Monday, January 4, 2016

Valuable Commentary on Oregon Situation: "Did I Miss the Call for the National Guard in Oregon? I Recall Them in Ferguson and Baltimore"

Valuable commentary I've read in the past two days about what's happening in Oregon right now:

Charles Pierce at Esquire

This is another step down the road that leads to the broken shell of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. There are respectable people in our respectable politics who have been shamefully silent on the subject, and there are respectable people in our respectable media who seem terrified of calling this what it is. You want an example of the deadening effect of "political correctness" in our politics? Watch what the people running for president have to say about this episode. Look at how it is being framed already—or ignored entirely—by the elite political media. There is a constituency for armed rebellion in this country that is larger than any of our respectable political and social institutions want to admit. It is fueled by reckless, ambitious people who engage in reckless, ambitious rhetoric.  . . .
And, in related news, of course, Tamir Rice is still dead. 

Tom Mockaitis at Huffington Post: 

Heavily armed domestic terrorists have occupied a wildlife preserve in Oregon and invited other extremists to take up arms and join the movement. Calling themselves "patriots" the followers of Cliven Bundy are protesting the impending imprisonment of two ranchers on arson charges. The anti-government radical leader has long challenged restrictions on grazing his cattle on Federal land. Neither the human rights organizations that track domestic hate groups, nor those of us who study violent extremism are surprised by this latest development. We are, however, puzzled by one thing: Why do virtually all media outlets dignify these people by calling them "militiamen?" They are terrorists, pure and simple.

Chauncey DeVega at Salon:  

Armed white men seize a federal building. The government stands down carefully. But a 12-year-old with a toy gun? . . . 
Thus, the rule along the color line would seem to be as follows. The State escalates its violence against the defenseless and vulnerable if they are black or brown. In contrast, the State backs down and deescalates if the persons involved are white, right-wing and heavily armed. 
This is our America.

Tim Wise at Facebook: 

Your Daily Dose of White Privilege: White men take over government property in defense of two convicted arsonists who burned public property. Authorities currently doing nothing (and not likely to do much). Yet if Black Lives Matter protesters set up an encampment OUTSIDE police headquarters in Minneapolis in defense of unarmed black folks being killed by cops, they get pushed out...and if they ever TOOK OVER government property they'd be likely beaten or worse. Or if Muslim folk took over a government building to protest religious profiling or the Islamophobic rhetoric of government leaders, they'd be seen as terrorists and treated as such by authorities...

German Lopez at Vox: 

One would think that an armed group taking over a government building would be a big deal. The public certainly seems to think so, with #OregonUnderAttack trending on Twitter and Malheur National Wildlife Refuge trending on Facebook. 
But media outlets mostly seemed to shrug at the situation, at least at first. . . . 
The coverage also generally had little language about the threat of violence. The AP, for example, characterized the protests as peaceful, and Fox News called the group in Oregon "armed protesters." 
Several people on social media complained that this story was getting much less — or at least a different kind of — attention than it would have gotten if these were mainly black or Muslim protesters.

Steve Benen at Maddow Blog:

At a certain level, when armed extremists seize a building, it's tempting not to care what their "demands" are, but I mention this because of the underlying irony: the anti-government radicals are, as a practical matter, seeking a government handout from Washington in the form of free land. . . . 
A variety of readers reached out over the weekend asking what the national conversation would look like right now if a group of armed Muslims – or a group of armed Black Lives Matter activists, for that matter – took control of a federal building, threatening possible violence. As the story in Oregon continues to unfold, it seems like a point worth considering.

In recent statements, the Bundys have de-emphasized the Hammonds, instead focusing on their plan to restore eastern Oregon's economy by forcing the federal government to hand over federal lands to local ranchers, miners and loggers. 
The federal lands that the Bundys and their compatriots argue should be "returned" to the local, overwhelmingly white population were once part of a reservation established by President Ulysses S. Grant for the Northern Paiute, an American Indian tribe. The Northern Paiute still live on a now much-smaller reservation north of Burns.

And a reminder from Olivia Kittel at Media Matters about who funded Fox News' glowing coverage of the last Bundy family standoff with the federal government:

Slate reported on April 23 that the Fox News corporate, financial, and political interests being served by Hannity's promotion of Bundy lie in the network's connection to the Koch brothers: 
"Bundy's anti-federal agenda is closely aligned with that of Charles and David Koch, major Republican donors who have been pushing for states to gain control over federal lands - so they can be sold or leased to people like the Koch brothers in deals." 
Fox News Network and Sean Hannity have a particular interest in the promotion and realization of such Koch interests because their funding depends on it -- Hannity receives major funding and large ad buys from Koch-affiliated Heritage and Tea Party Patriots.

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