Does it really take a million acres of national monuments in Nevada to protect a few artifacts?

President Trump’s signing of an executive order calling for a review of the national monument designations made in the past 20 years prompted the local newspaper to drag out the usual suspects to moan and groan about the need to “protect” the million acres of Nevada land that Obama designated as national monuments in his last months in office.

Trump called Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create monuments an “egregious abuse of federal power.”

“We’re very dismayed,” one of the lock-up-the-land advocates told the local paper. “We worked hard on this for 15 years. I think the issue has been decided.”

Largely decided without any input for local officials and residents.

“Today we’re putting the states back in charge,” Trump said Wednesday.

His Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said his agency will recommend which monuments should be lifted or, perhaps, reduced in size. He also said local feedback will be sought.

Before Obama created with a stroke of his pen the 700,000-acre Basin and Range Monument on the Nye and Lincoln border and the 300,000-acre Gold Butte Monument near Mesquite, he might have asked someone to actually read that 1906 law which gives the president the power to declare land off-limits to productive use for the purpose of protecting “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” on public land. The law also says that the designation “shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

Does it take a million acres to protect a few petrogylphs and artifacts?

Though the monuments’ backers say the Antiquities Act grants the president power to create monuments but does not grant the power to rescind previous designations, there is legal precedent that states a presidential right to declare implies a presidential right to rescind.

The Wall Street Journal pointed out earlier this year, “In Myers v. United States (1926), the Supreme Court ruled that the president’s power to appoint officials, with the advice and consent of the Senate, includes the power to unilaterally remove them.”

The court said, “The power of removal is an incident of the power to appoint …”

BLM pix

 

 

President signs orders telling officials to enforce immigration laws

Why is it necessary for a president to issue an executive order telling public officials to enforce the laws passed by Congress?

That’s apparently what it has come to. According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump has signed orders that mean almost everybody living in the U.S. illegally is subject to deportation and new arrivals will no longer be subject to the current catch and release practice.

“The Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” WSJ quotes an enforcement memo as saying. “Department personnel have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”

The New York Times reports that the orders end the Obama administration policy that required Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to immediately deport only those newly arriving illegal immigrants who were apprehended within 100 miles of the border and had been in the country no more than 14 days. “Now it will include those who have been in the country for up to two years, and located anywhere in the nation,” NYT relates.

The orders also tell the federal immigration agencies to revive a program that used local police to help with immigration enforcement, a program called 287g that was scaled down under Obama, NYT says.

According to Channel 3, the 287g program under Sheriff Doug Gillespie only turned over to immigration those suspects that had an outstanding warrant or an immigration detainer.

But it would be up to current Sheriff Joe Lombardo to determine the level of cooperation.

Border wall in Nogales, Ariz. (Reuters pix via WSJ)

Border wall in Nogales, Ariz. (Reuters pix via WSJ)

How not to pick and choose who to erase from history

If you thought Nevada lawmakers meeting now in Carson City were engaging in petty political correctness by seeking to change the purely ceremonial and entirely vacuous non-holiday of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, wait till you read what pompous administrators at Yale University are doing.

Roger Kimball, in a brilliantly executed op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, takes apart the decision at Yale to rename one of its 12 residential colleges to remove the name of 19th century politician, orator, senator, secretary of war, vice president and slave owner John C. Calhoun.

Stained-glass image of John C. Calhoun at Yale

Stained-glass image of John C. Calhoun at Yale

As Kimball points out, once you start down this path of erasing people from history for the crime of doing what was completely normal at their time in history, where do you stop? After all, five other colleges at Yale are named for slave owners. Calhoun’s name is simply the most prominent. He graduated as valedictorian from Yale College in 1804.

Among the criteria for renaming something at Yale is: Does the person’s legacy conflict with the university’s mission and did the person pay a substantial role at Yale?

Kimball then introduces us to the foibles of the university’s namesake: Elihu Yale.

Mr. Yale helped found Yale College with a gift of £800 in books and other goods.

While Calhoun was said to have been kind to his slaves, according to Kimball, Yale was an active slave trader and administrator in India, who flogged his slaves, had a stable boy hanged for horse theft, was removed from his post in India for corruption and never set foot in New Haven.

There are a lot names on a lot of things. Indian fighters Kit Carson and John C. Fremont come quickly to mind.

And don’t let them tell you Carson City is really named after the Carson River, which was named by Fremont for his scout Carson.

Kit Carson with John C. Fremont (Library of Congress)

Kit Carson with John C. Fremont (Library of Congress)

 

 

 

 

 

Editorial: Interior secretary nominee should work with states on public lands

Ryan Zinke nominated to head Interior Department (Getty Images via WSJ)

Ryan Zinke nominated to head Interior Department (Getty Images via WSJ)

It is a bit disappointing that Republican President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Interior Department, which along with other federal agencies controls 85 percent of Nevada, does not embrace his own party’s call for more federal public land to be transferred to the control of the states and local governments, but at least freshman Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke recognizes the need for better cooperative management of those lands.

The GOP platform that came from the summer convention reads: “Congress shall immediately pass universal legislation providing a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to the states. We call upon all national and state leaders and representatives to exert their utmost power of influence to urge the transfer of those lands identified.”

But Zinke told the Billings Gazette he doesn’t support the transfer of federal lands.

“Quite frankly, most Republicans don’t agree with it and most Montanans don’t agree with it,” Zinke said of the party platform plank. “What we do agree on is better management.”

He has proposed setting up watchdog panels composed of state, tribal and local government representatives and the mining industry to oversee Interior Department land management.

The Daily Signal online news site quoted Zinke as saying, “As someone who grew up in a logging and rail town and hiking in Glacier National Park, I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve Montana and America as secretary of interior. As inscribed in the stone archway of Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana, I shall faithfully uphold Teddy Roosevelt’s belief that our treasured public lands are ‘for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.’”

At least he includes benefits along with enjoyment.

Since he seems to favor cooperative management, he would do well to heed the suggestions made by a group of Western policy organizations recently in a letter to Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

The Western Governors’ Association, Conference of Western Attorneys General, Council of State Governments West, Western Interstate Region of the National Association of Counties, and the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region collaborated to produce what they are calling “Principles to Clarify and Strengthen State-Federal Relationship,” a true partnership, unlike the current tension between the two.

The letter outlines the framework that underpins the lengthy list of recommendations for cooperation: “Under the American version of federalism, the powers of the federal government are narrow, enumerated and defined. The powers of the states, on the other hand, are vast and indefinite. States are responsible for executing all powers of governance not specifically bestowed to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution. In many cases, states delegate a portion of their authority to counties and other local governments. Though local governments are diverse in structure, all are on the front lines of delivering vital services to residents.”

Among other things the associations ask that the new executive administration act on the presumption that sovereignty rests first with the individual states and not the federal agencies.

They ask that states be consulted before decisions are made. Currently the states are routinely consulted under the letter of the law but then largely ignored. Both Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Attorney General Adam Laxalt have complained that state input on such matters as sage grouse habitat management have been ignored by federal land agents.

The letter further asks that when new regulations are being promulgated that the cost to state and local governments be taken into account to ensure funds are sufficient to pay for compliance costs.

As for Zinke’s opposition to states taking control of federal land, perhaps he should heed a Wall Street Journal editorial this week that points out federal land agencies lose $2 billion a year. For example, the Forest Service assesses user fees of about 28 cents per dollar spent on recreation, compared to Montana’s $6.31. It is estimated that state-managed lands generate 10 times more revenue per employee than do the feds.

We call on Zinke to be cooperative but also compromise on his stance on the transfer of federal public land to the states — especially land adjacent to communities that can quickly put it to viable economic benefit.

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.

From the archives: Effort to block new technology defies scientific evidence

An editorial from the annals of history to illustrate a problem:

Federal scientists have rewritten the conclusion of a report in order to cast doubt on the safety of alternating current electricity in residential and commercial dwellings.

Last week the federal Agency of Scientific Enquiry issued the final version of a five-year study evaluating the safety of electricity. The draft report released last year for public comment concluded that electricity has not “led to widespread, systemic impact.” The agency’s research findings haven’t changed, but its conclusion has.

After being barraged by plaintiff attorneys and various naysayers, including Broadway actors, the agency in its final report substituted its determination of no “widespread, systemic impact” with the hypothetical that electricity “can impact the potential for residential hazards of fire and electrocution under some circumstances” and that “impacts can range in frequency and severity” depending on the circumstances.

Hazards of electricity

Hazards of electricity

Any technology has the potential to inflict some damage — even smelly and noisy gasoline-powered automobiles. The feds explain that electricity can cause danger if incorrectly handled, which happened in a Wyoming test in which wiring was not properly shielded and grounded.
Yet after reviewing more than 1,000 studies, the agency couldn’t find more than limited evidence — mostly alleged by plaintiff attorneys — of operational failures causing fires and shocks to humans. The fact that the agency uncovered only a few instances of problems among a million some installations reinforces its prior conclusion that electricity doesn’t pose a threat.

The agency now asserts that “significant data gaps and uncertainties” prevent it from “calculating or estimating the national frequency of impacts.” For instance, safety data was not collected everywhere prior to the introduction of electricity, which has allowed plaintiff attorneys to ascribe any damage or injury to alternating current itself.

So after spending $30 million and five years to produce a risk assessment, the scientist have found no evidence that electricity causes widespread threats to safety. Two years ago, the New York governor used the pretext of scientific “uncertainties” to ban electricity, and the new agency revised report will give him cover for depriving residents of its economic benefits. Progressives are using the report as ammunition in their media campaign against electricity, and plaintiff attorneys will use it in lawsuits.

Liberals denounce anyone who cites uncertainties about science. So it’s ironic that they are now justifying their opposition to electricity based on scientific uncertainties. As for the agency’s science, bending to public comment from litigants and Broadway celebrities does not instill confidence in the agency’s integrity.

_____

The above is a blatant rip-off and rewrite of a Wall Street Journal editorial meant to illustrate satirically the nature of the pre-determined agenda of federal bureaucrats. The original editorial highlighted the EPA’s twisting of its own investigation into the effects, or lack thereof, of fracking on drinking water to better fit its preconception and desired outcome.

Heck joins call for Trump to exit race for president

Donald Trump Friday. (AP photo via WSJ)

Donald Trump Friday. (AP photo via WSJ)

Friday afternoon, Republican Senate candidate Joe Heck’s campaign sent out an email strongly condemning the misogynistic language used by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that was caught on tape 11 years ago. (Here is a link to the tape, but the language is too foul to post.)

Today, Heck joined others in the party calling for Trump to step aside as a candidate and said he will no longer support him or vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“I believe our only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to step down and allow Republicans the opportunity to elect someone who will provide us with the strong leadership so desperately needed and one that Americans deserve,” his campaign email quoted him as saying.

But Trump, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, said he will not quit.

WSJ reports former GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina has called on Trump to quit the campaign, as have Sens. Mike Crapo of Idaho and Mike Lee of Utah. Others are withdrawing endorsements.

Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota today tweeted that Trump “should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately.”

Fox reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have chastised Trump for his lewd comments.

Even Pence slapped Trump. “As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the eleven-year-old video released yesterday,” he said in a statement. “I do not condone his remarks and cannot defend them.”

The 70-year-old Trump apologized, but could not unring the bell.

After Heck criticized Trump’s taped language, his Democratic opponent, Catherine Cortez Masto, former state attorney general, was quoted by the AP as saying condemnations ring hollow if Heck is still voting for Trump.

The AP quoted Danny Tarkanian, who is running for Congress against Democrat Jacky Rosen, as saying, “As the father of three girls, I find these comments disgusting. No man should ever talk about women like that.”

Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy, seeking re-election to Congress, said “no woman should ever be treated or described this way. There is no place for this kind of rhetoric in our society.”

Here is the full comment from Heck today:

“I’ve spent much of my life serving in the military where I stood beside some of the bravest men and women this country has to offer — willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect the freedoms upon which this country was founded. They live by a code of honor, of decency and of respect. 

“As a husband and a father, I strive to bring that same code of honor into my personal life.

“I believe any candidate for President of the United States should campaign with common ethical and moral values and decency. I accept that none of us are perfect. However, I can no longer look past this pattern of behavior and inappropriate comments from Donald Trump. Therefore, I cannot, in good conscience, continue to support him nor can I vote for Hillary Clinton.

“My wife, my daughters, my mother, my sister and all women deserve better. The American people deserve better.

“Our campaign will move forward, and continue to be based on the core principles of the Republican Party, the need for conservative leadership and the requirement that all people be treated with respect and dignity.

“My hope is that this will not divide us and that we can unite behind Republican principles. We deserve a candidate who can ask him or herself at the end of the day, ‘Did I live my life with honor and do I deserve to be elected president of the United States.’

“I believe our only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to step down and allow Republicans the opportunity to elect someone who will provide us with the strong leadership so desperately needed and one that Americans deserve.

“Today, I stand here disappointed in our choices for president but more committed than ever to bringing that same code of honor, decency and respect to the United States Senate.”

The Republican Party never should have nominated this reprobate in the first place. His track record was well known. He is not now nor has he ever been a Republican.

 

How well are the mainstream media covering questions about Hillary’s health?

Clinton coughing during a recent speech. (AP photo via WSJ)

Clinton coughing during a recent speech. (AP photo via WSJ)

She is trying to have it both ways.

Hillary Clinton told the FBI she could not recall briefings about classified information due to a concussion she had in 2012.

The FBI report said, “However, in December of 2012, Clinton suffered a concussion and then around the New Year had a blood clot (in her head). Based on her doctor’s advice, she could only work at State for a few hours a day and could not recall every briefing she received.”

But now Clinton’s surrogates are attacking the news media for deigning to question her health after she experienced a four-minute coughing spasm at a recent speech and another aboard an airplane while being questioned by reporters.

“They’re trying to work the refs a little bit as they try to push back on the mainstream media’s willingness to pick up on some of this stuff that’s usually left to the fringes,” Clinton surrogate and former Harry Reid mouthpiece Jim Manley said of the efforts.

The Hill said the campaign intends to counterattack news media who even dare to take seriously questions about her health.

A number of conservative outlets have raised the issue of her health, but Manley said the campaign fears the issue is “bleeding to the mainstream media.”

Which is funny, since The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto just pointed out that media are trying to tamp down the story.

“Hillary Clinton is in excellent health, so shut up: That’s a summary of the media narrative that emerged last month after Donald Trump questioned whether Mrs. Clinton has ‘mental and physical stamina.’ A Puffington Host headline proposed: ‘Let’s Call The Conspiracy Theories About Hillary’s Health What They Are.’ What are they? You guessed it: ‘The subtext of the rumors spouted by Trump and his crew of armchair doctors is clear: [Mrs.] Clinton is biologically unfit to lead,’ asserted senior reporter Melissa Jeltsen,” Taranto writes. ‘She’s a woman, after all.’”

A Huffington Post contributor who posted comments questioning Clinton’s health was immediately terminated.

The WSJ columnist reports mainstream media headlines have included the Washington Post’s “Armed With Junk Science and Old Photos, Critics Question #HillarysHealth,” The New Yorker’s “The Far Right’s Obsession With Hillary’s Health” and the Atlantic’s “Questions About Hillary’s Health: The Birtherism of 2016.”

But a former Clinton aide told The Hill, “I think that the fact that any mainstream publications would do anything but make this is a story about Donald Trump is completely out of the mainstream and why these claims have gotten worse. …

“The fact of the matter is there is no truth or factual evidence to debunk,” the former aide continued. “She is perfectly healthy. The only way is to challenge him to a pushup contest at the first debate.”

The website WND, admittedly not mainstream, has tracked down a number of doctors willing to diagnose Hillary from afar and call for her to release health records.

Typical were the comments of Dr. Gerard Gianoli of Tulane University:

“What do we know about Mrs. Clinton’s health? We know that she has suffered two deep vein thromboses and an episode of cerebral venous thrombosis. Blood spontaneously clotting within one’s veins on three separate occasions is not a good thing. In fact, it is life-threatening. This tells us that she has a hypercoagulable state requiring the use of Coumadin (a ‘blood thinner’) for the rest of her life to try to prevent this from happening again. While Coumadin may prevent future blood clots, it can also lead to life-threatening hemorrhage if she has any future trauma.

“We also know that she suffered a concussion and, according to her husband, she took 6 months to recover. How do we know she recovered? If she was a high school athlete, she would have had mandatory neuropsychological testing before being allowed to participate in sports again. Given that being the leader of the free world is more important than playing goalie for the local high school, why is the mainstream media not demanding to see Mrs. Clinton’s post-concussion testing?”