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.

12/4/19

Our world is a work in progress

By: Tabitha Korol

It was by sheer chance that I came across a letter written by a self-described unqualified person who nevertheless had the temerity to comment at length where s/he had little expertise.  The venue was classes held for and taught by retirees, usually professionals in their field.   This course concerned the history of America, our progress over the past 100 years, and the changes to our culture.  The presenter was Captain F of the United States Navy, who has Masters’ degrees in Engineering, Naval War College (Home of Thought for the USN), and International Affairs; and the complainant was someone who, despite the years, seems to have joined the mindset of those high school and college students who fulminate emotionally against concepts that differ from their own, excusing themselves from the need to offer substantive facts.

M. Sands” is a fitting appellation as sand is a fine mass that is quite unusable for any kind of construction – in this instance, the building of ideas.  It was clear from his/her letter that here was just another person who had uncritically accepted the language of the left regarding climate change and  sustainability, yet felt qualified to dismiss these seminars as “unproductive.”

Rather than intelligently ponder the information offered over the six-week-course period by a man who had achieved the distinguished position and rank of captain in the United States Navy, the complainant chose to cower behind a full set of conditioned prejudices.  S/he expected the instructor to provide a summation on what we must do now to achieve world peace when the world doesn’t even share the same definition of “peace.”  For us, it is security, respect, harmony, mutual understanding and an end to hostilities.  For Islam and socialism, it is living in complete subservience under either of those totalitarian ideologies.

In the written grievance, Sands asked how America should go forward into the “new world,” meaning that s/he had already defined the world with the terminology of the left – the catastrophists who have alienated and polarized so many people with their frenetic campaign to reduce the standard of living for most of Earth’s population.  Despite Sands’s rigid beliefs, no credible scientific body has ever said that climate change threatens the collapse of civilization, much less predict the extinction of the human species.  There is no scientific basis for the doomsayers – not that humans will die or even how they would die.  The world is a work in progress.

What is true is that we are being subjected to a barrage of lies and pseudo-science by the so-called elite, with the purpose of frightening the masses (particularly the children, the next generation) into surrendering every aspect of daily life to their control – from the food we eat to the clothes we wear, to lessened healthcare, diminished transportation, and to the impoverished life that existed before the Industrial Revolution.  They do not reveal that today’s humans produce enough food for 10 billion people, 25% more than needed, and wheat yield relies more on tractors, irrigation and fertilizer, and fossil fuels for shipments than on climate changes.  The denial of our freedom of choice is the Golden Fleece coveted by the lef, who exalt themselves as the only ones with the percipient intelligence to be trusted.

Captain F spelled out what we should know, and he rightly did not presume to provide a definitive recipe for the future. This would have been presumptuous, considering that the vagaries of the future, our choices for good or ill, remain in flux.

We know that natural disasters have occurred throughout history, but the displacement of people is more often due to armed conflict, especially in Islamic regions.  However, economic development makes us less vulnerable to most of the threats.  With the increase in our expertise in transportation and aid (such as first responders to areas of natural disasters), there has been a 99.7% decline in the death toll from those natural disasters.  Therefore, advancement and improvement under the auspices of our current administration should continue unimpeded.

Instead of promoting safety, comfort and an improvement in the economies that allow people to stay in their home countries, the Globalist-leftists are using these now-restive populations to destabilize western societies.  Migrants from Central and South American countries have the hope of living better, some expecting handouts, but it is known that the encouragement and financing are made by the left for a globalist agenda, and they include George Soros, transnational organizations, corporations, churches, celebrities, and more.  Migration from Arabic countries is due primarily to the harsh life dictated by Islamic law and by the Koranic command to spread Islam worldwide, whether by an overwhelming population or by the sword.  The subsequent increased crime rate throughout Europe is destabilizing the entire continent, causing the indigenous population to leave.  Many have concluded that this disruption is by design.

The UN guidelines about CO2 that call for the masses to eat, dress and live as in an earlier era do not apply to the elite.  We will stop driving our cars, but they will continue their transnational flights.  The future that should concern us is one that is dominated by an overarching Big Government, the United Nations, that assumes it knows best and therefore has the right to manage the lives of the ignorant masses.  Their influence extends deeply into academia, as children are always the first line of attack.  Schools are robbing the students of an education that teaches critical thinking, the power to reason, the essential ability to make decisions based on facts rather than feelings.  The ability to think for oneself is lethal to the Globalist-leftist agenda.

The educational textbooks, rife with Islamic and Marxist propaganda, must be replaced with the moral law of our Judeo-Christian heritage.  The left is planning to return our world to the era prior to the Industrial Revolution, with the populace unable to create or grasp how to improve their lot.  This is why we must not cede our rights to government-controlled healthcare, gun control, indistinct borders and the loss of our sovereignty.

Sands demands a complete itinerary of our future direction.  We have no strategy other than staying the course set for us by our Founding Fathers and not being overcome by those who want to destroy our progress.  Sands called us arrogant, but it is not arrogance to say that we have created the best nation on the planet with the best laws by which to live and thrive, and ours is the ultimate destination of migrants.

When Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” he unhesitatingly replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”  The best way to ensure that Islam, socialism, Marxism, etc., do not get to overtake us, is to continue to work for the American ideals of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, by maintaining the strongest defense for times of war while still living in peace; encourage research and production, and be an inspiration to people in other nations.   We must never accept the ideologies that lead to the restriction of liberty, the forfeiture of happiness and even the loss of life.

I believe that we are back on course despite an eight-year setback and if our current administration is permitted to continue with reducing taxes, balancing trade with other countries, improving our military (Teddy Roosevelt’s “Walk softly and carry a big stick”), and disallowing the Marxist faction of our government to take hold, we will be able to look forward to a good future for generations to come.  And those like M. Sands who are self-censoring will hopefully continue to benefit from a social order with which s/he is allowed to disagree because the one s/he espouses would not tolerate such dissent.

The actual names have been removed to protect their privacy.

With acknowledgment to Charles Scaliger, author of “Act Now to live poor”; The New American; 11.4.19 edition.

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.

11/7/19

Article 5 of the US Constitution: What “Convention of States Project” (COS) isn’t telling you

By: Publius Huldah

  1. Article 5 provides two ways to amend our Constitution: Congress (1) proposes amendments and sends them to the States for ratification (this was done with our existing 27 Amendments); or (2) calls a convention for proposing amendments if two-thirds of the State Legislatures apply for it. We’ve never had a convention under Article V – they are dangerous! 1
  2. But today, various well-funded factions are lobbying State Legislators to ask Congress to call an Article V convention. One faction, the “Convention of States Project” (COS), claims to be for limited government and is marketing the convention to appeal to conservatives. COS claims (falsely) that our Framers told us to amend the Constitution when the federal government violates the Constitution.2
  3. COS’s claim is absurd – it’s like saying that since people violate the Ten Commandments, God should amend the Ten Commandments.
  4. COS’s claim is false. Not only did our Framers never say what COS claims,
  • Our Constitution already limits the power and jurisdiction of the federal government to a small handful of enumerated powers (they are listed on this one-page chart).3  Furthermore, it’s impossible to rein in the federal government with amendments because when the feds usurp powers not delegated, they are ignoring the existing constitutional limitations on their powers.
  • All of the proposed amendments produced by COS and their sympathizers markedly INCREASE the powers of the federal government by delegating powers the federal government has already usurped; by granting new powers to the federal government; by transferring power from Representatives elected by the People to the Deep State; or by stripping States of their existing sovereign powers.4 See:

Mark Levin’s “liberty” amendments: legalizing tyranny,

COS Project’s “simulated convention” dog and pony show and what they did there,

The “Regulation Freedom” Amendment and Daniel Webster,

Parental Rights Amendment: Selling You and Your Kids Out to Big Government

Wolf PAC’s Amendment for “fair and free elections”, and

Term Limits: A Palliative not a Cure 5

  1. So what’s the real agenda of those (primarily George Soros and the Kochs) who are financing the push for a convention? A convention provides the opportunity to replace our existing Constitution with a new constitution which moves us into a completely new system of government, such as the North American Union (NAU).  Under the NAU, Canada, the United States, and Mexico are economically and politically integrated and a Parliament and combined militarized police force are set up over them.6

The phrase within Article V, “a Convention for proposing Amendments”, doesn’t restrict the Delegates to the Convention to merely proposing Amendments.  Our Declaration of Independence recognizes that a People have the “self-evident Right” to throw off their government and set up a new government.7  We’ve already invoked that Right twice:  In 1776 we invoked it to throw off the British Monarchy; and in 1787, James Madison invoked it to throw off our first Constitution, the Articles of Confederation (AOC), and set up a new Constitution [the one we now have] which created a new government.

This is what happened:

There were defects in the AOC, so on Feb. 21, 1787, the Continental Congress called a convention to be held in Philadelphia

“for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”

But the Delegates ignored their instructions from Congress, and similar instructions from their States 8 and wrote a new Constitution which created a new government.  Furthermore, the new Constitution had its own new mode of ratification:  Whereas amendments to the AOC had to be approved by the Continental Congress and all of the then 13 States; 9 the new Constitution provided at Article VII thereof, that it would be ratified when only 9 States approved it.

And in Federalist No. 40 (15th para), James Madison, who was a Delegate to the Federal “amendments” Convention of 1787, invoked that same Right as justification for the Delegates’ ignoring their instructions and writing a new Constitution which created a new government.10

  1. If we have a convention today, the Delegates will have that same power to get rid of our second Constitution and impose a third Constitution. New Constitutions are already prepared or in the works!  One of them, the Constitution for the Newstates of America, is ratified by a national referendum (See Art. XII, §1). The States don’t vote on it – they are dissolved and replaced by regional governments answerable to the new national government.
  2. So why was the convention method added to Article V? The Anti-federalists wanted it added because they wanted another convention so they could get rid of the Constitution just drafted.  James Madison and Alexander Hamilton understood that a people have the right to meet in convention and draft a new constitution whether the convention method was in Article V or not.  So this is why Madison and Hamilton went along with adding the convention method to Article V; and this is why, as early as April 1788, they and our future first US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay started warning against another convention.
  3. Using the pretext of merely getting amendments, the Globalists want a convention so they can complete their coup against us and get a new Constitution which moves us into the New World Order.
  4. States should rescind the applications they have already submitted to Congress.

Endnotes:

1 That is why James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, four US Supreme Court Justices, and other jurists & scholars warn against it!  See their words HERE.

2 See Michael Farris’s quote HERE. None of our Framers said such a silly thing as Farris claims!  Our Framers actually said the purpose of Amendments is to remedy defects in the Constitution, and they all knew that the real purpose of a convention is to get another constitution.

3 IGNORANCE is our problem.  Americans don’t know what our Constitution says.  Can you recite by heart the enumerated powers granted to Congress over the Country at Large?

4 Mark Levin’s amendment to “grant the States authority to check Congress” [p. 169 of “The Liberty Amendments”] provides that three-fifths of the state legislatures may vote to override a federal statute and certain Executive Branch regulations provided that the States do so within a certain time period.  When that time period has expired, the States are forever prohibited from exercising the override.

Levin’s amendment would strip the States of their long-recognized individual natural right – much written about by our Framers – to NULLIFY all acts of any Branch of the federal government which violate our Constitution. See Nullification: The Original Right of Self-Defense and What Should States Do When the Federal Government Usurps Power?

5 The federal term limits amendment would transfer power from US Senators and Representatives (elected by the People) to the Deep State (a massive body of nameless, faceless, and unelected bureaucrats who would become the PERMANENT AND TOTALLY UNACCOUNTABLE GOVERNING BODY).

6 For the Love of God, your Country and your posterity, READ the Council on Foreign Relations’ Task Force Report on the NAU. This is what the Establishment Elite wants and can get with a convention!

7 The Declaration of Independence is part of the “Organic Law” (the Fundamental Law) of our Land.

8 This Delegate Flyer summarizes the instructions the States gave the Delegates.

9 See ART. 13 of the Articles of Confederation.

10 In Federalist No. 40 (15th para), James Madison says the Delegates knew that reform such as was set forth in the new Constitution was necessary for our peace and prosperity.  They knew that sometimes great and momentous changes in established governments are necessary – and a rigid adherence to the old government takes away the “transcendent and precious right” of a people to “abolish or alter their governments as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness,” … “and it is therefore essential that such changes be instituted by some INFORMAL AND UNAUTHORIZED PROPOSITIONS, made by some patriotic and respectable citizen or number of citizens…”

10/28/19

The USA PATRIOT Act: The Story of an Impulsive Bill that Eviscerated America’s Civil Liberties

Ammo.com

The USA PATRIOT Act: The Forgotten History of the Bill that Destroyed America's Civil LibertiesThe USA PATRIOT Act provides a textbook example of how the United States federal government expands its power. An emergency happens, legitimate or otherwise. The media, playing its dutiful role as goader for greater government oversight, demands “something must be done.” Government power is massively expanded, with little regard for whether or not what is being done is efficacious, to say nothing of the overall impact on our nation’s civil liberties.

No goals are posted because if targets are hit, this would necessitate the ending or scaling back of the program. Instead, the program becomes normalized. There are no questions asked about whether the program is accomplishing what it set out to do. It is now simply a part of American life and there is no going back.

The American public largely accepts the USA PATRIOT Act as a part of civic life as immutable, perhaps even more so than the Bill of Rights. However, this act – passed in the dead of night, with little to no oversight, in a panic after the biggest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor – is not only novel, it is also fundamentally opposed to virtually every principle on which the United States of America was founded. It might not be going anywhere anytime soon, but patriots, liberty lovers and defenders of Constitutional government should nonetheless familiarize themselves with the onerous provisions of this law, which is nothing short of a full-throttle attack on the American republic.

What’s Even in the USA PATRIOT Act?

What is in the USA PATRIOT Act? In the Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11then Rep. John Conyers cracked wise about how no one had actually read the act and how this was in fact par for the course with America’s laws. Thus, before delving into the deeper issues surrounding the PATRIOT Act, it is worth discussing what the act actually says. Here’s a brief look at the 10 Titles in the PATRIOT Act:

  • Title I: Enhancing Domestic Security Against Terrorism: This provision dramatically expands the powers of the President, the military and the intelligence community whenever the specter of “terrorism” is invoked. Bizarrely, it contains a provision condemning discrimination against Arabs, Muslims and South Asians, which seems to have very little to do with protecting Americans from terrorism.
  • Title II: Enhanced Surveillance Procedures: Title II contains the meat of the Act with regard to massive, industrial-scale surveillance on the American public. Beyond the simple spying on Americans and their communications, Title II increases the ability of federal intelligence agencies to share your private communications with one another.
  • Title III: International Money Laundering Abatement and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act: Not simply a section of the USA PATRIOT Act, Title III is an Act of Congress in its own right. You might have noticed how much more difficult it is to open a bank account or send a wire transfer after 9/11. You can blame this provision, which shredded banking privacy rights in the United States.
  • Title IV: Protecting the Border: Other than expanding the number of federal employees (of course), the provision of the USA PATRIOT Act charged with protecting America’s borders does little other than point toward paths for future action and study. It is worth noting that the weakest provision of the act is the only one explicitly authorized by the Constitution — protecting the border.
  • Title V: Removing Obstacles to Investigating Terrorism: Title V authorizes bounties for the apprehension of alleged terrorists, broadens government power to conduct DNA analysis, allows for greater data sharing between law enforcement agencies and, perhaps most disturbingly, requires private telecommunication carriers to comply with government requests for electronic communication records whenever requested by the FBI. It also expands the power of the Secret Service to investigate computer fraud.
  • Title VI: Providing for Victims of Terrorism, Public Safety Officers and Their Families: Perhaps the most innocuous portion of the USA PATRIOT Act, Title VI provides for a victims’ fund for victims of terrorism and their families.
  • Title VII: Increased Information Sharing for Critical Infrastructure Protection: The subtitle of this section of the act is a rather wordy way of saying that the United States federal government is allowing for law enforcement agencies to share information across jurisdictional boundaries in an easier fashion than was previously legal. To that end, the Bureau of Justice Assistance was given a $50,000,000 budget for 2002 and a whopping $100,000,000 budget for fiscal year 2003.
  • Title VIII: Strengthening the Criminal Laws Against Terrorism: Title VIII is where the rubber meets the road: What exactly is terrorism, according to the federal government? Unfortunately, this Title does little to clarify what terrorism is, instead focusing on declaring a number of actions (such as attacks on transit) as “terrorism,” regardless of intent.
  • Title IX: Improved Intelligence: The section subtitled “improved intelligence” largely expands the powers and responsibilities of the Director of Central Intelligence.
  • Title X: Miscellaneous: When the federal government titles a segment of a law “miscellaneous,” you know it’s going to include everything and the kitchen sink. And so it does: The definition of electronic surveillance, additional funds for the DEA in South and Central Asia, research on biometric scanning systems, a limitation on hazmat licensure and infrastructure protections are all addressed in Title X, which is a catchall for everything the federal government forgot to address in the first nine sections of the law.

Most of the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act were set to sunset four years after the bill was passed into law. However, the law was extended first by President George W. Bush and then by President Barack H. Obama. The latter is particularly scandalous given that, at least in part, a rejection of the surveillance culture that permeated the Bush Administration was responsible for the election of Obama in 2008.

Passing the USA PATRIOT Act

Next, it’s important to remember the environment in which the USA PATRIOT Act was passed: Post-9/11. It is not the slightest bit of exaggeration to label the environment in which the PATRIOT Act was passed as “hysterical,” nor is “compliant” a misnomer for the Congress of the time. Opposition to the Act was slim and intensive review of one of the most sweeping acts of Congress in American history was nonexistent.

All told, Congress took a whopping six weeks drafting, revising, reviewing and passing the PATRIOT Act. That’s less time than Congress typically spends on totally uncontroversial and routine bills that don’t gut the Fourth Amendment. The final vote found only 66 opponents in the House and one (Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold) in the Senate. The entire passage of the PATRIOT Act, from start to finish, took place behind closed doors. There were no committee reports or hearings for opponents to testify, nor did anyone bother to read the bill.

“Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” is the bloated and overwrought full name of the bill, crafted by a 23-year-old Congressional staffer named Chris Cylke. This ridiculous name puts the focus not on the surveillance aspects or the erosion of basic civil liberties enshrined in Western society since the Magna Carta, but on patriotism. At the time of its creation, the messaging was very clear: Real patriots support massive intrusions on civil rights. As President George W. Bush said at the time, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” This sentiment very much seemed to apply to American citizens.

While the argument that if you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t fear investigation is anathema in a Constitutional republic with regard to citizens, it should be standard operating procedure when it comes to our organs of government. If we cannot expect transparency from the United States Congress – elected officials charged with representing the will of the people and protecting the Constitution – then we certainly can’t expect it anywhere else.

The Unfortunate Growth of the USA PATRIOT Act

It’s no surprise to those in the liberty movement that given an inch, the government (in particular the military-intelligence community) took a mile. Even the nebulous definition of “terrorism,” largely centered around a long litany of acts rather than the motivation behind them, has expanded to include receiving military training from a proscribed organization (without actually committing any terrorist acts or even acts of violence of any stripe) as well as “narcoterrorism” – the latter particularly convenient, as the United States government continues its losing “War on Drugs.”

Indeed, in many ways, the War on (Some) Drugs was the template for the War on Terror. Both wars have no defined enemy, no defined terms of victory. Instead, they are waged against a nebulous concept, while enjoying bipartisan support for their ever-expanding budgets. What’s more, it didn’t take long for the Feds to start using the USA PATRIOT Act for things it was never intended for, including prosecuting the War on Drugs.

Perhaps the silliest application of the USA PATRIOT Act is the prosecution of Adam McGaughey. McGaughey maintained a fansite for the television series Stargate SG-1. The Feds charged him with copyright infringement and computer fraud. In the course of their investigation, the FBI leveraged the PATRIOT Act to get financial records from his website’s ISP. This was made possible by the USA PATRIOT Act amending the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, allowing for search and seizure of ISP records.

The New York Times discovered in September 2003, that the USA PATRIOT Act was being used to investigate alleged drug traffickers without what would otherwise be sufficient probable cause. These were investigations into non-terrorist acts using a law ostensibly designed to investigate terrorism. There was some suspicion that the Act was being used to investigate crimes occurring before the act was passed, violating the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution.

In one of the biggest power grabs (excluding virtually everything we know from Edward Snowden – more on that below), the FBI sent tens of thousands of “national security letters” and procured over one million financial records from targeted businesses in Las Vegas. These businesses were primarily casinos, car rental bureaus, and storage spaces. The data obtained included financial records, credit histories, employment records, and even people’s personal health records.

The FBI maintains and databases this – and, indeed, all information collected through the USA PATRIOT Act – indefinitely. In the good old days before the PATRIOT Act, the Feds were compelled to destroy any evidence they collected on someone later found not guilty of a crime. Note that the aforementioned data collection brought to public attention by Edward Snowden (which, again – we’re getting to that) falls under this provision. Not only is the government collecting obscene amounts of private and personal information about you, they’re also storing it indefinitely with no plans to stop.

What’s more, the FBI has approached public libraries to turn over the records for specific terminals, collecting information not about specific users who might be under investigation, but about anyone who has ever used the computer at the public library. Libraries, to their credit, have been very much at the forefront of resistance against the PATRIOT Act, with some litigating compliance despite operating on small budgets and others posting “canary letters,” which effectively say “The FBI Hasn’t Been Here Yet.” The removal of such a letter would warn patrons that the FBI has been sniffing around in their records.

Indeed, the greatest criticism of the PATRIOT Act is the simplest and perhaps most obvious: Why does an act ostensibly passed to fight terrorism so drastically expand the government’s power to investigate virtually everyone else? The PATRIOT Act is not merely unconstitutional, it is an unprecedented expansion of state power in the Anglosphere, a culture based on restricted government and the primacy of individual rights.

An excellent example of this is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) expansion. Most people are familiar with the term “FISA court,” but very few people actually know what it is – a special federal court created under the Carter Administration that grants approval of electronic surveillance of both citizens and resident aliens in the event that they are accused of acting in the service of a foreign power. The last part of this sentence is very important: The FISA courts are not simply for allowing surveillance of anyone that it might be expedient to collect information about. The scope of their powers is very, very limited.

Or was.

The PATRIOT Act lowered the burden of evidence required to obtain a FISA warrant for electronic surveillance and expanded the overall scope of the FISA courts. Any savvy federal agent can now drape his charges in the garb of (what else?) “national security” and obtain electronic surveillance privileges hitherto only dreamed of by investigators. FISA courts have become pliant tools in the hands of the Feds, gladly approving their requests to monitor phone and internet surveillance, as well as access to medical, financial and educational records.

The Future of the USA PATRIOT Act

Do we still need the PATRIOT Act? Did we ever? All laws are certainly a product of their times. But this seems much more acutely true of the USA PATRIOT Act, which was passed in a rush and under duress without due consideration.

Particularly in light of the revelations from Edward Snowden – that the government is spying on everything they possibly can – it’s worth asking if there’s any walking back. He points out that the police state apparatus was originally for drug dealers, then for terrorists, but ultimately ended up being applied to anyone and everyone.

What’s more, Bob Bullard notes another frightful aspect of the USA PATRIOT Act: Terrorism-related cases are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This means that there is little or no oversight. There is no surer hallmark of a police state than an all-powerful domestic surveillance agency with no transparency or oversight. While the USA PATRIOT Act might not create an American Stasi as such, it certainly paves the way for one.

09/11/19

The 9/11 Attacks: Understanding Al-Qaeda and the Domestic Fall-Out from America’s Secret War

Ammo.com

The 9/11 Attacks: Understanding Al-Qaeda and the Domestic Fall-Out from America's Secret WarWith American military personnel now entering service who were not even alive on 9/11, this seems an appropriate time to reexamine the events of September 11, 2001 – the opaque motives for the attacks, the equally opaque motives for the counter-offensive by the United States and its allies known as the Global War on Terror, and the domestic fall-out for Americans concerned about the erosion of their civil liberties on the homefront.

Before venturing further, it’s worth noting that our appraisal is not among the most common explanations. Osama bin Laden, his lieutenants at Al-Qaeda, and the men who carried out the attack against the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon are not “crazy,” unhinged psychopaths launching an attack against the United States without what they consider to be a good reason.

Nor do we consider then-President George W. Bush to be either a simpleton, a willing conspirator, an oil profiteer, or a Machiavellian puppet whose cabinet were all too happy to take advantage of a crisis.

The American press tends to portray its leaders as fools and knaves, and America’s enemies as psychopathic. Keeping the narrative simple – “Black and white,” “good versus evil,” “right and wrong,” etc. – is intellectually easy, even with something as complex as the 9/11 attacks.

Instead, it is our considered opinion that the events of 9/11 and those that followed in direct response to the attacks – including the invasion of Iraq – were carried out by good faith rational actors who believed they were acting in the best interests of their religion or their nation.

This does not in any way absolve the principals from moral responsibility for the consequences of their actions. It does, however, provide what we believe to be a more accurate and nuanced depiction of events than is generally forthcoming from any sector of the media – because we see these principals as excellent chess players who, in the broad sweep of events, engaged in actions which are explicable.

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08/15/19

Annie Oakley: The Forgotten History of the Most Iconic American Woman Sharpshooter

By: Ammo.com

Annie Oakley: The Forgotten History of the Most Iconic American Woman SharpshooterPhoebe Ann Moses (or perhaps Mosey) was born on August 13, 1860, to humble beginnings. The daughter of Quakers, America’s first female superstar grew up log-cabin poor in the rural western Ohio county of Darke. From this rough start to entertaining world leaders, Phoebe Ann Moses, better known as Annie Oakley, was not only an icon of the American West, she was, and still is, a hero to women and girls from coast to coast.

Annie’s story begins as the youngest of eight siblings. Already poor, the family became desolate when Annie’s father died when she was six. Her mother remarried quickly, but was widowed a year later and soon after bore another child. Left with too many mouths to feed and little choice, Annie’s mother turned Annie, then nine, and one of her sisters into the care of the superintendent of the Darke County Infirmary, a home for the elderly, orphaned, and mentally ill.

In exchange for her room and board, Annie helped care for the family’s children and the Infirmary’s patients. While there, she learned to sew and decorate clothing, a skill that she used for the rest of her life.

Annie was then transferred to a neighboring home, to a family with a new child, and was told she would receive an education and $.50 a week for her services. Instead, she was treated like a slave, abused, and neglected. Eventually, Annie ran away from the family that she only referred to as “the Wolves” and made her way back to her mother’s farm.

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