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How did I Miss That? Elk and Militia Invasion; Monkey Litigation

USA Today reported that Matthew Siegal of Hailey, Idaho was awakened after midnight by a crashing sound downstairs. Upon investigation, he found that a cow elk had fallen though a window well into his basement. She was circling his pool table and looking confused, but appeared unharmed other than a cut on her neck.

Blaine County Sheriff’s deputies and Idaho Fish and Game officers spent two and a half hours persuading the elk to climb stairs out of the basement recreation room. A wildlife manager from Fish and Game explained that elk were coming out of the mountains because of “the first normal snow levels in the past five years.”

My cousin Ray Sixkiller had another explanation: “Obviously, she was looking for the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge and got confused because there was a pool table but no juke box or bar.”

Moving from wildlife to humans who, if not wild, are living with very rudimentary ideas of civilization. That would be the “patriots” who armed themselves and rushed to Oregon this week for the purpose of starting a revolution by occupying a bird sanctuary.

When I wrote the follow-up to that story because the real landowners, the Northern Paiutes, had a press conference to object, a bit of reporting from CNN landed on the cutting room floor. The news network uncovered that the leader of the group seeking a showdown with the feds they call “tyrants,” accepted a loan from those very same tyrants in 2010.

Field Marshal Ammon Bundy borrowed $530,000 through the Small Business Administration, which is a serious benefit from tyrants not even counting the 20 years of grazing fees his father Cliven Bundy does not intend to pay.

On a hypocrisy scale of 1 to 10, I give this a 3, and it did not fit comfortably in my narrative of local responses to the armed invasion.

Cousin Ray disagreed with my evaluation. “If $530,000 is a three on a 10-point scale, how much is real money?”

Well, they claim Cliven Bundy owes the tyrannical feds a cool million in grazing fees. I know a million is no longer what it used to be, but where I live it’s serious money.

Thinking about the Bundy clan reminds me that I forgot to point out last week that December 30 was the anniversary of the assassination of Grigori Rasputin in 1916. Rasputin was one of the bizarre characters that showed, if it needed showing, how decadent a hereditary monarchy could become. Rasputin was a faith healer who got close to the Romanovs because the Czar’s son had “the royal disease,” hemophilia, common in European royals from inbreeding.

A cabal of Russian royals, embarrassed by the Czar’s gullibility and alarmed by Rasputin’s influence, undertook to kill the man they called the Mad Monk.

They poisoned him with potassium cyanide. It did not kill him but did make him high.

So they shot him. Believing him dead, they made preparations to get rid of the body. When they came to collect it, he was conscious and raving about plans to rat them out to the Czar. As the dead man shoved past and ran out the door, they shot him again, this time a headshot. Then they pulled him back into the house and smashed his skull with a two-pound dumbbell.

The conspirators loaded his body into the back of a car and took it to the Malaya Nevka River, where they smashed a hole in the ice. While this was going on, the dead man woke up again. They tied weights to him and threw him in the icy river.

Several days later, police discovered the body some distance downstream, arms frozen in an upright position as if trying to claw through the ice.

Turning modern strange, I give you Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who compared his attempts to arrogate power to a constitutionally designed weak presidency to Hitler’s accumulation of absolute power from limited office in pre-WWII Germany. Within days, his office was walking it back and blaming the media. Erdogan has never walked back his claim that Columbus discovered evidence of Islam in Cuba.

If you are reading this nutty stuff and thinking pols are saner on this side of the pond, dream on. Hillary Clinton got hammered for calling Donald Trump a recruiter for terrorists when he advocated barring Muslims from the U.S. Al-Qaeda’s branch in Somalia, Shabab, is now using a new recruiting video starring…The Donald as himself and exhibit A in the argument that the U.S. is racist and anti-Islam.

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Trump shares screen time with Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S. citizen Barack Obama caught hell for killing in a purposeful drone attack. The recruiting video is aimed at African-Americans, and on it al-Awlaki says:

Yesterday, America was a land of slavery, segregation, lynching and Ku Klux Klan, and tomorrow, it will be a land of religious discrimination and concentration camps.

It cuts to Trump’s call for “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” and then back to al-Awlaki, who claims the hatred of Muslims in the U.S. leaves only two choices:

You leave and live among Muslims, or you stay behind and follow the example of Nidal Hasan and others who fulfilled their duty of fighting for Allah’s cause.

Former Republican Congressman and current pundit Joe Scarborough went on a rant about illegal immigration, pointing out (correctly) that more people have been going back to Mexico than have been entering the U.S.

Scarborough made my Republican Cousin Ray snarky: “Donald Trump will build a wall on the border—all 1,954 miles—and make Mexico pay for it. He’ll keep all those people in this country so Americans don’t have to do the really crappy jobs.”

As my Republican cousin laughs at the Mexican Wall story, Donald Trump has gone birther on Ted Cruz, suggesting that nominating Cruz would cause a couple of years of litigation. There is no question that Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother. Cruz is in the same place Obama would have been had he been born in Kenya to an American mother. They are both natural born American citizens, although Obama’s birth in Hawaii puts his nationality beyond question except among those who believe his mother snuck birth notices in the Honolulu papers so he could run for POTUS and he followed up by bribing the Hawaiian government not to tell.

Cruz responded to Trump’s idiocy by tweeting a link to the episode of Happy Days where Fonzie jumped the shark and started a modern meme.

Trump remains crazy like Fox. Bringing back Trump memories of Trump hiring extras from a casting service to fill the foyer of Trump Tower when Trump announced, Trump scheduled a campaign event near the University of Vermont in Burlington, within a block of Bernie Sanders headquarters. Renting a venue rated by the fire code for 1,400 persons, Trump gave out over 20,000 tickets, in spite of the availability to Trump of larger venues. Police and firefighters were unhappy and the Trump Secret Service detail charged with protecting Trump was not thrilled either. Did I mention his name is Trump?

“It’s enough,” Cousin Ray snickered, “to put you off playing bridge.”

I never knew Cousin Ray to play bridge. “That’s right,” he laughed, “but I’ve played enough poker to understand Trump has become a GOP wild card.”

In less of a gamble, Taylor Langstaff of Bay City, Michigan won about $2,000 worth of prizes in a contest to celebrate Bay City’s 150th anniversary. Each entrant had to do 25 activities and stamp them off on a “passport.” Nothing challenging—shows and drinks and tours of historic areas. Langstaff won first place, as well as second through tenth places, because he was the only entrant to hit all 25 activities.

Yahoo! News reported that UFC fighter Ronda Rousey will pose for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue—in nothing but body paint.

“It was only a question of time,” said Cousin Ray, “when they would skip the swimsuits.”

Federal Judge William Orrick in San Francisco ruled against Naruto, a six-year-old macaque monkey suing for copyright on selfies the monkey took when British nature photographer David Slater left his camera where Naruto could pick it up. The monkey’s selfies have shown some serious market value.

It’s not unusual for “persons” to be represented in litigation when they can’t do it themselves. Children, incompetent people…although the SCOTUS has held that trees could not sue though the Sierra Club. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals represented Naruto and proposed to put the proceeds from his selfies in a trust fund for his upkeep.

Cousin Ray was outraged. “They let Donald Trump bring lawsuits. They let those fools squatting on Paiute land up in Oregon bring lawsuits. How picky can the courts be if they allow those clowns?”