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Judge declares mistrial in Bundy standoff case

Judge declares mistrial in Bundy standoff case

ammon bundy

LAS VEGAS — A federal judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case involving Cliven Bundy and his two sons after she found prosecutors “willfully” failed to turn over evidence related to an armed standoff three years ago.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro pointed to several Brady violations — suppression of evidence that could be favorable to a defendant — and then dismissed the jury.

“It was not possible to go forward with the case,” Navarro told the jurors.

It marks yet another setback for federal prosecutors, who have struggled to obtain convictions against the Bundy family and their supporters and the cases have become a rallying point for those who believe the federal government has overstepped its authority by controlling public lands operated by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The federal government brought the case forward as it alleged Bundy and his two sons escalated tensions after refusing court orders to remove cattle from public lands — ultimately leading to an armed standoff with federal law enforcement officials in April 2014 outside of Bunkerville, Nevada.

That standoff ended after federal authorities backed down, claiming they feared for their lives as about 400 Bundy supporters — many with guns — held their ground. The high-profile incident forced the closure of a segment of Interstate 15 near Mesquite as the Bundy supporters tried to stop federal officials from removing the cattle.

But the trial has been slow-going.

Jurors were seated in early November and opening arguments weren’t heard until Nov. 14. Defense lawyers claimed evidence had been withheld by the prosecution and that set in motion a series of delays and sealed hearings.

There were also unexpected surprises for the government, as Navarro allowed Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy — along with Ryan Payne — to be granted pre-trial release so they could better prepare their case and be at home with their families. Cliven Bundy has remained jailed at a prison in Pahrump.

After Navarro declared a mistrial, Ryan Bundy asked for his release with a promise to appear in court if a new trial is set, but Navarro told him he would have to make the request through the pre-trial office.

Navarro has set Feb. 26 as a new trial date.

Last week, The Oregonian obtained a November 27 memo from lead investigator who accused federal agents of misconduct during the 2014 standoff. The 18-page document also suggested the agents held prejudicial feelings against the Bundys for being Mormon.

With defense lawyers already claiming the prosecution had failed to disclose evidence, it became a part of about a week-long series of sealed court hearings as the Bundys angled for a mistrial or outright dismissal of the charges.

The stakes have been high for the federal government, which has struggled to obtain convictions in cases surrounding the Bundy family and their cohorts.

This case was expected to go into the early part of 2018 as prosecutors attempted to prove the four defendants threatened a federal officer, carried and used a firearm and engaging in conspiracy — all felony charges that would’ve had them spend decades in prison.

The 71-year-old Bundy is revered among those who believe the federal government and supporters gathered outside the courthouse most mornings when court was in session. “Today is a great day,” one supporter yelled outside the federal courthouse.

Federal prosecutors had looked for this case to stop a steady losing streak in court against the Bundy family. Twice this year, Las Vegas juries acquitted or deadlocked on multiple felony charges against Bundy supporters.

Ammon Bundy, 42, and Ryan Bundy, 44, were acquitted on similar federal felony charges related to their roles in a 41-day standoff at an Oregon wildlife preserve in 2016.

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-David Montero, ©2017 Los Angeles Times, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Source: Will County News

The NASA-approved secret to sleeping and feeling better

The NASA-approved secret to sleeping and feeling better

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Want to know how get a better night’s rest, reduce anxiety and avoid those colds going around this time of year?

The answer may be easier than you think…

You see, according to joint research from NASA and the American College, you can get all of those benefits simply by putting a plant on your bedside table.

Sound too good to be true? Don’t stop reading yet…

Experts have long preached the benefits of house plants, and scientists are now catching up and realizing the advantages of bringing the outdoors in. That’s because the presence of plants in your home reduces your stress and anxiety and helps with the removal of airborne pollutants to help you beat colds, tight chests and insomnia.

The researchers at NASA even categorized which plants give you the most bang for your buck in your bedroom.

Here the top five in order of the benefits they offer:

1. Areca palm

The plant that can remove the most pollutants from the air in your home is the Madagascan areca palm.

And, it offers one more big benefit. According to the researchers, the areca palm actually releases moisture into the air, acting as a natural humidifier to soothe your nasal passages and help you breathe easier. So, if you’re prone to sinus trouble or colds, this is the plant for you.

2. Aloe vera

Another plant that will improve the air quality in your bedroom is the aloe vera plant. Not only does this plant release oxygen continuously, it also removes benzene (which is found in detergents and plastics) and formaldehyde (found in varnishes and floor finishes) from the air, ensuring the air you breathe throughout the night is fresh and pure.

3. English ivy

If you suffer from allergies to mold, adding a beautiful potted English ivy to your nightstand could help you feel better. That’s because researchers at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found that English ivy in particular removes 78 percent of airborne mold in just 12 hours.

4. Dwarf date palm

The dwarf date palm is another great choice for your bedroom, as it cleans dangerous pollutants from the air, especially xylene, a volatile toxin found in solvents, paint thinner and cigarette smoke.

5. Boston fern

The Boston fern is the plant you want if you’re concerned about formaldehyde exposure. Although most people only think about this chemical when it comes to embalming, it’s actually far more common than you think.

Formaldehyde is used in making building materials. Many household products, including pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood and fiberboard for your bedroom furniture, glues and adhesives, permanent-press fabrics, paper-product coatings and certain insulation materials. It’s even found in high concentrations in the exhaust from your car.

With the many ways you’re exposed to this dangerous pollutant each day, the Boston fern could be the best choice for protecting your health.

Surprisingly, these airborne pollutants can have a detrimental effect on your liver, the one organ in your body that works hard to spare you the ill-effects of this daily pollution and chemical onslaught. It turns out that air pollution can contribute to liver fibrosis, an illness associated with metabolic disease which can lead to cirrhosis — and worse.

So, while you take advantage of plants that can help improve the air in your home, don’t forget to support your liver so it can keep supporting you. Milk thistle — another protective plant — is a real liver lover. I get mine in Peak Liver Support™, which contains several other beneficial compounds derived from pollution-fighting plants, including turmeric.


Sources:

dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5009063/The-plants-NASA-says-NEED-bedroom.html

cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/formaldehyde.html

Ze Zheng, Xuebao Zhang, Jiemei Wang, Aditya Dandeka, Hyunbae Kim, Yining Qiu, Xiaohua Xu, Yuqi Cui, Aixia Wang, Lung Chi Chen, Sanjay Rajagopalan, Qinghua Sun, Kezhong Zhang. Exposure to Fine Airborne Particulate Matters Induces Hepatic Fibrosis in Murine Models. Journal of Hepatology, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2015.07.020

Source: Will County News

A triple victory for the American people

A triple victory for the American people

With his signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, President Trump will achieve three signature legislative victories for the American people: cutting taxes, repealing the Obamacare mandate, and boosting American energy production.

Tax reform will provide a strong direct boost to take home pay.  The standard deduction jumps from $13,000 to $24,000 for a married couple and from $6,500 to $12,000 for a single filer.  Above the much more generous deduction amount, the 15 percent rate is cut to 12 percent, all the way up to $77,400 for married couples and $38,700 for singles.  The rest of the rates are also cut, providing tax cuts at every income level while making the overall tax system more progressive: the share of all federal income taxes paid by millionaires is expected to increase from 19.3 percent to 19.8 percent.

The bill doubles the child credit to $2,000 per child, including up to $1,400 per child for non-income taxpayers.

There is no change to the deduction for teachers’ classroom expenses, graduate student tuition waivers, the adoption tax credit, or 401(k) contributions.  The deduction for medical expenses was not only retained but expanded.

According to the liberal Tax Policy Center, over 80 percent of tax units will receive a tax cut averaging $2,140, while just 4.8 percent of units will see a tax hike.

The tax hikes tend to be for high-income taxpayers in areas with high state and local taxes.  Under the old system, state and local taxes could be deducted without limit from federal taxes.  Under the new bill those deductions are limited to $10,000.  In time, even that small group of taxpayers should benefit too as state and local politicians – no longer able to offload the taxes they impose to the rest of the country via an unlimited deduction – will be forced to lower taxes to stay competitive.

The new law is expected to be implemented in time for February paychecks, and I recommend filling out a new W-4 form as soon as the IRS makes it available to be sure your adjusted withholding is accurate.

Perhaps even more significant for families is the impact of the bill’s business tax cuts on wage growth.  The U.S. has been uncompetitive internationally, with the highest corporate tax rate in the world and a perverse system that penalizes companies for bringing home the profits of their foreign subsidiaries.  An analysis by Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett finds that fixing these problems will raise household incomes $4,000 to $9,000.

The bill also delivers victories for the American people on health care and energy.

The individual mandate is the corrupt beating heart of Obamacare – the idea that people should be required to buy overpriced insurance products they don’t want or pay a penalty tax.

IRS data show that 79 percent of taxpayers who pay the mandate tax make less than $50,000 and 37 percent make less than $25,000.  The best argument mandate supporters can muster is that if people are not taxed for opting out of Obamacare, more people will opt out.  But it’s hard to see how people who might sign up solely to avoid the mandate tax are hurt by having the option to say no.

The final bill cuts the mandate penalty from its current level – the higher of $695 or 2.5 percent of AGI – to a nice flat rate of zero, effective 2019.

The Trump administration should expand the exemption categories to maximize transition relief in the last year of the mandate and move forward aggressively on the reforms outlined in the president’s October executive order to make lower cost options available.  Come 2019, Americans will once again be able to choose coverage that meets their needs – not the desires of federal bureaucrats – without penalty.

The ANWR provision will be a big boost to American energy production.  It will allow environmentally responsible access to a vast Alaska energy resource that could produce 1.5 million barrels a day through a tiny 2,000 acre footprint – just one ten thousandth of the total area of ANWR.  This will create tens of thousands of jobs and billions in state and federal revenue, as well as representing an enormous symbolic victory over a multi-decade spin campaign in which the left turned nearly desolate tundra into a key battleground in their effort to use environmentalist ideology to block even responsible development of our natural resources.

House and Senate Republicans worked together in the face of lockstep partisan opposition from Democrats and a relentless smear campaign from their media allies.  As a result the American people are getting the big, beautiful Christmas presents President Trump promised.

— Phil Kerpen

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Copyright 2017 Phil Kerpen, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Mr. Kerpen is the president of American Commitment and the author of “Democracy Denied.” Kerpen can be reached at phil@americancommitment.org.

Source: Will County News