Danny Cardwell's picture

    I support The Oregon Militia. . .

    I support the Oregon Militia and the dozens of interlopers who've joined their ranks. I think mandatory minimums are unjust. I've helped inmates in the Commonwealth of Virginia fight Draconian sentences handed down by judges with reputations for, "laying brothers down". I support the idea of civil disobedience. The most important component of protesting is the disruption of the natural order of business. They've succeeded in getting media attention. I'm not invested in the outcome of this situation. I'm not a rancher, nor have I ever visited a National Wildlife Refuge. I'm not concerned with the legitimacy of the claims they are making. I don't care who stole the land after America stole it from the Indians. The material facts of this case are unimportant to me. I have one responsibility in this piece: I have to point out, for the 2,456,473 time, the hypocritical media coverage and law enforcement response to armed white men doing things that would get me and the men of my church killed. 

    We live in a country in where the Second Amendment rights of armed white men are more respected and vigorously protected than the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Ninth Amendment rights of minorities. I would feel better if we, as a country, would be honest and say the Second Amendment rights of white men supersede every right people of color think they have. Usually this line of criticism is dismissed as "race baiting" -a term I've never understood. After your arguments are dismissed, you get classified as another "angry" black man. I've embraced this title; the shoe fits. I'm tired of seeing black people killed by the same law enforcement agencies that strategically negotiate with armed militias to insure there's no escalation of tense situations.

    If groups like the Brady Center and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence were smarter they would hire a couple hundred well armed African Americans, Arabs, and Latinos between the ages of 18 and 30 to march on the steps of every capital in every state until comprehensive gun reform measures are enacted: that's all it would take to get the legislative solutions they're seeking. Many of our Second Amendment warriors either don't know or care that their hero (Ronald Reagan) supported and signed into law several limitations to their Second Amendment rights. If you mention The Mulford Act their eyes glaze over and they do a quick Lexis Nexus search of words Glenn Beck or Alex Jones taught them. Black Panthers marching on the capital in Sacramento accomplished in a few short weeks what dozens of well meaning gun control control groups have failed to accomplish in decades of fighting.

    Make no mistake about it Oregon is about President Obama. Even when his name isn't mentioned the underlying, unifying force behind the Tea Party, the original Bundy supporters, Donald Trump's meteoric rise in the polls, and this Bundy 2.0 upgrade is the president's radical alterity. Almost seven years into his presidency he still has the ability to unify militias, Neo-Nazis, the Klan, and other anti-government groups. I know that these groups have a long history. I concede the point that Waco, Ruby Ridge, Oklahoma City, and a slew whole slew of lesser known incidents happened before 99% of the country ever heard the name Barack Obama, but I can't pretend that these groups haven't had a Renaissance since 2009. Their reflexive hatred of President Obama allows them to engage in, what some people view as, treasonous behavior. As long as the face of government tyranny is President Obama these groups won't have any problem recruiting. The minute a white male or military uniform replaces the president as the de facto face of the government, my hunch is that many of the weekend warriors who dress up and play soldier will go back to their individual pastimes.

    Again, I support this group's right to protest laws they feel are unjust. I won't be on the front lines with them, but I won't stop someone from joining their ranks. My animosity stems from the fact that too many people in our country seek to use every method possible to deny what's right in front of them. We have too many shoot first ask questions later cops patrolling our cities. I don't want this Oregon situation to end in a hail of bullets. I want the impossible: I want us to, collectively, admit that there's a problem. One of my favorite James Baldwin quotes is, "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." I want to turn on the news and hear Black Lives Matter activists covered as fairly as this group. I want to hear one of the major network anchors admit that a group of minorities would never be afforded the kind of leeway this group has gotten. I want to stop writing about this kind of hypocrisy, because so many of my white brothers and sisters have used up all of the good words and made every necessary argument.  


    Yes, I love this line of argument.  They feel that two people have been punished too harshly for the crimes they committed.  I feel like that all the time about lots of people.  Sometimes, I don't even suspect their innocence!  Our system is so harsh, in fact, that I think most people in prison are serving sentences that are too long.  So, yes, I support them too, I guess.  Though I know none of them would ever lift a finger for anyone I might care about.

    I've been fighting for legalized medical grass for 30 years or so now.. I 'understand' that 'reforms' are long overdue.

    But no one in the medical grass theater, even when they were REALLY DYING and so so scik and just wanted the hope of relief, took up arms in a Federal Building, and Medical grass is accepted by the people in greater numbers than I could of ever imagined when we started. 

    These guys lost me at taking over public property in an armed insurrection. 

    Maybe that's why the grass movement's gone so slow - it's America (Chinatown), without a gun or a loudmouthed billionaire, you're nothing.

    Thosw were the days....





    It is ALL about Obama.

    The Hammond's have not only stated that they are not a part of the "takeover", they have remanded themselves to police custody. The protesters about their case thinned on Saturday before the Bundy brothers and their band of about a dozen militia members took over the wildlife sanctuary - and not for the purposes of the original protest.

    So there they sit; in a place no one cares about nowhere near a town in the middle of winter. Law enforcement is scarce if at all, but media's crawling and covering. Mission accomplished! (Umm ... what was it again?)

    It will end, hopefully, barely noticed. Mostly because they're white guys with guns. Worked for Bundy Senior, who made sure they were noticed while they won. Once bitten ...

    Yes, Danny. If they were a group of any racial or religious minority we'd be having a different, possibly tragic, conversation. That's our sickness.

    It was never about the Hammonds. It's about land use and who controls it. In the "good old days" public land was loosely controlled. There were few to no hunting, logging, mining, or ranching restrictions. 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.” 

    In the 1800's plume hunters were decimating bird populations to sell feathers for hats. Millions of birds killed for just the large wing and tail feathers, their bodies left to rot and their chicks to die without parents to care for them. Just as the eastern beaver was nearly driven to extinction for hats. The pelts and tail taken and the bodies left to rot. Just as thousands of buffalo were killed for just the tongue, several pounds of meat taken and a thousand pounds left to rot on the plains.

    But to protect the birds or other wild life the hunters have to be controlled and the cows need to be moved off or at least minimized. Most hunters accepted such restrictions fairly easily. They realized without the restrictions there would be no animals left to hunt. But rich ranchers like the Bundys and Hammonds weren't so accommodating. It wasn't enough to graze their cattle on the massive acreage they owned. They thought they would and should get nearly free use of public land in perpetuity. Kind of like squatters rights.

    So who gets to use the land? One rancher family or thousands of bird watchers and hikers? Do the people through their government have any right to set aside land for preservation of multiple bird species? Bundy would say no. Their argument is the federal government has no constitutional right to own land and it should be returned to the state or county. But that's a subterfuge. They wouldn't be any happier if it was returned and the state decided to preserve the area as a bird refuge. What these rich ranchers really want is to control the land.

    They wouldn't be any happier if it was returned and the state decided to preserve the area as a bird refuge.

    Oddly enough, this kind of thinking is partly the result of rising income inequality within the top, say, 10% of the wealthy.  A rancher worth multiple millions, mostly in illiquid land, is a very rich person, broadly speaking.  But in the arena of federal politics, it isn't worth much.  Maybe you can get a meeting with your congressional rep while they're in the home district.  You could, however, exert some serious control and influence over local lawmakers. You can't afford a Senator but you can buy a town council or a local mayor.  So when it comes to federal actions that you don't like, you argue for local control.  It sounds democratic but it's really about pricing plutocracy for bargain shoppers.

    Yes.  Economic injustice is a cancer metastasizing across the land.

    I appreciate the counterintuitive take and agree that there's a legitimate grievance underlying this protest.  But the militia is  arguably committing treason through an armed occupation of a federal building.  Obama and Loretta Lynch should move in immediately with armored vehicles to avoid or, at least, minimize injury and to send a message to other potentially violent right-wing militias that future insurrections will not be tolerated.  The Oregon group needs to register its righteous anger peacefully and constitutionally the way Occupy Wall Street did and Black Lives Matter did in Ferguson and elsewhere.

    Obama and Loretta Lynch should move in immediately with armored vehicles to avoid or, at least, minimize injury and to send a message to other potentially violent right-wing militias that future insurrections will not be tolerated.

    Oh, yeah, great idea.  That has always ended well in the past.  Sorry, as annoying as I find these people, I did not order the smoked rancher special.

    I was thinking Loretta Lynn - that'd smoke 'em out.

    Some big speakers, soft lighting and blue smoke?

    And twang - don't forget twang.

    The longer they wait the more likely this could end in real disaster.

    The government has all the time in the world. These yokels have... the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. There's no urgency here.

    They are isolated even within their little bubble. Other militias and politicians like Cruz and Trump are distancing themselves from Junior Bundy. There is no need to make him a martyr.

    Treason? I think that word gets thrown around too much. These guys are yahoos, but treasonous? Umm, no. They are just about a dozen dummies looking for their FoxNewsPayDay. 

    The government is doing exactly the right thing, why make the martyrs for their stupid cause of greed? Nope, let them get really hungry and then give up and get arrested.

    The question must be asked of you though, why do you want to go to war with a dozen yahoos? Will the winger meltdown be worthwhile? Isn't it better to relegate these dummies to existing the rest of their lives as the butt of jokes rather than martyrdom. Let me answer that for you.. yes it is.

    Send in the Rock to kick their roody-poo candy asses out of the people's nature preserve visitor's center!

    The Rock can do it all! Woo.

    In hindsight if Obama had ordered Cliven Bundy's behind kicked, his son might have had more sympathy. As it stands now, Cliven is in court with IRS penalties building up as the government uses the legal system. Junior Bundy looks like a dangerous idiot to most of the country. Even Cliven isn't backing his son.

    This is really why a violent response is not called for.  As all this happens, fines and penalties mount as the legal system does its work.  The Bundy clan can refuse to pay but, eventually, property can be garnished and banks accounts taken.  Eventually, somebody might want a passport, which can now be legally seized from people who owe more than $50,000 in back taxes.  Finally, stubborn as one might be, we all die and a corpse cannot stop a government from seizing and liquidating an estate. The government always gets the last laugh because its time horizon is effectively infinite.

    I agree that a violent response would do more harm than good. Ultimately there has to be some criminal action taken, or we could see a rash of copycat scenarios.

    Maybe.  In my experience, the number of people who want to do something like this is gratifyingly rare.

    Excellent post Danny. Thanks for the Baldwin quote. 

    Y'allQueda is fighting BLM (Bureau of Land Management. They would argue that BLM (Black Lives Matter) is a bigger threat to society than they are with a call for other armed men to show up to support their cause. Interestingly, Cruz and even some militia groups have distanced themselves from Vanilla ISIS. Even they realize things are out of hand

    Link noting the mocking of the wing nuts on social media (source of the creative names).


    My thanks to Danny Cardwell for joining me this morning for a half-hour to discuss this blog and some of his other outstanding work.  If you are interested in listening, you can click to my archives page and play today's show.  Danny's interview starts at about 26 minutes.

    Nice. Good interview Danny (and Hal, as usual)

    Thanks Michael.

    Danny, I especially appreciated your answer to Hal regarding the necessity for social diversity among races. It was spot-on. He asked a difficult, yet very pertinent, question and you were on top of it without hesitation.

    Hal, I admired your ability to question your own opinion by way of questioning another, though in this case is was a bit easy. Nonetheless - well done.

    Thanks BF.  Danny was a great interviewee - one of the best.

     Based on what little I know about the Hammonds I support a protest against their sentence even though I consider the protestors as racist louts.

     I don't agree that public lands in general have been stolen from the people. Could well have been true originally  like most things west of Plymouth Rock but now they've somehow become "public" that's what they are.Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon should not be returned to "local" use  i.e. by whatever agri-business is the highest bidder.

    But certainly agree "it shouldn't end in a hail of bullets." Been there, done that. Expect it won't . Fortunately that's not who Obama is.

    Finally. Doctor Cleveland is right as usual. Face it: These losers are chiefly animated by hatred of Obama in particular and blacks in general.



    It's not about Obama. While racism and anger over the election of a black president might have in some small way motivated some of the "protestors" it's mainly an argument over land use. This is a continuation of the Sagebrush Rebellion that began in the 70's. The environmentalists are winning and forcing the government to actually protect public lands. Those who have been destroying that land for fun or profit are losing. There's been fighting over land use issues for decades and it will continue until one side loses. It's seems likely that in the end the environmentalists will win. Among those who care about National Forest and Bureau of Land Management regulations the environmentalists far exceed the numbers of ranchers or orv users.

    I have no reason to doubt you are right about ranchers in general and the townspeople in the vicinity. Goes back to " Oklahoma " and "The farmers and the ranchers must be friends".  But the intensity of these gun bearing occupiers suggests to me that they're reflecting more than that generic regional grievance. 

    We'll see in the coming days as these "protestors"  begin venting to the media. The old guy on MSNBC last night cradling a shot gun under a blanket was actually quite pathetic. You couldn't help but to wish him well. But only after he put down the gun. For good.

    When you step that far outside the range of "normal" behavior , IMHO you cease to be governed by the unspoken social contract inhibiting  the usually suppressed  hostility to "the other" : those of a different ethnicity.

    At the moment, clearly I'm making an unsupported accusation. Let's wait a few days and see what starts crawling out from under the  Oregon rocks.If I'm wrong , first , I'll admit it. But next I'll be pleased.

    I don't expect to be pleased.

    I don't know what you expect to hear that will convince you of what you already believe. That it's all about Obama.  David Neiwert has been writing about the rise of these right wing militias long before Obama was elected president. They've been arming themselves and setting up camps along the border looking for immigrants before Obama. Perhaps you haven't followed the story and think what's happened in Nevada and Oregon is new but it's not. These are the same groups and people that ranchers on the border invited to their land a decade or two ago to "protect" them from the Mexicans. Nowdays they're being invited to the Bundy ranch to "protect" him from the evil government officials.

    There is data from the SPLC that notes an absolute increase when you combine patriot and hate group number following the election of Barack Obama.


    There is data from the SPLC that notes an absolute increase when you combine patriot and hate group number following the election of Barack Obama.



    Edit to add

    It is true that militias grew under Bill Clinton


    They don't stand for anything. They're universal failures who dodge facing that by hating an array of targets. Certainly including all minorities but also a revolving roster of  non- minority targets :planned parenthood, members of the country club,college students.You can bet that a  couple of years ago that would have included Occupy Wall Street and  that today it includes Black Life Matters.

    Given their voracious appetite for targets they sometime accidentally hate one that  deserves that."Gotta get a winner one day."

    By no means are they indifferent to opinion. On the contrary their self esteem requires believing they are being noticed. If there had been no media, no visitors, no notice they'd have left their the Malheur Refuge in two days.

    It's a type.. Their ilk would have been among the Hitler's  first followers the ones he purged after becoming Chancellor and inheriting an Army to take the place of the  SA. .And probably Mussolini's first black shirts, etc.Losers all.


    Thanks for commenting! I admit that not all of the protesters in Oregon are driven by racial animus towards the president, there is, however, a segment of the weekend warrior militia crowd that are driven by their desire to overthrow an illegitimate government headed by a Muslim king. Read the comments section of 90% of the far right websites and take the temperature. Twitter is a cesspool of racist, anti-Islamic, attacks on the president. I actually support this group protesting the mandatory minimum laws, but I don't pretend that a majority of them would take a similar stand if there was a Republican in the Whitehouse. Thanks for taking the time to address this issue.

    Read the comments section of 90% of the far right websites and take the temperature. Twitter is a cesspool of racist, anti-Islamic, attacks on the president.

    Thanks, but I'd rather wash my hair with lye. Reasonable people not only still exist, but actually outnumber those you reference ... without having to visit their bizarre stratosphere to prove it.

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