Defund Homeland Security: Creating a massive federal police apparatus was always a mistake
It seems like only yesterday that Republicans were wringing their hands and rending their garments over federal officers attempting to arrest a large group of armed militia members who had taken over a federal building in Oregon and were refusing to leave. (The 2016 "Oregon standoff" is the subject of Anthony McCann's fascinating book "Shadowlands.") They were led by Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who triggered an earlier standoff with government forces in 2014, and they said they were planning to occupy the building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge "for years" as a protest against the conviction of two local ranchers who had been found guilty of arson for setting fire to government land. After six weeks of negotiating with federal authorities, the protesters were finally dispersed. Some did time but Ammon Bundy and a dozen others were tried and acquitted.
From 2014 to 2016, the right wing had been up in arms about the federal jack-booted thugs who were allegedly interfering in the protests by the God-fearing, freedom-loving Bundys and their armed allies who were just standing up for their rights. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., met personally with Cliven Bundy during the earlier standoff and said the group had legitimate constitutional questions. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was all-in, calling that protest "the unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government on."