Richard Mack

'Constitutional Sheriff' Urges Elected Officials To Defy Supreme Court On Marriage

Richard Mack, the head of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), said last week that “every governor and sheriff and county commissioner” in the country should refuse to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision striking down bans on gay marriage.

Rob Schilling, host of a radio program on Virginia’s WINA, asked Mack, “I’ve wondered what would happen if let’s just say a Judge Roy Moore stood up and said, ‘We’re not abiding by this. We already have defined marriage in this state.’”

“Every governor and sheriff and county commissioner should all be saying that,” Mack responded.

“Is the federal government going to send troops into that state, are we going to have an armed conflict over this issue?” Schilling pressed.

“If it’s one person, they very well might,” Mack responded, “but if it’s hundreds and hundreds and hundreds all across the country, there’s nothing they can do about it, so that’s what we should be doing.”

Mike Koeniger, the vice president of the state chapter of the Oath Keepers, was also on the line and interjected that it would only take a couple of hundred sheriffs, each backed up by thousands of armed civilian Oath Keepers, to defy the federal government on marriage.

“Imagine that we only had 200 sheriffs that stood in the gap, and behind every one of those sheriffs there were 2,000 Oath Keepers, being civilian or prior military or whatever, imagine the power of 200 sheriffs,” he said.

With that support, he said, “we’d win the war.”
 

 

Arizona Senate President Says First Amendment Stopped Him From Rebuking Call For McCain's Hanging

Earlier this week, we reported on a recent event in Arizona in which Stewart Rhodes, founder of the anti-government group Oath Keepers, called for Sen. John McCain to be “hung by the neck until dead” for unspecified offenses against the Constitution. Sitting directly next to Rhodes as he made the remark was Andy Biggs, the Republican president of Arizona’s state senate, who is now facing questions from the local press about his participation in the event.

Biggs acknowledges that he was present at the event, a regular “Liberty on Tap” discussion hosted by the Arizona Freedom Caucus, but told reporters that he had confused the Oath Keepers with Promise Keepers, a Christian men’s organization. When asked why he didn’t say anything after Rhodes called for McCain’s execution, Biggs said it would have been a violation of the Oath Keepers head’s “free-speech rights” for him to contradict him:

Biggs told The Republic he was the first speaker on the program and spoke for 30 minutes to 35 minutes. A panel was invited to talk about the need for a constitutional convention and Biggs was invited because he has written a book outlining his objections to such a convention.

He said he didn't know who or what the Oath Keepers are, initially confusing them with "Promise Keepers," a ministry for men. He added that he did not know Rhodes, and thought he was being invited by "an Arizona liberty group."

Biggs said he doesn't agree with Rhodes' comments, but said he didn't feel it was his place to speak up and denounce him.

"Good grief! Stop it with your free-speech rights," he said, imagining what he could have said to Rhodes.

He said he wasn't sure when Rhodes made his inflammatory comments but, "Your ears perk up when someone says something like that."

This isn’t the first time an Arizona politician has flirted with far-right, anti-government groups at the same series of events. Last year, then-Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne attended a “Liberty on Tap” event promoting the Constitutional Counties Project, an endeavor supported by the Arizona Liberty Caucus, that seeks to establish county governments that “interpose” against federal authority by defying federal laws that county officials believe to be unconstitutional.

Since then, former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, the head of a “constitutional sheriffs” organization, has volunteered to run for office in the project’s guinea pig county. Mack also spoke at the recent event with Biggs and Rhodes, where he suggested one thing that states and counties could do to resist federal authority is to “nullify” the federal income tax.

Below is the video of Rhodes' remarks. At the beginning, you can see Biggs sitting immediately to his left.

Richard Mack Suggests States 'Nullify Federal Income Tax,' Hopes Process Will Remain 'Peaceful'

Richard Mack, the former Arizona sheriff who now heads a group that promotes “nullification” of federal laws at the state and county levels, suggested at an event in Tempe last week that states threaten to “nullify federal income tax” in order to stop money from going to the federal government. He added that he hoped the process of states “tak[ing] back” the 10th Amendment would remain “peaceful.”

Mack made the remarks at an event dedicated to opposing a proposed constitutional convention, which also featured Republican State Senate President Andy Biggs and Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who used the opportunity to call for Sen. John McCain to be hung for treason

“There isn’t anything that’s going on in our country today that the states can’t stop,” Mack said, encouraging states and counties to refuse to take federal funds and refuse to direct money to the federal government.

“And even spending,” he said. “You want to balance the budget? Get the governors together and the state legislatures together and tell them, ‘This is how it’s going to be from now on, we’re not going to send you this and we’re not taking this, we’re not going to do this, and we might even tell the citizens, we might even pass a law in Arizona to nullify federal income tax.’ That would be courageous, wouldn’t that? It would also be a lot of fun.”

“Who asserts the 10th Amendment? Who has the constitutional and moral and ethical obligation to enforce the 10th Amendment? Is that the federal government’s job? They’re destroying it. Who’s going to stand and enforce and defend the 10th Amendment? It’s us,” he said later in his talk. “We retain everything else that’s not given to them. If we don’t hold onto it, and we’ve allowed them to take it, we have to take it back. And hopefully we have the courage and the smarts and the wherewithal to keep this process peaceful. And if we get a lot of people doing it, and a lot of states doing it, and a lot of governors doing it, and a lot of sheriffs doing it, and a lot of counties doing it, it will remain peaceful. And that’s why my whole thing has been, we take back America county by county and state by state.”

Mack is currently leading an effort to stage a political takeover of an Arizona county to implement his radical nullification agenda.

Sheriff Mack: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is 'A Very Senile And Evil Person' Who Will 'Destroy Marriage'

Richard Mack, the Arizona “constitutional sheriff” who urges local and state elected officials and law enforcement officers to ignore federal laws, said in a radio interview yesterday that states must “recuse themselves” from any Supreme Court ruling striking down same-sex marriage bans, a ruling that he expected from a court led by the “very senile and evil” Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“I think this Supreme Court is bought and paid for, I think they’re just political hacks, most of them, and they will not use moral agency or tradition or biblical principle. They’re just going to do what they’re there for,” Mack told far-right “Patriot” movement radio program “ Liberty Roundtable.”

“Those people have been put there, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a very senile and evil person, she does not like America, she does not like our Constitution,” he said, adding that if President Obama “was capable of being embarrassed or having any shame” it would be in his nomination of “Helen Kagan.” (The program’s host, Sam Bushman, quickly pointed out that he meant Elena Kagan.)

Saying that Justices Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor should recuse themselves from the case because “one of the reasons they were put on the court was to promote this movement in America to destroy marriage,” Mack said, “We’ve got to do something in this country to save our families and marriage.”

But he was not optimistic. After a Supreme Court ruling, he said, “the states are going to have to even more so recuse themselves from the federal government and from the Supreme Court ruling. And it’s going to take some guts.”

He told Bushman that the federal government has “no purview” over marriage, to which Bushman replied, “the only skin in the game they have is to peddle perversion.”

Ron Paul Stars In Oath Keepers Militia Film By Far-Right Filmmaker

Former Republican congressman and onetime presidential candidate Ron Paul is starring in a new film about the threat of martial law in America which includes calls to join the extremist Oath Keepers militia. Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, Oath Keepers supporter Elias Alias, firebrand preacher Chuck Baldwinradical Arizona sheriff Richard Mack and far-right gun activist Larry Pratt are also featured in the James Jaeger film “Midnight Ride.”

Paul, the father of Kentucky senator and current presidential candidate Rand Paul, previously appeared in Jaeger’s films Fiat Empire, Original Intent, Spoiler and Molon Labe. As we’ve previously reported, Jaeger’s group has a long history of publishing tirades against Jews (and their alleged involvement in child murder) and 9/11 truther theories.

Jaeger believes Israel was involved in the 9/11 attacks and he recently compared the state of Israel to ISIS: “Is it thus any surprise that when Zionists call for a Jewish state (ISRAEL) and Arab-Muslims call for an Islamic State (ISIS aka ISIL) there is going to be massive and endless conflict?”

One article he links to on his site, “Are Jews Conspiring to Take Over the World?,” says that while it may be a fraudulent document, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion “accurately describe much of what is happening in our world today.”

Alias hailed Jaeger’s latest film as “a very classy showcase for the Oath Keepers [sic] mission, to the promotion of our ‘Ten Orders We Will Not Obey,’” a reference to the militia group’s conspiracy-theory-laden manifesto about disarmament, nullification and concentration camps. He added that “Oath Keepers is helping James Jaeger fund the production of this important film, and the film will feature Oath Keepers in many ways.”

This post has been updated.

'Constitutional Sheriff' Says He'd Arrest Lois Lerner If She Came To His County

Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, now runs the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a group that promotes the idea that county sheriffs are the highest law officers in the country and thus have the power to arrest federal officials who are enforcing laws they believe are unconstitutional.

Mack gave an example of this theory in an interview last month with Kerry Lutz on his “Financial Survival Network,” when he said that if he were still sheriff, he would arrest Lois Lerner, the former IRS official who Tea Party groups say targeted them in applications for tax-exempt status, charges that are still being investigated by the FBI.

“If you were still sheriff in Graham County and Lois Lerner paid a visit to your county, would you lock her up?” Lutz asked.

“Well, I would in the sense that I would have to first investigate and prove that she had actually done something to somebody in my county. So, primarily I would conduct a proper investigation and if anyone had been abused, like many that testified before Congress, the Tea Party groups and others that had been abused not only by the IRS, but the IRS had complicity from the FBI,” Mack replied.

“So, if I could prove that they had done that to anybody in my county, if she stopped by, I most definitely would, and hopefully get the support of the county attorney to actually prosecute,” he said.

Mack is currently running for office in another Arizona county, which he hopes to populate with likeminded voters and elected officials, creating his version of a “constitutional” paradise.

Richard Mack: 'Bloodshed' May Be Needed If 'State Sovereignty' Not Preserved

Richard Mack, the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, who now heads the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, told Steve Deace yesterday that although he is a “pacifist,” states and counties need to enforce their “sovereignty” in areas like marriage equality and gun control, or else “we will lose liberty in America, and we will not get it back unless there’s bloodshed.”

Mack, who argues that county sheriffs are not accountable to federal authority and so should not enforce laws that they believe violate the Constitution, told Deace that America has been losing liberty for a long time, but “it took a tyrant and communist in our own White House to wake a lot of people up.”

“And I will tell you this, if we do not, if the counties and cities and states do not exercise their proper constitutional authority, known as state sovereignty and the 10th Amendment, if they do not enforce their own state sovereignty and secure their state sovereignty, then America will die,” he said. “If we do not exercise the 10th Amendment and state sovereignty, we will lose liberty in America, and we will not get it back unless there’s bloodshed.”

“I’m proud of Judge Moore and I’m proud of the state supreme court in Texas,” he said, “and Gov. Perry and other governors across this nation and sheriffs and county commissioners and city councils must do likewise or we will lose.”

Later in the interview, Deace compared the Obama administration to Nazi Germany, saying that the National Parks employees who shut down monuments during the federal government shutdown in 2013 were “not too many steps” from “other people throughout history who have said similar things and committed far greater acts of man’s inhumanity to man and said ‘I’m just following orders.’”

“It is so scary how many similarities there are between Nazi Germany and the Obama administration,” Mack agreed.

Mack also agreed with Deace that Obama is a communist, saying, “You’d have be stupid not to know that he’s a Marxist.”

“We fought two world wars to stop communism in this country,” he said. “Look at all the men and women who died and gave their lives to stop the proliferation of communism throughout the world, and now we accept it here in our country because somebody said, ‘Well, vote for me if you believe in real change and we want to fundamentally change America, so come with me as we give everybody some money.’ And everybody wanted the money and Barack Obama keeps throwing it everybody like it’s growing on trees and it’s candy.”

“And I am so ashamed of the people who take this money from him, because you have to know it’s not his money to give, it’s not his to take, and it certainly is not ours to take,” he added.

Far-Right Anti-Government Group Plans Political Takeover Of Arizona County

Earlier this month, Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff and popular “Patriot” movement speaker, gave a speech in Pueblo, Colorado, in which he announced that he was launching a new bid for public office.

Mack said that he would be moving to Navajo County, Arizona, to run as the county sheriff in 2016 and told the members of the Tea Party group in his audience, “I need some backup and I wouldn’t mind if you went there, too.”

He wasn’t joking. In fact, Mack is the most prominent recruit of a group that is seeking to stage a political takeover of the sprawling rural county as an experiment in creating a local government that will ignore and “nullify” federal laws — such as federal lands restrictions and gun regulations — that its leaders believe to be unconstitutional.

Mack explained the plan in a speech to this weekend’s “I Won’t Comply” demonstration in Olympia, Washington, which gathered anti-government activists from around the country to protest a new state law requiring background checks on most gun purchases.

Mack, who runs a group called the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, which argues that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the country, urged the Washington crowd to join him in Navajo County.

“I want you to carefully, prayerfully consider moving there with me, and I’m serious. You want to live in a free county? You want to live by constitutional law? You want to not be worried about federal government coming in and ruining your lives and families and hauling you off at midnight? Come live with us there,” he said.

He said that the establishment of “constitutional counties” was the last “peaceful” option for the movement to “regain our constitution and freedom in America.”

“If we’re going to take back freedom, we have one opportunity to keep it peaceful, and that is the enforcement of state sovereignty by our sheriffs and by our state and county legislatures,” he said.

The former sheriff explained how a group called the Constitutional County Project had approached him and asked him to join their first experiment in creating a “constitutional county,” what Mack said would be a “blueprint for freedom” that could then be replicated across the country.

In an interview with the radio show “Liberty Roundtable” in June, Mack discussed early negotiations on the project. Although he didn’t say that he had committed to run for office, he hinted at it, saying "we have got to be able to sacrifice and move to where we can be united and take over a county politically."

Mack told the Washington rally that he planned to move to the county in the spring of 2015 to prepare for a 2016 run for office.

The Constitutional County Project's website says that once it achieves its political takeover of Navajo County, its allied elected officials get to work repealing "local and county laws and regulations which are unrelated to protecting individual rights," enforcing environmental regulations at the "county level," cutting taxes and regulations and using "legal and political means to protect the county’s residents against any attempt to un-Constitutionally interfere with peaceable living and enterprise."

A 2012 Southern Poverty Law Center report on Mack explained his growing influence in the “Patriot” movement and the source of his ideology in Posse Comitatus movement of the 1970s and 1980s, which provided some of the ideological foundation for the militia movement:

An inductee in the National Rifle Association’s Hall of Fame whose stardom dimmed by the turn of the century, Mack is once again riding high in the saddle as a patron saint of the resurgent antigovernment “Patriot” movement and a meticulously coiffed darling of the Tea Party set. For the past two years, the former public relations director for the Gun Owners of America has zigzagged across the country spreading dark fears and conspiracy theories about the federal government, hawking his self-published books about guns and God, and encouraging sheriffs to join his new organization, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), and be a “line in the sand” against government agents. He recently bragged that he had spoken at 120 Tea Party events across the country (his website says 70), in addition to the many law enforcement gatherings, local political fundraisers, John Birch Society (JBS) meetings, and other events where he is treated as a hero.

Whether he’s speaking to local chapters of the JBS or appearing on far-right radio shows like James Edwards’ white nationalist program “The Political Cesspool,” Mack’s central message is that the federal government has far overstepped its constitutional bounds and that county sheriffs have the rightful authority — and duty — to protect citizens from what he believes are its unlawful incursions. This idea that sheriffs have supremacy over other law enforcement agencies and even the federal government was born and gained traction in the 1970s and 1980s when it was pushed by the explicitly racist, anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus (Latin for “power of the county”), which capitalized on the Midwestern farm crisis of the era to promote an extreme antigovernment ideology. The Posse’s founding tract, the so-called Blue Book written by white supremacist Henry Lamont Beach, asserted the county was “the highest authority of government in our Republic.”

Mack focuses most of his advocacy on promoting county- and state-level resistance to federal gun laws — he won a Supreme Court case against the Brady bill in the ‘90s — but has also involved his group in anti-immigration efforts and has spoken out against LGBT rights, urging sheriffs to back up county clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, he finds common ground with many progressives in his opposition to the drug war.

Mack, a board member of the Oath Keepers, was a prominent presence earlier this year at the Bundy ranch in Nevada, where armed “Patriot” and militia groups resisted the Bureau of Land Management’s effort to collect more than a million dollars in grazing fees that rancher Cliven Bundy had refused to pay for 20 years of using federal lands. Mack compared the stand of the anti-government groups at the Bundy ranch to Rosa Parks’ resistance to segregation.

An acolyte of “New World Order” alarmist Cleon Skousen, Mack shares his movement’s taste for conspiracy theories. Mack believes that President Obama fabricated his birth certificate and is threatening those who know about it to keep them from coming forward, has speculated that the 1995 Waco siege was a federal government setup to rustle up more ATF funding, and said this year that he had “no doubt” the federal government might stage a false flag attack on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Still in its early days, the Constitutional County Project has the backing of the chairman of the Navajo County GOP and the Republican chairmen of Maricopa and Pinal counties, as well as the leaders of the Arizona chapters of the John Birch Society and the Tenth Amendment Center. The project had its official launch in October immediately after a "Prepperfest" in Scottsdale.

Mack said in his speech in Olympia that moving with him to Navajo County would be a perfect project for retirees. But for those who still need employment, the Constitutional County Project’s Facebook page is advertising job openings in the county for those who are looking to move.

Anti-Government Leader Promises 'Second Amendment Remedies' To Washington Background Check Law

Leaders of radical anti-government groups and a few hundred activists converged on Olympia, Washington, this weekend for an armed protest against a successful state ballot initiative requiring background checks for nearly all gun purchases. The “I Will Not Comply Rally” was organized by Gavin Seim, an activist who had spent time at the armed standoff at the Bundy ranch in Nevada earlier this year, and drew several speakers who had also spent time with the Bundys, including “constitutional sheriff” Richard Mack and Three Percenter leader Mike Vanderboegh. (Cliven Bundy’s son Ammon was scheduled to speak as well but was a no-show.)

Vanderboegh, who gave a notorious speech at the Bundy ranch promising “civil war on a vast scale,” was similarly unrestrained in his remarks to the Olympia rally, calling supporters of the background checks initiative “domestic enemies of the Constitution” and suggesting that “Second Amendment remedies” may be necessary to combat them if political negotiations fail.

Promising to “win this or die trying,” Vanderboegh warned that “when democracy turns to tyranny, the armed citizenry still gets to vote! So be careful what you wish for or you may get it.”

Vanderboegh's full speech can be viewed here.

Top Birther Richard Mack Says Ted Cruz Is Ineligible To Be President

As Brian has written about quite a bit, there is some strife in the ranks of birthers over the potential presidential candidacy of Texas senator and Tea Party hero Ted Cruz.

Birthers believe (falsely) that President Obama was born overseas to one parent who was an American citizen and one who was not, and so, they claim, is not a “natural born citizen” eligible for the presidency. But many prominent birthers have made clear that they would be absolutely fine with the presidential candidacy of Cruz, who was actually born overseas to one parent who was an American citizen and one who was not.

Most mainstream legal observers hold that Cruz is still eligible to be president — just as Obama would have been even if he had concocted an elaborate scheme to lie about his place of birth — but the case highlights the hypocricy of the anti-Obama birther movement.

One prominent birther has at least decided to stay consistent. Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff who now heads the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association — a guild of officers who believe the county sheriff has the authority to defy and arrest federal officials — said in a recent Blog Talk Radio interview that he believes Cruz is ineligible for the presidency.

In response to a caller who argued that the Constitution bars the Canadian-born Cruz from being president, Mack said, “That is correct, I try to say that to a lot of people. Ted Cruz cannot run for president of the United States.”

“I like Ted, I’ve met him several times and he’s kind of a friend of mine, but he can’t run for president,” he continued.

Earlier this year, Cruz praised the efforts of Mack and his fellow anti-government protesters in their armed standoff against the federal government at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Colorado.

Earlier in the program, Mack discussed the president’s birth certificate, saying that it was “real easy to determine that that was a fake and a fraud,” and alleged that the people “who helped fabricate all of these things and people who know about” aren’t coming forward because they’re “all fearing for their lives.”

“I know the person who has done this, they’re all fearing for their lives, obviously, but it’s time to come forward,” he pleaded. “The more light you shed on this, the less likely you are to be killed or hurt or put away.”

Richard Mack Has 'No Doubt' Obama Might Stage False Flag Sept. 11 Attack

Arizona sheriff and right-wing political activist Richard Mack said last month that he had “no doubt” the Obama administration might stage a “false flag” attack on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in an effort to “get us more under their control.”

In an interview with the Liberty Brothers radio show, Mack responded to a question about a potential false flag attack by saying, “I think that that has already happened a time or two" in the U.S.

He then went on to explain that “corrupt regimes” like Hitler’s have staged such attacks “and right now, I will say we have the most corrupt regime in American history.”

Mack added that the health care crisis addressed by the Affordable Care Act was, in fact, a “problem that didn’t exist” and a false flag allowing the president to “destroy liberty.”

“So they are willing to blatantly destroy liberty, blatantly destroy our Constitution, and so then we’re supposed to wonder if they would do a false flag attack to get us further, more under their control? No, I do not doubt that they would do such a thing,” he concluded

Where Was The Anti-Government Right In Ferguson?

The protests in Ferguson, Missouri, this month presented a dilemma for the anti-government Right. The activists and elected officials who spent the spring fawning over lawless Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s stand against what they saw as an overbearing federal government changed their tune or just went silent when a police force armed with military weapons cracked down on mostly peaceful protesters in Ferguson.

On Tuesday, Gawker’s Adam Weinstein examined the “inherent contradiction” in the membership of St. Louis police officer Dan Page — who was suspended after he shoved a CNN reporter and the video of a violent rant he made came to light — in Oath Keepers, a group whose entire founding purpose is a fear of violent government overreach against unarmed citizens.

…For all their delusions, the Oath Keepers seem tailor-made to counter the surreal overarmed police state that may have played a role in Michael Brown's death by cop in Ferguson, and that has ebbed and flowed through the streets there ever since. The oath that Oath Keepers keep is to disobey a set of orders they believe may be given by government authorities . Hence they swear, in part:

  • We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
  • We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
  • We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

As Weinstein notes, the Missouri chapter of the Oath Keepers has sent a “letter of warning” to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon in opposition to police tactics against the protesters. But the Oath Keepers’ opposition seems to be based less on principle than on strategy — in a separate blog post, the national group objects to the police failure to stop looting while it took aim at peaceful protesters. The blog post also notes that Oath Keepers on the scene in Ferguson were “talking consensus for the benefit of the police and the people equally.” This role of self-appointed mediator is in sharp contrast to the group’s show of force at the Bundy ranch.

Ferguson has exposed some common ground between the anti-government Right and mainstream civil liberties groups — for instance, both the extreme right-wing Gun Owners of America and the American Civil Liberties Union have signed on to a plan to end the program that sends discount military equipment to local police departments.

Gun Owners of America’s executive director Larry Pratt, however, has been uncharacteristically quiet about Ferguson, linking on Twitter to the Missouri Oath Keepers’ letter to Nixon, but also to an article claiming that Michael Brown wasn’t unarmed because he was “young and strong.” GOA sent out an email arguing that violence in Ferguson was just another reason why people should be allowed to own AR-15s.

Sheriff Richard Mack, the founder of a group that believes that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the land, has also been strangely silent on Ferguson, despite having spent time rallying against the federal government at the Bundy ranch with armed militia groups that he compared to Rosa Parks.

And then there’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Bundy ally who, as the situation in Ferguson escalated, crowed about the combat supplies that he had amassed for his own department.

Yes, the relative silence of the anti-government Right on Ferguson is inconsistent, but so is their view of the Ferguson protests: In the view of many right-wing activists, the protesters in Ferguson weren’t standing up to the government, they were themselves tools of the government.

There is a school of thought among right-wing commentators that the protests in Ferguson were orchestrated — or at the very least encouraged — by Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration in order to stir up racial resentments and increase Democratic chances in the 2014 midterm elections.

This paranoid scenario is in line with Pratt’s fear, expressed last year, that President Obama is on the verge of starting a race war against white people.

The Ferguson protests exposed a key fault line in the anti-government "Patriot" movement: they are against government overreach, but their definition of what counts as government never seems to be quite clear. 

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne Hobnobs With Radical Nullificationists

Stephen Lemons at the Phoenix New Times has come across an intriguing Facebook invitation for an event tomorrow in Scottsdale, featuring nullificationist sheriff Richard Mack, anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy’s son Ammon….and Arizona’s current attorney general, Tom Horne.

Horne’s staff has confirmed to the New Times that the attorney general will be attending the “Liberty on Tap” event, so we can move on to questioning why Arizona’s top law enforcement officer will be attending an event that appears to promote the radical belief that the county sheriff is the highest law enforcement officer in the nation and has the power to ignore federal laws that he thinks are unconstitutional and to arrest federal law enforcement officers.

The invitation for the event notes that Horne will “talk on the concept of the Constitutional County Project.” This project seems to be a small effort to get nullificationists to take over one county in each state to run a system that ignores federal and state laws that they deem to be unconstitutional. The project is honing in on Navajo County, Arizona, which they hope to turn into “a self-sustainable county dedicated to advancing the proper role of Constitutional government, free market principles, and the defense of ‘life, liberty, and property.’”

In a radio interview in June, Mack discussed the Constitutional County Project, whose leaders he said he had met with, saying, "we have got to be able to sacrifice and move to where we can be united and take over a county politically."

Mack was a prominent presence at the Bundy ranch during the militia standoff with the Bureau of Land Management in April and is a regular at anti-government events. He leads the Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officers Association, which promotes the idea of the sheriffs as the supreme law enforcement officers.

Cliven Bundy repeatedly said he didn’t recognize the authority of the federal government over the federally subsidized public land on which he grazed his cattle and urged the sheriff to arrest federal law enforcement officers.

Richard Mack: Government Brought In 'Paid Hit Men' To 'Fire On Innocent And Unarmed People' At Nevada Ranch

Richard Mack, the Arizona sheriff who earlier this week compared the stand of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management with “Rosa Parks refusing to get off the bus ”and even the Holocaust, told Alan Colmes yesterday that the federal government brought “paid hit men” to Bundy’s ranch who were “ready to fire on innocent and unarmed people.”

The Fox Radio host asked Mack, “We can agree or disagree about how much the government should own in terms of federal property, but is this the way to go about changing it?

Mack responded that Bundy’s stand “was peaceful until it got escalated by the federal government in bringing out paid hit men, mercenaries, and you know, getting violent.”

When Colmes asked Mack if he had evidence to substantiate his claim that the government had brought in mercenaries to face down the militia members at Bundy’s ranch, Mack responded, “we have our intel sources” and insisted that “they were there with the military weapons and they were there ready to fire on innocent and unarmed people.”

The rumor that the BLM hired mercenaries to confront Bundy has been spreading through far-right blogs. Mack made a similar claim in an interview published in Talking Points Memo today.

Sheriff Richard Mack Compares Armed Nevada Ranch Protesters To Rosa Parks

Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack – Arizona’s second most notorious birther sheriff –of course traveled to Nevada this week to join rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management .

In an interview with Iowa talk show host Steve Deace on Monday, Mack compared the militia groups standing with Bundy to Rosa Parks and suggested that if reinforcements had not arrived, the Bundy family would have fallen victim to Holocaust-like violence.

Deace told Mack that the Nevada standoff was a “warning shot” and “a test to see if their efforts over the last 40 years to dumb you down in academia and pop culture and install the idiocracy” had succeeded.

Mack replied that it was. “This was Rosa Parks refusing to get to the back of the bus,” he said. 

Deace: I think this is a test to see if their efforts over the last 40 years to dumb you down in academia and pop culture and install the idiocracy – and that’s their numbing agent – to see if you are now compliant to the point of just saying, ‘Nothing we can do, the almighty state has spoken.’ I think this is a warning shot.

Mack: Well, I think it is too, and I think that everything they do is based on this kind of propaganda scheme of the warning shots and trying to make sure other peasants don’t rise up with their pitchforks. Well, this particular peasant said, ‘No, I’m sorry, I’m not rolling over for this one. You guys are out of line, you don’t own the land, you don’t own our ranch, you don’t own us, and we will stand firm in the principles of freedom that we were blessed with as Americans.’ And that’s exactly what this was. This was Rosa Parks refusing to get to the back of the bus.

Later, the two moved on to criticizing the BLM employees who were sent to enforce a court order to remove Bundy’s cattle from federal land because the rancher has refused to pay grazing fees since 1993. “Any tyrant anywhere is only as good as the collaborating bureaucrats under his command that are willing to actually carry through with his orders,” Deace said. “‘Just following orders’ is the tagline of every tyrannical government in the history of human civilization.”

Mack agreed, noting that a similar defense had been attempted in the Nuremberg trials. “The soldiers that were put on trial at Nuremberg used that as a defense, and it was disallowed,” he said. “They said anybody should know you don’t get to just kill people and then claim that you were just following orders. And same thing for all of this.”

He then claimed that if the militias hadn’t shown up at the Bundy ranch, the family would have been shot.

Deace : They can give all the unconstitutional edicts from Washington, DC, all they want. Any tyrant anywhere is only as good as the collaborating bureaucrats under his command that are willing to actually carry through with his orders. And that’s the part about this that bothers me. ‘Just following orders’ is the tagline of every tyrannical government in the history of human civilization.

Mack: Well, in fact that’s a quote, and I know you know this, but it’s a quote from the Nuremberg trials regarding the Holocaust. And the soldiers that were put on trial at Nuremberg used that as a defense, and it was disallowed. They said anybody should know you don’t get to just kill people and then claim that you were just following orders.

And same thing for all of this. We’re supposed to be the ones in the world that are above such. This is the United States of America, where the rights of the individual are protected by the rest of us in government. And now we have the actual government officials doing just the opposite and almost bragging about it. And so, what I do know is that the people who showed up en masse protected this family and others from being shot.

Michael Peroutka, God, and Christian Reconstructionists At Larry Klayman's Revolution

At last week’s less-than-spectacular kickoff for the Second American Revolution, Larry Klayman announced that President Obama has until this coming Friday, November 29, to resign. If he doesn’t, Klayman and his friends will move forward with their plan to organize mass civil disobedience, force the resignation of President Obama and the Congress, and replace them with a government-in-waiting to be formed in Philadelphia in the coming weeks.

The idea was even too much for Alan Keyes, who decided not to show up at Klayman’s rally in Washington DC last week.  Klayman read the crowd a letter from Keyes explaining his decision, then dismissed Keyes’ argument that Americans should rely on grassroots political organizing rather than Egyptian-style mass demonstrations. Klayman said he no longer believes America can be fixed through elections, at least not until he’s “cleaned house.” Klayman complained bitterly that none of the Tea Party-affiliated members of Congress was willing to attend his revolution rally.

One speaker who did show up at Klayman’s rally was Michael Peroutka, the U.S. Constitution Party’s presidential nominee in 2004 (he got about 150,000 votes). According to the party’s platform, “The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.” Peroutka is also a southern secessionist and Christian Reconstructionist who sees the Republican Party and “Godless” conservative movement as part of the problem.

Just last month, Peroutka wrote, “Anyone, including those who identify with the ‘Tea Party’, who loves America and desires real reform, would do well to disengage themselves from the Republican Party and their brand of worthless, Godless, unprincipled conservatism.” And in challenging Rush Limbaugh’s rhetoric about Republicans having been “hoodwinked” by Democrats and the media during the government shutdown showdown, Peroutka wrote,

Isn’t it more likely that those who have been “hoodwinked” are those that put their trust in the Republican party and the Godless, conservative movement? Isn’t it beyond time to return to the true American View of law and government, acknowledging the Creator God as the Supreme Judge of the Universe and the written Constitution as the Supreme law of the Land?

At the rally, Peroutka praised Klayman as a “legal restorer,” saying “an order has been denigrated and lost and needs to be found and recovered and restored.” His rhetoric echoes Christian Reconstructionist godfather Rousas John Rushdoony, who said, “The only true order is founded on Biblical law. All law is religious in nature, and every non-Biblical law-order represents an anti-Christian religion.” Klayman is a member of the secretive Council on National Policy, where he has had the chance to rub shoulders with people like Constitution Party founder Howard Phillips, who died earlier this year. In his introduction to Peroutka, Klayman praised Phillips as “a great American” and “one of the icons of the conservative movement.”

In addition to his association with the Constitution Party, Peroutka is the founder of the Institute on the Constitution, a Maryland-based group that spreads Christian Reconstructionist ideas about the law and Constitution through seminars presented around the country. Peroutka’s remarks at the rally echo the Institute’s message that the only law that matters is God’s law:

“There is a God. Our rights come from him. The purpose of civil government is to protect and defend God-given rights. This is the American view of law and government. It also happens to be the biblical view of law and government. America was founded upon the biblical view of law and government….”

According to this Christian Reconstructionist view, God has not granted government the authority to have any role, for example, in education or the alleviation of poverty; God gives that responsibility to churches and families. Religion scholar Julie Ingersoll describes Christian Reconstructionism this way:

For Reconstructionists, the civil government’s authority is limited to protecting citizens from criminals. Family and ecclesiastical authority are established to uphold (and enforce) other aspects of biblical law. That’s not to say that any of these institutions are understood as functioning autonomously; all are under the authority of God and are to function according to biblical law. But each is independent of the others.

The idea that the Bible puts strict limits on government’s “jurisdiction” is at the core of Christian Reconstructionist thinking, and is frequently embraced by more “mainstream” Religious Right leaders. Peroutka writes:

Since civil government is ordained by God in order to protect God-given rights, then the function of civil government is to obey God and to enforce God’s law – PERIOD.

It is not the role of civil government to house, feed, clothe, educate or give heath care to…ANYBODY! (Or to operate a Panda-cam at the National Zoo.)

On a website promoting the Institute on the Constitution’s course, Peroutka says, “As American culture has moved away from the acknowledgment of God’s authority, and the desire for his blessing, American government has untethered itself from God’s requirement that it stay within its limited jurisdiction.” He argues that “When God’s law is ignored, chaos ensues.” Peroutka recently told right-wing radio host Steve Deece that “so-called civil rights laws” are not law because “there is no such thing as a civil right.” And he denounced the proposed Employment Non Discrimination Act as “federalizing perversion.”

Echoing a theme heard frequently at Religious Right events, Peroutka told rally participants they share the blame for the country’s problems because they have allowed “usurpers” who don’t have allegiance to his view of law and government to “rule over us.” He said, “We need to repent of these ways, these things that we have done. Because we have broken the law by allowing this to occur. We are responsible. We need to repent before God.”

Last year, the Human Rights Campaign noticed that Peroutka, a Maryland-based lawyer, was one of the biggest donors to the anti-marriage-equality effort in the state, and slammed his association with The League of the South. Peroutka denied that he is a white supremacist, but called himself a “proud member” of the group; in fact he is a board member. He was a featured speaker at the group’s conference last June, which was entitled, “Southern Independence: Antidote to Tyranny.” The group defines its mission this way: “The League of the South is a Southern Nationalist organization whose ultimate goal is a free and independent Southern republic.”   Also:

We also encourage individuals and families to personally withdraw (secede) from the corrupt and corrupting influence of post-Christian culture in America. We call this "abjuring the realm," and it's a real and dramatic first step all of us can take by simply withdrawing our support of and allegiance to the corrupt government in Washington that through its greed, corruption and lack of Christian values has destroyed your children's and grand children's future.

Plenty of other speakers, including a couple of clergy, claimed God’s endorsement.  Even W. Cleon Skausen, the late far-right Mormon conspiracy theorist, was invoked. Sheriff Richard Mack demonstrated a “political prayer” that he said Skausen had taught 250 law enforcement officers at a training session – a series of hand motions to go along with a recitation of the preamble to the Constitution. Skausen, also a member of the Council on National Policy, was popularized by Glenn Beck’s promotion of his book The 5000 Year Leap as divinely inspired. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the book as “an illustrated recipe for turning the United States into 50 little theocracies.”

Klayman himself wasn’t shy about invoking God’s blessing on his revolution:

“Our strength comes from God. We take orders only from him. We don’t take orders from Hussein over there. We take orders from our God, not his. So consequently we are moving forward and we look for your support and your help.” He ended his remarks by saying, “and most important of all, we have God on our side.”

 

 

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