Opinion: Lies the Supreme Court Told Me

Children ride scooters across the plaza at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on March 17, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Commentary

In a fashion we must now regard as entirely predictable the Supreme Court of the United States has dismissed (i.e., thrown out) the various state challenges to the 2020 presidential election.

Any decisions on these challenges were determined by the majority to be “moot” because the election had already been decided, and Donald Trump has conceded to Joe Biden. (Associate Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch objected in varying degrees.)

In other words, a stolen presidential election—if it happens, we don’t really know in this case—has an almost immediate statute of limitations, although the results of that election can affect hundreds of millions, if not, as in the case of the United States, nearly the entirety of humanity.

This is true, apparently for a majority of the Supremes, although all sorts of crimes, some not particularly onerous, have statutes of limitations that can go on for years.

Go figure.

The Supremes also cited the issue of “standing,” a term of legal “art” that has always struck me, despite all the precedents on which it is supposedly based, as wide open for biased interpretation of the most self-serving sort. One person’s “standing” can be another’s closed door, almost at will and certainly by vote of a “majority.”

If I sound cynical about the Supreme Court, I have to admit I am. It’s even true of the law in general, which I want to believe in and admire, but increasingly no longer do.

In the real world, legal results tend to mirror A.J. Liebling’s 1960 comment in The New Yorker about the press: “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”

The law belongs to those who have the deepest control of a society at the time.

We want lady justice to be blind but in actuality she’s a cyborg with all-seeing, rotating night vision similar to the kind you might find on many urban street corners today from Beijing to Chicago, using the latest algorithms to isolate presumed enemies of the state.

And, yes, I am no lawyer. I haven’t taken even one course in the law and spent my time in college and graduate school studying now questionable white men like John Milton.

But over my decades as a Hollywood screenwriter and then founder and CEO of PJMedia I employed many lawyers—some very good and some not so much—and came to understand the limitations on what they did.

Contracts, it turned out, weren’t worth much more than the paper they were written on unless both parties wanted to honor them. Enforcing infringements, unless they were hugely egregious, was rarely worth the expense and effort.

Lawsuits—win or lose— tend to take over your life in highly deleterious ways. Few want to get involved.

The Supreme Court is the apotheosis of this system—an organization that puts its finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing (assuming that’s even necessary) and then writes its opinions based on pre-conceived notions designed to offend the lowest number.

Sadly, it is the last place to look for justice in a Presidential election—or anything, really, that tilts against that prevailing wind.

They wouldn’t even, as Clarence Thomas requested, explore the blatantly unconstitutional malfeasances in various states where unelected officials clearly and unlawfully superseded the legislatures in changing election law by fiat, something we would think would only happen in totalitarian countries.

But it happened here, my friends, several times. We could cite the Supreme Court for dereliction of duty … or we could look elsewhere for justice.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are The GOAT” (fiction) and I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasnt Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on Parler as @rogerlsimon.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Birdpuk.com.

Source: Opinion: Lies the Supreme Court Told Me

Opinion: Joe Biden Just Made the Worst Foreign Policy Blunder Since 1950

Buildings at the Artux City Vocational Skills Education Training Service Center, believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, north of Kashgar in China's northwestern Xinjiang region, on June 2, 2019. (Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)

Commentary by Thomas Del Beccaro

Recently, I wrote that the world would be “Living Dangerously for Four Years Under Joe Biden.” In plain terms, Joe Biden is not physically or mentally up to the job.

By dismissing the Chinese regime’s atrocities against the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority who live in Xinjiang in northwest China, as part of “different norms,” Biden could be plunging the world into an international crisis sooner than any of us could have imagined.

In 1968, the historian Will Durant wrote in his “Lessons of History,” that “War is one of the constants of history, and has not diminished with civilization or democracy. In the last 3,421 years of recorded history, only 268 have seen no war.” Sadly, there has been a war somewhere in the world every year since.

Regardless of the luxuries in which Americans live, it remains true that, in every era, there are regimes that are barbaric or seek domination of their people and often the regions around them, if not more.

China is one such country. Recently, it was reported by the New York Post that “The State Department said it was ‘deeply disturbed’ by a report that claims Muslim women being held in Chinese re-education camps detaining millions of Uyghurs are being systematically raped, sexually abused and tortured.”

While not every atrocity can be remedied by the United States, none of them should be tolerated. All of them should be met by statements from our Commander in Chief that America aspires for freedom for everyone and that no atrocity can be justified or tolerated.

Beyond that, an administration should use diplomacy and economic sanctions at a minimum to confront the atrocities. Military intervention, while a last resort, should never be taken off the table.

With respect to China, a country that permits live organ harvesting, military intervention is not an option for those atrocities. Clear-eyed resolve, diplomacy, and sanctions, however, are a must.

All of which brings us to Joe Biden’s statement related to China and the Uyghurs. In a rambling response on national television, Biden first justified China’s abuses by saying:

“If you know anything about Chinese history, it has always been, the time when China has been victimized by the outer world is when they haven’t been unified at home . . . So the central—well, vastly overstated—the central principle of [Chinese leader] Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that.”

He also said, “Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow.”

Atrocities are not justifiable norms and prior wrongs don’t justify current atrocities.

Biden’s comments could be the worst foreign policy blunder since Secretary of State Dean G. Acheson’s speech at the National Press Club on Jan. 12, 1950. In that speech, he “defined the American ‘defensive perimeter’ in the Pacific as a line running through Japan, the Ryukyus, and the Philippines. This denied a guarantee of US military protection to the Republic of Korea (ROK).”

Not long after, the world was plunged into the Korean War after North Korea invaded South Korea in June of 1950. Many reasonably believe that Acheson’s statement that the United States’ sphere of concern, i.e. its defense perimeter, didn’t include what is South Korea today was a green light for North Korea, with the support of China and Russia, to invade South Korea.

Joe Biden’s comments just gave comfort to China that the United States won’t interfere in its domestic atrocities. The same words shall give comfort to Iran, Russia, and every dictator around the world—regardless of whether clarifying statements are made by the Administration in the days and weeks ahead.

God only knows what they will do with Biden’s green light.

The world, on the other hand, now knows just how weak Joe Biden is.

One lesson of history is that wars are started based on an adversary’s weakness and that is why the world will be living dangerously under Joe Biden.

Thomas Del Beccaro is an acclaimed author, speaker, Fox News, Fox Business, and Epoch Times opinion writer, and former chairman of the California Republican Party. He is the author of the historical perspectives “The Divided Era” and “The New Conservative Paradigm

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Birdpuk.com

Source: Opinion: Joe Biden Just Made the Worst Foreign Policy Blunder Since 1950

A Digital Apartheid Is Upon Us

Facebook, Google, and Twitter logos are seen in this combination photograph. (Reuters)

Commentary – John Mills

Col. (Ret.) John Mills is a national security professional with service in five eras: Cold War, Peace Dividend, War on Terror, World in Chaos, and now—Great Power Competition. He is the former director of cybersecurity policy, strategy, and international affairs at the Department of Defense.

It started innocuously. It was an acceptable drag coefficient from Facebook, just be careful what you say politically when you post something.

The quick and seemingly inexpensive brown boxes from Amazon were addictive, so just accept the sneers and derision of the self-appointed newspaper of record (subsidized by Jeff Bezos, the common owner of both).

Tweet away but be careful next time you were released from the penalty box.

Search all you want with Google, just ignore the first 100 returns that were algorithm-ed to shape your world view.

It’s been 10 years since the kindred dalliance between the Obama Administration and the titans of Silicon Valley began to form and solidify. I point to 2010 and the summer push for Cybersecurity legislation as when the alliance began to take shape.

The initial encounters were tepid and taken initially with baby steps, but now it’s difficult to tell the difference between the Democrat administrations and Big Tech. Now we know there is a price for this lifestyle we became accustomed to and the gleeful surrender of our data. You will be deleted if you do not conform.

Instead of working our alternative worldview and the cyber infrastructure to enable it over the last 10 years, we willingly traded freedom for convenience. Now what do we do to counter-act this groveling obeisance we’re forced into when we’re the majority of the population? We need to walk away and build our own future.

Lawfare

The foundational battleground of societal warfare waged by the public/private progressive alliance is the legal battlefield. Social progressives have refined this capability to an efficient, highly effective, and ferocious art form. The alliance between the Democrat administrations and Big Tech aligned further with a legion of non-profit organizations that are highly lawyerized and have a very mature, repeatable model on how to leverage civil rights laws and environmental laws far beyond their original letter, spirit, and intent.

Cancel culture, massive coercion of the business environment, and intimidation of public figures (with some exceptions) is the current high point of this art form. This progressive alliance has used lawfare as the vanguard of their color revolution to take over America.

I would posit one of the initial groups that refined lawfare from the left was the Southern Poverty Law Center. From that successful model, other activist groups moved onto other cause celebs such as the Nuclear Freeze movement of the 1980’s, the take down of Big Tobacco in the 1990’s, and endless environmental browbeating that goes into attack mode when science is used to upend their litigation gravy train. It will never end—why not? It’s been very successful (and very profitable).

Those being faced with this Digital McCarthyism need to relentlessly establish their own legal take down strategy, just like they did against Big Tobacco. Using the spirit of the Civil Rights movement and the 1964 Civil Rights Act (CRA) they must develop, refine, test, and improve the arguments that demonstrate that although political speech is not a protected class in the CRA, the sheer volume and magnitude of Big Tech’s actions are beginning to negatively affect substantive portions of protected classes established in that law.

Some states do provide some forms of protection in relation to political views. There should be more development of the use of the Rico Act, Equal Protection, and Anti-Trust arguments. It will take time and there will be some court losses, but just like they did, we need to relentlessly return over and over and over again, building upon little legal successes here and there. There is money to be made in these cases and after some success is shown that will release a ravenous pack of trial lawyers upon Big Tech.

Our Own Data Storage

Creating alternative hosting environments for data (i.e. data centers where our data is often stored) is perhaps an action more within immediate reach in the near future. There may be big names in data center hosting such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), but alternatives do exist. This is becoming more and more of a market-based commodity, so steering clear of providers inclined to be partisan combatants is wise.

The mobile access to our data (smart phones, tablets, etc.) is a little more challenging. The two current dominant environments are Android and Apple (IOS). With that dominance comes the ability to essentially determine which apps are compatible and which are allowed to operate in their environments.

In the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021 chaos in Washington D.C., Twitter conducted great purges of users. Many immediately moved to Parler. Parler made a bad decision and assumed their App would be offered and maintained on these environments. When Android and Apple made decisions to not offer or maintain the Parler App, it brought Parler to an immediate halt.

Gab, Rumble, and others had developed their environments to be more old-school, web-based, and independent of Android and Apple and soon took many of the Twitter to Parler refugees. The scent of coordination between Twitter, Android, and Apple gives an opening to an anti-trust lawfare counterattack.

As dominant as Android and Apple may seem right now, their pre-eminence does not stretch that far into the past. And believe it or not, there are rising alternatives. In the fast-paced tech world, the peak of dominance is a transitory vapor that can come and go quickly.

Mobile alternatives are in the making, we have to vote with our dollars to help accelerate this evolution. Disruptive events such as 5G are always opportunities for those companies more agile, hungry, and adaptive. Android and Apple need to watch their rear-view mirrors.

Financial Systems

The growing partisan behavior by financial system providers to enforce their worldviews is perhaps the most disturbing part of recent events. This thinly veiled social activism, may have started by targeting gun sales, but is becoming a standard part of financial firm social activism and is being applied across a larger target set in support of broader issues.

Access to capital is the lifeblood of businesses and citizens, and social activists know this. These financial providers are showing bolder willingness to asphyxiate any form of opposition. The financial sector not only introduced measures to limit conservatives, but at the same time, provide support to activist groups such as BLM.

The all-in nature of these financial firms is craven. Because of this, a clarion call is sounded to establish new financial firms to ensure the full spectrum and diversity of society is serviced. Bank of America started small to ensure migrants received access to capital and financial services. It can be done again.

Taking from one of Jeff Bezo’s toys, let’s make sure democracy and our incredible republic do not die in the darkness of this oppressive Digital Apartheid.

We can begin this journey in simple things such as web browsing using alternatives such as Dissenter, Brave, and DuckDuckGo instead of the web browser that must not be named. The current Tech Titans started out small and grew giant. With a little bit of our coordinated effort they can be retired and become remembered only as questions in future versions of nostalgia trivia games. The sooner we start, the sooner it will happen.

Retired Col. John Mills is a national security professional with service in five eras: Cold War, Peace Dividend, War on Terror, World in Chaos, and now, Great Power Competition. He is the former director of cybersecurity policy, strategy, and international affairs at the Department of Defense. @ColonelRETJOHN

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Source: A Digital Apartheid Is Upon Us

Editorial: Bill language should not allow water grab

by Thomas Mitchell

A growing number of public and private entities are joining a concerted effort to make sure a bill pending before Congress does not inadvertently create a means for Clark County to tap rural groundwater, though Clark County officials protest that is not the intent of the proposal.

According to Great Basin Water Network (GBWN) — a coalition of conservationists, rural officials, tribes and agricultural interests — there are fears that the wording in the proposed Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act, whether intentional or not, could skirt a federal judge’s ruling blocking a proposed 300-mile right-of-way for a network of water pipelines.

The bulk of the bill, not yet introduced in Congress, proposes freeing up more than 40,000 acres of public land in Clark County for economic development, but two sections at the end of the 21-page bill call for the Interior Department to give the Southern Nevada Water Authority rights-of-way for an electric power line that “shall be subject only to the terms, conditions and stipulations identified in the existing rights-of-way, and shall not be subject to further administrative or judicial review. The right-of-way shall be granted in perpetuity and shall not require the payment of rental fees.” Opponents fear that a right-of-way for a power line could just as easily be used for pipelines.

Two years ago a federal judge ruled that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) could grant the water agency right-of-way for its network of pipelines to take groundwater beneath White Pine, Lincoln and Nye counties, but first it had to come up with plans to mitigate the potential loss of wildlife habitat due to a draw down of the water table, as is required by the CleanWater Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

That might prove to be impossible, since federal studies show the interconnected aquifers are already at equilibrium — meaning water that is now being drawn from the aquifers is being replaced gallon for gallon annually with no leeway for additional withdrawal. The water agency proposes to withdraw 84,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year. The project is projected to cost more than $15 billion and could triple water rates in Clark County.

This past week more than a dozen entities joined in opposition to Congress approving the right-of-way proposal. These include several Nevada and Utah counties, three Indian tribes and a number of environmental groups.

Nevada State Sen. Pete Goicoechea and Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, discuss efforts by Clark County to tap rural groundwater. (Pix by Roger Moellendorf)

“What Clark County is proposing is a pro-pipeline bill,” said Kyle Roerink, executive director of the GBWN. “Elected officials, attorneys, and non-profit organizations that span Nevada, Utah and the region all agree: The SNWA wants the congressional delegation to carry its water by surreptitiously advancing a project that has consistently lost in federal and state courts. The Nevada delegation deserves better than sneaky end-runs masked as technicalities. For now, the name of the bill should be the Great Basin Water Grab Act of 2019.”

A resolution passed by the Duckwater Shosone Tribe warned, “Science has shown that the pipeline would ultimately destroy B

ashsahwahbee, killing off Swamp Cedars and drying up the Sacred Water Valley’s springs and aquifers that plant and wildlife currently depend upon.”

A spokesman for the water authority told the Las Vegas newspapers there is no intention to use the right-of-way for anything other than power lines. Though he thought the language was sufficiently clear, he said it has been modified recently. Another official offered that it might be further altered to allay concerns.

Clark County could use the economic development. Changing the language in the bill should satisfy the opposition.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Source: Editorial: Bill language should not allow water grab

Costly Nevada Legal Fight Over Taxes Was Unnecessary

It was a senseless and futile gesture, but our Democratic lawmakers and governor were just the ones to do it.

Despite the fact Nevada voters in 1994 and 1996 amended the state Constitution to declare “an affirmative vote of not fewer than two-thirds of the members elected to each House is necessary to pass a bill or joint resolution which creates, generates, or increases any public revenue in any form,” the 21-member state Senate approved the extension of taxes and fees that were supposed to be curbed with a 13-8 vote, one vote short of the constitutionally mandated two-thirds. Gov. Steve Sisolak signed the tax extensions into law.

The eight Republican senators who voted against the tax extensions and three companies that would have to pay the higher taxes have sued in district court in Carson City, asking the court for a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction against enactment of the laws.

The Democrats charged ahead with tax and fee extensions after their compliant Legislative Counsel Bureau (LCB), the lawmakers’ lawyers, issued an opinion that a two-thirds vote was not necessary since the taxes were not being “raised” but merely allowed to continue at a rate that was scheduled to be reduced, paying no heed to the fact the bills in question “generate” public revenue. Asked nearly the same question in 2011, 2013 and 2015, the LCB said a two-thirds vote was necessary.

When Republicans first threatened to sue, Sisolak confidently stated, “We’ve got legal opinion from LCB that, you know, a simple majority is what’s needed. I’ve been in government for 20 some-odd years, and if you don’t trust your attorneys, you’ve got a problem. So I’m confident that the attorneys gave us a good opinion. We’ll move forward from there.”

After the suit was actually filed, a somewhat less assured Sisolak was quoted by the pressas demurring, “I remain absolutely committed to taking action if necessary following the court’s decision to ensure our schools continue to receive the total amount of funding approved by the Legislature for the … biennium.”

According to the governor’s executive budget at the end of that biennium there is expected to be a rainy day fund balance of $415.2 million, more than enough to cover the $98 million that the extension of the modified business tax rate and the $7 million that the $1 Department of Motor Vehicles technology fee extension are expected to generate.

The modified business tax extension is scheduled to begin being collected on Oct. 1 and the technology fee was set to end on July 1, 2020.

So, what was the point in pushing the constitution-ignoring legislation?

Senate Republican Leader James Settelmeyer said in a statement released to the media after the suit was filed, “We have checks and balances for a reason and eroding the two-thirds requirement is an unprecedented disregard for the constitution and creates a dangerous precedent. While there was ample money to fund education and other vital programs, Sisolak and (Senate Democratic Leader Nicole) Cannizzaro acted recklessly and their behavior created an unnecessary constitutional crisis at the expense of over 23,000 small business in Nevada.”

The lawsuit itself makes abundantly clear the stakes involved here: “This action involves an issue of of significant public and statewide importance as it seeks to uphold and protect the constitutional amendment proposed by citizen ballot initiative adopted and overwhelmingly approved by Nevada voters in 1994 and 1996. As provided in Article 1, Section 2 of the Nevada Constitution, political power is inherent in the people. Government only has power from the consent of the governed, and the residents and citizens of the State of Nevada twice voted strongly in favor of amending the Nevada Constitution to add the two-thirds requirement, and the two-thirds requirement has, at least prior to 2019, been applied consistently to legislative bills extending sunsets by the Nevada Legislature.”

The Republican senators and three companies, of course, are asking for recovery of reasonable attorney fees and costs. So, the taxpayers are likely to get stuck with all the costs from both sides.

The suit further noted that lawmakers “had enough money to fund the State’s budget without the public revenues created, generated or increased as a result of the changes to the payroll tax …”

So the passage with less than two-thirds votes was senseless, and, once the courts correctly rule that a two-thirds vote was constitutionally necessary, it will have been futile.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Nevada Legislature

Source: Costly legal fight over taxes was unnecessary


See you in court, governor

by Thomas Mitchell

So, the governor is confident that the extension of the modified business tax rate will withstand a legal challenge, according to both the Las Vegas newspaper and the online Nevada Independent.

“We’ve got legal opinion from LCB (Legislative Counsel Bureau) that, you know, a simple majority is what’s needed,” Gov. State Sisolak was quoted as saying Tuesday. “I’ve been in government for 20 some-odd years, and if you don’t trust your attorneys, you’ve got a problem. So I’m confident that the attorneys gave us a good opinion. We’ll move forward from there.”

Be prepared to move back, governor, by nearly $100 million in your budget for the next two years — the budget that promises 5 percent raises for teachers.

Republicans have promised a legal challenge if the business tax was extended without a two-thirds majority of both houses as prescribed by the Constitution. The tax extension passed the Senate on a party line vote of 13-8, one vote shy of two-thirds.

Voters in 1994 and 1996 amended the Nevada Constitution to state “an affirmative vote of not fewer than two-thirds of the members elected to each House is necessary to pass a bill or joint resolution which creates, generates, or increases any public revenue in any form, including but not limited to taxes, fees, assessments and rates, or changes in the computation bases for taxes, fees, assessments and rates.”

The modified business tax passed in 2015 by a two-thirds vote of lawmakers contained specific language saying the rates would be reduced in 2019 if tax revenues exceeded a certain level, which they have.

But the compliant LCB told the majority Democratic lawmakers and the Democratic governor, “It is the opinion of this office that Nevada’s two-thirds majority requirement does not apply to a bill which extends until a later date or revises or eliminates a future decrease in or future expiration of existing state taxes when that future decrease or expiration is not legally operative and binding yet, because such a bill does not change but maintains the existing computation bases currently in effect for the existing state taxes.”

The bill clearly “generates” revenue that two-thirds of the lawmakers in 2015 said would decrease as of July 1, 2019.

The state Constitution is not something to tamper with. Republicans should take it to court and make the Democrats abide by the rules, even if it means a special session would have to called. In fact, the GOP lawmakers should go directly to the state Supreme Court for an opinion that would binding, unlike the LCB opinion “that future decrease or expiration is not legally operative and binding yet …”

Asked nearly the same question in 2011, 2013 and 2015, the LCB said a two-thirds vote was necessary. So, governor, when do you trust your attorneys?

Gov. Steve Sisolak, right, talks to reporters about legislative session. (R-J pix)

Source: See you in court, governor

Editorial: Give wild horse and burro plan a chance

by Thomas Mitchell

An unprecedented collaboration between various government agencies, animal welfare groups and ranchers has created a plan aimed at finally bringing the wild horse and burro population on the Western range under control.

The disparate groups include the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, the Humane Society of the United States, the American Farm Bureau, American Mustang Foundation, the Public Lands Council and others.

The plan calls for removing 15,000 to 20,000 wild horses a year from the range in the next three years, drastically increasing the use of temporary and permanent sterilization, moving horses to cheaper cost-effective private grazing land and promoting adoptions. The removal number would drop drastically as fertility control takes effect.

The Path Forward for Management of BLM’s Wild Horses & burros

 

The primary objective of this proposal is to develop an economically and environmentally viable, humane, non-lethal, and feasible long-term management plan for wild horses and burros in the American West. The current program is unsustainable and needs redirection.As of March, the Bureau of Land Management estimated that the population of wild horses and burros on federal lands is more than 81,951 — more than three times 26,690 the agency believes the range can sustain — and that population can grow 18 percent a year, the plan warns. Meanwhile, the BLM maintains 36,906 wild horses and burros in large pasture facilities, and 14,029 horses and burros in corral facilities at a cost of $50 million a year.

The plan calls from increasing the BLM’s total wild horse and burro management budget from the current $80 million a year to $130 million initially, but with cost declining as fertility control cuts population growth and horses and burros are adopted. The goal is to sterilize 90 percent of the animals on the range.

Nancy Perry, ASPCA’s senior vice president, told The Associated Press, “Not every advocate wants to engage with or work with those that they have been in battle with over the years. But BLM’s current polices are ineffective. If they continue on the road they’re on now, it means disaster.”

In fact, the AP reported that the plan has ignited fierce opposition from the American Wild Horse Campaign and Friends of Animals, groups that are already challenging in the courts earlier horse round-ups.

The American Wild Horse Campaign was quoted as saying, “The groups promoting this plan have been co-opted into supporting the livestock industry’s agenda for wild horses by the BLM’s vague promise to utilize undefined ‘population growth suppression’ methods. By mandating the removal of a startling 15,000 to 20,000 wild horses a year, the plan will result in the reduction of America’s wild herds to extinction levels.”

Despite the hysteria from the horse huggers, the plan is at least putting forward a rational effort to control the horse and burro population on the range. The plan estimates it will take 10 years to reach the population that the BLM says is sustainable. Currently the animals in many herd management areas are so overpopulated that they are starving and damaging water resources. Grazing land needed by cattle and other wild animals is depleted.

The plan also addresses the cost of keeping wild horses off the range.

“Every day, the BLM spends $1.82 per horse in long term holding pastures and an average of $4.99 per horse in corral facilities,” the plan notes. “A shortage of pasture facilities has forced the agency to use corral facilities for long term purposes — at more than twice the expense. … The agency estimates that each of those horses costs approximately $46,000 over the course of their lifetime. We propose that the BLM relocate corralled horses and burros, along with any additional removed horses and burros, to more cost-effective private pastures.”

The status quo is not acceptable. Give this plan a chance.

Wild horses being warehoused at Palomino Valley.
A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Source: Editorial: Give wild horse and burro plan a chance

Editorial: Minimum wage hike will increase prices and crime

by Thomas Mitchell

Despite all the evidence that it will do more harm than good, a bill to raise the minimum wage in Nevada is still wending its way through the halls of the Legislature in Carson City.

Assembly Bill 456 would raise the minimum wage 75 cents per hour each year as it climbs from the current $7.25 per hour for those receiving company health insurance and $8.25 for those not insured until it reaches $11 or $12 per hour.

In his State of the State speech, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak called for raising the minimum wage and declared, “It’s impossible for an individual, let alone a family, to live on $7.25 an hour,” ignoring the fact almost no one “lives” on minimum wage. Fewer than 3 percent of workers are paid the minimum wage and most of them are under age 25 and working part-time. Most are supplementing family income rather than being self-supporting.

In fact, raising the minimum wage often results in jobs being cut and/or working hours reduced. One study found the average low-wage worker in Seattle lost $125 a month because the minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour.

Now, a recent study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that raising the minimum wage can harm even those who are not being paid the minimum wage.

Using national crime data from 1998 to 2016, the study found “robust evidence that minimum wage hikes increase property crime arrests among teenagers and young adults ages 16- to-24, a population for whom minimum wages are likely to bind.”

The study projects that raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour nationally would result in approximately 231,000 additional property crimes, costing the nation $1.3 billion. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would generate over 410,000 additional property crimes and $2.4 billion per year in additional crime costs.

“We conclude that increasing the minimum wage will at best be ineffective at deterring crime and at worst will have unintended consequences that increase property crime among young adults,” the study authors concluded. They said that previous studies that projected a decrease in crime due to raising the minimum wage ignored the possibility of hours being cut and jobs being lost.

Don’t ignore the costs imposed on everyone when the minimum wage is hiked. A Cato Institute analysis in 2012 found that a “comprehensive review of more than 20 minimum wage studies looking at price effects found that a 10 percent increase in the U.S. minimum wage raises food prices by up to 4 percent and overall prices by up to 0.4 percent.”

The Congressional Budget Office in 2014 estimated that if the federal minimum wage were increased to $10.10 an hour — as proposed by President Obama and others — up to a million workers would lose their jobs.

According to the American Enterprise Institute, when the minimum wage rose 41 percent between 2007 and 2009, the jobless rate for 16- to 19-year-olds increased by 10 percentage points, from about 16 percent in 2007 to more than 26 percent in 2009 — even higher for minorities.

Without those entry level jobs younger Americans cannot build the skills needed to earn higher pay for a lifetime.

Still another Heritage study reported that every dollar increase in minimum wage really only raises take-home pay by 20 cents once welfare benefits are reduced and taxes are increased.

It’s the immutable law of unintended consequences. Lawmakers should abandon their support for this bill, which would cause more harm than good.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Source: Editorial: Minimum wage hike will increase prices and crime


Newspaper column: National Popular Vote would make Nevada voters “irrelevant”

by Thomas Mitchell

The Nevada Assembly voted 23-17 this past week to cut the impact of your presidential vote by at least a third.

Assembly Bill 186 would have Nevada join something called the “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.” Instead of awarding Nevada’s six electoral votes — one for each representative and senator in Congress — according to how Nevadans vote, those six electoral votes would be awarded to the president and vice president team that wins the popular vote nationally.

One could say this cuts the value of Nevada’s votes from six to four, since the votes nationwide would be proportional to population. Or one could say it negates our votes entirely since it matters not how we vote.

Not a single Assembly Republican voted for the bill and five Democrats had the good sense to reject this attempt to emasculate the federalist system on which this country was founded.

If only three state Senate Democrats have the temerity to buck their party leadership and reject AB186 it would fail.

An email to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office asking whether he would sign or veto the bill should it pass did not garner a response.

Backers say the compact would become a reality if it is adopted by states possessing a combined 270 electoral votes, or a majority of the 538 electoral votes. A similar bill passed in Colorado earlier this year, giving the proposal 181 electoral votes, just 89 votes short of becoming binding.

A similar measure passed the Nevada Assembly in 2009 on a party-line vote but failed to come up for a vote in the state Senate.

The instigation for the current push is the fact that in 2016 Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote by 304 to 227, though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9 million.

If the National Popular Vote had been in force in 2000 Nevada’s then four electoral votes would have been enough to flip the election to Al Gore, even though George W. Bush won the popular vote in Nevada by 49.5 percent to 46 percent, winning every county except Clark. Bush won the electoral vote 271 to 266, but lost the popular vote by 540,000.

Janine Hansen, state president of the Nevada Families for Freedom, mentioned just such a scenario in testimony opposing AB186.

“There are three dangers I’d like to mention with the National Popular Vote,” Hansen testified. “One is the National Popular Vote will potentially betray the voters of our own state. If our state voted for candidate A and the National Popular Vote winner was candidate B, our votes would be stolen from our desire and given to the National Popular Vote winner, betraying the voters in this state. I think there would be a lot of angry voters if they found out that that’s what happened.”

Hansen also noted there is no national authority for determining the accuracy of the National Popular Vote.

In his testimony, Jim DeGraffenreid, vice chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, pointed out Nevada is currently a battleground state, getting significant attention from national candidates. He said the state’s first-in-the-West caucuses provide opportunities for all Nevadans to participate.

“The Electoral College exists because the Framers of the Constitution believed that each state should matter in selecting the president,” DeGraffenreid testified. “It is designed to protect the smaller states like Nevada. To suggest that a state should disregard its own voters and instead follow the will of voters in some other state is the exact opposite of what the Framers intended.”

He said the bill could make Nevada voters irrelevant.

The Founders created the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate to assure the smaller populated states were not relegated to powerlessness in a one person-one vote system. The states were meant to be sovereign and to hold the powers not specifically delegated to the federal government.

The National Review pointed out in a recent article that using 2016’s turnout stats a candidate could have won 54 percent of the vote in 48 states, losing only California, New York and D.C., but if an opponent won 75 percent of the vote in just those three locales, a 451 to 87 electoral vote landslide would have turned into a popular-vote defeat to 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent — even though the voters in 48 states rejected that candidate.

Should Nevada surrender its presidential votes to California and New York?

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Source: Newspaper column: National Popular Vote would make Nevada voters irrelevant


Newspaper column: Democrats display disrespectful distraction

 

Nevada Democrats have taken identity politics to a whole new level. They have not just lowered the bar, they have buried it.

Recently they held a press conference to announce the state party’s mascot for the 2018 election season – Mitch McTurtle. Apparently without a hint of embarrassment state Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy unveiled the mascot. It was someone dressed in a turtle costume and holding a faux bag of cash, displaying a name tag reading “Mitch” and standing in front of a sign saying “shelling out millions for Dean Heller since 2011.”

The mascot looked like a parody of a Mutant Ninja Turtle, moviedom’s parody of super heroes, making it a parody of a parody. Is a parody of a parody a double negative and thus a positive?

The character apparently is meant to ridicule Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, not because he moves legislation through the muck and mire of the swamp on the Potomac at the pace of a turtle, but because of his appearance, of all things.

It seems some editorial cartoonists think the older white man McConnell’s thick neck and pointy head protruding from the shell of a suit and tie resemble a turtle. Imagine the hue and cry and pitch forks and torches that would be brought out if some Republican ridiculed someone, anyone because of their appearance, skin pigmentation, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.

We presume the costumed character is the 2018 version of the person in the chicken suit who hung around Republican events in 2010 to ridicule Republican senate candidate Sue Lowden for her nostalgic comment about the old days in rural Nevada when doctors did house calls and were paid in chickens instead of government welfare subsidies.

Some Democrats, without a hint of shame, discomfort or awkwardness, even posed with the green-bedecked character for photos that were posted online.

In this election year there are so many real issues that need to be addressed. All the representative seats are on the ballot. Two will be open seats, as Congressional District 4 Rep. Democrat Ruben Kihuen, under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations, will not be seeking re-election, and Congressional District 3 Democrat Rep. Jacky Rosen has announced she will oppose Republican Sen. Dean Heller, the designated target of the turtle mascot.

But first Heller must face Republican Danny Tarkanian in a primary, presumably sans turtle mascot in tow.

There is also a wide open race for governor since Gov. Brian Sandoval is term limited.

On the Republican side Attorney General Adam Laxalt is leading Treasurer Dan Schwartz in the polls.

On the Democrat side the current front runners appear to be Clark County Commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Steve Sisolak.

The real issues nationally include the current hot buttons of immigration, border security, the budget, deficit and debt reduction, entitlement reform, earmarks, restoration of military might, trade agreements and tariffs, energy independence, health care and health insurance and so much more.

At the state level the issues will include taxation, Yucca Mountain, minimum wage, prevailing wages, voter ID, mental health, Medicaid eligibility, aid for veterans, tax abatements and more.

We wonder how many people have any clue as to just who Mitch McConnell is or that he took over the mantle of majority leader from Sen. Harry Reid.

This ignoble mascot endeavor by Nevada Democrats to ridicule a person’s physical appearance deserves a hearty horse laugh and a heaping ration of mockery, scorn, scoffing, taunts, jeers, lampooning and jibes. Let them begin and continue apace.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

via Newspaper column: Democrats display disrespectful distraction — 4TH ST8