By Chuck Baldwin
April 10, 2014
With the memory of Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, still very vivid in the collective memory of the American people comes another example of a federal government run amuck. A rancher in Nevada is watching the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seize his cattle and arrest his son for simply taking pictures of the events. BLM has also placed several federal snipers around his home with their high-powered rifles trained on his family. The last report I read said more than 200 federal agents are now surrounding the homestead complete with attack helicopters. All that seems to be missing are tanks.
Did the family do anything violent? No. Did they do anything immoral? No. Did they even do anything wrong? No. Did they do anything illegal? Well, that’s where the story gets interesting.
Cliven Bundy’s family has been grazing cattle on their ranchland since the 1880s. But in 1993, the federal government reclassified 600,000 acres of land, including the land that the Bundy cattle have been grazing on forever. The pretext used by the feds for seizing the land was to protect some “endangered” tortoise. However, the feds would allow Cliven to continue to graze his cattle on the land--if he pays the federal government for the privilege. The rancher refuses to pay.
Here is one report of the story:
“Federal snipers with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) trained guns on members of a family yesterday after they dared to stop and take video footage of cattle outside the bounds of a designated ‘First Amendment Area,’ before arresting one of the men for non-compliance.
“The cattle were being rounded up by BLM officers as part of a crackdown on Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who has refused to pay ‘grazing fees’ demanded by the feds as a result of a re-classification of 600,000 acres of federal land in northeastern Clark County which Bundy claims has been in his family for generations.”
The report continues: “The feds have now started rounding up Bundy’s cattle in the name of protecting a supposedly endangered species, the desert tortoise, forbidding Bundy from interfering or even entering the vast area. The case is quickly turning into another iconic battle between big government and a besieged family.
“Fears that the confrontation may turn violent and concerns that Bundy is drawing increased support from liberty activists and the local community prompted the feds to tape off two ridiculous ‘First Amendment Areas,’ outside of which free speech in support of Bundy is banned. A sign placed inside the area reads ‘Welcome to Amerika--Wake Up’ alongside a hammer and sickle logo.
“When Bundy’s family members violated that rule yesterday in an attempt to peacefully document the cattle roundup, they were met with a barrage of loudspeaker warnings and four BLM snipers with their guns trained on the dissenters.”
The report goes on saying, “None of the family members were armed, but as soon as Dave Bundy began filming the cattle in the distance, 11 BLM vehicles each with two agents arrived and surrounded him.
“‘They also had four snipers on the hill above us all trained on us. We were doing nothing besides filming the area,’ said Ryan Bundy.
“The family were told to leave the area via loudspeaker because they had violated the crudely established ‘First Amendment Area’.
“‘They said that we had no first amendment rights except for up by the bridge where they had established an area for that,’ Bundy said.
“When Dave Bundy didn’t immediately heed the warning and return to his vehicle, a dog was set on him and he was subsequently arrested.”
See the report here.
BLM hired independent contractor-cowboys from Utah to confiscate Mr. Bundy’s cows. Nevada State troopers and local law enforcement personnel have also either assisted, or refused to interfere with, BLM’s actions. And, as one would expect, a federal court has also backed BLM’s activities. Some estimate the cost to the taxpayers for BLM’s siege will amount to more than $3 million.
But as news of the siege spreads, people all over the country are taking note. Hundreds of people have come from all around Clark County, Nevada, in support of the Bundy family. Personally, I hope tens of thousands of people show up.
Before the feds began laying claim to privately-owned ranch property back in the early 1990s, there were dozens of ranchers in the area. Mr. Bundy is the last one left. All of the others have been forced off of their land by the excessive restrictions and rules from BLM. And it looks like the feds intend to do whatever they feel is necessary to remove the Bundy family from their land, as well.
An out-of-control federal government was the primary catalyst for the “conservative revolution” in 1994 when the GOP historically took control of both houses of Congress. After egregious betrayals by then House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott in 1996, a conservative revival continued from 2000-2006 when G. W. Bush and the Republican Party controlled the entire federal government. Disgustingly, neither Bush nor the Republican leaders in Congress did one darn thing to undo the power grab of the federal government that took place under Bill Clinton. If anything, the GOP-led government in Washington, D.C., further expanded federal power across the board.
During those turbulent years of the 1990s, the late-great Congresswoman, Helen Chenoweth, in an interview with Michael Reagan, spoke these words:
“BLM is taking onto themselves law enforcement that is normally saved for the State, law enforcement over motor vehicles. They've written into the regulation without authority from Congress, the ability to stop vehicles or to search people, to search a place or a vehicle without warrant or process; to be able to seize without warrant or process any piece of evidence and to test people for potential DUI (driving under the influence). They have redefined a parachute into a mechanized piece of equipment, so if you parachute into any of their areas you can be fined $20,000 or more.
“It is amazing. Our founders, when establishing our system of government wanted to make sure that law enforcement was closest to the people. You and I have talked before about how important it is to make sure that you elect the very best local county sheriff because he should be regarded as the highest law enforcement officer in the area because he is accountable to the voters. They really worried about a national, a federal, law enforcement. To federalize our law enforcement is to create a situation that the pilgrims were trying to escape.
“We are moving quickly to that. The Bureau of land Management is taking onto themselves law enforcement authority that Congress never gave them. In the Federal Land Policy and Management Act that was passed in the early 1970's it made it clear that Congress said that, ‘first, you must go to your local county sheriff for law enforcement activities.’”
See Reagan’s interview with Helen.
Helen knew what she was talking about. The BLM controls over 60% of all of the land within her home State of Idaho. The BLM controls over 70% of all land in Utah; and in the State of Nevada, the BLM controls over 76% of all land.
Chenoweth was as much of a prophetess as she was an observer when she added, “Whatever [land] we have left. Right now in Idaho and I am sure all over the West, they are moving people and human activities off the land.”
Helen was also correct when she noted that the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), which was adopted in 1976, stipulated that BLM had to go through the county sheriff for any action that required law enforcement. Nearly four decades later, the BLM (and virtually every other federal agency) totally and thoroughly ignores this requirement.
For those of us who still labor under the conviction that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, it must be observed that the only crimes assigned to the federal government in the Constitution for law enforcement purposes are Treason, Piracy, Counterfeiting, and International law violations. That’s it! All other law enforcement matters are the purview of the individual states, according to the Tenth Amendment.
Unfortunately, for most of the Twentieth Century, and especially since the George Herbert Walker Bush administration, the federal government has demanded more and more power and authority that it does not constitutionally possess. And, for the most part, the individual states have sheepishly done little to resist. All of which has led to the events that are now playing out in Clark County, Nevada.
Here are some of my questions: why are the local and State law enforcement officers in Nevada assisting the BLM with this egregious act of tyranny? Beyond that, why are they not standing up to the BLM and telling them to go to Hades? Do the lives and liberties and property of the citizens of their State mean nothing? And, another thing: who are these independent contractor-cowboys in Utah who are willing to help trample a fellow citizen’s constitutional rights? How much does 30 pieces of silver equate to today? And what about those BLM snipers? Who are these men who would willingly turn their guns against innocent, hard-working Americans for the sake of a paycheck? I guess the only reason that the members of Mr. Bundy’s family are not six-feet under already is simply because those “brave” and “patriotic” snipers were not given the order to shoot. They sure had the family members in the crosshairs of their scopes; all that was missing was the pull of the index finger. Wow! That’s comforting. I wonder how many of us are in the crosshairs of federal snipers and don’t even know it?
I hope the people of the western states will arise in support of the Bundy family in such numbers that the BLM thugs will be forced to withdraw and leave this dear family alone. If we are not careful, the feds could do to this family what they did to those poor Branch Davidians outside Waco, Texas, and to the Weaver family near Ruby Ridge, Idaho. This should be a wake-up call for all of us out west to let our elected officials know under no uncertain terms that we will not tolerate such conduct in our backyards.
The citizens of Connecticut are resisting their own tyrannical State as it attempts to deny them their Second Amendment rights; now it’s time for the citizens of the western states to resist the tyrannical Bureau of Land Management (and any other federal agency) that attempts to usurp the Tenth Amendment and private property rights of their fellow citizens.
I realize that there are several legislative and judicial efforts underway around the country to push back against this runaway federal government. All of this takes time. In the meantime, a family in Clark County, Nevada, is fighting RIGHT NOW for all of us. This dear man is putting everything he owns, as well as the very safety of his family, on the line. To coin a maxim from the German pastor, Martin Neimoller: “First, they came for the Randy Weaver family in Idaho, and I did not speak out; next, they came for the Branch Davidians in Texas, and I did not speak out; then, they came for the Cliven Bundy family in Nevada, and I did not speak out; then, they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out.”
But, God willing, there are still millions of us left who will speak out. Will you be one of them?