April 12, 2016, marked the anniversary of the Bundy Standoff two years ago when the federal government intentionally slaughtered Bundy cattle and proceeded to roundup and remove another 300 to 400 free ranging on public land managed by the Bundy’s for generations — even before the Bureau of Land Management (1946) existed. This was all over the news for days with American flags brandished by hundreds of sympathetic Bundy supporters.
Last month, beginning with the arrest of Cliven Bundy in Portland, Oregon, the feds, in a sting operation, arrested 19 men from five states, Arizona, Idaho, Oklahoma, Utah and as far away as New Hampshire. Charges include conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States; threatening a federal law enforcement officer; obstruction of justice; attempting to impede or injure a federal law enforcement officer; and several firearms charges. All this, unlike two years ago, is now without a word from the establishment media on the federal sting. The federal government waited two years and then, when the Nevada standoff was consigned largely to history, swept in with the arrests.
Bundy had good reason to be encouraged and to believe that “the people” had defeated a government that no longer represented them. Almost a year after the standoff, he wrote, “We have not been bothered by nor have we even seen a U.S. government licensed vehicle of any kind on the Bundy Ranch or the northeast portion of Clark County. Cattle prices are good and green grass is growing!” (“An Update on Nevada Scofflaw Cliven Bundy, High County News, March 7, 2015).
Bundy refused to enter a plea before a federal judge. Attorney Joel Hansen argued for him that he was not a flight risk. “He is going to go back to the ranch and take care of his chores there.” Bail was denied. To make matters worse the Associated Press reported April 2, that U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro has refused to let nationally known conservative lawyer Larry Klayman, Founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, join the Cliven Bundy defense team at the request of Hansen.
Still, Bundy (69) may have a good case. His legal brief read in part, “He never brandished a weapon at any federal officer. He never stood in the way of any federal officer. He has never assaulted anyone in his life nor has he ever committed a battery on anyone,” (“Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy Denied Bail for 2014 Standoff,” March 18, 2016, High Desert Hustle).
If the Constitution is allowed as evidence the case is even stronger. Presently the federal government owns 87.7 of Nevada. Basically the federal government did not give western states all their land when they qualified for statehood. States were so excited to get coveted statehood that they went along with the conditions despite the confiscation of, for most in the west, at least a third of their land.
The founders understood that the size of land holding was proportionally related to the perceived size of the federal government and they intentionally wanted that perception small. The federal government was permitted to have but 10 square miles for a federal capital. The only other land that they could acquire had to be for military purposes as specified in the common defense clause of the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 which reads: “and to exercise like Authority over all places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock Yards, and other needful Buildings.”
Any new acquisition, outside the capital, had (1) to be purchased, (2) have the consent of the State Legislature where the land exists, (3) and be for military purposes. None of these constitutional requirements were met with respect to Nevada or any of the western states, although some military bases do exist in most of them. Nor have there been any additional amendments to the Constitution authorizing additional federal ownership of land as required for any additional federal power. Constitutionally there exists no federal land or Bureau of Land Management or even public land.
Again, in the case of the Bundy’s, the land in dispute was not purchased by the federal government, did not receive the consent of the Nevada State Legislature for sale to the feds, and is not for military purposes. The fact that the federal government acquired it fraudulently in the first place, or that both political parties have ignored this part of the Constitution for over a hundred years, does not make federal confiscation now constitutional. Constitutionally Bundy has more preemptive right through a long line of ancestors to be there than does the BLM.
Neighbors considered the slaughter and theft of Bundy cattle as government tyranny equal to anything the British had done to early Americans and rushed to the Bundy defense. Approximately 400 citizens came to his aid guarding the impoundment site from further confiscation of Bundy cattle. They came from as far away as New Hampshire and Florida — many with their guns. Yes the standoff got ugly but not violent. Video footage, now available, show that four armed snipers had their guns trained on the family during the incident and there were a few armed citizens with their guns aimed at the government snipers should they have shot any of the family. The federal government has now rounded up prominent Bundy defenders with nary a word from the establishment news.
To read more of Dr. Harold Pease’s weekly articles, visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.