Tuesday, November 06, 2012


 By Stewart Rhodes, Former Ron Paul Staffer and Founder of Oath Keepers.

Today, on election day, Denny Rehberg deserves to go down in flames just like Conrad Burns did in 2006. Conrad Burns lost to Tester precisely because he lost the liberty vote in Montana. And Burns lost the liberty vote because he had abandoned the Constitution and violated his oath by voting for unconstitutional laws, such as the Patriot Act.

Even GOP propagandists like Ed Berry acknowledge that the liberty movement killed Conrad Burns’ political career, with 10,000 Montanan’s choosing to instead vote for the Libertarian candidate, which is a larger number of votes than the number by which Tester beat Burns. The Montana liberty movement simply refused to vote for an oath breaker – they withdrew their consent. And without them, Burns was burnt.

Today, the very same thing is likely to happen to Denny Rehberg – and he deserves it. He deserves to be “Conrad Burned.” Like Conrad Burns, Rehberg is an oath breaker who has abandoned the Constitution by repeatedly and willfully voting for some of the most dangerous and spectacularly unconstitutional laws to ever be passed in Congress during the short life of this Republic. Rehberg voted for both the Patriot Act, and for the NDAA, among many others.

The NDAA of 2012 (Sections 1021 and 1022) in particular is a deal breaker. It is intolerable. It is the single most dangerous law in American history and is the death knell of this Republic if it is not stopped. Anyone who would strip you of your right to jury trial, for which your forefathers bled and died, is a traitor and an enemy of this Republic. Anyone who would subject you and your children to arbitrary imprisonment, in a military brig, or to military trial, or to rendition to ANY foreign nation or ANY foreign entity, or who thinks the President has a legitimate power to just order you killed by a Predator drone if HE thinks you are a terrorist - anyone who supports that government supremacist view, is a traitor and a modern Tory. He is your enemy.

Rehberg and Tester both hold that view, and both voted for the NDAA. I don't give a flying *&@#% if Rehberg is supposedly "not as bad as Tester.” He supports the destruction of the Bill of Rights in the name of fighting terrorism. Both of them are my enemy. Both are enemies of the American Revolution and all that came from it.

And Rehberg is not a man who just made a mistake, and is sorry. No, he is defiant in his defense of his oath breaking vote for the NDAA. After his speech at the Lincoln Dinner in Kalispell, I walked up to Rehberg and asked him to explain his vote for the NDAA, which authorizes military detention of Americans. He didn’t try to explain his vote, or try to tell me it didn’t do what I thought it did, or try to defend why he thinks that is OK. He just said “you just don’t support the troops. Shame on you!” Yeh, right Denny. That’s it. I’m a disabled Army Airborne veteran who nearly died twice while serving my country, and the founder of a national organization made up of current serving military and veterans, but I just don't support the troops.  He said that to me twice during our short conversation. It was no off the cuff remark. Obviously it was some talking point his staff had cooked up for him to use as a weapon against anyone who publicly challenged him over his vote for the NDAA.  Typical neocon.  If you dare oppose anything they do in the name of national security or war, they accuse you of not supporting the troops.

The man is an unrepentant oath breaker who has, so far, gotten away with it. And the reason he has gotten away with it has been the “lesser of two evils” con game. Being told that you have “no choice” but to vote for oath breaker A or oath breaker B is like being given a false choice between voting for Joseph Stalin or Adolph Hitler, with so-called conservatives urging you to vote for the fascist to keep the communist out of office. "Vote for Hitler or Stalin will win!" I won't do it. No sir. I will fight them both, or either one.

My oath was not "I will support and defend the Republican Party." Nor was it "I will support and defend the Constitution by voting for the lesser of two evil oath breakers who both violate it." My oath was to defend the Constitution against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic, and of whatever party. I am an American first, not a Republican first. Political parties are like a cancer that is now killing the host. Republicans, with all too few exceptions, are loyal to party first, not country first, and certainly not the Constitution first, just as Democrats, with few exception, are loyal to their party first, before their country.

This Republic is on the verge of destruction precisely because Republicans have chosen the lesser of two evils (the lesser of two oath breakers) in each election, swallowing principle and pulling the lever for a demonstrated oath breaker each and every time just to try and keep a Democrat from winning. When you take a slightly reduced dose of poison, say 80% poison instead of 100%, you are still poisoning yourself, and you will still die. This Republic has been subjected to a reduced dose of poison over and over, for decades, and is now about to die. And yet, the GOP bigwigs offer us yet another dose of slightly reduced poison and the great majority of the Republican rank and file are all too happy to open wide and swallow it down. It’s time to take a stand, and say NO MORE!

 I challenge anyone to explain why a vote for Rehberg is not a violation of your oath, now that it is clear he supports the application of the laws of war on Americans, and supports military detention and military trial rather than trial by jury, and now that it is clear that he is unrepentant and will continue to do so. You vote for an oath breaker, you become one. Either stand for all of the Constitution, all of the time, against anyone of any party, or stop pretending, renounce your oath, burn your pocket Constitution, and then just openly join the ranks of the oath breakers.

I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.... ~ Thomas Paine
Likewise here.  Don't make a whore of your soul by electing and empowering a stottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man who has already violated all that our forefathers fought to win and preserve, by violating our Bill of Rights.  It is now very clear that the small window we had for a political solution at the national level has been slammed shut by the GOP leadership by forcing on us yet another oath breaker. Last time it was John McCain - who went on to author Section 1021 of the NDAA which is a declaration of war on the American people. Now it is Romney, who also supports it. As did Pual Ryan, Allan West, Rubio, and a bunch of other "Tea Party" freshmen, right along with Rehberg. The GOP has utterly failed to field true constitutionalists. It has turned its back on the Constitution and thrown away a chance to stop the destruction of our Republic. Now all we have left is nullification and resistance at the state level.

Here in Montana, we need to clean house and sweep our own porch clean by rooting out the oath breaking neoconservatives who are so deeply entrenched in power. Let’s start with Rehberg. Let’s root him out. But wouldn’t that mean that Tester wins again? Yes, it does. Just like back in 2007, when we rooted out Conrad Burns. After that defeat, the Montana GOP should have caught a clue. To guarantee a win this time around, all they had to do is field someone who didn’t vote for the same crap that Conrad Burns had voted for. Duh! As Ed Berry acknowledges, over on Polymontana, if the liberty movement votes for the GOP candidates, they have the election in the bag. Rehberg, Hill, etc. will win if all liberty movement people vote for them. But if the liberty movement doesn’t support them, then they will lose.

To win the Senate seat all the Montana GOP needed to do is run a candidate who had not voted for the Patriot Act and the NDAA, and who pledged to vote against such obvious and blatant violations of the Bill of Rights. Our votes were theirs if they just ran someone who wouldn’t make us throw up in the voting booth. They could have done it, and easily won, but once again, they blew it. Our votes were theirs to lose, and they lost them by yet again running a demonstrated oath breaker. And now they tell us that we need to set aside our revulsion for Rehberg, set aside our principles, and vote for Rehberg to stop Tester.

 If you do that – if you set aside your constitutional and liberty principles and vote for a demonstrated constitutional violator, you will just be telling the Montana GOP leadership that they can do as they please, and that they don’t need to run true constitutionalists to win. And you will be telling the GOP faithful that they can continue to vote neocon and still win elections. That is the wrong message to send. The message should instead be that unless, and until, the Montana GOP faithful root out the neocons who are killing their party, they will lose. Election after election, they will lose, until they clean house and return to the Constitution.

Rather than the neocons accepting the blame for losing the Senate seat to Tester in the first place, and acknowledging their transgressions and repenting of their sins, they are doubling down and once again running an oath breaking traitor, while telling us that if Tester is reelected it is our fault. What a joke. The fault lies with a party that has largely abandoned our Constitution, and until the GOP returns to it, and actually defends it, it deserve to lose, and will lose.

Once Rehberg is entrenched as an incumbent in the Senate, how will you ever get rid of him? In a primary? Not likely. We just tried that, and failed because the GOP faithful are willing to vote for an oath breaker who they think can defeat the Democrat. That is all they seem to care about. If you help Rehberg win, you will just be telling them they are correct, and that running an oath breaker is a winning strategy. That will make it all the harder to ever reform the Montana GOP.

 Once Rehberg is in the Senate, the only way to get rid of him would be to withdraw your consent in some future election, just like you did with Conrad Burns, and let the Democrat win. And then you would still have to try and defeat the Democrat by once again trying to convince the GOP faithful to finally get behind a real constitutionalist to run against the Democrat, and that would be all the harder after they had had a successful election cycle running an oath breaker for U.S. Senate.

Why kick the can down the road and have to go through all of that all over again? We are in the middle of this fight for the heart and soul of the Montana GOP (and for the heart and soul of this Republic) right now. So let’s get it over with now. Root out Denny Rehberg, and then run a real constitutionalist against Tester in the next election and root Tester out too.

We did the right thing in 2006 by rooting out Conrad Burns. His political career was done. If the GOP had come to their senses and run a constitutionalist against Tester, we could have rooted Tester out this year and finally Montana would have a Senator who was not an oath breaker.

The GOP should have learned their lesson, but apparently need to have another trip to the wood shed. Let’s give it to them. Let’s root out Denny Rehberg and end his political career. He is seen as a “party leader” here in Montana, just as Burns was. As with Burns, he needs to go. We need to root him out as part of our battle to root the neocons out of the Montana GOP.

And then let’s run a real constitutionalist against Tester next election, and finally root him out.

The neocons have joined with the Marxists on the left and are placing this nation on a short track to having to fight another bloody revolution/civil war. The only way to possibly pull us back from the brink is to purge all oath breakers out of office and to clean up our own state. And even if we do that, we may still have to fight. But at least we will go into battle with a clear conscience and the knowledge that we did not give our consent and support to the destruction of our own Republic.

When I confronted Rehberg at the Lincoln Dinner in Kalispell, I told him that he would go the same way that Conrad Burns did - that because of his vote for the NDAA, constitutionalists and liberty movement people in Montana would not support him and he would be "Conrad Burned."  Let's make it so.  Withdraw your consent. Take a stand. Send Rehberg back to his fake ranch where he can play cowboy. “Conrad Burn”him today.

Stewart Rhodes

PS- the views above are my own only, as an individual American, and not in my capacity as President of Oath Keepers. I would like to personally thank Ed Berry for inspiring me to write this, at the 11th hour. It was his incessant, ankle biting, petty attacks against me and Chuck Baldwin, and his revolting cheer leading for oath breaking GOP traitors that reminded me of my obligation speak out today. Thanks Ed! I was going to just sit this one out, and give the Montana GOP faithful some “tough love” after the election by trying to point out why they lost, in the hopes of talking some sense into them, but you have prompted me to instead send this message out to thousands of Montanans in the liberty movement today to do my small part in purging the neocons out of Montana politics. If Rehberg loses, and I am given any small part of the credit for his loss, then I wish to share that credit with you, since you prompted me to write this.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Here's a chicken

Lucky for me, I have a beautiful, wonderful, amazing, talented, wife who remembered to log in and re-activate my dormant blog for me. Here's a picture of my chicken.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Go to Oath Keepers Site to Read Recent Writings by Stewart Rhodes

This is my old, private blog that is now sadly neglected since I have launched Oath Keepers, which has truly taken off like a rocket, leaving me no time for personal blogging - not that I'm complaining. the Oath Keepers mission is very important, and worth the time and effort.

Go here: www.oathkeepers.org

However, if you want to see what prompted me to finally launch Oath Keepers, there are several posts on this blog that show my thinking (in addition to my writings for SWAT Magazine).

Back in 2006 I wrote several scathing criticisms of the Bush Administration's absurd and dangerous claims of nearly unlimited executive "war" powers. Those articles built on my research at Yale Law School (where I won the Miller Prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights).

One of the most common refrains I get from Obama supporters is "where were you when Bush was violating the Constitution." Well, I was right here. Read this:

Government Supremacists: Neocons, the National Security New Dealers

And to see my thinking of how all that expansion of claimed war powers could be turned inward, and used on the American people, read this 2006 article:

The Clinton Era Proposal to Use Military Tribunals on McVeigh and the Militias

That article explains how, back in the Clinton years, there was a proposal to use the laws of war and military tribunals on McVeigh and also on the militia movement. That proposal went nowhere, but then Bush used the same precedents cited in that proposal, and then put into place modern doctrines and case law that built precisely the infrastructure of domestic application of he laws of war advocated in that Clinton era proposal. So, what Clinton did not have, Bush built, and now that vastly expanded executive power is laying around like a loaded gun, just waiting to be picked up and used by a future president who may be tempted to use it against political opponents and so-called "domestic terrorists."

Lastly, here is a post that describes my phone call with the Iowa National Guard Public Relations officer that finally prompted me to start Oath Keepers:

My Phone Call With Col. Hapgood of the Iowa National Guard About Training for House to House Search for a "Weapons Dealer"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Democratic Senator Byrd Warns of Obama Power Grab - Following In Bush's Footsteps

Hat tip to Mike V.

From Politico:

Byrd: Obama in power grab


Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest-serving Democratic senator, is criticizing President Obama’s appointment of White House “czars” to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch.

In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd complained about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.”

While it's rare for Byrd to criticize a president in his own party, Byrd is a stern constitutional scholar who has always stood up for the legislative branch in its role in checking the power of the White House. Byrd no longer holds the powerful Appropriations chairmanship, so his criticism does not carry as much weight these days. Byrd repeatedly clashed with the Bush administration over executive power, and it appears that he's not limiting his criticism to Republican administrations ....

Well, good for Byrd! Nice to see some resistance somewhere in the Senate.

So much for "change." Obama is merely continuing the nearly unbroken pattern of presidents gathering more power to the Executive branch under one guise or another that has been going on for many decades, regardless of which party controls the White House.

Obama faces a decision as early as next week on whether to support a claim of executive privilege made by former President Bush in refusing to allow Karl Rove, the former deputy White House chief of staff, to be deposed by the House Judiciary Committee on the White House’s role in the 2006 firing of nine U.S. attorneys.

Bush claimed “absolute immunity” for top advisers in resisting such subpoenas, but Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, filed a lawsuit over the issue. The case is on appeal, and the Obama administration is scheduled to file a motion next week laying out its stance on the issue.

Read the whole thing here:

And watch this video:

How much do you want to bet that Obama criticizes Bush's particular use of that claimed executive immunity, but supports that power as being valid, necessary, and "constitutional" for a president to be able to carry out his duties?

Of course, we know Obama's application of all that power will be "special" and "for the children" and to "help people." And thus, most Democrats will be as cozy, warm, and fuzzy about it as Republicans were when it was their man wiping his ass with the Constitution. Just a bunch of nice sleeping frogs in the ever-heating pot. Byrd is a rare exception - a man who will challenge and criticize his own party's president.

Notice how Obama is not satisfied with the fact that his party now controls Congress - he doesn't want to even have to bother with Congress. He wants his internal White House staff to rule everything by decree, under his direct supervision. His exaulted Great Vision for Our Lives will flow straight from the mind of "the One," right into the hands of Rahm Emanuel (known as "the enforcer"), pure, undiluted, and unsullied by the foul hands of mere congress-critters, to be immediately implemented by absolutely obedient staff members who consider their only loyalty to be to Obama. "Stroke of a pen, law of the land, kinda cool!" has returned.

Sound familiar? It should, because the Bush Administration was the same, of course. Even when the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, the Bush Administration consistently asserted that the President has an independent "unitary executive" power and does not need Congress for much of anything, except perhaps appropriations (and that is now no longer really even respected).

The claims of independent executive power by the Bush Administration were absurd - amounting to nothing less than the claim that the President, once elected, under his constitutional Article II powers, is absolutely unrestrained and unhindered by any other branch of government, any provision in the main body of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Basically, the argument was that the President is an elected dictator. Remember what James Madison warned:

The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." - James Madison, Federalist No. 47

Just for the record, I warned about this back in 2006. See my article Government Supremacists: Neocons, the National Security New Dealers. But of course, few Republicans listened because it was their guy doing it.

Well, now the totalitarian boot is on the other foot - the left foot.

The goal of executive supremacists in both parties is to make Congress an irrelevant debating society, such that it really doesn't matter which party holds a majority in Congress.

And that is yet another reason why the threat of a repeat of 1994 has no teeth as a check on what Obama does - even if Republicans retake Congress (and presuming the GOP quislings don't just go along) Obama will simply ignore them and do what he wants by executive order and decree through these special White House offices and through all of the other mechanisms of vastly expanded Executive Power he inherited from Bush.

We are now in the age of elected dictatorship, with the only election that really matters being for the presidency - and once elected, any President can do pretty much as he pleases.

He will be not just "The One" but also "The Law" since his every spoken word will have the force of law, and all the might of the Executive branch, behind it. He truly will be "the Decider."

The one great difference is that Obama will very likely turn the "war on terror" inward on gun owners and a resurgent militia movement. And that may be the spark that sets off the powder keg that is America.

Stewart Rhodes

Friday, February 20, 2009

National Guard scraps plans to invade rural town 'This operation could be pretty intrusive to the people'

Well, looks like they called it off!

(hat tip to Mike V.)

Posted: February 20, 2009
4:24 pm Eastern

By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily DES MOINES, Iowa – Following publicized reports that the Army National Guard was planning a military training exercise on the streets of a rural Iowa town, the commanding officers have called off the mock "invasion."

The Guard had planned a four-day urban military operation in tiny Arcadia, Iowa, population 443, sending troops to take over the town and search door-to-door for a suspected weapons dealer


The exercise was designed as a mock scenario to give soldiers the skills needed for deployment in an urban environment, and military officials stressed that only households that consented to be part of the drill would be searched.

"It will be important for us to gain the trust and confidence of the residents of Arcadia," Sgt. Mike Kots, readiness NCO for Alpha Company, told Carroll's Daily Times Herald. "We will need to identify individuals that are willing to assist us in training by allowing us to search their homes and vehicles and to participate in role-playing.

"We really want to get as much information out there as possible," Kots continued, "because this operation could be pretty intrusive to the people of Arcadia."

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood, however, told WND that the operation has now been "scaled back" and no longer involves an "invasion" of Arcadia.

And while Hapgood confirmed the Guard had been inundated with objections from citizens concerned about soldiers patrolling the streets of an American town, he said most came from people out of state and unfamiliar with the operation. Iowans, he explained, typically cooperate with the Guard. The change in plans was based on troop evaluation, he said, not public outcry.


"There are no active duty bases in Iowa, so there are no urban warfare training areas of any size," Hopgood said. "In order to get that larger neighborhood feel or city feel, we have to be creative and partner with our communities."

Hopgood further told WND that in past cooperative exercises with the community, the people of Iowa have welcomed learning how their sons and daughters operate in action.

Plans for the urban operation training, Hopgood explained, are still set to continue, but will be conducted in a smaller, platoon-by-platoon basis in the near vicinity of the Carroll armory.

Read the whole thing here.

Well now, that's interesting! So, "the change in plans was based on troop evaluation, he said, not public outcry." I have my doubts about that!

The public outcry was pretty loud, including people beginning to plan to stage demonstrations, marches, and even half in jest proposals for patriotic Americans to show up and serve as OPFOR (opposing forces for training). Only half in jest ... that means at least half serious.

Americans just do not cotton to the notion of any troops training to go house to house and search for guns, even if it is explained as being done with the best intentions. The current political environment is just too much on edge, as I noted here.


My Phone Call With Col. Hapgood of the Iowa National Guard About Training for House to House Search for a "Weapons Dealer"

I just had an interesting and rather emotional phone call with Col Hapgood, Public Affairs Officer, of the IA National Guard (Pete of WRSA sent me his phone number). I introduced myself as a veteran and a writer for S.W.A.T. Magazine, and said I needed confirmation and clarification on the planned house to house search exercise scheduled for Arcadia Iowa for April 2-5, 2009 because people were very, very concerned.

The Colonel told me it is only to prepare them for Afghanistan and Iraq.

He said that there are no full time military in Iowa, and therefore no place to train in the state to get them ready for MOUT and that is why they used local towns.

He said they were baffled by all this [uproar] because it is just routine training to prepare them for deployment to combat in urban environments overseas.

I asked him why that particular scenario was picked - of having NG troops searching for a "weapons dealer."

He said that in Afghanistan and Iraq, they have to do searches for weapons caches and need to train for it, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with domestic deployment or any plans for domestic use.

I asked him that question twice - "so, it is not for domestic use or training for future domestic use?" And he said no, not at all.

I told him, in no uncertain terms, that Americans, especially gun owners, were extremely concerned because of the current political climate and because of the potential for civil unrest in the future because of the economy - we hear all manner of rumors about preparations for such disturbances - and the use of a scenario of searching for a gun dealer seems aimed at gun owners - and in particular we are concerned because of who is now in power.

As an example of why we are concerned, I told him how Rahm Emanuel, who is called "the second most powerful man in America" gave a speech before the Brady Bunch in 2007 advocating that anyone on the no-fly list be stripped of their right to keep and bear arms, and anyone can be put on that list at any time.

I told him that we know they want to disarm us.

And that is why folks are so very alarmed by this exercise.

I also told him that there were people planning on going there to protest.

He responded by saying that while he did not want to get into politics, he could assure me that all of the people in the Iowa National Guard are the most dedicated supporters and defenders of the Constitution and also of the right to bear arms.

And I responded by saying yes, I took that oath too - most of us did - and we just want to be sure that oath is kept, and the very last thing we ever want to see in this country is it being veteran against veteran (and this is where my voice cracked and I got rather emotional), but, I told him. we are very concerned and our radar is up because the people in power in DC have no respect for the Constitution or our rights and that is why folks wanted confirmation and clarification of this story.

I was going to remind him of what happened during Katrina, to let him know how disturbing that was to many patriots, but because he was so frank, and sounded so sincere when he said that the people in the Iowa NG are dedicated defenders of the Constitution and of the right to bear arms, I did not do that to him.


That was a tough goddamn phone call for me. I truly hope that all men and women in uniform remember, and keep, their oath. I never, ever want to see in my lifetime veterans having to fight against our own troops in defense of our rights. God forbid it.

I still have some serious concerns about this kind of training going on - especially when it is not made clear to the public that it is for training in preparation for overseas, and the "civilians" are supposed to be Afghan villagers and Iraqis.

But even with those qualifications, I still don't like it, since the troops are still going door to door, in America, searching for weapons, and that is still conditioning them for that very act, regardless of the intent.

And I don't think the Colonel or the National Guard troops understand fully just how on edge people in this country are, and how suspicious we are (for very good reason) of anything the government does that even hints at martial law or going house to house in America looking for weapons.

And however sincere the Colonel or the rest of the troops in the NG, we still DO NOT trust the politicians in DC, who have already demonstrated that their oath to support and defend the Constitution was some damn joke, since they violate it all the time.

The forked tongued bastards in DC cynically roll their eyes and mouth the oath with a bored expression on their faces because it is a mere formality before they get power and perks. They don't mean it. They have nothing but contempt for the restraints in the Constitution.

But when us veterans took that oath to defend the Constitution and this Republic against all enemies, foreign and domestic we MEANT IT with all our heart and soul, ready to give our lives to keep it.

And we still mean it, because that oath was for life.

I sure hope to hell that what the Colonel said about the NG troops' commitment to defend the Constitution is true, and I hope that if/when The Day comes, they will side with the people, and not the politicians.

But I still feel like something else is needed to express to these troops our concerns, and our resolve, and to remind them of their oaths, and of our oath. It is just too important and vital an issue to leave to chance.

We need to be sure they will be oath keepers when the chips are down.

Stewart Rhodes


During our phone conversation, earlier today (Feb 20), Col. Hapgood told me that the Guard unit from Carroll Iowa would be training in the nearby town of Arcadia because there was no full time military facility in Iowa for them to train at. But then Col. Hapgood later, at my request, emailed me a written explanation of the exercise. That written statement says, in explanation of the use of a real town to train:

"this enables our Soldiers to gain proficiency in the exact tasks they will be
conducting in combat but without having to travel several hours to Camp
Dodge, which is the only military training facility in Iowa."

So, which is it? Is there no place else for them in Iowa to do this training except a local town, or is there in fact a place in Iowa for them to do such training but it is just too far for them to drive?

Pete, from WRSA, confirmed that he was told the same thing on the phone - that there was no place in Iowa for them to do this training except in a town - and then the email to him also contained the same mention of Camp Dodge, several hours away in Iowa. (go here for Pete's full post with his comments).

Setting aside that discrepancy, does it really come down to just a difference of a few hours drive time saved? The written response suggests that it does. Frankly, I would think a few hours drive time and fuel expended is worth it to avoid the Pavlovian conditioning of soldiers to search American homes for guns, and of citizens to comply. And especially considering the suspicion and uproar this particular exercise has caused, it would seem worth it to just go train at Camp Dodge.

Now, certainly a real town, with real people in it is more realistic for training, but given the particular scenario presented, of house to house searches for a "weapons dealer" this was not a very swift move in the current political environment, with gun hating extremists in control of the Executive Branch, and with truly evil legislation such as HR 45 already proposed which make it very, very clear that they fully intend to treat gun owners like pedophiles.

HR 45 would require the registering, printing, and tracking of gun owners just as if they were convicted child molesters, with a requirement that you report a change of residence to Attorney General Holder (you know, that nice man from the Clinton Admin). And the Democrats want to require all sales, even between family, friends or neighbors, to go through a dealer with a full Brady check - so, if that legislation is passed, any of us could become illegal "weapons dealers" just for doing what Americans have done for hundreds of years - sell a rifle, shotgun, or pistol to another private citizen.

One last point: The absolute "Red Dawn" scenario that gun owners fear is a declaration of martial law, followed by roadblocks, "cordoning" off areas, and then house to house searches by troops for weapons, and the confiscation of any weapons found, with deadly military force applied to any resisters. That is the nuclear war, Armageddon scenario for gun owners, and yet that is precisely what the Iowa National Guard has planned to practice - without even attempting to explain that it is supposed to mimic searches for guns in Afghanistan, not an actual gun confiscation in the U.S.

And all this in the current political environment, with sworn, public enemies of our right to bear arms in control of the office of the Presidency, both houses of Congress, and all of the massive power of the Executive Branch at their finger tips.

And the good Colonel is puzzled by the uproar?

UPDATE II: The National Guard of Iowa has canceled the planned mock "invasion" and house to house searching of Arcadia, Iowa.

Not A Dime's Bit of Difference: Republicans Propose Bill To Require ISPs, Wi-Fi Keep Logs for Police

Isn't bipartisanship wonderful!

From cnet news, by Declan McCullagh:

Republican politicians on Thursday called for a sweeping new federal law that would require all Internet providers and operators of millions of Wi-Fi access points, even hotels, local coffee shops, and home users, to keep records about users for two years to aid police investigations.

The legislation, which echoes a measure proposed by one of their Democratic colleagues three years ago, would impose unprecedented data retention requirements on a broad swath of Internet access providers and is certain to draw fire from businesses and privacy advocates.

"While the Internet has generated many positive changes in the way we communicate and do business, its limitless nature offers anonymity that has opened the door to criminals looking to harm innocent children," U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said at a press conference on Thursday. "Keeping our children safe requires cooperation on the local, state, federal, and family level."
Ah, yes, of course! It's all "for the children." Who could be against that?

Joining Cornyn was Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, the senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who said such a measure would let "law enforcement stay ahead of the criminals."

In the Bush administration, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had called for a very similar proposal, saying that subscriber information and network data should be logged for two years.

Until Gonzales' remarks in 2006, the Bush administration had generally opposed laws requiring data retention, saying it had "serious reservations" about them. But after the European Parliament approved such a requirement for Internet, telephone and VoIP providers, top administration officials began talking about the practice more favorably.

Gonzales never met a totalitarian idea he did not like, so no surprise there, but I thought Republicans were against doing stuff just because those pansy Europeans did it.

After Gonzales left the Justice Department, the political will for data retention legislation seemed to ebb for a time, but then FBI Director Robert Mueller resumed lobbying efforts last spring.

This tends to be a bipartisan sentiment: Attorney General Eric Holder, a Democrat, said in 1999 that "certain data must be retained by ISPs for reasonable periods of time so that it can be accessible to law enforcement." Rep. John Conyers, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said that FBI proposals for data retention legislation "would be most welcome."

Read the rest here.

Well, if both sides of the aisle are for it, by gosh it must be good! Remember HR 1955, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, which proposed keeping files on people considered to be thinking dangerous thoughts and expressing dangerous ideas? That was bipartisan too, passing the House by a vote of 404 to six. It was sponsored by Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman, 36th District of California (Chair of the Intelligence Subcommittee) and co-sponsored by a Republican.

introduced HR 1955 on April 19, 2007. And she made it clear it was no coincidence, stating “April 19th marks the 12th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, which claimed 168 lives and injured over 800. Only September 11, 2001, eclipses that dark day as the deadliest act of terrorism on US soil.” She introduced her bill on April 19 to make it very clear that her goal is to go after the future “Timothy McVeighs” out there right along with Muslim terrorists.

Well, the hand holding continues! Repbublicans and Democrats have put aside whatever petty differences they may have had and are now singing the same Big Brother tune -and these Republicans are not even worried about growing the powers of Big Brother in the hands of anti-gun Holder, Emanuel, and Obama!

They simply don't care anymore who has that power, so long as it is grown - I suppose they figure they will get to use it one day themselves, and besides, they really agree with Holder, Rahm Emanuel, Hillary and Obama on nearly everything, so why not?

I am DONE with the Republican Party. Done. A pox on both their houses.

Time to sharpen those pitchforks. We can be "bipartisan" too.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


NOTE: This article was first published in S.W.A.T. Magazine, where I write a monthly column called Enemy at the Gate which is dedicated to the Bill of Rights - and that means all of it. The publisher and editor of S.W.A.T. are committed patriots (and no, S.W.A.T. Magazine is not just for police. Its readership also includes military and non-military average folks). They have given their consent to my republishing this article online. I think it presents some foundational principles we should always keep in mind. Feel free to pass it on to others if you like, but be sure to give proper credit to S.W.A.T. Magazine.


Stewart Rhodes

So great was the Founding generation’s distrust of powerful national governments that, when they rebelled against the Crown, they created a loose league of sovereign States under the Articles of Confederation. And even when some of the leading men of the time pushed for a national government with more power, the people would never have consented to such a leviathan as we now see, de-facto, in Washington D.C. They had just thrown off a government that claimed a power to legislate over them in all matters whatsoever and were not about to replace it with another.

Instead, what they consented to by ratifying the Constitution of 1787 was a dual sovereignty system, granting the new national government only certain, enumerated, and limited powers, with no general police power (a general law-making power to pass laws for the health, safety, and welfare of the people). Only the States had such a general power, which they retained, as the debates over ratification make clear:

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, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberty, and property of the people; and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State. - James Madison, Federalist 45

Despite such reassurances, the Constitution would never have been ratified without the promise of a Bill of Rights, which the ratifying conventions of several States insisted on because they still feared misconstruction and usurpation of powers never granted.

The Federalists argued that no Bill of Rights was needed since the federal government lacked the power to infringe on any of the people’s rights and listing certain rights and protections could dangerously lead to the inference that the government otherwise had powers not granted, and to the inference that the people’s rights were somehow limited to those listed.

Fortunately, the people did not buy those arguments (imagine where we’d be now, without a Bill of Rights!) but they did address those “concerns” in their proposed amendments, to be doubly-damn sure the Constitution would not be misinterpreted as the Federalists warned. Thus the Bill of Rights itself tells us how we must interpret the Constitution.

First, the Preamble to the Bill of Rights clearly states that its purpose was to prevent misconstruction:

THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added …. (emphasis added).

As discussed last time, some of those “declaratory and restrictive clauses” are written protections for certain preexisting rights of the people (such as the right to bear arms) and guarantees of ancient procedural protections, such as jury trial. But two others give commands on interpretation “to prevent misconstruction”:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. – Ninth Amendment.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. – Tenth Amendment. (emphasis added)

These are no mere suggestions. The Ninth Amendment uses the command language “shall not” and is as much a command as “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It also speaks of the enumeration (the listing) in the Constitution of certain rights, not the “creation by the Constitution of certain rights.”

This is no accident. As noted previously, the Bill of Rights does not create rights, but merely provides protection for rights that already exist.

And no, the Tenth Amendment is not merely a “truism.” It is a vital command on interpretation, just like the Ninth. The People meant it to have teeth.

There you go. The Constitution’s built-in manual for constitutional interpretation:

1. You shall not interpret the Constitution as creating rights, and you shall not interpret it as meaning that the people have only those rights listed. We the people have natural rights, and those rights go far beyond those explicitly protected by the Bill of Rights.

2. The national government does not have a general police power to legislate on anything it wants (despite the modern lies of the Supreme Court regarding the Commerce Clause to the contrary). It is a government of particular, enumerated powers, and you shall construe its powers narrowly, as the people intended. There are other powers, which we the people have not granted, and we reserve all of those other powers to our sovereign State governments, or to ourselves.

From all of this, St. George Tucker, in his 1803 commentaries on the Constitution, derived the principle that all of the Constitution’s rights protecting provisions should be read very broadly, while the power granting provisions should be read very narrowly. Tucker was correct, but you don’t need to be a legal scholar to figure it out.

The people who ratified the Constitution did not leave the vital question of its interpretation open to be manipulated by some smart-alecky modern law professor out for tenure and a book deal, or by some future federal judge playing God – they gave us their commands for how it shall and “shall not be construed.”

And it is their understanding and intent that matters, not the preferences of the Nine Nazgul on the Court. Any “interpretive methods” that are contrary to those commands are not only inaccurate, but are themselves violations of the Constitution. Think about that the next time you hear some smooth talking lawyer, judge, professor, or politician prattling on about his own pet “modality” of constitutional interpretation. Look past the smoke and mirrors, and ask yourself if what you are hearing squares with the commands of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

When you use the powerful interpretive lenses the Bill of Rights provides, you will see “Them” for what they are, and you will no longer be fooled.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to read other S.W.A.T. Magazine Enemy at the Gate columns by Stewart Rhodes, you can purchase back issues of S.W.A.T. online, here in electronic format (PDF downloads) or as printed back issues here. You can also subscribe here.


NOTE: This article was first published in S.W.A.T. Magazine, where I write a monthly column called Enemy at the Gate which is dedicted to the Bill of Rights - and that means all of it. The publisher and editor of S.W.A.T. are committed patriots (and no, S.W.A.T. Magazine is not just for police. Its readership also includes military and non-military average folks). They have given their consent to my republishing this article online. I think it presents some foundational principles we should always keep in mind. Feel free to pass it on to others if you like, but be sure to give proper credit to S.W.A.T. Magazine.


Stewart Rhodes

Ben Franklin reportedly remarked that the Constitution formed “a Republic … if you can keep it.” Well, you can’t keep it if you don’t know what it is.

So, what is it? As George Mason said, “no free government, nor the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.” What are the fundamental principles of our Republic? Should we look first to Supreme Court decisions for such guidance? Hardly. As Jefferson said:

They [the judges] are … in fact the corps of sappers and miners, steadily working to undermine the independent rights of the States and to consolidate all power in the hands of that government in which they have so important a freehold estate.

And that was when the ideas of the Enlightenment still reigned supreme, long before the infestation of Marxism among legal elites. No, the Court has long ago gone astray. Let us begin with our Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness ….

There, at the heart of our Republic, are not just the concepts of equality and consent of the people, but also natural rights. The Declaration of Independence is fundamentally a natural law document and the “long train of abuses” that made revolt necessary were not only deprivations of representation (as we were taught in school), but also of natural rights, such as life, liberty, and property, and the abuse of all of the ancient, hard won procedural protections of those rights, such as habeas corpus and jury trial in a civilian court, rather than a court of admiralty. They finally shot back when the government attempted to strip them of the means of resisting the already ongoing abuse of their other natural rights.

Rights come first, and then government is created to protect them, not the other way round. This is something modern political and legal elites want us to forget. They don’t believe in inalienable, natural rights that are ours by virtue of ‘nature and nature’s God.” Instead, they share the view of Karl Marx, that such “rights” are merely artificial political/legal constructs, that man is just an infinitely malleable animal (to be shaped by social engineers), with no inherit rights whatsoever, and your only “rights” are whatever society wants to “give” you. Black’s law dictionary defines this as “positive law” – man made law - as opposed to natural law. Thus, Janet Reno once told a group of federal law enforcement officers “You are part of a government that has given its people more freedom … than any other government in the history of the world”(emphasis added).

Under this view, which flips the Declaration on its head, on what grounds can you ever rebel? Since your rights are “gifts” from government, and merely whatever the government courts say, with no higher power or law, it is never legitimate for a people to rebel, no matter how ridiculous the government’s “interpretation” of its own powers or how arbitrary and murderous it becomes once its servants in black robes “make it legal” by interpreting your so-called rights out of existence. Without natural rights there is no right to revolt, which is precisely why these elites think it totally illegitimate for you to have effective means of resistance.

Remember that all of the Crown’s actions were upheld by the English courts as legal and “constitutional.” However, for the Founding generation, that was not the end of the argument because they knew their rights were not just whatever the government robed lawyers said.

In harmony with that timeless, self evident truth, the Bill of Rights does not grant any rights. It is really more a bill of protections of rights. The First Amendment does not say “the people are hereby granted a right to free speech, freedom of the press, free practice of religion, and assembly.” Instead, it says “Congress shall make no law respecting … [those rights].” It is a prohibition on Congress, to protect pre-existing natural rights.

The same is true of the Second Amendment. It does not say “the people are hereby granted the right to bear arms.” No. It says “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It is a prohibition on government action, meant to protect a pre-existing right.

Likewise, the Fourth Amendment does not grant us a right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures. It declares that our right to that security “shall not be violated” and then it sets forth procedural requirements to protect that preexisting right. Nor does the Fifth Amendment grant us a right to life, liberty, or property. It merely prohibits the government from depriving us of those pre-existing rights without due process of law, and spells out specific procedural protections for those natural rights. The same holds true for jury trial.

Thus, whenever you hear a judge, politician, lawyer, or talking head in the media speak of what rights you do or don’t have under the Constitution, you are hearing at best an ignorant statement, and at worst, a lie. And whenever you find yourself running to look in the Bill of Rights to see whether you have a right to do something, you are making a fundamental error. Your rights are inherently yours by nature and by nature’s God.

With that fundamental principle as our background, I will next delve more directly into constitutional interpretation, showing how the Bill of Rights mandates how we must interpret what the people consented to as the means “to secure these rights.”

If you enjoyed this article and would like to read other S.W.A.T. Magazine Enemy at the Gate columns by Stewart Rhodes, you can purchase back issues of S.W.A.T. online, here in electronic format (PDF downloads) or as printed back issues here. You can also subscribe here.