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By Alex Austin
A group of upwards of 150 armed men have taken over a building on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns Oregon.
But don’t let CNN or other parts of the “mainstream” media fool you. This is not an act of “protest” by concerned “patriots”. This is terrorism by anti-government vigilantes.
This is the culmination of a long trail of events leading back to 2001. You can look here for a name-by-name breakdown of events, but I’ll give you the CliffsNotes version.
Over the New Year holiday, a group of about 300 protesters marched through Burns, led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, best known for refusing to pay about $1 million in taxes and engaging in an armed stand-off with the Bureau of Land Management back in 2014.
They were marching in protest to the sentencing of Dwight and Steven Hammond, who were found guilty of arson of federal and public lands.
By Friday, Ammon had led his group to take control of the refuge, claiming that they would control the building for years if they had to.
Do those sound like the words and actions of protesters to you?
If you said yes, congratulations, you’re part of the problem.
You see, this is being handled very differently than say when there were protests and riots in Ferguson, MO or Baltimore.
In both those cases, the entire 24/7 news cycle covered the events. With every major TV news station talking about nothing else for weeks.
For this story? Well, CNN had it on the front of their website, while ABC used the term “peaceful protest”.
Oh, and another thing that occurred in both the above cases that hasn’t happened yet in Oregon. The National Guard was called in.
“Here’s the problem: what the terrorists will ask for is something the federal government can’t give them.”
In Ferguson, there were armored vehicles patrolling the streets. And that was against (primarily black) people armed with stones, bricks, and foul language.
A federal building is being held by (white) people carrying semi-automatic weapons. They are being negotiated with.
Let’s just call this what it is and get it over with. This is terrorism. Plain and simple.
I won’t go into a long spiel about why it is because I’ve already done that. Different names, different places, different reasons, same conclusion.
There is no argument. As I see it, the more interesting questions are how will the federal government respond.
In a situation such as this, only two options are readily apparent. You either attempt to settle this peacefully, or you send in the military.
To me, the correct choice is the latter.
Historically, law enforcement and the government have preferred peaceful settlement. It is not only cheaper, but it saves lives. No reason to put soldier’s lives at risk if it isn’t necessary.
Here’s the problem: what the terrorists will ask for is something the federal government can’t give them. They will ask for the release of the (rightly) imprisoned Hammond men. This is impossible as it would be a slap in the face of the justice system.
Also, these terrorists, or at least the leaders, can’t walk away scot-free. Even though the building they are holding was empty and they have not brought injury or death to anyone, they still perpetrated an armed take-over of a federal building. Doesn’t matter if it’s on a small wildlife refuge or the White House, same rules apply.
The final problem with this arrangement is that it could open the doors for other like-minded people to take similar actions. They will feel emboldened by the fact that “those guys in Oregon got away with it, why not me?” Who’s to say in that scenario that such a thing couldn’t then happen in Texas, or Florida, or Minnesota?
So how would I suggest they bring this act of terrorism on US soil to an end? Well, I’m not a military man by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have an idea.
All the Oregon National Guard (and whomever else the government decides to send out) has to do is create a perimeter around the building and wait. They know exactly where the building is, and they know that it is solely occupied by terrorists. What they have is the makings of a good old-fashioned siege.
The terrorist leaders have called on others to join them, and to bring guns and supplies. You nip that in the bud by closing off the roads and paths. One guy in a truck will probably turn back at the sight of 20 guys with guns in his way.
As for how long this will take, Bundy has said that they plan to stay for years. I give it to the end of the week. They will realize that they are surrounded, out-gunned, and haven’t eaten well. Morale will be low and the “patriotic” gusto which started this ordeal will be nonexistent.
Then the final question is what to do after the terrorists’ surrender? That boils down to whether or not this action constitutes treason. According to US law, treason is defined as:
“Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”
The phrase “levies war” is the kicker. It’ll be up to the Justice Department to determine that one.
But regardless of how this plays out, the men holed up in that building in Oregon should be considered terrorists by both the media and the law.
To do any less is an indictment upon the character of the media and an indication of what stories we can expect in 2016.
Cover Photo Credit: Ken Lund/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 649
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By Staff Report
The Archbishop of Miami Thomas Wenski announced in a press release on Monday the merger of Archbishop Curley Notre Dame (ACND) high school in Miami with Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens.
As a result of the merger, ACND will close for the first time since 1953.
Wenski also made the announcement via a letter sent home to parents at both schools.
The merger will happen at the start of the 2017/2018 school year and current students at ACND will receive automatic admission to Pace if they meet certain academic standards.
“This decision to consolidate the two schools was made by the Archdiocese of Miami in order to provide the students with a continued experience of the presence of Jesus Christ, an enhanced educational experience and additional extracurricular opportunities,” Wenski said in the statement. “With your child attending a larger school, he/she will experience signature academies, new technology, fine arts programs, seventy clubs and activities, and enjoy award-winning sports teams.”
Curley seems to have broken the news to its students and alumni on Facebook by sharing the release from the Archdiocese.
“It is with great sorrow that we share this news with our ACND family and friends,” the school wrote on its Facebook page. “Today is a tough day for our school, teachers, alums, and all others who care about ACND.”
Judging by Facebook comments left on the ACND page, it is clear that not everyone agrees with the decision.
But it seems to be final.
“The Archdiocese of Miami is grateful for the many priests, religious brothers and sisters, lay faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, parents, donors, and board members who have generously donated and dedicated years, time, and expertise for each student at ACND to become a successful graduate,” Wenski said in the statement.
According to the school, ACND was the first predominantly white high school in Florida to admit an African-American students.
That happened in 1960.
Are you a ACND alum and want to write about your positive times at Curley? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are interested in hearing from you.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.Post Views: 1,034
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What The Election Of Florida’s Racist, Conspiracy Believing Governor In 1916 Should Teach Us About 2016By Contributor
By Patricia Ray
A successful businessman with no political experience decides to run for office and finds success while taping into populist sentiment.
Sound like a modern political tale, huh?
As the old saying goes, nothing is ever truly new under the sun.
The 1916 Florida gubernatorial election was not an ordinary election and Sidney Johnston Catts was not an ordinary candidate.
He was a political outsider to say the least – an ordained Baptist minister in Alabama who later moved to Florida and became an insurance salesman.
Only a few years after moving to Florida, he decided to run for governor as a Democrat, despite having no prior political experience.
In addition to his lack of experience, Catts also was known for having outlandish beliefs.
He was staunchly anti-Catholic and anti-African American, and he believed that monks from St. Leo’s Abbey and the African American population of Florida would take over the state for Kaiser Wilhelm II, and if Germany won the war, Pope Benedict XV would move the Holy See to San Antonio, Florida.
Yep. He seriously believed that.
He even carried a gun in fear that the Pope has sent an assassin to kill him.
Catts advocated for radical ideas such as women’s suffrage, taxation of church property, and a state income tax, much to the chagrin of the conservative, Democratic-controlled Florida legislature.
At the same time, his racism went so far as to claim African Americans were “an inferior race” in response to lynchings in Florida.
Catts supported prohibition and did not attend his own inaugural ball because he opposed dancing.
Catts’ slogan was “Florida Crackers have only three friends in this world: God Almighty, Sears Roebuck, and Sidney Johnston Catts,” and he became known as the “Cracker Messiah.”
“People did not take him seriously [as a candidate], and when they finally did, it was too late,” Dr. Gary Mormino, a Florida historian and the Professor Emeritus at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg said in an interview with RISE NEWS.
As eccentric as Catts’ beliefs were, many of them resonated with the public.
Due to the anxiety of World War I, anti-German sentiments were high, and Catts’ fear mongering heightened anxieties.
Florida was a primarily Protestant state, with Catholics comprising less than 5% of the population at the time.
In the years before 1916, millions of Irish, Slavic, and Italian Catholics immigrated to the United States, and many people felt uneasy about these immigrants. The Protestant population largely was also in favor of prohibition, and Florida was already in the midst of becoming a dry state.
Catts played into the zeitgeist of the prohibition movement.
These views went hand in hand, and Catts claimed, “There is no question and rum and Romanism go together.”
Dr. Mormino describes Catts as a “larger than life figure” and attributes some of Catts’ success to his charisma and strength as a speaker.
People liked his message and viewed him as “one of them”.
In past elections, whoever won the Democratic nomination for Florida governor typically won, as the Republicans were a minority party in much of the American South.
But in 1916, the Democrats were spilt in Florida.
Catts originally won the Democratic nomination by a margin of 544 votes but then lost it to William Knott by a mere 23 votes after a recount.
The underhanded dealings surrounding the nomination and the recount garnered support for Catts and painted him as a martyr the party establishment had robbed of the nomination.
In wake of this support, he ran for the Prohibitionist party nomination and won, going on to win the election with 43% of the vote and becoming the first Florida governor to win as a third-party candidate.
During his term as Governor, Catts reformed the convict lease system. He also made labor and tax reforms, furthered his prohibitionist agenda, improved transportation systems, and passed legislation relating to the care of the mentally ill.
He supported women’s rights and even appointed a woman to his staff. Despite opposition from the legislature, Catts was able to pass several legislative measures.
As you’ve probably guessed, there are many parallels between the 1916 Florida gubernatorial election and the 2016 presidential election.
Sidney Johnston Catts was a political outsider like Donald Trump whereas Hillary Clinton is seen as more of an establishment candidate, much like William Knott.
Many people also did not take Trump’s campaign very seriously until he won the Republican nomination.
In 1916, the fear of war fueled anti-immigrant sentiments towards Italians, Poles, and Slovaks, and Catts was able to play into the public’s fears, making his crazy ideas seem more palatable.
Today, fears stemming from 9/11 and other recent events has allowed anti-Muslim ideas and policies to gain alarming traction.
For example, Trump has called for a blanket ban of Muslims from entering the country.
In 1916, the conditions were just right for Sidney Johnston Catts to win the seat of governor of Florida.
After leaving office, he ran for governor twice more and once for the U.S. Senate but was unsuccessful each time.
As strange as Catts’ gubernatorial election seems, some aspects of it are paralleled today, and perhaps this oddity of the past should be considered as we look to the future.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Public Domain/ Library Of CongressPost Views: 899
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