That should come as little surprise, considering that one of ALEC’s “model bills” — those that it drafts and develops to shop to various state legislators — is the “Sagebrush Rebellion Act,” which was “designed to establish a mechanism for the transfer of ownership of” non-state lands “from the federal government to the states.”

Further evidence that ALEC is the puppet master behind these performances: Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory (R), who is leading the charge for states to “take back” public lands through his “American Lands Council,” has been presenting the idea of turning federal land over to the states at ALEC conferences such as the one in Salt Lake City last summer. Additionally, Rep. Ivory has been promoting this idea to various state legislatures — he spoke, for example, with Wyoming’s Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Interim Committee in October 2012.

In practice, these efforts have always been aimed at freeing up public lands for extraction of oil and gas, redounding to the benefit of the richest people and corporations in America. White, rural men with cowboy hats have provided a populist veneer to all this, but the privatization cause is really only popular among ideological libertarians, anarchists, and right wing extremists who refuse to recognize the federal government. It is a fringe view even in Western states with a large BLM presence.

Furthermore, the rancher’s way of life has suffered far more from the industrialization of farming than any federal protections for endangered turtles, and as “the only rancher in the region who refuses to acknowledge or heed the federal permit system for grazing rights,” Bundy hardly speaks for his fellow cattlemen.

Several interviews that Bundy has given over the years makes clear that he subscribes to Patriot movement theories about the legitimacy of the federal government, or the lack thereof, and to Posse Comitatus theories about the enshrinement of the powers of the county sheriff.  He also has taken to comparing his confrontation with federal authorities to ill-fated clashes at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, in the 1990s, that were infamous for inspiring militia organizing that fueled the Patriot movement then.

Even though the BLM has begun returning Bundy’s cattle “to avoid violence and restore order,” the dispute is not over. A small army of government lawyers will now arm the agency with another pile of legal paperwork to stack on top of Bundy’s multiple lost court battles. It remains to be seen how much support the Koch brothers, or their organization, will give him in that fight, but the AFP’s endorsement of Bundy is a tacit endorsement of his ‘Patriot’ insurrection — and a big middle finger to the rule of law in the United States.

A peaceful protester takes aim at BLM agents
A “peaceful protester” takes aim at the BLM agents who offend him
30 thoughts on “Billionaire Koch Brothers’ AFP Endorses ‘Patriot’ Militia Movement At Bundy Ranch”
  1. Hopefully the BLM will just seize Bundy’s assets, it seems this all could have been avoided if they were able to do the same things the IRS does — put a lien against his accounts..etc.

  2. There you go, make it a left right paradigm issue, the left will fall for that one every time. Look, the government is destroying peoples lives and livelihood under the false pretense of “saving the animals”… YOU know that this is a lie to destroy individual initiative and collectivize the entire country into a socialist, government controlled “utopia”.

    1. I don’t “know” this at all. Your conspiracy theory is just a mental rejection of two centuries of Constitutional precedent, all three branches of government, and the science of biology. I was required to keep an eye out for desert tortoises while driving my humvee around Ft. Irwin, CA in the 90s, and even then Alex Jones was making similar noises to yours. Funny how that RIGHT WING nonsense always redounds to the benefit of uber-rich industrialists with agendas, huh?

          1. Go back and read what you wrote and honestly ask yourself if that makes sense. I’m going to sleep now… think on it a while.

        1. But…but…the Koch bros. had nothing to do with it.
          It was just some rogue operators in one of the orgs. they appoint “leadership” to.
          But I’m sure they’re willing to investigate. Call back when the NEXT Executive elections,
          with “New and Improved” Electoral College rules, are over.
          Glad to see OLM (& alia) back, in force, after they were targeted by sequester.

        1. “Statist.” You say that as if you don’t recognize the state. You know that “Republic” in the Republican Party? That’s the state. Chances are that you live in a state. Whether you like it or not, you are a part of the state, and not a separate state. Clive Bundy thinks he is a separate state that makes its own laws. He is not. Neither are you.

        2. So you admit you’re not a “statist”… which translates to “law abiding American citizen” and like Bundy, who claims to be a sovereign citizen (i.e., a nation unto himself), bearing no allegience to this nation or his fellow citizens, you can’t then go around claiming that we’re somehow duty bound to recognize special rights for you and yours. It doesn’t work that way. With rights come responsibilites. You don’t get to claim the former and refuse the latter.

  3. While we are at it, let’s not forgot those horrible nutjob militia types in 1776. What right did they have to point guns at British troops and even to shoot them? They should have just submitted to whatever the legally established government wanted them to. If only there was gun control in 1776, then we all could be living safe and snug under the Queen’s rule! But in those days we didn’t have such wonderful anti-hate groups like the SPLC pointing out how vicious all those gun-loving militia types. George Washington probably was just a Jew hater. Why else would he lead an army against established authority? The number one problem with this world is all those crazy gun-toting criminals who think they have a right to stand up to the authorities. Maybe the problem with the BLM is they didn’t bring enough dogs, tasers, machine guns, helicopters, and so on. Next time, BLM, maybe you will just napalm the protestors? Then you can go home to your wife and kids early instead of having to camp out in the hot desert and get guns pointed at you by all those so-called patriots. But be sure to capture a few of them first so you can put them in a high-security prison, waterboard them, and sexually humiliate them while you videotape it. Then you can “leak” the video to the public through some front group so everyone will know how the government treats all those serfs who refuse to submit.

        1. Move somewhere else if you’re going to start a war to protect a millionaire rancher from having to reimburse taxpayers for his use of federal lands. Paying taxes is Constitutional and Patriotic.

    1. It’s almost like you want all of this to happen, and you’re seeing it in your mind so vividly that if you were that dude up there in the picture, you’d maybe take the shot and say “fuck the police.” Am I right?

    1. It is being discussed. Alex Jones made up the story to incite the RWNJ. There’s a solar farm but it’s nowhere near the rip off moocher Bundy. And let’s say there was a solar farm near him, that would benefit a lot of Americans. Bundy’s cows grazing on our land for free while 16,000 other ranchers pay and get the same price for their beef only benefits multi millionaire leech Bundy.

        1. Moron says what?

          The Bundy family bought 160 acres in 1947. Get it? They did not buy the peoples land. Get it?
          Are the words you are reading difficult for you to comprehend?

  4. First item today: IREHR Report: Behind the scenes look at the “states rights” showdown at Bundy Runch:

    “White, Far Right and Armed: Tea Party and Militias Mobilize to Defend Nevada County Supremacy Activist ”

    “Like TPN’s Judson Phillips, libertarian leader Ron Paul used the conflict to press for eventual privatization. Paul told Fox News, “I think land should be in the states and the states should sell it to the people.”[18] Ron’s son, Rand Paul, took a middle ground, arguing that there is “definitely a philosophic debate over who should own this land…I hope it will go to a court. But if it were in a court, I would be siding and wanting to say, that look the states, and the individuals in the states, should own these lands. Eighty percent of Nevada is owned by the federal government and we need to get it back to the State of Nevada.”[19] Conversely, media personality Glenn Beck attacked some of Bundy’s supporters as the “right’s version of Occupy Wall Street,” stating that “there’s about 10 to 15 percent of the people who are talking about this online that are truly frightening. They don’t care what the facts are—they just want a fight.”[20]”


    Glenn Beck develops a conscience? That’s up for debate. Maybe he’s rethinking the actual consequences of his previous “2nd American Revolution” wingnuttery.

  5. Second item today: Daily Kos: “The oil and gas industry is targeting our national forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands as the next frontier in their reckless fracking boom. The consequences for our public lands could be devastating.”

    I don’t believe for half a second that President Obama is prepared to “step aside,” but I do believe we need to make ourselves heard on the issue because this is what #BundyRanch is actually about:

    “Instead of protecting our natural heritage and its clean water supplies, the Obama Administration is preparing to step aside and let fracking run roughshod over them.”

    Who could possibly stand to gain, once again the brothers Koch:


  6. Please take “anarchists” off your list of those who support the privatization cause. Anarchists, as opposed to libertarians, are not in favor of privatization.

    1. We observed plenty of anarchists taking part in the social media flame war of the #BundyRanch hashtag. Perhaps you were not watching Twitter and did not see what we saw with our own eyes.

  7. The entire friggin’ Tea Party leadership is a mess of white supremacists, let’s face it:

    April 1, 2014: “Candidate For Texas Governor [Greg Abbott] Invokes [White Supremacist] Who Believes Women And Minorities Are Inferior”

    Jan. 21, 2014: “PA Republican has an exciting new plan to legalize discrimination” [“religious freedom to discriminate” based on race,
    gender, religion…]

    “Racism Is Not Dead! White Supremacist Celebrates 2nd Year as GOP Committeeman with Stormfront Post”

    May 2014: [VIDEO] George Zimmerman’s Racist Defender Frank Taaffe & Fox “Expert” Now Admits Zimmerman Is A Racist Who Profiled Trayvon Martin, Says He Needs to “Get Right with God”:

    “During the trial, he [Frank Taaffe] was an almost daily guest on Fox, CNN, its sister station HLN, and others, being treated like some kind of expert and weighing in on the social (‘It’s really sad that he has already been convicted in the public media and has already been sentenced to the gas chamber’), technical (were there grass stains on
    Trayvon’s pants?) and legal aspects of the Trayvon Martin case — and yet, as Mother Jones discovered, Taaffe ‘has a lengthy criminal record that includes charges of domestic violence and burglary, and a history of airing virulently racist views.’ Just last Sunday, he appeared on The White Voice, a weekly podcast hosted by a man named Joe Adams, who has deep, long-standing ties to white-power groups and has authored a manual called Save The White People Handbook. (Sample
    quote: ‘A mutt makes a great pet and a mulatto makes a great slave.’) ‘Among
    Taaffe’s long-standing and unshakable views, blacks and whites have no business mingling, whites are essentially ‘slaves’ and oppressed due to affirmative action and ‘crimes committed by that particular group of people,’ and that ‘the only time a black
    life is validated is when a white person kills them.’”

    March 17, 2014: “South Dakota Lawmaker Says Businesses Should Be Able To Turn Away: African-Americans”

    “Old Photos Surface Showing Breitbart, O’Keefe Hobnobbing with White Nationalists”

    “Steve King and White Nationalist CPAC Panel Warn that America’s Greatest Threat is its Diversity” (Peter Brimelow/VDARE)

    “SCANDAL! Rand Paul MUST return Neo-Nazi funds NOW and DENOUNCE Stormfront.org”

    “White Nationalists Descend on D.C. for National Policy Institute Conference” (Richard Spencer and Peter Brimelow/VDARE) http://www.irehr.org/issue-areas/race-racism-and-white-nationalism/item/517-npi-conference-2013

    covered here: http://www.salon.com/2013/09/29/the_hatemonger_next_door/

    SPLC: “Former Congressman Tancredo to Address White Supremacists”

    IREHR Special Report: “The Status of the Tea Party Movement – Part One: The Tea Party in 2013”:

    “This, the 40th annual [CPAC] conference began with a well-choreographed effort to present a softer, more diverse, conservative movement. Beyond the main hall, however, the façade melted away. In the many conference rooms that the Tea Party dominated, events featured blatant racism, homophobia, sexism, Islamophobia and the militia impulse.”

    IREHR Report: “Tea Parties – Racism, Anti-Semitism and the Militia Impulse”

    July 2011: “White Supremacist Stampede”

    “A startling number of white-power candidates are seeking public office. Eve Conant reports on their under-the-radar strategy and David Duke’s White House flirtation.”

    “GOP Senate Candidate Addressed Conference Hosted by Neo-Confederate Group That Promotes Secessionism”

    “Steve Smith, White Supremacist, Elected To Republican Party Committee In
    Pennsylvania County”

    Al Jazeera Report: “People & Power – White Power USA” (Documentary/Tea Party)

    “Neo-Confederate Behind Pro-Huckabee Flag Ads in South Carolina”

    Video: Ron Paul Gives Speech on Civil War in Front of Giant Confederate Flag:

    “One of the remaining Republican Presidential candidates spouts Civil War revisionism, standing in front of a Dixie flag”

    “Ron Paul Curriculum Launched by Reconstructionist Gary North and Neo-Confederate Thomas Woods”

    April 2013: “The Ron Paul Institute: Be Afraid, Very Afraid”

    “The former presidential contender is back, this time as head of a new ‘institute’
    for ‘peace’ comprised of anti-Semites, 9/11 truthers, and dictator lovers [and
    racists]: James Kirchick reports.“

    “Ron Paul to Keynote Catholic Traditionalist Summit with NeoFascist and Overtly Anti-Semitic Speakers” (and racists)

    “Meet the ‘Southern Avenger’! Another Member of Rand Paul’s Team Has White Supremacist Past”

    Also: http://freebeacon.com/rebel-yell/

    The Convergence of Glenn Greenwald and Rand Paul’s ‘Southern
    Avenger.” (Liberty Tour VIDEO):

    2014: [NEWS VIDEO] “Afterless than two weeks on the job, the Marionville, Missouri mayor who said he “kind ofagrees” with some of Frazier Glenn Cross’ anti-Semitic views, has announced his intention to resign.Cross is accused of murdering three
    people at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas on April 13,

    Marionville Mayor :
    “The futures market, the Federal Reserve, the Food and Drug Administration
    and the National Institutes of Health — every time I see that on the news,
    there are Jewish names and they run things.”

    April 2014: “EXPOSED: The Source Of Cliven Bundy’s Crackpot Constitutionalism”

    As Promoted by Glenn Beck on Fox “News”:

    “After searching for the distinctive cover of the document in Bundy’s pocket, the
    publisher turned out to be the innocuously named National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS). However, the NCCS is not the commendable educational organization it purports to be. It began life as the Freemen Institute, a vehicle for the far-right,
    Mormon, anti-commie, history revisionist, W. Cleon Skousen. Skousen taught that
    the Constitution was inspired by a God who intended America to be a Christian
    nation. He also professed the canon of white supremicism that Anglo-Saxons are
    descended from a lost tribe of Israel. The Southern Poverty Law Center chronicled the NCCS curriculum based on Skousen’s philosophy saying that he…

    …demonized the federal regulatory agencies, arguing for the abolition of everything from
    the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to the Environmental
    Protection Agency. He wanted to repeal the minimum wage, smash unions, nullify
    anti-discrimination laws, sell off public lands and national parks, end the
    direct election of senators, kill the income tax and the estate tax, knock down
    state-level walls separating church and state, and, of course, raze the Federal
    Reserve System.”

    VIDEO: Cliven Bundy’s white supremacist “Chistian Nation” “History” Lesson:

    Rachel Maddow breaks down Cliven Bubdy’s white supremacist Christian Identity movement:

    [Koch] “The Money Behind Fox’s Promotion Of Cliven Bundy’s Battle With The Feds”

    Beck’s [Tea Party] ‘historian’ [David Barton] delivered talks to racist, anti-Semitic Christian Identity groups”

    [quote] ADL: “Barton has delivered his revisionist presentation in the meeting halls of
    the racist and anti-Semitic extreme right.”

    [the 1994 book, The Religious Right: The Assault on onTolerance & Pluralism in America, the Anti-Defamation League wrote that Barton “purveys a slick, cut-and-paste revisionist history of the United States and the Constitution.” ADL further stated that Barton spoke at events hosted by the Christian Identity movement, which “asserts that Jews are ‘the synagogue of Satan’; that Blacks and other people of color are
    subhuman; and that northern European whites and their American descendants are
    the ‘chosen people’ of scriptural prophesy.” [end quote]

    Barton’s Bunk: Religious Right ‘Historian’ Hits the Big Time in Tea Party America: Barton’s Bible = Tea Party Platform”

    Libertarian Party Platform circa 1980, the year David Koch ran for

    Bonus: Because racism is so over:

    Texas, 2007: “Debt Collectors Forced to Pay $1.5m After Filthy, Racist Voicemails”

    “A Texas debt collection company had a unique style for reminder voicemails to one black customer. “This is your motherfucking wake-up call you little lazy ass bitch. Get
    your motherfucking nigger ass up and go pick some motherfucking cotton

    Sound like anyone we know? (Cliven Bundy)

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