Category Archives: Nevada politics

Hanging Hats on Thin Reeds: Trump and his Nevada Allies

I have to wonder: Do Laxalt, Heller, and Duncan really want to hang their hats on the thin reeds comprising the current GOP position in regard to Trump and his appointees?  Really?  Does a candidate for any office, a governorship, a Senate seat, a position as State Attorney General, want to stand side by side with:

A party leader who had no compunction about railing against a Gold Star family? Please, save the dignity and worthiness of your military service and question whether it’s appropriate to fund raise with, or welcome the endorsement of, a person who disparages a Gold Star family.  Save your rhetoric about serving veterans, about supporting our troops, about believing in the strength and character of our military until such time as it’s possible to square the criticism of a Gold Star family with those words and phrases. Actions speak louder than words, but words do matter.  The words from the standard bearer of the GOP have not aligned with true support for the members of the military, their families, and our veterans.

A party leader who disparages women who voice objections to sexual assault as “inebriated” and “all messed up.”  That, sir, is exactly when it is not appropriate for any young man to take advantage.  Real men don’t press themselves upon an unwilling woman when she is vulnerable; a real man takes her home safely.  Infantile, self-centered, and belligerent men take advantage; real men take care and caution.

A party leader who never seems to have a plan in mind.  “We’ll see what happens,” is not a strategy.  For anything.  We’ll see what happens when we slap high tariffs on Chinese goods? Ask the soy bean farmers…the almond growers…the car manufacturers?  Ask the South Koreans who now look to China and Japan for guidance with their relations with North Korea rather than the United States?  We’ll see what happens when we take ourselves out of the Paris Climate Accords, which were drafted with US demands specifically in mind.  We’ll see what happens when we unilaterally try to disengage from diplomacy with Iran.  Enter the Russians, the Germans, the French, the British. When does the American Century end and we become irrelevant? Did it happen during the UN General Assembly speech when attendees laughed at a point in the address not intended to be a punch line?

A party leader who will not divulge his tax returns nor provide specific information about his business dealings.  A party leader whose airline went broke, who managed to bankrupt his casino business? Who has been through multiple bankruptcies, each shaving his creditors to the core?  Who borrowed money from highly questionable sources when legitimate banks and banking institutions wanted to see the back of him? Who is indebted to heaven knows who for heaven only knows what amounts, under heaven only knows what conditions?  Is this the standard bearer for the party of fiscal responsibility?

A party leader whose high level officials are almost routinely under investigation for misappropriating taxpayer funds for office adornments, upscale travel, personal benefit, and family expenses?  The revolving door in this administration is wafting taxpayer funds around like so much litter on a windswept city street.

A party leader whose thoughts on immigrants and immigration are racist.  Who else would even remotely consider separating children from their parents as an act of “deterrence” to prevent others from believing America to be the City on the Hill? Who else would think no one would care if babies and toddlers were kept in cages? Who else would think it was up to the ACLU to find ways to reunite parents and children? Who else would plunder funds from the Coast Guard, from Cancer Research, and from FEMA to build detention camps reminiscent of Manzanar? Who else would say there were some “very fine people on both sides,” when one side was composed of Neo-Nazis?

Who else would fly the banner suggesting that adolescent boys of color should be perceived and treated as it they were adults (and shot accordingly) while white adolescent boys are to be forgiven their trespasses (and sexual assaults) because boys will be boys?  Who else would find it easy to insult and defame African American women who dare criticize him?

Thus, it’s appropriate to ask Senator Heller, Adam Laxalt, and AG hopeful Duncan– WHY are you standing by, standing with, and standing in silence, as your party leader leads you into the morass of short term gains (his own) and long term losses (ours)?  Why?

Are your tax cuts really worth all that much to you?

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Don’t Hope

Not that hope isn’t the antithesis of despair — it’s just that in the age of Trumpery hope isn’t the answer to any important questions.  Back in the day, before utter incompetence combined with bestial cruelty and flagrant corruption created the current administration it was possible to write daily blog posts on economic, political, and social topics with some semblance of erudition and explication.  No more.

Trumpian economics is devoid of any understanding indicating a grasp of macro-economics, much less micro.  Where once I might have delved into a bit of Econ 101 or 102 to posit the implications of a Bush or Obama policy position, I’m now having to think in terms of a president who flat out doesn’t understand trade policy. Period. Full stop.

Trumpian politics is strictly tribal and alarmingly focused on a narrow portion of the electorate.  There’s no middle positioning, merely my way or the highway polarized thought; ideology masquerading as political theory.  There’s precious little to write about here since nuance left the building and compromise positions are abhorrent to the tribal leadership.

Trumpian social policy is blatantly racist.  Not sure of this?  There’s more than Charlottesville to contemplate.  There is the “Muslim ban,” Was anyone ever in any  doubt about the intent of that Trumpian policy announcement?  Was anyone ever in any doubt about the mis-administration’s position on Black Lives Matter?  Has not the Oval Office Occupant made it abundantly clear he intends to use NFL player protests to stir the racism pot? To play the race card?  When the news cycle incorporates too much “bad press” has not the Oval Office Occupant decided to tweet or to speak about “those” “unAmerican” people of color who “denigrate the flag?”  That act has shown up center stage all too often to be a coincidence.

Who else would advocate, much less implement, a policy including separating children, some under the age of 6, from their parents at our borders? Who calls for those children to be kept in “detention” facilities?  Who would have these children taken for an indefinite period while records relating to their parents’ identities are lost or destroyed?  Who would have assumed that the nation wouldn’t care that this was happening in our midst?  Who would think for a moment that this was an appropriate deterrent for those seeking asylum in our country?  Only the most virulent racist.  Only someone capable of thinking we don’t want “thugs” coming into the United States from “Sh*thole Countries.”

Is anyone in any doubt whatsoever about the mis-administration’s attitude toward human rights?  Civil rights?  Take a quick look at what the mis-administration has done to the Department of Justice — and not only concerning the continual assault on the Attorney General and the Mueller investigation, but on the enforcement of civil rights legislation; on the enforcement of voting rights; on the enforcement of workers’ rights.  The assault has been wide, deep, and truly disturbing.

This is an administration headed by an amoral man of whom his cult followers are willing to say he’s on a “spiritual journey,” aligned with their notions of what constitutes godliness, which of course is anti-gay, anti-Muslim, deeply sexist, malignantly misogynistic.  The assaulter in chief becomes the arbiter in chief of what defines sexual misconduct, harassment, assault, and rape.

What posts would a person have to write to counter the racism, religious intolerance, bigotry, and misogyny of this mis-administration?

Yes, the antidote to despair is hope, but at this point hope is not enough.

We can’t hope that our fellow citizens will go to their polling places in the upcoming mid-term elections in sufficient numbers to oust the purveyors of protectionism, racism, and tribal politics.  We have to register. Check our registration (sad to have to say this in the age of Trumpian politics), and help others register, and to assist them in check on their registration.  This election may not hinge on “likely” voters; it may well be decided by “unlikely voters.”

In the latest Nevada primary election there were 1.439,953 active voters, and 329,863 vote cast statewide [SOS pdf] 146,677 Democrats cast ballots, 143,645 Republicans did likewise.  In the last general election 1,464,819 were eligible to vote in Nevada; 76.83% of our active voters cast ballots.  [SOS pdf]  451,825 Democrats voted; 404,047 Republicans voted; and, 269,556 “others” cast votes. In the 2014 mid-term election 45.56% of our active voters cast ballots. [SOS pdf].  Stemming the tide of racism, protectionism, economic illiteracy, and misogyny is going to take much more than just hoping Nevada’s voting participation rate exceeds the last mid-term election and looks more like the last general election.  It’s going to take walking precincts. Manning phone banks. Talking to neighbors. Registering new voters. Taking voters to the polls.  All of the above and more.

We can’t hope our March for Our Lives youngsters can register more young voters; we have to encourage them to do so, assist their efforts, help man their tables, help them explain that registering to vote doesn’t mean they’re automatically going to get a jury summons, and providing them with accurate information on when and where to cast their votes.

We can’t hope that our labor unions can energize their members to register voters, staff phone banks, walk precincts, and handout campaign literature. We have to support their efforts.  Do they need some volunteers on the phones? People to walk the precincts? More friends to drive cars, donate clipboards, provide bottled water?  Every little bit helps.

We can’t hope that public interest groups will provide the spark to increase voter turnout.  As in the case of the young people and the union members, where, when, and how can members of the public assist?  Twitter provides one link, nearly every group announces its activities. Follow. Read. Act. Social media has been misused by those seeking to interfere in our electoral system, but it is also a source of valid information about organizations willing and able to get out the vote.  We can do our homework.  Discern which are sheep and which have wolves beneath, and ACT accordingly.  Once more, this election outcome may be determined, not by those who are regularly counted among the electorate — but by those who sign up, and show up.

We can’t hope that people will be “inspired” by charismatic candidates.  Those candidates are few and far between.  Perhaps a candidate isn’t a bright shining flash of brilliance in the political skies…fine.  People need to know that a solid (perhaps even a bit stolid) candidate who earns polite applause for common sense policy positions is to be preferred over the platitude pounding generalization generator advanced by the opposition.  This will take work.

We can’t hope that candidates will counter campaign commercials from the opposition, we have to make the contributions which will keep them on the air.  Is $10 too little?  It’s ten more than the candidate had before the check book was opened up yesterday.  We can’t hope that someone else makes a big donation to make up for a possible paucity of smaller ones.   A note here:  Small contributions are an unscientific but interesting way to predict votes.  People do tend to vote in line with their billfolds.  The gazillionaire doesn’t have any more votes than the couple who send it a $35 donation, and the couple has two votes.

In short: We can’t hope.  We’re going to have to ACT.

 

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Filed under Nevada Democrats, Nevada politics, Politics

Things That Go Bump In The Night and Things That Are Making More Noise Than Sense

Another week of the Trumpster Fire, another week of news from a fire hose, and another week during which we, as news consumers, are required to filter wheat from chaff, and the relevant from the nearly irrelevant.  What things bumping in the night should be attended to? Which can be set off to the side and safely ignored for the moment.

Bumps With More Noise Than Significance

Preliminary public polling results.  The Press/Media is enamored of the latest rendition of The Great Blue Wave.  This is one of the least informative ways of filling one’s air-time.  First, national preference polling is interesting, but all elections are local.  While some members of the punditry are beginning to mouth the words “vote suppression,” and “gerrymandering,” not enough information and analysis has been shared about the effects of these GOP efforts to maintain control of the Congress, and of state elections. Secondly,  there are no national elections for Congressional seats — to state the perfectly obvious.  Those elections will be determined by candidate recruitment and quality, personnel and monetary resources, and campaign competence.  None of these, with the possible exception of shared mailing lists and big donors (monetary resources) is national in scope.  Third, some campaigns will be assisted by the efforts of third party groups. For example, are Union members out canvassing? Are students out doing registration drives?  Are small groups of activists providing services like rides to the polls? The extent and nature of these ancillary groups and their activities will have an impact, we just don’t know the extent to date.  None of this will be “news” to anyone who’s been paying attention to American civic life for the last few decades.

Just because it’s on the news doesn’t necessarily mean it’s important.  The occupant of the Oval Office and some members of the media are still playing the DC parlor game, “Who is Anonymous?” Or anonomus or anamonomous or whatever.  I’m still working on why this might be important.  For my money we still have staff in the executive branch who are willing to explode the national debt in service to tax cuts for the top 0.01% of American income earners, at ease with putting 12,000 children in “detention” facilities for an indefinite period, and quite pleased to allow health insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing medical conditions more for their premiums.  That these people will occasionally arise on their hind legs and proclaim the Great One has gone too far doesn’t impress me.  What would impress me?

How about more attention paid to this nugget:

“Besides family, one of the only people Trump continues to trust is Stephen Miller. “The op-ed has validated Miller’s view, which was also Steve Bannon’s, that there’s an ‘administrative state’ out to get Trump,” a Republican close to the White House said. “There is a coup, and it’s not slow-rolling or concealed,” Bannon told me. “Trump believes there’s a coup,” a person familiar with his thinking said.”

And thus our Oval Office Occupant (Or Triple Zero if spelled 0val 0ffice 0ccupant) is more heavily reliant on a blatantly racist, far right wing conspiracy fabulist, who stokes the Occupant’s most divisive tendencies?  This seems to call for more analysis, and yet the punditry still grasps the Who-Done-It? segment, or pontificates upon the “effect” of the infamous Op-Ed on the President’s “mind set.”  Clue number one a White Nationalist was influencing the 000 might have been the initial Muslim ban?  More clues — no DACA agreement  by Congressional Democrats was ever going to be satisfactory — no one ‘would care’ that there might be children separated from their parents at the southern border — it’s considered acceptable to move funds from FEMA and the Coast Guard to pay for more ICE detention facilities —  it’s supposed to be all right for asylum seeking families to be kept in these detention facilities indefinitely?

Things Not Making So Much Noise But Nevertheless Important

Health care and health insurance.  There is nothing the GOP would enjoy so much as repealing the last semi-colon and comma of the Affordable Care Act.  We’ve heard the “more competition” argument currently coming from the House Speaker before.  It doesn’t make any more sense now than it did then.  Health insurance is not a product analogous to purchasing a motor vehicle or any other consumer product.  One doesn’t choose to get hit by a bus, or hit with a cancer diagnosis, or hit with a complicated pregnancy — or even an uncomplicated one for that matter.

Consumer protection.  While the great fire hose emits its inundation of noise about all things Trumpian, consumer protections enacted to prevent yet another Wall Street melt down are under attack.  The student loan market is being “deregulated.”  Not a good thing.  The smaller issues involved in the Dodd Frank Act have been resolved with some bipartisan legislation, but the administration wants to go further — and the assortment of Goldman Sachs alums in the administration are being ever so helpful in this regard.  Left unchecked we’re going to see another round of de-regulation, which didn’t work out so well for us the last time.  Caveat Emptor American consumer — be careful before voting for any candidate who vows to cut red tape and diminish the “burdens” of regulations — like those preventing the next melt down in the Wall Street Casino.

It’s the Stupid Economy.   Yes. Wall Street has been doing quite nicely thank you very much. I maintain my position that the worst business news is readily available on most broadcast networks.  If a person believes that the DJIA represents the state of the American economy then they’re in for more surprises like the ones which emerged in 2007-08.   Information like real median household income trends is available from FRED, but before we get too excited note median household income numbers may be obscuring other figures like wages adjusted for inflation for full time employees.   Further, what’s being added in to the mix as “income?”  All income includes everything from unemployment benefits to returns on investments.  It’s those returns on investments that have made some very nice progress over the last ten years…wages maybe not so much.  We’re on our own to dive more deeply into the wage issues and income distribution data.  There’s some good news, some bad news, and some news to think about like the 16 straight quarters we’ve had of increasing domestic household debt.  So, it’s time for the question:  Are we seeing candidates for Congress who acknowledge the need for common sense controls on Wall Street casino operations? Who are aware and concerned for wage and salary workers and their economic security?  Are we getting more noise from the highly generalized pie in the sky theoretical visionaries who want us to believe that those with great wealth are going to buy all the homes, cars, washing machines, shoes, movie tickets, and restaurant meals necessary to keep the US economy rolling on?

I could use a little more light on these subjects, and perhaps a bit less bump in the night stuff about a “crisis on the border” (manufactured by the current administration) or “The Press Is Out To Get Me,” from Orange Blossom.   And, I’m looking for Congressional and Senate Candidates who will speak to me about how to fix problems, rather than shout at me about how to fix the blame for them.  I’d like for political discourse to make more sense than noise.

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Filed under anti-immigration, banking, Economy, financial regulation, Health Care, health insurance, Heller, Nevada politics, Politics

Heller’s Negation

Dean Heller’s latest launch on my TV machine is a negative commercial about Rep. Jacky Rosen’s lack of a legislative record.  “Zero” is an attempt to demonstrate Heller’s acumen and influence on Capitol Hill?  Whoa Nelly.  His 2017 “Report Card” is in and I’m not all that impressed with what he has done.  Let’s dive a bit deeper.

Heller wrote S. 42, which passed as H.R. 321, which required NASA to develop a plan for retired NASA personnel to engage with girls in STEM subjects.  Nice.  Notice the “develop a plan” portion.  If you like cotton candy at the carnival, then you’d probably like the Congressional version of this floss — legislation calling for Plans to do good stuff.  Not that there’s funding to do the good stuff, or that there’s a deadline for doing the good stuff except to call for a report to a congressional committee within 90 days of enactment.  It’s better than Zero, but not by much.

Heller seems especially fond of citing S. 114, a VA Choice Act allowing veterans to seek medical treatment at private facilities if the treatment wasn’t available at a VA center. Again, nice, but this idea isn’t original with Senator Heller.  The program was in existence BEFORE Senator Heller wrote the extension bill.  There’s another little problem with this bill — the funding.  Objections to this bill were raised at the time, from both sides of the aisle because the funding for the program extension came by moving money from other current VA programs.  Rob Peter to pay Paul much?

I’d recommend readers take a hard look at S. 327, an esoteric bill about ETF reports, authored by Senator Heller.  Americans for Financial Reform opposed this bill, in part because:

AFR opposes S. 327, “The Fair Access to Investment Research Act”, and we urge a vote against this bill. S. 327 would create major new exemptions to rules governing broker-dealer research reports on exchange traded funds (ETFs). These exemptions would permit ETF sponsors to release research designed to promote their funds, without being covered by legal liability for false or misleading content or other standards designed to ensure accurate information for investors.

I’d highly recommend downloading and reading the pdf version of the AFR testimony on S. 327, in that it is one more shining example of Senator Heller’s proclivity for talking a good game about being opposed to bank bailouts, while doing everything in his power to facilitate ample rewards for financiers.   In other words, what Senator Heller’s bill actually does is allow ETF sponsors to release reports which may not be accurate and which may primarily serve to manipulate the markets.   Less than Zero would have been a good score on this one.

If this is an example of what Senator Heller’s doing to get Something Done, then I’d have been just as happy for him to have been a nice comfortable zero, since watering down Sarbanes-Oxley, dismantling Dodd Frank, and getting past the Volcker Rule seem to be Senator Heller’s priorities.   I’ve not been calling him the “Banker’s Boy” for nothing.

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And now some after thoughts

There are some Nevada politicians still clutching Trumpian coat-tails, or pants’ legs, or something as of now.  They might want to ask some questions, some fundamental, some quotidian, some tangential about that posture.  We’ve had a day in which President Obama has spoken of a need to preserve and protect our democratic institutions, and in which his successor has spoken of a felt need to use the Department of Justice to pursue his personal political critics.  It’s time to address the questions.

Do Nevada politicians really want to associate themselves with a president who cannot, or perhaps will not, differentiate between his own sense of security and the security of this nation?  There is a difference.  Our national security is not compromised by the publication of non-classified, albeit controversial, information about how the West Wing functions.  It is a stretch to assume that IF a person divulges information from a meeting then it is presumed the individual in questions would necessarily reveal classified information.  I can think of one instance in which #45 shared information with Russian visitors to the White House that compromised sources and methods; no sources and methods were compromised by the NYT op-ed piece.

President Bush took flack from critics of the Iraq War, from those critical of his administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and from others who decried his economic policies and his advocacy of de-regulation.  Never once did he call the press an “enemy of the people.”  President Obama received his share of criticism and complaint concerning everything from wearing a tan suit to the validity of his birth certificate. Never once did he call the press an “enemy of the people.”  Both these men understood the difference between the President and the Presidency, and the difference between being the Head of State and the State itself.

Merely because criticism makes #45 feel insecure doesn’t mean the state is insecure.  Bush understood this. Obama understood this.  Nevada politicians would do well to consider whether or not to wholeheartedly support someone who can’t make this distinction.

Do Nevada politicians truly want to run campaigns anchored in a message of fear and division?  What is gained by suggesting that Nevada citizens of Hispanic origin are less “American” than the citizens of Irish, German, Polish, Basque, or Chinese descent who preceded them?  What is gained by inferring that immigrants from the Philippines are less capable of assimilating into the broad fabric of Nevada life than the immigrant workers in the hospitality industry who came from other countries?  What is better for Nevada in the long run, promoting a path to citizenship and entrepreneurial opportunities for immigrants to this country (and this state), or building walls, both metaphorical and literal to keep them at a distance?

It isn’t necessary to run about wearing a white hood to touch the vile pitch of racism.  All that’s required is to advocate in favor of restricting the economic opportunities, circumscribe the education, and diminish the participation in civic life, for various ethnic or minority groups.  We can constrict them, devalue them, and make advocacy difficult for them.  We can take away their voices by capriciously restraining their voting rights.  We can wall ourselves off from them.  However, in doing so we only succeed in encircling and shrinking ourselves.

If there’s one thing Nevada has it’s miles and miles of beautiful miles and miles. We can see further toward the horizons beyond most other topographical regions in this nation.  Why would we choose to close down our social horizons when after a few moments driving time we can open up our physical ones?   Every time we build a wall we restrict our own field of vision.

Fear usually breeds failure.  Do Nevada politicians want to associate with failed policies? Nothing seems like a larger failure than the Zero Tolerance debacle on our southern border.  416 children to date separated from their parents, some of whom were lawfully seeking asylum in this country.  Too many of these youngsters are under the age of 5.  This is an unconscionable failure.  Unless, of course, one adopts the President’s mindset that immigrants from Mexico and Central America “infest” our country; unless, of course, one thinks of people from Sh*thole Countries as undesirable. And now the Administration wants to detain families indefinitely. Indefinitely. [Vox]

There is only one nation on this planet that pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords, and as President Obama noted today, it wasn’t Syria…it was the United States of America.  There is only one nation that gave away dominance in regional trading by backing out of the Transpacific Partnership…it was the United States of America.  China and Japan are only too happy to fill the void.  There is only one western democracy causing friction among NATO allies…the United States of America. There is only one nation threatening trade wars with debilitating tariffs … the United States of America.  There is only one nation taking positions which could seriously damage trade relations with two of its most valuable trading partners… the United States of America.  This isn’t success.

We got vague promises of future vague promises from the North Korean regime.  While we made relations with China more difficult, the Chinese now have less incentive to pressure North Korea to do more.  The North Koreans are continuing their military research apace. This isn’t success.

Polarization begets gridlock, and gridlock impedes progress.  Do Nevada politicians want to take this route?  My way or the highway is NOT a bargaining position.   Implacable positions, taken for political expediency, mean a politician can never follow the dictum: Campaign in poetry, Govern in prose.  I can startle a conservative relative by arguing that single payer health care would promote entrepreneurship and support small businesses by leveling the playing field between the big box retailers and the mom and pop stores.  My conservative relative can widen my eyes by arguing that when work requirements are attached to Medicaid benefits we should be mindful of single adults, who while not physically disabled, are intellectually or developmentally challenged, and adjustments should be made for them.   If hard and fast positions don’t advance conversations; then how can they be an impetus toward progress?

We can, and must, do better.  And, we’ll do better when we function from a foundation predicated on our shared values, not one based upon our private fears.

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Dean’s Back In My Mailbox: Sweet Children Edition

I’m starting to develop a theory concerning politicians, photographs, and pro-family policies.  The theory is congealing along this line:  The more adorable small children are shown in close proximity to the politician in the campaign photographs, the less likely the politician is to be a true advocate for policies which benefit women and children.

Case in point:  Dean Heller’s latest addition to the contents of my mailbox.

This latest contribution is a flyer with nice photos of Senator Heller (R-NV) and lots of nicely clad, well groomed children, all looking familial. Very familial.  So, it’s no surprise that the “content” portion of the campaign piece highlights domestic violence; pregnant workers; veterans; and sexual assault survivors.

Lest I become too excited at the prospect of Heller as a prime champion of these causes, it’s time for a bit of context.

About those domestic violence survivors…  According to Heller, Heller “broke with his party” to pass the Violence Against Women Act.  If we are discussing the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2012, then Senator Heller wasn’t exactly the first to line up:

“Bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reached a critical point Tuesday, as Nevada Republican Dean Heller became the 60th Senator to cosponsor the legislation.  The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act was introduced in November by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).

“The Violence Against Women Act has always been, and continues to be, a bipartisan priority,” said Leahy.  “I am grateful that Senator Heller has joined as a cosponsor of this important bill.  Every victim of violence deserves to access the resources available through VAWA.  Congress should act, without delay, to approve this commonsense legislation.” [IndLaw]

Thus, Senator Heller wasn’t among the first co-sponsors of S. 1925 in 2012, he was more like the 60th, and he voted in favor of the bill’s Senate passage along with 15 other Senate Republicans.  Fast forward to 2018 and the VAWA is about to expire in the summer months.  Indeed, it is due to expire in September 2018. There are 12 bills related, one directly others tangentially, to the VAWA in the 115th Congress, all have about a 3% chance of passage.   HR 6545, the reauthorization for 2018 has about a 7% chance of passage  However, Senator Heller is shown in the pictures with lots of nice looking children.

Pregnant workers... I like the title “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.”  Although are there any other kinds of pregnant workers than women?  Senator Heller says he is working with his colleagues in the Senate on this one, specifically that would be Senator Casey (D-PA) the sponsor of S 1101.   The bill has two co-sponsors (Shaheen and Heller) and a 3% chance of passage.   Not to put too fine a point to it, but I’m not wagering any portion of my piggy bank contents on this one getting past the committee stage. Senator Heller is shown with several well scrubbed kiddies in the flyer.

America’s Veterans...  by Senator Heller’s lights he’s helped over 15k veterans with their issues, however we don’t know, for example, how many of these are directly related to issues with the VA; how many are directly related to health issues? Housing issues? Educational benefits issues? Other issues? Nor do we know when the count started, are we speaking of the last year or for every year Senator Heller has spent in D.C?  He’s also claiming “leadership” in resolving VA backlog issues, but then so is every other member of Congress.  The jury’s out on this one, but the Senator is shown with children in a nice sylvan setting.

Sexual Assault Survivors...  Republicans seem intent on talking about that rape kit testing backlog and I’m all for that. Both paring down that backlog and talking about it.  However, I’d be happier still if more Republicans would start talking about preventing sexual assault in the first place.  I’m not hearing all I’d like about making reporting instances of assault and molestation easier on the victims.  Nor am I hearing as much as I’d prefer about extending the statute of limitations on assault, molestation, and harassment, for the perpetrators of these crimes.  And then…there’s the not-so-small-matter of getting firearms out of the mitts of domestic abusers.  Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a gun.  Not only are spouses and ex-spouses abused, but if the situation escalates then the lethality increases five-fold.  There are lots of children in that sylvan setting with Senator Heller.  What has Senator Heller done to make life safer for the children who aren’t in the photograph?

Then there’s the  unspoken part … Planned Parenthood … which Senator Heller would have us “defund.”

Does he know that if a woman doesn’t have medical insurance she can receive low cost or free pre-natal care at a Planned Parenthood facility?  Does he realize that Planned Parenthood can help women find affordable health insurance so their children can get off to a good start?  Does he understand that Planned Parenthood also supports post partum care?  There are some profoundly good reasons for a woman to have a post partum check up and for the infant to get his or her check ups too.  Perhaps we could have fewer glossy photos and more attention to providing medical services for more women and their children?

And now I’ll search for more data with regard to my developing theory: The more adorable small children are shown in close proximity to the politician in the campaign photographs, the less likely the politician is to be a true advocate for policies which benefit women and children.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Health Care, Heller, Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics

OMG! Destruction Awaits Me, at least according to Senator Heller’s fundraising letter in my mail box

There is always something in my mail box.  It’s usually (a) a bargain I simply can’t pass up — or easily can; (b) a plea from some worthy cause I can’t ignore — or can; or, at this point in time (c) some missive from the fund-raising arm of somaeone’s political campaign.  Today I received my letter from Senator Dean Heller (R-NV).  Even the envelope exudes a “Scary Voice” message from the dark Beyond.

Where the return address would normally appear there’s a 1.5 x 1.5 inch photo of a scowling Donald Trump. Now, there’s a happy invitation to the contents? Next to the little photograph, a quote, “A vote for her is a vote for increased taxes. Weak borders. It really is a vote for crime.” But wait, there’s more! Underneath the stamps there’s a 1.5 x 2.25 inch unflattering photo of his Democratic Party opponent, Jacky Rosen, with a red arrow pointing to a script font “Let’s vote NO on Jacky!”  All this and I haven’t even opened the envelope yet.

What am I thinking before I even open the envelope?  First is the obvious: Heller is directly associating himself with Donald J. Trump.  That would be the self-same Donald J. Trump who still hasn’t prioritized reuniting some 547 children with their parents — at least that was the last number I recall hearing from my TV set.  That would be the same Donald J. Trump who crowed that Hurricane Maria was dealt with competently, definitely not a killer storm like Katrina (1,833 dead; it’s just that we now know Maria’s death toll was 2,975.  That would be the same Donald J. Trump who tweeted out in the wee hours of the morning that the “Chinese” were responsible for hacking Democratic Party/Hillary Clinton emails, in the face of all evidence from the CIA, the FBI, the entire Intelligence Community, our major allies, and most sentient people, to the contrary, who see the hand of the Russians in the interference and attacks on our election system in 2016.   And THIS is what Senator Heller wants to emphasize instead of the usual return address on the fund raising material envelope?   All this before the letter knife meets the upper right hand corner of the envelope.  I haven’t even gotten to the quotation.

A vote for her is a vote for increased taxes.”  Please, this generality about Democratic Party platform contents is so stale if it were bread it would crumble to 40 year old starchy dust.  However, it does serve to remind me that the top 1% of American income earners got 83% of the benefits of the last tax cut, and Trump wants to do even more more them.  Further, Trump is mulling further unilateral tax cuts,  for the rich of course, and these will add to the deficit.  And, now I am easing the paper knife into the upper right hand corner to get to the real contents…

The letter folds out “From the desk of Senator Dean Heller, (in a nice wedding invitation gothic font) Republican | Nevada. ”   Dear Desk:  You could have saved yourself some effort, after my experience with the envelope I’m probably not going to be amenable to your contents.

I’m really not especially pleased at being addressed as “Dear Patriot.”  I’m as patriotic as the next person.  However, I don’t have a flag pole in my yard.  But, if I did I would have lowered my flag out of respect for the late Senator John McCain and I would have kept it at half staff until the man’s burial.  I don’t put up bunting on the 4th of July, but I will defend the right of anyone in the neighborhood to fly his or her flag as he or she pleases, put as much or as little bunting and July 4th decorations up as desired, and be grateful if they warn me ahead of time they’ll be setting off firecrackers which frighten my dog.  I’ll also not confuse a respectful demonstration of protest against unauthorized and excessive use of force against POC with a lack of patriotism.  By my lights a Patriot is a person who will adhere to the spirit of the quotation mis-attributed to Voltaire: “I Disapprove of What You Say, But I Will Defend to the Death Your Right to Say It.”

Okay, here we go, “Rep. Jacky Rosen is a tax-hike loving liberal Democrat who would be a total disaster for our country in the U.S. Senate!!!”  Can Trump make a declarative sentence without a surfeit of exclamation points?  Then, presumably Senator Heller adds his two cents: “Not only that, she’s an open borders activist to boot.”   Oh, do you mean she’s truly interested in what’s going on at our southern border? Do you mean she’s not all that thrilled with a policy of family separations undertaken by an administration which was surprised that anyone would actually CARE about the children of asylum seeking parents?   Then comes a hodge-podge of word salad with all the appropriate buzzing sounds.

There’s “opposed every common sense measure to secure the border,”  as if the only thing that makes sense is Zero Tolerance, Big Beautiful Walls the Mexicans aren’t about to pay for, and leaving no path to citizenship for some people whose dedication and talents we could certainly use in this country.  She “criticized the Supreme Court decision” on free speech and the rule of law — this is rich, considering the nature of that case in which intolerance was to be tolerated.  And, Oh My Heavens she’s going to “torpedo” Trump’s not all that well vetted nominee to the US Supreme Court, the man about whom the public record is incomplete and won’t be complete if Republicans like Heller have anything to say about it.  Worse still, clutch those pearls now — she has the support of that Republican bete noir Chuck Schumer… who is (heaven forefend) a “national liberal Democrat.”  Oh leave me shaking, as the resonance of the Scary Voice Narrator wafts into my senses.

The next 2 and 1/3rd pages are replete with buzzing… 2nd Amendment, liberal Democrats, liberal special interests, avid hunter, concealed carry permit holders, dyed in the wool Nancy Pelosi liberal, rubber stamp vote for San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi, burgeoning left wing, failing health care system, block… US Supreme Court picks, inexperienced far left Democrat, rubber stamp vote for Chuck Schumer, … and so on. This really isn’t going to get me to pull out the check book for a suggested minimum donation of $35.00.  For that matter, it isn’t going to get 35 cents.

It won’t get 3.5 cents for that matter, not even as the Senator tells me he’s a victim of “scorched earth” attacks from Harry Reid… Harry Reid?   However, I can see some trends in the fund raising letter.  Heller is playing guilt by association — tar his opponent with negative images and references rather than take on the issues of the day.  He’ll play the Fear Card — beware those Black, Brown, and Brownish people.  He’ll play the Ultra Whitey Card — “Dear Patriot.”  What he doesn’t seem to want to do in this fund raising letter is tell me what he’s advocating.

I have the message from Rosen.  It’s clear to me she’s in favor of a woman’s right to make her own medical choices, she’s in favor of tax cuts for middle income Americans — not more largess for the top 1%, she’s in favor of funding veterans’ health care, education,  and in favor of freedom of speech in all its forms not just the preservation of white privilege and religious intolerance.  I can spend some coin of the realm supporting these views. Sorry Senator Heller, but I’d rather vote my hopes than my fears.

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Filed under Heller, Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics