return of the dimwitted sheriffs

A few weeks ago I nattered on about a group of dimwit sheriffs who hold a rather flawed understanding of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution (their understanding of the Supremacy Clause, essentially, is this: What? There’s a Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution?). When I wrote about them, these folks claimed to have more than sixty county sheriffs who supported the belief that they are the final arbiters of the law in their county. Now they claim there are more than 200 sheriffs who support that position.

An organization called the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association recently held their first conference (in Las Vegas, of course, because where else would ultra right wing Christianists hold a meeting?). The CSPOA conference was organized by this jamoke:

Former sheriff Richard Mack

Former sheriff Richard Mack locked in mortal combat against Imaginary Obama

That’s Richard Mack, former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona (population: 37,220). Mack was the National Rifle Association Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 1994; he’s been inducted into the NRA Hall of Fame. He’s also the author of From My Cold Dead Fingers: Why America Needs Guns and THE NAKED SPY: His Mission Began the Day He Died. 

The CSPOA conference was sponsored by the Gun Owners of America, the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute, and the John Birch Society. And before you ask, I swear I’m not making that up — it was sponsored by the fucking John Birch Society. The folks best known for claiming the fluoridation of drinking water was a communist plot, the folks who claimed President Eisenhower was a “communist tool.”

But be assured, former-sheriff Mack also has support from equally reputable sources. Like has-been, draft dodging rock musicians with tendencies toward pedophilia.

Former sheriff Mack, former rocker Nugent, former deer

Former sheriff Mack, former rocker Nugent, former deer

The purpose of the CSPOA conference was to instruct county law enforcement officers  about their alleged constitutional powers. They maintain the Constitution of the United States and the 10th Amendment grant sheriffs supreme law enforcement power within their counties. This, by the way, is the 10th Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

According to former-sheriff Mack and his lunatic companions of the CSPOA, the Constitution essentially limits federal law enforcement powers to policing matters of treason, piracy, treaty violations and counterfeiting. That’s it — counterfeiters, traitors and pirates, that’s all the Feds can do. Therefore, the 10th Amendment necessarily confers all primary law enforcement power on the county sheriff. Seriously, that’s their claim. I’m not making this up. The CSPOA folks maintain the following:

The sheriff’s position overrides any federal agents or even the arrogant FBI agents who attempt to assume jurisdiction in our cases.

Yes, they claim the locally elected sheriff has more authority than the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They can only believe that if they ignore that pesky Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. That clause prevents States (and therefore the individual counties of those States) from enforcing their local laws in a way that interferes with federal law. That’s why it’s illegal to own a bazooka in, say, Big Horn County, Wyoming.

Sheriff Dave Mattis, who just happens to be from Big Horn County, Wyoming (population: 11,668), attended the CSPOA conference. He told the other attendees that he’s issued an edict (an edict!) forbidding Federal agents from entering Big Horn County without his approval. Not only that, Mattis also told the conference the Wyoming District Court agreed with him.

Dave Mattis, dimwit liar and sheriff

Dave Mattis, dimwit liar and sheriff

But the court didn’t actually agree with him. In fact, after they learned of Mattis’ claim, the Wyoming District Court issued a statement (and note the court wouldn’t even agree that Mattis issued an edict; they dismissed it as a mere policy and even then they even put policy in quotes — that’s a tough court):

Big Horn County Sheriff, David M. Mattis, issued a “Policy.” In the “Policy,” the Sheriff purports to impose conditions upon federal law enforcement operations in the County. We have learned that it has been reported, erroneously, that the court made a legal ruling in the Castaneda case regarding the authority of federal law enforcement officials to conduct operations in the County. There was no such ruling or decision.

This Court has never issued an order which would serve to limit the lawful activities and duties of federal law enforcement officers and other federal employees in the District of Wyoming. Furthermore, this Court has never made the comments attributed to it which purports to advise state officers they can prohibit federal law enforcement officers or agents from entering a Wyoming County. Those alleged quotations are utterly false.

Any person who interferes with federal officers in performance of their duties subjects themselves to the risk of criminal prosecution.

In less legalistic terms, the court is saying Big Horn County Sheriff Dave Mattis is full of shit. So is Sheriff Denny Peyman of Jackson County, Kentucky (population: 13,494). Peyman held a news conference in which he said this:

I am the highest elected official in this county…I can ask federal people to leave, they have to leave. I can ask state people to leave, they have to leave. [I]t doesn’t matter what [new laws] Obama passes, the sheriff has more power than the federal people.

Dimwit Sheriff Denny Peyman

Dimwit Sheriff Denny Peyman and all of his deputies

It probably ought to be noted, though, that due to Sheriff Peyman’s misuse of county funds (County judge William Smith says the Sheriff’s Department owes the county nearly $300,000) county officials have formed an alternate Jackson County Police Department comprised of Peyman’s former deputies. Sheriff Peyman is now the entire Jackson County Sheriff’s Department; his staff is gone, his policing duties are gone, and he has nothing to do but call dimwitted news conferences. The FBI has apparently been called in to investigate the case. I guess Peyman forgot to ask them to leave.

Despite what these dimwitted sheriffs say, the law on this matter is pretty clear. Federal officers can’t be subjected to state criminal sanctions for carrying out their appointed duties. It doesn’t mean federal agents are above the law; but it does mean no dimwit sheriff can prevent them from fulfilling their lawful duty just because that dimwit sheriff disagrees with the laws written by Congress.

But don’t be too hard on these sheriffs for being dimwitted or telling lies. Lying seems to be part and parcel of the CSPOA approach. Earlier I mentioned that the organization is claiming to have more than 200 sheriffs as members. The operative term there is claiming. I noticed one of the sheriffs listed as members is Bill McCarthy, the sheriff of Polk County, Iowa.

I live in Polk County. I voted for Sheriff McCarthy. I based my vote on comments he made during a debate. McCarthy actually brought up the subject of the so-called constitutional sheriffs movement. His opponent in the election had demanded he join the Oath Keepers — another group of law enforcement officers who believe they get to define the Constitution. This is what McCarthy said:

“I had him and others come in my office and demand that I sign an Oath Keepers promise which is a sign that you support the Constitution.  That would be the last thing I’d ever do is sign a Constitution for people like that. I took an oath when I joined the Marine Corps. I took an oath that caused me to do two terms in Vietnam.  I took an oath in 69 when I joined the Sheriff’s office, and again in 70 with the Police Department, and then again when I was elected Sheriff.  I’m not taking an oath for people who define ‘We the People’ [as those] who look exactly like them and think exactly like them.”

McCarthy won with nearly 60% of the vote. He’s not a member of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. Claiming him as a member is a lie. But that’s how groups like the CSPOA operate.

Trial lawyers have a maxim: When the facts are against you, bang on the law; when the law is against you, bang on the facts; when both the law and the facts are against you, bang on the table.

These dimwits are banging on the table. They hope that by banging loudly enough, it’ll distract folks from the facts and the law. But the fact is, nobody in the government is planning to confiscate everybody’s guns. But there’s a chance the laws will change to require some minimal restrictions on firearms. If the law changes, all law enforcement officers — including sheriffs — will have a duty to uphold it.

Then former sheriff Richard Mack can resume his badly neglected writing career.

the naked spy

18 thoughts on “return of the dimwitted sheriffs

  1. “An organization called the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association recently held their first conference (in Las Vegas, of course, because where else would ultra right wing Christianists hold a meeting?).”

    Images of Hunter S. Thompson’s description of a Las Vegas Sheriff’s Convention from Fear and Loathing crept into mind at that line.

    “‘The sheriff’s position overrides any federal agents or even the arrogant FBI agents who attempt to assume jurisdiction in our cases.'”

    This argument is eerily similar to the latest angle taken by the religious right in resorting to the rhetorical acrobatics of insisting that the establishment clause infringes on their freedom of expression.


    • There’s something Orwellian about the way they redefine words and ideas. Terms like ‘patriot’ or ‘Christian’ or ‘natural born citizen’ take on weird new meanings. It’s kind of creepy.


  2. You, sir, have the potential to be (one of the children) a poster-child for the ‘A Little Bit of Knowledge Is Dangerous’ graduates of the ‘Deliberate Dumbing Down ‘ course at Useful Idiots College of Applied Ignorance. You apparently do no research (for yourself) in order to understand the difference between Law and legality, Religion vs. Spiritual Philosophy, politics vs. forms of gov’t…….I could go on ad infinitum, but it would be lost on you because of the ‘log-jam’ in your mind, your cognitive dissonance, etc., which make you react in such a way that when you open your mouth, you show your ass. You have been so conditioned that you don’t realize that the ‘Orwellian’ redefining of words is one of the major tactics of those whom you so ardently embrace. Ignorance gone to seed propagates stupidity. It seems that you wallow in it’s fermented fertilizer. I do pity you, for there is nothing more tragic than the slave who believes that he is free!


    • Well, at least you called me ‘sir.’ Perhaps you could tell me specifically what you believe I got wrong? That’s a grand word-dump, but you haven’t actually said what points you find fault with.


  3. Your reference, to ‘at least…..sir’, would seem to imply that you expect respect from others tho’ your diatribe (above) has a marked absence of just that for those who don’t share your ‘mal-formed’ opinion. You have also, apparently, been trained (or fallen victim to) in the psychological condition which manifests itself in the use of (psychology 101)-projection. All that I read in your little rant was word-dump, and I wouldn’t characterize it as ‘grand, more so- it is trite. I have had too many useless conversations, sometimes debates, to bother anymore w/out 1st finding out how much (personal)research you have done in regard to US Title(s), codes, statues, Statutes at Large, founding documents of the Republic, History, Spiritual and Theological Philosophies, economics and finance, psychology and physiology, etc. Until you can show ‘practical'(as well as factual knowledge over broad spectrum, I would only expect an ‘exercise’ in futility w/ a ‘parroting, trained monkey’. I do not wish to seem disrespectful to you. Every living thing deserves respect-w/ respect to its place in Creation. More than this (in respect to man) must be gained by the man, proving that he is deserving of it.


    • I’m not sure how physiology figures into this, but then again I’m still not sure what exactly it is you object to. You’ve left three comments here, but so far have neglected to identify your point of contention.

      Is it in code? It is, isn’t it. It’s encrypted in the text, right? I should have guessed.


  4. I forgot to mention,tho’ it should be self-evident, , Law w/ its maxims, and logic w/ its maxims. The only maxim you seem to know is that trite ‘lawyers’ maxim (no true maxim, at all in the realm of valid knowledge, wisdom, education, philosophy, etc.) What could one expect from a body of ‘privileged’ (primarily) prostitutes. Are you aware of the etymology of that word, or attorney, for that matter?


  5. You have been somewhat well trained in ‘their art form, to deflect. I reiterate-What are your ‘Bona Fides’ to show that you can actually carry-on a ‘spirited debate’? The twitter above shows none. You’re the one who broached the subject area w/ your opening (rather weak) salvo. Who are you, what is the expertise that you assumedly possess that gives your words any credibility? Or are you merely another twit who believes that he should have a talk show, so, he uses a forum such as this to hear himself talk. Of, course, there always is the possibility that you do receive a paycheck from the PsyOps office to defame and spread dis information. Come on, Roy-don’t be coy! Give us some insight into your background, your credentials, your depth of knowledge and possible understanding; or are you just another red herring, paper tiger, or worse-coward? I was very clear-up front w/ you as to what you need to bring to the table before I will entertain bothering w/ lively debate. If you have nothing, then I and any w/ real knowledge and understanding, who might stumble onto your site, will merely view you and your opinions as that of a useful idiot or an operative.


    • So far, you’ve said nothing intelligent and have spent your time here engaged only in name calling. You have offered no real name (unlike this blog’s writer), nor have you attached your own credentials (though what credentials must one possess to be a critic other than an opinion, which, as you know, is like an asshole; we all have one). One of these options would be appropriate: Add something useful to the discussion, or go away.


    • Seriously? You’re actually suggesting that for some reason I need to convince you that I’m worthy of engaging you in a discussion about something I wrote, and to which you objected? What?

      Let me just short-hand our discussion so far:

      ME: I think these sheriffs are dimwits.
      YOU: You’re an idiot.
      ME: Okay, what did I say that was wrong?
      YOU: You’re an idiot.
      ME: Yes, yes, but maybe you could identify what I’m an idiot about?
      YOU: I’m not going to tell you until you prove to me you’re not an idiot.
      ME: Dude, WTF?

      Sorry it took so long to respond; I had to clear it through the PsyOps office.


  6. You certainly do have command of language, and from what I have been able to gather, writing of fiction.. (Guess that comes from indoctrination and experience of working in the land of ‘legal fiction’.) I think I shall leave you to your masters and your fiction. Feel free to finish this dialogue w/ what seems to be your usual braying, laced w/ expletives. Maybe one day you will decide to give serious research to the other side of the issue-outside the box of the parameters in which your masters have placed your brain. By the way, I am known as Chance-because that is not a common name nor nom de plume, Those who know me, will guess accurately that it was I who was involved in this dialogue. (I see from all the responses that you get on the site, there won’t be many of your followers wondering who I am.) Speaking of nom de plumes, is yours a derivative of fallacy? Sorry to have ‘yanked your chain’ so hard-I hadn’t realized your neck was so sensitive.
    I am……..


  7. Greg-perhaps, in view of your last comment, it may be possible for us to have a respectful, valid discussion. Overall, I think the post is inaccurate, and biased because of a one-sided perspective. But, that aside for now, (these questions stem from what I would refer to as ‘snide asides’ from the focus of your post, but important from the aspect of the level of your overall knowledge of the realities of life-no offense meant, in sincerity.) am I to assume that you that you know nothing of the research, development, implementation of the toxic by-product of fertilizer manufacturing-(sodium) fluoride? That, I am to assume that you have some kind of information as to Nugent’s predilection for immoral acts w/ children? Are you unaware of HJR 192?(I believe, from memory-June, definitely 1933.)-Yes, it is hard to validly argue that this ‘country’ is not in receivership. Am I to assume, that w/ your experience in ‘criminology’ that you never familiarized yourself w/ Black’s or Bouvier’s Law dictionaries in relation to the ‘words of art’ used in the legal/code system (very Orwellian in its intent and use), that you are unaware that there are 2 gov’ts in existence-the Supreme court has admitted it more than once- the de jure Republic(presently unoccupied, but, there nonetheless) and the de facto, corporate Democracy (a mockery to any free thinking human) and that the 2nd class status of US citizen make you-by the 14th Amendment responsible for the debt-including the pensions of all the corporate employees(who love to double and triple dip-J. Kerry the latest high profile dipper). If you haven’t-read it yourself. And , that as a US citizen, when you don’t uphold your end of the contract, whether there was full disclosure or not, and you are charged (gee, a financial term), pulled into a fed court that is in no way an Art.3 court, as set forth in the Constitution for the united States(we won’t get into the other courts in the state and local systems at this time) and you (full of good faith and unfortunately, ignorance) are re-presented By a BAR member(etymology-Anglo-French-to turn over) you are a ward of the court, w/ a person speaking on your ‘behalf”, who’s 1st ‘allegiance’ is to that court, which also a money-making corporation, not to you, his ‘client’. That’s enough for now. Believe me, I have just scratched the surface for you. You right fiction. Given the opportunity, I’ll have to read your works and see how talented you are at that. Ever heard the old line-Truth is stranger than fiction? Of course, you have! Delve into the truth-I know you will gain a new respect for that saying. Start w/ the term ‘legal fiction’ in Black’s Law and go from there. If you ‘take me up’ on the challenge, hold on to your ass-cheeks w/ both hands-it’s a rollercoaster ride like you’ve never seen or been on, for that matter; once on, you won’t want to get off.


    • Oh lawdy, you’re one of the Republic for the united States folks, aren’t you.

      I started reading about you guys last summer when Randi Shannon abandoned her senatorial campaign for the Iowa State legislature and declared she’d been appointed as a Senator representing Iowa in the Republic for the united States. I’m especially appreciative of your refusal to capitalize ‘united’ because it’s an adjective describing the noun ‘States.’

      I confess, I’m wildly skeptical of the notion that the U.S. Constitution has been dormant since 1871 and that the Federal government was dissolved by the Emergency Banking Act of 1933. That strikes me as delusional. But I’m always willing to listen and learn.


  8. Top o’ the mornin’, to you, Greg. Is it that important to label everyone? Am I affiliated w/ RUSA? Am I sympathetic toward and do I monitor closely, what they do and are trying to do? Yes. I, as many of the ‘RUSA people’, have been involved in much research and have acted in many capacities long before RUSA was ‘birthed’ in the late summer of 2010. Only as a reference point, for I can only guess from your photo, I have been involved in the search for the TRUTH from the time that you could have been no more than ‘a gleam in your daddy’s eye’. If you must label me, then label me, a man who, above all else seeks Truth and True Justice, and True Freedom for all. My personal history shows that I do not merely ‘give lip service’ I take active part when able. But, enough of me. I do consider myself as a Classic Liberal, not a neo-liberal, but, in the vein of Jefferson, a man w/ short-comings who dealt w/ reality, and did his best to help foster the ideals of Truth, Justice and Equality under the given circumstances.
    Greg, I asked of you specific questions about specific areas, and received no answers. You did make reference to the Banking Act-it came after HJR 192. You’ve put the cart before the horse. Before the Banking Act can be brought into play, one must understand the implications of 192. I was a teacher and a counselor. Before one can do either, he must make an assessment of levels of knowledge and/or realization of whom he is dealing. That was the rationale for the 1st series of questions that I asked you. I sincerely would enjoy a lively ‘give and take’ w/ you, or I wouldn’t have bothered. You gave an indication of ‘being quick’ w/ your guess about RUSA-not right on azimuth, but heading in a fairly close direction.
    In the Constitution for the united States (1787), the ‘u’ is, indeed not capitalized. In the Constitution of the United States, indeed, it is and that one is alive and, unfortunately, well. It may seem delusional to you, at this time, but that does not negate ‘all is not necessarily as it seems’. As a federal judge once told me while in his chambers, “As we here know, wording (the proper words) is everything.”


    • Is it important to label folks? No, of course not. But it IS important to have some notion of a person’s fundamental beliefs and ideology.

      I’m intrigued by the RUSA movement, but my interest is purely from a sociological perspective. My original dissertation topic dealt with right wing anti-government ideologies, and though I eventually abandoned that topic I did a lot of research in preparation for the dissertation. I’ve continued in a rather casual way to stay abreast with the developments of various right wing ideological movements — including the tax protester and banking conspiracy theories.

      I realize you don’t consider RUSA to be a conspiracy theory, and I don’t mean to offend you when I include it as one. But there’s extensive scholarly literature on the topic, and the fact is the foundational assertions of RUSA fit neatly into the category of systemic conspiracy theories. Like all such theories it involves a group of powerful people who act together in secret to subvert or destroy existing institutions, and thereby remove money, power, or freedom from the people.

      It’s my opinion that the RUSA movement is part of that vast constellation of banking-related conspiracy theories. I’m sorry, but I simply can’t take it very seriously.


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