Category Archives: Nevada

Heller on the Slipface?

angle of reposeLet’s assume for the moment that much of the goings-on at the Residence on Pennsylvania Avenue have less to do with governance, and ever so much more to do with a tender ego, thin skin, and a perfectly illogical, nay irrational, sense of reality.  Further, we might also assume that Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) has calculated a return to his seat in the US Senate predicated on keeping the Trumpian Base happy.  After all, Heller was pleased to support Orange Blossom’s Muslim Ban [RGJ] after expressing some initial “concerns.”  The senior Senator is good at this, i.e. expressing initial concerns prior to caving in faster that a pile of  dry sand with a 35° angle of repose.   So, we shouldn’t be surprised to find he’s caved again.

Thus much for all that opposition to turning Nevada into the nation’s nuclear waste basket (Yucca Mountain), Senator Heller is willing to forgive and forget all that to tell us he has NO reservations about supporting the nomination of Mr. Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. [RGJ]  How convenient for the Orange Occupant of the Oval Office?  To have a Senator support the candidate most likely to declare the decision in US vs. Nixon a mistake. [WaPo]  Indeed, how very helpful!

Once having aligned himself with the Orange Occupant’s selection, Senator Heller may have to explain to his audiences (should he decide to have any with living people in them) how he is serving ALL the good people in the Silver State.

People who don’t necessarily believe the decision in Roe v. Wade should be overturned?  People who don’t necessarily believe that gun dealers have more rights than gun violence victims?  People who don’t necessarily believe that people with pre-existing medical conditions should be priced out of the health insurance markets?  People who don’t believe that ICE agents should be arresting and detaining victims of domestic abuse? People who don’t necessarily believe that the function of immigration enforcement agencies is to rip young children away from their parents, and then to be so incapable or incompetent as to make reuniting them nearly impossible — subsequently resorting to the ruse of declaring the un-reunited children as “ineligible” for a return to their parents.  What a cold and miserable calculation that categorization must be?

But, please, Senator Heller, do run as if this were still primary season.  Do cling to the increasingly disjointed, illogical, and downright cruel rantings of the Oval Office Occupant.  Do revert to the wedge issues of the 1980s and 1990s.  I’m sure your opponent, Rep. Jacky Rosen will be pleased to talk about —  offering affordable health care for all Nevadans, promoting women’s health and family well-being, advocating for employment opportunities and equal pay for all Nevada families.

“President Trump is trying to pull up the ladder behind him, leaving the middle class stranded while his super-wealthy buddies turn the federal government into a source of enrichment for themselves. Trump ridicules women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, immigrant families, and anyone who challenges him.” [Rosen]

So, while Senator Heller is clutching the banners on Trump’s bandwagon, Rosen would rather we take our own ride.  We can’t guarantee that the media will do much more than it did in 2016 — spend more time interviewing Trump and the Trumpians than discussing issues raised by Democratic candidates. Therefore, it will be up to Democrats to tell friends and neighbors about Rosen’s (and other Democratic candidates’) position on issues.  Rosen’s are here.

We know we’re about Health Care, Government Reform,  a Clean and Safe Environment, Education, a sane and humane Immigration Policy,  advancing the interests of Senior Citizens, attending to the Security of our Nation.   However, we can’t count on much help from a mass media which treats Republican candidates and their voters like the audience for Duck Dynasty — interesting, intriguing, anomalies who attract their attention.   If Democrats can’t be shiny objects for press and punditry, perhaps we can be loud and proud.

We don’t disparage the different and the disabled. We don’t find it necessary to call the cops on kids selling lemonade, hot dogs, and candy.  We don’t find it uncomfortable if someone who has a “natural tan” is in the swimming pool, or lives next door.  We The People buy up the candy the young lad was selling when the broad beamed bigot decided to launch her verbal assault.  We The People know how to make life a misery for the intolerant who call the cops to barbecues and college common rooms.  We The People know how to identify and shame the shameless. And, if some members of Congress don’t share our values of common decency, concern for the well being of others, or improving the lives of as many of our fellow citizens as possible, then We The People can always change the members of Congress.

The Trumpians, for all we care, can slide down the slipface of history.

Comments Off on Heller on the Slipface?

Filed under Heller, Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics

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.

Comments Off on The Ever Entertaining GOP Primary in Nevada

Filed under Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics

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.

Comments Off on Kids These Days: Focus on Voting

Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics

We Are Not Being Well Served: A Lethal Pattern of Administration Obstruction

We aren’t well served when the Department of Justice declines to work WITH state officials to implement policy.  When the DoJ dithers about assisting Nevada’s attempt to improve the background check process for firearm purchases — [NV Indy] Gee, it almost seems like someone at the federal level is doing a bureaucratic dance routine to subvert the intent of those who want to expand background checks?  Someone doesn’t want to alienate the powers that be at the NRA?  Meanwhile candidate Adam Laxalt, subservient as ever to the NRA line, must be pleased with Governor Sandoval’s discomfort.

We also aren’t well served by the right wing echo chamber which has now evidently decided that if they can’t find logical arguments to deflect the demands made by the kids in March for Our Lives they will happily start tooting the Swift Boat Parade Brigade horns with personal attacks on the kids themselves.  [TampaBT] [WaPo] [KCStar] However, ad hominem is all too often the preferred argument for many on the right side of the political spectrum.  These people might be dismissed as small people with smaller, narrower, minds except that they have the ear of the current mis-administration, and those ears are receiving messages out of step with American concerns.  Listening to these radical voices obscures national issues we should be focusing upon.

Nor are we well served when the message comes from the podium at the White House briefing room that the Department of Justice will take no role in the investigation of the shooting of Sacramento citizen Stephon Clark.  There’s a pattern here.

The FBI will not facilitate the implementation of Nevada’s Question 1 decision. The Department of Justice will take its sweet time promulgating rules concerning the sale of bump stocks (see Las Vegas concert massacre). The Department of Justice will do an about-face on federal participation in the investigation of law enforcement use of lethal force on members of minority communities.  This pattern may explain why the citizens of Nevada continue to be frustrated by the lack of Question 1 implementation, the citizens of the US continue to see protests related to Black Lives Matter, and young people bemoan (and organize) against the inflexible obstruction to their demands for sensible restrictions on gun ownership and sales.

What the pattern won’t accomplish is the solution to any of the problems addressed by the Black Lives Matter organization or the young people involved in March for Our Lives.  The two issue areas are not unrelated.

Bullets fired from guns kill people.  The bullet may be a .223 round (5.56 mm) coming at a person at 3,330 feet per second (about three times the velocity of a typical Glock pistol.) [BI]  The bullets may also come from a Glock 19 or the Glock 22, or perhaps the Smith & Wesson M or P9, the most popular service handguns for law enforcement personnel. [SRI]  Instances of bullets being fired by one human being at another human being, or beings, should be investigated fully.  We have no problem with this concept when thinking about murder investigations in general.  We do have a problem with the concept when it’s in the context of a mass shooting or in a case of the use of lethal force by a police officer.

In the instances of mass shootings authorities appear to want to investigate everything except the actual cause of death — the AR 15 is often the weapon of choice for mass shooters [BI] who want to use the gun as it was designed — to cause the greatest level of lethality in the briefest possible time.  If we know the level of lethality associated with the use of assault style weapons like the AR 15 why don’t we directly address the issue of whether or not these should be in the hands of civilians?

In the instances of officer involved shootings almost the first thing reported is that the “officers feared for their lives.”

“Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be unarmed when killed during encounters with police as white people, according to a Guardian investigation which found 102 of 464 people killed so far this year in incidents with law enforcement officers were not carrying weapons.

An analysis of public records, local news reports and Guardian reporting found that 32% of black people killed by police in 2015 were unarmed, as were 25% of Hispanic and Latino people, compared with 15% of white people killed.” [Guardian 2015]

Question: Why do law enforcement personnel “fear for their lives” more often when confronting a person of color than when facing a white person?  I think we know the answer, it is just that this aspect of the problem isn’t something the present Department of Justice is particularly interested in pursuing.

We aren’t well served by an administration which will not admit the vast scope of the problems presented by mass shooters and highly questionable use of force by some members of law enforcement.  These are national problems which beg for national solutions, whether the current Department of Justice wants to step up to the plate or not.


The kids have broken the 10,000 contract plateau in their Parents Promise To Kids project.  Right now it’s at 10,127.  That’s 10,127 parents, grandparents, and other interested people who have pledged to kids they will make gun reform a major feature in their voting decisions.  Step Up. Thank You.

Comments Off on We Are Not Being Well Served: A Lethal Pattern of Administration Obstruction

Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics

Nevada Republicans in Disarray? Sidling toward the Senate

The race for Senator Dean Heller’s Senate seat is getting interesting, if for no other reason than the split between the Trumpets and the Party is on full display.  Witness Heller’s campaign co-chair leveling finance improprieties charges at the Tarkanian campaign:

“Danny Tarkanian made an “illegal corporate contribution” from a nonprofit he runs to his 2012 congressional campaign, according to a complaint filed the Federal Elections Commission.

The complaint follows a report from KLAS-TV that detailed how $40,000 went from Tarkanian’s charity basketball organization to his campaign during his 2012 bid for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District. The FEC complaint was filed by Collier Azare, who is a campaign co-chair for Dean Heller, who Tarkanian is challenging in this year’s GOP primary for U.S. Senate.”  [LVRJ] [KLAS]

This one presumes, would allow the Heller Forces to charge unethical conduct on the part of Tarkanian the Lesser, since the ethical limits of Tarkanian the Elder, of towel chewing fame, at Long Beach State, UNLV, and Fresno State, have been a topic of conversations in the public domain — from barstool occupants to barristers.

Tarkanian the Lesser’s move into the media spotlight is a mixed blessing for the Heller camp.  On one hand, Tarkanian the Lesser’s trumpian-radical politics will amplify the Heller campaign’s message that Heller, much evidence to the contrary, is the Moderate in the race.  This is fine for the general election, however Heller has to  plow through the mud flat that is the Nevada Republican primary on June 12, 2018.

Primaries have not had a particularly high level of interest of late in the Silver State; the 2014 Primary drew a total turnout of 19.25% of Nevada’s registered voters, which was better than the 18.87% who voted in the 2012 Primary, and better still than the paltry 15.12% of  voters who decided to participate in the 2010 version. [SoS] We can probably guess that the Republicans who chose to vote in the Primaries were highly motivated, and perhaps interested in hyper-conservative positions?  Low turnout among Nevada Republicans doesn’t seem to be a good thing for Heller’s campaign.

However, things aren’t looking all that pleasant for the prospects of Tarkanian the Lesser, the White House isn’t supporting him, his fundraising is relatively weak, and his message is a narrow pitch to a narrow sliver of the electorate.  It will be interesting to see who shows up for the GOP Primary in June.

Comments Off on Nevada Republicans in Disarray? Sidling toward the Senate

Filed under Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics

Friday News and Notes

It’s been many raccoons’ ages since DB has done a good old fashioned amalgamation of good reporting and recommended reading.  If we grant that the national media tends to be a flock/herd of creatures all fascinated by the latest shiny objects, it would be highly unfair to extend this critique to local and state reporters who are covering stories which may never travel beyond the borders but are essential to understanding real issues facing real people.  Recommended reading from Nevada reporters:

Nevada: On the gubernatorial race — Nevada Independent article on Steve Sisolak and his position on so-called Sanctuary Cities.  Those who want to keep up with Nevada political news, and Clark County politics will want to bookmark this source.  “GOP bid for control in Nevada raises fear of endless recalls,” in the Reno Gazette Journal is an essential read for the week.  The Las Vegas Review Journal business section has a link to its coverage of the saga of Steve Wynn which is a good reference for his travails.   Michael Roberson will be visiting Elko, NV with his “sanctuary cities” petition as part of his latest political machinations in the state.   The Las Vegas Sun editorial says it’s time to put tracer ammunition in the cross-hairs.

Women’s Corner:  “Top White House Officials Knew of Abuse Allegations Against Top Aides for Months”, Washington Post.  This excerpt summarizes the hypocrisy nicely:

“McGahn and other West Wing officials are under increasing pressure to explain why Porter was kept in a key role in which he had access to classified information and helped determine which articles and policy proposals made it to the president’s desk while top Trump officials were aware for months of at least some of the serious allegations against him.”

Let this sink in. A political campaign that railed day after day about spurious allegations of major misconduct and mismanagement of a few classified e-mails, some classified well after their initial release, has an individual who handled all manner of classified materials — some so classified that the classifications themselves are classified — who cannot get a security clearance because of his potential for compromise due to his attempts to cover past domestic abuse incidents.   The White House excuse for slow authorizations appears to be “lots of people are new to government, and therefore take longer,” however — when most background checks take four to six weeks to have some going on for a year seems beyond the pale.

A New York Times editorial asks what the President* might do if he really cared about violence against women? Maybe fill the of White House Adviser on violence against women (which has been vacant for over a year now) or maybe appoint a Department of Justice head of the Violence Against Women section, or maybe appoint a State Department ambassador at large on global women’s issues?  Advocate fully funding and implementing the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act?  Encourage federal contributions to research on family violence?

Comments Off on Friday News and Notes

Filed under Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics, Women's Issues

Adam Laxalt: The Grandson of Immigrants doesn’t like immigrants?

Adam Paul Laxalt seems to have forgotten that he is a descendant of Dominique and Therese Laxalt.  He also appears to have forgotten that Dominique Laxalt started life in the great American west as a sheepherder.  I supposed he’d prefer Nevadans identify him as the grandson of former Governor Paul Laxalt, popular politician and friend of Ronald Reagan — not especially as the great grandson of a Basque sheepherder.   He must be only tenuously connected to his immigrant roots because that’s the only rational explanation for his joining the “anti-sanctuary city” case brought by 11 AGs:

 “The brief urges the court to reverse a U.S. District Court judge’s order preventing the implementation of the federal government’s executive order pertaining to sanctuary cities. The case is an opportunity to remedy the threat California’s “sanctuary cities” pose to Nevada safety, Laxalt’s office stated.” [Sierra Sun]

First let’s look at the rational as published by the Sierra Sun, and evaluate Laxalt’s position.  Part One:

“Nevada’s law enforcement officials, including all 17 currently elected county sheriffs, have consistently opposed sanctuary-city policies that would prevent compliance with federal law and compromise public safety, the office stated. In the vast majority of cases, an individual must be arrested for committing a crime and booked into a jail or detention facility before Nevada law enforcement agencies check whether the individual is sought by federal immigration authorities and, if so, alert those federal authorities, the office stated. Sanctuary-city policies that prohibit this communication allow violent offenders to be released back into the community, the office stated.”

The part about “compromising public safety” needs a bit more explication.  In standard law enforcement practice, a person does something criminal, that is commits a felony or a misdemeanor, and is detained. After detention law enforcement looks into the person’s background — outstanding warrants? Outstanding court issues? …. Immigration status? The Oval Office Anti-Immigrant policy inserts ICE into the arrest process, and herein lies a problem — If the individual arrested for being publicly intoxicated thereby disturbing the peace  (NRS 203.010) is named Smith, Johnson, or Baker what is the likelihood the sheriff’s office is going to check with ICE for his or her immigration status?  What we have here is an invitation to discrimination, whites detained face misdemeanor penalties and Hispanics face more extensive investigations by ICE for being named Hernandez.

The odds are in Nevada the person with the Hispanic surname is US born.  Hispanics are 28% of the state’s population, and of this number 61% were born in the United States. [Pew]  The most common Hispanic name in Nevada is Garcia.  [Anc.com] If Garcia is the most common surname for a person of Hispanic heritage in Nevada then we can add Jose as the most common name for a boy of Mexican descent.  Now, consider for a moment what happens when a Jose Garcia is picked up in violation of NRS 203.010 and his “name is compared” to an ICE target list.  Think there aren’t ample opportunities for mistakes to be made? Maybe think again.  As for releasing “violent offenders back into communities…” that needs to be discussed as well.

Sanctuary-city policies that prohibit this communication allow violent offenders to be released back into the community, the office stated.”  This is a misvioleading conflation of the first water. The statement works IF and Only IF we assume that the person detained is automatically assumed to be a violent offender or if violent offenders are the most commonly arrested.  It also works IF the audience assumes “those people” are likely to be violent offenders, the release of any one of them puts the population in peril.  To make these assumptions AG Laxalt would have to ignore the 2016 Crime in Nevada report. (long pdf)

A person doesn’t get far into the 2016 Department of Public Safety report before it’s obvious that the most common index crimes in this state are good old fashioned garden variety property crimes: burglary, larceny.   The five year average for property crime (2012-2016) stands at 76,833 far outpacing personal crime averages.  So, even for ‘serious’ crimes, the ones that get reported as indexed, the odds are a person didn’t get picked up for a violent crime against a person.  Therefore the argument that we should turn our local deputies into ICE officers because otherwise we’d have roving rapists and murderers in our midst is more fear mongering than reality.  Not that this prevents AG Laxalt from turning up the burners:

 “Sanctuary cities in California pose a danger to neighboring states like Nevada by making it easier for those not lawfully in this country and with violent criminal histories to evade law enforcement and travel out of state. What’s more, these cities undermine the rule of law and prevent cooperation between federal and local officials.”

“Undermining the rule of law” is a common refrain among right wing anti-immigration advocates.  We could as easily argue that what undermines the rule of law is to have people arrested and detained because they have the same name as a person on an ICE list, or that if one’s name is Smith or Jones there will be no extra scrutiny but if your last name is Garcia or … Laxalt… then the person can sweat the possibility of mistakes.  The rule of law can also be undermined by immigration agents who dump water bottles in the desert (and brag about it) or threaten a doctor with deportation for juvenile offenses ages ago, and make it all but impossible for immigrant women to press charges for sexual assaults because to do so would invite deportation proceedings.  It also undermines respect for the law if we deliberately ignore the fact that the statistics on crimes don’t support the assertion illegal immigrants commit more crimes:

“The tone and tenor of the president’s executive order blurs the line between who’s a serious criminal and who isn’t,” and between documented and undocumented immigrants, said Randy Capps, the institute’s director of research for United States programs. There is no national accounting of criminality specifically by people who are in the country illegally. But Mr. Nowrasteh said he had analyzed the available figures and concluded that undocumented immigrants had crime rates somewhat higher than those here legally, but much lower than those of citizens.”  [NYT] (emphasis added)

3 Comments

Filed under Immigration, Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics