Thomas Mitchell: Constitution stretched to the breaking point

If words can mean anything anyone says they mean, then words are meaningless. That is what the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has done with the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

The appellate court overturned a federal judge who found that the Commerce Clause does not give Congress the power under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to regulate a species that exists only within the boundaries of one state and has no commercial value whatsoever — specifically the Utah prairie dog.

Nevada has joined with Utah and 21 other states to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to strike the circuit court ruling, saying that if the ruling stands “then Congress has virtually limitless authority, and the Tenth Amendment is a dead letter,” as well as the concept of federalism. (prairiedogamicusbrief)

If Nevada is to have any control over any economic activity within its borders, which include numerous endangered and threatened species, it is vital that the high court reverse this Constitution-rendering exercise in legerdemain.

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Thomas Mitchell: Head spinning developments in the so-far ‘non-trial’ of Bunkerville defendants

Caution: Following the Bunkerville standoff trial proceedings can cause whiplash.

Today the federal judge again delayed the start of the trial for Cliven Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan, and self-styled militia member Ryan Payne. This time for a week. She agreed to hold hearings after Cliven Bundy’s attorney asked the charges be dropped because the prosecution had failed to reveal any recordings or notes taken off live surveillance video of the Bundy ranch during the April 2014 standoff. Ryan Bundy raised the question as to whether there was surveillance video several weeks ago.

“If it has potentially useful information, then the defense is entitled to it,” the judge is quoted by Reuters as saying. “I‘m not convinced that it doesn’t exist.”

The federal agents reportedly shredded documents after the standoff ended.

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Thomas Mitchell: A jury of their peers? Hardly

A federal jury is set to begin hearing opening statements Tuesday in the trial of four defendants in the Bunkerville standoff.

There are six women and six men on the jury and there are four alternates, three men, and a woman.

The judge said the trial is expected to take four months. A number of potential jurors were dismissed because they could not take four months out of their lives to devote to the trial. How many people can or are willing to? Is it a jury of their peers?

On trial is rancher Cliven Bundy, 71, sons Ammon Bundy, 42, and Ryan Bundy, 45, and a self-styled militia member Ryan Payne, 34, who showed up to protest the confiscation of Bundy’s cattle by the BLM. They are charged with conspiracy, extortion and various firearm charges. They have all been jailed for going on two years.

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Larry Klayman: FBI-police cover-up of mass shooting?

I have seen it many times before. An FBI or law-enforcement informant, or some other “politically sensitive person,” commits a crime, and federal, state or local government authorities cover it up. This is the likely scenario in the wake of the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre in Las Vegas, perpetrated by an alleged mysterious man named Stephen Paddock. Let me give you just a few analogous examples.

First there is the famous case of Whitey Bulger, an Italian Mafia crime boss who was responsible for the deaths of many. Here briefly is how his Wikipedia describes his history as an FBI informant:

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Newspaper column Thomas Mitchell : Zinke’s national monument modifications too modest

Frankly, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s memo to President Trump recommending modifications to a few national monuments — including the 300,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument in Clark County — is far too modest, but it has the Democratic contingent of Nevada’s Washington delegation squealing like a pig stuck under a gate.

Zinke recommended unspecified changes to the Gold Butte boundaries but totally ignored the massive 700,000-acre Basin and Range National Monument that straddles the border between Nye and Lincoln counties, even though members of the Congressional Western Caucus recommended reducing it to 2,500 acres — “the smallest area compatible,” as the law says, to protect the Indian petroglyphs there.

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To Agree or Disagree Respectfully. Why is it so Difficult in Todays World?

Our country was founded over 200 years ago after enough colonists agreed that the rule by the King of England no longer made sense for the colonies.  They did not agree on every aspect of the how and the why, but they all agreed that it must change.  The biggest aspect of agreement and disagreement in the birth of our Nation was the right of each human to agree and disagree.  There foremost ideal that drove the creation of our constitution, can be said to be creating a government that could stand for and thrive while maintaining this and other freedoms.

This turned out to be a humongous task and goal. First and foremost the procedure and processes for dealing with disagreement had to be agreed upon. There will always be different beliefs and ideals.  However, most of all they understood that in order to have peace while preserving everyone’s ability to exercise their Freedoms, they must have a process and rules for dealing with Disagreement or conflicts of personal Freedoms between all people. This is where the concept of Liberty was created and defined. Liberty, for the sake of our constitution, would be the definition of civility and common agreement on how to deal with Freedoms in all situations, including when there is disagreement.

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Editorial: A day worthy of celebrating: Constitution Day

This Sunday, Sept. 17, marks the anniversary of one of the most propitious days in the history of this country. On that day in 1787, the representatives at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the Constitution. It was ratified by the states and went into effect on March 4, 1789.

You remember the Constitution don’t you?

That’s the document that says the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed …” Not waive, delay or ignore parts of laws the president doesn’t like, such as immigration laws, which the Constitution says: “The Congress shall have Power To … establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization …”

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Thomas Mitchell Editorial: Learn from the mistakes of the past, not erase them

This paroxysm of efforts to eradicate all monuments and place names that memorialize historic leaders of the Confederacy serves as merely a distraction from real problems, wasting time and money that could be devoted to worthy endeavors.

The latest target of this futile campaign appears to be the name of Jeff Davis Peak in Great Basin National Park.

According to the park’s website, the monicker was first attached to what is now Wheeler Peak, the tallest point in the park and the second tallest in Nevada. It was given that name by Lt. Col. Edward Steptoe of U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers in 1855 while Jefferson Davis served as secretary of the War Department, a half dozen years before the Civil War began.

After the Civil War, during which Davis served as president of the Confederacy, an Army mapping expedition headed by Lt. George Montague Wheeler, named the peak for Wheeler and the Jeff Davis tag was shifted to a shorter nearby peak.

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Editorial: Judge orders more studies for water grab

It is not too often a judge’s ruling is greeted by all sides as a victory, but that is what happened after federal Judge Andrew Gordon issued a 39-page opinion in the fight over the Clark County water agency’s bid to tap groundwater beneath White Pine, Lincoln and Nye counties.

Judge Gordon said the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) could grant the right-of-way for a 300-mile network of pipelines across public land, but first, it has to address plans to mitigate the potential loss of wildlife habitat due to a draw down of the water table.

The suit was brought by White Pine County, the Great Basin Water Network (GBWN), several Indian tribes and environmental groups against the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) and the BLM.

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Gary Hunt: Camp Lone Star Domestic Terrorist! Really?

Kevin “KC” Massey filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request back in October 2016. He just received a response (FOIA Response). Though only two and a little bit of a third page, it is rather interesting. You can read the whole Response, though I will give some highlights. “xxx” indicates redactions, mostly names.

It begins with a Summary of Events, “On September 2, 2014, Cameron County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Investigator and Task Force Officer (TFO) for the FBI Brownsville Field Office xxx called ATF SA xxx for assistance on the ‘BP Militia’ case.” So, the government had already set up an investigation on the “BP Militia”. So, well, it wasn’t just a coincidence that the events of August 29, 2014 occurred as they did. (ATF=Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms; SA=Special Agent; BP=Border Patrol; NFA=National Firearms Act)

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Thomas Mitchell: Time to release Bunkerville defendants on bail?

Whether you think the defendants in the Bunkerville standoff are a bunch of lunatic, dangerous gun-nuts who should be locked up and the key thrown away or upstanding patriots defending property and constitutional rights in the face of belligerent bureaucrats, it matters not what you think.
What matters is what jurors think.

So far jurors seem less than enthusiastic about embracing the pile of charges heaped on the first of the standoff defendants.

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Gary Hunt: Burns Chronicles No 59 Ryan Bundy Holds the Key

On January 26, 2016, several people, in two private vehicles were on their way to a scheduled meeting John Day, Oregon.  While in a forested area, with extremely poor, if not non-existent, cell phone coverage, they were set upon by modern day highwaymen (highwaymen were people who stopped travelers and robbed them).  The driver and passengers of the second vehicle submitted to the demands of the heavily armed interlopers, at gunpoint, to leave the vehicle and sit on the side of the snow-covered roadway.

The driver second vehicle, a white pick-up truck, following the exit of one of the passengers, sped away, seeking the assistance of a peace officer, Sheriff Glenn Palmer, of Grant County, Oregon.  However, within a couple of miles they found that the highwaymen had set up a barricade across the road, barring passage.  The highwaymen, hidden behind their vehicles, began firing shots at the white truck.  This forced the truck off the road, where some rather adept driving may have saved one of the highwaymen’s life, by swerving, at the last moment.

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Thomas Mitchell : Dueling columnists could be entertaining, except …

match any donations they decided to make to certain groups that he apparently identified as civil rights organizations. In a letter to employees Murren noted recent violence in Charlottesville and Barcelona and stated, “In the midst of this uncertainty, I want to affirm a clear-eyed, concrete view of the company in which you have chosen to invest your career, because on the question of human rights, MGM Resorts takes and unequivocal position: The protection of human dignity, demonstrated in the form of tolerance and respect for all people, is the core of our identity. We strive to create workplaces and entertainment spaces that are welcoming, open and respectful to all kinds of people, regardless of disability, age, gender, race, ethnicity, religious preference, gender identity or sexual orientation.” (His bold face and italics.)

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Editorial : Monument removal is a symptom of the perverse Western desire to blame itself for everything. JONAH GOLDBERG

Indeed, the fight over Confederate statues is just a discrete and more understandable eruption of the larger trend. This stuff has been happening for decades. One of the first outbreaks involved the word “crusader.” The term hurt the feelings of people who didn’t know what they didn’t know. Left-wing historians (and the Islamists who love them) convinced themselves that the Crusades were a trial run of Western imperialism and colonialism. They were, in fact, largely defensive wars intended to beat back the aggression of Muslim colonizers. Even the organization Campus Crusade for Christ changed its name to “Cru” lest people get the wrong impression.

Sports teams — most famously the Washington, D.C., NFL Franchise That Dare Not Speak Its Name — have been under increasing pressure to drop any association with Native Americans. Columbus Day is outré. And statues of Christopher Columbus may be heading to the pyre, if recent developments in New York City are any indication.

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EDITORIAL: National monuments survive Trump administration review – Las Vegas Review Journal

Members of the environmental lobby should be ecstatic that the Interior Department’s review of 27 national monuments resulted in minimal changes. But in today’s world of all-or-nothing politics, they’re instead speed-dialing their attorneys and wringing their hands because a handful of these nature reserves may still be partially downsized.

Oh, the horror!

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke completed the review last week. He recommended that no designation be rescinded. But a spokesman said he has also proposed border modifications for a handful of monuments. The department has yet to name those areas, but they could include Nevada’s Gold Butte and Basin and Range.

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Thomas Mitchell : Prosecution continues to stretch out lengthy Bunkerville cases

Speedy trial?

The prosecutors broke the 17 defendants in the Bunkerville standoff into three groups. Six would be tried in April and the others — including 71-year-old rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons — would be tried shortly thereafter.

But in April the jurors convicted only two of the six of any charges. Jurors told defense lawyers after the trial they never came close to convicting four defendants, voting 10-2 in favor of acquitting two and splitting on the others.

The government decided to retry those four and rejected Cliven Bundy’s bid to move up his trial, saying he would have to wait in jail until after the retrial. That retrial ended this week with two of the four being acquitted and the remaining two acquitted of all but a handful of lesser charges. All have been freed.

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