‘We’re going to talk about how much we love public lands’

Conservationists gathered today in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho to send a strong message in support of our public lands, particularly the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

“We can show the gang that’s out there at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge how you really make a public statement in support of something,” said Sean Stevens, executive director of Oregon Wild.

“We’re going to be positive. We’re going to be peaceful and we’re going to talk about how much we love public lands.”

…Bob Sallinger, conservation director of the Portland Audubon Society of Porltand, said the armed occupation needs to end and the lands need to be returned to the public owners.

“This country really cares about these places,” Sallinger said. “This illegal armed occupation needs to end. It needs to be prosecuted and these lands need to be returned to the people.”

  1. #2 by Larry Bergan on January 20, 2016 - 1:28 am

  2. #3 by Larry Bergan on January 20, 2016 - 1:31 am

    The Mormon church has taken a stand against these frauds. Does anybody have any information as to where governor Herbert stands on this?

    • #4 by Richard Warnick on January 20, 2016 - 8:53 am

      As far as I know, the State of Utah position is they want to steal our public lands through a “legal” process that relies on untested or already-rejected constitutional theories.

  3. #5 by Richard Warnick on January 20, 2016 - 8:48 am

    Will The Oregon Militiamen Ever Be Brought To Justice?

    David Hayes, a former assistant secretary for the Department of Interior, told TPM that the most important thing is to actually bring charges.

    “A delay is no one’s friend here,” Hayes says. “I don’t know what these folks will respond to, but I do think it is unfortunate that the DOJ has moved so slowly on the Cliven Bundy situation. It is important to send a message that armed confrontations and armed occupations of federal lands are not acceptable.”

  4. #6 by Richard Warnick on January 20, 2016 - 10:10 am

    Oregon standoff: Anger, frustration boil over: ‘Get the hell out of my county’

    One woman said she appreciated the attention Bundy has brought to rural issues but told him, “Get the hell out of my county.”

    Another man gestured at Bundy and gave him the same message.

    “Are you happy you did this to our community?” he said.

    Another woman, shaking in anger, called out Bundy for the fear he’s caused in local schools, which closed for a week after the occupation began. She yelled across the gym at him, telling him to leave and “go to jail where you deserve to be!”

  5. #7 by Richard Warnick on January 20, 2016 - 10:17 am

    Oregon standoff leader warns feds: Back off

    Since the occupation started Jan. 2, the protesters have provided shifting accounts of what they want and when they would leave. Two weeks ago, some said the group would leave if Harney County residents said they should. Two widely attended community meetings gave them their answer: Go. The militants packed not a single bag.

  6. #8 by Richard Warnick on January 20, 2016 - 10:56 am

    Novelist Obliterates The Bundy Militia — And Oregon’s Largest Newspaper — In 194 Words

    Award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin has lived in Oregon for more than half a century, and has regularly visited the region surrounding the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for 45 years. Ever since armed militants took over the refuge in a dispute over ranching fees on public lands, Le Guin has “been following the situation very closely,” she said in an email to ThinkProgress.

    …She believes the state and federal government “should speak up loud and clear in support and defense of the law-abiding citizens of Burns and the whole region.”
    “They should make it clear — by words first, then by deliberate actions — that ranting about the Constitution does not get you a permit to break the law, fail to pay your grazing fees, cut a rancher’s fences, steal government cars, misuse public property, and keep a lot of good American citizens under a stupid, brutal reign of terror for (now) 18 days,” she said. “How much longer? Enough is enough!”

  7. #9 by Richard Warnick on January 20, 2016 - 2:37 pm

    Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday had harsh words for the federal government’s handling of a 19-day occupation at the Malheur National Wildfire Refuge.

    “This situation is absolutely intolerable and it must be resolved immediately,” Brown said, saying she’ll continue to press her case with the White House and FBI…

    …She confirmed that federal authorities had asked her office and other local officials to say as little as possible about the occupation to keep from adding any fuel to the occupiers’ rhetorical fire. But that didn’t stop her from speaking out all the same.

    “This spectacle of lawlessness must end,” Brown said.

  8. #10 by Richard Warnick on January 20, 2016 - 2:44 pm

    WATCH: Oregon militants sit silently as furious residents shame them for ruining their community

    Resident Isabelle Fleuraud pointed out that mandatory minimum sentencing wasn’t “invented for the Hammonds a few years ago.”

    “It has been around for 20 years and it was the Republicans who put them in place,” she said. “For 20 years mostly inner-city, poor, minority men have been unjustly jailed for endless sentences… The Hammonds committed the crime, and they got the sentence that was appropriate for that crime. And it is very sad, but it is sad for everybody in America who has an unfair sentence. Not just the Hammonds.”

    She then accused the group of “invading” the community and said they should leave and “go to jail where you deserve to be.”

    • #11 by Larry Bergan on January 20, 2016 - 10:07 pm

      The dirty bastard who made that video was making fun of the people who were chanting for them to go home. The feds should put an end to this now! This has gone too far!

  9. #12 by Richard Warnick on January 21, 2016 - 10:31 am

    The Bundy militants in Oregon are undermining democracy to fight ‘tyranny’

    They fret about tyrannical government, but by waving their guns threateningly, by frequently citing the right to rebel, they invite the government to respond with force.

  10. #13 by Richard Warnick on January 21, 2016 - 10:36 am

    Revealed: Oregon militant was convicted of murdering father — but says he can legally carry a gun

    Neil Sigurd Wampler, one of the militants who joined the armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge early on, insisted that he is allowed to carry a firearm — even though he was convicted of murdering his father.

  11. #14 by Richard Warnick on January 21, 2016 - 12:54 pm

    Malheur National Wildlife Refuge staff publishes open letter: ‘We hope to be back soon’

    The letter says the staff has not commented on the occupation partly because staff members “want to ensure our words do not inflame an already heated situation.”

    It thanks supporters and says staff members “hope to be back soon and pick up where we left off.”

  12. #15 by Richard Warnick on January 21, 2016 - 12:57 pm

    Oregon Gov. Kate Brown presses top federal officials for ‘swift’ action against occupiers

    In a letter to the country’s top law enforcement officials, Gov. Kate Brown pressed for “swift resolution” of the wildlife refuge occupation outside Burns.

    Brown also wrote President Obama calling for action “without further delay.”

    …”While it is easy to assume that an occupation in such a remote location does not threaten public safety and does not harm any victims, that perception is far from accurate,” the governor wrote.

    Adding to community tensions is that “the criminals on the refuge are allowed to travel on and off the premises with little fear of law enforcement contact or interaction,” she said.

    Why don’t feds try to oust Oregon occupiers?

    Or at least put up roadblocks.

  13. #16 by Richard Warnick on January 21, 2016 - 1:51 pm

    Oregon ranchers who sparked standoff threatened to wrap official’s son in barbed wire and drown him

    With the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge almost three weeks old and tempers fraying at a community meeting in the nearby town of Burns, Oregon, one voice has been absent from the drama: the Fish and Wildlife Service employees whose work has been disrupted and offices turned into an armed camp by anti-government militants.

    In a Raw Story exclusive, former and current employees of the Malheur Refuge have provided new revelations on the conflict between Dwight and Steve Hammond, two local ranchers who have clashed with federal government agencies for decades. The employees claim the Hammonds illegal grazing was damaging the refuge that’s home to 320 bird and 58 mammal species. They allege the Hammonds lawbreaking ranged from aerial hunting of animals in the refuge to death threats against employees and their families to cattle grazing that was altering the entire species composition of critical ecosystems.

    The Fish and Wildlife Service did not return a request for comment. Sources say there is a gag order on employees now that the FBI is in charge of monitoring the occupation by Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, and his supporters.

    The beef the Hammonds currently have with the feds is over access to land under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. More than 20 years ago the Hammonds also had a permit for grazing on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. That was canceled in the mid-90s because of what officials say was the Hammonds’ constant violation of the permit’s terms. Today, the FWS is still caught in the middle because the Hammonds need to cross the 187,700 acres of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge to access the BLM land on which their cattle are allowed to graze.

    Marvin Plenert, 80, who served as Northwest regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service from 1986 to 1994, says the agency tried to accommodate the Hammonds. “We gave them a day to cross through the refuge and they took two or three weeks to do it. They were in your face about everything. They kept pushing the envelope, cut fences, cattle wound up in the refuge illegally.”

    …In August 1994, the Fish and Wildlife Service tried to fence a waterhole used by the Hammonds cattle as well as by waterfowl. The family disabled a Caterpillar vehicle, blocking construction of the fence, and Dwight and Steve Hammond were arrested and charged with felonies for impeding, intimidating and interfering with federal officers.

    The charges were lessened and eventually dropped after the Hammonds entered into an agreement with provisions including a halt to interfering with fence construction and moving their cattle through the refuge in one day, which Cameron says is doable.

    Leading up to the 1994 incident were the death threats. Cameron says, “My wife would take these phone calls, it was terribly vulgar language. They said they were going to wrap my son in barbed wire and throw him down a well. They said they knew exactly which rooms my kids slept in, in Burns. There were death threats to my wife and two other staff members and their wives. My family went to Bend rather than be in the community because it was so volatile at the time. The families of my biologist and my deputy manager family had to relocate as well for a short time.”

    “At the refuge headquarters, one of the Hammonds said they would tear my head off and shit down the hole. One of the Hammonds told my Deputy Manager, Dan Walsworth, they were going to ‘put a chain around his neck and drag him behind a pickup.’” Cameron says it became practice “never to meet with the Hammonds alone and usually to have a law enforcement officer present.”

  14. #18 by Richard Warnick on January 21, 2016 - 8:55 pm

    FBI finally contacts Ammon Bundy as Oregon occupation nears third week

    Possibly it was Bundy who called the FBI, according to reports.

  15. #20 by Larry Bergan on January 22, 2016 - 10:25 am

    For crying out loud! Isn’t it time to, at least, turn the power off at the refuge center, stop the mail and prevent these guys from coming into town? It’s starting to look like the FBI is working WITH these thugs.

  16. #21 by Richard Warnick on January 23, 2016 - 8:26 am

    Oregon standoff negotiations stumble as occupation leader questions FBI authority

    The word “negotiation” really doesn’t apply. Ammon Bundy believes the federal government cannot own land, and he just wants to lecture law enforcement on his unusual theory. Also too, he doesn’t recognize the authority of the FBI.

    Militiamen and self-styled patriots contend that under the U.S. Constitution, the sheriff is the highest law enforcement power in the county. The word “sheriff,” however, doesn’t appear in the Constitution.

  17. #22 by Richard Warnick on January 23, 2016 - 9:07 am

    Oregon militants: Why the Bundys’ Mormonism matters

    “There is this persecution complex that Mormons have and have had for a long time,” Steve Evans, editor of Mormon blog By Common Consent, told BuzzFeed News.

  18. #23 by Richard Warnick on January 23, 2016 - 1:49 pm

    Bundy: “If they wanted to come get us they would have come got us already.”

    He might be right about that. The federal government is allowing this to happen. They are not enforcing the law and they are ignoring Oregon governor Kate Brown and the majority of Americans.

    In a statement, US senator Jeff Merkley said it was “long past time for this illegal occupation to end and for the people of Harney County to get their lives back.”
    The Oregon Democrat said he hopes authorities could peacefully resolve the situation and hold Bundy’s group accountable.

    At community meetings, some local residents have asked Bundy and his group to leave.

    Harney County judge Steve Grasty said in a statement Friday that many locals “are incredulous about the federal government’s fear of taking action against the lawlessness that we are witnessing on a daily basis.”

  19. #24 by Richard Warnick on January 23, 2016 - 2:05 pm

    Ammon Bundy plans a Saturday ceremony to tear up federal grazing contracts

    The leader of an armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge in Oregon plans to have a ceremony Saturday for ranchers to renounce federal ownership of public land and tear up their federal grazing contracts.

    It would be fair to retire those grazing allotments in perpetuity, I think. Return the land to its owners, the American people! Taxpayers lose millions of dollars a year on public land grazing.

  20. #26 by Larry Bergan on January 24, 2016 - 10:15 pm

    On the Mormon aspect of the this, “Radio West” had a very interesting program that starts out with an interview of one of the refuge occupyers.

    I don’t think there’s any way they would have put somebody on that program, except for the small clip Doug Fabrizio put on the end of an unrelated program recently. The man who did that interview with somebody in the inner circle at the refuge, has now put up an extended version on his own website. The guy is a true believer of old Mormon doctrine, and even does a ritual he says he found in the “Doctrine and Covenants” where he washes his feet while cursing enemies. He also says, without reservation, that the occupation is sanctioned by God. You, pretty much , have to be a Christian who believes the constitution was inspired by God to be in the inner circle with Ammon.

    The more recent “Radio West” program, which is devoted to the religious aspect of the Bundy occupation, starts with an interview by Doug Fabrizio. Interestingly, it is a woman the occupyers sent as a representative. She discounts the previous interview as not representing the views of the other occupyers, but is similarly steeped in old style Mormon teachings and displays utter dismay that the Church leadership would put out a statement condemning their actions.

    As for myself: in the days I attended church, back in the sixties, I can’t say I remember ever seeing anybody carrying assault rifles around. 🙂

    The rest of the program is a very good – and hilarious at times – conversation with a couple of guys who know their way around Mormon doctrine. An interesting back and forth with a Mormon caller who sides with the occupyers is included.

    Fascinating and scary.

    • #27 by Larry Bergan on January 24, 2016 - 10:42 pm

      Just realized that Brand Thornton, the man in short interview with, Peabody award winner, Scott Carrier is wearing a Duck Dynasty hat. I am NOT going to be having these guys interpreting the constitution for me. 🙂

    • #28 by Richard Warnick on January 25, 2016 - 8:58 am

      I always wondered, if Mormons believe our Constitution was divinely inspired, why they won’t abide by it and why Utah politicians are always trying to amend it.

      • #29 by Larry Bergan on January 25, 2016 - 4:43 pm

        Good point. I don’t think Orrin Hatch stopped pushing for his flag burning amendment because he cared about the constitution. I think he probably realized how ridiculous he looked.

        Interesting that Orrin always used to bring up the “constitution hanging by a thread” passage from the Mormon writings, just like the standoff representative in the “Radio West” interview. Whenever I heard Orrin say that, I couldn’t help but thinking it was him doing that.

  21. #30 by Richard Warnick on January 25, 2016 - 9:00 am

    Looks like the Bundy Gang’s threat to hang Harney County Sheriff David Ward wasn’t enough to persuade him to join up with the terrorists. So they went to a neighboring county to find an ally.

    Oregon standoff: Grant County sheriff urges release of Hammonds

  22. #31 by Richard Warnick on January 25, 2016 - 9:04 am

    Oregon standoff: Ranchers, including ex-con, renounce grazing permits

    And in Utah, eight ranchers on Saturday announced they would no longer allow the federal land bureau to manage their grazing permits. Utah attorney Todd MacFarlane, representing the ranchers, said he wasn’t allowed to identify them.

    “They have joined with other ranchers in the west in basically in engaging an act of civil disobedience by withdrawing their consent to be governed or regulated by the BLM,” MacFarlane said.

    He said a meeting was scheduled in Boise this weekend to gather other ranchers who may want to join the nascent movement.

    The right thing to do would be to permanently retire these grazing allotments and allow wildlife to have them. There is no easy way to make that change, it would have to go through the planning process. Still worth a try.

    If ranchers want to renounce the current rules on grazing, We The People ought to take the opportunity reclaim our public lands.

  23. #32 by Richard Warnick on January 25, 2016 - 9:57 am

    Armed Oregon Militia Creates Kangaroo Court To Indict Government

    It doesn’t look like the situation will deescalate soon considering what the armed group that has been occupying federal land for a few weeks are asking for. The militia, which has partnered with a well-known conspiracy theorist, wants to create an alternative legal system in the region that would replace Harney County’s elected leaders and sheriff with those who support the sovereign citizen movement.

  24. #33 by Richard Warnick on January 25, 2016 - 12:13 pm

    KrisAnne Hall is an ex-attorney who was either fired or resigned from her job as a county prosecutor after she began speaking to tea party groups in Florida. She tosses up an awesome word salad.

    Actually her theory utterly contradicts our Constitution and the way it has been interpreted for 227 years, especially the Property Clause and the Supremacy Clause. But now I’m beginning to understand how the Bundy Gang and other right-wing crazies claim to be defenders of the Constitution when they don’t seem to know the first thing about it.

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

  25. #34 by Richard Warnick on January 25, 2016 - 12:59 pm

    Burns Paiute Tribe to feds: Stop allowing Bundy free passage

    In a letter dated Friday to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the tribe demanded that law enforcement officials stop allowing Arizona businessman Ammon Bundy and his supporters free passage to and from the federal bird sanctuary.

    The tribe also told the government that it is obligated under its treaty with the Northern Paiutes to inflict punishment for “any crime or injury…perpetrated by any white man upon the Indians.”

    “Arizona businessman” in this case means “domestic terrorist.”

  26. #35 by Richard Warnick on January 25, 2016 - 3:27 pm

    Bundy tells the FBI the standoff will end when they leave peacefully, turn over all federal land

    Bundy is indeed interested in negotiations. But, he’s not negotiating an end to the armed standoff, he’s negotiating a total surrender of the federal government. He spoke with the FBI’s negotiator assigned to the standoff, a man identified only as “Chris.” Not only is Ammon Bundy seeking a complete turnover of federal land to private citizens, he insists on a litany of investigations involving almost every government department imaginable, with the exception of the local dog catcher (who may later be added to his list of demands)…

  27. #36 by Richard Warnick on January 25, 2016 - 5:04 pm

    OR militant: ‘lawful authority to kill a police officer that is unlawfully trying to arrest you’

    Ryan Payne scares even his fellow terrorists. He is looking forward to when things “go hot” at Malheur.

  28. #37 by Larry Bergan on January 25, 2016 - 5:25 pm

    Local Utah Republican leaders don’t seem to be taking the church leaders as seriously as they usually do. Ammon Bundy’s own interactions with God are in direct opposition to the church leadership’s directives.

    Is money the real religion here?

  29. #39 by Richard Warnick on January 26, 2016 - 11:20 am

    Dale Gribble Nation: Bundy Gang Will Hold Mock Court

    Rather than listen to any of the people they purport to represent, or follow the Constitution they constantly cite, the Bundy gang is setting up its own quack legal system to impose their will on the community by identifying and ‘indicting’ their enemies. Nothing about this bodes well for anyone.

  30. #40 by Richard Warnick on January 26, 2016 - 11:29 am

    Ammon Bundy: Militiamen Are ‘Actually Protecting Rights Of All’

    In a new video released on Facebook, Oregon standoff leader Ammon Bundy says that his group hasn’t just staged an armed takeover for ranchers, but that they “are actually protecting the rights of all of us.”

  31. #42 by Larry Bergan on January 26, 2016 - 3:27 pm

    These dudes seem more to be influenced more by Alex Jones then Fox “news”, but it’s most likely both. I wonder where else they’re getting their anger from.

    Personally, I don’t like all the surveillance either, but these guys are the LAST place I would go for help. I keep hearing all these gun guys saying they’re here to protect me. No thanks. Go home.

    • #43 by Richard Warnick on January 26, 2016 - 4:13 pm

      The security cameras were installed (well before the terrorist occupation) by the power company to help prevent vandalism and theft at an electrical substation which isn’t even near the wildlife refuge. The idea that the FBI somehow installed these cameras was a paranoid delusion.

      • #44 by Larry Bergan on January 26, 2016 - 5:59 pm

        Almost every place you go, you can see the little bubbles with cameras on the ceiling. We got a system at Arby’s when I was there. We didn’t have any theft problem. It just makes you feel like you’re not trusted.

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