On April 23rd, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill “nullifying city and county gun restrictions” to ensure that it is legal to “openly carry firearms” throughout the state.
The law takes effect on July 1.
According to cjonline.com, the law will “sweep away restrictions on open carry.” It will also “prevent cities and counties from enacting restrictions on firearm sales or how guns are stored or transported.”
Supporters of the law say it will correct “a patchwork of local regulations [that have] infringed on gun-ownership rights.”
But Melissa Wangemann, legal counsel for the Kansas Association of Counties, believes the law “shows a lack of trust in local elected officials.” She said it takes away the ability of “pro-2nd Amendment counties” to expand concealed carry on their own.
Wangemann also said this law means her counties “can’t enact any regulation,” nor can they tell gun owners, “Keep your safety on, keep the gun on your side, don’t lay it on your desk.”
On March 25th, Breitbart News reported that West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) signed a bill eliminating local ordinances against carrying guns in his state as well.
Since I wrote the article titled “Disarming America’s Heroes” I have been inundated with emails and phone calls from veterans and the families of veterans. The horror stories I am hearing are proof that the VA and the Obama administration have launched an all out assault on the Constitutional rights of our nation’s wounded warriors and other veterans.
Veterans are being declared incompetent not because they have a serious mental illness that makes them a danger to themselves or others, but because they have a physical disability resulting from their service in the armed forces or because they simply let their spouses pay the family bills.
If veterans have minor issues with PTSD, have expressed that they are depressed sometimes, or even in the case of Vietnam veterans admit that they are getting older and sometimes forget to pay their bills on time, the bureaucrats at the VA will seek to declare them incompetent. (I am a 65 year old veteran and often forget where I put my car keys, does that make me incompetent to handle my own financial affairs and even worse mean that I can’t own a firearm?) According to the VA it apparently does.
All of this has resulted in America’s heroes being declared incompetent by a process that blatantly violates their rights to due process under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Then, for reasons that have not been explained these same veterans are also being denied their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Many of the veterans I have heard from were initially both scared because of what was happening to them, and hurt because it is their own government that is causing this fear. After all, when they joined the military they signed a blank check to their country to defend it and its Constitution even if it cost them their lives. Yet, now their own government is turning on them and taking from them the very Constitutional rights they fought to preserve.
However, now something else is happening; the fear and betrayal that these veterans felt is turning to anger. Their training and instincts as warriors is coming forth and they are once again prepared to fight for their rights and the rights of other Americans. I think that the Obama administration has picked a fight with the wrong dog. Veterans are fighting back.
As Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation (www.usjf.net) I am committed to helping these veterans and protecting their Constitutional rights. We are putting together a top notch legal team that is already exploring several potential avenues including administrative procedures and a class action lawsuit.
It will be a huge undertaking since we have veterans who have just received the letter telling them that the VA is considering declaring them incompetent, veterans who have already been declared incompetent and lost their Second Amendment Rights, and even veterans who have gotten the incompetence ruling reversed, but are still blacklisted when it comes to buying firearms. There will be no charge to any veterans or their families that we represent. We will raise the money to finance our efforts from private sources.
There are those detractors who claim that the letter from the VA is not real even though several reporters have contacted me and said they have talked to representatives of the VA and it is confirmed that it is sending out these letters. The VA apparently downplays this by saying it is not a big deal. I suggest that to the veterans who are losing their rights it is a very big deal and we intend to join them in the fight.
If you are a veteran or have a friend or family member who is a veteran and has received one of these letters or already been declared incompetent, please contact me and the USJF. We intend to come out swinging. Our veterans deserve nothing less.
– Michael Connelly, Constitutional Attorney and United States Army Veteran –
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a group of law students that it might be a good idea to revolt if taxes become too high in the future.
While speaking at the University of Tennessee College of Law on Tuesday, Justice Scalia was asked by a student about his interpretation of the constitutionality of the income tax, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
The longest-serving justice currently on the bench answered the student by saying that the government has the constitutional right to implement the tax, “but if it reaches a certain point, perhaps you should revolt.”
Justice Scalia continued to tell the students that they have every right to express criticism of the government.
“You’re entitled to criticize the government, and you can use words, you can use symbols, you can use telegraph, you can use Morse code, you can burn a flag,” he said, according to the News Sentinel.
The Justice was invited to deliver the annual “Rose Lecture” and the Tennessee law school. He discussed pivotal events in his time in the Supreme Court including the decision in 1989 to rule that flag-burning was constitutionally protected speech.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Justice Scalia to the Supreme Court in 1986.
He told the law students that the justices do not give credence to partisan politics, and that he doesn’t care which party controls the White House. He stands by a theory of originalism, meaning that the Constitution is a fixed law and not open to change or interpretation over time.
“The Constitution is not a living organism for Pete’s sake,” he said. “It’s a law. It means what it meant when it was adopted.”
TIM CAMERON AND MIKE LEWIS
FRANK TOMLANOVICH, JEFF RICKABY, KENNY MARKS AND SCOTT CELELLO
When a young man or woman joins the United States military, one of the first things they do before even being shipped off to boot camp is take the loyalty oath. “I (state your name) do solemnly swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” The oath of enlistment goes on to say that the service member will follow orders of the president and the officers appointed over them per the regulations of the uniformed code of military justice. Most service members, at least I hope anyway, understand that there are illegal orders, and any order that goes against the Constitution is, in fact, an illegal order.
This oath means something to military personnel because most of us joined to defend the rights and liberties of all Americans, even those that don’t share our views. Sadly, many people have been inundated with the belief that the Constitution is an oppressive document that stands in the way of government creating the perfect paradise. In fact, in a report called Rightwing extremism: Current economic and political climate fueling resurgence in radicalization and recruitment the government calls anyone who refers to the Constitution and the limits of government power a domestic terrorist. Anyone who owns a gun is a terrorist, anyone who didn’t vote for Obama is a racist terrorist and anyone who is buying more than seven days of food at a time is now even referred to as a potential terrorist. Veterans are potential terrorists, probably because the government fears them finding out how they have been used, abused and lied to. Also, those who hold anti-abortion views are domestic terrorists.
Many of you may be wondering what the significance of all of this is. Harry Reid just referred to the Bundy ranch protesters as domestic terrorists and claimed that he was told a special task force is being set up to “deal with them.” A task force, mind you that is not loyal to the U.S. Constitution, but has likely been beaten down with the same lies and propaganda that is published in that fallacious report.
I don’t about the rest of you, but I have seen the way the U.S. government deals with terrorists. The fact that they are referring to their own people as possible terrorists should concern all of us.
How did we get to the point where a sleazy politician like Harry Reid, who for days now, reports have been surfacing exposing his involvement in this federal land grab, can get away with it and call average citizens domestic terrorists? I will tell you how, but you are not going to like it America. You became fat, lazy, and uninterested in defending the very liberties that were passed on to you from previous generations. You let the politics of envy, employed by selfish radicals and their lies; beat you into submission out of fear of appearing “uncompassionate” or uncaring. You let the politics of fear overwhelm your senses as little by little mental associations were created between what you fear the most and the unknown, until the point came when you let the government convince you that your neighbor shouldn’t be trusted if he questions the motives of big government. In other words America, you went to sleep and passed on your responsibility to someone else who didn’t share your same values.
The hour is later and much darker than most care to know. Many in America see no problem with the federal government that has the intestinal fortitude to surround one man and his family with three hundred armed troops, and then lie by claiming it’s about taxes and turtles. There are so many other ways this situation could have been dealt with folks, especially if Cliven Bundy was truly in the wrong. They intentionally set out to spark a confrontation so they could identify the resistors as domestic terrorists. Everything they need to eliminate the opposition is written into law or policy. The Patriot Act, The National Defense Authorization Act, both give the government broad powers when dealing with domestic terrorism. Some of us realized many years ago that someday those powers would be turned on us; others went to sleep, allowing the government to classify us as domestic terrorists for being concerned about such a thing.
This is the ultimate betrayal to all those who served in this nation’s uniform. They swore to defend the liberties of American citizens, and some gave their lives doing so while others showed up at the Bundy ranch to do it again. There is nothing in the Constitution that grants the government the right to do anything outside of its delegated authority folks. I know one thing for certain, sicking 300 armed federal agents on one man, from an unaccountable bureaucracy, is not in the job description of the federal government. If you are a liberal and can’t see this, then there is no hope for you. If you can’t understand that this power will turn on you the minute you disagree with them, then you get what you deserve. In my honest opinion, anything that happens from this point on is squarely in the hands of all of those on the right or the left that sat on the sidelines and did nothing.
It’s time for Western states to take control of federal lands within their borders, lawmakers and county commissioners from Western states said at Utah’s Capitol on Friday.
More than 50 political leaders from nine states convened for the first time to talk about their joint goal: wresting control of oil-, timber -and mineral-rich lands away from the feds.
“It’s simply time,” said Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who organized the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Lands along with Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder. “The urgency is now.”
Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, was flanked by a dozen participants, including her counterparts from Idaho and Montana, during a press conference after the daylong closed-door summit. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee addressed the group over lunch, Ivory said. New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington also were represented.
The summit was in the works before this month’s tense standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management over cattle grazing, Lockhart said.
“What’s happened in Nevada is really just a symptom of a much larger problem,” Lockhart said.
Fielder, who described herself as “just a person who lives in the woods,” said federal land management is hamstrung by bad policies, politicized science and severe federal budget cuts.
“Those of us who live in the rural areas know how to take care of lands,” Fielder said, who lives in the northwestern Montana town of Thompson Falls.
“We have to start managing these lands. It’s the right thing to do for our people, for our environment, for our economy and for our freedoms,” Fielder said.
Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke said Idaho forests and rangeland managed by the state have suffered less damage and watershed degradation from wildfire than have lands managed by federal agencies.
“It’s time the states in the West come of age,” Bedke said. “We’re every bit as capable of managing the lands in our boundaries as the states east of Colorado.”
Ivory said the issue is of interest to urban as well as rural lawmakers, in part because they see oilfields and other resources that could be developed to create jobs and fund education.
Moreover, the federal government’s debt threatens both its management of vast tracts of the West as well as its ability to come through with payments in lieu of taxes to the states, he said. Utah gets 32 percent of its revenue from the federal government, much of it unrelated to public lands.
“If we don’t stand up and act, seeing that trajectory of what’s coming… those problems are going to get bigger,” Ivory said.
He was the sponsor two years of ago of legislation, signed by Gov. Gary Herbert, that demands the federal government relinquish title to federal lands in Utah. The lawmakers and governor said they were only asking the federal government to make good on promises made in the 1894 Enabling Act for Utah to become a state.
The intent was never to take over national parks and wilderness created by an act of Congress Lockhart said. “We are not interested in having control of every acre,” she said. “There are lands that are off the table that rightly have been designated by the federal government.”
A study is underway at the University of Utah to analyze how Utah could manage the land now in federal control. That was called for in HB142, passed by the 2013 Utah Legislature.
None of the other Western states has gone as far as Utah, demanding Congress turn over federal lands. But five have task forces or other analyses underway to get a handle on the costs and benefits, Fielder said.
“Utah has been way ahead on this,” Fielder said.
Senator Rand Paul scolded Democrat Harry Reid last night for rhetoric Paul claims will lead to violence. Harry Reid called the Bundy Ranch supporters “domestic terrorists” several times this week after the standoff last weekend.
The Daily Caller reported:
Republican Senator Rand Paul called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to “calm the rhetoric” on Cliven Bundy, arguing the Nevada senator’s “domestic terrorist” comment was “liable to stir up” the situation and lead to violence.
The Kentucky senator spoke Thursday night with Fox News’ Eric Bolling, who was filling in for Sean Hannity. “Is there any need to call Americans domestic terrorists?” Bolling asked.
“No, I think what we should all be calling for is for calmer heads to prevail,” Paul said. “I don’t want to see violence on either side.”
“There is a legitimate constitutional question here about whether the state should be in charge of endangered species or whether the federal government should be,” Paul admitted. “But I don’t think calling people names is going to calm this down.”
“I think it’s liable to stir it up,” he continued. “So I think all parties – including Senator Reid – should calm the rhetoric a little bit. Let’s try to have a peaceful resolution to this.”
The EPA is in the process, right this very minute, of seizing control over all private land in the United States. They are following the United Nations blueprint, their minion Gina McCarthy is implementing it, and B. Hussein Obama is facilitating it.
Anywhere in America where it rains or where water collects or through which water moves will now, according to this new rule change they are implementing, be under their control. Not because Congress or the people give them that authority or jurisdiction, but simply because they are seizing the power. It is just another component of the illegitimate tyranny which is oppressing the American people.
On Tuesday the agency which operates as the misnamed Environmental Protection Agency unveiled their proposed change to the Clean Water Act, which would extend their regulatory control to temporary wetlands and waterways.
This definition consists of any water, including seasonal ponds, streams, runoff and collection areas and irrigation water. It could include runoff from watering your lawn, or puddles on your own property. They will control the presence of and can prohibit through regulation, your right to the water and your actions regarding water upon your own land. The opportunities for their abuse would be limitless.
Louisiana Senator David Vitter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, offered an understated precautionary objection stating, “The… rule may be one of the most significant private property grabs in U.S. history.”
The EPA proposal would extend their authority to include “pollution regulations” to “intermittent and ephemeral streams and wetlands” – which are created temporarily during wet seasons or following rainfall.
Recognize this for what it is America; The EPA is giving themselves legal jurisdiction to replace our rights with their permissions anywhere it rains or water exists.
They are expanding the same kind of California fish-based drought or Nevada tortoise land restrictions or Oregon spotted owl tyranny to every square inch of the United States.
The EPA is asserting that all ground water, whether temporary or not and regardless of size is part of the “waters of the United States.”
Their position is in contradiction to the Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006, restricting the EPA to flowing and sizeable, “relatively” permanent bodies of water such as “oceans, rivers, streams and lakes.” Of course, progressives just keep trying until they get what they want, and they never have enough.
The proposed rule change is now in a 90 day comment period during which they will assess just how much they can get away with, based upon public outcry and pushback.
Senator Vitter accused the EPA of “picking and choosing” their science and of attempting to “take another step toward outright permitting authority over virtually any wet area in the country.” He also warned that if approved, more private owners could expect to be sued by “environmental groups.”
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) shares Vitter’s concerns, warning of potential economic damage and questioning the EPA’s motivations.
She said, “[I]t appears that the EPA is seeking to dramatically expand its jurisdictional reach under the Clean Water Act. If EPA is not careful, this rule could effectively give the federal government control of nearly all of our state.
Of course, that is exactly what they are after, as well as 49 other states and territories.
Filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza traveled to Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Bunkerville, Nev., on Friday to embark on a “fact-finding” mission. Prior to attending a “big rally” made up of hundreds of the cattle rancher’s supporters, D’Souza planned to talk to some of the people who Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has labeled “domestic terrorists.”
Broadcasting live from Bundy’s Nevada ranch on “The Kelly File,” he revealed that supporters – made up of men, women and children – were wearing “domestic terrorist” name tags on Friday. D’Souza said seeing children wearing the tags shows just how absurd Reid’s allegations are.
He also told Megyn Kelly that he is now “sensitive” to situations where an individual is targeted by the federal government because of his current case involving a violation of campaign finance law. Some have speculated he was targeted following his anti-Obama documentary.
“My case is going to trial in May and I am preparing for it. It’s created to in me a feeling of vulnerability and, of course, a sensitivity to these kinds of issues of justice,” he said. “But, of course, I didn’t have SWAT teams on me, I wasn’t in the sights of snipers – so I feel that these guys have been facing some real domestic terror from their own government and that’s a very scary idea here in America.”
The filmmaker behind “2016: Obama’s America” and the soon-to-be released film, “America,” told TheBlaze in a phone interview that he is “less concerned about the specifics of the case and whether [Bundy] paid his grazing fees” and more concerned about federal overreach and questions surrounding whether the government is treating all people and groups equally under the law.
“There is a big clash going on between people who see themselves as patriots standing up for the principles of 1776, equal rights under the Constitution, and the federal government,” D’Souza said. “We want to live in a country where Lady Justice is blind and you don’t have her looking out through just one eye.”
D’Souza also characterized Reid’s inflammatory remarks as a “vastly unjust portrayal of domestic terrorism.” He argued the senator is intentionally “stirring the pot” and called on President Barack Obama to condemn Reid’s statements and urge him to apologize.
However, that seemed unlikely to happen as Reid doubled down on his “terrorist” comments on Friday.
The conservative filmmaker urged Bundy and all of his supporters to refuse to let that kind of rhetoric cause them lose their cool. It’s the kind of case that can “make your emotions run away with you,” so both sides need to show restraint and prevent the situation from escalating into a Ruby Ridge-type of incident, he added.
One of the themes in his new documentary, “America,” which is scheduled to be released in June, revolves around “equal justice,” D’Souza said. That’s part of the reason he decided to make the trip to Nevada and try to figure out who Bundy and his supporters really are.
“The issue of equal justice transcends politics completely,” D’Souza told TheBlaze. “Unfortunately, there’s a sense that this core issue is being manipulated.”
He cited the Obama administration’s habit of selectively choosing which laws it enforces, bringing up same-sex marriage and federal immigration law as examples. The IRS targeting scandal also raises concerns about “equal justice” under the law.
As TheBlaze has previously reported, “Bundy reportedly owes the federal government roughly $1 million in grazing fees, an amount he accumulated after he “fired” the Bureau of Land Management in 1993 over its decision to turn public land into a protective habitat for the state’s desert tortoise.”
Nevada Democratic Sen. Harry Reid refused to back down from his inflammatory branding of Cliven Bundy supporters as “domestic terrorists,” calling people who turned out to support the rancher “domestic, violent terrorist wannabes” on Friday and sparring with his Republican counterpart who labelled them “patriots.”
Reid took hits from many sides yesterday for his controversial comments – including from Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who called on Reid to “calm the rhetoric” or risk inciting real violence.
But instead of cooling it, Reid doubled down during an appearance with Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller on “What’s Your Point,” a local Las Vegas news program.
“Bundy doesn’t believe that the American government is valid, he believes the United States is a foreign government,” Reid claimed. “He doesn’t pay his taxes, he doesn’t follow the law. He doesn’t pay his fees.”
“And if anyone thinks by any figment of their imagination that what happened up there last week was, people rallying to somebody that was oppressed,” he continued, “600 people came in, armed. They had practiced, they had maneuvered. They knew what they were doing.”
He noted that some of the protesters had set up firing positions opposite Bureau of Land Management agents, who had been menacing unarmed Americans with high-grade military weaponry for days.
“If there were ever an example of people who were domestic, violent terrorist wannabes, these are the guys,” he declared.
“But no one called Bundy a domestic terrorist,” Reid also hastened to add. “I said the people that came there were.”
Heller had a very different interpretation. “What Sen. Reid may call domestic terrorists, I call patriots,” he asserted.
Reid hit back: “If these people think they’re patriots, they’re not,” he said. “I use that word typically. But if they’re patriots, we’re in big trouble.”
“Well it’s a pretty broad brush,” Heller countered. “Pretty broad brush when you have Boy Scouts there. You have veterans at the event. You have grandparents at the event.”
“I take more issue at the BLM coming in with a paramilitary army than individuals with snipers,” the Republican lawmaker. “And I’m talking to people and groups that were there at the event. And having your own government with sniper lenses on you, it made a lot of people very uncomfortable.”
“There was no army!” Reid replied. “And that land – 300,000 acres, federal land – has been basically decimated by this guy.”
A Republican congressman from Texas has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would stop the government from paying Attorney General Eric Holder’s salary.
Rep. Blake Farenthold’s “Contempt Act” would prohibit any federal employee who has been found in contempt of Congress from getting a taxpayer-funded paycheck.
In 2012, the House voted to hold Holder in contempt over his refusal to hand over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal.
Farenthold specifically referenced Holder in his statement about the legislation.
“In 2012, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting operation – despite this fact, he is still receiving his paycheck courtesy of American taxpayers,” the lawmaker said.
During a contentious House Judiciary Committee hearing last week with Holder, Farenthold alluded to the legislation: “If he continues to refuse to resign, my bill would at least prevent hardworking American taxpayers from paying his salary.”
Farenthold also noted how the House is expected to to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about her role in the agency’s targeting of conservative and tea party groups. But he noted that because Lerner has already resigned, this bill will not affect her.
“The American people should not be footing the bill for federal employees who stonewall Congress or rewarding government officials’ bad behavior,” he said. “If the average American failed to do his or her job, he or she would hardly be rewarded. High-ranking government officials should be treated no differently than everyone else.”
As reported yesterday, hundreds of federal agents are still at the Bundy Ranch and the area continues its status as a no-fly zone. Despite major media reports that the Nevada Bureau of Land Management is retreating, the remaining activity that still surrounds the ranch illustrates a different scenario.
Not only is the BLM not actually backing off of Cliven Bundy, Sheriff Richard Mack of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association has revealed stunning information: on Ben Swann’s radio program, Mack said that he has received intelligence from multiple, credible sources inside the BLM and the Las Vegas Metro that there is “no question” that the federal government is planning a raid on the Bundy home and the homes of their children who live on the property.
According to Mack, the so-called retreat was nothing more than theatrics. “It was a ploy to get people to back off, to get people out of the way. They weren’t expecting us to get this amount of people here. They were surprised by the numbers and so they wanted a way to get us out of here. This was a ploy to get us out of here and then they’re going after the Bundys.” Mack said that when he was at the Bundy ranch on Saturday there were an estimated 600 to 800 protesters present when federal agents were releasing the cattle.
“If they do that kind of raid, I don’t believe there’s any way that could happen without bloodshed,” Mack told Swann.
Mack spoke about the tactic that protesters could use by putting women at the front of the line facing the federal agents to make them think carefully before opening fire.
“I would’ve gone next. I would’ve been the next one to be killed. I’m not afraid to die here. I’m willing to die here,” said Mack.
Mack said that he had been told by Bundy that the federal government is actively shutting down the ranching industry, specifically in Clark County. He also revealed that there used to be 53 ranches in Clark County. All of those ranchers have been put out of business, except for Bundy who is still trying to hold on. “Every American should be outraged by it,” said Mack. The ranch has been in Bundy’s family since 1877.
Mack decried Nevada governor Brian Sandoval for declaring this situation unconstutional while doing nothing to stop it. “He could have called in the state’s national guard, could have called in the sheriff’s office, could have called in highway patrol, and he’s done nothing except assail what’s going on. That’s easy, that’s cowardly.”
Sheriff Mack also called out media including radio host Glenn Beck who he says is siding with the BLM on this issue.
“I can’t believe that there are some Americans, and some media like Glenn Beck, that are supporting the BLM in this and it’s absolutely disgraceful.”
Local rancher Cliven Bundy may have his cattle back, but his supporters say they are still preparing for an imminent threat.
Militia groups from all over the country say they are flocking to the Bundy ranch to protect the family from a feared federal government raid.
The Bureau of Land Management allowed Bundy to release his cattle Saturday, after they felt threatened.
Bundy now has a whole contingent of armed guards surrounding him 24 hours a day.
“They’re just there, trying to make sure something crazy doesn’t happen to him,” Bundy’s son Ammon Bundy said.
His security detail and family feel he is someone to be protected because of what the federal government could do.
“There were snipers on the hills and armed guards and you know, military forces with cameras all over.” Ammon Bundy said.
Cliven Bundy fears that the government could gather up again because they never reached a formal deal.
He is also trying to determine whether federal agents damaged any of his cattle before they released them.
The BLM only allowed the family to open up the gate of the pen where the animals were being held because officers were afraid of violence. As of now, no one has cleared him to take back his cattle for good.
Taking the stage to address supporters Monday, Bundy was quickly obscured behind his guards. The detail told 8 News NOW they are now patrolling the area 24 hours a day looking for federal snipers.
“You never know, you never know,” Ammon Bundy said.
According to the BLM, Bundy has allowed his cattle to graze public land illegally for the past 20 years. Following two court orders, the feds started rounding up the cattle last week.
The agency also says Bundy owes more than $1 million in grazing fees for trespassing on federal lands since the 1990s.
Saturday, the BLM agreed to pull out of the area but hundreds of protesters flooded a BLM holding station, aiming to release hundreds of Bundy’s cattle.
Monday, Bundy says he never told his supporters to flood a federal cattle pen, using weapons. Members of Bundy’s security details say more militia groups are on their way and will be there for weeks to come.
Ammon Bundy says he was awake last night fearful the feds were going to come in and arrest his family.
No law enforcement have talked about arresting anyone in this dispute, and there is still no clear resolution to the fact that Bundy is grazing cattle on federal land without paying fees.
Clive Bundy may have prevailed over the weekend in his standoff with the Bureau of Land Management regarding his Nevada ranch and disputed ranch, but that’s just the first phase, according to Harry Reid.
“Well, it’s not over,” he told Reno’s KRNV. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and just walk away from it, so it’s not over.”
Last week, the BLM began rounding up Bundy’s cattle amid controversy over whether he owed the federal government millions in grazing fees for his cattle being on their land. Bundy and his supporters, who gathered in Bunkerville, Nev., say that the rancher and his family have had rights to the land for over a century.
With tensions high, the BLM and federal agents backed off on Sunday, prompting some to think Bundy had prevailed. Reid’s comments may mean the government’s withdrawal was temporary, or that it will take a different approach to addressing the situation.
The media’s version of the end of the Bundy Ranch siege is that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) simply “left” the ranch and “returned” the cattle out of the goodness of their hearts. CBS News even outrageously reported that the BLM “released the cattle to help restore order and avoid violence“! This despite widely-seen video of BLM thugs tasing Bundy’s son and shoving a pregnant woman to the ground. And the protesters never threatened violence in any way during the nearly one-week siege.
The real story was that the BLM refused to give back the cattle, and would not leave the property or disarm, to which they had agreed. The result was an epic standoff that reporter David Knight described as being like “something out of a movie.”
Supporters of Bundy advanced on a position held by BLM agents despite threats that they would be shot at, eventually forcing BLM feds to release 100 cattle that had been stolen from Bundy as part of a land grab dispute that threatened to escalate into a Waco-style confrontation.
Here’s Judge Jeanine Pirro, proving once again that she’s not a part of the “mainstream” news media.
Turtles and cows have absolutely no relevance to the situation in Nevada. Does the Constitution make provision for the federal government to own and control “public land”? This is the only question we need to consider. Currently, the federal government “owns” approximately 30% of the United States territory. The majority of this federally owned land is in the West. For example, the feds control more than 80% of Nevada and more than 55% of Utah. The question has been long debated. At the debate’s soul is Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution, which is know as the “Property Clause”. Proponents of federal expansion on both sides of the political aisle argue that this clause provides warrant for the federal government to control land throughout the United States.
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States…
Those who say this clause delegates the feds control over whatever land they arbitrarily decide to lay claim to are grossly misinterpreting even the most basic structure of the Constitution.
It is said the Constitution is “written in plain English”. This is true. However, plain English does not allow one to remove context. Article IV does not grant Congress the power to exercise sovereignty over land. Article IV deals exclusively with state-to-state relations such as protection from invasion, slavery, full faith and credit, creation of new states and so on.
Historically, the Property Clause delegated federal control over territorial lands up until the point when that land would be formed as a state. This was necessary during the time of the ratification of the Constitution due to the lack of westward development. The clause was drafted to constitutionalize the Northwest Ordinance, which the Articles of Confederation did not have the power to support. This ordinance gave the newly formed Congress the power to create new states instead of allowing the states themselves to expand their own land claims.
The Property Clause and Northwest Ordinance are both limited in power and scope. Once a state is formed and accepted in the union, the federal government no longer has control over land within the state’s borders. From this moment, such land is considered property of the sovereign state. The continental United States is now formed of fifty independent, sovereign states. No “unclaimed” lands are technically in existence. Therefore, the Property Clause no longer applies within the realm of federal control over these states.
The powers of Congress are found only in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. With the exception of the less than two dozen powers delegated to Congress found within Article I, Section 8, Congress may make no laws, cannot form political agencies and cannot take any actions that seek to regulate outside of these few, enumerated powers.
Article I, Section 8 does lay forth the possibility of federal control over some land. What land? Clause 17 defines these few exceptions.
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of Particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 is known as the Enclave Clause. The clause gives federal control over the “Seat of Government” (Washington D.C.) and land that has been purchased by the federal government with consent of the state legislature to build military posts and other needful buildings (post offices and other structures pursuant to Article I, Section 8). Nothing more.
Being a requirement, state permission was explicitly emphasized while drafting this clause. The founders and respective states insisted (with loud cries) that the states must consent before the federal government could purchase lands from the states. Nowhere in this clause will you find the power for Congress to exercise legislative authority through regulation over 80% of Nevada, 55% of Utah, 45% of California, 70% of Alaska, etc. unless the state has given the federal government the formal authority to do so, which they have not.
If a state legislature decides sell land to the federal government then at that point the Enclave Clause becomes applicable and the federal government may seize legislative and regulatory control in pursuance to the powers delegated by Article 1, Section 8.
In America’s infancy, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Founding Fathers’ understanding of federal control over land. Justice Stephen J. Field wrote for the majority opinion in Fort Leavenworth Railroad Co. v. Lowe (1855) that federal authority over territorial land was “necessarily paramount.” However, once the territory was organized as a state and admitted to the union on equal ground, the state government assumes sovereignty over federal lands, and the federal government retains only the rights of an “individual proprietor.” This means that the federal government could only exercise general sovereignty over state property if the state legislature formally granted the federal government the power to do so under the Enclave Clause with the exception of federal buildings (post offices) and military installations. This understanding was reaffirmed in Lessee of Pollard v. Hagan (1845), Permoli v. Municipality No. 1 of the city of New Orleans (1845) and Strader v. Graham (1850).
However, it did not take long for the Supreme Court to begin redefining the Constitution and legislating from the bench under the guise of interpretation. Case by case, the Court slowly redefined the Property Clause, which had always been understood to regard exclusively the transferring of federal to state sovereignty through statehood, to the conservation of unconstitutional federal supremacy.
Federal supremacists sitting on the Supreme Court understood that by insidiously redefining this clause then federal power would be expanded and conserved.
With Camfield v. United States (1897), Light v. United States (1911), Kleppe v. New Mexico (1976) and multiple other cases regarding commerce, federal supremacists have effectively erased the constitutional guarantee of state control over property.
Through the centuries, by the hand of corrupt federal judges, we arrive and the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. The Founding Fathers never imagined the citizens of a state would be subject to such treatment at the hands of the federal government. Furthermore, they certainly never imagined the state legislatures themselves would allow such treatment to go unchecked. The latest updates appear to show that Bundy has won his battle against the feds – for now. However, it remains a damn shame that the state of Nevada would allow for such a situation to arise in the first place.
What does Nevada’s Constitution say about property? Section 1, titled “Inalienable Rights,” reads: All men are by Nature free and equal and have certain inalienable rights among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; Acquiring, Possessing and Protecting property and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness (Emphasis added).
In Section 22 of the Nevada Constitution, eminent domain is clarified. The state Constitution requires that the state prove public need, provide compensation and documentation before acquiring private property. In order to grant land to the federal government, the state must first control this land.
Bundy’s family has controlled the land for more than 140 years.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is an agency created by Congress, claimed that Bundy was “violating the law of the land.” Perhaps the agency has forgotten that the law of the land is the Constitution, and the only constitutional violation here is the very modern existence of the agency’s presence in Nevada.
Conservative activist and founder of True the Vote, Catherine Engelbrecht, filed an ethics complaint against far left Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in February. Engelbrecht accused Cummings of harassment and intimidation.
Catherine Engelbrecht testified before Congress in February.
She was visited by FBI, IRS, ATF, and OSHA after she filed for tax exempt status for her voters rights group.
Engelbrecht said her testimony before Congress and Cummings,
“Frankly, to sit before my accuser and be silent in the face of what he did was unconscionable.”
Today, Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) accused Elijah Cummings of colluding with the IRS to target True the Vote.
National Review reported:
The war between Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa and the committee’s ranking member, Elijah Cummings, rages on.
Issa on Wednesday accused the Maryland Democrat of colluding with the Internal Revenue Service in its targeting of the conservative nonprofit group True the Vote, whose founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, said she received multiple letters from Cummings in 2012 and personal visits from the IRS and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Explosives. Engelbrecht’s True the Vote is one of the many conservative groups that claims to have been improperly targeted by the IRS while it scrutinized the applications of tea-party groups.
In a letter signed by his five subcommittee chairmen, Issa raised the possibility that Cummings coordinated with the IRS, “surreptitiously” contacting the agency to request information about True the Vote.
E-mails unearthed in the course of Issa’s investigation into the IRS’s inappropriate targeting of right-leaning groups show that in January 2013, a member of Cummings’s staff contacted the IRS asking for any publicly available information on True the Vote. The matter was discussed by IRS officials that included Lois Lerner, the former exempt-organizations chief who retired in the wake of the targeting scandal. One of Lerner’s deputies, Holly Paz, subsequently sent the organization’s 990 forms to Cummings and his staff – not an illegal disclosure of taxpayer information, though sources say the exchange of such information was not routine.
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa on Wednesday accused his Democratic counterpart, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, of coordinating with the IRS to attack one of the tea party groups that was targeted by the tax agency for intrusive scrutiny and long delays.
Mr. Issa and five other top Republicans said they have just last week been given emails showing Mr. Cummings sought information from the IRS about True the Vote, a conservative tax-exempt organization that drew the ire of liberals for pushing states to eliminate potentially bogus names from their voter rolls.
Mr. Issa said the IRS employees appear to have discussed confidential taxpayer information as they debated how to respond to the request from Mr. Cummings – though it’s unclear what response they ended up giving to the Maryland lawmaker, who is the ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee.
“It is unclear whether the IRS shared True the Vote’s confidential taxpayer information with you or your staff through either official or unofficial channels,” Mr. Issa said, though he stressed that the IRS didn’t convey any of the information to the GOP, nor did they even alert Republicans of the request for information. Mr. Issa indicated he thought that was hypocritical since Mr. Cummings has repeatedly accused Republicans of refusing to share their requests or information they received.
Mr. Cummings‘ office didn’t immediate reply to a request for comment on the accusation.
At one point in public testimony earlier this year, Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer for True the Vote, wondered allowed whether congressional staffers “might have been involved in putting True the Vote on the radar screen of some of these federal agencies.”
Mr. Cummings vehemently denied that, calling it “absolutely incorrect and not true.”
But Mr. Issa laid out a series of questions that Mr. Cummings asked of True the Vote, which he said were so similar to the questions the IRS asked that they raised questions of coordination. The questions involved the computer software True the Vote uses, its training procedures and a list of jurisdictions the group has targeted for cleaner voting rolls.
“The timeline and pattern of inquiries raises concerns that the IRS improperly shared protected taxpayer information with your staff,” Mr. Issa wrote.
True the Vote applied for status as a 501(c )(3). The founders also created another organization, King Street Patriots, which applied for 501(c )(4) status. Catherine Engelbrecht, who founded both organizations, said soon after their creation, she, the groups and her business were subjected to multiple investigations, audits and inquiries from federal agencies ranging from the FBI and IRS to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Wednesday’s letter marks the latest escalation in what’s become a bitter relationship between the two men. Mr. Issa last month cut off Mr. Cummings’s microphone at a hearing with former IRS employee Lois G. Lerner, and Mr. Cummings demanded and received an apology.
Then, over the last week, Mr. Issa accused Mr. Cummings of trying to work out a secret deal with Ms. Lerner, and Mr. Cummings vehemently denied that.
The two men will likely clash again Thursday when the committee is slated to meet and consider holding Ms. Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer the committee’s questions. She has asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Mr. Cummings argues Mr. Issa botched the proceedings and tainted any contempt finding, and he is backed by more than two dozen lawyers who have issued memos or quotes saying contempt shouldn’t happen in this case.
On Wednesday, Mr. Cummings released a report from the Congressional Research Service arguing that there is no historical precedent for the House to find Ms. Lerner in contempt.
In the report, CRS went back to the 1950s, when then-Sen. Joseph McCarthy was investigating communists in the U.S. government. In an instance that appears to be similar to Ms. Lerner’s exchange with Mr. Issa, a witness testifying to Mr. McCarthy asserted her innocence and then refused to answer follow-ups.
A federal court upheld the woman’s right to remain silent.
“Sixty years ago, Joe McCarthy tried-and failed-to hold an American citizen in contempt after she professed her innocence and asserted her rights under the Fifth Amendment. I reject Chairman Issa’s attempts to re-create our committee in Joe McCarthy’s image, and I object to his effort to drag us back to that shameful era in which Congress tried to strip away the Constitutional rights of American citizens under the bright lights of hearings that had nothing to do with responsible oversight and everything to do with the most dishonorable kind of partisan politics,” Mr. Cummings said.
House Republicans on Wednesday accused former IRS official Lois Lerner of breaking agency rules by aggressively urging denial of tax-exempt status to Crossroads GPS, the giant political nonprofit founded by Karl Rove.
The House Ways and Means Committee released emails showing the former chief of the tax-exempt unit took a special interest in Crossroads GPS in early 2013 – inquiring with IRS officials why they hadn’t been audited. Around the same time an email suggested she might be applying for a job with a pro-President Barack Obama group, Organizing For Action, though it is unclear if she was joking.
Democrats decried the release, calling it an election year gimmick to win over the party’s political base. One campaign finance group came to the defense of Lerner, who has denied any wrongdoing, calling the probe a partisan witch hunt.
The Republican committee letter calls her actions an “aggressive and improper pursuit of Crossroads… but no evidence [that] she directed review of similarly situated left-leaning groups.”
The documents were released after a rare, closed-door Ways and Means markup, where the panel voted 23-14 along party lines to send a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, requesting he take the former head of the IRS tax-exempt division to court – though the department already has an ongoing investigation.
The scandal, spurred when Lerner publicly acknowledged extra scrutiny of tea party groups followed by a critical inspector general report, has surged back into the spotlight in recent months as congressional committees finish their investigations.
Lerner became a lightning rod for Republicans after she pleaded the Fifth and refused to testify before a House panel. The original inspector general report found that the targeting was inappropriate but found no evidence of partisan motivations.
Republicans want her charged for improperly influencing the IRS to take action against conservative organizations; disclosing confidential taxpayer info, a felony; and impeding an investigation.
Democrats cried foul play, accusing Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) of releasing private taxpayer information, and said its protests have nothing to do with holding Lerner accountable.
“This executive session isn’t about any of us condoning the mismanagement at the IRS tax-exempt division,” top panel Democrat Sander Levin (D-Mich.) said after the public was dismissed from the hearing, according to a release. “It now seems clear that Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee have decided that they do not want to be left behind in the Republican campaign to declare this a scandal and keep it going until November.”
Lerner’s lawyer William Taylor III said he had not heard from Ways and Means on the issue, and maintained his client’s innocence.
“Ms. Lerner has done nothing wrong,” Taylor, a partner of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP said in a statement. “She did not violate any law or regulation. She did not mislead Congress. She did not interfere with the rights of any organization to a tax exemption. Those are the facts.”
Camp defended the release.
“We have a right and obligation to protect the American people and to oversee the IRS and to hold them to account for their actions,” he said. “This was a career employee at the IRS so we have to make sure the signal goes out that this can’t happen again.”
The Justice Department said it will review the letter and noted it is already probing the matter.
“It remains a high priority of the Department,” Justice spokeswoman Emily Pierce said.
The actions come a day before the House Oversight Committee will vote to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions on the controversy.
Advocates for reform of campaign finance rules say the scandal obscures an important policy debate about whether such politically active groups deserve tax-exempt status in the first place.
Crossroads spent $176 million during the 2012 election cycle – 99 percent of the time to back Republicans and bash Obama and Democrats. Its nonprofit arm spent about $70 million.
Paul S. Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center, which advocates stricter campaign finance rules, said it is perfectly appropriate for Lerner to advocate denial of tax-exempt status if it was based on agency review of facts. He called the data dump part of a witch hunt against a career civil servant.
“If she was pushing for a denial based on facts that had been ascertained by her agency, that sounds to me that she was doing her job,” said Ryan, who attended one of the meetings cited in the letter. He said Lerner did not reveal any sensitive taxpayer information and in fact he left the meeting frustrated.
He also said the focus on Crossroads and not for example, the pro-Obama Priorities USA, was understandable given that the latter had raised scant funds at the time, compared to Crossroads.
So-called tax-exempt social welfare groups, organized under section 50(c) 4 of the tax code, are barred from using a significant amount of their resources for political purposes, though the standard is murky after an IRS regulation later changed the benchmark.
The documents released Wednesday include those that suggest Lerner was misleading when asked about the timeline of when she found out that “tea party” was a trigger word on a be-on-the-lookout list for groups that should get extra IRS scrutiny.
In an interview with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Lerner said she first learned of the BOLO on June 29, 2011.
But the panel has evidence that she knew that “tea party” cases were being treated differently as early as April 2010, when the whole shebang started, although whether she knew of the list is unclear.
On April 28, 2010, Lerner received an email alerting her that “there are 13 tea party cases out in EO Determinations.”
A few months later, on Aug. 3, 2010, Lerner asked her assistant to print the sensitive case report that detailed how the tea party groups were being handled. A few months later, in early 2011, she would write to her colleagues that the “Tea party matter [is] very dangerous.”
That was when she instructed the Cincinnati IRS officials handling the cases to send them to IRS counsel in Washington, D.C., where they would end up sitting for years, virtually untouched.
The documents also show that Lerner met with a group named Democracy 21, which made several complaints about Crossroads between 2010 and 2012. That Jan. 4, 2013 meeting included the Office of Chief Counsel and the Treasury’s Office of Tax Policy, according to the committee letter.
Before that, Lerner sent emails asking what happened to the Crossroads application, including whether the group had been audited or selected for audit.
When IRS official Tom Miller said it had not, she sent an email to IRS officials asking why: “I reviewed the information last night and thought the allegations in the documents were really damning, so wondered why we hadn’t done something with the org,” she wrote, later adding: “You should know that we are working on a denial of the application, which may solve the problem because we probably will say it isn’t exempt.”
The week later she followed up on her instructions: “As I said, we are working on the denial for [Crossroads], so I need to think about whether to open an exam. I think yes, but let me cogitate a bit on it.”
Steven Law, Crossroads GPS president in a statement said “it is now apparent that Ms. Lerner was directly and improperly involved in targeting our application, which may explain why we are still awaiting final action on our 501(c)(4) certification.”
The letter also charged that Lerner targeted conservative groups Americans for Responsible Leadership, Freedom Path, Rightchange.com, America is Not Stupid and A Better America after a January 2013 ProPublica story ran, accusing the “dark money groups” of lying to the IRS and over-engaging in politics when they aren’t supposed to.
Lerner forwarded the email to her colleagues and asked to meet on the groups. Ultimately three of the groups were selected for an audit.
A little later that month, Lerner seemed to be considering a job at a left leaning social welfare organization, Organization For Action.
But it’s unclear if she was serious or joking in her email to an IRS employee in response to a news story about the new group: “Oh – maybe I can get the DC office job!”
The House Ways and Means Committee has voted to 23-14 along party lines to refer former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for prosecution. Although the details about exactly what charges will be have not yet been released, lawmakers are arguing Lerner has not been truthful with Congress or the IRS inspector general and leaked confidential tax information.
Last time a referral like this happened, it was to Major League Baseball player Roger Clemens, who was pursued by the Department of Justice for lying to Congress but was exonerated in court.
This is a test for the Department of Justice and the Obama administration. What’s more important? Baseball and steroids? Or the most powerful federal agency abusing its power to target innocent conservative groups?
Last summer President Obama called the targeting “outrageous” and promised to hold people responsible and accountable for what happened. If the Justice Department refuses to pursue charges against Lerner, it’s fair to say one reason is because they don’t want information leading back to the administration coming out in court.
Tomorrow the House Oversight Comittee will vote on whether to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress.
Former IRS director Lois Lerner, the center figure in the scandal surrounding conservative and Tea Party groups once joked about getting a job with Organizing for Action while investigating the reorganization of President Obama’s former campaign operation into a 501(c)(4) group.
Lerner, the director of Exempt Organizations, emailed a colleague about OFA on January 24, who noted that they would primarily operate out of Chicago – but would have an office in Washington D.C.
“Oh – maybe I can get the DC office job!” Lerner emailed back.
See an image of the email below as provided by the House Ways and Means Committee.
IRS workers in several offices have been openly supporting President Obama, including by donning pro-Obama paraphernalia and urging callers to reelect the president in 2012, according to allegations contained in a new government watchdog report.
A report by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, released Wednesday, cited accusations that workers at a Dallas IRS office may have violated federal law by wearing pro-Obama items like shirts, stickers and buttons. The Hatch Act forbids Executive Branch workers from engaging in partisan political activity.
The report comes as two House committees move to take action against former IRS official Lois Lerner regarding the agency’s targeting of conservative groups.
The report, further fueling allegations of bias at the agency, claimed that several accusations were made against the Dallas office claiming pro-Obama gear was “commonplace” there. Employees allegedly wore Obama shirts, buttons and stickers to work and had Obama screensavers on their IRS computers.
The report said it was unclear whether this activity happened before or after the 2012 election, but an advisory was issued to Dallas employees that such activity was prohibited.
Another example cited in the report states an IRS employee in Kentucky also violated the law by touting her political views to a taxpayer during the 2012 election. According to the report, the employee told the caller she was “for” the Democrats because “Republicans already [sic] trying to cap my pension and… they’re going to take women back 40 years.”
The employee then told the taxpayer that she was not supposed to disclose her views “so you didn’t hear me saying that.” The report says the employee admitted violating the Hatch Act and will serve a 14-day suspension.
However, the Kentucky example was not the only IRS employee found to be urging taxpayers over the phone to vote for Obama. The report cites another unnamed customer service representative, who was accused of telling multiple callers in 2012 they needed to vote for Obama.
According to the report, the employee told the callers a chant based on Obama’s last name that touted his campaign and urged them to reelect him. The report does not say where the employee was located, but says the Office of Special Counsel is seeking “significant disciplinary action” against him.
The accusations come as a House committee on Wednesday voted to formally ask the Justice Department to consider criminal prosecution against Lerner. A separate committee will vote Thursday on whether to hold her in contempt of Congress for twice refusing to testify on the targeting scandal.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent government watchdog that investigates claims of wrongdoing by federal employees.
The US Navy has developed a radical new fuel made from seawater.
They say it could change the way we produce fuel – and allow warships to stay at sea for years at a time.
Navy scientists have spent several years developing the process to take seawater and use it as fuel, and have now used the ‘game changing’ fuel to power a radio controlled plane in the first test.
The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel is being hailed as ‘a game-changer’ because it would allow warships to remain at sea for far longer.
The US has a fleet of 15 military oil tankers, and only aircraft carriers and some submarines are equipped with nuclear propulsion.
All other vessels must frequently abandon their mission for a few hours to navigate in parallel with the tanker, a delicate operation, especially in bad weather.
The ultimate goal is to eventually get away from the dependence on oil altogether, which would also mean the navy is no longer hostage to potential shortages of oil or fluctuations in its cost.
The predicted cost of jet fuel using these technologies is in the range of $3-$6 per gallon, and with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years.
Pursuing remote land-based options would be the first step towards a future sea-based solution, the Navy says.
Vice Admiral Philip Cullom declared: ‘It’s a huge milestone for us.
‘We are in very challenging times where we really do have to think in pretty innovative ways to look at how we create energy, how we value energy and how we consume it.
‘We need to challenge the results of the assumptions that are the result of the last six decades of constant access to cheap, unlimited amounts of fuel,’ added Cullom.
‘Basically, we’ve treated energy like air, something that’s always there and that we don’t worry about too much.
‘But the reality is that we do have to worry about it.’
They hope the fuel will not only be able to power ships, but also planes.
The predicted cost of jet fuel using the technology is in the range of three to six dollars per gallon, say experts at the US Naval Research Laboratory, who have already flown a model airplane with fuel produced from seawater.
Dr Heather Willauer, an research chemist who has spent nearly a decade on the project, said:
‘For the first time we’ve been able to develop a technology to get CO2 and hydrogen from seawater simultaneously, that’s a big breakthrough,’ she said, adding that the fuel ‘doesn’t look or smell very different.’
Now that they have demonstrated it can work, the next step is to produce it in industrial quantities.
But before that, in partnership with several universities, the experts want to improve the amount of CO2 and hydrogen they can capture.
‘We’ve demonstrated the feasibility, we want to improve the process efficiency,’ explained Willauer.
Collum is just as excited.
‘For us in the military, in the Navy, we have some pretty unusual and different kinds of challenges,’ he said.
‘We don’t necessarily go to a gas station to get our fuel, our gas station comes to us in terms of an oiler, a replenishment ship.
‘Developing a game-changing technology like this, seawater to fuel, really is something that reinvents a lot of the way we can do business when you think about logistics, readiness.’
A crucial benefit, says Collum, is that the fuel can be used in the same engines already fitted in ships and aircraft.
‘If you don’t want to reeengineer every ship, every type of engine, every aircraft, that’s why we need what we call drop-in replacement fuels that look, smell and essentially are the same as any kind of petroleum-based fuels.’
Drawbacks? Only one, it seems: researchers warn it will be at least a decade before US ships are able to produce their own fuel on board.
Note: This is one of the best speeches by one of the most serious-minded, articulate and intellectually sound speakers you will ever hear.
Obama gave a short speech after the Fort Hood shooting yesterday, speaking about the military at Fort Hood. ‘They serve with valor, they serve with distinction and when they’re at their home base, they need to feel safe,’ Obama said.
Yet, it is the very rules that he enforces that leave the military unsafe. Due to military directive, military bases are “gun free zones” where regular military are not allowed to carry firearms. This leaves them open to attack and unable to defend themselves. In recent years, we have seen attacks and attempted attacks on military bases: the first Fort Hood shooting on November 5, 2009, by terrorist Nidal Hassan, the shooting at the Navy Yard in September 2013, and this latest shooting at Fort Hood. In May of 2007 the FBI arrested six radicalized Islamist men who were plotting to attack Fort Dix. Because bases are gun free zones, terrorists or those meaning to do harm, know they have at least several minutes to kill people before police can arrive to stop them.
There are actually multiple petitions that people have started, but this is the one that seems to have the most signatures so far.
Our hearts are saddened to learn of yet another shooting on a military installation in the United States. Yet again, service members who train regularly to responsibly handle firearms were murdered on base and were unable to defend themselves.
Concealed carry policies provide not only an appropriate means for self defense against violence, but also a proven deterrent. Our military installations have become “soft” targets for those who would harm our military members. Lawful, concealed carry by responsible service members could have prevented or lessened the severity of these incidents.
The DoD should set forth CCW regulations permitting service members in good standing who have received firearms training to carry concealed firearms on DoD installations.
A petition last year asked the White House to make itself “gun free” since it seems to believe that is the best way to protect people. The White House rejected that petition, exposing their fundamental hypocrisy. Apparently, the White House believes its occupants are entitled to protection that children and our military are not.
When I started Open Carry Texas last year, my focus was on educating the public about the benefits of an armed society. I hear all the time from proponents of gun control that “in this day and age” it’s so important to restrict access to firearms to prevent people from using them to commit evil atrocities. The problem with this philosophy is that gun control laws only victimize law abiding citizens by making them defenseless.
By definition, criminals don’t obey laws, no matter how altruistic and holistic those laws may be.
For years on my personal blog, A Soldier’s Perspective, I spoke out against so-called gun-free zones. My first awareness about the pitfalls of these victimization zones, as I call them, came in 1991. Originally hailing from Temple, Texas, the Luby’s shooting hit home for me. I was only in high school at the time, but recognizing that a member of my family could have been in that restaurant on Oct. 16, 1991, I was acutely aware of the impact that shooting had on my stance on gun control.
Then, in 1993, Army Regulation 190-14 (Carrying of Firearms and Use of Force for Law Enforcement and Security Duties) was updated with new rules on what, when and how soldiers could carry firearms on military installations. The policy banned all manner of carry except for “DA personnel regularly engaged in law enforcement or security duties.”
It became the Army’s policy that “the authorization to carry firearms will be issued only to qualified personnel when there is a reasonable expectation that life or Department of the Army assets will be jeopardized if firearms are not carried.” Naturally, this policy was implemented prior to Sept. 11, 2001.
Since that Army policy went into effect and other services followed suit there have been nearly two dozen shootings at military installations. I vividly remember shortly after arriving to my new unit at Fort Stewart, Ga., when Private First Class Craig Jones walked into the orderly room of his unit and shot Sergeant Michael Santiago in the chest and arm, killing him. This was in March 2002.
In September 2008, a soldier at Fort Hood shot and killed his lieutenant before committing suicide. Specialist Armano Baca shot Sgt. Ryan Schlack in July 2009 on the same base. Since guns were banned on military installations, there have been shootings on Fort Drum, Fort Carson, Fort Bragg, Fort Knox and many other military installations!
In November 2009, I was out-processing Redstone Arsenal, Ala., en route to my new assignment on Fort Hood, Texas. At the same time, Army Maj. Nidal Hassan walked into a deployment center on Fort Hood and opened fire on his fellow soldiers, killing 13 and injuring 30 others.
And all of these shootings happened in gun-free zones. Every single one of these shootings happened at a place where the very people trained to deal with armed attackers were defenseless against an armed attacker.
No one can say for certain these incidents would disappear were soldiers allowed to carry personal firearms. However, it can be said with a certainty that any future tragedy will be executed unopposed as long as soldiers are not at least given the opportunity to defend themselves. There’s a saying that it’s better to have a gun and not need it, than not have a gun and need it.
After every one of these tragedies, we as a nation wring our collective hands trying to figure out what went wrong and how to prevent the next shooting. And each time, the simple idea of allowing troops to carry concealed firearms never seems to cross our minds. Why not?
I believe that one reason we are hesitant to allow troops to carry in uniform is because we think arming soldiers will lead to more such shootings. Many people said the same thing about Texas when we were debating the concealed handgun law. Critics said there would be blood in the streets. But, this isn’t backed up by logic, fact, or even experience.
Right this second, virtually every soldier in Afghanistan is carrying a loaded weapon, whether it be a pistol or a rifle. At the very least, they are carrying an unloaded weapon with ammunition readily available and at their disposal. No one can honestly say that being deployed is less stressful than being back home in a garrison environment. Yet, in spite of the prevalence of firearms in the hands of nearly every single troop in a stressful combat environment, the existence of fratricide is practically non-existent.
It would be the height of hypocrisy to suggest that soldiers are more or less capable of managing their emotions with a firearm in one environment over another. The fact remains that in spite of the 1993 regulation and policy, service members are carrying guns onto military installations and killing unarmed victims; victims that may have had a chance to live if they were permitted an opportunity to defend themselves. Even when not carrying guns on military installations, many service members are carrying them off base without feeling the urge to shoot the first person that looks at them cross-eyed.
How many more of my brothers and sisters must die before we, as a nation, wake up and put an end to these ironically titled “gun-free zones”? How many more examples of innocent, unarmed citizens being slaughtered by men with evil intent must we endure? Why do we disarm the very people who are the most well-trained in the use of firearms in defensive and offensive situations?
I am not arguing that the military simply abolish its policy altogether and just allow everyone and their mother to carry a firearm onto a military installation – though I don’t see why not. After all, there is a constitutional amendment that recognizes that right. But, I’ve never been one to identify a problem without a solution.
The military should initiate a policy that, at a minimum, allows soldiers with concealed handgun licenses to carry their firearms on them. The Department of Defense could even institute its own concealed handgun licensing requirement so at the very least it knows which soldiers are armed and whether they are qualified. To combat the constant stream of motorcycle deaths, the Army instituted a program that requires soldiers to be trained and certified prior to riding a motorcycle onto a military installation.
Why not train and certify soldiers in order to permit them to carry a concealed handgun on post? Those who are trained and certified would be required to renew their certifications annually or whenever they move to another military installation. Guns brought onto military installations are already registered, so make that another aspect of the licensing requirement. If a soldier wants to carry a different handgun, he/she must be re-certified with the new handgun they wish to carry.
Whatever we do, it’s obvious that what we are currently doing doesn’t work. It’s not working in gun-free shopping centers; it’s not working in gun-free schools; it’s not working in gun-free cities; and it doesn’t work in gun-free military installations.
In December 2012, NRA Executive Director Wayne Lapierre, eloquently stated: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away or a minute away?”
The fact is that the overwhelming majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens. Gun owners who jump through the hoops to become licensed gun owners are even less likely to commit crimes. In Texas, only .18 percent of gun owners have committed ANY crime at all. Hardly any of those crimes were committed with a gun. The time to end gun free zones is now, no matter where they exist.
C.J. Grisham is president and founder of Open Carry Texas, a Texas-based organization dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms and has over 19 years of active military service. He has been writing about gun rights on his blog, A Soldier’s Perspective, since 2005. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense, the Department of the Army or any branch of the government.
Petition To: All Members of Congress & President Obama
Military service members must be allowed to carry concealed firearms on all Federal and State installations. Had concealed carry been permitted, service members could have potentially stopped the shooters at Fort Hood and the Washington Naval Yard. We must stop denying our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines the right and ability to defend themselves when targeted in mass shooting events.
We demand that you immediately pass legislation that allows for military service members the right to carry concealed weapons on all Federal and State facilities where they are either based or currently assigned.