The Grift of Sagebrush Goons

“From businessmen to beggars, the racket is extensive and deep.

The Kingmen fund and operate a wide variety of theo-con organizations and mouthpieces designed to indoctrinate and mobilize individuals for their causes while the Freemen learned and promote their own Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, books, and seminars. Freemen then act on their indoctrinated conviction, either die or go to jail, then sell belt buckles and crowdsource using signed Skousen Constitutions for their legal defense and to feed their spouses and children who are left homeless while they sit in prison.”

50 Year Leap II.

Wingman by my side for safety and understanding, I just had to go.

Two days earlier was the one year anniversary of the “sacrifice” made while Lavoy Finicum and the Bundy contingent were on their way from the open perimeter standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to be harbored by Grant County, Oregon “Constitutional” Sheriff Glenn Palmer. I just had to see it in action again at the John Day remembrance dubbed “The Meeting that Never Happened.”

Jason – an old friend who, like me, is a Mormon failure – has friends who live in John Day. Because of their work with a federal land agency, they questioned our reason for going and didn’t want to come. After a calming beer and a smoke, we walked through the icy January town to the gated grounds and a checkpoint staffed by black clothed gun carrying unidentified goons who only wore round makeshift badges with an orange center. No names. Very constitutional.

We took our place in line while a few media crews did their thing, the Patriot smokers spilling out the door fifty deep as the event was about to begin.

First thing I did when we entered was see Trent Loos. He was at Malheur representing oil baron Forrest Lucas’ Protect the Harvest and writes for the cattle oriented Range Magazine. Trent has promoted the Finicum Emancipation Pledge/Storm Over Rangelands grazing permit renouncing scheme, encouraging subsidized public lands ranchers to stop paying their fees. He also has a syndicated radio show east of the Rockies that he likes to promote, his schtick a large mustache, black hat, red pearl snapped shirt, and vest. I appreciate that his spunky dress for the press is akin to that of LaVoy, the pleasant side of Cliven Bundy. He says he’s a rancher but, really, he’s a media personality from Nebraska who enjoys promotion and is out of his element in the West.

I immediately walked up to Loos with whom I frequently spar on social media, patted him on the back, and introduced myself with a firm handshake. I don’t think he really thought I’d be there.

I noted with dismay that Loos’ cohort pledge promoter and sagebrush ambulance chasing attorney Todd MacFarlane with whom I also spar was not at the event . You may recall that MacFarlane was present the first week of Malheur the same time as Loos and helped direct early standoff press messaging. He assisted in organizing a contingent from Utah to travel to Malheur that included Finicum’s brother Guy, the intent to get LaVoy out. Instead, MacFarlane doubled crossed them and helped the Bundy contingent with their demands and recruitment. I was quite sad I couldn’t confront MacFarlane yet again for his helping to enable the death of Finicum.

Jason and I set up in the back, he hit a table and his phone while I wandered about to see the show. On the right side looking at the big U.S. flag on stage at the end of the long, dreary, rectangular, cinderblock and metal, grey and unwelcoming hall were tables filled with the grift of books, trinkets, silent auctions, signed Skousen Constitutions, and places to sign your name and give your email. It is said that Skousen was most interested in his snail mail lists of which he would bombard Freemen with propaganda and requests for donations. Today, an email addy and social media friendship will do.

To the left and behind was the fundraising spaghetti feed, the now mostly empty door, and the Finicum delegation who sat in a dark hole next to the stage with members of the Bundy family and their successful attorney Morgan Philpot from the botched Malheur trial. Even Finicum’s parents were in attendenace. In the middle of the room were a few hundred folding chairs filled with camouflage, denim, and black leather. Lots of beards and only a smattering of cowboy hats. Jason commented how this was the perfect crowd to discern the preened Barbie and Ken doll Mormons from the Gentiles who were already spilling out for a final smoke.

Five of the seven speakers on the agenda were Mormon Theo-cons, the two Gentiles sandwiched them with the open and close of Loos and “Constitutional scholar” Kris Anne Hall. All of these theo-cons (Mormon and Evangelical) were selling ‘freedom and liberty’ like Gantry sold God to the suckers for their money.


Phone notes as I wandered the hall throughout the event:

Palmer Pinkertons in black roam round with blank, color coded badges with nothing on them but mean something.

Finicum delegation sat in their dark hole box seat opposite the grifting tables across the room. Shawna Cox, Jeanette Finicum, autograph sessions at tables with Skousen Constitutions and silent auctions.

Trent Loos opened and was the emcee. Thanks Jeff Banta, Cox, Finicums (his parents here, too). No Storm Over Rangelands promoter and sagebrush ambulance chasing attorney MacFarlane?

Utah Attorney Garrett Smith speaks of the importance of Constitutional Sheriffs like Glen Palmer. BORING. Good thing, as the revved crowd had a few hoots but couldn’t be sustained. Opener killed what could have been rowdy.

Not a person of color in the crowd but what appears to be Piute observers. Trump’s America.

Theo-con diatribe of Kate Dalley, St. George radio Beck host. Squeaky mic, bad audio. Spoke of the media, free speech will increase with Trump. Speaks of fake news, as though she is not. She’s a terrible public speaker for a radio host, head down in a lectern, reading prepared 2 ½ minute Sunday Church talk. Hoots from crowd when she mentions Bundy as ‘last rancher standing’. Not much on Finicum, whose name she just can’t get right. Beating up on old admin, Reid, her old schtick. She hasn’t changed a bit from what I have written of her.

Cox, Jason Patrick, Banta in corner along silent auction wall. They are superstars.

Biggest hoot of night Dalley talking about fed informants in crowd after 5 min tirade against those who don’t support them. Press, feds, prosecutors, Hillary Clinton in jail instead of ranchers, informants do it for a few bucks.

I’ve decided you can’t talk with these freaks. Nothing could ever bridge our gap. Ignorance abounds, Dalley leading the pack.

Some kids floating to and fro.

Lots of ‘Not Guilty’ buttons. They are very empowered with the first verdict.

John Day 7th grade class fundraiser to go to DC, Loos saying to deliver a letter to Free Hammonds.

Bill Norton, Skousenite LDS AZ Tea Party on. Blech. He’s a circuit rider like Kris Anne Hall, Skousen trained through and through. People are starting to sleep.


Walking back to the crib for a drink, we passed the security checkpoint at the gate that was still manned.

As if to wake people, Brand Thornton blew the shofar during break when the potluck spaghetti feed was on.

Morgan Philpot: Theo-Con Mormon bullshit. UT legislator, enabler. Quoted scripture, bored the smoking Patriots with meals in their bellies.

The Irony of Patriot smokers outside the door; Mormon Theo-Cons preaching inside. This is an indication why the Oathkeepers/III% didn’t show up en masse at Malheur, as the Gentiles know they’re being snookered. Either that, or they’re tired.

Philpot used ‘critical mass’ concept. Did he work with Bert Smith, Todd MacFarlane with Storm? Mentioned $100 million schemer Monticello College Rick “Free Capitalist” Koerber as helping during #oregonstandoff case. People talk, mull, over his voice, slurping spaghetti.

Virus he talks. You’re not the virus, you’re the cure. The cure was to come from here, and that is your responsibility.

Thanked God for the Oregon jury verdict, wish all juries were from Oregon.

They raffled off a blue tarp in the name of “Tarpman” signed by evening participants.

4 of 5 from start mormons, enunciating in their way. Experts at the testimonial talk.

Jeanette: Grateful for heavenly father. Jesus christ. 2 minutes in, in tears. Plan of Happiness, faith carried her through last year. Thanked family, Finicums, kids, by their fruits you shall know them. 

Spoke of happy not guilty verdict, tears gone, goes on planned 2 ½ talk Sunday diatribe for the congregation, NV Bundy trial coming.

Then, immediately into LaVoy was media spokesman for Malheur. Would have been acquitted a ‘Free man’. He was not afforded due process. MORE tears.

Clears. Then reads intended federal wrongful death lawsuit. All the parties involved.

Speaks of LaVoy as friend, husband, plays video he made about Hammonds.

She uses images with words ‘peaceful’ over #oregonstandoof, ‘not’ over #BlackLivesMatter, calling them terrorists.

Loves Trump. Quotes him. Parties don’t matter, people took control. Little does she know he doesn’t care about them, neither do the oligarchs. Finicum, others’ sacrifices no longer needed. Jeanette is going to be disappointed.

Quoted Benson, theo-con guide to God.

She read Franklin Covey-like Finicum family mission statement developed in wake of patriarch’s death. Says it helps them stay focused ‘teaching’ like LaVoy. Fucking know nothings teaching know nothings.

Peeps with ear pieces wearing colored, round badges and III% patches cleaning up the spaghetti feed, one lurking behind me with requisite young buck shaved head.

Endearing was LV Finicum. The friendly face of Bundy, ready for anything that came down road. Conscientiously put himself out there long before his death.

He was standing for god, says Jeanette.

In tears, introduced her family. No foster children? A brood they had. Telling.

No Kathy Smith? Where is Finicum/Storm media darling Cherilyn “Utah’s Sarah Palin” Eagar? Joe Kerry was here, of Utah’s theo-con KKK-Talk. Seems to have worked vid for event. Droopy drawers and hunched shoulders.

Are the orange dotted fucks III% or Palmer? Both?

Kris Anne Hall, a self-proclaimed “constitutional scholar” and Evangelical theo-con, closed the event. Hall is evangelical theocon. 6 of 7 theocons, 5 Mormon. Hall follows up Jeanette as people file out, fumbling for 10 minutes with her computer, eventually quits using it. It sputters to life, she reads from it. Man…it’s 10 p.m.….

A fake constitutional scholar pushing Skousen ‘hamburger’ theory. Jersey dialect. True? Sovereignty. Blech. Can tell this is just another stop in the circuit. She yells, waking the remaining occasionally.

Glum faced intent listeners.

Goons float about.

Jason Patrick is fat and has glazed eyes, the light shining from the idiocy of his soul.

Could only stand Hall for 45 minutes and left. On the way out, asked a security gate goon, “You guys Palmer’s deputies or III%?” He responded, “Both”.


The grift was certainly on, the proceeds of everything going to support the Finicum family and the efforts of their associates like the Bundys and Cox. Some simple math says they scooped $13K in ticket sales alone, at least another $7K in auctions, purchases, donations and spaghetti. No doubt these funds paid for everyone’s travel and per diem from Utah, Arizona, Florida and Nebraska, their speaking fees and funding for travel to the next grift.

In a way, I feel sorry for the family of LaVoy Finicum. The Skousen/LDS Church indoctrinated patriarch “martyr” was a willing sacrifice and they need to make sense of it, to go on as a family, and widow Finicum needs income to live. That their family mission statement would center on continuing the work of LaVoy is not surprising, nor was their trust in Trump. Their family is a victim of the grift and know little more than it. As such, it is understandable that Jeanette and daughters Thera and Challice are on a nationwide “teaching tour” purposefully developed by their media contingent after the death of LaVoy, having engaged in it for the past year. My bet is the John Day event was a most lucrative stop.

Like Cliven, LaVoy foolishly believed public lands were private property and worked with militias to promote this view. During Malheur, Finicum was very proud of Adrian Sewell and the eight Utah ranchers who signed “emancipation pledges” renouncing their grazing permits. This was the primary purpose for those cowboys to make their stand. It is stunning that not much was mentioned on this subject in John Day.

During Malheur, the Utah delegation, lead by now deceased Skousen associate Bert Smith and very much alive MacFarlane, started promoting Finicum’s snake oil legal theory via a series of recruitment sessions called Storm Over Rangelands to both support the standoff and get ranchers to sign pledges renouncing their government permits.  Their goal was to reach a “critical mass” of ranchers that would then turn public opinion and policy to their cause. After Finicum was shot and Malheur fell, these principles pressed on, creating the Range Allotment Owners Association that is now minus the militia. I do not find it funny that the majority of those who enabled Finicum’s plan – theo-cons MacFarlane, Kathy Smith, and Angus McIntosh – decided to skip the John Day “Meeting that Never Happened”. At least promoter Loos was there.

With some irony in February, the National Beef Association, the Public Lands Council and a covey of their attorneys denounced the grift of the Bundy/Fincium inspired RAO, warning ranchers around the nation to avoid becoming a victimized to their dubious economic cure-all designed for dying family industry composed of frustrated suckers, saying “we discourage permittees/ lessees from ignoring terms of their permits or undertaking unilateral permit modifications”.

Seems LaVoy Finicum died for very little institutional change and the Bundys sit in in a Nevada jail with their only hope an Oregon jury.

The Donors Trump Administration is largely compiled of LDS and Koch business interests, and the Kingmen have grown tired of the grifting Freemen they indoctrinated. The Sagebrush Freemen props who captured media attention railing against government, corporation and any perceived overreach over the years, whether real or imagined, are no longer necessary. They are surplus labor. A liability, these Freemen might join other working class ‘freedom’ movements and they must be scorned, their pernicious vocational  ideas have become a threat to the oligarchs’ total grip on institutional authority.

Knowing wingman Jason will understandably smile with these cynical Book of Mormon references, I wonder if Jeanette, Carol, their clans and Dixie followers are still happy with President Trump and the rest of the gadianton robbers.

I also wonder what the oligarchs of both religion and business (the historic not so secret combination) intend on doing with Captain Moroni and Utah Unorganized Constitutional Militia, Glenn Palmer and Constitutional Sheriffs like him, and the Gentile sovereign III% goons that persist in the sagebrush. Like the rest of us, no doubt these Freemen will someday become disenchanted and catch on to the grift of the Kingmen – as was prophesied.

More articles by:

Chris Zinda is an activist and writer living in Oregon.

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