By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… We need more government leaders like Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Zinke is a Navy Seal. Like his policies or not, at least he is not an effeminate snob who has no idea of how to defend himself or the nation.
In his last visit to Nevada, he spent time cleaning up a gun range that shooters had left in a mess. One might think local conservations and left-leaning political advocates would have found that commendable. One might be wrong. These groups condemned the Secretary for spending time cleaning up the desert rather than meeting with them to review the status of the Obama’s administration’s land grab in Gold Butte.
Annette Magnus, the executive director of Battle Born Progress, a left-wing group of tree huggers stated: “This unexpected visit by Secretary Zinke is troubling on so many levels.”
These people were especially upset by Secretary Zinke’s visit to the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. What kind of convention would one expect a Navy Seal to attend?
When asked about the Bundy issue specifically, and cattle grazing in places like Gold Butte in general, the Navy Seal stated there are ranchers throughout the western states with grazing claims that go back to the mid-1800s. “The federal government should not be adversarial,” he said.
This is not what the liberal left wanted to hear. That statement was like running finger nails down a black board for the effete, BMW driving, valor running suit adored, tree huggers.
Does anyone remember blackboards?
You will have to excuse my Marine Corps mindset that finds something good in a man who wears a sweatshirt that says “Die First Then Quit.” When he got too warm for the sweatshirt, he removed it to reveal a tea-shirt that read, “I stand for the flag. I kneel for the cross.” We need more leaders with these values.
No one asked me but… Rancher Cliven Bundy has filed a lawsuit in the Clark County District Court claiming the establishment of Gold Butte National Monument is illegal and would deprive him of his land and livelihood. Rancher Bundy contends that the land does not belong to the federal government and it would be an error to pay grazing fees to an entity that does not actually own the land. He contends the rightful owner of the land is the State of Nevada.
Bundy has a strong legal argument for his continued grazing of cattle in the Gold Butte area. He also has a strong argument for not paying a grazing fee to do so. The federal Taylor Grazing Act codified in Nevada Revised Statue 568.240 protects the Bundy family’s right to graze cattle in Gold Butte area under “the customary or establish use clause”.
The law states: “Customary or established use …shall be deemed to include the continuous, open, notorious, peaceable and public use of such range seasonally for a period of 5 years or longer immediately before March 30, 1931, by the person or the person’s grantors or predecessors… Any change in customary use so established must not be made after March 30, 1931, so as to prevent, restrict or interfere with the customary or established use of any other person or persons.”
NRS 568.250 “…does not prohibit any such established user from continuing his or her grazing use, as established by operation of law or in accordance with such customs.”
It would be hard to argue that Bundy’s family on both paternal and maternal side would not fall under this protection.
However, Bundy has refused to rely on the federal law because it would be an admission of the federal government’s ownership of the land. Bundy is hanging his large cowboy hat on the fact that the federal government does not own the land, and, therefore, he cannot pay an illegal claimant fees for land they do not own. He is resting his claims on a Constitutional principle.
I have not discussed with Rancher Bundy what part of the Constitution he is basing his defense on; however, I believe a convoluted case could be built on Constitutional issues. Federal ownership of unclaimed land of Nevada as well as other western states may very well be a violation of the 14th Amendment.
There is no question that the original Nevada State Constitution ceded these lands to the federal government as part of the cost of statehood. The problem comes from the fact that earlier states were not required to give up 90% of their land for the privilege of becoming a state.
Section 2 Article IV states: “The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the Privileges and Immunities of Citizens of the several States.”
The citizens of the state’s east of the Mississippi River did not have to give up their unclaimed lands as requirement for admittance to the Union. This may well set up an argument for protection under the 14th (equal protection) Amendment.
Those in favor of the federal government will undoubtedly refer to Section 3 of the Fourth Amendment which states: “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.”
Bundy might argue that the operative word in this section is “territory”. While a territory, the federal government had jurisdiction over the lands of Nevada. But once Nevada was given statehood, the land was no longer a territory, and, therefore, the federal government lost jurisdiction over that land.
This would be in compliance with Section 1 of this Amendment which states: “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.”
Gold Star Award goes out to the Moapa Valley High School Varsity Quiz team. These young people took on the Goliath of Bishop Gorman and defeated them 140-120.
I was sitting in my living room the evening the team returned home with the State Championship. My kids from Vegas were with me and we heard the sirens. Not knowing what the ruckus was about we speculated that there had been an accident on the highway. It was merely the typical greeting for a state champion from the valley.
Great job team and coach! You have made the valley proud. When you slayed the giant, you brought honor to your school and community.
Thought of the week… “The challenge is never based on the size of the obstacle that stands before me. Rather, it is dictated by the degree of faith that rests within me.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough