Category: Legislation


BLM Selling Out America-Fabian Calvo

Fabian Calvo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com   (Early Sunday Release)

Real estate expert Fabian Calvo thinks the recent standoff between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy is about much more than grazing rights.  Even though this standoff is over, we find out It’s really about sweetheart deals for federal land.  Calvo says, “The hair on the back of my neck stood up when I was doing research for this and speaking to some of my contacts on Wall Street.  The BLM is part of the Department of the Interior, and look at what they have been doing?  Through the BLM, the Department of the Interior has been confiscating land and going after land, for example, in the high desert in California and all over the place.  What I am hearing is they are categorizing this land for future collateralization or to sell off.  In the Weimar (Germany) hyperinflation, after the hyperinflation, what did they back their currency with?  They backed it with mortgages and they backed it with land.  This is a total possibility here in America, but here’s the part that is more sinister and crazy.  The Department of the Interior and BLM have been providing sweetheart deals for Chinese investors.  I have a laundry list of deals that have been approved just in the last year.  Whether it’s Smithfield, a giant hog producer in America, and all of the farm land, overnight, the Chinese became the number one employer in a ton of cities across the U.S., but it doesn’t stop there.  Chinese investors are getting approval for solar fields.  There are battery companies they have taken over, and the list goes on and on.  The USDA gave the Chinese approval to import their chickens.  Why is this happening?  It is an end of the road situation.  It is just like where America was with England when we were exercising leverage over them around WWII because we were the largest creditor nation.  Now, we are the largest debtor nation, and we owe all this money to the Chinese.  In order to not have them dump our debt, we’re basically allowing them, through the Department of the Interior who is stealing rancher land and killing their cattle, they are selling out America.” 

 

Read More Here

 

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Fabian Calvo: BLM and Deals for Chinese Investors, Imploding Dollar and Housing Market Crash

 

Published on Apr 13, 2014

Fabian Calvo from TheNoteHouse.us says, “Real investors are scared to death of the imploding U.S. dollar. . . . Not everybody is a gold investor, and real estate is a tangible hard asset that can be rented out. I think home prices could go up until we have another full blown collapse. I think the collapse of the housing market will be coupled with the stock market collapse, the bond market collapse and the dollar collapse. Everything will blow at once.”

As far as the recent crisis between the federal government and the Bundy ranch in Nevada, Calvo says, “I think this Bundy ranch situation could be the Lexington and Concord of the Second American Revolution. Through the BLM, the Department of the Interior has been confiscating land and going after land . . . The Department of Interior and BLM has been providing sweetheart deals for Chinese investors.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Fabian Calvo from TheNoteHouse.us.

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The New American

George Will Promotes Plan to Grant President Legislative Powers

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In an April 9 opinion piece published in the Washington Post, commentator George Will praises the Goldwater Institute’s Compact for America and its component calling for an Article V constitutional convention.

Will points out a few of the proposal’s “benefits,” insisting that the balanced budget amendment (BBA) that it aims to enact “delivers immediate benefits to constituents.” Unfortunately, Will’s analysis of the Compact for America ignores several of its distinctly unconstitutional provisions.

First, before state legislatures vote for an Article V con-con proposal such as the Compact for America that could cause real and radical damage to our Constitution, they should first consider whether a balanced budget amendment is necessary and whether it would actually repair the damage already done by a Congress committed to ignoring the constitutional limits on its power.

The fact is that determined citizens and state legislators could rescue the United States from its financial peril without resorting to opening up the Constitution to tinkering by 38 or more state-appointed delegates, many of whom would be bought and paid for by special interests and corporations.

Imagine for a moment the brand of “conservative” delegates that might be chosen by state partisans to represent them at an Article V convention. It isn’t unlikely that Arizona might choose John McCain, Jan Brewer, or Sandra Day O’Connor. New York might send Michael Bloomberg. South Carolina could appoint Lindsey Graham. Similar selections could be predicted in every state.

Next, there is no historical proof that a balanced budget amendment would drive Congress back to within its constitutional corral. Even the most conservative estimates indicate that about 80 percent of expenditures approved by Congress violate the U.S. Constitution. That fact wouldn’t change by adding an amendment to the Constitution.

Whether these bills spend our national treasure on unconstitutional and undeclared foreign wars, billions sent overseas in the form of foreign aid, expanding the so-called entitlement programs, or redistributing wealth via corporate and individual welfare schemes, none of these outlays is authorized by the Constitution.

And don’t forget, a committed, concerned, and constitutionally aware citizenry can balance our budget more quickly than any balanced budget amendment and without the danger of letting the wolves of special interests and their political puppets into the constitutional hen house.

Third, rather than forcing Congress to adhere to spending money in only those areas specifically permitted by the Constitution in Article I, the Compact for America’s Balanced Budget Amendment specifically allows Congress to spend money on anything, no matter how unconstitutional, so long as the amount does not exceed the limits set in Section 2 of their BBA. If approved, the CFA’s BBA would do nothing to break Congress of its unconstitutional spending habits, habits that have nearly ruined the economic might of this Republic.

In fact, under the CFA’s budget-balancing scheme, Congress could continue spending on projects and programs not authorized by the Constitution.

Section 3 of the CFA’s BBA explicitly authorizes an increase in the federal debt limit to 105 percent of the actual debt level on the effective date of this amendment. That hardly sounds like a balanced budget and is not something true conservatives should support as a remedy to a runaway federal government.

 

Read More Here

 

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Man in despair over billsOr Adding A National Sales Tax To The Income Tax?   

The stated purpose of Compact for America, Inc. is to get a balanced budget amendment (BBA) ratified.  Here is their proposed BBA.  State Legislators recently introduced it in Arizona. 1

The gap between what this BBA pretends to do – and what it actually does – is enormous. It has nothing to do with “balancing the budget” – it is about slipping in a new national sales tax or value-added tax in addition to the existing federal income tax.

We have become so shallow that we look no further than a name – if it sounds good, we are all for it.  We hear, “balanced budget amendment”, and think, “I have to balance my budget; they should have to balance theirs.”  So we don’t read the amendment, we just assume they will have to balance theirs the same way we balance ours – by cutting spending.

But that is not what the BBA does.  In effect, it redefines “balancing the budget” to mean spending no more than your income plus the additional debt you incur to finance your spending.  To illustrate:  If your income is $100,000 a year; but you spend $175,000 a year, you “balance” your budget by borrowing the additional $75,000.  See?

Under the BBA, Congress may continue to spend whatever it likes and incur as much new debt as it pleases – as long as 26 States agree.  And since the States have become major consumers of federal funding, who doubts that they can’t continue to be bought?  Federal grants make up almost 35% of the States’ annual budgets!  The States are addicted to federal funds – who thinks they won’t agree to get more money?

The BBA enshrines Debt as a permanent feature of our Country; gives it constitutional approval; does nothing to reduce spending or “balance the budget”; authorizes a new national tax; and wipes out the “enumerated powers” limitation on the federal government.

Let’s look at the BBA, section by section, using plain and honest English.  And then let’s look at how our Framers wrote our Constitution to strictly control federal spending.

Compact for America’s BBA

Section 1 says the federal government may not spend more than they take from you in taxes or add to the national debt. [Yes, you read that right.]

Section 2 accepts debt as a permanent feature of our Country – the “Authorized Debt”. This is the maximum amount of debt the federal government may incur at any given point in time.

  • Initially, when the Amendment is ratified, the “authorized debt” may not be more than 105% of the then existing national debt.  So!  If the national debt is $20 trillion when the Amendment is ratified, the federal government may not initially add more than 105% of    $20 trillion [or $1 trillion] to the national debt.
  • After that initial addition to the national debt, the “authorized debt” may not be increased unless it is approved by State Legislatures as provided in Section 3.

Section 3 says whenever Congress wants, it may increase the national debt if 26 of the State Legislatures agree.  [Yes, you read that right.]

Section 4 says whenever the national debt exceeds 98% of “the debt limit set by Section 2”, the President shall “impound” sufficient expenditures so that the national debt won’t exceed the “authorized debt”.  And if the President doesn’t do this, Congress may impeach him!

This is a hoot, Folks!  I’ll show you:

  • No debt limit is set by Section 2!  The national debt can be increased at any time if Congress gets 26 State Legislatures to agree.  Can 26 States be bought?
  • Section 6 defines “impoundment” as “a proposal not to spend all or part of a sum of money appropriated by Congress”.  Who believes Congress will impeach the President 2 for failing to “impound” an appropriation made by Congress?

Section 5 says any new or increased federal “general revenue tax” must be approved by 2/3 of the members of both houses of Congress.

Now pay attention, because this is a monstrous trick to be played on you:  Section 6 defines “general revenue tax” as “any income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax” levied by the federal government.

And when you read the first sentence of Section 5 with the definition of “general revenue taxin place of “general revenue tax”, you see that it says:

“No bill that provides for a new or increased income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax shall become law unless approved by a two-thirds roll call vote…” 

Do you see?  This permits Congress to impose a national sales tax or value added tax in addition to the income tax, 3 if 2/3 of both houses agree.  [Yes, you read that right.]

 

Read More Here

 

 

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Independence Hall, where the 1787 Constitution was crafted

Q: How are amendments to the federal Constitution made?

A: Article V of our Constitution provides two method of amending the Constitution:

  1. Congress proposes amendments and presents them to the States for ratification; or
  2. When 2/3 of the States apply for it, Congress calls a convention to propose amendments.

Q: Which method was used for our existing 27 amendments?

A:  The first method was used for all 27 amendments including the Bill of Rights which were introduced into Congress by James Madison. 3

Q:  Is there a difference between a constitutional convention, con con, or Article V Convention?

A:  These names have been used interchangeably during the last 50 years.

Q:  What is a “convention of states”?

A:  That is what the people pushing for an Article V convention now call it. 

Q: Who is behind this push for an Art. V convention?

A:  The push to impose a new Constitution by means of an Article V convention (and using a “balanced budget” amendment as justification) started in 1963 with the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.  1    Today, it is pushed by:

Q:  Why do they want an Article V Convention?

A:  The only way to get rid of our existing Constitution and Bill of Rights is to have an Article V convention where they can re-write our Constitution.  Jordan Sillars, Communications Director for Michael Farris’ “Convention of States”, said:

“… 3. I think the majority of Americans are too lazy to elect honest politicians. But I think some men and women could be found who are morally and intellectually capable of re-writing the Constitution” [boldface mine].

Q: How can they impose a new constitution if ¾ of the States don’t agree to it?

A: Only amendments require ratification by ¾ of the States (see Art. V). But a new constitution would have its own new method of ratification – it can be whatever the drafters want.  For example, the proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America is ratified by a referendum called by the President.

Q: Can a convention be stopped from proposing a new Constitution?

A:  No.  Once the delegates are duly appointed & assembled, they are acting under the inherent authority of A People to alter or abolish their form of government [Declaration of Independence, 2nd para]; and have the sovereign power to do whatever they want at the convention.

Q: Is this what happened at the Federal Convention of 1787?

A:  Yes.  Pursuant to Article XIII of The Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress resolved on February 21, 1787 (p 71-74) to call a convention to be held at Philadelphia “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”.  But the delegates ignored this limitation and wrote a new Constitution.  Because of this inherent authority of delegatesit is impossible to stop it from happening at another convention.  And George Washington, James Madison, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton won’t be there to protect you.

Q: Did the delegates at the Convention of 1787 introduce a new mode of ratification for the new Constitution?

A:  Yes. The Articles of Confederation required the approval of all 13 States for amendments to the Articles to be ratified.  But the new Constitution provided it would become effective if only 9 of the 13 States ratified it (Art. VII, cl. 1, U.S. Constitution).

Q:  Who would be delegates at a Convention?

A:  Either Congress appoints whomever they want; or State governments appoint whomever they want.

Q: Who would be chairman at a convention?

A: We don’t know.  But chairmen have lots of power – and George Washington won’t be chairman.

Q: But if the States appoint the delegates, won’t a convention be safe?

A: Who controls your State?  They will be the ones who choose the delegates if Congress permits the States to appoint delegates.  Are the people who control your State virtuous, wise, honest, and true?  [Tell PH if they are, so she can move there.]

Q: But aren’t the States the ones to rein in the federal government?

A: They should have been, but the States have become major consumers of federal funding.  Federal funds make up almost 35% of the States’ annual budgets. The States don’t want to rein in the feds – they don’t want to lose their federal funding.

Q: Did Thomas Jefferson say the federal Constitution should be amended every 20 years?

A: No! In his letter to Samuel Kercheval of July 12, 1816, Jefferson wrote about the Constitution for the State of Virginia, which he said needed major revision.  And remember James Madison’s words in Federalist No. 45 (3rd para from the end):

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” [boldface mine]

The powers delegated to the feds are “few and defined” – what’s to amend?  All else is reserved to the States or the People – so State Constitutions would need more frequent amendments.  Do you see?

Q:  Did Alexander Hamilton say in Federalist No 85 (next to last para) that a convention is safe?

A:  No!  He said, respecting the ratification of amendments, that we “may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority”.  But today, our State legislatures don’t protect us from federal encroachments because:

  • We have been so dumbed down by progressive education that we know nothing & can’t think;
  • State legislatures have been bought off with federal funds; and
  • Our public and personal morality is in the sewer.

Q: Did Our Framers – the ones who signed The Constitution – think conventions a fine idea?

A:  No!

“Conventions are serious things, and ought not to be repeated.”

 

Read More Here

 

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Image Source  :  Sodahead.com

Interesting  how Americans standing their ground  and  fighting  back  against  an  out of  control government  and  their jackboot  thuggery are violating the  law. 

Yet  the Politicians with their L.E. thugs who lie, steal , cheat  and abuse the American People  everyday  are  law  abiding ?

Perhaps it is time  to  teach these self aggrandized  public servants what  Americans are  capable  of  and  just  who they  truly  work for!!

You are  right about one thing Mr. Reid, this is  definitely  not  Over……..

 

~Desert Rose~

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The New American

War on the West: Why More Bundy Standoffs Are Coming

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The federal government’s over-the-top police action against the Bundy family ranch is an ominous portent of more to come, as rogue agencies and their corporate/NGO partners attempt to “cleanse” the West of ranchers, farmers, miners, loggers, and other determined property owners.

On Saturday, April 12, the federal bureaucrats backed down. Faced with hundreds of men and women on horseback and on foot who were armed with firearms and video cameras — as well as local television broadcast stations and independent media streaming live video and radio feeds across America — the Obama administration called off the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) operation to confiscate hundreds of cattle belonging to Cliven Bundy, the current patriarch of a respected pioneer family that has been ranching in Nevada’s Clark County since the 1800s.

Supporters from all across the United States had converged on the Bunkerville, Nevada, area in support of Bundy, who is the

“last rancher standing” in Clark County, due to a decades-long campaign by federal agencies and allied enviro-activists to drive all ranchers off of the range. After a tense standoff, orders came down from above for the surrounded and outnumbered federal agents to “stand down” and turn loose the Bundy cattle that had been corralled.

 

On Saturday, before the resolution of the standoff, The New American talked to Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, and founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), as he headed from a meeting of public officials to a press conference at the Bundy Ranch. He was very grave and worried at the time that the situation could spin out of control, and that federal agents might open fire on citizens. He also expressed his exasperation at Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Clark County Sheriff Douglass Gillespie. “If Governor Sandoval and Sheriff Gillespie were doing the jobs they were elected to do, they would have stopped this from getting to a dangerous point,” Sheriff Mack said. “There are lots of things they could have done to defuse this situation, including telling the Feds to ‘stand down,’ and to assert their own jurisdiction and force the federal authorities to obey the law, including the Constitution and the laws of the state of Nevada,” he noted. “I have a very bad feeling about this,” he continued, adding that he hoped the tensions would be deescalated and a peaceful outcome negotiated.

Fortunately, most likely due to the national attention that the Bundy situation was receiving, federal officials backed off, the demonstrators and supporters remained peaceful, and a violent confrontation was averted. However, that does not end the affair. Members of the Bundy family and supporters, such as Sheriff Mack, expressed concerns that the evacuation of the federal police force might be a feint, and that there may be plans for them to return the following day, or as soon as the supporters and television crews had departed.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose personal financial stake in the Bundy eviction has been called into question, let it be known that he wants to see the matter pursued.

“Well, it’s not over,” Reid told NBC’s Nevada affiliate KRNV on Monday, April 14. “We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

Senator Reid, Nevada’s senior senator, is very incensed when the American people, i.e., ordinary citizens, “violate the law” — as he puts it — but he says nothing about the more serious violations of the laws and the Constitution by public officials, such as himself or the BLM officials.

This is the same federal BLM that Chief Judge Robert C. Jones of the Federal District Court of Nevada last year ruled had been engaged in a decades-long criminal “conspiracy” against the Wayne Hage family, fellow ranchers and friends of the Bundys. Among other things, Judge Jones accused the federal bureaucrats of racketeering under the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations) statute, and accused them as well of extortion, mail fraud, and fraud, in an effort “to kill the business of Mr. Hage.” In fact, the government’s actions were so malicious, said the judge, as to “shock the conscience of the Court.” Judge Jones granted an injunction against the agencies and referred area BLM and Forest Service managers to the Justice Department for prosecution.

Has Attorney General Eric Holder prosecuted any federal officials for criminal activity and violation of the Hage family’s constitutionally protected rights? No. Has Sen. Harry Reid denounced this lawlessness and criminal activity by government officials and call upon President Obama and Attorney General Holder to protect the citizens of his state from the depredations of federal officials under their command? No.

Huge Federal Footprint: And a Boot on Every Neck

With attitudes such as those expressed above by Sen. Harry Reid, it is almost a certainty that the recently defused Bundy Ranch standoff will be replayed again — and in the not-too-distant future. And the outcome could be much less amicable for all concerned.

And this is but one of many incidents that can be expected, because the Bundy family are not the only victims in the federal crosshairs. The BLM, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and other federal agencies own and/or control hundreds of millions of acres of the 12 western states. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not as large a landlord as some of these bigger agencies, but it exercises enormous regulatory clout over both private and public lands, air, and water. And while the EPA’s draconian, arbitrary, and costly regulations affect the entire country, they fall especially hard on the states in the West, where the federal impact is already massive due to the outsized footprint of the federal agencies.

federal landAs the accompanying map graphically demonstrates, there is a striking difference between the federal government’s claim to physical real estate in the states of East and the Midwest versus those of the West. In Maine, for instance, federal agencies occupy only 1.1 percent of the state’s land area; in New York it’s a mere 0.8 percent. The federal government claims only 1.8 percent of Indiana, 1.6 percent of Alabama, and 1.7 percent of Ohio. But in the Western states, the federal footprint covers from nearly one-third to over four-fifths of the area of the states.

 

Read More Here

 

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Ron Paul: Feds May Come Back With Way More Force ‘Like Waco’

Watch Video Here

by Fox News Insider // Apr 14 2014 // 5:32pm

Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul was on “Your World” this afternoon to discuss the battle between a Nevada rancher and the federal government.

The federal government says Cliven Bundy owes $1 million in grazing fees, and authorities seized many of his cattle. Bundy then declared a “range war” on the government, prompting a standoff between Bundy’s supporters and the government. The government has since pulled back.

Paul said the government could come back with more force because it doesn’t give up power easily, citing the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidians’ compound in Waco, Texas. He said this issue poses the question of who should own the land.

Paul said Bundy has virtual ownership of the land because his family has been using it for so long.

“I think land should be in the states, and I think the states should sell it to the people,” he said. “You need the government out of it.”

Hear more of Paul’s thoughts in the video above.


Read more on the Nevada ranch standoff:

Feds Pull Back in Nevada Ranch Standoff

Nevada Rancher Renews Fight Against Big Gov: ‘We’re Standing Up for the Constitution’

 

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Sheriff Mack travels with other CSPOA members to stand with Nevada rancher against the BLM 

 
Many of you have called or emailed regarding the storm brewing between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the BLM.  We all know how we feel about the all-too-frequent bullying of individual citizens by various Feds with their usurped, unconstitutional powers.  It’s an epidemic that must be stopped.Well, we want you to know we ARE doing something about it, and thankfully this time we’re not alone.  Sheriff Mack is leaving early Saturday morning for an emergency trip to Bunkerville, Nevada, along with other members of the CSPOA posse (hopefully that’s some of you!) to stand vigil and find a peaceful resolution to this conflict (i.e., the feds going home).AND this late-breaking news as per Lyle Rapacki today:

State Senate President Andy Biggs and House of Reps Speaker Dave Livingston have both agreed that Arizona should be involved in supporting CSPOA and Oath Keepers in going to Bunkerville, NV to support the movement for freedom there with the Cliven Bundy family. State Senators Al Melvin, Chester Crandall, and Kelly Ward along with State Reps Brenda Barton, Bob Thorpe, Kelly Townsend and Warren Peterson are all planning to be at the Bundy ranch by Sunday morning. Furthermore, they all plan to attend the Press Conference Monday afternoon with the CSPOA and Oath Keepers along with the Bundys and other sheriffs and public officials from across the country.

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We hope you understand how HUGE this is, that state senators and reps are supporting the CSPOA and the Oath Keepers!  We are not alone!

 

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A Delegation of state legislators, lead by Washington State Representative Matt Shea, along with a  delegation of current serving Sheriffs, lead by Sheriff Richard Mack of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, and military and police members of Oath Keepers, are converging on the site of a stand-off between federal law enforcement and Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy, to prevent bloodshed and to stand in defense of hardworking rural Americans who are under assault by a runaway federal government.

LAS VEGAS, NV, April 10, 2014

The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA.org), led by retired Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, and the Oath Keepers organization (oathkeepers.org) are assisting Washington State Representative Matt Shea in organizing a delegation of current serving Western state legislators and Sheriffs to travel to the site of a tense stand-off between Bunkerville, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  The delegation is traveling to Nevada to support a coalition of current serving Nevada legislators being organized by Nevada State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, of Las Vegas, to stand vigil at the Bundy ranch to prevent Federal Government provocation of violence resulting in another Ruby Ridge or Waco type incident.  They also hope that their example of oath-sworn public servants defending the rights of the people will prompt Clark County, Nevada Sheriff Douglas Gillespie and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to honor their oaths of office by taking real action to defend the rights of the Bundy family, the rights of all Nevadans, and the sovereignty of the State of Nevada.

Yesterday, April 9, 2014, Nevada State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore served the first watch in this vigil shortly after Cliven Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy, was tazered by BLM “Rangers” during a heated confrontation.  [The video of that confrontation can be seen with the full article on the Oath Keepers web site, www.oathkeepers.org]:

The courage and resolve displayed by Ammon Bundy and his relatives is inspiring, and may well go down in history as a watershed moment – a turning of the tide.  But the above video also amply demonstrates the heavy-handed behavior of the BLM that risks escalating an already volatile situation into open bloodshed, that, once begun, may spiral out of anyone’s control.

It is necessary that current serving public servants step in-between the protesters and the BLM, to protect the rights of the people and to prevent violence against them by the militarized federal law enforcement that are massing near the ranch to continue the forced confiscation (theft) of  Bundy’s cattle, while they also restrict all access to huge tracts of public land, and attempt to restrict the free speech of protesters with their absurd “First Amendment Area” (which the protesters are ignoring, to their honor).

The Oath Keepers organization, comprised of 40,000 current serving and former military, police, and first responders, is also calling on its members and all other patriotic Americans to join the vigil at the Bundy ranch under the leadership of the current serving legislators and sheriffs.  The goal is to have at least one current serving state legislator and at least one sheriff on the ground at all times until this is over.  And they will be backed by a large number of military and police veterans, as well as dedicated patriotic Americans from all walks of life, to interpose and defend the rights of the protesters and to keep an eye on the actions of the BLM and any other federal law enforcement present, to prevent a recurrence of the horrid abuses seen at Ruby Ridge and Waco, and to hopefully pressure the Clark County Sheriff and the Nevada Governor to step up and do their constitutional duty.

Regardless, please tell everyone you know to be praying for a peaceful resolution to this situation and for the safety of the brave patriots headed there and on the ground there right now.

Please read the entire press release  
on the Oath Keepers web site, oathkeepers.org 

 

Read More Here

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Reports: Company Tied to Reid’s Son Wants Land in Bundy Standoff

Image: Reports: Company Tied to Reid's Son Wants Land in Bundy Standoff
Rory Reid

Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 08:48 PM

The Nevada rancher who forced the federal Bureau of Land Management to back down last week may have been targeted because a Chinese solar company with ties to Sen. Harry Reid’s son wants the land for an energy plant, several websites report.

A report on Godfatherpolitics.com,  says Chinese energy giant ENN Energy Group wants to use federal land as part of its effort to build a $5 billion solar farm and panel-building plant in the southern Nevada desert. Rory Reid, the son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is representing ENN in their efforts to locate in Nevada.

Part of the land ENN wants to use was purchased from Clark County at well below appraised value. Rory Reid is the former Clark County Commission chairman, and he persuaded the commission to sell 9,000 acres of county land to ENN on the promise it would provide jobs for the area, Reuters reported in 2012.

In addition to the county acreage, the federal Bureau of Land Management at one time was looking at BLM property under dispute with cattle rancher Cliven Bundy. The BLM is headed by former Harry Reid senior policy adviser Neil Kornz.

According to BizPac Review, BLM documents indicate that the federal property for which Bundy claims grazing rights were under consideration by a solar energy company. Those documents have since been removed from BLM’s website, but BizPac quotes from one of them:

“Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle.”

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Federal Land Grab In Nevada To Benefit Chinese Solar Farm

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Historic! Feds Forced to Surrender to American Citizens

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 Liberty Blitzkrieg

Why the Standoff at the Bundy Ranch is a Very Big Deal

If you haven’t been following the unfolding drama at the Bundy Ranch about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas you need to start now. The escalating confrontation between irate local residents and federal agents of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has the potential to take a very dangerous turn for the worse at any moment, as hundreds of militia members from states across the country are expected to descend upon the area and make a stand with 67-year-old Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

Before I get into any sort of analysis about what this means within the bigger picture of American politics and society, we need a little background on the situation. The saga itself has been ongoing for two decades and the issue at hand is whether or not Mr. Bundy can graze his 900 head of cattle on a particular section of public lands in Clark County. Cliven Bundy has been ordered to stop on environmental grounds to protect the desert tortoise, but he has stood his ground time and time again. As a result, the feds have now entered the area and are impounding his cattle. According to CNN, Between Saturday and Wednesday, contracted wranglers impounded a total of 352 cattle. The Bundy family, as well as a variety of local residents have already had confrontations with the BLM agents. Tasers have been used and some minor injuries reported. Most significantly, militia members from across the country have already descended upon the area and it seems possible that hundreds may ultimately make it down there.

To me, the argument of who is right and who is wrong in this situation is the least interesting part of the story. I have noted time and time again that the feds are becoming increasingly out of control and belligerent to American citizens. We know the stories (think Aaron Swartz) and we know the overall trend. However, the reason the Bundy Ranch confrontation is so interesting, is that for whatever reason this particular incident seems to be striking a chord of dissent. It is often times the most random, unforeseen and innocuous things that spark social/political movements. This standoff has it all.

…..This picture basically says it all:

Bundy ranch

 

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The Truth About the Nevada Rancher’s Standoff

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Nevada Cattle Rancher Wins ‘Range War’ With Feds

PHOTO: Federal agents clash with armed protestors over a ranchers 20-year tax fight.

A Nevada cattle rancher appears to have won his week-long battle with the federal government over a controversial cattle roundup that had led to the arrest of several protesters.

Cliven Bundy went head to head with the Bureau of Land Management over the removal of hundreds of his cattle from federal land, where the government said they were grazing illegally.

Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870 and threatened a “range war” against the BLM on the Bundy Ranch website after one of his sons was arrested while protesting the removal of the cattle.

“I have no contract with the United States government,” Bundy said. “I was paying grazing fees for management and that’s what BLM was supposed to be, land managers and they were managing my ranch out of business, so I refused to pay.”

The federal government had countered that Bundy “owes the American people in excess of $1 million ” in unpaid grazing fees and “refuses to abide by the law of land, despite many opportunities over the last 20 years to do so.”

However, today the BLM said it would not enforce a court order to remove the cattle and was pulling out of the area.

“Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public,” BLM Director Neil Kornze said.

“We ask that all parties in the area remain peaceful and law-abiding as the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service work to end the operation in an orderly manner,” he said.

The roundup began April 5, following lengthy court proceedings dating back to 1993, federal officials said. Federal officers began impounding the first lot of cows last weekend, and Bundy responded by inviting supporters onto his land to protest the action.

“It’s not about cows, it’s about freedom,” Utah resident Yonna Winget told ABC News affiliate KTNV in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“People are getting tired of the federal government having unlimited power,” Bundy’s wife, Carol Bundy told ABC News.

 

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Screenshots  Of  FAA Records For No Fly Zone Over  The Bundy Ranch

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Federal agents back down in stand-off with armed cowboys  1 photo Federalagentsbackdowninstand-offwitharmedcowboys1_zpsaef4e7e9.png

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Federal agents back down in stand-off with armed cowboys: BLM release cattle after they were surrounded by militia following agreement to stop targeting rancher in modern-day ‘range war’

  • Bureau of Land Management would not enforce court order to remove  cattle and was pulling out of the area
  • Politicians have compared the standoff to Tienanmen Square
  • The Bundy family says they’ve owned the 600,000 acres since 1870 but the Bureau of Land Management says they are illegally grazing
  • The dispute began in 1993 when land was reclassified as to federal property to protect a rare desert tortoise, the government claimed
  • Federal officers stormed the property this week with helicopters and snipers to back up about 200 armed agents
  • They have reportedly seized around 350 of Cliven Bundy’s 900 cattle
  • Cattle were handed back to rancher after tense standoff
  • Tensions escalated after private militias poured in to support the family

By Ryan Gorman and Dan Miller and Meghan Keneally and Jessica Jerreat

Hundreds of heavily armed militia members celebrated their victory over federal law enforcement officers on Saturday after they secured the release of Cliven Bundy’s captured cattle.

In an embarrassing climbdown, the Bureau of Land Management retreated from its high profile standoff with Bundy and his rag-tag bunch of anti-federalists after the BLM attempted to forcibly capture nearly 1,000 of his cattle.

The militia member showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals’ return to rancher Cliven Bundy. Some protesters were armed with handguns and rifles at the corrals and at an earlier nearby rally.

Victory: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

Victory: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

Thanks: Rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, on April 12, 2014

Thanks: Rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, on April 12, 2014

 

Bundy, 67, doesn’t recognize federal authority on land he insists belongs to Nevada. His Mormon family has operated a ranch since the 1870s near the small town of Bunkerville and the Utah and Arizona lines.

‘Good morning America, good morning world, isn’t it a beautiful day in Bunkerville?’ Bundy told a cheering crowd after his cattle were released, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

A number of Bundy’s supporters, who included militia members from California, Idaho and other states, dressed in camouflage and carried rifles and sidearms. During the stand-off, some chanted ‘open that gate’ and ‘free the people.’

A man who identified himself as Scott, 43, said he had traveled from Idaho along with two fellow militia members to support Bundy.

‘If we don’t show up everywhere, there is no reason to show up anywhere,’ said the man, dressed in camouflage pants and a black flak jacket crouched behind a concrete highway barrier, holding an AR-15 rifle. ‘I’m ready to pull the trigger if fired upon,’ Scott said.

Wild west: The Bundy family and their supporters drive their cattle back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. after they were released by the Bureau of Land Management on Saturday

 

Fanatical: The edge of a Cliven Bundy supporter camp is shown near the Virgin River Saturday, April 12, 2014, near Bunkerville, Nevada

Fanatical: The edge of a Cliven Bundy supporter camp is shown near the Virgin River Saturday, April 12, 2014, near Bunkerville, Nevada

 

The dispute between Bundy and federal land managers began in 1993 when he stopped paying monthly fees of about $1.35 per cow-calf pair to graze public lands that are also home to imperiled animals such as the Mojave Desert tortoise.

Support: An armed civilian waits nearby in some bushes as the Bundy family and their supporters gather together under the I-15 highway just outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

Support: An armed civilian waits nearby in some bushes as the Bundy family and their supporters gather together under the I-15 highway just outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

 

Land managers limited the Bundy herd to just 150 head on a land which the rancher claims has been in his family for more than 140 years.

The government also claims Bundy has ignored cancellation of his grazing leases and defied federal court orders to remove his cattle.

‘We won the battle,’ said Ammon Bundy, one of the rancher’s sons.

Hundreds of Bundy supporters, some heavily armed, had camped on the road leading to his ranch in a high desert spotted with sagebrush and mesquite trees.

Some held signs reading ‘Americans united against government thugs,’ while others were calling the rally the ‘Battle of Bunkerville,’ a reference to a American Revolutionary War battle of Bunker Hill in Boston.

The large crowd at one point blocked all traffic on Interstate 15. Later, as lanes opened up, motorists honked to support the demonstrators and gave them a thumbs-up sign.

Las Vegas Police Lt. Dan Zehnder said the showdown was resolved with no injuries and no violence. Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie was able to negotiate a resolution after talking with Bundy, he said.

The fight between Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management widened into a debate about states’ rights and federal land-use policy.

Anti-federalist: Armed militia members stand guard on a hilltop overlooking a Clive Bundy supporter camp near the Virgin River Saturday, April 12, 2014, near Bunkerville, Nevada

Anti-federalist: Armed militia members stand guard on a hilltop overlooking a Clive Bundy supporter camp near the Virgin River Saturday, April 12, 2014, near Bunkerville, Nevada

 

The dispute that ultimately triggered the roundup dates to 1993, when the bureau cited concern for the federally protected tortoise in the region.

The bureau revoked Bundy’s grazing rights after he stopped paying grazing fees and disregarded federal court orders to remove his animals.

Kornze’s announcement came after Bundy repeatedly promised to “do whatever it takes” to protect his property and after a string of raucous confrontations between his family members and supporters and federal agents during the weeklong operation.

Bundy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Republican Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval issued a statement praising the agency for its willingness to listen to the state’s concerns.

 

 

Victor: Rancher Cliven Bundy at his home in Bunkerville, after officials called off the government's roundup of cattle

Victor: Rancher Cliven Bundy at his home in Bunkerville, after officials called off the government’s roundup of cattle

 

And they're out: The Bundy family and their supporters drive their cattle back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. after they were released by the Bureau of Land Management

And they’re out: The Bundy family and their supporters drive their cattle back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. after they were released by the Bureau of Land Management

He earlier criticized the agency for creating “an atmosphere of intimidation” and trying to confine protesters to a fenced-in “First Amendment area” well away from the sprawling roundup area.

‘The safety of all individuals involved in this matter has been my highest priority,’ Sandoval said.

‘Given the circumstances, today’s outcome is the best we could have hoped for.’

Nevada’s congressional delegation urged the protesters to be calm and to leave the area.

‘The dispute is over, the BLM is leaving, but emotions and tensions are still near the boiling point, and we desperately need a peaceful conclusion to this conflict,’ U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said in a statement.

‘I urge all the people involved to please return to your homes and allow the BLM officers to collect their equipment and depart without interference.’

The 400 cows gathered during the roundup were short of the BLM’s goal of 900 cows that it says have been trespassing on U.S. land without required grazing permits for over 20 years.

The dispute less than 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas between rancher Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had simmered for days.

Bundy had stopped paying fees for grazing his cattle on the government land and officials said he had ignored court orders.

Mission accomplished: Supporters of the Bundy family hang a sign on the I-15 highway just outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

Mission accomplished: Supporters of the Bundy family hang a sign on the I-15 highway just outside of Bunkerville, Nevada

 

The dispute between Bundy and federal land managers began in 1993 when he stopped paying monthly fees of about $1.35 per cow-calf pair to graze public lands

The dispute between Bundy and federal land managers began in 1993 when he stopped paying monthly fees of about $1.35 per cow-calf pair to graze public lands

 

Cowboys and patriots: Kholten Gleave, right, of Utah, pauses for the National Anthem outside of Bunkerville , Nev. while gathering with other supporters of the Bundy family to challenge the Bureau of Land Management

Cowboys and patriots: Kholten Gleave, right, of Utah, pauses for the National Anthem outside of Bunkerville , Nev. while gathering with other supporters of the Bundy family to challenge the Bureau of Land Management

 

Anti-government groups, right-wing politicians and gun-rights activists camped around Bundy’s ranch to support him, in a standoff that tapped into long-simmering anger in Nevada and other Western states, where vast tracts of land are owned and governed by federal agencies.

The bureau had called in a team of armed rangers to Nevada to seize the 1,000 head of cattle on Saturday but backed down in the interests of safety.

‘Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public,’ the bureau’s director, Neil Kornze, said in a statement.

The protesters, who at the height of the standoff numbered about 1,000, met the news with applause. Then they quickly advanced on the metal pens where the cattle confiscated earlier in the week were being held.

After consultations with the rancher’s family, the bureau decided to release the cattle it had rounded up, and the crowd began to disperse.

‘This is what I prayed for,’ said Margaret Houston, one of Bundy’s sisters. ‘We are so proud of the American people for being here with us and standing with us.

No horsing around: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released from a corral

No horsing around: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released from a corral

 

Cheers: Protesters pump their fists as cowboys herd cattle that belongs to rancher Cliven Bundy

Cheers: Protesters pump their fists as cowboys herd cattle that belongs to rancher Cliven Bundy

 

Firepower: Protester Eric Parker from central Idaho aims his weapon from a bridge next to the Bureau of Land Management's base camp where seized cattle

Firepower: Protester Eric Parker from central Idaho aims his weapon from a bridge next to the Bureau of Land Management’s base camp where seized cattle

 

Victory speech: Rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, informing the public that the BLM has agreed to cease the roundup of his family's cattle

Victory speech: Rancher Cliven Bundy, middle, addresses his supporters along side Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, right, informing the public that the BLM has agreed to cease the roundup of his family’s cattle

 

In an interview prior to the bureau’s announcement, Bundy said he was impressed by the level of support he had received.

‘I’m excited that we are really fighting for our freedom. We’ve been losing it for a long time,’ Bundy said.

An official with an environmental group that had notified the government it would sue unless federal land managers sought to protect tortoises on the grazing allotment used by Bundy’s cattle expressed outrage at the end of the cattle roundup.

‘The sovereign militias are ruling the day,’ said Rob Mrowka, senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. ‘Now that this precedent has been set and they’re emboldened by the government’s capitulation, what’s to stop them from applying the same tactics and threats elsewhere?’

Roger Taylor, retired district manager with the Bureau of Land Management in Arizona, also said the agency’s decision to release the cattle will have repercussions.

‘The (agency) is going to be in a worse situation where they will have a much more difficult time getting those cattle off the land and getting Bundy in compliance with regulations,’ he said.

Deal: Cliven Bundy shakes hands with Sheiff Doug Gillespie on Saturday morning as the rancher comes to a deal to stop federal agents rounding up his cattle

Deal: Cliven Bundy shakes hands with Sheiff Doug Gillespie on Saturday morning as the rancher comes to a deal to stop federal agents rounding up his cattle

Show down: Ranchers on horseback and protesters gather at the BLM camp to try to claim back cattle the agency has already rounded up

Show down: Ranchers on horseback and protesters gather at the BLM camp to try to claim back cattle the agency has already rounded up

 

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Bundy Ranch Showdown! The Bigger Picture!

 

Published on Apr 12, 2014

 

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Consumer alert: GMO labeling to be outlawed by ‘Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act’ introduced today in Congress

 

GMO

Thursday, April 10, 2014
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles…)

 

(NaturalNews) A proposed new federal law just introduced by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (a Democrat) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (a Republican) would outlaw state-enacted GMO labeling laws. The new law, ridiculously called the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, is actually an last-ditch, desperate effort by the biotech industry and the GMA to forever bury the truth about GMOs so that consumers don’t know they’re eating poison.

According to mainstream media reports (1), the bill would require the FDA to mandate GMO labeling only if those foods “are found to be unsafe or materially different from foods produced without biotech ingredients.”

Because the FDA and USDA have already decided, against all scientific evidence, that GMOs are “safe” and “not materially different” from other foods, this requirement is nothing but sheer sleight of hand and a pandering to idiocy. In truth, this new bill, if passed into law, would allow food companies to permanently and insidiously hide GMOs in all their products forever, nullifying the numerous state-based GMO labeling laws which are on the verge of passing.

The Environmental Working Group calls this proposed new law the “DARK Act” (Denying Americans the Right to Know), saying:

After two states have passed GE labeling bills and more than 30 others are poised to consider similar labeling bills and ballot initiatives, the food and biotech industry have goat-roped some members of Congress into introducing legislation to block state GE labeling laws.

Push for GMOs run by criminally-minded organizations

GMOs have already been restricted or banned in over 60 countries (2), and Americans are very close to achieving victory in state-based GMO labeling campaigns. The very idea that American consumers might find out they’ve been eating GMO poisons in most of their favorite foods is so horrifying to the biotech industry (and the processed food front groups) that its enforcers are now seeking this “nuclear option” to legally deceive consumers about GMOs with the complicity of the FDA.

 

Read More Here

 

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U.S. bill seeks to block mandatory GMO food labeling by states

April 9 Wed Apr 9, 2014 12:46pm EDT

(Reuters) – A Republican congressman from Kansas introduced legislation on Wednesday that would nullify efforts in multiple states to require labeling of genetically modified foods

The bill, dubbed the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act” was drafted by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo from Kansas, and is aimed at overriding bills in roughly two dozen states that would require foods made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled as such.

The bill specifically prohibits any mandatory labeling of foods developed using bioengineering.

“We’ve got a number of states that are attempting to put together a patchwork quilt of food labeling requirements with respect to genetic modification of foods,” said Pompeo. “That makes it enormously difficult to operate a food system. Some of the campaigns in some of these states aren’t really to inform consumers but rather aimed at scaring them. What this bill attempts to do is set a standard.”

Consumer groups have been arguing for labeling because of questions they have both about the safety for human health and the environmental impacts of genetically modified foods, also called GMOs.

Ballot measures in California in 2012 and last year in Washington state narrowly lost after GMO crop developers, including Monsanto Co., and members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) poured millions into campaigns to defeat the measures.

The companies say the crops are safe and cite many scientific studies back those claims. Pompeo on Wednesday reiterated those claims, stating GMOS are safe and “equally healthy” and no labeling is needed.

“It has to date made food safer and more abundant,” said Pompeo. “It has been an enormous boon to all of humanity.”

But there are also many scientific studies showing links to human and animal health problems, and many indicating environmental damage related to GMO crops.

 

Read More Here

 

 

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Congress considers blocking GMO food labeling

Published time: April 09, 2014 20:10
Edited time: April 10, 2014 11:01
AFP Photo / Robyn Beck

AFP Photo / Robyn Beck

A new bill introduced in Congress looks to ban states from implementing their own labeling laws when it comes to food containing genetically engineered ingredients.

According to Reuters, US Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) introduced the legislation on Wednesday, which is intended to head off bills in about 24 states that would require companies to inform customers when their food is produced using genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Titled the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” the proposal would forbid states from enacting such proposals.

“We’ve got a number of states that are attempting to put together a patchwork quilt of food labeling requirements with respect to genetic modification of foods,” Pompeo told Reuters. “That makes it enormously difficult to operate a food system. Some of the campaigns in some of these states aren’t really to inform consumers but rather aimed at scaring them. What this bill attempts to do is set a standard.”

Supporters of GMO labeling argue that modified ingredients pose a threat to human health, and that as a result they should be clearly labeled in the marketplace so that consumers can make informed decisions. In addition to health concerns, they also point to the negative environmental consequences that could arise from widespread GMO use, since millions of acres of farmland and weeds are developing resistances to the pesticides used.

Opponents, however, point to their own studies, showing that GMO crops are safe and therefore do not need to be labeled differently than other products.

 

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The Hill

Pelosi warns focus on deportations a ‘gift’ to Republicans

Getty Images

Immigration reformers shifting their focus from Congress to the White House over deportations risk undermining efforts to pass a comprehensive reform bill this year, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Thursday.

Pelosi said she supports the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s calls for the administration to reduce deportations. But simultaneously taking pressure off of House Republicans, she added, is a “gift” to GOP leaders, allowing them to dodge a sensitive issue that could hurt them in the 2014 election.

“That’s a gift to the Republicans,” she said. “Because the fact is, the Republicans are never going to move unless they think there’s a price to play politically for not bringing the bill to the floor.”

Pelosi stressed that legislation remains the Democrats’ ultimate goal, and urged reformers to stay focused on Congress getting a bill.

“I see the pain and suffering of the deportations,” she said. “But the answer, the medicine for every ill in the deportations is to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

Pelosi did not say that congressional Democrats or the White House should no longer consider reduced deportations. But her warning that the actions of pro-immigration groups could deliver Republicans a political benefit could raise questions about the strategy overall.

Many Democrats are calling on President Obama for reduced deportations, and Obama has asked Department of Homeland Security leaders for an across-the-board review of his deportations policies.

The move has made many critics hopeful he’ll expand the administration’s deferred action program, which allows some immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as kids to remain in the United States temporarily, to a broader population.

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Pelosi: Race playing role in GOP’s reluctance to move immigration bill

Greg Nash

Issues of race have made GOP leaders reluctant to back immigration reform, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) charged Thursday.

 

The Democratic leader suggested that the Republicans would have moved a reform bill long ago if whites were the only beneficiaries.”I think race has something to do with the fact that they’re not bringing up an immigration bill,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “I’ve heard them say to the Irish, ‘If it were just you, this would be easy.’ “

The remarks came in response to a question about the often-testy relationship between congressional Republicans and the administration of President Obama, the nation’s first black president.

There’s long been grumbling among Democrats that Obama’s race has exacerbated the partisan divide between the White House and Capitol Hill Republicans, highlighted recently by a flare-up between Attorney General Eric Holder, who is black, and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee.

Pelosi was reluctant to say that race issues have fueled those tensions, arguing more broadly that Republicans have been “very disrespectful” of White House officials regardless of their ethnicity.

 

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The Week Logo

A dirty secret of the American judicial system is that juries are hardly fair and impartial

Jury selection these days is done with a wink and a nod.
Jury selection these days is done with a wink and a nod. (REUTERS/Art Lien)

Imagine you are a defendant awaiting trial on criminal charges that could send you to prison for the rest of your life. You are sitting at the counsel table during voir dire, the process by which a jury is selected before a trial.

The prosecutor asks a potential juror: “You haven’t heard any evidence. How would you vote?” The potential juror responds: “I would have to vote guilty.”

Your trial judge pipes up. He’s supposed to ensure that you receive a fair trial and that the jurors who will sit in judgment upon you are neutral, objective, and willing to see and hear the evidence with an open mind. The judge asks the prospective juror: “Could you return a verdict of not guilty if the government doesn’t prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt?” The would-be juror responds: “I don’t think I would be able to.”

The prosecutor — who wants this juror on the panel because he wants to convict you — presses on. He asks the juror: “Let’s say the victim takes the stand [and] you flat-out don’t believe her. In fact, you think she’s lying. You look at her [and conclude], ‘I don’t believe a word coming out of her mouth.’ Are you going to convict this man anyway?”

The potential juror responds: “That depends. I still feel he was at fault.”

How would you feel if this juror were allowed to join the panel that determined your fate? Would you feel as though you had received a fair trial by an impartial panel, as the Sixth Amendment commands? Or would you feel that the trial judge had failed to protect your presumption of innocence?

My guess is you would feel cheated. I know I would. But yet this precise scenario unfolded in California in 2009. This juror was allowed to serve on this trial. And to date, no judge has declared it a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights.

Now, in this particular case, the defendant, Jose Felipe Velasco, was accused of an extremely heinous crime. He was an alleged serial child rapist who had gotten a 14-year-old girl pregnant after having some form of sex with her 21 times. But that should not change our minds about whether this man should be presumed innocent and be entitled to a fair trial. Indeed, this is precisely why we have constitutional rights in criminal cases — so that fairness and due process come even to the despised.

R. Scott Moxley, a veteran reporter and columnist for OC Weekly, brought this story to national prominence this week — and it’s a remarkably ugly picture in every way. Not only were the charges awful, not only is this defendant as unsympathetic a figure as the criminal justice system churns out, but the way the case was handled was ignoble, too. Thousands of years’ worth of the presumption of innocence shouldn’t go out the window just because a defendant is accused of heinous crimes.

 

Read More Here

 

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The myth of the impartial juror

Crazy story from the OC Weekly about a sex crimes case in California.

After an Orange County prosecutor gave an opening statement, Juror 112 notified [Judge David] Hoffer that based on her own experiences she believes criminals should forgo trials in such sexual assault cases and go straight to prison to spare victims additional turmoil.

The prosecutor then asked the juror: “You haven’t heard any evidence. How would you vote?”

Juror 112 responded, “I would have to vote guilty.”

Statements by lawyers are not evidence, and Hoffer followed up with the juror, according to court transcripts reviewed by the Weekly.

The judge asked if she could return a verdict of not guilty if the government couldn’t prove it’s case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“I don’t think I would be able to,” the juror replied.

 

Read More Here

 

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Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Putin Pledges To Protect All Ethnic Russians Anywhere. So, Where Are They?

Russian enough?

Russian enough?

By Robert Coalson
In recent weeks, the Russian government has articulated what might be called the Putin Doctrine, a blanket assertion that Moscow has the right and the obligation to protect Russians anywhere in the world.

Speaking on Russian television last month, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said that “Russia is the country on which the Russian world is based” and that Putin “is probably the main guarantor of the safety of the Russian world.”

The ebbing and flowing of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union over recent centuries have left millions of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers outside the borders of today’s Russian Federation.

Many of them — from Moldova’s Transdniester to eastern Ukraine and elsewhere — have responded to the Putin Doctrine with calls for Russian “protection.”

A banner outside a government building in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk that is occupied by pro-Russian separatists reads: “Russia! Save us from slavery.”

‘New Russia’ And Ukraine

The Kremlin’s new position has come into sharp focus in recent weeks in the Ukrainian region of Crimea — annexed by Russia last month — and in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine. Russian nationalists such as the Eurasianist ideologue Aleksandr Dugin refer to this region by the historical name “Novorossiya,” or “New Russia,” which also encompasses several southern regions of Russia including Rostov Oblast and Stavropol and Krasnodar krais.

The area was added to the Russian Empire over the 18th and early 19th centuries by military conquests over the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire. Beginning with Catherine the Great, the fertile region was handed out to Russian nobility who enserfed the local population. Although Catherine notably invited foreigners from Europe to settle in the region, Russification of the region was official policy.

Click to open interactive infographic in new windowClick to open interactive infographic in new window

Today there are more than 5 million ethnic Russians in the Ukrainian parts of Novorossiya, making up a significant plurality in most of the regions. Russians compose a majority in Crimea because of energetic Russification there and the 1944 mass deportation of Crimean Tatars, who are only now approaching their pre-deportation population levels on the peninsula.

Deportations In Moldova

On the edge of historical Novorossiya is the Moldovan region of Transdniester, which today is home to at least 150,000 Russian passport holders. The region was brought into the Russian Empire in the 1790s and its capital, Tiraspol, was founded as a border outpost by the legendary General Aleksandr Suvorov.

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A photo of a fishmonger peeling the spine from a tuna.

A worker peels the spine from a tuna at New York’s Fulton Fish Market—the world’s largest after the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan—on March 29, 2013.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN MINCHILLO, AP

Brian Clark Howard

Published April 9, 2014

Do you know if the fish on your plate is legal? A new study estimates that 20 to 32 percent of wild-caught seafood imported into the U.S. comes from illegal or “pirate” fishing. That’s a problem, scientists say, because it erodes the ability of governments to limit overfishing and the ability of consumers to know where their food comes from.

The estimated illegal catch is valued at $1.3 billion to $2.1 billion annually and represents between 15 and 26 percent of the total value of wild-caught seafood imported into the U.S., report scientists in a new study in the journal Marine Policy.

Study co-author Tony Pitcher says those results surprised his team. “We didn’t think it would be as big as that. To think that one in three fish you eat in the U.S. could be illegal, that’s a bit scary,” says Pitcher, who is a professor at the fisheries center of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

To get those numbers, Pitcher and three other scientists analyzed data on seafood imported into the U.S. in 2011. They combed through government and academic reports, conducted fieldwork, and interviewed stakeholders.

The scientists report that tuna from Thailand had the highest volume of illegal products, 32,000 to 50,000 metric tons, representing 25 to 40 percent of tuna imports from that country. That was followed by pollack from China, salmon from China, and tuna from the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Other high volumes were seen with octopus from India, snappers from Indonesia, crabs from Indonesia, and shrimp from Mexico, Indonesia, and Ecuador.

Imports from Canada all had levels of illegal catches below 10 percent. So did imports of clams from Vietnam and toothfish from Chile.

Graphic showing percent of seafood imported into the U.S. that is illegal and unreported.

NG STAFF. SOURCE: P. GANAPATHIRAJU, ET AL., MARINE POLICY

In response to the study, Connie Barclay, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Fisheries, said, “We agree that [pirate] fishing is a global problem, but we do not agree with the statistics that are being highlighted in the report.” Barclay says data are too scarce to make the conclusions verifiable.

But, she adds, “NOAA is working to stop [pirate] fishing and the import of these products into the U.S. market.” She points to recent increased collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and improved electronic tracking of trade data.

Pirate Fishing

The U.S. is important to consider when it comes to fishing because it is tied with Japan as the largest single importer of seafood, with each nation responsible for about 13 to 14 percent of the global total, says Pitcher. Americans spent $85.9 billion on seafood in 2011, with about $57.7 billion of that spent at restaurants, $27.6 billion at retail, and $625 million on industrial fish products.

However, what few Americans realize, says Pitcher, is that roughly 90 percent of all seafood consumed in the United States is imported, and about half of that is wild caught, according to NOAA.

Pirate fishing is fishing that is unreported to authorities or done in ways that circumvent fishery quotas and laws. In their paper, the authors write that pirate fishing “distorts competition, harms honest fishermen, weakens coastal communities, promotes tax evasion, and is frequently associated with transnational crime such as narcotraffic and slavery at sea.” (See: “West Africans Fight Pirate Fishing With Cell Phones.”)

Scientists estimate that between 13 and 31 percent of all seafood catches around the world are illegal, worth $10 billion to $23.5 billion per year. That illegal activity puts additional stress on the world’s fish stocks, 85 percent of which are already fished to their biological limit or beyond, says Tony Long, the U.K.-based director of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Ending Illegal Fishing Project.

“The ocean is vast, so it is very difficult for countries to control what goes on out there,” says Long. He explains that pirate fishers are often crafty, going to remote areas where enforcement is lax. They may leave a port with a certain name on the boat and the flag of a particular country, engage in illegal fishing, then switch the name and flag and unload their catch at a different port.

 

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The oceans are vast and humans are small — as the monthlong hunt for a vanished Malaysian jetliner demonstrates. Think of the challenge, then, for law enforcement and fisheries managers in going after fleets of shady boats that engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. These criminals ply the seas and sell their catches with impunity, making off with an estimated 11 million to 26 million metric tons of stolen fish each year, a worldwide haul worth about $10 billion to $23.5 billion. Many use banned gear like floating gillnets, miles long, that indiscriminately slaughter countless unwanted fish along with seabirds, marine mammals, turtles and other creatures.

The danger that illegal fishing poses to vulnerable ocean ecosystems is self-evident, but the harm goes beyond that. Illegal competition hurts legitimate commercial fleets. And lawless fishermen are prone to other crimes, like forced labor and drug smuggling. The convergence of illegal fishing with other criminal enterprises makes it in every country’s interest to devise an effective response.

That’s the job of the Port State Measures Agreement. It is a treaty adopted by the United Nations in 2009 that seeks to thwart the poachers in ports when they try to unload their ill-gotten catches. Many countries have been unable or unwilling to enforce their own laws to crack down on poachers flying their flags.

 

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