Category Archives: Adelson

The UnMagic Touch: Adelson and his Money are Soon Parted

AdelsonBecause having the imprimatur of Las Vegas gambling titan Sheldon Adelson was so helpful since he started moving major money into politics — $1.3 million from 2007 to 2012, and $93.1 million to Super PACs [CPI] — members of the Grand Old Party are lining up at his door yet again. [LV Sun]

The three Governors, Christie (NJ), Walker (WI), and Kasich (OH Goldman Sachs), led by the former FL Governor Jeb Bush, would like more of Adelson’s largesse directed their way.

Perhaps these three remember that Mr. Adelson dumped some $16.5 million into the campaign (cum Book Tour) of one Newt Gingrich?   If memory serves, Mr. Gingrich put his campaign stops on hold sometime in April 2012.

Then there was another $4 million bestowed upon George “Macaca” Allen in Virginia — “Independence Virginia PAC — and another bust, as Allen lost the election to Tim Kaine. [MJ]

$2 million of Adelson’s bank account went to the ever entertaining Allen West (Freedom PAC) — Mr. West accused his opponent of “cheating to beat him,” but finally gave in when a recount actually showed even more votes for Congressman Patrick Murphy. [TP] Thus wasting more of Adelson’s $1 million contribution to the Treasure Coast Jobs Coalition PAC.

Lest we forget, Adelson also provided another $1 million toward efforts to elect Rabbi Shmuley “Shalom in the Home” Boteach in his 2012 NJ congressional race — Boteach lost to Rep. Bill Pascrell. Adelson was a bit luckier with the portion of the money that went to NJ Rep. Joe Kyrillos.

The Adelsons donated $500,000 to Scott Brown’s campaign.  Anyone heard from Brown in Massachusetts?  Well, no, not that he’s now carpetbagged it into neighboring New Hampshire after taking his licking from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

And who could forget all the PAC donations headed toward the Presidency of Willard Mitt Romney?  What presidency of Willard Mitt Romney?

The electoral count was Obama 332, Romney 206.  Clobbered?

Not that the presidentially inspired members of the GOP are likely to take this advice — but doesn’t it look like taking Mr. Adelson’s money doesn’t exactly equate to election success?

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Filed under Adelson, Nevada politics, Politics

Here We Go Again? Adelson’s New Voting Gambit

AdelsonJon Ralston reports Nevada’s very own Sheldon Adelson is funding Engage Nevada, a 501 (c) 4 organization which purports to promote political education and voter registration.

We can guess the content of the “educational” efforts — a pure stream of right wing, pro-corporate, messages pertaining to “issues” such as immigration policy reform, tort law restrictions, low taxes for the wealthy, and anti-government slogans.  How the voting registration might be accomplished to further GOP ends is more complicated.

The Rules

Nevada Revised Statutes are abundantly clear on what constitutes illegal activities on the part of voter registration agencies:

NRS 293.5045 Voter registration agencies: Prohibited acts; penalties. 1. A person who works in a voter registration agency shall not (a) Seek to influence an applicant’s political preference or party registration;  (b) Display a political preference or party allegiance in a place where it can be seen by an applicant; (c) Make any statement or take any action to discourage an applicant from registering to vote; or (d) Make any statement or take any action which would lead the applicant to believe that a decision to register to vote has any effect on the availability of any services or benefits provided by the State or Federal Government.

The Guide for Voter Registration drives prepared by the Nevada Secretary of State’s office (pdf) specifies 14 things which a voter registration drive organization may NOT do.

Not to offer any more advice to those who want to circumvent the intent of the State of Nevada to have as many citizens participate in elections as possible, but…

Gimmicks and Games

There’s one old but goodie, tried and true method of collecting new voters for a particular party — follow the demographics.   If your party is favored by elderly white men, then obviously you’d want to go into precincts which contain volumes of elderly affluent white males.  Both parties provide registration assistance to individuals in their respective demographic profiles.  Following the demographics is obvious.

A second method is the Private Party, it’s a variation on the old Book Club “member get a member” recommendation ploy.  Registration drives on private property usually mean at shopping malls, or other gathering spots.  However, there’s nothing to prevent a person from inviting guests to a “party” and encouraging them to “bring a new voter” along with them.   Thus, a party could stage an event, invite guests, and make “voting registration” available on the premises.

No one misses targets of opportunity, on the Republican side these could be church parking lots, country clubs, senior citizen centers in more affluent areas, etc.  There’s no law that says you have to go where your voters aren’t.

Assuming the Republicans don’t revert to the activities of Nathan Sproul and his associates, there’s nothing illegal about conducting voter registration drives.  We probably do want to remember that then Secretary of State, Dean Heller, couldn’t kick that Voter Outreach of America  ball away from himself fast enough in 2004, and Sproul has been active since.

In short if “it” looks like Sproul’s Lincoln Strategy group, or like Voter Outreach of America, or Strategic Allied Consulting, or any other incarnation of Sproul’s group … or anything similar, then Nevada voters are well advised to stay clear.  This didn’t prevent the Romney Campaign from utilizing the services of the infamous group in 2012.  Should “Engage Nevada” hire Sproul associates warning flags should be flapping in even the most gentle breeze.

Running the Projector

One of the tactics used to bring down ACORN in 2010 was the charge that it was somehow involved in “voter fraud.”  In Nevada this meant that the organization had improperly paid its employees, NOT that the agency was involved in actual fraud — the questionable applications were flagged by ACORN itself.  This didn’t stop the Sound Machine from the Right Wing.  Bless their hearts they’re still voting to defund an organization which hasn’t existed since 2010.

If, however, one is employing such hard-ballers like Lincoln Strategies cum Strategic Allies Consulting cum Voter Outreach for America… then a person might well assume that if we’re doing it they must be also.  Psychologists would label this Projection.

Projectors can get out of focus as well.  For example, the difference between the improper payments made by ACORN are not to be conflated with the activities of organizations such as Voter Outreach for America and incidents of destroying applications or failing to submit applications for those who sign up as Democrats or independents.  Those are two very different horses, and not aligned at the starting gate in the same race.  ACORN turned in all the applications, flagging those which were questionable.  Sproul’s minions have a way of making applications disappear.

Caveat Emptor

Since voter registration drives are supposed to return applications in ten days — if a person signs up at a drive then that individual should be able to call the county registrar or clerk and confirm that the application has been filed.  A well intentioned voter registration drive should provide the prospective voter with the phone numbers or contact information for the voting officials in the counties.  If a voting registration volunteer doesn’t provide contact information for a follow up, in this day and age of Segretti Style Dirty Tricks, a light should blink brightly somewhere in the back of the brain.

There’s one sure fire way to counter voter registration efforts by the opposition — conduct your own.  No matter how much money is poured into voter registration drives there is still nothing better than scores of well trained, well intentioned, and well informed volunteers.  It costs pennies and reaps incalculable rewards.

More:  The Ralston Reports, The Nevada Progressive,

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Filed under Adelson, Nevada politics, Politics

Bits and Interesting Pieces

Jig Saw Puzzle** That stalwart champion of free enterprise, Las Vegas’s own Sheldon Adelson, is complaining about his competitors offering lower room rates, and diminishing his profits. [LVinc]  Perhaps if he’d saved a bit of that moolah he pitched at GOP candidates in the last election…?

** If an endorsement from Governor Sandoval is supposed to be an effective repellant to ward off pesky intra-party competition — it’s not working, at least not in the run for 2016, in the Lt. Governor’s Office department.  Ray Hagar has more in the RGJ.  Muth complains here.  More from Ralston here.

** Governor Sandoval had an opportunity to help prevent the possibility of private guns sales to ineligible persons, and he blew it.

“Nobody — least of all Sandoval, a former attorney general and federal judge — wants felons or the mentally ill to get guns. But the fact remains, the governor had a chance to make it more difficult for that to happen, and he chose not to take it. And while this incident was resolved without tragedy or bloodshed, the next one may not be.”  [Sebelius]


** There was the “transportation” of James F. Brown, and now Nevada’s Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Center is losing its accreditation.  [LVRJ] The Nevada Progressive has more + video.

** Talking Point Memo lists the “8 biggest losers”  should Congress fail to pass a comprehensive immigration policy reform bill.  And, might we add radical right wing Nevada politicians in a state in which the Hispanic population is projected to increase from about 687,166 in 2010 to approximately 802,432 by 2016? [StateDemographer pdf]

** Oh, my goodness and glory… Senator Harry Reid spoke about the effects of climate change and its association with wildland fire danger, and predictably the right wing goes off the rails.  From the Damned Pundit:

“Reid was stating the obvious. For decades scientists have been pointing at factors like warmer spring temperatures, lighter winter snowpacks and earlier growth creating an abundance of dryer fuel, and linking those factors to more — and more intense — Western wildfires.”

Here’s the predictable piece from the Elko Daily Freepers, a portion of the litany of “fact checking” provided in an attempt to advance the deniers’ fantasies: “Pay no attention to the fact there has been no appreciable global warming in 15 years despite a dramatic increase in carbon output from all sources — a phenomenon none of the global warming models can explain.”  Thus we are supposed to ignore this data from the Arctic studies?  Or, the Cambridge University study projecting that Arctic methane release could cost the global economy about $60 trillion over the next decades?

By the way, the old “prescribed burn” system which the EDFP writer would prefer to see restored — it’s not necessarily a thing of the past, witness the 2008 Prescribed Fire Guide (download) for forest and wildland management. []

** So, why is Representative Steve King (R-IA Xenophobia) still on the House Subcommittee on Immigration?  NRDC would like to know.   Oh, wait — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN6) is still on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.   There’s more on Representative Cantaloupe Calves here.

**  It’s really hard to gin up any sympathy for the Bankers when they do stuff like mistake a foreclosed home for the one across the street and remove all a person’s belongings — then they trashed or sold all her stuff, and the bank is now refusing to pay for  replacements. [Crooks & Liars] Original story from Channel 10 here.   The First National Bank of Wellston is “disputing” the lady’s $18,000 claim for replacing lost personal property.  Her response: “I’m not running a yard sale here. I did not tell them to come in my house and make me an offer,” she said. “They took my stuff, and I want it back.” [ColumbusDispatch]  The FNB of Wellston has $94,813,000 in assets, and $56,598,000 in outstanding loans, it has reserves of $590,000. [BankTracker]   This story has hit other  national blogs, such as Think Progress.

** Members of the Senate who are drafting taxation reform legislation have promised their colleagues they’ll keep their suggestions secret for the next 50 years.   Transparency? Accountability? Anyone? The story, if not the suggestions, have leaked already — into Politico and The Hill.

** Jobs, Jobs, Jobs — and by CBO lights, the GOP is on the hook for killing about 1.6 million of them.   [Politicususa]  Just think of how many more they can kill if they make good on their pledge to Shut Down The Government unless President Obama agrees to repeal Obamacare?

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Filed under Adelson, banking, ecology, Gun Issues, Immigration, Nevada politics, Taxation

What is this man thinking about?


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Filed under 2012 election, Adelson

Wynn Joins the P.I.T.Y Party

Poor Steve Wynn — the Nevada gambling mogul isn’t getting the respect he deserves! To hear him tell it:

“I’ll be damned if I want him (President Obama) to lecture me about small business and jobs,” he told Ralston. “I’m a job creator. Guys like me are job creators and we don’t like having a bull’s-eye put on our backs.”

“I can’t stand the idea of being demagogued, that is being put down, by a president who hasn’t created any jobs and doesn’t even understand how the economy works,” he added.”  [LVSun]

Stephen Colbert had some well chosen words for this attitude, and offered a solution — the formation of the Protecting Industry Titans and Yachtsmen, or the P.I.T.Y. Party.  Evidently, Mr. Wynn is seeking membership.

The moguls like Wynn  certainly are getting touchy these days.   Mr. Wynn is sounding ever so much like hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman, from Freeland’s article, and Colbert’s satire:

Cooperman argued that Obama has needlessly antagonized the rich by making comments that are hostile to economic success. The prose, rife with compound metaphors and righteous indignation, is a good reflection of Cooperman’s table talk. “The divisive, polarizing tone of your rhetoric is cleaving a widening gulf, at this point as much visceral as philosophical, between the downtrodden and those best positioned to help them,” Cooperman wrote. “It is a gulf that is at once counterproductive and freighted with dangerous historical precedents.”  [New Yorker]

Excuse me for a moment — as a member of the 53% who did pay federal income tax in 2011, but whose vehicles must do without their own elevators, I have to ask: When did getting your itty-bitty feelings hurt preclude you from making sound business decisions in your own interest?

First, what happened in the recent recovery which might have exacerbated the sense that the 0.1% were raking in far more than might be expected for any small element in the overall economy?

Chrystia Freeland captured the trends in two paragraphs back in 2011:

“Before the recession, it was relatively easy to ignore this concentration of wealth among an elite few. The wondrous inventions of the modern economy—Google, Amazon, the iPhone—broadly improved the lives of middle-class consumers, even as they made a tiny subset of entrepreneurs hugely wealthy. And the less-wondrous inventions—particularly the explosion of subprime credit—helped mask the rise of income inequality for many of those whose earnings were stagnant.

But the financial crisis and its long, dismal aftermath have changed all that. A multibillion-dollar bailout and Wall Street’s swift, subsequent reinstatement of gargantuan bonuses have inspired a narrative of parasitic bankers and other elites rigging the game for their own benefit. And this, in turn, has led to wider—and not unreasonable—fears that we are living in not merely a plutonomy, but a plutocracy, in which the rich display outsize political influence, narrowly self-interested motives, and a casual indifference to anyone outside their own rarefied economic bubble.”  [Atlantic]

BUT, don’t mention any of this or they’ll get their feelings hurt?

Note that both Cooperman and Wynn perceive themselves as members of the focus group formulated Job Creators category.  If one remains hermetically sealed in one’s “rarefied economic bubble,” then this might be understandable.

Thus within the confined realm of their “narrowly self-interested motives,” excluding the needs of any around them, Wynn and Cooperman are free to indulge in the level of self pity necessary to excuse their opposition to paying a mite more in taxes to support the interests of any others. Or, that other 99%.

Secondly, “it’s all about me,” isn’t necessarily a good philosophical foundation for business practices.  Note the arrogance of Wynn’s articulation, “Guys like me are job creators and we don’t like having a bull’s-eye put on our backs.”    Mr. Wynn should know better.  What happened to his business in the wake of the Housing Bubble collapse?

Visitor volume, reported as 54,267,549 for Nevada in 2008 dropped to 49,731,901 in 2009.  It dropped to 49,684,782 in 2010 as the Recession deepened.  [NVRA]  Airport travel, convention attendance, visitor volume, all those statistics Nevadans watch carefully were down.  People de-leveraging from household debt, and especially those who lost jobs, don’t answer Nevada’s siren songs.  Those people are included in a group commonly called CUSTOMERS.

If too many customers are too financially strapped to play with our fancy lights and whistles money grabbing machines or to play at our flashy green tables then Mr. Wynn’s operations decline — back to the bad old days of the Bingo Parlor in Maryland?

Who doesn’t understand how the economy works?

If those who consider themselves the Elite excavate their own custom designed bunkers in which only their economic needs really count, and bombard the political system with their avaricious ideology, then it won’t be too long until the customers they require to sustain their operations evaporate.

Income inequality trends were in place prior to the Recession, as illustrated by this graphic from the Congressional Budget Office:

Income increased by 275% for those in the highest quintile, by 65% for the next highest group, by just under 40% for the next 60% of the income earners, and 18% for those in the bottom quintile. [CBO]

Notice that since 1982 the percentage of wealth accumulating to the top 1% of American income earners has increased, and increased rather dramatically since 2002.

Now it’s time to ask the obvious question:  If wealth accumulation trends continue, and it appears that they have during the recovery period —

“In 2010, average real income per family grew by 2.3% (Table 1) but the gains were very uneven. Top 1% incomes grew by 11.6% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.2%. Hence, the top 1% captured 93% of the income gains in the first year of recovery. Such an uneven recovery can help explain the recent public demonstrations against inequality. It is likely that this uneven recovery has continued in 2011 as the stock market has continued to recover. National Accounts statistics show that corporate profits and dividends distributed have grown strongly in 2011 while wage and salary accruals have only grown only modestly.”  [Saez pdf] (emphasis added)

— then how do the ultra-rich intend to keep their businesses profitable?  Especially in Mr. Wynn’s case, the casinos being essentially entertainment retailing?

One of the time honored ways to determine if a business is in trouble is to see if it is gaining a larger share in a declining market.   Obviously, if a declining number of people have the financial capacity to spend their discretionary income on entertainment, then this doesn’t bode well for entertainment establishments.   Pursuing economic and taxation policies which precipitate further contraction in wealth accumulation among a majority of the population isn’t conducive to creating an expanding market for anyone’s products.  The President appears to have grasp this point, Mr. Wynn and Mr. Adelson perhaps not so much.

Job Creators

Moguls do not create jobs.  Moguls, and other businesses owners, hire people.   If they have a lick of sense they do not hire anyone they don’t need.  Another time honored rule of personnel management says:  If you don’t need Cousin Harry don’t hire him.  Nothing will drive any business into the ground faster than an inflated payroll — especially when it threatens to morph into the  family tree.

For the umpteenth millionth time — staffing levels should only be increased when the current employees cannot make or provide the goods and services demanded by the customers, with an acceptable level of customer service.

Demand is what creates jobs.  For all the self-congratulatory posturing of the economic elite, if no one is buying the vehicles, purchasing the furniture, or spending a night with the slot machines — there will be less demand and with less demand comes the natural restrictions on hiring.  The old Supply Side Hoax was never more than an artificial justification for greed.  It certainly isn’t the way to keep an economy growing.  The President understands this, some of the touchy moguls not so much.

Perhaps someone would like to procure one of Mr. Colbert’s Million Dollar Certificates, suitable for framing, telling Mr. Wynn that at least one person likes him?

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Filed under Adelson, campaign funds, Economy, income inequality, income tax, Obama, Republicans, Steve Wynn, Taxation

Clips and Quotes: Tuesday Morning News

** Governor Romney is back on the hustings with his Coupon Conservatism in full sail — this time on education.  This topic has been covered before, Federal funding for K-12 education isn’t a single large pot portioned out on a per child basis. The Governor would like to have Nevada schools enmeshed in a highly, and unnecessarily, complicated system in which funding follows the individual child — want a bureaucratic nightmare of Brobdingnagian proportions? This would do it.  Explanation here.

** Good news, the NV Progressive reports Democrats have a 65,000 person lead in Nevada voter registration.   The Gleaner takes on the Nevada senate race here and here. Ralston’s Reality Check (video) has some interesting points to make about Rep. Shelley Berkley’s ad questioning Sen. Dean Heller’s relationship with felon — it gets an A-.  Sebelius adds some insight and video at Slash/Politics.   Berkley and Heller debate on September 27, and the Washoe County Democrats are hosting a watch party; details here.

** Nevada’s own Sheldon Adelson continues to set records for spreading money in the expressed intent to promote his personal interests:

“Adelson has made history: He is the first person to spend $70 million to sway a presidential election, and he plans to spend more — perhaps as much as $100 million — by Election Day. An estimated $20 million to $30 million of the giving went to groups that do not disclose their donors and had not been reported before.”  [LVSun]

Mr. Adelson would, no doubt, like to make those pesky investigations into his operations in Macau go very very far away.   Ed Kilgore has more about “Adelson’s Ideological Dollars.”  Highly recommended reading.

** Since we qualify as a battleground state for some reason defying our actual number of electoral college votes, The Examiner reports President Obama leads on the Medicare issue.   Here’s a picture:

** Suppression Congestion:  The Pennsylvania lower court, instructed to re-hear arguments in the vote suppression scheme in that state, will take the case today. More at Crooks and Liars.   The Atlantic has an excellent piece describing the impact the Pennsylvania law has on elderly voters.    As former President Clinton put it back on September 4th — vote suppression is an act of desperation.

** Arithmetic:  The conservative economist whose work Governor Romney is fond of citing to support his tax shaft shift to middle income Americans — not…so…much:

“Conservative economists have tried make the numbers work. Martin Feldstein — a Harvard professor and president emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research — released a paper arguing that the targets could be met if “middle class” is defined downward — specifically if Romney increases the tax burden on incomes between $100,000 and $250,000 to pay for tax rate cuts for everyone else. Feldstein’s report ratified the Tax Policy Center’s broad thesis that Romney’s 20 percent tax rate cuts could not be offset merely by unwinding deductions and credits for the wealthy — families typically defined by both parties as middle class would also have to take a hit.”  [TPM]


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Filed under 2012 election, Adelson, Berkley, education, Heller, Medicare, Romney, tax revenue, Taxation, Vote Suppression, Voting

Catching Up: A Roundup of Good Reading

** Click on “expand” to see the Worker’s Voice advertisement which reminds Nevadans that Senator By Appointment Only™ Dean Heller (R-NV) voted not once, but twice, to end Medicare as we know it and to replace it with a coupon (voucher) plan primarily benefiting health insurance corporations.   Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV1), Heller’s opponent in the 2012 Senate race has a cogent op-ed concerning what Heller’s position would cost senior citizens in Nevada.

** About that GOP claim that President Obama “cut” some $716 Billion from Medicare — BOGUS — what the Affordable Care Act really did was save $716 Billion by reducing taxpayer subsidies to health care corporations for profitable Medicare Advantage plans, and cut waste, fraud, and abuse from the system.  NOTHING IN THE ACA CUTS MEDICARE PROGRAMS FOR THE ELDERLY.  By the way, the Ryan Budget plan cuts about the same amount from Medicare, but uses the money to protect tax cuts for the top 1%.

**  Oops?  David Stockman, former Reagan budget guru has a few words for the Romney/Ryan Budget, compliments of Charlie Pierce at Esquire Magazine:

“The Ryan Plan boils down to a fetish for cutting the top marginal income-tax rate for “job creators” — i.e. the superwealthy — to 25 percent and paying for it with an as-yet-undisclosed plan to broaden the tax base. Of the $1 trillion in so-called tax expenditures that the plan would attack, the vast majority would come from slashing popular tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, 401(k) accounts, state and local taxes, charitable giving and the like, not to mention low rates on capital gains and dividends. The crony capitalists of K Street already own more than enough Republican votes to stop that train before it leaves the station.” [NYT]

But wait, Mr. Stockman hasn’t gotten to his closing:

“In short, Mr. Ryan’s plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices. And it couldn’t pass even if Republicans were to take the presidency and both houses of Congress. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have no plan to take on Wall Street, the Fed, the military-industrial complex, social insurance or the nation’s fiscal calamity and no plan to revive capitalist prosperity — just empty sermons.”  [NYT]

Many of Mr. Stockman’s proposals will be unpalatable to Democrats, however he’s right on target about the credibility void and “empty sermons” in what is supposed to pass for “big ideas” in the Romney/Ryan fiscal policy.

Rep. Ryan, staunch defender of the Mega-Mogul, and lieutenant of the Blazing Pants Brigade, will be in Las Vegas to meet with our resident Republican Money Pot, Sheldon Adelson, and to hold a “rally” of the all-white faithful chorus of The Church of the Empty Sermon.  More at The Examiner.

** Not convinced that the GOP’s offering for the 2012 election is all about protecting the Merger & Acquisition Kings of Wall Street?  Then read the Atlantic’s analysis which posits that under Ryan’s plan Mitt Romney would pay 0.82% in federal taxes.

**  Flashback to March 2012:  “A budget plan introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would add more to the deficit over 10 years than if Congress kept the status quo, undermining claims of its fiscal impact.  Ryan’s blueprint, “The Path to Prosperity,” would add $3.127 trillion to the deficit during the decade spanning 2013 to 2022, according to a table on page 88 of the plan.”  [The Hill]

There’s more from TDB:

“Everyone knows by now that Ryan’s budget would replace Medicare with a voucher whose value declines over time. His cuts to Medicare and other health care programs would total $2.4 trillion over the next ten years. But despite that, and despite all the domestic spending cuts in his plan, Ryan still doesn’t get anywhere close to balancing his own budget. That is because even by his own estimate, he reduces revenue by $2 trillion over the same period. His budget relies on optimistic economic assumptions about the stimulative effects of tax cuts, and many of his rate reductions are similarly supposedly offset by unspecified loophole closings, so the real revenue loss would be much greater.”  (emphasis added)

**  MUST READ: “Frank Luntz Messaging Ordered By NRCC” in Crooks & Liars.   A Taste: “Do not say: ‘entitlement reform,’ ‘privatization,’ ‘every option is on the table,’” the National Republican Congressional Committee said in an email memo. “Do say: ‘strengthen,’ ‘secure,’ ‘save,’ ‘preserve, ‘protect.’”   This makes it very clear, because if the GOP says “don’t say” we can reasonably assume that they mean “privatization.”

There’s more over at the Booman Tribune worth reading as well.   Perrspectives sums it up, “Now, Mitt Romney and his Republican allies are counting on Americans having short memories and bad math skills. For today’s Party of Lincoln, the message for 2012 is clear: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and that’s our target market.”

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Filed under 2012 election, Adelson, Berkley, Heller, Medicaid, Medicare

Coffee and the Papers: Nevada Edition

## The Nevada Republican Party remains in an intriguing state of disarray between and among the Real Republicans and the Shadow Republicans and … whatever.  All summarized and explained by the Nevada Progressive.

## The Sin City Siren observes that this will be the first Olympic games in which every country has at least one female competitor.  2012 is also the 40th anniversary of Title IX!  “Back in 1972, when only 15 percent of all Olympians were women, the country passed Title IX, the landmark legislation that ensured equal treatment for females in educational programs supported by federal dollars.” [Buffalo News]

## Speaking of dollars, Senator By Appointment Only™   Dean Heller (R-NV) voted to extend the Bush Tax Cuts to the top 2% of income earners, and then voted against S. 3412 which would retain tax breaks for 98% of Americans while slightly raising taxes on earnings above $250,000.  More from PLAN.

## NRDC breaks down the truth about the federal deficit in one chart.

## Our Senator By Appointment Only™  Heller  jumped the gun while slamming the Administration for supporting Amonix.  This from the ever vigilant Steve Sibelius: “Amonix never used the nearly $6 million in tax credits available under the administration of President Barack Obama. Taxpayer losses were apparently confined to a 2007 grant of $15.6 million, issued under former President George W. Bush‘s administration. So if Heller (or, more particularly, Heller’s campaign) has a problem, it’s with the former president’s Energy Department policies, not with President Obama’s.

## The owner of the “Senator By Appointment Only” trademark does his best to be charitable to the “Senator By Appointment Only.”   This is difficult when the Senator denies his own campaign ads, supports grandstanding stunt bills, and votes to gut Medicare while feigning ignorance of what was in the underlying bill.

## The Examiner reports Vice President Joe Biden will be in Las Vegas for the DAV convention, during the week of August 4-7, 2012.

## ALEC, the corporate supported right wing group in which Nevada legislators Rhoads, Brower, Kieckhefer, and Cegavske proudly hold membership, has lost more corporate sponsors.  One of their remaining corporate sponsors is GlaxoSmithKline the British pharmaceutical giant which, “agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $3 billion in fines for promoting its best-selling antidepressants for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a top diabetes drug, federal prosecutors announced Monday.” [NYT]

## If you aren’t familiar with the Dillon Rule and its implications for state and local government relationships — start here — with J. Patrick Coolican’s description and commentary.

## The Reno Gazette Journal opens former NV Governor Jim Gibbons’ inbox and the e-mails come tumbling out.  Including:

“Sheldon Adelson wants to know what the law requires regarding foreign investors and gaming licenses, i.e., do they have to go through the same review as investors that reside in the UsA – also how are education contributions disclosed? Are they the same for public education and private or do they have to report at all,” Cornwall asked Dayton.”

## Check out these liberal voices in the Nevada blogosphere:  Vegas Jessie, and the periodic musings of Buzzlzarownd.

## Meanwhile, the town fathers of Pahrump move to lay off firefighters in a cost cutting move.  [PVT]

## From the Economy Corner — Interesting: “12  CEOs who embarrassed themselves right off of Wall Street,” [Business Insider]  “Goldman’s Rich Clients Must Feel Screwed Right Now,” [Business Insider]

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Filed under Adelson, Economy, energy policy, financial regulation, Gibbons, Heller, Nevada politics, Title IX, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights

Romney, Adelson, and the Mega-Money Mindset

Dirty money will buy you dirty politics.   Princely benefactor of ultra-right wing causes, Nevada’s own Sheldon Adelson, is the subject of a probe into whether he violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. [LVSun/ProPublica] Some of Mr. Adelson’s donations should raise eyebrows as well.

The Newt Gingrich PAC, “Winning our Future,” received two major contributions; one of $5 million, and another for $2.5 million in the first quarter of 2012. [FundRace]  The Sands CEO’s willingness to pour millions, once reported at $21.5 million, [HuffPo] down the pipe into Newt Gingrich’s book promotion tour and sometime presidential campaign should make it clear to all but the most ethically challenged that he meant it when he said his pockets were bottomless when it comes to supporting the Romney Campaign.   So, whatever is raked in from the Golden Bamboozle in Macau could easily fill the coffers of the First Financialist in Chief.

Evidently, all Mr. Romney had to do was promise to make the pilgrimage to Israel, be as hawkish about Iran as the Bush era Neo-Cons, and make statements saying President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus. [NYT] Oh, and a hug for right wing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gets bonus points.

However, failure to grant Mr. Adelson his million$ of wi$he$ reveals a less lamb-like corporate executive; an explanation from a Sands executive is illustrative: “Weidner recalled struggling to explain Adelson’s style to the Chinese, once comparing his boss to a famous emperor who became angry with China’s scholars and buried them alive with their books. “I would tell them: ‘He is brilliant. Sometimes, like the emperor, he is brutal.'”  [LVSun]

Governor Romney, apparently unwilling to be buried alive with his tax returns, has bent his knee to our Megalomaniacal Mogul.  It’s also nice to know that Mr. Adelson could be willing to spend as much as $100 million to have a Financialist occupying the White House. [HuffPo]

Governor Romney is not the only recipient of Mr. Adelson’s recent largess.  Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA7) sponsored the Young Guns PAC which limped into the campaign season with $55,ooo in the first quarter.  Getting a $5 million boost from the Adelson’s was a lifeline for Cantor’s campaign chest, from which future and current adherents to Cantor’s brand of obstructionist politics will receive donations.

The Adelson’s have also funneled $5 million into the Boehner/Cantor Congressional Leadership Fund. [LVSun]  The Adelson money now mingles with donations from AFLAC PAC, AT&T, the Koch Brothers, Home Depot, Valero, and the Nuclear Energy Institute in the CLF. [OS]

The Mega-Money Mindset

There’s a legalistic mindset at play in the political money games.  Only the ultra-rich have the resources to work at the edges of the legal system.  Consider for a moment Governor Romney’s carefully phrased comments about his income taxes:  “I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more. I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.” [WaPo]

Governor Romney paid “all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more.”  This is more easily accomplished with a battalion of accountants and tax law professionals generally unavailable to members of the American middle class.   Most people fill in the blanks on the EZ form, put a stamp on it, and mail it in, with a “what the heck, it’s as close as I can get” mentality.   A mind-set unfamiliar to the top 1% of the top 1%.

Compare this philosophical bent to Mr. Adelson’s comments on campaign finance:  “I’m against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections,” he said. “But as long as it’s doable, I’m going to do it.” [Forbes]

Governor Romney is going to take every deduction, every dodge, and every tax haven possible because he will do only what is legally required of him. Mr. Adelson will attempt to influence elections because it is legally “do-able.”   There is no internal moral compass directing their actions; only external restraints.

In one case there is no perception that parking money in off-shore accounts in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, or in Swiss banks, isn’t “right” or might be held ethically questionable for someone who is running for the presidency of the United States.

In the other case there is a man worth approximately $25 billion, who in the absence of any external legal restraints on his donations will seek to buy an election — or multiple elections — if it’s black letter legal.  Mr. Adelson has admitted it’s the wrong thing to do, but if it advances his personal interests and it’s isn’t strictly illegal, then there is no internal restraint on his actions.

Morality Matters

Morality “refers to a code of conduct that applies to all who can understand it and can govern their behavior by it. In the normative sense, morality should never be overridden, that is, no one should ever violate a moral prohibition or requirement for non-moral considerations.” [Plato/Stanford]

The very definition of morality requires internal controls, or the application of moral principles by self-governing individuals who are capable of understanding the accepted code of conduct.  In the realm of campaign and personal finance, it seems neither Governor Romney, nor Mr. Adelson, wishes to apply generally accepted codes of conduct as part of their own self-governance.  Governor Romney will seek every edge he can pertaining to his taxes, while Mr. Adelson will do anything not explicitly forbidden — even though their actions give every appearance of dodgy behavior from a public morality perspective.

Small wonder neither man is fond of any restraints on their financial empires.  For such men “freedom” equates to a lack of legal restrictions on their actions.  They are not “free” as long as the rest of society restricts their behavior.  Thus, Mr. Romney calls for the repeal of the Dodd Frank Act regulating the financial sector.  It impinges on his “freedom.”  Mr. Adelson would rather the Justice Department not look too closely at his operations in Macau. That would impinge on his “freedom.”

Therefore, former Governor Romney may, indeed, not understand the commotion about his opportunistic flipping and flopping on issues like women’s rights, or abortion, or global climate change, or support for the policies of the Reagan Administration, [Politifact] and leave the electorate holding the view that he is a hollow man without fundamental political principles.  If all one’s principles are a function of external control, then it’s no wonder the former Massachusetts Governor is a “well lubricated weather vane” revolving as the wind direction changes.

Perhaps neither would understand:

Then, when the clouds are off the soul, When thou dost bask in Nature’s eye, Ask, how she view’d thy self-control, Thy struggling, task’d morality — Nature, whose free, light, cheerful air, Oft made thee, in thy gloom, despair.”  — Matthew Arnold.


For an insightful piece on the issue, from a different perspective, read “Pay no attention to the billionaire behind the curtain”  Las Vegas City Life, July 6, 2012.

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Nevada’s Gift to Wisconsin: Sheldon Adelson’s Money

As if the state of Wisconsin doesn’t have enough problems, Nevada gazillionaire extraordinaire Sheldon Adelson is pumping money into the coffers of Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign treasury. [MilJourSent]

Who’s supporting Walker?

Walker received two $250,000 donations in the latest period. One came from Las Vegas Sands president Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino mogul who, along with his wife, put $17.5 million into Winning the Future, a super PAC supporting Gingrich.

Also giving $250,000 was Richard DeVos, the co-founder of the parent company of direct marketing firm Amway. DeVos has been active in the school voucher movement, and Walker last year expanded Milwaukee’s voucher program and established a similar one in eastern Racine County.

Five people gave the governor $100,000 each – John Childs of Massachusetts, chairman of private equity firm J.W. Childs Associates; Warren Stephens of Arkansas, chairman of financial services company Stephens Inc.; Robert Kern, founder of Waukesha power-generating firm Generac; his wife, Patricia Kern; and Patrick Ryan of Illinois, CEO of insurance firm Ryan Specialty Group.  [emphasis added]


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Filed under 2012 election, Adelson, Republicans