Monthly Archives: May 2011

Game Change: Holding GOP Accountable for Their Vote

If last night’s vote in NY-26, a seriously red district in western New York, said anything, it’s that Rep. Ryan’s Path to Poverty (for the middle class and seniors) is an absolute non-starter with the American public.  Yet a number of  Republicans refuse to understand that message.  Instead, they claim the Kathy Hochul campaign was just more successful at “spinning” a web of lies that Republican Jane Corwin was unable to hack through, and that she fought the good fight against ” against two well-funded Democrats, including one masquerading under the Tea Party name (according to Rep. Pete Sessions R-TX).

They may not want to admit it, but the truth is that the Paul Ryan “kill Medicare” budget lost this seat for the Republican Party.  Conservatives and outside groups spent on the order of $8-9M in an attempt to sway voters, into voting for a candidate who supported privatizing Medicare all for naught.  This race was about Medicare, and voters clearly told Republicans they aren’t voting for candidates who want to strip them of benefits for which they’ve worked for and paid into throughout their entire working life.

The potency of this issue is not simply because Republicans want to end Medicare. It is because the GOP wants to end Medicare in order to pay for an almost 30 percent tax rate reduction for the wealthiest Americans and big corporations, and to maintain the current billions in tax subsidies to oil companies. That’s nearly a 1/3 cut in taxes for the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, and billions of tax dollars to oil companies, paid for by America’s senior citizens and their families.

Jef Pollock, Hochul’s pollster said it best: “”This race was won, in a significant way, because of the disastrous decision by the GOP to dismantle Medicare as we know it,” he said. “Kathy Hochul was a great candidate. And credit is due to her for running a great race as well as credit to the campaign for making Medicare a central issue — that’s why Hochul was winning 74 percent of the voters who said that Medicare was the most important issue to them in the most recent Siena poll conducted just a few days ago,” he said

It’s now up to us to build on her success in the upcoming election in Nevada’s CD-2 race.  We need to elect our Democratic candidate (whomever that will be) to fill that seat. Then, next year, we need to unseat Sen. Dean Heller, who not only voted for Ryan’s Path to Poverty for the middle class and seniors, but has bragged about how he’s looking forward to being the only person in Congress who will have the privilege of being able to vote twice to pass it.

From the RGJ on 5/3/2011:  “I’m not worried about it. I voted for it once. I’m not going to come over here and vote against it,“ Heller said. “I’m proud to be the only member of Congress who will get to vote for it twice.“

We also need to unseat Joe Heck who voted with glee for the Ryan Budget, for continuing to subsidize big oil, and for sicking the tax collector on women and families who just happen to have an abortion provision in their health care plan.

But for now, we need to make sure each and every Democrat in CD-2 is wide awake, paying attention, and ready to vote for our Democratic nominee on September 13th.

Congratulations of note to newly elected Rep. Kathy Hochul:

President Obama: “I want to extend my congratulations to Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul for her victory in New York’s 26th Congressional District,” Obama said.  “Kathy and I both believe that we need to create jobs, grow our economy, and reduce the deficit in order to out-compete other nations and win the future. Kathy has shown, through her victory and throughout her career, that she will fight for the families and businesses in western New York, and I look forward to working with her when she gets to Washington.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi:  I want to extend my congratulations to Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul for her victory in New York’s 26th Congressional District. Kathy and I both believe that we need to create jobs, grow our economy, and reduce the deficit in order to outcompete other nations and win the future. Kathy has shown, through her victory and throughout her career, that she will fight for the families and businesses in western New York, and I look forward to working with her when she gets to Washington.

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement after Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul’s victory in the New York Special Election:

“I wholeheartedly congratulate Congresswoman-elect Hochul and her grassroots supporters for their hard work and dedication despite being outspent by a 2-to-1 margin. Tonight’s election result is not just a victory for Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul, it’s a victory for the residents of Western New York and for Americans who believe that our elected leaders should fight to protect Medicare and ensure that our government works for our seniors, working families and young people. Kathy’s Republican opponent, and those who spent a small fortune on her behalf in a solidly Republican district, found out the hard way that their extreme plans to abolish Medicare and slash Medicaid and investments in health care, education, innovation and job creation are wrongheaded and unpopular even in a district that should have been a cakewalk for the Republican candidate.

“Just a few months ago, former Republican Congressman Lee won the 26th district with 74 percent of the vote – but since that time Republicans have voted to end Medicare and place a whole host of additional burdens on seniors, young people and working families while preserving tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires and big oil and they have been on the wrong side of public sentiment ever since.

“Tonight’s result has far-reaching consequences beyond New York. It demonstrates that Republicans and Independent voters, along with Democrats, will reject extreme policies like ending Medicare that even Newt Gingrich called radical. With this election in the rear-view mirror, it is my hope that Republicans will accept the message being sent by voters in this race, in the polls and at town hall meetings across the country and work with Democrats to get our fiscal house in order while protecting Medicare and other initiatives vital to our economic recovery.”

Related Posts:

NV Supreme Court Grants Motion; Sets Expedited Briefing Schedule

Posted Date: 5/24/2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Pam duPré

(Carson City, NV; May 24, 2011) – The Nevada Supreme Court today granted Secretary of State Ross Miller’s motion to expedite the Court’s resolution of his appeal of the May 19 1st Judicial District Court’s ruling regarding the special election to fill the vacancy in the U.S. House.

The court has ordered that the appellants’ opening brief shall be filed no later than 4 PM on Tuesday, May 31. The respondents’ answering brief shall be filed by 4 PM on Wednesday, June 8, and reply briefs, if any, must be filed by 4 PM on Monday, June 13.

The Supreme Court also directed Secretary Miller to provide it with an affidavit or declaration under oath specifying the actual time lines required for the preparation, printing, and circulation of ballots relating to the special election under both cases: whether the Supreme Court affirms the district court decision, or alternately, vacates the injunction and reinstates the Secretary of State’s prior interpretation.

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Emily’s List: Senate Protection Project

It’s a simple fact, but it couldn’t be more important: if the Emily’s List pro-choice Democratic women win, then Democrats can hold the Senate majority. In 2012, six Emily’s List senators are up for reelection — that’s half of the Democratic women in the Senate! With appalling legislation coming out of the GOP-controlled House on just about a daily basis, these women have been the crucial firewall blocking the draconian Republican agenda.

The Senate Protection Project is about getting and keeping Emily’s List advocates in the Senate — Maria Cantwell, Dianne Feinstein, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Claire McCaskill, and Debbie Stabenow — and about providing them with the resources they need to hold onto their seats in 2012. Contribute to one or more of these Emily’s List senators today so they can start their campaigns strong.

Since launching their Senate Protection Project, Emily’s List has seized on an exciting pick-up opportunity in our state: U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley. Shelley has rightly earned her reputation as one of the “hardest-working women in politics.”  She’s now earned a coveted Senate endorsement from Emily’s List. It’s early yet, but Berkley’s polling is very promising, and there’s no doubt she’ll be an incredible campaigner against Dean Heller for that Senate seat. Learn more about Shelley here and give her your support today.

Are You Considering Running for Office?

Are you considering running for some office but you don’t know all the ins and outs … and you don’t have a lot of money to pay for training to figure it all out?  Well here’s your chance to learn all kinds of things that will help you succeed.  Starting next week DFA is going to give you the skills to recruit and prepare local progressives to run for office – all you have to do is sign up!

Register for the Spring Semester of DFA Night School!

This semester of Night School will tackle the question of ‘Getting a Campaign Off the Ground’. Every Wednesday for the next three weeks we’ll provide an interactive online training for grassroots progressives that will help us identify and prepare the best progressive candidates for the 2012 elections.

Recruiting Candidates
Wednesday May 25th – 8:30pm Eastern

How to Launch Your Campaign
Wednesday June 1st – 8:30pm Eastern

Start up Fundraising – Budgeting
Wednesday June 8th – 8:30pm Eastern

Sign up for all three of these free interactive trainings here.

If we want to have great Democratic candidates to work for in 2012, then we need to get to work right now.  Register for DFA Night School today and learn how to get a local progressive campaign off the ground in your community.

Next Week — The Defense Authorization Bill

The House is scheduled to take up HR 1540, the 2012 defense authorization bill, next week with plans to pass a $689B policy bill by Memorial Day.  That may prove challenging as this bill has some serious problems that any blue-blooded Democrat should have serious problems accepting.

The Potential and Precedence of Giving Too Much Authority to a President:

HR1540, the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in Section 1034, declares that the United States is in an armed conflict with not only al Qaeda and the Taliban, but “associated forces” and individuals, organizations and nations that support such forces. The President could then have the full legal authority to send American troops to engage in acts of war anywhere–Yemen, Somalia, Iran, even the United States–without  constitutionally required Congressional authorization and, consequently, without any restrictions or oversight from the American people or Congress.

SEC. 1034. AFFIRMATION OF ARMED CONFLICT WITH AL-QAEDA, THE TALIBAN, AND ASSOCIATED FORCES.

Congress affirms that—

  1. the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces and that those entities continue to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically and abroad;
  1. the President has the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note);
  1. the current armed conflict includes nations, organization, and persons who—
  1. are part of, or are substantially supporting, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or
  1. have engaged in hostilities or have directly supported hostilities in aid of a nation, organization, or person described in subparagraph (A); and
  1. the President’s authority pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority to detain belligerents, including persons described in paragraph (3), until the termination of hostilities.

Congress must protect the American people from the over-reach of any Chief Executive who is enamored with unilateralism, pre-emption, first strike and the power to prosecute war without Constitutional or statutory proscriptions.  Permanent, global war is not the answer. It will not increase our national security.  Far from ridding the world of terrorism, it will become a terrorist recruitment program.

It Continues to Fund Guantanamo and Disparage Human Rights of “Accused” Individuals

They’re not only NOT closing Guantanamo, they’re prohibiting the construction of facilities on U.S. soil. And, given the discussion of opening up travel to Cuba, they’ve added a provision that prohibits family visitations (to go along with all the other restrictions on access).

  • Section 1036 provides for the continued detention of individuals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
  • Section 1037 prohibits the use of government funding to build and house detainees transferred from Guantanamo.
  • Section 1038 prohibits family visitations for anyone detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
  • Section 1039 prohibits any transfers/releases of detainees within the United States
  • Section 1040 establishes prohibitions relating to the transfer/release of detainees
  • Section 1042 defines the term ‘‘terrorist offense’’ means any offense for which the defendant could be tried by a military commission under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (essentially denying any constitutional rights to anyone accused of a “terrorist offense … please notice that I said “accused” … and according to Section 1039, that person, a citizen, might be prohibited from being released back to the United States, even if found to be NOT guilty).

These sections have some pretty onerous requirements that will potentially impose bans on the transfer of any detainee held at Guantanamo, including those who have been cleared of any charges. This means that the United States would be forced to keep imprisoning men who are known to be innocent or are not a threat. This bill not only allows the imprisonment of innocent people, but could mandate it.

And then there’s all the anti-gay amendments that have been included in the bill:

The anti-gay coalition in the House has been actively amending the bill in committee.  Section 533 throws one last obstacle in the way of implementing Public law 111-321, the repeal of Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell Policy.  Section 534 defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman.  And, Secti0n 535 prohibits the use of military installation property for marriage ceremonies that do not comply with DOMA.

SEC. 533. ADDITIONAL CONDITION ON REPEAL OF DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL POLICY.

Effective as of December 22, 2010, and as if included therein as enacted, section 2(b) of Public Law 111–321 (124 Stat. 3516) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

‘‘(3) The Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force each submit to the congressional defense committees the officer’s written certification that repeal of section 654 of title 10, United States Code, will not degrade the readiness, effectiveness, cohesion, and morale of combat arms units and personnel of the Armed Force under the officer’s jurisdiction engaged in combat, deployed to a combat theater, or preparing for deployment to a combat theater.’’. 

SEC. 534. MILITARY REGULATIONS REGARDING MARRIAGE.

Congress reaffirms the policy of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, codified as section 7 of title 1, United States Code. In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the Department of Defense applicable to members of the Armed Forces or civilian employees of the Department of Defense, the word ‘‘marriage’’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘‘spouse’’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

SEC. 535. USE OF MILITARY INSTALLATIONS AS SITE FOR MARRIAGE CEREMONIES AND PARTICIPATION OF CHAPLAINS AND OTHER MILITARY AND CIVILIAN PERSONNEL IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITY.

(a) LIMITATION ON USE.—A military installation or other property under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense may be used as the site for a marriage ceremony only if the marriage complies with the definition of marriage in section 7 of title 1, United States Code.

(b) LIMITATION ON PARTICIPATION.—A member of the Armed Forces, including a chaplain, or civilian employee of the Department of Defense acting in an official capacity may assist in or perform a marriage ceremony only if the marriage complies with the definition of marriage in section 7 of title 1, United States Code.

And, there’s more yet to come once the bill hits the House Floor:

Something not yet in the bill is an amendment from Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA).  She intends to present an amendment that would repeal the military’s policy that prevents women from serving in front-line combat units in both the Army and the Marine Corps.  According to an article in the Marine Times, “As of April 1, a total of 137 women have died in the combat zones, with more than 60 killed in combat, showing women are involved in direct ground combat despite the exclusion policy, according to findings included in the bill.”

Related Posts:

It May Not Be A Free-for-All … UPDATED

UPDATE — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 20, 2011

“I have asked the Attorney General’s office to appeal the First Judicial District Court’s May 19th ruling in the case Nevada Republican Party vs. State of Nevada to the Nevada Supreme Court. We are still awaiting the written order of the court and may have further statements once it is issued. The start of candidate filing will be postponed pending the entry of the court’s written order.”

Ross Miller


Yesterday, after hearing 2 hours of oral arguments, District Judge James Todd Russell declared that two different provisions governing elections make state law confusing.  His decision overturned Secretary of State Ross Miller’s ruling that would have allowed any qualified candidate to run on the September 13th ballot to fill the U.S. House seat vacated by Dean Heller.  Incidentally, that’s the exact ruling the Republican Party sought to receive to enhance their ability to hold onto the House seat.

It remains to be seen whether Judge Russell’s decision will be appealed to Nevada’s Supreme Court.  A three-day candidate filing period was to have begun Monday. In his ruling, Russell granted an injunction delaying that process until June 30 to give parties a chance to choose their candidate.

A special election law, passed after Sept. 11, 2001, which is intended to handle unexpected House vacancies, says there should be no primary election. That same law also directed the Secretary of State  to adopt regulations on how the process would be conducted. Ironically, Dean Heller as Secretary of State when that law was enacted, however, Mr. Heller failed to promulgate or adopt such a process.

According to Judge Russell, candidates must be “nominated” before filing a declaration of candidacy, stating, “A separate statute says the major parties’ central committees and the minor parties’ executive committees should nominate candidates when there’s a vacancy.”  Judge Russell also said that  it also didn’t seem fair for Miller to set different rules for major and minor parties.

Judge Russell’s ruling today will allow the parties to select a nominee and will prevent a splintering of the GOP slate.  It’s also going to make it more challenging for Tea Party favorite, Sharron Angle, to find a spot on the September 12 ballot.  It remains to be seen if she will run as a third-party candidate and split the Republican vote.

The next Democratic Central Committee Meeting is currently scheduled for June 25th in Tonopah, NV.  Stay tuned to see if that date changes.  This is one  State Democratic Central Committee you definitely don’t want to miss.

Related Reading:

Camping Out at the Legislature


Bob Fulkerson, director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), addresses campers at the Legislative building in Carson City Tuesday, May 17. At right is Gim Hollister, former chair of both the Douglas Democratic Central Committee and the Rural Democratic Caucus in Nevada, who set up his tent and joined several organizations camped on the Legislature grounds Monday and Tuesday nights to advocate for the Democratic tax package.