A blog on progressive news and politics on both the California and Nevada sides of Lake Tahoe which aims at helping to elect Democrats and Turn Tahoe Blue. The blog is written from Germany by a former German exchange student at George Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

Friday, March 30, 2007

My Q&A with Nevada State Democratic Party Leadership Candidates

Tomorrow, the Nevada State Democratic Party will elect its new officers. I've contacted all the candidates and 8 out of 13 answered my questions regarding their candidacies. Here's the list:

Jill Derby (Douglas) - Q&A
Larry Gering (Clark)
Derotha Ann Reynolds (Washoe) - Q&A

1st Vice Chair
Sam Lieberman (Clark)
Randy Soltero (Clark)

2nd Vice Chair
Johnathan Abbinett (Clark) - Q&A
Teresa Benitez-Thompson (Washoe)
Marcia de Braga (Churchill) - Q&A
Kristian Forland (Elko) - Q&A

A'shanti Fayshel Gholar (Clark) - Q&A
Bud Orange (Douglas) - Q&A

Jan Churchill (Clark)
Gay Kennedy (Clark) - Q&A

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Matt Stoller Interviews Charlie Brown

Matt Stoller of MyDD has recently interviewed Charlie Brown. Watch it:

Now, I've read the story about how Doolittle treats the troops, in this case Charlie's son, but it's pretty interesting to hear it from Charlie himself.

Help Charlie Brown beat Doolittle:

Contribute to Charlie.

Visit Charlie Brown's campaign website.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Help Charlie Brown Beat Doolittle

Charlie Brown is making it up to you. Do you want to see Doolittle defeated? Then you have to act. Here's an example what it's all about:

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Last week, the House passed an Emergency Supplemental Bill that would improve veterans healthcare services and military readiness, repair Walter Reed Army Medical Center, direct more resources to fighting a resurgent Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and establish a timetable for ending U.S. involvement in Iraq’s civil war.

In addition to voting against the measure, John Doolittle also voted to strike language from the bill that would restrict the deployment of U.S. troops who are wounded, not properly equipped, or un- trained---a violation of basic military guidelines that exposes thousands of brave servicemen and women to preventable death. Click Here to read our release.

I'm sure by now you have heard of the magic March 31st fundraising deadline. How could you not have as you're probably getting just as swamped by presidential campaign emails as I do.

Hovever, this is a special race. It's a difficult race and it requires everyone's attention, no matter where you live between Sacramento and the Sierra, or even beyond that. The fact is that Doolittle is one of the most corrupt members of Congress. Charlie Brown got him below 50% in November. And he can beat him in 2008.

Now he needs your help. Anything will do. $100, $50, $10, even $5. See how your money would help Charlie:

  • $50 buys enough gas to travel between events in Roseville and Quincy.
  • $100 pays for more than 100 Brown for Congress Campaign Buttons.
  • $250 pays for 500 Brown for Congress Bumper Stickers.
  • $500 pays for a mailing to nearly 1,000 people.
  • $750 pays rent for one month at our soon to be re- opened campaign offices.
  • $2300 pays a full-time field organizer to help register new voters in the 4th CD for one month.
This will be one of the most crucial congressional races in 2008. Make sure, Charlie has the resources he needs. You can contribute now through the Turn Tahoe Blue ActBlue page.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Ensign Lowering Expectations for 2008

The ensignificant Senator from Nevada readily admits to the Washington Times that he expects a net loss in the 2008 Senate contest. Of course, he doesn't quite say it like that:

"The odds are that we are going to have more risks than they will, and it turns out that we do have more risks," he said.
He singled out five Republican seats that are in danger in Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon and New Hampshire, compared with two vulnerable Democratic incumbents in South Dakota and Louisiana and long-shot possibilities in Iowa and Montana.

Keep in mind that Democrats consider Iowa and Montana relatively save. Ensign also claims to have cleaned house and to have reorganized the NRSC. Wonder if that happened before or after some staffer at the NRSC floated the idea of an Ensign presidential run...

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Charlie Brown: Doolittle Anti-Troops Vote "Completely Indefensible"

Yeah, I know I've been focusing a bit much on Nevada recently. So, here's an update what's going on on the California side of Lake Tahoe:

Charlie Brown is ready to run again against Doolittle and is busy raising donations (you can contribute through the ActBlue form on the right or go directly to the Turn Tahoe Blue ActBlue page). On why he's running again:

Despite a recent PR offensive designed to convince us otherwise, it is disappointing to note that on each of these key issues Rep. Doolittle has stood for the status quo instead of solutions.

Many have asked if I'm planning to run again. In 2006, I learned how much money and manpower it takes to put together a winning campaign, and how having those resources in place as early as possible is crucial for anyone seeking to take on an entrenched and well-funded incumbent like Doolittle.

That’s why I’ve recently re-formed my campaign committee--to see if enough support exists to warrant another candidacy, and why I am asking you to consider making a contribution to Charlie Brown for Congress today.

So, it's basically up to you. You want Charlie to run and win against Doolittle? Then contribute now!

Today, Charlie's campaign released another press release, this time on the most corrupt Congressional Failure, otherwise known as John Doolittle and his vote against the troops:

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee passed the FY’07 Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill (H.R. 1591), which would fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, improved veterans healthcare services and military readiness, repairs to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and restore a crucial stream of funding to rural schools across the Western United States.

Rep. John Doolittle voted against the measure, which ties future U.S. aid to Iraq to a series of benchmarks laid out in a January 10th speech by President Bush. He also voted to strike language that would restrict the deployment of U.S. troops who are wounded, not properly equipped, or un-trained---offered as an amendment by the Committee’s ranking minority member, and Doolittle’s fellow DOJ corruption probe target Rep. Jerry Lewis.

The vote comes amidst mounting sectarian violence in Iraq , a resurgent Al Qaeda organization in Afghanistan , recent government reports describing the U.S. military at its lowest state of readiness since Vietnam , a VA system that is being overwhelmed by the influx of 1.6 million new veterans, and revelations of substandard conditions at military health facilities serving wounded combat troops.

“Time and again, John Doolittle votes to send young people into combat while denying them the tools they need to succeed in their mission and the quality aftercare they’ve been promised, commented Lt. Col. Charlie Brown. ”Leaving those who defend America exposed to preventable death, and our military unprepared to deal with future security threats is beyond irresponsible---it’s completely indefensible.”

It's a shame Doolittle won another two years in Congress. However, Charlie managed to get him below 50% and it's obvious that Doolittle is a top target in 2008. You can help beat him!

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Friday, March 16, 2007

My Q&A With Kristian Forland

You can view all Q&A by clicking on the links on the top of the sidebar. Kristian Forland on his run for 2nd Vice Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party:

You are running for 2nd Vice Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party. What makes you want to serve in the State Party leadership?

In the past, and with no fault of the former 2nd Vice Chairpersons, this position has been very much under used. The 2nd Vice Chair is a rather unique position, and one could really make whatever they wanted of it. I strongly wish to serve in the State Party leadership, specifically in the capacity of 2nd Vice Chairman, because I would have the ability to create something of benefit within this position. Our State Party has for various reasons left many individuals feeling disenfranchised. Many in the rural areas of Nevada feel particularly passionate about their discontent. I believe that it is imperative for all of Nevada, North and South, rural and urban, to work together as one cohesive party in order to turn Nevada Blue and take back the White House in 2008. As 2nd Vice Chair I would personally take on the task of including and reunifying all Democrats throughout Nevada. Jill Derby and I are very much in agreement on this issue. Further, I believe my current standing within the rural community, including my specific understanding of their issues, coupled with my media and marketing background, will allow me to accomplishing these goals. I feel it is time for fresh faces, new ideas, new passion, and clear agendas.

You’ve lived in London, New York and Los Angeles and have now made your home with your family in Elko. What has been your experience in Nevada’s heartland?

My time in London, working with the BBC, afforded me a wonderful opportunity to see most of Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. I was able to learn and experience first hand how many different political agencies function around the World and, as such, I learned how to think very much outside of the traditional American political box. Of course living in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas made me very comfortable with big city politics and the media; as well as making me comfortable with communicating with complete strangers on a daily basis. Big city politics is a world all its own, and learning to navigating such waters has awarded me with incredible knowledge. However, small town and rural politics are entirely different animals. Living in Elko County has been such a beneficial experience, on both a personal and professional level. Rural politics really forces you to hone your messages. Moreover, owning and operating several businesses in a rural area adds a sort of delicacy to this exercise. Nevada’s heartland has educated me on mining, ranching, water and grazing rights, and an entire host of other issues that I never considered while living in a major metropolitan area. I come now to the State Party ready to utilize all of the skills and know-how that I acquired from abroad, throughout the large metropolitan areas of America, and the rurals of Nevada. On a personal note: with regard to rural Nevada, the land is pristine, the mountains cool and inviting, and the outdoor recreational possibilities overwhelming… my family and I love it.

As a former TV producer what experience can you bring to the State Party leadership in terms of working with the media?

Obviously my media experience will benefit the Executive Board greatly, and coming to the table with actual producing experience should be a great asset to the State Party. I see most things from a producer’s point of view, which often entails being able to step back and grasp the largest picture, and know how it will relate to several different threads of a story or events. Next, the producer implements through delegation the different angles of attack in order to accomplish the task at hand. The same theory works well in political campaigns. It’s a unique way of thought and visualisation that isn’t really common. In addition to bringing media savvy and know how to the table, I bring a working knowledge of media disciplines, attitudes and mentalities. Such knowledge would only benefit the State Party leadership.

Recently more emphasis has been put by Democrats on the rurals of Nevada. Jill Derby and Jack Carter had “rural strategies” and the DNC under Howard Dean’s leadership has started the 50-State Strategy. What impact did this have and what more needs to be done in the future for Democrats to win more votes in places like Elko County?

The ever enlightened Erin Neff of the Las Vegas Review Journal recently wrote an article regarding this very topic. The fact is that in order to turn Nevada blue, we must overcome the obstacles in the rural areas of the State. I am certain a Democrat will win Clark and Washoe Counties, but it is also imperative to win a certain percentage of the rurals in order to win Nevada. It is, therefore, essential that the Nevada State Party, in an unprecedented way, build up the rurals like never before. We must assist in rising funds, organizing, reaching across all political aisles, and begin massive voter registration efforts for the rural areas of Nevada. Disenfranchised republicans can be found throughout rural Nevada, however to win their vote is no small effort, and to assume that Nevada can turn blue without such efforts is naive. Jill Derby almost won because of her huge efforts within the rural areas of Nevada, including Elko County. I have spoken to many of the Chairs of rural Nevada and I have heard the same issues from all of them. They need help. They are located in very red rural areas and unless they can have the tools and finances they need and also learn how to work outside of the box, the local perception pigeon holds most of their efforts. A rural campaign, orchestrated by the State Party, needs to begin immediately. As one that has great passion for this subject, and has begun our own such efforts within Elko County, I would champion such a cause as 2nd Vice Chairman.

The Elko County Democratic Party on its website is very insistent that Democratic presidential candidates visit the rural counties. Do you plan to support a candidate for the Nevada Caucus, will your support depend on the candidates coming to Elko or will you remain neutral if elected 2nd Vice Chair?

As a member of the Executive Board the 2nd Vice Chairman must assist all candidates equally, and must remain neutral. However, all of our candidates must also be equally educated on the importance of winning rural Nevada. They will visit Las Vegas and Reno; however, their campaign must include extensive work within the rural areas. Obviously this would include visiting the rurals, but also developing grass roots organizations that are proactive throughout the rural areas. This is the only true recipe for success in Nevada. It will be our responsibility, as Caucus voters, to watch our candidates and their campaigns. One must remember that in the same manner as they each campaign for the Caucus they will also campaign for the General Election. A candidate that shows their willingness to campaign throughout all of Nevada now would seem to be a stronger candidate for the General Election, and thus also for the Caucus. However, and once again, as a member of the Executive Board, I would have to remain neutral with regard to support and rather utilize my position as a way to educate our candidates and their staff as to the serious importance of winning all of Nevada.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

"Reno As Hip Travel Wonderland?"

So asks the Advocate about the city that has been - according to the Advocate's Neal Broverman - "the Randy Quaid to Las Vegas's Dennis—less sexy and sophisticated but silly and fun nonetheless".

However, things are changing:
Lately, Reno has been growing up and showing off a profundity Vegas lacks, attracting queer residents and tourists who like their $3 surf and turf with a side of Warhol.

The town once known for quickie divorces and cheap slots is now hosting “Andy Warhol's Dream America,” a thorough retrospective of the pop artist's legacy being held at the striking four-story Nevada Museum of Art (160 W. Liberty St., (775) 329-3333, www.nevadaart.org). The NMA's wide-open spaces, designed by Will Bruder, invite lengthy observations of Warhol's soup cans and Marilyn worship. The multiroom exhibit lasts until May 27, with films, parties, and lunches complementing the art. But even if you find your way to Reno after Andy leaves town, a visit to NMA—the only accredited art museum in the state—is essential.

After all that culture, it's time for a drink. The NMA, only four blocks south of the city's downtown casino district, is in a delightful arts hood a world away from neon and showgirls. Cute bars, restaurants, and shops are cropping up, and the delicious Chocolate Bar (475 S. Arlington Ave., (775) 337-1122) is the neighborhood's piece de résistance. Like something out of nearby San Francisco, the tasteful café/bar serves up cocktails spiked with exotic touches like German cocoa and lavender essence. Staff and patrons are dressed sharply, and the bar is bathed in soft lighting and muted neutrals. Adding a nice touch are small televisions running old cartoons and classic films on a silent loop.

Hey, Myrna, watch out. I think I just might be coming around for some German cocoa and lavender essence cocktails. Mix 'em up!

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My Q&A With Gay Kennedy

Gay Kennedy on why she is running for Nevada State Democratic Party Treasurer. Links to other Q&A on the sidebar:

Question: You are running for Nevada State Democratic Party Treasurer. What makes you want to serve in the State Party leadership?

Answer: I used to be a Republican. About 30 years ago I went to work for a non-profit agency serving older Americans. It was my first experience with what I thought was “the other side”. Reagan was president, and I realized that the Democratic Party was really the party of the American people. Since that time, I have been a staunch supporter of the Party. If you want things to get better, you have to be willing to work for it. I believe my experience, knowledge and dedication will be an asset to the Nevada State Democratic Party and Treasurer would be the best fit for my qualifications.

Question: What has been your experience as a member of the Democratic Party so far? Were you involved in any campaigns or in your local Democratic party?

Answer: I became active in Nevada with the last presidential election. I attended the Caucus in Las Vegas, was a delegate to the State Convention and have served on the State Central Committee since that time. I have assisted in local campaigns, including door to door with the candidates. I was an active member of Team Titus for the recent gubernatorial election. I am also a member of the Red Rock Democratic Club. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, I was active in several campaigns and proposition battles in California. I actively supported the Mondale-Ferraro ticket.

Question: Are you a member of any other organization? If so, how can your experience there translate into working in the State Party leadership?

Answer: I have been a member and state delegate for the National Women’s Political Caucus, NOW, the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University women. I served as Region IX Representative for the National Displaced Homemakers’ Network, and later became Treasurer. I served as Treasurer for the American National Red Cross, Las Vegas Chapter. I served as local Treasurer and President of the Society for Design Administration (professional organization) and was twice elected national Treasurer. I believe my background indicates I know how to be a treasurer.

Question: What do you think needs to be done to improve the situation of the State Party? Or do you think things are currently headed in the right direction?

Answer: We need to be much more united. Not just north and south, but in our willingness to work together to achieve the common goal of electing democrats to office. There seem to be a lot of decisions made that are not known to even the State Central Committee. We must be open and keep the Party members advised. I believe that keeping people advised is the key to acquiring their support. It creates trust, and we must have the trust of the people to succeed.

Question: With the Nevada Caucus coming up will you support a presidential candidate or remain neutral?

Answer: Although I currently have an open mind, I believe we have many good candidates from which to draw. If we want to succeed as a party, we must unite and work for the candidate who is selected at the National Convention. We are the Democratic Party. That says to me that we stand together.

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My Q&A with Derotha Ann Reynolds

Below you can read why Derotha Ann Reynolds is running for Nevada State Democratic Party Chair. You can find all other Q&A on the top of the sidebar:

You are running for Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party. Why do you want to lead the party?

The Nevada Party is in the spotlight, and the caucus will bring a lot of publicity to the winner. It is an important time for us to be thinking about the choices that everyone will be making, and how those choices will affect our future, and the future of our children and grandchildren. Nevada can educate and produce a winner for the Democratic Party.

It is a mistake to think that the way that we have been thinking in recent decades will carry us through the coming crises unscathed, no matter which party wins the Presidency. We must return to the principles of American economics that are outlined in the Constitution, involving the government control of credit, and the regulation of the economy concerning tariffs and internal improvements. The way in which infrastructure is financed is especially important with the current trend toward dangerous “public private partnerships.” Infrastructure must be financed through government created credit at low (1 to 2%) interest over long terms (25 to 50 years). Infrastructure cannot in itself be a source of private profit, because paying the 8% or higher to private pockets will bankrupt the municipalities, and the “balance the budget” crowd will squeeze out vital social services.

We need to develop nuclear power, and re-cycle the waste, both current stockpiles and future cycles. The current scenarios for solar power are fine if you are talking about a population with $50,000 to put panels on their house, but many folks that live in our state don’t have $50,000, and they don’t have a house, and some of them don’t have an apartment. Some of them don’t have a roof over their head, or food to eat. This is energy saving for an affluent middle class, which is disappearing. (And you can’t make a solar panel using solar power, because solar power isn’t strong enough for mass panel production.) We should be using solar power to grow food, with imported water from Canada and Alaska.) The American people need jobs, not ugly, bird-killing, inefficient windmills. The subject of ethanol is especially noxious. Ethanol uses more oil to produce than if we just used oil in the first place, but more importantly it uses agricultural land to produce fuel, when that land is desperately needed to produce food. It will serve to remove the agricultural subsidies after the first windfall profits, and then the profits will disappear when the ethanol has to support itself, and then the cartels will own most of the land. Not to mention the crippling effect that ethanol is already having on the Mexican farm population, which will only drive up immigration, and bankrupt even more Mexican farmers who can’t compete with the NAFTA-driven corn importation. If you wonder why Bush is in South America supporting ethanol production, it is because his handlers want to own and manage the land there. And here.

We need to develop nuclear power, and import water on a large enough scale so that Las Vegas will have enough, and the farmers and ranchers in the north will have enough, and so that Lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake and Walker Lake can retain their levels. It is useless to “conserve” water, or to claim that restricting use of water is conserving anything. We are using our fossil water now, and it will be gone soon if we don’t import more. By refusing to act to build major infrastructure for water delivery, we are insuring that our mountain springs and natural lakes will be dry. The only thing we are conserving is a water shortage.

What has been your experience as a member of the Democratic Party so far? Were you involved in any campaigns or in your local Democratic party?

I was born a Democrat under the tutelage of my mother, who was born in 1910, and lived through the Great Depression. She was an ardent admirer of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and often spoke of him when she would tell me how lucky I was to be living in the US. Many of his legacies, like Social Security, and, as an offshoot of that, Medicare, are now under direct attack, and our efforts have to redouble to revive our economy to support and, in the case of Medicare, expand these programs. The problem isn’t that we can’t afford the programs. The problem is that the income of the average American is decreasing, and that we have no industrial production left. And no tax base left, to support our population properly. The problem is that we have abandoned our small farmers, who play a huge role in our national security. We have lost control of our food production, and our path down the road to a “service economy” is the road to poverty. Life in a de-industrialized country won’t be pretty, as we will discover when pensions, social security, and week-ends become distant memories.

I was born in Nevada, raised on a dairy/alfalfa farm in Stillwater, Nevada. We were all Democrats in the 50’s, and we can be again. I became involved in Nevada politics actively in 1997, shortly after I had moved to Las Vegas. I worked on Joe Neal’s campaign to raise the taxes on the casinos. I helped him win his last senate campaign, and worked on both of his gubernatorial races. I was a member of the Paradise Democratic Club in Las Vegas, and worked on local campaigns there before I became involved with the LaRouche Organization, and started to study Roosevelt’s methods more closely. I worked actively to support John Kerry after his nomination in 2004.

I am currently treasurer of the Truckee Meadows Democratic Alliance. I have recently opened a tax preparation office (I am an enrolled agent), and I also have a full-time job as a customer service representative for a national mobile phone company.

The Democratic Party as we experience it, ideologically, is essentially FDR’s party. Andrew Jackson was a racist butcher, but he represents the “other “ Democratic Party, the one that supports investment income over earned income, the one that supported slavery during the Civil War. FDR took over the Democratic party in the 30’s, and transformed it into a morally sound representation of American Economics as defined by Lincoln, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and, in his better moments, by Thomas Jefferson, (a Democratic-Republican). We have to return to the principles of FDR, embrace the plight of the “Forgotten Man,” re-align with farmers and labor unions, and uplift the nation. We have to have a strategy that will uplift the developing nations, as Roosevelt intended with his Bretton Woods agreement for international trade, and his concept of the United Nations, not as a governing body, but as a forum for sovereign states. We have to study these concepts of government control of credit, and fixed exchange rates; we have to educate the people of Nevada and the candidates through their various local campaign representatives.

Are you a member of any other organization? If so, how can your experience there translate into working in the State Party leadership?

I am a close follower of the LaRouche Organization. Study of Roosevelt’s actual laws, methods, speeches, and philosophies are of great importance in translating these methodologies into actions that will be relevant to solving the huge problems involving hedge funds, derivatives markets, capital budgeting, and unsecured debt. If we do not approach these problems with a sound knowledge of how economics is supposed to function in a moral society, then we will have no chance of solving the problems, and they will engulf us.

What do you think needs to be done to improve the situation of the State Party? Or do you think things are currently headed in the right direction?

We lost the top of the ticket. We have to address the reasons why we lost, and address the needs of the entire population, not just Democratic activists. We need to bring back the elements of physical economy, actual production, into our state economy and our national economy. We currently exist as a parasitic economy. When the rest of the nation collapses because of the exportation of production, we will not be far behind. We are facing an impending collapse, being in denial about it won’t make it go away. Hedge funds aren’t the answer, they are the problem. We can’t just sit and watch the Japanese interest rates rise, and the housing market collapse. We have to act, and we have to know what we are doing. We don’t have a lot of time to do it.

With the Nevada Caucus coming up will you support a presidential candidate or remain neutral?

I will support the principles of FDR, and I will support the people who demand that we return to those ideals. Otherwise, Nevada, the US, and the world, will devolve into racism, poverty, and nuclear war.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Q&A With Bud Orange

Here is the 5th installment of the Turn Tahoe Blue Q&A series with candidates for the Nevada State Democratic Party leadership election on March 31st. Bud Orange on his run for State Party Secretary:

Why are you running for Nevada State Democratic Party Secretary?

I feel I am qualified, based on my past experience. During my 40 + years in the corporate world, I served as secretary to national and local negotiating committees as well as to joint grievance committees at all levels. I was also secretary to the Board of Directors of my former employer.

You are currently the 2nd Vice Chair of the State Party. What was your experience in that position? What was good and what needs to improve?

Overall, my experience was positive, however, I believe that all members of the NSDP Board need to be more involved in decision making. Under new leadership, this will happen and the Party will be strengthened, which is my goal.

You are co-chairman of the Douglas County Democrats. Like other areas of Nevada, Douglas County has recently experienced tremendous growth. How has that changed the political situation on the ground? Has it invigorated the local Democratic Party?

As of this writing, I am Co-Chair of the Douglas County Democratic Central Committee, and have served as Treasurer for the past year as well. Due to the growth in our County, we have increased the number of Dems, but we are still out-numbered 2+ to one by the Republicans. We are working hard to get more Dems involved.

Gov. Bill Richardson and Gen. Wesley Clark have been to Douglas County in January. What was that like and what do you think do the presidential candidates need to do to succeed in Nevada’s rurals?

We were privileged to have Gov. Richardson and Gen. Clark at our “Turn Nevada Blue” Dinner. We had a sell-out crowd at the Carson Valley Inn and everyone was pleased to meet and hear the two men. In my opinion, all the candidates need to come to Northern Nevada and the rural counties to address the problems that face us: energy, water, education, health care, etc. We are educated, we are informed and we want to be heard.

Are you considering supporting a presidential candidate for the Nevada Caucus or will you remain neutral?

The short answer is that I will remain neutral until after the caucuses. To expand on that, I have not met ALL the candidates or potential candidates, and will not make any decision until I, as a member of the Nevada Caucus Commission, or as an official of a county or state central committee have an opportunity to make an informed decision.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Q&A With Marcia de Braga

Here is the 4th Q&A with a candidate for the Nevada State Democratic Party leadership election on March 31st. More are to follow. You can find all Q&A on the top of the sidebar. Read why Marcia de Braga is running below:

You are running for 2nd Vice Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party. Why do you want to be a member of the State Party leadership?

I am running for the office of 2nd Vice Chair for two reasons: first, to effect change and second, to represent rural Nevada.

At present the State Democratic Party and the State Office are regarded as one unit. The general membership has little or no standing or control. Whoever runs the State Office calls the shots. While I realize that those Democrats who have been elected to the highest offices must have input, there still needs to be some autonomy that allows the members to function under the rules they have set for themselves; to plan and carry out various activities; and to work in the best interests of all Democratic candidates.

If we want to achieve state-wide party unity, we must resist unilateral decisions that are detrimental to the best interests of our party or our members. We have to greatly enhance communication; follow our own rules and get rid of the rules we can’t follow; treat all our members with respect; and fairly consider their ideas and issues. We must not be dictated to. We will disagree, discuss and debate, but in the end we try to achieve positions that give us the best chance of succeeding in increasing our membership and getting Democrats elected.

Because of population distribution, our state has been divided into Clark County, Washoe County and “the rest of the state.” State and National candidates are now beginning to recognize the importance and impact “the rest of the state” can have on political races. But, the State Party still does not include rural representation to the extent it should or look seriously at the campaign practices that work best in the rurals.

You are head of the Rural Nevada Democratic Caucus. Several candidates, including Jack Carter and Jill Derby, put emphasis on a “rural strategy” during their campaigns last year. How do you think they did?

Both Derby and Carter did an excellent job. They both have rural roots and worked to understand the issues that were important in each individual area of the state they were campaigning in. They were very willing to listen to advice on how best to campaign in the rurals.

It is never easy for a Democrat to win office in rural Nevada. For the most part, they fear any idea they suspect as being liberal, without really understanding what the goal or mission of the Democratic Party is. Although global issues are important to rural folks, often they are more interested in finding out if candidates have good information on and plans to deal with issues that strike closer to home.

Both of these candidates seemed to “fit in” well wherever they went and—even though they didn’t win—they swayed many more voters than many previous candidates have.

You represented Churchill and White Pine Counties and parts of Eureka and Lander Counties in the State Assembly. What needs to be done to get more candidates elected in the rurals?

If you mean what needs to be done to get more Democrats elected in the rurals, it won’t be easy. In most places the party disparity is 2 to1 or greater.

First, the Democrats need to join and help fund the RNDC’s effort to establish a functioning central committee in every county of the state.

Democrats throughout the state must get involved in activities in their county, working for the common good and publicizing their activities.

They must put forth the effort to pave the way for candidates travelling in and near their area by setting up meetings, getting sign locations; providing contacts; distributing literature, walking door to door, and again getting as much publicity as possible for their efforts.

They must speak out on issues and get their opinions publicized—not only on global issues and those on which our views differ from Republicans, but on issues that affect our communities directly and prove that we are not the enemy but, rather, that we are working for them.

We must also set up educations forums that give out information on and encouragement to potential Democratic candidates.

What do you think of Howard Dean’s 50-State strategy in this respect?

I’m sceptical. His previous plan was to take Democratic campaigns to the grass roots level. This doesn’t raise millions; this doesn’t enlist big name lobbyists; and it doesn’t gain corporate or industry wide support. And, it didn’t happen.

In the rural areas of our country, there are Democrats who will work for candidates, but they need those candidates to come to their county or at least close to it. They will give great effort for a little inclusiveness.

The National Party needs to truly go to the grass roots with its plans and information; asking for the support; and, occasionally at least staging events and basing projects in those smaller communities.

Unfortunately, in politics as in most of life, one size doesn’t fit all. A strategy that works in big cities will be lost in those parts of the country where the cattle prices just dropped; there isn’t enough water to irrigate crops; the country hospital is facing closure; or the local mine has to shut down And, the reverse is true as well.

If they Democrats say their going to enlist the rank and file Democrats, that’s what they truly must do.

Will you support a presidential candidate ahead of the Nevada Caucus or do you intend to remain neutral?

If I’m elected to state office, I will abide by the rules which currently state that officers of the party cannot support any individual Democratic candidate in a primary race.

The RNDC will work to help make campaigning easier for all Democratic candidates.

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A Secretary of State Doing His Job

It's Miller time in Carson City. Nevada's new Secretary of State, Ross Miller, is actually doing his job by asking for detailed information as to Gov. Gibbons' legal defense fund. What is the reaction of Gibbons' lawyers? They're "perplexed". Well, ain't that a surprise.

The whole deal surrounding this defense fund and its contributions is rather complicated and, of course, Molly Ball doesn't do it justice. Neither do I claim to do so, actually. What I can do, however, is to point you to the most awesome Scandalmonger over at Vote Gibbons Out who has always the most up to date information surrounding everything Gibbons. You can also read Miller's letters to the Governor and his lawyers' reply over at Vegas Pundit.


Myrna has a pretty good round-up of the latest developments as well.

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My Q&A With Johnathan Abbinett

When I asked the candidates for the Nevada State Democratic Party Officers election to answer a couple of questions for this blog I did expect a lot of things but never a novel. Johnathan Abbinett, who is running for 2nd Vice Chair, answered my questions quite diligently. The views in this and all other Q&A are solely the candidate's views and not necessarily mine. Here are Johnathan Abbinett's answers:

Q: Why are you running for Nevada State Democratic Party 2nd Vice Chair?

A: I am not a politician, nor am I a diplomat - I am a soldier, and just one of many in the NSDP. I am not a hero in any sense of the word, but, I am fed up with "politics as usual" and "the usual politicians" - and it is time to take action!

I'm running as a progressive, reform, people's candidate in an attempt to fight corruption and advance the spirit of civility, inclusiveness, openness ("Sunshine" and "Open Meeting Laws") and in the hope that we can truly unite the NSDP by bringing an end to the ridiculous regional bickering and battle between the South, North and Rural communities - and ending our terrible record of losing elections we should have and could have won and prevailing on advancing our issues!

From my first opportunity to speak to the NSDP State Central Committee, I did what few Clark County representatives had done in the past (and many more need to do in the future) - I dared to publicly and candidly call the regional divide what it is - simply stupid! I don't suffer fools patiently, I actively listen to all sides in a disagreement and believe in developing an informed opinion, but, when I conclude that views are based in ignorance, selfishness and greed - that is simply stupid!

Further, while there are specific issues and legitimate grievances that are unique to each region, it serves no positive purpose to continue to fail to address the issues because a few Clark County leaders abuse their position and authority by refusing to place the issues of the North and the Rurals on the NSDP State Central Committees Agenda, openly discuss and debate them in a civil manner and have the appropriate committees work on solutions and resolutions.

For too long past, and current Clark County leaders have been incompetent bullies - and that is simply wrong! Clark County represents some 72% of the Registered Democrats and will always have the numerical advantage - but, that advantage should not be abused! Frankly, I am ashamed of how some members from Clark County have mistreated our Northern and Rural members of the NSDP and I intend to be an advocate for ALL Nevadans! Just as we should all be in full support of Howard Dean's 50 State Strategy, we should begin by having a comprehensive 17 County Strategy in Nevada - we still do not, and that is an unacceptably blatant failure of current leaders that must be immediately corrected!

Our Rural Coordinator is an extremely intelligent and talented young person and we have a seasoned Rural Caucus Chair! Why hasn't the NSDP provided the spirited support and resources they need to make optimal progress? Because a few short-sighted, careless, Clark County leaders do not take their duties and responsibilities state-wide seriously - and that is an unacceptable posture and public political shame! We can, and should, have teams of trained NSDP activists working in every county and every little town across Nevada, in concert with our strategies!

I also feel very strongly that the neighborhood Democratic Clubs and the various Caucus groups should be genuinely supported by the NSDP and encouraged to grow - especially the Rural Caucus, our Veteran's, Hispanics, Blacks and Native Americans caucus' and our Young Democrats offer much energy and enthusiasm - yet we continue to fail by doing little more than offering lip service, or a reluctant nod, to these demographics. With a warm welcome, a compassionate ear, a gentle hand and a little seed money (actively demonstrating that we are willing to put our money where our mouth is) and an encouraging voice everyone of these Democratic Clubs and Caucus' could flourish as a source of volunteers who would give their time and talent generously for the betterment of the NSDP. I believe each of these Caucus' should have a voting delegate on the NSDP State Central Committee as they have a unique voice on many issues that affect us all!

Q: You have made your opposition to Tom Collins and other Nevada and Clark County officials widely known. Why do you oppose them and what would you do differently?

A: This will be lengthy, but every Nevada Democrat has a right to know the facts and the truth! So, please do take the time to read my answers closely - this is not personal, but it is somewhat complicated and, sadly, even criminal!

Our Clark County Elections, though legally conducted, made a sad mockery of our democracy and many of us were deeply disappointed that there was only one organized ticket with little token opposition. It's sad that the Democratic Party in Nevada, and especially in the largest populated county, could not have a spirited contest between, at least, two sets of candidates vying for leadership. Frankly, I had seen High School and Collegiate Elections that were more impressive. There was not even an effort to organize a debate, or even allow the membership to ask questions of the candidates prior to voting. In short, the election was a farce! We have serious problems in Clark County without any doubt!

So, not having any real choice, most of us placed our hope in hope, and elected Liz Foley and we gave her every benefit of the doubt in the belief that it would be a good cycle, after all she was the grand-daughter of a well known Clark County attorney and judge (he's honored with his name on the Foley Federal Building, what better qualifications could one expect) - many of us now feel remorseful and deep regret as Liz Foley has been more than a sore disappointment, she has attempted to establish a monarchy and a dictorial dynasty that must be brought to a quick end. As much as our past CC Chair, Charlie Waterman, is loved and revered as a mentor and great Nevada political sage, many believe his 25 year reign was way too long - no one should hold power for more than two or three cycles.

From the beginning at Liz Foley's first meeting and luncheon with Clark County activists things went terribly wrong! We all attended excited to present our current statistics, findings and a plan, that dozens of us had been working on, called G.R.O.W. (Grass Roots Organizing to Win). This was a well thought out field plan to reform and re-organize our out-reach in every Clark County precinct and incorporated and complimented Howard Dean's principals in the 50 State Strategy.

Sadly, we didn't even get the common courtesy, or time of day and an opportunity to present our plan to our newly elected Clark County Chair Liz Foley and her 1st Vice Chair (Justin Gilbert). Liz Foley began the meeting by standing up and announcing that she and Justin were "in charge" and it was "their way or the highway!" All of us were stunned, shocked and horrified and our hope for a spirit of sharing ideas and the burden of work was smashed in one statement by a royally rude monarch! Then, Liz and Justin dictated that their D.N.A. plan (Democratic Neighborhood Alliance) would be implemented! We listened closely to their plan and noticed that some components of the D.N.A. plan were similar, but Justin had yet to fully develop a comprehensively detailed plan like the G.R.O.W. plan that had hundreds of hours dedicated to it by Dwayne and Carol Chestnut, Wayne and Valerie Smith and dozens of volunteers. So, an attempt was made to compromise on the D.N.A. label and offer our suggestions - only to be rudely cut-off and dismissed without even being heard. Liz Foley simply rejected all of our ideas out of hand and informed us that "we are going with Justin's plan, and when Justin tells you to do something he has all the authority of the Chair behind him!" This dictorial posture on the part of Liz Foley and Justin Gilbert, of course, angered everyone else and passions rose. But, when we attempted to simply present our plan, debate became angry argumentation - and Liz and Justin stood up, and left (with their noses in the air and their tails tucked between their legs and walked out of this important first meeting) - the activists, many of whom spend 10 or 20 hours a week volunteering, refused to be intimidated and a line was immediately drawn to defend our democracy in the Southern Nevada Desert Sand!

Our volunteers, though many are economically poor, in the lower-middle class, and middle class (and can not afford to travel to state-wide meetings) - they give their most precious gift of their time and they all should be treated with common courtesies and due dignity and the utmost respect - especially, those who have become activists and are willing to give much of their time in their golden years! It is totally unacceptable the mistreat that has been wrought on our volunteers!

We have volunteers that have also donated or lent thousands of dollars of their own money, many on short, tight budgets, only to be mistreated disrespectfully, harassed for more money and not reimbursed as promised - that is criminal!

Then, we had the horrific experience of Liz Foley's inappropriate misbehavior in blatantly public and biased support of Tom Collins candidacy at our last NSDP State Officer's Elections last April - many members were angered that Marcia de Braga and the other candidates were not being given an equal opportunity and mistreated so rudely with a total disregard for the spirit of fair play and due respect for our out-going State Chairwoman Adriana Martinez and the staff that were working so hard to ensure the event was a success. It was an ugly, unprofessional and unworthy personal power play to grab and maintain selfish prestige at the price of the integrity of all NSDP members. Then, we had the violation of basic civil rights and liberties when the microphones were turned off and people were rudely ordered to "shut up and get back in your seats" - I, and many others, personally witnessed this criminal behavior and it has yet to be addressed! Frankly, I could not have been more shocked, especially after a life-time of defending these basic principals of democracy around the world, to see such a travesty occurring in America, in Nevada and inside the Democratic Party!

And we had the unfortunate and disheartening experience of Tom Collins publicly demonstrating his ignorance to the GLBT Caucus regarding fundamental human rights (homophobia and bigotry). Then Collins publicly stating, when asked about the doctrine of separation of church and state in politics, that "he follows the teachings of his church" (religious zealotry). Then Collins saying "The ERA movement and women have almost destroyed the Democratic Party" (sexism).

Note: Immediately afterward I attempted to have a discussion with Collins, one-on-one in the hallway, only to be bullied and confronted directly with his dictorial attempt at intimidation. Collins wanted to play "Cowboys and Indians" and I made it clear that not all the "cowboys" were on his side - and I was with the "Indians" and would remain so until the day I die! I then pleaded with Collins to not start this fight, but, to no avail! So, I intend to fight to the finish - for all the people!

As you all know Tom Collins barely won with only 8 votes and "the rebels" were successful in ensuring he was denied a mandate. It was clear from this initial effort to take back our party - that together, we the people do still hold the power!

Immediately after the election, Liz Foley "purged into political purgatory" everyone that had openly and publicly opposed Tom Collins and supported Marcia de Braga and the North and the Rurals grievances - another blatant attempt to do what ever it took to silence the voices of each and every dissenter. But, we would not be silenced. Privately, I and others, voiced our discontent over the abuse of power and the purge. We could not even get a single, verified list of who was still on the CC Central Committee, but from reviewing the two we had eventually received, it was clear almost all the names of our best activist were missing, and had been replaced by nearly every Foley and Gilbert from the phone book, as well as a great number of total strangers names no one had ever heard of had been added?

When enough voices began complaining, and the political pressure of the people was brought to bear, slowly Liz Foley began to reluctantly start "re-instating" the rebels with the flimsy excuse that it was just an "administrative error" - and out and out lie! She absolutely refused to return others to their CC Central Committee status - including me, though I had worked tirelessly for the Party and Veterans. In fact, Liz Foley lied to my face saying, "Oh, you don't actually have to have your name on the list - because you're a caucus chair" and I made the error of giving her the benefit of the doubt - and there was a lot of doubt to set aside!

The next criminal event occurred when we had our first meeting in Sparks, NV under Tom Collins, he attempted in the Executive Board meeting, to do away with the caucus' by executive fiat without any real public discussion or debate! Of course, I immediately raised an objection and the matter was tabled. However, when the General Membership meeting took place (shortly after the E-Board meeting) Tom Collins refused to call on me when I raised my hand under the rules. This occurred several times until, finally, our parliamentarian, Joetta Brown said, "Mr. Chairman, Johnathan Abbinett has had his hand up several times and you have not recognized him?" To which, Collins publicly said, "I can not recognize him - he is no longer a member of this body!" I and many members were stunned, as well as many veterans members! I didn't care that I was publicly embarrassed, but I was very angry (as the Vets representative) that our presence was being humiliated publicly. At that point I stood up and objected only to be shouted down, over-ruled and silenced - my freedom of speech under the rule of law had been denied and I was being illegally disenfranchised before the State Central Committees very eyes! At this point, I was at the mercy of another member, any member that knew the law and the rules, to stand up and defend my rights and all our rights. Finally, another member stood up and made a point of information inquiry into how many vacancies still existed on the Clark County Central Committee List and why my name had not been "administratively re-entered" as a full fledged member? That is when Liz Foley was forced to publicly reply, and she out-and-out lied to the entire State Central Committee by saying "She had just finished filling the list, the list was now full, and that she had started a waiting list for others" - this is simply not true, as Clark County should have over 300 names on our list. But, at the time, with us in the middle of a campaign cycle, and needing to do some legal research, and for the good of the order, I decided to fight this battle another day - after the 2006 elections!

That day has come and, hell or high water, justice will be done not just for me but, more importantly for ALL Nevada Democrats today and tomorrow - this shall not pass and it shall not stand without a fight!

Thus, I now am publicly saying that Liz Foley is a phony, and is now being called "Her Majesty Foley the Phoney" by a growing number of disgruntled CC Dems. When it comes to understanding even the fundamentals of leadership, and the personal character traights, in a volunteer organization she has demonstrated she knows almost nothing, and Justin Gilbert was elected as 1st Vice Chair, not as THE Chair, (and though he is a talented young man), he's, just too young and inexperienced to garner the respect of such a large and diverse demographic. Thus we, (that is to say the activist) who are committed to doing more than just showing up and warming a chair, and actively advocate for the common Nevada Democrats are now, sadly, at war with the established, corrupt and criminal elite holding a strangle hold on power in Clark County and the NSDP.

These pathetic people do not understand the fundamentals of power - in that you must share it, and give it away to create power and achieve synergy and progressive change - instead they try to selfishly horde it and hide in lies. Ladies and Gentlemen, dear readers, I do know this is the worst of news, but it is true - there is a cancer on the NSDP, especially in Clark County and we must do what we must to save our democracy and preserve the NSDP!

Consequently, though it is harsh and provocative language, I have been publicly exposing these facts, that Tom Collins is, in fact, a homophobe, bigot, sexist, bully, dictator and liar, and that Liz Foley is a corrupt monarch and a liar - and that neither of them should hold any leadership position in the NSDP, nor, any publicly representative position of appointment - should they refuse to resign with whatever dignity they have left, we the people must either demand their resignations (which I first called for publicly and would have preferred) or we must vote them out of office forever. Of course, they have every right to be General Members in the NSDP but it's time for them to pass into a troubled chapter in our history. I take no joy in helping to lead this fight publicly. I hope it will not be necessary to bring legal action, and do wish it could have been resolved justly in private.

It was Tom Collins and Liz Foley who gave us no other choice, unfortunately, but to go public! "Trust Me", "Shut Up" and "Go Away" are their stupid, stubborn ultimatums that have caused us to rise up and speak out, now, publicly!

What would I do differently is simple and straight forward, I would re-affirm, strongly and publicly, that no one in our society is above the law! That our law begins with our social mores and rules of civil etiquette as canonized in Robert's Rules of Order, first and foremost, and then, our County and NSDP Resolutions, By-Laws and Constitution and Charter, under Nevada State Law and the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights (all of which must be aligned in accord with the and not contradictory of our higher laws)! A truly all American, and very independent Nevadan democracy, that honors the rights of all minorities, while respecting the will of the democratic majority, is advanced citizenship in action, and it requires a fundamental understanding of all rights, liberties and freedoms and advanced skills, on the part of every member, to protect and defend and exercise these powers responsibly - and it is quite obvious to many that we need to develop and implement a program to provide a comprehensive out-reach, orientation and educational program to ensure our prosperity and succeed in electing progressive candidates and winning on advancing our issues! In doing so we will combat our real enemies which are: Ignorance, Intolerance, Fear and Phobias, Bigotry, Greed and Hate and people like Tom Collins and Liz Foley may learn the lessons of life and be better humane beings in the process!

I would make it crystal clear, that though we are social beings, the NSDP is not just about holding social events. It is politics and all politics are personal in that it begins in our hearts, minds and homes, then, extends to our neighbors and neighborhoods, locally, at the Ward, Precinct, County, State Assembly and Senate Districts through our Congressional Districts and through-out every region and our State! Politics is NOT just a past-time game like bean bag, ping-pong, shuffle board, or musical chairs, nor is it tennis or golf for only the rich and idle elite! Politics is much like the art of war that is waged in our deepest intimate desires, and collectively for not just ourselves, but, all our children and grand-children and great grand-children and generations to come after us - and each generation must defend democracy, for truly, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!

I would begin by reaching out to our Young Democrats at UNLV and UNR to get "The Rebels" and "The Wolfpack" working independently but collectively together. Then, getting our retirees and eldest members better organized and integrated as these are some of our wisest, best educated and most experienced and successful citizens who have a great deal of time to volunteer - and they should be respected in their golden years as they struggle with the same health-care issues we will all face! Then, I would turn to the professional working class and our wide variety of unions, listening to their needs and grievances, and encouraging them in consolidating their efforts and uniting the party! In doing so, I would keep my focus on the less fortunate amongst us our mentally and physically disabled and the poor we are supposed to help as servant/leaders!

Q: You are especially involved in veterans' affairs issues. What experience could you bring to the party leadership?

A: Leaders are NOT born - they are made, and no where will you find better leadership training, education and challenges than in our Armed Forces, and I am both proud and humble that I was able to serve on Active Duty in the U. S. Army, in the Army Reserves, the Army National Guard, the Active Army / Guard Reserve Program - (covering every component of the Army) and, often, working directly with the U. S. Marine Corps, our Navy and Air Force and eventually as a Special Operations Command professional soldier. Soldiering is still a Spartan-like profession that requires one to develop a high degree of personal discipline and tenacity. A 22 year honorable military career is far more challenging than a cowboy taking attempting a 2 minute ride on a bucking bronco (with all due respect to professional cowboys). Soldiering requires one to be able to focus on task specific objectives - even when all hell may be breaking loose around you and your allies. So, with a sarcastic sense of humor I can say, honestly, I'm uniquely qualified to deal with current mess in the NSDP.

What I would bring to the Democratic Party is a commitment to basic values: Integrity, Honesty, Duty, Honor, Country, State and Party - something, I think every key committee member and leader should share in common - and some don't! In the military we have a solid commitment to the creed, code and corps - and it's simple: We do NOT lie, cheat or steal, nor do we tolerate those that do! A serious spirit that is sorely lacking in today's politics of rats, thieves and liars!

Another fundamentally key model of leadership utilized in the military is the two person assignment, with one person acting as the primary and the other as the secondary, working in tandem to ensure task are completed and duties are carried out regardless of illness, emergencies, family or business concerns. We call these two person teams "battle buddies" and it is far more than just doubling the number of names on a list on a piece of paper - it's all about TEAMWORK and the NSDP obviously needs some supplemental education in this basic area of leadership! Our staff is constantly over-worked and often over-whelmed (and to proud and professional to complain) and the NSDP leadership should do all they can to see to it that volunteers come forth to assist our staff, and build an intern program to reward the most dependable and talented volunteers. We must create paradigm shifts in our thinking and break out of the mud of mediocrity!

Regarding Veteran's issues, for nearly four years, I've attempted to assist in developing our message within the Democratic Party regarding the Military Industrial Corporate Complex, War and Peace, Our Troops and the needs of our Vets - but, with limited success. The Democratic Party is strong on defense - and Americans can trust us to defend our democracy! Rightfully so, we believe in the Great American Just War Tradition, that requires us to go to war only as an absolute last resort - and only after we have exhausted every reasonable avenue of political and diplomatic effort to avoid war, and we've conducted an objective National Intelligence Estimate, and factually determined that a "clear and present danger" exists! This is the path to peace our Founders laid out and we have not honored! The vast majority of Democrats do "Support Our Troops" but, we have failed to make that clear to the public and the national shame we all know in our hearts regarding the bureaucracy, lack of access, denial of access, and limited health-care our veterans reluctantly receive is quickly becoming a national nightmare of our own negligence - criminal negligence!

As a State Party there are limits on what positive changes we can make for our federal troops and their families - but, at the very least we could, and should, articulate a contemporary and succinct sense of our support. There are many good ideas that could assist our State Assembly and Senate to assist our Nevada National Guard units, Soldiers and Air Guard personnel and their families and the civilians that work at our many military installations through-out Nevada.

Frankly, I would be initially please if we could consistently honor the American and Nevada Flags, with the Armed Forces Flags (to include the nationally adopted POW/MIA Flag) on our public stages, and properly show respect in our long standing traditional ceremonies of Pledging Allegiance and performing the National Anthem! This could be done as a ceremonial section before each meeting actually begins conducting business. In this way any member that wishes to not participate can exercise their individual freedom without offense, but the more traditional members, and especially our veterans could be duly honored - yet, it seems too much to expect on a regular basis! On Veteran's Issues the NSDP has a number of articulate veterans that have developed some three dozen issues - all we need is to have our leaders take the time to read it and suggest changes and endorse our positions.

Ultimately, I would hope, that every member of the NSDP, including our pacifist, would realize no one hates war more than our veterans - and no one knows it's horrors better! I have not met a single stereotypically stupid "war monger" in our party in nearly four years. When we say the word "veterans" we need our members to hear the word "veterans" and not let their mind jump to the conclusion that we "war" is the subject - that occurs too frequently and we watch as eyes just glaze over and listening stops. When we say the words "Veteran's Administration" too many immediately begin to focus on "money" and "costs" and "taxes" and forget the words "to care for those that have borne the battle..." and that the civilian population has a moral, ethical and legal contract to uphold with due dignity and true honor! But, I'm hopeful that one day soon, we will realize that the Democratic Veterans are OUR Troops - it is the sacrifice of all these veterans that have provide all our freedoms!

Q: In the past you have switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party. Why did you recently switch back to the Democratic Party?

A: I have switched parties only a few times, But, let's get the facts straight! I have been a Democrat the vast majority of my life and always very independent like most Nevadan's. Philosophically, I started out as a Kennedy Democrat and remained a loyal member of the Democratic Party through the Carter era, in fact, I voted for President Carter against Reagan. When Reagan ran for re-election I switched parties because I had married into a very conservative family, had left the Active Duty Army and had started a business and a majority of my business contacts were Republicans. However, I changed little about my political, economic and social philosophies. I am a naturalist and very conservative about our planet and environment, on most issues I am a staunch moderate, and I am liberal on social issues. In fact, I did vote for Reagan's re-election (and did not support Mondale) because Reagan was committed to re-building our military which was in desperate need for funding. To my critics that condemn the "trickle down economic" philosophy of Reagan, I would say, I fully agree - Reagan's "compassionate capitalism" and economic philosophy was a terrible failure and I would join them in condemning it! I next cross voted against George H. W. Bush and against his re-election voting for Bill Clinton and Bill Clinton's re-election (yes, there were Clintonian Republicans that were fed up with the RNC and "rebel voted" - I was just one of them). I next made the regretful error of voting for Bush over Gore (and this had more to do with who Bush was tapping in his cabinet, as I had served under and had a great deal of respect for Gen. Colin Powell) - and I have been totally honest about this mistake in judgment and continue to sincerely apologize for it, but I believe we should all be so honest and take responsibility for our actions! In 2003 I publicly supported Gen. Wes Clark's run as a "Republican For Clark" but, I switched back to the Democratic Party (at the urging of NSDP leaders) and helped organize "Vets For Kerry" and most know the rest of that story and my service within the NSDP.

What most do not know is why I left the Democratic Party and registered as a Non-Partisan/Independent and that has everything to do with the abuses of power and core corruption I was seeing manifested inside the NSDP, when it got so bad that I witnessed people being "purged into political purgatory" by the likes and dislikes and on the personal whims of Liz Foley and people publicly humiliated and bullied by Tom Collins I could not accept the mutated monarchy and the oh so destructive dictatorship any longer. Also,
I had begun my column, "A Veteran's Voice" and felt it was best as an opinion columnist to change my party affiliation. After being unfoundedly chastised as "an outsider" a couple of my Democratic friends convinced me that I should return to the party and work from the inside. I, now, consider myself a "James Webb Democrat" and I am one of "The Honorable Nevada Fighting Democrats!"

Q: Will you remain a member of the Democratic Party this time around?

A: I feel like I have come home and I intend to stay no matter what comes, what may! But, I should say, ultimately we must learn to reasonably compromise in complex political decisions (without sacrificing or violating our basic principles of democracy and fundamental freedoms). Though I respect the "Yellow Dogs" one can be too partisan in my humble opinion - I'm a "True Blue Dog" and I think we need to begin to recognize that simplicity is often for simpletons, as we have Black, Brown, and Red Dogs in this political pound we call the NDSP! Being a Non-Partisan and being a man without a party, felt much like being a man without country - I can not imagine ever leaving the Democratic Party again. One of my greatest fears is that we have already passed important tipping points in history - and are at a critical point in the partisan political landscape of America. I'm convinced for democracy to fully flourish we need, at least, three viable political parties and with the Republican Party leadership and RNC now publicly recognized as being corrupt to the core, I believe the Republicans will never again hold significant power in my life-time, and it is a just punishment for the unbelievable amount of damage that the radical, right-wing, neo-con, nut cases have inflicted on all Americans and the international community. Thus, American has only one viable political party left, we Democrats, and as Mark Twain said "I don't belong to any organized political party - I'm a Democrat!" Being disorganized to a rational degree is understandable, many projects and programs will always be "works in progress" but, we must take the necessary corrective actions so we do not become dysfunctional - and we must be ever vigilant to guard against corruption within our membership and especially our leadership!

Q: With the Nevada Caucus the number one issue in the coming year for Nevada Democrats, do you intend to support a candidate prior to the caucus or will you remain neutral if elected to the Party leadership?

A: I will remain total neutral and equally support all Democratic Presidential Candidates through the entire caucus period until the DNC has chosen a nominee - to do anything less would be inappropriate for any member of the NSDP State Central Committee, Executive Board or State Officers, as representatives we must keep our personal preferences private and publicly encourage all NSDP General Members to decide for themselves. We have a beautifully diverse group of Presidential hopefuls and each should be shown the same level of respect and support from the NSDP. I loathe the good old boy and good old girl system of anointment as it is nothing short of an undermining effort in our democracy. All of my life I have opposed dictators like Tom Collins and monarchs like Liz Foley - they started this fight and I and others, with the support of the NSDP Executive Board, State Central Committee and General Membership are going to win this fight, get our house in order, cleaned and our dirty laundry done, after all we do have guests coming - and it is just the right thing to do!

I do not agree that the Presidential Caucus should be assumed to be the #1 issue for Nevada Democrats - while we have Nevada National Guard troops, and others, in harms way in an illegal, immoral, unethical and unjust war in Iraq where they are suffering unnecessarily and dying prematurely! I believe the Presidential Caucus is very important, but nothing is more important that doing whatever we can to "Get Out of Iraq" "Support Our Troops" and "Fully Funding the VA!"

In closing...

...let me thank everyone for reading my lengthy responses, and may I say, the vast majority of us voted for "change" in November 2006 - and we should honor the will of the people by making the necessary "change" in our own party - lest, we too, be hypocrites! So, in that spirit, I've decided that my theme song for my campaign is "Change the Fools" (a play on the great song "Chain of Fools"). So, start humming and singing along folks, "Change, Change, Chaaaannggee....let's change the FOOLS, oh yeah baby, sing it...Change, Change, Change...change, change, change....they be but TOOLS, yeah baby, don't you love those blues,...I'm just saying...we got to Change the Fools, and clean up the Tools...."

I want to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize if anyone, other than Tom Collins and Liz Foley, have been offended by my words or deeds - no offense was intended, but, I could not remain silent, for our silence is betrayal of ourselves!

Once this fight is over, and corrective actions have been taken, and others have sincerely apologized for their transgression, I will be one of the first to say, while not forgotten - all should be forgiven! This fight will make the NSDP stronger!

My publicly available bio is available on-line at:
http://www.vegascommunityonline.com/JohnathanAbbinett.htm and, if anyone has any serious questions, concerns or comments they may direct them to me personally at jlabbinett@cox.net or they may call 702.220.9303 my home/office. Thanks to all, and please vote for who ever you truly believe, in your heart and mind, is the best qualified candidate to be your next NSDP servant/leaders! See you on March 31st in Reno, NV!

PLEASE NOTE: At this writing I am still uncertain if I will be welcomed back into the NSDP with full rights and privileges, even as a legitimate candidate for NSDP 2nd Vice Chair - again, I'm waiting to get straight answers to simple questions and getting little more than the same-o, same-o, run-a-round, delays and denials. Hopefully, a few members will speak up for my inalienable rights and help me formally fight for the freedoms we've sacrificed so much for - there's always hope!

A SPECIAL NOTE: To our Northern and Rural neighbors, I say "You are NOT alone - UNITE!" To my Hispanic cousins, I say "Viva La Revolution!" To my African American cousins, I say "Fight for THE Dream!" To our Young Dems, I say may "The Wolfpack" join with "The Rebels" as your troubled time has come to protect and defend your future and Democracy is in dire need of being defended, Lady Liberty languishes and Freedom is a fire! To my GLBT friends, I say, you all know this fight so well, and it begins with all of you making a commitment to "Act Up!" To my Veteran allies, I say, "Broken Arrow!" Finally, to my Native American brothers and sisters I say (in the tongue of my ancestors) "Hoka Hey, Hoka Hey!"
De Oppresso Liber,
Johnathan L. Abbinett

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