## The lead story on the Reno Gazette Journal website concerns two chubby white guys stalking and then driving a truck through a group of DAPL protesters in downtown Reno. The two chubbies stopped a short distance away to “give their version of events” to police; fortunately there were no critical injuries sustained by members of the protest group.
## After the Citizens United debacle of a decision is anyone surprised that outside spending is a major feature of the Nevada senate seat race? RGJ has more details.
## Perhaps it’s a measure of how “safe” the Nevada Congressional District 2 seat has become for Republicans that Mark Amodei is still backing Donald Trump:
“In the past couple of days every negative adjective in the English language has been used to describe Mr. Trump’s comments toward women,” Amodei said in the letter. “Frankly, the harsh criticism and outrage are, in my view, appropriate and deserved. Americans, in the final analysis, expect perfection, leadership, and someone they can be proud of as the leader of their country on the world political stage. At this point, sadly, neither nominee can lay claim to any of those traits.” [RGJ]
Amodei is now the only major Republican in Nevada supporting the Trump candidacy. Maybe it’s appropriate to ask at this point – precisely WHAT has Secretary Clinton done that puts her even remotely close to the egregious behavior and insult driven campaign waged by the “deplorable” Mr. Trump?
The Benghazi Flap was a GOP manufactured pseudo-scandal upon which the GOP wasted two years and about $7 million dollars to come up with NOTHING. The “emails” are another exercise in sound and fury signifying nothing. If Representative Amodei is constructing his false equivalence predicated on these two bits of bombast, it’s a thin reed to grasp for the long run.
For his part, Mr. Trump announces himself unshackled from the Republican Party of which Rep. Amodei is a proud member, and launched one of his almost-patented Tweet Storms overnight. Thus Representative Amodei places himself in support of the Donald J. Trump Insult-O-Rama:
Representative Joe Heck (R-NV3) candidate for the Nevada senate seat, issued a nice long statement about why he can no longer support the candidacy of Donald Trump. [RGJ] This is Saturday, October 8, 2016.
Wasn’t it enough when Trump insulted Mexico, the third largest US trade partner (Census)? It’s not like we don’t get $280.5 billion in imports from that country, and export $226.2 billion in US goods and services.
“Trump lambasted the southern neighbor. “The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” he said on May 30 at his campaign launch. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” The remarks led a number of businesses to cut their ties with him.” [The Hill]
It isn’t like some 28% of Nevada’s population is of Hispanic heritage. Or, that 43% of Hispanic Nevadans are homeowners, or they represent 41% of all Nevada’s k-12 students. [Pew] Nor, could Mr. Trump abide the idea that an Indiana born judge of Mexican heritage could be impartial. [HuffPo] Insulting about 1/3 of Nevada’s population wasn’t enough to make Representative Heck remove the hat – and the endorsement?
Wasn’t Representative Heck just a little disturbed to discover that the Department of Justice had to sue the Trump Management firm not once, but twice, for housing discrimination in the 1970’s. [HuffPo] Wasn’t it troubling that years later Trump disparaged his black casino workers as “lazy” (1991)?
“And isn’t it funny. I’ve got black accountants at Trump Castle and Trump Plaza. Black guys counting my money! I hate it,” O’Donnell recalled Trump saying. “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”
“I think the guy is lazy,” Trump said of a black employee, according to O’Donnell. “And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.” [HuffPo]
That commentary managed to be both anti-black and anti-Semitic at the same time – a two’fer. It’s not like this is any kind of news – this and other statements have been in the public domain for ages. Longer than the highly inflammatory statements about the Central Park Five. No matter the coerced confessions, the lack of physical evidence – no matter that DNA evidence clearly demonstrates the five young men were innocent – no matter that a legitimate confession came forth in 2002 – to Mr. Trump they’re still guilty. No apologies forthcoming. Chalk off another 9.3% of the Nevada population – the African American percentage. And still Representative Heck kept the hat.
And, then there was that entire Birther debacle, with Mr. Trump leading the charge, with Mr. Trump sending “investigators to Hawaii, with Mr. Trump rick rolling the press into covering his hotel opening in DC with a snippet in which he declared that he’d “solved” the President’s problem – the President (who just happens to be African American) didn’t have a birth certificate problem until Mr. Trump decided to make a major issue of it – and NO the stories didn’t emerge from the Clinton Campaign in 2008. [Snopes] African Americans are unlikely to forget Mr. Trump’s attempt to de-legitimize the first African American president of the US. Nor are they likely to forget that Representative Heck didn’t seem to have doubts at the time about Mr. Trump’s candidacy. Then, there was that matter of White Supremacists as part of Trump’s base of support:
“His white supremacist fan club includes the Daily Stormer, a leading neo-Nazi news site; Richard Spencer, director of the National Policy Institute, which aims to promote the “heritage, identity, and future of European people”; Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, a Virginia-based white nationalist magazine; Michael Hill, head of the League of the South, an Alabama-based white supremacist secessionist group; and Brad Griffin, a member of Hill’s League of the South and author of the popular white supremacist blog Hunter Wallace.
A leader of the Virginia KKK who is backing Trump told a local TV reporter earlier this month, “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in.” [HuffPo]
Surely, when this pile began to grow it was time to head for the exits? Heck kept wearing the hat.
But wait, there’s more – Native Americans:
In 1993, when Trump wanted to open a casino in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that would compete with one owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Nation, a local Native American tribe, he told the House subcommittee on Native American Affairs that “they don’t look like Indians to me… They don’t look like Indians to Indians.”
There goes another 1.6% of the Nevada population. Still Heck kept the hat.
Was Representative Heck getting edgy when the story of how Trump insulted (nay, humiliated) Alicia Machado? Speaking of cruel and unusual punishment… “Miss Piggy?” Miss Housekeeping?” Still Heck kept the hat on his head. Some publications were keeping track of Trump’s insults to women, Cosmopolitan counted 23 major incidents. Huffington Post accumulated 18 in that category. Fortune magazine published a ‘history’ of Trump’s comments about women in August 2015. It’s not that the information and the incidents weren’t in the public realm; it’s not that no one knew about Trump’s attitude towards women were – surely Representative Heck wasn’t surprised by the Access tapes? Heck is on the horns of a dilemma herein: If he knew Trump’s history with women and still endorsed him he falls neatly into Secretary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” as a willful misogynist; If he didn’t know of Trump’s history of uncomplimentary and downright nasty statements about women he has to be the least well informed candidate since … Aleppo? Name a major world leader? That’s not likely to make women, who constitute 49.8% of Nevada’s population very happy either.
So NOW Representative Heck says:
“I’ve spent much of my life serving in the military where I stood beside some of the bravest men and women this country has to offer — willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect the freedoms upon which this country was founded. They live by a code of honor, of decency and of respect.
“As a husband and a father, I strive to bring that same code of honor into my personal life.
“I believe any candidate for President of the United States should campaign with common ethical and moral values and decency. I accept that none of us are perfect. However, I can no longer look past this pattern of behavior and inappropriate comments from Donald Trump. Therefore, I cannot, in good conscience, continue to support him nor can I vote for Hillary Clinton.” [RGJ]
Well, there was the little flap with the son – that code of honor seemed to slip a bit in the Heck household. What was “common ethical and moral values and decency” in a man who was twice sued by the Department of Justice for housing discrimination? Where was the decency when Trump launched into snide and disparaging comments about breast feeding? Diaper changing? Women in the workplace? Women’s physical attributes? How many incidents have to stack up before Representative Heck is willing to call out a “pattern of behavior and inappropriate comments?”
Heck goes on:
“My hope is that this will not divide us and that we can unite behind Republican principles. We deserve a candidate who can ask him or herself at the end of the day, ‘Did I live my life with honor and do I deserve to be elected president of the United States.’ [RGJ]
Mr. Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, or 480 days ago. For the meticulous that’s one year, three months, and twenty-two days since the announcement. Are we to believe that it took Representative Heck 479 days to figure out that Mr. Trump didn’t meet the standards of “common ethical and moral values and decency?”
We might look to another source of wisdom about consorting with those who lack ethical and moral values.
He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled therewith; and he that hath fellowship with a proud man shall be like unto him. 2 Burden not thyself above thy power while thou livest; and have no fellowship with one that is mightier and richer than thyself: for how agree the kettle and the earthen pot together? for if the one be smitten against the other, it shall be broken. 3 The rich man hath done wrong, and yet he threateneth withal: the poor is wronged, and he must intreat also. 4 If thou be for his profit, he will use thee: but if thou have nothing, he will forsake thee. Ecclesiasticus 13:1
In endorsing the candidacy of Donald J. Trump, Representative Heck surely stuck his hand in the pitch pot. Meanwhile, as of September 21 Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) was Trump’s man on the ground in Nevada; it remains to be heard if he’s removed the hat and gotten his hands out of the pitch pot.
Boom: The National Rifle Association is pleased to tell us that only Donald Trump will defend our 2nd Amendment rights…which isn’t true. Now it’s running a $6.5 million ad buy telling ladies to strap on the holsters to ‘fight back.’ [Salon] This may not only be a function of current politics – the NRA has a problem, “not enough people are buying guns.”
“Americans own an estimated 265m guns, more than one gun for every American adult, according to the most definitive portrait of US gun ownership in two decades. But the new survey estimates that 133m of these guns are concentrated in the hands of just 3% of American adults – a group of super-owners who have amassed an average of 17 guns each.” [Guardian]
Little wonder the manufacturers want to sell more to the ladies? Unless, of course the ladies have seen the actual numbers:
“If we examine data from within the United States, the odds aren’t any better for gun owners. The most recent study examining the relationship between firearms and homicide rates on a state level, published last April, found a significant positive relationship between gun ownership and overall homicide levels. Using data from 1981–2010 and the best firearm ownership proxy to date, the study found that for every 1 percent increase in gun ownership, there was a 1.1 percent increase in the firearm homicide rate and a 0.7 percent increase in the total homicide rate.” [Slate]
The Good Woman with a Gun is simply a variation on the old Good Guy with a Gun, and neither is true.
Bust: What we could do is to have a national discussion of domestic violence and begin by taking rape, domestic violence, and assaults on women more seriously. Jeff Van Gundy had some words for the NBA which are well worth highlighting.
Huh? There’s an anti-Question 1 ad in Nevada, showing the various law enforcement people against the proposition which would close the gun show loophole in the Silver State. We ought to assume that these law enforcement professionals are tasked with the enforcement of NRS 203: 360 which forbids the sale of firearms to felons, fugitives, addicts, those adjudicated mentally ill, and those guilty of domestic violence. Now the question becomes WHY would any law enforcement officer NOT want to find out if some felon, fugitive, addict, mentally ill, or domestic abuser was trying to purchase firearms at the local gun show?
Duh? That little exchange in the Vice Presidential Debate last night about “punishing women who have abortions merits a comment or two.
“Though there is little doubt how extreme Pence’s anti-abortion stance is, he made it explicitly clear on the campaign trail. “I’m pro-life and I don’t apologize for it,” he said during a town hall in July. Of a Trump/Pence administration, he said, “We’ll see Roe v. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs.”
Then there was the not-so-small matter of Pence cutting funding for Planned Parenthood in Indiana, thus cutting HIV testing for Scott County, Indiana.
“In 2011, Planned Parenthood ran five rural clinics in Indiana. They tested for HIV and offered prevention, intervention and counseling for better health. The one in Scott County performed no abortions.
Mothers-to-be in Scott County must drive 50 miles to visit a gynecologist or an obstetrician. That’s not an isolated insight. Of Indiana’s 92 counties, Scott County has ranked 92nd in unhealthiness for five straight years.” [ChiTrib]
Health professional saw what was coming when the funding was cut. They begged for help from the state. None was forthcoming. Better an AIDS epidemic in a rural area than funding which might tangentially touch abortion services?
Mr. Trump is a classic misogynist, Governor Pence is downright dangerous.
We have a presidential candidate who gets up at odd hours of the night to tweet insults to former beauty pageant winners, and who expended a great deal of time and energy bemoaning the categorization of his White Supremacist followers as “deplorable.” If these are one’s priorities so be it, but there’s a difference between nightmares and issues – a differentiation not tackled all that efficiently by his supporters and surrogates.
Republicans appear to be beset with nightmares, not the least of which is we, as a nation, might seem weak in the eyes of others. Strength is Action. Action is Strength. We must, like a Hollywood B-Movie production complete with car chases and explosions, appear strong. As we do when bombing some location into gravel and small piles of rubble. This is the nightmare of the small man in the bar just before closing time, well liquored up, who decides to demonstrate his masculinity by punching some fellow who has offer some vague (and probably misinterpreted) insult. Should these people wake up and read the information available they’d find that the United States spent some 54% of its discretionary spending on the military.
So, this ought to give some comfort to those whose sleep is disturbed by dreams of military annihilation at the hands of the nefarious. We have the best equipped, best lead, most professional military in the world. There are issues here – not nightmares.
One issue is the tendency toward militarism, the notion that all problems have a military solution and thus the military must be accorded a prime place in national planning and policy. This topic was explored here about eight years ago:
“Evidently lost on the militarists is the notion that one can be supportive of the military without adopting militarism. In fact, a “muscular” militarism that posits the application of military force to each and every conflict is counter-productive to long term military interests. The ‘whack-a-mole’ Bush Administration/McCain policies have the U.S. Armed Forces stretched to the limit, with used and abused equipment, and over-deployed troops, who are facing serious obstacles to receiving comprehensive care and benefits after their service. A cogent, less militaristic, policy would recommend the continual evaluation of our deployment ramifications, sentient assessments of our capacities, and a rational review of our own recruiting and remuneration standards. A less militaristic policy would allow us to employ the diplomatic tools in our arsenal to spare the unnecessary exploitation of our military. When we ‘wise up’ we’ll realize which Party’s candidates can deliver these policies.” [DB]
In short, if we’ll stop all the posturing and flag waving pseudo-patriotism and start thinking about how and when the use of military force is applicable without draining our resources and putting our diplomatic efforts in jeopardy, then we can all sleep a bit better.
The second nightmare which seems to be grabbing hold of the sweat soaked sheets of our Republican friends is that someone, somewhere, is cheating us out of what is rightfully ours. Taxation! Tax money being spent on Welfare Queens and Food Stamp cheats! Oh, the misery. Waking up and using The Google will solve one part of the nightmare – we really aren’t “taxed to death.”
“The tax burden is lower in the U.S. than in many other developed nations. Of 34 OECD countries, the U.S. tax rate for the average single American with no children ranks No. 17. The tax burden on a single person with two kids ranks 27th. Comparing tax rates across countries is difficult, however, without taking into account how much people benefit from their tax payments in college tuition, retirement income, or more intangible rewards, such as security and the social safety net.” [BlmbNews]
The reality is that there is no monster under the bed. We aren’t even in the top ten OECD countries in terms of taxation. But, but, but, how about welfare cheats? If we look at the SNAP program from the USDA we find that: “The SNAP national payment error rate for fiscal year 2014 is 3.66 percent. This indicates a 96.34 percent accuracy rate of providing benefits to low income people. In fiscal year 2014, over 99 percent of participating households were eligible for SNAP as determined by income and other program criteria.” [USDA] I can’t speak for anyone else, but if I could get my total financial records into the 96.34% accuracy category I’d be one happy camper in sweet dream land.
However, nightmares aren’t made of rational ruminations about fiscal accuracy and accounting practices. They come from anecdotal renditions and repetitions of ‘stories’ about seeing some guy drive up in a new pickup and toting out a case of Budweiser.
“The Act precludes the following items from being purchased with SNAP benefits: alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, hot food and any food sold for on-premises consumption. Nonfood items such as pet foods, soaps, paper products, medicines and vitamins, household supplies, grooming items, and cosmetics, also are ineligible for purchase with SNAP benefits.” [USDA]
Under the terms of the 2002 legislation, no “illegal immigrants” are eligible for SNAP assistance. [USDA] Further, ‘non-qualified aliens’ are not eligible for a host of other benefit programs, as specified in bureau or agency rules:
“Federal public benefits include a variety of safety-net services paid for by federal funds. But the welfare law’s definition does not specify which particular programs are covered by the term, leaving that clarification to each federal benefit–granting agency. In 1998, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a notice clarifying which of its programs fall under the definition. The list of 31 HHS programs includes Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicare, TANF, Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, the Child Care and Development Fund, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.” [NILC]
Sleep well Republican friends, the undocumented are not eligible for support, and we are being most parsimonious in regard to our bestowal of benefits.
Democrats might sleep more comfortably if the following situation were improved:
“Despite growth in SNAP caseloads since the onset of the Great Recession, about 17 percent of those eligible go unserved and SNAP is missing nearly six in ten eligible elderly persons. SNAP policies that improve program access and increase staff capacity to process applications as well as SNAP outreach can help communities, families and businesses maximize federal dollars.” [FRAC]
We should not forget the other monster in the closet. Others. If slavery was America’s Original Sin, and segregation its phalanx of myrmidons, then racism is the residual. However, demonization is not necessarily the exclusive domain of people of color – we’ve demonized Irish and Eastern European immigrants, Asian and Chinese immigrants, Jews, Catholics; and lest we forget “commies” during the McCarthy Era.
Perhaps some right wing individual tosses and turns on the mattress because the phone answering service wants to know if he’d like the message options in Spanish? This is America, Speak English! The immigrants will, like most others before them, and the native language will be lost in three generations:
“The authors found that although the generational life expectancy of Spanish is greater among Mexicans in Southern California than other groups, its demise is all but assured by the third generation. Third-generation immigrants are American-born with American-born parents but with three or four foreign-born grandparents.
In the second generation, fluency in Spanish was greater for Mexican immigrants than for other Latin American groups, and substantially greater than the proportions of Asian immigrants who could speak their mother tongue very well. In the third generation, only 17 percent of Mexican immigrants still speak fluent Spanish, and in the fourth generation, just 5 percent. The corresponding fourth-generation figure for white European immigrants is 1 percent.
What is endangered, said the authors, is not the dominance of English but the survival of the non-English languages immigrants bring with them to the United States.” [Princeton Edu/Massey 2006]
If we’re looking for some reason to lose sleep it might be because by the 4th generation we’ve lost 95% to 99% of the language facility we might have had in this increasingly shrinking world.
But, wouldn’t we all sleep more peacefully if we’d just SAY we need to fight “radical Islam?”
First, there’s a little problem defining “radical.” Do we mean what might be considered conservative Islam, men with beards, women in burkas? This leaves us with a problem – what to do with the Muslim family who wants the daughter to go to medical school because there’s a need for women doctors to treat women patients? What to do with the millions of practitioners of Islam who are not conservative? And the millions more who have a special word for the ISIS thugs who flout their disregard for the basic tenets of Islam – daesh. (That stuff you scrape off the bottom of your shoes.)
Sleep well, the odds against an American being killed in a terrorist attack are 1: 25,000,000. [TechJuc] Another comforting (?) thought is that an American is far more likely to be shot by a toddler than a terrorist. [Snopes]
But that is another nightmare we don’t like to talk about. I’d sleep better if we could do something about keeping firearms out of the hands of toddlers…
“The classic example of gaslighting is to switch something around on someone that you know they’re sure to notice, but then deny knowing anything about it, and to explain that they “must be imagining things” when they challenge these changes.” [Urban Dictionary]
And now, some reference material on Donald J. Trump and the use of gaslighting in American politics.
Nicole Hemmer, “Trump is Gaslighting America,” US News & World Report, March 15, 2016.
Melissa Jeltsen, “Donald Trump is Successfully Conning the Entire Country,” Huffington Post, March 16, 2016.
Andrea Grimes, “The GOP is Gaslighting America – On National Television,” Texas Observer, July 20, 2016.
Mary Elizabeth Williams, “A Gaslighting Codependent Circus: The Trump Train Wreck is America’s Dysfunctional Family”, Salon, August 3, 2016.
Brian Beutler, “Trump’s Racist Birther Gaslighting Strategy has Taken Over the GOP,” The New Republic, September 19, 2016.
Karoli Kuns, “Which Polls? Trump Surrogate Tries to Gaslight CNN.” Crooks and Liars, August 17, 2016.
Matt Gertz, “What To Do When The Trump Campaign is Gaslighting Your Network,” MMFA, June 8, 2016.
David Marcus, “Lewandowski Case Shows How Donald Trump is Gaslighting America,” The Federalist, March 30, 2016.
You’ve seen the numbers.
“According to the CDC and Census data, for the first three months of of 2016 the uninsured rate is 8.6% down from 9.2% last year, and from 15.7% before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. For just the 18 -64 demographic the same study shows the uninsured rate at 11.9%, down from 13% in 2015, down from 22.3% in 2010 when the ACA was signed into law. These represent the lowest uninsured rates in over 50 years according to the studies (which are all based on census data).” [OCF]
So, when Donald Trump tells you the Affordable Care Act and Patient’s Bill of Rights is a ‘failure.’ You’re being gaslighted.
When Donald Trump tells you that inner city crime is reaching record levels, you’re being gaslighted.
“The patterns for homicide are the same as they are for violent crime generally — they have been declining since the early-to-mid 1990s.
The same pattern holds for the subset of the nation’s very largest cities — those of 1 million or more residents. In 2014, the violent crime rate in these largest cities was 658.7 per 100,000 residents, a significant decline from 868.9 in 2006 (and even higher in earlier years). Over the same period, the murder rate in these cities fell from 12.3 per 100,000 residents to 7.4 per 100,000 residents.
A cursory look at a few specific cities shows that the number of murders, even at their somewhat elevated rate today, are well below their peaks in the 1990s.” [Politifact]
When Donald Trump tells you that Stop and Frisk was successful in reducing crime, you’re being gaslighted.
“Trump praises stop-and-frisk policies under former New York City mayor Rudolph Guliani. But it’s debatable whether the stop-and-frisk policies had such a direct impact on crime, as Trump suggests. Crime is affected by many factors, and New York’s decline in crime mirrored the decline in many other major cities at the time. Moreover, crime was declining for four years before Giuliani took office, and it continued to decline for 14 years after he left.” [WaPo]
On these, and several other issues, Mr. Trump is flickering the lights, hiding the watch, pocketing the brooch, and moving the picture. And, we can’t say we haven’t been warned.