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The Federal Government Owns 61 Percent Of Idaho, 64 Percent Of Utah And 84 Percent Of Nevada

Did you know that the federal government owns 28 percent of all land in the United States?  Today, the feds control approximately 640 million acres of land, and after decades of very poor management, many are calling on the states to take a larger role.  This is particularly true in the 11 western states where the federal government collectively owns 47 percent of all land.  East of the Mississippi River, the feds only own 4 percent of all land, and there is no reason for such a disparity to exist.  In Connecticut and Iowa, the federal government only owns 0.3 percent of all land.  Such an arrangement seems to work very well for those states, and so why can’t we dramatically reduce federal land ownership in the western states as well?

Of course the federal government will always need a very small amount of land for certain national purposes, and nobody is disputing that.  According to the Heritage Foundation, the following are the primary purposes that federal land is being used for…

These holdings include national parks, national forests, recreation areas, wildlife refuges, vast tracts of range and wasteland managed by the Bureau of Land Management, reservations held in trust for Native American tribes, military bases, and ordinary federal buildings and installations.

We will always need to have some land set aside for those purposes.

But does the Bureau Of Land Management really need more than 247 million acres?

Does the Forest Service really need more than 192 million acres?

Does the Fish and Wildlife Service really need more than 89 million acres?

If the feds were doing a good job, that would be one thing, but in so many instances federal land managers have gotten an extremely bad reputation.  The following comes from an article by Sue Lani Madsen

For example, federal land is exempt from state noxious weed control laws, and lack of weed control has earned federal land a reputation as a bad neighbor. Frustrated local federal land managers are hindered by layers of internal regulations and restricted funding that make timely response to weed outbreaks difficult.

And thanks to mismanagement by the feds, wildfires tend to spread very rapidly in many areas owned and controlled by the federal government.  At this point more than 2.6 million acres of land have already burned in 2017, and that is close to 30 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

If you have never lived in a western state, it may be difficult for you to imagine just how frustrating it is to have the federal government in control of vast stretches of your state.  In so many cases the feds simply do not care about local issues or concerns, and when they drop the ball there is often very little that can be done about it.

According to Ballotpedia, the federal government owns more than 28 percent of the land in 12 different western states…

Washington: 28.5 percent

Montana: 29.0 percent

New Mexico: 34.7 percent

Colorado: 35.9 percent

Arizona: 38.6 percent

California: 45.8 percent

Wyoming: 48.1 percent

Oregon: 52.9 percent

Alaska: 61.2 percent

Idaho: 61.6 percent

Utah: 64.9 percent

Nevada: 84.9 percent

Here in Idaho, we are glad to have so much public land because it is a wonderful thing for hunters, fishers, hikers and those that enjoy other outdoor activities.

So we want to continue our tradition of having wide open spaces that are owned by the public – we just want the federal government to hand over the keys and leave.

We believe that Idaho land should be owned by the people of Idaho, and we believe that Idaho’s natural resources should be managed by the people of Idaho.

Those that are against transferring ownership of federal land to the states often argue that it would be too expensive for the states to handle

Paying for wildfire protection alone—it accounts for about half of the U.S. Forest Service’s annual budget of $6.5 billion—would burden Western taxpayers, says the Center for Western Priorities, a conservation group.

States would be forced to raise taxes or sell off iconic national properties to developers or other private investors in order to pay for everything the federal government does now—from complicated tasks like enforcing environmental regulations and maintaining cultural and historic resources to simple ones like putting up road and trail signs.

But one study found that it is actually profitable for states to manage their own public lands.  Here is more from Sue Lani Madsen

A 2015 study by the Property and Environment Research Center, a free-market environmental think tank, consistently found state-managed land provided a return on every dollar spent while federal lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management cost more to operate than they return in revenue.

At the end of the day, this is just another area where we need to readjust the balance of power between the states and the federal government.  Our founders intended to create a system where the states had much more power than the central government, but instead that has become totally flipped around.

Today, it is almost as if the 10th Amendment does not even exist.  Most of the time the federal government treats state governments as little more than puppets, and very few state governments have the backbone to stand up for themselves.

As conservatives, we need to start standing up against the costly federal mandates that are imposing such a financial burden on our state governments.  We want control of our own laws and our own budgets.

It is also time for the feds to get off the backs of our farmers, our miners, our loggers and our ranchers.  Some of the most abusive federal agencies, such as the EPA, need to be shut down entirely.

And if our local communities do not want to take Islamic refugees from the Middle East, they should not be forced to do so by the federal government.  Here in Idaho, three young Islamic refugees raped a 5-year-old girl, and yet the federal government does not seem to care about our outrage.

Recently, I have been talking to so many people that just want the federal government to leave us alone.  Instead of solving our problems, most of the time the federal government is the problem, and things would be so much better if the feds would just stay out of our business.

Early Voting Results In Key Battleground States Appear To Favor Donald Trump

vote-button-public-domainIf you want Donald Trump to win the election, then you have got to be encouraged by what you are seeing so far.  Early voting has already been going on in a number of the most important battleground states, and up to this point the numbers seem to support the theory that Donald Trump is doing significantly better in key swing states than Mitt Romney did in 2012.  As you will see below, the latest numbers released by Florida, North Carolina, Colorado and Arizona all have good news for the Trump campaign.  Without a doubt, I still have an ominous feeling about what is going to happen tomorrow night, but so far at least there are some encouraging signs.

Florida

Early voting has become extremely popular in Florida, and at this point close to half of all voters in the state have already cast their ballots.

Donald Trump cannot win the election without Florida’s 29 electoral votes, and so to say that this is a “must win” for the Trump campaign would be a massive understatement.

Fortunately, the Trump campaign appears to be doing much better in Florida than the Romney campaign did in 2012.  The following comes from Politico

Florida Democrats increased their lead over Republicans in casting pre-Election Day ballots to nearly 33,000 as of Sunday morning, but the sheer number of new voters and independents makes it tougher than ever for experts to say whether Hillary Clinton has a clear advantage over Donald Trump in the nation’s biggest battleground state.

Of the record 6.1 million in-person early votes and absentee ballots cast, Democrats have an advantage over Republicans of only 0.5 percentage points, with each party casting roughly 39 percent of the ballots. Though it’s a lead for Democrats, they’re not going to match their 3.7-percentage-point lead in early votes by Election Day they enjoyed in 2012. And Republicans tend to outvote Democrats on Election Day in Florida.

On Monday, updated numbers for Florida were released, and we found out that the Democrats had increased their lead to about 87,000 votes.  But Trump is still doing much better than Romney was at this stage.

And the Trump campaign also has to be happy about the fact that first-time voters account for 25 percent of all the votes cast so far.  Throughout this election cycle Trump has shown that he can bring out people that have never voted before, and so officials in the Trump campaign have to be smiling about this.

However, one sign of trouble for the Trump campaign is the fact that there has been a 100 percent increase in early voting by Hispanics in Florida compared to 2012, and this appears to be fueled by dislike for Trump.  The following comes from the Miami Herald

Through Saturday, 565,000 Hispanics had completed early in-person voting in Florida, a 100 percent increase over 2012, according to an analysis by Dan Smith, a University of Florida political science professor who tracks voting data.

Including absentee ballots, 911,000 Hispanics have voted — more than a third of whom did not vote in 2012. “We’re witnessing explosive early voting turnout of Hispanics — both those newly registered to vote as well as those who sat on the sidelines in 2012,” Smith said.

As discussed above, Republicans tend to outvote Democrats on Election Day in Florida, so the key for the Trump campaign will be to have the same kind of Election Day turnout that the Romney campaign had in 2012.

If Trump wins Florida, he will have a legitimate shot at winning the election, but if he loses the state it will be virtually impossible for him to make up those 29 electoral votes elsewhere on the map.

North Carolina

Another state that the Trump campaign desperately needs is North Carolina.  Mitt Romney won this state back in 2012, and according to the Drudge Report the Trump campaign is doing even better than the Romney campaign did during early voting…

Another dramatic turn of events is being reported out of North Carolina this afternoon: Donald Trump has jumped past all expectations in early voting!

In 2012, Romney hit Election Day down 447,000 votes, based on early ballots. He went on to win the state by 97,000 votes.

Now, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal, Trump opens Election Day down 305,000!

North Carolina is another of the key battleground states that is going to help decide the election.  While not as important as Florida, the truth is that Donald Trump pretty much has to have it to have a legitimate shot.

Colorado

All along, most of the pundits have pretty much assumed that Hillary Clinton was going to win Colorado.

Unfortunately for her, the Denver Post is reporting that the number of Republicans that have voted so far exceeds the number of Democrats that have voted…

Republicans took the lead in early voting in Colorado at the end of the day Friday and held the advantage through the weekend despite robust Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts.

The latest early voting numbers released Monday morning show registered Republicans cast 652,380 ballots compared to 645,020 registered Democrats — a 7,360 vote GOP advantage. The breakdown looks like this: 35.2 percent Republican, 34.8 percent Democrat and 28.5 percent unaffiliated.

If Donald Trump could find a way to actually win Colorado, that would definitely lessen the pressure of having to win Nevada where he is not doing nearly as well so far.

Arizona

The state of Arizona used to be considered “deep red” territory, but during this election cycle it has been considered a battleground state.

Fortunately for Trump the poll numbers in Arizona have shifted in his direction in recent days, and the early numbers coming out of the state look very good for him

The Republican lead in absentee ballots returned is 95,000. Bill Dunn, the party’s director of early and absentee voting, said Republicans lead with 36.5 percent of absentee ballots requested but have an even greater advantage in absentee ballots returned, at 40 percent of the total.

In the waning days of the campaign Donald Trump has been criss-crossing the country, and he continues to draw absolutely enormous crowds.  Conservative voters are far more enthusiastic about Trump than they were about Romney, but will it be enough?

Some Republican strategists are convinced that it will not be enough.  In fact, one of them told CNN that he believes that Hillary Clinton is going to win by “an electoral landslide”…

Hillary Clinton will win in an electoral landslide on Tuesday, but the political baggage she has accumulated over the past year-and-a-half will dissuade congressional Republicans from working with her administration, says longtime Republican political strategist John Weaver.

“I believe she’s going to win in an electoral landslide and be the most unpopular president in electoral history, which is quite the paradox,” Weaver told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files” podcast, produced by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.

And ultimately it could be the establishment Republicans and the “never-Trumpers” that make the difference and deliver the election to Hillary Clinton.  If you can believe it, some establishment Republicans are actually publicly announcing that they have voted for Hillary Clinton and are encouraging others to do the same.

If they can get just five percent of Republicans to follow them, they could completely alter the outcome of the election.  So let us hope that does not happen.

On a positive note, on Monday we learned that Hillary Clinton has canceled her celebratory fireworks for Tuesday night.  No reason was given for why the fireworks were canceled, but many are taking this as a sign that the Clinton campaign may not be as optimistic as they were previously.

In any event, we don’t have long to wait now until we find out who wins and who loses.

If you want Donald Trump to win, please go vote, because America may never be faced with this kind of a choice again.

I am absolutely convinced that this is a pivotal moment in American history, and on Tuesday night we find out what happens.

May God have mercy on the late, great United States of America.

America On Fire: Why Is The Number Of Wildfires In The United States Increasing?

As America watches large sections of Colorado literally burn to the ground, many are wondering why all of this is happening.  There have always been wildfires, but what we are experiencing now seems very unusual.  So is the number of wildfires in the United States increasing?  As you will see later in this article, the answer is yes.  2011 was a record setting year for wildfires and this wildfire season is off to a very frightening start.  Right now the eyes of the nation are focused on the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado.  It doubled in size overnight and it has consumed more than 300 homes so far.  It is threatening the city of Colorado Springs, and at this point more than 35,000 people have been forced to evacuate – including the U.S. Air Force Academy.  On Twitter and Facebook residents are describing what they are seeing as “the apocalypse” and as “the end of the world”.  But this is just the beginning of the wildfire season.  We haven’t even gotten to July and August yet.

The Waldo Canyon fire is rapidly becoming one of the most expensive and destructive wildfires in Colorado history.  The historic Flying W Ranch has already been burned totally to the ground by this fire.  Local authorities are struggling to find the words to describe how nightmarish this fire is.  The following are a couple of quotes from a CNN article….

Richard Brown, the Colorado Springs fire chief, described it as a “firestorm of epic proportions.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper surveyed the Waldo Canyon Fire, telling reporters it was a difficult sight to see.

“There were people’s homes burned to the ground. It was surreal,” he said late Tuesday night. “There’s no question, it’s serious. It’s as serious as it gets.”

But this is not the only wildfire that is raging in Colorado.  Right now there are 10 wildfires burning in the state.  Overall, there are 33 large wildfires currently burning in twelve U.S. states.

If you will remember, New Mexico just experienced one of the worst wildfires that it has ever seen.  Conditions throughout most of the western United States are ideal for wildfires right now.  As USA Today reports, much of the western half of the country is under a “red flag warning” right now….

Throughout the interior West, firefighters have toiled for days in searing, record-setting heat against fires fueled by prolonged drought. Most, if not all, of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana were under red flag warnings, meaning extreme fire danger.

But wait, didn’t this kind of thing happen last year too?

Yes it did.

In fact, 2011 was one of the worst years ever for wildfires in America.  The following is a short excerpt from an EarthSky article….

Thousands of wildfires raged across the United States last year, 2011, burning a record amount of land, especially in the southern U.S. In fact, 2011 the third-most-active fire season since 1960 (when this record-keeping began) with respect to acres burned, according to preliminary data released from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in late December 2011. The NIFC will be releasing an official summary report detailing the 2011 wildfire season later in 2012, but for now you can read some of the details in the State of the Climate Wildfires 2011 report from NOAA.

During 2011, a total of 73,484 wildfires burned an estimated 8,706,852 acres (35,235 square kilometers) of land across the United States. Wildfire activity during 2011 was exceptionally high and was only exceeded in the historical record by wildfire activity during the years 2006 and 2007.

We have seen highly unusual wildfire activity throughout America in recent years.  In the article quoted above you can find a chart which shows that wildfire activity in the United States has been far above normal during the past decade.

Wildfire records have only been kept since 1960.  The 6 worst years on record for wildfires in the U.S. have all happened since the year 2000.  The following is from an Earth Island Journal article that I found….

In the United States, where some of the most accurate wildfire statistics are kept, the six worst fire seasons in the past 50 years have occurred since 2000. In Texas, nearly 4 million acres were burned in 2011, double the previous record. This included the Bastrop Fire last September that destroyed 1,600 homes and became the most destructive fire in Texas history. In Arizona more than one million acres were burned in 2011, a new record. The Wallow Fire, which destroyed nearly a half million acres, was the largest fire in Arizona history. The Pagami Creek Fire in northern Minnesota became the third largest fire in state history when it burned 100,000 acres in September 2011, most of this in an unprecedented 16-mile run on a single day.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that the number of wildfires in the United States is increasing and wildfires are becoming more powerful and doing more damage.

So what is causing all of this?

The truth is that this is happening because we are seeing exceptionally dry conditions throughout the western half of the United States.  In fact, according to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. interior west is now the driest that it has been in 500 years.

The eastern half of the country also gets very hot during the summer, but they don’t have as many wildfires because they get a lot more rain.

Many areas in the western half of the country have been experiencing drought conditions for quite a few years, and there seems to be no end in sight for the drought.

If you go check out the U.S. drought monitor, you will see that almost the entire southwest United States is experiencing some level of drought right now.

So what will July and August bring?

It is kind of frightening to think about that.

Earlier this year I wrote an article that postulated that we could actually see dust bowl conditions return to the middle of the United States.  Many readers were skeptical of that article.

But as much of the western United States continues to experience bone dry conditions and continues to be ravaged by wildfires, perhaps more people will understand how bad things are really getting in the interior west.

Just because we have made great technological advances as a society does not mean that we know how to tame nature.  We can attempt to contain the massive wildfires that are popping up all over the place and we can attempt to deal with the drought, but in the end we cannot stop what is happening.

So do you live in any of the areas that are being affected by these wildfires?

Do you have an opinion about why so much of America is on fire?

Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion below….

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