Monday, January 04, 2016

Armed Extremists Vow to Continue to Occupy Federal Property

Extremists once again hiding behind the American flag
The lunacy - and some would say treason - on display in Oregon is the logical outcome of the contempt for government authority and the laws that apply to everyone that has become a hallmark of the Christofascist/Tea Party base of the Republican Party.  A mindset that has been only encouraged by the demagoguery of GOP candidates and their willingness to prostitute themselves to these ugly elements of the party base.  The good of the country seeming rarely factors into the GOP's partisanship priorities.  The irony, as noted by many on social media, is that if 150 blacks tried anything remotely comparable, the military or swat teams would have already moved in.  White extremist continue to get a pass from both the police and the media.  The New York Times looks at the unfolding saga.  Here are highlights:
The protesters arrived in this old lumber town to support a 73-year-old rancher and his son who had been sentenced to prison for setting fires that spread to federal lands. It was billed as a peaceful demonstration, but after “Amazing Grace” was sung and hugs were exchanged, a small, armed contingent declared outside a supermarket that it was taking a stand and asked who wanted to join.

So began the latest armed flare-up in a decades-long struggle between federal officials and local landowners and ranchers over how to manage the Western range. The armed anti-government group seized empty administrative buildings on a federal refuge for wildlife about 30 miles away through the snowy sagebrush, and by Sunday night, had hunkered down for what they vowed would be an indefinite standoff with the government.
“We will be here for as long as it takes,” said Ryan Payne, an Army veteran who characterized the group’s action as a liberation of public lands.

The Harney County sheriff, David M. Ward, said in a statement on Sunday, “These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers, when in reality these men had alternative motives to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”

The group was led by Ammon Bundy, a rancher whose family became a symbol of antigovernment sentiment in 2014 when his father, Cliven Bundy, inspired a standoff between armed local antigovernment activists and federal officials seeking to confiscate cattle grazing illegally on federal land in Nevada. 

Residents expressed sympathy with the underlying complaints, but elected officials criticized the armed protesters as an outsider militia group whose actions had thrown their community into a harsh national glare.

“The battle was brought to us,” said Dan Nichols, a county commissioner who is a neighbor of the Hammond family. “This county isn’t supportive of what’s being done here at all. Once again, it’s a bunch of those who live without the county telling us what we need to do, how we need to be doing it and the repercussions if we don’t.” 

The Hammonds each served sentences for the arson charges, but they were ordered to report to a prison in California on Monday after a federal judge ruled that the sentences they had served were not long enough under federal law. Ms. Hammond said her husband and son would surrender themselves as ordered.

The case caused a local uproar, but it also touched a nerve with far-right groups like the one headed by Mr. Bundy. The Bundys have been organizing opposition to the government case against the Hammonds on social media in recent weeks. They described the case as a tyrannical use of federal authority.

Mr. Payne, the veteran who is also at the site, said the group was not violent. But he also said members had discussed the possibility that the standoff could turn violent.

Referring to the federal government, he added, “If they think that’s worth bringing their armies in here and harming or fouling that endeavor, we’ll just have to read the Constitution and look at our Bibles and see who’s on the right side.”

Note the reference to the Bible, the cause of so much death and horrors over the centuries.   These people are dangerous and need to be prosecuted for what they are doing. 

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