It Wouldn’t Be a Secret Society if you Talked About it, Kent Lambert

Stonecutters

Who controls the British crown? Who keeps the metric system down? We do, we do!
Who keeps Atlantis off the maps? Who keeps the Martians under wraps? We do, we do!
Who holds back the electric car? Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star? We do, we do!
Who robs cavefish of their sight? Who rigs every Oscar night? We do, we do!

        – “Stonecutter” theme song, via The Simpsons.

On Tuesday the environmental group Center for Western Priorities released a new report underlining the “anti-government extremism” behind renewed efforts to move federal public lands under state control. According to a summary of the report:

Last week, armed members of the Oath Keepers and other militias arrived at a mine in Montana, posting “no trespassing” signs on public land. The operation is the latest in a string of standoffs involving extremist groups that refuse to recognize the authority of the U.S. government, including incidents at the Sugar Pine Mine in Oregon and Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada.

A new investigation by the non-partisan watchdog Center for Western Priorities has uncovered wide-ranging ties between those extremist groups and Western legislators involved in a coordinated effort to take our national lands from the American people. 

Sen. Kent Lambert using night vision scope on the Mexican border.

Sen. Kent Lambert using night vision scope on the Mexican border.

Reporter Joey Bunch picked up on the report for the Denver Post, and he caught up with Colorado Springs state Sen. Kent Lambert for his response:

“They aren’t just supporting similar goals — they’re trying to pass legislation that goes directly to the demands and ideology of the Oath Keepers and Bundy Ranch supporters,” Aaron Weiss, a spokesman for the Center for Western Priorities, responded in an e-mail about the state-control advocates.

“When Kent Lambert mentions ‘posse comitatus’ during a floor debate, that’s a dog whistle to the Oath Keepers — there’s a tiny group of people who even know what the term means, much less cite it during the legislative session.” [Pols emphasis]

Lambert said he hadn’t heard of the Oath Keepers before Tuesday [Pols emphasis], so it wasn’t a dog whistle but a reference to the “Federalist Papers, No. 29,” a letter from Alexander Hamilton to the people of New York in 1788 to the clarify the role of state militia in enforcing provisions of the Constitution. Further, the often-cited 1878 Posse Comitatus Act limits the federal government’s role in domestic police matters. Lambert’s unsuccessful Senate Bill 39 would have recognized that state and local governments already has jurisdiction over U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.

Sen. Kent Lambert (R), and militia leader Chris Simcox.

Sen. Kent Lambert (R), and militia leader Chris Simcox.

We don’t know if Lambert is a card-carrying member of the Oath Keepers, but we have trouble believing he’s never even heard of this group before. Lambert is a well-documented supporter of usurping federal control over lands (and borders), and has openly consorted with militia leaders like accused child molester Chris Simcox in Arizona (photo right). The Oath Keepers have been in the news quite a bit lately for their bizarre attempt to “defend” Ferguson, Missouri from…black people, or something. Here’s what Mother Jones magazine says about the group:

Oath Keepers is one of the fastest-growing “patriot” organizations on the right. Founded last April by Yale-educated lawyer and ex-Ron Paul aide Stewart Rhodes, the group has established itself as a hub in the sprawling anti-Obama movement that includes Tea Partiers, Birthers, and 912ers. Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and Pat Buchanan have all sung its praises, and in December, a grassroots summit it helped organize drew such prominent guests as representatives Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, both Georgia Republicans.

Hard to imagine these guys not being right up Lambert’s alley–Lambert or any number of other GOP Colorado legislators in both chambers. You might start with legislators who tag along for the Republican Study Committee of Colorado’s annual border “fact finding” junkets. But there’s at least a possibility that without the right secret handshake, you’ll never know for sure!

Might be worth keeping this angle in mind next session just the same.

19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Zappatero says:

    Another Elected Retard from El Paso County. I thank my fellow El Pasoans for displaying their complete ignorance every time there's an election.

  2. mamajama55 says:

    My diary about the Oathkeepers standoff on Kos.I wanted to ask some of the Polsters who are knowledgeable about mining law: Does the 1955 law in fact protect public lands from random public claims, superseding the 1872 law, when there are conflicts about ownership of surface mining rights? High Country News seems to think so.

     

    Today, Oathkeepers is calling for a new "security mission"to protect miners from the Federal Government at the White Hope mine in Lewis and Clark County, Montana. It appears to be a dispute over surface mining claims, between the claim owners, Intermountain Mining, and the US Forest Service, which says that new regulations invalidate the old claims.

    Laws about mining on Forest Service Lands are  controversial, and sometimes contradict each other. The Oathkeepers are relying on a 1955 law, which does not favor their cause.  High Country News' Marshall Swearingen writes:

    The Mining Law of 1872 is famously generous to miners when it comes to granting them rights to the riches on public lands. But in northern Idaho, a scuffle between miners and the Forest Service hinges on a related, but lesser-known law: the Mining Claims Rights Restoration Act of 1955. And unlike the 1872 law, this law gives the public lands agency the upper hand in dealing with mining on public lands.

    If the White Hope miners do succeed in forcing the issue into court, precedent is not on their side; private property mining rights on USFS land have been decided in favor of public access to public lands.

     

  3. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Mama:  I am hearing of the 1955 mining related law for the first time. Thanks for sharing that. What is not being mentioned is that if the claims for the White Hope Mine are patented, then those claims likely are no longer public land. We've had access disputes here in Colorado, for some of the 14ers, that revolved around patented mining claims (Lincoln, Bross, Democrat, Wilson Peak). There are requirements to keep a mine claim active. There is a reference to some sort of dispute in the 1980s regarding the White Hope, but no details. The references to the 1955 law sound interesting, but must be considered as inconclusive, again, in the absence of more details,

    I tried to access the link for the Sugar Pine Mine in Oregon, but nothing came up. Lumping the Cliven Bundy issue into disputes over mining claims isn't really relevant except for his similar use of extremist militia types.

    When did Mr. Swearingen write his piece for HCN?

    • BlueCat says:

      In any case, guess what would happen if these extremist military types toting guns were black.You think this crap would be tolerated by law enforcement at any level coming from a black Cliven Bundy? Rhetorical question of course.  

    • mamajama55 says:

      CHB, He wrote one piece in 2013: https://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat/forest-service-wields-an-uncommon-mining-law

      Swearingen wrote another excellent "Dispatch" just a day ago, about growing tensions as  the Oathkeepers are barring people fromf the disputed public land. Swearingen does discuss the two laws. I'm getting that the 1872 law allowed miners to "stake a claim" on public land, while the 1955 Multiple Surface Use Act required miners to comply with USFS regulations, have a plan that complies with environmental law, etc.

      You know, all of that "Federal overreach" they hate so intensely.

       

    • Big Time says:

      "Lumping the Cliven Bundy issue into disputes over mining claims isn't really relevant except for his similar use of extremist militia types." 

      Ah, actually – that's the point. 

      I thought we were a country of laws … let the lawyers figure this out.

      Why the need to call in the "militia" wannabes?

      Seems to me, the push to undo the 15 round limit on magazines has a lot to do with miners and ranchers who don't want to go through the proper legal channels and/or pay their lawful share of fees and/or follow the laws that dictate where they can and can not operate. 

      Instead they hope superior military firepower can allow them to avoid following the law.  

      Otherwise – why did the mine owner accept the Oath Keepers help? Does he know he is not in compliance and simply does not want to follow the law – like Cliven Bundy?

      The "militia" is the entire story here – if this mine owner was law abiding, he'd follow the law and bring in lawyers to try to fight against anything he thought was wrong. Instead he's got a "militia" to do that … if this is allowed to stand, then every Tom, Dick and Harry is going to get their personal militia and we are on the road to Mogadishu. 

      • mamajama55 says:

        The mine owners are two old guys, who've been mining that claim for years. They named it "White Hope" – I wonder what that signifies?frown

        The mine owners called in the Oathkeepers because they screwed up their own paperwork, invalidating their surface mining claim. Plus, they built some structures, stored some explosives on the property, and put up fences and "No Trespassing" signs. Just two ornery old cusses that don't want any goddam gubmint interference. And they refuse to file a new compliance plan.

        The Forest Svc doesn't particularly want a confrontation, just wants them to comply with laws. There's an active EPA cleanup down the road, with trucks moving tons of contaminated material out every day – this employs many of the people in the town of LIncoln, Montana.

        The people in town aren't too enthused about a possible media circus and loss of jobs working the EPA cleanup job.

        But Federal prosecutors are initiating a lawsuit. Not an armed standoff, just a day in court, which supposedly is all these guys wanted to try to clear up their prior claim to surface mining rights.

        http://helenair.com/news/local/his-day-in-court-miner-speaks-about-dispute-with-forest/article_e2863cc5-2fec-5b4a-ba35-0cc37cccdcea.html

  4. BlueCat says:

    Just how do you get to be an American patriot while refusing to recognize the federal government which is the one and only government of the United States of America. If the "Feds" are your enemy, the United States of America, as in all those patriotic Proud to be an American songs (God Bless the USA) is your enemy because that's what it is. America is the federal government. The constitution they say they love is the constitution not of the individual states but of the United States so you can't recognize that either if you don't recognize the federal government. Yet they claim to be USA loving, constitution loving patriots?  

    What are these people talking about? What are they using for brains? What ever happened to teaching civics so Americans can know what their country is and how it works? Can we pack Colorado Springs up and move it to Texas? STAT?

    • Big Time says:

      They believe the county sheriff is the ultimate arbiter of the U.S. Constitution – not the congress, not the executive branch, not the courts … the humble county sheriff. Funny how it's the county sheriffs who won't enforce the 15 round limit on magazines – gee, it's just too hard to do, they say … wink, wink. 

      They've concocted some irrational rationale to justify all their law breaking. It's based in some kooky interpretation of 12th century common law that maybe was or maybe was not practiced at various times and places somewhere, at sometime … or at least that's what they heard from their uncle one time. 

      Here's some more about those who were at Bundy's ranch, and those who are most likely at White Hope Mine

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/jjmacnab/2015/04/14/where-are-they-now-the-bundy-supporters/

       

      • mamajama55 says:

        Pretty sure this is the same heavily-armed idiot who's "patrolling" the streets of Ferguson now., who says that the President is a "mulatto" and a "secret Muslim". If it is the same guy, his name is Jerry DeLemus, according to the Forbes article. 

        Meanwhile, in Ferguson, peaceful (black) protesters and journalists are being arrested for taking video of police actions.

      • COgator95 says:

        Sorry, I don't see the relationship between the wacky oath keepers and the CO county sheriffs not being able to enforce the 15 round magazine limit. I'm a Democrat and a gun owner and the CO legislature passed a law that is unenforceable.

        It is far too easy to go to a neighboring state to purchase either magazines or clips that exceed the 15 round limit or simply purchasing a 15 round magazine here in the state and remove the magblock limiting a standard 19 round 9mm magazine to 15.

        The legislation was a complete knee jerk reaction to the Sandy Hook and Aurora theater mass shootings which were both terrible incidents.

        If our legislators had any sense whatsoever they would have passed a law requiring more comprehensive mental health coverage for residents and not go on some fools errand.

        Remember the passage of that unenforceable law cost us two Democratic seats during the recall elections and a third seat during our last election cycle. 

        • Big Time says:

          Right – it's always the mental health issue. The legislature tried that, but Steve King nixed it because he was running for elected office on the Western Slope (after being term limited) and didn't want to piss of the RMGO so he pulled his mental health/guns policy – this was two years ago if I am not mistaken, maybe 18 months. 

          In other words, "mental health" is the issue the gun lobby uses to misdirect and deflect against the real issues. 

          And about those “lost seats” – we got two of them back and will get the other in 2016 and then some.

          • COgator95 says:

            Wow, I must have hit a nerve. It is a mental health issue. Both shooters in the Aurora and Sandy Hook massacres were severely mentally disturbed. If you can't grasp that then you're confused. 

            As far as getting the seats back I sure hope so, but only if Democrats stop shooting themselves in the foot… pun intended.

            • Big Time says:

              I don't disagree. But the gun lobby does. 

              They USE mental health as a way to deflect from the real issues … just look at how Steve King killed, with the blessing of RMGO, policy he had sponsored that addressed mental health and guns. If they really thought mental health was how to solve the issue – they would have followed through with King's legislation. Instead, there was some "problem" with the legislation – there always is. 

              As for shooting yourself in the foot – that's RMGO and the Colorado GOP's specialty these days. They don't realize it yet, but they are increasingly seen as the pro militia lobby – not the gun lobby.

              The establishment gun lobby (establishment GOP) increasingly supports gun control that the majority of Americans also support. 

              The 15 round limit, or 10 in other states, is common sense – we see the carnage that high powered weapons and unlimited ammunition capacity bring. We don't need to listen to the gun extremists to understand this is true – we are seeing it over and over and over. 

              The usual suspects – unenforceable, ineffective – are the short term attempts to derail that legislation mostly for the benefit of the militia movement. Over the long term, the benefits will become more and more clear by the day.

            • itlduso says:

              So, does the US have that many more violently mentally ill people than, say, every other civilized society?  Because, that's the only explanation you could have for why the US has many more times per capita gun deaths than any other civilized society.

              It's not just a mental health issue — we've got too many damn guns!

              • Big Time says:

                I don't disagree. But the gun lobby does. 

                It's an all of the above solution – gun control, universal healthcare, targeted healthcare help for acute mentally ill/substance abuse, gun control that helps take guns away from dangerous people, storing guns properly, trigger locks, safes, reduced income inequality and give oppty to more people (alleviate stress, anxiety). 

                There is so much that can and should be done. 

          • gertie97 says:

            At least Stevie King is gone.

            As to the Oathkeepers and their ilk, they're Birchers. With the internet.

             

        • mamajama55 says:

          COgator, the connection is that the same  people are ginning up outrage. Many (not all) of the County Sheriffs who signed the letter to Hickenlooper saying that they wouldn't enforce the mag limit are also Oathkeepers, or "Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers", like Terry Maketa. The gene pool is kind of shallow on that end.

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