Thursday, April 17, 2014

This Is @Everytown.

We've heard the talking heads argue over it. We've seen the polling on it. We've survived all the political spin of it. And that's because we know the real facts about it.

And of course, there's something else to keep in mind. While many politicians and media pundits treat gun violence like just another political football, it's very real to those who have personally experienced its very real carnage. For them, gun violence isn't theoretical. It isn't esoteric. It's quite real, and they're reminded of this painful reality every day.

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Erica Lafferty is one of these people. She lost her mother last December. Her mother was a principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. She lost her life that fateful day, but Erica won't let her mother's legacy be forgotten. And she doesn't want others to meet the same fate her mother did.

This is why she showed up at the Grant Sawyer State Building yesterday. Is isn't just about Newtown. This happens at Everytown.



Newtown wasn't the last school shooting, far from it. Right here in Nevada, shots were fired at Sparks Middle School. And 8th grade math teacher Michael Landsberry lost his life that day. The Sparks Middle School Shooting was a horrific reminder that Sparks is @Everytown.

Of course, Las Vegas is also Everytown. On the same day Michael Landsberry lost his life while trying to protect others at Sparks Middle School, Kenneth Brown lost his life while trying to protect others at Ballys Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Also on the same day, two people were shot dead at an apartment complex in East Las Vegas.

This is why Teresa Crawford became a Champion of Change. And this is why showed up at Grant Sawyer yesterday. Far too many people here in Nevada suffered due to gun violence. This doesn't just happen "somewhere else". This happens in Everytown.



This is Everytown. #WeAreEverytown. Throughout Nevada, we've seen people lose their lives to senseless gun violence. But whenever we've had a chance to change this sorrowful reality, all we hear are the same old tired excuses.

We've heard so many speeches from politicians and spin from "industry" promoters over the years that we lost count about a year ago. No matter what Rep. Joe Heck (R-NRA) has said about theoretical legislation and philosophy of process, there's a real bill waiting for his cosponsorship. No matter what Senator Dean Heller (R) says about "legislation he supported recently", he can't hide his filibuster of basic background checks legislation. And no matter what Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NRA) says about theoretical "threats to liberty", he can't spin away the fact that he was what stood in the way of Nevada taking even modest action on gun violence prevention when Congress wouldn't act on federal legislation.

No matter what they and other gun lobby backed politicians say about theories and concepts and philosophy, they can't change reality. Every town has had to grapple with gun violence. Every town knows someone who's lost loved ones to gun violence. And every town deserves a better future without worrying about becoming another headline grabbing armed battlefield.

This is @Everytown. And this is why we can't ignore the reality of gun violence.




Clear & Present Danger

We could definitely see this coming. Ever since they caught wind of Cliven Bundy's attempt to subvert federal law at Gold Butte, G-O-TEA media personalities have been sharing their wet dreams of "Second Amendment Remedies". And a number of G-O-TEA politicians have gone out of their way to celebrate the extreme right "Patriot Movement" Militia's "victory" over the rule of law.

Apparently, we're not the only ones who have been thinking about the frightening consequences of the lawlessness that's been infecting Bunkerville in recent days. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow took a closer look last night at what's really at stake at #BundyRanch. And she gave her audience a history lesson regarding the shady forces and extreme ideology fueling the #BundyRanch conflict in the Mesquite area.





Not only are Cliven Bundy and his "TEA" fueled allies completely wrong on the facts and wrong on the law, but they're also sending out a dangerously wrong message. That message is the same one we heard 19 years ago this week in Oklahoma City.



Before 9/11, this was the worst terrorist attack on US soil. And it was no hidden secret that Timothy McVeigh was motivated by the kind of extreme "Patriot" ideology that we've been catching glimpses of at #BundyRanch.

This is why we've been urging G-O-TEA politicians who have all too eagerly endorsed this lawless "uprising" to reconsider what they're advocating. Cresent Hardy & Michele Fiore may think it's cute to grandstand alongside the Bundy Gang and their new extreme right militia BFFs, but it's not. Rather, they're cozying up to what all the rest of us see as a clear & present danger.



What's happened at #BundyRanch this past week has gone far beyond "protest". It's not a mere "uprising". And it's anything but legal.

This is dangerous. There's really no way to candy-coat it. The extreme fringe of the far right who have once again gained national prominence thanks to Cliven Bundy's nationally televised temper tantrum are not interested in mere protest. And it's time for all the rest of us to recognize the clear & present danger of legitimizing this kind of behavior.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

#WeAreEverytown

It's happened here. It's happened there. It's truly happened everywhere.

Pretty much every town we can think of has felt the cruel pain of gun violence. No one is truly immune any longer. And nowhere really feels removed from this incredibly brutal and increasingly common reality.

And just like every other town that's experienced the brutal reality of gun violence, several Nevada towns have had to live through this awful pain of losing innocent lives before their time. In Reno, Michael Landsberry died because he showed up for work at Sparks Middle School. On the Las Vegas Strip, Kenneth Brown died because he was trying to prevent a greater massacre. Also on The Strip, Michael Boldon died because he was simply on the job in his cab.

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Every town has been touched in some way by gun violence, including our towns here in Nevada. Family therapist and former educator Linda Cavazos talked about this at the Grant Sawyer State Building today. She's seen with her own eyes the tragic reality of gun violence here in Nevada, and she showed up at Grant Sawyer today to remind everyone that #WeAreEverytown.



@Everytown knows those who have lost loved ones to gun violence. State Senator Pat Spearman (D-North Las Vegas) happens to be one of those who lost a loved one to gun violence. She's also someone who's had to counsel those who have lost loved ones to gun violence. She went to Grant Sawyer today to remind everyone, including her colleagues in the Nevada Legislature, that #WeAreEverytown.



Last year, the Nevada Legislature passed SB 221 to expand background checks to prevent dangerous criminals from accessing dangerous firearms. Governor Brian Sandoval (R) infamously vetoed that bill... About 2 months after US Senator Dean Heller (R) joined the G-O-TEA filibuster to kill federal background checks legislation.

But even after Senator Heller filibustered Manchin-Toomey and Governor Sandoval vetoed SB 221, gun safety advocates refused to give up. They were sick and tired of seeing so much needless bloodshed across the state and the nation. They didn't want to see more towns and more families hurt by senseless gun violence. So they charged on.

And they're continuing this effort now. Over 50 grassroots advocates showed up at Grant Sawyer today. And they're pledging to keep up their work on gun violence prevention in the days ahead. They refuse to forget that #WeAreEverytown.

In the days to come, we'll be hearing about who has the most juice where. Who's up? Who's down? Who's raising the big money? Who's spending the big money?

However, this isn't just about political juice and big money. This about every town and every family who has been affected by gun violence. And this is about every town calling for change. Ultimately, #WeAreEverytown... And it's time for everyone to be heard.

Why Can't They?

It's hard for us to think of any other House Freshman who's been out to accomplish so much during his first term in Congress. Rep. Steven Horsford has been working it like hardly anyone else has even tried. And not only is he working it, but he's now working on critical legislation that can make our economy work better while providing a critical lifeline for those Americans who are still looking for work.

Last week, Rep. Horsford joined several other House Democrats to urge their Republican colleagues to pass the federal unemployment insurance (UI) extension bill that the Senate has already passed.



Just yesterday, Reps. Horsford & Matt Cartwright (D-Pennsylvania) took to The Huffington Post to make their case for bipartisan backed legislation that stands to create 300,000 jobs and increase national GDP by 0.3% while preventing 2.3 million Americans from succumbing to financial catastrophe. And they're not alone. None other than Senator Dean Heller (R) has asked his Republican colleagues on the House side to #RenewUI. And now, none other than Governor Brian Sandoval (R) is asking House Republicans to stop wasting time & #RenewUI already.

Over 34,000 Nevadans are needlessly suffering due to the federal UI lapse. It's now lasted nearly 4 months, and our economy has taken an unnecessary hit. What's the point of all this unnecessary hardship?

There's a reason why both Senator Heller & Governor Sandoval are speaking up now. They realize this is bad policy. And they know this is bad politics.

The ball is now in House Republicans' court. And if House Republican "leaders" refuse to allow a floor vote, then individual Republican members need to do step up to ensure a floor vote. And if that means a discharge petition, then they should prepare to sign (cough- Joe Heck- cough). If a handful of House Freshmen can bring this issue to the forefront, why can't more senior House members (particularly those in the Speaker's party) do everything they possibly can to pass legislation they say they want?

27.

27. That now looks to be the magic number. House Democratic leaders need 27 more signatures on their HR 15 discharge petition. Once they reach 218, they can secure a floor vote for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR).

27. That's the number that can make a huge difference for families like Astrid Silva's and Bryan Rivera's.



27. If Rep. Joe Heck (R-????) and 26 other House Republicans simply sign the petition for something they've already claimed to support, CIR can finally pass the House. And since most House members have already said they support CIR in theory, it shouldn't be so hard to put it into practice.

So why has it been so hard? Well, why has it been so hard for the "Republican establishment" to muzzle the likes of Rand Paul? Why has it been so hard for the "establishment" to steer the 21st Century Know Nothings away from the siren songs of Laura Ingraham? Why has it been so hard for House Republican "leaders" to stand up for their own "principles for immigration reform"?

Short answer: They don't want to meet the same fate that's run right into Jeb Bush's 2016 campaign plans.



Longer answer: It's easier for G-O-TEA politicians to pander to the Culture Warrior Id than it is for them to publicly challenge this id. So they either keep quiet on CIR, or they flat out reject any real option for CIR. They'd rather placate their "TEA" powered base and hoodwink all the rest of us with "Republican rebranding" than make any real effort to become more compatible with 21st century America.

This is why CIR has been left to die in the House by Republican "leaders" in that chamber. They're too afraid of their own base.

Yet with that being said, this doesn't mean CIR must die. This doesn't mean that individual House Republicans have no choice but leave CIR to die on the "TEA" poisoned vine.

All HR 15 needs is 27 more House members to sign that discharge petition. And the 30 or so House Republicans who have been asked to sign the discharge petition should look at it this way: 27 may ultimately be the number that determines the future national viability of their Republican Party. Do they really want to be one of the 27 who stands in way of not only keeping American families together, but also keeping the Republican Party as an integral force in America's political system?

27. That's all HR 15 needs for a House floor vote. So why won't House Republicans just release 27 members from their caucus in order to save not just CIR, but also their own party?


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nation of Laws

This is perhaps the most frightening aspect of the #BundyRanch saga. As Elaine Hurd has so eloquently explained, Cliven Bundy has been threatening our entire way of life with his continued attempts to subvert the rule of law. America is a nation of laws. We are a representative democracy, not a chaotic anarchy.

Since last week, national G-O-TEA astroturf outfits have been jumping into Bunkerville to defend Cliven Bundy's "right" to break the law. And G-O-TEA Culture Warriors from across the nation have rushed in to escalate an already precarious situation. One such G-O-TEA Culture Warrior is Richard Mack.



He was the one who suggested the wannabe #BundyRanch insurrectionists use women as human shields.



He's also known for his rather cozy relationship with white supremacists and extreme right militia groups. He sits on the board of the notorious Oath Keepers. And he's often led the anti-government "Patriot Movement" in its war against any & all efforts at gun violence prevention.

Have the #BundyRanch agitators really thought about what they're advocating? Do they understand the consequences of their endorsement of "Second Amendment Remedies"? If it's OK for them to take up arms to prevent the enforcement of the law, then was it OK for Anita Hill to shoot her son's boyfriend? Was it OK for Frazier Glenn Miller to open fire on that Jewish community center? Was it OK for the Tsarnaev brothers to blow up the Boston Marathon?



The reality of the #BundyRanch "logic" is that there is no logic there. They're essentially advocating the kind of armed combat that terrorists use. And their rallying cry truly looks to be nothing more than dreams of anarchy.

Again, we're supposed to be a nation of laws. We elect a government to make our society a civilized society. How can anyone claim to "love America" when one refuses to participate in our nation of laws?


Gold Butte Belongs to All of Us.

Across the nation, it was greeted with shock. Around the world, it was met with sneers & eye rolls. But in Ground Zero of this conflict, it's being referred to as "The Day the Law Died".

Yesterday, Let's Talk Nevada co-founder & editor Elaine Hurd went on "Ralston Reports" to talk with Jon Ralston about Cliven Bundy's Gold Butte showdown with the federal government. She's offered a unique perspective here, as she lives in Mesquite and had a front row seat to #BundyRanch long before national G-O-TEA groups turned this into a cause celebre and headline news around the world.



Even before #BundyRanch agitators celebrated their "Second Amendment Remedies" and considered using women as human shields, they were violating court orders and trespassing on federal property. All the "big government welfare" they've already received for over 100 years wasn't enough. They wanted even more.

Has avarice blinded the Bundy Gang to the simple fact that Gold Butte isn't their personal piggy bank to plunder? Gold Butte belongs to all of us. It's a national treasure that should be preserved for all of us to enjoy.



The Bundy Gang and national G-O-TEA astroturf outfits fail to recognize that Gold Butte is public land. That means Gold Butte belongs to all of us. When Cliven Bundy has been releasing his malnourished & neglected cattle into Gold Butte without abiding by the rules, he's ruining property that belongs to all of us. He's evading taxes he owes our duly elected government. He's violating court orders and endangering the desert tortoise and other wildlife that are critical to our local ecosystem. And he's threatening a national treasure that's meant for all of us to cherish.

In our nation of laws, no one is allowed to unilaterally change the rules. Cliven Bundy has broken the rules. The courts have already ruled against him. And sooner or later, law enforcement must be allowed to do its job, which is to enforce the law.

We realize that Cliven Bundy and his cattle are in a rough patch. Thanks to climate change, the Great Western Drought has become such a great threat. However, the solution to this problem is not for one person to break the law and desecrate property that belongs to all of us.

Gold Butte belongs to all of us. Therefore, we all deserve to have a say on how Gold Butte can e better preserved for future generations. And yes, this means Cliven Bundy and his renegade gang need to start obeying the laws that we've all agreed to live by.

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Second Amendment Remedies"

Last Saturday, Americans across this nation were shocked to witness the violence that broke out in Bunkerville over the BLM's attempt to rein in Cliven Bundy's illegal Gold Butte cattle run & tax evasion scheme. Apparently, it's not enough that Bundy's family has benefited from so much "big government welfare" for over 100 years. He's also wanted "legal recognition" to violate federal law with reckless abandon. And last weekend, he brought in some "TEA" drinking friends from other parts of the nation to provoke armed conflict with federal public servants.

Even though the BLM operation has been discontinued for now, the law will eventually catch up with this lawless bunch. Bundy & his "TEA" powered allies may face federal criminal charges for their attempt at provoking insurrection.

But of course, the wannabe #BundyRanch insurrectionists don't see it that way. They claim they're just taking advantage of what Sharron Angle (in)famously referred to as "Second Amendment Remedies".



And they're not the only ones who have been "going there" recently. Frazier Glenn Miller also resorted to "Second Amendment Remedies" when he opened fire on a Jewish community center & retirement village in Overland Park, Kansas, yesterday. The longtime white supremacist/Ku Klux Klan/neo-Nazi leader shot 3 people dead before police arrested him.



Once again, we're reminded of something evil in our society. Once again, we're reminded of what happens when we encounter a "bad guy with a gun". And once again, we're reminded of the lengths the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby will go to maximize their profits.

Are G-O-TEA politicians here in Nevada and elsewhere still proud of being "what stood in the way" between us and saner gun laws? Do they actually believe the bile filled rhetoric they spew when they praise Cliven Bundy's "Second Amendment Remedies"? Do they truly favor the ability of criminals like Frazier Glenn Miller to easily access dangerous firearms?

Think about it. What we saw this past weekend in Bunkerville and in Overland Park was the logical conclusion of "Second Amendment Remedies". And that should make us all remember what makes a civilized society (and what can tear one down).


Why Republicans Probably Won't Pick @LV2016

Every so often, a certain local journalist and media pundit (cough- Jon Ralston- cough) has been begging national Republicans to bring the 2016 Republican National Convention to Las Vegas. He's certainly tried his best to promote our region to Republicans and make a convincing case why "The Entertainment Capital of the World" should host what may be the most entertaining political party event ever. Unfortunately for Ralston, most Republicans don't want to listen to his case.

But why is that? Ralston has made many good points. The Strip has plenty of quality lodging, dining, and entertainment options. Nevada will likely be a key Swing State that cycle. And Southern Nevada has become a diverse society that would serve as the perfect backdrop for the Republicans' big party.

Unfortunately for Ralston (and all other @LV2016 boosters), the G-O-TEA Culture Warriors strongly object to this. And why's that? Oh, our lodging, dining, and entertainment options threaten their "Judeo-Christian values". In fact, our "entertainment" is so wicked & sinful that it corrupted poor Rep. Vance McAllister (R-Louisiana) from thousands of miles away! (/snark)

And it's not just our lack of "moral values" that will likely prevent "Sin City" from hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention. There's also the matter of the entire Nevada Republican Party's lack of common decency and common sense. Last week, state & local G-O-TEA politicians rushed to sing the praises of Cliven Bundy violating federal law at Gold Butte. They also tacitly endorsed outside G-O-TEA groups meddling in #BundyRanch to the point of encouraging armed conflict with federal public servants who were just attempting to enforce the law.



But wait, there's more. Republicans just concluded their convention... The 2014 Nevada Republican Party Convention, that is. And while most delegates decided to cast a few votes in favor of the 21st century, they nonetheless decided to spurn the Governor they just endorsed for reelection by rejecting nearly all his preferred candidates in other races up & down the ballot. And even after they endorsed a new platform, they're still fighting each other over it!

But hey, at least they agreed to endorse Sue Lowden for Lt. Governor.



Apparently, all of this finally weighed on Jon Ralston as he prepared to say farewell to his fantasy of the 2016 Republican National Convention playing out in his back yard...

"Thanks to #BundyRanch and @NVGOP folks for providing great advertisement today why @LV2016 should happen. Thanks, geniuses."

Except that he forgot to mention Nevada Republicans' other great shining moment from last week.



Hillary Clinton may have had a shoe thrown at her, but Republicans are ultimately throwing away whatever chance they have left of defeating her in 2016 by embracing so much crazy. And this visual must be terrifying those in charge of the Republican National Committee.

This is why Republicans probably won't pick Las Vegas to host their 2016 national convention. While Southern Nevada is home to a diverse electorate who likely resembles the future of America, "Republican rebranding" has accomplished nothing but the repeat of the same old lame excuses of why the G-O-TEA base rejects 21st century America. And even though Nevada is a key state that Republicans need to win more often in order to remain a nationally relevant party, the Nevada Republican Party long ago lost interest in winning elections as it's pursued ideological "purity" to the point of endorsing "Chickens for Checkups" and armed anarchy. Southern Nevada can all too easily remind everyone of why the Republican Party has become radically out of touch with the mainstream electorate, and this is why the Republican National Committee will likely "rebrand" itself into a convention somewhere else.

(Sorry, Jon Ralston.)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

This Land Is Our Land

On Thursday, we were alerted to a troubling situation near Bunkerville. A local rancher named Cliven Bundy had been illegally sending his cattle onto BLM land. He had racked up a $1,000,000+ bill after refusing to pay grazing fees for over 20 years. And when the BLM was preparing to put an end to Bundy's illegal grazing on federal land, Bundy decided to call in local and national "TEA" fueled allies to provoke armed conflict with the BLM.

And now, the BLM has been forced to stand down at #BundyRanch in order to prevent a bloody, violent end to this conflict. Already, the situation had gone out of hand.



And even now, #BundyRanch is is still a very volatile situation. It's just escalated from a local embarrassment into a national fiasco. And "TEA Party, Inc. definitely had several hands in escalating this conflict.

Remember when Republicans marketed their party as "the law & order party"? Those days now feel like an eternity ago. Now, we have the Nevada Republican Party cravenly endorsing brazen lawlessness. And G-O-TEA politicians & pundits from across the nation have been piling on to worsen an already fragile situation.



Over the past week, all of us in Southern Nevada have witnessed "Stand Your Ground" run amok... Except this ground does not just belong to Cliven Bundy. Gold Butte is ground that belongs to all of us. There's a reason why it's called "public land". Hint: This land is our land, as we are the public.

This is something the Koch-topus has been trying to make us forget. No wonder why it's reared its ugly head to spin this brazen abuse of public property into some sort of demented "freedom fighting". It's just ironic that the "libertarian" "TEA" powered astroturf network is fighting for the very "welfare" it claims to fight against.

This land is our land. This land is ours to protect, ours to cherish, ours to preserve. It's not there for one misinformed man to exercise his anarchist fantasies on. It's not there for Koch backed militias to play "Cowboys & Cops" on. And it's certainly not there to prove every worst assumption everyone makes of America & Nevada.

This land is our land. It's not just Cliven Bundy's. And it's a damned shame that after benefiting from "big government welfare" for all these decades, he has the nerve to tell us we have no rights on what's our land.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Real Reasons for Outrage

So we have another outbreak of outrage this week. But is it really all about cattle? Is there some sort of "overreach"? Or are the usual "OUTRAGED!!!" suspects missing the real reasons for outrage?

Cliven Bundy has been illegally letting his cows graze in the Gold Butte area for nearly 20 years. He has refused to pay grazing fees since 1993, and he has used some rather novel excuses to spin his brazen violation of federal law.

So why are Senator Dean Heller (R) & Governor Brian Sandoval (R) screaming about the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) stepping up to enforce the law? Are they really trying to argue that this is acceptable?



And is this what the NRA means when it claims "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun"? Could this explain why Heller & Sandoval have even opposed modest efforts at gun violence prevention?

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And then, there's the issue of Bundy's specious claim to the land. That land isn't just his. It's ours. It belongs to all 300 million plus Americans. And if he doesn't believe that, he can read the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

That land also belongs to the wildlife who call Gold Butte home. Oh, and that land belonged to the Native Americans who called this region home long before our ancestors immigrated to this continent.

It's unfair to all the rest of us to allow one rancher to let his cattle trample upon the habitat of an endangered species (the desert tortoise). It's especially unfair to let that rancher let his cattle run rampant and ruin land that belongs to all of us. And it's particularly unfair to let this one rancher let his cattle run rampant when he's refused to pay the fee that all area ranchers must pay to use that public land. (After all, the BLM has to maintain this land for everyone.)



Oh, and haven't we talked about this before? Haven't we warned about this before? Haven't Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) delivered barn burning speeches about this? Hasn't the ongoing drought been reminding us of why we can't leave this unchecked?

If Senator Heller & Governor Sandoval are truly offended by what's going down at Gold Butte this week, then why don't they ask their fellow Republicans to stop denying the brutal reality of climate change? It's already having an effect on cattle ranchers. And pretty soon, it will have a major effect on all our lives if we don't step up our game.

Hey, someone had to do it. And since hardly anyone else is discussing the real reasons for outrage regarding this Cliven Bundy "scandal", we figured we might as well wade into this hot mess. So to recap, some G-O-TEA politicians are screaming at the BLM because the BLM is enforcing existing law. A rancher is willfully violating the law and encouraging armed rebellion against the federal government because he doesn't like the law. And meanwhile, the land itself and the original inhabitants of this land are reeling because we've allowed the land to be mistreated by the likes of Bundy... While we threaten the climate that's supposed to sustain this land.

Feeling outraged yet? At least now you understand why we are.

Right Side (of What?!)

He's back! What, you thought he could stay away from making headline news (for all the wrong reasons)? Oh no, "Uncle Sugar" Mike Huckabee is back to tell us to get on the "right side of the Bible".



And why's that? Mr. Huckster thinks "hunting with other men" is A-O-K... So long as it's clearly done in a "not gay way".

Oh, but Huckabee is "not a homophobe". He's just fighting against LGBTQ civil rights because he thinks LGBTQ Americans are not on "the right side of the Bible".

So how's that "Republican rebranding" coming along? Adam Laxalt wants to "respect our Constitution" by disrespecting & undermining it. Cresent Hardy embraces "segregation laws". And Rep. Joe Heck? Good luck trying to get a straight answer out of him.

And that's just the Nevada Republican Party. Nationally, the G-O-TEA still seems to be following the lead of Mike Huckabee & Rush Limbaugh. That's why it's now taking a strong stand against "persecution"... By blocking ENDA and fighting against marriage equality?! So discrimination is wrong, except when it's "the right side of the Bible"?

We know G-O-TEA politicians & media spinners have been trying hard to change the media narrative on LGBTQ civil rights. What they fail to realize is that no one believes their "family values" rhetoric when they won't actually value families or live up to their own supposed "values". "Right side of the Bible"? How about trying the right side of common sense, logic, & HERstory?


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Basic Instinct

Hey, someone has to do it. So who will it be? Kevin Drum can't figure it out yet. And frankly, we're having trouble with it as well.

So who will Republicans nominate in 2016? All we can say at this point is that whoever wins that nomination will have turned up the crazy to whole new levels. And whoever wins that nomination probably will have done so by pandering to the basest of base elements.

But why? Why is this likely bound to happen? Don't Republicans want to win? Oh, yes they do... But they're counting on voter suppression "purging" to do the trick.

And perhaps that has helped them win some races here & there. However, not even that can guarantee nationwide viability going into the future. They can't simply purge every non-Republican voter off the rolls.

Ultimately, Republicans need to offer voters more than just hollow "rebranding" in order to expand their ranks. But instead of that, they're just offering failure to govern, warmed over "Culture War" hysteria, and unnecessary hardship. And they're wondering why their 2016 polls look so damned ugly?

They need to pay closer attention to the state of their own party in 2014. They need to pay closer attention to why the Nevada Republican Party has become nothing more than a glorified political fight club. They need to pay closer attention to why their empty slogans don't translate into functioning policies.

We know basic is hardly ever something to aspire to, but we also know that far too many Republican Party "leaders" fail to recognize the basic reality that their party will ultimately be screwed if it fails to adapt to the reality of 21st century America. It's so basic, yet it's so out of their grasp. And if it remains out of their grasp in 2014, they'll eventually regret it come 2016.

If It's Dirty, Why Not Clean It?

How many times have we confronted this? We've examined the shells. We've smelled the stinky juice. We've felt the shadows. We've even raced to catch up with the Speedway.

Yet through it all, we've become quite dizzy from all the rides on Nevada's notorious "Merry-go-round of Corruption". Sadly, we need to step back on that merry-go-round this morning to examine an aspect of Nevada politics that is often overlooked: our local judiciary.

We must give credit where it's due. "Newspaper" columnist Jane Ann Morrison (one of the few other reasons to even bother reading it) recently exposed the kind of bare knuckle political maneuvering that we typically don't expect on the judicial bench. There are now even accusations of what authorities in other states call bribery... But what we in Nevada just refer to as "politics as usual".

To be fair, there are a number of shady characters in this story. At this point, it's hard to figure out who's telling the complete truth (if anyone). However, what can't be denied at this point is that a number of judicial candidates are dependent upon well heeled contributors who also happen to visit the courtrooms they aspire to preside over. And that in and of itself is a problem.

One of the foundations of our judiciary is the guarantee of equal protection under the law. How are we supposed to expect that if we sense that those who can afford to "pay to play" happen to receive "more equal protection" than the rest of us? How are we supposed to trust our courts' ability to fairly interpret the law when they're under the influence of a few powerful & moneyed interests who expect a certain interpretation that happens to favor them?

We've said this many times before, but we must say it again today: If we want to end this dizzying feeling we sense when viewing the dirty reality of Nevada politics, we must stop the merry-go-round of corruption. And the only way to truly stop it is to end the seemingly endless flow of dirty money into all aspects of our political system... Even our judiciary.

We're again hearing debate over whether we should continue direct election of judges, or just allow the state to appoint them. And while fair arguments can be made for either side, we sense both sides are missing the point. After all, can we fully trust the Governor and legislators when they are also under the influence of numerous campaign donors?

For us, there's one clear solution to this problem: clean money. Why not simply level the playing field so we can all participate?

It's already working in other parts of the nation. Why not bring it here to Nevada? (And for that matter, why can't the entire nation have it?) Lordy knows we need a whole lot of disinfectant to clean up our system. So why not start cleaning it up already?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Can't "Rebrand" Real Values

They've made every possible excuse not to act. They've done everything possible to block a simple floor vote. Yet they're claiming the President is about to "spoil the well"? Clearly, they still haven't realized they can't have it both ways.

House Republican "leaders" have gone out of their way to take every step possible to kill comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). And they've are it clear for some time that they don't want HR 15 anywhere near the House floor. But now, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Agent Orange) is actually claiming President Obama will "spoil the well" if he takes any executive action to curb the record pace of deportations that have occurred under his watch.

Yet when Speaker Boehner is confronted over when his lower House of Congress will ever pass any kind of CIR, he says it won't happen... Because of President Obama! So let's try to understand John Boehner's incredibly twisted (lack of) logic here. The House can't pass what the Senate already passed over nine months ago because "Obama is a poopyhead!" But if President Obama tries to minimize the damage that's done thanks to the House's failure to pass CIR, that will jeopardize any (already nonexistent) chance of Boehner agreeing to any CIR? Seriously, how does any of this make sense?

There's a reason why the President is facing growing calls for executive action to curb deportations. It's because his administration has already been vigorously enforcing current immigration law since he first took office in 2009. And it's because millions of American families (like Bryan Rivera's) are at constant risk of being torn apart as long as the status quo remains in place.

The status quo is unsustainable. It's hurting families, hurting communities, and hurting our economy. But wait, aren't Republicans supposed to be the "family values" & #4jobs party?

Maybe not. As long as they're blocking real pro-family & pro-growth policies, it's hard to take any of their homilies to "values" seriously. And no amount of "Republican rebranding" can actually hide their real values.