SocraticGadfly: First (and follow-up) thoughts on the Oregon standoff

January 08, 2016

First (and follow-up) thoughts on the Oregon standoff

Update, Jan. 26: Ammon Bundy and seven other Ammonites have reportedly been arrestedwith one dead after exchange of gunfire with federal and state officials.

This happened on the way to a community meeting in John Day, in another county, where, per this piece, the sheriff there is apparently a Posse Comitatus type guy.

The fact the "jamokes" were apparently either dumb enough, or arrogant enough, to try to, or think they could, drive 100 miles from Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to John Day, and hope they'd go scot-free, speaks volumes all by itself.

For a much more complete summary of my thoughts since the arrests and LaVoy Finicum's shooting, go here.

From what I'm reading about supporters of Dwight and Steven Hammond, and others in their train, including Cliven Bundy relatives, taking over a portion of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the answers seem relatively simple on keeping this from turning into a David Koresh-type situation, per what I'm reading from that linked Post piece and elsewhere.

A few notes about the Oregon situation.

(Note: For #BrokebackOregon or #BundyEroticFanFic, see Update 3A. Or go to a new blog post with some quite purplish, and turgid, prose.)

1. It is stupid, this event, but, if our US gummint has brains, can be solved easily enough, assuming no employees are being held. Or, if it had cojones, which Dear Leader obviously does not. (My thoughts on Week 2 of "intelligence held hostage" are here. Maybe Preznit Kumbaya is once again thinking his mellifluous voice will win over all.)

You keep the area of the refuge that's occupied, and even more any building, surrounded and you cut off the water supply and the electricity to the building. Since it appears the occupiers are focused on the entrance building/visitor center, per the Oregonian, this should be easy enough. Given that it got down to 10 degrees Sunday night, cut off the power, and they'll be cold enough, soon enough. And, while they may have brought food, you cut off the water, and all they'll have otherwise is bits of powdery high-desert snow, and that outside the building.

(I've been halfway near that area, to the Klamath NWR. Unless the Hammond supporters and Bundys are true outdoorsmen, killing heat and water at the refuge will smoke them out quickly. But the feds have to do this ASAP, not dilly dally.)

And, no, this shouldn't be that hard. Men like the U.S. Marshals have individual marshals trained for stuff like this.

2. Yes, members of the Bundy family are involved. However, they're not the prime movers, nor do the prime movers want them there, from some reports. So, you play the old "divide-and-conquer" rule. Tell people who are only supporters of the Hammonds that minimal charges are possible if they'll come out now. As for Ammon Bundy or others? No deals.

The fact that other self-identified militia leaders oppose the occupation show that if this is handled tactfully, this will work. (Yet more on the relative lack of support here.)

It's also clear, despite wingnuts among Harney County ranchers asking for more people to "stand up," per the Oregonian (and which aren't YOU out at the refuge freezing YOUR tuchis, you "stand up" folks), that, per the WaPost piece, the county sheriff supports the rule of law. Funny how wingnuts use that phrase selectively.

3. To some liberal people throwing around the word "treason," stop. If you want to claim to be part of the reality-based community, please start by looking up the constitutional definition.

The only crimes seemingly committed so far as (using state of Texas terms; translate into federal equivalent) A. Failure to appear, in the case of the two Hammonds themselves, and even that is true only if they've already ignored a summons; B. Trespassing, unlawful occupation of a building, or similar; C. Interference with a peace officer IF a peace officer attempts to perform lawful duties and is hindered.

That said, per note 1, if any of these folks try to stay warm by lighting office furniture on fire, well, then you've got new arson charges.

And, given that they don't have much in the way of food immediately in hand, and it got down to 10 degrees Sunday night, this will work.

4. The federal judge who originally missentenced the Hammonds needs official federal judiciary sanctioning. If there's a mandatory minimum on arson, that was either a rookie error or a deliberate clusterfuck. Whatever U.S. district attorney's office didn't notice this sooner also deserves a hand slap.

5. Even Ted Cruz is calling out the occupiers. (And the Hammonds are turning themselves in, meaning yet more reason for the Bundy-connected numbnuts to do so.)

Unfortunately, by the Bureau of Land Management and Dear Leader not having adequate cojones vis-a-vis Cliven Bundy (shock me) it encouraged something like this to happen. I don't need the WaPost to give me official MSM confirmation of this, though it does. And I am "shocked" that the Southern Poverty Law Center is part of worrying about this. Has there been a single extremist or quasi-extremist group it hasn't liked to vilify for fundraising purposes?

A former BLM head admits that, going back a full decade, his agency was too timid with the Bundys. Flip side is that today's BLM has a hang 'em high mentality.

High Country News, which is on the ground out there, has a much better insight on Bundy.

So, after the Malheur situation is cleaned up, Obama and the BLM need to find some balls.

Update: Libertarian mag Reason seems to like red herrings, claiming that liberals do not want this settled peacefully. And lest the likes of Robby Soave pull out a few firebrand Tweets, please. You know that's not representative.

What we want is this thing to be settled peacefully, if possible, but with the rule of law enforced, no matter what. You libertarians claim to support the rule of law, don't you? After all, the Hammonds (who do plan to surrender) have 30 years of anti-government animus, put into words, and 20 years put into action.

Plus, as High Country News shares at that link, Hammonds supporters, and even more Bundy ones, have engaged in death threats in Burns. An op-ed by HCN's publisher tells even more about how this is nothing new.

Update 2: Some people, whether identified as skeptical liberals/left-liberals like me, triangulators, or political curmudgeons, scoff at "liberals" for calling the Hammonds and Bundys terrorists. Doug Henwood even says:

There are several responses to this, some in general, some specifically to the likes of Henwood.

The first is that there are degrees of terror. For example, in Texas, there's a "terroristic threat" statute, which Wiki notes has a federal counterpart. In Texas, it can be a low-level felony, but is usually an upper-level misdemeanor offense. In federal law, which has a narrower definition of the offense, it's a mid-level felony.

I'm not calling the Bundys and the Hammonds the same level of terrorist as ISIS. Are they terrorists of some sort, though? Yes.

Second, per Henwood's cracking wise on Twitter. I quoted Idries Shah to him, in brief. The fuller quote:

“To 'see both sides' of a problem is the surest way to prevent its complete solution. Because there are always more than two sides.”
The third, or more, sides of this is that defining an offense as terroristic is not necessarily "hegemonic." Terroristic threats, and actions, are made against individuals, like employees of the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

If calling the use of the word "terrorist" as "hegemonic," in fact, I could double down on Henwood and call the entire federal and state law codes, or the whole idea of the "rule of law" as being "hegemonic," out of either an anarcho-libertarian mindset or some twisted, quasi-SJW vein. Doug's just being curmudgeonly, rather than being a good skeptical left-liberal on this one.

Now, on the first fork of that, he's prolly venturing close to the territory of some readers of Reason, if not the mag itself.

And, he's doubled down on that, on Wednesday retweeting an L.A. Times guest column from another Reason writer.

And, in the Twitter fallout, I for the first time have learned why other people left-of-center get frustrated with Henwood at times. See below.

Update 2a: Hey, Doug? Ammon Bundy is now comparing himself and his movement to Rosa Parks. Even were there no degrees of terrorist activity and criminality, he deserves every ounce of mocking he and they get.

Update 3: Dear Leader is reportedly growing a pair, according to the Guardian. However, he's apparently not taking HGH, because it's going to take six more days until the power is cut off, as well as phone service. (I presume cellphones will be jammed, along with cutting the landline.) And, no word about cutting water, assuming there's a line to the building.

Update 3a: If members of the AA-level militia are leaving the NWR to go to a motel, Obama will apparently never have balls, if the place isn't blockaded. And, none of them will be arrested for trespassing, I'm sure. And, yes, even if the Bundys are chickenshit enough to have women and kids there, people still need to be arrested. Failure to do this is what got us here in the first place. And, leaving for a motel? Crying over learning there's no Santa in the AA militia? You deserve the homoerotic Twitter fan fiction. (Far be it from me to throw Rosa Parks' name under the bus, so to speak. The president's name, or image? That could be another story.)

"Barack Obama, beneath his cool, seemingly rigid exterior, lusted for scruffy men in cowboy hats, longing to softly comfort, nourish and stimulate them as they cried over losing their belief in Militia Santa."

Or another, with connection to the surely lovable Brokeback Oregon's missing security honcho, Booda Bear.

"Ammon Bundy missed his true Buddha, Booda Bear. Booda's admonition to love himself first did no good on a cold night full of tension. Ammon missed Booda's wisdom, and his transcendental warmth."

MUCH more like that in this new blog post.

Update 4: The numbnuts are already talking about going home "when the community is strong enough," because they've got "cows that are scattered." Yeah, right. Let's hope Dear Leader doesn't lose his balls in a side pocket and still arrests people. Odds of that happening are unlikely, though.

Per update 2, in response to one of Henwood's tweets, I called Obama ball-less, or similar, back in 2014. He then said I was pulling a Munich. To which, I asked if he didn't smack down Amy Fried a week ago for making claims similar to what he had just done, over Hillary Clinton's most recent triangulation.

Update 5: If anybody besides the federal government has claim to the land, it's the Burns-Paiute Tribe. The American Indians are also telling Group Bundy to leave. And, per Group Bundy talking about states taking over federal land, there's no way in hell the state of Oregon would give the same cheap grazing, cheap predator control and more to them that they get from the feds. The Bundy kids are probably too stupid to know that, but Sagebrush Rebellion leaders do. "State control" is just a stalking horse for privatization.

As for ranchers complaints that they get more in services from the state when grazing state-owned land? Fine, tell your Congresscritter to support better federal service — in exchange for paying the same, much higher, grazing fees that you do on state land.

Update 6: Who's "to blame"? Besides Dear Leader having no balls, the key person in a lot of this is BushCo Interior Secretary Gale Norton, former lackey of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, key factotum for the so-called "Wise Use" movement that succeeded the Sagebrush Rebellion.

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