Sunday, January 3, 2016


American avocets, Malheur Lake, Oregon, photo by Barbara Wheeler/USFWS, among the vast numbers of species that depend on the lake for their continued existence, in the habitat the wingnuts torched (to hide evidence of their deer poaching).

From a Times editorial:
In recent years, Congress and the Pentagon have stood in the way of President Obama’s goal of shutting down the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The legislative hurdles have been predictable in a Republican-led Congress that so often opposes Mr. Obama’s initiatives reflexively. The stalling at the Defense Department, where officials have used every bureaucratic trick in the book to slow down the release of inmates, is startling, though, and basically amounts to insubordination.
I've been around this issue before, particularly on the insubordination of the civilian head of Defense, former secretary Chuck Hagel, who was fired in part for working against administration policy to block the release of Guantánamo detainees, along with publicly disagreeing with the commander-in-chief and in line with Senator McCain in favor of more aggressive US action in Afghanistan and (against the Assad regime) in Syria, and against Obama's proposed cuts to the Pentagon budget (even as the Brogressive Caucus weirdly picked Hagel as some kind of promoter of peace in opposition to Obama the warmonger).

Is there a pattern going on? We've also been noticing all those Fiorina-friend ex-generals who seem unable to show a normal deference to the commander-in-chief even in some cases before they retired, and of course the congresspersons colluding with a foreign prime minister to interfere with the president's constitutional responsibility for setting foreign policy, and you could really start to wonder. And then there's the CIA suborning Congress in its turf war with the White House!

And who knows what's happening in other departments? In the Forest Service (lobbying arm for the logging industry), say, or SEC and Justice Department (enforcing regulation on the finance industry)? It'll be years before we have a fix on that (Obama can hardly publicly complain he's unable to control them, even though it's hardly his fault).

I don't think it's going all that far to say there's an atmosphere of lawlessness over there on the right, connected to the rhetoric of birtherism and accusations of tyranny that are in turn connected to the ongoing situation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon, where an armed gang of white men is occupying a federal building with the apparent idea that they're defending somebody's civil liberties (but sorry, you don't get a civil disobedience badge if you're carrying a gun, that's all there is to it).

A lot of truly great stuff is being written about the Oregon siege, including by Mr. Pierce and Steve M, [Update: and Vixen] and I don't have anything important to add to that, except that I do sincerely hope nobody gets shot (I don't mind hoping the warriors get seriously hungry and come out tails between their legs).

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