This is a response to Rob Crawford’s criticism of my comments made in the HCJ printed on February 17th, 2016 (He is a classic example of why I homeschool my children). It also addresses the belief upheld by some Baker County residents, such as Jerry Boyd and Travis Ash, regarding the justification of bad law enforcement, the supremacy of the federal government, and the infallibility of federal court judges.
Halfway’s February 6th Rally and Harney County Perspective
First off, regarding the tension in Eastern Oregon surrounding the Feb 6th rally in Halfway; the proposed and advertised event was one of at least fifteen others that was occurring the same day for the same purpose around the countryside, so it was by no means singled out to capitalize on hard driven emotions to promote an armed uprising as indicated by Mr. Crawford. Halfway was no more poised to be torn apart than at anywhere else…and that threat was non-existent. Again, the intent of the rally was to facilitate dialogue in an open forum between We the People and our local leaders to ensure that by everyone standing up against unlawful activity, we wouldn’t have “stand-offs” in the future. And that’s exactly what occurred. It was a great rally and all the fear mongering was of course, proven absolutely wrong. Of course folks from all over Eastern Oregon were invited. Why wouldn’t they be? We were invited to theirs as well.
I reject Mr. Crawford’s assertion that using the names of Mr. Finicum and Mr. Yantis was done to overly charge the event with emotion. Will he criticize a memorial event for the victims of Sandy Hook as well? These events are tragic and should be memorialized in an effort to take corrective measure to ensure they’re not repeated. As for the “scary” flyer, what was the problem? A patriotic drummer boy? Really? Do the colors red, white, and blue evoke fearful emotions? Maybe they would to the British. Who knows?
The apparent sabotage of the event as a coordinated effort as well as the breach of contract by the Lions club is criticism I stand behind. Somebody owes the organizers an apology.
I personally visited the refuge in addition to several meetings in Burns throughout January, and I never once saw those meetings or gatherings get out of hand. In fact, never once was I witness to any misconduct at all. I openly wrote about it in the local newspapers to shed light on those rumors. So, Mr. Crawford, who were the suspicious militia characters that you and the Oregonian keep talking about? You know, the ones that stalked folks in Burns, terrorized them, slashed their tires, and forced them to leave? Were they questioned? Were they arrested or detained? Who were they? Were they even approached? Were they even seen? Did they actually exist?
I attended the January 2nd rally/march in Burns. Mr. Crawford did not. I was an eye witness. Mr. Crawford was not. I saw only one, that’s one individual, who openly protested the march of this so called ‘militia’. However, I couldn’t count the number of locals who came out of their homes while we marched by. They thanked us, took our pictures, gave us the “thumbs up” and encouraged our effort to stand on behalf of the Hammonds.
The only VERIFIED threats of vandalism or violence in Burns by ‘militia’ actually turned out to be undercover federal agent provocateurs setting up the “patriots” in an apparent propaganda smear campaign. This was well documented and witnessed by the Harney County Fire Chief of 24 years, Chris Briels.
Furthermore, the “occupiers” at the refuge never posed a single threat to anyone in the city of Burns. They were 35 miles away in an empty refuge! Their trips to town were totally peaceful. It appears that the closure of schools was merely done to incite fear in local residents by our own government in an effort to turn publicity against the so called militia. And you can thank the great and always truthful reporting of the Oregonian for the proliferation of those sparkles of truth.
As I observed events on the ground in Burns throughout January, I noticed a strong sentiment against the occupiers only for the first week. After that, I was totally amazed at how, when the locals began to realize that it was Oregon State Police and FBI that had turned their town and county into a militarized war zone and were harassing them at checkpoints and threatening ranchers, that the support for Ammon and his crew went through the roof! It was a complete 180º turn. This I personally witnessed. Local gatherings regarding these events went from a mere 50 at the start, to three and four hundred in support of what the occupiers were standing for. Sure, the government employees and supporters of Sheriff Ward and Judge Grasty always pushed their hatred, but that was expected, and it showed with the solidarity in dreary numbers of twenty to thirty people at a time.
To date, the ONLY party that has ever pointed a weapon or fired it throughout that entire debacle was…your government. Not the “patriots”. And regarding Mr. Finicums death, I clearly see that he never brandished a weapon at the time he was killed. This issue alone would be laid to rest if footage from the body cams of the officers who shot and killed Mr. Finicum was released. It would indeed prove whether or not he was carrying a gun. Witnesses from the refuge as well as those traveling with him claimed that he left his firearms at the refuge; so why not just prove the alleged threat and release the body cam videos?
In fact, why was he shot at all? There were numerous times when Ammon and Lavoy and their cohorts walked around town, into public meetings, into Safeway, up to the Court house to speak with officials. Sometimes they were armed. Other times they weren’t. Why were they not arrested peacefully then? Why weren’t they even charged with anything? Kenneth Madenbach, an occupier, was peacefully arrested for driving a government vehicle as he entered the Safeway parking lot on January 15th. He was part of their “evil posse” yet he was arrested without incident. Why not Ammon and the rest of his crew? Instead, the next thing that happens is they get ambushed on January 26th on a lonely highway in an environment where only government controls what is seen and heard. Mr. Finicum is suspiciously killed after he drove off from an initial “pull-over” and surrender because (according to three witnesses in the vehicle) THEY WERE BEING SHOT AT WITHOUT PROVOCATION BY STATE COPS AND FEDERAL AGENTS!!!!! What was the point of that? Were they hoping that Finicum, Payne, and Bundy would all shoot back to thereby justify killing everyone in the truck? The initial news reports by the Oregonian called it a “shoot-out”, implying that shots were fired both ways in the tradition of the OK Corral. Not even close to the truth. Makes ya wonder…doesn’t it?
Simply believing the sanctioned government story lost its base of trust a long time ago. Sniping an unarmed Vicki Weaver in the head at Ruby Ridge holding her infant right after shooting her 14 year old son in the back as he ran for safety helped erode public trust of the “official government sanctioned” story. Following that gem of an idea was the massacre at Waco, Texas where the murder of 76 men, women and children, many under the age of 12, were apparently viable threats that mandated summary execution. Lies followed in congressional testimony that were later proven when video evidence exposed law enforcement’s repeated perjury under oath.
Exclusive Supremacy of federal Judges and Congress
How has this behemoth federal government that, as a “part” of the whole and being created by the States, now become “greater than the whole” itself? How can the ‘created’ rule over the ‘creator’? Remember, the federal government’s powers are few and defined. It was never meant to be an all-powerful overlord. The federal government was created to stay within the confines of its limited jurisdiction.
President James Madison, “father” of the Constitution stated: “The local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere.” The Federalist, No. 39 at 245.
For the states to allow federal judges carte blanche authority to legislate in State matters from the bench is criminal. In fact, under the guise of possessing the exclusive ‘rights’ to solely interpret the Constitution on my behalf, the supreme court legislates by its own opinion in an extremely partisan divide. In some cases, their opinions are cast in a 4 against 4 format, only to be dictated by the vote of a single Justice…one man deciding the fate of 320 million people on any given issue. That’s more akin to a monarchy and a far cry from a republic. And most of the time those rulings follow the trajectory of social trends dictated by mob rule (democracy). Do you honestly believe that’s what the founder’s envisioned?
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” – James Madison
Where in the Constitution was the power expressly delegated to the federal government to force its rules of Obamacare on me? Or abortion? Or education? Or energy? Or welfare? Or religion? Or marriage? Or gardening? Or my wood stove? Or the use of drano in my sink? Or land ownership outside of non-state territories or Article 1 specified buildings? Or self- defense? (Oh wait, actually on that one, it has the mandate to protect that particular right on my behalf by NOT infringing on it). Is it in the the General Welfare, Commerce, and Necessary and Proper Clauses? I’m glad you asked. Because in an effort to get the states to ratify the Constitution, Hamilton specifically argued that the newly formed government would NOT posses ANY power outside of the specific constraints outlined in the Constitution. Later after ratification, he betrayed those very delegates and pushed for the “implied powers” that congress should use per those very clauses to violate state sovereignty in favor of unconstitutional federalism. And it is still happening today.
Is there any other superior binding contract (compact) under which our Union currently exists than the Constitution itself? If not, then that’s the contract we deal with until it is eradicated or changed. I understand some folks hate it and wish it wasn’t there. And many of their arguments about who can rule better, whether the states or an all-inclusive central authority, is beside the point. If you want an all-powerful central authority, then you should get your supporters together, start a Constitutional convention per Article V, and amend the compact or dissolve the Union and come up with what you think would be better. That’s the only way you can do it. You can’t just move forward and pretend like the Constitution and the laws passed in its pursuance simply don’t exist. We are a nation of laws and can only exist in harmony when we all follow the law. And just because we’ve been following supreme court rulings for 200 years that were never constitutional in the first place, doesn’t make it right. Was Roman tyranny justified merely because it was around for 500 years?
“The great object of my fear is the federal judiciary. That body, like gravity, ever acting, with noiseless foot, and unalarming advance, gaining ground step by step, and holding what it gains, is engulfing insidiously the special governments into the jaws of that which feeds them…government will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we Separated.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1812
The Constitution was written for the common man to understand.
“The Constitution on which our Union rests, shall be administered by me [as President] according to the safe and honest meaning contemplated by the plain understanding of the people of the United States at the time of its adoption...” –Thomas Jefferson, 1801
Again, in 1823:
“Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.” –Thomas Jefferson
To Mr. Crawford and Mr. Boyd: What good did it do to ratify a compact that created a new union if the people it governed weren’t meant to comprehend it? How can you hold people to the rule of law when elite judges are the only ones that are allowed to determine what it means? Do you need a Harvard Law degree and the credentials of a societal aristocracy to understand words or phrases like “infringe” or “shall not”, or “not delegated to”? What’s the mystery here folks? It’s our government. Not the banks. Not the corporations. Not the lobbyists who control congress and influence judges. It belongs to We the People.
Why would Mr. Crawford or Mr. Boyd attack the idea of a voting American being able to understand the Constitution by reading and quoting the Founding Fathers? Labeling someone a “self-appointed expert” unworthy of understanding the intent and context of those founders clear and logical meaning is an insult and strips Americans of their responsibility to defend his or her oath. Only a “subject” should be expected to suppress educated research and logical derivatives of the “ordinary rules of common sense”.
“The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.” – Maximilien Robespierre – French Statesman
The States control the federal government, the counties and districts control the states, and We the People can control our counties and districts locally. The only difference in the founders’ scenario compared to our current situation, is that We the People are at the top in the original model, not the federal government. Remember, we institute and construct governments to work on our behalf, to serve and protect our rights, provide for our common defense, ensure our domestic tranquility, provide for our general welfare, and ensure liberty for our prosperity.
State jurisdiction v Federal jurisdiction
I didn’t agree with Ammon’s armed occupation of the refuge. But then again, unless you can show me where the Constitution was amended with a specific delegation for the federal government to own vast geographies of land, then I see Ammon Bundy no more wrong than the federal government who kept that land from the State of Oregon since 1906 with their own armed occupation of the refuge. Both parties are wrong. Why just pick on Ammon and his crew?
“To exercise exclusive legislative jurisdiction 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, dockyards and other needful buildings; Constitution, Article 1, section 8, clause 17:
Since Oregon became a state in 1859, the lands within its boundaries were no longer considered ‘territories’. They were state land. Other than federal territories (outside of state boundaries) the feds can only own land for specific reasons – and it must be purchased or ceded to them by the States. How do our politicians construe forts, magazines, arsenals, and docks to account for the “ownership” of 635 million acres across this country? I checked Google Earth and have not seen any such Article 1 structures that cover that amount of geography. Where are the buildings that are that big? And where are the cession papers? I know our State legislators here in Oregon have searched and can’t find the cessation papers that transferred half of the geography in Oregon over to the feds.
If we allow congress, the supreme court, and the president to simply give themselves whatever power they wish at their own discretional whims, then what is the purpose of a constitution in the first place? Why even feign that we have one? Why take our oaths of public office in the support and defense of it?
Furthermore, if all state and local governments are subservient to the federal government in all cases whatsoever and when any jurisdictional boundary is challenged and automatically conceded to federal authority, then I have to ask, why have any local governments at all? Why not just openly concede all local decisions to Washington, have the Pentagon set rules and regulations for everyone locally, and have them simply embrace the national LEO’s? We would save ourselves time and money by not going through the senseless motions of local elections. We wouldn’t have to fund the tax burden of paying governors, state legislators, county commissioners, sheriffs, city police, and city council.
Constitutional Sheriffs – America’s Last Hope
Mr. Crawford is correct in stating that the constitution doesn’t mention Sheriffs. But it doesn’t mention the BLM or Forest Service either. Those are constructs of government and they should be constructed within the framework of the constitution. Sheriff’s take an oath in support and defense of the federal constitution, the state constitution, and the laws of the county. So by following their oath, they should be constitutional by definition.
I’m going to quote Sheriff Mack directly from his book, “The County Sheriff – America’s Last Hope”. He articulates this concept much better than I could.
James Madison, the fourth President of our new nation, and considered the leading authority and expert of our Constitution said,
“We can safely rely on the disposition of the state legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.”
In other words, it was anticipated by the Founders of our country that state legislatures would “erect barriers” against the overzealous acts of an out of control Federal Government. I am more than certain the President Madison and his fellow framers would not mind one iota, if other town and county officials did the same. In fact, it appears that state legislatures could surely use the help and back-up. Furthermore, in our successful action, Mack v U.S., the Supreme Court reiterates this point quite clearly and makes Madison’s assertion even more powerful.
“The great innovation of this design was that our citizens would have two political capacities, one state and one federal, each protected from incursion by the other, a legal system unprecedented in form and design, establishing two forms of government, each with its own direct relationship, its own privity, its own set of rights and obligations to the people who sustain it and are governed by it.”
Madison is then quoted by Scalia,
“The local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere.”
The feds must stay within their proper “sphere” and it’s the sheriffs that are to make sure that they do that. A point to emphasize once again is the original intention by our Founders to maintain the federal “sphere” as small and impotent.
Justice Scalia emphasizes this point:
“This separation of the two spheres is one of the Constitution’s structural protections of liberty, a healthy balance of power between the States and the Federal Government will reduce the risk of tyranny and abuse from either front.”
Madison’s wisdom is thus employed once again:
“Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other, at the same time that each will be controlled by itself.”
So who is charged with safeguarding the people from the Federal Government when it refuses to control itself?
Does it get any clearer than this? One of our “structural protections of liberty” is based on the notion and principle that “different governments” will keep each other in check and by so doing; provide a “double security” to the rights of the people. In this most monumental Tenth Amendment Supreme Court ruling, Justice Scalia stated:
“The power of the Federal Government would be augmented immeasurably if it were able to impress into its service—and at no cost to the itself—the police officers of the 50 States.”
Scalia seemingly makes it clear that the federal government DOES NOT have the power or authority to “impress” the police from the states into federal regulatory programs. On the other hand, the power of the Federal Government would be “augmented immeasurably” if the police from the 50 states went along with or allowed the federal government to do whatever it wanted. We do not have a lawful obligation to go along with them; in fact, documentation would show quite the contrary.
Finally, and most unambiguously, the Supreme Court ruled repeatedly in this case “state legislatures are not subject to federal direction.” So when the Federal Government goes too far, [the Sheriffs] should not only refuse to go along, but it is up to us to “erect barriers” against such encroachments and thus be found on the side of the people to provide them with the protection they depend on. Doing so is right and proper and in accordance with our oath to support this Constitutional Republic. How could we do otherwise? And if we do otherwise; what does that make us?
How many times do officers, deputies, bailiffs, and the sheriffs say similar things to “I was just following orders!” It’s almost cliché to hear cops excuse themselves with, “Hey, I don’t make the laws, I just enforce ‘em.” Please show me the statute where it says all laws must be enforced regardless of how cruel or stupid they are. The very essence of tyranny is defined by the blind enforcement of stupid laws. We (the Sheriffs) are not puppets for the courts or legislatures!
Thomas Jefferson said that laws often are merely the “tools of the tyrant.” To go along with laws that we know, or should know are wrong, protects and serves just who? We are sworn officers to uphold and defend the United States Constitution! To violate that oath for a judge or legislature, is nevertheless, a violation! —–County Sheriff – America’s Last Hope – Richard Mack 2009 pg 15-20
In summary, I will echo the words of Samuel Adams to Sheriff Ward of Harney county and any candidate running for Sheriff or a County Commissioners seat in Baker County with the following:
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.