The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Richard Mack, the leader of the so-called “Constitutional sheriffs” movement and a longtime figure in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, made a somewhat startling announcement near the end of his speech Saturday December 13 to the gathering of fellow gun-rights enthusiasts at the “We Will Not Comply” rally in Olympia, Wash.
“I want you to know that there is something that I’m gonna do – and I don’t want to do it,” he said. “And my wife really doesn’t want to do it. But there is a group of people that were looking for answers to what we’re doing. And they formed a committee, and they formed a website, and they got together and they said, let’s call this the Constitutional County Project. And we’re going to try to make at least one county a complete and entire constitutional county.”
Mack smiled. “Now imagine that all of you – all of us that similarly live in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, all lived in the same place,” he said. “Can you imagine that? And we are the town councils, the county commissioners. And I am moving there to run for sheriff.”
This is not the first time that Mack has moved to another locale in an attempt to become sheriff since losing his badge as the sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., in the mid-1990s. In 1998, he ran as a Republican for sheriff in Utah County, Utah, but lost in the primary. He returned to Arizona, where in 2006 he ran as a Libertarian Party candidate in the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Jon Kyl, a Republican, but finished in the general election with only 3% of the vote. Mack, who now has a residence in Texas, ran in the 2012 GOP primary against Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of the state’s 21st Congressional District and was similarly trounced, garnering only 15 percent of the vote.
There is indeed a website devoted to a “Constitutional County Project,” as well as a Facebook page, and they explain that their mission is to “re-assert the United States Constitution as the supreme law of the land, driven by active citizen engagement within the political process at the County level, to secure and protect the liberties of ‘We the People’ without compromise.”
The website explains that the organizers have set their sights on Navajo County, a sparsely populated and relatively large body in Arizona’s northeastern corner, as the county where they hope to establish a large population of fellow “constitutionalists” who share their political views, and to transform the county’s politics accordingly.
The project’s intentions, according to the website, in Navajo County include “supporting Constitutional candidates, as well as encouraging project participants to run, for all county offices including county sheriff, attorney, board of supervisors, school board, along with all municipal and political party offices,” “repealing local and county laws and regulations which are unrelated to protecting individual rights,” “establishing and enforcing environmental regulations at the county level,” and “using legal and political means to protect the county’s residents against any attempt to un-Constitutionally interfere with peaceable living and enterprise.”
“The main reasons for our choosing Navajo County include a rural location, mild climate, and an already existing tradition of independence, self-reliance, and liberty among its residents,” the website explains.
The site also lists a number of endorsements for the project from around Arizona, including a number of leading Republican Party officials. Among them are Dara Vanesian, the Navajo County GOP Chairman; AJ Lafaro, the Maricopa County GOP Chairman; Pinal County GOP Chairman Seraphim Larsen; and Arizona State Sen. Judy Burges, R-Sun City West, a noted Tea Party figure who once made headlines by introducing a “birther” bill in the Legislature, as well as for a bill to stave off a “one-world order,” a response to the right-wing conspiracy theory about Agenda 21.
Local endorsees include Sylvia Allen, a Navajo County Supervisor; former Arizona State Senator Jonathan Paton; Barry Weller, an Apache County Supervisor; and Robert Corbell, a Greenlee County Supervisor. The group’s leadership appears to include Barry Hess, a former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, and Barbara Blewster of the state’s chapter of the John Birch Society.
Mack explained to the crowd Saturday how it all came about. “This group got together and came to me, I wasn’t part of it,” he said. “They told me about this, and I said, ‘This is tremendous. This is what I’ve said for years. If we’re going to take back freedom, we have one opportunity to keep it peaceful, and that is the enforcement of state sovereignty by our sheriffs, and by our state and county legislators.”
He said he saw it as a dream come true: “We can keep this movement peaceful, my dear friends, we can. You have to have them on board, though. You have to have some of them. And you have to have some sheriffs. And so they said, ‘We want all of that to happen – in Navajo County, Arizona, and we want you to come there and run for sheriff.
“And I said yes. My wife said no. This is one time I’m gonna be the boss. We’re moving. And it’s three hours from where I live now.”
He also made a pitch for fellow “Patriots” to join him there. “The election is in 2016,” he said. “I want you to carefully, prayerfully consider moving there with me. And I’m serious. You want to live in a free county? You want to live by constitutional law? You want to not worry about the federal government not moving in and ruining your lives and your family and hauling you off at midnight? Come live with us there. We’re gonna do this.
“We’re gonna make it a constitutional county and show everybody the blueprint for freedom. And there’s a lot more people running for other offices than me. I just said I’d run for sheriff. We’re going to give this one more try. The election is in 2016. I’m going to be moving there in spring of 2015 so I can start getting ready for this. You have about a year and a half to decide. And I’m dead serious about this. If I can move there, so can you.”
There are some immediate problems, however, with the plans of Mack and his cohorts. The most obvious is that of the county’s 9,960 square miles, 6,632 of those are federally designated Indian reservation – the third most of any county in the United States.
Nor is it clear that their political plans – involving a predominantly white “Patriot” movement contingent – will go over well with the county’s current population, some 45 percent of which in the latest Census was Native American. That is only slightly outnumbered by the county’s white population, which comprises 51 percent. However, that white population has grown in recent years; in the 2000 Census, only 46 percent of the county was white, while 48 percent was Native.
Kelly “K.C.” Clark, the current Navajo County sheriff – a Democrat who has held the office since 2008 – told Hatewatch that he had heard of the “constitutional county” rumblings a month ago and had been told recently about Mack’s plans. “I take everything seriously,” he said, “but I just do what I have always done as sheriff.
“You know, I have been serving the citizens of Navajo County for 27 years,” he added. “I have taken the oath as a certified police officer, when I became certified, and then twice as an elected official. And we all know what that oath says. I don’t take that oath lightly, never have.”
But he bridles at the idea that what he and other mainstream sheriffs do is somehow unconstitutional. “I do support the Second Amendment, but I support the whole Constitution, too. I support all 26 amendments. Because I am a constitutional sheriff.”
Clark said he welcomed Mack and his fellow constitutionalists. “You know, anybody can run for sheriff,” he said. “If he does, then so be it. I heard on that video that he was encouraging other people to move here. And I hope so, because that would be great for our economy.”
A federal judge in North Carolina has denied a motion to set aside the 2011 jury conviction of a Bernard von NotHaus, an antigovernment activist who minted and sold his own silver coins in competition with U.S. government.
The protracted and complex legal case attracted widespread interest from gold and coin enthusiasts, as well as antigovernment activists and antigovernment “sovereign citizens” who say the government cannot control them.
The 47-page ruling, filed Nov. 10 by U.S. District Judge Richard Vorhees, came three years after von NotHaus’ conviction in Asheville, N.C., and the filing of assorted post-trial motions, including an attempted legal intervention by Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, Inc. The ruling on those motions, all rejected as baseless by the court, clears the way for von NotHaus’ sentencing next month.
After his conviction, the man who described himself as the “architect of the free-money movement” argued that federal laws under which he was charged are unconstitutional and that federal prosecutors didn’t present sufficient evidence showing he intended to violate counterfeit laws.
The 70-year-old founder of the so-called “Liberty Dollar Operation” minted his own silver coins that looked very much like U.S. silver dollars, intending them to be used as “private barter currency” for goods and services in direct competition with the Federal Reserve. He sold them to distributors in a Pyramid-style operation, accepting Federal Reserve greenbacks for the purchases, reportedly putting more than $20 million Liberty Dollars into circulation before being arrested by the FBI on federal counterfeiting and conspiracy charges.
The post-conviction motions, the judge said, presented “a question as to the scope and extent” of Congress’ exclusive power to coin money.
Von NotHaus argued his conviction “infringes on the public’s right to utilize private bartering systems” and that it is not illegal or counterfeiting for a private individual to compete with the Federal Reserve.
The judge said he was not ruling that private barter systems are illegal. He also said that while the Constitution doesn’t give Congress the exclusive right to coin money, it does “expressly prohibit” states from doing that.
“It is undisputed that Congress has the ability to enact comprehensive laws concerning the coinage of money, the value of money, and counterfeiting,” the judge’s ruling said.
Further, the judge ruled that Congress does indeed possess the power to make it illegal for someone like von NotHaus to mint coins—whether they resemble U.S. coins or are of original design—if they are intended for use in monetary transactions.
Vorhees order said the jury that heard the evidence against von NotHaus found that his Liberty Dollars were counterfeit and that he intended to break federal law by minting and selling them.
After earlier interest by the Secret Service, the FBI opened a criminal investigation in 2004 after the Asheville, N.C., police department got a report the State Employees Credit Union that someone had attempt to “pass a coin that looked similar to United States coinage.”
The judge said the jury that heard the case “was in a position to evaluate the specific and fine points of the Liberty Dollars” before unanimously concluding they were counterfeit and that von NotHaus intended to break federal law.
“There is a heavy burden to prove that a jury’s verdict and findings of facts are wrong,” the judge said, denying von NotHaus’ motions to set aside his convictions or grant a new trial.
While operating the Royal Hawaiian Mint in the late 1990s, von NotHaus founded “The National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and Internal Revenue Code” or NORFED. To circumvent laws, he also started the Free Marijuana Church of Honolulu, where he called himself the “high priest.”
But it was his Liberty Dollar operation that captured national headlines as von NotHaus claimed NORFED would compete with the Federal Reserve System just like FedEx does with the U.S. Postal Service.
He later moved its headquarters to Evansville, Ind., Later, where he teamed with James W. Thomas, publisher of Media Bypass, a now-defunct magazine popular with antigovernment “Patriots,” sovereign citizens and extremists with anti-Semitic agendas.
NORFED issued and circulated five coins in one, five, ten, twenty and fifty dollar denominations. The Liberty Dollars, marked as “America’s inflation-proof currency,” were minted at Sunshine Minting, Inc. in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
While the coins actually contained silver, trial evidence showed von NotHaus and his operation would recall and re-mint the coins if the “average spot price” of that precious metal exceeded the face value of a particular coin.
“We never refer to the American Liberty as a coin,” von NotHaus said in an interview in 1999. “The word ‘coin’ is a government-controlled term. This is currency that is free from government control.”
“When the people own the money, they control the government,” he said. “When the government owns the money, it controls the people.”
Cliven Bundy in Bizarre Video for Black Candidate: ‘It’s Almost Like Black Folks Think White Folks Owe Them Something’
Cliven Bundy, the defiant “Patriot” Nevada rancher who led an armed confrontation with federal agents in April – and who has still not faced any consequences in its aftermath – continued making the far-right political rounds in Nevada this week by appearing in a video promoting the candidacy of Independent American Party candidate Kamau Bakari.
This is somewhat remarkable, considering that Bakari is African-American. Rather than run away from Bundy’s reputation as a racist — well earned, after his widely publicized remarks about race in the immediate aftermath of Bundy’s showdown — the two of them went on the offensive, attacking his critics for their “political correctness,” which Bakari says is “bad for America.”
But none of it is as remarkable as the exchange between the two men, in which Bundy complains that “a man ought to be able to express himself without being called names”, and adds: “It’s almost like black folks think white folks owe them something.”
The ad opens with a clip of U.S. Attorney General Eric holder, commenting in 2009 on the state of race in America: “In things racial, we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.”
The ad then segues to Bundy and Bakari in western cowboy garb with their horses at a hitching post, as spaghetti-western music plays in the background.
BUNDY: Did he just call me a coward?
BAKARI: No, he just called all white folks cowards.
BUNDY: He must not know me.
BAKARI: You mean if someone called you a racist, you wouldn’t drop your head and be all scared and sad and run around here apologizing like them billionaire ball team owners did a little while ago?
BUNDY: No, I wouldn’t, and I’m sick and tired of people that act like that.
BAKARI: Cliven, you know that political correctness, that’s bad for America. A man ought to be able to say whatever you want to say.
BUNDY: That’s exactly right. I know black folks have had a hard time with slavery and you know, the government was in on it. And the government’s in on it again. I worked my whole life without mistreating anybody. A man ought to be able to express himself without being called names.
BAKARI: I hear you, Cliven, I believe you. A brave white man like you might be just what we need to put an end to this political correctness in America today.
BUNDY: Don’t sell yourself short. You’re taking a chance just being in my company.
BAKARI: I know. I’m as sick as you are. I feel ashamed when I hear black folks whining about “white folks this,” “white folks that.” Always begging.
BUNDY: It’s almost like black folks think white folks owe them something.
BAKARI: I know, I’ve got an idea. Let’s call Eric Holder up.
BUNDY: What do you mean?
BAKARI: Tell him you’re a white man that’s not scared to talk to him about race. And you know a black man that will stand with you.
BUNDY: I like that idea. Mr. Eric Holder, this is one white man that’s not scared to talk about race. I dare you to come to Las Vegas and talk to us.
BAKARI: And don’t give us that “you’re too busy” stuff. You weren’t too busy to go to Ferguson, Missouri.
As the Washington Post notes, Bakari is a fringe candidate who has virtually no change of unseating the incumbent, Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat, in Nevada’s 1st District.
It has been six months since the federal government called off its attempt to round up cattle belonging to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy amid a tense standoff with heavily armed militiamen who trained their weapons on federal agents.
For weeks prior, the antigovernment right had been portraying a federal court order to remove Bundy’s herd from public lands as a prime example of federal overreach – even though Bundy had refused to pay more than $1 million in accumulated grazing fees and fines because he said he didn’t recognize the government’s legitimacy.
Militias from around the country responded to Bundy’s plight, hoping that in that tiny corner of the desert they could make a stand against the government they see as the enemy. And when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) abandoned the operation to avoid a bloody shootout, they declared victory.
Government officials promised accountability for those who broke the law by taking up arms against federal agents. It seems unfathomable, in fact, that the U.S. Department of Justice would allow a mob of antigovernment zealots to get away with using the threat of violence to block the enforcement of the law.
But, as the months have dragged on, there has been no response. Not an arrest. Not an indictment. Nothing.
Though he has been largely exiled from the mainstream media in the wake of his nakedly racist remarks following the armed showdown he led against federal agents, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy manages to keep popping up on the political scene in Nevada, still spouting his far-right antigovernment “Patriot” views.
Most recently, Bundy made an appearance in Reno on behalf of Nevada Republican congressional candidate Russell Best, who is running for the state’s 4th District congressional seat under the banner of the fringe Independent American Party.
The incumbent, first-term Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford – who demanded federal action when Bundy supporters reportedly began stopping residents at roadway checkpoints near the Bundy ranch – is favored to win, according to race handicappers, against GOP candidate Crescent Hardy and Best.
Bundy’s speech to the Reno campaign gathering was a fairly boilerplate affair: “Basically, fight for liberty and freedom, and we’re fighting against a federal government that’s overreached,” Bundy told the crowd, estimated at about 50 people, at the Bonanza Casino.
Later, he again told reporters for KRNV-TV that he still wanted to see local sheriffs disarming federal agents in their jurisdictions – and warned that armed revolution would follow if they failed to act.
“I did speak for ‘We the People’ when we said take away the arms from the federal government,” Bundy said. “Later I thought of that and each county sheriff should be taking these arms away from these federal bureaucracy. I did say if we don’t do that, if we don’t rein back this federal government, then we the people are going to have to fight we the people, and that would be a revolution that I sure don’t ever want to see happen.”
Bundy admitted to feeling cooped up at his ranch, even as the crowd of his Patriot supporters has dwindled in the wake of an outbreak of infighting.
“I can’t say I really enjoy it,” he said when asked how felt about being a national figure. “I fight for freedom and yet I feel like I’m sort of locked up in the surroundings and not much freedom for me and my family.”
Bundy, his sons, and a number of participants at the ranch standoff remain under investigation by the FBI for their potentially criminal behavior during the standoff.
A man who called Dallas police to inform them he was part of the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement even as he was engaging officers in an armed standoff was eventually arrested after taking shots at officers and locking down an upscale North Dallas neighborhood.
According to the Dallas Police Department blog, the man –– a 60-year-old Corinth resident named Douglas Lee Leguin –– began taking shots at Dallas firefighters on Monday as they arrived near the scene of a reported Dumpster fire in the well-to-do neighborhood. The firefighters were not hit and put out a call for assistance.
In short order, the Dallas SWAT team and a host of police officers descended upon the scene, and the man continued to fire shots. However, no officers were injured in the incident. Eventually, negotiators persuaded the man to surrender.
Leguin was charged with seven counts of aggravated assault. According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, he had placed a number of explosive devices around the property where he engaged police in the standoff. Those devices were defused or detonated. Reportedly, the same man had encountered a babysitter in the neighborhood with an 8-year-old girl and had threatened both of them before starting his rampage.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Leguin had called police during the standoff to tell them that he belonged to the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement, which believes that most government institutions are illegitimate, as are the laws they enforce.
Arizona Attorney General Thomas Horne has been accused by his political opponents of being a “chameleon.” But not even they could predict the company he would one day keep.
Horne, once a Democrat, is a featured guest at tonight’s “Liberty on Tap” monthly social at a Scottsdale brewing company, where he will share the stage with far-right antigovernment “Patriot” movement luminaries including Richard Mack and Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.
Stephen Lemons at Phoenix New Times reports that Horne’s campaign team is aware of the presence of the other participants.
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy says it was a “spiritual experience” –– good versus evil ––when he and his armed militia supporters stood up to federal agents in the celebrated April standoff that many say has buoyed the extremist movement.
Bundy, in one of his first public speeches since the stand-off, spoke last weekend in St. George, Utah, to members of the Independent American Party, described as a political group of ultra-conservatives who mock both the Republican and Democratic parties. ( continue to full post… )
In the wake of Sunday’s deadly attacks in North Las Vegas, at the hands of two antigovernment “Patriot” extremists, Infowars host Alex Jones warned his listeners that the media would soon start claiming that there’s a connection between his conspiracist media operation and the killers.
As a matter of fact, Jerad Miller – the 31-year-old Indiana man who led the attack, assisted by his 22-year-old wife, Amanda – liked to post on the Infowars member forum. And he constantly promoted Infowars on his Facebook page.
In one of his Infowars posts, Miller even speculated about whether or not he should kill police officers.
“The emerging narrative in the Las Vegas shooting now includes Alex Jones,” the Infowars site complained shortly after news of the shootings broke. In short order, Jones began calling the shootings a “false flag operation” secretly staged by nefarious federal government operatives who set it up to look like it was a crime committed by domestic terrorists.
“The incident is custom-made to demonize the patriot movement,” the Infowars site claimed. “The Southern Poverty Law Center has consistently attempted to forge a link between white supremacists and members of the patriot and constitutional movements.”
Jones became downright imaginative, explaining to his listeners, in one rant, how he would go about setting up the murders if he were a government agent, and then warning that the shootings mean that “civil war is coming”. He also began assigning responsibility for the “false flag operation.” In one rant, he accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of being behind the crimes. In another, it was the work of President Obama and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Jones’ wild claims must be intended to distract from the fact that, as Media Matters reported, Miller avidly posted Infowars links on his Facebook page and urged his readers to the website – saying, in one such post, to “get informed or get stupid”.
What those claims fail to explain is why, beginning in May 2012, Jerad Miller became an Infowars forum member and began posting long pieces there. In all, he appears to have published five posts, though one of them titled “A Short Story About Protesting” is no longer available. ( continue to full post… )
Footage shot by a Las Vegas TV news reporter covering the standoff between federal authorities and Cliven Bundy and his antigovernment “Patriot” supporters in mid-April shows Jerad Miller – the Indiana man who with his wife, Amanda, shot and killed two police officers and a bystander on Sunday in North Las Vegas – threatening violence against government officials.
After telling the reporter for KRNV-TV that “Minutemen” were supposedly ringing the scene of the standoff, he said: “So, you know, I feel sorry for any federal agents that want to come in here and try to push us around, or anything like that. I really don’t want violence toward them, but if they’re gonna come bring violence to us, well, if that’s the language they want to speak, we’ll learn it.”
The reporter was shocked: “Well, that sounds kind of like a menacing statement, I have to tell you,” she said.
Miller responded: “You know, the people here, that have come here to support Bundy, we’re not afraid,” he said. “You know, we know that in the past the government has used force against civilians, like Waco, Ruby Ridge. Alright, we’re not afraid of that.”
Miller was filmed wearing camouflage gear and a T-shirt promoting Brandon Martines, a conservative candidate for Clark County Sheriff. Martines recently told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Jerad and Amanda Miller had shown up at his campaign events and had offered to work on the campaign, but that when he had checked their background he discovered that Jerad Miller had an extensive criminal history, including DUI, assault, theft and mischief charges. Martines told them, “Look, I appreciate your support but I can’t be associated in any way, shape or form with you.”
“They were just trying to infiltrate,” Martines said. “They obviously had an agenda.”
At the Bundy ranch, Miller indulged in the paranoid fantasy-based strategizing that was typical of the “Patriots” on the scene there, who at one point began turning on each other over fears that a federal drone attack was about to strike the camp. ( continue to full post… )