What is Happening in Oregon?

Michael Emmanuel

The Oregon Militiamen: Patriots or Terrorists? 

“Political language,” said George Orwell, “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” It is simply the propaganda machine those in power use to enforce orthodoxy, that is, the correct way of viewing history and current events. For those with power, as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine once explained, fear most to lose it. Thus they must rewrite reality in order to protect and justify their hold on power, especially when that hold is illegitimate, i.e. illegal, i.e. lawless.

Given this state of affairs, anyone paying attention to events south of the border, beyond the tireless drone of the presidential campaigns, may have heard of the terrorists in Oregon occupying a wildlife refuge, demanding the government set free some local arsonists and return land to inhabitants who long ago sold it to the refuge. These radical right-wing militiamen have concocted a conspiracy where the federal government has been stealing land from innocent ranchers and, in the name of anarchy, have begun vandalizing government property, terrorizing the local inhabitants, and wasted tax dollars due to the efforts needed to contain these pseudo-revolutionaries. Further research will reveal that the Bundy brothers, leader of these armed soulja-boys, have been involved in similar standoffs with the government before, and are trouble-makers who travel across the US attaching themselves to regional squabbles, against the wish of locals, in their vainglorious war against the federal government. Such is the orthodoxy streaming from the establishment loudspeakers.

While we must not be so naïve as to believe “the revolution will be tweeted,” what with the possibilities of internet censorship, insofar as the web remains a source of decentralized information, there is another narrative which paints quite a different picture.

The story begins in the 1870s when ranchers began settling in the Harney Basin and building a state of the art irrigation system to enrich their lands. The thriving basin soon began attracting wildlife, particularly birds as they migrated north. As governments do, President Roosevelt declared the unclaimed land federal property under the guise of an “Indian Reservation,” though no “Indians” inhabited the area, to preserve the “breeding ground for native birds.” Already the orthodox narrative had altered the reality.

Meanwhile, according to the American Constitution, “the supreme law of the land” (Art.6 s.2) , the federal government cannot own any territory outside of D.C. unless it is a military site which the state in question has allowed (Art.1 s.8). The Feds were violating their legal jurisdiction by claiming the land. Still, at the time, nothing could seem less sinister than establishing the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

In the 1970s, the consequences of ignoring checks and balances made themselves clear. The massively expanded Fed’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and constitutionally unnecessary Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began buying up local ranches and adding the property to the refuge. The expanding refuge soon surrounded the property of the Hammond family, who had been ranching since the early 60s. When the Hammonds and other ranchers refused to sell, however, the FWS and BLM concocted a scheme to force more ranchers out. In the 1980s, they diverted waters passing the meadow lands into the Malheur Lake causing the rising lake to flood the surrounding plains. Their property ruined, many more ranchers were forced to sell. With useless land, the only buyer was, of course, the BLM.

Susie Hammond began compiling facts about the Wildlife Refuge and its federal cohorts. She founded a 1975 study taken by the FWS, and subsequently hidden away, which revealed that, as is often the case, private property around the wildlife refuge attracted four times more wildlife than the actual refuge. (Unsurprisingly, when men “take dominion over the earth,” the earth and all its creatures flourish. When governments let land sit… not so much.) An established bureaucracy didn’t take too kindly to being exposed and so the Hammond family became the target of systemic abuse and harassment by the FWS and BLM from them on.

In one of many incidents, in August of 1994 the Feds began illegally building a fence around the Hammond’s water source. When Dwight Hammond (father) attempted to stop this, he was arrested for “disturbing and interfering with” federal officials and was locked up for two nights and then suddenly released without bail.

Then the Feds revoked the Hammond’s grazing permits without any court proceedings taking place. Oregon is a “fence out state” meaning it does not obligate an owner to keep their livestock within a fence to control their livestock’s movement. Without the grazing permits, the BLW demanded the Hammonds build a fence since their cattle was not permitted to graze on “public property,” Oregon State law be damned. Without the money to build and maintain fences along miles of property, the Hammonds were forced to sell their ranch and buy another property with enough grass to feed their cattle.

But the real trouble began in 2006, when a lightning storm started a fire which posed a threat to the Hammonds land and home. Steven Hammond (son) started a backfire to keep the wildfire from damaging their property. The backfire was successful in saving much of the range and vegetation needed to feed the cattle through the winter. But in the crisis, the Hammonds had failed to inform the public authorities of their activities. The very next day, federal agents filed a police report and Dwight and Steve Hammond were arrested by the County Sheriff and a BLM agent. After reviewing the case, however, the Harney County District Attorney decided to drop the charges. The BLM needed to bring the case to the federal courts if they were going to have their way.

Five years later, 2011, the report was taken to the federal attorneys and the Hammonds were charged under the Federal Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996. The Hammond’s mugshots were featured on the news under the title of “arsonists.” A trial was held which was skewed against the Hammonds in favor of the Feds from the start. While the Hammond’s attorney was given one day to review the evidence, the federal attorney was given six. The jurors selected were not peers, but individuals intentionally selected for their ignorance of the customs and cultures of the ranchers, many of whom lived far from the courthouse, meaning the constant travelling would exhaust them. Such was the case when after six days of being pressured by the federal judge to give a verdict, while being intentionally kept unaware of the consequences of a guilty verdict, the jury finally pronounced the Hammonds guilty.

For some reason, the federal judge thought it would be “cruel and unusual punishment” to deliver the minimum sentence under the Anti-Terrorism Act of five years in prison, even though the Hammonds had supposedly just been found guilty of terrorism. Instead, the judge sentenced Dwight to three months and Steven to twelve months along with an additional fine for both of $400,000. Even after the Hammond men suffered through their terms, it seems the Feds were not finished with them.

In what cannot seem to be anything but vindictive and malicious behavior, the BLM again brought the Hammond’s case to the federal courts demanding that the ranchers be made to serve the full five year term. So in October of 2015, the Hammonds were re-sentenced.

This is where things get interesting. On January 2nd, a protest rally was held in support of the Hammond family, in Harney County. In attendance were the Bundy Brothers and other patriots, as they call themselves. Following the rally, the brothers and their group of armed militiamen trekked up to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge headquarters: “The facility [which] has been the tool to do all the tyranny that has been placed on the Hammonds,” and other ranchers, as Ammon Bundy put it. With supposedly as many as 100 supporters, the militiamen took control of the refuge, closed for the holidays, and then released statements that they intend to hold the headquarters for the next number of years, unless the Hammonds are released and the ranchers given back their lands. They promised they will not hurt anyone, but did not rule out violence if the government tries to remove them.

Since then, the militiamen have been occupying the refuge. The federal government, establishment media, and their ilk have had a field day with the group, labeling them as terrorists and vandals (for tearing down fences). To date (Jan. 17), only one man has been arrested.

720x405-bundy.jpg

The question becomes, what do we make of the Bundy brothers and their followers? Are they terrorists, or are they patriots? Given as Canadians we haven’t really had to deal (as far as I know of at least) with this dilemma since Louis Riel defended the Red River settlement from our central government, we might have a difficult time sympathizing with the Bundy’s or accepting their terrific claims about their governments grand conspiracy to enslave the American people. On the other hand, the facts fit the bill.

Legally, the Bundy’s have done nothing wrong. The land they occupy does not, cannot in fact, belong to the federal government. Constitutionally, the Bundy’s are occupying public land owned by the State of Oregon. (If the State of Oregon wants them gone, that’s their business, but a totally different matter.) The only lawless group here has been the American Federal government. The Feds may have acted with the power of law, but they acted in violation of the law which gave them the right to do it – the Constitution. And whenever any government acts against the law, it acts arbitrarily. And arbitrary government is little less than tyranny.

This is a version of events that the powers-that-be cannot stomach. We may not agree with the Bundy’s tactics, but as one commentator observed, “The problem with real-life cases like this is that they are always messy. The victims of government never have squeaky clean lives and practices. If the defenders of rights and property wait to speak out only when non-messy cases present themselves, we'll wait forever.” Perhaps as Christians we might want to propose alternative approaches, like the non-violent resistance used by Gary McHale in defending the property rights of families in Caledonia. Whatever the case, the lesson here is to be aware of the propaganda asserted as the facts. For when we accept that anyone who stands up to arbitrary government must be a criminal a lunatic or a “trouble-maker,” then we shall be taking a large step along the road to serfdom.

Trudeaumania: Part Two?

How Canadians Voted for Change and Not Much Else

Michael Emmanuel

“Positive politics is back!” said Justin Trudeau, celebrating his majority government on Monday night. In a night that shocked and horrified self-assured Conservatives, and gave the middle-finger to Mulcair and his established opposition status, Trudeau’s liberals wiped the board with a clear message that Canadians are tired of “politics as usual.” By now you’ve probably seen the results and are aware of the decisive comeback of the Liberals in the Maritimes and Ontario, especially in the cities. But while many an honest conservative is tremoring at the threats to liberty and family emanating seductively from the young Dauphin’s sleek hair and boyish charm, now is not the time for reaction.

Now is not the time for biased reporting, partisan political rhetoric, and outraged cries. Now is the time for sober political analysis that gets us away from the politics and down to the cold hard facts on the ground that are out there for any honest person to assess. We don’t want a spin. We want the reality, because now that we’ve voted him in to office, we want to finally know who this guy actually is. Just like when Americans first voted in Obama, now that we’ve stuck it to the establishment, it’s time to ask ourselves: who is Justin Trudeau?

 The hard facts of the matter are that Justin Trudeau is the son of Pierre Eliot Trudeau, the heroic my way or the highway political legend of the 1970-80s. The original Trudeau saved Canada from the tyranny of capitalism, the illiberal British North America Act, and freed Canada from the yoke of British oppression by strong-arming the provinces into submission to the sovereignty of Ottawa. Pierre was Canada’s golden boy, a regular Sun King, who liberated us from federal involvement in the marriage bed by passing laws which have assured federal involvement in private sexual relations ever since.

 And just look where we are now. Today nobody has to fear the chains of marriage because divorce is fault free. We don’t have to worry about overpopulation, because in Canada, we don’t need to give birth anymore. Terrorism? Not a problem when a Trudeau’s manning ship. Just set aside your federally licensed freedom while the police take control of things — big brother’s looking out for you! Yes, Trudeaumania was truly a utopia. Canada skirted the lines between American Capitalism and Soviet Communism, offering a third way that looked a lot like Socialism. We pulled through alright, with maybe a few billion in debt, but with the assurance the welfare state was going to keep growing so no one would get left behind; except future generations.

Unfortunately for Canada, the years that followed were cantankerous at best. Somehow, as the 20th century faded into the 21st, both the Liberal Party and the disorganized rabble of Toryist and populist conservatives got into their heads that the debt had to be paid off and that trade was a good way of doing it. Didn’t they realize that “budgets will balance themselves?” Were they not aware that opening trade threatened Canadian businesses? Not to mention the environment. Somehow, Canadians were even bamboozled into voting in a Conservative government into power for nearly a decade. Fortunately, a tough take on crime, tax cuts for families, Harper’s uninspiring voice, and conservative opposition to the Niqab were a wakeup call. What’s more, the harsh tone of their attack ads and the divisiveness of their campaign confirmed to Canadians that the Conservatives are just uncaring.

Canadians were tired of the cutthroat politics issuing from both the Conservatives and the NDP. Those establishment politicians have simply lost touch with real Canadians. Canadians were tired of the same old, same old. It was time for change, real change, a fresh face in politics… in the form of “Canada’s natural governing party. 

Right from the start Trudeau eschewed with the politics. “I didn’t make history tonight, you did,” Trudeau quipped. “I am on stage tonight… because you put me here,” he added, brilliantly proving that elitist rhetoric would not characterize his administration. Trudeau reminded Canadians that they are scared about everything — their jobs, their communities, their families — and then followed up by observing that hope kept Canadians from choosing fear. Canadians want a government with “a vision and an agenda that is positive and ambitious and hopeful,” realized Trudeau, and he uniquely promised to bring it.

"National Showcase. La Présentation Nationale. Toronto, On. Apr 6, 2013. (Photo: Adam Scotti)." <i>Flickr</i>. Yahoo!, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.

"National Showcase. La Présentation Nationale. Toronto, On. Apr 6, 2013. (Photo: Adam Scotti)." <i>Flickr</i>. Yahoo!, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.

 What does this all mean? How is Trudeau going to change everything around? Who is he really? Nobody really knows. But it sounds great. And at least he’s not Harper.

 Considering the fact that most of Justin’s campaign was simply about promising change and not much else, all we know about him is that he has an agenda for change. Exactly what he thinks is unclear, although when we take a look at his father, we can imagine what it might look like. Trudeau’s leadership has proven that he’ll be authoritarian at least — what with his decision on the abortion vote, and Trudeau’s manhandling of local ridings despite his promises of “free elections.”

 Other than what probably amounts to a highly socialistic progressivist vision for Canada, and huge ambitions to “change things,” no one really knows what the Dauphin plans on doing. How far will Justin take this change? One can already hear him responding: “Just watch me!”

Why is Trump so Popular?

Michael Emmanuel | Student of Redeemer

The Silent Majority Is Back

I know it’s hard for many Canadians to understand, given our dominant Marxist-progressivist political milieu — both on Canada’s imaginary 'right' and insufferable 'left' but Donald Trump is popular in America for very good and relatable reasons. No doubt it’s the fashion up North to join in on the litany of slander being spread by America’s elitist political establishment and the mainstream media and to label Trump and his supporters racists, misogynists, ignoramuses, or buffoons, but it’s simply not the case.

But let’s pretend Trump is simply popular as an entertainer, and not because anyone takes him seriously. Canadians still have little right to point fingers. We have our own pop-sensation turned politician, and he’s already got the position of party-leader. Donald Trump has a multi-million dollar real estate empire to support his claim to be a competent leader; Justin Trudeau was a high school drama teacher. Which populace is really the joke? Never mind that Trudeau enforces his whole party to accept abortion, Donald Trump wants to get rid of illegal immigrants. Really, who’s the real threat to liberty? Moreover, besides a few serious conservatives I know, nobody was dismissing Obama, a liberation theology radical, as an entertainer, even though he was nearly as inexperienced as Trudeau. But of course, Obama and Trudeau say things that our politically correct minds can stomach.

Nonetheless there are many good reasons why Republicans love the Donald.

First, Donald Trump is waging the war against principled conservatism's biggest enemies: the establishment of the Republican Party, and the so-called conservative media (i.e. Fox News). And Trump is winning. The reason the Republican Party and news outlets like Fox News are conservatism’s biggest enemies is because, unlike America’s left who are supposed to oppose conservatism the establishment elitist right pretends to be conservative, and then stabs its own base in the back.

Since Ronald Reagan in 1908, Republican presidents and candidates have nearly all been Democrats in disguise. They have not honestly supported free trade. They have attacked civil liberties, such as in Bush’s Patriot Act. They have continued deficit spending and expanding America’s debt. And they have done little about social issues like homosexuality or abortion. But conservative Americans were bullied into voting for a fourth-rate conservative first rate liberal because they were fed the same lie conservatives in Canada are being fed by our “Conservative” party: if you don’t vote for our middle ground candidate, we’ll lose the election to the liberals.

In short, establishment Republicans were losers literally. They believed conservatism couldn’t win, and so they didn’t even bother to put up a fight. They back-peddled on the issues, apologized to offended progressivist media bullies, and allowed conservatism to become a joke. Hence the goonish candidacies of John McCain and Mitt Romney, who both allowed Obama to walk all over them and the base they claimed to represent.

Meanwhile, the supposed bastions of conservatism (Fox News and other conservative outlets), instead of demanding more from the Republican candidates, criticized the grassroots conservative movements like the Tea Party. 

Instead of leading the charge against progressivism, they tried silencing the 'radicals' and the 'racists' and the 'ignorant hicks.' The conservative media attacked its own base, because they wanted to impress their leftist buddies. They wanted to prove they were good journalists, that they were 'fair and balanced.'

Trump has come in and exposed all of this. Now, let’s be clear, no one is convinced that Trump is the ideal conservative candidate. He is not a true conservative either. However, Trump is not a loser. He intends to win, and he intends to win his way, believing he can mobilize the support to do so. Trump truly believes in “America’s silent majority,” the vast majority of conservative-minded Americans who have been shut down and ignored by the establishment and the media. Moreover, Trump actually intends to do the things he promises to do, because he actually can. Unlike other politicians, like Jeb Bush (the establishment favorite), Trump isn’t owned by lobbyists or special interest groups. Thus, when Trump believes something ought to be done, there’s no special interest group who can stop Him. Trump, then, can honestly be voted in to do the things he says he will do.

Some of those things are extremely attractive to concerned conservative Americans. Things including: cutting federal spending and ending the debt, looking after America’s veterans, ending the disastrous nuclear arms deal with Iran, simplifying the tax code, repealing Obamacare, dealing with ISIS and the global persecution of Christians, and of course, protecting the border. (Does anyone really believe a wall will be built by the Mexican government? Probably not. The point is, Trump is actually taking border security concerns seriously, unlike other candidates who are too afraid of the damage to their PR.)

Meanwhile, Trump is giving the media, especially the “conservative” media, a taste of its own medicine. For years, journalists and political pundits bullied principled conservatives into silence; Trump is now bullying them into silence. Trump doesn’t give the sensationalist, emotionalist, moralizing media the time of day. He doesn’t allow them to cause him to stutter. He has no regard for “political correctness,” the progressivist synonym for thoughtcrime. When Trump holds an interview, he frames the terms of the debate. He doesn’t back down from his position, back-peddle, or apologize for hurt feelings, but rather he asserts it as he sees it. He calls the media what they are: liars.

In short, the conservative base in America sees in Trump a man who believes what he says, who will uncompromisingly fight for what he says, and who will put his beliefs into action. Trump really means to make America great again.

At the end of the day, Trump is not a totally new political phenomenon. The left has had their celebrity-politicians; Obama has been in office for 8 years, and Canada could possibly be voting in our second Trudeau. What makes Trump so distasteful to many is not actually that he’s ridiculous, since clearly ridiculous candidates have been very successful in the past. What makes Trump so distasteful is the fact that his 'ridiculousness' is at odds with the way our secularized, liberalized, progressivized minds think. Obama blames Christians for doing evil in the name of Christ at the national prayer meeting, and no one bats an eye. Trudeau says the budget will balance itself, and still his candidacy is taken seriously. Trump says illegals are a danger to American society and he’s labeled a racist: a bit of a discrepancy.

But the silent majority no longer cares what the media thinks. That’s why they like Trump; Trump doesn’t care what they think either.