This morning I feel as if I’ve gone through a long dark tunnel and come out the other side. I’ve finally accepted that Hillary Clinton will be continue to be attacked unmercifully by the media and her opponents on both the right and left forever. I’m sure the attacks will continue if she gets the Democratic nomination and even if she becomes President of the United States. I don’t care anymore.
Can you imagine if Bernie Sanders–or Donald Trump for that matter–were being attacked as personally and as relentlessly as Hillary is? They would both be screaming bloody murder. In fact, they both whine and complain at the slightest criticism. Hillary is strong as steel. She never gives up. She will fight for the presidency so she can fight for us from the most powerful position in the world. She will fight for women and children around the world as she did for four years as Secretary of State.
I’ll stand with her to the end, through thick and thin. I’ve had it with the haters, especially the fake “progressive” ones.
There is another Democratic debate tonight, this one in Milwaukee. Someone will start a live blog to discuss it later tonight.
Now to the news.
The Oregonian reports: Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy arrested by FBI in Portland.
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who touched off one armed showdown with federal authorities and applauded another started in Oregon by his sons, was arrested late Wednesday at Portland International Airport and faces federal charges related to the 2014 standoff at his ranch.
Bundy, 74, was booked into the downtown Multnomah County jail at 10:54 p.m.
He faces a conspiracy charge to interfere with a federal officer — the same charge lodged against two of his sons, Ammon and Ryan, for their role in the Jan. 2 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns. He also faces weapons charges.
The Bundy Ranch Facebook page reported Cliven Bundy was surrounded by SWAT officers and detained after his arrival from Nevada.
He was arrested at 10:10 p.m., authorities said.
The Bundy patriarch had traveled to Portland with plans to go on to Burns, where four occupiers had been the remaining holdouts of the refuge occupation.
Bundy has been under federal scrutiny since his ranch standoff with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. He has not paid grazing fees on federal land and he owes the agency $1 million in unpaid fees and penalties. He and militia supporters confronted federal agents who had impounded Bundy’s cattle that were found on federal property.
The FBI is getting more confrontational with the occupiers Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Again from The Oregonian: Oregon standoff: FBI moves in on last refuge occupiers. The story begins with two recent updates:
UPDATE: 5 a.m. THURSDAY Franklin Graham, North Carolina evangelist, said on his Facebook page this morning that he was on his way to Oregon to help end the refuge standoff. He said he was on the phone with the remaining four last night as the FBI closed in. He expects to reach the refuge around 7 a.m.
UPDATE 10 p.m.: The live stream that broadcast online what appears to be the last stage of the refuge occupation stopped after more than five hours. The phone feed ended as the occupiers headed to their night camp, preparing to surrender Thursday morning. They said they have a promise that the encircling FBI agents would leave them alone overnight.
BURNS – FBI agents in armored vehicles moved in Wednesday night on the last four occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, hemming them into their rough camp and insisting they put down their guns and surrender.
The occupiers rejected the demands for hours before one of them said they will turn themselves in at a checkpoint once a national religious figure and a Nevada state legislator arrive. It was scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday, but it wasn’t clear if the deal involved all of the four occupiers.
The standoff played out for hours through an open phone line being streamed to YouTube. At one point, an estimated 60,000 people listened as the occupiers displayed anger and panic, prayed with those on the phone and yelled at the FBI agents surrounding them.
They’re the remainders of a group of anti-government militants who took over the wildlife refuge headquarters Jan. 2. The four have been on their own since Jan. 28 — two days after the occupation leaders were arrested on a highway north of Burns and protest spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was shot and killed.
Those left at the refuge 30 miles southeast of Burns are David Fry, 27, of the Cincinnati area, Jeff Banta, 46, of Elko, Nevada, Sean Anderson, 47, and his wife Sandy, 48, of Riggins, Idaho.
Sanders Campaign Updates
CNN has finally reported on the Sanders campaign’s vile treatment of a Nevada DREAMer: Sanders campaign touts another endorsement that didn’t happen.
Brenda Romero, a Nevada student leader and DREAMer that Bernie Sanders’ campaign touted as someone who endorsed their campaign, tells CNN she never endorsed the Vermont senator and is backing Hillary Clinton.
Romero said Monday she had agreed to be part of Sanders’ Nevada Latino Steering Committee, but that she never endorsed the senator.
Sanders released the list of activists and elected officials on his Latino committee in January.
“Tomorrow, a group of highly respected community leaders will announce their support for Bernie Sanders for president,” said a statement about the press conference.
The list included Lucy Flores, former Nevada state assemblywoman and congressional candidate, and Romero, a undocumented DREAMer and class president at College of Southern Nevada.
“I didn’t agree to such an endorsement,” Romero said Monday, noting that while she agreed to be part of the steering committee, she was told that the role would be advising the “campaign and potentially Sen. Sanders about immigration issues.”
The Sanders campaign retaliated by releasing private emails between Romero and a Sanders staffer.
In an emails provided by the Sanders campaign, Romero did agree to be part of the steering committee, telling a Sanders staffer that she would be “honored to be part of this.” ….
Nowhere in the email exchange, though, does Romero agree to endorse Sanders. In fact, Romero asked not to have her title included in any campaign lists because as student body president, she has “to stay neutral to candidates.”
But because Romero has grown frustrated with the Sanders campaign, she said Monday that she is backing Clinton.
“I believe that Hillary has my back, and that she is the only candidate capable of accomplishing things in the face of Republican obstruction,” Clinton said. “She will get things done for immigrants families.” ….
I’m also disappointed by the attacks from senior staffers on the Sanders campaign on Astrid Silva,” she said. “It shows how disconnected they are from Nevada, and they should apologize to her. There is no room for hate between DREAMers in this campaign.”
In other Sanders News, there was quite a reaction on Twitter yesterday when the United Nurses superpac that supports Bernie tweeted that it was holding an education session in South Carolina for Sanders supporters on how to talk to black women. There wasn’t a single black woman in attendance. The tweets was resoundingly mocked and then deleted, but there are screenshots all over the place.
If you search for “how to talk to black women” on Twitter, you’ll see some hilarious responses.
Clinton Campaign News
Yesterday, President Obama essentially endorsed Hillary for the Democratic nomination. He had already indicated as much in an interview with Politico’s Glenn Thrush in January.
Huffington Post: Obama Speech Sure Sounds Like A Tacit Endorsement Of Clinton.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday gave a rousing speech on America’s political culture, decrying the influence of big money, encouraging compromise and warning people against believing in absolutes from either party.
“Trying to find common ground [with Republicans] doesn’t make me less of a Democrat or less of a progressive,” Obama told an audience in Springfield, Illinois. “It means I’m trying to get stuff done.”
The speech was delivered the day after two ideologues, billionaire Donald Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), won the New Hampshire primaries by harnessing voter anger at the perceived “establishment” in politics. But Obama’s words on Wednesday sounded like a tacit endorsement of his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton….
Obama, who appointed Clinton his first secretary of state after defeating her in the 2008 Democratic primary, seemed on Wednesday to clearly fall on the Clinton side of the ideological divide.
He said that labels, such as “not a real progressive” — which Sanders has used against Clinton — are damaging to the national discourse.
“So when I hear voices in either party boast of their refusal to compromise as an accomplishment in and of itself, I’m not impressed,” Obama said. “All that does is prevent what most Americans would consider actual accomplishments, like fixing roads, educating kids, passing budgets, cleaning our environment, making our streets safe.”
And from Politico: Jay Carney: Obama wants Clinton to win.
“I think the president has signaled while still remaining neutral that he supports Secretary Clinton’s candidacy and would prefer to see her as the nominee,” Carney said on CNN Wednesday following coverage of the president’s speech to the Illinois state Senate in Springfield.
Obama will not “officially embrace her unless and until it’s clear she is going to be the nominee,” Carney said.
“I think he is maintaining that tradition of not intervening in a party primary,” he added. “But I don’t think there is any doubt that he wants Hillary to win the nomination and believes she would be the best candidate in the fall and the most effective as president in carrying forward what he has achieved.”
Today the Congressional Black Caucus will endorse Hillary. Politico: Congressional Black Caucus PAC to endorse Clinton. Bernie’s supporters are busy tweeting that the CBC doesn’t represent Black people, lol.
The Congressional Black Caucus PAC will formally endorse Hillary Clinton on Thursday.
It’s a coup for the Democratic presidential contender, as many of the black lawmakers can help leverage support for Clinton in African-American communities that will be critical during her primary battle against Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), a former CBC chair said the former Secretary of State is a better candidate for African-Americans on national security and economic security.
“It is really, really clear to people who are paying attention at this point that she probably knows more about how to move us forward,” said Fudge. “As I look at her history, she has worked with people who are undeserved for her entire career…she’s been talking about this for her entire life. I’ve only heard about it from Sanders in the last year.”
This endorsement has been planned for some time, but many in the media are reporting that the CBC is rushing to rescue a struggling Hillary Clinton. ROFLOL!
Sen. James Clyburn has not yet officially endorsed Hillary, but he made no objection to the CBD endorsement. He is reportedly thinking about endorsing her soon, and says he could never endorse Sanders.
What stories are you following today?
Another day, another shooting spree. The gun nuts don’t even take Sunday off. In Las Vegas, a married couple in their late 20s killed two police officers, Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, and a civilian before killing themselves.
From the Las Vegas Review-Journal: Shooters in Metro ambush that left five dead spoke of white supremacy and a desire to kill police.
Two Las Vegas police officers were killed Sunday in what appears to be a politically motivated ambush in a pizza restaurant that spilled over to a nearby Wal-Mart, where the two shooters committed suicide after killing a woman in the store….
A law enforcement official who has been briefed on the incident said an officer — unconfirmed reports indicate it was Soldo — was refilling a soft drink when the female shooter approached him from behind and shot him in the head, killing him instantly.
The woman then shot the other officer several times as he drew his pistol. Gillespie said the officer was able to return fire but it was unclear if he hit anyone….
Witnesses told police one of the shooters yelled “This is the start of a revolution” before shooting the officers. Gillespie later said he could not confirm that.
The shooters then stripped the officers of their weapons and ammunition and badges, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. They then covered the officers with something that featured the Gadsden flag, a yellow banner with a coiled snake above the words, “Don’t tread on Me.”
Gee, you mean these terrorists weren’t muslims or Obama supporters? After shooting the two police officers the couple went across the street to a Walmart where they shot and killed a yet unidentified woman near the entrance. The woman then shot and wounded her partner and shot herself, and the man finished himself off. The two were carrying large duffle bags, and the bomb squad was called to the scene as well as to the couple’s apartment a few miles away. Now get this (emphasis added):
Several neighbors identified the man as Jared, while one called the woman Amanda.
Like many of the neighbors contacted, Krista Koch said she didn’t know the couple’s last names. She described them as “militant.” They talked about planning to kill police officers, “going underground” and not coming out until the time was right to kill.
Brandon Monroe, 22, has lived in the complex for about two weeks. He said the man who lived in the apartment that was being searched often rambled about conspiracy theories. He often wore camouflage or dressed as Peter Pan to work as a Fremont Street Experience street performer. A woman lived with him, Monroe said, but he didn’t see her as often.
They were weird people, Monroe said, adding that he thought the couple used methamphetamine.
“The man told Monroe he had been kicked off Cliven Bundy’s ranch 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas while people from throughout the U.S. gathered there in protest of a Bureau of Land Management roundup of Bundy’s cattle.” Jessica Anderson, 27, said. She lived next door.
There is still more detail at the article link.
Updates on the Bergdahl story:
From the Wall Street Journal, Official: Bowe Bergdahl has declined to speak to family.
While he spent five years in captivity after being captured by Afghan insurgents in 2009, Bergdahl doesn’t yet want to talk to his family on the phone, the official said.
Bergdahl has likely been shielded from most of the backlash his release has generated in the U.S. Some former platoon soldiers have accused him of deserting his post and lawmakers from both parties have questioned the decision to trade America’s lone prisoner of war in Afghanistan for five Talibanofficials held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Local authorities canceled a homecoming celebration in his Idaho hometown because of the backlash. The celebration was canceled specifically because of threats made against the family, officials said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that it was investigating threats made against Bergdahl’s parents.
From The New York Times: Bergdahl Was in Unit Known for Its Troubles.
The platoon was, an American military official would assert years later, “raggedy.”
On their tiny, remote base, in a restive sector of eastern Afghanistan at an increasingly violent time of the war, they were known to wear bandannas and cutoff T-shirts. Their crude observation post was inadequately secured, a military review later found. Their first platoon leader, and then their first platoon sergeant, were replaced relatively early in the deployment because of problems….
Indeed, an internal Army investigation into the episode concluded that the platoon suffered from lapses in discipline and security in the period before Sergeant Bergdahl — a private first class at the time who was promoted while in captivity — disappeared into Paktika Province, two officials briefed on the report said.
Bergdahl was not a peacenik.
Sergeant Bergdahl was viewed as standoffish or eccentric, smoking a pipe instead of spitting tobacco, as so many soldiers do, and reading voraciously when others napped or watched videos. But he was not isolated from his platoon mates, some said. And while he was, like other soldiers in the platoon, often disappointed or confused by their mission in Paktika, some of his peers also said that Sergeant Bergdahl seemed enthusiastic about fighting, particularly after the platoon was ambushed several weeks before his disappearance.
“He’d complain about not being able to go on the offensive, and being attacked and not being able to return fire,” said Gerald Sutton,who knew Sergeant Bergdahl from spending time together on their tiny outpost, Observation Post Mest Malak, near the village of Yahya Khel, about 50 miles west of the Pakistani border.
Read much more at the link.
From the LA Times: Most of 5 freed Taliban prisoners have less than hard-core pasts.
Obama critics have said the swap [of prisoners for Bergdahl] could endanger American lives, with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) calling the five Taliban members “the hardest and toughest of all.”
A closer look at the former prisoners, however, indicates that not all were hard-core militants. Three held political positions in the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and were considered relative moderates. A fourth was a mid-level police official, experts say.
The fifth, however, has a darker past. Mohammed Fazl was chief of staff of the Taliban army and is accused of commanding forces that massacred hundreds of civilians in the final years of Taliban rule before the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. He was arrested in November 2001 after surrendering to U.S.-allied warlords in northern Afghanistan.
“Fazl is the only one of the five to face accusations of explicit war crimes and they are, indeed, extremely serious,” Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, a Kabul-based research group, wrote in a commentary published Wednesday.
The backgrounds of the prisoners, who are confined to the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar for one year under the terms of the exchange, indicate that they would have little utility on the battlefield after more than a decade in prison. They range in age from 43 to 47. In their absences, the Taliban movement they served has evolved into a complex and extremely violent insurgency that routinely kills civilians and has been decimated — although far from defeated — by years of U.S. counter-terrorism operations.
From the New York Times: Critics of P.O.W. Swap Question the Absence of a Wider Agreement.
When the heads of the two major intelligence committees criticized the Obama administration on Sunday for swapping Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five members of the Taliban, they homed in on one part of the deal that the White House has struggled for a week, unsuccessfully, to explain. The question is why the five were released without any commitments to a larger agreement, under which the Taliban would renounce international terrorism, and begin a process of reconciliation with the government of Afghanistan.
According the The Independent UK, a computer has for the first time convinced humans that it was a real person: Turing Test breakthrough as super-computer becomes first to convince us it’s human.
A programme that convinced humans that it was a 13-year-old boy has become the first computer ever to pass the Turing Test. The test — which requires that computers are indistinguishable from humans — is considered a landmark in the development of artificial intelligence, but academics have warned that the technology could be used for cybercrime.
Computing pioneer Alan Turing said that a computer could be understood to be thinking if it passed the test, which requires that a computer dupes 30 per cent of human interrogators in five-minute text conversations.
Eugene Goostman, a computer programme made by a team based in Russia, succeeded in a test conducted at the Royal Society in London. It convinced 33 per cent of the judges that it was human, said academics at the University of Reading, which organised the test.
It is thought to be the first computer to pass the iconic test. Though other programmes have claimed successes, those included set topics or questions in advance.
The Wall Street Journal reports on an airport attack in Pakistan that killed at least 28 people: Karachi Airport Attack: Pakistani Taliban Claim Responsibility.
KARACHI, Pakistan—Militants stormed Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport late Sunday, exchanging fire with security forces and leaving at least 28 people dead, officials said.
Separately, gunmen and suicide bombers attacked pilgrims from the minority Shiite sect of Islam in the west of Pakistan, killing at least 25 pilgrims.
The Pakistani Taliban, a group closely linked to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the airport attack. The group, formally known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, said the attack was revenge for recent Pakistani military airstrikes against them, which followed a breakdown in peace talks with the militants in the last few weeks….
At the airport, the assault began at around 10:20 p.m. local time Sunday and lasted at least six hours, with gunfire, explosions and a raging fire. All flights at the airport were suspended late Sunday. By midday Monday, local time, security officials said the airport was clear of militants. Flights were expected to resume by late afternoon.
“They attacked the airport security personnel and then entered,” Adnan, a witness who only gave his first name, said.
The assault focused on the airport’s relatively less heavily guarded Terminal One, which is used for cargo and VIP flights. Two cargo bays appeared to have been destroyed, witnesses said.
Hillary is about to begin her book tour, and the LA Times calls it a dry run for 2016.
e’s traveled the country mixing weighty policy pronouncements with joking references to her hair. She’s reflected on gender bias and offered career advice to young women, gushed about becoming a grandma and raked in a fortune in speaking fees on the lecture circuit.
After all that — and even having a shoe flung at her at a trash collectors’ convention in Las Vegas — Hillary Rodham Clinton takes her flirtation with the 2016 presidential race to a new level this week, beginning a minutely orchestrated book tour that will whisk her coast to coast for a mix of book signings and carefully calibrated television interviews.
Since stepping down as secretary of State 16 months ago, Clinton has managed to effectively freeze out any Democratic competition for the presidential nomination, no small feat in a party with a history of upstarts and upsets — especially for someone who has yet to say whether she even plans to run.
Throughout, she’s weathered a relentless degree of scrutiny, her daily travels exhaustively chronicled, her every utterance parsed for meaning. Even matters like her daughter Chelsea’s pregnancy are put to the will-or-won’t-she test.
The LA Times also reports that Hillary predicted the Bergdahl controversy, In new book, Clinton predicted furor over Taliban prisoner deal.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged in her new book that negotiations with the Taliban were bound to be hotly controversial with Americans, but wrote that bringing home captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had to be a top priority.
Clinton writes in “Hard Choices” that “opening the door to negotiations with the Taliban would be hard to swallow for many Americans after so many years of war,” according to an account of excerpts published Thursday by CBS News. Yet in every contact with the Taliban, U.S. officials demanded the release of Bergdahl and made clear that “there would not be any agreement about prisoners without the sergeant coming home.”
Clinton’s book, due for release Tuesday, was written well before the swap of five top Taliban officials for Bergdahl last Saturday set off controversy in Washington. Her comments underscored, however, that the Obama administration was determined to complete the deal, despite its political risks.
That’s all the news I have for you today. What stories are you following? Please post your links in the comment thread.
What a difference a few days can make! Take a look at the transcript from Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show on Monday April 21:
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The rhetoric from the left about Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters is getting worse and worse by the day. First, as the country marked the 19th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing over the weekend, vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile made this disgraceful comparison after talking about how the feds backed down. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THIS WEEK”/ABC)
DONNA BRAZILE, DNC VICE CHAIR: That was the right thing to do, to try to, you know, simmer things down. Remember, this is the 19th anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing. So this notion that Mr. Bundy has no other recourse but violence is — anti-government violence — is absolutely wrong. He’s been waging this battle for two decades. He’s lost. Everybody else is paying their grazing fees. He should pay his fees, as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we should be reluctant to compare Bundy to Timothy McVeigh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And that’s not all. Earlier today, runners embarked on the first Boston marathon since last year’s terror attack. And just days ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had this to say about Bundy family supporters. Watch this.
SEN. HARRY REID, D-NV.: These people who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Pretty unbelievable. Now, given the events in Oklahoma City and at the Boston Marathon, we really know what real domestic terrorists look like, and that’s not Cliven Bundy or his supporters.
That was before Bundy gave a rambling press conference and let the world see exactly who and what he is. From The New York Times yesterday morning: A Defiant Rancher Savors the Audience That Rallied to His Side.
BUNKERVILLE, Nev. — Cliven Bundy stood by the Virgin River up the road from the armed checkpoint at the driveway of his ranch, signing autographs and posing for pictures. For 55 minutes, Mr. Bundy held forth to a clutch of supporters about his views on the troubled state of America…
Most of all, Mr. Bundy, 67, who was wearing a broad-brimmed white cowboy hat against the hot afternoon sun, recounted the success of “we the people” — gesturing to the 50 supporters, some armed with handguns and rifles, standing in a semicircle before him — at chasing away Bureau of Land Management rangers who, acting on a court order, tried to confiscate 500 cattle owned by Mr. Bundy, who has been illegally grazing his herd on public land since 1993.
Mr. Bundy’s standoff with federal rangers — propelled into the national spotlight in part by steady coverage by Fox News — has highlighted sharp divisions over the power of the federal government and the rights of landowners in places like this desert stretch of Nevada, where resentment of Washington and its sprawling ownership of Western land has long run deep.
Others who have loudly supported Bundy’s cause are Senators Rand Paul of KY and Dean Heller of NV. and Texas candidate for governor Greg Abbott. Claiming that the Feds wouldn’t come around to bother him again soon, Bundy took the time to share some of his opinions on other topics:
Next the NYT reported some remarks Bundy made on Saturday to a group of about 50 supporters along with one reporter and one photography
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Whoops! Suddenly right wingers who had supported Bundy or just ignored his unlawful behavior did a 180 degree turn. Here’s Sean Hannity on his radio show yesterday:
Conservative media titan Sean Hannity, formerly one of Nevada rancher Clive Bundy’sstrongest advocates, expressed his vehement disgust Thursday with the latter’s remarks on slavery.
Bundy’s comments “are beyond repugnant to me. They are beyond despicable to me. They are beyond ignorant to me,” Hannity said during his radio show.
Still, he claimed, Democrats are wrong to use Bundy’s racist, misogynistic remarks to attack Republicans.
“They want to say that conservatives are racist. Conservatives hate women,” Hannity said. “Conservatives want old people to die, granny over the cliff. They want the young people to fend for themselves. They want to poison the air and poison the water.”
“People that for the right reasons saw this case as government overreach now are branded because of the ignorant, racist, repugnant, despicable comments of Cliven Bundy,” he said.
Because Bundy was not sophisticated enough to wrap his racism in euphemisms as many Republicans do, his “mainstream” supporters will have to back off. But what about the militia types and their rifles? Will they be turned off by Bundy’s racist rhetoric? Not likely. From Think Progress:
James Yeager is calling from Cliven Bundy’s front yard, where he’s one of several (he won’t say how many) providing 24-hour security to the Bundy family. He and his friend packed up “a full medical kit and a camera” and drove 26 ½ hours from their home in Camden, Tennessee last week to document what he calls “a tremendous overreach of federal power.” He’s been posting daily videos to his YouTube site.
When asked if he also packed weapons, Yeager said, “of course. I’m always armed. This is not any different than any other day for me.”
Yeager is one of hundreds of supporters who journeyed to Bunkerville, Nevada in support of the rancher’s standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management. Though federal agents released Bundy’s cattle over a week ago, many have remained on the ranch to protest and protect the rancher’s family. They’ve hailed Bundy — who owes the federal government over $1 million in unpaid grazing fees — as an “American hero.” The Mormon father of 14 has even inspired futuristic fan fiction from his most ardent admirers: “Yes, it’s been a great half-century for America, and we owe much of our good fortune to the bravery of Cliven Bundy.”
They call themselves militia members, oath keepers, protesters and patriots. Senator Harry Reid calls them “domestic terrorists.”
Harry Reid is right. Check out these images and commentary by Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart:
“I’ve got a clear shot at four of them,” the man with a rifle beside me said, as he aimed his weapon in the direction of U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officers.
We were on a bridge in southern Nevada in the midst of a tense standoff between the BLM and a group of angry ranchers, milita-members and gun-rights activists. It seemed as if we were a hair’s breadth away from Americans killing Americans right in front of me.
This showdown had come after the BLM started rounding up cattle belonging to rancher Cliven Bundy, who had been letting his animals graze illegally on federal land for over 20 years….
I decided to leave the protesters’ rallying point and drive several miles to where BLM and National Park Service (NPS) officers were holding Bundy’s impounded cattle but when I got there, there didn’t seem to be anything new to report.
I was making my way back to the protest site when Jennifer called me. She said the demonstrators were coming in my direction to go to the BLM facility and demand that Bundy’s cattle be released. My heart skipped a beat and anxiety set in, as I realised the armed group was heading this way looking for a showdown.
The convoy arrived just a few moments after I did and began to clog lanes of traffic on the south side of the interstate, the opposite side to the BLM base
Read more at the link. I don’t know about you, but I find this entire episode frightening. Who are these angry, violent people in our midst?
And Cliven Bundy isn’t apologetic. He told CNN last night that he doesn’t regret his racist comments, “I think I’m right.”
Cliven Bundy — the Nevada rancher turned conservative folk hero for bucking the federal government’s attempts to stop his cattle from grazing on public land — admits he doesn’t understand the bipartisan uproar over his comments suggesting blacks might have been better off under slavery.
But he understands what he meant by those comments, and he’s not backing down.
“I don’t think I’m wrong,” Bundy told CNN’s Bill Weir on Thursday night. “I think I’m right.”
The rancher said he doesn’t feel “abandoned” by the uproar by the likes of right-wing radio firebrand and Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has ripped what he called the “ignorant, racist, repugnant, despicable comments.” [….]
He backtracked somewhat, insisting he “didn’t really mean it to compare (African-Americans’ current plight) with slavery. I meant to compare it with maybe life on the farm or life in the South, where they had some chickens and the gardens, and they had something to do.”
At the same time, Bundy stood by his general premise that blacks once had better lives — stating that, right now, “they don’t have nothing to do with their children, their family unit is ruined … That’s what I was referring to I don’t think they have the life that they should have” because of the government.
I admit I didn’t pay much attention to the Bundy story at first. I live in a city and community where I’m very insulated from people like this and where Republicans are a tiny minority. Of course we still hear ignorant remarks on talk radio, but on the whole people who are vicious racists have to tone down their rhetoric or be marginalized. But once I began reading about Bundy in JJ’s and Dakinikat’s posts over the past two days, I realized this is no joke.
Having a black man as a two-term president has terrified and enraged these racist militia types and brought them out of the woodwork to express their ugly opinions more blatantly than before. As Harry Reid has said, they are domestic terrorists and they must be brought under control. What will happen if we elect a women president?
These people are far more dangerous to our country than foreign terrorism. The FBI should be infiltrating milita groups instead of running stings on muslim-Americans if they want to minimize terrorism in this country. When we have a Supreme Court Justice advocating–even tongue-in-cheek–that unhappy taxpayers should overthrow the U.S. government, we have to understand right wing extremists are a serious threat to our country.
So . . . this ended up being a one-subject post. I know there are plenty of other things happening in the news. What stories are you following today?