Category Archives: Angle

They’re Back! Ladies vie for Official Nevada Embarrassment Title

Angle 2016

Just in time for political silly season in Nevada! Sharron Angle, Our Lady of Perpetual Campaigning, is pleased to tell one and all in 8 minutes and 41 seconds, how she’d be a great candidate for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat.

Perhaps we can get a repeat performance of some of Angle’s classics:

“You know what I’m talking about. You’re paying for things that you don’t even need. They just passed the latest one, is everything that they want to throw at us now is covered under ‘autism.’ So, that’s a mandate that you have to pay for. How about maternity leave? I’m not going to have any more babies, but I sure get to pay for it on my insurance. Those are the kinds of things that we want to get rid of.” –Sharron Angle, mocking the notion that health care coverage for autism treatment and maternity leave should be mandated, 2009 Tea Party rally”  [Phumor]

Or this:

They [Republicans] say, ‘You’re too conservative.’ Was Thomas Jefferson too conservative? I’m tired of some people calling me wacky.” –Sharron Angle, March 21, 2010”  [Phumor]  Maybe if she’d stop saying wacky things people might not comment on it?

Fiore Mag

If this isn’t enough fun – welcome back Michele Fiore, the Bundy Babe from southern Nevada.  There’s always her classic comment about guns on campus: “If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them,” she told the New York Times. “The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.” [WaPo]  Nice, for a candidate from Congressional District 3? [h/t Crooks and Liars]

Who’s the best qualified as the Official Embarrassment of the Silver State?

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Filed under Angle, Gun Issues, Nevada news, Nevada politics

Council of Conservative Citizens and the Problem of Money in Nevada Politics

Earl Holt NV On August 21, 2010 the Friends of Sharron Angle received a $500.00 donation from one Earl Holt, Longview, Texas.  There was another donation from the same source on October 12, 2010, also for $500.00.  However, pouring money into Mrs. Angle’s failed campaign wasn’t Earl Holt’s only interest in Nevada.  On September 30, 2012 the Heller for Senate received $500.00 from the generous Mr. Holt. [LVSun]

Mr. Holt and his organization have come under scrutiny since the Charleston church massacre as the probable source of inspiration for the killer.  From the Associated Press, the Guardian, and Politico. And, now Senator Heller has announced he will give his prize money from Holt to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund. [LVRJ]

The donation is good news indeed, the bad news is that the $500 from Holt’s Hate Band has been in Senator Heller’s account from September 30, 2012 until June 22, 2015 without notice on the part of Heller’s own staff.

This says something about money in politics and Republican money more specifically.

Given the massive costs of running a statewide campaign, especially in the top echelon races, it’s comprehensible that individual donations of relatively small amounts wouldn’t be cross checked for provenance.  However, it’s not like the Council of Conservative Citizens is an unknown group. 

“The Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) is the modern reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils, which were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to battle school desegregation in the South. Among other things, its Statement of Principles says that it “oppose[s] all efforts to mix the races of mankind.” Created in 1985 from the mailing lists of its predecessor organization, the CCC, which initially tried to project a “mainstream” image, has evolved into a crudely white supremacist group…” [SPLC]

Flags As the Republican Party has been co-opted or at least significantly  influenced by the ultra-conservative Tea Party membership, the origins of money are ever more likely to come from organizations which have dubious racial and ethnic agendas – i.e. white supremacists.

Our second “given” is that it is always easier to beg forgiveness than to ask  permission.  Several prominent members of the Republican Party have donated CCC money to charity in the last week, all presumably because the tainted nature of the origins came to light.  Granted this is speculation, but what IF by some miracle the killer in Charleston had not acted on his evil ideation? What if the basis for the hate wasn’t the propaganda of the white supremacist’s associations?  Would those donations still be available to the politicians to buy air time and advertising?

In an era of Dark Money, Big Money, PAC money, and questionable non-profit money – here’s some unsolicited advice:

Well coordinated campaigns have good lines of internal communication.  Policy advocates and specialists should know where the money’s coming from, and the finance specialists should be aware of the image the candidate wants to project.   If a candidate doesn’t wish to be guilty by association with white supremacist groups then that needs to be conveyed to the finance directors with an admonishment to screen donations which appear questionable.

Bluntly speaking, Citizens United, while beneficial to Republican candidates in terms of corporate donations, may have made it harder for individual campaigns to discern the ultimate origins of campaign donations, which when discovered could prove embarrassing – or career ending.  We have a current example – Rep. Scalise, his speech to a David Duke related organization, and Duke’s threat to reveal his connections to other politicians. [HuffPo]

When in doubt – there’s always Google?

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Filed under Angle, campaign finance reform, campaign funds, Heller, Nevada politics, Politics, racism

Coffee and the Papers

** A note to all those beknightéd souls who keep voting against local bond issues for airport expansion, improvement, and/or upgrading in Nevada and elsewhere:  You’re killing your own economic growth.  And now, there are numbers to support that statement.  A CDM Smith report says:

“… airports multiply a community’s economic output — particularly at a facility like McCarran International Airport. McCarran stands out because it has more airlines than most other airports, more employees to handle large volumes of customers and serves a tourism economy that includes hundreds of jobs spun off from airport operations.” [LVSun]

Speaking specifically of Nevada: “Nevada was ninth on the 50-state list, with economic output of $40.5 billion. The state’s five commercial airports provided 313,640 jobs with an annual payroll of $11.8 billion, the report said. But on average, Nevada’s airports produced economic output of $8.1 billion per airport, second only to Georgia, which had nine airports that produced $8.9 billion per airport on average.”  The full report is available here. (pdf)   The five airports in Nevada which were included in the study supported 313,640 jobs, with a total $11,766,736,000 payroll (money going into the local economy), and an economic output of approximately $40,533,175,000 .

** Update on the redoubtable Mrs. Angle’s latest crusade against “vote fraud;”  The Secretary of State’s Office has a rejoinder — “Our multi-jurisdictional Election Integrity Task Force has always aggressively investigated any leads and successfully prosecuted election law violations. However, we can’t send out our investigators until we have basic information about what crime may have been committed, when it happened and who may have been involved. The unsupported fraud claims on Ms. Angle’s campaign website don’t give us enough information to even open up a case file.” [NVSoS]

Attorney General Eric Holder isn’t any more impressed with the vote suppression campaign from the Right either, see video from TPM.

** Only one Democrat has filed for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, Stephen Horsford, however there are all manner of Republicans entering the fray.  The two “biggest names” are Cegavske and Tarkanian.  [Full list here]

** Ah, nah, the GOP just ‘luvs thuh l’il wimen,’ we know this because in addition to seeking to require transvaginal ultrasound procedures for pregnant women without their consent, and cutting funding for womens’ health programs in Title X, and cutting out funding for Planned Parenthood Clinics, and cutting Medicaid funding for women by defunding PP clinics in Texas, and attacking rules requiring health insurance corporations to include contraceptive medication as part of basic health insurance coverage, — now a legislator in Tennessee wants to have the state publish the names of all women who have abortions in that state. [TP] And then we have the Georgia legislator who dubiously compared women to cows and pigs… [GOPS]

** Women aren’t doing so well on Wall Street either.  The wage gap ” is highest on Wall Street, where women only get between 55 and 62 cents for every dollar their male colleagues earn.” [HuffPo]

** The Supreme Court will be reviewing “Obamacare” soon, and perhaps they should note that thanks to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act and Patients Bill of Rights elderly people in the U.S. saved about $2.16 BILLION on their prescription costs last year.  [TP Health]

** Perrspectives thoroughly debunks the right wing attacks on Health Care Reform.  This post comes highly recommended!

** Some memories about Goldman Sachs operations in the past are tumbling out of the closet. This from the late ’60s:  “After Penn Central filed for bankruptcy, an SEC investigation discovered that Goldman had continued to sell the railroad’s debt to its clients at 100 cents on the dollar — even though, by the end of 1969, the firm knew that Penn Central’s finances were deteriorating rapidly. Not only was Goldman privy to Penn Central’s internal numbers, it also heard repeatedly from the railroad’s executives that it was rapidly running out of cash.” [WaPo]  This obviously isn’t the first decade in which the Vampire Squid has been squeezing its clients.

** It’s obvious, but always nice, when someone reminds us that the GOP “education reform” campaign has precious little to do with education and a great deal more to do with killing public employee unions.  [C&L KaroliRomney: “But the role I see that ought to remain in the president’s agenda with regards to education is to push back against the federal teachers unions. Those federal teachers unions have too much power, in some cases, they overwhelm the states, they overwhelm the local school districts. We have got to put the kids first and put these teacher’s unions behind.” (emphasis in original)  First, what on earth is a “federal teachers union?”  And, what is a “federal teacher?”   Secondly, when teachers and classified employees, agree to wage cutbacks, hiring freezes, and reductions in benefits — how can this possibly be equated with “overwhelming” power?

** Meanwhile back in Wisconsin — the privateer takeover of the Milwaukee Area Technical College has been slowed but not stopped. [Blue Cheddar]

** Chart of the Day from Angry Bear

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Filed under Angle, education, Infrastructure, Nevada economy, Nevada politics, public employees, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights

Angling for an Invisible Epidemic of Voter Fraud

At least it will be short? “Former U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle will not run for elected office this year, and will instead produce a documentary on voter fraud and election tampering.”  [LVSun]  Yes, the “epidemic” is pretty silent, mostly because it’s a contrived issue in support of suppressing the vote among ethnic minorities, young voters, senior citizens, and women.  In case anyone might notice the facts don’t provide evidence of Angle’s assertion, she’s ready for that:

The progressives in the media would like us to believe that voter fraud or election tampering either do not exist or represent such a small portion of our election process we should just sweep them under the run,” she said. But speaking to voters across the country, she said many people believe their votes don’t matter.” [LVSun]

This is what happens in the Echo Chamber, speaking only to like minded individuals who all buy into the same anti-government conspiracy theories will inevitably lead one to selective exclusion of evidence unsupportive of reality.  What comes back with the echo are illogical expressions such as the following:

“Simply because there are statistically few prosecutable cases is hardly an argument that nothing much is going on. When I was a youth, I constantly heard that shop-lifting was a serious problem, and that it was responsible for the increased price of merchandise at retail stores. Only a small number of shop-lifters were actually caught, so is that reason to assume the problem was being purposefully exaggerated?”  [ReAm]

Arguments by analogy always break down at some point, and this one breaks down faster than most.  First, it doesn’t serve to diminish the problem if the retailers on the shoplifting side of the analogy don’t hand the shoplifters over to the police.  The prosecution rates depend on how many miscreants are reported to the appropriate authorities, then on how many of the cases are prosecutable.  More than 10 million individuals have been caught shoplifting in the past five years [NASP], and among these a retailer may be satisfied if their security personnel retrieve inexpensive items and admonish the light fingered thief.  Less leniency is shown toward those 3% of shoplifters who are categorized as “professionals.” The more expensive the item (and often the younger the shoplifter) the more likely the prosecution.  Secondly, shoplifting runs the gamut from misdemeanor to felony.  So, no the problem of shoplifting  is not being purposely “exaggerated,” or “disparaged,” — it is serious, it is prosecuted when the situation is appropriate, and it isn’t analogous to vote fraud.

Vote fraud is a felony. It is always a felony. There is no differentiation between a vote in a “little election” and a vote in a “big election.”   The Brennan Center, which studies voting in America reported the following conclusions from its research:

“* Fraud by individual voters is both irrational and extremely rare.
* Many vivid anecdotes of purported voter fraud have been proven false or do not demonstrate fraud.
* Voter fraud is often conflated with other forms of election misconduct.
* Raising the unsubstantiated specter of mass voter fraud suits a particular policy agenda.
* Claims of voter fraud should be carefully tested before they become the basis for action.”

The conclusions were supported by information from national and state sources and studies, yielding the following:

“There is no documented wave or trend of individuals voting multiple times, voting as someone else, or voting despite knowing that they are ineligible. Indeed, evidence from the microscopically scrutinized 2004 gubernatorial election in Washington State actually reveals just the opposite: though voter fraud does happen, it happens approximately 0.0009% of the time. The similarly closely-analyzed 2004 election in Ohio revealed a voter fraud rate of 0.00004%.”  [Brennan](emphasis added)

Conflating potential problems with actual incidences of voter fraud is misleading and serves to promote vote suppression without actually improving voting integrity.   Indeed, an organization or party might seek to have the Prematurely Resurrected vote — but, that would require having someone assume the identity of the dearly departed, and then vote in the face of a possible $10,000 fine and 5 years in jail.  Since, unlike shoplifting, prosecution is assured and the charges will always be for a major  felony, voter impersonation is extremely rare.

How rarely voter fraud is attempted is demonstrated as follows: “A report by the public-integrity section of the Justice Department found that from October 2002 to September 2005, the department charged 95 people with “election fraud”; 55 were convicted. Among those, fewer than 20 people were convicted of casting fraudulent ballots.” [MJ]

A study from Barnard College came to similar conclusions: “The statistics bear me out. From 2002 to 2005 only one person was found guilty of registration fraud. Twenty people were found guilty of voting while ineligible and five people were found guilty of voting more than once. That’s 26 criminal voters — voters who vote twice, impersonate other people, vote without being a resident — the voters that Republicans warn about.”

Given the miniscule numbers of actual cases of voter fraud there is cause for concern about the willingness of courts to uphold vote-suppression statutues with insufficient attention to the actual evidence at hand. “The case for voter fraud—individuals impersonating others at the polls—is largely built on hype and the type of hearsay that should not be permitted in court for the purposes of denying individuals the right to vote. Unfortunately, in four cases so far the courts have been unwilling to police the evidence, take seriously the fundamental nature of voting rights, and protect franchise rights.”  [Schultz, HamlineU, pdf]

Let’s proceed from the Bush Department of Justice’s report which concluded that between 2002 and 2005 there were 55 convictions for election fraud, a category broader than voter fraud.  For the sake of a simple comparison, what would happen if we sought the percentage of improper votes and frauds in terms of the 2004 presidential election?

According to the FEC 62,040,610 ballots were cast for George W. Bush, and 59,028,444 were cast for John Kerry. (pdf) That’s a total of 121,069,054 votes cast for the candidates from the two major parties.  Now, divide 55 by 121,069,054 and the result is 4.5428e-7  which means move the decimal point seven places to the left.  In other words, 0.0000004528, or expressed as 0.00004528%, if all the cases of election fraud happened in one major election. Your odds of being struck by lightning are 1:600,000, which come in at 1.666e-6 [Newton]; or, 0.000001666 – as a percentage? 0.0001666%. The Brennan Center is correct — there is a greater probability of being hit by lightning than ever actually experiencing  voter fraud in the United States.

Tips for Watching:

1. How many times are actual prosecutable instances of voter fraud cited in Angle’s presentation?

2. How many times are allegations of voter fraud cited and presented as if these were actual cases?

3. How are the allegations substantiated?  If the allegations come from two or more sources, are the sources citing each other as evidence of authenticity?

4. How is election or voter fraud defined? Are instances of registration fraud conflated with allegations of voting fraud?

5. How is the issue of vote suppression handled in the presentation? Are instances of fliers distributed in ethnic minority neighborhoods with inaccurate voting information included in the category of voting or election fraud?  Are instances of unsubstantiated challenges included in the category of voter or election fraud?  Are instances of phone bank jamming to prevent GOTV activities included as voter fraud or election fraud?

6. Does the presentation eschew illogical propaganda techniques such as appeals to emotion, or appeals to oversimplification, arguments by analogy?

Here’s guessing that if letter grades in each of the categories of viewing tips were given, the final product of Mrs. Angle’s flight into the conspiracy driven right wing world will not pass muster on even the most lenient curve.

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Filed under 2012 election, Angle, Vote Suppression, Voting

>Motifs worth watching: Angle and the No Press Strategy

>It’s election day in Nevada and most of the attention will be on the senatorial race, which should come as no surprise to anyone since this is the one in which all the media money has been expended. What should be analyzed and dissected tomorrow, no matter the outcome of that contest, is the press strategy of the Republican party in this state as exemplified in the Angle campaign.

Conservatives have made no secret of their distaste for “lame stream” media, their unfounded contention that the press corps is unabashedly liberal, nor their discomfort when trying to evade policy questions in a political campaign. The press corps, replete with Judith “There are Weapons of Mass Destruction” Millers, and David “Our Economy Will Come Back When We Gear Up For War With Iran” Broders, will be assailed as “liberal,” and hence beneath credibility. But, then, this is the point. One of the test cases presented by the Angle-Reid race (as was partially seen in the Gibbons-Titus gubernatorial contest) is whether or not a candidate can win an election by using solely purchased media exposure.  There are implications for other races in other elections.

No candidate has been quite so blatant in regard to ignoring journalistic scrutiny as Sharron Angle. YouTube is a veritable fountain of clips showing her running from potential questioners. The only media with which she was willing to fully cooperate were the GOP wholly owned subsidiary Fox News shows, and various Christian/Conservative programs, newspapers, and outlets. She gets her information from these sources and she, in turn, is their source for information — a perfect cycle of echo chamber talking points rendered into “news” when a politician repeats what a pundit says so that the pundit can repeat the words of the politician. There is no news here. However, in order for this endless cycle of talking points to achieve the status of credible news, other sources must be (a) ignored and/or (b) discredited.  There is a real danger implied herein.

In order for a talking point-echo chamber strategy to work other sources of information must be disparaged such that no criticism can be made of either the political effectiveness or the policy implications of the talking point, and no opposing view can receive a valid hearing. The use of the ad hominem attack, and its extension to the media is an intrinsic (and dangerous) part of this overall strategy. The easiest way to accomplish this is to create a theme, endlessly repeated, that the “media has a liberal bias.” Translation: You can’t believe anything they say because they are biased against us. There are those on the left who have decided that the corporate press, especially at the national level, is a morass of conservative dis-information and equally incredible. The fact that current broadcasters have elevated “controversy” over “content” isn’t helpful to their own cause. Political and policy differences have become distilled into “he said-she said” confrontations with a paucity of analysis, and with “spin” replacing investigation and examination.

If we ever do manage to completely discredit our national media we are in serious trouble.  The Angle campaign, and the Gibbons campaign before it, are unpleasant harbingers of what happens when the press can be ignored without consequence. What is lost is the filtration of information in which context and policy implications can be explored. Without the explication of either context or implications what we are left with are nothing more than talking points, the validity of which are highly questionable. But, that is what some candidates would prefer.

One of the rather more disturbing points made during the Reid-Angle campaign came with candidate Angle’s assertion that not only was the press biased, but outright hostile. Members of the press who sought to put questions Mrs. Angle didn’t want to answer were compared to the paparazzi photographers who camp outside the haunts of famous celebrities. Mrs. Angle “felt like Paris Hilton,” implying that she was being attacked by ruffians from the press interested only in selling photographs to tabloid publications. However, candidate Angle’s assertion that she was not required to impart information to the press until after the election has even more discouraging implications.

A current video clip”…shows her refusing to answer a reporter’s questions about national security policy at a local air force base, instead informing him smugly that “I’ll answer those questions when I’m the Senator”. Angle, pressed by the reporter for her views on Iraq and Afghanistan, would only offer this cryptic reply: “You know, the two wars that we’re in right now is exactly what we’re in.” [NewsVine] One way to translate this observation is to say that candidate Angle doesn’t believe that the voting public should be informed of anything outside what she, the candidate du jour, wants to say on any given occasion. The arrogance of this position is almost astounding. Almost, that is, but not completely, if we assume that this latest brush-off is part of an orchestrated attempt to avoid going beyond the carefully crafted talking points associated with her campaign. The public, according to this strategy, is to know only what the candidate wishes to tell them — and nothing more.

The implications for governance are rather more disturbing. What if we are governed by those who adopt the notion that the public has a “right to know” only that which is supportive of their philosophy, and nothing that might discourage such support?  Jefferson would not have approved:  “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.” –Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:57 [UVA]  He added: “The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves, nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.” –Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384 [UVA] (emphasis added) Mis-information, dis-information, and worse still, a lack of information, according to Jefferson, is the antithesis of a free society and a democratic government. There are still those for whom education is equated with elitism, and those are the ones who all to often deride the value of informing the general population. In this regard, note Jefferson’s emphasis on education, and the context of those remarks.

Southern education lagged behind that offered generally in New England until the late 19th century.  In southern society of a bygone era the rich provided tutors (homeschooling in modern terms), the middle classes were taught by literate parents or older siblings, but the lower classes of whites were generally illiterate, and almost all enslaved African Americans were kept in a state of illiteracy by law. Education, in the old Confederacy, was the province of our betters. If education was the province of our betters, and if governing should be done by the educated, then the southern syllogism requires that only those who could afford an education should be allowed to govern. There are modern echos of this reasoning.

If I am supported by the rich and well born, and if I am the recipient of “received wisdom” including the certainty and righteousness of my own beliefs, then surely  I am meant to govern. Those who would question me are mere rabble, unfortunate creatures capable of being directed by signals and sound bites, but who cannot be trusted to analyze, synthesize, and otherwise process complex information, but should anyone have a question — I’ll answer that question when I’m the Senator.

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Filed under Angle, media, Nevada politics, Politics, Reid

>Speculation? Pro-Yucca Dump Buzzards Circling Nevada Elections

>Let’s see now. Nevada has been “threatened” with becoming the nation’s nuclear waste dump site since 1988. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) represents a state with the Palo Verde Nuclear Power facility. And, one Senator John McCain makes a speech in favor of the election of challenger Sharron Angle for the Nevada Senate seat. [Las Vegas Sun] Now, who would benefit? Certainly not Nevada, the prospect of a nuclear dump hard by a major metropolitan area that depends on tourism isn’t a pleasant scenario.

Some corporations would, indeed, benefit, such as Fluor Corporation which proudly announces on its website: “With a renewed interest among governments and the public in nuclear power, Fluor is uniquely qualified to provide design-build services for a new generation of nuclear plants, as well as major modifications to the existing fleet. With more than 9,000 experienced nuclear professionals and nine nuclear construction projects safely completed, Fluor stands ready to meet the global demand for nuclear energy.  Fluor has remained active in the commercial nuclear market, pioneering the first steam generator replacement project, retrofitting spent nuclear fuel pools to increase storage capacity, and executing more than 80 million work hours at 60 U.S. nuclear units in capital work, engineering/technical services, and refueling outage support.  The company continues to develop expertise in engineering, procurement, construction, and maintenance (EPCM) for nuclear facilities, as well as approaches for incorporating nuclear licensing requirements and risk management into all aspects of design, procurement, construction, testing, and startup.”  Now, we’d ask, might there be a little Fluor money pouring into the efforts of Karl Rove’s American Crossroads funding funnel for Sharron Angle’s campaign? [TP]

How about Bechtel? Might that corporation have an interest in promoting a candidate supportive of the nuclear plant construction sector?  Probably, according to the Wall Street Journal: ” Engineering and construction giant Bechtel Corp. is expected to disclose Wednesday that it will partner with nuclear vendor Babcock & Wilcox Co. to bring a small, commercial reactor design to market. Closely held Bechtel declined to reveal its investment in the venture other than to say it is “substantial” and affirms its optimism about prospects for new plant designs that could make nuclear power affordable to smaller utilities and get new plants into operation faster.  Under the partnership, Bechtel will help Babcock complete the design of a modular reactor, called mPower, and seek necessary approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to begin sales in the U.S.  Bechtel, of San Francisco, will have exclusive responsibility for engineering, procuring key components and building the plants. The companies have not yet said what the likely cost of plants using the modular design would be.” We do know that Steve Bechtel was a participant in one of the Koch Brothers sponsored Aspen meetings, and the Koch Brothers are aligned with American Crossroads. [WashIndy]

Then there is CH2ML which says, “CH2M HILL provides a full range of services for new nuclear facility development, from siting and licensing to design and construction management, and full service engineer-procure-construct (EPC) project delivery. We have experience with nuclear facility design and safety issues, and interacting with industry, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) the US Department of Energy (DOE), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and other US and international regulatory agencies.”  Wonder if this corporation would like to have a Senator amenable to nuclear waste dump sites in Nevada?

Northrop Grumman may be looking for a way to reduce its losses from the collapse of financial negotiations described as follows: “Other companies with plans that might be affected by a collapse of the Constellation-EDF partnership include Ameren Corp., the St. Louis-based utility owner that has proposed building an Areva-designed reactor, and Northrop Grumman Corp., which proposed a plant in Virginia to build parts for Areva reactors, Seitz said.”  So, Northrup Grumman would like to partner with other nuclear plant facilitators from France?  I seem to remember a junket taken by former Nevada Congressman Jon Porter to view “nuclear facilities in France” not all that long ago. [DB 2/2008] Far from being purely speculative that at least these three corporation might be more than happy to see a “Pro-Yucca” candidate elected to the U.S. Senate from Nevada, it would be logical to assume that each would contribute to a person sympathetic to their plans to increase the production of nuclear energy in this country — and, to find a nice “remote” place to store the waste — in Nevada.

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Filed under Angle, nuclear power, Yucca Mountain

>Somebody Must Have Some Big Bucks When I’m Getting GOP Mailers? Angle In Thrall To American Crossroads

>A couple of bright shiny mailers have hit my post office box this campaign season both telling me that incumbent Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) won’t protect my Remington in the closet, or that he’s otherwise unsympathetic with my “conservative” views. The last mailer came from Karl Rove’s shadow GOP outfit American Crossroads. No one should be naive enough to believe that senatorial candidates aren’t amenable to the organizations from which they receive campaign donations. The problem with American Crossroads and the even more shadowy American GPS (also a Rove operation) is that we don’t get to know where the money is coming from, especially from American GPS — thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Citizens United case. So, who’s backing Sharron Angle?

Sharron In The American Crossroads

We know it’s American Crossroads because OpenSecrets.Org has the documentation. For example, on October 28, 2010 American Crossroads paid the firm of Olsen & Shubalov $2,498 for printing expenses, and paid out another $2,498 to Congressional candidate Joe Heck (R/TeaParty).  On October 27, 2010 American Crossroads paid Olsen & Shubalov $74,698 for postage and printing expenses on behalf of candidate Angle, and $46,496 on behalf of candidate Heck. It’s not been all printing either. On October 26, 2010 American Crossroads paid Connection Strategies LLC $2,878 for phone calls on behalf of candidate Angle, in addition to $6,000 paid to that company on October 25, 2010 for other phone calls made to support her candidacy. We should also note that American Crossroads paid Connection Strategies LLC $6,217 on October 23, 2010 in opposition to Senator Reid.

October 23, 2010 was a big payout day for American Crossroads which paid out one check $25,188 to Olsen & Shubalov for printing and postage, and then made out another to the same firm of $48,285 for yet more printing and postage on behalf of candidate Angle. Congressional hopeful Heck benefited from $18,679 from American Crossroads for Olsen & Shubalov printing and publication services on that same day.

On October 22, 2010 American Crossroads paid Direct Dial $74,603 for opposition phone calls concerning incumbent Senator Reid, this in addition to the $7,036 the organization paid to Connection Strategies LLC for the same services in opposition to Senator Reid on October 20th. Also on October 20, 2010 American Crossroads paid out $37,301 to Olsen & Shubalov for printing expenses on behalf of the Angle campaign, and another check for $$42,000 to the same firm for printing materials in opposition to Senator Reid.  Olsen & Shubalov were the payees for American Crossroads checks for anti-Reid publications to the tune of $29.297 on October 19, 2010.

OpenSecrets posts totals for the largess of Rove’s American Crossroads in the Nevada senatorial race, with candidate Angle receiving $283,971 in direct support, and $1,209,958 in American Crossroads opposition to Senator Reid.  Candidate Joe Heck has received a total of $67,673 from American Crossroads reported to date.

What makes the Rove/Gillespie operations so intriguing, and to no small extent hypocritical, is that American Crossroads was formed as a “527” organization meaning that it could collect unlimited donations so long as it eventually reports its major donors. The spin-off from American Crossroads, Crossroads Grass Roots Policy Strategies, is organized as a 501(c) “issues” organization, and as such doesn’t have to make a list of its donors public.

So, now there’s Crossroads Grass Roots Policy Strategies, the even more opaque wing of operative Karl Rove’s political machinations. The interesting thing to notice about the October expenses of XGPS is that all the spending is in opposition — evidently the Grass Roots aren’t in favor of anyone, It or They, are opposed to Democratic incumbents or challengers.  Crossroads Grass Roots Policy Strategies paid Crossroads Media LLC $555,813 for media buys in opposition to Senator Reid on October 26, 2010. This was the same day the “grass roots” paid $21,347 to Wilson-Grand Communications for media production, again, to oppose Senator Reid.  As of October 29, 2010 Crossroads GPS has paid out a total of $2,255,258 for campaign materials opposing Senator Reid.

We do know a little about the Rove/Gillespie apparatus from one article in Politico last August: “In their fundraising efforts for the Crossroads groups, Rove and Gillespie have relied on their connections to wealthy donors who supported former President George W. Bush like Simmons, who was a major donor to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which funded controversial ads attacking Democrat John Kerry’s 2004 challenge to Bush. Simmons partly controls another company Southwest Louisiana Land, LLC that gave $1 million to Crossroads before July. Also giving $1 million or more before July was TRT Holdings Inc., which is owned by Robert Rowling, who raised at least $100,000 for Bush.” Again, we will find out, eventually who donated to American Crossroads, but the donors to Crossroads GPS will remain behind the curtains hidden by their 501(c)4 status.

And thus we have our “virgin” Nevada candidate for the Senate, Sharron Angle — “untouched” by the corrupted influence of “insider” Washington politics — whose campaign has benefited substantially from The Good Old Boys Network of Bush Rangers, Pioneers, and other members of the corporate donation structure which supported Rove and Gillespie in their halcyon days in the Bush Era. In the Republican Party Plus Ca Change Plus C’est La Meme Chose.


Filed under Angle, Heck, Reid

>The Irony of It All: Angle In Yerington As Mayor Endorses Reid

>Yerington, NV Mayor Doug Homestead sums up the situation in the Reid-Angle election: “The choice in this election is clear.  You can side with the experience and leadership that Senator Reid brings to the table, or you can side with the dangerous, radical agenda of Sharron Angle.  I hope you join me in doing the right thing for Nevada and vote for Senator Reid.”(Mason Valley News, op-ed) 

Supporters of Mrs. Angle tend to follow very predictable lines of argument, most of which have been staples in politics since time immemorial.  One author provided this rather hoary contention: “Expanded federal government is expensive. If you don’t mind sending more of your hard-earned dollars to Washington and getting back pennies worth of services, vote for the Democratic incumbent. If you feel better served by sending a senator who will question policy, budget and legislation, vote for the Republican challenger.”  (1) As can all too often be expected, the author is indulging in hyperbole about “donor states” and returned tax dollars. A 2006 Tax Foundation study (*pdf) reported that Nevada gets about 73 cents returned for every tax dollar collected in federal revenue. [RGJ] Therefore, even as a ‘donor state’ Nevada is getting a 73% return. (2) Nevada’s share of revenues is skewed by the rather large federal presence in the state, ranging from military (Nellis AFB, Fallon Naval Air Station, Tonopah Test Facility, Indian Springs Auxiliary Field, etc.) and the very large amount of federally managed land. Perhaps our author doesn’t feel “served” by the U.S. military?

Another author explained that even if Nevada gets that return, it isn’t good: “But who pays for all of that? We do. The pork and earmarks all come out of our pocket. Is that what you want, because the bills are coming due and we don’t have the money to pay for it? If he gets re-elected, cap-and- trade is next; and remember, he vowed to get single-payer health care.” This individual seems to have missed the information that (1) the Obama Administration’s agenda is actually debt reducing. We’ve saved money by reforming health insurance accessibility (about $135 billion), and by reforming the structure of the student loan programs (about $68 billion); and, (2) that the Single Payer system might yield even more savings in overall medical and health care costs by rationalizing and coordinating services, with far lower administrative expenses. For example, administrative costs for Medicare range from 3% to 8% depending on how the statistics are derived. The current private system (which the health care reform measure supports) have an administrative cost range of 14% to 22%.  [link] The “pork” argument is difficult — because one person’s “pork” is another’s “bacon.” The second difficulty with the ‘pork’ contention is that it argues for economic paralysis — everything is presumed to be acceptable at this point in time, and thus there is no need for expenditures for any federal projects anywhere for any reason. Accepting this proposition requires a belief that we should never subsidize pilot projects or research and development programs — think quickly about the number of consumer products that have become part of American economic life as a result of NASA and military demands?

Two other authors offered the Virgin Argument: “We need an authentic, uncorrupted citizen of Nevada like Sharron Angle in the Senate, not the caricature of a public servant that Harry Reid has allowed himself to become.” [link]  And, “Ms. Angle may be “inexperienced” in good-old-boy maneuvering, but she would definitely bring a breath of fresh air to the U.S. Senate.” [link] First, Mrs. Angle is no virgin newcomer to Nevada politics — she’s been active in anti-tax, anti-government, politics for the last 30 years. As for “authentic,” we could be asking how “authentic” is a candidate who scrubbed her primary campaign election site? Who has gleefully accepted the endorsement and funding from corporate sponsored astro-turf organizations like Americans For Prosperity? American Crossroads? GPS? and the like. “Breath of fresh air?” That doesn’t work either since Angle as already aligned herself with the Obstructionists like Ensign and DeMint in the Senate. This doesn’t appear to be “fresh air” as much as it appears to be more “hot air.”

But my very favorite Angle supporter is a perfect Fountain of Mis-Information: “Harry Reid, with over 25 years in the Senate and being the Senate majority leader, why are you using attack ads and not running on your record? While in the Senate, you have voted several times to raid the Social Security Trust Fund. When will irresponsible spending stop? When will the trust fund be paid back?” What raid? On Which Social Security Trust Fund?  Never…..happened.  The trust funds are earning interest on special issue securities from the U.S. Treasury Department which are the most conservative, stable, and responsible forms of investment available. This pathetic individual has absolutely NO idea what he’s talking about. Since I really don’t feel like explaining this One More Time, the myth of the $2.5 trillion raid is thoroughly debunked here, and here, and here from a previous post. One writer has characterized this enduring myth as the Sasquatch of American Politics, a very apt description.

There were other, more rational, voices in the commentaries: “Sharron Angle was an ineffective lawmaker, an obstructionist, in her four terms in the Nevada Legislature. Should she be our other voice in Washington, sharing the toga with John Ensign?” [link] Evidently, one doesn’t get tapped as the Least Effective Legislator without someone noticing.  Another had this observation: “We dodged that bullet. Now unemployment is slowly receding and foreclosures are leveling off. Most Nevadans now realize it is essential to diversify our economy and to invest in education for our future. It took tremendous courage to pass these stimulus programs. We should thank, not admonish, our leaders.”

Unfortunately, while those whose “realities” are composed of the hypnopedia of the sempiternal drum beating from Fox’s propaganda outlets will continue to pound their talking points, voters in Nevada have an opportunity in this election to demonstrate that theirs is a reality based community in which facts matter and politicians who face them should be, as the last writer advises, “thanked, not admonished.”


Filed under Angle, Reid

>Dear Sharron Angle: How Do You Have An Immigrant Crime Wave When The Numbers Are Dropping?

>** There seems to be no depth too great for the Sharron Angle campaign — the latest immigrant bashing advertising is, as can be noted elsewhere, a dismal effort at xenophobic racism. Here’s the link to the commercial, which you can see if you must. The most obvious point is that the fearmongering continues from the Angle camp, despite all evidence pointing toward the contrary.

There is no flood. The latest available information from the American Community Survey (Census Bureau) shows Nevada has 484,537 foreign born residents. That’s approximately 19% of our total population.  Of the foreign born population 180,151 are naturalized citizens. [ACS] 344,006 came to Nevada before 2000. [ACS] Is there a sudden influx of foreign born residents in Nevada? Not if you consider that 334,006 arrived before 2000 while approximately 140,531 have arrived after 2000. [ACS]

There is no crime wave. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports violent crimes have declined nationwide since 2008 by approximately 11.2%. (*pdf file) Incidents of rape and sexual assault declined 38.7%. Robberies are down 4.%. Assaults are down 12.9%. Household burglaries have been reduced by 2.6%. Motor vehicle theft is down 8.4%, and other forms of theft off 6.0%.  We can get closer to home by looking at the statistics from the Clark County Sheriff’s office in its Annual Report. (* pdf file) In 2009, the law enforcement officials were serving and protecting 1,432,590 persons in their jurisdiction. The annual report provides crime rate comparisons in this jurisdiction for the previous five years (2004-2009) The murder and non-negligent homicide crime rate is down 29%. Forcible rape reports are down 4%. Aggravated assaults are down 21%. Burglaries are down 21%. Thefts are down 28%. Auto theft is down 54%. Total crimes against property are down 34%.

If there is no “flood,” and there is no “crime wave,” then the only logical conclusion one could reach about the Angle campaign ad is that it is a blatant racist ploy to pander to the illogical and irrational fears of people who are ill-informed or ill-willed.

** If you haven’t already, click on over to Maven & Meddler’s summary of the conservative and Republican groups pouring money into Nevada and other states during this election season.  Here’s a list of the Senators who voted against the DISCLOSE Act: No Votes. The list includes Nevada Senator John Ensign (R). 

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Filed under Angle, anti-immigration, Immigration

>Sharron Gets Her Gun….Lobby

>The mailer from the Gun Owners of America came yesterday. It said I should vote for Sharron Angle, instead of incumbent Senator Harry Reid who gets a “B” from the National Rifle Association. There are some NRA members supporting Angle, but the major organization has withheld its endorsement from the Nevada Republican/Tea Party candidate. [Atlantic]  So, whose endorsement, or lack thereof, will “protect” my Remington in the closet?

The NRA and I parted company after the organization altered its agenda from promoting hunting, hunter safety, and gun safety to promoting so-called “Second Amendment” rights to purchase any form of firearm and ammunition, even if those items place police officers in peril. As a rather old fashioned “Support Your Local Sheriff” type I wince whenever any organization supports “rights” to firepower when the lives of officers and deputies are on the line. In short, I am not in favor of supporting the “rights” of drug gangs to out-gun public safety officers.

I also understand that some people should not have firearms, and this category includes those who are so delusional that their ownership of a weapon makes them a danger to themselves, their neighbors, and even complete strangers. I am not personally in favor of permanently banning those with mental illnesses, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or temporary manifestations of TBI, from eventual gun ownership. Veterans who enjoy hunting should be allowed to hunt or engage in target competitions like anyone else. That said, it also seems self-evident that those who are suffering from mental disorders such that they cannot function safely when armed, should not be armed. There is no rationale for allowing another tragedy such as the one that occurred at Virginia Tech University.

In 2007 the NRA was cooperative in an attempt to improve background checks so that mentally ill individuals, like the Blacksburg, VA shooter, would be prevented from getting easy access to firearms. The Gun Owners of America opposed the efforts calling the legislation an act that would “trample” our individual rights. [FN] The “all or nothing” mentality of the GOA would support the right of any individual, no matter how damaged, no matter how criminal, to have easy access to any firearms above and beyond the rights of others to go about their daily business at the office, at a school, at a park, on any public street in safety.  This position essentially says, that if a person is a gun owner then that “right” trumps all others. With rights come responsibilities, but the extremist position of the GOA places all the responsibility on everyone BUT the gun owner.

The extremist mythology invents a history that never was in a land that never existed. The iconography nearly always incorporates some form of “minuteman” standing ready with his trusty Pennsylvania rifle; the fact is that most rifles manufactured before Whitney’s invention of interchangeable parts were so expensive that few people could afford to own one. Remember Paul Revere’s mad dash to warn residents at Corcord? The idea was to prevent British seizure of colonial activists and a local armory and ammunition cache — the guns were community property. The Second Amendment was, in no small part, a government tax saving initiative — if individuals brought their own guns to local militia drills and actions then the government wouldn’t have to be on the hook for purchasing them. While the “gunslinger” and “Wild West” stories make for wonderful motion pictures there’s a reason there are innumerable versions of the OK Corral and the tales of Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War. There just weren’t all that many incidents from which to derive great action stories. Most examples of “life on the frontier” were actually full of long, hard, days and tedious (albeit absolutely necessary) attention to crops and livestock — the rifle being used far more often to protect the livestock from predation, or to provide meat for the table, than for “protecting” the property, the women or the children, much less anyone’s “liberty.” However, the extremist GOA has chosen to adopt the mythology of the movie moguls over the reality of our national history.

The NRA has been consistently adamant in its lobbying efforts to secure what it holds to be Second Amendment rights, however it has not been so irrational as to assume that those rights are absolutely unlimited in all circumstances, and that those rights do not infer some rudimentary responsibilities. Their statement on gun storage is an instructive example: “Many factors must be considered when deciding where and how to store guns. A person’s particular situation will be a major part of the consideration. Dozens of gun storage devices, as well as locking devices that attach directly to the gun, are available. However, mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into guns, can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun safety rules.” While the NRA does lobby long and hard, it is also a gun owners organization; by contrast the GOA, founded in 1975 is simply and completely a lobbying organization.

In the Nevada senatorial race we have an interesting situation in which the major gun owners organization has decided to sit on the sidelines, endorsing neither candidate — including the so-called “gun rights advocate” — while the lobby shop extremist group is unabashedly advertising its endorsement of candidate Angle.  It’s relatively easy to determine that a candidate in an election is holding truly extreme positions by looking at the company he or she keeps, and when the NRA isn’t “keeping company” with a gun advocate, those positions must be very extreme indeed.

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Filed under Angle, Reid