Militia Group Takes Over Federal Building in Eastern Oregon Because “The Lord Was Not Pleased”

Mungoman

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I think it's safe to say that the acquittals of the prime movers behind this occupation is not universally welcomed. I confess I struggle to understand it, myself. As much comment on twitter has it, what message does this send to other people contemplating armed resistance in the event the election doesn't go their way? Never mind the apparent disparity in the kid-glove treatment of this bunch of obviously heavily-armed people who just happen to be white, and the many cases of people of colour being shot even though they did not obviously present an armed threat.

I've never underestimated the American Governments talents for vindictiveness Krepostnoi - I'll wait, because I expect the Internal Revenue people to come knocking on the Bundy's front door after this debacle.

I hope that their books are in order.
 

Krepostnoi

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I've never underestimated the American Governments talents for vindictiveness Krepostnoi - I'll wait, because I expect the Internal Revenue people to come knocking on the Bundy's front door after this debacle.

I hope that their books are in order.
Well, yes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. But I've said elsewhere that modern politics is all about presentation, and I wonder what message is being presented here. Plus, doesn't old man Bundy owe years and years in back taxes connected to his (mis-)use of the federal land on which his semi-feral herd is grazing/wreaking havoc? If they can't corral his livestock or force him to do so, what chance do they have of enforcing tax obligations upon him?
 

Spookdaddy

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Well, yes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. But I've said elsewhere that modern politics is all about presentation, and I wonder what message is being presented here. Plus, doesn't old man Bundy owe years and years in back taxes connected to his (mis-)use of the federal land on which his semi-feral herd is grazing/wreaking havoc? If they can't corral his livestock or force him to do so, what chance do they have of enforcing tax obligations upon him?
They've more or less been given license by a jury of their peers to do pretty much what they want now - as long as they wrap it up in some individual freedom versus federal interference motif, and add a strong measure of self-serving religious bullshit to the mix. (God, told me I could set fire to public property??) I expect they'll just wave a gun at the taxman and exercise their championing of individual self-sufficiency by blubbing online for lots of other god-fearing patriots of the self to turn up with guns and give them a hand. (But next time maybe someone needs to remember to bring some sandwiches.)

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
 

Quake42

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Interesting. Of course one of the great strengths of the jury system is the power it gives ordinary people to deliver what may appear to be perverse verdicts, on the grounds that they believe the prosecution was unnecessary or brought maliciously.

We may not agree with the way it worked out in this instance, but I'm very glad we have the safeguard here and in the US.
 

kamalktk

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The NY Times link sends me to a registration page. Did it mention Bundy's defense lawyer getting tasered?
 

Cynical Apathist

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...doesn't old man Bundy owe years and years in back taxes connected to his (mis-)use of the federal land on which his semi-feral herd is grazing/wreaking havoc? ...
Well, yes and no. That is part of the problem. A little backstory... The Bureau of Land Management leases grazing rights to local ranchers. At the time all the brouhaha over the cattle started the BLM did not have a director, the position in Washington DC overseeing the agency was vacant. There was an interim director appointed, pending official confirmation. So there was not really any clear leadership or direction from the top in the matter. The local managers started the attempted seizure over the non-payment, and rapidly turned into the armed confrontation and circus you saw on television. The interim director was formally confirmed (probably hastened by the ruckus) and his first action was to pick up the phone and order a stand down by the armed federal agents. A smart thing to do. Who wants to start a shoot out over late payments and some cows? So who did Bundy owe the fees to? That also was unclear. The parcels in question were part of checkerboard of mixed ownerships -- state of Nevada land, federal land, and private, some Bundy's and other ranchers. The BLM had given the authority to collect the lease payments on their parcels to the state. The state turned it over to the local county, as the county was also administering the state lands for the state of Nevada. This is mostly low productivity land with open range grazing. The county was not diligent in collecting the fees, and Bundy was not in any hurry to make voluntary payments. So he was not paying anybody for the grazing rights. But exactly who he was supposed to be paying was a legal question to be resolved. If he had been smart he would have put the amount he owed each year into an escrow account and wait for the legal and accounting issues to be clarified. But he did not do that.
The stand down emboldened Bundy and his supporters, which led to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation in support of other ranchers.
 

Frasier Buddolph

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I was dismayed to hear that Bundy and friends had been acquitted, but, looking deeper into the matter, I'm thinking the situation may not be as bleak as I first thought.

Conspiracy charges are notoriously difficult to make stick, and it appears that this verdict hung on the prosecution's failure to prove the defendants' guilt on some very specific points of law. Although legal experts were astonished by the verdict, it was not, apparently, an egregious dereliction of duty in which the jury simply ignored the evidence and the law and let the guilty walk. At least, that is how I'd like to read it.

The Bundy's, it appears, are not off the hook by a long shot. Their legal troubles are far from over. Extremists who see this decision as granting them carte blanche for future actions should think again.
 

Mungoman

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Well, yes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. But I've said elsewhere that modern politics is all about presentation, and I wonder what message is being presented here. Plus, doesn't old man Bundy owe years and years in back taxes connected to his (mis-)use of the federal land on which his semi-feral herd is grazing/wreaking havoc? If they can't corral his livestock or force him to do so, what chance do they have of enforcing tax obligations upon him?
I don't know what is holding the governments hand in this situation K, but I'm sure that there is a strategy going on, when they came for the elder Bundy, his mates gathered around with their interpretation of the law, their guns and their god and forced a backdown.

As god, it seems is on 'their side', I think that it's only a matter of time before the government quotes Mark12:17, and rolls in with the whole shebang - maybe it's a matter of timing?
 

Krepostnoi

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Interesting. Of course one of the great strengths of the jury system is the power it gives ordinary people to deliver what may appear to be perverse verdicts, on the grounds that they believe the prosecution was unnecessary or brought maliciously.

We may not agree with the way it worked out in this instance, but I'm very glad we have the safeguard here and in the US.
This might be a first, Quake, in that I agree with you wholeheartedly. I'm glad we got there eventually :).
 

ramonmercado

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Ammon Bundy verdict puts federal land agencies on alert
October 30, 2016 at 7:00 AM, updated October 30, 2016 at 7:01 AM

Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, was so sure about convictions for Ammon Bundy and others on trial for taking over his agency's bird sanctuary that he'd already written a "victim's letter" to consider at sentencing.

So when jurors Thursday found Bundy and six others not guilty of impeding his agency's workers after they seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2, Ashe said he took it personally.

In an interview Friday, Ashe said federal officials remain determined to prosecute new occupations. And in a blunt internal email, obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive, he said his agency "must send a strong message of deterrence to those who would seek to replicate the occupation or perpetuate the toxic myths that sustained it."

In interviews and other communiques issued in the wake of the verdict, the executives who manage much of America's federal public lands offered the first hint at how the occupation and its outcome would shape their approach to their work.

They advised public workers to be alert for potential trouble. They said they would do all they could to protect their employees and national parks, refuges and other federal holdings.

They also emphatically resolved to press ahead with policies for managing public lands that depend on working well with local interests. Since the occupation, Harney County has been held up as a model for how ranchers, environmentalists, business owners and government staff can work together.

But security is top of mind at the moment for federal officials.

"We're in a heightened state," Ashe said. "We are concerned that the verdict in this case could embolden people."

Neil Kornze, director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, told his staff in a memo that employees must be "clear-eyed about the potential impact" of the' Malheur verdict and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said she's worried about "potential implications for our employees and for the effective management of public lands." ...

http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-standoff/2016/10/post_15.html
 

ramonmercado

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The Bundys appear in this article and the Sheriffs involved share their approach to law and the constitution.

The Renegade Sheriffs
A law-enforcement movement that claims to answer only to the Constitution.

By Ashley Powers

... Finch won the election on his second try, in 2012, just after his fiftieth birthday. Before taking office, he went online to research his new position. Finch is conservative, and the sites he visited argued that the sheriff, in his county, is more powerful than the President. That argument was consistent with the beliefs of Finch’s law-enforcement hero, Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who last year was convicted of defying a court order to stop the racial profiling of Latinos. “I like Joe, because Joe’s a lot like me,” Finch told me. “He doesn’t take shit from nobody. He knows what his role is, and come hell or high water, he was going to do what he thought was right.” On Facebook, Finch posted a Breitbart story, about a sheriff named Denny Peyman, headlined “Kentucky Sheriff to Obama: No Gun Control in My County.

There are roughly three thousand sheriffs in America, in forty-seven states. Arpaio and Peyman are among the dozens aligned with the “constitutional sheriffs” movement. Another is David A. Clarke, Jr., the cowboy-hatted Wisconsin firebrand who considered joining the Department of Homeland Security. (He now works at America First Action, a pro-Trump political-action committee.) There are even more followers of constitutional policing across America among law enforcement’s rank and file. One group, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, or C.S.P.O.A., claims about five thousand members. ...

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/...pJobID=1382123330&spReportId=MTM4MjEyMzMzMAS2
 

ramonmercado

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Another article regarding the Bundys which puts their Movement in a historical context.

WHEN MILITANTS RISE UP against the government in the farmland of the American West, their insurrections tend to take place in stark landscapes that are well suited to narratives of rural oppression. Like all social media influencers, these self-described patriots know that optics matter, and over the last half-decade, they’ve often staged their battles against federal land management policies in cinematic settings.

Whether carrying guns on horseback through rugged desert terrain, or denouncing the FBI against a backdrop of flags and red rock canyons, today’s Sagebrush Rebels often operate in battle spaces that yield both tactical and cinematic advantages. Sympathizers as far away as the East Coast have been wooed by their deft command of rural iconography, which can give a noble sheen even to those who flirt with bloodshed under the claim of protecting American agriculture from socialist plots and federal overreach.

It might seem unfitting, then, that one of the patriot movement’s most important events of 2018 was a low-profile gathering in Modesto, California, a city of 201,165 that usually grabs headlines with its high crime rates and asthma-inducing smog. The Range Rights and Resources Symposium opened on an April day at a community college next to Highway 99, a raging freeway also known as Blood Alley. For two days, some of the movement’s leading activists gave fiery speeches alongside local dignitaries, railing against federal bureaucrats and other enemies in diatribes that sometimes took on the tone of Old Testament scripture.

Two renowned figures of the far right adorned the speaker’s bill: Ammon Bundy, who rallied militias to take over Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016 in protest of federal land management, and Congressman Devin Nunes, a former California dairy farmer who launched the Republican effort to discredit the investigation of President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. ...

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article...bundy-tap-into-a-deep-well-of-agrarian-rage/#!
 

ramonmercado

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Quite extraordinary, Trump pardons the arsonists whose imprisonment atarted this whole thing off.

US president Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned two imprisoned Oregonranchers whose sentencing on arson convictions sparked the 2016 occupation of a wildlife refuge, part of a long-simmering dispute over federal land policies in the US west.

The armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in remote southeast Oregon followed a judge’s ruling sending Dwight Hammond and his son Steven back to prison to serve longer terms after their initial release from shorter sentences. Police shot one of the occupiers dead during the 41-day midwinter protest.

The takeover was another flare-up in a decades-old conflict over federal control of millions of acres of public land in the western United States. In Oregon, about half of all land is controlled by the federal government.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/wor...inspired-wildlife-refuge-occupation-1.3560651
 

ramonmercado

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This guy was thrown out of the Oregon occupation because he was too much of a looper. Now he sees child trafficking bases in abandoned homeless camps and ordinary ranch houses.

On May 31, a strange story aired on the nightly news in Tucson, Arizona. KOLD News 13 reporter Kevin Adger told viewers that a local veterans’ rights activist named Lewis Arthur had made a horrific discovery in the bushes beside a frontage road: a bunker used as a stopover by child sex traffickers. The reporter pointed out children’s clothes, an old toilet seat and a septic tank where Arthur claimed kids had been held against their will.

Arthur had stumbled across the camp while canvassing the area for homeless vets. He posted an outraged rant on Facebook and started getting comments — a lot of them. When he posted videos arguing that there were probably bodies buried at the camp and that it was part of a network of Arizona sex trafficking sites, he topped 680,000 views in days.

There was just one problem with Arthur’s story: It wasn’t true. Tucson police and sheriff’s deputies both investigated the site and found nothing more than a former homeless camp — no evidence of sex trafficking. Arthur then claimed he and two friends had found proof: a child’s skull. Officers sent the skull to the Pima County medical examiner, who concluded that it had belonged to an adult and been found miles away from the homeless camp.

https://www.hcn.org/issues/50.17/po...JyUwIXW0DvQKWbV2KzkFeb4JOr2Vv-2tKONvgy-btsl5s
 

INT21

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Ramonmercado,

there is nothing really surprising about Trump pardoning the above arsonists.

He has already stated that people will not be happy if he doesn't win the next election.

So he is using the dog whistle to tell his side' don't worry if things get violent 'Brothers'.

INT21.
 

maximus otter

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Ramonmercado,

there is nothing really surprising about Trump pardoning the above arsonists.

He has already stated that people will not be happy if he doesn't win the next election.

So he is using the dog whistle to tell his side' don't worry if things get violent 'Brothers'.

INT21.
Stripping out the “Trump! Wahhhh!”, here are the bare facts of the case from Wikipedia:

In 2012, both Hammonds were charged with several counts in relation to two fires in 2001 and 2006, and eventually convicted of two counts of arson on federal land. Knowing they would face the statutory minimum of five years, the men waived their right to appeal these convictions in exchange for dismissal of several unresolved charges. After this mid-trial agreement was entered, the Hammonds were sentenced to a few months in jail, which they served.

In 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated these sentences because they were shorter than the statutory mandatory minimum. The Ninth Circuit remanded to the district court for resentencing. The district court subsequently re-sentenced both Hammonds to the mandatory minimum of five years in prison, with credit for time served.

On July 10, 2018, Trump issued pardons for both men.[4] A release from the White House press office stated, "The Hammonds are...imprisoned in connection with a fire that leaked onto a small portion of neighboring public grazing land," "The evidence at trial regarding the Hammonds’ responsibility for the fire was conflicting, and the jury acquitted them on most (sic) of the charges."

According to his spokesperson Sarah Sanders, who read the statement, "The previous administration, however, filed an overzealous appeal that resulted in the Hammonds being sentenced to five years in prison."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammond_arson_case

maximus otter
 

stu neville

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General point - careful with the politicisation, chaps. I know it's tricky in this kind of case. Play on.
 
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