Tuesday, 15 April 2014 18:00

War on the West: Why More Bundy Standoffs Are Coming

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The federal government’s over-the-top police action against the Bundy family ranch is an ominous portent of more to come, as rogue agencies and their corporate/NGO partners attempt to “cleanse” the West of ranchers, farmers, miners, loggers, and other determined property owners.

On Saturday, April 12, the federal bureaucrats backed down. Faced with hundreds of men and women on horseback and on foot who were armed with firearms and video cameras — as well as local television broadcast stations and independent media streaming live video and radio feeds across America — the Obama administration called off the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) operation to confiscate hundreds of cattle belonging to Cliven Bundy, the current patriarch of a respected pioneer family that has been ranching in Nevada’s Clark County since the 1800s.

Supporters from all across the United States had converged on the Bunkerville, Nevada, area in support of Bundy, who is the “last rancher standing” in Clark County, due to a decades-long campaign by federal agencies and allied enviro-activists to drive all ranchers off of the range. After a tense standoff, orders came down from above for the surrounded and outnumbered federal agents to “stand down” and turn loose the Bundy cattle that had been corralled.

On Saturday, before the resolution of the standoff, The New American talked to Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, and founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), as he headed from a meeting of public officials to a press conference at the Bundy Ranch. He was very grave and worried at the time that the situation could spin out of control, and that federal agents might open fire on citizens. He also expressed his exasperation at Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Clark County Sheriff Douglass Gillespie. “If Governor Sandoval and Sheriff Gillespie were doing the jobs they were elected to do, they would have stopped this from getting to a dangerous point,” Sheriff Mack said. “There are lots of things they could have done to defuse this situation, including telling the Feds to ‘stand down,’ and to assert their own jurisdiction and force the federal authorities to obey the law, including the Constitution and the laws of the state of Nevada,” he noted. “I have a very bad feeling about this,” he continued, adding that he hoped the tensions would be deescalated and a peaceful outcome negotiated.

Fortunately, most likely due to the national attention that the Bundy situation was receiving, federal officials backed off, the demonstrators and supporters remained peaceful, and a violent confrontation was averted. However, that does not end the affair. Members of the Bundy family and supporters, such as Sheriff Mack, expressed concerns that the evacuation of the federal police force might be a feint, and that there may be plans for them to return the following day, or as soon as the supporters and television crews had departed.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose personal financial stake in the Bundy eviction has been called into question, let it be known that he wants to see the matter pursued.

“Well, it’s not over,” Reid told NBC’s Nevada affiliate KRNV on Monday, April 14. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

Senator Reid, Nevada’s senior senator, is very incensed when the American people, i.e., ordinary citizens, “violate the law” — as he puts it — but he says nothing about the more serious violations of the laws and the Constitution by public officials, such as himself or the BLM officials.

This is the same federal BLM that Chief Judge Robert C. Jones of the Federal District Court of Nevada last year ruled had been engaged in a decades-long criminal “conspiracy” against the Wayne Hage family, fellow ranchers and friends of the Bundys. Among other things, Judge Jones accused the federal bureaucrats of racketeering under the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations) statute, and accused them as well of extortion, mail fraud, and fraud, in an effort “to kill the business of Mr. Hage.” In fact, the government’s actions were so malicious, said the judge, as to “shock the conscience of the Court.” Judge Jones granted an injunction against the agencies and referred area BLM and Forest Service managers to the Justice Department for prosecution.

Has Attorney General Eric Holder prosecuted any federal officials for criminal activity and violation of the Hage family’s constitutionally protected rights? No. Has Sen. Harry Reid denounced this lawlessness and criminal activity by government officials and call upon President Obama and Attorney General Holder to protect the citizens of his state from the depredations of federal officials under their command? No.

Huge Federal Footprint: And a Boot on Every Neck

With attitudes such as those expressed above by Sen. Harry Reid, it is almost a certainty that the recently defused Bundy Ranch standoff will be replayed again — and in the not-too-distant future. And the outcome could be much less amicable for all concerned.

And this is but one of many incidents that can be expected, because the Bundy family are not the only victims in the federal crosshairs. The BLM, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and other federal agencies own and/or control hundreds of millions of acres of the 12 western states. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not as large a landlord as some of these bigger agencies, but it exercises enormous regulatory clout over both private and public lands, air, and water. And while the EPA’s draconian, arbitrary, and costly regulations affect the entire country, they fall especially hard on the states in the West, where the federal impact is already massive due to the outsized footprint of the federal agencies.

As the accompanying map graphically demonstrates, there is a striking difference between the federal government’s claim to physical real estate in the states of East and the Midwest versus those of the West. In Maine, for instance, federal agencies occupy only 1.1 percent of the state’s land area; in New York it’s a mere 0.8 percent. The federal government claims only 1.8 percent of Indiana, 1.6 percent of Alabama, and 1.7 percent of Ohio. But in the Western states, the federal footprint covers from nearly one-third to over four-fifths of the area of the states.

Here are the ugly facts of the federal government’s ownership of the lands in the Western states:

Nevada: 84.5 percent
Alaska: 69.1 percent
Utah: 57.4 percent
Oregon: 53.1 percent
Idaho: 50.2 percent
Arizona: 48.1 percent
California: 45.3 percent
Wyoming: 42.4 percent
New Mexico: 41.8 percent
Colorado: 36.6 percent
Washington: 30.3 percent
Montana: 29.9 percent

These and many more relevant statistics can be found in Federal Real Property Report for Fiscal Year 2012 (the latest available) from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). For instance, in addition to its enormous real estate portfolio, the U.S. Department of Interior (home to BLM, NPS, USFWS) boasts 43,554 buildings covering more than 107.1 million square feet. These agencies, together with the Forest Service, exercise an enormous — and harmful — impact on the economies, livelihoods, and politics of the Western states. And, contrary to the claims of the federal advocates, federal policies are also taking a devastating toll on the environment of the West, most especially as manifested in the destruction of millions of acres of national forests through mismanagement, which has led to immense insect infestations and super-nova wildfires.

Yet, President Obama is following the example of his predecessors and unconstitutionally taking millions more acres in the Western states, under the pretext of protecting “endangered species.” (See: “Specious Endangerment: Obama Awards Spotted Owls 9.6 Million Acres” and “Obama Using ‘Endangered’ Species to Kill Economy, Push Extreme Agenda.”)

Because this has been the “normal” status of things for generations, the enormity and significance of this picture often passes unnoticed and unconsidered by most Americans. But in our current economic crisis, and with mounting friction caused by imperial edicts emanating from federal agencies, many citizens and state and local governments are being forced to reevaluate our unbalanced federal relationship.

Our Founding Fathers did not intend for new territories that would be admitted to statehood in the future to be unfairly shackled by the central government; they would not have countenanced that the people of Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Alaska, for instance, would be groveling under the thumbs of politicians from New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. As Joe Wolverton noted in a recent article for The New American, they intended for future states to be admitted into the Union on a “equal footing” with the existing states. They most certainly did not intend for politicians of the Eastern states and federal bureaucrats to enjoy a stranglehold on the lifeblood of the people of the Western states.

And as those politicians and bureaucrats continue to tighten their chokehold on the people who own and work the land, there will inevitably be conflict. Even peaceful, law-abiding people will not stand idly by while their own life’s work and that of their forebears is being taken by lawless officials. The solution is for the American public to put pressure on all their elected officials — state, local, and federal — to stop strangling our fellow citizens. Ultimately, that means decentralizing, and dramatically downsizing (and then abolishing) many of these agencies and returning the land to the states and the people. The people of the Western states must be allowed to determine their own futures, to enjoy the blessings of liberty, just as Americans in all the other states have experienced.

Related articles:

Questions Raised About Senator Reid’s Connection to Bundy Ranch Dispute

Last Man Standing: Nevada Ranch Family in Fedgov Face-off

Bundy's Case: Feds Do Not Own the Land Where His Cattle Graze

BLM's Seizure of Nevada Rancher's Land Rights Unconstitutional

Harry Reid Bolsters Son’s Interests in Chinese Solar Plant Deal

Burning Up the West: Feds, Greens Cause Catastrophic Fires

Federal Judge Rules for Property Rights, Smacks Down Abusive Feds

Judge Blasts Federal Conspiracy; Ranch Family Vindicated — Again!

Huge Win for Property Owners

Remembering a Champion: Helen Chenoweth-Hage

The United Nations’ Big Green Machine, by Helen Chenoweth-Hage

Supreme Court Ruling: Victory for Property Owners, Defeat for EPA

The EPA's Property Wrongs in America

Eco-Villains? No — Just Pawns in the Federal Land-grab Scam

This Land Is My Land — Isn't It?

12 comments

  • Comment Link MemphisMickey Friday, 25 April 2014 21:35 posted by MemphisMickey

    In the future, I hope The New American
    can avoid citing tabloid sources and previously
    discredited information.
    Timothy McGaffin II
    American Fork, Utah

  • Comment Link MemphisMickey Friday, 25 April 2014 21:34 posted by MemphisMickey

    No I will not quit. I will not give up. The insiders want YOU to fight back. They want YOU to justify their suppression
    .

  • Comment Link R Jensen Tuesday, 22 April 2014 11:06 posted by R Jensen

    “Well, it’s not over,” Reid told NBC’s Nevada affiliate KRNV on Monday, April 14. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

    You condemn yourself with your own words, Harry.

  • Comment Link Mr. Peabody Tuesday, 22 April 2014 09:21 posted by Mr. Peabody

    The Federal Government has owned land since 1785, before the Articles of Confederation (our first federal government) were even ratified. The reason for the distribution of ownership? The first lands in the colonies were taken from the States for things like public schools and railroads. The second lands were the Midwest, the lands between the current colonies borders west to the Mississippi river. This land was granted by the colonies to the Federal Government, which then gave the land away to the States to create new colonies. The third lands were the Louisiana Purchase, which purchased everything West of the Mississippi to Mexico and the Northwest territories from France. The fourth lands, the huge swaths of territory in the West were given to the Federal government by treaty and annexation, and this territory had no settlements or organized states. To promote settlements in these territories, the Homestead Act was passed which was a federal program to give land to farmers who made improvements and farmed a plot of land for five consecutive years. This act remained in from 1862-1979. The reason all those states (which were created post-antebellum) have such large areas of federal ownership, is because they participated in the federal homestead program. This is why the federal policy of disposal changed, to promote settling the land and the creation of State governments in those States.

    http://www.law.umaryland.edu/marshall/crsreports/crsdocuments/RL34267_12032007.pdf

  • Comment Link faxx fantum Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:17 posted by faxx fantum

    In Case You Thought it Was About the Rule of Law...

    Obama and his administration have so corrupted our judges, courts, and laws that patriotic Americans can no longer abide by the "Rule of Law." We must fall back on our Constitutional rights, reject tyranny, and become Constitutional Americans!

    The Rule of Law is NOT just whatever Obama and Holder say it is... Selective Enforcement by them Violates the Rule of Law. It is Tyranny and an Abuse of Power!

    The Feds are Selectively Enforcing the Law! They protect turtles on land they do not own while allowing a steady flow of criminals, drug cartels, and illegal aliens to swarm into America. The Criminals Here are the Out-of-Control Federal Government Agencies Who are Violating the Rule of Law!

    SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT IS TYRANNY!

  • Comment Link Ru Bloviatt Thursday, 17 April 2014 10:10 posted by Ru Bloviatt

    I hear a bell ringing. It is the cat approaching! Dirty Harry and his dirty family. Selling other peoples dreams and independence. When the Chinese leave the room they will leave a wad of cash on the night stand Harry... It's for you, you know cab fare, baby... Sleep tight. They'll call you when their in town next month.

    We have belled the cat.

  • Comment Link mick russom Wednesday, 16 April 2014 19:55 posted by mick russom

    All federal land should immediately become state property. This criminal government Obama regime is the enemy of faith, freedom, family and liberty and needs to be replaced with a constitutional government.

  • Comment Link Frank M. Pelteson Wednesday, 16 April 2014 15:17 posted by Frank M. Pelteson

    Always looming in the background is Agenda 21. For more on Agenda 21, please go to http://www.jbs.org/issues-pages/agenda-21 .

    WHY ARE THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA NOT MENTIONING THIS? Those who are seasoned John Birch Society veterans know the answer.

  • Comment Link N.E. Patriot Wednesday, 16 April 2014 13:24 posted by N.E. Patriot

    Everyone who wants to wake up their clueless neighbors regarding the Federal takeover and destruction of large parts of the west (and elsewhere!), and the resulting impact on families, communities, and our overall economy needs to purchase and share the new (and extremely professionally done) one-hour video available from http://www.BlueBeatsGreen.com Each video is only $19.95 (slight discount for two or more), and I just purchased five! (No, I'm not associated with them in any way. I just happened to view the film this week and couldn't wait to get my hands on more!)

    For your friends in the "green movement," it will be a REAL eye-opener! It also adds a refreshing Biblical perspective I hadn't considered before, as well as some good old common sense! There's a short trailer on the site, and it's just a tiny piece of the info you'll hear. This one is a MUST for everyone concerned about freedom since it does such an excellent job explaining that the global warming issue is merely all about POWER -- not the people, the animals -- OR the planet! And it was only $3.00 to ship all five videos I ordered! I guarantee when you see this, you'll want at least one or two extra to share.

  • Comment Link MemphisMickey Wednesday, 16 April 2014 11:24 posted by MemphisMickey

    Kennedy sent tens of thousands of feds to Oxford MS in 1962 to enforce a court order.
    I would not doubt that the current President will consider and perhaps do the same.

  • Comment Link Bill Wednesday, 16 April 2014 10:53 posted by Bill

    When I was a kid, I remember reading about the 'minute men' who warned the people when danger approached.
    It might be a good idea if the American people use a similar system again, in cases like this one.
    The Feds will be back. No doubt about that. It takes time to clear vermin out, completely.
    If the 'minute man/woman' works. People will be able to get to the scene earlier, before they clear the land.
    Next time they'll come in large numbers and in the dead of night.
    If it goes well, it could be a 'template', for other parts of the country, if and when required.

    Best Wishes to the American People.

  • Comment Link Jake Martinez Wednesday, 16 April 2014 09:54 posted by Jake Martinez

    New EPA Land Grab, Complete Control Over All Private Land in America! http://teapartyorg.ning.com/profiles/blogs/new-epa-land-grab-complete-control-over-all-private-land-in
    “Food For Thought”
    Hello: When Are Americans Going To Wake Up?-God Bless America!
    Semper Fi!
    Jake

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