October 31, 2006

Remember this when you pay YOUR taxes...

Or, God forbid, get audited. This article represent the Bush administration's relationship to Big Oil in a nutshell. Lots of sweetheart deals, toothless enforcement of the law, Enron style accounting, and plenty of secrecy to boot.

U.S. Drops Bid Over Royalties From Chevron

The Interior Department has dropped claims that the Chevron Corporation systematically underpaid the government for natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that could allow energy companies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.

The agency had ordered Chevron to pay $6 million in additional royalties but could have sought tens of millions more had it prevailed. The decision also sets a precedent that could make it easier for oil and gas companies to lower the value of what they pump each year from federal property and thus their payments to the government.


In return for the right to drill on federal lands and in federal waters, energy companies are required to pay the government a share of their proceeds. Last year, businesses producing natural gas paid $5.15 billion in government royalties.

But the Bush administration has come under fire on Capitol Hill for its record on collecting payments. While the Interior Department has sweetened incentives for exploration and pushed to open wilderness areas for drilling, it has also cut back on full-scale audits of companies intended to make sure they are paying their full share.


The Chevron case offers a glimpse into what is normally a secretive process. To protect what energy companies consider proprietary information, the Interior Department does not announce that it is accusing companies of underpaying royalties nor does it announce its settlements in these disputes. The government also does not disclose how much money each company pays in royalties.


In 1996, Chevron sold its holdings in more than 50 processing plants to Dynegy in exchange for a 26 percent stake in the natural gas company, which is based in Houston. For the next seven years, Chevron sold virtually all its domestic natural gas to Dynegy for processing.

In their original accusations, dating to 2001, the auditors asserted that Chevron had understated sales, and hence its royalty obligations, by inflating costs for processing gas at Dynegy.

Companies are allowed to deduct processing costs from their sales revenues when they calculate their royalty obligations.


From 2001 to 2003, after detailed audits of several Chevron leases, the Interior Department said the company was reducing its “sales value” by exaggerating processing costs at six of Dynegy’s many plants. At one plant, auditors estimated Chevron had claimed five times the actual costs.

Let's see if I understand this. Chevron used to process it's own natural gas, but in 1996 sold a bunch of its processing plants to Dynegy, which in turn began to process virtually all of Chevron's natural gas. So nothing really changed here, except the name on the company letterhead. But, what it allows Chevron to do is say is that it cost more to process the natural gas than it actually did. And, since Dynegy is not Chevron, the audit trail gets harder to navigate.

It appears that again, the Feds want to look like they are enforcing the law, when in practice, they do not. One ruling against a similar suit and they roll over. States who had fought similar suits and had won were willing to share their information with the Feds and the Feds either ignored them or actively refused their information.
On July 11, three weeks before the department dropped its case against Chevron, Mr. Dorman and other lawyers involved in a Texas lawsuit against Chevron wrote to Interior Department officials. The lawyers, who represent a whistle-blower seeking to recover money for the federal government, said they were suing Chevron over the same issues the department had raised.

“All we were saying was that they should wait to see what evidence we turned up, and that we would gladly share everything we had with them,” Mr. Dorman said. His firm faxed a letter to the policy appeals division. Getting no response, the lawyers sent a copy by U.P.S. Six days later, it was returned. The reason, according to the U.P.S. label: “Receiver did not want, refused delivery.”

The agency confirmed in a statement that it knew of the lawyers’ case. Asked why it refused to accept their letter, the Minerals Management Service said it could not comment “because these matters are the subject of pending litigation.”
Well, of course.

October 30, 2006

Playing by the rules

Chris Bowers over at MyDD posts one righteous rant. I didn't correct any of Chris' typos. I think they help demonstrate how really, really outraged he is. As a Howard Dean supporter myself, and newcomer to Democratic activism, I see a lot of this as well.

For the past several years, the progressive movement had, supposedly, risen to power and influence in the Democratic ecosystem by fervently playing by the rules.
  • We didn't support third parties against Democrats we didn't like. We kept it in the party, and used the primary system the party had in place.
  • We didn't sit on our hands when the candidate we backed in primaries lost. We always supported the winner just as fervently as we supported our candidate.
  • We found thousands of new activists to serve as precinct captains at a time when the party infrastructure was dying.
  • We channeled hundreds of millions of dollars into Democratic campaigns, significantly closing the fundraising gap with Republicans.
  • We opposed Republicans at every turn, fought them tooth and nail on every issue, even when some sections of the Democratic Party did not want to fight. We were more partisan than most Democrats.
  • We built huge media operations on a shoestring budget, without any official support whatsoever.

We played by the rules. We followed their rules more than Democrats in Congress followed them. And now, here is our payment:
Representative Ellen O. Tauscher of California, a co-chairwoman of the 47-member New Democrat Coalition, said that 27 of the top 40 contested House seats were being pursued by Democrats who have pledged to become members of the group, which says its chief issues are national security and fiscal responsibility.

"I think there's tremendous agreement and awareness that getting the majority and running over the left cliff is what our Republican opponents would dearly love," Ms. Tauscher said, adding that this was something "we've got to fight."
We are not wanted by large sections of the Democratic leadership. There are many out there who want our money, but they don't want us. There are many out there who want our precinct-by-precinct activism to help GOTV, but they don't want us. There are many out there who want us to fire up the base, but they don't want us. There are many out there who want to use our media to help spread their message, but they don't want us. There are many out there who want us to support primary winners, but they don't want to do the same.
Where are you Jim Gibson?
There are many out there who want us to fight Republicans, while they say they want to work with both sides. There are many out there who wanted us to play by Democratic Party rules, but they they have no intention of playing by those rules themselves. To them, we are akin to going over the cliff.

They languished in the minority for a decade, and when the chance to take power finally came back--a chance that we gave them--There are many out there who decided they didn't need us anymore. We are why they have never been closer to Republicans in fundraising. We are why the base is fired up. We are why they finally decided to run on Iraq. We are why they have so many more volunteers than they have ever had before. We are why there are more Democrats running for more seats than at any time in the past. We are why there is progressive media now. We are why countless Republican scandals have had a shelf life of more than two days in the established media. Every major improvement in Democratic infrastructure that took place over the past two years found its birth, incubation, and primary means of support in the netroots.


And I can't emphasize this enough--we did it all by playing by the rules. I know this, because I was there every step of the way. When Howard Dean lost, I worked even harder for John Kerry. Like everyone else in this movement, I ran for party office rather than just complaining on the sidelines.


When I didn't like Democrats, I ran primary challenges against them, but I always, always supported whoever won. And hundreds of thousands of people just like me did the same thing. Last week alone we did everything we could to channel voters to negative info on Republican candidates, and send millions of dollars to competitive House campaigns. And, in return, we get a Democratic establishment that refuses to play by its own rules, and considers what we believe in akin to going off a cliff.


Stabbed in the back, indeed. For some Democrats, it is more like they want to stab us in the face, at high noon in the town square. For many, our biggest crime was joining their cause and following ttheir rules.
Oh heck, just go read the whole post!

October 29, 2006

Another case of the fox guarding the hen house

Hoo boy. This whole article just has me furious. I will try and pull out snippets, but I really recommend that you go read the whole thing. In a nutshell? Well, remember all those new rules that were put in place after Enron? Plans are afoot to turn back the clock.

Businesses Seek Protection on Legal Front

Frustrated with laws and regulations that have made companies and accounting firms more open to lawsuits from investors and the government, corporate America — with the encouragement of the Bush administration — is preparing to fight back.

Now that corruption cases like Enron and WorldCom are falling out of the news, two influential industry groups with close ties to administration officials are hoping to swing the regulatory pendulum in the opposite direction. The groups are drafting proposals to provide broad new protections to corporations and accounting firms from criminal cases brought by federal and state prosecutors as well as a stronger shield against civil lawsuits from investors.

Although the details are still being worked out, the groups’ proposals aim to limit the liability of accounting firms for the work they do on behalf of clients, to force prosecutors to target individual wrongdoers rather than entire companies, and to scale back shareholder lawsuits.

The groups hope to reduce what they see as some burdens imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, landmark post-Enron legislation adopted in 2002. The law, which placed significant new auditing and governance requirements on companies, gave broad discretion for interpretation to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The groups are also interested in rolling back rules and policies that have been on the books for decades.

To alleviate concerns that the new Congress may not adopt the proposals — regardless of which party holds power in the legislative branch next year — many are being tailored so that they could be adopted through rulemaking by the S.E.C. and enforcement policy changes at the Justice Department.


The proposals will begin to be laid out in public shortly after Election Day, members of the groups said in recent interviews. One of the committees was formed by the United States Chamber of Commerce and until recently was headed by Robert K. Steel.

Mr. Steel was sworn in last Friday as the new Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, and he is the senior official in the department who will be formulating the Treasury’s views on the issues being studied by the two groups.

The second committee ... has colloquially become known around Washington as the Paulson Committee because the relatively new Treasury secretary issued an encouraging statement when it was formed last month.


But another official and committee members noted that Mr. Paulson had recently pressed the groups in private discussions to complete their work so it could be rolled out quickly after the November elections.

While we are still discussing the election, they'll be doing the ol' "smash and grab."
Moreover, committee members say that they expect many of their recommendations will be used as part of an overall administration effort to limit what they see as overzealous state prosecutions by such figures as the New York State attorney general Elliot Spitzer and abusive class action lawsuits by investors. The groups will also attempt to lower what they see as the excessive costs associated with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Their critics, however, see the effort as part of a plan to cater to the most well-heeled constituents of the administration and insulate politically connected companies from prosecution at the expense of investors.
Not content with screwing mere consumers, these companies now turn their contempt on their own investors.
In an interview last week with Bloomberg News, Mr. Paulson repeated his criticism of the Sarbanes-Oxley law. While it had done some good, he said, it had contributed to “an atmosphere that has made it more burdensome for companies to operate.”

Mr. Paulson also repeated a line from his first speech, given at Columbia Business School last August, where he said, “Often the pendulum swings too far and we need to go through a period of readjustment.”

Some experts see Mr. Paulson’s complaint as a step backward.

“This is an escalation of the culture war against regulation,” said James D. Cox, a securities and corporate law professor at Duke Law School. He said many of the proposals, if adopted, “would be a dark day for investors.”

Professor Cox, who has studied 600 class action lawsuits over the last decade, said it was difficult to find “abusive or malicious” cases, particularly in light of new laws and court decisions that had made it more difficult to file such suits.
Any of this sound familiar? What a lot of people don't understand is that tort law, in which courts CAN award huge settlements, isn't designed to kill business, but to keep businesses from killing people. These settlements are warnings to other corporations to straighten up and fly right. And these settlements serve to protect US. What corporations really want is the freedom to do whatever they want and any penalties they receive will be minimal and part of the cost of doing business. It will be part of their business plan.
Another contentious issue concerns a proposal to eliminate the use of a broadly written and long-established anti-fraud rule, known as Rule 10b-5, that allows shareholders to sue companies for fraud. The change could be accomplished by a vote of the S.E.C.
John C. Coffee, a professor of securities law at Columbia Law School and an adviser to the Paulson Committee, said that he had recommended that the S.E.C. adopt the exception to Rule 10b-5 so that only the commission could bring such lawsuits against corporations.

But other securities law experts warned that such a move would extinguish a fundamental check on corporate malfeasance.

“It would be a shocking turning back to say only the commission can bring fraud cases,” said Harvey J. Goldschmid, a former S.E.C. commissioner and law professor at Columbia University. “Private enforcement is a necessary supplement to the work that the S.E.C. does. It is also a safety valve against the potential capture of the agency by industry.”
All of this, of course, is just par for the course. Under this administration and the Republicans in Washington, government is no longer of the people, by the people and for the people. Corporate America runs Washington. Let's stop'em on November 7th.

For a more in-depth look at the "Fox Guarding the Hen House" style of government, I highly recommend Molly Ivins' Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America

October 27, 2006

Lahontan Valley News Endorses Titus

Now...this is interesting!! They repeat much of what I have said. Dina has a plan and she has a record to stand on.

...We hoped that during the campaign Gibbons would come across as better spoken, more intelligent and thoughtful, but he has not. We wanted to believe that as a resident of Northern Nevada, he is one of us, and that he would therefore better represent our region's interests in Carson City. We hoped that he would enlighten the electorate about his accomplishments as a congressman and articulate his vision as governor. He has done neither. In fact, as far as we can tell, Gibbons didn't accomplish much in Washington, D.C., and he has not given Nevadans a clear understanding of his vision for the future ... if he has one.


Titus at least has demonstrated she knows how to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle to get things done. For example, she was instrumental in passing legislation protecting Walker Lake. She introduced a bill that will keep Nevada from becoming a haven for sex offenders. She sponsored proposal to fund economic development activities in rural Nevada. She co-sponsored legislation making it possible for Nevadans to purchase less expensive prescription drugs from Canada. We're confident she will do more than move into the governor's mansion and collect a paycheck for the next four years. With Gibbons, we're not so sure.

Titus has likewise presented a detailed vision for the future. She is strong on protecting the environment and wants to join other states to reduce greenhouse gases, is committed to fighting a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, wants to expand vocational education programs, raise teacher salaries and is determined to protect the Millennium Scholarship Program. She has a 12-point plan to restore ethics in government and has proposed a property tax rebate for senior citizens. All of this adds up to vision.

Look Out, Middle-Class Families – Democrats Want to Cut Your Taxes

From behind the firewall at the NYT, Rahm Emmanuel and Bruce Reed speak out on the Democrats' plan to cut middle class taxes. Jill Derby gets a nod!

President Bush and the average American have one thing in common, after all: Neither can come up with a good reason to vote for the Republicans this fall.

The White House has given up trying to persuade Americans to stay the course behind Bush’s failed agenda. Instead, Republicans say they will spend the last two weeks of the campaign trying to
run against the Democratic agenda.

Go ahead, make our day!

We couldn’t be happier with the G.O.P.’s desperation strategy, because when it comes to leading America in a new direction, Democrats have a plan and Republicans don’t. On Tuesday, President Bush attacked Democrats on the economy and said we are “genetically disposed” to raise taxes. The president sure has a lot to say for a guy who has added $3 trillion to the national debt and brought American families higher costs and smaller incomes. But he might want to take another look at the genetic disposition of the Democratic challengers on the ballot in these midterms. In race after race, Democratic candidates have pledged to do what Bush and the Republican Congress have not: cut taxes for the middle class.

Tammy Duckworth, the Democratic nominee for the open seat in Illinois’s 6th Congressional District, wants
to protect middle-class taxpayers in her district with a permanent fix for the Alternative Minimum Tax. She also supports tax reform. “The way to reduce the deficit is not to raise taxes on middle-income Americans, who already are carrying too big a share of the burden,” Duckworth has said. “By removing the hundreds of special provisions in the code that cost the Treasury billions of dollars, we can reduce the burden on middle-income Americans who are forced to pick up the slack.”

Jill Derby, the Democrat running in another open seat in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District,
wants to cut the payroll tax. “Currently, 3 out of 4 households pay more in payroll taxes than in personal income taxes, and reduced payroll tax could stimulate job growth and slow the flow of jobs overseas,” Derby has said. “There are certainly some things Congress can do to lighten the tax burden on families but career politicians have failed to act.”

Kirsten Gillibrand, who is challenging Republican Congressman John Sweeney of New York, wants to
give middle-class families tax breaks for college tuition. As the College Board announced this week, college tuition has gone up 35 percent in the past five years in real, inflation-adjusted dollars – at a time when competing in the global economy requires a college degree more than ever. Gillibrand and other Democratic candidates across the country believe that a middle-class tax cut for college makes a lot more sense than the only plan Americans have seen from Bush and the Republican Congress – the largest cut in college aid in history.

Democratic candidates everywhere are making the same point: Democrats are going to cut middle-class taxes, not raise them. To renew the social contract for an increasingly competitive world, our tax system should give Americans more opportunity and security, not more of the burden. We need tax reform that gives people who don’t start out wealthy the chance to build wealth, and helps every American secure the pillars of middle-class life: raising a family, buying a home, paying for college and saving for retirement.

Republicans’ supply-side agenda, on the other hand, is the economic equivalent of intelligent design: No matter how long conservatives believe in it, they never gather enough evidence to teach it in the classroom. Democrats’ tax-cut plans are designed to address the realities of middle-class life. When the costs of college, health care and energy rise – and paychecks don’t – middle-class Americans shouldn’t have to keep watching tax cuts go to somebody else.

We thank the White House for reminding voters that this election is a choice between the failed Republican course and a new direction for America. We know which agenda the American people will choose.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes

Demeaning the character of Americans

Brent Budowsky comments on Republican campaign strategy...starting at the top.

The sick thing about George W. Bush is that unlike like any President who has ever come before him he has injected vomit, hate, and slander into the heart of our democracy and has put under attack the very character of the American people.

What George W. Bush has done, is nothing less than a direct attack on the very notion that America is a melting pot, he strikes at the core of who we are as a country, and he demeans the soul of what we stand for as a people.


That is the kind of country he wants us to be.

Do not give our troops everything they need, is what he does, but I will give you money, is what he says.

Divide our neighbors against each other, is what he does, and hate those who are different, is what he says, and as they become more desperate, even the code is gone from the words.

Make Americans the enemies of each other, is what he does, and fear the world around you, is what he says.

If it helps to win, make fun of Parkinsons disease, ridicule the widows of 9-11, bring more prejudice and bigotry to the land, demean the Purple Heart to attack your enemies even if they were awarded medals for valor, and in truth, if they were awarded medals for valor, that is a reason to attack them some more in this sick new brand of partisanship that has poisoned our politics.

Even when the Republican Congress commits child abuse against underage pages, cover it up, protect the guilty, attack your enemies and endanger the children and hope the American people have so lowered their standards that they get away, even, with this.

Bring fear to the land.

Bring anger to our politics.

Bring division to our communities.

Bring more bigotry to our nation and rub it raw, and use it harshly, and do anything to win.

This is nothing more than a direct attack on the character of our country, this is nothing less than an attempt to lower the standards of the character of our people.

Read the whole thing. The man speaks the truth.

October 26, 2006

Jill needs our help...one more time...let's do it.

Got this email from Jill Derby today. If you have anything that you can spare, send our girl some turkee!

With less than two weeks to go and the latest polls showing us in a dead heat race at 40-40, my opponent and outside special interests from Washington are scared. So they’re doing the only thing they know how to do: run attack ads telling blatant lies about me, misrepresenting my positions, and distorting my record. We’ve got to fight back.

Unfortunately, history has shown that these attacks are effective if a campaign does not have the financial resourses to expose the truth.

We cannot let them get away with it.

So today, I’m releasing two new spots. If you’ve followed the local and national press about the campaign, you’ve probably read about the great response our ads have gotten. We’ve created a look and feel that is different from anything else on the air.

One of our latest spots called "
Action" fights back with quotes from my recent endorsement in the Las Vegas Sun. Also going up today, is our new spot called "Different" which calls out my pponent for resorting to baseless attacks, and blindly following his party’s positions on the war in Iraq and attempts to privatize Social Security.

But now I need your help to get them on the air. I hope you will "adopt-a-spot" today.
Are you ready to stand with me to help give career politicians the boot? Pick a show during which you want our message to air. You can then tune in to view the ad along with thousands of
other voters who deserve to hear the truth.

For $56 you can help us play a spot during The Simpsons on FOX
For $168 you can help us play a spot during 60 Minutes on CBS
For $224 you can help us play a spot during CSI: Miami on CBS
For $504 you can help us play a spot during Lost on NBC
For $616 you can help us play a spot during Gray’s Anatomy on ABC

If you are like me, you’re sick of watching negative and misleading ads. I need your help to fight back and set the record straight. This is our chance to get a message of true Nevada values out to the people of this district. We need to ensure that people hear the truth through the static of lies and negativity. I know that if given an honest choice between another career politician who does nothing but tow the party line, and a fresh independent voice that is committed to bringing positive
change to Washington, people will choose the latter.

But it’s only going to happen with your help in getting our message out.
Take action now and "adopt-a-spot" for our final week of the campaign!

This is our chance to get the country back on track. You can count on me to do everything I can to win this critical seat. I hope I can count on you. I need your help in these last days. Please act today.

Make it a Baker's Dozen

Desert Beacon serves up a dozen reasons why you should vote Democratic.

Here's one more: Why vote Democratic? Because "survival of the fittest" is no way to run a country or treat its citizens. I vote Democratic because it really is the party that cares about the elderly, children, the infirm and the poor. Just like Jesus did.

GOPer's Lament

Take a listen.

From the words of Bill O'Reilly,
That I heard on my TV,
From Bob Novak and Rush Limbaugh,
It all made sense to me.
Anyone who spoke against us,
Was playin' a dangerous game.
But my country's become a laughing stock,
And the GOP's to blame.

And it's hard to be a Republican,
Where I thought my lunch was free.
And I won't forget the ones who lied,
And sold that crap to me.
And I'd take my vote back if I could,
Now my grandkids have to pay.
And there ain't no doubt,
I bought the scam,
That screwed the USA.

October 24, 2006

Olbermann names Jim Gibbons "Worst Person in the World"

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy...

Step right up, get yer new talking points

From my pal Jack, down in Pahrump: A special edition of the Nye County Dems newsletter takes on the Bush Administration's new talking points for Iraq...


On ABC's This Week, President Bush told host George Stephanopoulos that the strategy in Iraq was "never stay the course."
Don’t believe me? Then watch the

Remember, Ken Mehlman tried to pull the same thing back in August during his appearance on Meet The Press and Jon Stewart called him out on it. The new Mehlman talking point: "Adapt to win."
Dan Bartlett is jumping in there too: The White House earlier had said the report in Sunday's editions of the Times was not accurate. Bartlett said he thought it "might have been overwritten." "It's never been a stay the course strategy," he said.

My Note: So, it's never been "stay the course." Got that Ensign? Porter? Gibbons? And you, too, Heller. You Bush "yes" men. Check your FAX machines and get the new talking points.

This man, Bush, can lie with the straightest face. Watch the video again and see if you agree. Hard to imagine a more evident "flip-flop." Remember that Kerry. And those of you who voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004, how do you explain this?

One more thing. I didn’t hear any mention of any of this until I watched Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. I didn’t hear anything about this “flip-flop” on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, or FOX. I can tell you, however, it’s all over the blogs. I posted about it as well on the National News page of the
Nye Democrats’ website. Check it yourself. You get the news quicker on the internet than you do on TV, newspapers, bumper stickers or political slogans.

October 23, 2006

Early Vote Locations - Rural Northern Nevada

Vote. Today. Take a friend.

Carson City
Clerks Office in the Court House at 885 East Musser Street, on the first floor
Saturday, October 21, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Monday - Friday, Oct 23 - Oct 27, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 28, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Monday - Friday, Oct 30 - Nov 3, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Churchill County
Commission Chambers, 155 Taylor St., Fallon
10/21 10AM-6PM,
10/23-10/26 8AM-6PM
10/28 10AM-6PM
10/30-11/3 8AM-6PM
closed 10/27

Douglas County

Elko County
Elko Convention Center, 700 Moren Way, Elko
Early voting in Elko County commences October 21. It continues Monday the 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, November 1,2,3. We are not open for the Nevada Day observation.
Saturdays are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Monday thru Friday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm

Humboldt County
Second floor of the Humboldt County Courthouse, 50 W. 5th St. Room 206, Winnemucca,
Saturday, October 21, l0:00 A.M. TO 6:00 P.M.
Monday, October 23 to Friday, October 27, 8:00am to 6:00pm
Saturday, October 28, 10am to 6pm
Monday, October 30 to Friday, November 3, 8:00am to 8:00pm

The CLERK'S OFFICE will be the permanent polling place for early voting for precincts 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,11,12,14 & 15 in Humboldt County. If you have any questions regarding early voting, please contact the Humboldt County Clerk's Office at 623-6343.

Lander County
Battle Mountain Civic Center, 625 S. Broad Street.

Saturday, October 21, 2006, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Mon-Fri, October 23 – Oct 27, 2006, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday, October 28, 2006, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Mon-Fri, Oct 30 – Nov 3, 2006, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm

For further information concerning Early Voting please contact the Lander County Clerk’s Office at (775) 635-5738.

Lyon County

Yerington Location- Office of the Lyon County Clerk/Treasurer
27 South Main Street, Yerington, Nevada
Saturday, October 21st, 2006 from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Monday through Thursday, October 23rd to October 26th, 2006 from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 28th, 2006 from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Monday through Friday, October 30th to 31st, 2006 and November 1st to November 3rd, 2006, from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Smith Valley Polling Location-Smith Valley Library, 22 Day Lane, Smith, Nevada, Wednesday, October 25th and Wednesday, November 1st, 2006 from 4:00-7:00 p.m.

Dayton Polling Location:-Lyon County Administrative Office, 801 Overland Loop, Suite 201, Dayton, Nevada; Monday through Thursday, October 23rd to October 26th, 2006 and Monday through Friday October 30th to November 3rd, 2006; 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Fernley Polling Location-Fernley City Hall, 595 Silverlace Blvd, Fernley, Nevada,
Monday through Thursday, October 23rd through October 26th, 2006; 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Monday through Friday, October 30th through November 3rd, 2006; 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Pershing County
Precincts 1, 3, 4: County Clerk’s Office, 398 Main St. Lovelock, NV 89419; Mon. – Fr. 8AM-6PM, Sat. 10AM-6PM, Closed Sundays and Oct. 27
Precinct 6: Grass Valley Community Center Oct. 28, 10AM-3PM

Storey County
Storey County Courthouse, 26 South B Street, Virginia City
10/21/06 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
10/23/06-10/26/06 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
10/28/06 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
10/30/06-11/3/06 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Nevada Appeal makes its endorsements

Hmmm. I wonder if the Nevada Appeal saw the Derby/Heller debate on Friday night? In endorsing Heller, they are endorsing the status quo. Heller is Bush's boy and admits it. Got a message left on my desk the other day from a Dem in Lovelock who attending a local candidates night. Dean Heller was there and as my source tells me, gave the usual "glad hand" speech but when they turned to the Q & A, the truth came out and Heller admitted:

  1. 100% support for Bush and his policies
  2. "Dirty politics" is the reality of modern politics
  3. People don't vote on the issues
  4. [therefore] the ends justifies the means
I am glad to see that the Appeal came down on the side of Dina Titus, Ross Miller, and Kate Marshall. But I am disappointed that they backed Heller. He has shown himself to be mean-spirited and willing to do anything to gain this seat. Is that really what the Appeal wants to see in Washington? I guess it all comes down to "what's in this for me?":
And having a congressman from Carson City would have its advantages, giving residents a direct conduit to Washington.
I guess it doesn't matter what's best for the state.

October 19, 2006

John Emerson for State Senate

John Emerson answers the RGJ endorsement of his opponent. Excellent commentary.

I appreciate the Reno Gazette-Journal's endorsement of my credentials as a candidate for the state Legislature. Though the Editorial Board referred to me as an "excellent candidate" with years of experience serving the community, they endorsed Maurice Washington. In doing so they endorsed the status quo.

I believe Northern Nevada deserves more.


Northern Nevada has only four senators representing our interests, and this is the only northern Senate district with an active race. Each vote and the choice voters make is critical. We need a leader who can get the job done in the eye of the public, no deals behind closed doors, a leader who will work for common sense policies for the common good. My vision and qualities contrast sharply with those of Mr. Washington.

I support access to low-cost prescription drugs that can be imported from Canada, a step our state has taken to reduce rising health care costs. Mr. Washington voted against this legislation. We can do better.

I support reductions in class size as a proven strategy to improve the quality of our children's education. Mr. Washington voted against this legislation. We can do better.

I support the Millennium Scholarship to increase access to higher education for Nevada graduates. Mr. Washington voted against the initial source of funding for these scholarships. We can do better.

These votes are key indicators of how Mr. Washington really represents Northern Nevada.

In this era of negative political ads and sounds bites, voters need not just vote against Mr. Washington. I offer a choice. I have devoted my adult life to serving my community. As the RGJ noted, I have served on nonprofit boards. I have been appointed to state commissions by a Republican governor.

We can do better and together we will do better.
More at link.

Olbermann - "...we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing."

Keith Olbermann speaks for me.

We have lived as if in a trance.

We have lived as people in fear.

And now—our rights and our freedoms in peril—we slowly awake to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight have we truly become the inheritors of our American legacy.

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

We have been here before—and we have been here before led here—by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.

We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use those acts to jail newspaper editors.

American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote about America.

We have been here when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as “Hyphenated Americans,” most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.

American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said about America.

And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that Executive Order 9066 was necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use that order to imprison and pauperize 110,000 Americans while his man in charge, General DeWitt, told Congress: “It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen—he is still a Japanese.”

American citizens, in American camps, for something they neither wrote nor said nor did, but for the choices they or their ancestors had made about coming to America.

Each of these actions was undertaken for the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And each was a betrayal of that for which the president who advocated them claimed to be fighting.

Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and Sedition Acts erased.

Many of the very people Wilson silenced survived him, and one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900,000 votes, though his presidential campaign was conducted entirely from his jail cell.

And Roosevelt’s internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from the government of the United States to the citizens of the United States whose lives it ruined.

The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

In times of fright, we have been only human.

We have let Roosevelt’s “fear of fear itself” overtake us.

We have listened to the little voice inside that has said, “the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass.”

We have accepted that the only way to stop the terrorists is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists.

Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.

Or substitute the Japanese.

Or the Germans.

Or the Socialists.

Or the Anarchists.

Or the Immigrants.

Or the British.

Or the Aliens.

The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And, always, always wrong.

“With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?”

Wise words.

And ironic ones, Mr. Bush.

Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions Act.

You spoke so much more than you know, Sir.

Sadly—of course—the distance of history will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously was you.

We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

But even within this history we have not before codified the poisoning of habeas corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow.

You, sir, have now befouled that spring.

You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.

You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.

For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And — again, Mr. Bush — all of them, wrong.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has ever done to anything the terrorists have ever done.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has insisted again that “the United States does not torture. It’s against our laws and it’s against our values” and who has said it with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around him.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens “unlawful enemy combatants” and ship them somewhere—anywhere -- but may now, if he so decides, declare you an “unlawful enemy combatant” and ship you somewhere - anywhere.

And if you think this hyperbole or hysteria, ask the newspaper editors when John Adams was president or the pacifists when Woodrow Wilson was president or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

And if you somehow think habeas corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an “unlawful enemy combatant”—exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this attorney general is going to help you?

This President now has his blank check.

He lied to get it.

He lied as he received it.

Is there any reason to even hope he has not lied about how he intends to use it nor who he intends to use it against?

“These military commissions will provide a fair trial,” you told us yesterday, Mr. Bush, “in which the accused are presumed innocent, have access to an attorney and can hear all the evidence against them.”

"Presumed innocent," Mr. Bush?

The very piece of paper you signed as you said that, allows for the detainees to be abused up to the point just before they sustain “serious mental and physical trauma” in the hope of getting them to incriminate themselves, and may no longer even invoke The Geneva Conventions in their own defense.

"Access to an attorney," Mr. Bush?

Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said on this program, Sir, and to the Supreme Court, that he was only granted access to his detainee defendant on the promise that the detainee would plead guilty.

"Hearing all the evidence," Mr. Bush?

The Military Commissions Act specifically permits the introduction of classified evidence not made available to the defense.

Your words are lies, Sir.

They are lies that imperil us all.

“One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks,” you told us yesterday, “said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America.”

That terrorist, sir, could only hope.

Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.

Habeas corpus? Gone.

The Geneva Conventions? Optional.

The moral force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.

These things you have done, Mr. Bush, they would be “the beginning of the end of America.”

And did it even occur to you once, sir — somewhere in amidst those eight separate, gruesome, intentional, terroristic invocations of the horrors of 9/11 -- that with only a little further shift in this world we now know—just a touch more repudiation of all of that for which our patriots died --- did it ever occur to you once that in just 27 months and two days from now when you leave office, some irresponsible future president and a “competent tribunal” of lackeys would be entitled, by the actions of your own hand, to declare the status of “unlawful enemy combatant” for -- and convene a Military Commission to try -- not John Walker Lindh, but George Walker Bush?

For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And doubtless, Sir, all of them—as always—wrong.
Video here.

Jonathan Turley's interview with Keith regarding the death of habeus corpus.
"It couldn’t be more significant. And the strange thing is, we’ve become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. I mean, the Congress just gave the president despotic powers, and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to, you know, “Dancing with the Stars.” I mean, it’s otherworldly."

October 17, 2006

Dina Rocked!

First impressions of tonight's debate: Dina Titus answered the questions, she has a plan for ALL of Nevada, and she made me really, really excited about Nevada's potential under her leadership.

October 10, 2006

October 9, 2006

Derby responds to Heller attack ad

Dean Heller hasn't any plan except to follow the usual Republican playbook. Attack and slander. His newest ad is a perfect example. But the Derby camp sets the record straight.

Documentation and Response to Heller Attack Ad

I’m Dean Heller and I approve this message.

Announcer: What do we really know about candidate Jill Derby?

Announcer: Her television commercials claim she’s not a politician.

Announcer: The truth.

“We run for office, it’s an elective office. And I’ve run three times for six years terms.

It’s a political office in that I run for it. I’ve been a Regent for 18 years.”
Citation: KOH Radio 9/7/06

o This quote has been taken out of context. The conversation on KOH went as follows:

Bill Manders: “You just said you’ve been serving for 18 years, that’s pretty much a career politician, isn’t it?”

Jill Derby: “This is a non-paying job. That isn’t my career, this is my public service. When it’s not your career and you’re not being paid for it, I don’t consider that a career politician. In other words, the taxpayers haven’t paid my salary.”

“Who does pay your salary?”

“I don’t have a salary as a Regent.”

“You’re appointed?”

“No, no we run for office. It’s an elected office. I’ve run three times for six year terms.”

“So it is a political office?”

“It’s a political office in that I run for it. It’s a non-partisan office and it’s a non-paid office and part time. So it isn’t really something that’s my full time job that the taxpayers pay me for.”

“But you’ve been doing it for 18 years.”

“Yes, I’ve been a Regent for 18 years.”

“So it’s a career, isn’t it?”

“I wouldn’t call it that. My career is as an educator. I make my living other places. I don’t make my living being a Regent.”

  • It is worth noting, Jill has received $1,800 for attending Regents meetings since they started being paid in July 2005. Divide Jill’s “salary” by her 18 years of service as a Regent and she’s been paid $100 per year.
  • Heller has been collecting a paycheck from Nevada taxpayers for the past 12 years. He currently makes $80,000 a year as Secretary of State.
  • Career by definition is “a field or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life; a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling.”
  • Jill’s makes her living as an educator and education consultant.
  • Heller has made his living as an elected official for the past 12 years.
Announcer: Derby’s term has been very troubled.
Citation: RJ story 5/2/04

• This charge references a Las Vegas Review Journal editorial related to Jim Rogers’ offer to become chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education. The story makes no reference to Jill, only to the Regents as a group.

• There are 13 members on the Board of Regents. It is disingenuous to blame Jill for problems created by other Regents.

• Jill’s record of achievement on the Board of Regents is impressive.
  • She chaired the Board through the state’s most explosive period of growth in higher education and the creation of a new law school.
  • She led the charge for the creation of Nevada State College and the development of its academic program to address state shortages for teachers and nurses.
  • She led efforts to ensure funding equity among institutions across the state.
  • She led the effort to increase the role of community colleges in the system.
  • Thanks to Jill, meetings of the Board of Regents are held at campuses around the state, not just in Reno and Las Vegas.
  • She led the system’s efforts to comply with gender equity.
  • She led the Academic and Student Services Task Force to develop the academic program for the Nevada State College.

• In 2003, Jill was nominated for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, Distinguished Service Award in Trusteeship for her exemplary work as a Regent. More than a dozen distinguished Nevadans supported her nomination including former Sen. Richard Bryan, Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins and former UNR President Joe Crowley.

Announcer: What’s worse, she’s been named the biggest spender of them all.
Citation: RJ story 8/16/2000

• Like any state official or state worker, Jill has been reimbursed for travel expenses related to events where she is an official Regents representative.

• The Regents don’t meet in Gardnerville, so Jill has to travel for every Regent meeting.

• In 2000, Jill was board chairwoman and traveled extensively both to promote the system, work with education leaders, and learn about successful initiatives in other states that could be replicated in Nevada.

These trips resulted in several system initiatives that have had significant impact on the quality of education and the efficient use of limited resources.

Jill brought the idea of green building to the system, a policy that will save millions over the years through energy efficiency.

Building personal relationships with education experts across the country to share new ideas about academics, improving faculty, and getting the best leaders for campuses.

The higher education system is a billion dollar enterprise with huge implications for the state of Nevada. Not only is the system an economic engine for the state, but a source of educated and skilled workers.

• Regents were not required to report expenses until 1999. Between 1999 and 2006, Jill has been reimbursed $52,366.41 in travel expenses. Of the money reimbursed to Jill:
    o $3,650.32 was spent to attend out of state AGB conferences.
    o $7,982.04 in total personal reimbursements for out-of state trips.
    o $3,875.58 was spent to attend university/foundation dinners, celebrations, and commencements
    o $13,324.28 was spent in mileage for personal car (in-state, on official business). Jill must drive from Gardnerville home to meetings across the state including Elko, Reno, and Fallon.

    Busy, busy, busy

    Just dropping by to let any faithful readers know that, try as I might, my posting may be even more sparse as we count down these last weeks to the election.

    Time's short and there are neighborhoods to walk, voters to call and Get Out The Vote volunteers needed. If you aren't busy 24/7 between now and November 7th, see if you can squeeze in some time with your local Democratic party. They really could use you. If you can, take Election Day off and go volunteer.

    October 5, 2006

    How it should be done

    The Washington Post has an article by Joseph Califano, Jr. comparing the behavior of current House leadership and that of the House leadership back in 1982.

    When the House Could Clean Itself

    By Joseph A. Califano Jr.
    Wednesday, October 4, 2006; Page A25

    The most troubling aspect of the Mark Foley scandal is not his conduct, disgusting as it was, but what the response of the leadership reveals about the rancid state of partisanship and the consequent decline of the House of Representatives. Speaker Dennis Hastert presides over a legislative body so infested with mistrust that it doesn't even have a functioning ethics committee. Since the House is incapable of washing its own dirty laundry and policing itself, the speaker has to turn over that responsibility to the attorney general and the executive branch of government.

    Compare the current situation with the way Speaker Tip O'Neill and the House handled the last scandal involving sexual misconduct with pages, in the summer of 1982.


    When I reported our findings to O'Neill and Michel, the dishonor that these members had brought on the House infuriated the two leaders. "Get it out," they said, "and let the committee recommend disciplinary action," which its four Democratic and four Republican members did, unanimously, in July 1983. Crane and Studds were censured by the House. Crane resigned his seat. Studds chose to stay on and was retained in office by his constituents for 13 more years.


    The course the House took in that scandal, and its reaction to the current one, show the difference between a leadership that saw a threat to the integrity of the House of Representatives and one that sees a threat to its continuing control of the institution. It's useful today to remember that there was a time when partisanship took second place to trust and the House leadership had the strength to wash its own dirty laundry.

    So, if they won't clean House...I guess it's up to us. Vote for change on November 7th.

    October 3, 2006

    Connecting the dots

    Desert Beacon suggests that perhaps our slashing of mental health services, as well as the stigma associated with mental illness, may have contributed to the three school shootings in recent days.

    Given the random nature of these acts perhaps nothing could have prevented these three tragedies, but what an awful question to hang over communities already in grief -- was there something we could have done?

    When our gubernatorial candidates tire of challenging each other's positions and practices in campaign finance, perhaps someone can get them to address the need for public mental health and social services funding in this state?
    Regarding that last sentence, I've been hearing a lot of "I don't like either ONE of them." That's depressing.

    The Gay Agenda

    Thanks to a poster over at Table Talk at Salon.com I was directed to this article which reveals, for the first time, the Gay Agenda. You may want to remove your children out of view of the computer screen.

    So I decided to talk to a couple of gay people myself to see if they'd reveal to me the Gay Agenda. I confess I did not speak directly to the Head Homosexual, but I did have a chat with some average, everyday queers - friends of mine, actually, but that doesn't mean I have a bias here. I just asked the entirely objective question: What's on the Gay Agenda?

    "Let me check," said Carl, as he pulled out his gay little Palm Pilot, which is where he keeps his own Gay Agenda. Here's what it said:

    6 a.m. - treadmill in basement for 30 minutes

    7 a.m. - eat breakfast (bowl of cereal, orange juice)

    8 a.m.-5 p.m. - work

    5:30 - hair appointment (well, he is gay, you know)

    6 p.m. - dinner with Albert at Mom's

    11 p.m. - home, watch Jon Stewart

    But I wanted to know the LARGER Gay Agenda. So I asked Ted. And Ted, being just so generously Ted-like, pulled the official Gay Agenda out of his back pocket and showed it to me. It was written on Homosexuals "R" Us letterhead with a decorative rainbow across the top. Here's what it said:

    Be left alone and not get the crap beaten out of us.

    Do normal things, like get married and raise kids.

    Hold down a good job and have health insurance for the whole family.

    Grow old together and develop a bit of a paunch or big butt from a few too many marvelous dinners.

    Stop having whom we share our bed with be of any interest whatsoever to anyone.

    Urge those lovable homophobic pseudo-Christians to discover Jesus' true message.

    There are 1,070 days 'til Inauguration 2009.

    October 1, 2006

    What real election reform looks like

    Desert Beacon takes on Danny Tarkanian's mailer on requiring all voters to have a government issued ID card in order to vote.

    In addition to just being a downright vote suppression racist argument at its core, the proposal has some other difficulties:
    (1) For all the chatter about can-do American technology producing a tamper and counterfeit proof ID card, the fact is that no one's been able to actually do it.
    (2) No one has yet to come out and say how much it's going to cost county government to process the extra paper work, conduct the necessary back checking, and store the additional records.
    (3) No one's yet decided who is going to pay the county governments to do the laundry list in #2.
    (4) None of the vote suppression proponents has yet to explain how having this ultra-expensive, but still counterfeit vulnerable system, is supposed to work.

    So, Danny doesn't even want to bother finishing up what current SOS Dean Heller has failed accomplish. That would be: to implement the requirements of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) wherein states were required to do two things: (1) Have one statewide standard for voting machines in the state and (2) Have a statewide voter database in place by 2006. Sorry to say, neither have materialized as Clark County voters are still voting on Sequoia machines that do not have a printer for providing a voter verifiable ballots, and due to the inability of the firm the SOS's office hired to convert the 17 different county voter files to one system, the statewide voter database still does not exist.

    Nope, Tarkanian would rather pick up the anti-illegal immigrant mantra that is the backbone of Republican candidates, including Heller. (By the way, this little tidbit about Heller was relayed to me by an attendee at a recent Silver City Candidates Night. Heller went so far as to intimate that that the meth problem is due to illegal immigrants. Geez. I am not even hearing Charlie Duke saying that!!)

    Tarkanian wants to push the anti-immigrant button rather than offering real substantive reform like Ross Miller.

    You think these guys would have learned their lesson from Barbara "I'm-running-on-illegal-immigration-even-though-the-Lt. -Governor-doesn't-have-a-thing-to-do-with-it" Woollen.

    I'm a bit late on this, but nevertheless...

    Jimmy Carter's visit to northern Nevada on behalf of Jack Carter got some nice coverage in the local papers. This article from the Elko Daily Free Press is especially nice. Sounds like Jimmy and Jack did some good, and I hope, opened some eyes.

    Fallon visit covered by the Lahontan Valley News here (news), here (opinion piece with a nice hat tip to President Carter at the end), and the Fallon Star Press here.

    The 50-State Strategy

    The New York Times showcases Howard Dean and the 50-State Strategy. A bit of a read, but worth every word.

    Now, at power lunches and private meetings, perplexed Washington Democrats, the kind of people who have lorded over the party apparatus for decades, find themselves pondering the same bewildering questions. What on earth can Howard Dean be thinking? Does he really care about winning in November, or is he after something else?
    Both!! We can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.

    [W]hat Dean and these women share is resentment, sometimes subtle and sometimes not, of the elite Washington Democrats who have always run the national party. … Dean came to Washington vowing to take power from the insiders and give it, instead, to ground-level activists. “That’s our loyalty to Dean,” Brazile says. “He gets it.”

    I see this on the ground here in Nevada as well.

    Before this midterm election-year began, but not long after Dean became party head, Emanuel and Schumer decided that if Dean wasn’t going to raise anywhere near as much money as his rivals at Republican headquarters, then he ought to at least give them whatever resources he could muster. They went to work on Dean, pleading with him to transfer as much as $10 million to the two committees to help them respond to the Republican TV barrage. … Dean categorically refused to ante up. Having opposed the very idea of targeting a small number of states and races, he wasn’t about to divert money from his long-term strategy — what he calls the “unsexy” work of rebuilding the party’s infrastructure — to pay for a bunch of TV ads in Ohio. He wanted to win the 2006 elections as much as anyone, Dean told them, and he intended to help where he could. But Democratic candidates and their campaign committees were doing just fine on fund-raising, and the party couldn’t continue giving in to the temptation to spend everything it had on every election cycle no matter how big a checkbook the Republicans were waving around.


    Underneath this clash of field plans and alpha personalities lay a deeper philosophical divide over how you go about rebuilding a party — which was really a dispute about cause and effect. Did you expand the party by winning elections, or did you win elections by expanding the party? Most party insiders had long put their faith in elections first, arguing that the best way to broaden the base of the party was to win more races. …

    Recent history, though, would seem to undercut this theory. In the 1990’s, the Democrats won two presidential elections behind a popular leader, and yet the party didn’t grow. In fact, Democrats lost ground at every level of government except the White House and cemented their position as the party of coastal states.
    Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
    . . . Most analysts in both parties now believe that Democrats have better-than-even odds of winning at least the House. But if they don’t, rather than dissect the mechanical failures that cost them a few thousand votes here or there, Democrats might be forced to admit, at long last, that there is a structural flaw in their theory of party-building. Even a near miss, at a time of such overwhelming opportunity, would suggest that a national party may not, in fact, be able to win over the long term by fixating on a select group of industrial states while condemning entire regions of the country to what amounts to one-party rule. Which would mean that Howard Dean is right to replant his party’s flag in the towns and counties along America’s less-traveled highways, even if his plan isn’t perfect, and even if he isn’t the best messenger to carry it out. As another flawed visionary, the filmmaker Woody Allen, once put it, 80 percent of success is just showing up.
    Have you shown up?