Clinton is focused on the wrong threat

Hillary Clinton speaks in Des Moines about solar panels. (AP photo)

Hillary Clinton is in a corral with a charging bull but worries there might be a mouse on the loose.

In a speech in Des Moines, the text of which was emailed to supporters, Clinton called climate change “one of the most urgent threats of our time, and we have no choice but to rise and meet it.” To do this she proposed putting solar panels on every house in the country. “Not some homes. Not most homes. Every home in America.”

This trillion-dollar expenditure of our money is intended to stop the planet from warming 1 or 2 degrees over the next century.

Meanwhile, there is a little issue that has not been recognized by any presidential candidate and darned few lawmakers — the threat of electromagnetic pulse or EMP, which could be caused by a solar flare or a high-altitude nuclear detonation.

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director R. James Woolsey recently testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, warning that EMP is “a clear and present danger and that something must be done to protect the electric grid and other life sustaining critical infrastructures — immediately.”

While Clinton’s solar panels would cost trillions, hardening the grid to protect against EMP would cost only a couple of billion.

Woolsey, now the chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, testified:

“Continued inaction by Washington will make inevitable a natural or manmade EMP catastrophe that, as the Congressional EMP Commission warned, could kill up to 90 percent of the national population through starvation, disease, and societal collapse. Indeed, some actions taken by the Congress, the White House and the federal bureaucracy are impeding solutions, making the nation more vulnerable, and helping the arrival of an EMP catastrophe.”

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is prattling on about how she will: “Transform our grid to give Americans more control over the energy they produce and consume.”

If there is a grid to transform, she would make it far more difficult to maintain, because solar power is intermittent and fluctuates with every passing cloud, much less nightfall.

But it would certainly line the pockets of some here biggest supporters. According to the Washington Examiner, some of the largest solar contractors in the country — First Solar, NRG Energy and SolarCity, to name a few — have financial ties to the Clintons.

Clinton also pointed out one of the biggest problems with her solar panel proposal, and that is other countries are not cutting their carbon outputs and are in fact increasing the use of cheaper coal.

“We also have to mobilize an unprecedented global commitment to reduce carbon emissions around the world,” she said. “And I know firsthand from my time as Secretary of State that America’s ability to lead the world on this issue hinges on our commitment to act ourselves. No country will fall in line just because we tell them to. They need to see us taking significant steps of our own.”

That’ll bring them on board.

Priorities, priorities.

EMP illustration




Is Sun editor deliberately provoking new owners of morning paper?

There is one less two-newspaper town. The Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette has merged with the Charleston Daily Mail to become the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

All of the staffers of both papers will have to apply for jobs at the new newspaper and there will be fewer of them.


Though editorially separate, according to the Columbia Journalism Review, the two papers have been in joint operating agreement (JOA) since 1958 in which the business, advertising and production units are merged.

“This is not one paper gobbling up the other. It is a combination of the two newsroom staffs working in cooperation to produce the most comprehensive news product in West Virginia,” says a column in the merged paper. “We are committed to producing the best example of journalism delivered to your home, in the paper boxes, on your mobile devices and on your computer every morning.”

That sounds like the claptrap spewed in Las Vegas 25 years ago when the Review-Journal and the Sun announced a JOA.

Today the morning paper contains a six-page local news section under the banner of the Review-Journal, but that includes an editorial page, obits and a number of ads. Meanwhile, the Sun section is an ad-free eight pages, containing only one locally generated news story, and that one is a lame account of vacant office space. The rest is mostly wires and syndicated columns and AP photos.

The Sun website has at least a dozen locally generated news, sports and feature stories, any of which could have been published in the printed section, but are not.

Is Sun editor Brian Greenspun poking a finger in the eye of the new R-J owners, Gatehouse Media? The contracted JOA runs through 2040. Could be a long, grueling haul. Eight pages of newsprint is quite expensive and eats into the profits, if there are any.



Editorial: BLM finally exploring wild horse solutions other than warehousing

Wild horses in corrals in Carson City (R-J photo by John Locher)

It appears someone at the Bureau of Land Management has come to the belated conclusion that keeping nearly 50,000 “wild” horses and burros in short-term corrals and long-term pastures, which results in the taxpayers feeding them at a cost of $50,000 apiece for their average 25-year life span, is not the best solution to the problem.

Earlier this month the BLM announced it will initiate 21 research projects with a goal of being able to properly maintain a sustainable population of wild horses and burros on the open range, which would be a relief to the horses, the rangeland, water resources, ranchers and other wildlife.

Because they have virtually no natural predators, wild horse herds can double in size in four years. But since Congress refuses to fund the slaughter of unadoptable horses and burros, which was the designated remedy for excess animals under the original Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, more than 60 percent of the BLM’s $70 million annual budget for managing wild horses and burros is consumed by warehousing the animals, one of the largest corral complexes is in Palomino Valley near Reno.

Back in 1971 there were about 25,000 wild horses and burros on the range, but since then the number of animals on public lands has more than doubled to 58,150 — 9,000 of those were born in the past year alone.

Of course, the BLM is pursuing this research endeavor in the manner it knows best — spending our money. It plans to spend $11 million over 5 years.

The BLM says it will spend that money on university and U.S. Geological Survey scientists, primarily to develop longer lasting fertility-control vaccines, as well as efficient methods for spaying and neutering wild horses.

“Given the cost of caring for horses off the range and the difficulty of finding qualified adopters, it is clear that this challenge must be solved by addressing population growth on the range,” Mike Tupper, BLM Deputy Assistant Director for Resources and Planning, was quoted as saying in the BLM announcement, showing a knack for the obvious. “The BLM is committed to developing new tools that allow us to manage this program sustainably and for the benefit of the animals and the land.”

The specifics of the research projects include:

— A one-year project that will aim to develop a minimally invasive surgical sterilization method for wild horse mares that requires no incisions.
— Two projects that aim during a two-year period to develop different surgical approaches for tubal ligation in mares.
— A six-month project that will determine whether an existing accepted surgical sterilization procedure commonly used for domestic mares can be safely conducted on wild horses.
— A two-year project will focus on further study of Gonocon, an approved and labeled contraceptive vaccine for equids.
— A two-year study to develop a new, permanent contraceptive vaccine for wild horse mares.
— A four-year project that will attempt to develop a new delivery vehicle for porcine zona pellucida (PZP) — a temporary contraceptive currently used in some wild horse herds – that would increase the duration of the vaccine’s effectiveness.
— A three-year project for the development of an injectable agent that would inactivate hormones and decrease female and male gonad viability.

Nowhere is there even a suggestion of one of the most practical means of mitigating the overpopulation of the herds — humane euthanasia of sick and injured animals with their carcasses sold commercially to defray the cost to taxpayers. But that would take an act of Congress, which is even slower to act than the BLM.

Meanwhile, in another rare display of logical decision making this summer, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled that wild horses are not eligible for listing under the Endangered Species Act, because they are not a distinct and native population. The decision came in response to a petition from two wild horse advocacy groups, who claimed the wild horse is threatened with extinction, even though the real problem is overabundance.

We welcome any effort by the federal land bureaucracies to save tax money and protect the open range.

A version of this editorial appears this past week in some 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.

Kill the messenger

According to Politico, the Justice Department is going to investigate those disturbing videos in which a Planned Parenthood official haggles over the price of fetal body parts. No, not Planned Parenthood, silly, the videographers:

JUSTICE TO PROBE CENTER FOR MEDICAL PROGRESS — While congressional committees investigate Planned Parenthood’s practices, the Justice Department agreed to look into whether the group that released the sting videos obtained the footage legally. In response to a request by House Democrats, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday afternoon that Justice would “review all of the information and determine what the appropriate steps moving forward would be.” Planned Parenthood has staunchly defended its practices and claims that the Center for Medical Progress illegally obtained its footage, then excessively edited it to misrepresent what the organization does.

Center Executive Director David Daleiden isn’t phased. “They will attack me and my organization all day long, but that does not change the facts about what our investigation has uncovered and what the American people now know — that Planned Parenthood is engaged in an enterprise-wide operation that traffics and sells baby body parts,” he said in a statement.

According to Fox News, the second video released by Center for Medical Progress shows a  Planned Parenthood official agreeing to to sell “intact tissue” for $100 each, while sipping wine and saying she wants a Lamborghini. There may be more videos to come.

According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, there is no federal hidden camera law. Wiretap laws cover the interception of phone calls and other wire transmission. So, what is Lynch investigating? Whistleblowing?

In most cases, one may record one’s own conversation, secretly or otherwise. I drove a lawyer to distraction by recording my deposition in a civil case. I laid the device on the table but no one noticed till the end. My lawyer told the other lawyer it was perfectly legal in Nevada. It was a good thing I recorded it because I used it to catch errors in the transcript.

Planned Parenthood gets $500 million a year in federal funding through various programs.

Harry Reid defended Planned Parenthood and called the videos “politically motivated.”

Screen grab from video of Planned Parenthood official negotiating the sale of fetal body parts.


Editing mistakes were made?

Hillary Clinton campaigning. (NY Times photo)

The New York Times has been caught going passive on its scoop news story about Hillary Clinton’s email.

According to NewsDiff, the original hed read: “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Clinton’s Use of Email,” but an hour later the hed was changed to: “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Use.” The hed now reads: “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account.”

Perhaps the editors of the Times should read their own columnists. In 2012 Times opinion writer Constance Hale penned a piece under the headline: “The Pleasures and Perils of the Passive.”

Among the passive voice phrases she cited this classic:
The most pilloried use of the passive voice might be that famous expression of presidents and press secretaries, “mistakes were made.” From Ronald Ziegler, President Richard M. Nixon’s press aide, through Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — not to mention Attorney General Alberto Gonzales — pols have used the passive voice to spin the news, avoid responsibility or hide the truth. One political guru even dubbed this usage “the past exonerative.”
According to James Taranto’s Wall Street Journal column, the change to passive voice followed a complaint by the Clinton campaign.
Taranto also quotes WSJ’s Byron Tau as writing: “An internal government review found that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent at least four emails from her personal account containing classified information during her time heading the State Department.”
Tau said the inspector general reviewed only 40 of Clinton’s 30,000 emails. He also wrote that the Justice Department has backed off calling the request a criminal matter.
Past exonerative?

Newspaper column: Nevada property rights case knocking on the door of the Supreme Court

A Nevada church is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold its constitutional rights in the face of bureaucratic intransigence and contradictory laws.

In petitioning the court for a hearing this past month, the Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation (CJCL), the legal arm of the libertarian-leaning Nevada Policy Research Institute, said current law essentially forces the church to choose between its First Amendment right to freely exercise its religion and its Fifth Amendment right to due process and compensation for the “taking” by government of its private property.

It started in December 2009 when Victor Fuentes and his wife Annette, whose church owns a 40-acre tract of land surrounded by the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, learned that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service planned to reroute a stream that had run through their property since at least 1881.

Victor and Annette Fuentes next to stream when it ran through their church camp. (Photo for Pahrump Valley Times by Mark Waite)

The property is a retreat for the Ministero Roca Solida (Solid Rock) church and the stream was one of the major attractions for visitors to what they called Patch of Heaven. It was also used for baptisms. On Christmas Eve 2010, heavy rains caused the stream to overflow its new man-made banks and flood the church property with water and mud, causing nearly $90,000 in damages to buildings and other property.

Following statutory procedures, CJCL filed a claim with Fish and Wildlife for damages. The agency never even acknowledged receipt of the claim, and CJCL filed suit.

Fuentes — a Cuban refugee who swam seven miles of open ocean in the dark from near his home in Santiago, Cuba, to Guantanamo Bay to gain political asylum — has been disturbed by the lack of justice he has received in his adopted country.

“I came to this country because I didn’t want the government’s hands on me,” said Fuentes in an interview when the litigation began. “I fled that government. That’s not the government I wanted to find here.”

Since the petition was filed with the high court, two amicus briefs have been filed in support of Roca Solida — one by the Nevada attorney general and another by the conservative Cato Institute and the National Association of Reversionary Property Owners.

“This is the powerful federal government squeezing an important but vulnerable religious ministry started by an immigrant who fled an abusive government in Cuba,” said Attorney General Adam Laxalt in a statement when his office filed the amicus. “I remain committed to protecting our state and its inhabitants from the detrimental effects of federal overreach and abuse of power.”

There is an urgency to the case, because a six-year statute of limitations is about to expire, even though the case has been languishing in various courts for most of those six years.

The petition and the amicus briefs argue conflicting law cannot erase fundamental constitutional rights.

CJCL Director and Chief Legal Officer Joseph Becker explained, “At issue is whether Congress may confine Pastor Fuentes and his churchgoers, the victims of multiple constitutional rights violations, to seek redress in but one federal court even though no single federal court has jurisdiction to remedy each of the constitutional violations suffered.”

Congress may not abrogate by statute a right constitutionally guaranteed.

“The hallmark of an unconstitutional condition is legislation that offers relief for a violation of a constitutional right, but only through the abdication of another right …” the attorney general’s amicus brief notes. “As the Court has done for decades when parties face a Hobson’s choice in adjudicating constitutional claims, the Court should grant review and clarify that the procedural statutes in this case should be interpreted to avoid this constitutional quagmire.”

The Cato and the property owners amicus quoted a passage from on opinion by Justice William Brennan: “As soon as private property has been taken, whether through formal condemnation proceedings, occupancy, physical invasion, or regulation, the landowner has already suffered a constitutional violation, and the self-executing character of the constitutional provision with respect to compensation is triggered. This Court has consistently recognized that the just compensation requirement in the Fifth Amendment is not precatory: once there is a ‘taking’ compensation must be awarded.”

The case, though complicated and even convoluted, is hardly academic to Nevadans who are downstream from numerous federal land agencies that control 85 percent of the state and presume the power to divert streams and close roads that lead to private property.

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

North for a little culture and scenery and cooler weather

We were up in Cedar City over the past couple days for a couple of Shakespeare plays — Henry the IV, Part 2 and Taming of the Shrew, both excellent and very funny — and a drive up through Cedar Breaks and back through Brian Head.

From Cedar Breaks one could see Cedar City in the distance and almost make out the theater, if I’d not left the binoculars in the motel room.

You can see Cedar City below.

You can see Cedar City below.

The sun managed to peek through the clouds and onto the peaks.

The sun managed to peek through the clouds and onto the peaks.

With all the recent rain the Colubines were in bloom.

With all the recent rain the Columbines were in bloom.

The Paintbrushes too.

The Paintbrushes too.

The hoodoos looked like ancient city.

The hoodoos looked like an ancient city.