Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Monday, March 7th, 2016.


Community Service

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Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

It’s only March and I’m already in the ohgodwhenwillthisend phase of the political year. So let’s think about something more cheerful.

The Malheur Malcontents are still in jail. That’s something.

Saturday the faithful held demonstrations of support for the imprisoned, um, patriots. More than one hundred people rallied outside the Portland federal courthouse.

The so-called patriot movement made efforts to broaden its message to connect with other activist groups like Black Lives Matter. …

…“These people that are in these cells up here, right now, they’re guilty of a community service act,” said Rich Morelan, an Aumsville, Oregon, man who helped organize the protest. “They came in and they cleaned that [refuge] building up. There was no violence.”…

…The Malheur refuge was found in a state of disarray, the manager calling it “one big mess.” The Paiute tribe is still reeling from the disruption of their sacred sites on refuge grounds.

“Imagine if I went to Washington, D.C., to the cemetery where all the military are and dug a hole and made a latrine out of it, like they did to my people’s burial grounds,” he said. “That’s the only way I can explain it to non-natives.”

Cliven Bundy appeared before a federal judge Friday.

Bundy, 69, stood with a deputy federal public defender at his side as he heard the 16 charges against him including conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, assault on a federal officer, threatening a federal officer, obstruction of justice, interference with interstate commerce by extortion and several firearms charges.

There is some question about whether Cliven qualifies for a public defender.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Carl Hoffman said Bundy would remain in custody until at least next Thursday. The time will let him hire a lawyer or file revised financial disclosure forms.

The judge expressed doubt about whether a report that Bundy filed in Oregon qualifies him for a lawyer at federal expense.

Cliven own a ranch and a whole lot of cattle, right? Turns out rounding up Cliven’s cattle won’t be easy.

The 69-year-old landowner, whose ranch 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas was the scene of a 2014 standoff with the Bureau of Land Management, was arrested last month on charges related to the Nevada incident when he left his ranch to travel to Oregon, where his sons were involved in another standoff with federal officials. Meanwhile, his 1,000 head of cattle are still roaming federal lands due, in part, to his absence and also to what officials call his “unconventional, if not bizarre” ranching methods.

“Rather than manage and control his cattle, he lets them run wild on the public lands with little, if any, human interaction until such time when he traps them and hauls them off to be sold or slaughtered,” said court documents filed by federal prosecutors last month. “He does not vaccinate or treat his cattle for disease; does not employ cowboys to control and herd them; does not manage or control breeding; has no knowledge of where all the cattle are located at any given time; rarely brands them.” …

… With Bundy in prison, his cows are “left to fend for themselves year-round, fighting off predators and scrounging for the meager amounts of food and water,” according to federal prosecutors. In addition, the authorities maintain that the surviving cattle are “wild, mean and ornery” and are destroying fragile plant species and even destroying sacred Indian artifacts.

No wonder he had plenty of time to stand around talking to journalists. He doesn’t do any work. Apparently if he needs to sell some cattle he goes out and traps some. They also show up on roads and golf courses and other people’s property. Sounds like rounding them up and getting them off that land would be a real community service.

There were more arrests last week of “militia” members who participated in the 2014 standoff. These included two more of Clivin’s sons — Davey, 39, and Mel, 41 — and Jerry DeLemus, the New Hampshire co-chair for Donald Trump.   I’m surprised there were enough un-arrested people left to hold demonstrations. Lots of felony charges are being brought against these guys; I suspect their bad ranching days are over.

Meanwhile, the people who run Malheur say it’s a big mess. Not much structural damage, but files were scattered and the offices need a lot of cleaning. Also there was a lot of habitat work that had to be postponed because of the occupation.

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