April 15, 2014
It’s a relic of the Civil War and Congress’s intention to strengthen the Union when Nevada became a state in 1864, but there it is, in Section 2 of the Nevada Constitution, making a mockery of Cliven Bundy’s claim to owe allegiance to Nevada and its Constitution, but not to the U.S.:
Sec: 2. Purpose of government; paramount allegiance to United States. All political power is inherent in the people[.] Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people; and they have the right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require it. But the Paramount Allegiance of every citizen is due to the Federal Government in the exercise of all its Constitutional powers as the same have been or may be defined by the Supreme Court of the United States; and no power exists in the people of this or any other State of the Federal Union to dissolve their connection therewith or perform any act tending to impair[,] subvert, or resist the Supreme Authority of the government of the United States. The Constitution of the United States confers full power on the Federal Government to maintain and Perpetuate its existance [existence], and whensoever any portion of the States, or people thereof attempt to secede from the Federal Union, or forcibly resist the Execution of its laws, the Federal Government may, by warrant of the Constitution, employ armed force in compelling obedience to its Authority.
Here’s the essay quiz, students: The standoff between the Bureau of Land Management cowboys — each of whom swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the U.S., in contrast to Mr. Bundy who claims to owe no allegiance to the U.S. — and the armed mob who threatened to kill those same employees of our U.S. government: Did Nevadans (or Idahoans) violate any part of Section 2 of the Nevada Constitution? Which clauses?
I used to say “the Sagebrush Rebellion is over; sagebrush won.” Even the sagebrush are losing this one.
From The Atlantic: Eric Parker, who lives in central Idaho, aims his weapon from a bridge as protesters gather by the Bureau of Land Management’s base camp in Bunkerville, Nevada. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters) (See also Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, with regard to Mr. Parker’s actions here.)
April 14, 2014
It’s an oversimplification, but not an oversimplification that leads to inaccuracy.
I say “oversimplification” because President Reagan did not impose grazing fees for the first time, but instead set rates at the time. U.S. grazing fees grew out of the 1934 Taylor Grazing Act, which included among other noble purposes the saving of unoccupied public lands from erosion, to prevent them from contributing to a national Dust Bowl. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages about 245 million acres of land in the U.S., highly concentrated in 13 western states (about 86% of Nevada is public lands of one sort or another). Of those lands, about 155 million acres are open to grazing. BLM is part of the U.S. Department of Interior. Reagan’s Executive Order came when the law authorizing grazing fees had expired, and Congress was at an impasse in passing a new one, partly over a Reagan Administration proposal to raise grazing fees to market value, a multiple of fees then (and now) in effect.
Sagebrush Rebellion catches Tea Party Stupid disease, it seems to me. If the virus hasn’t been cured since 1993, what are the odds Mr. Bundy will sit still for a cure now?
More to come?
- Issue explained in the St. George (Utah) News
- Story on the standoff from the Las Vegas Review-Journal
- Los Angeles Times story on the end of the standoff
- Story with video from ABC’s national news; note guns being toted by protesters
- Conservative and libertarian, legal view of the situation (swallow your coffee, put down your drink, before you look)
- Montana considered raising state grazing fees in 2011, because private landowners charged more
- “‘Surprise’: Feds turn down enviros’ petition to raise grazing fees,” Arizona Star (Tucson), January 20, 2011
- U.S. Forest Service grazing fee schedule in 17 states (USFS is part of the Department of Agriculture)
- Our government controls a lot of land in the Western States; if you’re unfamiliar with just how extensive these holdings are, take a look at this article and study the map
- Public lands issues are greatly given to great misunderstanding; this is not new
- Full text of President Reagan’s Executive Order 12548, setting grazing fees, in February 1986
Mad City Quanta, a Nebraska on-line comic, on grazing fees issues in 2012. To update it, substitute “Bundy” for “Fischer” on the tie of the steer on the left.