Spanish company to build Toll Lanes on I-77

wideni77.org

4/23/14

After three weeks of cajoling the NCDOT with a FOIA request, and a couple calls to the NC Attorney Generals office, I finally got a response about who actually bid on the toll lane contract.  I received a cut and paste of a carefully worded statement.  Here it is (emphasis added):

Four potential bidders were shortlisted and participated in more than 70 intensive, one-on-one meetings with NCDOT. These meetings helped us produce several drafts of the final contract documents. These documents lay out the instructions for bidding, the design, construction, and maintenance performance requirements and the overarching agreement. They reflect the minimum contract requirements and the public protections that we require (e.g. bonding, insurance, termination rights, revenue sharing, etc.)
In addition, we stated that the maximum contribution from traditional state funding would be capped at $170 million.
Each of the four bidders conducted exhaustive analyses to determine if they could meet these contract requirements while ensuring that the long term contract would generate enough revenue to offset their initial investment.
Bidders requested varying amounts of additional state and federal funding beyond the $170 Million, and/or requested that a multitude of the contract requirements be relaxed. We determined that the $170 million public contribution was reasonable and the public protections in place in the contract were prudent. The cap would not be increased.
Bids were due on March 31, 2014 and one bidder submitted a compliant technical proposal and financial proposal. The proposals were subjected to roughly 200 pass/fail criteria and further evaluation of the relative merits of their technical proposal.
The apparent best value proposer was announced on April 11, 2014 as Cintra Infraestructures. Cintra proposed a total project investment of $655 million, of which only $88 million is the NCDOT contribution (less than the projected $170 million contribution).
So there you have it… after three years, 70+ meetings and umpteen hours working the agreement, only one consortium was interested in bidding.  Somewhere a red light should be flashing.
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Widen I-77 with general purpose lanes, not HOT lanes

wideni77.org

These are not your parents tolls of 25 cents into the basket.  The cost for these tolls from Mooresville to Charlotte could cost $5.00, $6.50 and up to $16.00 or more each way. Drivers are given the choice to sit in even more congestion in the two lanes you have today or pay the high price to use the tolls. These lanes are nick-named “Lexus Lanes”. Do you want to pay $10 a day for your work commute or to get your kids to school and activities — on top of gas and other fees (including NC’s highest gas tax in the Southeast)?

“I heard it was a done deal. Is that true?”
Unfortunately, that is what some of the pro-toll officials are saying, but it is absolutely not a done deal for a number of reasons. First, the contract has not been signed. Second, there are still steps that have yet to been taken that will provide both the state and local officials to change the course. Third, towns across America have stopped similar projects pushed by their DOT organizations. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

I was told that there is no funding and it’s either tolls or nothing for 20 years?
Again, that is more spin and scare tactics used by the tolling corporations and their political partners. New funding criteria set forth by the state’s new transportation plan and the new ranking criteria by the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization will place I-77 toward the top of the list for public funds for adding general purpose lanes to I-77. As you look around the state you see plenty of other highway projects. Clearly there is funding for roads and with wise prioritization and leaders who will put the citizens first instead of corporate special interests, we can get the general purpose lanes we need.

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Sign up to help stop the Toll lane proposal for I-77  

Widen I-77 is a citizen’s group dedicated to widening Interstate 77 through the Lake Norman area with general purpose lanes.  Right now our state and local governments are proposing High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.

These HOT lanes will be operated for profit by a private company with contract term of 50 years. HOT Lanes will not solve our congestion problems and end up costing far more than general purpose lanes.

According to documents and memos obtained by wideni77:

  1. HOT lanes will have “minimal impact to travel speeds in the existing general purpose lanes”
  2. HOT lanes could cost as much as six times a comparable general purpose lane when operating costs, profit and required improvements are factored in
  3. HOT lanes could restrict our ability to improve North-South connectivity on I-77 for the next 50 years
  4. There is no limit on how high tolls can be set

I-77 was built in the 1970′s.  Since then, the region’s population has grown tenfold, yet there has not been a single improvement in north-south connectivity in nearly 40 years. I77 is now the only stretch of interstate in Mecklenburg County that remains four lanes, and if the HOT lane plan succeeds, will be the first privately-operated toll lane in North Carolina.

We are asking our local elected leaders to convene a task force to develop alternative solutions. In the meantime, we are also asking the NCDOT to postpone awarding the private company contract until all of the proposed solutions have been thoroughly vetted.

HOT lanes are the WRONG WAY to widen I-77 through Lake Norman.

Email us at wideni77@hotmail.com with questions or feel free to comment below.

Sources:

1) “Comments on Environmental Documents for TIP Projects I-3311 C and I-4750 HOT”, MUMPO memo dated October 4, 2012

2)“I-77 HOT Lane Project Discussion with Cornelius Town Board”, email from Bill Coxe to Andrew Grant, October 15, 2012

3) “I-77 Feasibility Study HOV-HOT Lanes Conversion”, Parsons- Brinkerhoff, May 6, 2010

4) I- 3311E; “I-77 Local Officials Meeting”, August 1, 2012

5) US Census Bureau data, 1980

6) US Census Bureau data, 2010

7) MUMPO 2012- 2018 TIP (Adopted)
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NCDOT asked to consider taxing drivers by the mile

By Bruce Siceloff
bsiceloff@newsobserver.com
Originally posted March 31, 2014

newsobserver.com

RALEIGH – North Carolina leaders are trying earnestly to identify a dependable source of transportation revenue that will keep pace with the needs of a fast-growing state – but at the same time, they’re skittish about what they’ll find.

A state Board of Transportation committee this week will receive a recommendation that North Carolina test-drive an approach that seems both daunting and inevitable: Start taxing drivers by the mile instead of by the gallon.

The idea of a mileage fee is simple. But the execution is complicated, and the politics are dicey.

At least 10 other states have considered mileage fees. A few hundred Triangle area drivers took part in a national study done by the University of Iowa several years ago, with GPS technology installed in their cars to count the miles as they traveled in each state and each local jurisdiction.

In theory, with such a system in place, one day you might pay X cents a mile to the federal government for the 100 miles you added to the odometer last week – plus state taxes at different rates for the 80-mile share that took place in North Carolina and the 20 miles in Virginia. Meanwhile, Raleigh might claim a piece of the action, too, because you spent 50 of those miles on city streets.

It could be easy to set these per-mile rates so that the average driver pays about the equivalent of today’s per-gallon fuel tax. You could decide how much higher the per-mile charge would be for the heavy trucks that do most of the damage to our highways and bridges.

That sounds fair. And it sounds creepy. If the tax collectors know where we’ve been driving, who else knows?

“Our participants, even though they saw the mileage charge being a fair and equitable move, they were concerned about privacy and what’s going to happen to that data,” said Paul Hanley of the University of Iowa Public Policy Center, who directed the Road User Charge Study.

Drive more, pay more

Ever since the state collected its first penny per gallon in 1921, the fuel tax has resembled a user fee: The more you drove, the more you paid. The more gas we burned, the more money we had for road-building and other transportation needs.

But this is changing fast as our cars squeeze more and more miles out of every gallon. And in 2012 with support from automakers, the Obama administration announced aggressive new rules that will push the average fuel-economy standard even higher, to 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025.

This trend is good for plenty of reasons but not for North Carolina’s ability to fix bridges and widen freeways. We rely more heavily on the gas tax and less on other sources than most states do.

The state Department of Transportation figures that gas and diesel fuel consumption will decline only a little in coming years – falling from a peak of 5.6 billion gallons in 2007 to 5.1 billion gallons in 2025. But during that same period, the state population is expected to swell from 9 million to 11.1 million people – almost enough to offset the improvement in fuel economy.

As transportation costs rise, DOT expects revenue collections to fall about $1.7 billion short of what we’ll need over the next decade.

Varying solutions

Other states are coming up with their own ideas. Virginia has decided to collect a big share of its transportation money from new sales taxes. Pennsylvania’s solution will effectively raise the state gas tax by about 27 cents a gallon over the next three years.

North Carolina leaders aren’t crazy about increasing a gas tax that already is among the highest in the nation.

“So far as I can see, there’s not a lot of political appetite for changing a tax rate that people are reminded, every time they fill up, that they’re paying,” said Nick Tennyson, DOT’s chief deputy secretary.

We’ve had several studies of this problem over the past decade, when Democrats were in charge and the looming problems were farther in the future. Now the Republicans want their own take on it, and they are expressing a greater sense of urgency.

“We always thought we had a few more years, and now I don’t think we feel that way any more,” said Cheryl McQueary of Greensboro, a retired U.S. DOT official and private sector executive appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory to the Board of Transportation. “We need to find some alternative revenues, such as tolling – or we need to deal with existing options for revenue, like the gas tax, like vehicle registration fees.”

McQueary chairs a board committee charged with finding answers and making recommendations. On Wednesday, her panel will hear “revenue enhancement” proposals from Larry Goode, a former state highway administrator, and Leigh Lane of the N.C. State University Institute for Transportation Research and Education.

Lane and Goode could not be reached for comment, but their ideas are sketched out in a file posted on the DOT website.

The big options

Among the big-dollar options: Add a percentage point to the highway use tax on car sales, which is lower in North Carolina than in neighboring states, to generate another $170 million a year. Halt the transfer of $255 million a year from the Highway Fund to the state’s General Fund.

One likely prospect is congestion pricing, already used in several states and planned for an Interstate 77 project in Charlotte. It would employ North Carolina’s electronic toll collection technology to set variable rates for travel in special freeway lanes for drivers willing to pay higher tolls when the other lanes are more heavily clogged.

The Lane-Goode report suggests North Carolina could raise $495 million a year from a tax of one-half cent per mile on cars. This is a lot lower than the mileage tax suggested in DOT’s 2040 plan, 2 cents a mile.

Whatever the rate, Lane and Goode recommend that DOT launch a pilot program to test a system for collecting mileage fees. They mention a 1-cent fee for trucks, but other studies have suggested higher rates.

Rather than get tangled in Iowa’s GPS technology, North Carolina might test the water with something simpler, like an odometer reading every year when we get our cars inspected. That would be easier to administer, but it wouldn’t give car owners credit for those miles they drove in Virginia last week. It’s not clear what Lane and Goode will suggest.

“Mileage fees are attractive until people start to struggle with exactly how they would want to implement them,” Tennyson said. “The issues get down to things like if you want to have the most accurate system, then the vehicle has to report where it’s been and at what hours of the day or night, and people don’t want to do that.”

Americans are known to be concerned about their privacy – even as they give away more and more of their personal information. Auto insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who agree to install technology that records information about how fast they drive and other safety indicators.

McQueary is noncommittal on the idea of a pilot study for some kind of mileage fee in North Carolina. She hasn’t heard the recommendation, and her committee has not discussed it. But she mentions a McCrory administration priority to postpone recommending new transportation taxes until DOT publishes a new 25-year plan later this year, with updated projections of its long-term revenue needs.

“I guess we’re all hoping that there’s going to be a needle we can find in this haystack that’s going to solve this problem,” McQueary said. “So far, nobody has the magic answer. But we’re looking.”

RELATED VIDEO

wsoctv.com

Exclusive: Interview with investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson

by Jon Rappoport

April 25, 2014

www.nomorefakenews.com

Before her recent resignation from CBS, Sharyl Attkisson was a mainstream news star. Multiple Emmys. CNN anchor, CBS anchor on stories about space exploration. Host of CBS’ News Up to the Minute. PBS host for Health Week. Investigative reporter for CBS.

Attkisson dug deep into Fast&Furious, Benghazi, and the ill-effects of vaccines. Too deep. Her bosses shut her down and didn’t air key stories.

She now has her own website, sharylattkisson.com. She is writing a book, Stonewalled: My Fight for the Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.

It’s not every day that a major mainstream journalist leaves the fold and then seeks to expose the corruption that impinged on her work.

She agreed to do an email interview. Some of the questions I sent went to the heart of her book-in-progress, so she declined to answer them. However, her answers to my other questions were revealing and explosive.


I know you’ve had problems with your Wikipedia page. What happened there?

Long story short: there is a concreted effort by special interests who exploit Wikipedia editing privileges to control my biographical page to disparage my reporting on certain topics and skew the information. Judging from the editing, the interest(s) involved relates to the pharmaceutical/vaccine industry. I am far from alone. There is an entire Wikipedia subculture that exists to control pages and topics, and another one that watchdogs all that’s gone wrong with Wikipedia (Wikipediocracy). It’s a fascinating subject.

In 2009, you spearheaded coverage of the so-called Swine Flu pandemic. You discovered that, in the summer of 2009, the Centers for Disease Control, ignoring their federal mandate, stopped counting Swine Flu cases in America. Yet they continued to stir up fear about the “pandemic,” without having any real measure of its impact. Wasn’t that another investigation of yours that was shut down? Wasn’t there more to find out?

The implications of the story were even worse than that. We discovered through our FOI efforts that before the CDC mysteriously stopped counting Swine Flu cases, they had learned that almost none of the cases they had counted as Swine Flu was, in fact, Swine Flu or any sort of flu at all! The interest in the story from one executive was very enthusiastic. He said it was “the most original story” he’d seen on the whole Swine Flu epidemic. But others pushed to stop it and, in the end, no broadcast wanted to touch it. We aired numerous stories pumping up the idea of an epidemic, but not the one that would shed original, new light on all the hype. It was fair, accurate, legally approved and a heck of a story. With the CDC keeping the true Swine Flu stats secret, it meant that many in the public took and gave their children an experimental vaccine that may not have been necessary.

You’ve revealed serious problems caused by vaccines. Have you run into opposition as a result of covering these stories?

This is a long discussion but yes, it is one of the most well funded, well orchestrated efforts I’ve ever seen on a story. Many reporters, if not all, who have tried to factually cover this topic have experienced the same opposition as have researchers who dared to uncover vaccine side effects. Those who don’t want the stories explored want to censor the information from the public entirely, lest the public draw the “wrong” conclusions about the facts. The media has largely bought into the conflicted government, political and medical complex propaganda on the topic that marginalizes researchers, journalists and parents who dare to speak to the scientific facts they’ve uncovered or to their own experiences. It’s a giant scandal of its own.

In an interview with Real Clear Politics, you suggested that the website, Media Matters, has been targeting and attacking you. Why have they gone after you? Because of your work on the Fast&Furious story? Do these people just reflexively react whenever a reporter writes something that casts a negative light on the Obama White House?

I didn’t interview with Real Clear Politics but maybe they quoted my interview with CNN. MediaMatters is well known to be a left wing propaganda group that acts as a pro-Obama surrogate to attack journalists that threaten the agenda. It works in concert with federal officials who withhold public information from the press and the public but then share it with MediaMatters so that the “talking points” of the day can be controlled and manipulated. (One example: http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/18/emails-reveal-justice-dept-regularly-enlists-media-matters-to-spin-press/) The group works with other surrogates such as Talking Points Memo to controversialize and harass reporters to intimidate them and try to stop their damaging coverage. None of that is surprising or unexpected. They are simply using a media campaign to try to squelch the journalists who they believe could damage the interests of those they serve. The only strange part of the equation is that the “mainstream” press at times almost treats these paid opinion bloggers as if they are objective media watchdogs. I don’t see these news organizations respond to the right wing counterparts with the same deference. They news media typically doesn’t quote conservative media ‘watchdogs’ or question journalists about the conservative watchdogs’ criticisms and observations. Just the liberal ‘watchdogs.’

At this moment in time, because you’re not employed by a major news network, are you viewed by the media establishment as a loose cannon? Are you being painted as an outsider, a weirdo, a chronic dissenter with an axe to grind?

All of the above, I suppose, but I don’t pay attention that. It’s expected. I have heard from many colleagues at various networks who are happy that I’m in a position to speak freely of things that they, too have experienced and observed but cannot say publicly.

My comment on Attkisson’s answers: Her discussion of the endlessly corrupt CDC is remarkable. The most hyped “epidemic” in recent history, Swine Flu, had absolutely no basis in fact. It was one more effort to promote vaccines and scare the public. And the harassment of mainstream reporters who question the sacred conventional wisdom about vaccines is another piece of the story.

What really happened to Sharyl Attkisson at CBS News?

by Jon Rappoport

First posted on April 12, 2014

www.nomorefakenews.com

Sharyl Attkisson, CBS’s top investigative reporter: gone, resigned, floating free, unchained, now viewed by the news establishment as an outsider, a defector, a weirdo with an axe to grind.

Among the controversial stories she covered at CBS: Benghazi. Just as she was digging below the surface of the Obama coverup, she was cut off and shut down by her network bosses.

Here’s the crux. The Rhodes brothers.

Ben Rhodes, David Rhodes.

Ben is a deputy national security advisor to Obama and writes speeches for him. In September 2012, Ben was “instrumental,” according to ABC News, in changing the White House talking points (the story) on what happened in Benghazi.

Ben’s brother, David, is president of CBS News. Attkisson was working for David. She was investigating all the changes (12) in the Benghazi talking points. She was shut down.

Nothing to see there, move along, eyes straight ahead, go back to sleep, zombie-zombie, it’s all good don’t worry, be happy, hope and change, the audacity of whatever.

Now, on top of this, Attkisson’s computers, at work and at home, were hacked while she was still at CBS. The network acknowledged this and said “they were investigating.” They’re still investigating. So are other unnamed entities.

Who hacked her computers? CBS? The White House? NSA?

Attkisson covered other stories at CBS that were highly problematic for the White House. Fast&Furious, for example. And in the summer of 2009, Attkisson struck gold on Swine Flu. You know, the pandemic that wasn’t. She discovered that the CDC, which is tasked with tracking numbers of cases of outbreaks, had, get this, stopped counting Swine Flu cases in America. Stopped.

But the CDC was still trumpeting the extreme danger of Swine Flu, with no way to measure its true impact.

Dr. Peter Doshi, long after the whole Swine Flu dud was over, wrote a stunning report for the British Medical Journal Online. Seems that every year, hundreds of thousands of samples from suspected and diagnosed flu patients are sent to labs for analysis—and only about 16% of these samples turn out to be positive for the flu.

That’s a killer of a revelation. Among other things, it means that most people who are told they have the flu couldn’t possibly have been protected by any flu vaccine, even assuming the vaccines are useful and effective…because these people don’t have the flu.

I wrote Attkisson about Dr. Doshi’s finding, and she got back to me, in essence saying, well, yes, this is why the CDC stopped counting Swine Flu cases.

Huge numbers of people who were being diagnosed with Swine Flu didn’t have any kind of flu at all.

CBS shut down Attkisson on both the Fast&Furious story and the Swine Flu story.

Here’s an interesting bombshell. On April 1, 2011, Attkisson authored a piece for CBS News, “Vaccines and Autism: a new scientific review.” She dispelled the notion that the vaccine-autism connection was a dead issue. All sorts of red flags went up the flagpole. Mainstream media are supposed to treat vaccines, all vaccines, as holy sacraments of the medical cartel. Praise them, bow down to them, never accuse them of doing harm of any kind.

Sumner Redstone, the executive chairman of CBS, Attkisson’s employer, has a very significant stake in vaccines. His Foundation, on its site, states: “The Sumner M. Redstone Foundation’s contribution to the Global Poverty Project raising $118 million in pledges for vaccines…”

Redstone’s Foundation has also donated $1 million to a charity called Autism Speaks, which supports genetic testing for the diagnosis of Autism. You can be sure this charity has zero interest in reviving the vaccine-Autism debate and exposing the fact that there is most definitely a connection.

So Attkisson was stepping on Sumner Redstone’s toes with heavy boots.

Attkisson is now writing a book about her career. When published, it’ll land in the mainstream news cycle for a week or two at the most. Doesn’t matter how explosive its revelations are. She’s an outsider now. She isn’t in the loop. She isn’t playing the game according to the rules.

Therefore, my advice to her: come out swinging. Blast the whole rotting news establishment.

However, if Attkisson is angling for a new job at, say, FOX, or even CNN, whose ratings have gone down the toilet, she’ll have to pull her punches. Every major news outlet sits on its own reporters and gags them when things get too hot.

The first casualty in mainstream news is the truth.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com

 

PATRIOTS THEN AND NOW

By Chuck Baldwin
NewsWithViews.com

Tomorrow, April 19, is Patriot’s Day. On this day in 1775, about 70 men stood armed on Lexington Green as over 800 British troops descended on the town in route to Concord for the purpose of seizing a cache of arms known to be stored there and arresting two outspoken proponents of American independence: John Hancock and Sam Adams. Seeing the Minutemen (as they came to be called) standing on the green with muskets in hand, British officers commanded the men to throw down their arms, which they refused to do. Almost simultaneous to the command to disarm, the British soldiers opened fire upon the colonists, killing eight men instantly. This became known as “the shot heard ’round the world,” as it was the event that ignited America’s Revolutionary War.

The British troops easily marched through Lexington but were met by hundreds of armed and determined patriots at the Concord Bridge. A fierce battle ensued, which resulted in a bruising British defeat and the retreat of the Crown’s troops to Boston. The Colonists were done talking; the brutal killings of the men at Lexington, along with the British attempt to confiscate the firearms of the people and to arrest Hancock and Adams, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. From that point onward, the issue would be decided on the battlefield.

Remember that the Colonists had patiently endured the harassment and haranguing of the British Crown for decades. Resentment and righteous indignation were deeply imbedded in the souls of those beleaguered “children of the Pilgrims.” And the killings at Lexington were not the first time innocent Americans were shot down by British troops. Some five years earlier, on March 5, 1770, a squad of British soldiers had opened fire on unarmed American civilians killing seven of them. The Boston Massacre (as it came to be called) was still very fresh in the minds of the Colonists as British troops advanced upon Lexington. And with the massacre of the men of Lexington, the last line in the sand had been crossed.
In my mind, it is no coincidence that a similar line in the sand took place here in the middle of April, 2014, in the Nevada desert at a place strikingly similar in name to a famous Revolutionary War battlefield: a place called Bunkerville.
At this point, I’ll let Paul Joseph Watson report the story:
“Judge Andrew Napolitano appeared on Fox News to denounce the federal government’s operation against Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy, asserting that BLM agents should have been arrested for seizing his property and that the case represents a ‘line in the sand’ for Americans who have had enough of big government tyranny.
“Napolitano said the feds were forced to back down because they had suffered a public relations nightmare, pointing out that Bundy lost his case in a federal court but that the case should have been tried in a state court.
“‘The federal judiciary should not be deciding what land the federal government owns,’ said Napolitano, adding that the feds should have placed a lien against Bundy’s property to collect grazing fees and not conducted a raid backed up by armed agents to seize his private property.”
The report continued saying, “Napolitano also chastised the BLM’s ludicrous creation of a ‘First Amendment Area’ outside of which free speech was banned. Protesters completely ignored the zone and it was quickly torn down by BLM officials after being widely derided in the media.
“‘They established something utterly repellent in America, a First Amendment Zone…the square was three miles away from where these events were going–this is the federal government emasculating the First Amendment rights of the protesters,’ said the judge.
“Napolitano characterized the resistance shown by Bundy supporters as a clear example of how Americans feel, ‘enough is enough with the federal government, we’re drawing a line in the sand right here–and it drew people from all around the country who basically said “quit your heavy handed theft of property and act like you’re a normal litigant and not God almighty.”‘”
Judge Napolitano is right.

No matter what you hear from the likes of Joe Scarborough and Glenn Beck (or your pastor), if the line in the sand at Lexington Green in April of 1775 was righteous, the line in the sand at Bunkerville, Nevada, in April of 2014 was equally righteous.

In fact, the grievances that the “children of the Patriots” have against the federal government today make the grievances that the “children of the Pilgrims” listed in the Declaration of Independence against the British Crown look pale by comparison. We have been tolerating abuse after abuse, encroachment after encroachment, usurpation after usurpation for decades. And one thing those patriots in Nevada were not going to allow to happen was another Waco. As the Boston Massacre burned deeply in the hearts of the American Colonists at Lexington, so, too, the Waco massacre burned deeply in the hearts of the patriots in Nevada last Saturday (April 12–one week to the day from April 19).
Hundreds of patriotic Americans (most of whom were well-armed) looked down the gun barrels of the BLM and fearlessly defied the orders to stand down and physically took back Mr. Bundy’s cattle that had been illegally confiscated by the Feds. Fortunately, BLM agents acted more wisely than did the Crown’s troops at Lexington in 1775. I shudder to think what would be happening right now if they had not.

There has not been a day in American history like last Saturday since–well–since April 19, 1775.
And make no mistake about it: this is what the Second Amendment has always been about: the ability of the citizenry to defend itself against oppressive, overreaching government. Had we no Second Amendment for the last 200-plus years, had the people’s right to keep and bear arms not been engrained in the very heart and soul of America for the last 200-plus years, Mr. Bundy’s land and cattle would be the property of the federal government, and Mr. Bundy and his family would either be in jail or six feet under right now. In fact, without the Second Amendment, the liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights would have been thoroughly expunged from this country many decades ago. The only thing standing in between your right to freely do anything and the heel of the tyrant’s boot over your throat is a watchful, determined, and resolute armed citizenry–known to America’s founders as the citizen militia. That’s what British troops encountered at Lexington Green; and that’s what BLM agents encountered at Bunkerville.

Not only did hundreds of armed citizens show up in Bunkerville, so did dozens of local and State officials. There were county commissioners, assemblymen, and State legislators there from several western states, including Nevada. Had BLM agents opened fire on the people assembled in front of them, they, no doubt, would have killed several elected public servants. I don’t think the federal government really wants its agents to murder State and local officials.

And I must hasten to add that among the elected public officials on the front line of that confrontation–along with the hundreds of everyday citizens assembled there–were women. And make no mistake about it: these ladies were there of their own volition; no one asked them to be there. And practically everyone there–men and women–had some sort of camera or recording device. Again, I don’t think the federal government wants its agents on videotape slaughtering ladies and even children. Yes, I know that is exactly what they did at Waco. In fact, most of the citizens killed at Waco were elderly men, women, and children. But there were no cameras present; no cell phones; and no elected officials. The federal government was able to completely cut off the Branch Davidians from the outside world so there would be no recorded testimony as to what happened. At Bunkerville, the combined presence of hundreds of armed militia, hundreds of ladies, dozens of elected officials, and cameras galore helped convince BLM to be civil.

We have turned a page. The rules of engagement have forever changed. And I think the federal government knows it.
Does this mean it’s over? Not on your life. The militia will be on site in Nevada for the foreseeable future. And there are examples of the federal government’s overreach taking place all over America–especially in the western states. As Thomas Jefferson noted, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Indeed.

I arrived in Bunkerville early Monday morning, the 14th. I participated in the press conference conducted by the Bundy family that afternoon. I met with the militia, several elected officials, citizens of Nevada, and the Bundy family. I was even honored to be invited to speak to the militia and their families and supporters at the militia command center. I conducted a prayer service for those folks and delivered a 20-minute Bible message to them. The local ABC affiliate also sent a reporter and cameraman with us; and they filmed the entire service. Here is the video of that service.
There is absolutely no question that there are nefarious backroom deals involving Senator Harry Reid that were in play at the BLM siege against the Bundy ranch. The people of Nevada should demand the truth about these deals and after the truth is put in the sunlight, run Harry Reid out of the State on a rail. Harry Reid is symbolic of everything that is wrong in Washington, D.C.

I caution folks to not believe everything you read about the Nevada situation in the media or on the Internet. There is a lot of exaggeration and misinformation floating around. That is a major problem for those of us in the freedom movement. For example, there is no indication at this point that BLM is planning a violent assault against the ranch. As of the time that I left the ranch, BLM agents had totally withdrawn. If the federal government launched a violent assault against the Bundys, it would escalate resistance a thousand-fold. They don’t want that to happen.
But this war against property and water rights in the west is becoming increasingly onerous. We desperately need a determined and concerted effort to demand that State legislatures and local governments pass ordinances and legislation removing federal control of State lands. These lands do not belong to the federal government; they belong to the States and to the People. If you truly want to do something to help preserve our future liberties, convince your local and State legislators to pass legislation to remove control of State land from the federal government.
We also desperately need legislation disarming federal bureaucracies. Agents of the federal government are not soldiers; and the American people are not the enemy. Except for a very few and specifically enumerated crimes, the Constitution declares that law enforcement is the venue and responsibility of the States and of the People. Federal agents have proven–and continue to prove–that they are not anywhere near trustworthy enough to be given a badge and a gun. As private citizens, they deserve the right to keep and bear arms along with the rest of us. But as agents of the federal government, they have no right to usurp the law enforcement authority of State and local officials.

And speaking of State and local officials, the governor of the State of Nevada and the sheriff of Clark County, Nevada, should be absolutely ashamed of themselves! What’s more: the people of Nevada should be ashamed of them–and vote them out of office, if not impeach them before their reelection–for their refusal to assist the citizens of their State during this time of crisis. All we need is for a governor and sheriff to interpose on behalf of the citizens of their State and county and all of this federal abuse of power would come to a screeching halt. Boy, do we need some constitutional governors and sheriffs!

We also need pastors to grow some man-stuff and start taking a stand in the pulpits as did the pastors of Colonial America. As I told the people at Bunkerville, if the pastors of America were doing their jobs on Sunday, all of this would never be taking place. How long will the Christians of America tolerate these spineless preachers?

Tomorrow, the 239th anniversary of Lexington and Concord, I will be speaking at a local Patriot’s Day rally honoring the brave Minutemen of 1775; I will also be honoring the brave patriots of 2014 who fought the Battle of Bunkerville: the shot not fired heard ’round the world.
P.S. This Sunday, I will also celebrate Resurrection Day in my pulpit at Liberty Fellowship in Kalispell, Montana. To watch the message online, click here.