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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

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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