COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | LARRY STIRLING

So … who owns the country?

“Congress shall have Power to … (E)xercise 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:…”

The “Enclave Clause,” Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the United States Constitution

It was a thrilling scene.

Riding to the rescue of Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy was what can only be described as a horseback posse of spirited citizens who had gathered in Nevada from around the country.

Dressed in western outfits, riding in a cavalry-charge formation, and flying various banners including the American flag and the “Don’t Tread on Me” pennant, these unarmed activists placed themselves between Cliven and the menacing-looking armed SWAT team sent there by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Why the gigantic federal government sent in a goon squad to remove the lone, unarmed, pot-bellied, 67-year-old American citizen from claimed BLM land is a mystery.

Did their intelligence agents think that Cliven was hiding his Superman outfit under that striped cowboy shirt with the conch-shell buttons and well-worn Levis?

Perhaps BLM Department Director Neil Kornze never read about the 1992 Ruby Ridge, Idaho, slaughter that resulted from the abysmally shameful conduct of both the FBI and the ATF when they shot Randy Weaver’s young son in the back and killed him as he ran away from a confrontation.

Later they shot the unarmed Weaver as he visited his dead son’s body and then shot and killed Weaver’s wife, who was unarmed and hiding behind a door holding their infant child.

All this murder was the result of trumped-up charges of failure to appear in court, even though a probation officer warned the judge who issued the warrant that there was an error in the date of the notice sent to Weaver.

Was the judge in on the trap also?

Or maybe Kornze has not heard of the inhumane 1993 pogrom in which the FBI initiated a siege of a religious sect that had never killed anyone.

FBI weapons set the Branch Dividian’s complex ablaze immolating 76 men, women and children because just one of their members had dared not answer an outstanding arrest warrant.

There are millions of arrest warrants outstanding throughout the United States this very day. How many people is the U.S. government authorized to burn to death to enforce its will?

The local sheriff said the Branch Dividian leader came in to visit him every week to discuss local fishing, and he could have arrested him any time he was requested.

Fortunately this time, the BLM SWAT team was smart enough not to fire on a bunch of unarmed citizens.

They should never have been deployed in the first place. Government employees should not be turned into SEAL teams to be used against our own citizens.

Sending them there with their M-16s and their flash-bang grenades all because Cliven and his family have been grazing cattle in a turtle habitat for over 100 years is a moral outrage.

Was the U.S. government actually willing to murder one or more U.S. citizens for some turtles?

Is it true that the cattle and turtles have co-existed for so well that the environmental authorities have been euthanizing the turtles because there were too many of them?

Ruby Ridge, Idaho; Waco, Texas; millions of abortions of American children; and now turtles.

The U.S. government seems especially adept at killing things.

Now that Neil Kornze has called off his attack dogs for the time being, he should be asking himself what exactly all those honest citizens he just about shot are upset about.

The issue at stake is whether or not Cliven can continue to pasture his cattle where he and his family have been doing so since the 1860s.

Who’s right, Cliven or the goons and their perfumed bosses back in D.C.?

Let’s take a look at our form of government as agreed to and enacted into the Constitution of the United States of America, a document that every federal officer from the president on down to the black-clad enforcers take an oath to uphold.

What is the U.S. Constitution? It is the charter that tells the government what it can and cannot do. It was written and adopted by “we the people.”

It is widely published and available for anyone to read.

If the Constitution says the federal government can do something, then it can. If the constitution says it cannot do something, then it cannot, and every government officer and judge are bound by their oaths to preclude that activity.

That includes that BLM Director nitwit Neil Kornze.

Such officers cannot hide behind the fact that their bosses ordered them to disobey the Constitution.

Their officers have no such authority.

Our Constitution was crafted by such men as Alexander Hamilton, who wanted the most powerful central government possible because he was born in Nevis under the English king and liked the system.

He was contested in that regard by Thomas Jefferson, who warned everyone that an unfettered central government would run up the national debt, adulterate the currency, raise taxes to ruinous levels and accumulate power greater in scope than that of the kings and emperors they had just fought to free themselves from.

History has proven Jefferson prescient. Everything he warned of has come true and the country is in trouble as a result thereof.

When it comes to the ownership of real estate, the Founding Fathers recognized that the federal government could easily usurp the power of the states simply by accumulating ownership of the land therein.

Thus the insertion of the “Enclave Clause.”

For the feds to own land, it must be authorized by the Constitution and state legislatures. Such land can only be used for “Forts, magazines (for storing ammunition), Arsenals (to make weapons), dock-yards (presumably for docks) and other needed buildings.

Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to own 30 to 40 percent of the territory of the United States for something called BLM lands or national parks or reserves or any of the other dozen names they have dreamed up.

Every bit of that ownership is "ultra vires" to the authority of the federal government and good old Cliven and the posse that showed up to support him had the courage to face the armed federal goons and tell the world the truth.

They shouldn’t be shot for telling the truth, so send the goons home.

If the feds don’t own the contested land, who does? Land title is specific to the real estate in question so I cannot answer that question without a specific historic title search.

But since the described land does not match the criteria of the Constitution, it cannot be owned by the federal government.

But just because the feds don’t own it, does not mean the state does. The state has jurisdiction over land within its borders, but does not have the right to immediate possession. That is decided by “title” which is a different matter than “jurisdiction.”

The problem with all these so-called "federal lands" is that they were seized illegally.

And since the feds have more goons than private landowners, they just lawlessly grab the land for their own purposes and shoot anyone who disagrees.

I join with Cliven Bundy. All the Neil Kornzes who ordered the murders of innocent people at Ruby Ridge and Waco are enemies of the American people.

A government that murders its own people for telling the truth no longer deserves our loyalty.


Stirling, a former U.S. Army officer, has been elected to the San Diego City Council, state Assembly and state Senate. He also served as a municipal and superior court judge in San Diego. Send comments to larry.stirling@sddt.com. Comments may be published as Letters to the Editor.

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