Mr. Bundy is in arrears on fees that the BLM has imposed, but I am not versed in the laws that regulate federally-owned land, particularly in regards to those lands that do not serve a specific purpose, such as for a military base. I have read reports that he only stopped paying fees after he was subjected to repeated harassment by BLM bureaucrats. Two years ago it was explained to me that even homeowners whose houses sit on federally-owned land are subjected to surprising restrictions, both as in their usage of the land and the public access that is allowed on un-fenced (what would be thought of by most as "private") property. I always wondered, though, why the US government has insisted that it had the authority to maintain ownership of massive swaths of land not needed for federal use even when territories became states.
One thing is clear - the plundering of wealth by finding one type of flora or fauna to place a block on someone's use of land has gone too far.
For an era in which many Americans place a much higher priority in their own financial security and comfort than on our Liberties, the dispute has taken interesting turns. It seems that people and groups of many different backgrounds and motivations have noted the profound implications of the seizures of Mr. Bundy's cattle and have rallied around him in shows of moral and actual tangible support. People have recognized that a stand must be taken at some point against a federal government that has long engaged in massive overreaches of power, and we are seeing a rare demonstration of the spirit that gave rise to our original Independence movement.
This does not look like a mere repeat of the early 90's Waco, Ruby Ridge, or Freemen sieges.
"Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s decades-long battle against the federal government over grazing rights has heated to the point where militia groups have joined in and taken up spots against the feds who’ve circled his land — and talk is, they’re not afraid to open fire.
A spokesman for the one of the militia groups said as much to local 8 News Now: I’m not “afraid to shoot,” he said.
Margaret Houston, Mr. Bundy’s sister and a cancer survivor, said at a town hall gathering this week that the situation “was like a war zone” and that she felt “like I was not in the United States,” The Daily Mail reported........"
.......Now militia groups are on the scene, promising to help the Bundys keep up the fight.
“This is what we do, we provide armed response,” Jim Lordy, with Operation Mutual Aid, told the local broadcast station. “They have guns. We need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government.”
Mr. Lordy also said “many more” militia groups are coming to the site to join in the Bundy family defense.
“They all tell me they are in the process of mobilizing as we speak,” another member told the Review-Journal.
"......As RT reported earlier this week, hundreds of armed agents with the United States Bureau of Land Management and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have descended on the Clark County, Nevada ranch of 67-year-old Cliven Bundy to execute the court-ordered confiscation of nearly 1,000 cattle, according to his family, which the US government says have trespassed on federal property.
The Washington Free Beacon newspaper reported on Monday this week that 234 of the 908 cattle had been wrangled up by government agents and their contractors, and news of the dispute has since further propelled the story into the national spotlight.
Now it’s been reported that local cowboys have retrieved some of the confiscated cattle, and supporters of the Bundy ranch from around the region have flocked to Nevada to stand by their side.
Since the Beacon first reported on the standoff earlier the week, tensions have only worsened in Clark County. Video emerged online on Wednesday of the rancher’s son, Ammon Bundy, bloodied after being shocked by an electric Taser used by authorities, and Desert News reported that, according to Cliven Bundy, his own sister was knocked to the ground by officials moments before cameras began to roll.
One witness, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, told reporters that “Serious bloodshed was narrowly avoided” as a pregnant woman was also roughed up during the ordeal.
"We never did have any hand-to-hand combat this morning or up to his time," Mr. Bundy told the newspaper on Thursday afternoon. "But there's like 200 armed military people on my ranch. That's pretty bad to have that much armed force against American people."......."
The BLM insists “Mr. Bundy has… failed to comply with multiple court orders to remove his cattle from the federal lands and to end the illegal trespass.”
It is the BLM, not Cliven Bundy, who is in violation of the law and the Constitution, specifically Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17of the Constitution.
The clause, known as the Enclave Clause, authorizes Congress to purchase, own and control land in a state under specific and limited conditions, namely “for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings,” and not, as the feds now insist, to protect an endangered tortoise.
The Founders were opposed to providing a centralized federal government with unlimited authority to purchase and, as is routinely the case today, seize state and private land.
During the federal convention debates in September, 1787, Elbridge Gerry, who later went on to serve as vice president under James Madison, contended federal purchase of land “might be made use of to enslave any particular State by buying up its territory, and that the strongholds proposed would be a means of awing the State into an undue obedience.”
In order to make certain the federal government did not abuse the Enclave Clause, the words “Consent of the Legislature of the State” were added.
Madison, Jefferson and the Founders were primarily interested in limited government and the diffusion of federal authority over the states for the protection of individual liberty. In 1992, the Supreme Court issued an opinion on the framers’ reasoning behind the state consent requirement (New York v. U.S):
“The Constitution does not protect the sovereignty of States for the benefit of the States or state governments as abstract political entities, or even for the benefit of the public officials governing the States. To the contrary, the Constitution divides authority between federal and state governmentsfor the protection of individuals. State sovereignty is not just an end in itself: rather,federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power.”
Madison knew unlimited federal power inevitably results in unbridled tyranny. “I venture to declare it as my opinion that, were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America,” he wrote..................
Cliven Bundy’s struggle with the BLM in Nevada is exactly the situation Madison and the founders tried to prevent. The federal government does not have the constitutional authority to own land, beyond what is stipulated in the Enclave Clause, and its seizure of land, under the obviously fallacious pretense of protecting a tortoise, is a serious violation of the Constitution.
Madison made if perfectly clear in Federalist Paper 45:
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined… The [federal powers] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce… the powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”....."
“Non-Governmental Organizations* have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle,” the document states.
This document from the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology(1) shows significant exploratory drilling being conducted in precisely the same area where the Bundy family has been running cattle since the 1870's. The "Gold Butte" area is indicated on the lower right corner of the document (see below), and it clearly shows numerous exploratory drilling operations have been conducted there.
What's also clear is that oil has been found in nearby areas and possibly even within the Gold Butte area itself.
It is, of course, customary for the U.S. government to bring armed soldiers to an oil dispute. (Operation "Iraqi Freedom" for starters...) Heavily armed snipers, helicopters and militarized soldiers have never been invoked over tortoises. (Anyone who thinks this siege is about reptiles is kidding themselves.)......"