Tag Archives: Mark Amodei

SJR 34 and Your Internet Privacy

The purpose of SJR 34 (and HJR 86) was simple: To allow Internet Service Providers to collect and sell your Internet browsing history.  Not only did Senator Dean Heller support this, he signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill on March 7, 2017, one of 23 sponsors to do so.  Who’s impacted by this? Anyone who links through Comcast (17 million customers), AT&T (another 17 million customers), Time Warner Cable (add another 14 million customers), Century Link (additional 6.4 million customers), Charter (another 5 million customers), and a host of smaller providers. [Ecom] (See also PEcom)

Nevada customers of AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, Charter, Cox and others, are also among those whose private browsing history can be tracked, collected, and sold off. [into link]

It seems bad enough to have the ISPs sell off information about browsing history to advertisers, who after browsing one day for sneakers, would want to be bombarded by advertising for the next year with sneaker ads?  Browsed for ‘best garden supplies?’ Expect ads for plant food, fertilizers, spades, and wheelbarrows for eternity? Then the scenarios become more pernicious.

Browse for information on asthma? Not only is the human browser now in line for a multitude of ads for medications, but there’s a hint here that some personal medical history may have been collected and sold.  The same issue might be raised about those looking up symptoms and treatments for everything from pediatric illnesses to Alzheimer’s Disease.  Thus far we’re only talking about the initial sales, and the use of the collections by commercial advertisers. However, there’s a question about what constitutes a buyer for the information?

The buyer might not have to be, for example, the Interpublic Group of New York City, one of the nation’s largest advertising firms. Could the buyer be the WPP Group of London, UK? Or, the Dentsu Group, of Tokyo. Could the buyer be RMAA, the largest advertising firm in Russia? Is there any protection in the bill to prevent the secondary sale of browser histories from an advertising agency to a data management and analysis company? What we have herein is a bill to allow the transfer of massive amounts of valuable data collected from individuals in the United States to the highest bidder, with little or no consideration of the after effects.

Gee, let’s hypothesize that I’m a foreign power with some experience dabbling in US state and national elections.  Let’s also assume that the foreign power is familiar with inserting ‘bots’ to drive traffic to particular websites, or insert fake news, confirmation bias ‘news,’ and other practices into the research patterns of American Internet users. What do I want? I want data on where those people ‘go’ on the Internet; the better I know my ‘target’ the better I can hone my message. Do those who go to Senator Bilgewater’s site also tend to go to sites concerning wildlife preservation?  If I can put these two bits of information together I can more effectively insert advertising either for or against the Senator. I can more effectively insert phony information into my messaging for the supporters or opponents of Bilgewater.  In short, I can ‘dabble’ more efficiently. Even more bluntly, have we handed our adversaries more ammunition for their advertising and propaganda guns?

The Senate twin in the House (HJR 86)/SJR 34 passed on March 28, 2017, only Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) voted in favor of the bill; Representatives Kihuen, Titus, and Rosen voted against it. [RC 202]

At the risk of facetiousness  on a serious topic, when Jill, of downtown East Antelope Ear, NV, goes online to search for a bargain on bed sheets, does she find herself viewing a plethora of ads for sex toys, a result of Jack’s periodic perusal of pornography sites? Would a simple search for high thread count sheets yield the splitting of those sheets in the Jack and Jill household? At least Jack and Jill will know whom to call about the issue — Senator Dean Heller and Representative Mark Amodei, who thought selling browser histories to be a grand idea at the time.

Comments Off on SJR 34 and Your Internet Privacy

Filed under Amodei, Heller, Internet, media, Nevada politics, Politics, privacy, Republicans, Titus

Amodei’s Fence Straddling: Science? No Science?

In his own, inimitable, fashion Congressman Mark Amodei (R-NV2) has encapsulated the wavering stance of those who don’t want to take any real action on climate change, but who’d like very much not to appear too much like the Inquisitors of Galileo.

“Amodei described himself as new to climate change issues and stopped short of endorsing the scientific consensus that rising global temperatures are driven by humans burning fossil fuels for energy.

But he said he will continue to gather research on the issue and added that facts should drive policy.

“It bugs me just as much when somebody starts out it is all BS as when somebody starts out the world is going to end tomorrow,” Amodei said. “If you are really going to be fact based then you need people who are going to argue both ways. You just don’t want a bunch of ‘yes’ people.” [RGJ]

First, Amodei noted that he didn’t think the request from the Trumpster transition team for a list of those Department of Energy employees who had worked on climate science projects was appropriate.  That’s good, because witch-hunts and purges have been notoriously counter productive.  Then come the excuses… “I’m new to the topic.”

This is analogous to “give me some time and I’ll get back to you.”

And, yes – facts should drive policy.  That would be scientific facts, not political ones.  Further, using the straw man technique doesn’t further even the political argument.  No one is saying “the world is going to end tomorrow.”  What scientists ARE saying is that there is concrete evidence that the increasing climate change is happening because of human activity.  These aren’t “yes men.” 

In fact, “The greater the climate expertise among those surveyed, the higher the consensus on human-caused global warming.”  [SSci]

What opponents of new energy sources and systems have been touting over the past few years is the MYTH of a lack of consensus:

“That’s why those who oppose taking action to curb climate change have engaged in a misinformation campaign to deny the existence of the expert consensus. They’ve been largely successful, as the public badly underestimate the expert consensus, in what we call the “consensus gap.” Only 16% of Americans realize that the consensus is above 90%.” [SSci]  (emphasis added)

Representative Amodei has firmly inserted himself into that mythological gap.  

On one side of his self constructed fence, he did co-sponsor the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension, a bill which went to the House Ways and Means Committee, and then into oblivion.  On the other side, he co-sponsored the “Stop Green Initiative Abuse Act,” which amended the Energy Conservation and Production Act to repeal provisions of the Department of Energy’s weatherization assistance program for low income persons to increase the energy efficiency of dwellings. [OTI]

A some point it might behoove the Representative to note that not every one else is straddling a semantic fence and continue his education on the issue:

Here’s the Department of Defense on the implications of climate change on national security.

“The report finds that climate change is a security risk, Pentagon officials said, because it degrades living conditions, human security and the ability of governments to meet the basic needs of their populations. Communities and states that already are fragile and have limited resources are significantly more vulnerable to disruption and far less likely to respond effectively and be resilient to new challenges, they added.” [DoD]

In addition to national defense, there’s also the not-so-small matter of emergency planning and responses.  Emergency Managers have some thoughts on this:

“Since storms are becoming more severe, disaster response costs have risen. The costs of major hurricanes has increased sharply over the last decade, and the spending totals for cleaning up after major floods across the Midwest and South have spiked. More victims and more damages mean more money. If supplies are not available, they must be flown in. Victims may go without necessities and become ill, which results in increased medical costs or an increased demand for medical supplies. Disaster plans must account for the increasing severity of storms and how they create the need for more response supplies.” [EMD.org]

This scenario isn’t too difficult to follow.  Climate change leads to severe storms, severe storms cause more damage, more damage means more costs, more expenses mean more money.   The bottom line is that any emergency management plan which does NOT incorporate the effects of climate change isn’t really a plan at all – just a prayer and a wish list.

As much as Representative Amodei may want to dawdle, fence straddle, and muse about “collecting more facts,” the facts themselves are clear – climate change is happening – climate change is caused by human activity – and to ignore these facts is to make this country (and many others) more vulnerable.

***********************************************************

It has now been 2059 days since the president-elect promised to release his tax returns (April 27, 2011) In light of the ‘Russian Connection’ to the 2016 campaign it seems essential for the American public to find out what financial ties the prospective president has to the Russian government and economy.

Comments Off on Amodei’s Fence Straddling: Science? No Science?

Filed under Amodei, ecology, Nevada politics, Politics

Amodei Privatization Promoter: This Time It’s Public Land

No trespassing public land Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) is happily promoting his notion that the state of Nevada should control more of the federal land within its borders; the Reno Gazette Journal poses some serious questions:

“U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei has started meetings to transfer millions of acres of public land in Nevada from the federal government to the state.

He is coming off an election win and, more importantly, he was Donald Trump’s Nevada campaign manager through controversy and celebration. Now he may have the juice to finally realize his longtime dream of transferring land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management to the state of Nevada.

While this may bring control over the land closer to home, it will also put Nevada taxpayers at risk and decrease options for outdoor enthusiasts.” (emphasis added)

For the moment, let’s focus on the taxpayers side of the ledger, as summarized in the Gazette Journal editorial:

“There are big costs borne by whoever controls these lands. A few examples include fighting wildfires covering tens of thousands of acres every year; defending lawsuits by ranchers and environmentalists over land use; and simply monitoring tens of thousands of square miles of open range for people who would abuse it. If sage grouse are ever declared an endangered species – as it very nearly was recently – use of the land would be blocked until the species recovers, creating costs and ending any potential revenues. In each of these cases, all American taxpayers currently foot the bills. Under new plans, Nevada taxpayers will be on the hook – either by increased taxes or decreased services.”  [RGJ]

First, a bit of supporting evidence for the Gazette Journal’s editorial position. The newspaper is correct – fire fighting is an expensive business.

The latest statistics available online concerning the total costs for fighting wildland fires show that Nevada had a lucky year in 2015 – California not so much so.  The “Rough” Fire which began on July 31, 2015 and wasn’t contained until October 12, 2015 cost about $120,930,243. [NIFC pdf]  However, a state needn’t be as unfortunate as California and Alaska were in 2015 to have high firefighting expenses.  The 2012 statistics show that Nevada’s Long Draw Fire cost $4,360,000 and the Holloway Complex Fire cost $9,166,719. The Bull Run Fire cost another $4,816,272.  [PSNIFC pdf]

It’s all well and good to complain vociferously about the BLM and the National Forest Service – until the fire starts, the winds increase, and the state (not the national) taxpayers are liable for the associated expenses.  It’s also well worth noting that wildland fires often require multi-agency coordination, such as that provided by the National Interagency Fire Center.  The NIFC includes the Forest Service, the BLM, the National Weather Service, the National Park Service, the BIA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and FEMA.  Consider for a moment the resources these combined agencies can bring to bear on a fire situation, and how these resources cannot be duplicated by a single state.  In 2015 the Nevada state fire assistance budget for the Division of Forestry was $1,348,200.  The Landscape Scale Restoration budget was $300,000. [FSUSDA.gov pdf]

The obvious way for the State to dodge responsibility for these kinds of expenses is to privatize (aka sell) the formerly public lands.   The Gazette Journal is also correct in citing Texas as an example of a loss of access to formerly public lands.  At present about 90% of the land in Texas is in private hands. [PWD pdf] The unique history of Texas creates a way to compare access in states with federal land management and a state with a traditional state and private management focus. [WOS] Loss of access in Texas spreads as urbanization, suburbanization, and resort development increase.

Anglers in California and Montana do well to hire guides, if for no other reason than not to get hit with trespassing charges in private waters. Want to hunt in Texas – there’s a map for that.  Idaho witnessed one of the more blatant examples of what happens under private ownership to the interests of hunters when ownership changes and the rules change along with it.  172,00 acres of land in Idaho were sold by the Potlatch Corp. to two Texas billionaires – who shut down hunting on their newly acquired property.

There’s something to be said for “freedom, private enterprise, individual responsibility,” and all the other catch phrases of modern Republican parlance.  There are other things to be said when the private owners cut off access to streams and rivers, hunting territory, snow mobile routes, hiking and horse riding trails, and historical or recreational sites.

There are also wildlife management questions to be answered if privatization is the result, even if access isn’t a leading issue.  Who protects the habitat for that which is hunted?  Who protects streams and habitat for trout, bass, and other pan fish?  Who raises the quail? How are these efforts to be coordinated?  Who pays for the coordination? Are these expenses shared nationwide, or is the expense posted to the state or to private entities?’

Privatization is a leading Republican banner …. leading straight for a barbed wire fence with a No Trespassing sign attached.

Comments Off on Amodei Privatization Promoter: This Time It’s Public Land

Filed under Amodei, Nevada politics, Politics, public lands

When Did the Hat Come Off? Heck Withdraws Trump Endorsement

Heck Trump Hat 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.”

Trump then elaborated on those remarks, which were unearthed last year in the Hartford Courant, by saying the mafia had infiltrated Indian casinos. [HuffPo]

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 incidentsHuffington 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.

Comments Off on When Did the Hat Come Off? Heck Withdraws Trump Endorsement

Filed under Amodei, Birthers, Heck, Nevada politics, Politics, Republicans, Women's Issues

Amodei and Unforced Errors

Evans Not to put too fine a point to it, but Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) has never been what a person might call a pillar of political strength and a standard for articulation in the English language.  This is shown yet again in his interview with the Reno Gazette Journal editorial board:

“U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said Wednesday that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump could only end up as one of two extremes if elected: a “smoking black hole” or the “next messiah.”

Amodei goes further and explains why he might back the possibility of a “smoking black hole.”

“You have to have some respect for the process, and I’m a process guy,” Amodei said. “It’s like, (voters) picked this guy, they picked him in Nevada, they picked him in most of the states, he’s the nominee. So when you say, ‘Well, he wasn’t your pick,’ it’s like, I know that, but it is a team sport and I know what it’s like to be on the team that isn’t in the administration. And that’s – quite frankly in this day and age, or at least in the five years I’ve been around, I’d like to try being on the team in the White House.” [RGJ]

There’s some unpacking, as there always is, to be done with this Amodei explanation.  First, as his opponent Chip Evans points out,  Amodei is betting on the “next messiah” rather than the “smoking black hole.”  Evan’s was blunt: “Shame on Congressman Amodei! No head of a business or head of a family would ever make a bet that risky, where the outcomes can be so extreme.”

Then there’s politics as a team sport.  No matter how extreme, Amodei will play on The Team for the Sake of The Team, and for ‘team’ read Party.  There’s little way to interpret this statement other than “Party First.”  All that “Party First” has gotten us so far is obstructionism, and obstructionism has yielded nothing but gridlock.  But, there’s more …

Amodei is playing the role of the perpetual optimist, Trump will get better.  That was July 27, 2016.

“Trump was showing some signs of improvement, Amodei said. The selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as the vice-presidential nominee was one the Nevada congressman said he liked. Pence’s experience both as an executive official and a member of the U.S. House provided some much needed balance, he said.  Even in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump showed some signs of self-awareness, Amodei said.

“I really like the part where he goes, ‘I want to thank the evangelical community for their support … I’m not sure I deserve it,’” Amodei said. “Now that shows me a guy who’s got a little bit of circumspect. We need to see some more of that out of you, big guy. … That warms the cockles of my heart and I’ve got a pretty cold heart.” [RGJ]

Perhaps Rep. Amodei’s cockles are getting colder?  And, no, we’ve not been watching a presidential candidate with “a little bit of circumspect.”  On July 27, 2016 candidate Trump was busy confusing vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine with former New Jersey governor Tom Kean, [Politico] hardly the first of his gaffe-a-matic productions for the campaign. [NPR]

Tennis fans who think that no one can make more unforced errors than those occurring in the Kafelnikov v. Vicente 2000 French Open match, which might be a record at 112, may take heart that the Trump bluster machine will continue at pace.  The Khan family assault,  the Announcement he would not release his tax returns, cramming two mistakes into one comment about the situation in Turkey, his unawareness that Russia wasn’t already in Ukraine (Want to fly into what’s left of the Donetsk Airport?), his comment about NATO commitments, his sniping at House Speaker Paul Ryan, the amusingly ungrammatical tweet about Bernie Sanders, taken along with the comment that the New York Times “doesn’t write good,” should all leave  tennis fans full of cheer that their favorite players don’t make anywhere near the unforced errors of the Trump Campaign.

And yet, Mark Amodei, Representative to Congress from Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District wants ever so desperately to be a team player for a man whose sense of teamwork, especially as it applies to foreign policy is:

“Trump replied: “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things. I know what I’m doing, and I listen to a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people, and at the appropriate time I’ll tell you who the people are. But my primary consultant is myself and I have, you know, a good instinct for this stuff.” [MJ/ Morning Joe March 2016]

As the campaign season heats up will Representative Amodei’s cockles cool off?  Or, will he continue to watch Trump’s unforced errors and give candidate Chip Evans an opening?

Comments Off on Amodei and Unforced Errors

Filed under Amodei, Nevada, Nevada politics

And then they left town….

Gun violence by state “A House panel on Thursday rejected multiple efforts by Democrats to eliminate a budget amendment that has frozen nearly all government research into gun violence for 17 years.

During a markup of next year’s health spending bill, Republicans blocked two amendments that would have allowed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study gun-related deaths. Neither had a recorded vote. 

Eliminating the provision has become a priority for Democrats since the June 12 attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that killed 49 people — the nation’s deadliest mass shooting. 

The provision, known as the Dickey Amendment for former Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.), was first enacted in 1996 after groups including the National Rifle Association (NRA) accused federal agencies of trying to advance gun control.”  [The Hill]

Nevada Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) is a member of the House Appropriations Committee but is not a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, and related agencies.

Comments Off on And then they left town….

Filed under Amodei, Congress, Gun Issues, Nevada politics, Republicans

Amodei’s Land Grab

Amodei Privatization Land “Congressman Mark Amodei will give an update to the Elko City Council Tuesday on possible issues that might impact the City and Elko County, according to Assistant City Manager Scott Wilkinson.

Amodei’s topics have not been outlined for the City. However, past subjects have included lands issues and sage grouse.” [EDFP]

If he’s set on discussing land issues, then we might guess he’s off to thread another precarious choice between the Bundyite Bunch and the BLM.  Back in late April, 2014 Representative Amodei was praising the BLM for backing off the confrontation with the Rampant Bundys, recalling his words:

“That is a leadership-type thing where you say, ‘We are getting our butts kicked and we are taking our team off the field and getting out of the stadium,'” Amodei said, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. “It’s not a win, but probably the right thing to do under the circumstances.” [LVSun]

Two years later Amodei’s tone changed, he didn’t support the Bundys and he definitely didn’t want to be labeled anti-park:

“Amodei, however, said the (1) report attempts to use the Bundy sideshow to score political points rather than take a serious look at important issues such as (2) land access, ecosystem health and local economies.

“They don’t speak for me on anything to do with public lands,” Amodei said of Bundy and his acolytes. (3) “I want it to be about the resources, not about some guy who is or isn’t paying his grazing fees.” [RGJ] (numbering added)

Parse with us now. (1) When faced with a report bearing uncomfortable factual inclusions, such as Amodei’s opposition to funding and maintaining national parks and monuments, deflect the issue to the Bundy Bunch – who want no federal involvement in public land administration (grazing, forests, parks, monuments, …) and announce one’s inclination to talk about substantive land issues.  The 2nd District Representative had an opportunity to vote on the SHARE Act, a privatization proposal in Congress this year, but was absent for the vote.

“Representative Rob Wittman (R-VA) sponsored H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2015, which contains harmful measures undermining the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Wilderness Act, and other bedrock environmental laws. The bill includes language that could allow the use of motorized vehicles, road construction, and other forms of development within protected wilderness areas, and it blocks input from public stakeholders in National Wildlife Refuge management decisions. This legislation also includes provisions that would weaken the EPA’s ability to regulate toxic lead in ammunition, fishing equipment. Additionally, this bill would undermine international commitments to combat ivory trafficking, thwarts our ability to effectively manage marine resources, and cuts the public out of management decisions impacting hundreds of millions of acres of public lands. On February 26, the House approved H.R. 2406 by a vote of 242-161 (House roll call vote 101). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.” [LCV] (emphasis added)

(2) Representative Amodei has the big three listed — “land access, ecosystem health, and local economies.” However, in terms of access notice the underlining in the SHARE bill – when management decisions are to be made the PUBLIC is cut out of the process. This raises the question that if we are speaking of public access to public lands and the public is cut out of the management decision process, then whose access are we talking about?  Since the GOP sponsored bill passed the GOP controlled Congress, then it’s reasonable to assume the GOP doesn’t want input from PUBLIC organizations concerning management decisions – leaving the field (literally?) to the mining, logging, privatization, and other commercial interests?

And, if rivers are dredged or fouled, forests are cut down, wildlife is endangered, hunters are denied access, fishing enthusiasts are turned away, then it must be for the sake of the “local economies?” Unfortunately, Representative Amodei’s comments as reported offer no explication of his priorities.

(3) But then, there’s Representative Amodei’s infamous quote: “…we do understand their frustration with increasingly heavy handed federal agencies that continue to violate the rights of hardworking American farmers and ranchers.” [RGJ] Are heavily armed men taking over a federal wildlife refuge and threatening violence just “frustrated?”  So, perhaps it would be logical to infer that Amodei’s heart is with the “frustrated” members of those “local economies” which seek to exploit public resources?

Amodei is quick to cite his support for the National Park Service budget, and his support for the hazardous fuel mitigation efforts on public lands, but part of what got him on the Anti-Park list is explained: “Amodei landed on the list for sponsoring legislation that would give the state control of 7.2 million of the approximately 58 million acres of federally controlled land in Nevada..[RGJ]

It doesn’t take too much imagination to see that cash strapped states (like Nevada) might not eventually want to capitalize on the exploitation of public lands in the state, quite possibly at the expense of small ranching concerns, outdoor sports participants, and wildlife in particular.

A sneak peak might be on display with his bill to place BLM lands in trust with Nevada tribes:

“The House Natural Resources Committee approved the Nevada Native Nations Land Act, H.R. 2733, which Amodei introduced to provide more opportunities for economic development and protection of natural resources in the regions.

“(Wednesday’s) vote puts us one step closer to placing Nevada public lands back into local control — rather than in the hands of Washington bureaucrats,” Amodei said. “My bill carefully balances the unique needs of our Nevada tribal nations with those of local ranchers, land owners and businesses.” [RiponAdv] (emphasis added)

There he goes again, getting land out from under the “Washington Bureaucrats.”  The only salvation in this legislation is that Native Americans, who generally have a better standard of stewardship than the Koch Brothers,  are the ones holding the lands in trust.  We might also safely conclude that this “one step” is the first of many in which Representative Amodei seeks to place Nevada public lands under local control.

From local it’s one more step to private.

Comments Off on Amodei’s Land Grab

Filed under Amodei, Interior Department, koch brothers, National Parks, Native Americans, Nevada politics, public lands, Reservations, Rural Nevada