Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Oregon National Wildlife Refuge showdown, Buddy and 2nd Amendment Fanatics: No you cannot TAKE our public lands! ... by gimleteye

A religious vision compelled Clive Bundy and his sycophants to seize an Oregon federal wildlife refuge. Their goal is to win the prison release of arsonists and to undo federal law governing the land ownership patrimony of all American citizens.

If these were environmentalists and not ranchers used to free use of public lands, if these were conservationists who executed a paramilitary style action to protest the failure of federal policies to protect national wildlife refuges or parks like the Everglades -- where the EPA has aligned with polluters like Big Sugar -- , how quickly do you think the FBI and justice department would arrest them?

The domestic terrorists in Oregon expect the American people will rally to their side. Insurrection. Part of their strategy is to dove-tail with the interests of right-wing extremists using the 2nd Amendment to rile up fearful white America.

The concept unifying the gun toters and the ranchers who do not want to pay fees to graze their cattle on public lands is "over-reach" by the federal government. Over-reach includes excessive measures to protect the middle class, civil rights, worker safety and public health.

If there is anything to protest, it is the inflammatory rhetoric of GOP presidential candidates who continue to poison the well of relations between taxpayers and the government.

It is the world-view they are promoting, to benefit big campaign contributors who are often polluters of the environment in one way or another, that gives energy to radical fanatics.

When government is the problem and not the solution, and when this message is hammered home so repetitively that all logic and reason is flattened like a penny on a railroad track, it is simply not possible to understand all the ways that government could do a better job providing for citizens.

You see, the wackos -- who are mostly but not exclusively Republican -- do not believe in "the public good". (In fact that would be an excellent question at any of the forthcoming TV campaign "debates": do you believe in the public good?)

Federal ownership of millions of acres of land across the nation, mainly in the American west, is a pure expression of the public good -- and one embraced by Republican decision-makers throughout the 20th century.

We need to stand up for BETTER stewardship of America's natural resources and environment, not cave into extremist views and an agenda so confused and conflated that daylight and common sense is blocked. Arrest the terrorists.

What Do the Bundy Brothers Have Against Wildlife?
The occupiers at Malheur are seeking to overturn vital federal land management and environmental protection.
By John Nichols

A US flag covers a sign at the entrance of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, on January 3, 2016. (Reuters / Jim Urquhart)

The armed militants who have invaded and occupied a national wildlife refuge in Oregon—with talk of how they are “willing to kill and be killed if necessary”—feel a need to announce that “We are not terrorists.”

The gun-toting children of anti-government zealot Cliven Bundy and their allies want to define themselves as “patriots.” But they lack the faith in the American experiment evidenced by citizens who have historically sought to achieve change by engaging in political activism and nonviolent civil disobedience. The faux “patriots” who have invaded Oregon are confronting not merely the government but the rule of law, and they have as their stated goal an extreme restructuring of the approach of the United States to the physical environment, to Western lands, and to nature itself.

In addition to demanding the release of Oregon ranchers who have been convicted of committing arson, the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are demanding that the federal government abandon one of the most precious spaces in America to ranching and development. The Bundy boys want the refuge “shut down forever”—proposing that “the federal government relinquish such control” of federal lands as part of a broader assault on the very idea that the people of the United States might protect and preserve pristine areas.

Condemnations of federal land management have long been voiced not just by the extreme right but by conservative politicians and media outlets that object both to land management policies and to serious protection of wetlands and wildlife.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has decried recent federal Bureau of Land Management policies and proposals as an “extreme land grab” and in 2014 ripped the federal response to an armed standoff with Cliven Bundy and his backers in Nevada. As Washington’s The Hill newspaper recalled, “Cruz lamented the Bundy standoff as ‘liberty under assault,’ but later rebuked the rancher for making remarks about African-Americans that he called ‘completely unacceptable.’”

Bundy’s sons have taken their father’s anti-government extremism to a new stage with their demand that wildlife refuges be relinquished to ranchers and miners for exploitation of the land.

They are not merely attacking current practices. They are attacking a century of federal policy that is rooted in what was once a Republican-led commitment to conservation and the protection of wildlife.

“Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt [a Republican] to protect the vast populations of waterbirds that were being decimated by wanton killing by the plume trade,” explains the Audubon Society of Portland. “The 188,000 acre refuge represents some of the most important bird habitat on the Pacific Flyway. It is one of the crown jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge System and belongs to all Americans.”

In a statement issued Sunday by its conservation director, Bob Sallinger, the Oregon group that has been in the forefront of Audubon Society efforts to build broad constituencies for the preservation of habitats for native birds and wildlife, argued that “The occupation of Malheur by armed, out of state militia groups puts one of America’s most important wildlife refuges at risk. It violates the most basic principles of the Public Trust Doctrine and holds hostage public lands and public resources to serve the very narrow political agenda of the occupiers. The occupiers have used the flimsiest of pretexts to justify their actions—the conviction of two local ranchers in a case involving arson and poaching on public lands. Notably, neither the local community or the individuals convicted have requested or endorsed the occupation or the assistance of militia groups.”

This is not just a local or regional fight, and this is not just a struggle of the moment.

“Portland Audubon fought 100 years ago to protect this incredible place. The powerful images taken by Portland Audubon founder, William Finley, of Malheur’s incredible bird populations and the wanton killing that was being inflicted upon them, caused President Roosevelt to make Malheur one of the first wildlife refuges in the Western United States,” the group’s statement continues. “Portland Audubon calls upon the local, state and federal authorities to once again protect this incredible place for the amazing wildlife that live there and to preserve this natural heritage for current and future generations. Portland Audubon greatly appreciates the outstanding federal employees that staff the refuge, as well as members of the local community who have rejected this occupation. We hope for a safe, expeditious end to this armed occupation so that the myriad of local and non-local stakeholders can continue to work together to restore Malheur in ways that are supportive of both the local ecology and the local economy—the occupiers are serving nobody’s interests except their own.”


Anonymous said...

I see similarities between the radical conservative tea party speak and the way the Scott administration and its agencies like Fish and Wildlife, DEP and Water Management Districts policies and practices regarding management and (lack of acquisition) of public lands for preservation as well as lack of enforcement and outright waiver of environmental protection laws.
Why isn't the Herald reporting on that? Also, little Scott, aka as Mayor Gimenez aka as the man who thought it was Ok to put an air trade show in the Everglades and has decimated DERM - similar philosophy and same backers.

cyndi said...

You should see that Anonymous. It all comes from the same place and is passed down to all these folks who the words of the koch brothers make them their own and just repeat them over and over again when they hear them on FOX NEWS until we think we're the ones that have lost our minds.who's the sheeple now?