Monday, January 4, 2016

Land and Liberty: Support Silver Senator Here Now

The next President may appoint as many as four Supreme Court Justices who could reform the ailing Federal criminal justice bureaucracy: 

nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people

when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government 

Full Story About What’s Going on In Oregon

The Federal Prosecutor At The Heart of The Hammond Family Problem… via  

The initial, and regarded by many as overreaching federal prosecution, resulted in federal court judge Michael Hogan assigning a 3-month sentence and 1-year sentence for Dwight Lincoln Hammond Jr (73) and his son, Steven Dwight Hammond (46) respectively.

Even federal Judge Hogan stated the prosecution under “terrorism statutes” itself was an overreach and he refused to assign ridiculously high sentences for behavior that almost every rancher has conducted for generations.

Those sentences were fulfilled by the father and son duo in 2013 with Steven Hammond exiting prison in January 2014.

However, it was a decision by the U.S Attorney for the State of Oregon, Amanda Marshall, who called for an appeal to the original sentencing:

The solicitor general authorized a rare appeal of an Oregon judge’s order. 

The appeals court sided with the prosecution, and the Hammonds returned to federal court last year to face a second sentencing. 

At that hearing, U.S. Chief District Judge Ann Aiken ordered the pair to finish five-year terms.”


“The federal government retaining control of two-thirds of our landmass was never in the bargain when we became a state, and it is indefensible 116 years later.”

The Oregon standoff is far bigger than a group of armed men in a forest

They say the federal government stripped them of their land and resources. And they’re not alone.

The weekend occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon may seem like the ravings of a small group of armed activists, but it belongs to a much larger movement in the western United States. 

Lawmakers in at least 11 states have in recent years explored the possibility of taking back federal land in their own way: through their state legislatures.

Before this weekend’s incident, and before the Cliven Bundy confrontation in Nevada in 2014, there was Utah’s H.B. 148. 

In 2012, Utah passed that bill into law, requiring the federal government turn over the public lands within the state. 

The law carried little force — the end-of-2014 deadline for the transfer came and went — but it signified the start of a new chapter in the four-decade fight over Western land.

[Explaining the long fight between the Bundys and the federal government, from 1989 to today]

At the time, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) described it as a necessary step.

“This bill creates a mechanism to put the federal government on notice that Utah must be restored to its rightful place as a co-equal partner,” he said in a signing statement

“The federal government retaining control of two-thirds of our landmass was never in the bargain when we became a state, and it is indefensible 116 years later.”

Ranchers at center of Oregon protest to turn themselves in

Play Video1:00

The father and son ranchers at the center of an Oregon protest at a wildlife refuge are expected to turn themselves in to federal authorities to complete a previous prison sentence. (Reuters)

Proponents of the movement say it’s about local control and taking back what rightly belongs to state residents.

Critics fear that reclaiming public land could become a financial burden for states and may be the first step toward the land being sold off or otherwise losing its protected status.

The fight itself stretches back to the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, which confirmed the policy of federal retention of state public lands. 

Since then, lawmakers throughout the West have pushed back against the lack of control over land within their borders, including during the famous “Sagebrush Rebellion” of the 1970s and 1980s — a movement that counted Ronald Reagan among its supporters.

[The Oregon occupiers’ land dispute, explained in 9 maps]

The West is uniquely affected by federal control of public lands. 

The region is home to nearly 93 percent of all federal land, according to 2010 data compiled by the Congressional Research Service. 

Just over half (52 percent) of all the land within the nation’s 13 Western states is under federal control.

In Nevada, over 80 percent of the land within the state’s borders belongs to the federal government. 

Utah ranks second, controlling only one-third of the land within its borders. 

Alaska and Idaho control about three-fifths of the land within their borders, while Oregon ranks fifth, with 47 percent of its land under state control.

Last year, nearly a dozen Western states considered bills related to the issue, ranging from creating committees to study it to requiring the federal government to transfer control of public lands to the states, according to an August report by the Center for Western Priorities, a conservation organization.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) vetoed two bills that asked the federal government to hand over public lands, but signed another that created a committee to study the issue. In Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock (D) vetoed a similar study-committee bill.

“My position on this issue is crystal clear: I do not support any effort that jeopardizes or calls into question the future of our public lands heritage,” he wrote in a veto letter.

The Nevada legislature passed a bill urging Congress to transfer 7 million acres of federal land to the state — an effort that had the support of several top Nevada Republicans.

“I think most if not all Nevadans, including me, would like to see more of the federal land turned over to the state, for us to manage and care for ourselves,” Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) said in an interview with Nevada magazine.

Bundy summons militia to Oregon in Facebook video

Play Video2:26
Ammon Bundy used a Facebook video posted Dec. 31 to summon an armed militia to Burns, Ore., by Jan. 2. 
When they arrived, they took over a federal building. 
After the protest, Bundy told a reporter why this fight is so important to him. (The Washington Post)

Legislators in Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming also proposed related bills last year.

Polling conducted last year by the Colorado College State of the Rockies project found that majorities of voters in each of six Western states — Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — view the lands managed by the federal government as belonging to the nation.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the effect of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. It has been updated.

Related stories:
The mysterious fires that led to the Bundy clan’s Oregon standoff
Republican candidates stay quiet on Oregon standoff
Ben Carson’s claim that the federal government should ‘return’ public land to states

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.


7:56 PM PST
Has there been any violence?
7:57 PM PST
To some people everything is about race.
7:51 PM PST [Edited]
Your comment reflects what the spin doctors want you to believe. Local and state governments are more invested in preserving land and unlike the Feds they have their own citizens to answer to. You have been lied-to and manipulated by the press. 
7:59 PM PST
johnkomalleyPerhaps you have failed to notice how these articles are long on negative comments about the farmers but short on actual facts explaining why they are angry. Did you ever ask yourself why? Did it ever occur to you that these guys are not automatically selfish, evil but in fact you don't recall that farmer and ranchers are tied to the land and love nature in ways you city slickers can never understand. Why not at least give them a break and actually look into their claims instead of shooting your mouth off. 
7:41 PM PST
The Federal government is not well-known for managing anything, so, just on that basis alone the complaints lodged should at least be examined.

First, grazing rights are sold at a pittance of what those same rights go for on private land, so the price should be raised, not lowered and not free. Low prices have gone on so long they have become an entitlement. Higher cost for rights would (maybe) give Bureau of Land Management enough cash to do a few things.

Second, the Park Service acts like an 800 pound gorilla and does little or nothing to protect abutted private land. They NEVER crop to make a fire break. They impose arbitrary regulations on farmers and ranchers that cost more than they are worth. They are content to let everything burn and then try to go to court against the Federal government and see what happens.

They close off roads that are essential to transit thru Federal property, which in some places is more than private property. there have been huge fights over this alone.

Then, there are the deer. In some places deer are coming out of people's ears, eating the flowers off windowsills, denuding shrub. There should be regular census of deer populations and then controlled hunts. Between the over-grazing of cattle and sheep and poor control of the deer, the land remains damaged. Invasive species have been allowed to flourish.

In short, the Federal government acts like a feudal lord who can't manage but maintains its rights by force of arms. The press has concentrated on making the ranchers look like bad guys and their siege mentality doesn't help, but most of these guys have been battling the federal government just to keep their own agriculture businesses alive --for decades. Nothing is ever done. The press makes these guys look like terrorists but in fact these people are more deeply committed to preserving the land than the Feds.
7:46 PM PST [Edited]
Your comment shows little knowledge of the facts. In reality, the federal government has never been known as a good manager of land and if you look at those maps you can see how the huge amount of land actually isolates private land. Much of BLM land is closed off in many cases arbitrarily and private people have a lot of trouble going around it. This is infuriating when there are perfectly good roads that are closed off.

The private people who are impacted do not have fancy spin doctors and are not slick. they are ranchers and farmers. They have ties to the land and to nature you can't begin to understand. They are made out to be poachers and interlopers but in fact it is they who love the land, not the fools at the BLM.
Paul Simonson
7:40 PM PST
The WoPo has idiots making up headlines to stories..."The Oregon standoff is far bigger than a group of armed men in a forest" Sorry, but these guys are not in a "forest".

Leslie Gray
7:39 PM PST [Edited]
Looks to me like some developers are getting hungry. No new land is getting made, so they need to find a way to free up land that had been set aside by the government so they can make a profit. Greed 
8:03 PM PST [Edited]
Your mind does not reach very far. This land should be managed by state and local governments. They, at least, have to be responsive to the people who live there. The idea that such control is actually a way to sell off the land has been put in your mind. Did you ever ask yourself if there is any proof of that? Any? Once more you have been bamboozled and swallowed it whole.

Lamar Vannoy
7:38 PM PST
Loving the pro-state blind nationalistic support for killing these guys. Move to china, they would love your enthusiasm about stopping dissent and ever making any trouble.

7:41 PM PST
No need to kill anyone. Let them stay there. I am a share holder in that land and have no problem with leaving them there to eat MREs till the sun fails to rise.  

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