Business as usual


Here’s a little background information that surprised me:

Because the refuge is so remote and no government employees are at risk, law enforcement isn’t likely to immediately confront the militia. But law enforcement will be under great pressure to act because of the Bundys’ confrontation in Nevada. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management retreated from that confrontation and has yet to publicly act against the Bundys to collect $1 million in unpaid grazing fees. That retreat has emboldened militia members as they now face the prospect of another standoff.

A bunch of white religious nuts and far-right yahoos have been pillaging federal property to the tune of a million dollars, and the government does nothing? Don’t try to tell me there isn’t a whole lot of privilege going on.

Has there ever been an analogous incident, where a minority group took control of a remote location? I wonder how the federal government responded then.

On February 27, 1973, a team of 200 Oglala Lakota (Sioux) activists and members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) seized control of a tiny town with a loaded history — Wounded Knee, South Dakota. They arrived in town at night, in a caravan of cars and trucks, took the town’s residents hostage, and demanded that the U.S. government make good on treaties from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Within hours, police had surrounded Wounded Knee, forming a cordon to prevent protesters from exiting and sympathizers from entering. This marked the beginning of a 71-day siege and armed conflict.

Of course, that was completely different. The Bundy gang is asking for property and the right to exploit the land, and demanding that a pair of arsonists be set free.

AIM was asking for respect and that the US honor their word. That can’t be allowed.

Comments

  1. davidnangle says

    You have to wonder if every time a police chief in America hears about a crime, his first response is, “We’re gonna do something about this! What color is the perp’s skin? Which religion? Which gender? What’s their annual income?”

    Robbed of this information, American cops might be frozen in place, unable to move at all.

  2. doubtthat says

    It’s insane, absurd, and obvious.

    I will say that avoiding direct confrontation is smart. Ruby Ridge and Waco got all those numbnuts fired up, culminating in Oklahoma City and a WHOLE bunch of abortion clinic bombings and violence aimed at the LGBT community (Eric Rudolph) that was more or less ignored by the national media.

    Of course, avoiding the creation of martyrs would also be a good idea in other parts of the world. And in the Middle East, we’re actually giving people a reason to be upset – killing their families – here it’s just…I don’t really know. Making people pay for the shit they use. TYRANNY!!!

  3. bruceheerssen says

    Leaving aside the issue of white privilege (which I agree is a likely factor in this situation), one might note that there is an obvious difference between the two occupations that has nothing to do with race, namely that of hostages. The Lakota took over an actual town and held hostages. The yahoos in Oregon took over a remote wildlife sanctuary building and there are no hostages. That alone could explain the difference in response.

    Then there is the experience of the intervening years between the two situations; the lessons learned since may inform the government’s response. Of somewhat less import, we also have a federal administration that seems decidedly less confrontational than previous administrations. How much impact that has, I don’t know, but it seems something to consider.

    None of this means that privilege is not a factor, of course, but there is plenty to suggest it is not the only–or even most important–factor.

  4. says

    bruceheerssen @ 6:

    Leaving aside the issue of white privilege (which I agree is a likely factor in this situation), one might note that there is an obvious difference between the two occupations that has nothing to do with race, namely that of hostages. The Lakota took over an actual town and held hostages.

    It would seem you don’t know much about Wounded Knee. Or the ongoing and prevailing attitudes towards Indians in the States. Or the govt’s attitude towards Indians. (Hint: the only good Indian is a dead Indian.)

  5. bruceheerssen says

    If there are no prosecutions in this matter, I will happily revise my opinion. The fact that there have been no reprisals as of yet in the Bundy standoff does lend credence to the white privilege hypothesis.

  6. bruceheerssen says

    Caine, it’s true that I haven’t studied Wounded Knee, but I do know that the US government has not been fair or gentle with Native Americans (that, along with slavery, is our national shame.) However, the fact there are no hostages in this situations still seems like a salient point.

  7. Holms says

    It reminds me more of the standoff in which a suburban building was held by black activists… and was bombed as a military target.

  8. upsidedawn says

    “Has there ever been an analogous incident, where a minority group took control of a remote location?”

    Not remote, but I did think of the occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969.

  9. objdart says

    Something about the use of the word privilege here is bothering me. These guys don’t live anywhere near anyone but white people. Not only that, but they probably feel pretty strongly that, since they are the ones who live out there, it really isn’t “land which belongs to all of us.” I mean, put yourself in their shoes. Would you take mild offense to someone from Minnesota claiming as much right tothe land you grew up on and they probably haven’t even visited? I had a rural upbringing and knew people like those guys. They know (or believe anyway) that they work hard every day and that the only time they see an outsider it’s someone demanding something under force of law. Yes they are racist, ignorant and dangerous. But they are doing this because they are scared that their futures are subject to the whimsy of people who use words like privilege, which, if you put yourself in their shoes, is an insult because it’s clear to them that people who use that word are urban intellectuals. The same urban intellectuals who come from somewhere else and either take or command them how to use the land that they think of as theirs by right of possession. To them, the federal government is an occupying power.

    None of this is to say that they shouldn’t be brought to trial for actual crimes, but seeing them as scared does humanize them some.

  10. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    None of this is to say that they shouldn’t be brought to trial for actual crimes, but seeing them as scared does humanize them some.

    Don’t forget that they are for farm subsidies (a form of welfare), but against “welfare”. Why? They see welfare as for PoC, who don’t deserve any help. They cheat the government out of taxes and grazing fees. I don’t have much sympathy for those alleged militia types.
    And if they work so hard, how are they able to take over a piece of government property?

  11. remyporter says

    There are two black eyes Federal LEOrgs gained between 1973 and today: Ruby Ridge and Waco. Sure, privilege comes into play, but the situation is far more complicated. The real question is: how do we take the institutional knowledge regarding deescalation in these situations from Federal agencies and push it down to local LEOrgs?

  12. says

    objdart @ 13:

    Yes they are racist, ignorant and dangerous. But they are doing this because they are scared that their futures are subject to the whimsy of people who use words like privilege, which, if you put yourself in their shoes, is an insult because it’s clear to them that people who use that word are urban intellectuals. The same urban intellectuals who come from somewhere else and either take or command them how to use the land that they think of as theirs by right of possession.

    Cliven Bundy’s sons are worried about their future? They have a hell of a lot less to worry about than I do, given that they have a hell of a lot more than I do, money and land wise. I’m not urban, I live deep rural, in a “town” of 79, so I know plenty about that kind of life and the people who live, and I also fully grok the concept of privilege, and yes, the privilege of this so-called militia is oozing out all over the place. People who are truly dispossessed know they don’t have power, and any actions they take are more likely to be ones of desperation. That’s not the case here. Bundy’s sons are clearly privileged, more so than most, on top of the privilege which comes from being white and male. This is a grab for attention, and power, along with being a threat display. The people they are there to supposedly defend do not want them there. They do not want their “help”.

  13. chigau (違う) says

    If the Oregon insurrectionists have really brought in children, there are hostages.

  14. Becca Stareyes says

    Not only that, but they probably feel pretty strongly that, since they are the ones who live out there, it really isn’t “land which belongs to all of us.” I mean, put yourself in their shoes. Would you take mild offense to someone from Minnesota claiming as much right to the land you grew up on and they probably haven’t even visited?

    Except most of these people, while rural Americans, are not from Oregon, let alone the area. From PZ’s link. “Harney County residents are mad and concerned about the occupation.” I don’t imagine having an armed insurrection in your backyard is reassuring unless you want to join them.

  15. says

    I think this Twitter user put it perfectly:

    There’s nothing more American than a bunch of white guys showing up on someone else’s land, pointing guns at everyone, & calling it theirs.

    objdart:
    1.) Those people currently doing the occupation aren’t from that place. So they’re not locals
    2.) At least the leaders are fucking rich
    3.) The money they refuse to pay is money taken out of the mouths of children, money taken away from schools. They’re robbing the rest of the country.
    4.) I’m glad you’Re very concerned for their racist, bigoted arses

  16. says

    Some of the “militia” members made “goodbye” videos as if they were going off to holy war.

    Militiaman Jon Ritzheimer sheds some tears in his video. YouTube link.

    Regarding the Mormon connection: “Ammon” and “Moroni” are names from the Book of Mormon. Those two guys are definitely mormon. Ammon Bundy is the son of Cliven Bundy. The guy who calls himself “Moroni” is otherwise unidentified. Moroni is also the angel that tops the Salt Lake temple.

  17. says

    There are also the concerns of the residents of the town: they are terrified. They are hostages in all but the narrowest sense of the word.

  18. says

    Cross posted from the Moments of Political Madness thread.

    Now that three of Cliven Bundy’s sons are involved in the armed occupation of a federal building in Oregon, let’s take a look back at the Repbulicans who supported Cliven Bundy when he refused to pay grazing fees to the federal government.

    Buddy’s supporters included:
    Rand Paul
    Ted Cruz
    Ben Carson
    Donald Trump almost supported Bundy:

    “I like him, I like his spirit, his spunk and the people that are so loyal…I respect him. He’s in a great position to cut a great deal and I think that’s what he should do.”

    Buddy returned the favor by supporting Trump for president.

    “He certainly wouldn’t be supporting Donald Trump if he didn’t believe in him,” said Jerry DeLemus, a Republican activist in New Hampshire best known for his support of rogue Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who officially became a Trump supporter over the weekend and called Lewandowski a “really decent man.”

    Politico link

    Mike Huckabee sort of supported Bundy.

    “There is something wrong when a government believes that some blades of grass that a cow is eating is so…an egregious affront to the government of the United States that we would literally put a gun in a citizen’s face and threaten to shoot him over it,” Huckabee said, drawing applause from the crowd.

    Republicans who opposed Bundy:
    Jeb Bush
    Marco Rubio
    Link

  19. says

    qwints @ 17:

    Your last link is borked. Here are some photos of the ’73 occupation:

    http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/02/27/13-images-remembering-occupation-wounded-knee-159145

    And of the 1890 massacre and 1973 occupation:

    http://kalamu.com/neogriot/2014/01/05/history-wounded-knee-1890-1973-in-photos/

    It’s important to remember, I think, that Wounded Knee belonged to the Lakota people, and there were serious reasons for the occupation – to highlight the poverty, living conditions, and generations of broken treaties and mistreatment by government and local agencies. There’s some reading here: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/tags/occupation-wounded-knee

    Also, most people wouldn’t know that the fight for Wounded Knee didn’t end. A white man ended up legally owning this Indian land, and put it up for the highest bid, starting at over 4 million dollars, when the land was appraised for 7,000 dollars. He could get away with this, because of what Wounded Knee means to the Oglala Lakota people, as well as many other Indians.

  20. raven says

    hlntv.com
    Schools in Harney County, Oregon, are closed this week over safety concerns as a tense militia standoff enters its third day.

    This is odd. The schools in Harney county are closed for a week. There are no schools anywhere near the wildlife refuge. It’s remote even in Harney county which is remote.

    It must be an abundance of caution. They are probably afraid on of these guys will decide to advertise their cause by doing a Sandy Hook or Umpqua CC.

  21. raven says

    Militiaman Jon Ritzheimer sheds some tears in his video.

    Last I heard, Ritzheimer was wanted by the FBI. He was on his way to attack a Moslem community in upstate NY, and the FBI wanted to talk to him. About what, I don’t know, probably how many people he was planning to kill.

  22. says

    raven @26 is right. Ritzheimer has a long history of anti-Muslim activities. The FBI followed him to upstate NY. I’m sure they are interested in Ritzheimer’s latest buddy system with the Bundy clan.

    More on Ted Cruz and his support for people like Bundy:

    In his 2015 memoir “A Time for Truth,” Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) described how he and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) bonded over the issue before Cruz began running for the Senate.

    “There is no reason for the federal government to own huge portions of any state,” Cruz recalled. “Mike pointed out to me that the value of all that federal land was roughly $14 trillion. At the time, the national debt also happened to be $14 trillion. That suggested to us an obvious and elegant solution for eliminating the debt and moving as much land as possible — other than national parks — into private hands.”

    What Ammon Bundy said:

    At Sunday’s news conference, Ammon Bundy said the refuge’s creation was “an unconstitutional act,” one that removed local ranchers from their lands, thrusting the county into an economic depression.

    In a video interview with reporters on Saturday that was posted on his Facebook page, Ammon Bundy said the group is standing up against government “overreach” because “the people have been abused long enough.”

    Land use bills that are similar have shown up all over the western states. It’s not just Mike Lee of Utah that backs the idea of taking large swaths of land out of the hands of the federal government. You will not be surprised to hear that all the bills are similar because they were written by the doofuses running the “American Lands Council.” That’s an organization backed by the Koch Brothers front group, Americans for Prosperity. By “prosperity” they mean income for themselves and for other extractive industries.

    Mining, oil and large ranching companies are looking for profits. They already reap a lot of profit from taking advantage of fairly lax regulations governing the use of public lands. As is their way, they want more profits and less regulation.

    Michele Fiori, the Nevada Republican state Assemblywoman that issued a christmas card featuring everyone in her family armed to the teeth, introduced bill AB 408. That bill demands that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) relinquish management of all lands in Nevada and it goes on to say “Washington has no say in any land and water rights discussion, […].”

  23. says

    objdart:

    it’s clear to them that people who use that word are urban intellectuals.

    Something else I’d like to address – your setting up an us against them situation. Perhaps you don’t realize it, but this sentence alone is dripping bigotry all over the place. As someone who lives rural, I know that many people who are busy working the land for a living don’t have a great deal of time to spend philosophizing and all, but to paint them as people who are nonintellectual rubes is not only inaccurate, it’s bigoted. Plenty of farmers are well read, and intelligent, thoughtful people, who don’t have problems grasping concepts. And all the people who live urban aren’t intellectual effetes who have nothing better to do than come up with baffling concepts. You can find smart people all over the place, and you can find not so smart people all over the place, in all walks and manners of life. Such generalized stereotyping does no one any good, and you might manage an argument if you lose that sort of nonsense.

  24. Knight in Sour Armor says

    Hearsay is that the local law enforcement is in fact outnumbered by these yokels. Even if the terrorists weren’t white I’m sure they’d be reluctant to do anything in this situation.

    Maybe our governor will send in the Guard or something.

  25. starfleetdude says

    Given the wildlife reserve center is over 20 miles from Burns and in a remote location, I would not say the town of Burns is being held hostage except metaphorically.

  26. raven says

    That’s an organization backed by the Koch Brothers front group, Americans for Prosperity. By “prosperity” they mean income for themselves and for other extractive industries.

    Yeah, I know.
    The Ammon militia is demanding that the Feds turn over Malheur National Forest to…them.

    If the Feds are going to give away land I want some too. Something warmer and wetter though. I’m going for the Santa Inez mountains above Santa Barbara or Kings Canyon National Park. The Grand Canyon would work but there is going to be a line for that one.

  27. raven says

    As anyone who looks knows, Cliven Bundy, Ammon Bundy, and most of the ranchers are huge recipients of federal giveaways and welfare. They make food stamps look like small change.

    The grazing allotment program is a welfare for white guys scam. They pay 10% of the market rate for those allotments. It costs the BLM more to manage the lands and program then they collect in fees.

    If they ever actually ran a competitive capitalist market for the grazing allotments, they would be over. There are a thousand times as many people like me that would pay good money to retire them as wildlife and recreation lands.
    Most of the ranchers are well aware of this and hate the Bundys. They’ve got a profitable scam going and don’t want anyone to look too closely at it.

  28. says

    starfleetdude:

    Given the wildlife reserve center is over 20 miles from Burns and in a remote location, I would not say the town of Burns is being held hostage except metaphorically.

    Right. Just because the townspeople are concerned enough to close schools, keep their kids home, and have no idea of whether or not this coup d’machismo will erupt and people will die, nah, not hostages in any sense. Nope. Not at all.

    You don’t have to have a gun to your head to be a hostage.

  29. qwints says

    Caine at 24

    Thanks! PZ obviously mentioned it in the post, but the coverage from most sources has been bereft of historical perspective. So many articles on “imagine if people of color did something like this” while ignoring the history of occupations (both armed and unarmed) by marginalized people in the US.

  30. starfleetdude says

    Caine at 34,

    I can understand the concerns the schools have and wanting to opt for safety right now, but considering the fact that those holing up at the wildlife refuge center aren’t going anywhere soon the schools are going to have to open next week anyway. People are going to have to go about their daily lives and not hide out as well, in fact I’m sure many people are doing just that today in Burns.

  31. says

    starfleetdude

    but considering the fact that those holing up at the wildlife refuge center aren’t going anywhere soon

    And which Angel delivered that divine fact to you?
    You don’t know what they’ll do, you don’t know how many people are on their way and what they will do.

  32. says

    Ammon Bundy told local Oregon media that there were 150 armed people at the wildlife refuge center. Reporters who have been near the facility say that Bundy is exaggerating wildly, that he is claiming about ten times the actual number of people holed up there.

    There are also reports that Bundy tried to recruit local men to join his group, but that he was rebuffed.

    And this is a followup to raven’s comments up-thread about ranchers paying grazing fees:

    There are about 16,000 American ranchers who graze animals on BLM lands. Only 458 of them have not paid their grazing fees for use of that land. Even among those delinquents, the vast majority are two months or less past due on their fees, which are $1.35 per animal per day. Scofflaws like Cliven Bundy, who has racked up a debt of over $1 million to taxpayers from unpaid grazing fees and subsequent trespassing fines, are extremely rare.

    Link

  33. freemage says

    What Ammon Bundy said:
    At Sunday’s news conference, Ammon Bundy said the refuge’s creation was “an unconstitutional act,” one that removed local ranchers from their lands, thrusting the county into an economic depression.
    In a video interview with reporters on Saturday that was posted on his Facebook page, Ammon Bundy said the group is standing up against government “overreach” because “the people have been abused long enough.”

    From the website for the Refuge:

    Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established on August 18, 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt as the Lake Malheur Reservation. Roosevelt set aside unclaimed government lands encompassed by Malheur, Mud and Harney Lakes “as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.” The newly established “Lake Malheur Reservation” was the 19th of 51 wildlife refuges created by Roosevelt during his tenure as president. At the time, Malheur was the third refuge in Oregon and one of only six refuges west of the Mississippi.

    Oregon Territory was a U.S. property in 1846. 60-ish years later, this property was made a federal refuge. That status has been unchanged for over a hundred years. Is Bundy claiming that the county has spent the last century in an economic depression?

  34. says

    There is some traffic back and forth to the wildlife refuge center, not all of it media.

    Bundy supporters have delivered generators, fuel, food, etc. That kind of traffic may extend the circle of danger these unpredictable fanatics have established.

  35. says

    The Bundy’s, Senator Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and the Koch Brothers don’t really have a case when it comes to claiming that public lands should be removed from federal government control.

    […] The Constitution provides that “Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.” Moreover, the Supreme Court unanimously held in Kleppe v. New Mexico, that this constitutional provision provides that “the power over the public land thus entrusted to Congress is without limitations.”

    The federal government may own land, it may enact regulations governing that land, and it may do with its own land as it chooses, regardless of whether that land is within the borders of a state.

    Indeed, even the Heritage Foundation, the bastion of conservative purity led by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), rejects Bundy’s apparent belief that the federal government cannot criminalize arson on its own land. […]

    Link

    Bundy’s interpretation of the Constitution is wrong. He also does not have a Supreme Court precedent to back him up. What he does have are a lot of radical fringe groups:
    – The Tenth Amendment Center (states can invalidate federal laws)
    – Americans for Prosperity (Koch brothers)
    – OathKeepers
    – Fox News, especially Sean Hannity and so-called “senior judicial analyst” Andrew Napolitano
    etc.

    Meanwhile, most Republican candidates are being shyer about jumping on the Bundy bandwagon this time. They got burned after the Nevada incident when Cliven Bundy stated that blacks where better off as slaves.

    Ted Cruz did manage to blame the Oregon standoff on President Obama: “[This is the] unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government on.”

  36. says

    A bunch of white religious nuts and far-right yahoos have been pillaging federal property to the tune of a million dollars, and the government does nothing?

    If they start selling loose cigarettes, then the jackboot will come down.

    Seriously, I was re-reading your comments and they made my blood boil. These guys are a bunch of assholes, but they’re small time chump change assholes compared to the Wall St assholes or the horrible oligarch tax-dodger assholes who are in the process of doing a leveraged buy-out on the entire political system. “Useful idiots” – more like “distracting assholes”

  37. raven says

    two months or less past due on their fees, which are $1.35 per animal per day.

    One correction here.

    Currently, the BLM and FS are charging a grazing fee of $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM). For fee purposes, an AUM is defined as a month’s use and occupancy of the range by one animal unit. The fee is in effect through February 28, 2013. The collected fees are divided among the Treasury, states, and federal agencies.Jun 19, 2012

    It’s $1.35 per month per animal unit. An animal unit is a cow and a calf. The market value for private grazing land is 10 times this. It’s a great deal for 16,000 ranchers.

  38. freemage says

    So I did some digging and found the original arson cases–specifically, the announcement of the re-sentencing, which is what triggered the initial protests, though given Bundy’s subsequent occupation of the Refuge, it’s pretty clear he was mainly using that case as a justification for the protest.

    http://www.justice.gov/usao-or/pr/eastern-oregon-ranchers-convicted-arson-resentenced-five-years-prison

    I will say, I’m not sure I agree with the law as it was written and enforced. It’s part of the same overreach we’ve had for a few decades now, using the word ‘terrorism’ to justify additional sentencing. The Hammonds were guilty of poaching deer on federal lands (for which they were never actually charged, as far as I can tell), and of setting fires–however, the fires themselves didn’t seem to be part of any action against the federal government, but rather either shielding their poaching, or later, protecting their land from a wildfire with an unapproved backfire. I actually think the judge’s original sentence was probably closer to the mark.

    I’ll note that the Hammonds have very much bought into the whole anti-federalist pile of bullshit, even allegedly making death threats against local federal authorities. But the laws they were charged under strike me as over-broad; I wouldn’t mind seeing them scaled back at all.

  39. raven says

    The militia members who occupied the wildlife refuge buildings set up a roadblock, and two armed members had manned a guard tower that is usually used to spot wildfires. But there was no sign of law enforcement in the area, and local police said they had no intention of going to the scene, not even to keep watch on the militia.

    The local police aren’t going to do anything. They can’t do much. Harney county is bigger than some states and has 7,400 people. It is about the same size as the entire state of Massachusetts. It has 6 law enforcement officers. They are outnumbered vastly by the militia.

  40. says

    Morgan @ 43:

    Just an FYI… Here is the Portland Audubon Society’s statement on the situation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

    Thank you for posting that. I’ve been wondering and worrying about that. Per Chas’s information, the arson poachers had complete contempt for the refuge:

    Hammond allegedly made death threats against previous [wildlife refuge] managers in 1986 and 1988 and against Cameron, the current manager, in 1991 and again this year. [Fish & Wildlife] said Hammond has never given the required 24 hours’ notice before moving his cows across the refuge and that he allowed the cows to linger for as long as three days, trespassing along streams and trampling young willows that refuge workers had planted to repair damage wrought by years of overgrazing.*

    As that’s the case, and with the current crop of poisonous assholes in it, I’m sure I’m not the only one worried about them destroying the refuge.
     
    *http://www.hcn.org/issues/20/582

  41. says

    raven @44, Thank you for that correction.

    In other news, the Oath Keepers and other “Patriot” leaders are not all backing the Bundy takeover of that federal building in Oregon.

    Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers isn’t the only “Patriot” movement leader slamming the armed militia takeover of a federal building in Oregon. Mike Vanderboegh, the leader of the Three Percenters militia group, wrote on his blog yesterday that the group in Oregon, which is being led by sons of rancher Cliven Bundy, is full of “sociopaths and idiots” and probably includes some who are working for the government.

    Gotta get the conspiracy theory angle in there I guess. “Probably includes some who are working the government” … sheesh.

    […] Vanderboegh, who warned at the Bundy ranch that the standoff could lead to “civil war on a vast scale” and more recently warned that a new Oregon gun buyers’ background check law could also lead to a civil war, wrote that if the federal government ends the Oregon standoff with force, he will have no choice but to join the Bundys in — you guessed it — a civil war. […]

    More conspiracy theory crap:

    Implying that some on the inside are secretly working for the government to set up a “perfect propaganda opportunity,” and that some are simply setting themselves up to commit “suicide by Fed,” Vanderboegh wrote that nevertheless “we must get across to the Feds that if they do not end this peacefully, if they go for a dynamic raid that gets people killed, that they will start a national conflagration that will be fought using the principles of Fourth Generation Warfare as adapted to an American civil war.” […]

    Link

  42. says

    Marcus @ 47:

    “Malheur” is French for “misfortune”

    It was named after Malheur River, which was named so:

    Name origin: From the French malheur (bad fortune), applied by French Canadian hunters whose cache of furs near the river were stolen

  43. says

    a national conflagration that will be fought using the principles of Fourth Generation Warfare as adapted to an American civil war

    “National conflagration” is not consonant with 4GW. So they’re ignarts about 4GW, too.

  44. says

    Lynna:

    they will start a national conflagration that will be fought using the principles of Fourth Generation Warfare as adapted to an American civil war.”

    Uh huh.

  45. jrkrideau says

    @ 45 freemage
    Re sentences
    Who cares if they poached some deer? It’s a trivial point.

    The telling thing, at least to someone like a number of readers here who live or have lived in the country is that they set fires. This is the dangerous and, close to unforgiveable act.

    Rural fires , in the right conditions, can be far more destructive and dangerous than any urban fire. Ask the Australians or google Black Saturday bushfires.

    A mere five years seems a pretty light sentence.

    The “unapproved backfire” sounds insane. If your firefighters don’t know about it, it is a) arson and be quite possibly endangering the firefighters and anyone else in the area.

  46. numerobis says

    One thing about grazing on public lands is that the grazing has social value: we’ve killed the bison herds, so we need cows (or a major bison breeding program) to keep the grasslands as they have been since the last glaciation. Otherwise they turn into woodland, which is a big change.

  47. raven says

    Otherwise they turn into woodland, which is a big change.

    Not really true in this area. It’s high desert. And there are lots of native grazers; mule deer, elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, and a few buffalo around.

    There might be a problem with juniper growth. But grazing doesn’t impact that much and might even encourage it. What keeps the juniper down is usually range fires. Which is one reason why the Hammonds like starting range fires.

    In this area the BLM once tried a massive and expensive program to turn sage brush steppe into grazing land. They even set up a massive irrigation system. It failed. Without huge and continuous inputs of money and water, it went right back to sage brush.

  48. says

    numberobis @ 54:

    we’ve killed the bison herds

    Um, National Bison Range allows Bison to freely range, same in the Nat Park in ND / SD, and large herds of bison are now grazing all over ND, many herds under the control of Dakota Tribes. Cattle roaming about unchecked can do a fucktonne of damage, especially in a refuge (which is what the Hammonds did).

  49. starfleetdude says

    giliell at 37

    And which Angel delivered that divine fact to you?

    It’s more the fact that before said yahoos went off to the wildlife center there was a sizable protest in Burns that took place which involved many people who were sympathetic to the Hammonds. I highly doubt anyone at the wildlife center is motivated to mess with them, or their kids.

  50. nmgirl2 says

    This wildlife refuge was founded in 1908, long before these brave men were born. Leave it for the birds and the deer.

  51. nmgirl2 says

    #54. The bison herds were steadily moving on, not grazing for months on the same patch of grass. Domestic cattle don’t behave that way so they do a lot more damage.

  52. says

    I highly doubt anyone at the wildlife center is motivated to mess with them, or their kids.

    They’re aggrieved white dudes with more guns than functioning brain cells, they don’t need motivation to cause a bloodshed.

  53. says

    This is funny. There’s such a strong mormon connection to the standoff in Oregon that LDS church leaders felt they had to issue a public statement distancing themselves from the Bundy fiasco.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out against the militant takeover of a federal building in rural, eastern Oregon in a statement issued Monday.

    “Church leaders strongly condemn the armed seizure of the facility and are deeply troubled by the reports that those who have seized the facility suggest that they are doing so based on scriptural principles,” the Mormon Church’s statement read. “This armed occupation can in no way be justified on a scriptural basis.” […]

    Link

    Cross-posted on the Moments of Political Madness thread.

  54. komarov says

    Addendum to #60, Giliell:

    They’re aggrieved white dudes with more guns than functioning brain cells, they don’t need motivation to cause a bloodshed.

    Rather, they’ll invent their own motivation. Just look back at the manifesto left by pretty much any mass shooter of recent times.* Conspiracy theories, paranoia, lies and unbridled hatred, you can find just about anything in those screeds except facts and reality. They live in their little paranoid bubble, have some scumbag buddies to egg them on (4channers online or fellow militiamen from the neighbourhood, makes no difference) and, before you know it, a lot of people are dead.

    So, given that the local wildlife centre has been taken over by armed gunmen,** closing schools is the first and perhaps least thing to do. Personally, I’d be tempted to board up the windows of my home or just maybe go on sabbatical in Distant Place, Alaska, for a little bit.
    Heck, those folks are apparently free to move around. Maybe they’re busy tooling up right now, but what if one of them were to decide to go for a little walk when they’re done? Or they might just decide that their ‘initial assault’ was such a success that they ought to keep going. Maybe target something else. Something official, some government building … something soft. Hey, how about a school?

    So, yes, keeping the the schools closed until things have settled down a little bit seems eminently reasonable to me.

    *There seems to be a strong tendency towards the ‘aggrieved white’ type there…
    **My drawn-out “Only in Amercia” moment stretches on.

  55. Menyambal says

    Cattle grazing is very destructive to the land in that area, and as had been pointed out, the ranchers are not paying anywhere near fair rent/fees. By the way, anybody who eats beef has some complicity in that mess.

    The federal government brought that territory into the United States, possibly paying cash for it. Parts of the land have been sold to individuals, but the rest is government land and always has been.

    The “militias”, on the other hand, are not federal and never have been. Calling an armed mob of subversives by the title of our nation’s first defense is a travesty.

  56. says

    numerobis:

    to keep the grasslands as they have been since the last glaciation.

    Also, about those precious grasslands – the biggest threat to them is us. Grasslands are being mowed under for development or sale. Here in ND, they are being turned into cropland. They are disappearing as I type, along with some amazing life, such as the globally threatened Western prairie fringed orchid, Plantanthera praeclara. Most of them in ND survive on the Sheyenne National Grasslands. They are pollinated by Spurge Hawk moths, in an intricate dance.

  57. says

    I would highly recommend this half-hour BBC Radio 4 podcast:


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b060zg8g

    Recent high profile cases of unarmed black men dying at the hands of the US police have sparked outrage, protests and civil unrest in several American cities. The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Freddie Gray are – some claim – evidence of long-standing problems with police racism and excessive violence. But what do we really know about what’s happening? Helena Merriman explores the issues of racism, bias and police use of force. And the head of President Obama’s taskforce on police reform, Charles Ramsey, tells us that fixing the problem will involve much more than just fixing the police…

  58. Michael Sparks says

    Before criticizing the Feds for a lack of an immediate response, there are a few elements that need to be considered. The Feds need time to assess the situation and, quite frankly, time is on their side While the group might get a number of supporters immediately, the majority will find something else to do if the Feds bide their time. The simple economics of having to support themselves will cause a lot of the group to leave If there are hostages, human shields, or the possibility of some other type of non-involved persons being hurt, they need to consider the risk of an armed confrontation. The wildlife sanctuary would be a difficult target to assault. Looking at Google Earth, multiple buildings on flat ground with little to no vegetation to offer concealment. It would be virtually impossible for a large force, the necessary number of law enforcement to handle the situation, to sneak up on them by foot. An assault by ground vehicles would be seen miles before they arrived. Of the state agencies, only the Oregon National Guard would have the helicopter support necessary for an air assault and there would still be little to no element of surprise. Helicopters are after all, noisy as hell. Posse comitatus would preclude the U.S. Army from getting involved. Oregon’s best bet is to setup road blocks and arrest the followers as they get bored and try to leave.

  59. says

    They get an absurd discount.

    in 2014, grazing fees covered only 15 percent of the bureau’s costs to maintain grazing lands. The rest of the cost is made up in federal appropriations and covered by taxpayers.

    And they want to reduce that 15% of the value they’re paying to 0%.

  60. freemage says

    jrkrideau
    4 January 2016 at 1:13 pm
    @ 45 freemage
    Re sentences
    Who cares if they poached some deer? It’s a trivial point.
    The telling thing, at least to someone like a number of readers here who live or have lived in the country is that they set fires. This is the dangerous and, close to unforgiveable act.
    Rural fires , in the right conditions, can be far more destructive and dangerous than any urban fire. Ask the Australians or google Black Saturday bushfires.
    A mere five years seems a pretty light sentence.
    The “unapproved backfire” sounds insane. If your firefighters don’t know about it, it is a) arson and be quite possibly endangering the firefighters and anyone else in the area.

    I mentioned the poaching solely because concealing it was the motive for the first fire; I mentioned they weren’t charged with it because I was talking about the sentencing.

    As for the severity of the sentence, I did a little more digging. Here’s what I came up with:

    If this had not been federal land (if it had been state public land, or privately owned), under Oregon law, the first fire probably would have been 2nd Degree Arson (it was deliberately set with the intent of causing damage to another person’s property); the first would’ve been Reckless Burning (set to try to hold back the other fire). The penalty for the second fire would’ve been less–a year, maximum, and a fine of up to $6250. The first fire, as a Class C felony, could’ve led to a sentence up to 5 years–but again, that’d be the max, not the minimum as it is under the federal statute.

    The federal law, having been part of an anti-terrorism bill, was pretty clearly meant to be applied to cases where someone sets a fire as part of an actual terrorist attack–something far more likely to apply to the current situation, oddly enough. The Hammonds motives are muddier, at best–most likely, they were just trying to confound a crime scene in the first case, and just being ass-stupid in the second.

  61. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- wrote:

    1.) Those people currently doing the occupation aren’t from that place. So they’re not locals

    Indeed. The Bundys are from Nevada, and at least some of his militia is from Arizona. If people are going to be hyper-skeptics about this, they could at least look at some of the facts before they start the song-and-dance act…

  62. raefn says

    Lynna @62,

    I was about to post that link, because of course this outrageous behavior is religiously driven. Elsewhere, I’ve seen joking terms like Yallquaeda, Yokel Haram, and Whisis, waging Yeehawd, used to refer to the right wing militias.

    The comparison is very accurate. These men are deliberately seeking their version of Waco or Ruby Ridge, and are willing to die at the hands of the government for their ideals. http://www.rawstory.com/2016/01/i-didnt-come-here-to-shoot-i-came-here-to-die-oregon-militia-occupiers-fess-up-to-local-reporters/

    By the way, simply camping there is illegal, nevermind any kind of organized sedition.

    Something must be done to discourage this behavior. These men regard any kind of inaction or violent action by the government as victories. The only recourse I can think of is financial. Freeze their assets, treating them like the terrorists that they are.

  63. ck, the Irate Lump says

    raefn wrote:

    These men regard any kind of inaction or violent action by the government as victories.

    They live in a fantasy world where the government is simultaneously evil and oppressive but also weak and ineffectual.

  64. Menyambal says

    Hmmm. Given that many armed fanatics, there may be factional differences. There was a siege of Jerusalem back in 70 CE where the Romans just sat and waited while the defenders killed each other. (Maybe the feds could do some encouraging.)

  65. unclefrogy says

    hell no! make them pay their fair share for the use of the land, If the authorities do not go in and evict them and arrest them for their armed occupation of government property because of political and public safety reasons then they should arrest them when they leave regardless of what the charges would eventually be.
    They would do that and have done that before and worse and the worse has been extraordinarily bad. doing nothing is not working! a completely open and public trial is what is called for that is why we are or are supposed to be a country of law. Let them try and make their case in open court.
    They talk about the land being the peoples land but they want the use of it for a person (namely themselves) not the people of the whole country (We The People)
    follow the fucking law that is what it is for!
    uncle frogy

  66. says

    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/01/authorities-plan-to-cut-off-power-to-militia-at-occupied-oregon-refuge/

    Federal authorities are planning to cut off the power of the wildlife refuge in Oregon that has been taken over by militia , exposing the armed occupiers to sub-zero temperatures in an effort to flush them out.

    The article includes a brief interview with Cliven Bundy. It’s awfully early in the morning to have my irony meter explode into dust:

    Bundy said he did not know how long his sons would remain in the area or how long the standoff would continue. “I want to be there,” he said, adding that he was baffled that the local schools had cancelled classes for the week in light of the armed standoff.

    “I’d go visit with the sheriff and the school officials and tell them what’s on my mind. I’d say, ‘Why shut the school down? That’s just fear-mongering.’

    “There is no indication that this is anything other than a peaceful protest,” he added.

  67. says

    And this will be a surprise to no one at all:

    Fox pundit: Oregon militia are not ‘thugs’ like black protesters because they fight ‘government gone wild’

    MacCallum wondered if it was fair for the media to refer to unarmed black protesters as “thugs” while labeling the armed militiamen as activists without mentioning that they are white.

    “What happened in [Ferguson, Missouri] is really outrageous because you had individuals who were very destructive, they destroyed property, they destroyed their community,” Borelli opined. “We’re looking at Oregon. Right now, these individuals are being peaceful, they are outraged about the overgrowth of government. It’s government gone wild.”

  68. dianne says

    they are asking for food and gear to be mailed (Through the USPS!) to them.

    Once again, they want government help but don’t want to pay for it. Or perhaps they’re so dumb that they don’t know what the post office is?

    I also note that Fox has it backwards, as usual. The Ferguson protests were against a government gone wild: The local government was clearly terrorizing and exploiting the population. In contrast, the Oregon “protests” are a bunch of armed idiots taking over a wildlife preserve. How much more evil can you get? Well, okay, they haven’t actually shot anyone yet, but it’s only because, luckily, there was no one in the building these brave protestors took over.

  69. says

    Ammon Bundy does not like the federal government. We know because he told us. He also doesn’t like people mooching off the federal government, unless that person receiving benefits is him.

    Quite apart from the benefits his family has received from grazing cattle on public lands, Ammon Bundy has used other government services, services for which we the taxpayers footed the bill.

    Ammon Bundy runs a Phoenix-based company called Valet Fleet Services LLC, which specializes in repairing and maintaining fleets of semitrucks throughout Arizona. On April 15, 2010—Tax Day, as it happens—Bundy’s business borrowed $530,000 through a Small Business Administration loan guarantee program. The available public record does not indicate what the loan was used for or whether it was repaid. The SBA website notes that this loan guarantee was issued under a program “to aid small businesses which are unable to obtain financing in the private credit marketplace.” The government estimated that this subsidy could cost taxpayers $22,419. Bundy did not respond to an email request for comment about the SBA loan.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/01/ammon-bundy-oregon-protest-sba-loan

  70. says

    Ah, yes, those dunderheads who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge look even worse when you dig into their past, including their recent past.

    Right wing radio host Pete Santilli acted as a spokesman Monday for the armed militia movement in rural, eastern Oregon in an interview with Fox News.

    “They’re here to enforce the supreme law of the land, which is the U.S. Constitution,” Santilli said an episode of Fox News’ afternoon program “Happening Now.”

    Santilli came under fire, including an investigation by the Secret Service, after he threatened to shoot former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “in the vagina” in 2013. […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/pete-santilli-oregon-militia-spokesman

  71. Tethys says

    I think this is going down just about perfectly. Fools with guns and a anti-government paranoid mindset take a bird sanctuary hostage, ostensibly to support area ranchers. The ranchers have completely disavowed the fools, and the smart people who work for the federal government are currently cutting off the federal power, phone, road, and mail services. It’s supposed to get down to 18 f at night, and snow over the next few days. http://www.occupydemocrats.com/feds-set-to-cut-off-militias-public-power-public-roads-and-public-phone-line/

  72. Tethys says

    Sorry to plop a bare link in the comment, but the tags to make pretty links seem to be missing from below the commenting box. :(