Tag Archives: Berkley

The Anarchists Among Us

Time Bomb ToyFormer Nevada  Representative Shelley Berkley summed up the situation in Washington, D.C. –

“I’ve been thinking a lot about Medicare the past few weeks as I care for my father. I just don’t know what America’s seniors would do without this lifeline.

Although we may no longer be in an election year, the battle continues for working and middle class families and to protect our most vulnerable seniors and kids.

Another budget showdown is looming. Washington Republicans continue to fight for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other vital programs like Food Stamps and Head Start, while protecting tax breaks for big corporations and the wealthiest Americans.” [e-mail Berkley, 9/27/13]

First, the over-heated rhetoric about the Affordable Care Act is ominously similar to the complaints about  Medicare from the right wing.   To have the government facilitate medical insurance for elderly people is seen in altogether too many minds as an example of ‘parasitic’ government.  So are the programs mentioned in the last paragraph — Social Security should be privatized, Medicare should be changed to a coupon/voucher service, Food Stamps (SNAP) should be eliminated, and Head Start dismantled.

Berkley also touches on the essential problem for Republicans: How to continue to tout the Cult of Individualism while subsidizing corporate activities? 

And we are subsidizing corporations — the libertarian Cato Institute calculates that a family with an annual income of $72,000 is backstopping U.S. corporations to the tune of $6,000 per year.   From Cato’s perspective this is another assault on the Cult of Individualism, from the left it’s an attack on the American middle class.   Common Dreams itemized the expenses.

There’s another issue for the GOP in this morass:  The party, which lauds itself as the Party of Business, is engaged in a government shut down strategy which is patently anti-business.

From the polar opposite position to that articulated by former Representative Berkley, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business lobbies aren’t happy with the shut down strategy either:

Even though many of the CEOs believe federal spending is excessive and a large budget deficit puts U.S. economic health at risk, they want Congress to pass the spending bill and raise the limit on government borrowing.

“On Friday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 235 other business groups joined the push. In a joint letter to Congress, they urged lawmakers to fund the government past the deadline and to “act expeditiously to raise the nation’s debt limit.”

The letter also said, “It is not in the best interest of the employers, employees or the American people to risk a government shutdown that will be economically disruptive and create even more uncertainties for the U.S. economy.” [Reuters]

Not that some, or indeed any, of these organizations would espouse Berkley’s position, but they do understand that shutting down the government is economically counter-productive.

Worse still the House Republicans have launched their own version of the old Milton Bradley game: “Time Bomb.”  It really doesn’t quite work to celebrate a government shut down, initiated by the House demand that the Affordable Care Act be delayed (when the marketplace exchanges go up tomorrow) and then claim “it’s the other guy’s fault because they aren’t tossing the time bomb back to us fast enough!”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) puts this more nicely:

“Despite pleas from the House of Representatives for quick Senate action that same vocal minority was determined to waste the dwindling hours before a government shutdown. Although every minute that passes puts this country one minute closer to a shutdown – a shutdown that could shatter our economy – they continue to obstruct and delay. But a bad day for government is a good day for the anarchists among us.” [Reid e-mail 9/27/13]

Nailed it.

Comments Off on The Anarchists Among Us

Filed under Economy, Health Care, health insurance, Politics

Nevada Political Notes

Nevada Political News:  “Organizations step up final push to get Hispanics to the polls,” Las Vegas Sun.  Plans are still on for President Obama to speak in North Las Vegas (info here) if recovery activities after Sandy permit. The race for the middle in Nevada Senate District 5; Kirk may call himself a pragmatist — if so, then why the attack on collective bargaining, which brings to mind the antics of the GOP in Wisconsin and Ohio?  Woodhouse (D) is the actual moderate in this race.

It should be remembered in Nevada District 4 that the Republican in the race has touched the third rail of Nevada politics — advocating that the Silver State become the nation’s nuclear trash dump.

Governor Sandoval may be talking nationally, but his money’s on legislative races. [RGJ] *Note that one of Sandoval’s favorites is ALEC supporter Greg Brower (R-Reno).   Senator (by appointment only) Dean Heller has received the endorsement of noted advocate of scrambling up church and state, and of pushing the  USCOCB’s version of women’s health — Rick Santorum.

Nationally, 538 shows President Obama up by 3.2% in statewide polling.  The same source reports Senator Dean Heller leading Democratic challenger Shelley Berkley by 3.6 to 4.4 depending on the measurement used.

The astroturf follies are alive and well in Nevada, and it’s not just down south.  Northern Nevada voters have been getting pro-Heller fliers in the mail from Safari International, the gun lobby, the Idaho Republican Central Committee, and Karl Rove’s Crossroads Super PAC, along with robo-calls from “Jack” and “Sandy” to get out the vote for the Republicans.  Since the fliers and calls are broadcast generally a person could wonder what happened to that carefully targeted GOP “Voter Vault” advertizing effort of recent memory — but why bother when there’s plenty of PAC money flooding the process?

Line of the Week: “Reid repeatedly said he has “nothing personal” against Romney, but nonetheless delivered a harsh political attack. “He’s multiple choice on everything,” Reid said. “He doesn’t stand for anything. He’s the plastic man of American politics.”   Yes, the “Plastic Man” of American Politics.  Yes, “plastic” in the sense of be capable of being molded or modeled, and “plastic” in the sense of being synthetic or processed materials that are mostly thermoplastic or thermosetting polymers of high molecular weight. AKA artificial.

The Sin City Siren is decked out for Halloween, complete with Creature Features which describe the Jekyll and Hyde (plastic) capacities of one Willard Mitt Romney.

Read the labels!  About all a person needs to know about the trade and economic policies of the Romney and the Obama campaigns is illustrated by Vegas Jessie who helpfully posts pictures of the labels on campaign gear. Guess whose is made in China?  Blue Lyon posts the GOP “Rape Advisory Chart,” along with some very compelling reasons why this election matters.

There’s another good graphic from On My Blotter concerning why a middle class tax cut is a sound economic idea.

Comments Off on Nevada Political Notes

Filed under 2012 election, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics, Obama, political polls, Politics, presidential polls, presidential race, Reid, Romney, Rove

Cravenly Caving?

The Nevada Progressive has a good title for the subject, “Fast and Frivolous.”   Not only was the deportment of the House Republicans mystifying yesterday, but the the entire performance was underpinned by the acceptance of one of the most bizarre conspiracy theories yet propounded.   And, Representatives Heck (R-NV3) and Amodei (D-NV2) fell for it.

The core of the Great Conspiracy: “Republicans in Congress are arguing that the Justice Department deliberately allowed the anti-gun trafficking operation to unfold in a way that would create a crisis, outraging the public and giving Democrats the cover to implement stricter gun controls.” [HuffPo]

This head-scratcher probably began with the musings of a militia-type blogger:  “Michael Vanderboegh, a blogger with militia ties and a long history of talking up armed resistance to the government, asserts that the ATF purposely let the guns go to the bad guys in Mexico so that, after the ensuing bloodbath, the feds could justify a crackdown on assault weapons and gun shows.” [BaltSun]

Mr. Vanderboegh, and his Sipsy Street Irregulars, the same folks who advocated throwing rocks through the windows of Democratic Party HQ’s after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, published the whacky theory, and made his “information” available to Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Charles Grassley (R-IA).   Vanderboegh, a sort of neo-secessionist is better known to the anti-hate investigators of the SPLC:

“Back in the mid-1990s, he wrote a document entitled “Strategy and Tactics for a Militia Civil War” in which he discussed the utility of snipers using “violence carefully targeted and clearly defensive: war criminals, secret policemen, rats (Pitcavage take note).” Mark Pitcavage, a historian, was then running a Web group called The Militia Watchdog and doing some work for police agencies. He is currently the fact-finding director of the antiracist Anti-Defamation League. “

There’s fringe, and then there’s fringe.  The “information” enhanced by the capacity of the NRA leadership to believe that a Democratic Administration which has not sought a single piece of legislation even remotely mentioning gun regulation wants to re-institute the assault weapons ban, made its way to Rep. Issa who ran with it in his Government Oversight Committee.  This was an unfortunate example of an imaginary cart crashing along behind a galloping crazed horse.

The Vanderboegh Conspiracy has been debunked 21 ways to breakfast.   This didn’t prevent the NRA leadership from chiming in:

“This fits in with the broader conspiracy theory of Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association. The NRA boss has insisted that the reason Mr. Obama has done nothing to harm the Second Amendment in his first term is so he can win another four years in office, at which point his administration will start confiscating guns with no fear of retribution from voters. That’s right, according to Mr. LaPierre, President Obama is not taking your guns now so he can take them later.” [BaltSun]

A person might think that rationality alone would be sufficient to stifle this perseveration, but with Fox News treating Vanderboegh as an “expert analyst,” and Chairman Issa treating the theory as lucid in a parallel universe, the upshot is a “vote” taken in the U.S. House of Representatives to hold the Attorney General of the United States in contempt — for shutting down a demonstrably unworkable and ethically questionable program?

What did Nevada Representatives do?  As noted by Nevada Progressive, Mr. Amodei and Mr. Heck voted to participate in the Alternative Universe, and declare AG Holder “responsible” for — something. [roll call 441] Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV1), functioning in the real world in which the musings of radical right winger Vanderboegh aren’t received wisdom, voted no.

The entire Fast and Furious Conspiracy Theory would be risible if it didn’t result in official sanctions being voted upon by politicians elected to office to engage in serious issues facing the American public.   Indeed, the episode reeks of partisanship of the first water, and irrationality of the first order.   It would be interesting to know if Representatives Amodei and Heck voted in favor of the contempt citation because they truly believed Mr. Vanderboegh’s ramblings, or only because the NRA was scoring the vote and promising retribution during the campaign season?

One rationale makes them look almost psychotic, and the other rationale makes them appear weak?

Comments Off on Cravenly Caving?

Filed under 2012 election, Amodei, Grassley, Gun Issues, Heck