The warblers have left the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and gone south for the winter. As have most of the tundra swans. Few of the 320 species of birds which make Malheur a mecca for birdwatchers remain for the harsh Oregon January. If you search hard, though, you might find some common goldeneyes, mergansers, and perhaps, if you are lucky, the rare Eurasian widgeon.
This week, though, an exceptional ornithological event: a flock of not-so-rare, sadly, Armed American Loons has abruptly established a winter nesting ground at the nature preserve on the southern shore of Malheur Lake, about 30 miles south of the small town of Burns.
"This refuge — it has been destructive to the people of the county and to the people of the area," Ammon Bundy told CNN. He led a band of undetermined size, calling for other armed radicals to join their stand, but not, as yet, declaring the bird sanctuary a caliphate.
Twitter mocked the group with hashtags like "YalQaeda" and "VanillaISIS" and "Yee-hawdists."
"Wow I'm sure glad the NSA is monitoring emails and telephone calls to warn of home grown terror incidents," tweeted Pat Ondabak.
"Terror" somehow seems a little harsh. While some wanted to make a point that if it were Muslims we've have drones shooting missiles, the incident does seem to invite more ridicule than fear, at least for now. I couldn't help thinking: "Boy, I'm sure glad we kept all those Syrian refugees out of the country; if we hadn't, they might have armed themselves and taken over a bird sanctuary."
The group announced it intends to be there for years, and open up the area to logging and mining and other activities that Republicans just love. The federal government, prudently, announced it has no plans to go in and drive them out by force, but will just wait until they get bored and go home. And as much as I'd personally prefer the Army to sweep in and kill them, on general principles, I have to grudgingly admit that patience is probably the right path, at this point. We don't want to make them into the new Branch Davidians.
One wonders what the birds make of all this.
One wonders what the birds make of all this.
The Hammond family has a long history with the Bureau of Land Management. For an understanding of why ranchers are upset with the government, this link has the most lucid explanation of the back story I could find. The charges of terrorism and arson against the Hammonds, by the government are outrageous. A prescribed burn on their property spread to 127 acres of adjacent government owned grassland, a tiny fraction of the 187,000 acre refuge, boo hoo. Cry me an Animus River of toxic waste into Lake Powell. No doubt our federal government will issue an apology for that stunt one of these days.ReplyDelete
For some clarification, if you click on that link, the only worthwhile material is in History, paragraphs aa through v. Bundy in my opinion is a poor excuse for an American. He grazed his cattle on land he had no rights to, and those tracts he had a right to he didn't pay the grazing fee. Then Bundy comes up with an inane legal theory that he con do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, because he is a sovereign citizen, and the government has no authority to enforce the law.Delete
Thanks for the background info,Bernie.Delete
I saw a post today that inquired if the same wait-and-see attitude would prevail if these were armed BLM activists taking over a federal facility. A fair question.ReplyDelete
BLM as in Black Lives Matter, not Bureau of Land Management.Delete
I think this is really a vast left-wing conspiracy to put Donald Trump on the spot. Tweet-tweet.ReplyDelete
Well perhaps not a conspiracy, but a chance for Trump to demonstrate his true colors are anything except Oompa Loompa orange, with stiff white hair. These rancher protesters also feel the Kelo v. City of New London decision was a grave injustice, for the small citizen. In the past, Trump has used the government power of eminent domain, to seize property at a song for his real estate developments. If Trump is to be consistent, he would support the government's position against the Hammonds. Hypocrisy is the order of the day for the Trump campaign. If anyone tries to hold Trump to a standard, in Trump's own words they are just stupid.Delete
Why isn't Trump calling this Radical Anti-Government Terrorism for what it is?ReplyDelete
You expect him to?Delete
There's probably no hunting restrictions for the Armed American Loon seeing as how it's an invasive species.ReplyDelete
What constitution is this nutcase referring to? Bundy keeps saying it's his constitutional right to do this. I didn't know we had the right to forcibly seize stuff that wasn't ours. The more you know...;)