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A sophisticated standard of journalism


Ammo Bundy had many things to say to CNN.

“Now that people such as the Hammonds are taking a stand and not selling their ranches, they are being prosecuted in their own courts as terrorists and putting them in prison for five years,” Bundy said.

He said the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has taken over the space of 100 ranches since the early 1900s.

“They are continuing to expand the refuge at the expense of the ranchers and miners,” Bundy said.

He also said Harney County, in southeastern Oregon, went from one of the state’s wealthiest counties to one of the poorest.

CNN has not independently corroborated Bundy’s claims.

Of course not! The fine folks at CNN know independent corroboration cuts into the wardrobe budget and what’s more important: accurate reporting or crisply pressed blouses? Exactly.

Anyway, the story does include “What the feds say” down at the bottom in the keeping with the Two Sides method of journalism, so only persnickety fuss-budgets would expect anything more.

As an aside, the majority of people Bundy and his freedoom defending pals sorta claim to be helping did not want him around, and said so repeatedly.

Out of concern for their desires, Bundy put out a national call to gun-fondling wankers liberty loving sons of patriotism. So the people of Burns can look forward to a bunch of aggressive, hyped-up white men with more weapons than brains roaming around, looking for something to protect from the forces of evil. Perhaps the people of Ferguson, Mo. can offer some pointers on how to deal with that sort of thing.

However, I suspect one reason Dwight and Steven Hammond will surrender on Monday is to to get into nice safe jail cells far from neighbors who are really not happy about the clown show they initially invited into the county.

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  • ThrottleJockey

    I think Bundy and his whole clan should’ve been confronted and arrested (or shot if they refused to go peaceably) last year, but having just read Erik’s piece on Bauxite Mines I have a question: How do we distinguish the displacement of people for industrial development from the displacement of people for the expansion of nature preserves? Why is, pardon the pun, one an unalloyed good and the other not?

    Why is one form of displacement “horrible” and the other form of displacement “good”? In the passage below the Guardian wrote movingly about displacement due to Bauxite Mining. You could easily imagine the Wall Street Journal writing as movingly about ranchers:

    The central government and the supreme court bucked the trend of siding with industry, and defended the Dongria’s right to their lands, their livelihoods and to determine their own future. And the environment ministry’s decision to block Vedanta should serve as a warning to any company intent on extracting resources from tribal land without members’ informed consent.

    • Amanda in the South Bay

      Rural resentment of environmentalism is an old canard in rural Oregon. The poorness of rural Oregon counties isn’t to be blamed on a fucking wildlife refuge. If only it were that simple!

      • Amanda in the South Bay

        You’re talking about areas that are very remote, don’t have very nice weather (hot in the summer, cold in the winter, i.e. not very west of the Cascades like), were never really connected to the outside world even at the height of the railroads, and never really diversified their economies.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Even if its a canard, should we feel sorry for people who were grazing their herds for free before land was grabbed for National Parks and Monuments and now have to pay for it?

          • No.

            Grazing their herds for free on public land doesn’t create any sort of entitlement to that gravy train. Esp as such grazing is highly destructive.

            Money is a much better transfer of wealth. If there’s a case, I’m happy to transfer money. This profit stealing isn’t regret worthy.

          • sharculese

            It’s possible? Maybe? It’s also not relevant here because nobody had their land grabbed. According to the article linked below the refuge was created in the 19th century and expanded as part of the New Deal. There’s no mention of eminent domain being invoked, but even if it was, it wouldn’t matter, because nobody involved in this story was even born then.

            This is just a case of people treating land that wasn’t theirs as if it was, because they didn’t care about the rights of the owner. It’s trespassing and vandalism, flat out. If it were a private owner, rather than the government, I’ve been informed by wingers that an absolute right to just straight up kill them would attach.

            • West of the Cascades

              And why should the government ever have countenanced the ecological degradation of the Intermountain West so that ranchers could graze for free (or, today, almost for free) on public lands? If they want to destroy streams and uplands with their cows, do it on private land.

              The ugly truth is that ranchers like the Hammonds are the ultimate welfare queens — renting forage on public lands for about 10% of what it would cost to buy hay or rent private lands forage — and that, without the massive federal subsidy, their operations would go out of business. Public lands ranching is an industry that would disappear if it had to be based on actual free market conditions.

              Giving them nearly-free access to public lands that they turn their cows loose to degrade, just to perpetuate the mythological cowboy of the 19th century, is one of the lingering tragedies and failures of our public lands policies. The BLM should have held fast and cleared Cliven Bundy’s cows from the Gold Butte allotment in Nevada — and they should go back in and do it now, particularly given that most of the militia that might try to stop them seem to be holed up in SE Oregon. And put a lien on the Bundy Ranch for the $1 million in grazing fees he hasn’t paid for two decades, and get a judicial foreclosure to force payment or seize his ranch and/or cows to pay the overdue bills (with interest).

              These assholes are undermining the rule of law, and all non-violent means to end their lawlessness should be brought to bear. I surely hope the President-with-no-fucks-to-give can have his Interior Department do something about this.

              • Mike Lommler


              • smitmaul

                Yes, I’d like to see something done about this. Especially since the locals expressed no desire for the Bundy group’s assistance. Turn off the power, turn off the water, and blockade them in. And yeah, President-With-No-Fucks-to-Give, get on this!

                • N__B

                  What about the loudspeakers playing obnoxious music we used on Noriega? 5000-watt speakers and Taylor Swift may be the answer we’re looking for.

                • efgoldman

                  5000-watt speakers and Taylor Swift may be the answer we’re looking for.

                  Disney’s It’s a Small World After All, over and over, volume at eleventy. They’d come out in less than 12 hours. Of course, their lawyers might have a legitimate torture claim….

                • N__B

                  T. Swift, in a burst of patriotism, rerecords It’s a Small World

                • BigHank53

                  Put a sixteen foot high chain link fence around the whole thing, and turn on the cell phone jammer. It’d be Lord of the Flies II in there by Wednesday afternoon.

                • Manju

                  Ooooooooh. Perfect opportunity for pulling a Noriega. But it’s gotta be Ted Nugent. That would be hilarious.

                • Richard Hershberger

                  But it’s gotta be Ted Nugent. That would be hilarious.

                  Two words: Lee Greenwood.

          • Ahuitzotl

            Yes, we should. Perhaps we could even recompense them … go ask at the reservation closest.

      • DrDick

        It really is true throughout most of the West and is generally blamed for the losses in jobs from extractive industries. This of course completely ignores the fact that most of those jobs had already gone before environmentalism was really a factor and most of the rest left because the resources were severely depleted and it was cheaper to offshore production.

    • Origami Isopod

      How do we distinguish the displacement of people for industrial development from the displacement of people for the expansion of nature preserves?

      I had no idea the Hammonds were poor indigenous folk who’d been living on the land for generations until the U.S. government stole it from them. I thought they were recipients of multi-generational welfare at the expense of the actual indigenous folk! My bad.

      • ThrottleJockey

        So, we only care about displacement when its the original inhabitants of the land being displaced? How is that practicable or equitable when the original inhabitants were displaced a hundred years or more ago? What about in the case of, say, Palestine? Do Isreaeli Jews get to say to Palestinian Arabs, sorry we were here first?

        • Origami Isopod

          Serious question.

          Do you actually believe half the shit you spew?

          • ThrottleJockey

            Reading the 2 stories back-to-back, first Loomis’ and then Shakezula’s set off a lot of cognitive dissonance. So I need a different framework than Displacing People for Industrialization = Bad, Displacing People for Environmentalism = Good.

            I’m asking what does that framework look like? Because while I think the Bundy Clan are a bunch of terrorists, people also call AIM a bunch of terrorists. So I’m looking for a fair framework to distinguish the 2 types of displacement.

            • Ask Me Gently

              Answer’s right there in your noggin if you’d only use it

        • efgoldman

          So, we only care about displacement when its the original inhabitants of the land being displaced?

          Umm… the Hammonds weren’t displaced, dickwad. It wasn’t their land, it was federal land for which they had a grazing lease.
          And when they set the fires, ON FEDERAL LAND, they endangered a hunting party in one fire, and a group of federal fire fighters in the other, neither of which were warned, and either of which could have died. It could just as easily have been a murder charge, with some bad luck.

          • That was explained, and ignored, multiple times.

        • Davebo

          Generally speaking, when land is sold as it was in this case, the previous owners are displaced.

    • So the preserve was established from unclaimed govt land and expanded by a purchase.


      One difference in general is public good vs private profit. I’m not against wealth transfers but destructive wealth transfers to already well off people seems bad policy.

      • Barry_D

        I won’t wait for Throttle Jockey to deal with this, as I’ve got to be at work in 16 hours.

    • Mike Lommler

      The Hammonds aren’t being displaced; the land they set fire to was never theirs to begin with. BLM, Forest Service, NPS, and USFWS land wasn’t established by taking it forcibly from (white) people. Their just used to grazing their cattle for next to nothing on it and feel like they should be able to do whatever they want with it.

      • N__B

        I’m pretty sure that the copies of the constitution they like to waive around have marginal notes that read “grazers keepers, losers weepers.”

        • The part of the constitution that grants the government authority to establish D.C. is apparently cited by these folks as proof that all other federal landholdings are illegitimate.

          • N__B

            Yeah, I saw that. Presumably they also believe that since the Third Amendment only prohibits quartering of troops in houses, it’s perfectly okay for the feds to use people’s garages as barracks.

            • sharculese

              I feel like maybe I’ve told this story before, but on the first day of Criminal Procedure the professor shows us a video of a news report where some cops got caught on camera using the owner’s Wii while they were supposed to be searching the house and asked whether it was a Constitutional issue.

              Towards the end of the discussion, I felt the need to be clever and raised my hand to ask whether, if this isn’t a 4th amendment issue, it might be a 3rd amendment issue. The professor looks and me for a minute and then says “Okay, so I’m gonna need you to remind me what the 3rd amendment is.’

          • Bill Murray

            I think it’s all over 10 acres, which is the size limit for DC

            • 10 miles?

              • Bill Murray

                maybe. 10 of some arbitrary area unit, certainly

          • Area Man

            If I recall, Cliven Bundy actually used that argument during one of his many failed court cases. He also claimed that the cattle maybe weren’t his, that someone else might have put his brand on them, which goes to show how seriously he was taking these arguments.

    • Chetsky

      Isn’t part of the answer that in the case of these indigenous peoples, they’re not taking up arms, engaging in insurrection, etc? And in the rare cases that they do, the Govt comes down on ’em like a ton of depleted uranium, no?

      Whereas, ol’ Cliven, Ammon, and his kin … well, they’re not exactly engaging in civil disobedience now, are they?

  • Crusty

    I can’t be the only one who sees Clay Aiken there, can I?

  • pianomover

    Oregon, a state full of bitter ex loggers who live in metal houses.

    Meanwhile public lands are now being blocked by “citizens” armed with automatic weapons while going on about the constitution and laws and stuff.

    Im convinced the ass-gasket is the fascists first choice for facial hair.

    • Amanda in the South Bay

      I think a lot of blame also has to go go rural city and county governments who rode the logging gravy train to the bitter end, even when it was painfully obvious the company mill was going to close down.

      • pianomover

        The authentic frontier gibberish that come out of the younger Bundy’s mouth is truly inspirational. As a resident of the far Northern California county of Siskiyou I am continually amazed the sheer stupidity of my fellow man.
        Good day.

        • DrDick

          You would feel right at home anywhere in Montana (except maybe here in Missoula, which is chock full of tree hugging sociamalistical hippies!).

          • DrDick
            • pianomover

              Dammit if I don’t live 5 minutes from Dwight Hammond reservoir and Hammond ranch estates right here in Siskiyou county.

          • creature

            One of my old high-school pals lives in Missoula. I wondered why he liked it so much, now I know. He’s one of those goddam guitar-playing hippie commie wise-asses. I’ve also got friends in many of those cities you noted below. Now I feel left out, even though I’m in Colorado, where a granola-like mix of nuts and fruits and berries and grains lives, all over the damned place.

      • Lurker

        What is the problem with the sawmill industry? Was the logging unsustainable?

        I live in a country where the forests of the Southern part have been mostly logged at least three times in an industrial manner. As the forestry has been sustainable, we still have a forest industry.

        • The concept of “sustainable” is unchristian (or unconstitutional, but I repeat myself), for Jeebus will wax wroth on his return to Earth next Tuesday when he finds that resources have been left unsquandered.

          • JustRuss

            Amen. There’s a small town in Oregon that used to give free college scholarships to every high school grad, courtesy of a local family that made a fortune in timber. A few years ago they got very bent our of shape out of Oregon State U emphasizing sustainability in it’s mission statement, or some other boilerplate. It’s a trigger-word for certain people…seems like they’ve never thought through what the opposite of sustainable would be. Cleek’s law in action.

            • Richard Hershberger

              One of my county commissioners is prone to riding around the countryside on his hog giving speeches about how sustainability is a UN plot to take away our freedoms. The scary thing is that I live in Maryland. I wish I were making this up. (Not the living in Maryland part: it is a largely nice place to live, and largely populated by sane people, over in those other counties where they don’t elect people like this guy.)

              • creature

                After living in DC for many years, and then later on in Washington county, MD, I know exactly what you are saying.

                • Hogan

                  We vacationed a couple of years ago near Oakland, at the Inn at Deep Creek. After a visit to one of their many fine horse riding establishments (protip for beginners: if they offer you a horse named Rebel, ask what else they have available), I had my broken finger splinted and packed at their very fine hospital. Dinner at the Cornish Manor was also quite nice.

        • The Dark God of Time

          Oregon has 1,573 lumber mills, turning out more than 7 billion board feet.

          1950-late 1970s
          Although the diameter of logs declines, large quantities of logs are converted to lumber, plywood, veneer, and pulp, with moderate variations in volume from one year to the next.

          The Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act lists five basic uses of national forests: outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish.

          The Columbus Day windstorm causes extensive damage to forests in Oregon.

          The National Environmental Policy Act is enacted.

          The Oregon Forest Practices Act, the first of its kind in the United States, requires resource protection during logging. (Most states have no reforestation laws.)

          Statewide land use planning is approved. Congress passes the Endangered Species Act.

          No large area of timber in the state is worked on a sustained-yield basis. Western Oregon begins to consider banning exports and using special methods to speed regrowth.

          The National Forest Management Act passes, thus providing for harvest practices which preserve biological diversity and meet multiple-use objectives. The act restricts clearcutting, but does not prohibit it. In western Oregon, only Lane and Douglas counties show an increase in logging; they account for a third of logs produced in state.

          The northern spotted owl, with specialized habitat and food requirements that can be met only by an old-growth system, is chosen as an indicator species for the ancient forests.

          The USDA Forest Service releases proposed management guidelines for the northern spotted owl; final guidelines are released in 1988.

          Fires burn 245,000 acres of timber worth an estimated $97.3 million.

          The US Fish and Wildlife Service lists the northern spotted owl as a threatened species in Washington, Oregon, and northern California.

          Northern Spotted Owl v. Lujan holds that the Endangered Species Act requires the US Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitat for the owl.

          The US Fish and Wildlife Service approves the Habitat Conservation Plan proposed for the Elliott State Forest by the Department of Forestry. Such plans are developed to provide protection for the habitat of sensitive species during land use, e.g., harvesting timber, particularly on nonfederal land.

          Major fires burn hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land, much of it in Oregons national forests.

          The amount of timber harvested in Oregon is declining, as is Asian demand for Northwest logs. Restrictions on federal land are greater than restrictions on private land. Approximately 10% of old-growth forests remain uncut, virtually all of which are located on federal land.


        • Mike Lommler

          The western U.S. is generally pretty dry, so a lot of the forest land doesn’t grow back very quickly. Industrial forestry as practiced in the U.S. has often also prioritized moving raw product out to international markets rather than creating finished products here, so it’s all about getting the cut out as quickly as possible. Seeing as how Erik is writing/has written a book about this stuff, he I’m sure knows more.

  • Ammo Bundy had many things to say to CNN.

    Do CNN turn themselves into a propaganda channel for any group of gun-toting terrorists, or just the white ones?

    • N__B

      Sounds like it’s time for a controlled experiment!

      • MAJeff

        Send in Don Lemon?

  • anon1

    Not too confusing. The game score:
    Industrialization 1, Rural Lifestyle 0.

    Rural people are displaced. People are expendable. You kill deer out of season for food not recreation. Nothing is protected when they are running on government lands and they are free to take down.
    We have set aside wilderness areas and it is the outsider that deems them in part recreational. The business people in Manhattan buy small farms as weekend getaways. The egg farmer we knew never saw his farm as a “getaway.”

    The only thing we know for sure is that they have guns. Lots of guns. Seven. Maybe ten. I have a friend who owns twelve guns. He has guns and his wife has her faith AND she knows He is coming back any day now.
    I don’t read novels anymore. What chapter are we in?

    • sharculese

      I don’t read novels anymore. What chapter are we in?

      Close but not quite up to the sacking of Isengard.

  • Unlearner

    Here are some stats from the web for Harney County.

    1990 Decennial Census:
    Median inc in 2014$: $42,639
    Poverty rate: 10.6%
    Unemployment rate: 9.5%

    2010-2014 American Community Survey:
    Median inc in 2014$: $35,828
    Poverty rate: 21.1%
    Unemployment rate: 13.5%

    I doubt that the wildlife refuge is the reason for this, but sometimes the truth is actually out there!

    • Amanda in the South Bay

      Considering the refuge was founded over a hundred years ago, I’d say no.

    • Amanda in the South Bay

      And BTW its the same for most of rural Oregon. Cities and counties tied themselves to mono industries (timber, fishing, ranching) and when they declined…well you get angry white people.

  • NYD3030

    I’ve seen in mentioned a few times in the comments that rural Oregon tied its prosperity to single industries and is now reaping the consequences of their decline.

    Legit question though – was there an alternative? At the city or county level was there any policy capable of alleviating the inevitable social breakdown that follows mass job loss or of preventing that loss? My sense is that there is actually nothing a rural boom town can do in this situation and using the extractive industry as the primary (or only) tax base and source of private income is in fact the best option even if it only lasts for a generation or two.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I think most of the time the town exists because of the extractive industry, not that the town looked for something to support itself and chose mining or logging. what I think it comes down to is that people have to let these places go- the history of rural Iowa over the last 100 years is the steady decay of most of the towns that sprung up between 1840 and 1900

      (this is of course easier to say than actually promote)

      • BigHank53

        There are expired towns in nearly every state. There’s a couple ex-coal towns in West Virginia that have been preserved as tourist attractions, and about two hundred more that only have about two decades left, since the median age of the inhabitants is pushing sixty. Every young person has left to find a job that isn’t selling beer and lottery tickets at the convenience store.

    • Amanda in the South Bay

      Well, I can only speak from my personal experience-I’m from a small town near Portland, where the local Boise Cascade paper mill closed down in 2008 I think? IDK, I wasn’t living there then. The town is now hanging on mostly as an attractive small town experience for commuters to Portland. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, it seemed like there were always rumors that the mill would close. Now, looking back as an adult, I think “why didn’t the city/county plan for the day when the mill would inevitably close?” It seems so colossally stupid-the city has rail and river access, isn’t too far from Portland, and is connected to Portland by a four lane highway.

    • Area Man

      Farming has gone from employing about 90% of Americans down to less than 2% today. As the agriculture and extractive industries have become more productive, employment and prices have fallen. This necessarily means that more marginal rural areas are going to bleed jobs and people. Those people have to look for work in cities where new industries are expanding; they just aren’t going to exist in rural areas. And there’s really nothing to be done about this that wouldn’t cause more harm than good. Do we actually want farming and logging to be less productive and the goods to cost more? That would provide more jobs, but entirely at the expense of others.

  • brad

    To very, very mildly defend CNN, how exactly are they to independently verify claims that genetically engineered midichlorians are being sprayed as contrails over everything but those public lands? Maybe we really are being saved from beef which will sap our vital essences and leave us further open to communist infiltration.

  • N__B

    Per Gawker, they are the Y’allQueda.

    • heckblazer

      Or as I’ve seen elsewhere on the internet, Vanilla ISIS.

      • postmodulator

        On Twitter, I also saw Yokel Haram, Yeehawdists, and Talibundy.

        • DocAmazing


          • Manju

            Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…

  • heckblazer

    You’ve got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than any one else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes been objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists, as you can see from the barons’ wars.

    The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

    Substitute “anarchist” with “Libertarian” and I think this applies nicely to the US context.

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