Understanding the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Burns Oregon Standoff – Part 3 – The Wider Impact

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I must begin this last post on this subject with a statement about the death of the militia man, LaVoy Finicum.  I’m so sorry that this happened, and my sympathy is with his family.

So far I’ve brought you information regarding various aspects of this subject. Personally I must say that there was so much information that I could have made each part of the series quite long. I am going to conclude with the wider impact that this standoff may have.

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The New York Times has an interesting article regarding what are the biggest threats to U.S. national security. There was a poll conducted of the police across the nation, and right-wing, anti-government militias are considered to be one of the three largest threats to the U.S. In fact, in many places they are considered to be the greatest threat. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/16/opinion/the-other-terror-threat.html

Along with the police, the Department of Homeland Security is also listing these militias as a threat. In this article there is more information of the number and whereabouts of the attacks on the police and other governmental agencies from these militias. http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/19/politics/terror-threat-homeland-security/

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A major reason that these militias have become more widely spread over the last several years involves a few social issues. For one thing, since 2008 most Americans have seen their incomes drop, while at the same time the extremely rich have simply gotten even more extremely rich. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2014/1110/Economic-inequality-in-the-US-reaches-levels-not-seen-since-Great-Depression  Since people are not stupid, there has been a lot of anger; however, the anger has been deliberately misdirected by various politicians, newscasters and radio personalities – all of whom have something to sell, be it books, gold, survival gear or the like. This has created an environment where people who try to explain that the 1% may have something to do with the economics of the country are literally “drowned out”. Instead, illegal immigrants, “the poor”,” welfare queens”, those on Social Security and/or Disability are blamed. So, at a time when wages are falling, the corporations and the rich are becoming unimaginably wealthy, the sick, the elderly and the very young are blamed. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/right-wing-extremism-explainer-charleston-mass-shooting-terrorism

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If a house divided cannot stand, certain people are dividing our house for their profit. The hatred that has been whipped up against people who are “different” from the majority has escalated to the point where minorities have been attacked at political rallies, on the street, in church and in their own homes. (I will be leaving those links below.) The explanations that these politicians, newscasters and radio personalities give are way too simplistic. All our problems as a country cannot possibly be caused by a minority which has little to no power. Taking up arms against our fellow citizens, the “government” or officials (not to mention people in a church) is not going to solve a single problem. We need to unite and help each other. We are all suffering…we are all just scrapping by. If we stick together we may find the solutions we need. http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/22/politics/donald-trump-black-lives-matter-protester-confrontation/
http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/jewish-center-shootings/snapshot-hate-crime-america-numbers-n81521

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As far as the Malheur Wildlife Refuge is concerned, I don’t have a solution. I am sorry that during the arrests one of the men was killed.  Do I believe that this was part of a larger conspiracy?  No, I do not.  I believe that something needed to be done, and this is the result of people running around with guns.  The militias don’t need martyrs, and I am glad that Ammon Bundy has called for the remaining members of his militia to stand down and go home.  I hope that they do.   At the same time, no one should be able to take over a Federal Building and occupy it simply because they don’t like a judgment that was handed down. The land is public land, not rancher land, not private land. They should leave and let the public have access to it.

Understanding the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Burns Oregon Standoff – Part 2 – The Militia

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If you haven’t read my previous post, I’ve decided to write a three part series regarding the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff. The first part focused on the Burns Paiute tribe. This part of the series is focusing on the armed militia that has taken over federal buildings at the refuge. Please follow the links that I’ve provided below.

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Spokesmen for the militia state that they are “taking it back”. For whom the militia is “taking it back” for remains to be seen; however, it is quite obvious that they are not taking it back for the tribe to whom it belongs. Instead, this area which has been used as a wildlife refuge, is a place that ranchers and others want to exploit for their own private monetary gain. After all, ranchers have been allowed to graze their oversized herds of cattle on land that’s not their own for many years. If it can be had for free, or at minimal charge, which you can choose not to pay for, why not? After all, why pay when you can just take?

According to Ammon Bundy, the leader of this group, the standoff is in response to the sentencing of Dwight and Steven Hammond who were found guilty of burning 130 acres of public land. Bundy claims that the land is owned by ranchers, and they were simply burning their own land. The land that was burned was not currently owned by the Hammonds, nor was it ever owned by the Hammonds.   Again, Bundy has claimed that because ranchers want the land, they should be given it.

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While armed and occupying the federal buildings in the refuge, the militia has committed numerous felonies. They have accessed federal computers and information, including addresses and phone numbers of federal workers; used for their personal needs federally owned vehicles, bulldozers and other equipment; there has been the removal of federal surveillance equipment from the refuge; removal of fences; the building of an access road for their use within the fragile wildlife refuge; and unauthorized use of prehistoric artifacts. There has been one arrest so far for the unauthorized use of a vehicle.

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There have been numerous incidents between the militia members and the members of the community. At various community meetings the town residents have chanted “Go Home” and “Leave” at the militia members who have attended. Harney County Judge Steve Grasty has stated that the cost to keep the people of the county safe is approximately $60,000 to $70,000 per day, and has promised to send Bundy the bill. One militia supporter has been arrested for illegally carrying a concealed weapon. Then there is the story that armed members went along with parents rushing from the refuge to take their children away from their grandparents after the grandparents had called Protective Services in a bid to gain custody of the children. The Grandparents were concerned with the children potentially being pulled out of school to stay at the refuge with their parents. The grandparents also cited another reason – the refuge is full of guns, ammunition and grenades, as can be seen in the background of the many videos that the militia members have uploaded. Even Oregon Governor Kate Brown has asked the federal government to “do something” about the militia.

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Do you think that a group of heavily armed people have the right to occupy a federal building, bulldoze a fragile environment, and use federal equipment because they are unhappy with a criminal conviction? If so, then would it be morally sound to do the same anytime anyone is upset with a judicial decree? A political statement? Any decision someone somewhere disagrees with? Let me know your thoughts on this subject. I will conclude this series on Friday.

*Just a note – I’d like to say that I am really sad that someone died in regards to this standoff.  I truly believe in non-violence and was upset to hear that during the recent arrests there was gunfire.  My heart goes out to the families.*

Informative Links:

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/1/12/1468760/-Judge-promises-70k-per-day-bill-to-Bundy-supporter-tossed-from-county-meeting-sex-toys-arrive?detail=email

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/1/14/1469983/-Backcountry-Hunters-and-Anglers-members-shred-militia-signage-at-refuge-say-get-the-flock-out

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/1/15/1470464/-Oregon-standoff-protestor-arrested-after-driving-federal-vehicle-into-the-town-of-Burns?detail=email

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/1/19/1471770/-Armed-Oregon-supporters-make-late-night-raid-to-take-children-from-family-member-after-CPS-called?detail=email

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/oregon-militants-use-traditional-jewish-horns-christian-battle-trumpets-insanely?akid=13900.302291.CUYGnm&rd=1&src=newsletter1049268&t=22

 

Understanding the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Burns Oregon Standoff – in 3 Parts – Part 1 – Burns Paiute Tribe

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Stating that the Indigenous Americans have been having a hard time of it essentially since Europeans arrived on the shining shores of the “new world” is simply an understatement so large that we could all fall into this pit of despair and never find our way out. For those of you who want to know more, I will be including numerous links at the end of this article for you to add to your knowledge.

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The Burns Paiute Tribe has been in the news recently due to the armed militia taking control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge under the guise of “taking it back”. When America was settled, land was taken from the original inhabitants, most often through killing and resettlement. This was true of the land where the wildlife refuge now stands. The Burns Paiute Tribe has been granted use rights to this land (since it was theirs to begin with) and considers the land to be sacred. Sacred land is not to be desecrated by bulldozing or by taking ancient artifacts. Yet both these events have occurred by the occupying force. Charlotte Rodrique, spokeswoman for the Tribal Council, along with Birders, town members, including the mayor, and other ranchers have asked the government to remove the armed militia from the fragile refuge. So far their pleas have been ignored.

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While occupying the Refuge building, there has been destruction of both the land, and ancient artifacts. According to news reports there are thousands of artifacts as well as over 300 recorded prehistoric sites scattered over the refuge. There are maps depicting where these sites are in the buildings which are being occupied. As many people know, there is a large market for artifacts in the art/history world. Now the militia has unlimited access to one tribes heritage. These artifacts and maps are protected by the 1979 Archeological Resources Protections Act as well as other federal laws. Obviously the tribe is concerned, and have requested that federal charges against the militia be filed. Most disconcerting of all is this quote from Ryan Bundy who is involved with this militia.

“We also recognize that the Native Americans had the claim to the land, but they lost that claim,” Bundy said. “There are things to learn from cultures of the past, but the current culture is the most important.”   http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/15/1470295/-Ammon-Bundy-Native-Americans-have-lost-their-claim-to-the-Land?detail=email

This all being said, how would you feel if the land that you have allowed the U.S. government to oversee had been taken over by an armed militia that has not only destroyed some of the fragile environment by creating a new access road with bulldozers, but now has access to your sacred artifacts? Please look at the links that I’ve provided below and let me know your thoughts and comments. I will be continuing the discussion on Wednesday.

Information on Treatment of the Indigenous Tribes in the U.S.

http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=chc_theses

Information on the Malheur National Refuge

http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Malheur/about.html

http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2016/01/04/23341055/required-reading-the-malheur-national-wildlife-refuge-was-taken-over-once-before-back-in-the-19th-century

Information on the Burns Paiute Tribe

http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/oregon-s-burns-paiute-tribe-says-armed-group-is-desecrating-their-land-1.11299245

http://www.care2.com/causes/meet-the-tribe-that-is-furious-about-occupation-of-their-land.html

Information on the desecration and destruction caused by the Militia

http://news.yahoo.com/4-000-artifacts-stored-oregon-refuge-held-armed-061523370.html

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/15/1470234/-Oregon-militia-damage-refuge-with-new-road-have-been-traveling-to-rally-constitutional-sheriffs?detail=emai

 

Dwelling on Good Thoughts

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 Like most people I remember the nasty comments while forgetting the nice comments. There is actually a reason for that, part of our survival was key to remembering and learning from bad experiences. Of course you’re not going to forget that a stove-top is hot after you’ve burned your hand.

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Can you learn to put more of an emphasis on the positive? Well, as I’ve said before, journaling is a great way to process events, but it’s also a great way to remember the positive comments and events in your life. Some people use Gratitude Journals for this, also. Are you afraid that thinking about the positive will lead you into becoming a Pollyanna? Well, I never had much of an issue with Pollyanna, oh yes, at times she could be a little much, however, wasn’t her way of thinking much better than being a “negative Nancy”? If I really have to choose between the two, I’d much prefer being more like Pollyanna – rest assured, my sarcasm will always save me from being too Pollyanna-ish.  And, of course I have to work on this…only last week I was busy having a little pity-party – guests attending, one.  But I soon realized that since I was sick, this pity-party was simply making me feel even sicker.  I’ve got to tell you, I’d rather be in the forest searching for unicorns than in the house crying because sometimes life sucks.  How about you?

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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/24/your-money/why-people-remember-negative-events-more-than-positive-ones.html?_r=0

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/turn-pain-to-joy-11-tips-for-a-powerful-gratitude-journal/

 

The Benefits of Hugs

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I love hugs. Not with just anyone – I’m way too Swedish for that – as a rule of thumb, I absolutely hate to have my personal space invaded. However, hugs with loved ones are absolutely essential. I need them, and now there is evidence related to the benefits of hugging. Just to say, I always thought that hugging was extremely beneficial, and now I know that I was right!

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There was a study done at the University of North Carolina with couples. After hugging, the levels of oxytocin were elevated in both the man and woman, but there was an added benefit for woman. They were found to have had higher levels of reduced blood pressure than their male counterparts. Oxytocin is a hormone that has also been called the cuddle, or love hormone; also known as the bonding hormone. The women were also found to have reduced levels of cortisol, also. Cortisol is a stress hormone, so having a lower level of it is a huge benefit. I’ve left some links if you would like to read the articles.

http://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4131508.stm

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/hugs-can-do-wonders-for-womens-health.html

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When my kids were little, the Snuggle Bear was going to be visiting the local Sam’s Club. My kids absolutely loved the Snuggle Bear, the commercials were so cute. I didn’t tell them, but of course I took them. Once they got a look at who was there, their faces were absolutely priceless!  They were so excited and thrilled.  The hugs that the Snuggle Bear gave my kids is up there with one of their favorite childhood memories. I got a hug, too, by the way.  So don’t forget to hug your loved ones!  It’s free, it’s wonderful and it’s healthy!

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Australia Day – Thoughts and Comments

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January 26th is known “down under” as Australia Day. I have no problems with that, after all July 4th here is a crazy day of American self-love. However, I do have some problems with the promotion of Australia Day.

I’m sure that you’ve probably heard of the ad that is showing called “Commence Operation Boomerang.

This ad is deservedly getting its fair share of grief. First of all, the Indigenous Peoples of Australia are not happy, since Australia Day is actually the celebration of the invasion of their land – much the same problem happens here on Columbus Day (deservedly, also).  The second serious outrage is the from the vegan community. In the ad, a vegan Australian gets his apartment (and apparently himself) fire-blasted for simply being vegan. Is this is how Australia feels it should treat its vegan citizens? This is actually inciting violence against vegans. Below is an analysis of the ad by That Vegan Couple. Should you watch it, I need to let you know that there are a few images which if you are a dedicated meat eater may leave you feeling a little uncomfortable. However, truth is the truth, whether we like it or not.

There is a further segment included in this video of a Today show interview where one of the Australia Day promoters makes this statement “And lovely blasting of a vegan or two.” While the reply to this is “Ah, they’ve been our number one enemy from day one.”

This comment opens up even more commentary. Fire blasting a person, whom you don’t agree with, is now a viable response to that disagreement. Is this not fomenting violence against this group you disagree with? Is this not the definition of terrorism? (“the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims”).  Now, I know that some people don’t like vegans (I’d actually have to live with my head in the sand to miss that – since I’m vegan, and have suffered more then my fair share of hate – both in person, and in cyber space).  However, the level of physical abuse being promoted in the ad is way past the bounds of human decency.

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=terrorism+definition

Here are some additional articles regarding this ad. Please look at them, and what do you think of both the ad, and the points that are being made?  Do you think that the ad should be taken as funny and if so, would be also be funny if you substituted vegan for LGBT, or black, or any other minority?  Let me know what you think.

http://www.9news.com.au/national/2016/01/14/15/25/2016-australia-day-lamb-advertising-campaign-becomes-m

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jan/11/operation-boomerang-lamb-ad-insults-indigenous-people-say-critics

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jan/15/australia-day-lamb-ad-creators-demand-animal-rights-group-remove-parody-clip

 

I Finally Went to the Doctor

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After two weeks of being sick, I finally finally finally gave up the ghost and went to the doctor. Whatever could I be sick of? Well, it turns out that my simple sinus infection decided to morph into walking pneumonia without asking me what I thought of that idea. It was pretty rude, and I am not happy. When the doctor asked me what I had been doing to help myself, she was not too impressed when I told her I’d been spending a lot of time lying on my bed practicing my Yoga breaths while chanting “health in, sickness out” in my mind, each time I breathed in and out, respectively. And, I must say on a side note, that even though this did not cure my illness, it certainly helped with my horrible asthma – I have not had to use my one remaining emergency inhaler. I’m now taking medication for the infection, and I was able to talk her into giving me some cough syrup for night-time – the doctors seem to think that you can somehow magically sleep through all the extreme coughing.

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I’ll be spending the weekend trying to get well, drinking tea and water and still lying on my bed breathing those wonderful Yoga breaths – learning to breathe properly is the best gift I’ve ever given myself.

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Learn from me, if you are sick, go to the doctor – if I’d gone sooner, maybe I wouldn’t be as sick as I am right now. Trying to always save money sometimes ends up costing more in the end. Stay healthy!