Making the Case
We have all heard the phrase “Don’t make a Federal case out of it!” Have you ever thought about what this means?
It means, you can't win against the feds – so don't even think about it. It means you can't fight the raw power, money and monopoly interests that the federal government has ruthlessly acquired. It means that none of us can ever raise enough money to battle the accumulated wealth (originating from our own pockets) that will be ushered against our cause.
Yet, the Hammonds and the Bundys are making headlines in Harney County, Oregon because they are doing just that. These families are the focal point of the media onslaught.
The problem in Harney County is not a new problem. It is a systemic problem that the Founders recognized and feared. At the heart of the issue is the probability that the central government would seek to, “annihilate and absorb the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of the several states, and produce… an iron banded despotism.” **
The blame lies with successive Congressional administrations who have failed to secure the unalienable rights and individual liberties of American citizens. Our so-called representatives have abandoned their Constitutional obligations to a limited federal government and the rights and liberties of the people within their state governments. Instead, they have funded every federal overreach allowing the slow annihilation of state sovereignty and the despotic absorption of state lands.
Why is the West “Federally” Managed?
Federally controlled land is predominately concentrated in the West. Nationally, the United States government has direct control over almost 650 million acres of land — nearly 30% of its total territory. In Oregon, where I and the Hammond family live, the federal government controls 54% of all of the land. In Nevada, where the Bundy family lives, the federal government controls 84.5% of the land in the state.
Now, imagine if you owned a business and some bureaucrat decided it was in the public’s best interest for them to manage 54%, or 84% of your resources – this is what is happening throughout the West. The feds under the false color of law have essentially done this to the Western states. The feds also receive the benefit of those resources and they control the disposition of all of those assets.
This is why thousands and thousands of Americans are standing with and applauding these families who are fighting back against the abuses of these federal agencies.
Teddy and the Midnight Reserves (warning: not a bedtime story)
In Oregon, this tragedy started a hundred years ago with grossly unconstitutional actions by a Republican “progressive” living in the White House – Theodore Roosevelt.
Between 1902 and 1906, President Roosevelt, with his fountain pen and telegraph poles, went tearing through the maps of Oregon. He grabbed enormous swaths of Oregon’s pristine landscape and forested wilderness for federal control.
Oregon’s U.S. Senator Charles W. Fulton was outraged by these unprecedented actions. Fulton introduced legislation to eliminate the president's authority to establish national forest reserves via executive orders in 1907.
The night before signing this law, Roosevelt issued another Executive Order snatching an additional 16 million acres from Oregon’s control. Honest journalists of the day deridingly labeled these new forests as the "Midnight Reserves.”
Then, in 1908, after the legislation prohibiting these blatant land grabs, Roosevelt engineered a new scheme to pluck more land from the states.
Roosevelt designated land surrounding Malhuer, Mud and Harney Lakes in Eastern Oregon as an “Indian reservation.” Roosevelt’s swindle avoided using the phrase “forest reserve,” which was now illegal after Fulton’s legislation. Instead, these new takings were identified, “as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.”
This was nothing more than an unconstitutional land grab. Later this “Indian reservation,” which did not include the 13,700 acre Burns Paiute Reservation, became the Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge.
This refuge is the immediate source of the BLM conflict with the Hammond family in Oregon.
Federal fiddling in these areas is flatly unconstitutional. The only relevant authority for federal land ownership comes from the US Constitution. It is known as the Enclave Clause:
“To exercise exclusive Legislation… over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased… for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;”
While Washington, D.C. remains within the boundary limit of “ten Miles square,” the federal government has blown through all reasonable expectations for forts, ports, arsenals and other military installations. Those installations now exceed 44,500 square miles of land within the states.
The federal government’s rough-shod management of an additional 1 million square miles (650 million acres) of state land is wholly unconstitutional. The Department of the Interior administers 96% of these ill-gotten state lands with one non-elected office holder (Secretary of the Interior), who serves at the pleasure of the President, directing this unbridled Leviathan.
These are the reasons why large segments of the Western states support the Hammonds, Bundys and the myriads of other families that come under the gun of these federal marauders.
Last week, Oregon’s U.S. Rep. Greg Walden issued a warm-hearted plea which contained many great talking points. Unfortunately for Americans, it is another toothless gesture. During Walden’s 18 years as a House member he has done little to rein-in this voracious federal machine. Instead, Walden, along with his RINO cohorts and Democrat allies, has needlessly ladled a steady stream of trillion dollar, taxpayer funded budgets into the mouths of D.C.'s lobbyists and bureaucrats.
Congress has long ignored the beauty and strength of 1) limited government, and 2) fiscal accountability. They have promoted government growth at unprecedented levels while their constituents have been successfully bribed by promises for economic riches.
The power of the purse is key
These federal raids on our state sovereignty can only be stopped by using the Constitution rightly. First, this means state nullification of unconstitutional federal actions. Secondly, our Representatives need to exercise their Constitutional obligation to manage federal dollars prudently and begin to do the hard work of defunding these gigantic Federal Bureaucracies.
Thomas Jefferson, wrote, "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
Adherence to our U.S. Constitution is the Federal case that we must make. It is the ONLY Solution Big Enough!
** Bruce Frohnen, The American Republic: Primary Sources, ed. Bruce Frohnen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002). 1/10/2016. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/669#Frohnen_0082_1989