The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Charges Against We Are Change Leader Belie Group’s Pacifist Image

By Heidi Beirich on September 1, 2010 - 12:12 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Patriot

We Are Change (WAC) is an organization that likes to quote Martin Luther King Jr., Einstein, Gandhi and others talking about the evils of war. It describes itself as a nonviolent “citizens based grassroots peace and social justice movement” and reacted angrily this year when the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) described it as part of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, which is obsessed with alleged government conspiracies. Its leader, Luke Rudkowski, complained at the time that the SPLC said nothing of WAC’s alleged “raising money for 9/11 first responders, toy drives during the holidays, clothing drives and feeding the homeless.”

But WAC’s Los Angeles chieftain, at least, may not be quite the pacifistic type that Rudkowski likes to showcase. This past May, Bruno Ernst Bruhwiler was charged with four criminal counts related to making threats, according to the Los Angeles Superior Court’s website. Three of the counts were for making threats (Rudkowski says that Bruhwiler was charged with making “terroristic” threats), including against an “executive officer” (apparently a law enforcement or court official) carrying out his duties. The fourth count is for “willful disobedience” of a court order.

Bruhwiler’s website says that the charges stem from an incident when he was attending a civil case involving a WAC-LA member. “The Judge literally did not like Bruno’s involuntary facial expressions, and ordered him out of the courtroom,” reads the website posting. Hatewatch’s repeated E-mail and phone requests for comment from Bruhwiler were not answered. WAC also declined to respond to Hatewatch’s repeated requests for comment on Bruhwiler’s activities.

But on its website, WAC-LA has described the charges as baseless. “The truth is that any one of us could easily face what Bruno is facing because it’s all about the rulers keeping the masses and our uppity attitudes about our ‘Rights’ in check,” the group wrote in a July 20 post asking for defense fund donations. “’How dare you make a face in my court room!!! How dare you ask for my identification, SLAVE!!!!’”

That’s not all. Bruhwiler, it turns out, is part of the extreme-right “sovereign citizens” movement — people who believe that the government has no authority to impose laws and regulations on most Americans. He has engaged in some of the practices preached by “redemption” scammers, most of whom are seeking to wrest millions of dollars from the government for their personal use. He has allegedly harassed former co-workers with “sovereign” letters demanding money. And he is a member of the Oath Keepers, a conspiracy-oriented Patriot group. All in all, it seems clear that Bruhwiler, despite Ludkowski’s claims of running a relatively moderate group, is part and parcel of the most radical wing of the Patriot movement.

Two workers at a California marketing company where Bruhwiler was laid off three years ago told Hatewatch that the WAC-LA leader was so enraged that he wrote a series of threatening letters to the company demanding massive sums of money. They said Bruhwiler, who had worked in a graphic design section that the firm decided to outsource, claimed that he had been subjected to wrongful termination, conspiracy and abuse of power. The letters were brimming with the virtually incomprehensible legalistic gobbledygook that is typical of such sovereign-citizen filings. Starting this spring, some of them were directed at the two workers, who had nothing to do with Bruhwiler’s termination (the workers asked not to be named for fear of retaliation from Bruhwiler). In one letter, Bruhwiler claims he was libeled and discriminated against by the recipient. His major beef seems to be that the firm supposedly took away his “God given freedom of speech when speaking out about the treasonous acts of 9-11 against the people of the United States” and the “treasonous cover up by the mainstream media.” Bruhwiler also complains of having been slandered with respect to his professional skills “by imputing to me general disqualification.” The letter demands payment of $100,000 within 21 days, with an additional $1 million per month for every month payment is not received. And it orders the recipient to surrender to the “authorities for criminal prosecution.” Next to Bruhwiler’s signature is a fingerprint in red ink, which in the redemptionist world symbolizes the blood of a sovereign citizen. It also says that the person signing the letter is a “Natural Man Divine creation, and a Private, Sentient Sovereign.”

Needless to say, the recipients were terrified. “These guys need to be watched,” said one woman who only worked with Bruhwiler for a few months but has nevertheless received two letters from him demanding $1 million. “This is crazy and it is scary.”

Bruhwiler also appears to be a participant in so-called redemption practices, which are rife in the world of sovereign citizens. Proponents of this bizarre ideology argue that when the U.S. quit the gold standard in 1933, it pledged its citizens as collateral so it could borrow money based on their future earnings. Then, the theory goes, the government funded a secret “Treasury Direct Account” for each individual that it stocks with millions of dollars. Redemptionists have come up with a series of bizarre maneuvers that are meant to liberate this money from the government and have it paid to them personally. For most redemptionists, this involves, among many other incomprehensible steps, filing a “Uniform Commercial Code-1” document.

In February, Bruhwiler filed just such a form with California Secretary of State. His UCC-1 filing says that his “one hundred billion United States silver dollars” have now been transferred to “Bruno Ernst Bruhwiler, a living man, secured party.”

Bruhwiler is also a member of another antigovernment group, the Oath Keepers, which is made up of law enforcement officers, military personnel and veterans. The group, which like WAC is part of the Patriot movement, vows to resist government efforts to “disarm the American people” or impose martial law or turn cities into “giant concentration camps” — all core Patriot conspiracy theories. (Several Oath Keepers have lately been implicated in criminal violence, including a Georgia member accused in May of plotting to take over a Tennessee courthouse and place two dozen officials under “citizen’s arrest.” Also, in Cleveland, Ohio, a member is awaiting trial on 54 criminal counts related to his alleged storing of a live napalm bomb at home, as well as keeping explosives at a friend’s home.)

In addition, Bruhwiler regularly makes pleas for support on popular antigovernment media sites, most notably that of leading movement conspiracy-monger Alex Jones’ Internet radio show. On June 17, Jones interviewed Bruhwiler in a segment that bashed law enforcement. “A lot of these cops don’t see us as human,” Jones said of the threat case against Bruhwiler. “They enjoy throwing milk cows in prison. We are seen as slaves, and when a slave gets uppity, they got to be put in their place.” Jones went on to describe the officials in question as “out of control,” “ruthless” and “tyrannical.” Jones asked Bruhwiler to share his E-mail address with Jones’ on-air listeners to solicit funds. (Ironically, Bruhwiler had earlier devised a WAC-LA outreach program called “Talk to a Cop Wednesdays.” It was meant to “befriend and educate law enforcement.”)

Earlier this year, WAC leader Rudkowski told the SPLC that he started the group to showcase “patriot journalists.” (Today, the group is by far the largest Patriot group in the country, with 102 chapters in 33 states.) WAC’s original obsession was with 9/11 conspiracy theories — still the group’s bread and butter — that originated both on the political right and the political  left. (WAC says it rejects the “fear-based politics and state mandated propaganda being disseminated by the Corporate Media which has facilitated the cover-up of 9-11.”) But over time, WAC has taken up several additional conspiracies specific to the radical right. Today, the group’s website frets about a looming “one world order” and says it seeks “to uncover the truth behind the private banking cartel of the military industrial complex” that wants to “eliminate national sovereignty.” Rudkowski now seems particularly worried about the alleged role in the supposedly imminent “New World Order” of organizations such as the Bilderberger group and the Trilateral Commission. These institutions have been targeted for decades as major global evildoers by Patriot groups and other far-right organizations, including several that are racist and virulently anti-Semitic.

The roster for WAC’s upcoming Sept. 9-12 9/11 conference in New York City reflects its continuing ability to attract A-list conspiracy theorists, while still bridging right and left. Speakers at the event are to include Bob Schulz, head of We The People, the second largest Patriot group in the U.S. Schulz specializes in far-right conspiracies about the Federal Reserve and the income tax. Gary Franchi, the purveyor of the film “Camp FEMA: American Lockdown” that alleges the government agency is planning to round up Americans into concentration camps run by the agency, will be on hand. So, too, will Paul Craig Roberts, a right-wing columnist who writes for the racist website (named after the first English child born in America).

At the same time, the conference will hear from former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), a woman once seen as being on the political left who has lately flirted with Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites. Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan also will be featured, as will Danny Schechter, a human rights activist and television producer. So will a number of Democratic politicians, including former Alaska senator Mike Gravel and Don Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama who is free while appealing a prison sentence for corruption.

  • LiterateLiberal

    Thanks SPLC for having the teeth to take on these gullible morons. Too bad they’re all too paranoid to ever pursue higher education. Then again, college is tough when you have an IQ of 95 and you smoke an eighth of weed a day. Maybe they should just leave democracy to the grown-ups. Question #1 for WAC: If you guys don’t have any connections with hate groups, why is it that you just happen to have so many views in common?
    Question #2: Have you ever noticed that Alex Jones sounds just like an infomercial that’s trying to sell you useless kitchen gadgets? THAT’S THE SOUND OF SOMEONE WHO TRICKS STUPID PEOPLE.

  • RangerX

    Is the author of this gibberish really that stupid? To speak out against the actions or inactions of one’s servant government is an absolute right, at least in this country. More than a right, it is a public duty placed upon every man. woman, and child when they see or gain knowledge of an act being done in violation of the respective constitutions and/or the laws properly promulgated thereunder.

    There are far more liars, crooks and traitors within our various levels of government than not. They are protected by liberally biased diatribes such as this one. I agree with the individual who posted the “lump them all together” comment. Liberals are all communist/socialists, they are all stupid, and they should all be taken to a remote island for nuclear testing. There is an old Air Force saying – “Nuke ’em till they glow, then use their asses for runway lights.” I could think of no more fitting end to the majority of these crooks and thieves that believe they somehow have the right to tell the American People what they can or cannot do, when they can or cannot do it, how they must do it, and how they must pay for it whether they like it or not.

    Since by definition a conspiracy is an act where two or more individuals agree to join forces and plan and perpetrate acts for the express purpose of accomplishing some goal, how then does anyone make the argument that the government is NOT engaging in conspiracy when the persons in office collectively act to violate the constitution and the proper laws that are in compliance with it? The same applies to the individual state constitutions and the local governments within the states.

    It is the right and the duty of EVERY American to speak out against government tyranny and abuse, and if necessary, to take up arms in defense of same. Every military serviceman knows this, and in fact required to take an oath to do that very thing… “defend this Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”.

    Is this lame-brained liberal diatribe in any way beneficial to the American People? Does is serve any purpose other than to attempt to discredit or demonize the speech and activities of other Americans who take their duty to protect our country from the avarice and illegal actions of our own government officials? I suppose you think that this country won its independence by simply saying “okay” to king george.

    Please, continue your smear campaign, you have the right to that very thing, freedom of speech and all that, just don’t be so stupid as to forget what some people gave up in order for you to have that right. Being a Patriot, AND a sovereign Citizen is not only possible, it is the proper way to be. To demonize a man because he is willing to stand up for his beliefs and principles is to demonize every soldier and patriot that has ever acted or fought to preserve, protect, and defend the rights you now so callously spit upon and would deny to another out of your own petulance and insolence.

    “For when the [American] revolution took place, the people of each state became themselves sovereign; and in that character hold the absolute right to all their navigable waters, and the soils under them, for their own common use, subject only to the rights since surrendered by the Constitution to the general government.”
    — Martin vs. Waddell, 41 US (16 Pet) 367, 410 (1842)

    “People of a state are entitled to all rights which formerly belonged to the King by his prerogative.”
    — Lansing vs. Smith, 21 D.89

    “Sovereignty itself is, of course, not subject to law, for it is the author and source of law; but in our system, while sovereign powers are delegated to the agencies of government, sovereignty itself, remains with the people, by whom and for whom all government exists and acts. And the law is the definition and limitation of power.”
    — Justice Matthews in Yick Wo v Hopkins, 118 US 356

    “There is no such thing as a power of inherent sovereignty in the government of the [federal] United States… In this country sovereignty resides in the people, and Congress can exercise no power which they [the sovereign people] have not, by their Constitution entrusted to it: All else is withheld.”
    — Supreme Court Justice Field

    “Yet if the individual is no longer to be sovereign, if the police can pick him up whenever they do not like the cut of his jib, if they can “seize” and “search” him in their discretion, we enter a new regime.”
    — Justice Douglas in Terry v. State of Ohio, 88 S.Ct. 1868 (1889)

    ” …If one individual does not possess such a right over the conduct of another [Good and Lawful Christian Man], no number of individuals [in a deliberative body] can possess such a right. All combinations, therefore, to effect such an
    object, are injurious, not only to the individuals particularly oppressed, but to the public at large.”
    — People v. Fisher, 14 Wend.(N.Y.) 9, 28 Am.Dec. 501

  • Carter

    I heard a debate between a “911 Truth” campaign and a member of the International Society of Explosives Engineers on the radio. The “911 Truth” guy got eaten for breakfast.
    I came to the conclusion that the “911 Truth” folks either have some unique agenda or are sadly misinformed.
    I have rarely heard someone get taken apart in a debate like that since high school.

  • John W. Wright (aka LeftWright)

    I know Bruno and have engaged in 9/11 truth activism/education with him a few times.

    The SPLC is perpetrating a lame smear campaign against Bruno, Luke and all the hard working activists that make up We Are Change chapters all over the world.

    Also, I have grave doubts about the case against Bruno and will be very curious to see the evidence and how this case moves forward through the often corrupt U.S. justice system.

    That said, Bruno and others are not doing themselves any favors when they state that Bruno was charged with making “terrorist threats” as this is not supported by the court documents. That charge is actually making “criminal threats”. Here is the relevant section of the court filing:

    On or about May 26,2010, in the County of Los Angeles, the crime of CRIMINAL THREATS, in

    violation of PENAL CODE SECTION 422, a Felony, was committed by BRUNO E BRUHWILER, who

    did willfully and unlawfully threaten to commit a crime which would result in death and great bodily injury

    to DEPUTY ESPINOZA, with the specific intent that the statement be taken as a threat. It is further

    alleged that the threatened crime, on its face and under the circumstances in which it was made, was so

    unequivocal, unconditional, immediate and specific as to convey to DEPUTY ESPINOZA a gravity of

    purpose and an immediate prospect of execution. It is further alleged that the said DEPUTY ESPINOZA

    was reasonably in sustained fear of his/her safety and the safety of his/her immediate family.

    “NOTICE: The above offense is a serious felony within the meaning of Penal Code section 1192.7(c).”

    * * *

    I think it is vitally important that everyone in the truth movement work very hard to stick to the facts and only the facts so as to not damage our individual and collective credibility.

    9/11 was clearly a false flag operation. We need an complete and transparent criminal investigation into the crimes of 9/11/01 to determine exactly who did what and so that justice can be served.

    The truth shall set us free. Love is the only way forward.

  • Ed

    This is for Leslie,

    Allow me to explain why the state has the right to regulate drivers. Below is are several points and the authority that backs up the point. So please read and enjoy.

    1. The boards and councils and other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business.

    A. Government Code Section 54950 reads as follows:
    “DECLARATION OF LEGISLATIVE PURPOSE. “In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s BUSINESS. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies, which serve them. The people in delegating authority do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”

    2. The following case law cited under Article IV Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States of America allows the judicial proceedings in each state to be given full faith and credit in every other state.

    A. Article IV Section 1 US Constitution:
    “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.”

    3. The citizen has a right to use the highways in the ordinary course of life and to use the ordinary conveyance of the day including an automobile.

    A. Kent v. Dulles, 357 U.S. 116, 125, 78 S. Ct. 1113, 1118(1958) “The right to travel is a part of the liberty of which the citizen cannot rightly be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment.”

    B. Robertson vs. Department of Public Works, 180 Wash 133, 147.
    “Complete freedom of the highways is so old and well established a blessing that we have forgotten the days of the Robber Barons and toll roads, and yet, under an act this, arbitrarily administered, the highways may be completely monopolized, if, through lack of interest, the people submit, then they may look to see the most sacred of their liberties taken them one by one by more or less rapid encroachment”.

    C. 11 Am Jur 1st Sec 329.
    The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, by horse drawn carriage, wagon, or automobile, is not a mere privilege which may be permitted or prohibited at will, but the common Right which he has under his Right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Under this Constitutional guarantee on may, therefore, under normal conditions, travel at his inclination along public highways or in public places and while conducting himself in an orderly and decent manner, neither interfering with nor disturbing another’s Rights, he will be protected, not only in his person, but in his safe conduct.”

    D. Bovier’s Law dictionary, 1914 ed., Blacks Law Dictionary, 5th ed,; Blackstone’s Commentary 134; Hare, Constitution, p. 777.
    “Personal liberty – consists of the power of locomotion, of changing situations, of removing one’s person to whatever place one’s inclination may direct, without imprisonment or restraint unless by due process of law.”

    E. Hale v. Hinkel, 201 US 43, 74-75
    “…We are of the opinion that there is a clear distinction in this particular between an individual and a corporation, and that the latter has no right to refuse to submit its books and papers for examination on the suit of the State. The individual may stand upon his Constitutional rights as a Citizen. He is entitled to carry on his private business in his own way. His power to contract is unlimited. He owes no duty to the state or to his neighbors to divulge his business, or to open his doors to investigation, so far is it may tend to incriminate him. He owes not such duty to the State, since he receives nothing there from, beyond the protection of his life, liberty and property. His Rights are such as the law of the land long antecedent to the organization of the state, and can only be taken from him by due process of law, and in accordance with the Constitution. Among his Rights, are the refusal to incriminate himself, and the immunity of himself and his property from arrest or seizure except under warrant of law. He owes nothing to the public so long as he does not trespass upon their right.”
    “Upon the other hand, the corporation is a creature of the state. It is presume to be incorporated for the benefit of the public. It receives certain special privileges and franchises, and holds them subject to the laws of the state and the limitations its charter. Its rights to act as a corporation are only reserved to it so long as it obeys the laws of its creation. There is a Reserved right in the legislature to investigate its contracts and find out whether it has exceeded its powers. It would be a strange anomaly to hold that the State, having chartered a corporation to make use of the certain franchises, could not in exercise of its sovereignty inquire how those franchises had been employed, and whether they had been abused, and demand the production of corporate books and papers for that purpose.”

    F. Corporations engaged in mercantile equity fall under the purview of the State’s admiralty jurisdiction, and the public at large must be protected from their activities, as they (the corporations) are engaged in business for profit.

    Hadfield v. Lundin, 98 Wash 516
    “…Based upon the fundamental ground that the sovereign state has the plenary control of the streets and highways in the exercise of its police powers (see police power, infra), may absolutely prohibit the use of the streets as a place for the prosecution of a private business for gain. They all recognize the fundamental distinction between the ordinary Right of the Citizen to use the streets in the usual way and the use of the streets as place of business or a main instrumentality of business for private gain. The former is a common Right; the latter is an extraordinary use. As to the former, the legislative power is confined to regulation, as to the latter; it is plenary and extends even to absolute prohibition. Since the use of the streets by a common carrier in the prosecution of its business as such is not a right but a mere license of privilege.”

    G. Chicago Motor Coach v. Chicago, 169 NE 22?1’; Ligare v. Chicago 28 NE 934; Boon v. Clark, 214 SW 607; 25 Am Jur 1st sec. 163
    “The use of the highways for the purpose of travel and transportation is not a mere privilege, but a common and fundamental Right of which the public and the individual cannot be rightfully deprived.”

    H. “Willis v. Buck, 263 p. 982; Barnes v. Board of Railroad Commissioners, 17 p. 2d 82.
    “Heretofore the court has held, and we think correctly, that while a Citizen has the Right to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, that Right does not extend to the use of the highways, either in whole or in part, as a place of business for private gain.“

    I. State v Johnson 243 p. 1073; Cummins v. Homes, 155 p. 171; Packard v Banton, 44 S. Ct. 256
    “…For while a Citizen has the Right to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, that Right does not extend to the use of the highways, either in whole or in part, as a place for private gain. For the latter purpose, no person has a vested right to use the highways of the state, but is a privilege or a license which the legislature may grant or withhold at its discretion.

    J. State v City of Spokane, 186 P. 864
    “The right of the citizen to travel up on the highway and to transport his property thereon, in the ordinary course of life and business, differs radically and obviously from that of one who makes the highway his place of business for private gain in the running of a stagecoach or omnibus.

    K. Bacon Services Corp. v Huss, 199 Cal. 21.
    “The fact that those who operate motor vehicles for the transportation of persons or property for hire enjoy a different and more extensive use of the public highways than those who use said public highways for transportation of their own property or employees or both, and those who transport no persons and property for hire or compensation, constitutes a natural distinction and a full justification for the separate classification for the latter operators among those exempted from the license tax provided for by the act of the legislature of 1923.

    4. The State of California cannot take a secured liberty and convert it into a privilege and issue a license and fee for it and if the state does attempt to do so the Citizen may ignore the license and fee and exercise the right with impunity. This mean it’s not prosecutable.

    A. Miller v. U.S. 230 F. 486, 489
    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional Right cannot be converted into a crime.”

    B. Snerer v. Cullen, 481 F. 946
    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of this exercise of constitutional Rights.”

    C. Murdock v. Penn. 319 US. 105 (1943)
    “No state may convert any secured liberty into a privilege and issue a license and a fee for it.”

    D. Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham Al. 373 US 262: (1962)
    “If the state does convert your right into a privilege and issue a license and a fee for it, you can ignore the license and fee and engage that right with impunity.”

    5. Whenever the State makes the claim that driving is a privilege and not a right, what the State is really referring to is one who uses the highways as a place of business.

    A. Thompson v Smith, supra.; Teche Lines v Danforth, Miss. 12 S.2d 784
    “The right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, in the ordinary course of life and business, is a common right which he has under the right to enjoy life and liberty, to acquire and possess property, and to pursue happiness and safety. It includes the right, in so doing, to use the ordinary and usual conveyances of the day, and under the existing modes of travel, includes the right to drive a horse drawn carriage or wagon thereon or to operate an automobile thereon, for the usual and ordinary purpose of life and business.”

    B. Willis v. Buck, 263 p. 982; Barnes v. Board of Railroad Commissionors, 17 p. 2d 82.
    “Heretofore the court has held, and we think correctly, that while a Citizen has the Right to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, that Right does not extend to the use of the highways, either in whole or in part, as a place of business for private gain.

    C. Stephenson v Rinford 287 US 251; Pachard v Banton, 264 U.S. 140, and cases cited; Frost and F. Trucking Co. v Railroad Commission, 271 U.S. 592; Railroad Commission v Inter-City Forwarding Co., 57 SW.2d 290; Parlett Cooperative v. Tidewater Lines, 164 A. 313.
    “First, it is well established law that the highways of the state are public property, and their primary and preferred use is for private purposes, and that their use for purposes of gain is special and extraordinary which, generally at least, the legislature may prohibit or condition as it sees fit.

    D. Robertson v. Dept. of Public Works, Supra;
    “We know of no inherent right in one to use the highways for commercial purposes. The highways are primarily for the use of the public, and in the interest of the public, the state may prohibit or regulate… the use of the highways for gain”.

    E. Thompson v Smith, Supra.
    “When the public highways are made the place of business the state has a right to regulate their use in the interest of safety and convenience of the public as well as the preservation of the highways”. Thompson v Smith, Supra.

    “[The state’s] right to regulate such use is based upon the nature of the business and the use of the highways in connection therewith”. Ibid.

    F. Blacks Law Dictionary 5th and 6th Ed.
    Driver: “One actually doing driving whether employed by owner to drive or driving his own vehicle”

    G. Boviers Law Dictionary, 1914 Ed
    Driver: “One employed in conducting a coach, carriage, wagon, or other vehicle.”

    6. According the California Department of Motor Vehicles Website the first Motor Vehicle Act that required Licensing and Registration was the California Vehicle Act of 1914. However there is no such thing as the California Vehicle Act of 1914. It was actually the Motor Vehicle Act of 1913, which went into effect on December 31st, 1913 and only required corporate entities to be licensed and registered.

    A. Motor Vehicle Act of 1913 Ch. 326 p.639
    “Section 1(17). “person” shall include any corporation, association, copartnership, company, firm, or other aggregation of individuals which owns or controls any motor vehicle as owner, or for the purpose of sale, or for renting as agent, salesman or otherwise.”

    7. According the Motor Vehicle Act of 1915 the only people required to be licensed and registered are corporate entities.

    A. Motor Vehicle Act of 1915 Ch. 187, p. 397, Approved May 10, 1915.
    “Section 1 (16). “person” shall include any corporation, association, co-partnership, company, firm, or other aggregation of individuals; and where the term “person” is used in connection with the registration of a vehicle, it shall include any corporation, association, co-partnership, company, firm, or other aggregation of individuals which owns or controls such vehicle as actual owner, or for the purpose of sale, or for renting, whether as agent, salesman, or otherwise.”

    8. The confusion with the right verses privilege began with the Statutes of 1923 Ch. 266 p. 517. But was corrected (14) days later with the passing of Statutes of 1923 Ch. 341 p. 706.

    A. Statutes of 1923 Ch. 266 p. 517
    “Operator.” Every Person who drives, operates or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle up a public highway.”

    Then (14) days later in the same session of the legislature dealing with similar subject matter the following Statute was passed and repealed the above definition.

    B. Stats 1923, ch 341, p. 706, was approved on June 13, 1923.
    Operator: “The word ‘operator’ shall include all persons, firms, associations and corporations who operate motor vehicles upon any public highway in this state and thereby engage in the transportation of persons or property for hire or compensation, But shall not include any person, firm association or corporation who solely transports by motor vehicle persons to and from or to or from attendance upon any public school or who solely transports his or its own property, or employees, or both, and who transports no persons or property for hire or compensations”.

    C. Section 12 Stats of 1923, Ch 341, p. 706
    All acts and parts of acts in conflict herewith are hereby repealed…”

    D. Stats 1923, p. 706. Bacon Service Corporation v. Huss, 199 Cal. 21.”
    “The fact that those who operate motor vehicles for the transportation of persons or property for hire enjoy a different and more extensive use of the public highways than those who use said public highways for transportation of their own property or employees or both, and those who transport no persons and property for hire or compensation, constitutes a natural distinction and a full justification for the separate classification for the latter operators among those exempted from the license tax provided for by the act of the legislature of 1923.”

    9. The Vehicle Code of 1935 maintains the exemption from being considered an “operator” for those who do not transport persons and property for hire. The Vehicle Code of 1935 was not a new enactment of law but simply a restatement and continuation of laws already passed. They were consolidated into the code for convenience. Section 4 is the acknowledgement of the rights that existed prior to the code and the fact that the code doesn’t effect those rights. Of course one of those rights is the right of the Citizen to use the highways in the ordinary course of life and to use the ordinary conveyance of the day. This is also confirmed in the 1935 Statutes where it defines “Highway” the reference to the “right” in that definition was taken out in the later enactments of the code, but section 4 still acknowledges the right. Section 802 repealed certain acts and section 803 prevents other acts, other than those specified in section 802, from being repealed.

    A. Statute 1935 Ch. 27 p. 94 Section 2
    “Continuation of Existing law. The provisions of this code, in so far as they are substantially the same subject matter, shall be construed as restatements and continuations thereof and not as new enactments.

    B. Statute 1935 Ch. 27 p. 94 Section 4
    “Pending Proceedings and Accrued Rights. No action or proceeding commenced before this code takes effect, and no right accrued is effected by the provisions of this code, but all procedure thereafter taken therein shall conform to the provisions of this code so far as possible.”

    C. Statute 1935 Ch. 27 p. 94 Section 67
    Highway” is a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public as a matter of right for purposes of vehicular travel. Highway includes street.

    D. California Vehicle Code 2010
    Highway” is a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. Highway includes street.

    E. Statutes of 1935 Ch. 27 section 802,
    The following Statutes are hereby repealed.
    Stats 1901, ch. 149, p. 324
    Stats 1923, ch. 266, p. 517
    Stats 1929, ch. 263, p. 568
    Stats 1931, ch. 478, p. 1040
    Stats 1933, ch. 208, p. 686
    Stats 1933, ch. 801, p. 2127

    F. Statutes of 1935 Ch. 27 Section 803(C)
    “Except as provided in Section 802, this code does not repeal any existing statute, nor any sentence or clause thereof.”

    10. If the States position is that a Citizen can exercise his/her right to the use the highways in the ordinary course of life is by way of using public transporation or having some other person take you from point A to point B, this argument cannot stand because the State cannot create a situation where the exercise of a right is predicated upon the exercise of a privilege.

    A. Blacks Law Dictionary 5th and 6th Ed. Maxim of law
    Quad per me non possum nec per allium
    “That which I cannot do myself, I cannot do through another.”

    11. The automobile is not inherently dangerous and to deprive all persons of the Right to use the road in the ordinary course of life and business, because one might, in the future, become dangerous, would be a deprivation not only of the right to use the highways in the ordinary course of life and travel, but also the Right to due process.

    A. Cohens vs. Meadown 89 SE 876; Blair vs. Broadmore, 93 SE 532
    “There is nothing inherently dangerous in the use of an automobile when it is carefully managed. Their guidance, speed, and noise are subject to a quick and easy control, under a competent and considerate manger, it is as harmless on the road as a horse and buggy. It is the manner of managing the automobile, and that alone, which threatens the safety of the public. The ability to stop quickly and to respond quickly to guidance would seem to make the automobile one of the least dangerous conveyances”.

    12. All power ultimately resides in the people and the State and Federal government derives their just powers from the people. The people never had a right to demand permission from others to move about the State or country. Nor did the people have a right to demand that people register their property with them before they can use it. Since this power was never possessed by the People, the People have no way of delegating this authority to a government and therefore there is no power for the state to require licenesing and registration from those who use the highways by automobile in a non-commercial capacity. No one however has a right to use the highways as place of business, in order for someone to exercise this they must get permission from the people. This power is and was delegated to the State and was codified in the California Vehicle Code.

    All political power is inherent in the people.
    Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.

    13. The Supreme Court case in United States v. Bishop set the standard for willful intent in criminal violations.
    · It must be proven that you are the party.
    · It must be proven that you had the method or opportunity to do the thing.
    · It must be proven that you did this with a willful intent.

    Willfulness- “An evil motive or intent to avoid a known duty or task under a law, with a moral certainty.”

    “The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.”
    Edmund Burke, 1784

    I hope this sheds some light on this matter and you now understand the issue surrounding the drivers license. At least how it relates to California law anyway.

    And as far as the members of We Are Change are concerned. They are the most wonderful people I have ever had a chance of knowing and I’m pround to know Mr. Bruhwiler personally and know him to be a man who’s character needs no defending.

    Peace and love

  • Dawn

    Fredric- my husband and I run the We Are Change in Medford. Neither of us have latched onto a religion nor are we Atheist. What false claim would you like to make next?

  • muaythai

    “Chieftain?” I don’t know much about these guys, but I do know a loaded word when I read it. C’mon SPLC- you must write better stuff than this.

  • Fredric L. Rice

    Was was there no mention at all of the religious extremist idologies of these insane loons?

    They are all, every one of them Christian. That’s the core problem here or, more accurately, religious occultism and indoctrination is the core reason why such people harbor the mindsets that they do, they learned occultism instead of reason.

  • Leslie


    The state has a right to license drivers of cars–and for good reason. However, if you want to travel without a license you can ride your bike, walk or take public transportation.

  • Marc Pinke

    I support We Are Change and I’m not even a US citizen, I live in Canada. They are NOT into conspiracies, they are simply sick and tired of a lying, murderous corporatocracy which has hi-jacked the federal government and is pushing crazy, trillion dollar agendas all the name of fighting ‘terror’.

    The USA has become such a police state that I’m actually scared of putting my real email address into this registration (I did use my real email address) bcuz I’m going to end up on a terrorist watch list just bcuz I’m writing this.

    If I put a fake email address, then I’d be charged with ‘identity theft’ and put on a terror watch list as well.


  • Adam

    Wow, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” Allow me to fix my comments where they were cut off. “Under the Patriot Act, his (MLK jr’s) actions would be considered terrorist acts”. The civil rights movement wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for Bush and Obama.

    And, of course, to quote one of my favorite jews, “Condemnation without Investigation is the height of ignorance”.

    I don’t remember what else was edited out of my comment when I posted it. Hopefully there’s a single thread of deductive reasoning running through the collective consciousness of your readers.

  • Adam

    Where were we when Katrina happened and the trailors had asbestos in them? Krissy, we were shouting from the highest mountain tops about it. No one was listening. Perhaps instead of blindly accepting what SPLC has to say about this movement, you should investigate the movement for itself. I know Bruno personally. The man was in court that day supporting a friend and charged with terrorism after rolling his eyes! I know of another man who was regarded by the state as a terrorist and an agitator. Martin Luther King Jr led acts of civil disobedience. Under the Patriot Act, his actions would have labeled him a terrorist. To quote a famous Jew, “Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance”.
    Albert Einstein. Thanks again SPLC for advertising our cause. I’m confident that if enough of your subscribers actually investigate your claims, they’ll see your group for what they are and join our side. And we’ll welcome them no matter what racial group you want them to seperate themselves by. We have Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney and Dr. Paul Craig Roberts… who’ve you got? PEACE!

  • Chris

    SPLC is a foundation sponsored front group to play left against right. It’s just like the ADL.
    Most ppl have figured it out by now. SPLC is irrelevent and when Obama said he was all for ‘CHange’ he really meant ‘I’m gonna continue where Bush left off – business as usual’, when We are Change are the REAL change and are actually trying to improve the lot of humanity.


  • Red Baron

    The Southern Poverty Law Center is trying to manage the perception of any group that does not go along with the direction of the establishment power which is dismantling our civil liberties.
    It’s clear to see that the most hateful people reside within this Southern Poverty Law Center under the guise of being the authorities that monitor Hate in America.

    We see you for what you truly are!

  • Donald U.

    I’m a member of WAC–Los Angeles, and I’m proud to be part of such a civic-minded group. I’m also a card carrying member of the ACLU, a long-time peace activist, and my Kucinich t-shirt is almost thread bare from so many wearings. A number of my friends go to the SOA (School of the Americas) protest each year.

    Mr. Bruhwiler is not the “chieftain” of our group. He is active in it, but so are many others. He is one member of it’s steering committee and if people go to our website, they will see that there are other organizers besides Mr. Bruhwiler.

    The article states that our primary goal is to notify people of the government’s involvement in the events of 9/11, and that is true. Currently over 1200 registered architects and engineers are risking reputations and careers to do the same at

    But many of us in the group also have an active interest in getting the truth out on a number of subjects that simply don’t get coverage in our main stream media. I can tell everyone out there that our government’s nefarious activities don’t end just in Latin America or Asia. I, for one, don’t believe the group that assasinated JFK just disappeared once LBJ took office. If anyone one wants a look into the myraid of evil things going on in our government and beyond, then I would strongly suggest they listen to Alex Jones for a couple of days. THAT will really open your eyes to what’s happening in our world, and then probably you too will want to go out and tell others, because like 9/11, some of it is just too important to ignore. Just ask Cindy Sheehan or Pat Tillman’s family.

  • Dawn

    About Conspiracy “Theories”- On 9/11, 3 steel framed buildings fell at the speed of freefall, into the path of most resistance, and into their own footprint. This is scientifically impossible. Say the steel was softened enough to break, wouldn’t the top of the buildings have fallen over? That is the path of least resistance. All it takes is a high school physics class to help you figure that one out. This is why over 1000 architects and engineers are dedicated to revealing the truth. I don’t pretend to know what it is. All I know is that we have been lied to. That is not a theory, that is a fact.
    Snorlax- the real Patriots that you speak of, the ones who risked their lives, are the ones we call Oath Keepers. They swear an oath to protect the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic and they are keeping that oath.
    Patriots- not the ones you see on Fox, or follow puppets like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, but the real Patriots are not racist. They believe that everyone has rights. The real Patriots are probably the least racist group of people you could ever meet.
    Have any of you even looked up the Bilderberg Group or the New World Order or do you just believe whatever you hear and read by corporate controlled media? Look it up, I dare you. Bush Sr. is heard talking about the NWO. It’s not even a secret and you don’t even have to look hard for the proof. About the Bilderberg, same thing. No secret, except for what is discussed at their meetings. I know thinking for yourself is scary and difficult. You are then labelled a loon and a racist because you do your own research. But I beg of you, please look into this stuff yourself.

  • Jason

    Snor, you really need to look up HR 645. FEMA camps are not a “conspiracy theory”. They are an irrefutable and documented fact.

    SPLC, you can try to demonize constitution, freedom and liberty supporting patriots all that you want, but that only causes more people to see you all for the liars and corrupt fools that you are. It also serves to wake more people up to the corruption that exists within this country and around the world.

    This “article” is a perfect example of how ignorant and dangerous this “center” is to freedom, liberty, truth and justice. It was a very pathetic attempt at trying to vilify Bruno. Heidi, what did Bruno do that is so bad? I want you to seriously think about that. Are you a shill or are you just that ignorant to what being an American means?

    There isn’t a single thing that you can do that will stop true patriots from educating themselves, informing others and taking a stand for the Constitution, freedom and liberty. Your “center” is an insult to everything that is good and right in this world. Take care and God bless.

  • SuckLessEveryDay

    So what we have here is a huge steaming pile of libel against Rudkowski AND the entire population of people who think that the world we were born into sucks. It takes an informed person to declare themselves apart from the citizenry of this sinking country. Why should we give a crap if people choose to be sovereign citizens or not? (Re-read that question with the word “activist” or “hetero/homo” or anything else someone could CHOOSE to be instead of “sovereign citizen.” Same principle applies. People are free to be who they wish. And if they’re not, they should be.)

    Sure, the letters he wrote would sound threatening to the bunch of wusses he worked with. (“OMG did he just call those people wusses? Oh, he must be an extremist or patriot or terrorist or something. They all look and sound the same to me.”) Did he show up to work and start shooting the place up? Were explosives found in his desk? You people are well trained to blow the whistle on everyone BUT the people telling you to “report suspicious activity…”

    Just FYI, all conspiracies are false and the ruling class wants to help us all out so we can rule, too! Yay!

    The SPLC, MediaMatters, ACORN, and all the rest of these uber-liberal organizations need to just stop. They’re biased liars who will ALWAYS stand up for the establishment. Don’t like being called liberal? Paul Criag Roberts and Alex Jones are not conservative. Follow your own mission statements. Don’t propagate and demonize.

    Besides, still calling a 9/11 truther crazy is like SO 2006… :)

  • Lincoln

    the “sovereign citizen” guy is probably paid by the splc as a straw man. the splc is a known slanderous hate group.

    if we ended fractional reserve lending, the amount of greenbacks that the government could print to prevent deflation could be used to pay off the national debt and end taxation.

    however, the millionaire welfare queens holding government bonds would hate that because it would cut off their gravy train of tax payers being forced to pay them interest.

    the banks love earning interest on fractionalized reserves where they create money out of thin air and loan it at interest to the government, corporations, and people. it is called usury. the non-profit credit unions could provide 100% reserve savings and loans. we don’t need banks. the government can issue money debt free and in lieu of taxation. economic growth causes deflation. adding to the money supply prevents deflation. we can fund government without having to tax people.

    the fractional reserve lending system is called usury and racketeering where the banks manipulate money supply and make huge rates of returns to fund their monopolization of industries and god’s bounty (the land) by simply printing money and having the government declare it legal tender for payment of debt and taxes.

    the only time jesus lost his temper was with the money changers. i suppose the splc is going to slander jesus as a terrorist next because the splc is a slanderous nazi hate group.

    wtc 7 was scientifically proven to be a controlled demolition. it would be impossible for wtc 7 (and wtc 1 and 2) to collapse at freefall speed if it wasn’t a carefully prepared controlled demolion. even if the buildings did pancake, the amount of resistance would take well over a minute to collapse. considering multiple independent scientists confirm thermate residue in the dust and all the evidence pointing towards controlled demolition, 9/11 was an inside job as sure as the earth is round.

    it IS a criminal conspiracy and cabal. and the splc is part of that criminal conspiracy and cabal. the splc is a criminal hate group involved in the cover-up of mass murder. they should be charged with guilt at the coming nuremberg trials for the new world order.

  • Curt

    Just because an individual that is a member of an organization or group does something does not mean we should lump everyone together. Some priests diddle kids should we label them all? Some attorneys are scumbag lowlifes who cheat their clients and violate their oaths, can we just lump them all into that group? Some athletes rape women is it fair to label all rapists? But you sure want to say one possible bad apple means that We Are Change is all bad… What is it exactly that you hate, Americans asking it’s Government questions and expecting truthful answers or those individuals Right to question it’s Government?

    I haven’t had a license in over 20 years and 13 tickets, all dismissed with prejudice. Little secret among Attorneys, the hide the Law within the Law and they use words that are legally defined one way yet generally taken another. KNOW WHO YOU ARE before you can claim YOUR RIGHTS… 99.9% of you have to have a license, SS, pay taxes etc. it is the laws of your Nation/States and you are a citizen of them and receive the benefits of them. Some of us are not Citizens of the US or any State and therefore jurisdiction is the issue… It’s in depth legalese that I won’t go into depth on. The point is don’t lump everyone into one group or another because they may not fit that mold…

  • Jack

    I’m confused, how does this make them a hate group?

    If the SPLC is worried about “hate” influencing these anti-government types they should complain about the idiots protesting the mosque near 9/11.

    These people are your average run-of-the-mill conspiracy theorist types. What’s worse is that the SPLC (as usual) doesn’t even say why they’re wrong. It finds random members of their movement who have done confrontational things without context and tries to vilify them collectively as violent.

    At the G20, Luke Rudkowski was shouting down black-clad anarchists for being too violent and demanding peaceful and non-violent protest against police officers who violated the Consitutional rights of virtually everyone there of any stripe (as documented by the NLG, ACLU, and others). He did not call for people to violently attack police, break windows, bomb things, etc. The guy really is just an average community activist with a bone to pick about the 9/11 thing.

    The fact that the SPLC would put him/them on a hate group list shows how low the standards are for SPLC, and it also means these sorts of lists are compiled dishonestly — who knows what ACTUAL hate groups are missing from them?

  • Sam

    This article is full of slanderous hearsay in attempt to mold an opinion. Some of what these “patriots” believe is ridiculous, but some of it is arguably relevant.

  • Sam

    When dissent is labeled as terrorism, and your personal rights have been stripped away why is it hard to believe we live in a fascist state? When you see that the worst terrorist attacks in Spain, Britain, and the U.S. all happen due to the same extreme and improbable coincidences why is conspiracy not a valued idea? When our gov’t has declassified documents saying the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a false flag operation that cost American lives to enter a war, why would you say they serve your interest? When Vietnam’s bombings we’re continued solely as a political move, what makes you think they have humanity in mind? Why would you have such pride in such a deceitful and destructive goverment? The list goes on, and the facts speak for themselves.

  • Dany

    Maybe you, ‘Hatewatch’, need to look for the good in people, not what you perceive to be bad. Wearechange are loving, educated, informed, caring and good people. Try a little ‘lovewatching’ and you might see some humans trying to expose Government corruption, corporate greed, wars based on profiteering and land control among many other worthy pursuits. I see nothing extreme about those pursuits.

  • justanotherkook

    @snorlax. before you call people wackos, maybe you should research the topic. in FACT: traveling is a right, driving is a privilege. AND: driving is commercial, traveling is private. There is NO LAW requiring ANYONE to be licenced to travel. just because you are ignorant of the LAW and the TRUTH does not make others who are not wackos. and BTW, statute is NOT law and this website propogates ignorance of the truth.

  • orgazmo

    You people think that these sovereign people are a joke…well the ones you hear about ARE a joke because they’re dumb and don’t know what they are doing. Let me tell you that there are thousands of sovereign people out there everyday, the reason why you don’t hear about them is because they’re doing everything right when it comes to knowing and abiding by the law, and building relationships with their local officials.

  • Herbert E. Larson

    The whole idea that you can be an American patriot and a sovereign citizen is an oxymoron. I love the inability of nut jobs to see the inconsistencies of their thinking but they would not be nut jobs then.

  • Snorlax

    We had one of these Sovereign whackos get in the media for getting arrested a while back. One of her parents was a state representative so it made the local news anyway.

    She got caught by the cops driving around with a WOODEN license plate.

    Really. I can’t make this stuff up.

    Apparently she was one of those whackos who thinks they can just carve their own license plate and drive down the road. Knots and all. I wonder what varnish she uses.
    I’ve heard of vanity plates but this is ridiculous.

    “May I see your license, please?”
    “Isn’t it back there on the bumper, man?”

  • Snorlax

    That FEMA camp rumor is a laugh riot. Because it goes both ways. A real flip-flopper for the Reich Wingnuts.

    Originally, it was Cheney’s Haliburton that was building FEMA camps to put all the commie librrruls in them.

    Then, Alex Jones just got out his eraser and wrote in new names. Suddenly the FEMA camps were Obama’s commie plot to put all the right wingnut “patriots” into.

    Reminds me of FOX “News” being in bed with the Saudis now. Playing both sides of the street means you always rake in the bucks, no matter which side is on top.

    P.T. Barnum was right, a sucker IS born every minute.

  • krissy

    Again with the FEMA camps. Where were these guys when FEMA put Katrina survivors in formaldehyde trailers? Thats what they should be afraid of. They also believe that rich people will take over with genetic engineering after the FEMA camps are completed. Thanks Alex Jones for creating an army of illiterate loons.

  • Snorlax

    There are patriots and then there are Patriots, Jeronimouse.

    Of course, there are the New England Patriots, an old favorite. But seriously…

    There are real patriots. The guys who gave all they had for our country in the front lines. The firefighters and EMTs and doctors and nurses who are there when it hits the fan. The hardworking Americans who don’t turn you away at the door because of your race, creed, color, country of origin or whatever.

    Then there’s self-style “Patriots” who are a bunch of thugs. They’re racist bigots who use illegal immigration as an excuse to beat up brown people. And, as some of them have stated plainly in here and elsewhere, they don’t care much if they hassle illegals or Latino US Citizens.

    There are real patriots in the US… And there are phony “Patriots” who have no idea what patriotism really is.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Yes Jeronimus, the SPLC hates heterosexuals. They want us all to become gay. Brilliant.

  • Jeronimus

    Sounds like a great bunch of folks! I know Bob Schulz. He is a perfectly peaceful and law abiding gentleman, earnestly working for a day that we’ll again have a government of laws rather than caprice. I’ll try to make it to the conference. Thanks for functioning as a calendar for the Patriots of this country. I know “Patriot” is a bad word to you guys, like “racist,” or “white person” or “heterosexual” (yikes!).