America, as one wag put it, is a “post-constitutional” country. Even worse, a plurality of Americans has now turned, en masse, against the First Principles of its founding. The organizing principle that currently informs American thinking is statism. It’s the state über alles: its laws, and the foot soldiers that enforce hundreds of thousands of arbitrary rules.
This sorry state-of-affairs is abundantly clear from the standoff between farmers and Fédérales, brewing in Burns, Oregon.
To look at rancher Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son, Steven, 46, is to see the salt of the earth; the best of America. Any decent American ought to be able to see that these family ranchers, so different from politically connected agribusiness, are better and braver than all of us city slickers put together.
We slickers consume the rancher’s grass-fed, organic, “local” beef, while we cheer his oppression. Fellini, the Italian film maker who excelled at portraying corruption of the soul, as expressed in the decay of the flesh, could not have set the scene better. The idiom of Greek Tragedy works, too:
Our protagonists are the two ranchers aforementioned—sentenced to five years in jail, due to a double-jeopardy like maneuver by the federal government.
The Antagonists are the federal government, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service, The Courts, who’ve come down upon citizens with limited resources, citizens whom this Federal juggernaut is supposed to serve, not screw.
Other Antagonists in this morality play are the chorus of trash-talking radio, TV mouths and assorted bobbing heads (Republicans and Democrats), who say they care for The Folks but don’t know good folks when they see them.
Cliven Bundy’s son, Ammon, has come to stand in solidarity with Dwight and Steven Hammond. The case of the Bundys of Bunkerville, Nevada, is instructive in understating the First Principles involved in the Oregon standoff.
In 2014, the BLM had come to steal Cliven Bundy’s cattle, in lieu of back taxes the BLM claims the rancher has owed it since 1993, when Bundy stopped paying grazing fees. The Bundys had homesteaded the disputed land, southwest of Mesquite, in 1877. Bundy’s forefathers had lived off the land well before the Bureau of Land Grabs came into being. The Feds subsequently passed laws usurping Bundy’s natural right to graze his cattle. The elderly rancher offered the following rejoinder: “I have raised cattle on that land, which is public land for the people of Clark County, all my life. … I can raise cattle there because I have preemptive rights,’ among them the right to forage.”
Also edifying, via The Conservative Tree House, is that “the Hammonds were forced to grant the BLM first right of refusal.” In other words, were “the Hammonds ever to sell their ranch, they would have to sell it to the BLM.” The BLM may get its way, for how are the Hammond women to pay the shakedown fines levied by the Fédérales? These amount to hundreds and thousands of dollars. How will the wives continue the Sisyphean struggle against the federal occupier, and, simultaneously, run the ranches sans the men?
Here we arrive at the “Catastrophe,” also an element in Greek tragedy. …
The Fox News Channel, dishing out statism for Republicans, has finally caught up with last year’s news, forever a defining issue for freedom lovers: The standoff between Feds and farmers brewing in Burns, Oregon, and reported in this space on 12.30.15.
In a seminal column, “Why The Land Belongs To Bundy,” you met Ammon Bundy, fighting for his homesteader rights, against the Federales of Nevada, in 2014. Now Rancher Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, has come to stand in support of Dwight Hammond, rancher under siege in Oregon.
Armed protesters occupying a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon—including three sons of a Nevada rancher who battled with the government in 2014—warned Sunday that any use of force by law enforcement agencies would be “putting lives at risk.”
Hours into the occupation by activists and militiamen a spokesman for the group told reporters that there has been no contact with the FBI or other government law enforcement since the occupation began Saturday night.
“They should be constitutional,” said spokesman Ammon Bundy, referring to the government. He is a son of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who clashed with the feds two years ago.
Ammon Bundy said if the government did use force to retake the Malheur National Wildlife refuge “they would be putting lives at risk.”
Earlier, the protesters vowed to occupy the refuge for “as long as it takes,” as state and federal officials on Sunday sought to defuse the situation.
The protestors have said they stormed the federal land in a remote area near Burns, some 280 miles east of Portland, to protest the prosecution of a father and son facing jail time on an arson charge for burning 130 acres of land. Prosecutors said the fire was set to hide poaching, but the ranchers, who face five years in prison, and the protesters supporting them say it was set to stop invasive plants. …
… The 73-year-old rancher and his 46-year-old son claim they lit the fires in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires. The two were convicted of the arsons three years ago and served time — the father three months, the son one year. But a judge ruled their terms were too short under federal law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each.
The decision has generated controversy in a remote part of the state.
UPDATED I (1/3/016): In a massive land grab under the Antiquities Act, Barack Obama will be putting hundreds of Oregonian ranchers out of business. Hear it in their own words.
UPDATE II (1/4): Once these farmers, whose homesteader rights are as authentic and naturally valid as those of the Native Americans whose rights (robbed) the Left champions (as do I)—how will the bloody liberals eat their organic grass-fed local meat? I buy it. I support local farmers’ grass-fed grazing. It’s an American frontier, founding profession, noble.
To shut down an investigation into an Islamic sect suspected of infiltrating US mosques is not “political correctness run amok,” as Fox News neocon Marc Thiessen finesses it, but treason.
Consider: You hire a private firm to protect you, only to discover that, as part of the scheme to “protect” you, your guards undergo sensitivity training which would desensitize them to potential evildoers, thus giving the latter easier access to you and yours. Given that this strategy, if it can be so called, would undermine your life, and considering this company would be violating its contractual responsibilities by reneging on the obligation to defend you—you’d first fire the firm. If the negligence came at a cost; you’d sue. You’d put this “business” and its “business plan” out of business.
Government has no meaningful contract with its citizen (other than a dead-letter Constitution). Thus you can’t fire leadership at Homeland Security for intentionally adopting policies that have likely already imperiled citizens. But you can, at least, call a spade a spade. It’s good to frame matters with precision.
What was exposed by Philip Haney—a heroic, soft-spoken, demure, retired employee of the Department of Homeland Security—is treason by any other name.
Philip Haney, a former employee at the Department of Homeland Security, has revealed that his superiors shut down an investigation that might have raised a red flag and averted the recent Islamic terror attack in San Bernardino. On Thursday, Megyn Kelly interviewed Haney, with backstory provided by Trace Gallagher.
Per Gallagher, Haney was one of the founding members of DHS. He was later assigned to the Intelligence Review Unit, where he investigated individuals with potential links to terrorism. While in this position he began to observe trends, including links between global terror networks and radicalized Muslims who were coming to America.
A year into the investigation, the State Department and the DHS Civil Rights Division told Haney that tracking these groups and individuals was problematic because they were Islamic groups. Haney reports that internal memos forbade him from developing any cases based on this profile.
His investigation was shut down, and many of his records were deleted, including evidence about a suspicious group as well as specific individuals tied to the mosque in Riverside, California, that Farook attended.
Haney notified Congress and the DHS inspector general about the termination of his investigation into Islamic groups. Instead of reinstating the investigation, he asserts they retaliated, relieving him of his duties and revoking his security clearance. Fox News reached out to the DHS for comment. They claimed that there are “many holes” in Haney’s story but could not comment further due to privacy laws.
During the interview with Kelly, Haney went into some detail about connections among various terror groups. He also spoke about the thousands of individuals his unit was tracking who were traveling in and out of the United States on the visa waiver program. As the investigation continued, more and more pieces fell into place. Among them, and as noted, Haney identified individuals connected to Farook’s mosque who would have been flagged. Haney did not say that Farook, in particular, was one of those people, but he appeared confident that if his investigation had been allowed to go forward, it is likely that Farook would have been identified. Once identified and flagged, Farook would have been put on the no-fly list because of his association with that mosque, and/or the K-1 visa his wife received might have been denied because of Farook’s affiliation with a known terror organization via the mosque (or perhaps directly, as well).
In sum, Haney believes that if he had been allowed to continue his investigation, he may have uncovered enough information to have thwarted the recent terror attack in San Bernardino.
Haney appears to have had a distinguished career, stating he has a commendation letter for finding 300 terrorists.
UPDATE (1/2): From the just-cited TAT, second-hand report, it must be concluded that neither did Congress heed Mr. Haney’s pleas. Haney’s own words, in The Hill, are more powerful:
Administration nixed probe into Southern California jihadists
By Philip Haney
There are terrorists in our midst and they arrived here using legal means right under the noses of the federal law enforcement agencies whose mission is to stop them. That is not due to malfeasance or lack of effort on the part of these officers; it is due to the restrictions placed on them by the Obama administration.
I was a firsthand witness to how these policies deliberately prevented scrutiny of Islamist groups. The two San Bernardino jihadists, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, may have benefited from the administration’s closure of an investigation I initiated on numerous groups infiltrating radicalized individuals into this country.
While working for the Department of Homeland Security for 13 years, I identified individuals affiliated with large, but less well-known groups such as Tablighi Jamaat and the larger Deobandi movement freely transiting the United States. At the National Targeting Center, one of the premier organizations formed to “connect the dots,” I played a major role in an investigation into this trans-national Islamist network. We created records of individuals, mosques, Islamic Centers and schools across the United States that were involved in this radicalization effort. The Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah Mosque in San Bernardino was affiliated with this network and we had identified a member of it in our investigation. Farook frequented that mosque and was well-known to the congregation and mosque leadership.
Another focus of my investigation was the Pakistani women’s Islamist group al-Huda, which counted Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, as a student. While the al-Huda International Welfare Foundation distanced themselves from the actions of their former pupil, Malik’s classmates told the Daily Mail she changed significantly while studying at al-Huda, gradually becoming “more serious and strict.” More ominously, the group’s presence in the U.S. and Canada is not without its other ties to ISIS and terrorism. In 2014, three recent former students at al-Huda’s affiliate school in Canada, aged 15 to 18, left their homes to join the Islamic State in Syria.
We had these two groups in our sights; if the investigation had continued and additional links been identified and dots connected, we might have given advance warning of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. The combination of Farook’s involvement with the Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah Mosque and Malik’s attendance at al-Huda would have indicated, at minimum, an urgent need for comprehensive screening. It could also have led to denial of Malik’s K-1 visa or possibly gotten Farook placed on the No Fly list.
But after more than six months of research and tracking; over 1,200 law enforcement actions and more than 300 terrorists identified; and a commendation for our efforts; DHS shut down the investigation at the request of the Department of State and DHS’ own Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Division. They claimed that since the Islamist groups in question were not Specially Designated Terrorist Organizations (SDTOs) tracking individuals related to these groups was a violation of the travelers’ civil liberties. These were almost exclusively foreign nationals: When were they granted the civil rights and liberties of American citizens?
Worse still, the administration then went back and erased the dots we were diligently connecting. Even as DHS closed my investigation, I knew that data I was looking at could prove significant to future counterterror efforts and tried to prevent the information from being lost to law enforcement. In 2013, I met with the DHS Inspector General in coordination with several members of Congress to attempt to warn the American people’s elected representatives about the threat.
In retaliation, DHS and the Department of Justice subjected me to a series of investigations and adverse actions, including one by that same Inspector General. None of them showed any wrongdoing; they seemed aimed at stopping me from blowing the whistle on this problem. Earlier this year, I was finally able to honorably retire from government and I’m now taking my story to the American people as a warning.
My law enforcement colleagues and I must conduct our work while respecting the rights of those we monitor. But what I witnessed suggests the Obama administration is more concerned with the rights of non-citizens in known Islamist groups than with the safety and security of the American people.
The US government is too often on the side of the American People’s enemies. (Think closely about the implications of that statement.) I would venture that were a US pilot parachuting through disputed airspace, onto Turkey’s territory, the Turks—great NATO allies of Obama and Bush—would sic their Turkmen proxies on our pilot, and these ethnic Turkmen would have eliminated him, with blood-curdling cries to a vampiric god, as they did an ISIS-fighting Russian pilot. The Kurds—real allies to America and Israel but betrayed by both—our pals the Turks are always killing.
What is the term for a government that’s mostly on the side of its people’s enemies?
UPDATE: There is that tinny robotic libertarian edict to see no evil, hear no evil; some libertarians believe you should pretend to see no evil/ hear no evil, all under the guise of foreign policy neutrality. Not me. Noted here was the fact that there is a sympathetic people in the region. That only the 3, proverbial, see-no-evil hear-no-evil monkeys (and some libertarians) would deny. The post further asked not what we can do for the good Kurds, but why are this government’s interests (ditto Bush’s) the same as those of the bad actors. The paragraph is a rather modest one. So, where is its answer? What is the proper term for “a government that’s mostly on the side of its people’s enemies”? Where are those Founder quotes?