Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Last Call For Petulant Children

One Texas House Republican is so mad at President Obama that he's promising to defund the entire Department of Justice if the White House moves ahead with any executive measures on gun control.

No, really, not an Onion article.

In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Justice Department, warned against enforcing the new gun restrictions.

"The next twelve months will be an especially dangerous time for Americans who treasure our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Culberson said."I have formally notified Attorney General Lynch that I will aggressively protect our Second Amendment rights using Congress' power of the purse,” he added. "I notified the attorney general that if the Department of Justice attempted to create new restrictions on our Constitutional rights that I would use every tool at my disposal to immediately restrict their access to federal funding.”

Culberson appears to be the first Republican to call to block the DOJ's funding over the executive action on guns.

In future budget agreements, House appropriators could specifically prohibit the Justice Department from enforcing the gun restrictions without defunding the entire agency.

Culberson warned Lynch not to “create new law” in his letter.

“The House Appropriations Committee will not provide resources to your department for the development or implementation of unlawful limitations on the unambiguous Second Amendment rights of Americans,” Culberson wrote.

This might actually carry the impact of threat if Republicans hadn't spent the last several years vowing to defund everything from Obamacare to the Department of Education to the White House itself and not following through on anything.

Petulant little kids that they are.

Here We Go Again, Day 3

As I pointed out in this morning's StupidiNews, suddenly Team Bundy seems to be reconsidering this whole "armed takeover of federal land" considering they can't seem to find anyone else who actually thinks this is a good idea.

A county sheriff and judge on Monday demanded that self-styled militiamen occupying a remote U.S. wildlife center in Oregon peacefully end their 3-day-old anti-government siege, telling the protesters: "It's time for you to leave our community." 

And in fact a lot of people seem to think this is a terrible idea, including other militia seditionist types.

Self-styled militia members who seized federal property in rural Oregon in an effort to galvanize opposition to the U.S. government appear to have made a tactical error - potential allies say they picked the wrong battle. 
As armed anti-government activists occupied a snowy wildlife refuge for a third day to call attention to a land-use dispute, militia leaders from similar groups across the country criticized the seizure of federal land and a building. 
The protesters have said they aim "to restore and defend the Constitution" to protect the rights of ranchers and ignite a national debate about states' rights and federal land-use policy they hope could ultimately force the federal government to release tracts of Western land. 
Their occupation of the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge comes as the number of paramilitary groups is on the rise in the United States, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy group that tracks their numbers. 
But the latest call to arms appears to have failed to resonate with like-minded groups whose support would be crucial for creating a coalition of armed militia members substantial enough to thwart a law enforcement operation.

"There's a better way to go about things," said Brandon Curtiss, president of Three Percent of Idaho, a militia group that has been involved in the dispute. "If you want to make a change like that, you need to get the county citizens behind you to go through the proper channels."

When you're getting "Well, actually'd..." by armed militia groups that want to overthrow the federal government, you've lost on all possible fronts. In fact, the Bundys may be considering cutting their losses and taking the out provided to them.

Late Monday, the apparent leader of the armed occupiers, Ryan Bundy, told OPB reporters that the group — which has branded itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom — would respect the wishes of the local community.

"This is their county – we can't be here and force this on them," Bundy told OPB Monday. "If they don't want to retrieve their rights, and if the county people tell us to leave, we'll leave." 
Bundy tells OPB that he hopes to have a community meeting organized within the next day.

So amazingly enough, what I though was going to be a protracted standoff that was sure to end in Ruby Ridge-style bloodshed may in fact turn into a bunch of losers giving up and slinking home. Sensing an opportunity here to put a peaceful end to this, the Feds are going to cut off power to the refuge.

Federal authorities are planning to cut off the power of the wildlife refuge in Oregon that has been taken over by militia, exposing the armed occupiers to sub-zero temperatures in an effort to flush them out. 
Armed militants will begin their third day at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a remote federal outpost in eastern Oregon, on Tuesday, and have vowed to remain for months in protest over the treatment of two local cattle ranchers.

A federal government official told the Guardian that authorities were planning on Monday to cut the power at the refuge. 
It’s in the middle of nowhere,” said the official, who is based in Washington, DC, and has knowledge of the planned response to the militia. “And it’s flat-ass cold up there.” 
The official, who asked not to be named, said they were not privy to the FBI’s plan of action. However, they said the US Park Service, which is leading the crisis management reaction to the occupation in liaison with the FBI, planned to cut the power to the building where the militiamen are spending their nights.

We'll see where this goes.  Hopefully this will all be over soon.

Stopped Clock Is Right Alert

Every now and again conservatives remind me that they are capable of putting together logical arguments and do so, and believe me, nobody's more shocked than I am to find such an argument involving our little seditious Bundy Ranch friends in Oregon between Tom Nichols and Kurt Schlicter in of all places, The Federalist..

Tom Nichols: Kurt, most of the time, you and I are on the same side of a lot of issues important to conservatives. We tend to disagree on strategy, but conservatives (no matter what leftists think) are not monolithic. As you often say, we just take different roads to the same bar.

I’m kind of shocked, however, that we seem to have a real disagreement of principle on the Bundy takeover of a public building in Oregon. I despise these guys, not only because I think they’re dangerous, but because I think they’re hypocrites. These are people whose beefs with the government seem pretty much to be a matter of whether they get their way in disputes over money, not freedom.

But here’s my bigger issue: I don’t care if they have a legitimate grievance over Dwight and Steven Hammond going to jail. While there might be a legal issue here (although the Supreme Court didn’t think so), when you pick up a weapon and occupy a building, your grievances go out the window.

My question is: why aren’t you, as a good conservative, as outraged as I am about this kind of lawless thuggery? I agree that the cops should just wait these guys out and then charge them with criminal trespass or disorderly conduct or, for all I care, Aggravated Mopery With Intent To Gawk. But you and I both know that what they’re really doing is nothing less than armed sedition, encouraging others to take up arms against law enforcement and the U.S. government itself.

When did conservatives stop being the law and order party? One of the great virtues of conservatism is consistency—even if we don’t like the results—and if this were a group of Black Lives Matter activists in there with guns and waving around little pocket Constitutions, we’d both be calling for throwing them all in the pokey. I would, anyway. Why aren’t you joining me in that same call now?

I mean, I disagree with Tom Nichols on a great number of things (and certainly with 99% of the things advocated in Sean Davis's Glibertarian Online Horsecrap Extravaganza) but this is exactly the argument conservatives should be making about Ammon Bundy's takeover of a federal building in Oregon here.

It's armed sedition, period.  If you believe in rule of law, even if you don't like the people charged with executing that rule of law, you should be against this nonsense.

Kurt Schlichter's response on the other hand is where I think most conservatives are right now.

Kurt Schlichter: I need to be clear that I am not happy about this or supportive of this particular action. But I am disgusted with the way our government has disregarded law, norms, and processes to impose its will on people the elitists at the helm in on the coasts think unworthy of consideration. When did conservatives get less fussy about observing the social contract? When liberals breached it.

But this is a terrible situation. I served in Kosovo and saw up close the chaos and destruction that comes when the rule of law goes. Some on social media accused me of “rationalizing” what’s happening in Oregon; no, I am trying to explain it, because until we understand why it is happening we can’t do what we need to do to stop it.

You are correct that my response to this situation is different from other, superficially analogous movements in recent years. We need to distinguish these Oregon people from the left-wing groups, like Occupy and Black Lives Matter. These guys are marching with American flags, not burning them. Many are apparently vets. The leftist groups are seeking to take more money from people who actually worked for it, and to stop the police from effectively controlling crime.

They are not looting. They are not rioting. They are trespassing, albeit armed. To lump them together with the leftists is a false analogy and not helpful to addressing the problem.

You don’t care about their grievances, so that doesn’t leave you with many options. You either treat their concerns seriously and make it so they don’t feel this is their only outlet, or you use force to suppress them.

We are both coastal, but we know flyover Americans well enough to know they won’t just shrug and submit. The answer, I think we both know, is not force—in fact, insurgents (and make no mistake, this is a pre-insurgency with terrifying potential to expand) need the government to overreact in order to win support.

Right now, most citizens would probably prefer that these guys just go away. But if the feds kill some of them, then many people will see them as the victims, and it will further prove many of what today seem wild claims of oppression.

The wisest thing the Obama administration ever did was walk away from the Bundy ranch. That’s step one here. The next step is to address some of their grievances. We need to show that our political and legal processes can work fairly. If not, this will only continue—and get worse.

Schlichter's ridiculous projection aside, he's right that these seditionists want to martyr themselves and ignite a much larger, most more dangerous, and much bloodier revolution against the federal government.

They want to die so that the country rises up against Obama.  Giving them what they want is stupid and accomplishes nothing.

I hate to say it, loathe it in fact.  But both Nichols and Schlichter are correct on that front.


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