Guilty Until Proven Innocent – Ammon and Ryan Bundy try to Prove their Innocence Amid a Government Conspiracy to Convince the Public of their Guilt.on Saturday, September 17, 2016
Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Ammon and Ryan Bundy Try to Prove their Innocence
Amid a Government Conspiracy to Convince the Public of their Guilt..
They have been locked up in jail for more than seven months without a trial. One of them has been in solitary confinement for over a month for refusing to allow doctors to remove a bullet lodged in his upper right arm. Ammon and Ryan Bundy are political prisoners. They are being held at the Multnomah County Detention Center in Portland, Oregon across from the Federal Courthouse where they are being tried on charges of conspiracy to impede a Federal officer. They were taken into custody not far from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge which they were “occupying” in a nationally televised protest over the unjust incarceration of two fellow ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond of Oregon on terrorism and arson charges. They are also protesting the federal government’s unconstitutional occupation of 700 million acres of land in twelve Western States for more than 150 years.
The Bundys are leading an effort to try to change the Federal Government’s public land management policies which were rewritten in 1976 when Congress passed the Federal Land Policy Management Act. Friend and fellow rancher, Lavoy Finicum was shot in the back three times by two Oregon State Police officers for his efforts help the Hammonds and support the Bundys. The police officers claimed that they fired their weapons in self-defense. Lavoy’s murder has been described by a police investigation as a justified use of deadly force. In reality the police investigation was nothing more than a whitewash.
The national rebellion over the Federal government’s public land use policies didn’t just begin with the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and it isn’t going to end with the arrest or even with the conviction of Ammon and Ryan Bundy on federal charges stemming from their month long protest in Harney County. The controversy surrounding the Federal government’s administration of America’s public lands has been going on since the 1980s when the Sagebrush Rebellion was launched, and it won’t be settled in an Oregon courtroom during the Bundy trials. It can only be addressed by Congress. In fact the subject might not even come up during their trials since the only issue really at stake is their refusal to leave the Refuge. The defendants claim that they were never given a direct order in writing from the appropriate authorities to leave the Refuge. They would have welcomed such an order because it would have given them the opportunity of challenging the validity of the order in court, but they never got one.
So what led the Bundys to come to Oregon in the first place? What led them to occupy this remote strip of desert land? Knowing this is the key to understanding the unjust nature of the government’s indictment against them. If a rancher’s grievances against the Bureau of Land Management are even mentioned during their trial they will probably be tossed out of court as quickly as they are brought up by a Federal magistrate who was appointed by the Federal government to preside over their trials. The Federal government is both their prosecutor and their judge.
What prompted the defendants to leave their homes and families in Nevada, Arizona, and Idaho and meet at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near the little town of Burns is a long and convoluted story.
Their original purpose was to support two Oregon ranchers who were unjustly incarcerated for arson under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. The defendants wanted to start a national discussion about the Federal government’s mismanagement of America’s public lands and the unconstitutional nature of it’s control of over half the land in twelve Western States. They decided to do this after the Obama Justice Department put Dwight and Steven Hammond in jail for five years for a grass fire they started on their property to control weeds. It was a bogus charge to begin with, but it was a crime for which they had already served their time, and it became a crime for which they are now serving an additional sentence of five years at a Federal Penitentiary in southern California.
The defendants viewed the resentencing of the Hammonds to five more years by the Obama Justice Department as a violation of their civil rights under the Fifth Amendment which states… “Nor shall any man be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb”. The re-incarceration of the Hammonds for a second time after they had served their original sentences was a clear violation of the Constitution and a clear cut example of Federal government’s unconstitutional method of managing public lands and harassing western ranchers. The Bundys saw the Hammond’s plight as an opportunity to focus national attention on the plight of Western ranchers. What they didn’t take into consideration is that most Americans live in big cities and they don’t understand nor care about the plight of Western ranchers.
The Bundys came to Oregon to support Dwight and Steven Hammond, and to call attention to the occupation of over 700 million acres of land in twelve Western States by a Federal bureaucracy that is totally and completely out of control. The defendants managed to occupy the headlines for almost a month by occupying a deserted Wildlife Refuge in the middle of winter when no federal employees were there, an act for which they are now paying dearly.
Let me ask you a question. What is a bigger crime? Is it worse to occupy a deserted Wildlife Refuge for a month in the middle of Winter, or to occupy 700 million acres of land in twelve western states for more than a hundred and fifty years?
All wealth comes from the land, but fully one half of all the land west of the Rocky Mountains is controlled and administered by the Federal government. That explains why most of the counties in Western States are struggling just to meet their budgets and to provide basic government services like public schools, police and fire protection.. All of the Federally controlled lands remain off the tax rolls and the Payments in Lieu of taxes (PILT) which Western Counties receive from the Federal government does not nearly compensate them for the losses in revenue arising from not having these lands on the tax rolls. It does not enable local government to become self-supporting. On the contrary it keeps local government dependent on Washington.
County government frequently is not able to fund basic government services because too much of the land is not on the tax rolls. Too much of the land is owned by the Federal Government which does not pay property taxes to fund the operation of local government.
Without a national strategy that supports private property there is not a broad enough tax base to support local government. That is why Western States are so dependent on Washington..
The right to own property is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. The right to petition the government when any of our rights is violated is also guaranteed by the Constitution.
Cliven Bundy owns a ranch in Nevada on which he and his son Ryan raise cows. They own grazing rights on adjacent land which is administered by the Federal government. There right to the use this land is being adversely impacted by the Federal government’s public land use policies. The Bundys exercised their right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Only after all their efforts failed did they look for another means to advance their cause.
In 2015 they drafted legislation in the Nevada Legislature regarding the administration of State land by the Federal government, but all of their efforts in search of a solution to their problems failed. That led them to Oregon to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. They tried to work within the system without openly defying it even while the government continued to evade the Constitution, but all of their efforts under the law got them nowhere. They are now political prisoners at the Multnomah County Jail in Portland, Oregon where they have been convicted without a trail. They are being held without bail before they have been found guilty of committing a crime. They have been denigrated in the press for standing up to the Federal government’s flagrant violations of the Constitution.
All of our rights are not enumerated in the Constitution, but all of the Federal Government’s powers are definitely enumerated in the Constitution and there is no power given to the Federal to maintain control over such vast amounts of State land.
It was a sad day when two Oregon State Police officers shot an innocent man in the back for just believing in the Constitution. That was the day I realized that something much bigger than Lavoy Finicum had died in my country. Honor, integrity, and respect for the Constitution have all ceased to exist too…
Here us a little lesson in history:
Oregon became a State in 1859. Before that it was part of a vast territory whose ownership and administration was contested even back then by three different countries and a variety of different Indian tribes. The controversy over the ownership of land in the West is much bigger than what happened at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.
What used to be known as the Oregon Territory included the future States of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, part of Montana and Wyoming, and most of the province of British Columbia. In 1846 the United States purchased this Territory from England and after a border dispute with Canada was settled, Oregon became the 33rd State to enter the Union, however for the past 157 years Oregon has remained an occupied territory… occupied by the Federal Government which annexed it.
Fifty three percent of Oregon is administered and controlled by Congress through two departments of the Federal bureaucracy… the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. It is time for this occupation of Oregon by the Federal Government to come to an end.
When Americans think of occupied territory we don’t usually think of the peaceful Pacific Northwest. We usually think of more turbulent places like the Middle East where people have been fighting for control of land ever since Israel became a state again in 1948. Whether all or part of Israel remains occupied by Jews or Arabs or both or they all learn to live together in peace is a question that still remains to be resolved, but for Americans living in occupied territory right here in our own country, Oregon is not the first nor the last State to be occupied by the Federal government.
There are twelve States that are occupied by Washington contrary to the Constitution. They are all west of the Rocky Mountains. They have been occupied ever since they were admitted to the Union. Half of the land in twelve Western States is occupied territory. The total amount of land occupied in these twelve States is over 700 million acres of land..
All of the Federal Government’s powers are enumerated in the Constitution. There is no power vested in Congress to be the nation’s largest landowner. The fact that Congress is and remains in direct violation of the United States Constitution is what prompted the Sagebrush Rebellion of 1979, and it prompted the Bundys to come to Oregon in 2016.
The Property Rights Clause only gives Congress the right to manage public lands until such time as there is a permanent home found for them, but ultimately these lands have to be permanently disposed of. The only land that Congress has the authority to retain is a hundred square miles of land called the District of Columbia which is the seat of the Federal government. Together with enough land to build forts and ports and other needful government buildings on, that is all the land the United States government can own under the Constitution. Congress must find a permanent resolution for public lands which conforms to the Constitution and it must dispose of these lands which it continues to administer. The proper resolution would be to turn these lands over to the States and the Counties and the people from which they were taken when these States were admitted to the Union.
The entire process can be overseen by Congress and the land can be returned to the States with a stipulation that each State should determine how these lands are to be ultimately disposed of. There should be public hearings. Title to the land can be transferred or sold with the proceeds used to pay down the National Debt which is unsustainable at the current level of 20 trillion dollars. No studies need to be done because all of the details on how to successfully manage these lands are already available from the 38 other States that already do so.
Congress used to dispose of all lands it acquired by treaty or otherwise before the passage of the Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA) in 1976. After that Congress began to implement its current policy of retaining control of all public land.
Only three percent of the land east of the Mississippi River is controlled by the Federal Government while fifty percent of the land west of the Rocky Mountains remains under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. The total amount of land controlled by the Federal Government in the West is bigger than the size of most countries in the world, and the disparity between Western States and Eastern States is continuing to grow with attempts to federalize even more land such as the current proposal to make another national monument in Malheur County next to the one that already exists in Harney County. This disparity between eastern States and western States violates the Equal Footing Principle that was supposed to be applied to western States as they entered the Union.
What follows is a table of western States with their dates of admittance to the Union and the amount of land controlled by the Federal government in each State:
1) California 1850 45% owned by the Federal government
2) Oregon 1859 53% owned by the Federal government
3) Nevada 1864 85% owned by the Federal government
4) Colorado 1876 37% owned by the Federal government
5) Montana 1889 30% owned by the Federal government
6) Washington 1889 35% owned by the Federal government
7) Wyoming 1890 42% owned by the Federal government
8) Idaho 1890 50% owned by the Federal government
9) Utah 1896 57% owned by the Federal government
10) Arizona 1912 48% owned by the Federal government
11) New Mexico 1912 41% owned by the Federal government
12) Alaska 1959 69% owned by the Federal government
The occupation of California and Oregon started before the Civil War. The occupation of Nevada began during the Civil War, and the occupation of other Western States began shortly after the Reconstruction Period following the Civil War during which time the Federal Government also occupied Southern States. The occupation of America didn’t end when Federal troops pulled out of the South. The focus of Washington’s occupation merely shifted from the South to the West. It’s time for the occupation of Western States to come to an end too.