Category Archives: Nevada politics

Laxalt on my phone, Heller in my paper

Hmm, that was interesting.  Last evening I had one of those “push polls” on my telephone from the Adam Laxalt brigade, which was ever so anxious that I know that Mr. Laxalt was a Primary proponent, an Assiduous advocate for women’s health and safety — why, just look at what he did about that backlog of rape kits!  (?)  Yeah right.  This is  supposed to make me forget he’s not wanting to denounce the Storey County Sheriff who has this “little problem” with the women-folk? [Sun] Or, that he had NO plans to file charges against that self-same embattled sheriff. [NVIndy] Or,  that the best he could do was put some ‘space’ between himself and the embattled one? [LVnow]  When a politician’s name and the word “embattled” show up together, it’s never good news.  And, no, some spiel about rape kit backlogs isn’t going to make me gloss over the retention of affection for the Embattled One.  Nice try, as they say, but close is only good according to the old saw in horse shoes and hand grenades.

About 22 hours ago the press told me Senator Dean Heller met with Orange Blossom’s latest pick for the Supreme Court and was SOOOOO impressed… [LVRJ] I am less impressed.  The Pick seems to have issues with the whole idea of having presidents held accountable for their actions, no special counsels or commissions for him. [CNN]  Then there’s the whole Planned Parenthood thing. [PPA]

I could use a bit less of this.

I could use more of those kids from March for Our Lives.   I could use more pictures from the District of Columbia, showing people protesting the Capitulation Summit, the incarceration of babies and toddlers, the general cruelty and incompetence of the current administration. [Hill]

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Waffles Heller, Heller Waffles

Heller spine poster.jpgThere are non-apology apologies (see Orange Blossom’s clumsy Hostage Video) and then there are non-disavowal disavowals (see Senator Dean ‘Clutching Papa’s Pants Leg’ Heller).

“Heller has been slow to criticize Trump as he looks to defend one of the most coveted GOP Senate seats in the country, and stopped well short of criticizing the president in a statementreleased late Monday afternoon.

“While I am not opposed to a dialogue between the two leaders, I trust our intelligence community’s assessment on Russian interference, not Vladimir Putin’s,” Heller said throu spokeswoman. “He is no friend of the United States and I don’t trust him.”  [RGJ]

Oh please!  I’ve tried to stretch the effect of a limited number of tea bags in a jar of sun tea and come out with less tepid ,,results.  Perhaps if the last line had directly pertained to the Orange Blossom, “He is no friend of the United States, and I don’t trust him,”  I’d have accepted this statement with more enthusiasm?

In the wake of the Charlottesville debacle there was a photo floating about of Senator Dean Heller and Peter Cvjetanovic, one of the Tiki Torch Nazis and a UNR student.  Heller responded in Trumpian fashion on Twitter: “I don’t know this person & condemn the outrageous racism, hatred and violence. It’s unacceptable & shameful. No room for it in this country.” [SacBee]  And Senator Heller said of the Orange Blossom?  Orange Blossom read one of his specially prepared on-paper ‘clarifications’ and promptly went right back off the rails with his Very Fine People.

Senator Heller’s spine made a brief reappearance in mid-June during the height of the Trump manufactured immigrant family crisis.  Thirteen Senators, among them Senator Dean Heller, wrote to the Mis-administration saying, in part:

“We support the administration’s efforts to enforce our immigration laws, but we cannot support implementation of a policy that results in the categorical forced separation of minor children from their parents,” the Republican senators wrote.

“We therefore ask you to halt implementation of the Department’s zero tolerance policy while Congress works out a solution that enables faster processing of individuals who enter our country illegally without requiring the forced, inhumane separation of children from their parents,” the senators continued. [TheHill]

Good. Now insert the following search terms into Google: “Nevada Senator Visits Border.” Who shows up in the search results?  Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV).  During a June fundraiser with the *president, who got the crowd to chant “Build The Wall,” Senator Heller, “by contrast, spoke for under three minutes and didn’t mention immigration or the separation of children from parents at the border.” [LATimes]  Senator Cortez-Masto and Representative Jacky Rosen visited the border, Senator Heller’s spine went missing yet again.

This is the third instance, in a third major issue, in which Senator Heller has demonstrated his reluctance to take a firm stand — and we might note there’s a tendency on his part to take flexible positions on many other issues —  and to stick to it, even when there is an obvious and palpable reason to STAND for a crucial American attribute.  Charlottesville, Immigration, and now the Helsinki Debacle…strike one, strike two, strike three.

This might explain the following tidbit from the RJ? “Since announcing her candidacy in July 2017, Rosen has outraised Heller $8.3 million to $5.3 million.”  Granted Heller has a cash-on-hand advantage, but fundraising is often a measure of enthusiasm, and it’s hard to get enthusiastic about waffles. They are nice, you can serve them for breakfast, brunch, or lunch, put just about anything on them and they’ll soak it up; it’s just hard to get all that thrilled about them.

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Random Thoughts and Backfill

trump baby blimpOkay, it’s official. At 18,000£ this is beyond my budget, but it will be so nice to see it in flight tomorrow.  That’s $23773.99 at today’s exchange rate. I can go the 99¢, the rest of it not so much.

So lovely to hear The Angry Man Baby say he wants to meet with former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson.  Precisely what Prime Minister May doesn’t need at the present time as she works to rebuild her rather fragile coalition in the wake of the Brexit debacle.  But, what does AMBaby know of this, he’s not even familiar with the term “hard Brexit.”  Click on that link and a British newspaper will explain it for you.

Now, there IS some news ringing pleasantly in my ears –> Jacky Rosen is outpacing Dean (I have more positions on more issues than the Kamasutra) Heller.  This, I could learn to like very much. Democrats also appear to be doing rather well in the voter registration department, at least according to reports from early this month.

I have an idea!  If the Angry Man Baby wants to see all of Agent Peter Strzok’s non-work related messages to his lover, then let’s swap — Strzok hands over the mushy gushy and Trump hands over his tax returns for the last 20 years?  Fair enough?

obama uk visit

Check out the photo on the left — the Obama state visit to the UK — and compare that to the BBC’s version of Trump’s “working visit” to the Isle this week.  First off, notice the ties the gentlemen are wearing.  Obama = white tie event in Buckingham Palace. Trump = black tie event at Blenheim.  Obama = Queen Elizabeth II herself is in charge of the events, formal and informal, and there were informal social meetings.  Trump = being hosted by QEII’s youngest son Edward, Earl of Wessex, at a Palace — just not one anywhere all that close to London.  Trump =definitely not at Buckingham Palace for a meeting with QEII, he only gets one quick introduction in Windsor.  Wagers his reception from what interested public there might be won’t look anything like the “Harry-Meghan” wedding thing? Somewhere some British bookie is making odds…

Meanwhile, on a sadder note.  CBS reports that “under 3,000” migrant children have NOT been reunited with their parents.   The Misadministration is trying to parse the term “eligible” children such that children of parents who have already been deported aren’t eligible, and thus “don’t count.”   I  still can’t stomach the comment from Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar that the Misadministration is performing great acts of “generosity and charity” by reuniting families. 48 hours after the comment and I still can’t swallow it. There is still obviously NO plan. No coordination. Cruelty begets incompetence.  It’s time for the cruelty to end.  it should never have started.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics

The Tapestry of Our Lives

The thunder and lightning have passed, and it’s time to get back to the blog.  Not that the thunder and lightning in the country have abated in any significant way.  Senator Dean Heller seems to have attracted one strike:

The National Rifle Association has endorsed Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller and three other Republican candidates for Congress ahead of the June 12 primary elections.  Heller received an “A” rating from the NRA, which is given to pro-gun candidates who support the organization’s positions on key votes or who have a record of supporting Second Amendment.  The gun-rights group also endorsed Republican Rep. Rep. Mark Amodei who is seeking re-election in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District. [NVIndy/News4]

May 18, 2018 10 people were killed and 13 injured in a mass shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.  Another month, another mass shooting in a school.  Once more the NRA wants to talk about anything except the guns.  It’s violent video games. It’s mental health. It’s Ritalin. It’s anything anything anything except the easy access to guns.  Sometimes we tend to express regret for the loss of talent as the tally of gun violence victims increases, but we might be missing an important point.  It’s the details that matter.  Perhaps there were or were not individuals who would have gone on to do great and notable things, that’s debatable. However, we do know that there were losses represented by the victim counts.

We may have lost an electrician?  A barber? A receptionist.  Someone who would have gotten up every morning to put in a days work, and come home every evening to be incorporated into the life of their family.

April 22, 2018, 4 people died and 3 others injured in a Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee.  We lost a musician, we lost college students, we lost more threads in the fabric of our lives. We found a hero, an unarmed young man who stopped the shooter at great peril to his own life, and then went on to donate donations to his social media account to the families of victims.  We didn’t find a fantasy hero “good guy with a gun,” rather we found a good guy with courage, compassion, and the ultimate in civic responsibility.  We found James Shaw Jr.

April 18, 2018 a mother and her children died in a hail of gun fire from an ex-boyfriend in Asheville, North Carolina. The children loved to run track and to dance. We’ll never know if we lost a future Olympic medalist that day, we do know that we lost a family.  We lost a mother who was so scrupulous about housekeeping friends and family said, “You could eat off her floors.”  A mother who took her children to church every Sunday.  [ATC] We lost a family.

February 14, 2018, we lost 17 lives, with another 17 injured at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. They’ve Marched for their Lives. They’ve organized voter registration drives, they’ve appealed to the better angels of our nature.  They’ve warned politicians like Heller and Amodei that NRA endorsements aren’t what they used to be. We’ve lost and shattered too many families.

Every day the death toll mounts from mass and individual shootings, from suicides and accidents, we continue to lose plumbers, secretaries, mechanics, cooks, and soldiers.

February 10, 2018 a family of four was massacred in a murder-suicide in Johnson County, Kentucky. [lex18]  We continue to lose parents and grandparents.

Each time more victims are added to the lists we’ve lost more firefighters, carpenters, solar panel installers, roofers, landscapers, bookkeepers, and bus drivers.

November 5, 2017 27 people died, another 20 were injured in a church in Sunderland Springs, Texas.  Each time we add victims to the list we lose more truck drivers, reporters, day care providers, steelworkers, pilots, housekeepers, and file clerks.

October 1, 2017, a mass killing cost us 58 victims and 441 injured at a music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Each time we add victims to the list we extinguish the lives of more people who matter. We lost a man shielding his wife on their wedding anniversary.  We lost a health care management major, a commercial fisherman, a kindergarten teacher, a police department records technician, a registered nurse, a member of the US Navy, a waitress, a soldier, a teacher, a secretary, a family law attorney, a contractor, an office manager, a financial adviser, a home contractor, a librarian, a make up artist, a corrections officer, … girlfriends, wives, mothers, grandmothers, boyfriends, husbands, fathers, grandfathers…

Our economic fabric is in the details.  We are a composite of the electrician, barber, receptionist, plumbers, secretaries, mechanics, cooks, soldiers, firefighters, carpenters, solar panel installers, roofers, landscapers, bookkeepers, bus drivers,  truck drivers, reporters, day care providers, steelworkers, pilots, housekeepers,  file clerks,  health care management personnel, commercial fisherman,  kindergarten teacher,  police department records technician,  registered nurse,  member of the US Navy,  waitress,  soldier,  teacher,  secretary,  family law attorney,  contractor,  office manager,  financial adviser,  home contractor,  librarian,  make up artist,  corrections officer…

Reduce the numbers of the people who make our economy run, eliminate the waitress at the small diner who brings that first cup of coffee with a smile to start the day, make the auto mechanic who figures out why there’s a persistent problem with the fuel injection system vanish, and we are all reduced as the power in our multiplicity of economic gears is reduced by one.

Our social fabric is in the details, in the relationships between boy friends and girl friends, wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, children, grandparents, grandchildren, neighbors, friends, and co-workers.  Eliminate any of these relationships in our communities, and we are all reduced by the unraveling of all those tiny threads which combined together form the incredibly complex and beautiful tapestry of our social lives in this nation.

No “endorsement,” no pandering for a few votes, is worth the grains of sand in our economic gears as grain by grain we add problems by reducing our numbers.  No “endorsement,” no pandering for a few votes is worth the unraveling of the tapestry of our lives, the loss of each loved one pulling at loose threads until we fray from the edges.

Politicians Heller and Amodei may take pleasure in their A ratings from the NRA, I am only sorry they cannot take as much pleasure in the defense of the lives of our children, our boyfriends and girl friends, our wives and husbands, our parents and grandparents; in the wonderfully interwoven tapestry of American life.

 

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Filed under Amodei, Gun Issues, Heller, Nevada politics, Politics

DB’s tired of: Pundit Edition

The problem with national pundits is that they are national pundits, which is a problem when we’re discussing local and state races.  Here’s why —

(1)  Local races are won by those who best represent the views of local people. Granted, national pundits from the right are interested in how the tax cut legislation will play in beautiful downtown Smudgeville, and left leaning pundits are interested in how civil liberties legislation will go over with Smudgeville’s citizens.  Neither may prove to be essential.  What if the major issues for Smudgeville’s residents include health care and education spending?  The candidate who can convince the residents his or her views are aligned with theirs on these two key issues will probably win.  This will not be based on national polling numbers, and certainly not predicated on national issue polling  What’s important in Smudgeville (District 1) may not apply to Downerville (District 2).

(2) Generalizations may not describe local and state political situations. For the sake of argument, let’s assume immigration is a major issue in both District 1 (Smudgeville) and District 2 (Downerville).  However, demographic statistics indicate a large number of naturalized citizens in District 1 as opposed to a low number of naturalized citizens in District 2.  A higher number of naturalized citizens may be predictive of success for a pro-comprehensive immigration reform candidate.  But wait… what if there are historic trends showing low voter turnout from members of the naturalized citizens in the community?  What if there are a lesser number of naturalized citizens in District 2, but these people tend to vote in higher percentages than their cohorts in District 1?

What if a higher number of citizens in Downerville have college and advanced degrees? What if a lower number of citizens in Smudgeville have college or advanced degrees, but they tend to vote more consistently in state and local elections than their counterparts in Downerville?

Pondering these purely hypothetical problems should cause some musing on the part of local campaigns — what exactly IS the composition of the electorate of the two Congressional districts? What exactly are the voting trends in those two districts?  How likely is it that trends may be altered or broken entirely in an upcoming election?

Generalizations have their uses, but any campaign which relies on generalized polling and issue testing will “generally” be out of touch with the electorate in question.  It’s fine for national pundits to rely on generalized data for the purpose of speculating to fill up time on cable broadcasts.  It’s not fine for local and statewide campaigns to do the same.

(3)  Never assume an issue is an issue.   Again, for the sake of debate, let’s assume District 1 is generally considered “working class,” with median household incomes of approximately $50,000 per year or less.  Does the candidate automatically assume that Gun control will be a major issue, with most voters aligned with pro-gun interests?  Careful here.  What if there is a strong and growing pro-control movement going on in the District, independent of the campaigns?  What if meetings of Moms Demand Action is drawing more attendees than pro-gun rallies?  What if March for Our Lives has signed up a significant number of younger voters in recent weeks?  What if Candidate A runs on a pro-gun platform while the voters are primarily worried about health care costs?

Alternatively, what if Candidate B runs on a pro-health care plan as a major element of the campaign in a district in which there is scheduled to be the closure of a large manufacturing plant?   The moral of this part of the story is that national pundits are no better at predicting this race than if they were located on Mars, especially if they don’t have access to internal and local polling and focus group data.

(4) Merely because an issue is of importance to national pundits doesn’t mean it’s of importance or even a modicum of interest to local voters.   We’ve all watched the national pundits pontificate on their favorite topics — immigration, income inequality, student loan reform, health care, gun legislation, religion, tax cuts…ad nauseam.  There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with this, unless the pundit is trying to squeeze the election in District 1 or 2 into the shoe size of his or her favorite topic.  “Candidate A is facing an uphill battle because of his position on abortion…” unless, of course, abortion isn’t a major issue in the district. “Candidate B is facing headwinds because of her position on education spending…” unless, of course, education spending is barely moving the needle in District 1.

(5) Gratuitous advice is free, and should be treated as such.   “Oh, what will the Democrats do if the Republicans run on ‘impeachment’?”  So?  See items 1-4 previously. If the Republicans and Democrats in our hypothetical Districts 1 and 2 are running quality campaigns, then they are already pouring over data from their constituencies down to the precinct level; they are already reading local newspapers — not for the endorsements but for the lead articles; they are already meeting with local leaders and major local organizations.

While the activities of national parties, and national PACs, may play an important media and financial role in local and state campaigns, this is tempered with a need for caution. Precious few locals like to be told how to vote by “outsiders.”  Similarly, national ad campaigns may or may not, be focused effectively on local issues.  Finally, while phone banking and GOTV efforts are efficacious, they are more efficient if they are conducted by friends, neighbors, and other people from the districts.

In short, sometimes the old rules of the game are still the best rules of the game. The party which recruits the best candidates, candidates who fit the districts they seek to represent, and who are willing and able to run campaigns aligned with local concerns, are more likely to be successful.

If the candidates don’t quite fit the Perfect Candidate Profile of the national punditry, so be it.  The sooner the national pundits get over themselves, and their purity tests, the better.  It’s probably OK for a Republican to run as pro-choice in a pro-choice district, and for a Democratic candidate to run on a DACA yes, comprehensive immigration reform no, platform in a DACA yes, comprehensive plan no, district.  It’s obviously more important to have representatives who align with the voters in their states and districts than with national pundits who “struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more, it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

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The Ever Entertaining GOP Primary in Nevada

Is it something in the water?  The main GOP candidates for the lieutenant governorship in Nevada are a real bunch.  Exhibit A, the Recall King (Roberson) whose efforts yielded a large Zero [LVRJ] and then there’s Exhibit B, the Scientology promoter. [NVIndy]

The GOP headliner in the governor’s race looks to be Trumpian Adam Laxalt [NVIndy].  Laxalt is the Koch Brothers’ own boy: “Laxalt has far outraised his opponents, cornering donations from the Adelson family that owns the Las Vegas Sands, Station Casinos and their owners, the Fertitta family. He has more of a structural advantage, garnering endorsements from sheriffs across the state, opening campaign offices and mobilizing large teams of volunteers. He also counts on support from outside groups such as Freedom Partners, part of a network run by conservative billionaires the Koch Brothers, which has paid for $1 million in ads to introduce Laxalt to Nevada voters.” [NVIndy] Interesting.  If one’s last name is “Laxalt” and there’s a felt need to use the services of Kansas based fossil fuel behemoths (Kochs} to “introduce” you to Nevadans, something may be amiss?

It seems like a fine year to be a Democrat.

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Kids These Days: Focus on Voting

The Reno Gazette Journal ran a piece this morning on the Student Walk Out in remembrance of the Columbine massacre.

“Students from at least eight Washoe County schools are planning to walk out of their classrooms, march through the streets or call their representatives on Friday to demand action over gun violence in schools.

The walkout is expected to start at 10 a.m., the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado, and in conjunction with hundreds of other planned walkouts across the country.” [RGJ]

It seems appropriate to note that while the students are good at keeping their focus on the issues at hand, the media and all too many adults are having some difficulties doing the same.   The Las Vegas Sun ran what read like a canned article, the online edition of the Review Journal didn’t mention the walk out.

What should we, as adults, do to help the kids get their message out — and keep it in the public spotlight?  Get informedThe Trace is a good place to start.  However, I’m probably typing for the choir here.  There are other sites which collect and disseminate statistics such as the Johns Hopkins University Center for Gun Policy and Research; Everytown Research; and the Gun Violence Archive.

Get Registered.  Okay, we’re already registered, but what about friends and neighbors?  The Secretary of State’s Office posts basic information.  Not in Las Vegas or Reno/Sparks areas?  County Clerk information is here DMV.org also provides basic information:

  • Be a:
    • Citizen of the United States.
    • Nevada resident for at least 30 days before the date of an election.
    • Resident of your precinct for at least 10 days before the election.
  • Be at least 18 years old on or before the date of the election.
  • Not have been declared mentally incompetent by a court of law.
  • Not claim any other place as your legal residence.

If you have been convicted of a non-violent felony your voting rights are restored after you are discharged from incarceration and/or parole. If you have been convicted of a violent felony, or a second felony, you will need to apply to have your civil rights restored.

Vote.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics