Tag Archives: Tarkanian

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.

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Filed under Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics

Questions: Danny’s Trumpian Adventure

I wonder why perpetual Nevada candidate Danny Tarkanian believed having the infamous Sebastian Gorka assist with fundraising on December 19th was a good idea? [NVIndy]  Even if one’s plan is to be Trumpier than Trump, Gorka is perhaps not the best choice.  First, Gorka didn’t last as an official Trumper past August 25, 2017.  The circumstances were not entirely pleasant:

“Mr. Gorka also said that in fighting terrorism, white supremacists should not be a concern. He made the remarks shortly before the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Va., in which a man who was said to admire Adolf Hitler rammed his car into counterprotesters and left a woman dead.” [NYT]

Not surprising for a member of a radical right wing bunch of Hitler aficionados:

“Gorka is a top terrorism adviser to Trump; like Flynn, he has a long record of militant attitudes toward Islam, and like Flynn, his foreign ties are now coming under serious scrutiny. The Forward reports Thursday that officers of Vitézi Rend, an anti-Semitic, quasi-Nazi Hungarian nationalist group, say Gorka is a sworn member. Gorka wore a medal typically worn by Vitézi Rend members to a January 20 inauguration ball, but said at the time that it was a gesture honoring his late father. He has also at times referred to himself as Sebastian L. v. Gorka, using a “v.” initial employed by Vitézi Rend members.” [Atlantic]

Gorka wasn’t the only extreme character on the menu last December.  Enter Pastor Mark Burns. Burns had a “bit of a problem” with “embellishments” (ordinary people call these lies) on his resumé.  [CNN]  Uh, no, Pastor Burns did not get a Bachelors degree from North Greenville U., (he attended one semester) and no he doesn’t have a long and distinguished military career (more like four yrs in the SC National Guard, an organization separate from the Army Reserve.)  However, he’s a Trumper and Tarkanian seems happy to be associated with Trumpers.

If all this information was available ages ago, as the Trump Administration is measured in Dog Years, then why is Tarkanian clinging to the Bannon ring of the circus?

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Filed under Nevada politics, Politics

Thank You Senator Corker

Hmm, never thought I’d begin a post on a liberal blog with “Thank you, Senator Corker.” But, here it is.  The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee issued his now famous Tweet about properly staffing the Pennsylvania Adult Day Care Center, and followed up with a serious conversation including:

“The senator, who is close to Mr. Tillerson, invoked comments that the president made on Twitter last weekend in which he appeared to undercut Mr. Tillerson’s negotiations with North Korea.

“A lot of people think that there is some kind of ‘good cop, bad cop’ act underway, but that’s just not true,” Mr. Corker said.

Without offering specifics, he said Mr. Trump had repeatedly undermined diplomacy with his Twitter fingers. “I know he has hurt, in several instances, he’s hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out,” Mr. Corker said.”

Simply airing these views is an act of civic responsibility, and if the Senator’s comments are accurate then there are more Republican Senators who hold these views; it would behoove them to chime in, even if only on the last few lines of the chorus.  We can imagine why we’ve not heard more voices.

The Republicans may now be victims of their own gerrymandered monster.  Those who break with the President may feel at risk of facing primary challengers.  However, a president with a 32% approval rating is not necessarily a creature to be feared.   That said, there are states in which the local politics could require senatorial and congressional candidates to pose close to the president, or at least could encourage it. Senators should recall that a Trump endorsement doesn’t insure election — ask Luther Strange in Alabama.

Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) has drawn a challenger who is (thus far) playing unabashed sycophant in the Trump parade, perpetual candidate for almost anything Danny Tarkanian.  (See also: Nevada Independent)

“I have so many people that are contacting me over the past couple months saying ‘you gotta run against Dean Heller,’ ” Tarkanian said. “They understand, as I do, that we’re never going to make America great again unless we have senators in office that fully support President Trump and his America first agenda.”

There are a few problems with that agenda.  If America first means America alone, then the President’s doing a fine job of that.  Right off the bat members of NATO got the message that Trump didn’t think all that much of Article 5, at least not enough to even mention it during a meeting concerning that important mutual defense clause.  Paris Accords — not even a treaty, but a mutual decision to follow voluntary self imposed guidance on climate change mitigation — and the US backs out.  When the President said he wouldn’t mind renegotiating the agreement the rest of the world’s nations said, thank you but NO we’re not interested.

We’re now in Round 4 of talks to renegotiate the NAFTA and the US Chamber of Commerce isn’t pleased with the administration’s demands, which border on protectionism (if they don’t ramble right into it).  As of two days ago the administration appeared poised to insert “deal breaking demands” into the bargaining process, some of which would seriously upset supply chains for the auto industry.  While there are certainly NAFTA provisions which might be improved, the current administration has proposed items which sound very much like the TPP provisions Trump opposed when he pulled the US out of those talks. [WaPo]

And then there’s North Korea.  While the remnants of the State Department (there are still a massive number of unfilled positions, many of which have NO nominees) try to tackle this problem, the President issues saber rattling tweets and undercuts his own Secretary of State.  [NPR]  It isn’t the least bit reassuring to hear informed comments like this when discussing the delicate and significant relations with the North Koreans:

“Without political appointments in place, governments in Asia and around the world are canvassing the Trump administration, trying to open lines to various advisors in the White House. And they’re getting mixed messages that are often hard to sort out.”

Oh, but wait there’s even more.  In addition to leaving our allies scrambling around at least since last August trying to find definitive answers to a chaotic foreign policy, they may also question whether our word means much of anything.  We need to recall that whatever Trump says, there are 6 nations involved in the Iran nuclear development containment deal and two of them aren’t happy: the Iranians and the Russians.  The Chinese government went on record in late September in support of the containment plan treaty, and three days ago the United Kingdom made its position clear in a medium Trump would understand (Twitter) “The Iran Deal is Working.”  The French foreign minister made a longer, but similar comment:

“It’s essential to maintain it to prevent a spiral of proliferation that would encourage hardliners in Iran to pursue nuclear weapons,” the minister told journalists in New York on the sidelines of this week’s UN general assembly.

French President Macron has also made his support for the agreement clear.  The German government has stated its support for a continuation of the agreement.   The P5+1 that signed the treaty could end up being the Chinese, French, Germans, Russians, and British vs. the US.  America “first” literally becoming America alone.

Senator Corker has a reputation for speaking carefully — all the more reason to listen to his warning.

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Filed under Economy, Foreign Policy, Heller, Iran, NAFTA, Nevada politics, Politics, Tarkanian

Nevada Republicans Cling To Trump’s Basket

The Pearl Clutching is amazing!  It’s also perfectly predictable. Republican candidate Donald J. Trump can say all manner of outrageous things, but let Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton call him out and the antimacassars have to be taken off the backs of the fainting couches and the pillows plumped up.

Donald J. Trump: “Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed.”  1:05 AM, June 5, 2013.

Donald J. Trump: “@YoungYoung54: @JeriHyatt @megynkelly @JebBush So true. Jeb Bush is crazy, who cares that he speaks Mexican, this is America, English !!”  7:14 PM, August 24, 2015.

Donald J. Trump: “But you have people coming in and I’m not just saying Mexicans, I’m talking about people that are from all over that are killers and rapists and they’re coming into this country.”  [CNN/HuffPo]

Heck Trump Hat

Is anyone going to argue that these remarks from the Republican presidential candidate AREN’T racist? 

And still Nevada politicians like Representative Joe Heck will gladly don the Trump Hat.

 

Donald J. Trump: “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]

Donald J. Trump: “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.” [HuffPo]

Tarkanian

Do these comments from Mr. Trump sound blatantly racist? Stereotypically anti-Semitic?  Even “deplorable?” No matter, Congressional Candidate Danny Tarkanian is still pleased to be a supporter of Donald J. Trump.  But wait … there’s more.

“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]

Hardy 3

Maybe we should have expected Bundy-backer Cresent Hardy to support Mr. Trump.  Not to much of his credit, Hardy initially used the Weasel Excuse for supporting Mr. Trump — “I’ll support the candidate of my party,” – nothing like announcing that you put your party above the interests of ALL American.  Then, Mr. Hardy climbed in the Basket with the other ‘deplorables.”

 

There’s still more. This August Mr. Trump hired Stephen K. Bannon of Breitbart “News.” [NYT]  Mr. Bannon was the executive chairman of the Breitbart organization when it published the infamous piece by Maria Cardona about birth control injections making women fat and unattractive.  [Snopes] The Breitbart site has given us all manner of inflammatory headlines, and there are plenty of examples: “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.” Or, “Sympathy for the Devils: The Plot Against Roger Ailes – and America.” And, “There’s no hiring bias against women in tech, they just suck at interviews.” And, the egregious: “Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield.”  And the incomprehensible, “After the Pulse Club Massacre, It’s Time For The Gays To Come Home To Republican Party.”  And, one of my ‘favorites,’ “The Solution To Online Harassment is Simple: Women Should Log Off.” [MMA]

Amodei 3

Yes, even all this is not enough to make Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) do much more than tell us Mr. Trump as president would be a smoking black hole or the next messiah…whatever that might mean.  It can be argued that this comment puts Amodei in the ‘Party before Country’ category – why else support a candidate you think has a 50% chance of being a Smoking Black Hole?  Yes, indeed, for Rep. Amodei it’s all about HIS team:

“Congressman Amodei has demonstrated time and time again that he puts corporations and his party first. Leaders lead. Cynics, like Congressman Amodei, go along to get along. That’s never been more on display than with his comment ‘quite frankly… in the five years I’ve been around, I’d like to try being on the team in the White House’. Party loyalty.” [Evans]

Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres.”

Tell me with whom you walk and I will tell you who you are.   Or, as granny used to say, “You’re known by the company you keep.”  If these Nevada Republican candidates find it uncomfortable to be associated with the deplorable comments and headlines listed above – there’s a solution.  Don’t support people and organizations which say or support these egregious things.

The Chicago Tribune sums up Trump’s campaign and its followers:

“His fervid nationalistic rhetoric has given succor to racists, homophobes, xenophobes and Islamophobes. In drawing them from the margins (back) into the mainstream, Trump is creating a social climate that increasingly threatens the progress America has made toward pluralism and multiculturalism.”

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Filed under Amodei, Heck, Nativism, Nevada politics, Republicans

That Changing Trump Tax Plan and the People Who Love It

 Trump Tax Plan It’s time to haul out the old Etch-A-Sketch template from the Romney campaign for another deployment in the Trump 2016 version – Trump has offered two tax policy proposals.  Neither one accomplishes much more than exacerbating the problems of the current tax code; in fact they’d both do more damage than good.  

Representative Joe Heck (R-NV3) candidate for the Nevada Senate seat and Danny Tarkanian, perpetual candidate and now a contestant for the 3rd Congressional District seat, have both endorsed Donald Trump as their choice for president, and here’s what they’re getting in the bargain.

A Tax Plan for the Top 0.1%

Bracketology: The Tax Policy Center analyzed the initial Trump Tax Proposal (December edition) and this release was followed by significant changes in the original proposal as of August 16, 2016.   And here comes the confusion:

“Trump’s original tax plan included defined brackets, which have since been removed from his campaign website. Trump’s standard deduction increase would make the first $25,000 in income tax-exempt. According to his original plan, the lowest bracket would then apply to all taxable income between $25,000 and $50,000 for single taxpayers, the middle tax rate would be assessed on income of $50,001 to $150,000 and the highest rate would apply to income above $150,000. For married couples, the income ranges would be double these amounts.”  [Motley Fool]

And now:

“As a practical matter, Trump’s plan features a sizable tax-free bracket. He wants to quadruple the standard deduction (currently $6,300) to $25,000 for single filers and $50,000 for joint filers. As a result, about half the population wouldn’t pay income tax.” [TaxAnalyst]

As everyone who has ever filed with the IRS knows full well, what a person actually pays is tax on the adjusted income – income after deductions. If we don’t know what the allowable deductions are then it’s almost impossible to discern what the tax proposal actually means for the average tax payer.  It also isn’t helpful that the ‘defined brackets’ have been removed from the policy section of the Trump info-site.  We can guess that the 12% rate goes for those with taxable incomes between $25,000 and $50,000; 25% for those with taxable income between $50,000 and $150,000; and, 33% for those with taxable income over $150,000.

Who plays in the Brackets?  Here comes the fun, and the way the Trump Tax Plan benefits the upper income earners.   We need to look at Trump’s “pass through entities.”   This is a loophole not only large enough to drive a tractor trailer through, but most of the freight cars on the Union Pacific as well.

“Trump would go one step further, creating an enormous tax loophole for the rich by applying his 15 percent corporate rate to “pass-through” entities as well. Pass-through entities are businesses whose income are not taxed at the corporate level, but rather passed through entirely to the businesses’ owners and then taxed at the owners’ individual income-tax levels. High-income households can easily avoid paying their full income tax bill by reclassifying their income as pass-through income. This loophole allows Trump to claim that he is closing the carried interest loophole, while actually lowering the rate that hedge fund managers would pay from 23.8 percent to 15 percent.”  [EPI]

In 2012 the state of Kansas under the direction of Governor Sam Brownback and a GOP controlled legislature enacted this loophole with disastrous budget results, because of  reduced taxation rates for LLC’s, S Corps, partnerships, farms, and sole proprietorships.

The normally extremely conservative Tax Foundation is not amused:

When the exemption was passed in 2012, it was projected that 191,000 entities would take advantage of the provision. As more and more people have realized the very sizeable tax advantage of being a pass-through entity in Kansas, that number ended up being 330,000 claimants, over 70 percent more than was anticipated.  It’s important to note here that while decreasing taxes is generally associated with greater economic growth, the pass-through carve out is primarily incentivizing tax avoidance, not job creation. [TaxFnd]  (emphasis added)

Thud.  That’s the sound of budget and revenue problems hitting the floor as a result of a ‘carve out’ for the top income earners disguised as a tax cut for small businesses.  Here’s a simple example. If I were earning $165,000 per year working for the Acme Explosives Company, I would ask my employer Wile E. Coyote to immediately re-hire me as an “independent contractor.”  I would re-create myself as an “S” corporation. Handy, since I live in Nevada which doesn’t have a personal income tax, and thus doesn’t recognize the federal S corporation election.  I file the paperwork, get my EIN number, pay some fees, and bingo! – I am taxed at the 15% rate rather than 33%.  There is obviously no job creation here – just a wonderful and perfectly legal way for me to reduce my “bracket” at the expense of those who don’t have the wherewithal to follow my shady example.

The Wichita Eagle editorial board summarizes:

“As part of the 2012 tax cuts, about 300,000 business owners in Kansas don’t have to pay state taxes on pass-through business income. Not only do many Kansas wage earners think this is unfair, so do some of the business owners receiving the tax break – especially when the state is facing serious budget problems.  The exemption is costing Kansas about $260 million a year in revenue. And contrary to what Gov. Sam Brownback promised, it hasn’t acted “like a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy.”

Trump, Tarkanian, and Heck would seemingly like to have Nevada and 48 other states go the way of Kansas?  Only if we’d like to raise tax avoidance and cheating to an art form.

Playing with Children:  Another element of the Trump Tax proposal is the child care tax deduction, and here too the top 1% fare very well thank you.   It’s important to remember at this point that the economic value of a tax deduction increases with the marginal rate of the payer. Or, the higher your tax bracket the more valuable the deduction – for child care.  The deduction is of no use whatsoever to someone already in the Zero bracket but is ever so helpful for those in the upper income levels.

Playing for the Children:  Mr. Trump is pleased to tell us that the Federal Estate Tax is a “horrible weapon which has destroyed many families…”  Not. So. Fast.  “Today’s estate tax is only imposed on less than 0.2 percent of households. Fewer than two estates in a thousand pay it. More than 2.5 million Americans die each year, but less than 5,000 estates were taxed in 2014. Only estates of $5.4 million or more must pay any estate tax at all.” [C&L]   Perhaps it is not too much to return to the appellation “The Paris Hilton Legacy Protection Act,” for this long sought GOP gift to the rich.

There are some serious questions which should be posed to Mr. Trump and his supporters like Mr. Tarkanian and Representative Heck:

#1.  What exactly are the specified brackets in the modified Trump tax policy proposal?  We can assume that the new rates apply to the old brackets but without clarification from the campaign there are significant questions about the revenue projections (or revenue deficit projections) which remain unanswered.  Do those brackets leave us with a revenue deficit of $3 trillion over ten years?  [Tax Analyst] If so, thus much for budget balancing and other forms of fiscal contortion.

#2. Does Trump mean to allow individuals to avail themselves of the Great Pass Through Tax Dodge?  If so, how does he intend to avoid what’s happened in Kansas?

#3. Does Trump intend to provide child care deductions for the rich while working families see none of the economic benefits of it?

#4. Do Mr. Trump, Mr. Tarkanian, and Representative Heck really mean to advocate for estate tax avoidance for those estates of $4.5 million or more? For less that 0.2% of the United States population?

We may have to wait for Trump Tax Policy 3.0 before these questions can be fully answered?

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Filed under Economy, Heck, income tax, Nevada politics, tax revenue, Taxation

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.

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