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Letter: Amnesty for who?

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  • wjalden Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 21, 2014 10:48 p.m.

    Cliven Bundy is following in the footsteps of Clinton, Bush, and Obama in thinking a law should not be enforced when it's inconvenient for him. The big difference? Bush, Clinton, and Obama were elected to the highest office on the land. Mr. Bundy was not. Obama has an obligation to set an example. Cliven Bundy does not.

    Turn the argument around: why should Bundy obey the law when our politicians are allowing 12+ million illegals plus their employers get away with far worse? Enforce the laws against illegals and I'll be happy to send Bundy to jail, but not a moment before that.

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 21, 2014 3:41 p.m.

    This rancher is using tax payer land and not paying his fair share.

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    April 21, 2014 1:16 p.m.

    re: Mike Richards

    "If anything, the Federal Government owes the Bundy family millions of dollars for taking property without paying for it."

    & would you like to foot the bill for ALL the past due property taxes?

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    April 21, 2014 11:47 a.m.

    Does a person get to use threats of violence to get property seized by court order? "If you lose two appeals, you can obstruct justice to reverse the courts?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 21, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    I can't speak for everybody on the "right".... but I'm for enforcing all our laws. Even the laws that apply to the Bundy situation. But what laws are those. Do you understand the legal ins and outs of the Bundy situation in detail?

    My understanding is that this case has become very complex and there are conflicting State and Federal agencies, and state and federal responses, and state and federal laws involved. State land under Federal BLM administration, grazing leases, etc, can get very complex. You can get one story from the State and another from the Feds.

    The Bundy family has owned it's ranch since 1870. The question is the legalities of the grazing rights for the past 20 years, but if he was wrong about whether to follow State statutes or Federal statutes... what specific laws were broken?... and what's the appropriate penalty?

    Feds take the ranch and put him and his family on welfare??

    Who benefits from doing that... Not Bundy... not the State... not the Feds... just the angry environmentalists who love to see ranchers destroyed...

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    April 21, 2014 10:30 a.m.

    I'm not sure what the feds will do about the Bundy situation, but I'm sure that whatever they do, they will "botch it", just like they always do.

    BTW - as soon as I see some sort of COMPREHENSIVE illegal immigration enforcment - I'll withdraw my wholehearted support of Bundy.

    I'm NOT holding my breath.

  • Unreconstructed Reb Chantilly, VA
    April 21, 2014 4:10 a.m.

    UtahBlueDevil,

    I don't think we're in disagreement. I'm refuting the earlier assertion that concerns over the Purchase stemmed from the federal government's inability to own land outside of that specifically designated in the Constitution. That view would be incorrect - it wasn't the federal ownership of the land, but how it was acquired that concerned Jefferson because the Constitution gives no explicit authority to the executive to purchase lands outside the footprint of the original colonies.

    And you're quite right, it established precedent which to my knowledge has never been challenged. And it's demonstrative of the fact that strict constructionists like Jefferson have to bend to reality, which is one reason why I view the ideological position itself as fundamentally flawed.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 20, 2014 7:39 p.m.

    Unreconstructed Reb….. two issues here. One, section 18 refers to two things. 1) the establishment of a national capital, and the carving out of that land from the current host states. The second part talks about the federal government acquiring land for the described purposes - and authorization of such by the current existing host states. Key word, existing..

    That is all that is written there. It does not prescribe what shall happen when land is acquired but the federal government that does not belong to an existing state. This covers just about every bit of the western expansion. No state owned that land, and therefor the federal government was not subject to section 18.

    But that isn't the point here. We know Jefferson modified his position to support what he felt was good and necessary to secure the success of the country. That is an established fact. What is more compelling here is what the federal government by precedent did with the land once it was owned by the federal government. The legitimacy of the purchase is not in question. What the constitution does not cover is land first held by the federal government, and then becomes a state.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    April 20, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    @JoeBlow:
    "What we don't have is the right to disregard laws with which we disagree..."

    I would lay a bet that you violate traffic speed limit laws likely every day every day, with your weapon called a 'vehicle.'

    "...and even less right to defend those decisions with firearms."

    You've heard of the Minute Men, I'll bet. They had firearms and even used them.

    "...one should commend Obama for making a mature, prudent decision to deescalate a volatile situation."

    Yeah, he didn't want another Waco or Ruby Ridge on his watch.

    "Look. Either we believe in our legal system or we don't. Either we work withing the legal framework, or we take matters into our own hands. The question in this case is not whether we like or agree with the law. But whether it is reasonable to take up armed resistance."

    That coulda been a good speech for George Washington, head of the Continental Army back in the day.

    "This is a very clear cut case. Those who advocate armed conflict in situations like this are a huge threat to this nation."

    I'll bet that's about what King George said.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 20, 2014 9:36 a.m.

    "I believe the Federal government shouldn't own any land save it be for the seat of the government"

    And one can make a valid case for that argument. We have avenues in this country to challenge laws.
    What we don't have is the right to disregard laws with which we disagree and even less right to defend those decisions with firearms.

    "The BLM likely got a phone call from Obama..."

    Possibly. And if that happened, one should commend Obama for making a mature, prudent decision to deescalate a volatile situation.

    "Seems he didn't wanna risk losing the Hispanic vote."

    Perhaps so. Just like many of his predecessors, including both Bushs.

    Look. Either we believe in our legal system or we don't. Either we work withing the legal framework, or we take matters into our own hands.

    The question in this case is not whether we like or agree with the law.

    But whether it is reasonable to take up armed resistance.

    This is a very clear cut case. Those who advocate armed conflict in situations like this are a huge threat to this nation.

    And they are far from being patriotic.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 20, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    Mike Richards is Utah's recognized expert on Constitutional law. Why? Because he says so.

    So do not argue with him.

  • Unreconstructed Reb Chantilly, VA
    April 20, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    Jefferson's concerns over the constitutionality of the Louisiana Purchase stem from his worry about the legality of purchasing foreign lands by treaty, in other words whether it was a constitutional action under the powers of the executive branch, *not* whether it was within the power of the federal government to own land. The treaty contradicted his previously articulated views on the authority of the executive. The draft language of the constitutional amendment he considered, the ratification of his treaty in the Senate, and the lack of challenge to the treaty in the federal courts all bear this out.

    It would behoove those who insist that opponents have a "diluted" reading of the Constitution to understand the context in which the document was written, the underlying assumptions it makes based on a mix of English/Colonial common law, and the body of commentary and judicial decisions which have issued since it was ratified. Far from diluting an understanding, these sources of wisdom enhance it and demonstrate why the absolutist position of strict constructionism in constitutional interpretation, as advocated by an insignificant minority, is bunk.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 20, 2014 7:38 a.m.

    It is so good to read from modern illuminates who understand the intent of the founding far greater then ordinary people like Jefferson, who obviously had differing opinions about the federal governments right to own land. Its too bad they weren't around to explain the unconstitutionality of Jeffersons actions.... and explain to him the folly in his understanding of what the founding fathers intended.

    When an argument is raised over and over again, despite the fact that there is nearly 250 years of legal precedent the counters that reasoning... you have to give people credit for being persistent.

  • Linus Bountiful, UT
    April 19, 2014 11:04 p.m.

    So many of you have forgotten your history lessons. This country is The United States of America. Up until a territory of the country is made a state, the property within it belongs to the combined states. Once the territory becomes a state, it has all the rights of one of these United States, including control and use of public lands.

    The rights of the states have been eroding. The right of the states to elect senators has already been abolished. Next to go will be the right of the states to elect the president of the United States through the Electoral College. If we continue the trend, the Federal Government will control everything. This was never the intention of the founders.

    The Federal Government owns and/or controls very little territory within the borders of the original united states. But it owns and/or controls the vast majority of the territory within the borders of states that gained admission later on. It is a travesty and a violation of the principles upon which we are United States.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 19, 2014 7:37 p.m.

    Has the ability to read and understand the Constitution been so diluted that the simple wording of the Constitution has become a mystery to government and those who repeat the drivel of government?

    As WRZ pointed out, I left out Forts, Magazines, and buildings, knowing that no Fort, Magazine or Federal building is part of the land that the BLM controls. The Federal Government cannot own land. It cannot "hold land in trust".

    Those who cite Article IV as justification that the Federal Government can own land are being deceived by their professors and their politicians. People own land, not government entities. The Louisiana Purchase was illegal. Read about it. Read what the people said. Read what even Thomas Jefferson said about the legality of the government making that purchase. PEOPLE could have purchased that land. PEOPLE could have asked the Federal Government to accept them as a Territory or as a State but the Federal Government had no more authority to buy that land than Obama has making us buy health insurance. It is clearly not allowed by the Constitution - OUR Constitution.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    April 19, 2014 7:24 p.m.

    @JoeBlow:
    "Unless Bundy is a judge, what he 'claims' really does not matter."

    I believe the Federal government shouldn't own any land save it be for the seat of the government; forts; magazines; arsenals; yards-docks; and other useful buildings, as per the Constitution. If the Federal government buys huge tracts of land such as Alaska, the land should be ceded over to the state formed by the purchase.

    "The only reason this standoff ended the way it did, is because one side, the side of the government, used good judgement and reasoning to keep a very volatile situation from getting out of hand."

    The BLM likely got a phone call from Obama who didn't want a Waco or Ruby Ridge on his hands just before the mid-terms.

    "The immigration laws have been ignored long before Obama."

    Seems he didn't wanna risk losing the Hispanic vote.

    "Has this country become so partisan that people who take up arms against any government authority are celebrated?"

    Have you heard of the American Revolution? I think there were citizens (militia) with arms. I'll let you guess what they were fighting for.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 19, 2014 6:39 p.m.

    "First, Bundy is claiming the land is State land, not Federal land."

    Unless Bundy is a judge, what he "claims" really does not matter. This has been to court multiple times. Various judges have ruled against Bundy.

    "I'll confess, the only thing I enjoyed about the outcome of the situation is the embarrassment for BO."

    The only reason this standoff ended the way it did, is because one side, the side of the government, used good judgement and reasoning to keep a very volatile situation from getting out of hand.

    "Barack Hussein Obama sets the example by totally ignoring immigration laws"

    The immigration laws have been ignored long before Obama. He hardly "set the example".
    I think the speed limit should be 90. Are you suggesting that I can take an armed stance against someone attempting to enforce the speed limit law because immigration law enforcement is lax?

    Do you realize how ludicrous that is?

    Has this country become so partisan that people who take up arms against any government authority are celebrated?

    Shame on those of you who feel that this is the right way to go about it.

    You scare me far more than any government.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 19, 2014 5:24 p.m.

    @Mike Richards. The government did not steal the Bundy's land. Bundy doesn't even argue the fact that he doesn't hold title to the land. He just hates the federal government.

  • prelax Murray, UT
    April 19, 2014 4:52 p.m.

    If all the "right wingers" were there, you would of counted them in the millions. As with illegal immigration, most people, Democrat and Republican, realize that illegal immigration and not paying grazing fees are both against the law.

    Paying grazing fees is much like getting a speeding ticket, where illegally coming here and working commits felonies.

  • Alfred Phoenix, AZ
    April 19, 2014 4:14 p.m.

    @Stalwart Sentinel:
    "The irony in these two comparisons is that if the land is not controlled by the Federal gov't as Bundy claims then illegals should actually be able to live on that land."

    First, Bundy is claiming the land is State land, not Federal land.

    Second, illegals are to be stopped at the border. They should never be allowed to get into any state. Instead, seems like Obama is letting them flood into any state they wish and stay for as long as they wish... with little of no adverse consequences.

    When that land was purchased from Mexico at the conclusion of the Mexican-American War, it should have been turned over to the state(s). Instead, the Federal government owns 81.1 percent of Arizona.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    April 19, 2014 3:54 p.m.

    @JoeBlow:
    "The Nevada grazing case is very troubling. Is this how we are going to start resisting laws that we think are unjust?"

    Barack Hussein Obama sets the example by totally ignoring immigration laws. According to US law, aiding and abetting illegal immigrants is a felony. Perhaps the US Attorney General should work on that situation before going after Bundy.

    @Mike Richards:
    The Constitution clearly states that the Federal Government cannot "own" land except for the District of Columbia: ". . . over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) . . . "

    Good point, except the federal government can also purchase other lands for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, yards-docks, and other needful buildings... with the consent of the state legislature in which the same shall be. (Article 1.8)

    Seems like the Louisiana Purchase, Alaska, as well as lands purchased from Mexico should be owned by the various states and not the federal government.

  • factsplease SLO, CA
    April 19, 2014 1:18 p.m.

    No doubt there are many cattle ranchers in the U.S. who would like a free place to graze their cattle!

    Re:Schnee
    This land dispute has nothing to do with a solar project. No solar project was planned for this land.

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 19, 2014 12:59 p.m.

    Mr Bundy was clearly in violation of the law. However, I know one thing- I'm really uncomfortable with the BLM having their own little paramilitary force. I'm really not cool with any Federal agency having their own little paramilitary force to include the DOE, NOAA etc. Are they all allowed to be Judge , Jury, and Executioner now?
    It's scary to me that the American left is so comfortable pronouncing ongoing debates "settled" and apparently quite comfortable with militarized Federal agencies.
    The American left doesn't want farmers to have access to water, ranchers to have access to land, refineries to have access to oil. Do they really think you flip a switch and magically have light and that all that food in grocery stores just magically appears on the shelves? There's a refusal to grow up and accept reality and it's worrisome.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    April 19, 2014 12:04 p.m.

    Mike, if the federal government constitutionally cannot own land except D.C., how did the United States acquire Alaska, Hawaii, and the land covered by the Louisiana purchase, to name just a couple of examples? How about Hill AFB, federal courthouses and prisons, national parks and monuments, the Statue of Liberty, etc.? Are you really saying the United States doesn't own any of those? In a previous comment, I cited the Constitutional provision that gives Congress the power to regulate property of the United States (Art. IV, Sec. 3, cl. 2). Are you really saying that only applies to the District of Columbia? Amazing.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    April 19, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    The irony in these two comparisons is that if the land is not controlled by the Federal gov't as Bundy claims (I disagree, but let's have some fun), then illegals should actually be able to live on that land. The reasoning is that federal laws are those that have been established to enforce immigration law but if the federal gov't has no right to enforce duly recognized federal laws on this patch of land as Bundy claims then that means the federal gov't cannot enforce immigration laws there either.

    Wouldn't it be wonderful for this plot of earth in Nevada to become a safe haven for illegal immigrants? I would love to see Mr. Bundy wake up to find his cattle illegally grazing on these lands and have hundreds of thousands of illegals setting up shop next to him. It'd take five minutes for him to be clamoring for the "federal guvmint" to come down and arrest all those illegals.

    This is yet another example of conservatives refusing to participate in the social norms of this country and then threatening physical violence because they can't justify their case legally.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Chihuahua, 00
    April 19, 2014 11:59 a.m.

    They stole land from the Indians. But it's ok as long as the Government does it. Deseret News censored my previous comment of my being there. The BLM was behind all the violence there. All of those "Gun toting protestors" were nothing but peaceful.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    April 19, 2014 11:51 a.m.

    It is not a right vs. left issue. It is anarchy vs. the rule of law. Those who view it differently have their own agendas.

  • annes albuquerque, NM
    April 19, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    Mike Richards:

    The federal government holds lands in trust for the public, and manages those lands so that the public retains access to the lands and pays for the use of the land. It's a balancing act, true. Ranchers are allowed to graze their livestock on these public lands for a fee. This diminishes the use of the land for other members of the public, and the land must be safeguarded (managed) against overgrazing.

    Do you suggest the use of our lands should be free for ranchers? Because Cliven Bundy sure thinks he should be able to treat federal lands as his very own. If he really believes the land belongs to the state of Nevada, why hasn't he paid Nevada those fees?

    The grazing fees that Cliven Bundy doesn't want to pay? he owes those fees and doesn't want to pay to any body. He owes $1.2 Million. Personally, I don't think he should get to skate on those fees because he doesn't want to pay up. If he refused to pay for his breakfast, he'd land in jail. Where he belongs.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    April 19, 2014 11:38 a.m.

    The letter-writer makes a false analogy between this grazing land case and the matter of illegal immigration in yet another effort to demonize and ridicule those who believe in upholding U.S. immigration law.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    April 19, 2014 11:30 a.m.

    @ Mike: Then please explain Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2: "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."

    Obviously the Federal Government can own land and can own that land within a state.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    April 19, 2014 10:32 a.m.

    Bundy is a criminal and should be put into jail. He decided to let cattle graze on public lands for 20+ years despite the laws stating otherwise. He lost his court battles. His supporters stated that they would place women as human shields in the event the federal government attacked. Yet, there are some on the right calling this man a hero?

    No wonder why the GOP is looked at as the out of touch party.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Chihuahua, 00
    April 19, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    Take it from someone who was actually there. The BLM repeatedly threatened the lives of protestors and I was a witness to at least four incidents of them beating and tasing people including a pregnant woman and a cancer patient. The protestors never threatened anybody and even though they had firearms, they never pointed them at anybody unlike the BLM who was eager to provoke a conflict.

    Every single rancher in that area has been put out of business due to the outrageous grazing fees. That story about protecting the tortises is also a bunch of jive. This is about a land grab plain and simple. If Cliven were to pay those grazing fees they would still want that land from him. Harry Reid wants to give that property to the Chinese for a solar farm.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 19, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    Article 4 Section 3 of the Constitution

    "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."

    Mike, your claim that
    "The Constitution clearly states that the Federal Government cannot "own" land except for the District of Columbia:"

    Seems to be at odds with Article 4. Please back up your claim.

    Have you heard of the Louisiana Purchase? Who bought that land? And, who owned it after the purchase?

    Bottom line is that we are a nation of laws. Armed conflict is not the way that these kinds of disagreements should be handled.

    Those that support and encourage this type of response should be ashamed. Is this the kind of country we are to become?

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    April 19, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    I'll confess, the only thing I enjoyed about the outcome of the situation is the embarrassment for BO.

    the guy has essentially been stealing from the rest of us for 20 years.

    However, if the feds would properly give control of the lands to the states where it belongs (Madison would spin in his grave if he knew the feds would control so much land in a state - Jefferson would come unglued), this situation never would have happened. Maybe this is something we need to focus more attention on giving control of the land to those who should have it.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    April 19, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    Illegal immigration is against the law and using Federal land illegally is against the law.
    Cliven Bundy is in direct violation of the law. His case has been heard in court for the last 20 years and the courts have ruled against him. In a day and age when Conservatives hate people who have self imposed entitlements. Cliven Bundy is one of those people who believes he is entitled to the use of this land because of his ancestors.
    Fact remains he does not own the land and the Federal Government can do with the land as it pleases. The Chinese company that was to build a solar plant on that land has been debunked. It was not the same land and it was all cancelled a year earlier.
    Cliven Bundy claims he does not recognize the United State Government and in my book that makes him a traitor. He has not paid his fees and does not recognize the United States Government sound like he needs to move to Mexico and see how successfully he can run his ranch.
    Bundy is a crook and should be in jail.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 19, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    Cliven Bundy has stolen more from the taxpayers than any welfare queen ever dreamed of. But he's a hero to the right?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 19, 2014 8:03 a.m.

    I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that the FoxNews staff generally condemned the actions of the rancher in Nevada. Even Glenn Beck sided with the government on this one. It seems that there are certain issues that are just so out there, that both sides can agree.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 19, 2014 7:35 a.m.

    The Constitution clearly states that the Federal Government cannot "own" land except for the District of Columbia: ". . . over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) . . . "

    If the Federal Government cannot own land, then it cannot control land. If it cannot control land, it has no authority to require anyone to pay fees for the use of that land. It seized that land from the Bundy family without paying for it, which is a violation of the 5th Amendment: "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

    If anything, the Federal Government owes the Bundy family millions of dollars for taking property without paying for it.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    April 19, 2014 7:07 a.m.

    Motto of the right wing: Laws are for other people.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    April 19, 2014 6:32 a.m.

    It's very simple. Self-interest trumps consistency in enforcing the law. Cliven Bundy is one of them; illegal immigrants are foreign objects that need to be excised.

    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    They believe in honoring, obeying, and sustaining the law only when it suits their interests.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 19, 2014 6:28 a.m.

    Neil, I guess the concept of "illegal" depends on whether or not you like the law.

    The Nevada grazing case is very troubling. Is this how we are going to start resisting laws that we think are unjust?

    Do we get a group with guns together and have an armed standoff?

    How about we peacefully work to get the laws changed?

    The saddest part is that this case may have opened the floodgates and the GOP base seems to be supporting and encouraging this type of response.

    Instead, we need our leaders to stand up and say "while I may agree with your opposition to this law, armed resistance is the WRONG way to go."

    This is an extremely dangerous precedent.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 19, 2014 1:16 a.m.

    There's a different, perhaps more interesting parallel. On the one hand we have:
    1. rancher vs BLM who want to use the land for a solar energy project
    2. farmers vs Keystone XL who want to build a pipeline through the plains

    Shouldn't... shouldn't there be some consistency in the views regarding gov't use of land in these two cases?

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 19, 2014 12:16 a.m.

    I never understood why people were upset that the blm was enforcing the law. This land wasn't bundy's and he lost two court battles.

    He also essentially fanned the anti government flames by saying he would defend his property by any means necessary, acting as if somehow there was tyranny at play.