Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sharrontology Says We're "Spoiled". I Think She's Nuts.

So everyone is talking about Harry Reid's new ad hitting Sharron Angle hard on her insane comments on our unemployed being "spoiled" by $400 per week checks as they look everywhere for new work...

But you know what? Debra Harding isn't the only one hit hard by the "jobs deficit". There are many more who have been pummeled by the recession, and who don't need Sharrontology lecturing them on being "spoiled".

I've had friends and family who have lost their jobs. They certainly weren't "spoiled" by any lap of luxury while they were either draining whatever they had left in savings... Or if not even that "spoiled", figuring out how to get by week to week, month to month. And they certainly were NOT "afraid of getting a job". Rather, they were looking everywhere they could until they found other jobs.

I know you must also know people who have gone through the same ordeal. Can this seriously be considered "spoiling our citizenry"? Sharron Angle is just so out of touch with all the rest of us in Nevada who have seen with our own eyes the wreckage from this recession, caused by the very radical right policies that Sharrontology so loves.

NV-03, SD 5: Why I Can't Sit on the Sidelines

(Also at DKos)

NV-03,SD 5,Dina Titus,Joyce Woodhouse,Nevada Democrats,progressive values,activism,action,Henderson,Nevada,Las Vegas

On Saturday, I enjoyed a full day of activism. I started out walking with my favorite State Senator, Joyce Woodhouse, and finished calling for her and for Dina Titus. I can't help it. I want to keep Nevada blue and keep good people representing me and my neighbors. :-)

NV-03,SD 5,Dina Titus,Joyce Woodhouse,Nevada Democrats,progressive values,activism,action,Henderson,Nevada,Las Vegas

NV-03,SD 5,Dina Titus,Joyce Woodhouse,Nevada Democrats,progressive values,activism,action,Henderson,Nevada,Las Vegas

We've all been frustrated over what's happening and what's not happening in Congress. And yes, it's important to defeat those "friends of Wall Street" Republicans (and ConservaDems) who have been forgetting all of our woes on Main Street while they agree to more and more corporate welfare. However, it's also important for us to reward those who have stood with us in supporting real help for real working class families. Dina Titus has been there for us, so now I'm here for her.

When her opponent beamed with pride in recalling his support for enshrining discrimination in our state constitution, Dina stood with us LGBTQ constituents and reaffirmed her support for our full equality. While her opponent remained quiet about a proposed gravel pit that would spew out all sorts of dangerous pollution near my neighborhood in Henderson, Dina stood up to fight for us. While her opponent proudly voted to deny young women protection against cervical cancer, Dina delivered on health care reform that expands access to better, affordable health care here in Southern Nevada. And while her opponent embraces the same extreme Tea Party, Inc., agenda as Sharron Angle that it's not his job to care about our jobs and our homes, Dina has been working tirelessly to help people save their homes from foreclosure and find or keep their jobs.

NV-03,SD 5,Dina Titus,Joyce Woodhouse,Nevada Democrats,progressive values,activism,action,Henderson,Nevada,Las Vegas

NV-03,SD 5,Dina Titus,Joyce Woodhouse,Nevada Democrats,progressive values,activism,action,Henderson,Nevada,Las Vegas

And the same really goes for our state legislature. Our state is at a crossroads, and we can't afford any more of the same failed policies of the "No New Taxes on Our Big Bid'ness Buddies" Republicans. We need better schools so our kids will have better job opportunities. We need to invest in clean energy so we can reap the rewards of a healthier planet and better green collar jobs. We need to move Nevada forward into the 21st century, and Joyce Woodhouse has been working on this. And really, it's imperative that she be reelected and more good Democrats get elected so that we have enough good folks in the legislature to move Nevada forward.

So this is why I went out to walk in the morning, and then call in the afternoon on Saturday. And believe it or not, what you see the pundits discuss on TV isn't entirely true. When I walked what's thought to be a conservative part of Henderson off the 95 near Boulder City, I was surprised to find a number of REPUBLICANS talk with me about their concerns regarding their kids' education. And when I was on the phone later in the day with local voters closer to my neighborhood, we shared stories on people we knew were close to foreclosure and/or losing their jobs. I know this isn't an easy time for any of us, but at least it's good to know we have elected officials who actually care about us and are working on real solutions. We can't afford to lose them.

So this is why I just can't sit on the sidelines. There is just too much at stake for Nevada, and for our entire country. It's bad enough that we have Sharron Angle already as a total disgrace to our state, and who would be even WORSE for Nevada and America if elected. We just can't let that happen. However, we also can't let Sharron Angle help any of her radical right buddies, like Joe Heck and the many "Angle clones" running for state and local office, get elected either. We need to hold the line for smart, sensible, compassionate, and courageous leaders.

So if you're here in Nevada, please join me in making sure we continue to have real leaders working for us in Carson City and Washington. And if you're not, I hope this inspires you to get off the sidelines and get active in your community.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Extreme Sharrontology: Let New Orleans Drown, The Gulf Coast Vanish

Sharron Angle is so cruel and heartless, she would have let New Orleans drown five years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit. (Audio)

During an interview on conservative KLAV radio in 2005, which she once had up on her site, Angle invoked Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, who she claimed said he was voting "no" because the Katrina money was not carefully accounted for. The truth is Pence actually wanted the money to be offset – Human Events was so proud of him, it gave Pence “Man of the Year” in 2005.

But Pence actually voted FOR the $62 billion. His “yea” is right there in the congressional record after someone named Pelosi.

The day after the Sept. 8, 2005, vote, even House Majority Leader Tom DeLay told The Wall Street Journal: “It's too important to play politics with. It's too important to second-guess."

Contemporaneous news stories indicate Pence the budget hawk was taken to the woodshed by Speaker Dennis Hastert and Delay, presumably because his demands for offsets were not so politically wise in his leaders’ minds.

Even most REPUBLICANS in 2005 realized they couldn't ignore the cries for help in The Gulf Coast, and the Katrina aid package passed overwhelmingly. This obviously would have been a "534 to Angle" moment, much like the many "62 to Angle" moments in the Nevada Legislature when Sharron Angle voted against the most common-sense, bipartisan supported legislation, just "out of principle".

So her "principles" mean let people hurt by natural disasters suffer because that might mean money that couldn't be used on another tax break for the super-rich?

Steve Sebelius summed this up best.

It’s this ability to turn a blind eye to real people in real need that I think is a fascinating, and tragic, part of the conservative persona. To hold one’s own philosophy so highly that you’d refuse aid to people who desperately need it just to avoid contradicting one’s own beliefs seems to me the height of arrogance, if not moral idiocy.

Angle is not wrong that deficits are not good, and that debt is a bad thing, long-term. She’s not wrong that pay-as-you-go rules are good things, in general, to ensure that spending remains in control.

But there comes a time when those principles must yield for the good of real people suffering in real situations not of their making. (For example, extending unemployment benefits, which Angle also opposes, having once said those benefits “spoil” the jobless and keep them from looking for work.) In those times, we must do what we need to do to help.

By the way, that, too, is a philosophical outlook. I like to think of it as humanity.

And so do I. Five years ago, the people of New Orleans suffered a horrible deficit: a shelter deficit, along with a food deficit. And right now, people throughout Nevada are being hurt by a very cruel deficit: a jobs deficit. There are times when we have to remember our priorities. And while it's important in the long term to work on balancing the budget, a balanced budget doesn't do anything right now to help victims of a natural disaster or help the unemployed find work.

Once again, Sharrontology is out of touch with reality.

Unspinning Last Night's NV-Gov Debate

@RoryJReid after #NVGov debate last night #nvpolitics #p2 #fb on Twitpic

Wow, @RalstonFlash @elizcrum & @SteveSebelius all in the ... on Twitpic

@RoryJReid & #BrianSandoval now in the room, #NVGov debat... on Twitpic

I was there... I was there! My inner nerd was so excited! This was my very first Gubernatorial debate in person. Finally, I could sit just a few feet away and listen for myself as the candidates answer the tough questions...

But sadly, most of those tough questions weren't really answered. I have to hand it to Elizabeth Crum on this:

In answer to Qs about "who won" tonight's #nvgov debate, I'd have to say...the people who watched the Emmys. Or the #RedSox game.

Unfortunately, it's true. If you forsook your duty as an American citizen and Nevada resident to pay attention to last night's debate and learn more about what the candidates plan to do on education, you didn't really miss too much.

Brian Sandoval lied about his education plan. He said he wouldn't cut anything except teacher salaries, but in reality his plan is far more dangerous than he hints. Because teachers really aren't paid all that much (Trust me, I've had friends and family work in the schools... It's NOT glamorous.) and they probably won't like Sandoval jumping in and demanding their contracts be reopened. If he really wants to cut $73 million from the schools' budget, he'll have to look at firing teachers.

In addition, he wants to divert $110 million from class size reduction into the general fund. Even though Sandoval spoke glowingly of "reducing class sizes", he actually wants to do away with smaller class sizes by defunding this program that's supposed to give students more of an opportunity to learn. It really shows where his priorities lie.

And finally, Sandoval wants to slash another $100 million from public schools with his voucher program to subsidize private schools. This is nothing more than a "Reverse Robin Hood" scheme of stealing from the working poor and middle class (in the form of calling our schools "failed" in order to defund them) to give to the super-rich (in the form of "bailing out" their private schools).

Behind Brian Sandoval's flowery rhetoric was something truly frightening. Naomi Klein wrote an amazing book three years ago, called "The Shock Doctrine", that explains how the radical right has used disasters and times of upheaval to sneak through their corporate right agenda of deregulation and privatization. And reading between the lines of Sandoval's statements last night, it became crystal clear he and his economic team are looking to "shock doctrine" Nevada by using our recession and budget crisis to slash public education, starve our entire public infrastructure, and let the corporate welfare agenda roll.

#AndreAgassi speaking, trying to stay even handed #NVGov #nvp... on Twitpic

#Vegas celebrities in abundance @ #NVGov debate last night @n... on Twitpic

Rory Reid did seem to show some signs of life last night. He did challenge Sandoval on vouchers and stealing from public education to subsidize private schools. And he did challenge Sandoval on his other hidden cuts to public schools and our kids' education.

However, he refused to acknowledge the elephant in the room: How will we pay for "reform"? To his credit, Rory has come up with some smart ideas on education, from following through on class size reduction to local empowerment to freeing our kids from the shackles of "No Child Left Behind" and its flawed "standards". But again, he wouldn't talk about how he plans to pay for everything he's proposing.

We all know we can't cut our way out of this problem. As we've talked about before, there's hardly anything left to cut! And more and more state legislators are now saying the obvious that we have no choice but to look at new revenue. We know the mining industry can afford to pay its fair share, and we know corporate giants like Wal-Mart and Target have avoided paying their fair share for decades. It's time to finally address this and institute fair and progressive tax reform to save our state.

But for some reason, Rory won't talk about this. He's been told this is "bad politics". Too bad. It's good policy, and until Carson City acts on this, we won't ever have a fully functional state government.

So who won last night's debate? You tell me. And who lost? We did.

I wish I can be more hopeful. But until Rory truly calls out what Brian Sandoval is proposing and offers a clear alternative that gets our state out of this mess for good, I don't know what else to say.

(And btw, if you missed it last night and want to see the debate in full, here you go.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

New Patriot Majority Ad on Sharrontology Extremism

I honestly don't know what else to add. They pretty much nailed it.

So Sharrontology STILL Thinks There Are "Domestic Enemies" in Congress?

This time, Heidi Harris tried to intervene... But we know how that usually goes. (Audio here!)

HARRIS: They have gone back to almost a year ago, dug through a conversation you had with my buddy Bill Manders up there in Reno, the big talker up there, where he said that we have domestic enemies and he thinks some of them are in the walls of the Senate and Congress, and you agreed with him. Did you agree with him?

ANGLE: Well, we were talking about what's going on in Congress, of course, and the policies that have come out of Congress, and those policies as we've all seen over the last 18 months have definitely hurt our country.

HARRIS: Yeah, well I agree with you by the way, but I wanted to make sure you got you a chance to clarify that, because I'll tell you the truth, Sharron. I do think we actually do have folks in Congress who truly want to do us harm and see us change from the nation we are now.

ANGLE: There is no doubt that the policies that have been coming out in the last 18 months have injured us, and injured us most specifically here in Nevada.

And Greg Sargent couldn't have explained better why this matters.

If Angle's comment had occured in a vacuum, ignoring it might be understandable, since the radio host is the one who originally made the incendiary claim. But she agreed with it, and she's now refusing to disavow it. And there's a larger context here. Given her previous statements -- particularly her claim that the public may resort to "Second Amendment remedies" if Congress continues on its current course -- It's perfectly reasonable to imagine that she very well might believe that there are "domestic enemies" within Congress.

We all know Sharron Angle's history of saying batshit crazy stuff like this. So clearly, she refuses to take responsibility for what she's doing. Instead, she's willing to fuel the flames of violent, armed "resistance" for her own political benefit. Let's make sure she isn't rewarded for this crap.

So All Sharrontology's Big Spending Leads to This?

(UPDATE: Media Matters debunks Sharrontology's latest lying ads and exposes her campaign yet again for trying to make us forget reality.)

Virtually no change in this week's R-J poll! And hidden behind the top lines (Reid 45, Angle 44) are some deeply disturbing numbers for Sharrontology. 66% of Angle voters say they'd prefer another Republican taking her place in the general election, as opposed to just 18% of Reid voters who say they'd prefer another Democrat in his place in the general. Now for someone hoping to capitalize on "Reid's unpopularity", it doesn't help that one's own BASE is far from excited and wondering if it was a mistake to nominate one.

I guess the more Republicans learn about Sharron Angle, the less they like about their own nominee.

I guess they're starting to realize just how extreme she is. Clearly, we still have a lot of work to do in explaining why Sharrontology's radical right extremism is not worth the gamble. However, Nevada voters aren't stupid and it seems all of her spending, all of Baby Tark's antics, and all of Karl Rove's dirty tricks can't buy the election for Sharrontology.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Extreme Sharrontology: Why She's No Good for Us

(Also at DKos)

And come on, we know NONE of these are lies, or even exaggerations. Just look at everything she's publicly said... Or at least everything she said back when her DC handlers weren't trying to hide the real Sharron Angle.

We know that she refuses to acknowledge that well educated students means a stronger, more sustainable economy for Nevada. Hell, she even opposed our former REPUBLICAN Governor Kenny Guinn on Millennium Scholarships!

Yes, you heard me right. Sharron Angle opposed our late REPUBLICAN Governor's proposal to use funds from the Big Tobacco settlement to ensure that high school students who worked hard and achieved strongly in high school could go to college! How much more extreme can one get?

No wonder why most of us young folk are realizing we have only one choice in this election.

Really? Do we want that kind of leadership that brought home much needed aid to keep teachers doing their job and educating our kids, or this kind of extremism?

As I've said before, good education is the key to bringing and keeping good jobs in this state! And speaking of good jobs, we also know we have plenty of opportunities in renewable energy. Harry Reid has delivered on renewable energy projects in Nevada...

While Sharron Angle denies real science on climate change, refuses to lift a single finger to bring green collar jobs to Nevada, wants to bring a dangerous nuclear waste dump within 100 miles of Las Vegas, and supports polluting our fine state so her Big Coal & Big Oil corporate BFFs can profit while we suffer.

I know it's been funny sometimes to mock Sharron Angle's extremism, but let's not forget that at the end of the day, Sharrontology and her dangerous extremism are NO laughing matters! She cares nothing about the well-being of Nevada. She just says crazy things to curry the teabaggers' favor, even if it means blurting out irresponsible statements that could hurt all of us.

Sharrontology wants to eliminate fundamental bedrocks of our social safety net, like Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance. She wants to let the fossil fuel industry continue to run amok with their irresponsible profiteering while The Gulf suffers from BP's folly, our nation tries to catch up in green jobs opportunities, and Nevada looks to clean energy for an economically AND environmentally sustainable future. She wants to destroy our schools, and along with them our kids' future job opportunities, in her classic style of being "penny wise and pound foolish". Simply put, Sharron Angle is just too extreme and impractical for us in Nevada. We need someone who will fight for our best interest, NOT someone who calls us "spoiled" and ignores us while getting her latest radical right marching orders.

There's really only one choice we have for US Senate. We can't afford to lose the strongest voice we have in Congress.

Marriage Equality Coming Soon... To Nevada?

So we all know about the ongoing Prop H8 saga in California... But will we also feel the effects here in Nevada? Most likely, in one way or another.

There was outrage and celebration in California this month when a federal judge overturned the state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. But as the case is appealed, first to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and then, almost inevitably, to the U.S. Supreme Court, there’s a strong likelihood that higher court rulings could affect other states’ prohibitions.

Nevada voters in 2000 and 2002 voted to change the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

That represents the argument that the state’s top attorney should defend the state’s constitution.

But on the other side are those who say California’s Proposition 8 and bans such as Nevada’s, violate the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.


Lee Rowland, northern coordinator of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, noted that elected officials have to uphold both the state and federal constitutions.

“Sometimes they conflict,” she said.

In this case, the ACLU says the federal constitution should trump the provision passed by Nevada voters.

“The purpose of the constitution is to protect unpopular minorities from having their rights taken away by a popular vote,” Rowland said. “That’s precisely what the Proposition 8 decision did.”

Right now, marriage equality is on hold in California pending decision(s) from The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. However if The Ninth and The Supreme Court ultimately agree with Judge Walker's decision, marriage equality returns for good to California...

But that may not be all. Depending on how far-reaching the final decision, all state marriage bans may be found in violation of the 14th Amendment, and more specifically the equal protection clause and the due process clause. If this happens, then Question 2 is gone immediately.

However even if the higher courts just narrowly apply the 14th Amendment to strike down just Prop H8 in California in this case, it still puts Question 2 into major jeopardy here. After all, we're no longer just dealing with California or Nevada state law. Remember that federal constitutional law trumps it all, so any final decision striking down Prop H8 on federal constitutional grounds at the very least sets strong precedent for a future federal legal challenge to Question 2 here in Nevada, as well as all other state marriage bans.

So now, we wait for The Ninth... Then it's on to The Supremes. And as long as Judge Walker's ruling stands, there's good reason to hope for full equality to come here in our lifetime.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Leg Watch: Sex, Lies, & Corporate Cash

Oh goody, Ralston is back... And he hits hard on the new "scandal" everyone in Carson City is talking about.

I have been ruminating on what the proper reaction is to Steven Horsford’s “Money for Something and Your Access Ain’t Free” fundraising pitch. Or what the proper reaction to the reaction might be. [...]

What Horsford did was crass, heavy-handed and arrogant. But it takes a spectacular naiveté or a willful ignorance — and there is much more of the latter than the former in much of the reaction — not to realize this is just par for a course where membership is reserved only for a closed circle and where the entry fee for influence is often too rich for almost anyone without a Las Vegas Boulevard South address.

Of course, Ralston is talking about State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford (D) sending out a ridiculous letter recently promising special meals with him for big contributions. He even promised meals and extra "quality time" with Committee Chairs, apparently without even asking them if they wanted to do this!

It was pathetic. It was lame. It was dirty... And oh boy, it was clumsy!

So what exactly were the Republicans criticizing?

I smiled when I read of state Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio tut-tutting about Horsford’s solicitation, suggesting his counterpart had been intimidating lobbyists not to contribute to Republicans during the campaign season. This is laugh-out-loud funny, folks.

Raggio is the anti-Horsford, but not in the way he implied. When he was majority leader, Raggio was anything but blunt. A master of finesse, he knew how to inspire fear with a carefully chosen word or two, or perhaps by using someone else to send a message.

Don’t misunderstand: I don’t suggest Raggio ever did anything unethical. But when a consummate insider, a man who served on gaming and managed care boards while being the most powerful legislator in the state for decades, expresses disdain for Horsford’s blunt instrument, I figured he must be muttering, “That young man needs to learn a little subtlety.”

Even better, state GOP Chairman Mark Amodei’s sense of outrage was comically outrageous. “We never operated that way when we were in the majority,” Amodei told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Probably no laws were broken, but it sends a bad sign about the whole process. You need to raise money, but you don’t do that.”

This from the man who, while a state senator, auditioned for a job as the mining association’s top lobbyist and formed a political action committee with business interests he regulated. A sense of irony is always helpful, Mr. Chairman.

So Raggio and Amodei bash Horsford over his clumsy letter and want us to forget everything they did when in the majority? Seriously? And they want us to ignore their newest scandal involving their "Star Senator" Barbara Cegavske?

And if anyone is truly serious in uprooting Carson City corruption, why not discuss possible solutions? Solutions like clean money campaigning?

It's already being implemented in several states, and the results so far have been clear. If we really want to solve this problem, let's get to the root of it.

So what's the real root of this problem? It's MONEY, as in the corporate money that buys access in Carson City. Take the big corporate money out, and none of this has to happen any more For many decades now, it's been standard operating practice that the "big bid'nis'eez" with the best connected lobbyists, best parties, and biggest campaign contributions get the most access in state government. If we really want to do something about this problem, let's get to the source of it by ridding our election system of all this corporate corruption.

So when will we ever get a serious discussion on clean money campaigns and serious election reform? When will we demand that our elected officials listen to us instead of the big corporate powers that be?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sharrontology: "Domestic Enemies Sitting in Congress"??!!


Is this for real?

MANDERS: You know I talk often about this oath that they give and it is to defend the Constitution and all that. But one of the things that is very important to me in this oath that they give is that they will defend against foreign and domestic enemies.

ANGLE: Yes. Yes.

MANDERS: We have domestic enemies. We have home-born homegrown enemies in our system. And I for one think we have some of those enemies in the walls of the Senate and the Congress.

ANGLE: Yes. I think you're right, Bill.

So Sharrontology really believes we have "domestic enemies" in Congress? Well, who are they? If she really thinks we're in danger of "domestic enemies" within our own government, isn't it Sharron Angle's patriotic duty to explain to us more about it?

Or is this just another "Sharrontology batshit crazy moment"? Is she just being irresponsible like she was last time she talked up "Second Amendment Remedies"?

Is she just clueless like she was when rejecting much needed help for Nevadans?

Is she just reckless like she was when bashing the federal funds (our federal tax money being well spent) coming back to Nevada to keep our schools open?

So let's recap the latest batch of Sharrontology crazy. She rejected Harry Reid's work to keep casino workers working on The Strip. She rejected bringing back our tax dollars to keep our schools open (money she would prefer to just take from us to give to the super-rich). And now, she's channeling her inner Joe McCarthy in claiming we have "enemies" in Congress?

Sharron Angle can't even control her own insane rhetoric. How can we trust her to do anything to help us in Nevada?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sharrontology's Extreme Makeover: Betting on Amnesia

So is this what we can now expect from Sharrontology?

In the span of a year, Nevada voters have encountered three different Sharron Angles.

First came Primary Campaign Angle, who, trying to distinguish herself from a crowded Republican U.S. Senate field, talked to anyone, anywhere and was unafraid to declare her deeply conservative philosophy.

Then she won the primary and voters met Down-in-the-Bunker Angle, who fled reporters and hunkered down to raise money.

Now emerges Prime Time Angle. Bolstered by a professional communications staff, she is once again sparring with groups of reporters and granting lengthy sit-down interviews to “mainstream” news outlets such as The New York Times. But the latest edition, while more polished, appears to be missing some of her previous fire, if her speech Wednesday before the Washoe County Republican Women’s Club is any indication.

She's certainly trying hard to make us forget everything she said earlier this year.

Instead of calling for the elimination of departments she sees as running up the federal debt and burdening businesses with regulation and taxes, Angle now merely wants to trim the budgets of the Education and Energy departments and Environmental Protection Agency.

Although Angle previously said she wants to eliminate Social Security for new generations of workers, she now says younger workers should be given the option of the traditional program or personal, government-run retirement accounts.

Sharron Angle claims she's just changed her "language"... But take another listen to what's she's said and ask if this is just "changing language".

And what kind of language is this? Does she still stand by her comments that she's "not in the business of creating jobs" and we're "spoiling our citizenry" by helping the unemployed while they're finding jobs?

And does she still think The Las Vegas Strip is like The Titanic and that CityCenter should have been allowed to fail and tens of thousands more casino workers should have been allowed to join the already large ranks of the unemployed?

I occasionally hear from the teabaggers that we should choose Sharron Angle because we need "change" and "new ideas". But if Angle's "ideas" are so great, why doesn't she run on her original "ideas" from her original campaign in the primary? Is it perhaps because her DC Republican handlers realize most Nevadans reject her extremism? Is it perhaps because they know her "great ideas" have already been tried and failed?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So I'm Not the Only One Concerned About Sharrontology's Love for "Pinochet Pensions"

I explained what happened to Chile's seniors when military dictator Augusto Pinochet privatized the pension system supported by Chile's democratically elected government (that Pinochet overthrew), and Desert Beacon went into further detail on why Chile's system didn't work and left about half of Chile's seniors with absolutely nothing. And Sharron Angle thinks this is a "great idea"?

Sharrontology Exposure... Continued...

So John L. Smith takes a trip down memory lane and reminds us of this famous line said in 1993:


Guess who said this. If you guessed Sharron Angle, you're correct!

[I'd quote, except that I'd rather NOT get sued by Righthaven.]

No matter how hard she tries, Sharron Angle can't hide her true self. That's why, despite the topsy turvy polls, Republicans aren't as giddy behind the scenes as they put out in public.

Oh look, Sue Lowden reemerges!

[I'd quote, except that I'd rather NOT get sued by Righthaven.]

Oh, I guess she still doesn't want to be seen in public with Sharrontology.

Oh look, Danny Tarkanian is back!

Since Ms. Angle won, her campaign has been rocked by a series of politically intemperate remarks and awkward efforts to retreat from hard-line positions she has embraced in the past, like phasing out Social Security. There have also been a staff shake-up and run-ins with Nevada journalists, including one in which a television reporter chased her through a parking lot trying to get her to answer a question.

Republicans in this state are concerned that what had once seemed a relatively easy victory is suddenly in doubt, with signs that Ms. Angle’s campaign is scrambling to regroup.

“Reid had no chance to win before,” said Danny Tarkanian, one of the Republicans who lost to Ms. Angle. “He has a shot to win now. He could still lose, but I have to say he is favored.”

Oh, I guess he's also catching a glimpse of reality.

Sharrontology wants to end Social Security and allow seniors to go for broke if Wall Street doesn't treat them well. She doesn't believe it's her job to care about our jobs. She'd rather see people die from lack of health care than do anything suggesting "government is god". (HUH??!!)

She's just too extreme for Nevada.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's About More Than Just Harry Reid

(Also at Daily Kos)

OK, so I let him have it yesterday. Well, he earned it. And there was no good reason to badmouth an Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan. Last I checked, we have freedom of religion in this country... And it's not like most people are even all that concerned about it.

So why can't I just kick Harry Reid to the curb? Well, it's complicated. I'd rather not hurt all the deserving Democrats here in Nevada by cutting off the nose to spite our face.

As I've said before, I've come to know Reid in a way most here don't. I know deep down, he's a good person who wants to do right for Nevada and America. That's actually why I was so disappointed that he allowed himself and his campaign to be suckered into Sharron Angle's disgusting demagoguery.

But that's just it, Sharron Angle is just too batshit crazy to be allowed anywhere near The United States Senate. For gawd sake, she's declared holy war against the color BLACK!

Reid’s supporters have put a spotlight on Angle’s emphasizing religion in her campaign. Specifically, her statements that she is running as a “calling from God” and fighting the forces of evil who seek “to make government our God.”

Nice sound bites. But the events from 20 years ago might shine a better light on the mingling of religion and campaigning by Angle.

The heart of the story starts in 1991 and, perhaps surprisingly, with the Tonopah High School football team.

Mired in a dismal season, the Muckers traveled to Laughlin that fall. To nearly everyone’s surprise, the relatively-new Clark County school defeated Tonopah. It was Laughlin’s first-ever football win.

Tonopah coach Randy Jones was so incensed that he told his team in the locker room following the game it was the blackest day in Mucker history.

Springing ahead, Jones came up with an innovative idea to fire up his charges for their 1992 homecoming game against Laughlin. Utilizing the “darkest day” theme, he suggested the Muckers could wear black jerseys to remember the previous year’s debacle.

With no resources for his plan, the coach asked his players to buy their own black uniform shirts. Not all complied but many did and they mostly their parents ponied up the cash to buy black jerseys. [...]

[O]pposing the black jerseys was another group including Angle, a member, if not its leader.

They argued against our charges wearing black on religious grounds.

I cannot quote scripture as they did to justify their point but the gist of their argument was that black as a color was thoroughly evil, invoking the supernatural and especially the devil my take from dictionary definitions and not from scripture.

Angle may or may not have thought this a political statement. But she became a high profile advocate of a specific religious position during her very first campaign.

WHAT. THE. FUCK??!! Sharron Angle simply has no clue as to where to draw the line between personal views and public policy.

Oh, and her "great ideas" that she's so proud of are horrifying. She wants to destroy Social Security and Medicare in favor of something more like the Chilean "retirement plan" under military dictator Augusto Pinochet. She hates public schools and would rather see them close than bring home our federal tax dollars to keep kids in school. She hates working moms, "homosexual sodomites", and anything suggesting "government is god". (HUH??!!)

No wonder she's hiding from reality. For her, reality bites!

Even considering yesterday's huge mistake, Nevada can't afford to lose Harry Reid. Sharron Angle wants Nevada to become the nation's radioactive waste dump. She wants to forfeit our opportunities for renewable energy because she doesn't believe the climate crisis is real. She doesn't care about any jobs except her own...

And sadly, she's not alone. In fact, Joe Heck is running in my Congressional District and he piggybacks off Angle whenever it's convenient. He runs in the same teabagger circles, shares her views on eliminating Social Security & Medicare, and also believes it's not his job to care about any of our jobs. Despite profiting so much off his government contracts, Joe Heck can't be bothered to care about us here in Southern Nevada (even though he wants our votes!).

Rep. Dina Titus (D-Fabulous), thankfully, believes differently.

Dina Titus is also a true champion for LGBTQ equality. And she has always stood for sound environmental policy. And she supported health care reform despite the millions of dollars worth of ads pumped into here by the HMOs and the Chamber of Commerce.

And Titus' best shot at winning is Reid winning. You see, the 3rd Congressional District is essentially "The Bellwether of Nevada". As NV-03 goes, so goes the state. Fortunately the state party is putting together a great field operation, but it's a coordinated field operation for Reid, Titus, and all the other Democrats running on the ballot this year. So essentially, Reid's fortunes and Titus' fortunes are connected.

And honestly, so are a number of Democrats running for statewide office, state legislature, and local office. Right now, our state is in the midst of a terrifying fiscal crisis. Essentially, our state is broken and we'll need as many sane people as possible to fix it. Unfortunately, a number of Republicans don't want to be a part of the solution, as the teabaggers have invaded the party, threatened everyone open to dialogue with "the other side", and even succeeded in defeating an incumbent moderate Republican State Senator in the primary. So not only is Sharron Angle running for US Senate here, she also has an army of "tea partiers" down the ballot threatening to wreak havoc on our state if elected.

So this election is not just about Harry Reid. It's about the very future of Nevada. It's about whether or not Nevada agrees with the neanderthal "philosophy" of the teabaggers (and more importantly, their corporate backers). It's about whether Nevada wants to move forward in building a more sustainable future.

Look, our state is in the midst of the worst recession we've faced in over 70 years. People here need jobs. People here need to stay in their homes. People here need real solutions to the many woes we presently face. And as frustrated as I've been with Harry Reid in the last 36 hours, we just can't afford to lose him AND risk losing so many good progressive Democrats who don't deserve that kind of fate.

So excuse me while I turn down the radical right's "Mosque-gate" bait. I need to get back to making sure my state and my country gets on the right track.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Damn You, Harry Reid...

(Also at Daily Kos)

For ruining my "mini staycation" with family. Just as I was enjoying a lovely day with the loved ones on the always fabulously sinful Las Vegas Strip, you had to open your mouth and say this crap about not wanting an Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan. Seriously, Mr. Leader, WHAT. THE. FUCK??!!

First off, this is happening in New York City. Last I checked, this is nowhere near our fine State of Nevada. What right do we have telling New Yorkers what to do in their city?

Secondly, speaking of rights, we're intruding on other people's constitutional rights and religious freedom by intimidating them out of doing something that's perfectly legal and totally harmless. Come on, how are we in Las Vegas affected by an Islamic cultural center in Manhattan? However, our bone-headed insensitivity and irrational fear has caused many Muslim New Yorkers a whole lot of pain and heartburn that they really did not deserve.

Look, Harry, I'm not abandoning you. The fact of the matter is that I can't. Sharron Angle scares the living daylights out of me. She doesn't believe I and other queer folk should be able to exist as human beings. She wants our fine state to become a massive radioactive garbage disposal. She doesn't believe we Nevadans deserve jobs if they happen to be in renewable energy or hospitality or anything else that doesn't fit in her radical right ideology. Scary Sharry is just plain batshit crazy, so I really have no choice but to support you and all the good you're doing for Nevada and America.

So I forgive you... But I can't forget, not just yet. What you did today was really beneath you. I know you're better than this. I know deep down you're a good person, and you don't want to slander Muslim Americans. This was just a calculated political move, but nonetheless a calculated political move that is morally wrong and Constitutionally inadvisable.

Don't do this again... And please get back to serving ALL the people of this great State of Nevada.

Now if you could please excuse me, I'd like to get back to my quality family time tonight.

Friday, August 13, 2010

So Sharrontology Supports Military DICTATOR's Plan to Eliminate Social Security?

I'm almost speechless...

Sharron Angle is further clarifying her calls for the privatization of Social Security, saying that Chile has done it successfully. That is, Angle is now speaking favorably of a system that was enacted by a military dictator.

"So when I said private, that's what I meant -- that I thought we would have to go just to the private sector just for a template on how this is supposed to be done," Angle told the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas. "However, I've seen been studying, and Chile has done this."

The station noted that Chile's private pensions system, which was originally enacted by the military dictator Augusto Pinochet, has been criticized for being subject to market volatility, though its proponents argue that it gives all citizens a stake in the market.

Well, almost. This is simply ridiculous! For all Sharron Angle's talk of Democrats "taking away our freedoms", she's now copying ideas from a brutal military tyrant who overthrew Chile's democratically elected government in 1973! Is this what Sharron Angle means when she talks about "Second Amendment Remedies"?

This is the reality of what happened to Chile thanks to Pinochet.

And this is the reality of how Pinochet's privatized pension program did NOT work... Unless you consider impoverishing seniors and adding additional unnecessary costs to the federal governent "working".

A quarter of a century since privatization took effect, Chilean's retirement security is on shaky ground. Recent reports by the World Bank and the Federal Reserve have highlighted some of the many problems with Chile's system. A combination of high management fees, low participation rates, unexpectedly heavy dependence on an inadequate safety net, and prohibitively high costs to government have led the system along a path of failure and left many Chilean workers with no reliable retirement plan. Is this really the model the United States hopes to replicate?

There are prohibitively high expenses and fees. Voracious commissions and other administrative costs have swallowed up large shares of personal accounts. It is estimated that roughly 28 to 33 percent one-quarter to one-third of contributions made by employees retiring in 2000 went toward fees.
  • The brokerage firm CB Capitales calculated (see English language discussion by Stephen Kay of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta here) that when commission charges are taken into consideration in Chile, the total average return on worker contributions between 1982 and 1999 was 5.1 percent-not 11 percent as calculated by the superintendency of pension funds. That report found that the average worker would have done better simply by placing their pension fund contributions in a passbook savings account.
There are low participation rates. Half of Chileans, primarily the poorest, do not contribute to a pension fund at all. The New York Times notes, "Many [Chileans]—because they earned much of their income in the underground economy, are self-employed, or work only seasonally—remain outside the system altogether. Combined, those groups constitute roughly half the Chilean labor force. Only half of workers are captured by the system."
  • Even the military does not participate in the privatized system. While the military imposed the private accounts on all other workers entering the labor force after 1981, it continues to receive pensions under the old, favored governmental system.
There is unexpectedly heavy dependence on an inadequate safety net. Stephen J. Kay of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta recently found that investment accounts of retirees are much smaller than originally predicted-so low that 41 percent of those eligible to collect pensions continue to work.
  • The New York Times revealed in an article earlier this year that under the old pay-as-you-go system, the maximum monthly benefit is $1250. Under the privatized system, a worker would have to contribute more than a quarter of a million dollars over the course of his or her career to receive as much in retirement benefits each month. Just 500 of the seven million participants in private accounts, has been able to do so.
There are unexpectedly high transition and supplementary costs. The transition costs of shifting to a privatized system in Chile averaged 6.1 percent of GDP in the 1980s, 4.8 percent in the 1990s, and are expected to average 4.3 percent from 1999 to 2037. Those costs are far higher than originally projected, in part because the government is obligated to provide subsidies for workers failing to accumulate enough money in their accounts to earn a minimum pension.

Oh, and another thing... Chile has been moving AWAY from this failed privatized system because IT DOESN'T WORK! That's why Chile began discussing reform in 2006 in the form of implementing guaranteed benefits for people left out by the private system.

The new $2 billion-a-year program will expand public pensions to groups left out by private pensions - the poor and self-employed, homewives, street vendors and farmers who saved little for rResponding to growing complaints that the privatized pension system here is failing to deliver adequate benefits, the Chilean government has recommended that it be supplanted by a system in which the state would play a much larger role. The current system is a favorite of free-enterprise enthusiasts, including President Bush.

The changes, part of a reform package scheduled to go to Congress early next year, include a guaranteed minimum pension for the country's poorest citizens, even those who have never contributed to the private system. [...]

In recent years, that pioneering privatized system has been emulated by a score of other countries and praised by leaders of many others. Mr. Bush, for example, proposed using the Chilean model as the basis for a reshaping of Social Security, calling the system here ''a great example'' and saying the United States could ''take some lessons from Chile.''

But dissatisfaction with the inability of the system to provide the benefits promised when Gen. Augusto Pinochet imposed it in 1981 has been rising, and became an issue in this year's presidential campaign.

As things now stand, about half the Chileans in the labor force will not qualify for a pension or will receive only a minimum payment, for a variety of reasons that include their not having paid into the system for the minimum 20 years.

So now, it looks like this.

[Sharron] Angle referred to Chile on Thursday in North Las Vegas while explaining previous statements that the United States should phase out its current system.

However, the pension system established in 1981 by right-wing Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is no longer a fully private system.

Chile's system was revamped in 2008 to expand public pensions for groups left out of its system, including low-income seniors.

The tea party favorite challenging Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the current U.S. system is broken.

Reid and Democrats say Angle's ideas about Social Security are extreme.

So the fact of the matter here is that Military Dictator Augusto Pinochet scrapped the public pension program favored by the previous democratically elected government (that he violently overthrew against the will of the people!), and instead pushed for this privatized system that ended up denying benefits to nearly half of the Chilean people, costing the Chilean government far more than Pinochet's economic advisers had originally promised, and ultimately had to be reformed in 2008 (in the form of restoring public pensions, creating something similar to the Social Security benefits we enjoy here!) so fewer Chileans would have to "retire" to abject poverty. George Bush tried to shove this miserable failure down our throats in 2005, but it didn't work. However, Sharron Angle and her fellow "Tea Party, Inc." extremists are now trying to distort the facts on Social Security to try to scare us into copying Chile's mistakes! What the hell are they thinking!

I guess this is why more and more Nevada seniors want to stick with the sane, proven, sensible leadership of Harry Reid.

Last I checked, I never heard him endorsing insane and unworkable Social Security privatization schemes copied directly from some brutal, tyrannical Latin American military dictatorship!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Enemy Is NOT Gibbs, Or Obama, Or Even the Republicans...

I know, I know. Shocking, isn't it?

These last few days, I've heard constantly of Robert Gibbs, what he actually meant, where Obama really stands on "the professional left", and whether any of us in "the professional left" can have any more hope for any more positive change coming out of Washington...

But that's just it. We're missing the point here. And we may be letting all this Washington inside ball give us over to perhaps the most dangerous force threatening to wreak havoc this November.

I was walking yesterday with my local State Senator in what's become the typical scene of the Las Vegas suburbs: Parents bringing their kids home from school, seniors driving back from the grocery store, someone working on his car, casino workers returning from the mid-day shift... And foreclosures all over, and people out of work and afraid of what's to come next.

I spoke with a few people last night who nearly drove me to tears. One said she was planning to vote Democratic this November, but first made sure I knew about the foreclosed houses all around her and wanted to know what's being done about that and her neighbors without jobs. Another person I spoke to was a registered Republican, but said she lost faith after Bush stole the 2000 Election from Gore (yes, she actually said that!), her vote "doesn't count", and "they're all corrupt, she just pulled the wool over your eyes"... And she said she doesn't vote any more. Another registered Democrat did say she'd get out and vote, but expressed fear over all the school budget cuts and was wondering if anyone can stop our education system from being cut to death.

Now it was good to hear all the positive feedback from the Democrats I ran into last night, as well as the open minds I found among a few Independents and Republicans. Still, that one conversation with the Republican lady saying she doesn't vote scares me. Sadly, she's not alone. I've talked with other people over the phone, and listened as they said they didn't want to vote for anyone. I spoke with a neighbor last weekend who said, "I don't like any of 'em." I've heard others ask what the point of voting is.

What I've come to realize is that our problem is bigger than just some silly remark from Robert Gibbs or some "professional lefty" yelling about the filibuster or Obama's foreign policy. Our real problem this year is APATHY. Our problem is people giving up on the political process.

The big money corporate powers that be would love nothing more than to see us all give up, stay at home, and just yell at our teevees. That way, it's easier for them to buy their preferred "Tea Party" Republicans (and a few ConservaDem sellouts) and prevent any more progress from coming out of Congress.

How else do you think Sharron Angle became the Republican nominee for US Senate here in my home state?

Now the only way she wins and other teabagger crazies win down ballot is if people just give up and stay home. Seriously!

The new Reuters/Ipsos poll of the Nevada Senate race gives Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a narrow lead over his Republican challenger, former state Rep. Sharron Angle -- and a really big lead if turnout were to be higher than currently expected.

The numbers, among likely voters: Reid 48%, Angle 44%. There is no prior Reuters/Ipsos poll for direct comparison. The TPM Poll Average gives Reid a lead of 45.1%-42.7%.

The kicker: Among the larger pool of registered voters, Reid leads by a phenomenal 52%-36%. So clearly, the job for Dem groups is to mobilize voters for Reid -- and against Angle's right-wing positions.

It clearly is our job to get out the vote, and that's why I'm here today.

Look, I know you're frustrated. I sure as hell can be. We're still awaiting action on passing ENDA and repealing DADT. We're still awaiting any kind of real action on the climate crisis. And of course, we're still awaiting more action on job creation!

We clearly have further to go to fix what's wrong in our country. But to paraphrase President Bill Clinton, there's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed with what's right with America. And by just "sitting out" this election, we're essentially giving up on our country and on real solutions to our problems.

And let's not forget what has been accomplished so far. Remember those? Health care reform and the start of what will soon be universal health care. The return of sensible financial regulation and curbing of Wall Street excesses. The Recovery Act, small as it was, that provided much needed investment in our economy. And just this week, we got the $26 billion aid package to keep schools open and needy seniors on Medicaid... You know, the response to what Sharron Angle called "the emergency in Harry Reid's mind"...

And in local teachers' minds?

That was from a little earlier this year, after Harry Reid delivered $400 million for Nevada schools. And yes, that money is crucial to our survival. One of my neighbors works at a local elementary school. As of now, she has to buy school supplies out of her own pocket because Clark County School District couldn't afford any more supplies. She once had to go nearly a week without air conditioning while the school district was authorizing the expense, as they had to make sure they could pay for it. Now imagine how much worse shape we'd be in if we had more people in Congress like Sharron Angle who wouldn't approve that $26 billion school aid bill so long as her "Tea Party, Inc." corporate overlords told her not to?

And sadly, she's not alone. Other candidates up and down the ballot here in Nevada are taking their queue from Angle and toeing the "tea party line" on rejecting sound government and embracing oligarchy. And of course, it's not just happening here in Nevada. It's happening all across the country, and it's our duty to stop the corporate funded "tea party invasion", and rekindle that hope for real, progressive change we had two years ago but seems pretty dim today.

I know what Gibbs said the other day was ridiculous. I know it's frustrating to see President Obama not living up to his full potential. I know it's frustrating to see conservative Senators block any sort of progressive change all the time.

Let's face it, change was never going to be easy... But it's happening.

And we can't afford to "sit it out" and watch all this progress get reversed, and see any hope of more progress completely dashed. That's why I refuse to give up on true leaders like Harry Reid and Dina Titus, as well as my Democrats at the local level. The more I hear from my neighbors here, the more afraid they are of extremist wackadoodles like Sharron Angle. We just need to make sure all of us get out and support sane, progressive leaders who actually get good sh*t done for us.

And I hope I've encouraged you to do the same in your hometown. We can't afford any more crazy Republicans who want to take us back to the Bush-Cheney doldrums, and we can't afford to empower ConservaDems who'd like nothing more than to see real Democrats lose across the country and progressives demoralized.

So you want to prove Gibbs wrong? Fine, then. Show him how the not-so-professional left wins. :-)

BREAKING: Judge Walker LIFTS Stay on Prop H8 Ruling... For August 18

Now we have some more details of what's to come...

Because proponents fail to
satisfy any of the factors necessary to warrant a stay, the court
denies a stay except for a limited time solely in order to permit
the court of appeals to consider the issue in an orderly manner. [...]

Proponents replied that they have an interest in defending Proposition 8 but failed to articulate even one specific harm they may suffer as a consequence of the injunction.

So far, good news... Except that marriages are still on hold until August 18. Now the case heads to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where Prop H8 proponents have already filed a challenge asking the Ninth to overturn Judge Walker's ruling (both in reinstating the stay and Prop H8 itself). Judge Walker essentially put marriage equality on hold for another week to give Prop H8 proponents time to file exactly this challenge.

Here's some more legal analysis on where we stand (via DKos):

The important part of Judge Walker's order -- even beyond allowing marriages to resume within the week so long as the Ninth Circuit doesn't intervene -- is what it portends regarding the standing issue on anyappeal of his opinion.
The court provided proponents with an opportunity to identify a harm they would face “if an injunction against Proposition 8 is issued.”  Proponents replied that they have an interest in defending Proposition 8 but failed to articulate even one specific harm they may suffer as a consequence of the injunction….
If [] no state defendant appeals, proponents will need to show standing in the court of appeals. See Arizonans for Official English, 520 US at 67. Proponents’ intervention in the district court does not provide them with standing to appeal. Diamond, 476 US at 68 (holding that “Diamond’s status as an intervenor below, whether permissive or as of right, does not confer standing to keep the case alive in the absence of the State on this appeal”); see also Associated Builders & Contractors v Perry, 16 F3d 688, 690 (6th Cir 1994) (“The standing requirement * * * may bar an appeal even though a litigant had standing before the district court.”). The Supreme Court has expressed “grave doubts” whether initiative proponents have independent Article III standing to defend the constitutionality of the initiative. Arizonans for Official English, 520 US at 67.
Nor do the Prop 8 proponents suffer any harms in the interim, because none of them "seek to wed a same-sex spouse," and "the court considers only whether the party seeking a stay faces harm, yet proponents do not identify a harm to them that would result from denial of their motion to stay."  Finally, that neither Governor Schwarzenegger nor Attorney General Brown (the actual defendants) requested a stay weighed heavily on the Court.

So no marriages until next Wednesday at the earliest, pending ruling from the Ninth Circuit on whether Judge Walker's ruling should be stayed as the case heads to their court... And of course, we'll have to see how soon the US Supreme Court jumps into the case (again).