Cruz explains why he did not endorse Trump: It’s personal

Today Ted Cruz said he is not a ‘‘servile puppy dog,” explaining why he refused to endorse Donald Trump during his GOP convention speech Wednesday night.

Though he said he would not be criticizing or attacking Trump, Cruz said, ‘‘I’ll give you this response: I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,’’ despite his vow during debates to support the party’s nominee.

‘‘And that pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and my father,’’ he added.

Trump made snide comments about Cruz’s wife’s appearance and suggested Cruz’s father had indirect ties to John F. Kennedy’s assassin. Cruz called Trump a ‘‘sniveling coward.’’

In other words, it’s personal.

Cruz did open his remarks by congratulating Trump on winning the nomination, but that was the last reference to Trump, adding after the applause, “And, like each of you, I want to see the principles that our party believes prevail in November.”

Toward the end of his speech Wednesday he said, “If you love our country, and love our children as much as you do, stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom, and to be faithful to the constitution.”

This was interrupted by chants of “endorse Trump,” to which Cruz replied, “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation.”

Trump, appeared in the convention hall toward the end of Cruz’s speech, causing the cameras to focus on him instead of Cruz, later posted to Twitter: “Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn’t honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!”

Hillary Clinton tweeted, ‘‘Vote your conscience.’’

Libertarians also jumped on the Cruz lack of endorsement for Trump, asking in a headline online, “Did Ted Cruz just endorse Gary Johnson?”

Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, said, “I don’t agree with Senator Cruz on every issue, but this election is a job interview for the most important job in the country. His call to not stay home in November, to vote your conscience, to vote for the candidate who will defend the Constitution, is one that people should heed. If Americans look past names and party labels, the most honest, trustworthy, and qualified candidate is very clearly Gary Johnson. Maybe that’s why the delegates at his convention savagely booed his call to ‘vote your conscience.'”

Vice presidential pick Mike Pence’s  was largely ignored by the press, which focused on the Cruz slight.

Does Trump have GOP nomination sewn up?

NY Times graphic

NY Times graphic

It’s all over but the crying, right?

Donald Trump snatched up at least 89 of the 95 Republican delegates up for grabs in his home state of New York Tuesday, though John Kasich did manage to stick a finger in his eye by winning the three delegates from Trump’s home borough, Manhattan.

Ted Cruz got blanked and faces bleak chances in other New England vicinity states next week — Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. In fact, Cruz is mathematically now eliminated from any chance of winning the nomination on the first ballot.

Delegate total graphic from R-J today.

Meanwhile, Trump has far more delegates than anyone else and is only 392 from the majority needed to win on the first ballot. But he does not have a majority of the delegates awarded so far. Uncommitted delegates and delegates committed to other candidates total 950, compared to Trump’s 845.

And while Trump continues to whine about the rigged delegate procedures that allow Cruz to take all the delegates in places like Wyoming and Colorado by actually, you know, showing up, it should be noted that the winner-take-all rules are benefiting Trump. In New York he gets 60 percent of the vote but at least 94 percent of the delegates. One person, one vote?

And if Trump doesn’t get to 1,237 by the convention, don’t forget how it turned out in the second Republican National Convention in 1860.

Ramirez cartoon






How a contested convention really works

Ramirez cartoon

Contested Republican Convention? Been there, done that.

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” recounts the balloting at the May 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago:

The convention finally settled down and the balloting began. Two hundred thirty-three votes would decide the Republican presidential nomination. The roll call opened with the New England states, which had been considered solidly for (William) Seward. In fact, a surprising number of votes went for Lincoln, as well as a scattering for (Salmon) Chase. Lincoln’s journey through New England after the Cooper Union speech had apparently won over a number of delegates. As expected, New York gave its full 70 votes to Seward, allowing him to leap far ahead. The Seward men relaxed until Virginia, which had also been considered solid for Seward, split its 22 votes between Seward and (Abraham) Lincoln. Chase had assumed that Ohio, which came next, would give him its full 46 votes, but the delegation was divided in its vote, giving 34 to Chase and the remaining 12 to Lincoln and (John) McLean. Perhaps the greatest surprise was Indiana, which (Edward) Bates had assumed was his territory; instead, Lincoln gathered all 26 votes. …

At the end of the first ballot, the tally stood: Seward 173 1/2; Lincoln 102; Chase 49; Bates 48. …

The second ballot revealed a crucial shift in Lincoln’s favor. In New England he picked up 17 more votes, while Delaware switched its 6 votes from Bates to Lincoln. Then came the biggest surprise of all, “startling the vast auditorium like a clap of thunder”: Pennsylvania announced 44 votes for Lincoln, boosting his total to 181, only 3 1/2 votes behind Seward’s new total of 184 1/2. … The race had narrowed to Seward and Lincoln. …

Spectators sat on the edge of their seats as the third ballot began. Lincoln gained 4 additional votes from Massachusetts and 4 from Pennsylvania, also adding 15 votes from Ohio. His total reached 231 1/2, only 1 1/2 votes shy of victory. “There was a pause,” (Murat) Halstead recorded. “In about ten ticks of a watch,” David K. Cartter of Ohio stood and announced the switch of 4 votes from Chase to Lincoln. “A profound stillness fell upon the Wigwam,: one eyewitness wrote. Then the Lincoln supporters “rose to their feet applauding rapturously, the ladies waving their handkerchiefs, the men waving and throwing up their hats by the thousands, cheering again and again.”

That is how a contested convention works. The person with a plurality doesn’t necessarily win. The delegates that first supported a losing candidate may choose to switch their votes on subsequent ballots to the second-place finisher or some other candidate.

But GOP front-runner Donald Trump told CNN a month ago: “I think we’ll win before getting to the convention, but if we didn’t and we’re 20 votes short, or we’re, you know, a hundred short, and we’re at 1,100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400, ’cause we’re way ahead of everybody, I don’t think you can say we don’t get it automatically. I think you’d have riots.”

Scottie Nell Hughes, a part of Trump’s campaign, told CNN: “The majority, the plurality, the people, the majority of the population have voted for Mr. Trump. … So you know, riots aren’t necessarily a bad thing if it means we’re fighting the fact that our establishment Republican party has gone corrupt and decided to ignore the voice of the people and ignore the process.”

On the first ballot in Chicago in 1860, of the four front-runners, Seward had almost 47 percent of the vote to Lincoln’s mere 27 percent and Chase and Bates at 13 points each.

The current delegate count of the four Republican front-runners, according to Real Clear Politics, shows Trump with almost 47 percent, followed by Ted Cruz with almost 38 percent, Marco Rubio with more than 10 percent and John Kasich with 9 points.

Cruz has more delegates than Lincoln did.



Loser Trump cries foul when the rules don’t suit him

Ramirez cartoon from today’s IBD

Donald Trump again and again has shown himself to be nothing more than a simpering, sniveling, preposterous posturing popinjay and whining windbag who is too lazy to learn the rules of the game and then calls foul when others play by them.

After losing in Wisconsin Trump called Ted Cruz a Trojan Horse for the GOP establishment.

When Cruz swept the delegates at the Colorado state GOP convention, Trump tweeted, “The people of Colorado had their vote taken away from them by the phony politicians. Biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed!”

The Colorado Republican Party canceled its straw poll last August when the national party ruled straw polls must be binding.

But oblivious Trump tweeted moments later, “How is it possible that the people of the great State of Colorado never got to vote in the Republican Primary? Great anger — totally unfair!”

A Trump aide accused Cruz of using Gestapo tactics.

A Wall Street Journal editorial points out that “Cruz cleaned up in Colorado because his campaign was paying attention to the process. Whatever one thinks of the Texan’s appeal as a candidate, his campaign is organized and focused on winning the required 1,237 delegate majority. This speaks well of his ability to lead a complex organization.”

The editorial notes that Trump has been running a one-man show from his Boeing 757, relying on massive rallies and free media.

Speaking of fairness, Investor’s Business Daily points out editorially that the winner-take-all state rules have resulted in Trump winning only 37 percent of all the votes cast but has secured 45 percent of the delegates.

In Missouri it was announced today that Trump beat Cruz by just 0.2 percentage points — 40.9 percent to 40.7, but Trump gets 37 delegates to Cruz’s 15.

Those are the rules and nobody else is complaining about them. They knew the rules going in and are abiding by them. There’s no whining in politics.

IBD concludes, “If he can’t understand the challenges that he faces as a candidate or be flexible enough to respond to a shifting landscape, and if he can’t assemble the best and brightest people needed to win — no matter the rules — what does that say about his claims that he can do a great job running the country?”

To counter Trump’s whining about the rules, WSJ quoted an opinion from the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, “A political party has a First Amendment right to limit its membership as it wishes, and to choose a candidate-selection process that will in its view produce the nominee who best represents its political platform.”

Scalia added that “party conventions, with their attendant ‘smoke-filled rooms’ and domination by party leaders, have long been an accepted manner of selecting party candidates.”

Smoke-filled rooms. Bring them back.




Time for everyone to gang up on Trump tonight

Trump endorses Romney in 2012 (Getty Images)

The Republican presidential debate tonight in Houston, prior to next week’s Super Tuesday in which 12 states make their selections, may be the last chance for the serious candidates to gang up on the swaggering, bragging, epithet-spewing clown who is actually winning so far, Donald Trump.

In an ironic twist, Trump is now calling the party’s 2012 candidate Mitt Romney dumb because he dared to suggest that Trump is not releasing his federal tax returns because they contain a bombshell — reminiscent of Harry Reid falsely claiming Romney had not paid taxes in a decade. As is his usual demeanor, Trump, who endorsed Romney in 2012, the year Trump registered as a Republican after many years as an independent, tweeted this measured response, “Mitt Romney, who was one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope!”

Trump earlier called for the firing of The Wall Street Journal’s entire editorial board because it called for him to release his tax returns early and avoid the problems and suspicions caused by Romney’s lateness in doing so. He also threatened to sue the newspaper if it did not apologize for noting his lack of knowledge about foreign trade. The paper didn’t apologize.

Perhaps, if all the candidates on stage tonight start pricking at The Donald’s incredibly thin skin he will collapse into the quivering heap of dangling nerves, crying like the “soft, weak, little baby” that he earlier called Ted Cruz.

Maybe Ben Carson should suggest that Trump release his medical records, especially the records from his shrink.

Marco Rubio should, as he did recently, challenge Trump on his support of ObamaCare and complete lack of foreign policy knowledge. Trump, who doesn’t know the difference between Kurds and Quds, thinks the U.S. should not defend Israel and should be neutral.

Ted Cruz should continue to attack Trump as being dangerously mercurial, prone to temper tantrums, rudderless on political philosophy. He should continue to ask: “And if Donald does win the general election, who knows what the heck he’ll do as president?”

Trump is a cipher who is selling himself as the solution to whatever ails the country by being the brilliant manager — more like dictator.

Nevadans sweep wide to the left

If there were such a thing as a three-sided coin, Trump’s clownish mug would grace the third side. (Ramirez cartoon from IBD)

“If the right to vote were expanded to seven year olds … its policies would most definitely reflect the ‘legitimate concerns’ of children to have ‘adequate’ and ‘equal’ access to ‘free’ french fries, lemonade and videos.” ― Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy–The God That Failed

By my calculation 118,000 Nevadans have just voted for avowed Marxist socialist Bernie Sanders, socialist-lite Hillary Clinton or epithet-spewing, land-grabbing, socialized-medicine-advocate, liberal Donald Trump. That’s 100 percent of the Democrats who voted in caucuses Saturday and fully 46 percent of so-called Republicans who voted in the Tuesday evening caucuses. (Actually, not really caucuses at all because 90 percent of the people stood in hours-long lines, marked their paper ballots and went home without ever discussing the candidates with their neighbors in their precincts.)

Only 40,000 Nevadans actually voted for people who espouse conservative views and values — that breaks down statewide to 75 percent, compared to 25 percent.

So much for the Trump ceiling. Trump got more votes than Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz combined. Doubtlessly some of those handful of Jeb Bush votes even went to Trump, as would some of those Ben Carson and John Kasich votes when they drop out.

Only the voters in Lincoln and Elko counties gave a plurality to Cruz, but Trump finished second in both of those.

Trump has already won in New Hampshire and South Carolina. The CNN poll prior to Tuesday gave Trump 45 percent of the Nevada GOP vote. He got 45.9 percent.

In the 12 Super Tuesday states next week, Trump leads in all save Texas and Arkansas, according to Real Clear Politics. His delegate count is building rapidly with half of Nevada’s now in his pocket. Can anyone catch him?

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Iowa. That is a scary assessment of both Trump and his supporters.

The November ballot could be frightening to face.






Anybody but Trump

Trump speaks at the South Point. (R-J photo)

Tonight’s the night. Nevada Republicans caucus to pick their choice for a presidential candidate.

According to the latest CNN poll, Donald Trump is the choice of 45 percent of the state’s likely GOP caucusgoers, trailed by Marco Rubio at 19 percent and Ted Cruz at 17 percent, with Ben Carson and John Kasich in single digits.

Trump’s support appears to be up from the 36 percent in a CNN poll in October — at which time I asked: “What the hell are you thinking?” In an editorial this past week, I pointed out that Donald Trump has never been and is not a Republican. His core political philosophy is: Whatever is good for Donald Trump — everyone else be damned.

In fact, Trump is nothing more than a stalking horse for Hillary Clinton. He jumped into the race shortly after a phone call from Bill Clinton in which he reportedly told Trump, according to the Washington Post, “that he was striking a chord with frustrated conservatives and was a rising force on the right.”

A WaPo source described Clinton as “upbeat and encouraging during the conversation, which occurred as Trump was speaking out about GOP politics and his prescriptions for the nation.” Trump has given money to the Clintons’ campaigns and their foundation.

Cruz speaks in Summerlin (R-J photo)

The lede photo and story in today’s Las Vegas newspaper was of and about mainly Trump. Of course, the quotes from Trump’s South Point rally were strictly name calling, boastful promises and vague one-liners without substance or specifics — such as saying of ISIS, “We’re going to knock the hell (out) of them.”

On the Nevada section cover of the paper, columnist John L. Smith — under the hed, “Trump putting on huge act as conservative” — ranted about “America’s fascist Fabian,” who entertained the crowd with his “self-aggrandizing and increasingly popular Gorgeous George routine.”

Smith slammed ridiculous Trump with sharp ridicule that ended with a lament:

The list of those Trump has gone out of his way to offend is extensive (I apologize if I’ve left you out), but along his campaign’s Borscht Belt circuit he has denigrated women’s looks, former POW U.S. Sen. John McCain, Mexicans, a disabled New York Times reporter, the Chinese, the French, a billion or so followers of Islam and Pope Francis.

Just telling it like it is, his followers shout. He’s not politically correct! Yeah, Chauvinism! Go, hate speech!

Trump isn’t a candidate. He’s a comb-over Mussolini.

And it seems to be working.

Then he concluded with this pun on Trump’s gimme cap slogan: “For now, our fascist Fabian is making America grate again.”

Over on the editorial page, the editorial, for the third time I think, made a strong endorsement for Rubio, whom Smith had just called “inexperienced.”

The editorial said Rubio “has strong conservative credentials, but he also has the ideas and charisma to bring independents and moderates under the GOP tent on Nov. 8,” even though he was a member of the Gang of Eight and has been more willing to compromise than Texas’ former solicitor general and U.S. Supreme Court clerk Cruz, who is unwavering in conservative principle and won Iowa, though he opposed corn ethanol subsidies. Trump said those subsidizes put people to work.

But, anybody but Trump.

Even the paper’s Bernie Sanders-supporting socialist columnist called out Trump, even though Trump is more like Sanders than an actual Republican. He called Trump “a television entertainer who’s managed to tap into a deep vein of voter frustration over Washington, D.C. gridlock and what Trump claims is a politically correct culture that silences real debate. (Translated, of course, that means the God-given freedom to insult anybody you want, from immigrants to the handicapped to the media to women to politicians and Washington lobbyists.) Seriously, when you have the pope calling out your schtick, you’ve really got to question your life choices.”

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer has said of Trump:

Cruz may be anti-establishment but he’s a principled conservative, while Trump has no coherent political philosophy, no core beliefs, at all. Trump offers barstool eruptions and whatever contradictory “idea” pops into his head at the time, such as “humane” mass deportation, followed by mass amnesty when the immigrants are returned to the United States.

That’s the reason his harebrained ideas — barring all Muslims from entering the country, a 45% tariff on Chinese goods, government-provided universal health care through “a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people” (why didn’t I think of that?) — have received such relatively little scrutiny. No one takes them seriously. His actual platform is all persona — the wonders that will emanate from his own self-proclaimed strength, toughness, brilliance, money, his very yugeness.

The National Review devoted an entire edition to conservatives bashing Trump.

The New Times today has a piece pointing out that Trump is a political zero in New York, noting: “The major banks, for their part, say they are leery of lending to him after having lost millions of dollars on past deals. Lawyers and contractors he has hired in the past say he is slow to pay his bills, and often shortchanges them. Even the few Wall Street executives who say privately that he is a friend are loath to speak publicly about him.”

Lest we forget: Trump has called himself a liberal and said the country is better off when Democrats are in the White House.

He recently advocated a universal single-payer health care system similar to Canada’s and what Sanders proposes.

Trump has proposed huge tariffs that would set off a trade war and kill jobs.

In the Reno newspaper he wrote a piece calling federal ownership of federal land an impediment to economic development, but when asked at a Las Vegas gun show about federal land being relinquished to the states, he said, “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. … 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.”

On education, after once calling Common Core a disaster, he then said Common Core is here to stay, but now says it has to go.

Trump  calls for deporting everyone residing here illegally but then letting the decent and law-abiding ones back in. We get stuck with the bill coming and going.

“I think eminent domain is fine,” he has said, specifically referring to the Kelo court decision that let communities grab private property from one person to give to a company that might generate more tax revenue. He tried to use eminent domain to grab a woman’s home so he could build limousine parking for one of his casinos.

He supported Obama’s bank bailouts and ruinous and futile stimulus spending.

Since earlier calling for longer waiting periods and tougher background checks before one might purchase a gun, he now claims to be a staunch defender of the Second Amendment.

The Tax Foundation calculates that Trump’s tax proposal would increase the federal government’s deficit by $10 trillion.

Anybody but Trump.

Rubio at the Silverton today. (R-J photo)


Editorial: Stop giving high-tax states an IRS deduction

We have long advocated making the IRS sales tax deduction permanent, instead of having to renew it every year or so, because Nevada is one of only nine states with no state income tax to deduct, which has been deductible practically from the start of the federal income tax in 1913. It’s only fair.

Actually, the fairest thing to do would be to eliminate all itemized state and local tax deductions for IRS taxes, because residents of high-tax states — mostly run by tax loving Democrats — get to deduct a disproportionate share. This causes low-tax states — and Nevada still ranks nearer the bottom despite recent tax hikes — to essentially subsidize the higher-taxed states by paying a greater share of federal taxes.

Although it has been tried before — by Ronald Reagan in 1986 — in this election year a number of GOP presidential candidates are including in their tax reform packages elimination of state and local tax deductions.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Ben Carson all have proposed repealing this tax break, while Donald Trump, as usual, is vague on specifics.

The Heritage Foundation has estimated that dropping this deduction could allow the federal tax rates to be reduced by as much as 12.5 percent across the board.

Nevadans — along with residents of New Hampshire, Florida, Wyoming, Texas, South Dakota and Alaska — get to deduct about 1 percent or less of their adjusted gross income, while those who live in New York, Maryland, D.C. and California deduct more than 5 percent.

Not surprisingly, The Wall Street Journal reports that all of the top 10 high-tax states voted for Obama, while most of the lower-taxed states voted for Mitt Romney, with Nevada as one of the exceptions. Nearly one-third of the cost of the repeal would be borne by Californians and New Yorkers, both heavily Democratic states.

“If marginal tax rates were reduced in a revenue-neutral and distributionally neutral manner, the more than 70 percent of taxpayers who do not itemize would face lower combined federal and state income tax burdens,” write Heritage researchers Rachel Greszler and Kevin D. Dayaratna. “Additionally, this could lower overall taxes for some taxpayers who itemize but who have relatively lower incomes or live in lower-tax states.”

They concluded that the deductions subject federal tax revenues to the whims of state lawmakers and largely benefit wealthy taxpayers and those in high-tax states.

“The rationale for it is that since state and local taxes reduce individuals’ after-tax income, the income used to pay those taxes should be excluded from federal taxation. …” Greszler and Dayaratna write. “In practice, however, the deduction allows states to raise taxes higher than they otherwise would and has significant perverse distributional impacts, redistributing income from the poor to the rich and from people in low-tax states to people in high-tax states. Despite some efforts to eliminate it, the deduction for state and local taxes remains one of the largest deductions in the federal tax code.”

Using 2010 statistical data from the IRS, you find Californians who filed for state and local income tax deductions claimed deductions of $10,700 per return. Nevadans who filed for the state and local sales tax deduction claimed only $1,430 per return.

Calculated on a per capita basis, Californians claimed $2,116 in federal income tax deductions, while Nevadans claimed only $166 per person for sales tax deductions.

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: 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.

Krauthammer sums up the incoherent barstool eruptions of Trump

You can probably wait and read it Sunday in the Las Vegas newspaper, but why wait?

Charles Krauthammer’s column in today’s Investor’s Business Daily offers his take on the three-way race for the GOP coming out of the Iowa caucus.

Though the theme of the column is bemoaning the media’s obsession with whether the various candidates are establishment or anti-establishment, his best lines describe the clueless meanderings of Donald Trump:

(Ted) Cruz may be anti-establishment but he’s a principled conservative, while Trump has no coherent political philosophy, no core beliefs, at all. Trump offers barstool eruptions and whatever contradictory “idea” pops into his head at the time, such as “humane” mass deportation, followed by mass amnesty when the immigrants are returned to the United States.

That’s the reason his harebrained ideas — barring all Muslims from entering the country, a 45% tariff on Chinese goods, government-provided universal health care through “a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people” (why didn’t I think of that?) — have received such relatively little scrutiny. No one takes them seriously. His actual platform is all persona — the wonders that will emanate from his own self-proclaimed strength, toughness, brilliance, money, his very yugeness.

I have no idea what yugeness is either but an online search turns up a number of references to the term describing Trump or his crowds of glazed-eyed followers.

Krauthammer concludes that, despite the “establishment” wrangling and mangling, Republicans are picking conservatism over Trump’s brand of populism by 2 to 1 — when you add Marco Rubio and Cruz’s vote tally of 51 percent and compare that to Trump’s 24 percent — which he says bodes well for the GOP’s chances of survival as the party of Reagan

Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz at a recent debate. (Polaris/Newscom photo via IBD)