Editorial: Where the presidential candidates stand on public land issues

Basin and Range National Monument (R-J photo)

With the Nevada presidential caucuses just weeks away we are offering readers a glimpse into the stances of the candidates on a key issue — federal public lands control.

For the Democrats there is not much choice.

Bernie Sanders has not taken a stance on letting states and counties have a greater say in public land use, but he has called for raising grazing fees and prohibiting logging and oil drilling on public land.

Hillary Clinton during a press conference in Las Vegas a couple of months ago said the country should preserve federal public lands and add even more.

“We certainly should not be giving in to this ideological argument from the right that we need to put more public lands into private hands,” she exclaimed. “I don’t agree with that.”

On the Republican side, most have called for some level of privatization of federal lands.

The exception is Donald Trump, who was asked at a gun show in Las Vegas recently about whether he would support relinquishing federal land control to states.

“I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do,” he replied. “I mean, are they going to sell if they get into a little bit of trouble? And I don’t think it’s something that should be sold.”

While John Kasich has been silent on the topic all the other Republican candidates have expressed some degree of favor for transferring control to states and/or privatizing.

As a senator from Texas Ted Cruz voted in favor of an amendment to facilitate the transfer of public lands to the states. In 2014 he also offered an amendment to a bill that would have prohibited the federal government from owning more than 50 percent of the land in any state.

Rand Paul has also said federal lands should be transferred to the states. He has met with Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy and expressed sympathy for his plight.

“You run into problems now with the federal government being, you know, this bully — this big huge government bully,” Paul has said. As a Kentucky senator he introduced a bill to give states more power under the Endangered Species Act. It failed.

Like both Cruz and Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio supported an amendment to facilitate the transfer and sale of public lands.

He also backed transferring control of federal energy resources to the states. “This common sense bill will empower states to develop our domestic energy resources responsibly and effectively,” Rubio said. “Ensuring states have more authority in our nation’s energy development will help keep energy costs low, create jobs and grow our economy.”

Businesswoman Carly Fiorina in a recent newspaper interview said, “The federal government does a lousy job of managing forests. The private sector does a much better job of managing forests. The federal government controls too much land in this country.”

Retired surgeon Ben Carson also has expressed the need to allow more local control of the lands. “We the people of the United States are the only ones capable of preventing uncontrolled government expansion and abuse,” Carson wrote in a column in the conservative National Review. “Like the ranchers in Nevada, Americans must find the courage and determination to maintain a free and vibrant nation.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, during a speech in Nevada, said he favored more development of oil and gas exploration on federal lands. “One of the real challenges in the western states is that energy in those areas is often not able to be explored,” he said.

Huckabee also said something is wrong when the federal government can put “a gun in a citizen’s face and threaten to shoot him” over a cow eating grass.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has called for moving the headquarters of the Interior Department to the West.

“I think these lands have to be managed in a true partnership,” Bush said during a speech in Reno in October, noting that public lands “should be viewed as something that creates economic activity, can create cultural values, create wins for citizens and residents of the West.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, while not addressing directly privatization of federal land, has been a strong advocate of privatizing public services such as parks in his state.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has supported transferring or privatizing public lands. “We need to get it back into the hands of the states and even to the private sector,” Santorum told an Idaho newspaper. “And we can make money doing it.”

A version of this editorial appeared this past week in many 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. It ran as a column in the Elko Daily Free Press.

Editorial: Innovation is better solution for energy supply than regulation

Couric and Fiorina on Yahoo! News

The left never lets the facts get in the way of a good harangue or the profits of their cronies in the renewable energy business. The well-being of the citizens and communities be damned.

For example, in 2009, after a three-year battle with Sen. Harry Reid, NV Energy acquiesced to the senator’s pressure and canceled plans to build a $5 billion coal-fired power plant near Ely that would have created 1,600 jobs during construction and 200 permanent jobs upon completion.

Instead, the Ely area got a wind project whose German-made turbines promptly killed a few golden eagles as well as other birds and bats. The wind farm created about a dozen permanent jobs and sells power to NV Energy at about twice the price that the coal plant would have. That is, when it produces electricity.

The latest Energy Information Administration report said the plant produced power only 18.8 percent of the time.

Another company, with Reid’s blessing still plans to put up wind turbines in Reid’s hometown of Searchlight, now that Reid has moved to Henderson. The company recently got a two-year extension on its application.

The major rationale for the tax breaks and subsidies and cheap public land for wind and solar projects is that it will save the planet from global warming because carbon is a greenhouse gas — even though satellites have detected no global warming for more than two decades.

One Republican presidential candidate provided a refreshing alternative to the constant drumbeat by Reid and Obama about climate change.

In an interview with Katie Couric on Yahoo! News earlier this summer, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said,“So every one of the scientists that tell us climate change is real and being caused by manmade activity, also tell us that a single nation acting alone can make no difference at all. So when I see a state like California destroy lives and livelihoods with environmental regulation that will make no difference at all to climate change, when I see the Obama administration take that same regulation and apply it nationally, it will make no difference at all. And yet we are destroying people’s lives and livelihoods. I wonder why are we doing this? Why are we doing this when it won’t have any impact. So I think the answer to this problem is innovation not regulation.”

She could as easily have singled out Nevada, because the Silver State, like the Golden State, is awash in deals for solar and wind projects, including a renewable portfolio standard that requires a quarter of all power in the state to come from renewables by 2025.

Nevada opts for regulation, not innovation in clean-coal technology, despite the fact the U.S. has enough cheap coal to last 300 years.

“But I must say it angers me when liberals say I’m prepared for you to lose your job in the name of sending a signal, to whom?” Fiorina continued. “In fact China could care less. In fact China is delighted that we are not spending any time or energy figuring out clean coal because they’re going to go do it.

“We have to focus on how to make coal cleaner. Look, coal provides half the energy in this nation still, not to mention around the world. So to say we’re going to basically outlaw coal, which is what this administration has done, is so self-defeating. It destroys jobs. It destroys communities. It’s not helping us and it’s not helping global warming.”

She went on to say there is no perfect solution, noting that turbines kill birds and solar plants require huge amounts of water.

“I think it is, frankly, ridiculous for the Obama administration to call ISIS a strategic distraction and then go to say that climate change is the single most pressing national security issue of our time. That’s hyperbole,” the candidate reasoned. “I think a far more serious issue right now is the fact that our government is a vast, bloated, unaccountable, corrupt bureaucracy.”

Nevada is an early caucus state and there are a lot of candidates in both parties to evaluate.

We recommend you keep an eye on Fiorina, who everyone said won the so-called Happy Hour debate, because her energy policy is the polar opposite of Reid’s, which makes it right for Nevada.

A version of this editorial appeared 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, the Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Bully Trump is whining about being picked on

Trump smirks before he pouts. (Reuters photo)

Donald Trump is a bully, who can dish it out but whines and whimpers and simpers when someone slaps his face for being crude, rude and a sexist pig.

After Megan Kelly asked Trump about calling women he did not like “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals,” Trump denied it. The New York Daily News compiled a list of the women who were on the receiving end of Trump insults.

Then after the debate, Trump spewed bile on his Twitter account. On CNN he called Kelly’s questions “ridiculous” and “off-base” and said, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes … Blood coming out of her wherever.” He later tried to say he meant her nose when he said wherever.

Trump twitted about Kelly and Frank Luntz, whose post-debate panel found Trump supporters dumping him:

— “The biggest loser in the debate was @megynkelly. You can’t out trump Donald Trump. You will lose!”

— “Fox viewers give low marks to bimbo @MegynKelly will consider other programs!”

— “@FrankLuntz is a low class slob who came to my office looking for consulting work and I had zero interest. Now he picks anti-Trump panels!”

— “@FrankLuntz, your so-called “focus groups” are a total joke. Don’t come to my office looking for business again. You are a clown!”

He Twitted more than 30 times between roughly 2:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m, pouting about how unfair everyone was to him.

Carly Fiorina went on CNN and said of Trump, “I have said for some time that no one who claims to represent our party should ever be judgmental in tone, vitriolic or angry. I just think it’s inappropriate to call people names.”

She Twitted: “Mr. Trump: There. Is. No. Excuse.”

Charles Krauthammer, who Trump said after the debate should be fired, said on Fox News, “This is a guy who is running as the tough guy. The foundation of his campaign is that our negotiators, our president, our administration is stupid. They’re weak. They get kicked over in negotiations. … And now he says that he was treated not nicely by three Fox News anchors. It doesn’t quite fit. It is extremely upset I think.”

According to CBS, Trump has on occasion backed off from some of his more outrageous jibes, after the damage was done. In April, he retweeted, then deleted, “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”

 

Trump is nothing more than a Clinton stalking horse

Donald Trump proved Thursday evening at the GOP debate that he is nothing more than a Clinton stalking horse by refusing to pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee and not run as an independent. Trump is not a Republican, and anyone who continues to support him is a gullible fool.

A third party bid by Trump would hand the election to Hillary Clinton, just as Ross Perot did for Bill Clinton in 1992.

Even after moderator Bret Baier pointed this out, Trump mumbled this nonsense:

I cannot say. I have to respect the person that, if it’s not me, the person that wins, if I do win, and I’m leading by quite a bit, that’s what I want to do. I can totally make that pledge. If I’m the nominee, I will pledge I will not run as an independent. But — and I am discussing it with everybody, but I’m, you know, talking about a lot of leverage. We want to win, and we will win. But I want to win as the Republican. I want to run as the Republican nominee.

Rand Paul jumped in and said, “He’s already hedging his bet on the Clintons, OK? So if he doesn’t run as a Republican, maybe he supports Clinton, or maybe he runs as an independent … but I’d say that he’s already hedging his bets because he’s used to buying politicians.”

Then Trump firmly stated, “I will not make the pledge at this time.”

That is because he supports Clinton and has never been a real Republican.

Karl Rove pointed this out in a Wall Street Journal piece on Wednesday, which asked which Trump will show up at the debate:

Will the Trump who walks on stage Thursday night be the one who in 1999 told CNN’s Larry King that “I’m quite liberal and getting much more liberal on health care”? The one who wrote in his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” that the U.S. should consider a single-payer health system like Canada’s government-run plan? That system “helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans,” this Trump wrote. “We need, as a nation, to re-examine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing.” Or will debate viewers instead get the Donald Trump who earlier this year called ObamaCare a “filthy lie” and “total catastrophe”?

Clintons at Trump wedding in 2005. (Getty Images via WaPo)

Trump has been both pro-choice and pro-life, both for the Second Amendment and for a ban on assault weapons, both for tax hikes and against them. He has been for immigration amnesty but now makes hay by calling illegal immigrants killers and rapists.

Trump was a registered Democrat in 2004 when he said in a television interview, “It just seems that the economy does better under Democrats.”

He has contributed thousands of dollars to the likes of Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Charlie Rangel and Shelley Berkley, according to Federal Election Commission records.

In 2012 in a television interview, Trump praised Hillary Clinton, saying, “Hillary Clinton I think is a terrific woman. I am biased because I have known her for years. I live in New York. She lives in New York. I really like her and her husband both a lot. I think she really works hard. And I think, again, she’s given an agenda, it is not all of her, but I think she really works hard and I think she does a good job. I like her.”

So why is he running against her three years later? Or is he?

In the debate between the GOP also-runs earlier in the day Thursday, Carly Fiorina nailed the quid pro quo between Trump and the Clintons by asking rhetorically:

Well, I don’t know. I didn’t get a phone call from Bill Clinton before I jumped in the race. Did any of you get a phone call from Bill Clinton? I didn’t. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t given money to the foundation or donated to his wife’s Senate campaign.

Here’s the thing that I would ask Donald Trump in all seriousness. He is the party’s frontrunner right now, and good for him.

I think he’s tapped into an anger that people feel. They’re sick of politics as usual. You know, whatever your issue, your cause, the festering problem you hoped would resolved, the political class has failed you. That’s just a fact, and that’s what Donald Trump taps into.

I would also just say this. Since he has changed his mind on amnesty, on health care and on abortion, I would just ask, what are the principles by which he will govern?

As for what Trump said during the debate, he was evasive and unresponsive to direct questions about things he has said. He offered nothing of substance. He was an empty suit with a smirk on his face.