Sunday, January 03, 2016

Trump and Oregon and property rights

I'm waiting with interest for what Donald Trump has to say about the Federal attempt to force ranchers in Oregon off their land. See: The Full Story about what's going on in Oregon.

To summarize: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have harassed ranchers in Oregon's Harney Basin since the 1970s, changing grazing rules, denying legal water rights and trying to buy up ranches to add to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Two of those ranchers, Dwight Hammond, Jr., and his son, Steven Hammond, have been targets of this harassment. They were arrested in 2006 for lighting fires to burn grassland. The "Harney County District Attorney reviewed the accusation, evidence and charges, and determined that the accusations against Dwight & Steven Hammond did not warrant prosecution and dropped all the charges."

There were also accusations of attempting to cover up poaching with the fires, but they were neither charged nor convicted of this.

In 2011 the Feds charged them as terrorists. Yes, terrorists. In 2012 they were convicted of setting the fires in Federal Court, but with that came a conviction for terrorism. They served 3 and 12 month sentences, respectively.

Unsatisfied, in 2014 the Feds appealed the sentences as not meeting a minumum sentencing requirement of 5 years. The Judge at the original trial had overruled the minimum terrorist sentence, commenting that if the full five years were required it would be a violation of the 8th amendment. The Fed's appeal succeeded.

The Hammonds have said they will report tomorrow to begin serving the increased sentences. The father will be 79 when he finishes his new sentence, the son 54. They have already paid $200,000 to the BLM, and another $200,000 was to have been paid before the end of 2015. They will be forced to sell to the BLM if the fine has not been paid.

On Saturday there was a peaceful protest of these sentences in Burns, Oregon, composed of about 300.

Since then, 100-150 people associated the Cliven Bundy family have peacefully occupied a Federal building in the refuge. Some are armed. The left is going nuts. The Hammond's have disassociated themselves from this group.

Now, to Trump.

I see no difference in principle here from what Donald Trump tried to do to Vera Coking, a old woman who owned a house near one of his Casinos where he wanted to build a parking lot.

Trump’s case could be considered worse. The government wasn’t taking Vera Coking's land for itself, it was taking it in order to give it to Trump, a man who said he supported the abominable SCOTUS Kelo decision 100%.

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