Bundy and the suckers he brought in from the militia movement think they’ve won a huge victory against federal “tyranny,” and will only be more aggressive about breaking the law in the future." - Thom Hartmann on smirkingchimp.com
The problem with the secessionist - Confederate South and the Far Right in general, is they fail to identify with the right causes when they manifest and too often back the wrong ones. (Flash to the Confederate States of America demanding secession and the "right" to exist as an independent nation.) Or flash a bit backward to the aftermath of the 2012 re-election of Obama when millions actually signed petitions online to secede from the United States.
Now, the far Right's minions, including "militias" who've traveled from as far as Florida, are working themselves into a froth over one Nevada rancher named Cliven Bundy (any relative of Ted Bundy?) who they claim has been shafted by the federal government. As usual, facts and truth are the first casualties of hysteria, and it's no different in this case.
First let's get a few of the facts out there:
- Bundy does not recognize federal authority over land where his ancestors first settled in the 1880s, which he claims belongs to the state of
“The states have no natural rights. Their powers are artificial, not natural – they are things made by contract.”
One of the things made by contract in this case inheres in Article 1, Section 2 of the Nevada Constitution:
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 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.
The paramount-allegiance clause, a product of the era in which
The preceding citation and excerpt is critical because it bears directly on rancher Bundy's claims. This is something all right wing, anti-fed supporters of his would do well to process.
According to Bundy, "I believe this is a sovereign state of
The problem is that this position directly contradicts the contractual document I already cited from Article 1, Section 2 of the Nevada Constitution - which most certainly DOES recognize the United States government as existing and even having hegemony to the extent that:
The Constitution of the United States confers full power on the Federal Government to maintain and Perpetuate its 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
So right wingers need to re-read that very carefully before getting their panties in a twist.
This means Bundy is also off the wall as when he told Sean Hannity in an interview last week (emphasis added):
"Well, you know, my cattle is only one issue—that the
In fact, the feds did no such thing! The embrace and recognition of the federal government's powers and state prerogatives in reference to it was already enshrined in the state constitution. READ IT AGAIN!
Secondly, it is clear that what Cliven Bundy is really all about is secession. He doesn't even want to be regulated by the state (as per its federal gov't references) so basically wants it to secede from the Union. I guess he also wants it to shelve its Article 1, Section 2 and re-do its constitution. Not bloody likely!
But again, this contradicts Article 1, Section 2 of the Nevada constitution that he professes to hold so dear. The state constitution's framers, who were overwhelmingly Unionist, retained the clause in solidarity with the
Now, if the people speciously standing with Cliven Bundy really want to get on the right side of a cause, as opposed to merely being wrong and strong, they'd do better to stand with the besieged ranchers of Pinon Canyon, in Colorado. They now face another land grab by the U.S. Army for not only training exercises, but drone testing! At stake is nearly 235,000 acres of land they currently call their own. See e.g.
In other words, if you're going to pick a fight with the feds, do it for the right reasons (and in the right places!) not the wrong ones. Standing with Cliven Bundy in Nevada is the wrong cause and the wrong place. Lining up with the Pinon Canyon ranchers in Colorado is the right cause and in the right place. Think before you become all hysterical at who's right and who's wrong - oh, and it also helps to read the relevant state constitution!