Quotes of the day

An armed anti-government group occupied a small building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon on Saturday night in opposition to what they described as tyrannical federal management of rural public land

“This is no longer a government refuge,” one member of the group told reporters at a press conference. He did not give his name. “It is going to be turned back to the people of Harney County.”

Mr. Bundy urged supporters to join him in Oregon and said anyone who did could live in the occupied facility with the rest of the group…

Law enforcement officials have taken a deeply critical view of the group’s beliefs. In a forceful statement issued on Sunday, the Oregon State Police accused them of an “attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”


“We are armed and, of course, as any individual would, I guess, or most individuals would, we are willing to defend ourselves which is our right to do,” Bundy told TheDC Sunday night. “But we have no intention on being violent,” he said…

“We have no intention on being the aggressor. That is not what we are about. That’s not what we are doing here. What we are doing here is making a stand. And we are going to begin to unwind these unconstitutional land transactions,” Bundy said.

“This refuge is 187,000 acres and almost 50 miles long and 40 miles wide and at one time all of that land was owned by private ranchers, and now all of those ranchers have been removed or put in duress so that they would sell, or their (land) was purchased.”

“Give them back to the people — the land and resources back to the people, and we are going to protect the people while they use them until this is stabilized and then go home.”



Many residents of a small Oregon town distanced themselves on Monday from self-styled militiamen who occupied a remote U.S. wildlife refuge center over the weekend to protest the federal government’s role in managing millions of acres of wild lands…

“You said you were here to help the citizens of Harney County,” Ward told a news conference on Monday, addressing the occupiers at the wildlife refuge.

“That help ended when a peaceful protest became an armed occupation,” Ward said. “It is time for you to leave our community, go home to your families, and end this peacefully.”

Three Obama administration officials said federal authorities had been told to avoid a violent confrontation, in line with official U.S. policy after deadly clashes at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas in the early 1990s.


Many of the protesters outside Hammond’s home said they hoped to avoid any confrontation, out of respect for what they had heard were the wishes of the Hammond family…

Dave Duquette, an Oregonian with the group Protect the Harvest, said he was frustrated by the militia’s decision to occupy the wildlife refuge.

“There’s a radical fringe, that, although I do understand where they’re at, they’ve taken it a little to far,” he said. “I feel that the protest went really well.

“What they’re doing right now out there at the refuge is going to overshadow the good,” he said.


Florida Sen. Marco Rubio decried the occupation as “lawless” and urged those involved in the standoff to pursue what they wanted through more lawful, constructive means.

“You can’t be lawless. We live in a republic,” Rubio told Iowa radio station KBUR. “There are ways to change the laws of this country and the policies. If we get frustrated with it, that’s why we have elections. That’s why we have people we can hold accountable.”…

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he had not heard about the standoff, according to an exchange reported by an NBC News journalist. However, one of his campaign’s senior strategists did tweet about the incident on Sunday. “I know a good federal compound for Bundy and his gang: a U.S. penitentiary,” John Weaver wrote…

House Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blasted the occupiers’ assertion that they wanted the land returned to the people of the state.

“Return it to the people? The people have it right now,” Reid exclaimed, according to accounts of his speech.


[M]ethinks the leader of the Crips or Hell’s Angels wouldn’t be afforded the same courtesy regarding media coverage if it took over a federal building. Yet here we are on the first busy day of the new year with wall-to-wall coverage of the standoff around a federal building in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge — a remote facility in the Oregon high desert … all as Ammon Bundy, gang spokesman, is granted more interviews on virtually every national television network and therefore a platform to share what his perspective to millions…

You can agree or disagree with Bundy and his militia regarding the role of government, federal lands and the way ranchers are treated. But peaceful protest is one thing. Armed takeover of a federal building is quite another. And the media far and wide treats affords this group a huge megaphone instead of the way it should be treated:

Like the criminals they are…

From a media perspective, it should mean not providing a platform of any kind until this standoff is over. Because Bundy and his gang lost the right to free speech the moment they broke the law.


[J]ust because there is a double standard does not mean any conservatives should be cheering the one when opposing the other. I’m pro-life, but I’m not going to cheer someone shooting up an abortion clinic. I support the sell off of federal land and giving priority water and land use rights to farmers. But I’m not going to cheer taking over a park visitor center or threatening marshals.

There are nuances to many situations some people have a vested interest in treating as binary, pitting American against American. While I’m sympathetic to the concerns of those in Oregon, I’d no more cheer on their lawbreaking than I would cheer on the law breaking of leftwing hoodlums trying to block abortion votes in Texas or union reform votes in Wisconsin.

Third, for those on the right hailing these guys, there is a pretty big and distinct difference between armed protest and unarmed protest. Based on media reports, these guys are not only armed, but threatening violence. I’m not going to be cheering these guys. The media will always treat the leftwing protestors more sympathetically. But adding arms and threats of bodily harm make this something more. No, I will not use the word terrorism for it because it is not terrorism. But it certainly is an unlawful, armed protest for which no one should be rooting.


Even if they hadn’t been so aggressively supported and promoted by elite conservative figures and institutions, the Bundys’ actions can be viewed as an outgrowth of conservative rhetoric over the years of Barack Obama’s presidency. From the moment he was elected, conservatives said that Obama was not legitimately the president (many of them charged that he wasn’t born in the United States). Virtually everything he did was given a given a dark and sinister spin, with the constant refrain that Obama was a tyrant who had not only usurped power but would shortly turn the United States into a terrifying nightmare of statist oppression. The line between mainstream rhetoric and that of the radical fringe disappeared, with popular television hosts and backbench Republican House members spouting conspiracy theories about FEMA concentration camps and the Department of Homeland Security stockpiling ammunition in preparation for some horrific campaign of repression. Nearly every policy with which conservatives disagreed was decried as the death of freedom itself.

Anyone who took all that literally and believed that the people saying it were actually sincere could well have concluded that armed insurrection was indeed an appropriate response to what was plainly a coup from the enemies of freedom within the government, led by a despot who was literally trying to destroy America. Now combine that with the way so many Republicans talk about guns — not just as a tool of self-protection, but as something whose essential purpose is to intimidate government officials. Second Amendment purists, some of whom are running for president, regularly justify their enthusiasm for loosening gun laws as a way to keep tyranny in check, by showing that gun owners are willing to fight against their government, should it become necessary. As Ted Cruz has said, “The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution isn’t for just protecting hunting rights, and it’s not only to safeguard your right to target practice. It is a Constitutional right to protect your children, your family, your home, our lives, and to serve as the ultimate check against governmental tyranny — for the protection of liberty.”

So on one hand, Republicans regularly say that we need so many guns in civilian hands in case it becomes necessary to wage war on the government, while on the other hand they say that Barack Obama’s government has become tyrannical and oppressive, and freedom is all but destroyed. So why is anybody surprised when people like the Bundys put those two ideas together?


They are dangerous, they are unforgiving, they are flouting federal law, they have a political purpose and they clearly are willing to use violence to get their way. Simply because they are not Muslim jihadists does not mean they are authorized to threaten or use violence to support their political cause…

[W]hile the presence of federal troops might make the situation more tense than it already is, the Obama administration needs to make a statement with this organization and future domestic terrorists.

Various federal authorities are now in charge, but the administration should be ready to mobilize federal military support should they need it, if only for the long haul. And to make an important point that the rule of law is paramount in a civil, democratic society…

A show of federal force — even if just for show — treats these men as they should be treated: domestic terrorists who are putting the whole community at risk.


Domestic terrorists? Really? And here I was thinking liberals were just as skeptical as libertarians about the prudence of labelling everything and everyone a terrorist. Don’t they remember that every time someone brands someone else a terrorist, the Patriot Act gets a dozen pages longer? Government power relies upon such unfounded suspicions.

Keep in mind that the ranchers haven’t taken hostages, damaged property, or hurt anyone. The previous standoff between federal authorities and the Bundy family was resolved peacefully. It’s possible the situation at the wildlife headquarters escalates into something horrifically violent, but it seems wildly premature and speculative to assert that it will…

They strike me as unambiguously foolish and crazy. But keep in mind that the origins of the current standoff can be traced to the government’s treatment of the Hammonds, who were re-sentenced to a mandatory minimum of five years in prison under federal anti-terrorism laws—even though the initial judge in the case said such a lengthy sentence for two counts of arson would “shock his conscience.”

In any case, everyone who opposes government-sanctioned violence should remember that unfounded concerns about terrorism are the health of the state. Lowering the bar for what counts as terrorism is not a winning move for critics of authoritarianism and unconstitutional exercises of police power.


Left-wing Twitter, of course, didn’t label this protest, say, #OccupyMalheur, but #OregonUnderAttack, which implies, incorrectly, that the protesters at Malheur were being violent against the residents of Oregon. There have been no reports of any casualties, clashes, hostages, or deaths. There appears to have been nobody at the outpost the protesters occupied. Bundy told the media he and the protesters plan on occupying the outpost “for years,” and called on like-minded activists, or “patriots,” to join them, but it’s unclear that the protesters have the resources to accomplish a sustained occupation. The local sheriff said multiple agencies are “currently working on a solution.”

You can expect endless “think pieces” and “hot takes” around the idea that the government should crack down on the armed protesters with extreme prejudice—either in the service of equality of police violence or out of a disdain for activists who exercise their Second Amendment rights, as well as calls to identify the protesters as “terrorists” for having the audacity to use guns in their demonstration. (Semi-related: as a student at Columbia, Eric Holder participated in an “armed” takeover of an ROTC office.)

Such arguments, as always, only serve to provide legitimacy for future acts of government violence. Self-proclaimed people of conscience interested in reducing and even eliminating excessive state violence should not make exceptions just because government violence might satiate their sectarian desires or partisan agendas, because those exceptions easily become the rule by being exploited by other sectarians and partisans.


We need to distinguish these Oregon people from the left-wing groups, like Occupy and Black Lives Matter. These guys are marching with American flags, not burning them. Many are apparently vets. The leftist groups are seeking to take more money from people who actually worked for it, and to stop the police from effectively controlling crime…

There’s no denying that the Oregon action is contrary to the rule of law. But then, is there really a rule of law anymore, at least for the kind of people who participated in this action? They have been labeled “rednecks” and mocked, primarily by coastal liberals, as uneducated Neanderthals whose interests are unworthy of consideration…

[F]riends of the administration like Hillary commit crimes with classified material that, as you and I know from our military experience, would land us in federal prison in a half a heartbeat. Illegal aliens get welcomed into our country, and these folks—many of whom fought for this country in the military—get handed the bill and labeled “racist” for objecting…

We don’t have to accept their grievances. But what we think really makes very little difference. The idea that the Obama administration has ignored the law and bypassed the process can’t help but motivate those already inclined to distrust the far-away federal government. No one is going to shame these guys into submission. And I pray no one is stupid enough to try and beat them into it.


With vast segments of the American West in government hands, private landowners often find themselves at the mercy of the federal government — a government that often seems to delight in expanding its power and holdings at the expense of ranchers and farmers, one in the habit of placing turtles before people. Ranchers and farmers fighting the federal government are a tiny minority up against the world’s most powerful body. “David versus Goliath” simply doesn’t do the conflict justice.

While civil disobedience is justified, violence is not. So far, no one has been hurt, the “occupation” is occurring in a vacant federal building in the middle of nowhere, and there is no reported threat to innocent bystanders. It would be absurd for the federal government to treat the protesters like it treated the men and women at Waco or Ruby Ridge, and it would be absurd for the protesters to shoot police officers who are ordered to reasonably and properly enforce the law. The occupation is far less intrusive and disruptive than the Occupy Movement’s dirty and violent seizure of urban public parks, and authorities permitted that to go on for weeks. Now is the time for calm, not escalation…

Ranchers and other landowners across the country find themselves chafing under the thumb of an indifferent and even oppressive federal government. Now is the time for peaceful protest. If it gets the public to pay attention, it won’t have been in vain.



Trending on Hotair Video