Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Real Deal

Earlier this month, Las Vegas Sun publisher Brian Greenspun shocked us... Not with his expected column opposing The Education Initiative (TEI), but with his assertion that LVGEA's gawd-awful Whitney Houston lip sync is somehow praiseworthy.

Queue today's Las Vegas Sun editorial on this year's ballot questions. While The Sun makes good points on Questions 1 & 2, it again ventures off to Neverland in search of a cohesive opinion on Question 3.

The solution is one we’ve already seen developing: Business groups are banding together and finding ways to fix the situation. They plan to come to the Legislature with a plan that will better fund education in a way that won’t break the backs of small businesses.

That’s what should happen and that’s the best way to go. This is a discussion for the Legislature, and seeing businesses involved in the process is encouraging. The bottom line is Question 3 is bad policy and would be disastrous for the state, especially when businesses are ready and willing to work with the Legislature to find a better way forward.



Here we go again with "The Deal". What is "The Deal"? What's in "The Deal" for our kids? And why can't we know how "The Deal" is being made? Maybe this is because "The Deal" is like all the other past "deals" that have gone nowhere?

As we've said before, why are we now to believe the very forces who have always fought against any kind of meaningful progressive tax reform suddenly want to give us "The Deal"? What have they ever done to earn our trust?

Think about this: They're spending millions on their campaign to defeat a mere 2% tax on $1,000,000+ of corporate income. If they're spending so much to defeat this at the ballot box, what makes us think they'll agree next year to any kind of tax reform that makes them pay something closer to their fair share?

So "Deal or No Deal"? Actually, how about we settle for The Real Deal?

What a Difference #1More Can Make

Ever since we started following him, we knew he would be going places. We knew he had that "fire in the belly".

We also knew he had something we don't often see in ambitious politicians: a genuine drive to help one's constituents. Whether he's been sticking up for his law abiding constituents in Bunkerville, helping veterans access the health care they need in Las Vegas & Pahrump, or looking after military families in Hawthorne, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) has been going the extra mile to serve all his constituents in NV-04.



He helped Alan in Centennial Hills access the veterans benefits he earned...



And he helped Dona in Pahrump clear up her tax issues.



Typically, this is the kind of constituent service that gets rave reviews. But you know who isn't a fan of this? Karl Rove. His Crossroads PAC is dumping about $1,000,000 worth of anti-Horsford ads onto Nevada airwaves.

Karl Rove is hoping this will be enough to make NV-04 voters forget all about Cresent Hardy's fondness for "segregation laws" and shady finances. He's hoping this will be enough to make voters forget about Rep. Horsford's tireless work to keep Bryan Rivera's family together.



Because early voting has been very slow so far, Republican operatives are now boasting of a "wave". And now, they're claiming this means Cresent Hardy has "momentum".

Never mind Rep. Horsford's actual record of service to constituents. Never mind the stories of Alan, Dona, & Bryan. And never mind Rep. Horsford earning the endorsements of all the major Southern Nevada newspapers. Because only a few people have voted so far, Republicans now think they can sneak Cresent Hardy into Congress.

What a difference #1more vote can make. A few more votes can make a huge difference in the coming days. A few more votes can shift "conventional wisdom". A few more votes can turn back a "wave".

And now, a few more #1more's can upend Karl Rove's political calculus? Might you be that #1more to do it?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

And Now, A Word on Those Who Didn't Even Show Up

Last night, the main attraction... Wait, scratch that. The NV-03 debate was the only debate at Ner Tamid Synagogue in Henderson. For some reason, the other candidates backed out of the candidates' debate.

Hmmmm, we wonder why...



So Ralston was left having a live "Face to Face" chat with Lt. Governor candidate Lucy Flores (D). During their chat in stage, Flores had the opportunity to speak directly to voters on why she's running for this office and what's the truth to all the TV ads they've been seeing lately. And yes, she actually took it.

Flores explained to Ralston and the audience how she can use the Lt. Governor's Office as a platform to pursue progress on a host of issues. She promised to work for better support for public education if elected. And she promised to ensure that efforts to bring more business to Nevada actually employ Nevada businesses.



Ralston was probably hoping for at least some of the fireworks that exploded at Vegas PBS studios last week, but that didn't happen here. Nope, Mark Hutchison (R) was nowhere to be found.

And the same could be said about Clark County Sheriff candidate Joe Lombardo. He also backed out of the Ner Tamid debate. But why? Especially why would the "frontrunner" who likes to boast of his "superior qualifications" back out of a chance to directly show voters his "superior qualifications"?

So Ralston was left to interview Larry Burns solo. He answered a couple questions, somewhat evaded Ralston's final question, then stayed after Ralston left to speak directly with voters.



Can anyone guess the pet peeve that's irritating us today? At least Rep. Joe Heck (R) and Erin Bilbray (D) showed up to debate each other. Why couldn't Mark Hutchison and Joe Lombardo extend the same courtesy to Mr. Ralston, Ner Tamid, and local voters?

And don't get us started on the certain State Senator who was more than happy to saunter across the Ner Tamid stage in 2010, only to go into hiding now. We know exactly what he's up to. He can't stay in hiding forever.

The Tweets Tell the Story

Apparently, this is becoming a story. So it's a good thing we were actually there last night to see it unfold. Who knew a "boring" debate at a typically quiet neighborhood synagogue could become so raucous?

Last night, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) debated his opponent, Erin Bilbray (D), at the Ner Tamid Reform Congregation in Henderson. At first, the atmosphere seemed pretty calm. Heck and Bilbray were even being polite towards each other. But then, this happened.



Heck interrupted Bilbray, which resulted in a few Bilbray supporters heckling Heck, which resulted in some Heck supporters shouting at Bilbray. And of course, this all resulted in moderator Jon Ralston popping off on everyone. He even threatened to have Ner Tamid organizers "clear the room".

Perhaps that's what was needed, as that caused everyone to quiet down so the debate could resume.



And so it did. Ralston started with foreign policy, and Heck seemed prepared for that. In fact, he stated he not only wants air strikes against ISIS in Iraq, but also more ground troops. He even went so far to say it was a "mistake" for the US to pull troops out of Iraq. Heck pretty much announced he's a "born again neo-con" last night with his desire for a renewed US occupation of Iraq.

Bilbray, on the other hand, was far more careful with her words. She said she supports President Obama's air strikes campaign, but does not want any more troops on the ground. She even called out Rep. Heck and other Members of Congress who haven't backed up their rhetoric with any floor votes.

Then, the conversation moved to #Ebola. And here's what actually happened:



Bilbray pointed out how CDC budget cuts have hurt our ability to prepare for outbreaks like this. Heck scoffed at that, but then came back down to earth when he acknowledged Ebola won't suddenly kill us all. But then, he just had to blame Texas nurses. Keep it klassy, Rep. Heck.

Once Ralston moved the debate to domestic issues, that's when Bilbray seemed to hit her stride. She struck a decidedly combative tone, yet nonetheless a tone suggesting she knows what she's talking about. And while Heck scored some points here and there, he still seemed somewhat off his game after his surprisingly weak performance at the Vegas PBS Debate.









After the gun safety question and brief closing remarks, it was over... Or at least, we thought it was over.

That was the only Ner Tamid debate, as other candidates had backed out. We'll have more on that later. Suffice to say, the audience then had the chance to watch a live version of "Ralston Reports" as he grilled Lt. Governor candidate Lucy Flores (D) and Clark County Sheriff candidate Larry Burns.

But once all the speeches were over, this happened:



We noticed something from the corners of our eyes, but couldn't hear what was being said. Apparently, it was a Heck supporter who decided to confront Erin Bilbray's daughter.



Oh, my. What a lovely way to end such a lovely debate (/snark). At least we have the tweets to tell the whole story.



"Dead" Already?

(Ever since it was first born, it's been declared "dead". Yet after every attempt to schedule a funeral and bury it, The Education Initiative [TEI] has somehow chugged on. Can it happen one more time? Will more people finally start turning out for TEI?

Here's a gem from the Nevada Progressive archives, all the way back from November 2012. Maybe TEI can come back from the "dead" one more time?

If you want to prove the pundits wrong, you need to vote. Check out our "one stop voter shop" for all the 411 you need to be a good citizen and exercise your right to govern. Early voting continues through the 31st.)


Yesterday, we discussed the continuing need for real, progressive tax reform. And thankfully, the teachers refuse to give up this fight.

[The Education Initiative] has more than 100,000 signatures of voters on its initiative petition and they will be presented Tuesday to the counties for verification of the names, says Nick Di Archangel, director of communications for the Nevada State Education Association.

Di Archangel says he thinks the petition has a good chance of gaining legislative approval.

The law requires 72,352 signatures on the initiative to be filed by the Tuesday deadline. And there must be 18,008 signatures in each of the four congressional districts.

So now, The Education Initiative has more than enough signatures to go to the Legislature next spring. And even if Nick Di Archangel is wrong and the Legislature does not want to approve it, that just means voters can approve it in 2014.

However, the path forward is not completely clear yet. The Education Initiative still has to overcome the legal challenge.

At the same time, the Nevada Supreme Court has decided to speed up an appeal by the union over a ruling by a lower court that the petition is invalid.

The Supreme Court Wednesday filed an order that it will hear oral arguments on the first available date and all seven justices will be sitting on the case. The court said it will not be necessary for the union and its opponent, Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs, to file briefs, a normal procedure.

The court, in expediting the process, will examine the record in the case before Carson City District Judge James Wilson, who ruled the petition was faulty, misleading and could not be presented to the Legislature.

The initiative would impose a 2 percent margins tax on businesses with more than an annual income of $1 million. It is expected to raise $800 million a year to go toward funding the public schools.

So "The Supremes" (of Nevada) must render their final verdict before we know for sure if The Education Initiative will go to Carson City next spring.

But at least for now, this initiative lives on. And at least for now, progressives can keep hope alive for meaningful tax reform. Already, the usual suspects in Carson City are working to silence all talk of tax reform. But as long as teachers and their fellow union activists keep turning up the heat with The Education Initiative, this issue will not go away.

And at this point, even a final ruling against the initiative may not be enough to silence activists demanding real solutions for better schools and a fairer tax code. Simply put, progressives are mad as hell and they won't take it any more. So expect more sound and fury from a typically unexpected source during next year's legislative session. And regardless of the final fate of this specific initiative, progressive tax reform is far from dead.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bloody Bundy

Back in April, one "outlaw cowboy" in Bunkerville decided to wage a "Range War" against the federal government. So he gathered an army of fellow "outlaw cowboys" to point guns at federal agents and back up traffic on The 15. And the rest is history...

Except it's also still happening. Over the weekend, the Southern Poverty Law Center checked in on "The Bundy Files" and uncovered no legal action against Cliven Bundy or any of his accomplices. Neither the feds nor local authorities have stepped up as of yet, though both claim investigations are still underway.

So now, Bundy is enjoying the celebrity life as he accepts speaking engagements, media interviews, and even invitations to appear in campaign ads. Yep, he's actually going there.



Never mind he and his cohort pointed guns at federal agents. Never mind he's still palling around with his buddies in the sovereign citizen gang and the Patriot Movement. And never mind that he still owes the feds over $1,000,000 in back owed taxes and fines while he continues to trespass on federally owned land.

For now, let's return to Bundy's "sovereign" and "patriot themed" buddies. Remember them? They just have an extensive history of resorting to whatever means necessary to overthrow our duly elected government.



Remember when #BundyRanch was not just trending on Twitter, but was also attracting "sovereign" warriors from across the nation? One of them happened to be one Jerad Miller. Remember him? He & his wife just shot two Metro Police Officers and a third victim dead before they shot themselves to "start the revolution".



Even before #BundyRanch exploded onto the national media's radar, "sovereign citizen" inspired criminal activity was on the rise. But since Cliven Bundy has taken to the national stage to legitimize this fringe "movement", we've been witnessing even more "sovereign" activity across the nation.

Last month, a sniper opened fire on a Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Pike County. Trooper Alex Douglass was critically injured in the attack. Corporal Byron Dickson was shot dead.

Investigators soon found an abandoned Jeep Cherokee nearby containing the Social Security card belonging to Eric Frein. The Jeep was then traced to Frein's parents. Eric Frein is now the sole suspect in this attack. Pennsylvania State Police is in an active manhunt for Frein, and the FBI recently added Frein to its "Ten Most Wanted" list.



Surprise, surprise, Eric Frein is a "sovereign citizen". Who could have guessed another one would attack law enforcement?

Yet even though they deny their role in promoting him, a slew of prominent Nevada Republicans refuse to actually condemn Cliven Bundy's free range lawlessness. And because calling this what it is has somehow become "controversial", the federal response has been awfully slow... Perhaps too slow.

And so for the time being, we're stuck with the Bundy Family Circus. And no, we're not laughing.

Why "No Comment"?

Today, our big "H/T of the Day Award" goes to the one & only Gleaner himself, Hugh Jackson. What else are we supposed to add to this?



Well of course, we can always add this:



And now, ProgressNow Nevada Action and Progressive Kick are adding this. Becky Harris (R) has been trying her best to hide from the voters since June, along with her running mates Patricia Farley (R) and Michael Roberson (R). They're all running for State Senate (and in Roberson's case, running for reelection), yet none of them has spoken to anyone in the press since August and all of them have have been severely limiting public exposure since June. Why?

Perhaps ProgressNow is onto something. Who is Becky Harris? While we've been doing plenty of sleuthing ourselves to uncover her radical G-O-TEA allegiances, ProgressNow has uncovered even more damning evidence. She testified not only against marriage equality, but also domestic partnerships (??!!), at the Nevada Legislature in 2001. She even endorsed "conversion therapy", the horrifically dangerous practice of attempting to "pray the gay away" from LGBTQ people. So why are we now supposed to believe Becky Harris won't (again) pursue what she's already gone to Carson City to advocate?

But wait, there's more. Last week, we told you about Becky Harris' internship at the Utah Legislature during the early 1990s. Back then, she took part in crafting anti-choice legislation. Now we know she took part in creating the infamous Utah law that would have threatened 15 year prison sentences for doctors performing abortions... If the US Supreme Court hadn't overturned that and other severe state level abortion restrictions in 1992. But now that the religious right wrong is waging another War on Women, we're again at risk of seeing women's reproductive rights taken away. How do we know Becky Harris won't join in (again)?

And of course, we all remember Becky Harris' now infamous August interview with Steve Sebelius. Funny enough, this was her very last media appearance before "The Blackout". Perhaps that's because Becky Harris let it slip that she's vehemently against even modest legislation to close Nevada's background check loopholes that allow dangerous criminals to get their hands on very dangerous weapons. According to Harris, it's more important to argue over the definition of "transfer" than to keep dangerous firearms away from the next Jerad Miller and Christopher Dorner.

All this helps explain why Becky Harris' spokespeople (and their boss, Michael Roberson) are making "No Comment". They don't want you to know her real record. They don't want you to know what she really wants to do in Carson City. So Roberson is keeping Harris in hiding in hopes they can trick the voters of Senate District 9 into electing her.

Perhaps Roberson's operatives think they can enjoy some "political trick-or-treat-ing" here, but voters deserve better. They deserve to know what Becky Harris is actually running on. And they deserve far more than "No Comment".

No "Deal", No Mirage, No Dilemma

We had a feeling this was coming. In his "Sunday Column" yesterday, Jon Ralston moaned about the difficult choice he has regarding Question 3. Dare we say the typically very opinionated pundit hasn't yet made up his mind?

We understand this is difficult for him. He wants to believe. He wants to believe the Governor & Legislature will magically reach "The Deal" that Las Vegas Sun publisher Brian Greenspun alluded to in his column announcing his opposition to The Education Initiative (TEI). If we just give the "bid'ness establishment" just a little more time to "bring everyone together", can't we all just get along and praise the glorious arrival of "The Deal"?

However, Ralston has seen this same s--tshow play out so many times that he can sense "The Deal" is just a mirage. And when we say mirage here, we're not talking about the Strip casino resort with the volcano.

There's a reason why the very "bid'ness establishment" that's promising to usher in "The Deal" is spending so much to kill TEI. Every time anyone has suggested some kind of comprehensive and progressive tax reform, it's gone in to kill reform. Not even then Governor Kenny Guinn (R) could succeed at that front in 2003.

So why are we to believe "this time will be different"? And why are we to believe this time they will actually behave differently? We don't even know what's in this "Deal". And to be completely honest, we don't know if there will ever be a real "Deal".

However, we have the real deal on our ballot now. The No on 3 campaign offers a beautiful mirage of a miraculous "deal". But as with all mirages, this one is simply an illusion. Even Ralston seems to understand this.

As we've said before, our choice on Question 3 truly comes down to this: Something or nothing. We can either agree to the real deal for Nevada schools by saying yes to Question 3, or we can just say no and eventually realize there's no deal behind "Door No on 3".

We understand this may actually be a dilemma for Ralston and some other Nevada voters. Why must we be stuck with this decision? Why must we have to decide tax policy at the ballot box?

We just don't see this as a dilemma any more. That's because we're sick and tired of being offered nothing but enticing mirages and ficitious "deals" by the Carson City "bid'ness establishment". We want the real deal, and we now know exactly how to achieve it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Nevada's Progressive Voter Guide for 2014

Obviously, the big day is almost here. Early voting starts tomorrow. And what, did we just hear you still have questions?

No worries, this is why we're here. Check here for all the information you need on early voting throughout the state (including links to location listings). Early voting will be available until Halloween (October 31).

But wait, who are we to vote for? We certainly won't tell you who to vote for (wink, wink), but we are certainly happy to direct you to the SEIU 1107, Humboldt Toiyabe Sierra Club, Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood, and Nevada Impact/Las Vegas Night Beat/GayVegas.com 2014 voter guides for more information on all the candidates on the ballot. Also make sure to check PLAN Action and ProgressNow Nevada Action for even more useful election information.

And speaking of useful election information, go ahead and check out the Vegas PBS debate archives to see the candidates make their own respective cases.

We hope this helps. And above all else, we hope you go out and vote. If you want to make your voice heard, you know what you need to do.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Message

Remember this? Let's take another trip to the Nevada progressive archives. First, let's stop at October 2010. Remember then State Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio's (R-Reno) huge announcement?

Let's now jump to January 2011 to note Senator Raggio's shocking exit from the Legislature.



When Senator Bill Raggio passed away in February 2012, we noted the legacy he left behind... And the legacy so many in his party wanted to ditch behind.

Seriously, this is what has me worried. Yes, Bill Raggio was conservative. Yes, Bill Raggio did use his budget votes as leverage to pass right-wing legislation. And yes, Bill Raggio liked to spend our tax dollars up north when they were really needed in Clark County.

However at the end of the day, Bill Raggio was always someone who was interested in making Nevada's government work. And not too long ago, there were other Republicans, like Kenny Guinn, who believed the same and demonstrated the ability to reach across aisles to keep Nevada functioning.

But last session, we were left wondering if a significant chunk of Legislature Republicans even wanted any kind of functioning government. And again, with Raggio gone, we had to wait for that Nevada Supreme Court ruling just to extend the tax deal that Raggio brokered in 2009. And with Raggio gone, what used to be a Nevada tradition of legislators constantly crossing aisles and party lines to get stuff done gave into California style "mortal combat governance".


Early this year, we were confronted by this again when another Nevada political legend, Former Lt. Governor Sue Wagner (R), decided to leave the Republican Party.



And she was soon followed by Neena Laxalt. Today, Neena Laxalt is following that up with a Las Vegas Sun op-ed that she signed onto, along with six other Laxalt family members.

During our journey, we have found a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that best captures the essence of a core value that has guided us throughout our lives — the value of speaking up for what is right. He wrote, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

In the spirit of King’s words, then, we can no longer be silent as we seek to maintain the integrity of our home state of Nevada.

Therefore, we collectively speak up to support Ross Miller as the most qualified candidate to be our state’s attorney general. [...]

Know that our message does not originate from a Republican, Democratic or even family affiliation. It has to do with the most basic question all voters must ask themselves when they step into the voting booth, “Who really is the best qualified candidate for attorney general for the state of Nevada?”


Wow. So it's happening again. And this time, it's Laxalt family members rebuking the very party they once led. And not only that, but they're even having to rebuke one of their own as both he and the party have lost their way.

Four years ago, the party lost the late Bill Raggio as he and others endorsed US Senator Harry Reid (D) for reelection. Earlier this year, the party lost Sue Wagner and Neena Laxalt. Today, several members of the Laxalt family can't even endorse their own family member who's running for Attorney General. And to our shock, the Nevada Republican Party still isn't getting the message. What else will it take for the message to resonate with them?

The Root of All Kinds of Evil

It's that time of the cycle again. We're seeing a downpour of campaign finance reports. And of course, reporters and pundits are "analyzing" "who's up & who's down" due to how much each has raised.

We're seeing tremendous fundraising hauls for candidates in hot races... And we're even seeing tremendous fundraising hauls for candidates who aren't in hot races. So what does this all mean?

Now, we're even seeing attack ads over "gifts" paid for by "gifts" from "high friends in low places". Hell, these "high friends in low places" are even paying for attack ads that indirectly attack them! What on earth are we supposed to make of this?



This is actually what US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) was talking about yesterday. This is what happens we allow so much corporate money to flood our politics.

Want to know why we're now having to decide major tax policy in the voting booth this year? Look no further than here... Or here... Or here.

Want to know why we're all too often subjected to a vapid debate over "optics" instead an actual, substantive debate on the issues we truly care about? Take a look here. Need we say more?



There's a reason why we keep harping on this. And there's a reason why religious texts, such as The Bible, have warned about the love of money.

Want to get to the root of all the evil that's seeped into our politics? Follow the money. And if you want to uproot this evil, you need to get this dirty money out of our politics.

Bernie Sanders' Big Announcement

Will he or won't he? We know that's what some are asking right now, especially since another likely 2016 Presidential Candidate flew into Southern Nevada for a UNLV Foundation fundraiser. And yes, he directly addressed that matter.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

But first, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) wanted to discuss the reason why he came to the Culinary Academy this week. First, he wanted to talk about the issues.



Senator Sanders covered everything from workers' rights to Social Security to Medicare and Obamacare. He talked about everything from the ongoing G-O-TEA campaign against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) to the corporate media's obsession with "scandals". It was the kind of very frank discussion that one typically doesn't expect to have with a Member of Congress.

And speaking of frank, Senator Sanders cut to the chase when he was asked about 2016. Will he or won't he? Well, that depends on whether he can count on the kind of campaign machine that will be necessary for a Presidential campaign.

Senator Sanders then spoke a truth that is hardly ever uttered in political pundit circles. How does change truly happen? How can one make our system work?



Short answer: One can't. Longer answer: It truly takes a village. It takes a large village. It takes a village that becomes a large and enduring grassroots movement. One person alone can't change the system, but one person can help put together a critical mass who can...

If they stick together. If anything, that's the big takeaway of Senator Sanders' visit to Southern Nevada. But shhh, don't tell the media pundits. They're still obsessing over Hillary Clinton's shoes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lunch With Bernie (Sanders, That Is)

So we attended a campaign event today. And we met someone who may run for President in 2016. And yes, he talked about that.

US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) was invited by the Culinary Union to speak at its get out the vote rally at the Culinary Academy in North Las Vegas. At today's event, Senator Sanders touched on the major issues in this election. He addressed the the one issue that's come to define political landscape in recent cycles.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

He also touched on why so many Americans are so disgusted with our government. (Hint: Follow the money.)



And yes, Senator Sanders addressed the matter of the Kochs. He explained how all the Koch money being dumped into campaigns across the nation (including here in Nevada) prevents us from having nice things. And when we say nice things, we mean policies like a livable minimum wage, extended unemployment insurance, strong action on climate change, and relief for students who are drowning in student loan debt.



Earlier this week, Nevada's top media pundits and "bid'ness establishment" elite were fluttering around a certain visit by another rumored 2016 Presidential Candidate. Yet while they were debating the "optics" of the event, they completely overlooked the policy questions that should have been examined when she arrived. Why didn't any one at Bellagio want to talk about the actual issues that the fundraiser should have been all about?

Perhaps because Senator Sanders' visit to the Culinary Academy didn't attract the kind of media attention and "controversy" that the Bellagio UNLV Foundation fundraiser did, the conversation didn't devolve into a shouting match over "optics". And perhaps that's a good thing. After all, we can now present you with this very real discussion over truly important issues.

And frankly, this is the kind of "candidate sighting" we actually enjoy.

Fringe Is Still Their "Mainstream"

(It's amazing to think that just 6 months ago, a whole bunch of Nevada Republicans, along with G-O-TEA "opinion makers" from across the nation, were actually encouraging armed insurrection against our federal government. But yes, it happened. And no matter how much Adam Laxalt, Michele Fiore, Cresent Hardy, and Nevada Republican Party media spinners want to forget their #BundyRanch debacle, we remember.

So as we commemorate the 6 month anniversary of the start of Cliven Bundy's "Range War" against the rule of law, let's dig into the Nevada Progressive archives and travel back to April 2014 so we can uncover the truth behind all the Nevada G-O-TEA denials we see today.)


Once upon a time, this was merely an oddball case out in a rural corner of Southern Nevada. Not all that long ago, hardly anyone outside the Virgin Valley knew who Cliven Bundy was. He was just the local outlaw rancher who was running his cattle onto federal property (and far beyond designated grazing territory) without paying his fees.

Once upon a time, this was merely a local embarrassment. But now, the Nevada Republican Party has taken up Cliven Bundy's (illegal) cause. And the Koch-topus has taken up this cause and broadcasted it on G-O-TEA media networks nationwide. And the entire world is looking at our state and wondering what the hell we're smoking.

Welcome to Nevada. In our state's Republican Party, fringe is the new mainstream. In this party, Sue Wagner is ostracized to the point of severing ties altogether while Cliven Bundy is celebrated to the point of being declared some sort of outlaw "folk hero".



However, it's no longer just the Nevada Republican Party. It's nationwide. #BundyRanch has been trending nationwide for nearly three weeks. And it's become the latest & greatest cause celebre for G-O-TEA politicians nationwide.

Just a decade ago, the Bush Administration would have used the "domestic terrorist" label to describe the Bundy Gang. But now that Senator Harry Reid (D) is employing the same definition of "domestic terrorism" that Former President George W. Bush used while he was in The White House, G-O-TEA media personalities are feigning "OUTRAGE!!!" while they spread more (already debunked) conspiracy theories about his alleged role in #BundyRanch.

Welcome to the Republican Party of 2014. There, fringe is the new mainstream. Since Sean Hannity has officially declared his undying love & admiration for Cliven Bundy and his merry gang of (fellow) outlaws, G-O-TEA politicians must follow his lead. And more importantly, since the Koch Empire is all in for #BundyRanch, G-O-TEA politicians from across the nation have been endorsing the Bundy Gang's calls for anarchy at gunpoint.

Once upon a time, the Republican Party was known as the "law & order party". Now, it's become the "outlaw & chaos party". Fringe is the new mainstream. And the crazier one sounds, the better chance one has of winning a G-O-TEA primary.

Why "TEA Party, Inc." Fears "T Word" Honesty

(They did it again. Of course, they did it again! They're the powers that be who happen to run the state's largest [absolute embarrassment of a] "newspaper". Today, they published another in-house anti-TEI ad. But this time, they posted it on the front page and right under a story boasting about how much money the No on 3 campaign has raised!

Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

So we figured today is the perfect day to take a trip down the Nevada Progressive archives and back to June 2012. Let's review why we now have Question 3 on our fall ballot. Let's examine the truth behind the lies being propagated by opponents of The Education Initiative. And let's remember how this whole Question 3 campaign began.)


As we noted yesterday, the corporate margin tax is finally going live. And already, it's making a big splash. And already, the radical right is making noise on how "dangerous" this is.



The usual "tea party" suspects are kicking up the scare tactics. Who knew a simple margin tax, a tax proposal that some progressives complain doesn't go far enough[, could be so damned frightening?] That's why I had a good laugh when I saw NPRI's hand wringing, and why I then rejoiced when I saw Sebring's rebuttal of NPRI's fearmongering at The Nevada View.

Anti-tax reform groups, like NPRI, feeling like they have duped and confused middle class citizens go on to state that “research shows there’s little to no correlation between $ and student achievement.” The facts are not on their side though. As the Student-Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) project and the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) project have shown, “Research concentrating on class size is important because the findings have largely concluded that smaller class size leads to increases in student achievement, helps to close the minority-majority achievement gap, and has several other long lasting benefits.” Class size reduction though isn’t possible without an increase in the number of teachers in classrooms within a district. Logic tells us that these increases in teacher counts will cost money. Thereby showing that increased financial investments in schools most certainly does increase student achievements, as well as providing other socially relevant benefits.

For decades, the likes of NPRI have deceived Nevadans into thinking we could get something for nothing. But in the last decade, we've had to learn the hard way that we really can't get "money for nothing and chicks for free". Instead, our penchant for rewarding tax evasion has only caused us unnecessary pain and suffering as we've failed to invest in the public infrastructure (like public schools) necessary for growing a sustainable and diversified economy.

Even Ralston, who sometimes wants to like NPRI almost as much as he hates the initiative process, couldn't stay mum on NPRI's idiotic attempt to stifle reasonable discussion on badly needed tax reform. And that's what has "Tea Party, Inc." running scared. The frustration is real, the need for reform is real, and now the first step in building a lasting solution to our chronic budget AND economic development woes is real. They're trying desperately to stifle this, but their days of bullying Nevada into remaining a failed state (just so their corporate patrons can reap the rewards of our suffering) are numbered.