Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What's He Afraid Of?

This? Again? Really?

The Clark County Republican Party figured it would be a great idea to send a "gift box" to outgoing Secretary of State and current Attorney General candidate Ross Miller (D). But why? Oh, they're just rehashing an issue that Miller himself has already been working on.

But shhhh, don't say that to Miller's Republican opponent, Adam Laxalt. He thinks this is somehow his "original idea". There's just no record of him supporting any campaign finance reform legislation in Carson City (like Miller has).

So now's probably a good time for Adam Laxalt to go on record and make his case. The problem? Laxalt is now ducking debates. While he has just agreed to a debate moderated by the always superb Steve Sebelius, he's refusing to participate in any other debates. Oh, and his "campaign adviser" tried to throw shade at Jon Ralston while rejecting a debate on his show. Yep, that's never a good idea.

So what's their issue? Oh yes, Mr. Laxalt always has "political issues"... Especially when those issues involve civil rights. So is Adam Laxalt simply afraid of Ross Miller confronting him on actual, serious issues, such as marriage equality?



Is he afraid of answering other tough questions on LGBTQ civil rights? Is he afraid of expanding on his "ideas" for fighting political corruption? Is he afraid of being asked about his assertion that Obamacare (aka the Affordable Care Act) is "the most flawed piece of major legislation America has ever endured"?

What's he afraid of? Why is Adam Laxalt so afraid of coming out and speaking in public about his "political issues"? He'd have a much better chance of being taken seriously if he were to ditch the cheap "street theater" stunts and actually speak directly to the people he's seeking to serve in state government.

UPDATE: All T, all shade, baby. Ralston has the scoop on Laxalt's horrible job performance review at Lewis & Roca. This is the law firm that hired Adam Laxalt upon his move to Nevada. Take a look at the evaluation review. The document truly speaks for itself.

Ugliest of Double Standards

This really says it all. This pretty much explains everything. This is why Ferguson, Missouri, has come to resemble the type of war zone we thought could only emerge in some far away land like Syria or Ukraine.



ACLU has already called for the removal of "Officer Go Fuck Yourself". After all, it's anything but appropriate for a "peace officer" to point his rifle at unarmed civilians and yell, "I will fucking kill you".

Ironically, Kansas City, Missouri, police officer Marc Catron had taken to social media to castigate the late Michael Brown along with the mostly African-American demonstrators in Ferguson protesting his murder. The Kansas City Police Department has placed Marc Catron under review for his Facebook rants.

Here's the problem. We expect demonstrators to remain peaceful. We expect them to refrain from violence. Yet when police officers turn violent on unarmed civilians, we hear constant excuses and endless attempts at blaming the victims.

Already, Ferguson Police have been working overtime to demonize Mike Brown. They seem to think he's the one who should be standing trial instead of Darren Wilson. But last time we checked, Darren Wilson shot Mike Brown dead.



This is nothing new. In fact, Metro Police does it all the time here in Southern Nevada.

But this must end. Now. This is the ugliest and bloodiest of double standards. Darren Wilson had the privilege to shoot first and ask questions later. He now has all the rights of due process that (Missouri taxpayers') money (and white privilege) can buy. But what does the Brown family have? A dead son. And now, these scurrilous attempts at blaming the victim.

And what do the nonviolent protesters of Ferguson have? Nonstop attacks on their character. And nonstop threats from local "law enforcement". This is the ugliest of double standards.

"Doom"

It's doom! Doom, they tell you. We're all doomed! And that horrible, evil, no-good margin tax is to blame...

For nothing? Oh, yes. That's right. The Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative (aka Nevada's corporate welfare kings) just released a report that was supposed to annihilate The Education Initiative (TEI) with visions of doom and gloom.

And the upshot? Nothing. No really, the best the anti-TEI coalition's commissioned UNLV tax study could produce was inconclusive garblety-goop.

Yet in the mean time, TEI proponents commissioned their own UNLV tax study. And the result of that? Surprise, better education funding means a better economy.

►TEI actually will increase economic activity and create jobs, including as many as 13,000 in 2016 and 10,400 jobs in 2017.

►The positive impacts from new government spending more than offset the negative impacts from the tax.

►Overall, the study concludes: Nevada’s GDP would be boosted by $630 million to $1,020 million in 2016 and $480 million to $790 million in 2017.

Now of course, this seems confusing. How can two studies from the same institution produce completely different results?

Actually, the results here aren't all that different. Even the anti-TEI study conceded that TEI will generate $800 million annually for Nevada public schools if passed. And it didn't offer any definitive findings on economic impact. So that doesn't really challenge the results offered by the pro-TEI study showing actual economic benefits to passing TEI.

Here's what we already know: The status quo is failing us. For all the talk of Nevada's "pro-business climate", our economy hasn't benefitted from it at all. In fact, we're consistently ranked as having one of the worst business climates in the nation.

And why's that? As Elaine Wynn once described Nevada's public education system, "We are grossly underfunded." And as long as we continue underfunding our public schools, we're missing out on economic opportunities. As long as we're shortchanging our schools, we're sabotaging ourselves.

This is why TEI opponents have resorted to silly spin and even sillier straw men. After decades of empty promises, they've failed to provide any real solutions for public education and longer term economic development. But now that TEI (aka Question 3) is on the ballot, they're going all in to kill it... Because they simply don't want to pay their fair share like all the rest of us must.

It's doom, all right. It's doom... For nothing but the status quo. Keep this in mind whenever you hear the usual (corporate lobbyist) suspects scream "DOOM!" over that horrible, evil, no-good margin tax that can actually end the gross underfunding of K-12 public education in this state.

Another Foolish Project (Brought to Us by the Kochs)

We do our best to stay on top of everything. But jeez, how on earth did we miss this? Jon Ralston just took a trip to our archives!

So what did he find? Just this gem from October 2012 on the Koch backed AFP jumping into certain Nevada Legislature races.

Perhaps the SD 4 incident was just a "test run" meant to prepare AFP for what they're doing now. The doorhanger we found earlier this month attacked President Obama and Shelley Berkley on one side, then attacked John Oceguera and Joyce Woodhouse (the Democratic nominee for SD 5) on the other side. And now, AFP mailers are being caught attacking Justin Jones (the Democratic nominee in SD 9) and Sheila Leslie (the Democratic nominee in SD 15). It just looks too funny that, all of a sudden, AFP is playing in the very State Senate seats that Republicans must win in order to take control of the Nevada Senate. And we're still supposed to believe that AFP is some sort of "nonpartisan, educational, charitable foundation"? Yeah, right.

It's now looking quite clear as to what AFP Nevada is aiming to do. And no, it doesn't involve "charity" or "education". Rather, AFP is trying to tip several competitive federal and state level races into Republican hands. Yet in failing to file the appropriate paperwork as a political action committee (PAC) and disclose its donors, AFP may actually be violating state election law while trying to elect lawmakers! Surely, we can't be the only ones seeing the irony here?

In July 2012, AFP waded into a Democratic State Senate primary in North Las Vegas. For some reason, AFP attacked Kelvin Atkinson in a district where Republicans weren't even targeting. That really had us scratching our heads.

But when AFP sent a tour bus to Shelley Berkley's Congressional office, their actions started to make more sense (even if they still looked quite silly). It then tried to top that grandiose gesture with cheap gas. And for the grand finale of its 2012 campaign, it staged a "freedom concert" and dropped the wrong campaign literature in the wrong areas.

Oh, and did we mention AFP considers itself an "educational charity"? How on earth is any of this "educational" or "charitable"?

So why are we now talking about AFP? Take a look at how AFP operatives are boasting about themselves to Beltway media. They're essentially declaring their plan to defeat Senator Harry Reid (D) in 2016.

There's just a little problem with AFP's latest grandiose plan: It looks more like a delusion of grandeur. Ralston just aired out all of AFP Nevada's dirty laundry. And even though AFP just moved its Nevada headquarters to a new location, it took all its old dirty laundry with it. And to make matters even worse for the Koch-topus' loudest and longest reaching tentacle, AFP's chief just left the building.

Of course, AFP is still overflowing in Koch money. It just came off an outrageous Cliven Bundy love-fest. And it's preparing to make waves again in 2016.

But just because one makes waves doesn't mean those waves are beneficial. Just because one is loud and gregarious doesn't mean one is making friends and allies. Just because AFP has a ton of money to spend doesn't mean AFP is spending that money well. And just because AFP plans to carpet-bomb this state again to attack Senator Reid doesn't mean AFP won't undercut itself again in 2016 (like it did in 2010 and 2012).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Where's the Scandal?

Must we do this again? Apparently, yes. While one local media pundit continues to beat this dead horse, national G-O-TEA media spinners have begun beating the "ZOMG!!! Hillary Clinton is a rich b---h!!!!" dead horse of a "scandal".



What Fox "News" talking heads call "rock star diva outrageous demands" are actually considered standard operating procedure for high profile politicians. If Hillary Clinton is a "rock star diva" making "outrageous demands", then so are George W. Bush, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich.

But of course, Hillary Clinton is different... Because she's "stealing money from UNLV students"! Except she's not.

No really, the UNLV Foundation relies on private donations to fund its efforts to raise private money for UNLV (since the public college doesn't receive enough public funding). Since Hillary Clinton's speech will be for the UNLV Foundation, her speaking fee came from private donations. Already, there have been more than enough private donations to cover the fee. She has already donated that fee to charity. And the October event will likely raise a hefty sum... For the benefit of UNLV and its students.

So where's the "scandal"? Where were all these media pundits when politicians like Rudy Giuliani cashed in on big speaking fees? And where were they when Governor Brian Sandoval (R) pushed for more UNLV budget cuts in 2011?

Ironically, one of the most vocal critics of Clinton's UNLV Foundation gig accepted a for-pay speech at UNLV herself. And she's not alone on the list of high profile individuals UNLV and/or the UNLV Foundation paid to give a speech. So why are we still wasting so many characters arguing over this Hillary Clinton speech?

Whenever a Clinton runs for President, strange things happen. Extramarital affairs become "impeachable offenses". A money losing land deal becomes some horrifically sophisticated money laundering scheme. A tragic attack on a US consulate becomes some bizarre mass murder conspiracy. And a speaking fee becomes some heinous crime against higher education.

Perhaps if Republican political operatives and their media enablers were to spend less time hyperventilating over fictitious "scandals" and more time preparing better policies for their preferred Presidential candidates to espouse (along with decent candidates for them to prefer), they'd actually have a viable 2016 alternative to Hillary Clinton.

"Everything She Got"

Expect some major legal fireworks in Simi Valley, California, later today. After fleeing there to evade arrest for the near fatal assault of Christy Mack, War Machine (aka Jonathan Koppenhaver) is due to appear in the Ventura County Courthouse for an extradition hearing. The Clark County District Attorney's office wants him back here in Nevada to stand trial for the Christy Mack attack.



The newly released Las Vegas Metro Police report mostly confirms Christy Mack's account of what happened. It then goes on to claim War Machine attempted to rape Mack (aka Christine Mackinday) before beating former "Megan Wants a Millionaire" contestant Corey Thomas and Mack. Needless to say, the Metro Police report shines more light on why War Machine decided to run away when he had his initial chance to tell police his side of the story.

However, that isn't stopping some celebrities some speaking up on War Machine's behalf. Earlier today, "Sons of Anarchy" star Chuck Zito actually said Mack "deserved everything she got" if she indeed "cheated" on War Machine.



So she "deserved everything she got" if she "cheated"? And because the police report has her describing the relationship with War Machine as "on again, off again", that means she's a "liar" and a "slut" who "deserved everything she got"?

There's a term for this. It's called "slut shaming".



"Everything she got"? Everything Christy Mack got was attempted rape and quite possibly attempted murder. And she's not alone. 600 people are raped every day in this nation. That's two people every minute. Yet all too often, victims are told they "deserve everything they get" because they did something "slutty".

"Everything she got" was a horrific attack on her life. And yes, it's not her fault. No matter what War Machine thought of his relationship status with her, no matter how Christy Mack described her relationship with him, and no matter what Corey Thomas was doing on her bed, there is no justification for the kind of violence that occurred at Mack's house. "Everything she got" was a crime committed against her. That's why War Machine is now in court.

Disconnect

Violence and turmoil erupted again last night. This time, tear gas was used. Rocks were thrown. (More) Journalists were arrested. And Ferguson endured its most brutal night of conflict yet.

Ferguson has become a flashpoint in the growing conflict over police brutality, ongoing economic injustice, and institutionalized racism. But for G-O-TEA media pundits, this is just another chance for them to peddle conspiracy theories and inflammatory rhetoric.



Apparently, they haven't paid close enough attention to what's happening in Ferguson. While police continue to attack both protesters and journalists, most of the protesters have been dissenting peacefully. Oh, and they've also been cleaning up the street every morning. That's certainly something we typically don't hear from G-O-TEA media spinners decrying the "lawlessness" of Ferguson.



Even CNN's Don Lemon had to experience firsthand the reality of what's happening there.



This unrest first erupted because of public anger over the murder "good police work" of Michael Brown. Yet instead of answering questions and allowing for any kind of justice, police have added fuel to the fire by unleashing so much brutal force on both protesters and reporters. And now they're wondering why Ferguson is so tense and why a few demonstators have turned to rocks and Molotov cocktails to fight back.

Now don't get us wrong, we never condone violence. Two wrongs never make a right. No one should be celebrating the suffering of real human beings. So why don't Ferguson city officials and their G-O-TEA media apologists understand this?

Ironically, these very G-O-TEA media spinners were condemning local and federal law enforcement here in Nevada when they were trying to simply enforce the law in Bunkerville. When Cliven Bundy and his Patriot Movement militia buddies were engaging in armed conflict against federal agents, G-O-TEA politicians & pundits were praising them as "freedom fighters". Yet when a very large majority of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, demonstrate against the wrongful execution of an innocent man, they're demanding water cannons and condemning voter registration drives.

Does anyone else notice the disconnect here? We wonder what may be causing this logical disconnect. We wonder why they're describing something that's far different from what the rest of us are actually seeing there. And we wonder why they're condemning protests that are less violent than the protests they championed on live TV 24/7 just four months ago. Why are we seeing this disconnect?

The Final Say

So it finally happened yesterday. The first signatures were recorded for the The Background Check Initiative. State Senator Justin Jones (D-Enterprise), Victory Baptist Church Pastor Robert E. Fowler, Former Clark County Sheriff Bill Young, and Safe Nest Community Relations Director Lisa Lynn Chapman were the very first Nevadans to sign at Victory Baptist Church in Las Vegas. And they'll be far from the last.

Nevadans for Background Checks must collect at least 101,667 signatures by November 11. This means they must collect at least 25,416 signatures from each of Nevada's Congressional Districts by November 11. That's one tall order.



However, that's an order they're confident they can fill. And why's that? Check the poll numbers. Well over 80% of Americans (and Nevadans) support expanding background checks for gun purchases. And for the first time ever, gun violence was one of the top concerns for American parents in the University of Michigan's national poll on children's health.

Of course, the actual campaign going forward may not be as easy as those national poll numbers suggest. After all, we know the NRA will do anything to stop even modest gun safety reform (and spend plenty of money while doing it). Despite the NRA's own history of supporting gun safety reform legislation in the past, it now even fights against expanding background checks.

Already, Senator Jones' Republican opponent is trying to have it both ways on gun violence. While she claims she "hasn't made up her mind yet" on The Background Checks Initiative, she stridently opposed SB 221 (last year's bill on which the new initiative is based) because she wanted to argue over the definition of "transfer". Apparently, she hasn't read the initiative. And apparently, neither she nor her political mentor will admit that someone who's planning to use firearms for nefarious purposes does not "volunteer" for background checks.

So it's finally happening. The Background Checks Initiative is moving forward. Signatures are now being gathered. And despite the best efforts of the usual G-O-TEA suspects to obfuscate and delay this matter to death, the people of Nevada are about to have the final say on this matter.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Missouri Burning

Why there? Why now? Why this? Why Ferguson?

On Thursday, we discussed how the history of de jure and de facto racial segregation have shaped the turmoil that's come to define Ferguson today. Desert Beacon just dove deeper into the St. Louis region's troubled past. Needless to say, it's a troubled past full of racial discrimination, municipal government turf wars, and sharp economic transitions.

Yet even as we're starting to understand how and why this is happening, we're still shocked by this. Why is this happening in America?



We've witnessed the incredibly disturbing trend of police militarization. Why are "peace officers" using weapons of war, sometimes even against unarmed civilians? Back in June, Congress had the opportunity to support bipartisan backed legislation to curtail a US Defense Department program that ships excess inventory of heavy artillery to local police departments. When it came to the House floor for a vote in that chamber, it failed by a huge margin. (And for the record, all of Nevada's House Members voted against this amendment.)



We now have a better sense of what Ferguson's and other police forces are using against civilians, but we must also address why they are using these military grade weapons against civilians. Why did Officer Darren Wilson shoot Michael Brown? It certainly wasn't because of the alleged robbery that the store never reported to police. So why did this occur?

And why have there been so many other "officer involved shootings" (and beatings) of unarmed civilians? Why are police officers allowed to commit acts they tend to arrest other people for? And why are we being told to just "submit" to this type of abuse?



And remember, we're not immune to this here in Nevada. Particularly in Southern Nevada, Las Vegas Metro Police has a disturbing record of "officer involved shootings" and excessive use of force. This is an issue that reaches far beyond Mississippi River.

But for the time being, Ferguson has become the epicenter of this horror. This corner of Missouri has become the burning reminder of something far too many of us have been far too afraid to publicly address. And it remains to be seen what else must occur (and who else must be hurt) before we finally take seriously this threat from within.

All Our Problem

We were careful in describing his career path on Thursday... Because we sensed this was coming. Accuracy is always important. But really, is this necessary?

(Go to 9:00 on the video below for the fireworks.)



Look, we get it. Dana White wants to talk about Ronda Rousey. He wants to talk about the all female cast of competitors on the new season of "The Ultimate Fighter". He wants to show us all the progress UFC has made in integrating women MMA fighters and valuing the contribution women are making to MMA.

Dana White and other UFC executives don't want to talk about War Machine, especially since he hasn't fought for UFC since 2008. They don't want to talk aboht Josh Grispi either, even though his last MMA fight was for UFC last year. (Basically, they're now receiving the Jason Miller treatment.) They don't want to talk about male MMA fighters running into domestic violence related trouble, especially when they feel they've done so much in recent years to promote equal rights in MMA.

Yes, UFC has made some progress in leaving behind its sexist past. Yes, War Machine had been under contract with Bellator this year (until he was released from that contract when this story first broke). But really, what's the point of arguing over who he was under contract with when?



Look, we get it. No one wants to take responsibility for the transformation of Jonathan Koppenhaver into War Machine. And no one wants to acknowledge the severity of rape culture in America. Even many (mostly "TEA" flavored) politicians scoff at the reality of violence against women.

Nope, it's easier to cry about some mythical "war on men". It's easier to dismiss the "disposable". And of course, it's so much easier to simply blame the victim.

Christy Mack is a porn star, so she must be a "slut" who "deserved it". Marichuy Gamino is an "illegal" and a "t----y", so she "deserves it". Jada went to the party, so she "deserves it".

No. Just no. No one "deserves it". No one deserves to be assaulted to near-death. No one deserves to be thrown into solitary confinement after reporting one's sexual assault. And no one deserves to be drugged and raped at a teen party.

As we said Thursday, this isn't just a MMA problem. This is an American problem. And it's long past time for us to blithely dismiss violence against cis and trans* women.

Dana White may be callous in trying to dump the entire War Machine fiasco onto the lap of a rival MMA league simply because that was the last league he worked for. However, we're no better when we ignore or marginalize violence against women that doesn't involve MMA fighters. This is all our problem. So what will we do to solve this?

Technical Difficulties (Again)

Not again! Yesterday, we had another round of technical difficulties.

And yes, those technical difficulties were again due to incredibly slow internet while we were out. This is nothing short of embarrassing. We sincerely apologize for the brief post this morning.

But hey, we might as well bring this up again. The internet is too damned slow. And it's long past due for us to do something about this.

Really, it's this bad.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Protect & Serve

We know it's not an easy job. We know it's a very dangerous job. We know this is the kind of job that most of us are too afraid to take up.

However, none of that excuses this. None of that excuses the horrific human rights abuses we've seen at the hands of the police in Ferguson, Missouri.



Ironically, much of the very brutality we've criticized in Iraq, Syria, Russia, and other nations with rather spotty human rights records is now underway here in America. Think about that. No wonder why the rest of the world often doubts our "commitment to freedom".

The violence in Ferguson didn't erupt overnight. It's the product of decades of racist housing policies, limited economic opportunities for communities of color, and local "law enforcement" who have provided anything but.

We realize that law enforcement has come under attack in recent months. Right here in Las Vegas, 2 Metro Police Officers were murdered by 2 Patriot Movement/sovereign citizen extremists. And just this week, a sovereign citizen in Dallas attacked firefighters and police officers. With radical right domestic terrorism on the rise again, public safety officers have become moving targets for these extremists.

However, this does not condone police violence against unarmed civilians. The threats posed by extreme right militias that grew out of the racist "posse comitatus" movement do not condone extreme violence against historically oppressed minority communities. And the day to day pressure of "life on duty" does not condone the brutal slaughter of Michael Brown and other unarmed civilians.



President Obama just called for calm after multiple nights of police attacks on protesters, police violence against journalists, violent riots, and looting in Ferguson. However, this problem isn't limited to Ferguson. It's a problem that's prevalent across the nation.

We've even witnessed it here in Southern Nevada. Even today, Las Vegas Metro Police's top cops refuse to acknowledge the severity of their growing list of "officer involved shootings". Justice still hasn't been served in cases like the Adam Greene's. Police brutality is just as much of a problem here as it is in the St. Louis region.

It's time to talk. We can't ignore this any longer. And really, we also need serious action to curb this disturbing trend of police militarization and excessive force against civilians. Law enforcement will never enjoy the respect they should otherwise expect if they don't respect the citizens they're supposed to protect & serve. It's time we address this problem and prevent more of these horrifically senseless deaths.

War Machine

Normally, we don't do this. But today, we just must. We noticed this Instagram post from UFC welterwight fighter John "Doomsday" Howard.

"This is for that p---y a-s War Machine. Yo, you're a straight b---h. I have three daughters, a mother, a sister and an aunt who went through that s--t. You're a straight p---y, straight p---y. A skilled fighter beating up a little girl like that. You're a p---y a-s motherf----r."

Wow. He certainly got his point across.

In case you're still scratching your head as to what "Doomsday" is talking about, he's referring to the horrific assault of Christy Mack last Friday. The Las Vegas porn star has taken to Twitter to describe the details of the attack that nearly ended her life. And she has already named ex-boyfriend Jonathan Koppenhaver as the perpetrator.



So why are "Doomsday" and other MMA figures freaking out on social media? Koppenhaver, who is currently better known as "War Machine", had been fighting for Bellator MMA after bouncing around UFC and other MMA leagues. Even though Bellator has already fired "War Machine", MMA insiders are worrying about "War Machine" becoming the latest in a string of MMA fighters engaging in domestic violence.



This isn't the first time "War Machine" has run into this kind of trouble. Last year, he "jokingly" tweeted "real men rape". He was convicted of 2 misdemeanor assaults (in 2007 & 2008) here in Nevada before a 2010 San Diego bar fight led to 2 felony assault convictions in California. And just moments before the brutal and near fatal attack on Christy Mack, "War Machine" tweeted this.

"[...] f--k u talking about? She's my Property and always will be."

Obviously, this is why MMA insiders are concerned. However, they shouldn't be the only ones concerned by this.

In 2012, (the lower House of) Congress failed to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It took nearly a year of pressure from Senators and constituents (on G-O-TEA House Members like Nevada's Joe Heck) before the House finally agreed to pass the bipartisan VAWA renewal that the Senate had already agreed to.

But why was this "controversial" at all? Behind the scenes, "TEA Party, Inc.", powerhouse Heritage Action announced it would actively campaign against VAWA renewal. It even declared it would negatively score Members of Congress who voted for VAWA. That dragged out (and almost completely dragged down) what was supposed to be an easy vote for a broadly bipartisan bill meant to aid victims of domestic violence.

Throughout 2012 and early 2013, G-O-TEA aligned interest groups (such as Heritage Action) seemed to be taking their queues from the Men's Rights Movement. The Men's Rights Movement doesn't just oppose legislation like VAWA. The Men's Rights Movement claims any and all efforts to combat sexist discrimination and other forms of misogyny are somehow "attacks on men".



From Darren Mack to Elliot Rodger, we've seen what happens when "men's rights activists" resort to extreme violence to "make a statement". However, most others don't go that far. That's because they don't have to. Rape culture has increasingly become mainstream, as politicians, professional athletes, music artists, and other celebrities have been trying to make misogyny culturally acceptable. And sadly, some in the "mainstream media" seem all too willing to "go along to get along".

And then, there's this. Reports are now surfacing about Las Vegas Metro Police biding its time in responding to Christy Mack's assault. Metro may have very well given "War Machine" just enough time to make a clean escape while threatening Mack's very fragile survival. What does this whole situation say about us? What does this growing trend of extreme misogyny say about our society?

It's not just MMA fighters and bosses who should worrry about "War Machine".

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Count on Joe"

Today, let's take another trip to the always exciting Nevada Progressive archives. This time, we're traveling back to September 2011. Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) was caught doing a rare town hall meeting in Summerlin. And he had to answer a tough question from the audience on his vote for Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wisconsin) Medicare busting austerity budget earlier that year.



Ouch. He had to resort to rhetorical pretzel twists to defend that vote... Yet he voted for another Paul Ryan austerity budget in March 2012. But after he caught some political heat for those votes later that year, Rep. Joe Heck turned around and voted against the third Paul Ryan austerity budget last year.

Now, Heck seems to be feeling the "Ryan-mentum" again. This past June, Rep. Heck had Paul Ryan write a fundraising letter for his reelection campaign. Of course, the letter contains all the usual accusations of President Obama, Senator Harry Reid (D), and Nancy Pelosi being such meanie poopyheads who won't let the "YOUNG GUNS!!!" have any fun on Capitol Hill. Oh, and Rep. Ryan "can count on Joe as a leader in the struggle to revive our economy".

How so? Was he talking about the government shutdown that yanked $26 billion out of our economy? Is he talking about the continuing denial of unemployment insurance (UI) that's hut over e million Americans (including over 37,000 Nevadans)? Is he talking about the denial of a minimum wage increase that could have given our economy the extra boost we all need? Or is he just talking about his austerity program that's been suppressing economic growth?

Income inequality is a serious problem in this nation. Don't believe us? See the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Standard & Poors (S&P) reports. Income inequality hinders economic growth.



And Paul Ryan's austerity regime is worsening our income inequality problem. Is that what he meant when he "can count on Joe as a leader in the struggle to revive our economy"? He can certainly "count on Joe" to vote for his policies that harm the economy and hurt working families. And if that's the message they want to share with Nevada voters, we won't stand in the way of that.

Armed, "Sovereign", & Dangerous

Last month, the local "newspaper" figured it was a great idea to publish the new home address of US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D). What could possibly go wrong with that?

Apparently, the local "newspaper" didn't realize that Charles Jason Moreland was already sending explicit emails to Senator Reid declaring that he's "a dead man". Moreland wrote to Senator Reid to demand he resign from office "or face stern, harsh, unimaginable consequences to him and his family." And now, Moreland is about to stand trial in an Oklahoma federal court for his alleged death threats against Senator Reid.

Meanwhile just to the south in Texas, Douglas Lee Leguin was arrested in a tony North Dallas neighborhood. Dallas firefighters had arrived to fight a dumpster fire when Leguin allegedly opened fire on them. A SWAT team was then called to respond to him. And after an armed standoff with police, Leguin was arrested and charged with 7 counts of aggravated assault.



During the shootout with police, Leguin declared himself to be a "sovereign citizen". This isn't the first time a sovereign citizen has resorted to violence to "fight for freedom". In May 2010, the father-son team of Jerry & Joseph Kane shot dead West Memphis, Arkansas, police officers Brandon Paudert & Bill Evans during what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop.



Sovereign citizens and their ideological twins in the Patriot Movement are not above violence. In fact, they sometimes resort to violence to "start the revolution".

Does the West Memphis murder of 2 on-duty police officers seem eerily familiar? If so, that may be due to what happened in Las Vegas this past June. Metro Police Officers Alyn Beck & Igor Soldo were shot dead at a local CiCi's Pizza by Jerad & Amanda Miller to "start the revolution". They then moved to a nearby Walmart, where they shot Joseph Robert Wilcox dead before they sacrificed themselves to "the revolution" in their final standoff with Metro.



Before they brought "the revolution" to Las Vegas, the Millers were in Bunkerville to assist Cliven Bundy in his "Range War" against the federal government. The Patriot Movement and allied anti-government radicals formed a critical mass in Bunkerville to defend their fellow sovereign citizens at #BundyRanch. They declared "posse comitatus" as they commanded Metro Officers to arrest federal agents for trying to enforce federal law.

Even before Cliven Bundy made international headlines, radical right violence was on the rise. But ever since sovereign citizens and the Patriot Movement (re)gained major media attention earlier this year, they've been enjoying a cultural zeitgeist on the fringe right as they increasingly permeate into what's supposed to be "political mainstream". Even though the Bundy clan no longer command media attention like they did in April, various "TEA" flavored media personalities continue to fan the flames of Bundy approved extremism with discredited conspiracy theories and xenophobic fearmongering.

Charles Jason Moreland didn't just send ugly emails to Senator Reid. Last September, the Tulsa man sent The White House an email last September in which he threatened to go to Washington, DC, “and start killing people if the monitoring of his Internet and cell phones did not stop.” He also sent threatening emails to his local Member of Congress, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma).

Once upon a time, this kind of activity was considered shocking. Not any more. It's unknown at this time if Moreland has any direct ties to the Patriot Movement and/or any sovereign citizen group. However, we can't deny they're leaving indelible and rather dangerous marks on contemporary American politics.