January 30, 2016

Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) and long-time billionaire has demonstrated another reason why concentrated wealth is dangerous.  This goes beyond mere fairness, morality, the ignominy of being poor or starving to death…the rich can and do do much more damage to the one planet we must all share, for better, or usually for worse.  I’d far rather see Trump, ISIS, the NRA, the Bundy Gang, Volkswagen and professional football on another planet, leaving us in relative peace.  But for now we got one planet and that’s npot changing anytime real soon.

Read this: wealthier than many nations billionaire has a yacht that destroys a corral reef. Oh well, who needs a healthy ocean, right? Another glass of ’68 Burgundy anyone?


January 21, 2016

You on the way out.

One of the Koch Brothers has resigned from board of the American Museum of Natural History, taking his greed-driven political agenda with him.

Here’s comment from one anti-climate change denial group:

“NEW YORK–Conservative billionaire and oil mogul David H. Koch has resigned from the board of New York’s American Museum of Natural History after having served for 23 years. He gave notice at the December board meeting.

“His departure is a victory for the scientists, climate activists, and museum professionals who have been calling for museums to break ties with Koch and other fossil fuel interests. While the pressure generated by this effort may have been a factor, the museum’s official line is that he simply chose not to renew his seat on the board. According to Koch’s spokesperson he elected to leave the post to prioritize other commitments.

“Regardless of official explanations, it is undeniable that Koch’s board position was the cause of great controversy over the last year. His departure is an important step forward for The Natural History Museum and other groups involved in the rapidly growing #FossilFreeCulture movement that aims to liberate museums and cultural institutions from fossil fuel interests.”


January 20, 2016

Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown is rightfully fed up.  The FBI and other federal agencies monitoring the gunmen who have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters appear to be just waiting.  Now eastern Oregon has become the rallying ground for anti-federalists from across the nation.  Angry white men with guns.  Lawful citizens and normal life in Harney County have been run over by a small self-appointed liberation army.  Sure, the feds are afraid of violence and a shoot-out, so they are letting this “run its course.”  Even last night when Bundy Gang members attended a Burns community meeting in the presence of numerous law officers, there was no attempt to detain or arrest any of the occupiers.  What gives?

Today Governor Brown said she had been told by federal authorities (authorities on what, I might ask?) to keep silent to avoid inflaming the situation. She went on to say this “spectacle of lawlessness must end.”  Thank you Governor.  You were beginning to look like a scared rabbit.

I have already blogged that similar messages to “keep quiet” have been given by feds to various private conservation groups.  So if a bunch of angry white men decide to take over a school or post office or hospital or black church or mosque or Planned Parenthood clinic, everybody is just to be patient and let them be…for how many weeks?  Months?  Years?  Why wouldn’t other militia groups be encouraged to occupy some federal lands or other hated target in their own area…how about Bosque del Apache or Everglades or Mt. Rushmore?

Waiting out the gunmen seems very limp as a response.  So much for U.S. as a nation of laws.  This is just one more example of U.S. as a nation of guns, bigger the better.  Now the Bundy Gang is threatening federal workers in Burns, openly…and they make it clear they have no intention of leaving, now or perhaps ever.  Now that they clearly have limited appeal to Harney County residents, the gunmen have declared themselves protectors of the downtrodden locals.  Of course, it also has been noted that some of the gunmen have been talking directly to their god about all this so they are on a blessed crusade as well as hard at work saving the Constitution as they choose to interpret it.  If the gunmen are ever arrested it may be most of them will be found mentally unfit to stand trial.

In Nevada conservation and Paiute groups are asking for the feds to finally do something about the 2014 stand-off with the elder Bundy who owes the BLM a million dollars for grazing his cattle on federal lands.  In 2014 Bundy and a thousand militia scared off the feds and claimed victory even though there’s allegedly an on-going investigation…of what facts it is not clear.  No charges have ever been filed in that 2014 showdown.  Guns drove off the federal law enforcement effort, making it look to the right-wing militia as if that s a tactic to use.  And now it seems to be working in Oregon as well for a second time in this state.

Here’s a description of how a 2015 armed confrontation made BLM workers stay off sections of federal and under their alleged control. This was in western Oregon. Can anybody else see a trend here?  Get some friends, get some guns, get some federal land. BTW the illegal mine is still there as things move slowly through the courts.

If an occupation were being staged by Muslims or some left-wing environmental group occupying a fracking field or blacks at a school or even librarians with bull-horns in a public plaza, there would have been much quicker action.  The pro-gun, white-wing, right-wing cabal that now dominates the Congress has made our alleged law enforcement people afraid to take action.  Unless it is a non-violent Occupy Wall Street rally, much more fun to break up.  When a Homeland Security study came out several years back saying right-wing domestic terrorists were a major threat, Congress responded by bullying Homeland Security into disbanding the office that wrote the report.  So now–presumably–the FBI is the lone agency that monitors right-wing insurgents in America.  They apparently knew enough to send federal workers home three days before the occupation began, but not enough to try to stop it, or curtail it after it began.

Meanwhile, finally, the Governor has spoken for a vast majority of Oregonians.  Stop this lawlessness.

[If you research Ruby Ridge online you will find this paragraph in wikipedia: “Both the internal 1994 Ruby Ridge Task Force Report and the public 1995 Senate subcommittee report on Ruby Ridge criticized the rules of engagement as unconstitutional. A 1995 GAO report on use of force by federal law enforcement agencies stated: “In October 1995, Treasury and Justice adopted use of deadly force policies to standardize the various policies their component agencies had adopted over the years.” The major change was the requirement of a reasonable belief of an “imminent” danger of death or serious physical injury, which brought all federal LEA deadly force policies in line with U.S. Supreme Court rulings (Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1, 18 (1985) and Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989)) that applied to state and local LE agencies.[64]

This explains why the FBi won’t assault the Malheur HQ with gunmen inside, the chance of a shoot-out before any militia has shot anybody, means the FBI cannot employ deadly force.  Does not explain why they don’t make individual arrests when the Bundy Gang members are off the reservation.]


January 19, 2016



Where:          Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

“Narrows Pullout” Birdwatching Parking Area

Highway 205, Mile Marker 22 (22 miles south of Burns)

Google Map point:


When:           Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 12:30 – 2:00 PM


Who:             Birdwatchers, wildlife and nature enthusiasts, and supporters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and America’s Public Lands


BURNS, Ore.-The Friends of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and the Center for Biological Diversity are sponsoring a rally on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Tuesday, January 18th to celebrate the importance of America’s visionary public lands system and highlight political and armed militia efforts to take those lands away from the American people.


The rally will feature Candy Henderson, who though undergoing breast cancer surgery several weeks ago and still undergoing intensive treatment, drove several hundred miles to the Malheur when she learned of the Bundy militia’s takeover of our precious public land. She has been camping in small tent in the rain, snow and freezing temperatures to show her commitment to keep our public lands public for all Americans. She attends the Bundy militia’s daily press briefing to speak up the importance of public land and the extraordinary beauty and wildlife of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

“I’ll leave once the militia leaves,” Henderson said, “they cannot keep Americans from their public lands with the barrel of a gun.”

“The Malheur is a national jewel,” said Tim Blount, executive director of the Friends of the Malheur, “it belongs to everyone and must stay part of America’s wonderful public lands heritage to be enjoyed by future generations.”



January 18, 2016

If Senator Tex Cruz wins the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary, somebody will have to begin a lawsuit to get a clear decision on whether he is eligible to be President.  I wouldn’t vote for him if he were born in the Library of Congress, but American voters need to know if he is legit.  In this case there are intelligent “birthers” not just Trump-blather. Cruz was unquestionably born in Canada and his mother is a U.S. citizen. SCOTUS must declare whether that is sufficient to make him a “natural born citizen.”

Trump’s got lots of money.  Let him hire the lawyers.


January 17, 2016

Here’s interesting examination of cats and their relationship to the Republican Party of 2016.


January 16, 2016

Oregon State Police today arrested an Oregon man for stealing federal vehicles from the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. The arrestee is 62 year old Kenneth Medenbach. He was busted at the Safeway, Burns’ largest grocery store. The two vehicles recovered by police belong the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that manage the refuge.  Since the occupation began two weeks ago the gunners have been using the federal vehicles they found at the headquarters.  Medenbach is one of the men who has been occupying the Malheur buildings and thus becomes–in the imaginations of the militia–their first “martyr.”

I researched car theft law in Oregon, doesn’t look like a hobby you want to take up…here’s the summary of punishment: “Theft of a commercial vehicle, such as a taxi or big rig truck, worth $10,000 or more is a Class B felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.”

Somehow, because we tax payers bought the trucks, the militia feels their mini-coup empowers them to use those vehicles for their own purposes.

The gunmen had announced plans for a public meeting between themselves and local residents…set it for tonight.  But the Harney County government refused to let the gunmen use any county facilities and it is far too cold for an outside meeting.


Audubon Societies across Oregon are organizing support rallies to show how popular the wildlife refuge and other public lands are.  Some rallies in Portland and Eugene and Bend are Tuesday, January 19.


Here’s a first-hand by a young man who single-handed occupied Malheur NWR’s Museum.


Here’s one writer’s account of meeting an “occupier” two state away in Utah.


Refuge supporters’ frustrations with the occupation:
Birders’ voices:


January 14, 2016

Here’s a look at one of the younger occupiers in the Malheur headquarters.  I’d not trust his land use judgement.


January 13, 2016

The occupiers of the Malheur NWR headquarters are not finding themselves hailed as the liberators they presume to be. Like many short-sighted, ignorant souls the white gunmen are legends in their own minds, but not in the rest of the world. The gunmen complain they are getting unwelcome mail, like sex toys. And now they want to talk to the community at a meeting called by the militia for Friday.  Anybody else smell a community boycott?

This morning Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that the fence the militia removed has been replaced.  The rancher whose land shared the fence with the refuge had his workers put it back.  Seems the gunners are so sure of their sole understanding of the politics of land use they did not even bother to talk to the rancher on whose land they went to remove the fence.

Who’s gonna miss this mess when it’s gone?  The local motels, cafes and gas stations because all that media and extra federal agents in town has business boomin’.



January 13, 2016

The federal agencies in Burns are finally beginning to talk.  Today a Fish & Wildlife Service exec (they manage Malheur in normal times) said they sent federal workers home three days before the occupation began. This interview was on OPB”s radio show, “Think Out Loud”).   If the federal agencies were so sure of trouble coming, why not guard the federal facilities?  Was this a calculated risk to get lure gunners to occupy the federal buildings and thus commit a load of felonies for which they can be prosecuted?  There’s going to be plenty of video.  Keep in mind there have never been any charges filed in the Bundy vs. BLM showdown two years ago in Nevada.  Still “under investigation.”  So the rift between Bundy militia and the feds is deep and unresolved.

Is it possible that the whole thing is on hold until after the State of the Union address?

Can I raise the issue of who gets to break the law and for how long? Environmental activists who blocked a railroad track and stopped and oil train for eight hours were arrested and are now being tried.  Maybe they should have brought along some armed militia…would the train still be parked?  Doubt it, too much money involved so the law must be enforced… in this case. Nesting birds?  Pronghorn maybe not so important as a train full of oil.

One federal official is talking on the record, saying that the removal of fences will allow cattle onto formerly protected sections of the refuge and could damage the habitat.  I refer you to me earlier blog containing Edward Abbey’s reffections on cattle and what they do to the western landscape.


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