Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coming Later This Week...

I have some surprises for you. Get ready for more fireworks. Summer is about to end, but one more strong political heat wave is on the way. ;-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mark Amodei (& Joe Heck) to Nevada: Get Nuked!

This is in his district, and this would hurt his constituents if built... But Mark Amodei doesn't care.

For three decades, firm opposition to any sort of nuclear development for Yucca Mountain has been a rite of passage for any candidate seeking national political office representing Nevada.

But the past few congressional races, Republicans have been bending that rule.

Mark Amodei, candidate for Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District seat, told the editorial board of the Las Vegas Sun on Monday that he would be happy to keep funding the development of the Yucca Mountain project through the Energy Department, with the hope of turning it into a bastion of nuclear research and reprocessing.

“I don’t celebrate every time somebody says it’s funded at zero,” Amodei said. “I support Joe Heck’s efforts. I think there are opportunities to do things out there.”

What he's talking about is Joe Heck's amendment that would have allowed for nuclear reprocessing at Yucca Mountain. They think this is a "win-win" for them in that they can tell us they "don't support Yucca" while giving Republican Congressional leadership "local cover" to continue pushing to open Yucca. They know GOP leadership won't accept anything less than turning Yucca into a nuclear waste dump. And since there isn't enough water in southern Nye County to allow for reprocessing, Heck's proposal simply isn't feasible to begin with.

So really, what Heck and Amodei are doing is nothing more than kabuki theater being put on to allow House Republicans to go forward in dumping tons of nuclear waste across the country here in Nevada and driving it right through Las Vegas. As The Sun noted earlier this month, this is all about the nuclear power industry's demand for more nuclear power plants to be built in America.

Developing Yucca Mountain in any way that involves nuclear power is extremely dangerous... And potentially illegal as well!

With the sole exception of Joe Heck, Nevada's other 3 members of Congress oppose any sort of nuclear development at Yucca. They know just how dangerous this would be for Nevada, as well as for other parts of the country that would be part of the route to Yucca.

So why do Mark Amodei and Joe Heck insist on keeping Yucca Mountain on track to open? Do they really care that little about their own state that they seek to "represent" in Congress?

Want JOBS? Here's How to Get Them. (Thanks, Harry!)

Sen. Harry Reid kicked off the fourth annual clean energy conference today by announcing the inauguration of the first-ever hybrid geothermal and solar plant, combining two of Nevada’s homegrown forms of renewable energy in a single power-generating project.

The plant, which will be situated at the existing Stillwater Geothermal Plant about 75 miles outside of Reno, will generate an additional 24 megawatts of power and create about 150 installation jobs, according to Enel Green Power North America President Francesco Venturini.

Enel Green Power, which is partnering with Nevada-based Bombard Renewable Energy to build the project, already runs the Stillwater geothermal facility.

“Enel Green Power has wisely and successfully married two clean renewable energy resources that Nevada has in vast abundance,” Reid said. “I hope we will see more of these integrated projects.”

Next time you hear anyone question Harry Reid's ability to "bring home the bacon" for Nevada, remember this. Right now, we're paying a hefty price for our addiction to fossil fuels... And that price will only continue to rise as oil and gas resources diminsh.

Shouldn't we instead be putting our own natural advantages to work for us?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sharrrrrrrrrrrrron Angle: She's Baaaaaaaaaack! (And She's NOT Alone!)

(Also at Daily Kos)

Apparently "Our Lady of Perpetual Campaigning" invaded California on Saturday to sell her books and raise money for her next campaign "meet with real patriots!"

And if that wasn't bad enough, their lousy attempt at Vaudeville comedy got even worse once they returned to Nevada (to torture us yet again!).

The Tea Party Express continued its cross-country tour Sunday with a midday rally in the heart of Nevada that featured about a dozen speakers and musicians focused on "reclaiming America" in the 2012 election.

Headlining the event was Sharron Angle, who lost to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 2010. Angle is traveling with the bus tour and is expected to speak at most of the events along the way.

The Elko Daily Free Press reported that Angle told the crowd of about 75 people -- organizers pegged the crowd at closer to 100 people -- that the Republicans will take control of the U.S. Senate after the 2012 elections if people get involved in races around the country.

Tea Party Express communications director Levi Russell said the event was a success, especially considering that it was held on a Sunday.

"It was a small crowd, but enthusiastic," he said.

"We're happy that they came out to hear our message."

Other speakers included Amy Kremer, Tea Party Express co-chair, and Tabitha Hale of the Washington, D.C.-based conservative group FreedomWorks.

There's no word yet on whether Elko saw the same "colorful characters" that emerged in Searchlight last year...

But it does look like their "Tea Party Express" is losing steam on the open road. Now that we're seeing with our own eyes their strategy coming to full fruition as federal government becomes even more chaotic and dysfunctional, they're not seen as innocently as they were last year.

It seems that the Tea Party's governing style, most clearly on display during the debt ceiling fight in Congress, has taken a toll on Americans' view of the movement. Polls have been showing a drop in its approval, and a new AP/GfK poll shows that its unfavorable rating has seen a sharp rise. 46 percent of those surveyed said they have a negative view of the Tea Party movement, versus 28 who say they view it favorability.

The last time the AP conducted a national poll on Americans' favorability of Tea Partiers was in their pre-governing period: throughout 2010 the conservative movement was viewed slightly unfavorably but the splits were close. In June of 2010 it even earned a positive rating, with 33 percent of over 1,000 adults surveyed finding the movement favorable against 30 percent. In the last AP rating, taken Nov. 3-8, 2010, directly after the 2010 election, the split stood at a slim negative rating of 32 percent favorable against 36 unfavorable.

But can "unpopularity" really stop them? Remember when Sharrrrrrrrrrrrrron was pummeled for this?

She herself didn't win here in Nevada, but her "ideas" masquerading as "change" most certainly did win in other parts of the country. Look at how much President Obama and Congress have had to give in to them, and look at what we're getting in return. Economic recovery has been anemic at best, and the still jobless aren't seeing any of it. And when the American people are demanding job creation the most, all we're seeing out of Congress now is endless partisan brinksmanship and attacks on bedrocks of American society, such as Social Security and Medicare, that working class families need the most right now.

And of course, the Republican Presidential Candidates are tossing out all this teabagger nonsense as red meat to an increasingly radical and extreme "base". Watch Rick Perry call Social Security a "ponzi scheme" and a "lie".

How is this different from what Sharrrrrrrrrrrrrrrron said?

For Republicans, extremism has become "the new mainstream". Here in Nevada last year, a slew of powerful Nevada Republicans ran away from Angle as fast as they could. Yet other than a few traditional Republicans like Ben Bernanke chiding their extremism, Rick Perry and his ideological soulmates in Congress are seeing more and more love from that radical "base". And despite what all the rest of us think about their crashing and burning of government, they don't care as long as the teabaggers love it and "Tea Party, Inc." keeps pumping the dirty corporate money into their campaigns.

I saw this for myself last weekend. My Congressman refuses to meet with us, his own constituents, because we're not contributing to his campaign and the Republican Party (even though we pay his and his staffers' salaries!).

And that's why we can't be complacent at all. Public outrage clearly isn't enough to defeat these extremists. They'll probably just buy even more TV and radio air time to try to brainwash voters again "tell their side of the story". Sharron Angle may not be in Congress herself, but her radical ideology is increasingly becoming the policies being debated and implemented in federal government now. If we don't like this, then we have to stop electing her ideological kindred spirits.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Pay-Per-View Congress" Comes to Nevada

@LauraKMM @RepJoeHeck won't meet us outside. It's o... on Twitpic

@RepJoeHeck is hiding from his constituents in #Henderson #Ve... on Twitpic

Yet again, the person who claims to be my member of Congress won't get anywhere near me... Nor any of his other constituents who can't pay Republican clubs to ask him questions. Oh yes, that's right. "Pay-Per-View Congress" has come to Nevada with a vengeance, and we have Joe Heck to thank for that!

Don't believe me? Go to 4:32 on this video.

Oh yes, he did it again. And not only that, but his new "human shields" in the Sun City Anthem Republican Club actually called the police on us! Again, see for yourself. And pay close attention at 5:35.

Believe it or not, Henderson Police actually had to calm down the SCA Republicans who were outside trying to pick a fight and get us arrested. Now take a look at the videos again. And look at the photos here. Were the protesters threatening anyone? Were any of them being violent? Google "tea party violence", then compare and contrast the "tea party" preferred course of action with what we've been doing.

No, really. Look at who stood outside today.

We know @RepJoeHeck won't meet with constituents who can... on Twitpic

While @RepJoeHeck hid from constituents, they were asking why... on Twitpic

These are who @RepJoeHeck is afraid of meeting. #nvhouse #NV0... on Twitpic

Why is Joe Heck afraid of his own constituents? Is he afraid we'll ask him why he's done nothing to bring jobs to Nevada? Is he afraid we'll ask if his campaign contributions from Arch Coal, Exxon Mobil, and Koch Industries have anything to do with Heck voting against renewable energy development that can create badly needed jobs here in Nevada? Is he afraid we'll ask why he likens Social Security to a "pyramid scheme" and keeps voting to dismantle the Medicare that seniors and disabled people in this district desperately need? Is he afraid of anyone asking him who he really serves in Congress?

What's the point of electing a local representative to The US House of Representative if that person refuses to answer any questions from any local constituents who can't give him campaign donations or contribute to the Republican Party? What was the whole point of last year's election if we don't have anyone representing us? Eventually, Joe Heck will have to face "we the people" again and answer some questions... Unless he's already prepared to concede his reelection campaign!

And before I forget, I need to point this out one more time. When a Member of Congress directs his Congressional Office that's funded by us the taxpayers to promote an upcoming event as a "town hall open to the public", that means members of the public should be allowed in. But when that same member keeps hosting these "town halls" at private facilities paid for by private entities that then block the public from seeing our Member of Congress, at the very least it's a very dirty and unethical practice. We Nevadans really deserve better than this.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

NV-02: Republicans Eating Their Own?

Oh, jeez. Now Beltway Republicans notice they have a problem here in Nevada.

When the leaders of the Nevada state Republican Party picked their recent state party chairman as the GOP candidate to represent NV-02 in the U.S. House, they thought they had saved the seat for Republicans. But the latest polling suggests that the party’s nominee could be in real trouble.

After Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., accepted an appointment to the U.S. Senate to replace resigning Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., the Nevada Secretary of State declared an open ballot election (meaning there would be no primary) to replace Heller, but the state GOP changed the process via lawsuit. Mark Amodei, who resigned as state GOP chair to run for Congress, received the nomination after he won a huge majority of votes in a closed process held by the party's state GOP central committee. The committee not only had the power to vote for the candidates, but to choose who qualified as a contender. Shifting the nominating power from the electorate to the party leadership precipitated former U.S. Senate nominee Sharron Angle's withdrawal from the race.

When Amodei won the party nomination, he promised the state central committee, "I will do my level best to make your decision here today look like a smart one." Now three weeks out from Election Day, Amodei looks vulnerable.

Daily Kos/Public Policy Polling (PPP), a Democrat-leaning firm, released a survey showing Republican nominee and former state party chairman Mark Amodei clinging to a bare one point lead over his opponent, State Treasurer Kate Marshall, D-Nev., in the race to represent Nevada's 2nd district in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the other hand, a Republican-leaning firm, Magellan, showed Amodei with a 48-35 lead. But PPP has polled very accurately this year around the country, especially in the recent Wisconsin Recalls. PPP’s tighter poll results correspond with July fund-raising reports that showed Amodei losing the money war by almost 2-1.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has closed the funding gap by spending heavily on Amodei's behalf. The NRCC's decision to intervene in this race suggests that national GOP leadership thinks Amodei could lose without significant help.

Yikes! Are they already turning on one of their own? Another piece by the same author rips into Amodei for flip-flopping on Paul Ryan's Kill Medicare Plan. And Ralston seemed to be hating on everyone early this morning.

So why is there so much concern? Well, most observers are expecting a low turnout election. And in a special election with low turnout, almost anything can happen.

Early voting starts this weekend, and mail in ballots are already being sent back at this moment. And the PPP poll was done last weekend. No wonder why DC Republicans are panicking.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NV-02: While Amodei Two Steps With "Tea Party", Nevadans Need Real Solutions

(Also at The Nevada View & Daily Kos)

Yesterday, Republicans were already taking out the "Mission Accomplished" sign and declaring victory. They were proclaiming a shoddy "poll" paid by a shadowy "tea party" outfit that couldn't even refer to Kate Marshall by her correct name as "proof" that they're on track to win.

Some of the readers of the Reno Gazette-Journal have contacted me to say that reports of last week’s poll on the special election for the open seat in the 2nd Congressional District are bogus.

It showed that Republican Mark Amodei has a 13-point lead over Democrat Kate Marshall with three weeks to go until the Sept 13 election. It would be almost an insurmountable lead, with so little time remaining.

Yet three readers sent e-mails last Friday after the story appeared, saying Marshall was referred to by another name during the robo polling sponsored by Americans For Prosperity, considered a conservative group with Republican leanings.

"I was contacted by the poll to which you refer in your article today," Kathleen Fogarty wrote last week. "Kate Marshall’s name was not even offered as a candidate. Instead, they listed Kate Jackson as a candidate. I would have voted for Marshall, but when her name was not offered I just hung up. I did listen to the message twice though before I hung up to make sure I heard it correctly."

So now that PPP is about to release a real shocker of a poll showing a statistical tie, Mark Amodei and his teabagger buddies are freaking out. He told Jon Ralston last night that he's "a solutions guy"... And apparently that means voting against one's own legislation and voting contrary to what one indicated just weeks ago! You have to see last night's "Face to Face" debate moderated by Jon Ralston to believe it!

As I was saying last week, Amodei is trying to have it both ways on Paul Ryan's plan to kill Medicare and attack the middle class. Just pay attention to Amodei's own words!

• “I need to cozy up to Paul Ryan and give him whatever support he needs.” – Mark Amodei, on Paul Ryan (Las Vegas Sun, Jul. 14, 2011)

• “I like a lot of what he [Rep. Paul Ryan] has to say in terms of Medicare, I think that’s excellent.” (Republican Congressional District 2 debate, Jun. 15, 2011)

• The Las Vegas Sun reported, “Amodei has embraced Ryan’s plan” (Las Vegas Sun, Jul. 14, 2011)

• Amodei praised the Ryan blueprint. “I like a lot of what he has to say in terms of Medicare. I think that’s excellent.” (Politico, Jun. 20, 2011)

Does this sound like someone who would have voted "Nay" on Ryan's plan? Amodei continues to lie about what he really stands for. No wonder why his poll numbers are crashing.

Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos & SEIU (8/18-21, likely voters, no trendlines):

Kate Marshall (D): 42
Mark Amodei (R): 43
Timothy Fasano (AI): 3
Helmuth Lehmann (I): 3
Undecided: 8
(MoE: ±4%)

Now contrast that with what Kate Marshall has been doing this summer.

@KateMarshallNV actually answered real ?s from real Nevadans.... on Twitpic

@KateMarshallNV meeting w/ Southern Nevadans in #Henderson to... on Twitpic

She was here last weekend to talk to voters. She did house parties in Henderson and addressed everything from Medicare to the military. You don't have to read her issue statements and second guess them.

And on Sunday, I was out canvassing in the North Las Vegas section of the district. Believe it or not, NV-02 actually comes this far south. And believe it or not, voters in the neighborhood I walked with a group of friends on Sunday (including one who actually lives right there) are not used to being engaged in this kind of conversation and actually being asked for their votes.

People here had questions about job creation, Medicare, renewable energy, foreclosures and much more. They know people out of work, and they saw their neighbors being foreclosed out of their homes. They didn't have time for double-speak. They didn't have time for politics as usual. And they really didn't have time for someone who wanted to "get cozy" with Paul Ryan's agenda of attacking the middle class.

Unlike her opponent, Kate Marshall has always put the middle class first.

Kate Marshall is well known in Nevada, and well liked. She’s won two statewide elections here. She has a solid chance to win this election, particularly given the extreme positions of her opponent. Even though it’s a conservative district, CD2 doesn’t necessarily like fringe ideologues like Mark Amodei.

Kate Marshall is a prudent thinker. She has always maximized the use of our tax dollars as Nevada’s State Treasurer. She led the way to save the Millennium Scholarship. She has reinvested Nevada’s state budget giving us larger returns. [...]

Kate Marshall wouldn’t put our economy, our credit rating, the value of the dollar and the entire global economy at risk by voting against raising the debt ceiling. Mark Amodei has made it clear he would. Apparently he doesn’t care if our economy plummets and we all lose our jobs. He’s an ideologue.

Kate Marshall will shake things up in Washington, putting Congress back to work for us. She’ll be a budget hawk, but she won’t destroy the very things that have made America great. She’ll guard Medicare and Social Security, which Mark Amodei wants to slash and burn. She’ll fight for you and your children’s education opportunities.

Mark Amodei may have loaded "tea party" friends tossing out bogus "polls" and paying for multi-million dollar disinformation campaigns, but they're learning the hard way they can't just buy this election for him. We the people still matter. We need real solutions coming out of Congress right now, and Kate Marshall actually wants to get working on that.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Coming This Week...

I have some personal issues coming up today that I need to take care of. But later this week, I'll have more NV-02 updates, an update on the big issue in Henderson this summer, and more.

So don't worry, I'll be back soon.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

NV-02: Kate Marshall Unplugged

Yesterday, Southern Nevada actually had a chance to meet a Congressional candidate. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal. We see campaigns come and go all the time... Except for those who live in the 2nd Congressional District. Unfortunately because the last round of redistricting led to so much gross gerrymandering, NV-02 was redrawn in 2001 to dip into Clark County neighborhoods as far apart as Primm, Anthem Highlands, The Northeast Valley, and Mesquite. So all too often in the last decade, they've been lost in the shuffle as no one really bothered to pay attention to them...

Until now.

Kate Marshall is running in the NV-02 special election to fill this seat vacated by Dean Heller when Brian Sandoval appointed him to the US Senate. And yesterday, Kate actually came here to Clark County to meet with voters. She did a free "meet & greet" in Sun City Anthem in Henderson, then came down to Green Valley (also in Henderson) for a low-dollar grassroots fundraiser.

I was at the low-dollar grassroots fundraiser yesterday (since my neighbor who lives across the wash & golf course from me hosted it!), and I took some video from the Q&A session. If you're as much of a policy wonk as I am, you'll enjoy these next 24 minutes.

And if not, here's a quick summary:

Afghanistan- Kate favors bringing our troops home, but only as long as the military commanders on the ground approve of the timeline and no troops are put in danger.

Social Security & Medicare- Kate made it crystal clear yesterday that she opposes ANY effort to cut either program or do anything else to harm seniors' health care.

Climate Change- Kate favors comprehensive climate legislation and aggressive green jobs programs to get Nevada working again, and she would like to see more legislation to allow for reasonable renewable energy development on available public lands.

Wall Street- Kate said she would like to see prosecutions of those whose misdeeds contributed to the 2008 crash.

Budget- Kate described how she's worked to balance her budget in the Nevada Treasurer's office and exclaimed she isn't afraid to look for wasteful spending and strip it out. However she also said "across the board" cuts should be off the table, as it would not be fair or smart to slash public education, Medicaid, or other vitally needed services.

Immigration- Kate supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes smart border security and dealing fairly with the undocumented already here.

And there's even more in the video if you'd like to watch. And if you'd like to help us win here, please sign up to volunteer. Thanks!

Friday, August 19, 2011

NV-02: Mark Amodei Embraces John Boehner & Paul Ryan

(Also at Daily Kos)

Mark Amodei is getting some powerful Republican assistance on the campaign trail today: House Speaker John Boehner, the nation’s top-ranking member of the GOP, is coming to Reno.

It’s primarily a fundraising trip. Boehner is speaking at a $5,000 and $10,000 per-head breakfast for Amodei. Boehner won’t attend any public events as he did for Jane Corwin in New York’s 26th in May — the last closely contested special election, which Republicans lost in an upset.

Yep, "The Boner" is coming here to Nevada. And while The Sun article points toward differences on the debt ceiling debacle, it doesn't mention how Amodei neatly fits into the extreme teabagger agenda Boehner has allowed to wreak havoc on Congress and the entire country. And it doesn't go in depth to point out why John Boehner is coming to Nevada to fundraise for Mark Amodei.

Amodei is trying hard to create "nuance" and avoid "yes and no issues"...

But his call for "change" sounds eerily familiar.

Paul Ryan, where are you?

Apparently John Boehner is begging Paul Ryan to run for President. He's elevated Ryan and his extreme agenda to the forefront of the Congressional agenda, even taking hostage the full faith & credit of the US Treasury to try to force Ryan's radical attacks on America's middle class down our throats! And remember, Mark Amodei supported Ryan all the way. Amodei will keep distracting in hopes of making us forget his own words, so it's important to keep this in mind when Amodei talks of what he will do for Nevada in Congress.

It's becoming increasingly clear whose agenda Mark Amodei will push. It certainly isn't the one of working class Nevadans.

"You have to go where the money is... And that means entitlement programs."

That's what Mark Amodei aims to do. He'll do whatever he can to please GOP leadership despite him knowing what their plans would do to harm Nevada's working families. Amodei has made it clear to teabaggers that he's ready to go along with Boehner and Ryan in killing Medicare, even if he tells non-teabagger audiences a different story.

Don't be fooled by Amodei's slick twists of words and proclamations that he's "not a yes or no kind of guy". Let him speak for himself. And his words are on record.

National Republicans are scared because this has suddenly developed into a hotly contested race. And they're scared because Kate Marshall is giving him the fight of his life.

“I'll fight to preserve Social Security and Medicare because we need a balanced budget,” said Marshall, Nevada's current state treasurer. “We can't do that on the backs of our seniors.” [...]

Marshall, meanwhile, has focused on Amodei's support for a Republican budget that calls for privatizing Medicare.

While he has praised the budget pushed by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and approved by the Republican-led House, Amodei has also questioned the Medicare component, and vowed to protect senior citizens. Amodei, however, has said he would consider increasing the Medicare eligibility age to 67.

Marshall has said she would not support any plan to raise the Medicare eligibility age.

Kate Marshall now needs all the help we can give. Election Day is less than a month away, and early voting will begin next weekend. If we don't want to see more of John Boehner's political games and Paul Ryan's extreme ideology, then we just can't send Mark Amodei to Congress.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Water War: Thirsty for Growth in Las Vegas? Or Parched to Death in Snake Valley?

(Also at Daily Kos)

Earlier this week, Henderson's Convention Center was host to the latest battle in the ongoing war for rural Nevada and Utah water. And while the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) got some high profile support at the BLM (federal Bureau of Land Management) hearing in Henderson this week (even if they were still outnumbered 4:1 by opponents), the angry tongue lashings against SNWA's water grab were much more unanimous at the BLM hearing in Ely last week. And in Elko, some high profile opposition hammered at the water grab proposal.

Elko County Commissioner Warren Russell said groundwater pumping will “create real desert areas,” and he called the proposed pipeline “a big sucking monster moving north.”

He also testified he is concerned about the attitude that the water authority could start the drawdown and “see what’s happening” in terms of impacts.

Yvonne Prescott, who grew up in Lincoln County, said the proposed pipeline would have a drastic impact on White Pine and Lincoln counties, and the water drawdown will create a dust bowl.

She also said the counties wouldn’t reap economic benefits because most construction workers would come from Clark County, and neither Lincoln or White Pine has housing for workers.

“I see all negatives for the people, animals and the land,” Prescott said.

Former Assemblyman John Carpenter of Elko testified he has had a lot of time to study the proposal over the years, “and the more you look at it, the less desirable it is.” He also questioned whether the water would at some point come from Elko County.

Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea (R-Eureka) even rose to speak of his concern about pumping 175,000 acre feet of groundwater out of rural communities with no chance of recharge. He also asked why SNWA isn't asking California for a pipeline to desalination plants, but the increasing controversy over ocean desalination probably makes that just as difficult for them. So we're back at Square One. To pipe or not to pipe? That is the $3.5 billion question.

And if that isn't bad enough for SNWA, Utahns are also balking at the proposed pipeline.

Among the 30 participants in the public hearing was Randy Parker, CEO, Utah Farm Bureau.

Rupert Steele, a member of the Goshute Tribe, told BLM officials that the draft EIS does not address the recharge rates of the aquifers if 177,000 acre-feet is pumped out of them per year as proposed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

"Taking water resources away from its source should not be allowed," Steele said. "This will leave a sad legacy of environmental destruction."

Pumping water out of aquifers that feed Utah’s west desert will lead to increased air pollution along the Wasatch Front, said Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon.

"Groundwater drawdown can generate dust and pollution," he said. "We already live in a non-attainment area in Salt Lake County. The federal government has already told us our air is not clean enough."

The BLM’s draft EIS estimates the pumping project would add 24,122 tons of windblown dust a year into the air during the project’s first 75 years.

The draft EIS also estimates that groundwater discharges to surface evaporation and transpiration by plants would be reduced by 28 percent in Snake Valley during the first 75 years of the project.

But [Steve Erickson, of the Great Basin Water Network] said he believes the draft EIS underestimates the impacts of the 306-mile pipeline project that Southern Nevada Water Authority says will cost some $3.5 billion.

Farmers and ranchers in Eastern Nevada and Western Utah depend on their local groundwater supplies to survive. So do hunters and wildlife. So do local Native American tribes. The stakes can't be any higher, and neither can the emotions on both sides.

Rural farmers and suburban Utahns direct their rage toward Pat Mulroy and her plans to steal their water, while Mulroy directs her rage right back at them for wasting so much water in the desert.

SNWA claims this is only about our survival. After all, Las Vegas is right in the heart of the Mojave Desert. Clark County will very soon have 2,000,000 people living here, and even as future growth is expected to slow, we'll still need water to survive. So how can we get the water?

SNWA - WATER ESCORT from Kurt Rauf on Vimeo.

SNWA has succeeded at dramatically transforming Clark County from a "water junkie" to a mecca of conservation. After levels sunk dramatically in the last decade, Lake Mead is actually rising again after a good rain/snow season and the release of excess Lake Powell water. And renegotiations over Colorado River water are bound to happen soon.

So why is there "need" for this pipeline to rural Eastern Nevada and Western Utah? That's what many are asking, and Pat Mulroy continues to insist that Lake Mead and conservation are not enough. She demands that we prepare for the possible instead of hoping for the probable.

Colorado River Drought Spurs Seven State Pact by FORAtv

So is she right? The BLM environmental impact study (EIS) now up for review casts doubt on Mulroy's much desired pipeline, and rural Nevadans and Utahns point to it as vindication for their hard stance against the water grab.

Meanwhile, opponents are quietly content over a draft environmental impact statement finally released by the bureau in June, after six years of input from the Water Authority, residents, tribes and a litany of federal agencies.

The prose is turgid and reserved, but the environmental conclusions are often stark:

• “... likely result in windblown dust emissions due to drying of hydric soils and loss or reduction of basin shrubland vegetation.” People in Utah, downwind, are particularly alarmed by this prospect.

• “... risk of subsidence of the ground surface as a result of the withdrawal of the groundwater.” This means the pumping could cause the ground to sink several feet over hundreds of square miles, causing buildings, transmission lines and roads to be structurally unstable.

• “... risk of invasion by invasive ... species.”

• The pumping could affect surface water, such as ponds, lakes and streams, which would obviously adversely affect the species that rely on that water for drinking, foraging, breeding.

• “Drawdown poses long-term risks to the agricultural sector in the rural areas...”

Great Basin Water Network, Center for Biological Diversity, National Parks Conservation Association, and others are fighting hard against SNWA's pipeline. And perhaps for the first time ever, they finally seem to be gaining the upper hand. But how long will it last? And will Pat Mulroy and SNWA go down without one last brutal battle?

And is this really the end of it? I doubt it. As climate change worsens and drought conditions reappear throughout America, expect The Water War to get uglier.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Must We Trash Tahoe Forever?

(Also at Daily Kos)

All may seem to be well at Lake Tahoe, but it really isn't. That seemed to be the underlying theme of this year's Lake Tahoe Summit. While there was plenty of pomp and circumstance surrounding Governors Jerry Brown (D-California) and Brian Sandoval (R-Nevada) signing a 65 year pact to improve clarity, the smiles couldn't be kept for very long.

The pact to reduce pollution to the lake comes as the effort between California and Nevada to control development at the lake is threatened by a new law in Nevada that requires an easing of the threshold to approve new projects. [...]

Before signing the agreement, [Jerry] Brown and [...] Brian Sandoval [...] held meetings for two days at Lake Tahoe and said Tuesday they would visit each other's state capitol to talk with lawmakers about how California and Nevada will work together.

The cooperative relationship is threatened by a bill signed into law by Sandoval this year that would withdraw Nevada from the bistate Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, which has overseen development at the lake since 1969, unless the compact governing the agency is amended to make it easier for members of one state to approve new development projects. Such a change would have to be approved by both the California Legislature and Congress.

And if that weren't bad enough, "austerity gone wild" on the federal level may make matters even worse for Tahoe.

Few have done more to try to protect Lake Tahoe than [Senator Dianne] Feinstein [D-CA], a co-author of the 2000 law that has brought more than $450 million in federal money to Lake Tahoe for environmental restoration over the past decade. She introduced a similar bill earlier this year – seeking $415 million over the next decade – but is not hopeful it will succeed.

"I don't think I can get the money," she said Monday at an inaugural fundraising dinner for the Tahoe Fund. The new nonprofit group formed last year to raise private money for collaborative restoration projects.

"That's the bad news," she said. "That's where the private sector has to come in."

Feinstein and her husband, Richard Blum, are contributors themselves. On Monday, she announced they would give $50,000 – a sum quickly matched by two other donors from Nevada. In all, about $200,000 was raised.

Scientists believe more stable water conditions created by climate change have led to an aquatic explosion of tiny diatom-algae cells that scatter light, reducing clarity.

They also said the algae growth is likely to be temporary and that erosion-control efforts remain critical. UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center said in its report, "Tahoe: State of the Lake Report 2011": "There is every reason to believe that if it were not for the decades of watershed management and water quality restoration projects, the lake's transparency would be worse than it is today."

Is this what we've come to? Lake Tahoe is one of the greatest natural treasures in the world...

And it's being threatened because the feds won't live up to their end of the deal while Nevada is threatening to rip the entire deal to shreds? And all of this is happening as Lake Tahoe clarity is dropping toward record lows and climate change may muddy the waters some more!

Sometimes, I have to ponder our ability to take so much of this planet for granted. For those of us living in The West, it's easy to picture an idyllic summer at a pristine Tahoe beach... Or perhaps an equally wondrous winter skiing the majestic slopes overlooking the crystal clear lake. Now imagine all of that gone. And imagine this being replaced by yet another toxic dump surrounded by endless tract house subdivisions and strip malls. And before you think it's "impossible", remember what's already happening to the Truckee River in Reno... And look at what's at stake at Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas now!

Obviously, the trashing of the Truckee River up north and the constant threats to Red Rock Canyon down south didn't start overnight. It took years of mismanagement and ignoring of pleas for more sustainable stewardship. Oh yes, and it didn't help that overly ambitious real estate developers were eager to "build, baby, build"... Until it became "bust, baby, bust" as "The Real Estate Bubble" burst and The Great Recession began. Now, Reno and Las Vegas are left with half-baked "master-planned communities" surrounded by nowhere and the yucky side effects of overdevelopment.

However, this doesn't have to be the case in Lake Tahoe. Tahoe has had the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of Reno and Vegas, and Jerry Brown & California legislators now have a chance to avoid the mistake made by Nevada in threatening to blow up the regulatory safeguards needed to preserve Lake Tahoe.

And Congress has the opportunity to do its part to improve the health and well being of Tahoe by passing the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act that Dianne Feinstein and Harry Reid have introduced to continue efforts to improve the clarity of the lake and the health of the surrounding forests.

We don't have to lose Tahoe. We don't have to corrupt this jewel any further and risk destroying it forever. But if we don't act, we'll cede our opportunity to save Lake Tahoe.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Caucus 2012: Nevada Republicans Don't Need No Stinkin' "Organizing"

So yet again, the Nevada GOP just can't catch a lucky break. For all their talk of "revving up operations", they still seem to be generating the enthusiasm reserved for things like wet blankets.

As one Nevada operative put it, the Silver State has emerged as an “ugly stepchild” of sorts in the presidential primary so far, with the traditional early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina hogging all spotlight. Nevada is scheduled to hold the third primary contest next year after Iowa and New Hampshire.

Compared with Democrats’ caucuses four years ago, Republicans are far behind in fundraising, voter outreach, campaign visits, staffing and party organization — a signal that the GOP caucuses could be a bust.

Working against Nevada Republicans is the absence of a Harry Reid-like figure drawing national attention and donations to the state, a major factor in Democrats’ success four years ago. They also don’t have a built-in organizing force such as labor unions, which also drove caucus attendance for Democrats four years ago.

And although the party is looking to contract with a firm that has experience organizing the Iowa caucuses, it has yet to hire a caucus director or raise enough money to hire such a firm.

Of course, the usual suspects are claiming they don't need organizing. After all, Barack Obama was a community organizer, so organizing must be evil and "LIB'RUL!!!" Rather, they're counting on "momentum"... You know, "momentum" of the Sharrontology variety. And now, it looks like that's exactly what they'll be getting.

Even prominent DC Republicans are freaking out over Rick Perry and his dangerously radical platform that includes abolishing Medicare & Social Security, as well as bankrupting the entire federal government!

Rick & Sharrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrron, sitting in a tree...

And Nevada Republicans really think a Rick Perry vs. Mitt Romney caucus contest will be so great for them? Okey dokey. And I have some land on Las Vegas Boulevard South that I want to sell to them.

Monday, August 15, 2011

NV-02: Mediscared

(Also at Daily Kos)

Who knew this would yet again be THE hot button issue in yet another special Congressional election? It all seems to be coming down to Medicare, Medicare, & Medicare.

In [the NY-26 special election], Democrat Kathy Hochul went up early and hard against her Republican opponent, accusing her of seeking to kill Medicare because she supported Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. It took weeks for Republican Jane Corwin to respond.

When Hochul won the heavily GOP district, the Republicans-want-to-kill-Medicare message quickly became a national strategy, and Democrats posited that by using it they could take back the House.

Marshall has followed that playbook, focusing two of her three attack ads on Amodei’s evolving position on Ryan’s plan to revamp Medicare.

But neither national Republicans nor Amodei are letting the attacks go unchallenged. An Amodei TV ad features his mother and accuses Marshall of lying about his record.

This is what has Mark Amodei freaking out.

In addition to pushing the national momentum on Medicare, Marshall’s campaign thinks Amodei is vulnerable on the issue. The district is home to many seniors.

Early in the campaign, Amodei called Ryan’s proposal a good starting point. When he was working to get the Republican central committee’s nomination, he said he would “cozy up” to Ryan to get his plan passed.

A local Reno news station tried to debunk Mark Amodei's misleading ads...

But honestly, even KTVN got some facts wrong! For instance, the "Medicare cuts" that Amodei claims Marshall supports, and that KTVN claims were passed as part of the Affordable Care Act last year, are really provisions ensuring that Medicare funds are redirected to better patient care instead of being wasted on insurance industry profits (aka "Medicare Advantage") and other forms of waste & abuse. In addition, the Affordable Care Act actually improves Medicare coverage by lowering prescription drug costs and providing free preventive care!

This is what President Obama and the Democratic 111th Congress did to strengthen and improve health care for seniors.

Now contrast this with what House Republicans have been pushing for.

And Mark Amodei most definitely supports Paul Ryan's GOP-teabagger plan to kill Medicare. And despite what Amodei claims, the fact of the matter is that "The Paul Ryan Kill Medicare Plan" that he supported will indeed affect seniors currently on Medicare.

Amodei can spin all he wants, but the facts are simply not on his or Paul Ryan's side.

That’s not how Ryan’s plan works. For one thing, it eliminates traditional fee-for-service Medicare. For another, Its savings come from capping the growth of federal spending at inflation — which is much, much, much slower than the rate of health-care cost growth. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that, in 2022, Ryan’s plan would have a typical beneficiary shouldering 61 percent of the cost of a standard plan, and by 2030, because the government would limit its contributions, they’d be paying 68 percent. [... I]t’s absolutely central to how the Ryan budget saves money. It’s the core of his proposal.

And considering this along with Ryan's and Congressional Republicans' increasingly ugly poll numbers, no wonder why Amodei is so scared that he's trying his hardest to run away from his support for "Ryancare". He can run, but can he really hide? Not if we don't let him!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Is This Why Heck Is Running Scared?

Apparently, Congressional Republicans are really feeling the heat in the first town hall meetings since Congress broke for August Recess. Here's what happened next door in Arizona...

And take a look at what happened in Nebraska.

At a town hall meeting yesterday, Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) became the latest Republican member of Congress to face a backlash over the GOP’s intransigence against raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. As the Lincoln Journal Star reported, “many of the loudest voices and waving fingers urged Johanns to include tax increases — particularly applied to the wealthiest Americans — as part of the solution to debt reduction“:

“The wealthy just hoard the cash.”

“The old tax rates worked well for the economy under Clinton.”

“Quit listening to the scare tactics, all the crap in the media.”

Jennifer Wendelin, who waited to be recognized by Johanns before voicing her opinion, said additional revenue has to be part of the debt reduction solution along with spending cuts.

“Big corporations and the rich have to pay their fair share,” she said after the meeting had concluded. “If we have to bite the bullet, they do, too.

“We can’t be forced to shoulder the entire burden,” she said.

And all this happened after Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Illinois) was caught off guard when constituents were asking why we can't "tax the rich".

So perhaps this is why Joe Heck didn't want constituents at his oil industry backed event "open to the public" on Tuesday? Maybe this explains it?

Republicans are facing a growing backlash over oil subsidies. Not only have top lawmakers faced angry constituents and questions from the press, but even Tea Party activists have called for the GOP to stop giving so much taxpayer money to multinational oil companies.

A few Republican lawmakers, like Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), have called for an end to oil subsidies, as well as all other energy subsidies.

Well, this would explain why Joe Heck doesn't like having cameras at his town halls. Can it also explain why he doesn't actually want to do any town halls that are actually open and accessible to the public? I mean, it's so much easier to just have Big Oil's publicity team write the local "newspaper" story of what happened than allow real discussion with real working class constituents.

Heck voted twice to (mis)use our tax dollars to subsidize Big Oil!

So now you have it. While Joe Heck keeps voting for "shared sacrifice" that just seems to call on working families to sacrifice what they can't afford, he keeps giving away our tax dollars to the fossil fuel industry.

Maybe this is why Heck is running scared?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Programming Note: More Fun with Congress in Recess

As Congress is in recess, we'll keep holding their feet to the fire this weekend. Expect some more deets on what really happened at Joe Heck's "open to the public event" this week, an update on the NV-02 special election, and perhaps even a glance at what's happening in the Senate race.

Without a doubt, we'll have a full docket of elections waiting for us next year!

How Obama's Campaign Manager Answered My Question

A couple friends invited me to meet this guy last night.

Yep, that's Jim Messina, the Obama for America 2012 campaign manager.

And here's the crowd that greeted him last night at OFA Nevada's Las Vegas headquarters.

Full house @OFA_NV last night for very special event #nvp2 #2012 on Twitpic

"Enthusiasm gap" ain't going in this direction... on Twitpic

@BarackObama campaign manager Jim Messina met w/ @OFA_NV @NVD... on Twitpic

Apparently we've become famous in DC for defying "conventional wisdom" in what Messina referred to as "The Nevada Miracle", but what we just call reelecting Harry Reid and rejecting teabagger crazy. So it made sense for him to come here and hear from us about how "The Nevada Miracle" can lead to Barack Obama's reelection.

Short answer: It won't be easy.

Voters are angry, and many just seem to be angry at everyone in Washington. Economists are worried about the recent debt deal making a "double dip recession" more of a possibility as the federal government potentially removes critical investment that our economy actually needs more than ever right now. In short, the country is looking awfully messy right now and folks are asking if President Obama really "gets this".

Does he? I asked Jim Messina last night about the state of the economy and what Obama's response to it will be. And I wasn't the only one asking. But before I left, I wanted to hear how the Obama campaign will tackle the #1 issue in America today... And boy did I get the answer!

Here it is. No really, click on that link. And click here. And remember this.

[Rachel] Maddow discussed how historic the past two years have been, “If the Senate ratifies the START treaty tomorrow it caps an astonishing period in American political history. For the last two years, Democrats have held the White House as well as big majorities in the House and Senate. The record of achievement in that time, even in the face of unified at times totally random republican opposition, Republican opposition even to things Republicans had proposed in the first place, unified Republican opposition to their own ideas? Their track record even in the face of that is historic. Whether you agree or disagree with what Democrats have done in the first two years of President Obama’s presidency, they have freaking done it.”

She listed all the accomplishments, “The fair pay act for women, expanding children’s health insurance, new hate crimes legislation they said could not be done, tobacco regulation, credit card reform, student loan reform, the stimulus — which in addition to helping pull this country back from the brink of a great depression, was also the largest tax cut ever, the largest investment in clean energy ever, the largest investment in education in our country ever. There was also a little thing you may have heard of called health reform. Also, Wall Street reform, the improvements to the new G.I. Bill, the most expansive food SAFETY BILL SINCE THE 1930s. And tomorrow, President Obama will officially sign a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Later Rachel Maddow delivered the kicker, “There are big things this administration said that it wanted to do that it hasn’t done yet. Energy reform, immigration reform, the bush tax cuts for the rich were extended, closing Guantanamo. Those are some of them. Today it looked like one of the important judicial nominees will not get a vote to become a judge this year. There is territory the White House has said it would like to cover that it has not yet covered. By my estimation it is halftime, right, in the first term and with this vote tomorrow they will have gone 85% of the distance they said they wanted to go in the first term of the president.”

If you would have told policy people and political scientists two years ago that halfway through his term in office, Barack Obama will have accomplished 85% of his agenda, they would have laughed at you and told you how impossible that would be given the amount of polarization in our legislative process. If you would go on to tell them that after one year Obama would lose his 60 vote majority in the Senate, and would still pass major legislation the experts would have told you to seek mental help, but this is exactly what President Obama has accomplished.

What Obama has managed to achieve has not been seen in this country since FDR and the New Deal, and on a smaller level LBJ after President Kennedy was assassinated. The past two years have been historic, yet a small vocal minority of Obama’s base is upset with this president and the nation as a whole tends to give him little credit for what he has done.

All too often, we focus on what Obama has not accomplished yet, or on what Obama compromised with Republicans to get passed. And yes, it's real. And yes, as we're seeing with the most recent debt deal, it can be disconcerting. However, we shouldn't forget why this happens: Our government wasn't designed for speedy, revolutionary change, so it obviously wasn't easy to start undoing 40 years worth of radical right policies in just 2 years!

And really, we don't always remember the historic scope of every Democratic accomplishment and every Obama success earned in 2009 and 2010. Every previous Administration that tried universal health care, from Truman to Nixon to Clinton, failed on a colossal scale. No President since Johnson has been successful in pushing "big things" at the federal level, such as the Recovery Act, until this one arrived.

Last night, Messina acknowledged that this may be their biggest challenge going forward. So much really has been accomplished by the Obama Administration, but will the American people really care? And why should they care when the unemployment rate is still over 9%, people are still losing their homes to foreclosure, and three wars are still being waged abroad while Congress breaks for recess after debating whether or not to end Social Security & Medicare as we know it?

He then said that elections are not about the past, but about the future. And he said Obama wants to push for more job creation. OK, so how?

Here comes the infrastructure bank. It looks like this is the idea that's getting the most traction, and at least this would move us back in the right direction of investing in our economy to create jobs. And even though it may not pass The House any time soon, Jan Schakowsky's jobs bill is EXACTLY what we need right now, and hopefully President Obama is willing to fight to at least get much of these good, solid ideas into whatever infrastructure bank proposal that actually lands at Congress' doorstep this fall.

And looking forward, Obama needs to reaffirm that our country really does still "do BIG things". That's what the American people are looking for, and perhaps that's why Obama's poll numbers are looking good nationally, and rebounding to healthy leads here in Nevada and in Colorado. Perhaps despite the differences and despite the occasional outbreaks of outrage & despair, Barack Obama can still lead us in doing big things by taking charge and pushing for real action to strengthen economic recovery.

And regardless of how enthusiastic or "meh" we're feeling about the Obama campaign right now, the truth of the matter is that we need him to perform strongly next year if we want to retake The House and boost our numbers in The Senate. We need for the Democratic ticket to perform well from top to bottom, and I'll be doing my part here in Nevada (again) to make it happen. Hell, I'm even starting with my own canvass on Saturday!

So was I completely satisfied by Jim Messina's answer to my question? If you read above, you can tell. So what am I doing about it? I'm ready to take action, and I'm ready to elect more and better progressive Democrats to make it happen.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NV-Sen: Georgiou's Gone

Well, at least I don't have to complain about endless mindless chatter about that campaign destined to go nowhere. At long last, we're all put out of that misery.

“I continue to believe that my background and experience well qualify me to serve in the Senate,” he said. “However, at this time, I have concluded that I can more effectively contribute to resolution of the serious economic issues facing our state and nation through my work in the private sector.”

[Byron] Georgiou, a Democrat, entered the U.S. Senate race early, shortly after concluding his service on a federal commission that investigated the collapse of the financial industry. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had appointed him to that panel.

But shortly after his announcement, Berkley decided to enter the race as well and Reid threw his full support behind her.

After Berkley’s entry in the race, Reid publicly criticized Georgiou, saying he regretted appointing him to the commission.

Georgiou, who had lent his campaign $1 million from his personal fortune, then encountered serious fundraising challenges, raising just $140,000 last quarter.

Still, Georgiou vowed to stay in the race, appearing uncowed by Reid’s roadblocks.

As recently as this month, Georgiou spoke of the possibility of running as a non-partisan candidate, which would have freed him from a primary against Berkley.

It's over. It's finally over. And I'm sure the recent PPP poll had a part in ending it.

NV-03: Who Does Heck REALLY Serve?

Oh, my. I guess yesterday's "event" with Joe Heck didn't quite go as planned.

What especially looks to be the problem at hand was the event Joe Heck attended. Was it private? Were protests allowed? Who was causing a scene?

Honestly, that's missing the point. Why is Joe Heck's event page completely empty? Why was a constituent who RSVPed to an event that was supposedly "open to the public" kicked out for wearing a "Beyond Coal" Sierra Club t-shirt? And why weren't local constituents allowed to ask questions of (supposedly) their member of Congress?

Seriously, something is wrong with this picture.

When did it suddenly become acceptable for a consulting firm working with the oil industry to shield an elected public servant from the voting public that he's supposed to serve?

After I wrote my first diary yesterday, I heard firsthand reports from a few people who made it inside. Now I understand why they didn't want more people inside. Heck said one of our energy problems is that "we can't utilize fracking to its full potential". So our energy solution lies in a dangerous practice going after a limited amount of natural gas? And how is that supposed to help us in Nevada?

And how on earth is the "clean coal" myth supposed to help? Apparently that was the other "bright idea" Heck threw out yesterday. There's no such thing as "clean coal", and America will do just fine without it.

So these are the "energy solutions" coming from Joe Heck? No wonder why his new dirty energy friends had their PR people kick citizens out of that "open to the public" meeting yesterday. What will fracking for natural gas or "clean coal" actually do for Nevada? Absolutely nothing.

On the other hand, we have great potential for renewable energy. Why wouldn't Heck address that yesterday? Was he afraid someone would ask why he pledged to oppose any climate legislation that could create more clean energy jobs here in Nevada?

So who does Joe Heck really serve? It doesn't sound like he's doing anything to help us in Nevada. Heck, he won't even listen to us!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

NV-03: Public Kicked Out of "Public Event" with Joe Heck

(Also at Daily Kos)

These are the ppl who were kicked out of "open meeting&q... on Twitpic

#WorkingClass #Nevada citizens got kicked out of "open m... on Twitpic

In 1st "public event" since #Congress went 2 recess... on Twitpic

Wow. So much for Joe Heck wanting to "meet with the public". In the first "public event" since Congress started August Recess, Joe Heck sat for a "discussion" with Nevada Energy Forum... Which is really part of American Petroleum Institute, which is really a front group that the oil industry uses to promote destructive extraction efforts and deny the reality of the climate crisis. Oh yes, "man of the people" Joe Heck took part in an oil industry funded event that turned away working people looking for answers. And not only that, but the organizers even kicked out someone who RSVPed simply because she wore a Sierra Club t-shirt. (And worse, she wasn't even taking in a sign or being confrontational at all!)

So our Congressman is cozying up to Big Oil today at a fancy resort in his first week back in Southern Nevada and lets his Big Oil friends keep the "pesky public" out of a supposedly "public event".

Maybe this is why he and his dirty energy buddies were shaking in their boots today:

We know Heck has said some crazy things before, but he must especially be afraid of us catching onto his bait and switch on "creating jobs". He likes to talk about it an awful lot, but he actually opposes climate action that can save our planet while also creating many new good jobs here in Nevada!

This is what Joe Heck is defending:

And these are the real Nevadans that Joe Heck doesn't care about:

Nevada's future is in renewable energy, and so is our entire nation's. Harry Reid gets it, and so does Shelley Berkley. So why won't Joe Heck or Dean Heller work with the rest of Nevada's Congressional Delegation to create more jobs here in Nevada while also taking important action on climate change? Are they that beholden to Big Oil and the rest of the fossil fuel industry that they're willfully blinded to reality?

Oh wait, I can answer my own question. We were turned away by Joe Heck's dirty energy, dirty money BFFs. No wonder why he didn't actually want questions from the public.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Is All Really Well on The Good Ship Nevada?

According to some pundits, Brian Sandoval is "Teh Awesomest Gube... EVAH!" and Nevada's current economic woes have nothing to do with our unsustainable "growth begets growth" economic delusion model. Ever since the state budget agreement was cobbled together at the very last minute, we seem to have yet again forgotten why Nevada can't get out of this mess.

Or have we?

Nevada Resort Association lobbyist and Democratic power broker Billy Vassiliadis said “some semblance of a broad coalition” will come together in the next 60 days. Its goals will “depend on what the broadest number of people want to do. Poll after poll show the public doesn’t want to see more cuts in education,” he said. The coalition will have to figure out what people will support.

In the post-session disappointment of 2011, labor unions and many large-business leaders, particularly from gaming and mining, declared Nevada’s legislative system broken. Getting two-thirds of lawmakers in both the Assembly and Senate, as required under the state’s constitution, to raise taxes was simply too high a hurdle given Nevada’s fractious politics. [...]

Leaders from the AFL-CIO, the state’s largest union; the Nevada State Education Association, which represents teachers; and gaming and other industries have been meeting to discuss what would work, according to sources. Discussions have focused on a “margins tax” on businesses — a tax on adjusted gross business revenue — similar to what was proposed in 2011 by Democrats to replace the tax based on payroll.

So business and labor may actually join forces on some sort of progressive tax reform? Is this for real?

We'll see how this develops, or even if it holds up, but obviously something's happening. More and more Nevadans, even those who had been accustomed to embracing status quo, are now wondering if we can afford to continue living under it. Something's got to give. We need change.

So will we get it? That's what we need to make sure happens. Simply put, we can't afford NOT to. Without investment, our state will never grow and flourish. We invest in our schools, our roads, our parks, our buses, and our cities for a reason. When we invest in our public infrastructure, we will soon reap the rewards of a stronger and more stable economy. We don't get any of those rewards when we don't invest.

And this is why Nevada hasn't yet escaped the brutal cycle of extreme booms and extreme busts. We've been dangerously over-dependent on artificially fueled "growth" for far too long. We just can't afford to keep delaying action to invest in our state.

Despite what we've been hearing about the value of "austerity", reality is that austerity is the very last thing Nevada needs right now. People are out of work, jobs need to be created, and we need to invest in our economy and rebuild our state to do just that.