Why Trump must veto the federal land grab bill

The ongoing ‘War on the West’

– – Sunday, March 3, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Trump gave one of his most memorable and impactful speeches two weeks ago when he systematically dismantled the case for socialism. In that speech, he recalled the economic harm and destruction in nations that have adopted socialism, communism or Stalinism. “We will never be a socialist country,” Mr. Trump pledged in his speech in Florida.

Well said. And the first big step that Mr. Trump could take in preventing any slippery slide in that direction would be to veto the Land and Water Conservation Fund bill, which would enable the federal government to spend $9 billion to purchase millions of acres of private lands for “conservation.” What? Uncle Sam is going to take out of private hands millions more acres of America’s valuable land mass? This is the reverse of privatization — it is the nationalizing our nation’s farm land, forests, streams and pastures.

I am told by House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Gary Palmer that this land grab was a high priority of the anti-growth environmental groups that oppose further development in the Western states — where most of this land would be seized. Amazingly, a Republican-controlled Senate approved the federal land grab with little debate and the House under Nancy Pelosi snuck the bill through with virtually no debate at all. It’s a good bet almost none of the House or Senate members read this 700 page bill.

According to an analysis by Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana, and an expert on natutral resources issues, the bill “permanently authorizes $9 billion per decade for the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire new federal and state lands.” My Heritage Foundation colleague Nick Loris reports that the Interior Department already has a $16 billion maintenance backlog on the lands the government already owns, but can’t take care of. At its core this legislation violates a central and common-sense principle of the Republican Party and its fight against the Democrats’ ongoing War on the West. That principle dating back to the Newt Gingrich years is simple: Congress shall allow no net loss of private property to the feds. For every acre the government plans to purchase or simple seize, it must sell off at least one acre in return.

The federal land holdings are already gargantuan with almost one-third owned by the government and with half of the land in the Western states owned by Uncle Sam. In Nevada and Utah, the government owns almost two-thirds of the land. President Obama nationalized millions of additional federal lands — and though Republicans whined, they did little to stop him.

How depressing it would be if Donald Trump — who has been rightly critical of the Obama land grabs, launched a new federal land purchasing program on his watch. One common justification for federal land ownership is to preserve these properties with national significance for future generations. But the federal government has proven over the last 30 years that it is an atrocious protector of our forests and wildlife. The feds have let millions of acres of federal lands be destroyed through awful land management and even “let it burn” policies during forest fires.

But there is another even more important reason Mr. Trump should veto this spending bill. It would take royalty payments from valuable leases for drilling for oil and gas and and use those funds for the government’s land purchasing scheme.

This would short-circuit a plan that Rep. Palmer has proposed. He smartly wants to devote potentially trillions of dollars raised from the leases to pay for a massive infrastructure bill. We need more roads, bridges, better ports, new pipelines and an ingenious way to pay for them is through leases. Two new studies from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity estimate that the net value of drilling and mining on federal lands and waters could reach $3 trillion to $5 trillion over the next 30 years. That money could pay for a lot of roads, airports, pipelines, bridges and fiber optic cables to connect America — and without having to charge taxpayers a single penny.

I would wager to bet that President Trump has no idea that this land socialism is tucked inside a bill that he is expected to sign. Don’t do it, Mr. President. Fight against land grab socialism and fund your coveted infrastructure plan by charging fair value leases on drilling and mining. If there were ever a bill that deserves Donald Trump’s first veto, it is this one.

Source: Why Trump must veto the federal land grab bill


Why a Republic and How do we Keep it?

By Doug Knowles ~ February 28th 2019

Why did our forefathers, give us a republic?

It was not easy for them to agree on the best form of government for the newly liberated nation.  They did much research, analysis, and debate to come to the final definition of our Constitutional Republic.

A large portion of the consideration was to the understanding of the failures of other efforts both currently and in history, and how those failures would be prevented.

The types of governments they had to consider at that time, were vulnerable to and ended in rebellion and chaos.  They looked at the failures of the ability of the ruled to rule themselves.  Their ultimate goal became the concept of Governoring by those that are being Governed.

Chaos, being the absolute enemy of any government, how could they keep chaos in check. Balance the powers of the governing and the governed.

From this, the concept of a Constitutional Republic was born.  A form of government for the people and by the people. Throughout history, the attempts at pure democracy also ultimately failed in chaos — the inability to control the leadership by the governed.

The separation of powers with checks and balances allowing for organized intervention when the balance of power or control becomes detrimental to the republic was what would be attempted.

The branches of Government were organized to define not only responsibility but also accountability.

The legislature would be the body by which laws and fine tuning of the government would take place as well as the control of the spending.

To control chaos, they created a House of Representatives and a Senate. Each state would have two senators elected by the people. Each state would have an equal number of representatives to the population divided into equal districts of the population.

This was done to balance the legislative branch of government, between the two types of representation — equality of the states and the separate equality of the population as a whole. Last but not least, the decisions approved by both bodies have the President as a check and balance to veto.

The executive branch was created to operate the functions of governing based on the rules put in place by the legislature. It includes a President and Vice President elected by the states through a process called the electoral college. The today electoral college consists of 538 electors each having a vote. An absolute majority of 270 electoral votes is required to determine the President and Vice President, team.

Electors are chosen by a method provided in each state’s constitution, and a number of electors equal to the representatives and senators combined representing the state in the legislature.

A national election for the President and Vice President team is held in each state. However, the members representing the state may be chosen by other methods.  It is presumed, that the votes of the electoral college members will represent the results of the state’s election but is not required; it is based upon each state’s constitution.

A third, branch of the government, the Judicial, was created to be an arbiter between not only the Executive and Legislative branches, but between the government and the people as well as between the people.

Power and Control

In our Constitutional Republic, anything not covered in the constitution is left to the states. However, the states must yield to the constitution of the republic in the constitution of the state.

As the States, Counties and Cities were formed; they were encouraged to follow a similar approach for the same reasons that a republic was chosen.

The Model from the republic was separately elected branches and something similar to a legislature or commission or council.  Most states have an Executive Branch; A Governor and a successor, a Judicial Branch; an Attorney General and a Legislature; Assembly and Senate.

At the county levels things change, the legislature is replaced by a council or commission, but in most cases, the judicial, and law enforcement are still elected by the people making them a separate branch elected by the people.

The county, being the closest government to the people, has the ultimate jurisdiction and constitutional protection for the people.

The sheriff has the authority to stand between the people and any of the governments any issue of natural rights protected or not by the constitution of the republic.

Why and How are we the people losing the Power and Control

The only way we as individuals lose Power and Control is either delegating it or allowing to be taken. The constitution protects your ability to vote in or out the folks that you are delegating the power and control to.

Simple process until we allow it to be changed.

So far we have described what is referred to as the Layer Cake Republic. Each layer of government has controls that define them, and each layer has power and controls that are defined by the layers above or below.

Then comes what we call the Marble Cake Republic. This concept describes what we are seeing happen in the structure of government today.

Examples that turn the Layer Cake Republics to Marble Cake Republics

Starting in the legislatures, we find that they are delegating the power and controls we have given them to executive branch bureaucracies. When this happens, we as voters lose our power and control as our elected officials have delegated those powers to non-elected bureaucrats.

Anytime one of our Powers and Controls gets delegated to a non-elected official we lose our power and control of our vote.

Now comes the regional Boards and Commissions.  An example would be a regional water board. The member cities agree to create a board/commission for the purpose of making decisions and rules about water issues. This transfers the power and control of an agency. They appoint representatives to the board from each member city/county.

There go the powers and control of electing those that represent your interests on those matters.

Bad court decisions applied globally are another culprit.

A court decision, Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964), forced western states like here in Nevada to change how senators are elected and allocated to the counties.  The legislature in Nevada was originally set up like the federal government, with a senator allocated for each county and the assembly members elected by district based on population. Now the senators are determined by districts created based on population.

This change had the effect of giving a majority of senators and assemblymen to the largest populated county in the state.  My county here in NYE shares both an assemblyman and senator with five other counties districts.  The Rural counties are no longer represented fairly.

As California loses people, a Las Vegas suburb grows

 

HENDERSON, Nev.—For Karina Nasir, leaving California for this booming Las Vegas suburb was the chance to escape commutes up to three hours. For Bill Clune, it is saving nearly $5,000 a year on his water bill. For John Falkenthal, the opportunity to have some money left over every month after paying his mortgage.

“I never even considered leaving Southern California, but it took me every dime I had to buy a home there,” said the 54-year-old Mr. Falkenthal, a software engineer who moved to Henderson from San Diego last October.

California has been losing more residents than it gains from other states for years, even though its population of 40 million keeps growing from births and foreign immigration.

But the outflow has accelerated lately. Net migration to other parts of the U.S. from the nation’s largest state was more than 100,000 in 2015,  2016 and 2017, according to the Census Bureau. Total emigration from California to other states between 2006 and 2017 was 1.24 million, according to the Census Bureau, third highest in the nation behind only New York and Illinois.

For many former Californians, the high cost of living in the Golden State came to outweigh its balmy climate and booming economy. California has some of the highest utility bills and taxes in the country and the median home price soared 83% between 2012 and 2018, according to real-estate listings company Zillow Group Inc. Buying a house is unaffordable to all but 28% of the state’s population, according to an index by the California Association of Realtors that measures the percentage of people in the state who can afford to buy a single-family, median-priced home.

“They’re moving out of the state for less expensive housing,” said Mohamed Hassan, a real-estate broker in Woodland Hills, Calif., who helped three clients sell their homes last year to relocate elsewhere.

Ex-Californians have flocked to neighboring states like Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Arizona, which are among the fastest growing in the country. Few places have been as affected as Henderson, whose population surged 20% in the last decade to more than 300,000, pushing it past Reno to become Nevada’s second most populous city.

Fifty-six percent of new arrivals in Henderson between 2013 and 2017 were from California, according to Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles data. Home sales in many of the city’s master-planned communities have been dominated by migrants from the West.

a house with trees in the background: The MacDonald Highlands community of Henderson, Nev.© Roger Kisby for The Wall Street Journal The MacDonald Highlands community of Henderson, Nev.

At the 1,300-acre MacDonald Highlands in the dusty bluffs overlooking Las Vegas, Californians accounted for about 70% of purchases in 2018, compared with 30% 20 years ago, said Rich MacDonald, the developer. He said he began increasing the share of his marketing targeting Californians over the past three years after seeing the run-up in housing costs there.

“They’re tired of getting their pockets picked,” Mr. MacDonald said.

Mr. Falkenthal initially looked for a house in San Diego after selling his former home following a divorce three years ago. But his half of the proceeds, about $250,000, would have paid for only a small townhouse or condo in the coastal area where he lived, he said.

Instead, he bought a three-bedroom, two-story house in Henderson in October for $416,000.

“My quality of life went up the day I moved here,” said Mr. Falkenthal pointing to his pool table and his musical equipment.

Former Californians are finding plenty of familiar sights and people. The Oakland Raiders in January broke ground on a new headquarters and practice facility in Henderson for the team’s coming move to Las Vegas.

Mr. Clune, 62 years old, and his wife Cindy, 63, both retirees, persuaded their daughter and cousin, along with two other couples, to follow them to Henderson after they moved here three years ago. In addition to saving money, escaping the California traffic was a big draw. Mr. Clune said he used to spend as much as two hours each way commuting from his home in Temecula to his manufacturing business in North Hollywood.

“Here, they complain if you have to spend 30 minutes in traffic,” Mr. Clune said.

There are things he and his wife miss in California, though. “We have four grandkids there, and would love to see them more often,” he said. “And the beach is nice.”

Henderson got its start in World War II as a supplier of magnesium for munitions and airplane parts. As Las Vegas began to sprawl, it became known for master-planned communities such as Lake Las Vegas, where singer Celine Dion and other celebrities live.

Like the rest of Nevada, Henderson suffered as housing prices crashed during the recession a decade ago. But it came back with a vengeance as the Las Vegas metro economy rebounded, thanks in part to a tourism resurgence.

Now Henderson is feeling some growing pains from the California influx. Schools are becoming crowded. Enrollment in the Nevada State High School at Henderson rose to 350 from 200 three years ago and is at its full capacity, school officials say.

Two more campuses of the state charter high school system are in the works in Henderson, said John Hawk, chief operations officer for the school district.

Average housing prices in the Las Vegas metro area rose to $278,000 in 2019 from $120,000 in 2012, according to Zillow. The increase has pressured some locals looking to buy, but 47% of Vegas-area residents can still afford it, said Jeremy Aguero, principal of Nevada consulting firm Applied Analysis. That is down from 88% after the last recession, he said.

Not everyone is enamored of the California migration, though. Melissa Winders, a 48-year-old church ministry assistant, said she and her husband had a difficult time buying a home 12 years ago outside Henderson because of Californians outbidding them with all-cash offers. And she said she sees the same thing happening again.

“It does hurt the locals,” Ms. Winders said, “just because they don’t have the cash like the Californians do.”

Source ~ As California loses people, a Las Vegas suburb grows

Federal Lawsuit Aims to Ban Brothels in Nevada

Monday, February 25th 2019, 3:23 PM PST

A lawsuit filed in federal court aims to end the legal brothel industry in the Silver State.

The lawsuit filed by Rebekah Charleston names Nevada and Governor Steve Sisolak as defendants.

It alleges legal brothels violates her constitutional rights and it seeks a federal injunction against brothels in Elko, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Storey and White Pine counties.

Last November Lyon County defeated a measure that would have banned brothels there by a wide margin.

In a statement Monday the Mustang Ranch called the lawsuit “a desperate act” and said in part “the female entrepreneurs in the industry pay their taxes, support their family, buy their first homes, and pay their way through college or other educational courses. In over 4,000 work card applications filed over the last 20 years by working professionals and employees at the Mustang, not one has turned up to be a victim of trafficking.”

Source: Federal Lawsuit Aims to Ban Brothels in Nevada