ITEM #1: This past Sunday brought the end of the special session of the Nevada Legislature — which Governor Steve Sisolak called for the purpose of addressing the massive budget hole created by Sisolak's own forced shutdown of our economy. So now, it's time to assess what the Governor and his fellow Democrats who dominate both legislative houses did during their nearly two weeks together.
At a time when so many ordinary Nevadans are already suffering, the responsible way to address the shortfall would have been to rein in the cost of government, largely through furloughs and pay freezes for government workers. But it turns out that's not so easy for Democrats to do politically — not when AFSCME, the union that represents state and local government employees, has contributed nearly a quarter million dollars to Democrats' legislative candidates and PACs over the past three months alone.
The donations include $50,000 apiece to the Assembly Democratic Caucus, Nevada Senate Democrats, and Battle Born and Raised Leadership, as well as $5,000 apiece to Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, and several other lawmakers, as revealed in a Riley Snyder tweet:
The predictable result? Unions got what they wanted in the special session, while the rest of us Nevadans got screwed. And of course, big labor is most grateful. More from Snyder:
"Statement from AFSCME @Local4041 on close of special session; says union negotiated reduction in furlough days/merit pay restoration w/ @GovSisolak and #nvleg Dems on Thursday. 'We thank the governor for honoring our rights as workers under the collective bargaining law.'"
The Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) has an insightful analysis of how the session revealed just who and what really matters to Nevada's left-wing politicians. Michael Schaus and Robert Fellner write:
"Nevada lawmakers have put the concerns of politically connected government unions over those of taxpayers, students and at-risk Nevadans.
"Rather than restoring funding to education and healthcare services, the Legislature instead chose to put roughly $40 million back into the pockets of state government workers by reducing the number of furlough days and pay freezes initially proposed by Governor Sisolak.
"The Legislature's preferential treatment of state workers, at the expense of other public services such as education and health care, cannot be explained on legitimate public policy grounds given state workers already enjoy disproportionately high compensation levels."
Schaus and Fellner conclude:
"The Legislature's decision to spend precious resources on enriching state workers — while simultaneously slashing funding for education, healthcare and other services — makes clear that lawmakers have prioritized the concerns of newly-unionized state employees over those of everyday Nevadans."
Governor Sisolak and his legislative allies had an opportunity to stand up to their union-boss financial backers and put the interests of regular citizens first. Predictably, they failed that leadership test.
Come November, Nevada voters should remember this slap in the face.
ITEM #2: Earlier this week, we announced that the 6th Annual Basque Fry and CPAC West 2020 have been canceled, for reasons provided by Morning in Nevada PAC President Adam Laxalt:
"We have explored every option imaginable to allow us to hold the Basque Fry and CPAC West this year. Unfortunately, the Governor's panicky, erratic, incoherent and patchwork approach to COVID-19 has left us with no feasible way to do so. The Governor has taken a heavy-handed approach to the shutdown in some cases, while leaving open preferred industries, and he spat in our eyes when he refused to do anything to stop, or even criticize, the violent riots that have broken out across our state."
We want to thank the many, many Nevadans who have reached out to us to express their understandable disappointment that they won't be able to attend this year's event. More than 2,000 people had bought tickets to what was going to be our largest Basque Fry ever. We're grateful that in the wake of this unfortunate news, so many have responded with grace and character.
Then there's Jon Ralston.
In a tweet that's indicative of his overall tiresome schtick, the left-wing blogger-pundit referred to the Basque Fry as a "Wackofest."
The Fry is attended every year by thousands of patriotic Nevada citizens who care about the future of our state, as well as many Nevada elected officials — whom Ralston's "news" outlet purports to cover objectively. Furthermore, we've had dozens of senior national elected officials, including presidential candidates, from across the country come to the event over the years.
Apparently, they're also just a bunch of "wackos" to Ralston, whose comment is an echo of Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" line about President Trump's supporters during the 2016 campaign.
At least now we all know what Jon Ralston thinks of so many of his fellow Nevadans and our nation's leaders.
ITEM #3: This week on the media-bias front, a major Fox News investigative report reveals that:
"A far-left website called Courier Newsroom has managed to drive liberal messaging in key states online and on social media, with piles of cash and no financial disclosure ...
"Courier Newsroom, tied to a multibillion dollar left-wing dark money operation, has strategically placed websites in key battleground states running 'news stories' that often appear to be little more than Democratic Party talking points. The same operation also promotes its content on social media platforms and places expensive ads on Facebook, where it's categorized as a Media/News organization.
"While the Courier Newsroom appears overtly political, its newsroom status allows it to avoid financial reporting and disclosure requirements — meaning the amount of cash that can be used to publish and promote its content is essentially limitless, with no oversight."
Morning in Nevada PAC President Adam Laxalt is quoted extensively in the story, raising concerns over what this will do to the public's already diminished trust in the news media:
"I think it's an unprecedented political news organization. While there are complaints of media bias, fake news, no media outlet is doing what Courier Newsroom is," Laxalt told Fox News. "They were stood up by a large, left-of-center political world and they appear to be directly engaged in political persuasion. ...
"They're all set up to appear as local news, genuine, authentic local news," Laxalt said. ...
"[W]hile Democrats typically cry about fake news, we can all kind of debate what that definition is, this is clearly, absolutely fake news," Laxalt said. "It appears it is invented with the sole intent of persuading swing voters in swing states."
The Fox News story notes that, "A normal PAC would target swing voters in specific districts, but Courier Newsroom is able to avoid the regulations by calling itself a newsroom."
About which Laxalt said: "This is essentially doing that. The difference, of course, from a public trust perspective is disclosure. A PAC would have a mandatory tax disclosure, an SEC filing, donor disclosure rules and the newest one, is a micro-targeting restriction. Well, that does not affect a 'newsroom.'"
And he spells out why this matters so much: "[T]he proliferation of Courier Newsroom-style organizations would evaporate the trust in media."
ITEM #4: We're all fully aware that the Democrats' and the media's narrative over the Steele Dossier was complete bunk, yet was advanced because it served as a useful tool in damaging President Trump during the bogus Russia-collusion hysteria. Drew Holden shares a Twitter thread naming just a few of the many "journalists," "news" outlets, and others who fell for and promoted the false storyline:
CNN New York Magazine MSNBC Mother Jones Newsweek Slate The Daily Beast Brian Stelter Jonathan Chait Rachel Maddow David Corn Rick Wilson Joy Reid Jennifer Rubin Max Boot Malcolm Nance Seth Abramson Matthew Dowd Cheri Jacobus Scott Dworkin Kurt Eichenwald Janey Mayer Adam Parkhomenko Laurence Tribe
Brit Hume put it bluntly: "It is now clear that the dossier was crap. Those who bought it should be hanging their heads."
ITEM #5: The headline on a news release from the Portland (Oregon) Police Bureau yesterday informs us that a group of individuals attempted to "Break in to Federal Courthouse, Light Fires, and Vandalize Property Downtown."
Among their many acts of violence, the individuals "started to kick the front doors of Central Precinct," "carried bats and shields as well as wore helmets and gas masks," "breeched the west side doors of the Federal Courthouse," "set a fire outside the west side doors located on the portico," "opened a fire hydrant ... and added soap to the water causing a hazard downtown," and "set several small fires while other people vandalized and spray painted both city, federal, and private property."
As Kimberley Strassel reminds us, "This is what Joe Biden calls 'peaceful.'"
ITEM #6: The Wall Street Journal has the latest on St. Louis' Mark and Patricia McCloskey, made famous by a video showing them holding legal firearms and defending themselves and their home from a crowd of protesters who were trespassing on their property. The Journal's editorial board writes:
"A politically motivated prosecutor on Monday charged the couple with unlawful use of a weapon.
"The felony count is because they pointed their weapons at protesters. Mr. McCloskey said he did so because he was 'scared for my life,' and that of his wife. No shots were fired. Yet now prosecutor Kim Gardner is charging them on grounds they made the trespassers fear for their safety."
Fortunately, this out-of-control prosecutor is getting some heat:
"Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tweeted that 'We will not allow law-abiding citizens to be targeted for exercising their constitutional rights.' He has promised a pardon if they're convicted. Attorney General Eric Schmitt is working to get the case dismissed, noting that, in addition to the U.S. and Missouri constitutions, Missouri law recognizes the 'castle doctrine.' This allows residents to use force against intruders, including deadly force, based on self-defense and the notion that your home is your castle."
Attorney General Schmitt has called Gardner a "rogue prosecutor" who's carrying out a "political prosecution" against the McCloskey's, and he's absolutely right.
And the Journal's editors really hit the nail on the head with their conclusion:
"Even if the charges are dismissed, or the McCloskeys are pardoned after being convicted, again we have a public official responsible for upholding law and order wink at a mob while treating law-abiding citizens as criminals. If police cannot be counted on to deal with mobs, it's even more vital that law-abiding Americans are free to exercise their Second Amendment right to protect themselves."
ITEM #7: A Forbes headline on a piece by Chuck DeVore reveals that, "COVID-19 Job Losses Have Been The Steepest In High-Tax States."
It makes perfect sense, of course. Higher tax burdens already serve as a barrier to a healthy jobs climate, so throwing additional economic strife into the mix will only make a bad situation worse. And of course, these high-tax states are also those that have implemented the broadest and most heavy-handed economic shutdowns in response to the virus outbreak.
The economic lesson here is one that Nevada's Democrats — who we know will to try to raise our taxes as soon as they think it's politically safe to do so — should heed. Which means it's also a lesson we can count on them to miss.
ITEM #8: The Western Journal reports on a nasty spat between U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
After Cuban took issue with those who have criticized players for refusing to stand for the national anthem, Cruz tweeted: "Really??!? NBA is telling everyone who stands for the flag, who honors our cops and our veterans, to 'piss off'? In Texas, no less? Good luck with that."
Cuban shot back: "Have some balls for once @tedcruz. Speak to me. It's my tweet."
It was the wrong turf to fight on, to say the least, since the NBA makes a ton of money in China and has repeatedly gone out of its way to kiss up to the country's oppressive, Communist regime.
And naturally, Cruz seized on the opportunity, tweeting: "Speaking of balls, tell us what you think about China. I'll wait."
Game over, Mark.
"Today's Democratic Party is the party of Silicon Valley billionaires. … It is the party of power. It is the party of suppression. It is jack-booted thugs who will enforce their will through force. That's who the Democratic Party represents. Today's Republican Party are Ohio steelworkers. Today's Republican Party are single moms waiting tables who are filled with opportunities. They're people like my dad when he was a teenage immigrant from Cuba washing dishes." ― U.S. Senator Ted Cruz
"All the political angst and moral melodrama about getting 'the rich' to pay 'their fair share' is part of a big charade. This is not about economics, it is about politics." ― Thomas Sowell
"Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink and make the combination worthless." ― Milton Friedman