EXCLUSIVE: Police Report Proves Plainclothes Electronic Surveillance Unit Members Were Embedded Among Jan. 6 Protesters

While there is growing speculation that federal agents and Capitol Police were involved in instigating acts of violence during the Jan. 6, 2021 protests and recording responses for the purposes of entrapment, evidence now proves that “plainclothes” members of a special Electronic Surveillance Unit (ESU) were embedded among the protesters for the purposes of conducting video surveillance. Evidence also points to a day of security deficiencies and police provocation for the purpose of entrapment.

According to a report—First Amendment Demonstrations, issued Jan. 3, 2021, by Chief of Police Robert Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Homeland Security Bureau, Special Operations Division, obtained exclusively by The Epoch Times—the MPD began to activate Civil Disturbance Unit (CDU) platoons on Jan. 4, 2021. Full activation of 28 platoons was scheduled to occur on the following two days.

Cover page for the First Amendment Demonstrations report, issued January 3, 2021 by the Metropolitan Police Department, Homeland Security Bureau, Special Operations Division.
Cover page for the First Amendment Demonstrations report, issued January 3, 2021, by the Metropolitan Police Department, Homeland Security Bureau, Special Operations Division. (Obtained by The Epoch Times)

According to the Department of Justice website, “A CDU is composed of law enforcement officers who are trained to respond to protests, demonstrations, and civil disturbances for the purpose of preventing violence, destruction of property, and unlawful interference with persons exercising their rights under law.”

The objective of MPD was “to assist with the safe execution of any First Amendment demonstration and ensure the safety of the participants, public, and the officers.” CDU personnel and Special Operations Division  (SOD) members were to “monitor for any demonstration and/or violent activity and respond accordingly,” according to the report.

There has been speculation that federal agents and Capitol Police were involved in instigating acts of violence during the protests for the purposes of entrapment. As Red State reported in October 2021, “multiple surveillance videos show masked men opening up the doors to the U.S. Capitol Building to allow protesters to enter. In fact, one video shows them entering while Capitol Police officers simply stand around. Yet, we have no idea who those men are.”

The ‘Covert Cadre’ of ‘Provocateurs’

On a Dec.  7, 2021, episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight, the attorney for several Jan. 6 prisoners, Joseph McBride, identified a man tagged on the internet by so-called “Sedition Hunters” as “Red-Faced 45.” The man, dressed in red from head to toe—with even his face painted red—appears in a video engaging in continuous dialogue with uniformed personnel and others whom McBride insists are agents embedded in the crowd. McBride said the man is “clearly a law enforcement officer.”

“He passes out weapons, sledgehammers, poles, mace. Some of those things come in contact with some of the other protesters who have subsequently been charged with possessing dangerous weapons and are using dangerous weapons at the Capitol. That is clearly entrapment.

That is clearly the government creating conditions of dangerousness and entrapping members of the crowd to possess weapons and possibly use them for reasons that we cannot comprehend.”

On Jan. 13, 2021, J. Michael Waller, senior analyst for Strategy at the Center for Security Policy, published a first-hand account of his observations. Waller is also President of Georgetown Research, a political risk and private intelligence company in Washington, D.C.; and was founding editorial board member of NATO’s peer-reviewed Defence Strategic Communications journal (2015–2018), and a senior analyst with Wikistrat. He is convinced people were embedded in the crowd to execute “an organized operation planned well in advance of the January 6 joint session of Congress.”

J. Michael Waller, Senior Analyst for Strategy at the Center for Security Policy.
J. Michael Waller, Senior Analyst for Strategy at the Center for Security Policy. (With permission from J. Michael Waller.)

According to Waller, a “covert cadre” of people were scattered throughout the crowd to encourage people toward the Capitol, including “fake Trump protesters” he suspected were ANTIFA “wearing Trump or MAGA hats backwards.”

The Epoch Times reported on Jan. 1 that senior federal law enforcement officials refused to answer questions about an Arizona man named Ray Epps, captured on video the day before the rally wearing a Trump hat repeatedly encouraging protesters to “go into the Capitol” the next day. Many were suspicious of him. Chants of “fed, fed, fed” drown him out. On Jan. 6, he is seen telling the crowd “we are going to the Capitol, where all of our problems are.”

Ray Epps encourages protesters to go into the Capitol the night before the siege of January 6, 2021.
Ray Epps encourages protesters to go into the Capitol the night before the breach on Jan. 6, 2021. (Villain Report/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Epps is also seen standing before a bike rack barricade, whispering into the ear of a protester wearing his Trump hat backwards. Moments later, that man is joined by others in tearing down the barricade. Epps is then seen running with the crowd toward the Capitol Building. Despite the evidence, Epps has not had any charges filed against him and his photo has been removed from the government’s list of most-wanted people from the event.

Bobby Powell host of “The Truth is Viral” podcast, has several videos exposing two men, clad all in black, whom he believes are FBI informants. They are seen breaking windows, attacking the Capitol building, and even pushing people inside.

McBride finds it strange that these “provocateurs,” as he calls them, have yet to be charged, despite their having a much more active role in the Capitol incident than some who were charged, including some individuals who never even set foot on Capitol grounds.

The Proof

Unknown to the public until now, the First Amendment Demonstrations report also reveals that an undisclosed number of “plainclothes” MPD ESU “members” were embedded into the crowd to “document the actions of the demonstrators and MPD’s response to any civil disobedience or criminal activity.”

In 2016, the MPD purchased 2,800 body-worn cameras.

It is unclear who the MPD ESU “members” were. However, they are never referred to as “officers” or “police.” Of the 37 “Specialized Units” listed as part of the MPD, an ESU is not among them. In order for other security personnel to recognize embedded ESU members among the protesters, they wore a specific “bracelet on their left wrist identifying them as MPD personnel,” the report stated.

Photo of bracelet worn my plainclothes members of the Metrolpilitan Police Department's Electronic Surveillance Unit, embedded in the crowds on January 6, 2021.
Photo of bracelet worn by plainclothes members of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Electronic Surveillance Unit, embedded in the crowds on Jan. 6, 2021 to “document the actions of the demonstrators and MPD’s response to any civil disobedience or criminal activity.” (Metropolitan Police Department First Amendment Demonstrations report.)

Because he didn’t assume the job as police chief until Jan. 2, 2021, Waller believes Contee inherited rather than set up the ESU. However, Waller is confident “this report raises a lot of questions.”

“While it is admittedly an important type of unit to have in the nation’s capital, electronic surveillance requires warrants,” Waller told The Epoch Times. “The word surveillance itself implies intrusive rather than passive monitoring of people, in which case it would be required for the police to get warrants to conduct electronic surveillance on people. What kind of warrants were asked for and under which jurisdiction? Were they issued? If not, why? Are such warrants necessary for the type of surveillance this unit was doing and how does it work? This raises a huge amount of questions about an entirely new kind of surveillance unit by the police chief of the nation’s capital.”

Waller also said the reference to “members” of the unit, as opposed to “officers” or “agents,” is also very disturbing. While he said “the rest of the memorandum sounds very disciplined in it’s language and specific,” that it doesn’t identify “officers” as members of the Electronic Surveillance Unit “is very troubling.”

“Are they using private contractors? Are they using political volunteers?” Waller posed. “Are using paid agents of different types? We don’t know. This is something the public has a right to know and we need to get to the bottom of it. If the D.C Police is running electronic surveillance on American citizens without warrants, this could be a very serious breach of our civil liberties.”

Even after Capitol occupation and violence on January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill Police made no attempt to apprehend "Q Anon Man," who is on the Senate steps just a few feet from the Capitol Hill Police line. This photo was taken after the Capitol Hill Police removed protesters from inside the Senate wing of the Capitol.
Even after Capitol occupation and violence on Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Hill Police made no attempt to apprehend “Q Anon Man,” who is on the Senate steps just a few feet from the Capitol Hill Police line. This photo was taken after the Capitol Hill Police removed protesters from inside the Senate wing of the Capitol. (Courtesy of J. Michael Waller)

Intentional Security Deficiencies

An Oct. 29, 2021 report by Politico exposed that a 17-page strategy report called “The Civil Disturbance Unit Operational Plan,” showed that police made plans for plainclothes “officers” to monitor protesters and carry out five objectives:

  1. To provide an environment in which lawful First Amendment activity can be safely demonstrated.
  2. To prevent any adverse impact to the legislative process associated with unlawful demonstration activity.
  3. To effectively mitigate actions associated with civil disorder; safely respond to crimes of violence and destruction/defacing of property.
  4. To safeguard and prevent any property damage directed at the US Capitol, West Front Inaugural Platform, and all Congressional buildings.
  5. Establish and maintain a fixed march route while excluding access to counter-protestors to minimize potential for violent interactions.”

However, because the CDU was understaffed and unprepared, it failed in all its objectives.

According to a 140-page report issued by then-Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton—”Review of the Events Surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Takeover of the U.S. Capitol”—Capitol Police’s CDU was ordered by supervisors not to use the department’s most powerful tools, like stun guns. Bolton’s report, which has not yet been widely released to the public, also contends “heavier, less-lethal weapons,” including stun grenades, “were not used that day because of orders from leadership.”

The CDU was given riot shields, many locked in a bus some distance away, that “shattered upon impact.” They had expired weapons that didn’t work and inadequate training.

Bolton’s report also noted that officials were warned in an intelligence assessment three days before the protest that “Stop the Steal’s propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike” and that “Congress itself is the target.”

A man authorities identified as Jerry Braun outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
A man authorities identified as Jerry Braun outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (DOJ via The Epoch Times)

However, reports surfaced that then acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett sent a memo to lawmakers informing them that security officials found that “there does not exist a known, credible threat against Congress or the Capitol Complex that warrants the temporary security fencing.”

Some Capitol Police officers were reportedly told to go home amid staffing shortages, reported Business Insider.

According to the “UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE TIMELINE OF EVENTS FOR JANUARY 6, 2021 ATTACK,” also obtained by The Epoch Times, “USCP Deputy Chief Gallagher replies” to the Department of Defense (DOD) “via text” on January 3, 2021, “that a request for National Guard support is not forthcoming at this time after consultation” with Chief of Police (COP) Steven Sund.

On Jan. 4, 2021, “COP Sund asked Senate Sergeant at Arms (SSAA) Michael Stenger and House Sergeant at Arms (HSAA) Paul Irving for authority to have National Guard to assist with security for the January 6, 2021 event based on briefings with law enforcement partners and revised intelligence assessment.”

• COP Sund’s request is denied. SSAA and HSAA tells COP Sund to contact General Walker at DC National Guard to discuss the guard’s ability to support a request if needed.
• COP Sund notifies General Walker of DC National Guard, indicating that the USCP may need DC National Guard support for Jan. 6, 2021, but does not have the authority to request at this time.
• General Walker advises COP Sund that in the event of an authorized request, DC National Guard could quickly repurpose 125 troops helping to provide DC with COVID-related assistance. Troops would need to be sworn in as USCP.

However, the timeline shows it took over three hours and five frantic requests before the National Guard was deployed.

During his opening remarks before two Senate committees on March 3, 2021, Walker told members of Congress he received a “frantic call” from Sund in the early afternoon advising that the security perimeter of the Capitol was being breached. However, military leaders informed him that deploying troops would not be “good optics.”

During testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Piatt and Flynn denied making such comments.

At the hearing, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene informed the committee three people were involved in turning down repeated requests for the deployment of the National Guard. “Chuck Schumer in the Senate, Nancy Pelosi in the House, and Mayor Muriel Bowser. Also involved, are the SSAA Stenger, who answers directly to Schumer, and HSAA Irving, who answers directly to Pelosi.

National Guard troops leave Washington after being stationed there for four months following the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol, on May 24, 2021.
National Guard troops leave Washington after being stationed there for four months following the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol, on May 24, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

On Jan. 22, 2021, reports began to surface with images of National Guard members who were forced to stay in nearby parking garages in near-freezing temperatures sparking outrage among lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.

In stark contradiction to then acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett’s assessment that no “credible threat against Congress or the Capitol Complex” existed to warrant “temporary security fencing,” there are multiple admonishments in the First Amendment Demonstrations report of the importance “for the members to monitor the fence line” and orders that “all members” were to “monitor 16th Street and the surrounding area for any potential issues or demonstrations.”

“Members assigned to the bicycle rack” were ordered to “restrict pedestrian and vehicle movement upon making the closure of the police lines.”

“The bicycle rack, in conjunction with police cars and blocking vehicles will create a barrier in which no person or vehicle will be allowed to pass,” the report said.

However, video evidence shows police waving protesters past bike racks and even removing them to open a path into the restricted areas to encourage people to move toward the Capitol Building.

A March 2, 2021, USCP Report of Investigation regarding the incident, also obtained by The Epoch Times, confirms that on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, “an Unknown Officer violated USCP Directive 2053.013, Rules of Conduct, when they allegedly waived unauthorized persons into a restricted area secured by bike racks toward the US Capitol during an insurrection.” Evidence in the case included the “video posted to twitter, dated 01/06/21 ” and “CCTV of the East Front of the US Capitol, dated 01/06/21.”

On Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, then Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) Commander of the United States Capitol Police, Inspector Michael Shaffer, sent an email with the Twitter video of the unidentified officer (UO) to Inspectors Amy Hyman (Senate Division), Thomas Loyd (Capitol Division), Kimberley Bolinger (House Division) and Acting Inspector Jessica Baboulis (Library Division) requesting assistance in identifying the UO. All parties responded to Shaffer that they were unable to identify the UO.

The recommendation was that the report “be APPROVED and the case CLOSED.”

On Feb. 4, 2021, this case was put on hold pending a review by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Public Corruption. No further information is available.

Provocation and Entrapment

In a June 10 interview with EpochTV’s “Facts Matter,” Julie Kelly—a political consultant in Illinois and senior contributor for American Greatness—described Jan. 6, 2021, as “an inside job” and “something Democrats and some Republicans and federal agencies put together to entice” and “entrap” people who went to hear President Donald Trump’s speech. She noted that the FBI used agents to try to infiltrate the so-called militia groups.

Jeremy Brown exposed a video of FBI Terrorist Task Force agents attempting to recruit him to spy on fellow Oath Keepers.

The Department of Justice still won’t answer questions about Ray Epps, an Arizona resident captured on video encouraging protesters to breach the Capitol Building.

On January 6, 2021, Capitol Police fire tear gas into pro-Trump protesters well before the violence began. Even with the tear gas, the crowd remained orderly.
On January 6, 2021, Capitol Police fire tear gas into pro-Trump protesters well before the violence began. Even with the tear gas, the crowd remained orderly. (Courtesy of J. Michael Waller)

Kelly also noted how Capitol Police used flash bangs, teargas, and rubber bullets “to inflame the crowd and provoke a lot of the confrontations” seen in videos now being used as evidence to arrest, charge and incarcerate those who attended the rally.

More specifically, she accused Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Democrat Majority Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of “intentionally” leaving Capitol grounds unsecured.” She further alleged it was a “setup” designed specifically to cripple the MAGA movement.

While Bolton’s report said “heavier, less-lethal weapons,” including stun grenades, “were not used that day because of orders from leadership,” the Capitol Police timeline says United States Capitol Police (USCP) personnel “deploy[ed] munitions at the Rotunda door” at 1645 hours (4:45 p.m.) where protesters were alleged to be “pushing in doors and breaking windows.” Three minutes later, USCP deployed “chemical munitions on Lower West Terrace to disperse insurrectionists.”

Police release tear gas into a crowd of demonstrators during clashes outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
Police release tear gas into a crowd of demonstrators during clashes outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. Still, the crowd remained orderly. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Video footage found at Gateway Pundit shows flash grenades being launched by Capitol Police into a group of protesters, consisting of women, children, and elderly people, who were standing peacefully behind barriers. According to American Greatness, Capitol Police were also firing on the crowd with rubber bullets. The approximate time of the confrontation was around 1:36 p.m. However, the USCP Timeline does not mention the deployment of these flash grenades.

Another video, which still exists on TeaParty.org, was filmed by Kash Kelly from ground level where the flash grenades went off. Kelly, who is now himself in prison regarding pretrial release violations regarding a previous charge and the subsequent charges related to his presence in Washington, is shown ensuring the evacuation of women in the area where the flash grenades exploded.

“The police started shooting at people,” Kelly says. “There were kids in the crowd.”

More extensive video footage, analyzed by Ray Dietrich of Red Voice Media, shows “the beginning of violence on January 6.”

An unidentified USCP officer is seen repeatedly yelling down to the crowd, assembled peacefully below his position, advising that if they “want to get a good picture” they should “go up into the bleachers.”

“The video shows the moment either stun grenades or tear gas canisters were deployed into the crowd of protestors,” Dietrich says as the video plays out. “The question I have, after a 20-year career in law enforcement, is why were these munitions deployed? I have picked this video apart and many more, and cannot see why the USCP used this force against the crowd. There is no fighting and no violence, so why did they target these people with less-lethal weapons?”

“What happened next?” Dietrich asks rhetorically. “Chaos. Violence. The crowd fought back. The Capitol was breached.”

As the stunned crowd scurries in the attack, police can be seen spraying people in the face with pepper spray. In another segment, three police officers are beating a protester who is being held on the ground. In a measure that further escalates the tension, police begin deploying tear gas into the already frantic crowd. In a course of 20 minutes, a once peaceful scene descends into total chaos.

In June 2021, reports surfaced that the Justice Department had begun to release its own video footage, including footage from body-worn cameras that allegedly show assaults against police officers defending the U.S. Capitol.

A summary of findings shows that:

  • Evidence shows that until the deployment of munitions, the crowds were peaceful.
  • MPD Electronic Surveillance Unit (ESU) members were embedded into the crowd to “document the actions of the demonstrators and MPD’s response to any civil disobedience or criminal activity.”
  • Of the 37 “Specialized Units” listed as part of the Metropolitan Police Department, an ESU is not among them.

The Epoch Times reached out to the Metropolitan Police Department and Capitol Police for comment.

Source: EXCLUSIVE: Police Report Proves Plainclothes Electronic Surveillance Unit Members Were Embedded Among Jan. 6 Protesters

Latest Jack Reacher outing worth the journey

Just finished Lee Child’s most recent novel romp with his donnybrook prone vagabond protagonist Jack Reacher. On this one he’s teamed up with his brother Andrew Child to pen “The Sentinel.”

Former Army MP Reacher — a tall and muscular specimen who appears to survive on a lack of sleep, strong black coffee and greasy burgers — has just been dropped off in the tiny burg of Pleasantville, Tenn., by his latest hitchhike driver, landing by circumstance and mistaken identity into some rather unpleasant and violent contretemps.

Reacher bumps into the town’s recently fired IT manager. It seems the town’s paper archives have recently been destroyed in a fire, which was quickly followed by its computerized data being blocked by a ransomware hack. The IT manager was falsely blamed for not protecting data and he is out to clear his name and somehow recover the data, which is not what a bunch of Russkie spies and a gaggle of neo-Nazis would not like to see happen, for reasons that remain a bit murky. (Coincidentally, the neo-Nazis are planning a huge well-lighted celebration of Hitler’s birthday, which happens to be today, April 20.)

As is Reacher’s wont, on more than one occasion he winds up protecting the IT guy and himself from a half dozen or so of the baddies by using his head — in more ways than one — as well as his fists, elbows, knees and feet in tightly detailed and choreographed combat in which Reacher comes out largely unscathed but the others well scathed and a few hospitalized.

You might assume, as I did, that Reacher is the titular Sentinel, but toward the end it turns out the feds are secretly working on a software program dubbed The Sentinel, which is intended to block malware and ransomware hacks. Or is that a red-herring like so many others? One should not assume all is as it appears.

Looking forward to the next outing with Reacher, but, meanwhile, you likely would enjoy this one.
http://dlvr.it/SNzccM

A senseless and futile gesture … and our senators are just the ones to do it

Thank you, Jim Hartman, for pointing out in today’s Elko Daily Free Press that the proposal by Nevada’s two Democratic U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen to waive the 18.4 cent per gallon federal gasoline tax through 2022 is not only a political gesture, but for Nevadans it is a futile gesture.

Hartman is the first I’ve seen to point out that Nevada has on the books Nevada Revised Statute 365.185, which automatically increases the state gasoline tax “equal to the amount by which the federal tax is reduced,” so it won’t save Nevadans a cent.

Hartman also observes:

It’s a terrible idea. No one likes paying taxes or feeling gouged at the pump, and that’s the appeal to politicians. It’s a transparent political stunt to give political cover to a handful of Democrats up for election in states where gas prices are going up over 40 percent from last year.
Nevada’s gas prices are up $1.07 per gallon from a year ago, reaching an average price in Nevada for regular of $3.97 (Feb. 23). Crude prices recently passed $90 per barrel and the Russian invasion of Ukraine will raise crude prices to over $100.
Cortez Masto’s legislation is a contradiction in her climate politics. Isn’t the central tenet of Democratic climate plans to raise the price of fossil fuels so we use less? Progressives should welcome higher gasoline prices until consumption drops dramatically.
You can’t have an aggressive “green” climate policy and cheap gasoline. You must choose one or the other.
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Who is the enemy and how to confront it?

What are the threats Biden’s Department of Homeland Security is concerned about?

Of course, according to a national terrorism advisory bulletin put out this week by DHS, it is all those quacks spreading “mis- dis- and mal-information” about election fraud and COVID-19.

The bulletin warns against:

The proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine

public trust in U.S. government institutions:

— For example, there is widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives

regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and COVID-19. Grievances

associated with these themes inspired violent extremist attacks during 2021.

Though it is one of those “government institutions,” nowhere in the bulletin does the word “police” appear, as in, you know, anti-police riots staged by the likes of those calling themselves Antifa and Black Lives Matter.

Who is the enemy?

This alarm over what the bulletin calls “false or misleading narratives, and conspiracy theories” also hints mightily that such “free speech” needs to be curbed in the name of public safety. The bulletin advises: “Keep yourself safe online and maintain digital and media literacy to recognize and build resilience to false or misleading narratives.”

(Does anyone else wince a bit at the use of the term Homeland Security and hear not too distant strains of “Deutschland über alles” in their heads?)
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Equal rights or color and gender quotas?

It was interesting to read columnist Larry Elder’s take on equal rights vs. equal outcomes in today’s local newspaper — the same day President Joe Biden promised to nominate the first Black woman to replace the retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Elder lambasts Skip Bayless, a white sports commentator, for being critical of the National Football League after the firing of two Black head coaches, leaving only one Black head coach. Bayless was quoted as saying: “It is shameful, it is disgusting, it is embarrassing and it’s inexplicably wrong.”

Elder wonders what the “correct” percentage of Black head coaches should be. “The NFL consists of 57.5% Black players. Should 57.5% of the coaches be Black?” he asks.

At one point in the opinion piece Elder quotes then-Sen. Joe Biden from 1975: “I do not buy the concept, popular in the ’60s, which said, ‘We have suppressed the black man for 300 years and the white man is now far ahead in the race for everything our society offers. In order to even the score, we must now give the black man a head start, or even hold the white man back, to even the race. I don’t buy that.’”

Elder concluded that, for once, Biden was right.

He then concludes: “MLK spoke of a colorblind society. What is truly shameful, disgusting, embarrassing and inexplicably wrong are people such as Bayless, who demand a society that is color-coordinated.”

Today that same Biden was quoted as saying of his coming Supreme Court nomination: “The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court. It’s long overdue in my view. I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment.”

Also in today’s local paper Washington reporter Gary Martin relates that of Biden’s confirmed nominations 78 percent are women and 53 percent people of color. This was contrasted with Trump’s 76 percent of nominees being men and 85 percent white.

Rights vs. quotas? That debate appears to be ongoing.
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Could Trump be hoisted on his own petard?

Fourteenth Amendment, Section 3: “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President … who … shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. …”

Or given aid or comfort?

A statement released by Trump’s Save America PAC in September:

“Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election. In addition to everything else, it has proven conclusively that we are a two-tiered system of justice. In the end, however, JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!”

Just asking.

Trump on Jan. 6
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Happy birthday, Bill of Rights

Several years ago I penned this for the Review-Journal.

On this day in 1791 the Bill of Rights were ratified by three-fourths of the states. At the insistence of the Anti-Federalists led by Thomas Jefferson the first 10 amendments were added to the new Constitution.

They might more properly be called a Bill of Prohibitions, since they are not so much a delineation of rights as a list of things the federal government may not take away from individuals and the states and local governments. Bill of Rights

This is our day to celebrate the First Amendment prohibition against establishing a state religion, despite odd rulings about nativity scenes and posting the Ten Commandments, and the right of free speech and press, despite McCain-Feingold limits on campaign spending and advertising. (Since somewhat overturned by Citizens United.)

This is our day to celebrate the Second Amendment, despite requirements to register handguns and other laws.

We celebrate the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unlawful search and seizure, despite the Hiibel case in which Larry Hiibel was arrested for not giving his name to a Humbolt County deputy. (Not to mention civil asset forfeitures.)

There’s the Fifth’s protection against taking of property except for public purposes that was bounced by the Kelo decision that let government take property for private development.

As for the Sixth’s right to speedy and public trial? Forget it. No explanation needed.

The right to trial by jury according to the Seventh? Try that in traffic court, buddy.

No cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth’s prohibition. Lifetime sentences for possession of pot belie that one.

The Ninth’s and 10th’s guarantees that rights not delineated are prohibited to feds? Let’s see the states try to set the drinking age or voting age or speed limits.

There’s still the Third’s prohibition against housing troops in private homes. (Right?)

Happy birthday, Bill of Rights, long may you be respected.

A couple of years ago I ran across the Cato video below. As my ol’ Pappy used to say: Great minds travel in the same plane, while fools just think alike.

Actually, the Third is also suspect as I reported here. The courts have since ruled that cops are not soldiers. They sure look alike and are armed alike.
http://dlvr.it/SFQjp2

Nevada lawsuit seeks more tax money for education, though more money has not improved education

On Monday the Nevada Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit brought by nine parents claiming the state Legislature is not meeting its constitutional requirement to adequately fund K-12 public education, according to the morning paper and the online Nevada Independent.

The 37-page lawsuit was filed in March of 2020, as reported here, but dismissed in October by a Carson City district court judge who said “the Court will not substitute its judgment for that of the legislature with respect to the education policy in the state of Nevada.”

The suit, filed by Educate Nevada Now, says Nevada students “inhabit one of the lowest-rated and worst-performing state school systems in the United States,” and asks the courts to find that the level of funding of public education in the state has fallen short of the constitutional requirement to “ensure a basic, uniform, and sufficient education for the schoolchildren of this state.”

There are two problems the Nevada high court justices must grapple with in deciding this case. One: As the suit itself notes, the Nevada constitution states that the Legislature shall appropriate education funds that “the Legislature deems sufficient …” That would seem to dictate that lawmakers are to determine what is “sufficient” rather than the courts. Two: Past spending increases on public education have produced no discernible improvement in the quality of education. From a 2014 Cato Institute analysis of state by state education spending versus SAT scores.

The Nevada Supreme Court in the case of Guinn v. Legislature in 2003 held that Nevada students have a basic right to a public education under the state constitution, the current suit states. In that case the court decided education funding had to take precedent over a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority to raise taxes.

Justice Bill Maupin was the only dissenting vote in the case, citing separation of powers, “Again, we are powerless to order co-equal branches of government to exercise individual acts of constitutional discretion. Our authority depends upon whether extraordinary relief is warranted and in exercising our authority to grant relief, we would be restricted to an interpretation of the Constitution, utilizing recognized tenets of statutory construction.”

The current lawsuit neglects to point out that the justices three years later overturned Guinn v. Legislature, largely for the very reason cited by Maupin.

The Educate Nevada Now suit further quotes the state constitution, which says, “The legislature shall provide for a uniform system of common schools, by which a school shall be established and maintained in each school district […].” A school? The quote is cut off before the part that says such schools, however many there are in each district, must be open “at least six months in every year …”

The litigation comes despite the fact Nevada lawmakers in 2015 passed the largest tax hike in history, $1.5 billion, largely to fund education, and lawmakers have since approved 3 percent raises for teachers.

The problem with Nevada public education is not so much a lack of funding as it is a deficiency in accountability.

At one time Nevada high school students were required to pass a proficiency exam in order to graduate. That was dropped in 2018.

With the 2015 tax hike came a requirement that third graders who could not read at a certain proficiency level would be held back to repeat the third grade. That has since been dropped.

At one point 50 percent of teacher evaluations were based on pupil achievement growth. That has been cut to 15 percent.

Another problem is that education evaluations are all over the board. According to Teacher-Certification.com, Nevada now ranks 39th in K-12 education funding and neighboring Utah dead last. According to Education Week, Nevada ranks 18th in quality of education and Utah ranks 10th. According to U.S. News & World Report, Nevada ranks 48th in quality of K-12 education and Utah ranks 21st.

But the bottom line is: The constitution seems clear when it says education funding is whatever “the Legislature deems sufficient …”
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Author Baldacci shows no mercy in latest book: ‘Mercy’

David Baldacci’s latest installment in his mystery series featuring FBI agent Atlee Pine, “Mercy,” finally connects his protagonist with her twin sister Mercy, who was abducted from their shared bedroom at the age of 6. In doing so, as is his wont, Baldacci piles on the action to the point of stretching credulity. Hey, it’s fiction!

The Pine sisters are no shrinking violets. They are tall, fit and can and do fight with their bare hands and assorted weapons.

To fully appreciate the characters and their development as one sister searches for another — who doesn’t know for sure she even has a sister or what her real name is — I recommend reading the series in order: “Long Road to Mercy,” “A Minute to Midnight” and “Daylight.” But “Mercy” gives one all the background necessary to appreciate the intricate plotting.

Without providing too much of a spoiler, it can noted that Baldacci opens by backgrounding the reader on just what happened to Mercy and how she has survived for nearly three decades.

After her abduction, Mercy was enslaved and tortured for years by a sadistic woman and her husband. When she escaped years later the husband was left for dead, making Mercy a person of interest, even to her FBI agent sister. To make extra money she took up back alley mixed martial arts fighting.

Due to those MMA skills, along the way Mercy gets on the wrong side of an organized crime figure as well as the law, leading to some brutal encounters.

Baldacci weaves the events and reveals the mindsets and motivations as he takes the reader to a breathtaking conclusion.

The book came out just a couple of weeks ago but already is No. 10 on The New York Times’ fiction bestseller list, just ahead of Michael Connelly’s “The Dark Hours.” Deservedly so for both books. I highly recommend “Mercy.”
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This ain’t my first rodeo

Trevor Brazile ropes and ties a calf in 8 seconds in 2009.

As the National Finals Rodeo returns to Las Vegas on Dec. 2, I recall that the closest I ever came to rodeoing was the time Grandpa Hicks put me on his horse Skeeter and sent me down to the lower pasture to bring back the cows for the evening milking.

Now, I say pasture in the kindest North Texas sense — a relatively open area dotted by scrub oak, mesquite, nettles, sandburs, cockleburs, goatheads and Johnson grasses, populated with scorpions, red ants, sidewinders, diamondbacks, jackrabbits and coyotes. It was a place where the butcherbirds hung their prey, young snakes, on the barbed wire (I was a grown man before I learned it was barbed wire and not Bob wire.) fence to keep the other vermin from stealing their victuals. Etched throughout this verdant landscape were gullies as deep as a man on horseback.

It hadn’t changed a whole heck of a lot since Gen. Philip Sheridan rode through in 1866 and panegyrized the place by proclaiming, “If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent Texas and live in Hell.”

My grandparents churned their own butter and smoked their own meat. Grandma Hicks could snag a fleeing pullet by the leg with a length of wire and wring its neck in seconds, leaving the headless bird to run around for a minute or so till it could be picked up and plunged into boiling water, then plucked for a fried chicken dinner with biscuits, gravy and all the fixin’s.

At night as we listened to radio with the glowing De Forest tubes, the only thing to read was the Bible and the Sears & Roebuck’s catalog, which, when the new one arrived, would be, shall we say, recycled.

Every year we’d go to the Chisholm Trail Roundup in Nocona. This was back when the factory still made boots and leather goods, like my three-fingered baseball mitt that had to be oiled and tied around a baseball to form anything resembling a pocket. Every year they’d introduce Miss Enid Justin, the owner of the boot company. It was always “Miss” Enid Justin.

The Chisholm Trail Roundup had no lasers or fireworks or ear-splitting rock music, but it did have a booming-voiced, smart aleck announcer who would trade snappy patter with the rodeo clown during the bull riding events. We sat on cold, splintering wooden bleachers in boots and jeans and hats. Not in an 18,000-seat arena.

This was back when the stars of the sport were Casey Tibbs and Jim Shoulders.

In 2009 at the National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack the star was then 33-year-old Wise County , Texas, roper Trevor Brazile. Unlike most in the sport Brazile earned a couple million dollars in prize money over the years, as well as a barnful of gold buckles. Most cowboys are lucky to cover their expenses — pickups, horse trailers, horses, tack and gear, as well as fuel for vehicles, horses and selves.

On that Saturday, the morning newspaper rodeo reporter Jeff Wolf, who also covered auto racing, wrangled me a press pass and took me down to the pressroom in the bowels of the T&M to meet the assorted rodeo officialdom. Along the way we bumped into Clark County Commissioner Tom Collins and T&M manager Pat Christensen. I was just there to show the flag for the paper as its editor, to show the rodeo the newspaper welcomed them, so maybe they’d think of us when there were news scoops to reveal.

I shook hands with and joked with everyone from the head honcho to the doctor to the hangers on. But I had one boon to ask. If Trevor Brazile happened by, might I get a chance to shake his hand and say hello?

Just before the rodeo was to start, they brought through the pressroom mild-mannered, soft-spoken, polite-as-hell Brazile. I shook his hand and wished him luck from a Wise County expatriate, who, like a kid collecting autographs, could now tell his family back home he’d actually met the star of the rodeo circuit. He was from Decatur. I was from Bridgeport, 11 miles down the road, and Decatur’s arch rival in high school sports. Perhaps, that this being Las Vegas and all, you’ve heard that old craps shooter’s plea: “Eighter from Decatur, county seat of Wise.”

As a lagniappe, I also shook the tiny, soft, splayed hand of bashful 2-year-old Treston, who, like his dad, was dressed in black from hat to boot. If I live so long, perhaps someday I can say I met him when …

Wolf talked the rodeo communications director into letting me sit in the press box up at arena side for a couple of go-rounds, where I dusted bits of arena floor kicked up by passing riders off my program and watched poor Trevor Brazile finish almost out of the money in both calf (I refuse to call it tie-down roping as a sop to the animal rights whiners.) and team roping.

The closest I ever came to that kind of rodeo action was because I did not know Skeeter was a cutting horse. I think I was about 10. For the purposes of this story and an aversion to too much self-embarrassment, I’ll not admit to being any older. Only my mother could proffer a contrary accounting, and she doesn’t own a computer.

So, when I got down to the pasture where that half dozen or so head of docile milk cows were grazing, either through some unintended signal from me or his own instincts, Skeeter decided that one suckling calf keeping devotedly near its mother just had to be cut out of the herd for purposes only Skeeter could fathom.

In the Texican lexicon skeeter is short for mosquito, another blood-sucking denizen of those parts, which darts about in the air, changing directions so fast as to defy the laws of physics. If you’ve not had the pleasure of seeing one work, that’s what a good cutting horse does. It dashes and stops and cuts back, doing whatever it takes to prevent that calf from doing what it instinctively wants to do, rejoin the rest of the herd.

Normally, most people get to see this performance in a nice flat arena from comfortable seats. Did I mention the gullies? Somehow I managed to stay on Skeeter’s back instead of flying off under the force of kinetic energy as he made all those hair-pin turns and stops.

After awhile, Skeeter decided I did not know what the heck I doing and allowed me to point him toward the barn, leaving behind that calf and all the milk cows with bulging udders. Grandpa was so angry I almost wished I’d tumbled off into a gully so I could at least have Grandma’s sympathy.

As I told the communications director back then: “This ain’t my first rodeo.”

This first appeared as a column in the morning newspaper in 2009.
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