The Other Occupation and the Other Trial
By Scott Michael Rohter, October 2016
In case you don’t remember there has been more than one trial involving the Bundy family that grabbed the Nation’s attention. The trial going on right now in Las Vegas involves the standoff with the BLM that occurred at Bunkerville, Nevada in April of 2014. A previous trial involved the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon in December of 2015. That trial was about the occupation of the Wildlife Refuge which lasted for 41 days and resulted in one death and at least fourteen persons charged with conspiracy. Most of the defendants in that trial including Ammon and Ryan Bundy were acquitted of all charges.. There is however another trial going on which the media never talks about. That trial is going on in the minds of Americans all around the country. It concerns the occupation of about 700 million acres of land in twelve western States by the Federal Government. This occupation has been going on for more than a century. In some cases it has been going on since the end of the Civil War. The occupation of Western States has been a continuous overreach of the Federal government since the occupation of Southern States came to an end. It now involves almost 25% of all the land in the entire country.
The Occupation of the Malheur National Refuge Trial was held in Federal District Court in Portland, Oregon where Ammon and Ryan Bundy and five other defendants were prosecuted on charges of conspiracy to impede federal officials. The other trial… the occupation of Western States trial is going on in the court of public opinion and in the minds of countless people across this country and around the world wherever there is internet access. The United States government is on trial in the minds of millions of people both here and abroad for its unconstitutional land use policies in the American West, and for the way in which in which it prosecuted not only the Bundys, but two Oregon ranchers named Dwight and Stephen Hammond as well. Those two men were tried and convicted of arson under a federal anti terrorism act for implementing the standard weed management practices on their grazing land which has been used for centuries. They were sentenced to spend five years in a federal penitentiary in southern California, and the federal government is also on trial for the violent way in which it ended the 41 day occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge by shooting Lavoy Finicum, one of the leaders of the occupation in the back while his hands were up in the air in a sign of surrender. They allowed him to die by not providing the timely medical assistance he needed.
The United States government’s unconstitutional land use policies date all the way back to 1850 when Congress passed the Enabling Act which made California a State. In doing so Congress confiscated 45% of the land in California. The same unconstitutional appropriation of State land occurred eleven more times over the next 100 years as eleven more States were added to the Union beginning with Oregon in 1859 and ending with Alaska in 1959. Each time a new State entered the Union more State land was confiscated by the federal government until it now controls more land than all but a handful of countries on planet earth. This confiscation of State land by Congress violates the Equal Footing Principle which dates back to the founding of our country.
The Equal Footing Principle says that all new States are supposed to be admitted to the Union on the same basis as all of the other States. The Federal government owns 3% of the land east of the Mississippi River Valley and 50% of the land west of the Mississippi River Valley.. There is nothing equal at all about that. The unconstitutional land use policies put into place by Congress became even worse in 1976 when it passed the Federal Land Policy Management Act which formally abolished the Homestead Act. That overturned almost 200 years of precedent and American history. Meanwhile the agencies that Congress has established to manage all of this confiscated State land have become exceedingly harsh and difficult to work with for all of the farmers and ranchers who live in the American West and have grazing rights and water rights on these lands. That brings me back to the story of two ranching families… the Hammonds of Oregon and the Bundys of Nevada.
In the court of public opinion the liberal media acts as a filter so we don’t usually hear the whole truth. In Federal District Court a liberal judge usually acts as the filter so the jury doesn’t hear all of the corroborating evidence that defense attorneys want to present. So much for “the truth… the whole truth… and nothing but the truth…” According to Judge Anna Brown of Oregon too much of the truth was way “too cumulative” for the jury to hear. She didn’t want to, “waste the jury’s time”.
There is a bitter irony that hasn’t escaped my attention… If a group occupies Wall Street the liberals in the media will sympathize with them and embrace their cause. If a group occupies the waterfront across from downtown Portland they will support the protest with positive publicity.
If the federal government occupies 700 million acres of State land the liberals will defend this land seizure under the auspices of the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution and they will erect a monument to the American President who blazed the way for even more seizures of State land, but if a handful of patriotic and loyal Americans attempt to occupy a deserted Wildlife Refuge in the middle of nowhere and think they can challenge the Federal government’s authority to own State land then they are accused of being armed militants and charged with conspiracy. The liberals will throw them in jail without bail until their trial and they will deny them the presumption of innocence which is even afforded to the worst felons. What’s more… they will even shoot you in the back while you are not looking and your hands are up in the air.
Having the courage to stand up to your government and point out that it isn’t following the Constitution is a heinous crime worse than murder. It is such a serious offense that it requires the harshest retribution including long prison sentences, solitary confinement, torture, and even death. Welcome to the America in the 21st Century.