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September 27, 2016

Yosemite superintendent apologizes to unhappy park workers

Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher talks to reporters in August after President Barack Obama's speech in the park.

Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher talks to reporters in August after President Barack Obama’s speech in the park. Tim Sheehan The Fresno Bee


September 25, 2016

Background on Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

It is currently funded by George Soros and is an extreme progressive organization which obsesses over ‘patriot groups.’ According to Discover the Networks:

  • Southern Poverty Law Center: This organization monitors the activities of what it calls “hate groups” in the United States. It exaggerates the prevalence of white racism directed against American minorities.
  • Formed in 1971  as a ‘civil rights litigation’ organization, SPLC has ties with the American Communist Party and its articles often appear in Communist newspapers, as well as hard-left progressive publications.


‘This Land Is Our Land’: The Movement Bigger Than The Bundys’

OPB’s Conrad Wilson and the Oregonian/OregonLive’s Maxine Bernstein update us on the last full week of the government’s case against the Malheur refuge occupiers.

Then, we take a look at the so-called Patriot Movement — a loosely-connected network of organizations that are united in the belief the federal government has overstepped its authority.

Mark Potok is a senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center. His job is to monitor groups that are a part of what he calls the “extreme right.” That includes everything from racist groups like the KKK and to groups like the Bundys, whose concerns revolve around severe distrust of the federal government.

Potok says many people in the groups he tracks believe there is “a secret plan to impose draconian gun control on all Americans” and “those who resist the coming seizure will be thrown into concentration camps that have been secretly built by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”

SPLC has identified nearly 1,000 groups across the country with these kinds of beliefs and connects the groups to the philosophies that motivated the Ruby Ridge standoff in Idaho; the Waco, Texas, siege; and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Potok says there is a way to curb the movement.

“In the late ‘90s, the FBI made quite an effort … to meet with militiamen, to go out to have coffee to talk to these people about their concerns and fears, and in fact I think there’s a fair amount of evidence to suggest that that was quite effective,” Potok said. “You realize the person you’re having coffee with is an actual human being just like you are.”

Joseph Rice is the head of the Josephine County chapter of the Oath Keepers — a group that Potok sees as central to so-called patriot groups. But Rice thinks SPLC is uninformed about his group. “I’ve never spoken to those folks,” he said.

Rice was in Harney County when Ammon Bundy led a group to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but Rice and his group didn’t join the occupation. Instead, he and a group of like-minded organizations known as the “Pacific Patriots Network” stuck around to provide security in town. The group said it was there to prevent another Waco or Ruby Ridge-like incident.

Those incidents, he says, were “lessons in history.” The individuals involved in those incidents “were living their life as they chose to live freely, without impact to others. It was only when the federal government came in they had impact, and that resulted in loss of life.”

Though he didn’t endorse it, Rice insists that the takeover of the refuge was an act of civil disobedience. And while he disagrees with the charges against Ammon Bundy and the other defendants, he does think the incident has drawn attention to issues around the federal control of land, which could be good for the aims of his group.

Reposted by  9/25/16


September 22, 2016

Is this private school getting public money to push radical environmentalism?

The Four Corners School is an integral part of the Canyon Country Discovery Center in tiny Monticello, Utah. An attractive facility in a beautiful setting at the foot of the Abajo Mountains, with Canyonlands National Park to the north and Lake Powell to the west, this small private school has recently come under fire for its associations with extremist environmental organizations.

Janet Ross, who served for many years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) also serves as the director of the Four Corners School. SUWA is infamous for what some refer to as dirty tricks and others refer to as lies, in garnering donations from supporters through near-hysterical ads portraying oil rigs in national parks, and similar scare tactics.


Fake photograph published by SUWA to frighten potential donors about energy development in southern Utah

SUWA is also deeply involved in the “Keep it in the Ground” movement which has the goal of banning virtually all fossil fuel extraction and development efforts in North America.

The Petroglyph, a southern Utah-based blog, reported in September of 2013:

It’s not that locals didn’t like the Four Corner School or their liberal approach to environmental issues. The school’s own records showed that they supported and donated to environmental groups like Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, and other radical environmental groups…

The same report details the taxpayer funding that fueled local opposition to the school:

…The controversy was based on the fact that the county was funding a privately-owned non-profit school and associated business with taxpayer money.
The San Juan Record reported back in August that the Four Corners School received $1.59 million tax dollars from the U.S. Commerce Department. Within the U.S. Department of Commerce is the E.D.A (US Economic Development Administration). The grant that the Four Corners School received was an E.D.A Grant.
In 2007 San Juan County commissioners authorized the Four Corner School to receive over $500,000 in taxpayer money from the county to build the Canyon Country Discovery Center. Once the public found out about this and raised a fuss, the county rescinded the money, but not until $400,000.00 had been already paid to the school.
Despite people coming out against their tax dollars being used this way, San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams and Monticello City Mayor Doug Allen continued to help the school petition the state for additional funds from the public treasury.

More recently, a ‘public’ meeting to be held in Monticello by the U.S. Forest Service in order to get local input on a management plan for the region, was held at the private school. The problem was that, not only is the school on privately-owned property with related restrictions, but the school is deemed ‘unfriendly’ by many San Juan County locals because of historical tensions with environmental activist groups, and what many regard as the misapplication of taxpayer funding. reported:

The US Forest Service booked the Canyon Country Discovery Center (CCDC) for its Management Plan Revision Open House public meeting on September 14, 2016. The problem is the CCDC is a private school promoting what most residents of San Juan County consider to be radical environmentalist agendas. With deep ties to groups including the Grand Canyon Trust, Wilderness Society, SUWA, Dine Bikeyah, Conservation Lands Foundation, Pew Trusts, Hewlett, and others, CCDC pits itself against the economic interests of the county and its people. For instance, the fore named groups are pushing for the creation of a Bears Ears National Monument, which will effectively shut down oil and gas, mining, and other viable economic industries in San Juan County.

Organizers and supporters of the Four Corners School and the CCDC cite benefits from tourism and outside dollars coming into the county because of its appeal as a traveler destination. Although the majority of funding for the Four Corners School comes from private sources, the funding from San Juan County is significant, considering the fact that San Juan is Utah’s poorest county.

A May 2016 report about extravagant expenditures by the county’s Director of Economic Development is one of many issues in San Juan County generating concern about where taxpayer dollars are going.  9/22/16


September 21, 2016

The ins and outs see different sides of industrial wind project on Forest Service land

Michael Bielawski, Vermont Watchdog

SEARSBURG, Vt. — It was a private ceremony held on private property, for a public project being built on public land. And when members of the public showed, they were barred from entering by public employees.

Welcome to “clean” energy in Vermont.

Three state troopers guarded the entrance to the Monday morning ground-breaking ceremony of the Deerfield Wind Project, a 30-megawatt 15-turbine installation being built by Spanish developer Iberdrola on U.S. Forest Service land in the Green Mountain National Forest.

Gov. Peter Shumlin was there, on the inside, as were more than 50 protesters, on the outside. Even state Rep. Marriana Gamache, R-Swanton, who is on the House Energy Committee, was denied entry.

Photos courtesy Grafton Woodlands Group

Photos courtesy Grafton Woodlands Group WIND PROTEST: Wearing a bat costume to highlight the peril posed to bats and birds by wind turbines, Annette Smith of Vermonters for a Clean Environment attends a protest outside the ground-breaking for a 15-turbine project.

Iberdrola (known as Avangrid in the U.S.) has a 25-year purchase agreement with Green Mountain Power. Vermont utilities are required to get at least 15 percent of their power from renewable sources, regardless of the cost.

The Deerfield turbines, each just under 500 feet tall, will be the first-in-the-nation utility-scale wind farm on U.S. Forest land.

“This is going to be in a remote location, far from load where there aren’t customers to serve,” said Annette Smith, president of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, who was among the protesters. She was dressed in a bat costume to highlight the killing of bats and birds by large turbines. “It is a measly 30 megawatt project which with wind means it’s really only 10 megawatts in terms of actual production.”

Smith said the project will destroy two ridge lines, one of which is within a mile and a half of the George D. Aiken Wilderness, which will likely be subject to noise pollution.

John Brabant, a member of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, noted that 20 years ago when the local Sugar Bush Ski Resort applied for an Act 250 permit, the Agency of Natural Resources enforced strong restrictions on the project.

“The old ANR used to take this very seriously, they wouldn’t even allow ski trails to go through this area that was bear denning and breeding habitat for fear that just the mere passage of skiers would wake the denning bears. Yet they are going to allow these blasts throughout the winter,” he said.

Smith said they saw heavy equipment heading toward the soon-to-be construction site to begin clearing the forest.

“This is the time when the bears start feeding up there in the fall and they go denning up there, so they can kiss their happy home goodbye, they are losing their cafeteria and their bedroom,” she said.

Brabant reflected that decades ago many of those now supporting industrial wind projects would have been on the outside, with the protesters, rather than the inside, with the developers.

“These environmental groups 20 years ago would have fought tooth and nail to stop what’s going on,” said Brabant. “Now they are not only not fighting, they are supporting, openly, unabashedly (the projects).”

At the ceremony, Shumlin touted his aggressive approach to industrial wind and solar projects.

“I am proud that since I took office we have increased solar by 11 times and wind generation by 20 times, and that we now have over 17,000 Vermonters working in clean energy jobs,” he said.

Other voices from inside the event expressed nothing but enthusiasm for the project. A representative from the neighboring town of Readsboro, which is supposed to collect $150,000 per year in revenue from the project, heaped praise on wind power, as did an official from the Forest Service.

“It was a party for the club and I guess there was some ceremony and they had food or something afterwards,” said Brabant. “We couldn’t see it. We were down the road away from where it all went down.”

Reposted by  9/21/16


September 19, 2015

If you want to understand what’s behind the Bundy Ranch Bunkerville standoff, the imprisonment of the Hammonds, the Oregon standoff, and the growing hatred of the federal Bureau of Land Management in the West, this is a must watch.

These are BLM agents on the Bundy Ranch–is something amiss here?



Reposted by



September 19, 2016

Native American Reservations: “Socialist Archipelago”

Imagine a country that has a corrupt authoritarian government. In that country no one knows about checks and balances or an independent court system. Private property is not recognized in that country either. Neither can one buy or sell land. And businesses are reluctant to bring investments into this country. Those who have jobs usually work for the public sector. Those who don’t have jobs subsist on entitlements that provide basic food. At the same time, this country sports a free health care system and free access to education. Can you guess what country it is? It could be the former Soviet Union, Cuba, or any other socialist country of the past.

Yet, I want to assure you that such a country exists right here in the United States. And its name is Indian Country. Indian Country is a generic metaphor that writers and scholars use to refer to the archipelago of 310 Native American reservations, which occupy 2 percent of the U.S. soil. Scattered all over the United States, these sheltered land enclaves are held in trust by the federal government. So legally, many of these land enclaves are a federal property. So there you cannot freely buy and sell land or use it as collateral. On top of this, since the Indian tribes are wards of the federal government, one cannot sue them for breach of contract. Indian reservations are communally used by Indian groups and subsidized by the BIA (the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior) with a current annual budget of about $3 billion dollars. Besides being a major financial resource that sustains the reservation system, BIA’s goal is also to safeguard indigenous communities, or, in other words, to make sure that they would never fail when dealing with the “outside” society. People in the government and many Native American leaders naÏvely believe that it is good for the well-being of the Indians to be segregated and sheltered from the rest of American society.

This peculiar trust status of Indian Country, where private property rights are insecure, scares away businesses and investors.1 They consider these forbidden grounds high risk areas. So, in Indian Country, we have an extreme case of what Robert Higgs famously labeled “regime uncertainty” that retards economic development.2 In fact, this “regime uncertainty” borders on socialism. James Watt, Secretary of the Interior in the first Reagan administration, was the first to publicly state this. In 1983, he said (and then dearly paid for this), “If you want an example of the failure of socialism, don’t go to Russia, come to America and go to the Indian reservations.”3

Picture 1

In the 1990s, I had a chance to travel through several reservations. Each time when I crossed their borders I was stunned by the contrast between the human landscapes outside and those within Indian reservations. As soon as I found myself within a reservation, I frequently had a taste of a world that, in appearance, reminded me of the countryside in Russia, my former homeland: the same bumpy and poorly maintained roads, worn-out shacks, rotting fences, furniture, and car carcasses, the same grim suspicious looks directed at an intruder, and frequently intoxicated individuals hanging around. So I guess my assessment of the reservation system will be a biased view from a former Soviet citizen who feels that he enters his past when crossing into Native America.

I am going to make a brief excursion into the intellectual sources of this “socialist archipelago.” Since the 1960s, the whole theme of Native America had been hijacked by Marxist scholarship and by so-called identity studies, which shaped a mainstream perception that you should treat Native Americans not as individuals but as a collection of cultural groups, eternal victims of capitalist oppression. I want to challenge this view and address this topic from a standpoint of methodological individualism. In my view, the enduring poverty on reservations is an effect of the “heavy blanket” of collectivism and state paternalism. Endorsed by the federal government in the 1930s, collectivism and state paternalism were eventually internalized by both local Native American elites and by federal bureaucrats who administer the Indians. The historical outcome of this situation was the emergence of “culture of poverty” that looks down on individual enterprise and private property. Moreover, such an attitude is frequently glorified as some ancient Indian wisdom — a life-style that is morally superior to the so-called Euro-American tradition.

Before we proceed, I will give you some statistics. Native Americans receive more federal subsides than anybody else in the United States. This includes subsidized housing, health, education, and direct food aid. Yet, despite the uninterrupted flow of federal funds, they are the poorest group in the country. The poverty level on many reservations ranges between 38 and 63 percent (up to 82 percent on some reservations),4 and half of all the jobs are usually in the public sector.5 This is before the crisis of 2008! You don’t have to have a Ph.D. in economics to figure out that one of the major sources of this situation is a systemic failure of the federal Indian policies.

These policies were set in motion during the New Deal by John Collier, a Columbia-educated social worker, community organizer, and utopian dreamer who was in charge of the Native American administration during FDR’s entire administration. English Fabian socialism, the anarchism of Peter Kropotkin, communal village reforms conducted by the Mexican socialist government, and the romantic vision of Indian cultures were the chief sources of his intellectual inspiration. Collier dreamed about building up what he called Red Atlantis, an idyllic Native American commonwealth that would bring together modernization and tribal collectivism. He expected that this experiment in collective living would not only benefit the Native Americans but would also become a social laboratory for the rest of the world. The backbone of his experiment was setting up so-called tribal governments on reservations, which received the status of public corporations. Collier envisioned them as Indian autonomies that would distribute funds, sponsor public works, and set up cooperatives. In reality, financed by the BIA, these local governments began to act as local extensions of its bureaucracy.

It is interesting that these so-called native autonomies received peculiar jack-of-all-trades functions: legislative, executive, judicial and economic — a practice that is totally unfamiliar in America. For example, in the rest of the United States, municipalities and counties do not own restaurants, resorts, motels, casinos, and factories. In Indian Country, by contrast, it became standard practice since the New Deal. By their status, these tribal governments are more interested in distributing jobs and funds than in making a profit. As a result, many enterprises set up on reservations have been subsidized by the government for decades. Under normal circumstances, these ventures would have gone bankrupt. This system that was set up in the 1930s represents a financial “black hole” that sucks in and wastes tremendous resources in the name of Native American sovereignty. This situation resembles the negative effect of foreign aid on Third-World regimes that similarly use the tribalism and national sovereignty excuse as a license to practice corruption, nepotism, and authoritarian rule.

My major argument is that Collier’s utopian project (restoration of tribal collectivism) was not a strange out-of-touch-with-reality scheme but rather a natural offshoot of the social engineering mindset of New Dealers. Moreover, the Indian New Deal was a manifestation of standard policy solutions popular among policy makers in the 1930s, both in Europe and North America. These solutions were driven by three key concepts: state, science, and collectivism. Recent insightful research done by German-American historian Wolfgang Schivelbusch into the economics and cultures of three “new deals” (National Socialist Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and FDR’s United States) shows that in the interwar period, governments in these three countries (and in other countries, too) pursued extensive state-sponsored modernization. But, simultaneously, to better mobilize their populations and ease the pressure of modernization on the people, they cultivated a sense of community, the organic unity with land and folk cultures.6

Picture 2

For example, in 1930s Germany, along with the grand autobahn building project and genetic experimentation, there existed a strong back-to-land movement and attempts to revive Nordic paganism. In the United States, in addition to the National Recovery Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority and similar giant projects, there flourished the community-binding Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Federal Art Project that produced “heroic” community murals as well as thousands of craft items for civic, state, and federal organizations. Furthermore, as “one of the noblest and most absurd undertakings ever attempted by a state” (W. H. Auden), Federal Writers’ Project (also part of WPA) employed thousands of intellectuals who were directed to collect regional folklore and ethnographies, and promote the heritage of local communities. Last but not least, there were projects like the Arthurdale settlement (West Virginia) — a federally sponsored scheme to place unemployed industrial workers on land and mold them into new wholesome American citizens.7 Even Stalin’s Soviet Union, which was going wild with its aggressive modernization and industrialization, somewhat muted the cosmopolitan message of Communism and became more “organic” in the 1930s, trying to root itself in Russian history, mythology, and folklore — pursuits that became known as National Bolshevism.8

Another common sentiment shared by social engineers from California to the Ural Mountains was an unconditional faith in science. We can call it science worship. At that time, policy makers assumed that by using science and expert-scholars government could plan and engineer a perfectly ordered crisis-proof society. F. A. Hayek was the first to draw attention to this aspect of modernity in his seminal book The Counter-Revolution of Science (1955).9

The Indian New Deal fits perfectly into those policy trends. In fact, as early as 1928, federal bureaucrats began suggesting that the Indians be organized as public corporations — a fancy innovation that they copied from Europe. Collier, a middle-level New Deal bureaucrat, personified sentiments of modernism I mentioned above. On one hand, he praised Indian tribalism that would help not only the Native Americans but would also help anchor Americans in land and nourish a sense of community among them. Yet, on the other hand, like a mantra, Collier repeated that only a scientific approach would resolve the problems communities faced in the modern world. A recurrent message throughout his essays and articles is a demand that Indian communities be used as laboratories for sociological experimentation. In one of his speeches — which by the way is labeled “United States Administration as a Laboratory of Ethnic Relations” — Collier gave himself an unrestricted political license to experiment with Indian Country. In this speech, he stressed that if a government tried to impose something on an ethic group it would be harmful. Yet, if government intervention was backed up by science and supplemented by generous financial injections to local communities, then the interference would be very benign.10

Where did Collier get his “scientific” ideas about segregating Native Americans into cultural groups? The answer is simple: from contemporary anthropological scholarship. At that time, American anthropologists were very much preoccupied with traditional culture. They were on a mission to retrieve ethnographically authentic Indian customs and artifacts. Driven by this romantic notion, anthropologists downplayed the heavy influence of Euro-Americans and African-Americans on indigenous communities. As a result, they totally ignored such segments of Indian population as cowboys, iron, cannery and agricultural workers, and individual farmers. They considered them non-Indian and non-traditional. So, before Collier emerged on the scene in 1933, American anthropology had already invented its own Red Atlantis by classifying the Indians into tribes and relegating them into particular cultural areas.

Pressured by the federal government and lured by an offer of easy credit, a majority of Indians approved of Collier’s plan to restore “tribes” and organized themselves into public corporations. Still, a large minority — more than 30 percent of the Indians — rejected the Indian New Deal. Many of them informed Collier that, in fact, although they were Indians, they had nothing against private property and did not want be segregated from the rest of Americans into tribes under federal supervision. They stressed that they could not stomach his communism and socialism, and wanted instead to be treated as individuals. Collier was very much surprised and angered by these dissidents, who organized themselves and founded the American Indian Federation (AIF) to oppose him. In a bizarre motion, he dismissed them as fake Indians. To him, the true Indian was expected to be a spiritually-charged die-hard collectivist. Historian Graham Taylor, who explored in detail Collier’s attempts to railroad tribalism in Indian Country, stressed, “His basic orientation was toward groups and communities, not individuals, as building blocks of society.”11 Later, Collier even resorted to nasty tricks labeling his Indian opponents as Nazi collaborators, and had one of them investigated by the FBI. Eventually, government squashed AIF as part of a larger FDR effort to use the FBI to phase out the “right-wing fifth column” elements in the United States.12 D. H. Lawrence, the famous British novelist, who rubbed shoulders with Collier as early as 1920, had a chance to personally observe his aggressive zeal on behalf of Indian culture. This British writer prophetically noted that Collier would destroy the Indians by setting “the claws of his own white egoistic benevolent volition into them.”13

To those dissident Native Americans who repeatedly challenged him about going tribal, Collier explained that their individualism was obsolete. In his view, state-sponsored tribalism was modern and progressive. In his address given before the Haskell Institute, Collier instructed students to cast aside “shallow and unsophisticated individualism.” He warned the Indian youngsters that this useless trait of dominant culture would not be “the views of the modern white world in the years to come.” Instead, he called on the new Indian generation to come help “the tribe, the nation, and the race.” He invited them to step into a radiant future that included such “necessities of modern life” as municipal rule, public ownership, cooperatives, and corporations.14

Picture 3

The system set up by Collier is still in place and functioning. What are its future prospects? As I mentioned, the Indian “socialist archipelago” is relatively modest in its size. It occupies only 2 percent of U.S. soil and shelters only 22 percent of 5 million Indians now living in the United States. Unlike bailing out such bankrupt states as California, New York, and Illinois, socializing subsidies to Indian Country is not too painful for a huge American budget. So, potentially, this “socialist archipelago” can exist forever as long as American taxpayers are ready to put up with its peculiar status, and unless, of course, American welfare capitalism goes down under the burden of its numerous entitlement obligations. So far, protected by the shield of trust status and guaranteed financial injections, Indian Country is in pretty “good shape,” unlike, for example, some current Third-World autocracies that are not always sure if Western aid will continue to flow. All in all, like the Social Security scheme, farmers’ subsidies, and many other “wonderful” products of the New Deal alchemical lab, Red Atlantis is still with us alive and well.

Image result for american indian poverty

Reposted by  9/19/16


September 18, 2016

Watch the full speech here:

Reposted by  9/18/16


September 16, 2016

Liberals Outraged That Trump’s Sons Killed a TRICERATOPS on Hunting Safari [VIDEO]

published by Eagle Rising 

Written by Philip Hodges

I do sympathize with some of those points, but it seems that it doesn’t matter how preposterous Dice can be, people will still fall for it.

This time, he went around his usual spot somewhere in San Diego and asked people their reactions to the news that Donald Trump’s sons posed in pictures with a slain triceratops that they had just killed in Africa. (Yes, the now-extinct dinosaur.)

If that wasn’t ridiculous enough, for others, he’d ask the same thing except claiming that the Trump boys killed a saber-toothed tiger, a wooly mammoth, or a pterodactyl.

Not only did people fall for it, they were bothered by the news and thought that it was so wrong to kill endangered animals.

What shocks me the most is how Mark Dice can do these interviews with such a straight face.

For more, please attend the Don Trump Jr. event in Mesa County, September 22

Reposted by  9/16/16


September 15, 2016

Image result for federal prosecution bundys

Oregon Standoff Trial — Serious Questions of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

as published by Rangefire

For “live” regular commentary and coverage of the Oregon Standoff Trial, follow this LINK.

sodhouse-lane-aerial-1Over the course of the last few days, one of the most fundamental issues in the Oregon Standoff case has finally nosed its way to the front of the line.  On Monday evening, the very eve of trial, prior to opening statements starting the next day, Ammon Bundy’s attorneys filed an emergency motion once again questioning the court’s subject matter jurisdiction in this case, based on new information which had just barely come forward, including the government’s own motion for judicial notice regarding federal ownership of the property on which the MNWR refuge headquarters was located, eolc-deed-1as well as a white paper which had been written and submitted by Dr. Angus McIntosh and Dr. Michael Coffman addressing that issue. mcintosh-coffman-white-paper The government had claimed that it had always owned the property as part of the original Refuge set-aside by President Roosevelt in 1908. But once the title history, and title itself, were seriously questioned, the government had to back-track. As it turns out, contrary to its previous representations, the government does not have a continuous chain of ownership title and exclusive subject matter jurisdiction with respect to the property in question.  As it turns out, the section where MNWR headquarters buildings are located had originally been homesteaded, and was in private ownership through a series of private owners until at least 1935, when it was reacquired from the Eastern Oregon Live Stock Company, based on applicable congressional acts at the time which reserved state jurisdiction.

The government produced this deed, seeking to support its case by attempting to show that it does in fact  own at least the surface title at this point. mnwr-s-35-eolc-deed-1  But this deed raises additional jurisdictional questions, and provides fertile ground for Ammon Bundy’s Adverse Possession arguments.  Rather than stay the proceedings at this point, however, the court is giving the the government an opportunity to respond, and has taken the emergency subject matter jurisdiction motion under advisement, to be ruled on at a later date, probably when the government rests its case, based on the evidence that has been presented up to that point.

caution-1For additional commentary, Bundy supporter and activist Gary Hunt has written a thought-provoking piece addressing this issue:

According to Hunt, “Thomas Jefferson had proposed an ordinance to deal with the lands won along with independence from Britain in 1784, and not belonging to any State, any lands that might be relinquished when considered to have been granted by Royal Charter.  The Continental Congress ratified the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 on July 13, 1787.  The First Congress under the newly ratified Constitution, which met from March 4, 1789, to March 4, 1791, then reaffirmed that same ordinance.  This slightly revised version reaffirmed on July 13, 1789, and is known as the Northwest Ordinance of 1789.

The Fourth Article, unchanged in the two versions, reads, in part:

Article the Fourth.  The said territory, and the States which may be formed therein, shall forever remain a part of this Confederacy of the United States of America.The legislatures of those districts or new States, shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the soil by the United States in Congress assembled, nor with any regulations Congress may find necessary for securing the title in such soil to the bona fide purchasers.  No tax shall be imposed on lands the property of the United States; and, in no case, shall nonresident proprietors be taxed higher than residents.

Note that “primary disposal” seems to be the objective of holding the land.  That disposal would serve two very significant purposes in the creation of a nation that would grow from those first thirteen states.  First, it would raise revenue for the payment of the debt incurred because of the War of Independence, and it continued to provide revenue for the fledgling nation.

Second, it would provide land for people to populate the barren regions, first, across the Allegheny Mountains, then on to the Mississippi River, next to the Rocky Mountains, and finally to the Pacific Ocean.  With each of these principal movements, as those people moved westward, the resources of the most resource rich country in the world would develop into the greatest nation in the world.

With the ratification of the Constitution, we have two provisions that deal with land owned by the United States.  First is Article I, § 8, clause 17, which we have heard much of recently.  It read:

The Congress shall have the Power…  [t]o exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, 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 by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.

Now, a question arises as to the “needful Buildings” portion, which will be addressed later.

Next, we have Article IV, § 3, clause 2, which reads:

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Clearly, as we can see from the historical record, Congress can own land, which has been referred to as “public lands”, from records predating the Constitution, reaffirmed by the first Congress, and embodied in the Constitution, itself.

The next question is whether Congress had any prior ownership of the lands in question.  Here, we have three possibilities.  First, the lands acquired by the Treaty of Paris (1783) in which Britain gave up her claims to the lands east of the Ohio River (the Northwest Territories), and other lands ceded by Virginia (believing that she owned land to the Pacific Ocean), and other adjustments to final boundaries of the colonies.  These lands by treaty would also include lands acquired by a subsequent treaty with Britain, dealing primarily with Oregon and Washington.  Next, we have lands acquired by conquest and subsequent treaty.  This would include the Hidalgo Treaty, after the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), and subsequent treaties relinquishing Mexico’s claims to lands otherwise not in conflict and establishing our southern border.  Third, we have the lands acquired by purchase.  Primarily, the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.  So, by conquest, by treaty, and by purchase, the government owned vast amounts of land.

In all of these instances, the land acquired could not go to a State recognized by the Congress, as the Northwest Ordinance defined the procedure by which a territory could become a State.  Therefore, the only viable conclusion is that these lands would fall under the Article IV.  § 3, clause 2 provision of “all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States”.  This would apply until the land was “disposed of”, which provision is included in the Northwest Ordinance (Fourth Article).

Finally, we come to the Admission of Oregon, as a State of the Union.  Congress approved the Oregon Admission Acts on February 14, 1859.  There were some propositions in the Acts, and the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon approved those propositions on June 3, 1859.  The significant article in the Acts is the fourth.  It deals with land, and reads, in part:

First, That sections numbered sixteen and thirty-six in every township of public lands in said State, and where either of said sections, or any part thereof, has been sold or otherwise been disposed of, other lands equivalent thereto, and as contiguous as may be, shall be granted to said State for the use of schools. Second, That seventy-two sections of land shall be set apart and reserved for the use and support of a State university, to be selected by the governor of said State, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of the General Land-Office, and to be appropriated and applied in such manner as the legislature of said State may prescribe for the purpose aforesaid, but for no other purpose.  Third, That ten entire sections of land, to be selected by the governor of said State, in legal subdivisions, shall be granted to said State for the purpose of completing the public buildings, or for the erection of others at the seat of government, under the direction of the legislature thereof.  Fourth, That all salt springs within said State, not exceeding twelve in number, with six sections of land adjoining, or as contiguous as may be to each, shall be granted to said State for its use, the same to be selected by the governor thereof within one year after the admission of said State, and when so selected, to be used or disposed of on such terms, conditions, and regulations as the legislature shall direct: Provided, That no salt spring or land, the right whereof is now vested in any individual or individuals, or which may be hereafter confirmed or adjudged to any individual or individuals, shall by this article be granted to said State. Fifth, That five per centum of the net proceeds of sales of all public lands lying within said State which shall be sold by Congress after the admission of said State into the Union, after deducting all the expenses incident to the same, shall be paid to said State, for the purpose of making public roads and internal improvements, as the legislature shall direct: Provided, That the foregoing propositions, hereinbefore offered, are on the condition that the people of Oregon shall provide by an ordinance, irrevocable without the consent of the United States,that said State shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the soil within the same by the United States, or with any regulations Congress may find necessary for securing the title in said soil to bona fide purchasers thereof; and that in no case shall non-resident proprietors be taxed higher than residents. Sixth, And that the said State shall never tax the lands or the property of the United States in said State: Provided, however, That in case any of the lands herein granted to the State of Oregon have heretofore been confirmed to the Territory of Oregon for the purposes specified in this act, the amount so confirmed shall be deducted from the quantity specified in this act.

So, once again, we see the phrase “primary disposal”.  This “disposal”, from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 to the admission of Oregon in 1859, makes clear that the “public lands” were to be disposed of.  It makes no mention of acquisition of lands, except indirectly in Article I, § 8, clause 17, and it appears that there were only certain purposes for which the land could be acquired, and each is to sustain constructions serving to provide for the required obligations of the government; “Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings”.  Though the ambiguity of what needful may have been intended to refer to, the noun, “Buildings”, is without question.  All of the itemized objects require construction, and, consequently, the provision is to allow government facilities to be established to serve the needs of the government, not of birds, tortoises, or other critters that the Bible says are put on this Earth for our use.

We also see that a portion of the “proceeds” of the sale of the public would go to the State to provide “for the purpose of making public roads and internal improvement.”  Those improvements would provide both roads and canals for water, both to help with the development of the State.  This would satisfy the intended purpose of creating growth of the State and the Nation.

Understand that each state, within its constitution, may have reserved that state certain rights with regards to land, as explained in the Oregon Admission Acts, but the federal government has no such constitutional authority.

In 1825, just 46 years after the formation of the current government, Congress, in order to have the lawful authority to charge people with the destruction of government property, enacted the “Act of 1825”.  The Act sets the requirement for extending jurisdiction created under Article I, § 8, clause 17:

An Act more effectually to provide for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States, and for other purposes.  (March 3, 1825)

“That if any person or persons, within any fort, dock-yard, navy-yard, arsenal, armory, or magazine, the site whereof is ceded to, and under the jurisdiction of the United States, or on a site of any lighthouse, or other needful building belonging to the United States, the sight whereof is ceded to them [United States],and under their jurisdiction, as aforesaid, shall, willfully…”

Now, this Act brings to light what was intended, with regard to federal jurisdiction, outside of Washington, D.C.  If that land has been disposed of, it has left the realm of “needful Rules and Regulations”, and entered into the jurisdiction of the State in which the land lies.  It is, forever, outside of federal jurisdiction — UNLESS it is brought back into federal jurisdiction in accordance with the intent of Article I, § 8, clause 17.  Now, the application of that intent is clearly laid out in the Act of 1825.  That “under their jurisdiction” refers to the State ceding to the federal government either limited or complete jurisdiction.  Simply because the government bought the land does not create “jurisdiction”, or the provision would be without meaning.

A “Chain of Title” was secured for the property upon which the buildings sit at the Refuge.  Based upon that document, an analysis of the documentation provided resulted in determining that, in fact, certain land that had left government ownership, and were subsequently deeded back to the United States of America, though no proof of ceding was shown in the Chain of Title.

sodhouse-lane-map-1The government ownership is contained within the red lined area on the left map.  The Refuge Buildings can be seen above the words “Sodhouse Lane” on the right map

This coincided with the government production of Proof of Ownership in their “Motion for Judicial Notice“.  The results, as far as ownership by the United States of America are identical.  And, as in the Chain of Title, there is no indication that there was any ceding of land or jurisdiction, back to the United States, in either record.  This being the land where the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters are situated, and the location of the alleged crimes by the defendants.

However, that ownership carries no jurisdictional authority.  That remains with the State, unless the government has had that jurisdiction ceded to them, and away from the State, either fully or partially.  And lawfully, the federal government has no more authority than you would, if you owned the land.  If there was an alleged criminal act, you would have to file a complaint with Harney County, and it would be dealt with under state law.

Then, yesterday, September 12, Shawna Cox filed her response, in which she also sought judicial notice that Oregon never ceded the land or the jurisdiction back to the federal government.  Now, this creates a bit of a dilemma in that if the Court takes judicial notice of the ownership, absent proof to the contrary, it must also take notice of the absence of federal jurisdiction.  This will significantly change the playing field.

Reposted by  9/15/16


September 13, 2016

BLM drops plan to surgically sterilize wild horses

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Horse Spaying Backlas_Furm.jpg
FILE–In this Nov. 4, 2015, file photo, supplied by the Bureau of Land Management, wild horses are funneled through a gate during the first day of the BLM wild horse roundup east of Lakeview, Ore. The BLM announced Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, that it has withdrawn its decision to conduct mare sterilization research on 225 wild mares, including at least 100 pregnant mares, at their wild horse corral facility in Oregon after Friends of Animals filed a lawsuit on Aug. 3, 2016. (Larisa Bogardus/Bureau of Land Management via AP, file) 
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has dropped a research effort that would have led to the surgical sterilization of more than 200 wild mares at a facility in Oregon.The agency said Friday the decision was made in response to litigation from groups that assert the procedures to be researched were unnecessary and barbaric. Advocates for wild horses sought to halt the study or, at the very least, allow the media and the public to observe and record it.

“This decision, though not made lightly, is in response to litigation that could have put the wild horses, BLM staff and our research partners at risk by requiring unnecessary persons or equipment be placed within the small confines of the space where the procedures would take place,” the BLM said in a statement released through its Portland office.

BLM spokesman Greg Shine said the agency had no comment beyond the statement.

The BLM wanted to study three methods to determine whether they are safe, effective options for controlling the wild horse population.

Of the three methods, the advocates were most concerned about a procedure that involves removing ovaries from sedated, pregnant mares in various gestational stages. The veterinarian reaches into the mare’s abdomen through the vagina to sever and remove the ovaries.

The Cloud Foundation and American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign filed a lawsuit last month seeking the presence of outside observers. Two other groups, Front Range Equine Rescue and Friends of Animals, sued to stop the research that would have been done at the Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon.

“The Bureau of Land Management is obligated to protect wild horses under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and has absolutely no authority whatsoever to experiment on wild horses with new and risky surgeries,” said Jennifer Best, assistant director of Friends of Animals’ wildlife law program. “Congress has expressly prohibited the use of funds for activities that would kill wild horses as this experiment may have done.”

The Bureau of Land Management planned the research on the heels of a population estimate that shows about 67,000 wild horses and burros roaming public lands in 10 Western states. The agency said that’s more than double what it considers healthy for the animals and the rangeland.

Reposted by  9/13/16

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