Grant County, Oregon’s Sheriff Palmer Has Enemies In High Places

Sheriff Glenn Palmer, of Grant County, Oregon (the only county in the United States that, interestingly, has declared itself a UN free zone by vote) appears to be in the cross hairs for some of his actions during the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife refuge in neighboring Harney County.  Sheriff Palmer met with some of the people involved at the refuge and also voiced support for releasing Dwight and Steven Hammond (more on their story here and here.) and for sending the FBI packing from Harney County.  Those are two opinions I suspect the majority of Harney County residents would agree with, but the federal government certainly does not.

Not surprisingly, shortly after Sheriff Palmer’s statements, the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association was asked to investigate Palmer’s conduct. (More details here.)  And now, as Sibel Edmonds has just written today here at Boiling Frog’s Post, the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training has asked the state Department of Justice to investigate Palmer.

This is not the first time Sheriff Palmer has been a thorn in the federal government’s side as he has sought to uphold the rights of the citizens of his county over the years.  He was one of many sheriffs across the nation that stated they would not enforce unconstitutional new gun laws in 2013.  He is also supportive of returning control of public lands to local hands for management.  So is it any surprise he’s come under fire from high places?

As Ms. Edmond’s writes:

If two plus two makes four- then, one plus one plus one plus one makes it a slam-dunk four:

  1. Sheriff Palmer, in 2013, landed on the very wrong side of the Obama Administration and its Fed muscles with his unapologetic and highly public stand against the proposed disproportionate measures against the Second Amendment. That’s one.
  2. Sheriff Palmer was one of the prime targets in the mysterious case of envelopes containing a toxic substance mailed to Oregon law enforcement offices, which were handed over to the FBI for forensic investigation and never again saw the light of day. That’s one as well.
  3. Sheriff Palmer has been a strict constitutionalist- a proponent of the separation of powers, pro local authority vs federal intrusions, and a staunch defender of the sanctity of the Second Amendment. None of which is tolerated by the current federal powers. Any one enough to land him on the fed’s to-be-persecuted list. That’s definitely a one.
  4. Sheriff Palmer is now a direct target of the Federal Government’s witch-hunt, geared to set an example and destroy the last pockets of resistance and righteousness in the nation of the-no-longer-free. And that’s another one.

I don’t know about you, but in my book the sum of the above ones equals a solid four.

I strongly encourage everyone to go read Sibel Edmond’s report at the above link, she gives much more in depth information about this.
The issue of who should own or control the lands of this nation is not going away.  It is an extremely important one that should not be over-shadowed by the media’s portrayal of the Malheur Refuge occupation or the Bundys.  And the same should be said for the corruption in government that we sometimes get a peek at in stories like Sheriff Palmer’s, the handling of the refuge occupation, and the good-ole-boy politics on display in Harney County.
Don’t forget to pledge your support for 100% people-funded media here so we can change the corporate controlled narrative and return accountability of the media to the people.
Author’s Note: I am no longer affiliated with Newsbud and I no longer endorse the website.

Newsbud Kickstarter Campaign Is Live!

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Yesterday was the big launch day for the Kickstarter funding campaign for Newsbud.  Its a big goal, $950,000.00, but with the number of people who want to make a difference in our world, we should be able to reach that easily.  Even donations of a few dollars help, both in attaining the end goal and in showing support for media that isn’t controlled by mega-corporations.  Helping to spread the word is a huge help too so please share the link to the kickstarter campaign to everyone you know.

I also want to send a HUGE thank you to the, at this time, 474 people who have already contributed.  And to all of you who have been spreading the word.  Your support encourages us so much.

Let’s keep working together, let’s make Newsbud a reality.  We’ve got 58 days left to raise the money needed to provide for Newsbud’s start up costs and one year of operation.  So please give if you can, and spread the word!

Here’s a link to the Kickstarter campaign page:  NEWSBUD

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Author’s Note: I am no longer affiliated with Newsbud, and I no longer endorse the website.

Newsbud: Destroying Distortion With Integrity

rocky sick of media

The reporting on the Malheur refuge occupation in Harney County has, for me, been a perfect example of how corporate news networks manipulate the narrative of events to fit their own position on the issues and people involved. Admittedly, I have questioned corporate media for a very long time, for many reasons.  Perhaps it started for me with the way events were covered between September 2001 and March of 2003.  Confusion, lies and omissions, controlling (and co-opting) the narrative, and what do you know, endless war resulted.  There have been so many big events since (and before) then that show the same patterns in the media as the narrative is spun to serve the purpose of their masters.  So, the way the narrative in Harney County has been spun hasn’t surprised me, but it has been an up close view of the process.

With this situation taking place so close to home, I have had the opportunity to communicate with some of the people involved.  I have had the opportunity to learn about the underlying issues, to try and get a genuine understanding of why the protests and occupation happened.  Now, I certainly don’t expect everyone to come away from this story changing everything about their own opinions on the matter.  I don’t expect people to agree on every aspect of the issues involved.  It is, after all, a tangled combination of complicated and sensitive matters.  But, what I do expect, or rather, what I would like to be able to expect, is some honest reporting.

It has been sadly lacking.  There have been some honest and unbiased stories here and there, scattered throughout a wide range of sources.  But those were quickly buried in avalanches of speculation, distortion, name-calling, and outright hatred.  Social media has played an increasing role in this as well.  On one hand, social media has given us a platform to communicate with people involved in these stories and to share what we learn.  On the other hand, in what appears to me to be a desperate attempt to keep their stranglehold on the narrative by the media and its puppet-masters, it has become a place to whip the hateful and divisive rhetoric into a frenzy.

What is perhaps even more notable to me as I’ve followed the story obsessively, is the meticulous avoidance by the mainstream media of any perspectives that challenge the narrative the federal government has an interest in maintaining.  After all, if it isn’t in the news, we Americans won’t bother to look at or think about it.  Again, social media, with all of its clever algorithms, plays a powerful role.

How many have taken the time to look beyond our own assumptions about the Malheur refuge occupation and the shooting of Robert Lavoy Finicum?  How many have bothered to challenge the media’s presentation of the story rather than simply allowing it to shape or reinforce our own perspectives?

Can we not see that an inability, or unwillingness to question the distorted narrative handed to us will only lead to more excessive police force, more ambushes conveniently hidden from public view?  More lies about safe drinking water?  More invasions of foreign lands, more slaughtering of countless civilians?  More division, more laws, more repression?  Have we become so hopelessly detached from reality that we can’t see that every American is facing tyranny?  The front line is different for all of us, but the enemy is the same.  We are all losing our rights.

You may not see or feel it yet.  It may not have touched your life yet, and your news might not be telling you about it yet.  I wonder at what point the citizens of Germany woke up to the tyranny of the Nazi regime?  I doubt the media in Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s was doing much reporting on all the atrocities being committed by the Nazis.  And the same can be said for our own media today when it comes to the atrocities being committed by the US government.

I’m sickened by that fact.  Rather than bowing to the government’s narrative, or acting as advertising for mega-corporations, the press is supposed to report the truth.  The press is supposed to investigate all angles and ask the hard questions.  The press is supposed to be a weapon for the people to wield to maintain transparency and accountability within government.

We can do better.  We need to do better.  And we can’t wait any longer.  Let’s join together, and make all those corporate, narrative-spinning, war profiteer lap dog media networks irrelevant.  Let’s make the Tamir Rices, Eric Garners, Lavoy Finicums, lead-poisoned Flint families, PTSD suffering Veterans, homeless, under-educated children, victims of wars of aggression, victims of excessive prison sentences…WE THE PEOPLE relevant again.

Please join me on Valentine’s Day in supporting Newsbud.  This is an opportunity to truly make a difference by restoring integrity in media, and we can all have a hand in it.  Please take a look at Newsbud today, sign up for email updates about our kickstarter campaign and more information about the project.  On Sunday, February 14th, we will launch the kickstarter campaign with some live-stream discussions with the Newsbud team.  Join in, add your voice to the live chats or tweet your questions or comments using #NewsbudLive.  Together we can do this!

Author’s Note: I am no longer affiliated with Newsbud and I no longer endorse the website.

Peter B. Collins Interviews Todd MacFarlane at Processing Distortion

This is a good interview of Todd MacFarlane, who represents Robert Lavoy Finicum’s family by Peter B. Collins, originally posted at Boiling Frogs Post.  In all of this, I find Mr. MacFarlane to be a strong voice of reason, and I’m so glad he and Peter B. Collins did this interview.  Please listen, and share.

Tomorrow, there will be a memorial service in Utah for Mr. Finicum.  The investigation into his death is ongoing.

My condolences to Mr. Finicum’s family and friends.

 

 

Five Myths Of The Malheur Refuge Occupation

 

By Clint Siegner

Oregon Governor, Kate Brown, sat in her office January 20th and drafted a letter to the US Attorney General and the Director of the FBI.  She wrote negotiations with the “radicals” occupying the Malheur Refuge have failed and insisted on a “swift resolution to this matter.”  Harney County Judge Steve Grasty made similar demands as the protest at the refuge continued.  On January 26th, they got what they asked for.

Authorities, including the FBI, ambushed and arrested Ammon Bundy along with a number of other protesters on their way to a public meeting in neighboring Grant County.  They shot LaVoy Finicum dead.  Witnesses say he was not holding a weapon.

Awful.  Judge Grasty and Governor Brown were certainly aware of what might happen should the FBI decide negotiations have failed.  Few have forgotten the stand-offs at Waco and Ruby Ridge and that “swift” federal action often means people die.  In many cases, indiscriminately.

It’s ironic, but the behavior of the local judge and the State Governor goes a long way to make the refuge protesters’ case for them.  Blind devotion to federal authority is terribly dangerous to lives and liberty.

The protest in Harney County will certainly not be the last when it comes to federal overreach.  Here is hoping people find reason next time, before demanding dangerous federal intervention.

To that end, it is time to dispel a few myths about what is going on.

Myth #1:  The armed people at the Refuge were threatening violence.

You wouldn’t know it by watching TV news, or reading Governor Brown’s hysteric letter, but the Malheur Refuge wasn’t an armed compound full of violent people.  To find that, you needed to drive by the airport in Burns, OR, where federal agents staged behind fences and a flood-lit perimeter, with military vehicles, equipment, and weapons.

Yes, the occupants at the Refuge were armed and they reserved the right to defend themselves.  The difference between them and any other citizen claiming their 2nd amendment right, is that they did so from inside public, and previously unoccupied, federal buildings.

They got very little credit for doing virtually everything possible to minimize threats and interruptions to the local community.  They could scarcely have chosen a more remote location and they moved in when they knew not a soul was around.

The facility was operated more like an open house than a compound.  Locals could, and did, pour in there to see what the stand-off was all about.  Many were sympathetic enough to bring food and supplies with them.  The protesters invited anyone who wanted to show up and have an honest conversation.

For Oregonians, the much larger threat is their high officials writing letters and urging the feds to “swift” action.

Myth #2:  Only nutty, right wing militias from outside would stoop to such tactics.

The system is broken.  Petitioning Congress, where the vast majority of representatives cater to entirely different interests, or using the court system where unaccountable federal judges define the limits (if any) of federal power, is not working.  So people should expect more unconventional means when it comes to protest.

Governor Brown and Judge Grasty must know the protest in Harney County included a number of State and local residents.  There were plenty of community people sympathetic enough with the protest to bring food and supplies, as mentioned above.  The storeroom literally overflowed, and locally grown beef was kept frozen in a snow bank outside for lack of freezer space.

If they had visited the refuge, they would have found people there ready to talk calmly, rationally and intelligently about the issues.  Tragically they felt there had been too much talking already.  Now one of the most calm and rational leaders in the group is dead.

Federal supremacists like to marginalize anyone advocating for local control as radical and dangerous.  They want you to believe these people are motivated by crazy ideology and sprang out of nowhere.

They don’t talk much about history.  These issues on display in Harney County have been simmering for decades.  The Sagebrush Rebellion made headlines in the 1970’s and 80’s.  There is an entire movement of smart folks stretching all the way back to the nation’s founding who question the legitimacy of federal control over public lands.

Given just how economically devastating the BLM and Forest Service management has been for rural communities all over Oregon, Brown and Grasty should be asking some questions too.

Myth #3:  Anyone opposed to Federal control of lands hates conservation.

Governor Brown and Judge Grasty share the same irrational philosophy forwarded by many of the prominent national conservation organizations: the best way to protect public lands is to put unelected bureaucrats headquartered thousands of miles away in charge.  That position is hard to fathom.  So many conservatives see the value in “buying local” when it comes to food, services, you name it.  Local is great, except when it comes to government?

It is a bit reminiscent of war.  The propaganda department is busy dehumanizing the enemy.  Branding ranchers and loggers as if they are all foolish and blinded by greed.  And local citizens as if they are too inept to stand up to them and govern responsibly.

The truth is there are wise people who care for the environment living right there in Harney County.  Included among them are cattle ranchers and forestry professionals.  Many of these folks simply believe management decision making would be better if it was done much closer to home.

Myth #4:  Ranchers just want a free ride.

It would be far more accurate to say ranchers want fair, not free.  Many western ranches have a federal grazing permit attached to them.  This permit has economic value, similar to medallions that taxicab operators buy in order to run their business.  Most of the time ranchers acquire the permit when they buy a ranch, though they can buy and sell them independently as well.  The permit’s value is significant.  The point is, cattlemen pay big money up front for access to the grass.

On top of that, they pay grazing fees annually.  Some argue the fees are unfairly set way below the market rate to rent private pasture.  But these people don’t account for ranchers providing their own veterinary services, maintaining fences and water systems, delivering salt and other feed supplements and moving their own cattle from place to place.  Together with the large up-front cost of purchasing the grazing rights, these are key differences versus renting private pasture.

In any event, practically no rancher is complaining about the dollars involved.

They object to paying federal agencies who have a long history of treating them like tenant farmers and disrespecting legitimate property rights.  Most support the idea of paying fees locally, and getting more accountable range management in return.

Myth #5:  The Federal Government’s prerogative to own and manage the majority of lands in Oregon is beyond question.

Now we get to the very crux of the matter.  Everyone raised in the US is taught federal laws are supreme.  What’s more, we learn the US Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter on whether or not a law is constitutional.  When nine (or fewer) judges, that practically no one has ever met, issue a ruling the matter is settled once and for all.  Those arguing for state and local control of lands had their day in court.  They lost.  Case closed.

Not so fast.  What we were all taught is nonsense.  No surprise given school curriculums are largely designed by the federal agencies.  In fact, the States (capital S) are sovereign.  The Federal Government, including the nine almost wholly unaccountable justices serving on the high court, are not the supreme authority.  State governments have the power-make that the sacred duty-to nullify unconstitutional laws and defend the liberty of citizens.

The kicker is that Governor Brown herself already acknowledged this truth in another context.  She signed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana last summer, in complete disregard of federal laws.  She didn’t send a letter to Washington begging for federal storm troopers to batter the doors in at pot dispensaries.  To the contrary, she determined Oregon’s authority trumps federal dictates and acted accordingly.

What a “radical.”  May she and Judge Grasty find that spirit of independence before calling on the FBI to crush the next protest.

 

About the Author

Clint Siegner-Profile

Clint Siegner is a Director at Money Metals Exchange, an national precious metals dealer specializing in bullion coins, rounds and bars located in Eagle, Idaho.  He is passionate about personal liberty, limited government, and honest money and writes regularly on those subjects.

 

Re-published on seekingredress with the author’s permission

What’s The Beef, Part Two: How Lawsuits Shape Land Management Policies

Range management is more a result of lawsuit than science…Special interest groups sue the land management agencies and they agree to settle on terms that do not benefit the general public and are almost never disclosed…

Victor Iverson in Deseret News, January 22, 2016

When protesters occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County on January 2nd, 2016, I had no idea where the story would lead me.  I’ve written before about being open to opposing viewpoints and ideas, and questioning one’s own opinions.  This story has certainly had me questioning mine, in many ways.  One of those is my feelings and opinions on the ways we go about preserving and protecting our wild lands and wild life.

I love rivers.  I have spent years paddling on them, hiking beside them, swimming in them, finding peace sitting next to them.  And there are a few that are especially precious to me, right in the middle of my favorite place I’ve been to so far, the Kalmiopsis wilderness in Southwestern Oregon.  These rivers, and this area, are the scene of another land use debate, and I side with saving the rivers, and the land.  Because I love them, they are home, and, well, I am not a nickel miner.  Another one of my favorites is the incredibly remote and beautiful Owyhee River, yet another place that is contested, and again I view that issue from the perspective of one who wants to preserve the river and canyon.  Again, I’m not a miner, or a rancher.

If you love the lands, the wild places of our world, and you are upset over the occupation of the Malheur refuge because you see it as an attack on your right to public lands, I can understand.  If you believe that ranchers are subsidized with low grazing fees and are still demanding more hand-outs from the government by grabbing land, well, then I would ask you to take a step back and consider some things.  Take some time to consider their side of the story.  Because you may realize that the reasons they are angry isn’t all that different from the reasons you are angry.

Sue and Settle

Back in the heyday of clear-cutting, over-grazing, strip-mining, etc, when a generation of passionate environmentalists were inspired by Hayduke and his Monkey Wrench Gang, it seemed that the only way to bring attention to the problems of over-use and degradation of lands was with aggressive, sometimes dangerous, protest actions.  From removing survey stakes and tree spiking to bombings and arson labeled as eco-terrorism, considered one of the greatest threats of terrorism in the United States, environmentalists wanted to be heard.  In desperation to save what they loved, they demanded change in the only ways they felt were left to them.  But then another way was found to effect change in land use policies.

We decided, let’s just sue instead.  It got settled with the Service agreeing to do a wolf study, which led to reintroduction.

That was the moment when we looked at it and said, ‘Wow.’  The environmental movement spent a decade going to meetings and demanding action and getting nothing done.  They were asking powerful people for something from a position of no power.  We realized that we can bypass the officials and sue, and that we can get things done in court.

Kieran Suckling of the Center For Biological Diversity in an interview with High Country News

The use of lawsuits to force the agency overseeing the land or wildlife in question to act has proven to be effective.  And it has been steadily increasing.  When the agency agrees to reach a settlement in these lawsuits, the terms are negotiated behind closed doors, outside of the public’s view, away from the public’s input.  It is referred to as ‘sue and settle.’  Here is a short definition from a report from the US Chamber of Commerce:

“Sue and Settle” refers to when a federal agency agrees to a settlement agreement, in a lawsuit from special interest groups, to create priorities and rules outside of the normal rulemaking process.  The agency intentionally relinquishes statutory discretion by committing to timelines and priorities that often realign agency duties.  These settlement agreements are negotiated behind closed doors with no participation from the public or affected parties.

Here is another from the Washington Examiner:

Here’s how the process works: First, the private environmental group sues the EPA in federal court seeking to force it to issue new regulations by a date certain. Then agency and group officials meet behind closed doors to hammer out a deal. Typically in the deal, the government agrees to do whatever the activists want. The last step occurs when the judge issues a consent decree that makes the deal the law of the land. No messy congressional hearings. No public comment period. No opportunity for anybody outside the privileged few to know how government regulatory policy is being shaped until it’s too late.

This means that the very people affected by the policies and actions agreed upon are left out of the decision making process, they are not a part of the equation.  Until it costs them their livelihood, or until they are the local officials in charge of enforcing the policies, often at the expense of their neighbors and even families.  Add to that the issues of water rights, reductions in land use, and devastating wildfires that threaten homes and livestock that are the result of federal mismanagement.  Now can you begin to see where some of the anger comes from?

Beaver County Commissioner Tammy Pearson described struggling ranchers held hostage by the proliferation of wild horses that are ruining a drought-striken range for cattle, wildlife and other uses.

Pearson, a rancher herself, said the situation is dire.

“Producers have exhausted their financial reserves, have lost their faith in federal agencies and have been backed into a corner by those agencies and so-called environmentalists and advocacy groups,” she said. “This grief has caused the uprisings that we see in Nevada, Oregon, and quite possibly in Utah.”

Deseret News, January 22, 2016

It shouldn’t be surprising either that mistrust in the Federal government has only increased alongside these sue and settle, closed door agreements that increasingly shape policies.  It is reminiscent of the mistrust environmentalists felt towards federal agencies and wealthy land owners and corporations in the days of Hayduke.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these lawsuits cost money.  Karen Budd-Falen, an attorney with a long history in land use law who works to protect property rights, and to bring attention to the use of the legal system to effect environmental policy, has been attempting to find out just how much they cost for years. “I was floored to learn that the federal government couldn’t tell me (after multiple Freedom of Information Act requests) how many times they had been sued and how much money they had paid,” said Budd-Falen in this article from The Dalles Chronicle from May of 2014.  The article goes on to quote her claim that environmental groups received settlements of more than $4.7 billion as a result of more than 15,000 suits filed in a six year period in the 2000’s.

According to another article from The Dalles Chronicle published two days later, John Buse, legal director for the Center for Biological Diversity, disputed the claim.  He also disagreed with a figure of $52, 518,628.00 total payouts for 489 cases filed between January 2009 to April 2012 that was revealed in a U.S. Department of Justice report provided to the House Natural Resources Committee.  Buse stated, “although that report appears to cover a little over a three year period, we believe it actually covers more than 20 years.”  He said that the figure included cases from the past that were still open.

Budd-Falen also points out that,

Unlike lawyers who seek redress of grievances on behalf of veterans, senior citizens and the disabled, the fees that an environmental attorney can recoup are not capped, according to Budd-Falen.

“Attorneys suing most agencies can recover $200 per hour in fees if they prevail but environmental lawyers are often awarded $750 per hour or more,” she said…

…“There are lawyers across the nation that make their total living from suing the government.”

That article goes on with this:

Dustin Van Liew, executive director of the Public Lands Council, which is affiliated with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, believes the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, the two agencies that oversee public grazing, are also trying to pre-empt lawsuits by using administrative powers to appease environmentalists.

For example, he said the bureau has cut 30-50 percent of livestock grazing in Owhyee County, Idaho, by placing restrictions on permits. He said the agency is making those decisions without a scientific review of any issues that environmentalists raise or attempt to work out a mitigation plan with ranchers, if that is necessary.

“We believe they are not making decisions based on what’s happening on the ground,” he said.

It would make sense, in order to limit the money being paid out in these settlements, for agencies to do just that.  And that only adds to the list of grievances of ranchers and loggers, etc.  It adds to their mistrust of these agencies and their employees, as it appears to be collusion with environmental organizations.

Kieran Suckling of the Center for Biological Diversity, in the interview with High Desert News linked above, has this to say about the use of lawsuits:

They are one tool in a larger campaign, but we use lawsuits to help shift the balance of power from industry and government agencies, toward protecting endangered species. That plays out on many levels. At its simplest, by obtaining an injunction to shut down logging or prevent the filling of a dam, the power shifts to our hands. The Forest Service needs our agreement to get back to work, and we are in the position of being able to powerfully negotiate the terms of releasing the injunction.
New injunctions, new species listings and new bad press take a terrible toll on agency morale. When we stop the same timber sale three or four times running, the timber planners want to tear their hair out. They feel like their careers are being mocked and destroyed — and they are. So they become much more willing to play by our rules and at least get something done. Psychological warfare is a very underappreciated aspect of environmental campaigning.

I would argue that what may have been a useful and sometimes justifiable tool has been corrupted and turned into an industry.  And it prevents communities on the local level, people from all sides of an issue, from coming together to work out solutions that probably won’t make everyone completely happy, but will at least keep people working while preserving lands and wildlife.  As a result, we are seeing more and more aggressive and sometimes violent acts of protest coming from the people who rely on land use.  From bulldozing fences and turning cattle loose to graze without paying grazing fees, to occupying wildlife refuges.

The reality is, as long as the balance of power keeps shifting back and forth between huge, special interest lobby groups and wealthy power players on both sides of this issue, we on the ground with our passionate desires to save what we love, will be forced apart.  We will continue to fight it out by enforcing increasingly over-bearing restrictions, and resorting to increasingly aggressive guerrilla tactics.

“In a lot of ways, the forest service and grazing community have more in common than not.  Anyone whose livelihood comes from the land understands that we have to keep the land healthy to sustain production.”

Laura Pramuk, public affairs officer for the forest service, said in The Dalles Chronicle in May, 2014

 Read What’s the Beef Part One: The Anger Over Federal Land Management here.

Wise Words From Lavoy Finicum’s Lawyer

I just had to share a part of this article by Todd MacFarlane, published at Boiling Frogs Post this morning because I believe he is absolutely correct, and we have to put a stop to this excessive government response.  Please read this, and the entire article linked above, and share it.

In addition to the fact that the whole situation was on track to a peaceful resolution, What Governor Brown and others, including federal officials and local Harney County officials obviously haven’t wanted to understand and acknowledge from the outset is that if they had just simply ignored Ammon Bundy and his followers at the refuge, eventually the whole thing would have just shriveled up and died. Bundys wouldn’t have gotten the attention.  It would have come to a peaceful conclusion.  And I can’t really see that much, if any, harm would have occurred by taking that approach.  But it would have required too much common sense.  Not to mention patience.

So instead, they pretended that it was some kind of really big thing — that by being at the refuge the occupiers were allegedly “impeding federal officers” in their duties, and “disrupting the local community.”

Mr. MacFarlane goes on to describe the excessive police force around the Malheur Refuge.  I too have been seeing similar reports on facebook, and find it unbelievable that there has been little to no coverage of these in the media.

After weeks of people being able to come and go at the Malheur Wildlife refuge for weeks (including federal employees if they had wanted to), now that there are only four people left, there are heavily armed, militarized check points on all the roads around the refuge. And you should see what happens at those checkpoints.

From what I understand, it’s not just a matter of showing your papers and explaining your business. If you approach one of the checkpoints, you are warned by a loudspeaker that you will be shot if you do anything other than exactly what you are told.  From what I understand, these checkpoints are fortified with multiple vehicles, including Bearcats, with .50 caliber machine guns.  To determine whether anyone who approaches a checkpoint has any legitimate business there, they make people get out of their vehicles – obviously at gunpoint, with the .50 cals always ready.  Then they make people lay down on the ground, and they handcuff them before engaging in invasive, heavy-handed searches for weapons and other contraband.

That’s what another rancher I know encountered when he tried to go feed his cows. When he pulled up to the checkpoint, someone on a bullhorn threatened to shoot him if he made any misstep, before searching him as described, and finally allowing him to pass to do his chores.  This is what locals are experiencing at the hands of the fully militarized police forces restricting their travel and activities in the area.

And thanks to the spin the government is putting on all of it, with the help of the mainstream media, this heavy-handed approach is all more than justified because a bunch of batshit crazy nutcases camped out at a wildlife refuge.

He also points out that the way this has been spun in the media has distracted from the original grievances of the protesters, and will likely have a big effect on the chances of an impartial judge and jury existing for those who have been arrested and charged.

I hope you will take a look at the entire article, and you can find more of his writings at The Pahvant Post.

I am still working on What’s the Beef, Part Two:  How Lawsuits Shape Land Management Policies, so check back tomorrow.