Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Obama Budget Would Add Another $9.3 Trillion to the Debt

Debt would reach $27.4 trillion in 10 years
SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

President Barack Obama presented a budget to Congress on Tuesday that if enacted would add nearly $10 trillion to the national debt, according to the White House’s projections.
The president’s final budget, widely considered to be dead on arrival due to the Republican-controlled Congress, projects the nation would face a $27.4 trillion debt in 2026.
The budget set the actual total debt for 2015 at $18.1 trillion, projecting an increase of $9.3 trillion. When President Obama took office the debt stood at $10.6 trillion.
The White House budget for fiscal year 2017 includes old and new items of the president’s agenda, including the “Fair Share Tax” on the rich, known as the “Buffett Rule,” and a new tax on oil that would increase taxes by $319 billion over 10 years.
The $4.1 trillion budget also includes raising the minimum wage, “free community college” for two years, and the hiring of 200 new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives special agents to “reduce gun violence.”
Obama again included his “preschool for all” initiative, which would cost $17.3 billion between 2017 and 2021, and total $66 billion over 10 years.
The budget claims it will “end family homelessness” at a cost of $1.2 billion by 2022.
A move to “standardize the definition for American Indians and Alaska Natives” used in Obamacare would cost $30 million in 2017.
Providing “full coverage of preventive health and tobacco cessation services” in Medicaid would cost $99 million in 2017 and $450 million by 2021.
Another budget item called “Enact RESPECT: Best Job in the World” would cost $50 million in 2017.
The budget also calls for a $12 billion increase in spending to have the government feed kids year-round.
“The Budget invests $12 billion over 10 years to create a permanent Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children program that would provide all families with children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals access to supplemental food benefits during the summer months,” the Office of Management and Budget said.
Obama’s proposal includes a heavy dose of funding related to climate change, including $1.3 billion to “advance the goals of the Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI).”
“The challenge of climate change will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other,” Obama wrote in the introduction to his budget.
The funding includes $750 million for the “Green Climate Fund” to fight climate change in third-world countries. Taxpayer funding would also go towards implementing the president’s climate change plan for the United Nations summit in Paris last year.
The budget would also double spending on “clean energy research” from $6.4 billion in 2016 to $12.8 billion in 2021.
Funding for the Department of Transportation’s TIGER grants, many of which go to more bike paths, streetcar projects, and solar-paneled rest stops, would also nearly double.
The budget also increases taxes, with the creation of numerous new fees.
Aside from the “oil fee” of $10.25 per barrel, the budget would also impose a “financial fee” for large American firms.
“The Budget would also impose a new fee on large, highly-leveraged financial institutions,” the administration said. “Specifically, the Budget would raise $111 billion over 10 years by imposing a seven basis point fee on the liabilities of large U.S. financial firms—the roughly 100 firms with assets over $50 billion.”
Obama’s budget also introduces a Food Safety and Inspection Service fee; a bio-based labeling fee; Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration fee ($30 million in 2017); an Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service fee ($20 million in 2017); and a Natural Resource and Conservation Service Conservation User fee.
Immigration inspection user fees would also be increased, as would custom user fees, which would raise $1.1 billion over 10 years.
The Environmental Protection Agency would begin collecting a “confidential business information management fee,” and the Federal Communications Commission would impose a spectrum licenses user fee to raise $4.8 billion over 10 years.
Cuts are down in the president’s final budget, from $34.2 billion in 2016 to $28.8 billion.
The budget includes a $10 million cut to grants for the Department of Health and Human Services abstinence-only sex education programs and a $1 million reduction to the Department of Labor’s “Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations” program.


republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

SANTA FE, N.M. — A proposed bill in New Mexico that would have required abortionists to care for babies that survive abortion attempts has died in committee.
H.B. 275 had been introduced by Reps. Rod Montoya, R-Farmington, and Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo, and would make it a felony punishable with life imprisonment for abortionists to fail to care for a child who shows signs of life.
“A physician attempting to perform an abortion shall take all medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of a born alive infant,” it reads, noting that the newborn child is to be considered a legal person under state law and entitled to all subsequent rights.
The bill further outlines that “[i]f an attempt to perform an abortion performed in a facility other than a hospital results in a live birth, a physician attending the abortion shall provide immediate medical care to the infant and call the 911 emergency response system for an emergency transfer of the infant to a hospital that shall provide medically appropriate and reasonable care and treatment to the infant.”
However, on Saturday, the New Mexico House Health Committee voted 6-4 against the bill, which was opposed largely by Democrats and state physicians.
“I’m very happy it went down,” Rep. Deborah Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “This bill is taken almost verbatim from a national organization committed to outlawing abortion. It vilifies doctors and scares everyone away from access to care.”
But some testified in favor of the legislation during a public hearing on Thursday, including one local resident who said that she knew of an abortionist who stabbed a baby after it survived the procedure.
“This legislation supplements the federal Infant Born Alive Protection Act and ensures these babies receive the same proper care as any newborn,” Montoya stated. “Due to the lack of any current regulation of the abortion industry in New Mexico, there is no indication whether or not the existing law is being enforced since there is no accountability. How can we expect any industry, like the abortion industry, to self-report against their own perceived self-interest?”
The bill follows an investigation into the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center by the New Mexico Alliance for Life. The group found that while the Center acknowledged in its protocol that some children survive abortions, it did not provide direction on how to care for such infants or suggest that any aid be provided at all.
As previously reported, lawmakers in New Hampshire likewise struck down a bill last week requiring abortionists to care for born alive infants, as well as legislation that would have banned abortionists from performing dilation and extraction abortions, also known as dismemberment abortions.


Canada military base
SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

This will have the effect of creating seven 100% Muslim cities all over Canada. In those cities, will the Muslims, in their gratitude, forget all about Islam’s doctrines of warfare against and subjugation of unbelievers? Of course they won’t, but Canadian officials, like officials all over the West, do not recognize that those doctrines even exist, and so are not making any provisions for what might happen if Muslims in these new cities do start to misunderstand Islam on a large scale.
“BREAKING: Liberals to build refugee camps on seven Canadian military bases — Taxpayers will fund mosques, Korans,” by Ezra Levant, The Rebel, February 8, 2016 (thanks to Kathy Shaidle):
The Canadian military has been ordered by Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to draft plans to house more than 6,000 Muslim migrants on a long-term basis at military bases, according to documents obtained exclusively by The Rebel (see below.)
Included in the Department of National Defence budgets are hundreds of thousands of dollars set aside for “religious support,” including the purchase of Muslim Korans, prayer mats and foot-washing towels.
The plans also call for the construction of mosques or “worship centres,” using taxpayers dollars.
The planning documents, in English and French, were released in response to a Rebel “Access to Information” request about religious expenditures by the Department of National Defence.
But the detailed Quebec budget plans also shed light on the sheer scale of the Trudeau government’s plans to set up refugee camp-style accommodations on seven Canadian Forces Bases across Quebec and Ontario.
The budget for Quebec alone totals more than $46 million for the first six months.
For a typical migrant family, that’s a $200,000/year subsidy — not including medicare or welfare.
It’s shocking that Canadian Armed Forces personnel will be ordered to abandon the coalition battle against ISIS and return to Canada to become waiters, chauffeurs and social workers for Muslim migrants, and that Canadian Forces Bases will be turned into squalid refugee camps.
It’s a disgrace that Canadian military personnel have been sent eviction notices to make way for foreign migrants.
But for the DND’s budget to be diverted away from military purposes and towards buying Korans and building mosques for foreign migrants, is especially outrageous.



Joe Wolverton, II J.D.

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

Sen. Ted Cruz
Every day since his announcement that he would run for president, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has faced questions about his constitutional qualification to hold that office, particularly in regard to the “natural born citizen” clause of Article II.
Although the issue appears nearly daily on some blog or in some online article, it is not a new question. In fact, over two years ago — when Cruz was a newly elected senator — The New American carried an article by this reporter analyzing the constitutional considerations of this now very relevant problem.
Is it, in fact, a problem? For Cruz, the short answer is yes. For two reasons. First, because he does not fit the Founders’ definition of a natural born citizen; and second, because for a man who claims to hold the Founders and the Constitution in such high regard, it would appear self-serving and hypocritical to ignore both of those sources and seek the presidency anyway.
To begin the investigation, I’ll reprint what I wrote previously pertaining to Cruz and his qualification:
At the time of the drafting of the Constitution, a person born subject to the British Crown could hold “double allegiance,” a concept similar to “dual citizenship” as understood today.
Our own Founding Fathers, nearly every one of whom was born in some outpost of the British Empire, feared the damage that could come from such divided loyalty. They instituted the “natural born citizen” qualification in order to avoid what Gouverneur Morris described during the Constitutional Convention as “the danger of admitting strangers into our public councils.”
As famed jurist of the early republic St. George Tucker, a contemporary of Morris, explained:
That provision in the constitution which requires that the president shall be a native-born citizen (unless he were a citizen of the United States when the constitution was adopted) is a happy means of security against foreign influence, which, wherever it is capable of being exerted, is to be dreaded more than the plague. The admission of foreigners into our councils, consequently, cannot be too much guarded against; their total exclusion from a station to which foreign nations have been accustomed to attach ideas of sovereign power, sacredness of character, and hereditary right, is a measure of the most consummate policy and wisdom.
In fact, as indicated in early records of the naturalization process, men applying for American citizenship were required to make two renunciations of all fealty to foreign powers before swearing allegiance to the Republic of the United States.
As a matter of fact, the possibility of any legal acceptance of divided allegiance was explicitly rejected in a report issued by the House of Representatives in 1874:
“The United States have not recognized a “double allegiance.” By our law a citizen is bound to be “true and faithful” alone to our government.”
The practical effect of that proclamation is that in order to be a “natural born citizen” of the United States, one would have to be free from a competing claim for allegiance from another nation.
And there’s the rub: Senator Cruz does have a competing claim — two, in fact. His father is Cuban and he (Cruz) was born in Canada. While it is true that Cruz has reportedly renounced his Canadian citizenship, that act has little bearing on the issue, as it is natural “born” citizen, not naturalized citizen, that is the Article II standard.
Back to the historical account.
That such a schizophrenic situation was not only anticipated but accepted by His Majesty’s government during the time of the American founding can be inferred from the impressment of American sailors into the service of the Crown. During the War for Independence, British ships would block American ships from sailing and then the seamen on the British vessels would board the American ships and force the Americans to serve the side of the Empire.
The insistence on the part of the British that anyone born within the realm was a British subject regardless of any voluntary severance thereof and subsequent vow of allegiance to another prince was a significant factor in the hostilities known as the War of 1812.
Finally, in this regard, the British required no process of naturalization as such. Simply being born within the dominions of the monarchy of Great Britain was sufficient to endow one with the rights and privileges granted to any British subject. Nothing such a person did later in life (including becoming a citizen of another country) would ever alter his status as subject.
Despite the clarity of the historical record, some supporters of Cruz cite the 14th Amendment to the Constitution as further evidence that although born outside the United States to a foreign father, Cruz fits the 14th Amendment’s definition of a natural born citizen.
The relevant clause of the 14th Amendment reads:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the States wherein they reside.
The principal architect of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment was Michigan Senator Jacob Merritt Howard, a Republican representing Detroit.
Senator Howard crafted much of the language that was eventually ratified as part of the 14th Amendment.
During the debates that embroiled the Senate in the years following the Civil War, Senator Howard insisted that the qualifying phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” be inserted into Section 1 of the 14th Amendment being considered by his colleagues. In the speech with which he proposed the alteration, Howard declared:
This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, [or] who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.
How could a person “born in the United States” be simultaneously a citizen and a “foreigner” or “alien” if the mere fact of nativity settled the question of citizenship?
Another legislator commenting at the time of the ratification of the 14th Amendment, Representative John Bingham, provided the following clarification of the meaning behind the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” clause:
Every human being born within the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen. [Emphasis added.]
While similar questions have been raised regarding the Article II eligibility of Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) who ran for president in 2000 and in 2008, and Mitt Romney, who ran in 2008 and 2012, the cases of those two men are distinct from that of Cruz.
Both McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone to an American father serving overseas in the military, and Romney, whose father was born in Mexico to American parents, pass constitutional muster.
In this case of Senator Cruz, however, there is no debate that at the time of his birth his father was not an American citizen, and so the senator is the child of at least one person with a legal allegiance to a foreign sovereignty — in his case, either Cuba or Canada. Therefore, no matter how badly some conservatives wish he did, Senator Ted Cruz does not conform to the accepted legal definition of “natural born citizen.”
The British statutes whose language and spirit were grafted by our Founders into our Constitution made it clear that in order to be a “natural born subject” of the king, one’s father must have been a subject of that monarch at the time of the child’s birth. Otherwise, one could not be a natural born subject as defined in the law. One simply could not be a subject if the father was, at the time of the child’s birth, not a subject himself.
Or, in the words of the Apostle James: “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?”
Finally, someone as professedly committed to the Constitution and to the men who framed it must not look for loopholes that will serve their own desire for power. Such an act would send the wrong message to the millions who share the senator’s respect for the document and the drafters and might even leave a bitter taste in their mouths.


SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

A pro-abortion group is attacking a Doritos Super Bowl ad for humanizing an unborn baby.
In the ad, a pregnant woman is getting an ultrasound while her man beside her realizes the unborn baby will move in the direction of the Doritos he’s snacking on.
The baby attempts in vain to reach the chips he’s eating from the womb until the mother throws the Doritos across the room, which prompts the child to launch itself outside mom and towards the chips.
In response, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League said the ad used an “anti-choice tactic of humanizing fetuses.”
The tweet underscores how NARAL and similar groups dehumanize the unborn in a vain attempt to justify abortions, especially in the aftermath of the Planned Parenthood sting videos exposing its officials admitting they sell aborted baby organs for profit.
NARAL, however, didn’t stop there. The group also called out a Snickers ad for being “transphobic” and a Hyundai ad for showing a dad “take away his daughter’s autonomy.”
This is all part of the “political correctness” campaign spearheaded by the authoritarian left to control not only free speech, but also how people think.
“P.C. is a war on our personal relationships and personal conversations,” former intelligence analyst Stella Morabito pointed out. “Getting your business, school, or church in line with a politically correct agenda item is just the beginning for agents of propaganda compliance.”
“In fact, control of the media, popular culture, and all of society’s institutions will never ever be enough for the central planners who push PC; control of personal relationships is their endgame.”


Zika Virus - What YOU Need to Know!
by The Patriot Nurse

SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

The United Nations is exploiting hysteria over the Zika virus to wage war on babies, stepping up its efforts to legalize abortion across pro-life Latin American nations where the killing of unborn children mostly remains a serious crime. While stoking fears over the virus, the UN is even claiming that what it disingenuously refers to as “human rights” and “international law” demand that pre-born babies in Latin America lose their right to life. Pro-life advocates, religious leaders, and governments across the region, though, are fighting back hard.  
The UN has long been pushing for abortion to be legalized and made “safe” worldwide. Its most recent effort came this year, when the global body, often ridiculed as the “dictators club,” unveiled its “Every Woman, Every Child” campaign in which it calls for “safe abortions” under the guise of saving lives — though apparently unborn babies' lives are of no concern. Before that, under the pretext of “sustainable development,” the UN “Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women,” or UN Women for short, also called for global abortion on demand, along with more sterilization programs and population-control schemes, and more government interference in family life.
In short, the UN has a history of seizing on virtually any justification, no matter how absurd, to push its radical pro-abortion agenda. The UN is so dedicated to abortion that, according to multiple experts testifying before Congress, the UN Population Fund, a UN outfit charged with reducing the number of humans on the planet, has even been helping Communist Chinese authorities perpetrate forced abortions as part of the one-child (now two-children) policy. So it is, perhaps, no surprise that the UN would first fuel fearmongering over the Zika virus, and then exploit those fears to campaign against laws protecting unborn children from abortionists.
While the alleged link between the Zika virus and birth defects has not been confirmed, and some dispute that there is a link, the abortion industry and the pro-abortion UN have seized on growing public fears to make their case — even though the known symptoms of the virus are extremely mild. UN officials and abortion promoters, as usual, are trying to vaguely conceal their intentions by referring to “sexual and reproductive health services,” admitted code words for abortion, rather than “slaughter of unborn children.” Top UN officials are also trying to deceptively frame stripping unborn babies of their right to life as an issue of supposed “women's rights” or even “human rights,” as if babies were not humans merely because they have not yet emerged from their mothers' wombs.     
“Laws and policies that restrict [women’s] access to these services [contraception and abortion] must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,”demanded UN “Human Rights” boss Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein of Jordan, where pre-born lives are also protected by law. “Clearly, managing the spread of Zika is a major challenge to the governments in Latin America. However, the advice of some governments to women to delay getting pregnant, ignores the reality that many women and girls simply cannot exercise control over whether or when or under what circumstances they become pregnant.” In other words, killing the unborn should not be a crime because then women can "control" when they are pregnant.
“In Zika-affected countries that have restrictive laws governing women’s reproductive rights, the situation facing women and girls is particularly stark on a number of levels,” continued Hussein, who has been embroiled in scandal for months after his office was caught trying to silence and persecute a whistleblower who exposed so-called “peacekeeping” troops raping children. “In situations where sexual violence is rampant, and sexual and reproductive health services [abortion] are criminalized, or simply unavailable, efforts to halt this crisis will not be enhanced by placing the focus on advising women and girls not to become pregnant. Many of the key issues revolve around men’s failure to uphold the rights of women and girls, and a range of strong measures need to be taken to tackle these underlying problems.”
Despite the supposed urgency of legalizing abortion to supposedly deal with the Zika virus, the UN itself admits that the alleged link between the virus and birth defects remains uncomfirmed. “A causative link between Zika and microcephaly (babies born with abnormally small heads), and Zika and Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome (a neurological condition), is still under investigation,” reads the same press release in which the UN “human rights” chief is pushing legal abortion. The World Health Organization, meanwhile, which recently declared the Zika virus an international public health “emergency,” described the disease as “usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days.” There have been no reported deaths related to the virus.
But the UN human rights boss, who presides over a global “human-rights” bureaucracy that is dominated by ruthless tyrants of various varieties, was adamant. “Upholding human rights is essential to an effective public health response and this requires that governments ensure women, men and adolescents have access to comprehensive and affordable quality sexual and reproductive health services and information, without discrimination,” he claimed, adding that “sexual and reproductive health services” specifically include abortion-inducing “emergency contraception,” as well as “safe abortion services.” He also claimed that abortions should be delivered in a way that “respects” a woman's “dignity” and privacy.
Pro-life advocates, though, were not amused with the UN assault on babies' lives under the guise of battling a virus. “The forces of death and misery of the pro-abortion industry are at it again,” noted Mei-Li Garcia with the pro-life, pointing to the campaign aimed at loosening abortion restrictions in Latin America. “Never mind the facts. Any and all excuses are valid in the minds of the pro-abortion activists to push for their desired end, free and unencumbered abortion rights.”
petition against the UN's antics hosted on the same site suggests the world has gone mad. “In a sane world, it’s the virus that should be targeted for destruction, not a person infected by it,” reads the document, which had already been signed by around 1,000 people late Monday. “But in our insane world of today, that’s exactly what United Nations (UN) and other groups are doing — going after the victim, instead of the disease.”
Religious leaders across the region echoed those concerns, blasting the push to advance abortion by exploiting the virus. “We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” said Catholic Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras last week. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means ‘curing,’ and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives.”
Brazilian bishops also lambasted the agenda, saying in a statement that the Zika virus is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion.” They also called for targeting the virus rather than its victims. And they noted that despite claims made in a recent court case in Brazil “in a total lack of respect for the gift of life,” it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion in cases of microcephaly.   
Even if it were proven that Zika virus is linked to microcephaly — and so far a link has not been confirmed — pro-life advocates say that hardly justifies killing unborn children. Either way, critics noted, the UN has no business demanding that pro-life governments legalize abortion or anything else.
Americans concerned about the use of their tax dollars to promote abortion in Latin America and beyond do have options. At the top of the list is a bill currently sitting in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which heard testimony about the UN using U.S. funds for forced abortions, that would end U.S. government membership in the UN while evicting the controversial institution from American soil. That would be a good start.
Related articles:


SEE: below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

America’s farmers and ranchers, the people who grow the food that magically appears on our grocery store shelves, are under siege. Like swarms of locusts, federal regulators from the EPA, BLM, USFS, etc. are driving these hardworking producers who feed America into the ground. A relentless bombardment of threats, fines, regulatory takings, lawsuits, and other means of perpetual harassment is killing what remains of our family-owned farms. It is not only America’s food supply that is imperiled by this onslaught; equally important (if not more so) is the threat that these rogue federal regulators pose to justice, to the rule of law, to the very idea of limited government, and to the freedom of each and every one of us. The profiles of the victims provided here represent only a tiny sample of the thousands of our fellow citizens who have heroically fought, or are currently fighting, against a federal leviathan that is trampling their rights and taking their property.
John Duarte — Plow Your Field, Go to Jail
In December of 2012, John Duarte did what thousands of other farmers do: He planted wheat. Specifically, he planted wheat on 450 acres he owns in California’s central valley near Red Bluff, a couple hours north of Sacramento. Little did he know that this simple act would place him in jeopardy of fines as high as $50,000 per day and a possible prison sentence. Matthew Kelley, an employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, happened to drive by and take notice of the plowing activity on Duarte’s land in preparation for the planting. Kelley reported to his superiors that Duarte’s plowing operations were a “big violation” of the federal Clean Water Act, in that they were, allegedly, destroying a “wetland.”
The Clean Water Act authorizes the Corps of Engineers to regulate certain “discharges” to “waters of the United States.” The Corps has interpreted this to mean “wetlands” and virtually every mud puddle in the country. However, the act specifically exempts “normal farming activities” from the ban on discharging dredge and fill material and from the costly and burdensome permit requirements. There are good reasons for agricultural exemptions: Requiring farmers to spend, on average, two years and $270,000 to get a federal permit to plant and harvest crops would be a prescription for national starvation. But Kelley claimed that Duarte was plowing three feet deep, which constituted not normal plowing but “deep ripping,” which, Kelley said, was a “flagrant” violation. Based on Kelley’s report, the Corps issued a cease-and-desist order (CDO) to Duarte on February 23, 2013. Upon receiving the order, Duarte ceased operations on the parcel — and lost his wheat crop, a $50,000 investment, not including the profit he hoped to realize from the sale of the wheat. That’s not all: The acreage has remained fallow because the Corps insists that the stop order will remain in effect until Duarte goes through the long, costly process of obtaining a permit, which, legally, he doesn’t need in order to farm.
Duarte is suing the Corps for violation of his right to due process. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Duarte, represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, charges that the Army Corps violated his due process rights by ordering him to shut down operations without first holding a hearing giving him the opportunity to present his case. If the Army Corps had complied with the Constitution and provided him a hearing, Duarte says, the Army Corps would have discovered that it was in error as to the facts in the case, and likely would not have shut down the farm. The Corps moved to have Duarte’s case dismissed, arguing, incredibly, that its cease-and-desist order had not deprived Duarte of property, but that Duarte had “voluntarily abstained from farming” in response to the order. Senior Judge Lawrence Karlton of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California slapped down the government’s attempt to dismiss the due-process challenge.
Karlton ruled that if compliance with the cease-and-desist order were voluntary and if Duarte was free to ignore such unconditional commands by the U.S. government, then the Corps’ regulators should have said so.
“In essence,” Karlton wrote, “the Government argues that although it (figuratively) held a gun to plaintiff’s head and ordered him to stop farming, plaintiff should have relied on the unstated fact that the gun could not be fired.”
Judge Karlton also criticized the Corps’ unreasonable process. “Forcing plaintiffs to wait idly about while the Corps decides whether to bring an enforcement action has the effect of continuing to deprive plaintiffs of the use of their property, without end,” he wrote.
Karlton also made this stinging rebuke to the Corps’ reasoning: “If the Corps, instead of issuing the [cease-and-desist order], had burned plaintiffs’ nursery to the ground in an effort to protect the waters of the U.S., plaintiffs surely would have suffered an injury, even though the Corps still would not have imposed any legal ‘obligation’ or ‘liability’ on plaintiffs.”
However, rather than backing off and admitting they blundered, the Army Corps is doubling down; they’ve countersued Duarte and are threatening huge fines and penalties.
“The Corps and EPA aren’t trying to micromanage farmers. They’re trying to stop farmers,” Duarte said in a recent video about the case produced by the American Farm Bureau. “They’re trying to turn our farm land into habitat preservation. They’re simply trying to chase us off of our land.”
John Duarte is in a better position than millions of other farmers and property owners who are standing in the Corps/EPA “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) cross hairs. As president of Duarte Nursery, he has additional income to fall back on, unlike many other farmers who would be driven into bankruptcy by a similar Army Corps CDO that stopped their farming operations. Duarte Nursey, a multi-million-dollar family business started by his parents, is a national leader in viticulture science and is famous for its grapevines and avocado, pistachio, walnut, almond, citrus, and prune root stock. Moreover, he is well known, well connected, and well respected in the agricultural world, and has done a good job of taking his fight to the court of public opinion, as well as the legal courts. Even the “progressive” Los Angeles Times has come down in favor of Duarte, with a January 15, 2016 article that found the Corps’ arguments so ludicrous that “the government will almost certainly find itself on the losing side.”
Linda Evridge — Oops! Sorry We Incinerated Your Ranch
On April 3, 2013, the U.S. Forest Service ignited a prescribed burn along the North Dakota-South Dakota border in the Grand River National Grasslands. The stated reason for the burn was to destroy 130 acres of dead crested wheat. Due to the dangerously dry, windy conditions, farmers and ranchers in the area had repeatedly warned against and protested against burns in the area. Disregarding this sound advice (as well as weather service fire-danger alerts), the Forest Service lit the fires anyway. Predictably, the flames quickly raged out of control, taking out not a mere 130 acres but 17 square miles (nearly 11,000 acres), 11 square miles of which are privately owned ranch/farm land. It’s known as the Pautre Fire, and it has left smoldering embers that continue to ignite passion among ranchers and farmers nationwide.
At a public meeting in Hettinger, North Dakota, on April 6, 2013, Grand River District Ranger Paul Hancock apologized to an understandably angry gathering of around 100 farmers and ranchers and assured them that the Forest Service would expedite the compensation process to see that they recovered the costs of their crops, livestock, fences, hay bales, buildings, and other losses from the ill-advised fire. “The Forest Service is extremely regretful that the fire escaped the containment area,” Hancock told the victims.
Some of the fire victims lost as much as 90 percent of their forage, and many were in the middle of calving season. How would they be compensated for those losses, as well as their losses of sweat equity and the value of time lost while grass regrows and fences are replaced? “What are we going to do with the displaced livestock?” asked one victim. “How are we going to move some of these cattle around?” asked another.
Ranch owner Linda Evridge lost land and timber to the fire. “I will never live to see those trees regrown in my lifetime,” she told Hancock. “I’ve spent 39 years of my life on this ranch. It’s more than just dirt and grass. How are you going to compensate the trees gone, the erosion that will happen because they are no longer there?”
“My land and everybody’s land in here was beautiful,” Evridge said. “The people in this room know this land better than you do. Do you think you should have called and talked to the people in this room before you burned anything?” she demanded of Hancock.
“I wish I had all of the answers, but we will work with everyone to figure out how we can best help,” the Forest Service ranger told the crowd.
It’s nearly three years later, and the victims are still waiting for that help and compensation. But, in the meantime, the government has changed its tune: In July of 2015,  the Forest Service’s parent agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, denied all financial claims for the Pautre Fire, which by that time had amounted to over $50 million. Based on the assurances of Ranger Hancock and the support of U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), many of the fire victims, no doubt, hoped that their compensation soon would be forthcoming. In an April 8, 2013 letter to Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Senator Thune noted that the Forest Service had acknowledged to the Rapid City Journal: “We did light it and it did get away. And we plan to pay for damages.”
“The most urgent need,” wrote Senator Thune, “is for timely payment from the Forest Service for private property losses due to this fire, because the ranchers who suffered losses in this fire had already experienced devastating pasture and feed losses due to the 2012 drought. Burned up and destroyed pasture acres, hay and alfalfa stacks and bales, fences, buildings and vehicles can all be easily and immediately quantified and their loss values accurately assessed, which means there should be no delay by the Forest Service in providing payments to the impacted producers for their losses due to the Forest Service-started Pautre Fire.”
Senator Thune also blasted the government’s prescribed burn practices. “Local ranchers warned Forest Service personnel that ongoing severe drought conditions, potential for high winds, and higher-than-normal temperatures all meant that starting a prescribed burn on April 3 would be a very risky undertaking. The Forest Service personnel inexcusably disregarded these warnings and went ahead with the prescribed burn.” “With the strike of a match,” the senator noted, “the livelihoods and the future of ranchers who suffered losses in the Pautre Fire were changed, and a doubtful outlook for 2013 became even more uncertain due to lost pastures, hay, and fences. I fully expect the Forest Service to take every available action to provide quick, fair, and certain reimbursement to these ranchers. I respectfully request that full reimbursement be made no later than 30 days from the date of loss, while allowing additional time for producers to apply for losses beyond this period as necessary.”
However, as we reported above, the government is now refusing to pay anything. The Pautre Fire victims have been forced to hire attorneys to try to recover damages. Three lawsuits with a total of 25 plaintiffs have been filed thus far.
In a letter to Senator Thune last June, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated: “While we deeply regret the losses suffered by those affected by the Pautre Fire, a careful and thorough review of the claims disclosed no liability on the part of the U.S. Government.” However, one of the lawsuits includes the text of a Rangeland Fire Danger Statement for the prescribed-burn area issued by the weather service more than seven hours before the fire started. “Fires will spread rapidly and show erratic behavior,” the statement said. “Outdoor burning is not recommended.”
The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, in a statement issued on January 5, 2016, undoubtedly spoke for a great many Americans in noting the dangerous double standard applied to Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steve Hammond, as compared to the Forest Service personnel. Stockgrowers President Bill Kluck denounced the “egregiously unbalanced response of federal land management agencies” and said, “There is a big double standard being applied in these government land agencies. We cannot support the use of terrorism laws against a family ranch while forest service staff are just allowed to go about their day.”
The Stockgrowers noted that the Hammonds have been sentenced to five years in federal prison after a prescribed burn on their private property burned less than 140 acres of federal property. The family is required to pay $400,000 in damages and was prosecuted under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. “The kind of unchecked decisionmaking authority and lack of accountability from federal land management agencies as seen in the Pautre Fire, can and will be applied to other situations and likely at expense of the independent livestock producers and private property owners,” Kluck stated. “SD Stockgrowers Association supports full compensation to the ranchers who were harmed by the Pautre Fire, and believe that liability should be applied to the U.S. Forest Service the way the Hammonds were held liable for setting that fire.”
Andy Johnson — Dig a Pond, $20 Million Fine
Andy Johnson (shown) didn’t destroy a wetland, he created one. More precisely, like many other farmers he created a stock pond to provide water for his horses, cattle, and other livestock on his small farm near Bridger, Wyoming. Johnson, a 32-year-old welder and father of four young girls, created his stock pond in 2012 by building a dam across an intermittent stream on his property. Before doing so, he obtained the necessary state and local permits. Congress expressly exempted stock ponds from Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction. However, never ones to be impeded by the rule of law, EPA bureaucrats issued a “compliance order” demanding that Johnson return his property, under federal oversight, to its condition before the stock pond was created. In addition, the EPA began fining him at the rate of $37,500 per day. According to the EPA, he has already racked up fines of $20 million.
Fortunately, the California-based Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) has come to the Johnson family’s assistance. “We are challenging an outrageous example of EPA overreach against a private citizen who has done nothing wrong,” said PLF Staff Attorney Jonathan Wood, in filing a lawsuit against the EPA on Johnson’s behalf. “Andy Johnson constructed a pond for his livestock by damming a stream on his private property with no connection to any navigable water. Under the plain terms of the Clean Water Act, he was entirely within his rights, and didn’t need federal bureaucrats’ permission.”
“But EPA regulators have decided they know better than the law,” Wood charges. “By trying to seize control of Andy Johnson’s land — and threatening him with financial ruin — they are imposing their will where they have no authority. Ironically, EPA is attempting to destroy a scenic environmental asset that provides habitat for fish and wildlife, and cleans water that passes through it, all in the name of enforcing the Clean Water Act.”
Not only is Johnson in compliance with the law (while the EPA’s actions violate the law), but the EPA cites no evidence that he has in any way damaged the environment. Indeed, it appears that his pond has improved it.
“In addition to providing water for his livestock, the pond has been an environmental boon,” according to Ray Kagel, a former Army Corps of Engineers enforcement officer and environmental consultant. “It created wetlands where there had previously been none. It provides habitat for fish and wildlife, including migratory waterfowl, passerine birds, a bald eagle, and moose. And it improves water quality by providing a place for sediment and other suspended solids to settle,” says Kagel.
“According to tests by an independent lab, the water flowing out of Andy’s pond is three times cleaner than the water entering his pond,” Kagel notes. “And the suspended solids in the nearest navigable waterway — the Green River — are 41 times greater than in Andy’s pond, which means that Andy’s pond is significantly cleaner than the downstream river that’s allegedly affected.”
Ocie & Carey Mills, Persecuted, Incarcerated Patriots
In 1989, Ocie Clayton Mills, then age 54, and his 31-year-old son Carey were sentenced to the federal penitentiary, each for a term of 21 months, and fined $5,000. Their crime? The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers wrongly claimed that they had violated the federal Clean Water Act by cleaning out an existing drainage ditch and placing fill sand on part of their half-acre parcel of land in Santa Rosa County, Florida, where the Mills family had intended to build their dream home. Ocie Mills, a hardworking, law-abiding entrepreneur, fervent Christian, and Korean War veteran, had complied with state and local permit processes, and his building plans presented no danger to the environment or “waters of the United States.” Mills, who had no money for an attorney, represented himself, sure that the court would rule in his favor once it had considered the evidence. The federal prosecution came after him with a battery of three high-powered attorneys. The federal judge sided with the feds, refusing the admission of evidence crucial to the Mills’ defense, and Ocie and Carey Mills went to prison. When they were released from prison at the end of 1990, they found they had still more ordeals to suffer. They were threatened with more fines and prison unless, within 90 days, they returned the property to its prior condition. They complied with the order, but found the feds were implacable, claiming that Mills must remove still more “fill dirt.”
This time around, a more sensible judge ruled in favor of the Mills family. In his ruling in United States v. Ocie Mills and Carey C. Mills, Judge Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida wrote:
After having heard all of the evidence and having personally inspected Lot 20, I find that the elevation of Lot 20 is now at, or in some instances, below, the elevation as it existed in December of 1985. The Government’s contention that ten more inches of soil need to be removed from Lot 20 would result in turning Lot 20 into a pond, an undesirable condition. The lot is now totally denuded and ugly, in stark contrast to the beautiful lot that existed prior to 1986. Although there are detectable amounts of clay remaining on the lot, I find that the defendants have met the requirements of the site restoration plan insofar as it applies to the elevation.
The ditch lying between Lots 20 and 19 is now a stagnant pond. It needs to be further filled, and allowed to function as a natural drain into East Bay.... In sum, however, I find that both defendants have substantially complied with the site restoration plan which was required as a condition of their supervised release. The petition for a finding of a violation of their supervised release condition is, therefore, DENIED.
Moreover, the judge determined that the property was “probably never a wetland for purposes of the Clean Water Act” in the first place. The court found that the soil samples taken by the feds had been taken from a drainage ditch! In his written opinion, Judge Vinson said that the Mills case “presents the disturbing implications of the expansive jurisdiction which has been assumed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act in a reversal of terms that is worthy of Alice In Wonderland.”
“The regulatory hydra, which emerged from the Clean Water Act,” he continued, “mandates in this case that a landowner who places clean fill dirt on a plot of subdivided dry land may be imprisoned for the statutory felony offense of discharging pollutants into the navigable waters of the United States.”
Unchastened by the court’s rebuke, the Army Corps issued still another cease-and-desist order, starting the harassment process all over again. “It totally destroyed us financially since it put both breadwinners in jail,” Ocie Mills told this writer in a 1993 interview with The New American. “And all the while, of course, the government was able to use our tax dollars against us.” The family was continuously on the verge of losing their home. “Our banker has been very good and understanding of our situation and worked out an arrangement for us just to pay the interest,” Mills said. “We’ve been just a step ahead of foreclosure, hanging on by the skin of our teeth, you might say.” Thankfully, many sympathetic property-rights advocates chipped in to help them keep their heads above water — just barely.
Several years after the initial trial in the Mills case, a member of the jury, Quenton Wise, came forward to publicly charge that the jury foreman, whose son worked for a state agency allied with the Army Corps, had engaged in egregiously prejudicial conduct. A hearing was ordered on the alleged jury misconduct, but the government lawyers outgunned and outmaneuvered the Mills family again, denying them vindication.
Ocie Mills remained active in property rights and constitutionalist issues for most of the remainder of his life. He died in January, 2013 at age 78, still unbowed, unbroken, and — considering all he had been through — remarkably buoyant and free of bitterness.
Wayne Hage — Court Condemns Fed gov Conspiracy Against Hage Family
Among the many cases of individuals standing like David before Goliath Fedgov agencies, the decades-long heroic battle by the Hage family is a legendary epic. The Nevada ranching family tenaciously clung to their land and their rights under a campaign of intimidating harassment that a federal court ruled amounted to criminal conspiracy. In an historic ruling in June 2012, Chief Judge Robert C. Jones of the Federal District Court of Nevada delivered a stinging blow to federal agencies that had been maliciously violating the rights of ranchers for years.
Judge Jones declared that agents of the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the federal Forest Service (FS) had been engaged in a decades-long criminal “conspiracy” against the family of Wayne and Jean Hage and their ranching operation. 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 fraud, mail fraud, extortion, and other crimes, in an effort “to kill the business of Mr. Hage.” In fact, declared Jones, the government’s actions were so malicious and “abhorrent” as to “shock the conscience of the Court.”
Judge Jones said he found that “the government and the agents of the government in that locale, sometime in the ’70s and ’80s, entered into a conspiracy, a literal, intentional conspiracy, to deprive the Hages of not only their permit grazing rights, for whatever reason, but also to deprive them of their vested property rights under the takings clause, and I find that that’s a sufficient basis to hold that there is irreparable harm if I don’t … restrain the government from continuing in that conduct.”
In fact, Judge Jones found the agency offences so onerous that he not only granted an injunction against the agencies, but actually referred area BLM and Forest Service managers to the Justice Department for prosecution. By this time, Mr. and Mrs. Hage had both died. Jean Hage passed away in 1996, and her husband Wayne died a decade later, in 2006, years before Judge Jones’ vindicating ruling. Their family and friends are certain the stress of the constant harassment led to an early death for each of them. Their children continue to run the ranch and continue the fight. Naturally, the DOJ did not pursue any prosecution of the offending agents or agencies, as called for by Judge Jones — but it has continued to aid the offending agencies in their harassment of the Hage family. The Hage case, as with so many similar cases, shows the culpability of Congress in failing to rein in and penalize (or better yet, abolish) the federal agencies and their agents that regularly abuse the rights of American citizens with their unconstitutional regulatory powers.