03/9/20

Survival Fishing: How to Catch Fish When SHTF

By: Molly Carter | YourBassGuy

Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Humans have been fishing since before the dawn of civilization. And it’s no wonder. Fish are nutritious and, dare I say, delicious. Plus, they’re plentiful, almost all are edible, and you can find them in just about every body of water coast to coast.

While you could spend thousands of dollars on top-of-the-line fishing gear, you don’t need any of those bells and whistles. Heck, in dire straights, you can find everything you need right on the forest floor. Or even a city street.

Plus, fishing is one of the best ways to get protein in a survival situation. And it’s easy and fast if you know what you’re doing. Lucky for you, the basics of survival fishing are simple to learn and you’ve got me here to explain them to you.

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Benefits of Survival Fishing

If you’re concerned about wilderness survival, then there are plenty of reasons to learn to fish. Fishing can help you survive whether it’s an unexpected emergency, like getting lost, or during a long-term SHTF scenario.

While finding food should never be your first priority (it’s topped by making a shelter, building a fire, and finding water), it is important. Finding food provides you with the calories you need to keep your energy and not fatigue. What’s more, having a full belly improves your attitude, which means a lot in a survival scenario.

When you know how to fish, you can provide food for you and your family. One successful fishing trip can provide enough for two or more meals. Even in an urban environment, survival fishing can keep food on the table.

The best benefit of survival fishing is that you can do it with minimal effort. At times, it can even become a passive way to get food.

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03/3/20

Bill Whittle: “The Cold War: What We Saw” – Episodes 3, 4 and 5

From: Bill Whittle

So now the board is set and the pieces are in place. In the East, the battle-hardened, seemingly endless divisions of the Red Army, backed by the ruthless and pitiless Joseph Stalin and his state-driven terror. In the West, the idealistic to the point of naïveté allies and their game-changing pika-dons, the nuclear flash-booms that had turned Stalin’s relentless ambition into a pillar of salt. As he tapped his unlit pipe and smoothed his iconic mustache, Stalin was sure that while the West had the Bomb, they did not possess the will to use it; the Americans would not trade Boston for Berlin. Stalin wouldn’t invade because he wouldn’t have to; he’d move the Iron Curtain to keep the Allies out of Berlin. It was a blockade that the West could never get through… but one that they just might be able to get over.

Although the entire Cold War passed without shots being fired between the two superpowers, the Cold War was anything but bloodless. The Korean conflict marked the beginning of proxy wars, regional conflicts backed by the full military might of both the United States and the Soviet Union. A brilliant amphibious landing turns the tide on the Korean Peninsula; meanwhile, America raises the stakes with a bomb so powerful it takes an atomic bomb to simply light the fuse.

Joseph Stalin, the architect and instigator of the 42-year Cold War, has died five years into the conflict. Across the Atlantic, a new Republican President, who had worked closely with Uncle Joe during World War II, is a mere two months in office. As the knives come out for the succession fight inside the Kremlin, will a brief window of opportunity be enough to completely reset the conflict?

02/27/20

The Waco Siege: What Happened When the Feds Laid Siege to the Branch Davidian Compound

By: Sam Jacobs | Ammo.com

history of the Waco Siege“The record of the Waco incident documents mistakes. What the record from Waco does not evidence, however, is any improper motive or intent on the part of law enforcement.”

Joseph Biden, U.S. Senator, Delaware (D) and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which issued the Waco Investigation Report

The siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, is an important event in American history because it directly led to one of the biggest terrorist attacks on American soil – the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. It’s not necessary to defend this act of terrorism to understand why the entire freedom movement of the time was so incensed by it. Indeed, it stood as a symbol of federal overreach and the corruption of the Clinton Administration.

It’s important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the siege of Waco, just as it is important to do so with the siege of Ruby Ridge or the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. With every event, it is important to stick to the facts and what can be extrapolated from them to make the strongest argument about what went wrong and why, and what could be done differently in the future.

Background: Who Are the Branch Davidians?

The Branch Davidians were a tiny offshoot of mainstream Seventh-Day Adventism. This stemmed from an earlier split between the main church and a group called Shepherd’s Rod, The Rod or the Davidians. It was effectively a reform movement within Adventism, albeit with some beliefs considered heretical by the mainstream church, none of which are important or relevant for this discussion.

The Branch Davidians were established some 20 years later, and a much more radical departure from Seventh-Day Adventism born from disappointment at the failure of earlier prophecies to materialize. There was some wrangling over the leadership of the group after the death of its founder, but Vernon Howell, better known to the world as David Koresh, ultimately won out over the wife and son of the founder.

Everyone liked Howell when he first showed up at the compound in 1981, including the head of the organization at the time, Lois Roden, with whom he had an affair, despite a more than 40-year age gap (he was in his late 20s, she was in her late 60s). He wanted to have a child with her, one that he believed would be the Chosen One of their religion.

Her son, George Roden, took over upon her death, which led to a power struggle between the two. Roden challenged Howell to raise the dead, going so far as to exhume a corpse for this purpose. Howell attempted to file charges against Roden over the grave robbing, but the police told him that more evidence was needed.

It was then that Howell and seven of his followers raided the compound armed with five .223 caliber semiautomatic rifles, two 22 caliber rifles, two 12-gauge shotguns, and almost 400 rounds of ammunition. They said they were trying to collect evidence of illegal activity on the compound, but forgot to bring a camera with them for that purpose. This was the definitive split where Howell won control of the Branch Davidian church at Mount Carmel. Those who did not follow him continued to use this name and argue that he was never rightfully in possession of it.

It was then that Vernon Howell became David Koresh, a name based on the historical King David and Cyrus the Great (“Koresh” is the Hebrew version of “Cyrus”).

By 1989, Koresh began marrying the members’ wives and daughters, some as young as 12, which was cited as a reason for the eventual raid. He claimed this came from an order from God. The men in the group other than Koresh were to remain celibate.

The Sinful Messiah

Koresh first began getting media attention from the Waco Tribune-Herald in February 1993. “The Sinful Messiah” was the name of a series of articles by Mark England and Darlene McCormick about Koresh and his followers. The articles mostly revolve around the child abuse claims and Koresh’s claim that he had over a dozen children, some of them with girls as young as 12.

Additionally, the group was suspected by local law enforcement of “stockpiling” illegal weapons. Local law enforcement alerted the ATF in May 1992, based on a call from a concerned UPS driver. By June 9th, the ATF had officially opened an investigation into the group.

This is perhaps the time to begin talking about some of the misconceptions or smears about the Branch Davidians. We are agnostic as to whether or not the group was a “cult,” as this can be defined differently by different people. However, the notion that Koresh kept his people in line with either mesmerism or fear does not square up with reports to Congress and elsewhere from survivors of the group. What’s more, rather than the dregs of Waco, many in the group were educated, most were religiously serious, and the group eschewed drugs and junk food.

Contrary to popular belief, Koresh did not claim to be the Second Coming of Christ, but rather to be a new messiah for a new age. The term “sinful messiah” was in fact one of Koresh’s own coinage, meaning that he was a messiah-like Christ but, unlike Christ, had a sinful nature.

The allegations of child abuse that prompted the final siege on Mount Carmel is even highly in dispute. Most of the allegations against Koresh come from either disgruntled former members or those involved in child custody battles. The church was investigated by state authorities but not prosecuted because no solid evidence was ever found. That Koresh married a 14-year-old girl is true, but this would have been totally legal with parental consent at the time – so what were state authorities supposed to do?

Assuming that the allegations of child sexual abuse were true – and we consider them to be extremely dubious – what was the ATF or the FBI doing there? And how does opening fire, throwing hand grenades, poison gassing and burning alive children serve to protect them? These are the important questions that stand as a stunning indictment of federal law enforcement, even if one accepts that child abuse was taking place within the compound.

As with Ruby Ridge, the allegations of the federal government and their toadies in the corporate media are distortions (“Koresh claims to be Christ”), dubious (“Koresh is abusing children”) and, more to the point, irrelevant (“The Branch Davidians were cooking meth”). The FBI and ATF were on the scene in Waco for one reason and one reason alone: To serve a search warrant to determine whether or not the Branch Davidians were making automatic weapons.

The Raid of Waco

The actual events of the raid can be difficult to tease out. Each side disagrees as to what the sequence of events was.

What we know is that, based on an affidavit filed by Davy Aguilera, the ATF obtained a search warrant. This was based on the testimony of a postal agent about what he considered to be suspicious deliveries to Mt. Carmel. However, none of the deliveries were in and of themselves illegal and included items such as 45 AR-15 upper receivers and five M-16 upper receivers.

The search warrant was mostly based on the number of weapons possessed by the Davidians. But in the United States of America, we have the right to own as many weapons as we can afford. What’s more, the notion that the Davidians were “stockpiling” weapons is a red herring: They were selling weapons (legally) in addition to buying them, so “inventory” might be the more accurate term for what they had at Mt. Carmel.

According to Dick J. Reavis, author of The Ashes of Waco:

“One of the prophecies that has been around Mt. Carmel since 1934 called for an ultimate confrontation between God’s people, or those at Mr. Carmel, and the forces of an armed apostate power called Babylon . . . Perhaps with that in mind, in 1991, the Davidians began studying armaments and buying and selling guns. He (Koresh) pretty quickly found out there is a lot of money to be made at gun shows and he and other people started going to gun shows. And they bought and sold. They bought items that weren’t guns, and they bought items that were guns. We now say, or the press now says, most people say, they stockpiled weapons. All gun dealers stockpile weapons. We call those stockpiles an inventory. There was an inventory of weapons at Mt. Carmel. A number of guys were involved in the gun shows, just as a number were involved in souping up and restoring cars, and just as a number were involved in playing in the band. There were circles or knots or subsets of people who had hobby interests that were only indirectly related to theology, and guns were one of those interests.”

The ATF’s raid, codenamed “Showtime,” was moved up one day in response to a local newspaper’s article on the Davidians. The local sheriff was not aware of the raid, but the Davidians knew it was coming. The ATF chose to raid the property rather than pick up Koresh while he was in town. An ATF agent who had infiltrated the group reported that they knew of the raid and that his cover was blown. When asked what they were doing when he left the property on the day of the raid, he said that the Davidians were praying.

There was another factor influencing the ATF’s decision to raid the Davidians when they did: Money. According to Henry Ruth, one of three independent reviewers of the Treasury Department’s report on Waco:

“With appropriations hearings a week away, a large successful raid for the ATF would’ve proposed major positive headlines for the agency. It would’ve helped counter the narrative of the ATF as a rogue agency. And it would’ve spread fear about radical fringe groups which would put pressure on Congress to increase its budget. Part of their motivation was to use the siege at Waco as a publicity stunt.”

There is much discussion and debate about who fired first, however, there is ample evidence that it was the ATF when they went to shoot the Davidians’ dogs in their kennels on the way to surrounding the compound. What’s more, the ATF showed up in a cattle trailer protected by a tarp, wearing no body armor. They were not dressed for an armed confrontation with apocalyptic religious extremists.

A ceasefire was negotiated by local authorities. The sheriff claims that the ATF only withdrew once they were out of ammunition. What this means is that if the Branch Davidians were the dangerous extremists they were portrayed as they could have easily shot down every ATF agent either then or when they went out to recover their dead. They did not; the Davidians honored the ceasefire.

“They could’ve killed every ATF agent out there the day of the raid, had they kept shooting. But when they said they would leave their property, they quit shooting. They were highly protective of their property.”

Jack Harwell, Sheriff, McLennan County

And so began the 51-day standoff in Waco, Texas.

The Waco Standoff

The standoff is frequently thought of as a benign and inert non-confrontation. However, this is untrue. While it’s true that no shots were fired, there was a virtual constant low-level assault on the compound in the form of noise (rabbits being slaughtered, jet planes, pop music, and other loud noises), threatening tank movements and poison gas, and flash-bang grenades. Federal agents would frequently give the middle finger to or “moon” the people inside Mt. Carmel.

The tanks were used to crush the outer perimeter, outbuildings, private vehicles belonging to the Branch Davidians, and were repeatedly rolled over the grave of Branch Davidian Peter Gent, despite protests from both Branch Davidians and federal negotiators.

While none of this is acceptable, two of these activities bear special examination: the gas and flash-bang grenades.

The “tear gas” used against the compound was military-grade, a type that can turn toxic very easily. The federal agents knew there were children and even infants in the house, children too small for any gas mask to cover. They shot the grenades in anyway, effectively considering the suffering of the children inside as acceptable collateral damage. Further, flash-bang grenades are deadly and certainly violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the ceasefire.

Koresh became concerned with the safety of the group due to increasingly aggressive tactics. All told, 11 people left the Davidian house, all of whom were arrested as material witnesses, with one indicted for conspiracy to commit murder. Children inside were increasingly unwilling to leave Koresh’s side, especially once they learned that the children who had previously left had been separated from their mothers and other women in the group who had been caring for them.

Communication predictably began to break down. The FBI considered using snipers to take out Koresh and other leaders of the movement and feared a mass suicide. However, Koresh denied such a thing was imminent and those leaving the compound had seen no plans in place for mass suicide.

How the Media Portrayed the Standoff

Koresh and the Davidians watched what the ATF and other federal agents were saying publicly about the initial raid during their 51-day standoff. The public narrative didn’t line up with what the Davidians had experienced, making negotiations even more difficult:

Jim Cavanaugh, ATF negotiator: Well, I think we need to set the record straight, and that is that there was no guns on those helicopters (used in the initial raid). There was National Guard officers on those helicopters . . .
Koresh: Now Jim, you’re a d*mn liar. Now let’s get real.
Cavanaugh: David, I . . .
Koresh: No! You listen to me! You’re sittin’ there and tellin’ me that there were no guns on that helicopter!?
Cavanaugh: I said they didn’t shoot. There’s no guns on . . .
Koresh: You are a d*mn liar!
Cavanaugh: Well, you’re wrong, David.
Koresh: You are a liar!
Cavanaugh: OK. Well, just calm down . . .
Koresh: No! Let me tell you something. That might be what you want the media to believe, but there’s other people that saw too! Now, tell me Jim again. You’re honestly going to say those helicopters didn’t fire on any of us?
Cavanaugh: What I’m sayin’ is . . . now I listened to you, now you listen to me, OK?
Koresh: I’m listening.
Cavanaugh: What I’m sayin’ is that those helicopters didn’t have mounted guns. OK? I’m not disputing the fact that there might have been fire from the helicopters. If you say there was fire from the helicopters and you were there that’s OK with me. What I’m tellin’ you is there was no mounted guns, ya know, outside mounted guns on those helicopters.
Koresh: I agree with you on that.
Cavanaugh: Alright. Now, that’s the only thing I’m sayin’. Now, the agents on the helicopters had guns.
Koresh: I agree with you on that!
Cavanaugh: You understand what I’m sayin’?
Koresh: I agree with you.
Cavanaugh: OK, OK. So see, we’re not even in dispute and Steven’s getting all worked up over it.
Koresh: Well, no. What the dispute was over, I believe Jim, is that you said they didn’t fire on us from the helicopters.
Cavanaugh: Well, what I mean is a mounted gun . . . like a, you know, like a mounted machine gun.
Koresh: Yeah. But like that’s beside the point. What they did have was machine guns.

This distrust by the Davidians of the ATF and their lead negotiator, Jim Cavanaugh, helped exacerbate the standoff.

The Final Siege of Mount Carmel

The newly-minted U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno was unhappy with the progress being made at Waco, and invoked (what else) the abuse of children in her pitch for a resolution to the conflict. For his part, President Clinton, who had dealt with a similar situation as Governor of Arkansas in 1985 – with The Covenant, The Sword, and The Arm of the Lord – initially urged waiting out the group. Reno, however, cited antsy agents and budgetary concerns. Ultimately, Clinton told her to do whatever she thought was best.

The FBI Hostage Rescue Team – derisively nicknamed the “Hostage Roasting Team” and which denied any evidence of child abuse – came armed with 50 caliber rifles and punched holes in the walls of the building with explosives so they could pump CS poison gas into a building with small children and infants inside. The plan was to announce to the group that there was no plan to take the house by force while slowly pumping greater amounts of CS gas inside to increase pressure on them to leave.

The fires began around noon on the final day of the standoff. The FBI maintains that they were started deliberately by the Davidians, with some survivors claiming that the FBI started the fires either intentionally or accidentally. Footage of the Davidians talking about gasoline seem to refer to them making Molotov cocktails to fight the FBI with.

Nine people left the building during the fire. The remaining people inside all died either from the fire, smoke inhalation, were buried alive by rubble or were shot. Some showed signs of death by cyanide poisoning, which would likely have been a result of the burning CS gas. All told, there were 76 deaths.

FBI claims in the 51 days during the standoff they never fired a single shot. Then 27 of the people in the compound died of bullet wounds. Then those were self-inflicted or inflicted by other members inside the compound. Federal investigators considered suicide as a possible form of gunshot death for the Davidians. It did not consider forced execution to be a likely cause of death.

An exchange between Sen. Chuck Schumer and Assistant Attorney General Edward Dennis in the Clinton Administration in the subsequent congressional investigation summed it up best:

Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Congressman, New York (D): We’ve heard that in the 51 days the FBI was involved, they did not fire a single shot . . . First, That would mean quite certainly that 27 of the people who died in the compound, I think the autopsy report showed 27, I may be off by one or two, who died of bullet wounds, those were self-inflicted or inflicted by other members within the compound . . .

Edward Dennis, Former Assistant Attorney General, Clinton Administration: I think that’s a key issue. The fact that Koresh was capable of setting the fire, of killing his own followers, that parents were capable of killing children, or adults were capable of killing children, really says more about the mentality of the individual that you were dealing with and the difficulty in trying to figure out the best way to talk he and his followers out of that compound.

After the Raid

Today the only building on the site is a small chapel erected years after the raid. The building itself was razed. The incoming head of the ATF, John Magaw, was critical of the raid and made the Treasury Department’s Blue Book report on the matter required reading for incoming agents.

Nine Branch Davidians received sentences of up to 40 years for counts including voluntary manslaughter and weapons charges. Several other Davidians, including foreign nationals, were imprisoned indefinitely as material witnesses. Derek Lovelock, a British national, was held in McLennan County Jail for seven months, with the bulk of this time in solitary confinement. Livingstone Fagan claims to have been repeatedly beaten by guards at Leavenworth and other places. It was here that Fagan claims he was sprayed with cold water by a high-pressure hose before the guards put an industrial fan outside of his cell. Guards strip-searched him every time he left his cell, so he began refusing exercise.

Over 100 civil suits were brought against the government by Branch Davidians and their surviving families. Most of these were dismissed before ever coming before a jury. Where cases were brought to court, the Davidians were ruled against. A jury in San Antonio, however, acquitted Branch Davidians in the killing of four ATF agents on grounds of self-defense.

Perhaps the most important piece of evidence that the ATF fired first was lost. Houston attorney Dick DeGuerin testified under oath that the right-hand entry door to the building had only incoming bullet holes in it. A Texas state trooper testified that he saw two men load what looked like that door into a Uhaul. The Branch Davidians argued at trial that the condition of the left-hand door (i.e., intact) means that the right-hand door was not destroyed in the fire, but “lost” on purpose. There seems to be no better explanation considering how buttoned down the crime scene was and the stakes involved in shielding the ATF and other federal agents from the investigation.

The door was not the only evidence that was “lost.” The ATF’s footage of the original raid was also mysteriously (and miraculously, depending on what side you’re on) somehow lost. All this, despite congressional demands to produce both:

“I will just make one comment to the witnesses relative to the video and the front door. We have consistently asked as a committee to get a copy of the videotape which they now say is blank. We have asked for the door, and the door is missing.”

William H. Zeliff, Jr., U.S. Congressman, New Hampshire (R)

What the Waco Siege Tells Us About the Federal Government

The Waco siege does not provide any new or stunning insight into the federal government or how it operates. It does, however, confirm something that we know all too well: That when the federal government makes mistakes, its tendency is not to address and remedy those mistakes but to double down, come back harder, and take every measure they can to conceal their wrongdoing.

However, there is another more sinister strand to this story: Did the FBI kill men, women, and children because of budgetary concerns?

There is some evidence to suggest that they did. Federal law prevents the military from enforcing federal law. What’s more, any training that law enforcement agencies receive from the military must be paid out of their own budgets – unless the training is for enforcing “drug laws.” Late Congressman Steven Schiff of New Mexico testified that, ”In order for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to have obtained the military assistance they did receive, not because of the Posse Comitatus Act, but because of existing military policy, they misrepresented to the military that this was an anti-drug raid when it was never an anti-drug raid.”

In David Hardy’s “This is Not an Assault,” he stresses, “Once the military trainers pointed out that the ATF would have to pay, the ATF suddenly claimed that the Davidians – who in fact eschewed hard liquor, tobacco, cow’s milk, and junk food – were a ‘dangerous extremist organization’ believed to be producing methamphetamine.”

There is no evidence that the Branch Davidians were in any way involved in drug production. There is, however, ample evidence to suggest that the federal government callously ignored the lives and safety of those inside to grandstand before cameras and justify bigger budgets.

01/28/20

The Oregon Standoff: Understanding LaVoy Finicum’s Death & the Management of BLM Land

By: Sam Jacobs | Ammo.com

history of the Oregon standoffWhen one talks about the Bundy Family, the first thing that springs to mind is the standoff in Nevada in 2014. However, perhaps even more important is the standoff and occupation at Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. Indeed, the two events are often conflated because Ammon Bundy is the son of Cliven Bundy, the man who stood up to the federal government over “grazing fees” on the Bureau of Land Management land.

The occupation was a highlight for both the militia and the sovereign citizen movement as well as proponents of states’ rights. The main argument from those occupying the land is that the federal government is mandated by law to turn over the land that they manage to the individual states in which the land sits. This, they argued, was particularly true of the Bureau of Land ManagementUnited States Forestry Service, and United States Fish and Wildlife Service land.

The 2016 Oregon standoff was over two ranchers convicted of arson on federal lands – despite the fact that the men, a father and son pair named Dwight and Steven Dwight Hammond, did not want their support.

Harney County in rural eastern Oregon is one of the largest counties in the United States by landmass, but one of the smallest when it comes to population. With a mere 7,700 people, cows outnumber humans in Harney by a factor of 14-to-1. Nearly three-quarters of the land in the county is federally managed. The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established by then-President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. It’s a large area of the county and surrounding area at 187,757 acres.

How Federal Land Management Works

history of the Oregon standoffWhile each federal agency manages land differently, it is worth taking a closer look at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as a template case for how federal land management works in general.

The BLM manages fully 1/8th of all the landmass of the United States. The Bureau was created by then-President Harry S. Truman in 1946, through the combination of two existing federal agencies – the General Land Office and the Grazing Service. Most BLM land is concentrated in 12 Western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

There’s truth to the idea that BLM lands are largely lands that no one wanted to settle. The actual land is remnants held for homesteading that no homesteaders actually claimed. Ranchers, however, often use the land for grazing with 18,000 permits and leases held for 155 million acres. There are also over 63,000 gas and oil wells, as well as extensive coal and mineral mining. So while the land might be land that individuals don’t want to live on and farm, it is far from without value.

Part of the controversy in both the Nevada and Oregon standoffs was the question of ownership of these public lands. Cliven Bundy did not feel obligated to pay grazing fees for what is ostensibly “public” land that, the argument goes, is not owned by the federal government at all, but no one in particular. Similarly, the men who were convicted of “arson” on federal land weren’t terrorists or thrill-seeking firebugs. It was part of a longer-standing dispute with the federal government over their right to graze cattle on the land that started with the pair doing controlled burns that became uncontrolled. They became a cause celebre for the Bundy crew because they were another symbol of the conflict over who rightfully owned the land.

This comes down to a question of ownership: Can the federal government simply decide that it “owns” 1/8th of the country that is supposed to be set aside for the general public? Does the federal government have such authority or does this authority reside with the states? Homesteading was technically still allowed until 1976 (1986 in Alaska), but the formation of the BLM in 1964 effectively spelled the end of homesteading in the lower 48. The argument of Ammon Bundy and company was that the federal government had no such authority, which instead rested with the states.

In a certain sense, this is a purely academic question. In another sense, the federal government owns whatever it says it does, because who is going to say otherwise? However, this was the theory and argument that underpinned the occupation of the Wildlife Refuge.

What is Agenda 21?

It is briefly worth addressing “Agenda 21” before moving on, as many of those involved in the standoff believed in this. The veracity of Agenda 21 is not important for our purposes. What is important is that many of the people involved in the standoff believed it to be true.

Agenda 21 is a name for a supposed United Nations statement on reducing the world population from above 7 billion to below 1 billion. Those who believe this is a goal of the United Nations believe that it will take place effectively by hoarding everyone off of the land and into cities, where they will be reliant upon others for food production. They also believe that it will take the form of state-funded or state-mandated abortions. In some cases, they believe that autism caused by vaccines is a way to lower the population since people with autism are far less likely to have children than those without.

This is an important context for the standoff because some of those involved believed that they were not fighting for the freedom of two men they believed to be wrongfully convicted of arson or even over obscure questions of natural and Constitutional law, but for their very lives, livelihood, and posterity against a tyrannical would-be one-world government. One does not need to agree with the world view of these people to see it as an important factor in the standoff.

Who Are Bundy and Finicum?

history of the Oregon standoffAmmon Bundy is a name probably known to many readers of this website. He is the son of Cliven Bundy, the man who had previously stood up to the BLM over grazing rights in Nevada in 2014. Ammon had recently formed the group Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. A faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Ammon believed, as did his father, that his resistance to the federal government was not merely political, but specifically ordered by God.

Lavoy Finicum, also a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, was another leader of the movement. Like Cliven Bundy, Finicum decided that he was no longer going to pay grazing fees to the BLM. He published a video on YouTube where he stated that he did not believe that it was legal for the federal government to own the land in question, and cited Cliven Bundy as a direct inspiration for his new stand against the federal government. He refused to pay $12,000 in fees accrued in under six months.

Finicum had also been on the federal radar after he was erroneously named in a case against William Keebler, who planted a bomb at a BLM cabin. If there are any MSNBC viewers out there, you might know Finicum as “tarp man” due to his omnipresent blue tarp that he used to protect himself from the elements.

Background: The Hammond Arson Case

It’s not necessary to get too lost in the weeds on the Hammond arson case, however, it does bear a simple retelling. Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr. and his son Steven Dwight Hammond were convicted of two counts of arson in 2012, in relation to two fires they set in 2001 and 2006. The pair agreed not to appeal their sentences in exchange for having other charges dropped. The father served three months and the son served a year and a day, the whole of their sentence.

After release, however, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (who else?) demanded that they be resentenced. The pair were resentenced for five years, with credit for time served and ordered to return to prison. They were eventually pardoned by President Trump on July 10, 2018. However, in the interim, Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne made plans for what they called a peaceful protest. The Hammonds eventually rejected the help of this protest, but it went ahead anyway.

On November 5, 2015, Bundy arranged a meeting with Sheriff David Ward for later that day. Bundy and Payne insisted that the sheriff do all that he could to protect the Hammonds from returning to prison. Ward explained that there wasn’t much he could do. He also reported that Bundy and Payne became somewhat threatening and aggressive when he told them this. It was then that the specter of an armed militia was raised.

In early December 2015, both Bundy and Hammond had moved to the area. They began organizing a “Committee of Safety” modeled on those of the Revolutionary period. Local residents began to notice a lot of outsiders in the community at this time and they weren’t exactly a welcome addition – many would aggressively ask locals about their opinion on the matter. Local police and federal employees in the area reported that they, their spouses and even their children had been followed home or to school by militia members. Open carry became common in a place where, previously, it had not.

The situation was incredibly tense. There were two public forums early in January 2016, designed to defuse tensions between locals and militia members. After a peaceful January 2nd protest ended, Ammon Bundy urged people to join him in an armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The Standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Ammon and Ryan Bundy moved to the refuge with a number of armed participants and began setting up defensive positions. Law enforcement largely avoided the area due to the tense situation and the presence of armed militia members. The standoff continued for six weeks, largely without incident. There was a lot of bluster, mostly from the Bundy camp, but not much happened for the most part. Court orders were issued and ignored. January 6th saw a fistfight between a group called “Veterans on Patrol” and militants in the refuge.

Indeed, the occupation was largely uneventful, save for the death of LaVoy Finicum. On January 26th, Finicum left the refuge with other leaders and supporters of the occupation in a two-truck convoy. It was here that federal authorities attempted to arrest him for the first time using a traffic stop. Ammon Bundy and Brian Cavalier were peacefully arrested at this time.

Finicum was quite nearly arrested. His truck was stopped and hit with a 40mm plastic-tipped round of pepper spray. It was at this time that he refused to kill the engine on his truck and informed officers that the only way they were going to prevent him from reaching his rendezvous point was to shoot him. He is reported to have yelled at the Oregon State Police: “You back down or you kill me now. Go ahead. Put the bullet through me. I don’t care. I’m going to go meet the sheriff. You do as you damned well please.”

Seven minutes after the stop, Finicum drove off in his truck with two passengers. His truck became stuck in the snow before a roadblock. He narrowly avoided hitting an FBI agent. He ran out of his truck and was fired upon twice by the Oregon State Police, which they did not initially disclose. One hit his truck and the other went wild as Finicum moved around in the snow. According to the FBI, he alternated between holding his hands up and reaching toward his jacket where he had a loaded semi-automatic weapon.

According to the Oregon State Police, Finicum repeatedly yelled, “You’re going to have to shoot me!” and the officers considered him a lethal threat to an officer armed only with a taser. They claimed that he reached for his pocket. Two officers fired a total of three times with a third officer holding his fire when he realized that a fourth shot wasn’t needed. He was provided with medical assistance 10 minutes after the shooting.

According to footage and witnesses featured in the documentary American Standoff, officers shot Finicum the moment he stepped out of his truck with his hands up and continued to fire shots at the vehicle as well as gas the other two passengers.

Aftermath of the Occupation

FBI Agent W. Joseph Astarita was prosecuted for five counts of lying to investigators in relation to Finicum’s death. He was acquitted on all of them. A tape of the incident was released to the public, however, as is often the case, people saw what they wanted to see. The Finicum family commissioned a private autopsy but did not share the results with the public. Finicum’s widow Jeanette filed suit against the Oregon State Police, while his family filed a wrongful death suit against the federal government, the State of Oregon, the Bureau of Land Management and many other public officials and government organizations.

The occupation continued for another two weeks but had largely lost steam as the militants’ leaders had mostly been arrested or surrendered or both. On the afternoon of February 10th, some remaining militants drove past a roadblock at high speed. Michele Fiore attempted to mediate the situation and de-escalate. This resulted in the remaining militants surrendering at 8 am the next day.

All told, 27 militants were arrested in relation to the occupation, 26 of these for a single federal count of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S. from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats. Several of these were indicted on state charges as well.

Why Does the Oregon Standoff Matter?

The standoff in Oregon matters for two main reasons: First, it is yet another example of how an armed population can sway the hand of government. Remember that the Hammonds eventually were pardoned. But more than this, it provides a lesson in how not to go about resistance.

There is nothing to be gained by occupying an area where the local population is unsupportive. In the case of the Oregon occupation, while many in the area were sympathetic to the Hammonds and expressed such at public forums designed to mediate between the locals and the militia, the militants were largely outsiders who had come into the area to support someone who didn’t even want their support. For their part, the militiamen weren’t by all accounts going out of their way to win hearts and minds.

None of this requires absolving the federal government or the Oregon State Police for their role in the matter. It does, however, shine a light on the role of optics and tactics when confronting federal power. All things considered, this might not have been the right battle to pick.

There is one last point to be made, however: Despite the outcome, the federal government now has another example to look to that will urge it to exercise caution and restraint when dealing with armed protesters. This was not a situation like Waco or Ruby Ridge. The Second Amendment and militia movements have learned a lot from these incidents in terms of responding before things spiral out of control.

The occupation might not have been perfect, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it.

01/4/20

Charles Parker: The Forgotten History of Parker Brothers and its Legacy of Collectible Shotguns

Ammo.com

history of Charles ParkerCharles Parker is one of those quintessential “American Dream” stories whose business success was forged during the War Between the States and America’s subsequent western expansion. It’s a rags-to-riches tale that combined ingenuity, hard work, and determination to create a multi-generational, family-owned business known for both introducing small-bore shotguns and producing collector pieces. His firearms were so inspiring that nearly 90 years since the company was sold, and over 75 years since a gun has been crafted with the Parker name, these high-quality guns are still sought out among collectors and the Parker Brothers name is considered a classic among gun enthusiasts.

The eleventh of 12 children, Charles Parker was born on January 2, 1809, in the town of Cheshire, Connecticut. Although the family was poverty-stricken, Charles was not deterred in his ambitions and always strived for success. To help make ends meet, Charles started working as a farmhand during his teen years, and as he grew into adulthood, he worked as a button maker and then made coffee mills.

After four years in the coffee mill industry, Charles decided he was tired of working for others and was determined to create his own business. At the age of 23, with 70 dollars in his pocket, Charles Parker started a coffee mill plant. The original plant ran on literal horsepower (which rumors claim was blind and half lame) until 1844 when sales increased to the point that consumer need demanded he switch to steam engine power.

The Beginning of Parker Brothers

This same year, Parker joined forces with Oliver Snow and formed Parker, Snow, Brooks, & Company, which would eventually become known as the Meriden Machine Company and later include Parker Brothers, a side company that would manufacture the iconic Parker shotgun. A machinery and foundry, the company employed 120 men and produced coffee mills, lamps, tools, silverware, and grain mills. It also helped put Meriden, Connecticut, on the industrial map, where it would stay for years to come.

Always a shrewd businessman, Parker released a catalog that showcased not only items crafted from his plants but also goods that other companies were selling. These companies included in Parker’s catalog were companies he had invested in, allowing him to provide a secondary source of income for himself and his family.

But in 1860, the American Civil War broke out and the Parker Snow Company, as it was then called, was contracted to produce 15,000 Springfield rifled muskets for the Union army. As he knew little about firearms, Parker hired gunsmith brothers, William and George Miller, who assisted in the transition to manufacturing arms.

By the end of the Civil War, Charles was joined by his brothers Edmund and John, and the three of them, intrigued by the success of their war gun sales, decided to continue manufacturing long guns.

While the company continued to manufacture the breech-loading rifles that had been commissioned by the Union forces, the brothers started work on a design for a shotgun, which they figured could be marketed to those “going west,” who would need reliable and effective firearms to both protect and provide.

Parker Brothers’ Innovative Shotguns

Around 1867, Charles was elected as the first Mayor of Meriden and his three sons, Wilber, Charles Eddy, and Dexter, all took a company role to the newly rebranded Parker Brothers – the division of Meriden Machine Company that would continue to make firearms. The following year, they released the first Parker shotgun, an innovative double-barrelled breech-loading percussion hammer gun. Parker Brothers eventually offered shotguns in various configurations, including 8 gauge, 10 gauge, 11 gauge, 12 gauge, 14 gauge, 16 gauge, and 20 gauge.

Charles Parker Senior died on January 31, 1902, just a few weeks after he turned 93, but the companies he built continued to thrive for decades.

In 1903, Parker Brothers released the first-ever 28 gauge, a small-bore shotgun at only 0.550 inches. Even with its small size, the 28 gauge proved effective and became a trusted standard in both upland hunting and competition shooting.

In 1926, Charles’ grandson Wilbur Parker Junior and Wilber’s son Charles debuted the first .410 bore Parker shotgun, which Charles had actually crafted in 1924 while apprenticing at Gun Works.

The manufacturing of firearms continued at Parker Brothers until 1934 when the impact of the Great Depression led to the sale of the company to Remington Arms, which continued to use the Meriden, Connecticut plant for another four years. In 1943, the last Parker shotgun left the Remington plant, ending an era that lasted 80 years and accounted for an estimated 245,000 shotguns.

Charles Parker’s company and the guns it created are highly prized additions to any gun collector, and many bring in upward of $100,000. Parker shotguns are considered by many to be the best and most collectible shotguns in America. They’ve graced the shooting shoulders of American icons like Annie Oakley and her husband Frank Butler (who were rumored to have owned at least 12 Parker shotguns), Clark Gable, and Ernest Hemingway.

Today there is even a Parker Gun Collectors Association, which celebrates and memorializes Parker muskets and shotguns.

12/15/19

Operation Fast and Furious: The Forgotten History of the ATF’s Notorious Gunwalking Scandal

Ammo.com

Operation Fast and Furious: The Forgotten History of the ATF's Gunwalking ScandalThe ATF isn’t all bad. In fact, they had a policy of letting illegal gun purchases go between 2006 and 2011. It ended up getting U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry killed on December 14, 2010, and let Mexican criminals get enough guns that they were found at over 150 crime scenes where Mexican citizens were either killed or maimed. And some of the guns were used in the November 2015 terrorist attack in Paris at the Bataclan. But other than that, it turned out just fine.

(In case you’re not picking up on it, we’re laying on the sarcasm very thick right now.)

You probably know what was officially called “Project Gunrunner” as “Operation Fast and Furious.” Started under George W. Bush, this ATF policy audaciously grew under President Obama and became indicative of the perceived attack on American gun owners by both policymakers and their friends in the establishment media.

It’s one of many scandals of the Obama Administration that was never given as much press attention as, for example, Russia buying Facebook ads about NoFap and Pizzagate. Given that the guns run by the ATF were allowed to kill hundreds and that subsequent Congressional investigations resulted in Eric Holder, President Obama’s Attorney General, becoming the first sitting cabinet member to be held in criminal contempt of Congress ever, this is shocking. At least for anyone still under the illusion that the establishment media is a fair and impartial source of information.

Sit down and get ready to dig into what is perhaps the most egregious scandal of President Drone’s administration – and there’s a lot to pick from.

What Was Project Gunrunner?

Project Gunrunner was a project of the ATF, designed to intercept weapons bound for Mexican criminal organizations. The ATF (the same people who entrapped peaceful, law-abiding citizen Randy Weaver into selling them a single sawed-off shotgun, then pursued him as if he was mounting an armed insurrection, shooting and killing his wife, son, and dog) decided to allow straw purchases (which are technically legal but often involve the crime of providing false information when purchasing a firearm) to happen in the hopes that these purchases would end up in the hands of Mexican criminal organizations.

Yes, really.

The thinking was that, rather than going after crimes considered to be small potatoes, the ATF could focus on bigger fish – organizational gun-running in the Southwest and over the border in Mexico. By letting guns purchased illegally to “walk” (i.e., not be prosecuted), the federal government can keep an eye on them, arresting people for much more serious crimes later. That’s the idea, anyway, but the execution ended up being something much different.

Beginning in 2006, the Phoenix Office of the ATF not only allowed but also facilitated and encouraged, straw purchases of firearms to known weapons traffickers. They then allowed the weapons to “walk” to Mexico. Gun Owners of America has stated that they believe this was an attempt to boost statistics for the ATF, thus securing more funding – most of the funding for this came from $40 million in competitive grants from the 2009 “stimulus package,” which was largely a giant giveaway to large banks.

(Such self-serving actions by the ATF are not unheard of. During the congressional inquiry following the ATF’s siege of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Henry Ruth, one of the three independent reviewers from the U.S. Treasury Department, testified that: “The ATF needed good publicity. With its appropriations hearings a week away, a successful raid this size would produce major positive headlines to counter the ATF’s reputation as a rogue agency whose debacles blackened the reputations of other agencies. And it would scare the public enough about fringe groups to create political pressure on Congress to increase its budget.”)

Some legitimate gun dealers objected to being involved in Project Gunrunner, as did some ATF agents, but they were strongarmed into participation by top brass. What’s more, the practices that became associated with Project Gunrunner were in opposition to long-established ATF operating procedures.

What Was Operation Wide Receiver?

What later became known as “Operation Fast and Furious” is actually only one operation among many under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner. Another was known as Operation Wide Receiver, which ran from early 2006 to late 2007, on George W. Bush’s watch.

In this case, a licensed firearms dealer notified the ATF of a suspicious purchase and was subsequently hired as a confidential informant. The ATF began monitoring straw purchases made through this dealer. During the operation, the dealer sold 450 weapons, including AR-15s chambered in .223, AKs chambered in 7.62×39, and Colt .38s. The lion’s share of these weapons were lost after moving south of the border – only 64 of the weapons were seized before crossing the Mexican border. Most of the cases for the prosecution were so flimsy that the U.S. Attorney’s Office was reluctant to pursue prosecution in any of them. The Bush-era Department of Justice declined to prosecute any of these cases.

The Obama Administration began prosecuting cases in 2010, three years after the project ended. Eventually, nine cases were prosecuted, all for process crimes, with one case dropped, five defendants pleading guilty, one sentenced and two remaining fugitives.

What Was Operation Fast and Furious?

As stated above, Operation Fast and Furious was only one of several such operations. The name itself, “Operation Fast and Furious,” is related to the fact that the suspects were involved in car racing together.

Operation Fast and Furious simply picked up the gun-walking practices which had been going on previously, as if they were new again. Once again, the operation began when a firearms dealer contacted the ATF about a suspicious purchase. Unlike Operation Wide Receiver, many of these purchases involved hundreds of weapons. What’s more, there was no official collaboration between the firearms dealers and the ATF. Perhaps most disturbing is that both Mexican law enforcement officials and the Mexico City Office of the ATF were left completely in the dark about what was going on.

In January 2010, the ATF applied for and received additional funding, and was reorganized as a strike force that included members of the ATF, FBI, DEA, and ICE, run through the United States Attorney’s Office rather than under the jurisdiction of the ATF.

The weapons dealers started raising red flags because they kept seeing the same straw buyers over the course of months purchasing the same weapons over and over again, which is highly unusual. Standard practice is that the dealers tend to only see straw buyers again at trial, if at all. What’s more, the ATF generally arrests the straw buyer and members of the larger criminal organization at the point of transfer, confiscating the weapons in the process. Not only did this not happen under Operation Fast and Furious, but top brass within the ATF prevented agents on the ground from following standard operating procedures.

All told, by June 2010, suspects surveilled under Operation Fast and Furious had purchased over 1,600 weapons at a total spend of over $1 million. At that time – not at the end of the operation – the ATF was aware of over 300 of these weapons being found at crime scenes, 179 in Mexico and 130 in the United States.

To put it bluntly, the ATF facilitated gun trafficking that resulted in crimes on American soil.

The Death of Brian Terry

On December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, along with other members of the United States Border Patrol, was on patrol about 11 miles from the Mexican border. When they came across five suspected illegal aliens, they fired bean bags and were responded to with live ammunition. During the resulting firefight, Terry was killed. Four of the suspects were arrested and two AKs found nearby were traced back to Operation Fast and Furious within hours.

The bullet that killed Terry was too damaged to be conclusively linked to the operation. The Acting Deputy Attorney General and the Deputy Chief of Staff were notified but did not think the murder of a United States Border Patrol Agent was important enough to contact the Attorney General. Eventually, ATF Agent John Dodson contacted Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who was the major force behind investigating the ATF’s practice of gun-walking.

This effectively marked the end of Operation Fast and Furious. When all was said and done, approximately 2,000 weapons were purchased through straw buyers that the ATF let walk. Of these, 389 were recovered in the United States, 276 in Mexico, with the balance remaining on the streets. In at least one case, ATF Agent John Dodson was directly involved in the transfer of firearms to a known weapons trafficker.

The Fate of the Furious: What Happened to All Those Guns?

Weapons transferred with ATF compliance and assistance have continued to turn up at crime scenes long after the end of Operation Fast and Furious. Former Attorney General Eric Holder has stated on the record that he believes the weapons will continue to turn up for years to come. The weapons have been used in several high-profile crimes in Mexico, including the use of a .50-cal against a Mexican police helicopter and the murder of a Mexican beauty queen.

The most noteworthy crime the weapons have been used in, however, is the coordinated Islamist attacks on Paris in 2015, including the famous attack against the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan. The ATF itself tracked weapons used in the attack to a Phoenix dealership known to be associated with Operation Fast and Furious.

There is virtually no way to know how many people and American citizens are dead because of the unethical actions of the ATF.

Congress Investigates Operation Fast and Furious

A Congressional investigation was led by Representative Darrell Issa of California, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Senator Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This was done at the behest of ATF whistleblowers.

Attorney General Eric Holder claimed ignorance about the operation, something that was later called into question by a number of sources. Meanwhile, ATF Agent Vince Cefalu was fired in June 2011, likely for his role in exposing the operation to the general public. He later testified before Congress that purchases of AKs and .50-cals were happening “daily” and that nothing was done, saying, “I cannot begin to think of how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.”

Several of those in charge of the operation were promoted and transferred to Washington – not fired nor even reprimanded. U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Dennis K. Burke admitted to leaking sensitive documents about Dodson, the chief whistleblower, to the public. Senator Grassley believes that Burke was falling on his sword to protect his superiors in the Justice Department. Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee laid the blame not on any senior officials within the ATF or the Justice Department, but squarely within the Phoenix Office.

Attorney General Eric Holder almost certainly withheld documents and concealed evidence, continuing to deny any knowledge of gun-walking. He was threatened with Contempt of Congress and strongarmed into appearing for the seventh time. A Congressional report on Holder described his view of the murder of Agent Terry as “a nuisance.” The report further stated that Holder knew about gun-walking in general and Operation Fast and Furious in particular – he even knew that the weapons involved in the shootout resulted in the death of Agent Terry – as far back as 2010. The Congressional report further accused Attorney General Holder of stonewalling Grassley’s investigation.

On June 20, 2012, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to recommend holding Holder in contempt of Congress. This was related to 1,300 pages of documents that the Department of Justice refused to hand over to Congress. Earlier that day, and at the request of close personal friend Holder, President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege for the first time during his administration.

On June 28, 2012, Holder received the dubious distinction of becoming the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in criminal contempt of Congress. The House voted 255-67 in favor of Holder’s refusal to disclose internal DOJ documents in response to a Congressional subpoena. Congress, likewise, voted on a civil contempt measure by a 258-95 margin. This allows the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to go to court with a civil lawsuit testing the executive privilege claim.

In March 2017, the Justice Department’s Inspector General found that the Dallas Office of the ATF could have arrested some of the men involved in ICE Officer Jaime Zapata’s death, but refused to act.

The civil case was eventually settled in 2019, with the Justice Department agreeing to release more documents at long last.

The ATF’s budget is currently frozen at 2016 levels (an effective budget cut given inflation and built-in increased expenses, like salaries and rent) and it does not have a Senate-approved director, in part because of this scandal and what some believe is a Trump Administration directive to slowly choke off the government alphabet agency – which is one of the most hated among his base.

As a parting thought: It is worth noting that this is the worst thing that the ATF has been caught doing since the attack on Randy Weaver’s family or the incineration of women and children at Waco. This raises the important question of what it is that they’re doing that we don’t currently know about.

12/9/19

The Culpeper Minutemen Flag: The History of the Banner Flown by a Militia of Patriots

Ammo.com

The Culpeper Minutemen Flag: The History of the Banner Flown by a Militia of PatriotsThe Culpeper Flag is often mistaken as a modern variation of the iconic “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsden Flag – and rightly so. What many don’t know is that the Culpeper Flag was inspired by its Gadsden counterpart, and both have become touchstones of the Second Amendment Movement.

While remarkably similar to its Gadsden relative, the flag of the Culpeper Minutemen is arguably cooler – and significantly more obscure. While it has the same coiled rattlesnake and “Don’t Tread on Me” legend, the Culpeper Flag is white, it carries the additional motto “Liberty or Death,” and when historically correct, a banner bearing the name of the Culpeper Minutemen.

The rattlesnake had been a symbol of American patriotism since the time of the French and Indians Wars. In 1751, Benjamin Franklin wrote an editorial satirically proposing that, in return for boatloads of convicts being shipped to the American Colonies, that the Colonies should return the favor by shipping back a boat filled with rattlesnakes to be dispersed. Three years later in 1754, Franklin published his famous “Join or Die” comic. This early symbol of American unity urged colonists in Albany to join the collective defense of the American Colonies during the French and Indian Wars. The rattlesnake symbol once again became a popular mascot of American unity after the Stamp Act.

The Origins of the Culpeper Militia

The Culpeper Minutemen were formed on July 17, 1775, in a district created by the Third Virginia Convention. This district consisted of the Orange, Fauquier and the titular Culpeper counties. In September of that year, 200 men were recruited for four companies of 50 men from Culpeper and Fauquier, with an additional 100 men for two companies from Orange. By order of the District Committee of Safety, the Culpeper Minutemen met under a large oak tree in a large field currently part of Yowell Meadow Park in Culpeper, Virginia.

When the Revolutionary War came, the Culpeper Minutemen chose the Patriot side. It was at this time that they also adopted their standard-bearer that can be seen adorning pickup trucks of modern-day patriots from sea to shining sea. Their first action during the American Revolution was to defend Virginia capital Williamsburg after the Royal Governor, John Murray, Lord Dunmore, confiscated the gunpowder.

The Culpeper Boys Arrive in Williamsburg

They cut quite a sight arriving in the aristocratic capital, wearing heavy linen shirts dyed the color of the local foliage and carrying tomahawks and knives for scalping. Philip Slaughter, who served with the Culpeper boys as a 16-year-old, said that the colonists looked at them much as they might the Indians themselves. The Culpeper Minutemen, however, were no roughnecks, but a disciplined and orderly squad who quickly earned the respect of their new charges.

During the Revolutionary War, the area where the Culpeper boys were organized was still the frontier. So they were often called to more populated and settled areas. For example, the Culpeper Minutemen fought in Hampton when the British tried to land troops there, at the request of the local authorities. The Culpeper Militia successfully mounted an attack on the arriving ships, shooting the men who were manning the cannons and guns on the ship, preventing the British from landing.

The Battle of Great Bridge

The Culpeper Minutemen were also involved in the December 1775 Battle of Great Bridge, which is one of the places where historians agree that their flag was carried in battle. Here they met the troops of their old enemy Dunmore. This was an American rout. It marked the final gasp of colonial power in Virginia.

While it doesn’t get as much attention in history books, the situation in Revolutionary Virginia was arguably as tense as it was in Revolutionary Massachusetts. Dunmore had dismissed the colonial assembly, the House of Burgesses, as well as the aforementioned confiscation of gunpowder. The gunpowder was confiscated without incident, but Dunmore feared for his life and fled the colonial capital, placing his family on a Royal Navy ship in the harbor.

In October, Dunmore had finally gained enough military support among Loyalists in the colony to begin military operations. This included attacks on the local civilian populations in an attempt to confiscate military materials that might be used by the rebels. On November 7, Dunmore declared martial law and even went so far as to offer emancipation to all slaves willing to fight in the British Army. Indeed, he was able to raise an entire regiment to that effect.

The local forces numbered a scant 400. However, reinforcements from neighboring areas, including the Culpeper boys, helped to balloon this number. Dunmore, however, had old intelligence that left the numbers at the original 400. The battle ended with the British forces spiking their guns to avoid capture by the Revolutionary forces.

When all was said and done, there were 62 British casualties by British count and 102 by the count of the rebels. The rebels had only a single casualty – a slight thumb wound. The Virginians considered this to be their Bunker Hill. The Patriots refused to allow the overcrowded ships (where the Tories sought refuge) to be resupplied, which resulted in the bombardment of Norfolk and its looting and destruction by rebels. Dunmore, considered the greatest threat to the Revolution by many senior rebel officers, was eventually forced out of Virginia entirely in August 1776.

Reports indicated that the British were highly intimidated by the reputation of the frontiersmen who would be arriving at the battle. This undoubtedly provided them with a psychological advantage in what was an important battle.

The Death and Resurrection of the Culpeper Minutemen

The Committee of Safety ordered the group to disband in January 1776, however, almost all of the Culpeper boys kept on fighting – either as Continental militiamen or underneath senior officers such as Daniel Morgan.

The fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, John Marshall, was one of the first Culpeper boys.

When the War Between the States came, the Culpeper Minutemen were reconstituted under the old oak tree where they first organized generations prior. This was in 1860, and they once again carried the same flag as their forefathers. They were eventually integrated into the regular army of the Confederate States of America, as part of Company B of the 13th Virginia Infantry, where they served for the duration of the Civil War.

The Minutemen came together again during the Spanish-American War but were never activated. During World War I, the Culpeper boys organized once again, this time under the auspices of the 116th Infantry. The modern-day Alpha Company Detachment, 2nd Regiment of the Virginia Defense Force, considers themselves to be a descendent of the Culpeper Minutemen, probably with their roots in the First World War.

While many of the Revolutionary War flags flown by Patriots today have dubious origins, the Culpeper Flag is one of the few banners that we know for certain was flown by Patriots during the Revolutionary period. It also offers a succinct statement of the values of the American nation: Liberty or Death – and a stern warning to those who would threaten our liberty.

12/7/19

USMCA “Trade Agreement”, the North American Union, an Article V convention, and Red Flag Laws: Connecting the Dots

By: Publius Huldah

The Globalists have long been in the process of setting up a dictatorial and totalitarian oligarchy over the United States.  Now they are putting the last pieces in place.  That is what is behind the pushes for the USMCA “Trade Agreement”, an Article V convention, and red-flag and other laws to disarm the American People.  The Globalists want to move the United States into the North American Union.

USMCA “Trade Agreement”

The USMCA “Trade Agreement” is, in reality, a Transfer of Sovereignty Agreement.  It provides for the economic and financial integration of Canada, the United States, and Mexico.   In addition to putting the three countries under global regulation of a host of issues such as patents, environmental regulation, labor, immigration policy, prohibition of discriminatory practices respecting sexual preferences and “gender identity” in the workplaces; 1 it puts the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in control of our economy and binds us to submit to an international monetary system which is to be administered and enforced (at least initially) by the IMF and which will replace our collapsing Federal Reserve system.2

Every word, clause, sentence, paragraph, page, chapter, and appendix of the USMCA “Trade Agreement” is in blatant violation of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

North American Union

The North American Union brings about the political integration of Canada, the United States, and Mexico.  The Task Force Report on Building a North American Community [link] sponsored by The Council on Foreign Relations provides for (among other horrors):

  • increasing the “cooperation and interoperability among and between the law enforcement agencies and militaries.” The Report thus indicates that the plan is to combine the functions of law enforcement and the militaries of the three countries, so as to create a militarized police force consisting of Canadians, Mexicans, and Americans (pages 10-12). 3
  • a North American Advisory Council, with members appointed by Canada, the United States, and Mexico, to staggered multiyear terms to “provide a public voice for North America”; and a “North American Inter-Parliamentary Group” which will have bilateral meetings every other year; and a trinational interparliamentary group to meet in the alternating year (pages 31-32).

To merge the functions of our police and military and combine it with those of Canada and Mexico; 4 and to permit a Parliament to be set up over and above the United States, is altogether repugnant to our existing Constitution.  But this is what the Globalists and the Political Elite of both parties want.  Before they can impose it on us, they need to get a new Constitution for the United States.

An Article V Convention

And that’s the purpose of an Article V convention – to get a new constitution for this Country which legalizes the USMCA “Trade Agreement” and transforms the United States from a sovereign nation to a member state of the North American Union.

But Americans don’t want another constitution, and they don’t want to be moved into the North American Union.

So!  Some of those pushing for an Article V convention, such as the “Convention of States Project” (COS) are marketing a convention to appeal to conservatives.  COS and their allies such as Mark Levin claim to be for limited government and say they want a convention to get amendments to “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government”.  Sadly, those who don’t know that our Constitution already limits the power and jurisdiction of the federal government to a tiny handful of enumerated powers [they are listed on this one-page Chart] fall for the marketing.5

But some of those pushing for an Article V convention, and certainly those financing the push for a convention, 6 actually do intend to “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government”; and they intend to do it by transferring the powers our Constitution delegates to the federal government (plus the powers reserved to the States or the People) to the global government which they are setting up over us.7

This Flyer shows why Delegates to an Article V convention (called for the ostensible purpose of proposing amendments to our existing Constitution) have the right and power to ignore their instructions and impose a new Constitution which puts us under a completely new Form of government – such as the North American Union.  

Red flag Laws & Gun Confiscation

When Americans finally see what has been done and how they have been deceived, they will be angry.  That’s why they must be disarmed now.  But all federal gun control laws for the Country at Large are unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers granted to Congress; as in violation of Article I, §8, clauses 15 & 16; and as in violation of the Second Amendment.  And any pretended State law which contradicts its State Constitution or which interferes with Congress’ power (granted by Art. I, §8, cl. 16) to “organize, arm, and discipline, the Militia”, is also unconstitutional [link].  

Red flag laws also violate the privileges and immunities clause of Article IV, §2; and the due process clauses of the 5th Amendment and §1 of the 14th Amendment. US Senator Marco Rubio’s (Fla.) malignant red flag law [link] appropriates a total of $100 Million to pay to States and Indian Tribes which pass the red flag legislation set forth in Rubio’s bill.

And Trump says respecting red flag laws, “Take the guns first, go through due process second.” [link].

Stop the Globalists: Oppose the USMCA “Trade Agreement” and an Article V Convention

While the Trump Administration hammers the Globalists’ nails into our coffin, his trusting supporters censor criticism of the USMCA “Trade Agreement” – even though the Agreement is so long and incorporates so many other Agreements it is unlikely that any of them (including Trump) have read it.

And demagogues in the pay of Globalists have convinced constitutionally illiterate Americans that the solution to all our problems is to get an Article V convention.

Endnotes:

1 Christian Gomez: USMCA and the Quest for a North American Union & What’s Really in the USMCA?  Publius Huldah: The USMCA “Trade Agreement” violates our Constitution and sets up Global Government.

2 Publius Huldah: So You Think Trump Wants To Get Rid Of The Fed?

3 Meanwhile, the UN is building a global military & police force.  See “United Nations Peacekeeping” [link] and think of the ramifications of such a militarized global police force.  Who will be able to resist?

4 Mexico’s culture is notoriously criminal.  If we permit Globalists to get an Article V convention and a new Constitution which moves the United States into the North American Union, you can expect to see militarized Mexican police operating within our [former] Country.  And soon, they will be wearing blue helmets.

5 It is possible that Mark Levin and the hirelings promoting a convention (such as Mark Meckler, 6 Tom Coburn [link], and Jim DeMint [link]) don’t know what the actual agenda is.  And it is almost certain that COS’s constitutionally illiterate celebrity endorsers and lemmings don’t know.  People who don’t know that our Constitution already limits the federal government to a tiny handful of enumerated powers and that our problems are caused by ignoring the Constitution we have are easily deceived by the ridiculous claim that we must amend our Constitution to make the federal government obey it.

Our Framers always understood that the purpose of an Article V Convention is to get a new Constitution [link].  This is why James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and four US Supreme Court Justices, among others, warned against it [link].

6 It is the Globalists, primarily the Kochs and George Soros, who are funding the push for an Article V convention.  See, e.g.,

  • Kochs Bankroll Move to Rewrite the Constitution [link].
  • George Soros assault on U.S. Constitution [link]
  • Mark Meckler is president of “Citizens for Self-Governance” which launched the “Convention of States Project”. This website discusses funding for Citizens for Self-Governance.
  • Koch brothers from Conservapedia [link]

7 The transfer of power from our federal government to global government by means of the USMCA “Trade Agreement” is illustrated here.

12/3/19

Georgia on My Mind

By: Linda Goudsmit | Pundicity

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is poised to select Kelly Loeffler to replace Georgia’s retiring Republican Senator Johnny Isakson. Kemp’s choice has provoked vehement opposition from conservative Georgians and the White House. Why is Kemp’s choice so controversial?

For starters, President Trump helped Kemp get elected, and POTUS has made it widely known his preference to fill the senate vacancy is conservative Rep. Doug Collins.

So, who is Kelly Loeffler and why is she controversial?

Businesswoman Kelly Loeffler is the chief executive of Bakkt, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE) and co-owner of Georgia’s Women’s National Basketball Association team the Atlanta Dream. Atlanta News Now reports that Loeffler’s application to Governor Kemp states:

“From working on the family farm to creating jobs and opportunity in the business world, I have been blessed to live the American Dream. I am offering myself to serve hardworking Georgians as a political outsider in the United States Senate to protect that dream for everyone.”

But that’s not all!

Kelly Loeffler is married to Jeffrey Sprecher the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE) and Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. Jeffrey Sprecher owns the NYSE? Yep!

A December 12, 2013 Reuters article, ICE completes takeover of NYSE, describes the transaction, “The deal, which was worth $10.9 billion as of November 1, gives ICE control of Liffe, Europe’s No. 2 derivatives market, as well as the New York Stock Exchange, which has been at the center of American capitalism since it was started in 1792.”

According to Wikipedia, “Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) is an American company that owns exchanges for financial and commodity markets, and operates 12 regulated exchanges and marketplaces. This includes ICE futures exchanges in the United States, Canada, and Europe, the Liffe futures exchanges in Europe, the New York Stock Exchange, equity options exchanges and OTC energy, credit, and equity markets. ICE also owns and operates 6 central clearing houses: ICE Clear U.S., ICE Clear Europe, ICE Clear Singapore, ICE Clear Credit, ICE Clear Netherlands, and ICE NGX.”

According to Fortune Magazine, “In August 2018 Intercontinental Exchange announced it was forming the new company Bakkt, which is intended to leverage Microsoft online servers to manage digital assets. Bakkt was said to be working with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), MicrosoftStarbucks, and others to create a software platform. The Bakkt ecosystem is expected to include federally regulated markets and warehousing along with merchant and consumer applications. Its first use cases will be for trading and conversion of Bitcoin (BTC) versus fiat currenciesKelly Loeffler is Bakkt’s CEO.”

Bakkt, a subsidiary of Sprecher’s Intercontinental Exchange, was valued at $740 million after series A funding round March 2019. So what is the problem and why does it matter that Loeffler is Bakkt’s CEO?

Kelly Loeffler and Jeffrey Sprecher’s personal wealth is not the problem, their philosophical aspirations regarding globalized trading with a global cryptocurrency like Bitcoin through Bakkt is the problem.

Today’s worldwide clash between globalism and national sovereignty is reflected in American politics. The Leftist/Globalist axis has attacked the America-first agenda of President Donald Trump and repeatedly attempted to unseat him through impeachment or defeat him in the 2020 presidential election.

The unsuccessful coup attempts against President Donald Trump have been coordinated by the deep state through the intelligence community to destabilize and overthrow the president because of his America-first policies. President Donald J. Trump is the existential enemy of globalism and is unapologetically committed to American freedom and American sovereignty. His presidency is challenged by the Democrat party support for open borders and uncontrolled immigration that facilitates the one-world government envisioned by the globalist political elite.

The difference between global trade and globalism is being intentionally blurred to disguise globalism’s sinister objective of a New World Order of internationalized one-world government. One of the essential requirements for national sovereignty is a national currency. The United States dollar is our country’s national currency. Globalists Kelly Loeffler and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher support the internationalized cryptocurrency they are promoting with Bakkt where trades will be conducted with Bitcoin instead of fiat currency like the U.S. dollar.

Bitcoin is the world’s first global, digital currency. Its use eliminates the need for central banks or even the nation-state’s government that regulates banks. Bitcoin is the global currency of an internationalized planet. It is the currency of globalism’s New World Order and one-world government.

The fact that Kelly Loeffler is a woman, a business leader, and a registered Republican cannot erase her $750,000 support for globalist RINO Romney in 2012, or the globalist ambitions of the Bitcoin exchange she leads. Kelly Loeffler is a globalist and a dangerous choice for American sovereignty because her Senate vote could theoretically tip the scale against President Trump’s America-first agenda.

Globalists are determined to stack the political deck with senate seats of Romney supporters like Loeffler rather than republicans who support President Trump’s America-first agenda like Georgia Rep. Doug Collins.

So, who is Governor Brian Kemp and why would he choose a globalist like Kelly Loeffler? Georgians want to know – and so do I.

11/11/19

Veterans Day: The Forgotten History of America’s Veterans Day and What It Commemorates

Ammo.com

Veterans Day: The Forgotten History of America's Veterans Day and What It CommemoratesVeterans Day, celebrated each year on November 11th, was first celebrated on this same date in 1919, under the name of Armistice Day. The holiday was named in remembrance of the temporary ceasefire that brought about the unofficial end to World War I when, the year before, the Allied forces entered into an armistice with the Germans, stopping live battle on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

A year later, and nearly five months after the official end of the First World War (which occurred on June 28, 1918, with the Treaty of Versailles), President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th the first commemoration with the following:

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with the gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

He called for parades and public gatherings and a brief moment of silence at 11 a.m. Two years later, on November 11, 1921, an unidentified American soldier was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in what became known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Celebrating America’s Heroes: Armistice Day

It wasn’t just the United States that remembered the end of the great war; countries around the world celebrated Armistice Day in 1919, and many still do today. In Canada, they call it Remembrance Day, and Great Britain celebrates Remembrance Sunday on the second Sunday of each November.

In 1926, a Congressional resolution was passed, making Armistice Day a recurring federal holiday, stating that it should be “commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through goodwill and mutual understanding between nations.” As a side note, the federal government can’t force the states into celebrating a holiday, as it’s not within its jurisdiction, but most states adopt the federal holiday calendar.

Celebrating America’s Veterans: Veterans Day

Although the ceasefire – believed to have occurred on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 – was the end of the war to end all wars, history has shown the naivete of the era.

Perhaps the Allied forces showed too much sympathy with the Treaty of Versailles. By the time the war-ending document was signed, seven months after the armistice in November, much of the Allied troops had returned home. And no one, not the United States nor Britain nor France, wanted to remain in Germany or Austria to make sure the terms of the treaty were enforced. What’s more, the Treaty did not require an unconditional surrender; the German troops, although defeated, were not disbanded.

As the embittered Marshal Ferdinand Foch of France, supreme commander of the Allied forces, presciently concluded of the Versailles settlement: “This is not peace. It is an armistice for 20 years.”

Foch was right. Twenty years after the 1919 settlement, the German army under Hitler – himself a decorated veteran of World War I who helped to spin the yarn that the German army hadn’t been defeated in the field, but instead betrayed by the Jews at home – invaded Poland to start World War II, which would cost the world roughly four times as many lives as World War I.

This time, over 16 million American soldiers, a whopping 42 percent of war-aged men, headed out to battle. And while we lost over 400,000 to the war, many of those men and women returned home. Shortly thereafter, tension began to rise in Korea, and by 1950, the Korean War began. Another 1.8 million troops were again sent across the sea.

By the end of the summer of 1953, after the Korean War ended, about one in every two service-age men were veterans and it was decided that Armistice Day would be officially be changed to Veterans Day – honoring all veterans from all wars.

Changing Throughout the Years: Veterans Day Today

Throughout the years, Veterans Day has changed, sometimes to its benefit and sometimes not. For instance, in 1968, the federal holiday – along with Memorial DayGeorge Washington’s birthday, and Columbus Day – was switched to a Monday celebration to help encourage travel and tourism in the country.

A few years later, in the brief period from 1971 to 1975, the date was changed again. Instead of the Monday closest to the original Armistice Day, the government opted to set Veterans Day as the fourth Monday in October.

This change wasn’t joyfully accepted by the American public, as many held emotional ties to the origins of Veterans Day. After a few years, the date was reverted back to November 11th.

Now, a century from the original remembrance of Armistice Day, the holiday is still celebrated on November 11th. If the 11th day of the 11th month falls on a Saturday, the day is observed on the previous Friday. If it falls on a Sunday, the holiday is observed on the following Monday.

Different areas celebrate Veterans Day in different ways. Most public schools close (normally on the Monday closest to the holiday), as do all federal buildings, most banks, and many businesses. There are parades and celebrations to honor veterans. Perhaps the most iconic is the annual wreath-laying ceremony that happens at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Many areas still observe a moment of silence at 11 a.m. to remember all veterans, those that are still here, those that have gone on, and those that never made it home. It’s also not uncommon to see the American flag flown at half-mast.

Regardless of political leanings, Veterans Day is about recognizing the dedication and sacrifice of America’s veterans. If you want to show support, attend a parade. Volunteer at your local VFW. Visit a VA hospital and spend some time talking to the men and women who are unable to attend such events. And when you see a vet, shake their hand, and thank them for their service.