Nevada: The Last Frontier?

Scene near the Bundy Ranch in Nevada on April 12, 2014

Scene near the Bundy Ranch in Nevada on April 12, 2014

The next few posts will be surrounding the Cliven Bundy issue in Nevada. I will be including my own comments and articles from other writers.

 

Is this a case of a free loading rancher or is this what he claims it is–an issue of State’s Rights? 

You decide.

Fundamental to this growing discussion are two philosophies of governments: Federalism and Nationalism. Federalism is the philosophy promoted by the framers of the Constitution based on the idea of sovereign states and limited federal government (Art. 1 Sect. 8 and the 10th amendment).  

Nationalism is the concept that a large and powerful central government should regulate and govern all aspects of life from food production to housing to taxation to land use and property ownership. Historically, America adhered to Federalism up through the American Civil War, and then transitioned into Nationalism from 1865 to 1913. Many people struggle with understanding the differences between these philosophies or the particulars of the States Rights stance as most Americans have been educated from a Nationalistic perspective.

A government funded education system is going to promote the interests of that government. This has been the case for all countries rich enough to provide such an public service.  It was only when the states (under federalism) were responsible for education that privates schools and church schools provided a wide variety of education opportunities at the local level and people were very involved in the actual educational process of their children, much like the home schooling movement today.

By Michael Lotfi – “Who Actually Owns America’s Land? A Deeper Look At  The Bundy Ranch Crisis”

Tortoises and cows have absolutely no relevance to the situation in Nevada. Does the Constitution make provision for the federal government to own and control “public land”? This is the only question we need to consider. Currently, the federal government “owns” approximately 30% of the United States territory. The majority of this federally owned land is in the West. For example, the feds control more than 80% of Nevada and more than 55% of Utah. The question has been long debated. At the debate’s soul is Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution, which is know as the “Property Clause.” Proponents of federal expansion on both sides of the political aisle argue that this clause provides warrant for the federal government to control land throughout the United States.

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….

Those who say this clause delegates the feds control over whatever land they arbitrarily decide to lay claim to are grossly misinterpreting even the most basic structure of the Constitution.

It is said the Constitution is “written in plain English.” This is true. However, plain English does not allow one to remove context. Article IV does not grant Congress the power to exercise sovereignty over land. Article IV deals exclusively with state-to-state relations such as protection from invasion, slavery, full faith and credit, creation of new states and so on.

us_publicHistorically, the Property Clause delegated federal control over territorial lands up until the point when that land would be formed as a state. This was necessary during the time of the ratification of the Constitution due to the lack of westward development.

The clause was drafted to constitutionalize the Northwest Ordinance, which the Articles of Confederation did not have the power to support. This ordinance gave the newly formed Congress the power to create new states instead of allowing the states themselves to expand their own land claims.

The Property Clause and Northwest Ordinance are both limited in power and scope. Once a state is formed and accepted into the union, the federal government no longer has control over land within the state’s borders. From this moment, such land is considered property of the sovereign state. The continental United States is now formed of fifty independent, sovereign states. No “unclaimed” lands are technically in existence. Therefore, the Property Clause no longer applies within the realm of federal control over these states.

The powers of Congress are found only in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. With the exception of the less than two dozen powers delegated to Congress found within Article I, Section 8, Congress may make no laws, cannot form political agencies and cannot take any actions that seek to regulate outside of these enumerated powers.

Article I, Section 8 does lay forth the possibility of federal control over some land. What land? Clause 17 defines these few exceptions:

To exercise exclusive Legislation 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, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings– (Emphasis added).

Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 is known as the Enclave Clause. The clause gives federal control over the “Seat of Government” (Washington D.C.) and land that has been purchased by the federal government with consent of the state legislatures to build military posts and other needful buildings (post offices and other structures pursuant to Article I, Section 8). Nothing more.

State permission being a requirement, state authority was explicitly emphasized while drafting this clause. The founders and respective states insisted (with loud cries) that the states must consent before the federal government could purchase land from the states. Nowhere in this clause will you find the power for Congress to exercise legislative authority through regulation over 80% of Nevada, 55% of Utah, 45% of California, 70% of Alaska, or any other state. Unless, of course, the state has given the federal government the formal authority to do so, which they have not.

If a state legislature decides sell land to the federal government then at that point the Enclave Clause becomes applicable and the federal government may seize legislative and regulatory control in pursuance to the powers delegated by Article 1, Section 8.

In America’s infancy, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Founding Fathers’ understanding of federal control over land. Justice Stephen J. Field wrote for the majority opinion in Fort Leavenworth Railroad Co. v. Lowe (1855) that federal authority over territorial land was “necessarily paramount.” However, once the territory was organized as a state and admitted to the union on equal ground (equal footing doctrine – footnote 1), the state government assumes sovereignty over federal lands, and the federal government retains only the rights of an “individual proprietor.”

This means that the federal government can only exercise general sovereignty over state property if the state legislatures formally grant the federal government the power to do so under the Enclave Clause with the exception of federal buildings (post offices) and military installations. This understanding was reaffirmed in Lessee of Pollard v. Hagan (1845), Permoli v. Municipality No. 1 of the city of New Orleans (1845) and Strader v. Graham (1850).

"...on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever."

“…on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever.”

However, it did not take long for the Supreme Court to begin redefining the Constitution and legislating from the bench under the guise of interpretation. Case by case, the Court slowly redefined the Property Clause, which had always been understood to regard exclusively the transferring of federal to state sovereignty through statehood, to the conservation of unconstitutional federal supremacy.

Federal supremacists sitting on the Supreme Court understood that by insidiously redefining this clause then federal power would be expanded and conserved.

With Camfield v. United States (1897), Light v. United States (1911), Kleppe v. New Mexico (1976) and multiple other cases regarding commerce, federal supremacists have effectively erased the constitutional guarantee of state control over property.

Through the centuries, through the use of judicial review, we arrive at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. The Founding Fathers never imagined the citizens of a state would be subject to such treatment at the hands of the federal government. Furthermore, they certainly never imagined the state legislatures themselves would allow such treatment to go unchecked.

The latest updates appear to show that Bundy has won his battle against the feds– for now. However, it remains a damn shame that the state of Nevada would allow for such a situation to arise in the first place.

What does Nevada’s Constitution say about property? Section 1, titled “Inalienable Rights,” reads: All men are by Nature free and equal and have certain inalienable rights among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; Acquiring, Possessing and Protecting property and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness (Emphasis added).

In Section 22 of the Nevada Constitution, eminent domain is clarified. The state Constitution requires that the state prove public need, provide compensation and documentation before acquiring private property. In order to grant land to the federal government, the state must first control this land.

Bundy’s family has controlled the land for more than 140 years.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is an agency created by Congress, claimed that Bundy was “violating the law of the land.” Perhaps the agency has forgotten that the law of the land is the Constitution, and the only constitutional violation here is the very modern existence of the agency’s presence in Nevada.

Michael Lotfi is a Persian, American political analyst and adviser living in Nashville, Tennessee where he works as the executive director for the Tenth Amendment Center (TN). Lotfi founded TheLibertyPaper.org, which is an online news source that is visited daily by readers in over 135 countries. Lotfi also writes a column at The Washington Times called “American Millennial”. Lotfi graduated in the top 5% of his class with top honors from Belmont University, an award winning, private university located in Nashville, Tennessee.

1-The Doctrine of the Equality of States, (also called Equal Footing), is based on Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which says:

“New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.”

Additionally, since the admission of Tennessee in 1796, Congress has included in each State’s act of admission a clause providing that the State enters the Union “on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever. (Wiki)

 

Atlas Shrugged: France Models The Future Of America

9780465092680_p0_v1_s260x420In his 2008 book, The Cube and the Cathedral, George Weigel writes a compelling story suggesting that if you want a good view of the United States 15 or 20 years from now, take a look at Europe.

More to the point are disturbing news reports that demonstrate spooky similarities to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, being played out in France as you read this. Watch this Video.

Recent proclamations and “business as usual” from Congress and the Executive branch are providing more than ample evidence that American political leadership is following in the footsteps of France’s “Shrug,” and rushing with all its might to catchup with, and indeed overtake Europe in the race to fulfill some anti-Randian ideal.

In spite of it all, Monticello College remains dedicated to the proposition that the Unites States is a nation watched over by Providence, and that although she seems to have stumbled, America can be great again.

We are doing all that we are physically capable of to provide leadership and accountability to that end. Part of that effort is the debt-free building of our campus in Monticello, UT. Thanks to many of you, we reached our 2013 funding goal of $2,500 per month.

Our new funding goal or Phase Two of our building campaign is to secure 350 individuals or families who support Monticello College and are willing to donate $25 per month for 6 months.

Phase two is the build-out phase where we will develop facilities for summer programs and large group events and prepare for our first cohort of on campus students.  The funding goal for phase two is to raise $300,000. Step one of this goal is to reach $50,000 so we can begin construction by June 1, 2014.

Again, we need 350 individuals or families to contribute $25 per month for the next 6 months. We, of course, will gratefully accept any donation that you can offer.

Will you help us?

Will you be part of the re-building of our country?

To donate or for more info click below:

DONATE HERE

 

Building Two Towers And The Abundance Mentality

Monticello College Sunrise

Monticello College Sunrise

At regular intervals during undergraduate enrollment, a Monticello College mentor takes time to talk about the future. What will you be doing after graduation? What is your mission? Do you plan to have a family? How will you fulfill that mission while providing for your family? This necessarily leads to a great discussion. All students are counseled that in order to be effective as future statesmen, they each need to build two towers; a family and an institution.

 Tower One: Families

Our very nature as human beings dictates that we gravitate toward the family environment. Our greatest happiness comes only through and within the bonds of a loving and nurturing family. Students are encouraged to plan for a family focusing on preparing first to be a loving and caring spouse, and second, to plan a family and prepare to serve as protective and nurturing parents.

Level Tower Two: Institution

All students are encouraged to contribute to society by means of developing an institution. This may be a for-profit or not-for-profit corporation. It might be some sort of social entrepreneurial organization or they may decide to make a contribution in an intrapreneurial manner. Regardless the method, all students are exposed to the abundance philosophy and encouraged to make their mark in the world, to do more than just earn a good living. In order to be successful in creating an institution, students must embrace the two elements required for true prosperity: the concepts of abundance and producers.

Forest Surrounding Monticello College

Forest Surrounding Monticello College

 Abundance

An abundance mentality is one that is rare in society today. Most people are concerned that there is a finite amount of whatever it is that they want and that they must spend their lives scratching out their meager portion. Abundance mentality assumes just the opposite. It declares that there is more than enough of all material, spiritual, and emotional goodness and that although one must decide and work for what they want, there is always enough and to spare.

Prosperity and abundance in a society depend on a certain type of person: the producer. Societies with few producers stagnate and decay, while nations with a large number of producers vibrantly grow—in wealth, freedom, power, influence, and the pursuit of happiness. Producers think in terms of abundance rather than scarcity, take initiative instead of waiting for someone else to provide them with opportunity, and faithfully take wise risks instead of fearfully believing that they can’t make a difference.

In contrast, non-producers provide very little leadership in society and cause more than a majority of the problems. In history, as Jefferson put it, producers are the most valuable citizens. Of course, he was speaking directly of farmers, but the principle applies to all those who add significant value to society. Non-producers consume the value that is added to society, but they create little value.

Campus Under Construction 2012

Campus Under Construction 2012

But who are the producers? Fortune 500 executives include themselves in this category and so do small business owners in their first month of operation. Successful investors call themselves producers as do unsuccessful day traders who claim that they just “haven’t had their lucky break yet.” Clearly, just calling yourself a producer doesn’t make you one. In fact, there are at least five types of producers, and each type is vital to a successful civilization. Each of the five creates incredible value, though the currency of the value is not always identical.

Without any of the five types, no society succeeds and grows. When all five are creating sufficient value, no society has ever failed. Producers are needed—all five types.

Click Here To Read The Remainder Of This Article (Go to Chapter Two: Section Four)

The Debate Over The 2nd Amendment

AR15_M62Whether you support it or not, the recent dispute over the Second Amendment has the makings of a serious controversy in coming days.

With the current refusal of as many as 300,000 Connecticut gun owners who legally possess rifles that have just now become illegal in that state, we are witnessing a profound example of civil disobedience.

The amendment in question states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

In the 2008 Supreme Court case of D.C. v Heller, it would seem that this issue had finally been put to bed, but the debate rages on. The final paragraph of the majority opinion of the Court concerning D.C. v Heller delivered by Justice Scalia makes their ruling clear:

We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns, see supra, at 54–55, and n. 26.

But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibit­ion of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.

Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.
We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Here is a chance for all citizens, regardless your politics, to become informed and stand for something.  For more information on this topic I recommend the following:

The Founders Constitution

The Making of America

And the following opinions in these links:

The Six Things Americans Should Know about The Second Amendment

The Second Amendment Myth

 

A Revolution of Entrepreneurship

downloadIn January, I attended a convention where one of the featured speakers was my friend, Stephen Palmer.

Steve’s bio is at the end of this post, but what I want you to know is that Steve actually believes and lives what he says.  I hope Steve and Karina won’t mind too much if I get a little personal.

imagesI have known Steve for more than ten years. I knew him when he was a newly married “too smart for his britches” freshman.  

I watched as he and his family tried their hand at business and fell flat on their faces. I have had painful conversations with Steve when he was in the depths of misery, and I have watched in amazement as he pulled himself up out of the ashes to become a New York Times best-selling author and world-class speaker.

I share this bit of transformation to communicate the idea that growth and mission are painful.

download (1)Entrepreneurship is not easy, and for every success story there is a corresponding behind-the-scenes story of pain, struggles, and tears.

But every one of these stories is a story of liberty, of financial freedom, of political autonomy, of successful mission.

Every one of the stories I could tell here, including Steve and Karina’s story, is a story of triumph against terrible odds, a story that could have ended in mediocrity and “settling,” but only due to the belief in something better, progressed into a story of endurance, perseverance, and unusual optimism.

It is with this intro that I ask you to take the next 20 minutes and watch this video:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO ON YOUTUBE

 

Stephen Palmer is an idealist, truth-seeker, lover of liberty, writer, and the author of Uncommon Sense: A Common Citizen’s Guide to Rebuilding America

He has a burning belief in the power of the human spirit — our ability to transcend circumstances and achieve greatness through choice.  That belief drives him to strive for virtue and excellence in his own life, and to do all in his power to uplift and inspire others.

He lives and promotes his passion as a founding partner of The Center for Social Leadership, through his personal blog, and, of course, through Life Manifestos.

He co-authored, with Garrett Gunderson, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Businessweek, and Amazon bestseller Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths that are Destroying Your Prosperity. He also co-authored, with Kris Krohn, The Conscious Creator: Six Laws for Manifesting Your Masterpiece Life, as well as Hub Mentality: Shifting from Business Transactions to Community Interactions with Carl Woolston.

A dedicated learner and promoter of personal, financial, and governmental freedom, Stephen is passionate about political philosophy, economics, history, personal finance, entrepreneurship, religion and spirituality, family, education and culture. (See his favorite books and movies.)

He graduated from a liberal arts college where he was mentored by Oliver DeMille. He’s also been privileged to be mentored by Steve D’Annunzio. He is also a graduate and faculty member of Wizard Academy, a “non-traditional business school” with an emphasis on the art and science of persuasive communication.

He and his wife Karina are raising their four kids in southern Utah. When he’s not writing or spending time with his family, you’ll find him reading, canyoneering in Zion National Park, gardening, or playing basketball.