Eviscerating the concept of limited government

To the editor:

Steve Sebelius’ pro "living document" and anti "original intent" Constitution column on Friday was almost pure boilerplate in its attempt to justify governance by judicial fiat ("Law seminar makes you appreciate the Constitution").

Columns like Mr. Sebelius’ are always structured in the same manner: set ’em up, knock ’em down and omit crucial facts.

For example, there is the typical backhand compliment about how the founders "grasped timeless principles that should never be trampled …" offset by the reminder that the original document "conscienced slavery" while cynically omitting a little something called the Civil War and the great human rights amendments that came out of America’s bloodiest conflict. Amendment Thirteen eliminated slavery. Fourteen guaranteed equal protection under the law, and Fifteen extended the right to vote regardless "of race, color or previous condition of servitude."

Set up, knock down and omit.

The founders didn’t have to know a single thing about changes the nation would experience over any period of time because they gave us the perfect tool to do what we want with the document — the amendment process. Of course, you could read Mr. Sebelius’ column a hundred times and not find one word about that because it does not serve his — or the Harvard professor’s — desire to have the Constitution "amended" by judicial rulings.

I particularly enjoyed the line about how regressive statist … uh, excuse me … liberal judges "consider the consequences of their rulings." You bet they do. Each decision is carefully considered in terms of how effectively it will further eviscerate the concept of a limited central government with specifically enumerated powers.

With no power of the purse and no power of the sword, the founders were sure the judiciary was the weakest and least dangerous branch. The anti-Federalists weren’t buying it and, sadly, they were right.

Knight Allen

Las Vegas

Just like pigs

To the editor:

Many Americans are somewhat aware of the nationwide issue related to feral pigs — or hogs, as they are sometimes called. These animals are shown nightly on various cable outlets as a renegade, invasive species that causes billions of dollars in property damage and threatens native wildlife species.

These animals, like many other invasive species, are the result of accidental and sometimes intentional releases during the past 500 years by humans who brought them to the New World. As is the case with most of the "introduced" species, the ecosystem of North America lacks the ability to naturally control population numbers. Few predators are equipped by nature to kill and eat animals that are artificially introduced into their environment. Man remains the only effective control.

The fact that wild horses are treated differently than these feral pigs and other invasive species is a stunning example of hypocrisy. "Wild horses, the symbol of the West," are no different than feral pigs, and are without any scientific doubt an invasive species.

During the past few decades, America has spent billions of dollars eradicating invasive species. We have torn down dams, poisoned rivers and lakes and burned millions of acres of land, all in an effort to restore and strengthen native species and habitat. But the horse, somehow immune to science, has federal protection?

At a time when governments must decide between paying teachers or firefighters or doctors or police, this invasive squatter continues to receive its paycheck. The latest complaints of cruelty obscure the fact that this fugitive livestock should not be allowed to exist on public land at all. The capture and control methods described in the roundup reports are simply standard practices throughout the livestock industry.

Of course, by now we should be used to this type of intellectual dishonesty. The great state of Nevada even celebrated its collective ignorance by proudly displaying this make-believe, mythological "wild horse" on the state quarter. I guess we should ignore the fact that it would take a time machine and 10,000 years to find a real wild horse in Nevada.

Wild horses are nothing more than escaped livestock. They should be treated as such by removing their federal protection.

James Thomson

Las Vegas

Good man

To the editor:

Nevada has lost a great one, my good friend Paul Henry. He was a Nevadan first, a loyal Democrat leader second.

I learned with disbelief about the passing of the 48-year-old Mr. Henry (Review-Journal obituary), who came to Las Vegas to manage Sen. Harry Reid’s local office in the 1990s and then served as chairman of the Nevada Democratic Party from 1996 to 1999. Mr. Henry had visited my office less than three months ago to discus the viability of various investment vehicles for the Nevada System of Higher Education.

When Jeb Bush and James Carville spoke at UNLV as part of the Barrick Lecture Series, Mr. Henry attended with several of his political allies. As always, he was very engaging and informative about the current political climate. He spoke very highly of Mr. Bush and Mr. Carville.

Mr. Henry exemplified the true leadership qualities of a composite political leader. He had many friends, Democratic, Republican, independent, libertarian, right wing, left wing and no wing. He was a combination of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight David Eisenhower, Adlai Stevenson, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. He had it all.

Mr. Henry was a great family man. He loved and adored his wife, Diane, and their two daughters, Alexandra and Katie, and his brother Michael. I have lived in Nevada almost 50 years and I have never seen the likes of Paul Henry — and never will again. He was definitely one of a kind. Well-liked person by both political parties and — most importantly — a family man.

I will miss Mr. Henry immensely. I have lost a true friend, but the greatest loss is to Nevada and the nation.

Goodbye, Paul.

Mark Alden

Las Vegas

The writer serves on the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents.

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