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Broke, unemployed and on disability: Here’s how the Oregon militants can afford to play ‘patriot’ games

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As the militia stand-off in Oregon comes up on one week, speculation turns to the financial resources that allow men to up and leave their jobs — reportedly for however long it takes — to take an uninvited stand for freedom in an empty bird sanctuary.

According to experts who study right-wing movements, militia members barely get by, with some living on government disability checks and the earnings of their neglected wives.

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In an interview with The Oregonian, Mark Pitcavage, who has studied far-right movements for 22 years, said most militia members live hand to mouth.

“These guys are broke,” he said. “Right-wing extremists, generally speaking, have very little money.”

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While some members have brought their wives and children with them — leading to dissension within the ranks — others may have to cut out early before leader Ammon Bundy declares victory and heads home to Nevada.

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“It’s quite possible that a lot of them will get tired and feel the pressure to go back and care for their families,” Pitcavage explained.

The extended stay at the national bird refuge in the dead of winter has already cost one militia member his job.

Jason Patrick, of Georgia, claims he lost his $80,000-a-year roofing job — with benefits and a company truck — because he took off without notice and had already used up his vacation days attending other Patriot-inspired events.

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“I didn’t get to give appropriate notice,” he said when describing the voicemail message he left for his bosses. “The Constitution is more important.”

According to Daryl Johnson, a former domestic terrorism analyst for the Department of Homeland Security, militia members have unique priorities when it comes to choosing between their beliefs and their families.

“They’ll think nothing about taking half their paycheck and using half of it to buy ammunition and guns,” Johnson told The Oregonian.

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Despite the occupation of federal property, militia members in Oregon have been free to come and go as they please as authorities have backed off, allowing one occupier to put in a few hours of paying work.

Occupier Duane Ehmer of Oregon wrote on his Facebook page that he left the refuge to put in some hours.

“I just got back home from the bundy/ Hammond stand off I have to work a few days before I go back,” Duane Ehmer wrote on his Facebook page, adding later, “bringing more guns.”

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Jon Ritzheimer, who has been orchestrating anti-Muslim rallies from his Arizona home, says he gets by on his veterans’ disability pay, and that he’s “lucky to have a wife who works.”

Occupier spokesperson Maureen Peltier is currently in the Washington National Guard, but will be retiring soon due to a disability — giving her more time to join protests against the government.

According to Pitcavage, self-described militia group may be rich in organizational skills, but they have empty wallets and must rely small donations from like-minded people.

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“There’s no large organization to give them money,” he stated. “The right-wing extremist movement is broke.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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White House spokesperson ridiculed for ‘pathetic’ spin on Trump’s trade war admission: ‘Does she think we believe that?’

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Hours after Donald Trump blithely admitted that he had "second thoughts" about his trade war with China that has damaged the U.S. economy and helped set the stage for a possible recession, White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham was forced to issue a clarification about the president's comments.

Addressing Trump's G7 response about his tariffs, widely interpreted by the press as expressing some regret, Grisham issued a statement saying the president meant that he wished he had increased his market-destroying tariffs even more.

"The President was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China,'" White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham relayed. "His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative - because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher."

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Here is why Trump is obsessed with Greenland

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They say that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. Remember that President Harry Truman tried to purchase Greenland in 1946; now, in 2019, President Donald Trump is trying to do the same thing.

This article first appeared in Salon.

To be clear, Trump’s farcical, “absurd” idea — to borrow the adjective used by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen — is not happening, and was never going to happen. As Frederiksen pointed out, Greenland is “not for sale." Trump, for his part, has not backed down from the idea.

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2020 Election

Iowa’s Steve King facing ouster because his campaign is broke and his allies have fled: report

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Iowa Republican Steve King is facing losing his seat representing his district in the U.S. House of Representatives as his campaign finds itself broke and the Republican Party has turned its back on him after his latest round of controversial comments.

According to a report from the Daily Beast, his campaign is struggling to bring donors -- who once wholeheartedly supported him --back into the fold.

Even worse, his colleagues in Congress have also abandoned him.

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