One Helluva Check On trump

— by Catherine Cortez Masto

CatherineCortezMastoIt’s been almost a month since the election, and I still feel incredibly grateful for everything this team did to help us win. After meeting my future colleagues in the Senate a few weeks ago, I’m more eager than ever to head to Washington and fight for our values.

Our government is built on a system of checks and balances, and I promise you this: I will be one hell of a check and balance on President Donald trump. 

Our fight is one for our future and the America we know it should be. And nobody is going to take that away from us. It is our voices, our mass, our people, and we are going to continue to fight:

  • Hate has no place in the White House. If trump is serious about being a president who brings this country together, he must set an example.
  • Enough with the tax breaks for corporations. Enough with the tax breaks for Big Oil. How about we give a tax break to working families?
  • Dark money is a threat to our political system. Overturning Citizens United is only the first step to ridding politics of money. Climate change is real. We must protect our precious resources, including the air we breathe and the water we drink.
  • Social Security and Medicare are promises. I will oppose any attempts to cut or privatize Social Security and to turn Medicare into a voucher program.
  • Our diversity is our strength. As the first Latina senator, I will use my seat at the table to fight for diversity.
  • Building walls is NOT the answer. We must pass comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. Until we do, I will do everything in my power to keep families together and protect important programs like DACA.
  • We are union strong. Working men and women built this county.
  • The fight for pay equity is not over. Women should earn the same as men for performing the same job.

I am so honored to have been chosen to fight for you in the United States Senate, and we have a lot to fight for. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and be that warrior for you, but I’ll need you standing by me every step of the way.

If you haven’t already, join me on FacebookTwitter and Instagramand then add your name to say you’re all in for the fights ahead.

¡La Lucha Sigue!  The fight continues!

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Analysis: Democrats Turn Their Backs on Rural America

— by Matt L. Barron

Republican Senate and House candidates were vulnerable in rural areas. But Democrats stuck to a campaign script developed by coastal elites who think “alfalfa” is only a character in “Little Rascals.” It doesn’t have to be that way, says Democratic consultant Matt Barron.

The crushing defeat that Donald Trump delivered to the Democrats, mostly from a beat down in the boondocks, has many in my party asking if they should even bother trying to woo white working class and rural voters anymore. The thinking among coastal elites is that with coming demographic changes in the years ahead, the “coalition of the ascendant” that powered Barack Obama to the White House will turn red states blue. This mindset is deeply flawed.

Even if the 2016 presidential campaign is the last old white guy’s election, Democrats can’t expect to be a viable national party if they only hold mostly urban turf in the Northeast, California and the Ecotopia of the Pacific Northwest with an Illinois and Virginia as side dishes. The Trump wave’s greatest damage was down-ballot in Senate and House races.

Warning Signs That Flashed Were Ignored

The successful cycles of 2006, where Democrats flipped the U.S. House and 2008, where they added to their congressional wins by re-taking the Oval Office (thanks in no small measure to then-Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy), included victories in rural precincts thanks to aggressive competition for rural votes.

The House Democratic Rural Working Group and the Senate Rural Outreach arms of the Democrat’s steering and policy committees were critical pieces of messaging infrastructure designed to listen to and communicate with folks in the nation’s hinterlands. Entities like the Obama Agriculture & Rural Policy Committee (full disclosure – I was an active and charter member), not only produced a comprehensive Rural Plan but helped bring that vision to life in the 2008 presidential race with full-throated constituency outreach to small towns and rural communities.

After the disastrous 2010 midterms, things began to change. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid dismantled their rural policy shops, and Obama never pushed to keep a rural voter component at the DNC. At the party campaign committees, outreach desks were created for almost every minority, ethnic and interest group except geographic minorities. In the states, most state parties had no rural caucus and the handful that did were given no support in financial or human capital. This lack of basic rural electoral infrastructure started to cost the Democrats more losses in 2012 and 2014. At this summer’s Democratic convention in Philadelphia, pleas from a Pennsylvania U.S. House candidate for Democrats to embrace rural voters’ values fell on deaf ears.

Mr. Secretary Had No Clue

Hillary Clinton stood before a giant gleaming John Deere tractor in Iowa as she rolled out her Future of America’s Rural Economy plan on August 26, 2015. The white paper (pretty much a carbon copy of her 2008 rural plan) garnered some positive press and the Rural for Hillary Twitter feed picked up a few more followers. Then Madame Secretary wiped her hands and walked away from rural America. Most of the effort to woo rural voters was left to surrogates at a couple of debates and forums with Trump representatives on the other side of the stage and a handful of upstate New Yorkers who testified that Clinton paid attention to them as senator and helped push some initiatives that benefitted Empire State agriculture. The candidate herself told people to go to her website to read her position papers. For millions of rural residents without access to high-speed broadband, that is hard to do. On November 8, the Rural for Hillary Twitter page had a total of 783 followers. 783 Twitter peeps? As they say on Monday Night Football, “C’mon man!”

As the media scratched their heads at why Trump was holding rallies far off the beaten path in places like Lisbon, Maine, Atkinson, New Hampshire, Fletcher and Selma, North Carolina, Clinton never deviated from a schedule that looked like a rock band’s tour of major urban centers. Clinton never ventured out to a county fair or commodity-themed festival to meet rural voters where they are and sell her rural policy vision on the stump. A woman at Trump’s Selma, North Carolina, stop told a reporter: “Hillary would never come because we’re not important enough to her. She doesn’t care about us.” Indeed, in their battleground state thread-the-needle strategy of turning out their base voters, campaign stops like this were vetoed by the brass in Brooklyn. This violates the first rule of competing for rural votes – showing up in the sticks.

On September 27, the morning after the first presidential debate, The Daily 202’s James Hohmann of the Washington Post talked one-on-one with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The former Iowa governor – who Hillary Clinton considered as a potential running mate – shared his take on the debate, including how the candidates were resonating with rural voters.

There are some very revealing responses from Mr. Secretary in this interview. When Hohmann says “you’re sort of the point person for rural America,” Vilsack responds “I’m the only one.” Vilsack then admits that “we (Democrats) don’t do as good a job of speaking directly to rural voters,” and “There’s no question Democrats have a hard time talking to and about rural voters.”

I submitted these two questions to 202 Live via Twitter which Hohmann asked:

How come Dem Senate candidates in AZ, NV, NH, NC, etc. are not hitting GOPers on their bad rural votes (farm bill, broadband, etc.)? Vilsack says “That’s a good question.”

How come the DNC, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) have no rural outreach desks? How can D’s compete for rural voters when they don’t have a game plan? Vilsack says “That’s a good question and it’s one I don’t know I have a very good answer to.”

After the election, former Senator Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), who was slated to be in charge of Clinton’s White House transition team, was asked by The Hill about Clinton’s failure to reach and connect with rural voters and his response is as vapid as Vilsack’s. “Democrats have not done very well in rural America and I don’t understand why that has happened. The broader question is how to have a Democratic Party that can attract those working men and women,” Salazar said.

Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” dig at the Trumpers was her riff on Obama’s faux pas from 2008 when he was caught complaining about those “who cling to guns and religion,” and it did not go over well in flyover country. Anyone with any doubts that Democrats have become the party of the professional class should read the spot-on book by Thomas Frank, Listen Liberal – What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? Maybe Salazar and Vilsack will get a copy in their Christmas stockings this year.

Don’t Drink the DSCC’s Kool Aid – It’s Brewed by Folks Who Don’t Have Any Dirt Under Their Nails

If white working class voters and rural folks distrusted Clinton (e-mail server), thought she was a flip-flopper (being against ethanol and biofuels as a senator and then for them once she made her White House runs), and found her not relatable to them (more comfy giving six-figure speeches to Wall Street executives), it was the Senate races where Democrats’ failure to engage on issues near and dear to those in the countryside wound up costing them dearly.

Going into this cycle, there was reason for some optimism at retaking the upper chamber of Congress that was lost in the “Dempocalypse” that was the 2014 midterms. The Democrats had the map to their advantage, had recruited some solid candidates to challenge Republicans and in Senator Jon Tester, had a farmer from Big Sandy, Montana, running the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. There was some hope that the abysmal records on an array of issues directly affecting rural voters by GOP incumbents would get exposed. It was not to be.

In Arizona, U.S. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick led Senator John McCain 43 percent to 39 percent among rural voters in a Rocky Mountain Poll from April 15, 2016. Kirkpatrick’s House district is majority-rural (52.4%) and she sits on the Agriculture and Transportation & Infrastructure Committees, so she should be intimately familiar with the meat and potato issues that come before these panels that hit rural Arizona. But instead of going after McCain’s horrific rural record (which Obama used to his advantage in 2008), against farmers and ranchers (opposing multiple Farm Bills over the years), his votes to kill rural broadband and rural air service and against several highway bills, she gulped the DSCC Kool Aid and made McCain’s opposition to a new Supreme Court justice a centerpiece of her campaign. Worse, in 2011, McCain led the effort in the Senate to obliterate rural postal service by doing away with Saturday mail delivery and closing thousands of rural post offices across the nation. If you don’t live near a pharmacy and you are part of the 80 percent of rural Arizonans who lack rural broadband, then you depend on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver your medications and magazines. Kirkpatrick never mentioned this issue in her campaign let alone cut a radio spot to drive it home. By autumn, her lead had slipped and McCain won handily by 12 points. Kirkpatrick won only four rural counties and among the rural counties she lost – four were in her own Arizona-1st district.

In the Show Me State, Jason Kander, one of the party’s brightest new stars, was beaten by Senator Roy Blunt who benefited from the Trump wave in outstate Mizzou’s rural counties. Kander won none of them, not even the handful that Blunt’s 2010 opponent Robin Carnahan had carried in the Lead Belt, in the southeast part of the state where there had been some historical Democratic strength from union lead miners. Kander did make his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal a prominent part of his platform. But he never hit Blunt on supporting the Korea Free Trade Agreement from 2011 that saw the state’s trade deficit in the top 10 exports (everything from leather products to transportation equipment), grow 62% under the first three years Korea FTA was in effect and resulted in a drop in turkeys and soybeans, (two of the top five ag exports) falling 49% and 2% respectively. Kander hit Blunt relentlessly on his fancy Washington, D.C., house and that his family were all lobbyists but never mentioned Blunt’s opposition to biofuels and that he voted in 2012 against federal payments in-lieu of taxes for rural counties that host huge swaths of tax-exempt acres as part of the Mark Twain National Forest. Those federal bucks help pay for schools and local law enforcement where the tax base is thin because of Uncle Sam’s green footprint. Like Kirkpatrick in Arizona, Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania, and Deborah Ross in North Carolina, Kander let Blunt off the hook on dozens of votes that have specific resonance in rural communities.

The Wisconsin race between Republican Senator Ron Johnson and Russ Feingold was supposed to be a layup for the Democrats until Feingold lost the ball. Johnson, a freshman who came in on the 2010 Tea Party wave, was deeply unpopular, and Feingold supposedly had learned from his defeat six years earlier that he had to put much more effort into winning in places outside Madison and Milwaukee. Feingold got the showing-up part right – he stumped in all of the Badger State’s 72 counties. But he again messed up on his rural messaging. Not only did Johnson vote against the 2014 Farm Bill, but he opposed key amendments to that omnibus legislation affecting Wisconsin commodities like milk and cranberries. Alfalfa illustrates this point. Johnson voted against a measure by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) to require the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to carry out research and development for a crop insurance program for alfalfa. This is kind of a big deal in a state that has “America’s Dairyland” on its license plates. In 2015, Wisconsin grew 1.2 million acres of alfalfa with a value of $756, 985,000. Feingold (who spent some time on the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry during his first Senate term) really could have made some political hay with some paid media hitting Johnson for being out of touch with his state’s signature economic sector – and possibly won more of the rural vote that should have been his.

Even in Nevada, where Catherine Cortez Masto hung on to hold outgoing Senator Harry Reid’s seat, she did it only by running up the score in Las Vegas and Clark County. Cortez Masto made a brief three-day swing through rural Nevada in mid-July showing her face in places like Ely, Elko, Pahrump and Winnemucca. But then she pretty much focused only on Las Vegas and Reno. Cortez Masto lost the rural cow counties by just under 54,000 votes – a bigger blowout than the 40,000- vote rural defeat ex-Representative Shelley Berkley suffered in her 2012 loss to Republican Senator Dean Heller, who beat her 46% to 45% statewide. Cortez Masto was so focused on parroting DSCC talking points on abortion rights and the Supreme Court vacancy that she never hit suburban Representative Joe Heck on his anti-rural and anti-libertarian record that could have appealed to rural Nevadans.

What Can the Party of Jefferson and Truman Do Going Forward?

There are a number of takeaways for Democrats to learn and act on if they have any hope of competing for the hearts and minds of rural Americans:

  • Create a rural desk at their Senate and Congressional campaign committees so that Senate and House candidates can have access to opposition research and policy data on rural issues that affect rural/exurban constituencies in their respective states, because every state in this nation contains some rural precincts. Make the DNC’s Rural Council more than an entity that only meets for two days every four years at the national convention.
  • Revive the Senate Democratic Rural Outreach shop within the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee that was closed down in 2010 and staff it with folks who know how to do messaging to the hinterlands and the boondocks. Even though he is up in the 2018 cycle, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio would be a natural to lead this effort. Revive the House Democratic Rural Working Group in the House to do similar work. Representative Cheri Bustos, who represents a swath of western Illinois that is 47% rural, would be a perfect fit.
  • Learn that in candidate recruitment, carpetbaggers are not good messengers in rural places. House contests in Maine-2nd and New York-19th showed that voters don’t like people like Louisville, Kentucky, native Emily Cain (whom Mainers politely refer to being “from away”) or Seattle-born and New York City transplant-to-upstate Zephyr Teachout. That shows at the ballot box. Organic-to-the-district works better when all the votes are counted.
  • Start hiring campaign managers, staff, and campaign consultants who have some direct connection to rural America and know that alfalfa is a forage crop and not the most famous and popular member of the Little Rascals comedy shorts series. Democrats need more people with some dirt under their nails advising candidates up and down the ballot that they cannot ignore stuff that animates rural people.
  • Work with the urban Democratic donor community to support and endow state-branded/rural-focused/grassroots driven super PACs to fund cost-effective voter contact messaging for rural folks such as dirt-cheap rural radio spots and print ads in rural weekly newspapers to reach rural voters where they are.

Republished with permission from Matt L. Barron, who is president of MLB Research Associate, a political consulting and rural strategy firm in Chesterfield, MA. You can follow him on Twitter —> @MrRural

New rural PAC he just started  http://www.silverstaterural.com/  Watch that space!

FACT CHECK: NRSC Tries to Distract From Heck’s Voting Record & Support for Donald Trump

Today, Washington Republicans launched their latest false attack against Catherine Cortez Masto. Previous attacks from Congressman Heck’s numerous special interests allies have been called falsehighly misleading, and “B.S..” The reality is: Washington Republicans are trying to distract voters from Congressman Heck putting his party ahead of the safety of Nevadans.

“Washington Republicans are desperate to change the subject from Congressman Heck’s support of Donald Trump for President,” said Zach Hudson, spokesperson for Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate. “The truth is: while Catherine Cortez Masto spent eight years as Attorney General protecting Nevadans from predators, Congressman Heck has voted twenty four times to allow suspected terrorists to buy guns and wants to put Donald Trump in charge of our nation’s nuclear launch codes. Congressman Heck’s support of Donald Trump as our Commander-in-Chief demonstrates he doesn’t have the judgment to be Nevada’s next Senator and will put partisan politics ahead of the safety of Nevadans.”

View the facts on Washington Republicans’ latest false attack against Cortez Masto below:

PUSHBACK 8/12/16: NRSC AD  “NO CONCERN” – 

CLAIM RESPONSE
VOICEOVER: Catherine Cortez Masto supports President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and refused to name any concerns with it.

 

REALITY: WASHINGTON REPUBLICANS CONTINUE THEIR PATTERN OF FALSE AND MISLEADING ATTACKS ON CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO THAT HAVE BEEN REPEATEDLY DEBUNKED BY INDEPENDENT FACT-CHECKERS

Washington Post Fact Check Gave NRSC Three Pinocchios For False Claims About Cortez Masto Support For Iran Deal. [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

Washington Post Fact Check: NRSC “Exaggerated Charges” And Used “Misleading Language” To Frighten Voters Into Thinking Cortez Masto Made A Foreign Policy Blunder By Supporting Iran Deal. In September 2015, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “This is an ad designed to frighten voters into thinking that Masto has made a tragic foreign-policy blunder that will lead to nuclear conflict. But the images would be justified only if the case were as compelling as the NRSC suggests. Instead, the organization has exaggerated the charges and used misleading language to make its case. With a few tweaks in the wording and less stark images, the NRSC could make a reasonable argument that supporting the nuclear deal is a mistake. But this effort is a miss.” [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

Washington Post Fact Check: NRSC Ad “Incorrectly” Suggested Iran Deal Allows The Financing Of Terrorists. In September 2015, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “Iran has billions of dollars in assets that are frozen in foreign banks around the globe, and this deal would unlock those funds. No one quite knows how much money is at stake, but estimates range from $29 billion to $150 billion, with $100 billion the figure most often used. The Treasury Department has estimated that once Iran fulfills other obligations, it would have about $56 billion left. That’s certainly ‘billions.’ But remember, this is already Iran’s money; it is not being ‘given’ any kind of signing bonus. […] The ad, however, incorrectly suggests that the agreement directly allows the financing of terrorists.” [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

Washington Post Fact Check: NRSC Ad Used “Misleading Language” To Make It Appear That Arms Controls Were Being Weakened. In September 2015, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “‘Arms controls’ refers to U.N. Security Council sanctions limiting nations from supplying Iran’s weapon programs. Iran had wanted the sanctions lifted immediately, but as a compromise the deal called for the embargo on ballistic missiles to be lifted after a maximum of eight years. Sanctions on conventional weapons would be lifted after five years. The time frame could be shortened if the International Atomic Energy Agency determines that Iran’s nuclear program was only for peaceful purposes. Here, again, the ad uses misleading language. This nuclear deal is an arms-control agreement, but ad makes it appears as if ‘arms controls’ are being weakened. Supplies for Iran’s ballistic missile program were under sanctions, but there were never agreed limits on the number of Iran’s ballistic missiles, as is typical in an arms-control agreement.” [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

Washington Post Fact Check: Despite NRSC Ad Claims, All Of Iran’s Nuclear Sites Will Have Continuous Monitoring And IAEA Officials Insisted Verification Was “Not Compromised.” In September 2015, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote, “Under the deal, all of Iran’s declared nuclear sites, such as the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, will be under continuous monitoring by the IAEA. For 10 years, Iran will have limits on the uranium enrichment permitted at Natanz; the IAEA will be able to keep close tabs on the production. The deal also allows IAEA monitoring of Iran’s centrifuge production and storage facilities, the procurement chain, and the mining and milling of uranium — verification measures that many experts say exceed those under previous negotiated nuclear deals with other nations. So what is the ad talking about? It is referring to sites that have not been declared as nuclear, such as sensitive military locations. Under a side agreement between Iran and the IAEA, Iran will help collect samples at Parchin, which Tehran says is a conventional military facility, though the IAEA believes explosive triggers for nuclear weapons may have been tested there. The IAEA sought access to the site to determine whether there had been a military dimension to Iran’s nuclear program. News reports have given contradictory information on what took place during a September visit to Parchin by the IAEA. Officials have said that Iranian technicians played a role in obtaining the samples — possibly without IAEA officials present — but insisted that the verification process was not compromised. Still, officials have conceded that the arrangement was a departure from the way the IAEA normally conducts inspections. In any case, the ad again greatly simplifies a complex issue.” [Washington Post Fact Check, NRSC Ad “There’s No Going Back,” 10/6/15]

PolitiFact: NRSC Ad “Mostly False” Because Crime Statistics Were A Crude Way To Measure Safety And Nevada Had Several Quirks That Inflated Numbers. “Experts agree that crime statistics are a crude way to measure safety, and Nevada has several quirks that inflate the numbers. The ad claims that Cortez Masto ‘couldn’t keep us safe,’ but crime statistics have more to do with local law enforcement agencies than the state’s attorney general. The NRSC offers no proven link connecting her actions as attorney general to a swing in murder, robbery and rape. The statement contains an element of truth but leaves out important details. We rate the statement Mostly False.” [PolitiFact, 8/10/16]

PolitiFact: No Proof That Cortez Masto Had Anything To Do With Decline Of Crime In First Term Or Subsequent Increase In Second. “That’s a serious charge, and there’s no concrete proof she had anything to do with the decline in crime in her first term or the subsequent increase in her second. Crime was at an historical low in 2011, and it’s hard to say why. The crime report itself cautions police agencies against drawing any conclusions about a specific department given the variety of factors that can affect crime trends. ‘Because of other assigned duties, the peculiar cycle of crime and clearances, and different community factors that normally affect crime statistics, no conclusions regarding individual departments should be made without consulting directly with the agency being analyzed,’ the report states.” [PolitiFact, 8/10/16]

PolitiFact: No Proof That Cortez Masto Caused Nevada’s Ranking Third In Ten Most Dangerous States. “Similarly, there is some truth that Nevada took the third spot in a ranking of the 10 most dangerous states. Again, however, it’s not proven what Cortez Masto had to do with it, and the source is not as credible as the FBI. The NRSC cites a list published in January 2015 from 24/7 Wall Street, a website that covers financial news. The list indeed ranks Nevada third, but the data relies on both crime data and socioeconomic factors, such as the poverty rate and the percentage of adults with a high school diploma. No attorneys general, in Nevada or elsewhere, play much of a role in setting educational policy or promoting programs to get people out of poverty.” [Politifact, 8/10/16]

PolitiFact: NRSC Cherry-Picked Handful Of Crime Statistics To Portray Cortez Masto As Weak On Crime. “The NRSC ad says Nevada was ranked as the third most dangerous state by the time Cortez Masto left office, and that “murder went up 11 percent, robbery went up 28 percent, rape 51 percent” during her second term. The NRSC cherry-picks a handful of short-term crime statistics to portray Cortez Masto as weak on crime enforcement. But the argument is flawed.” [PolitiFact, 8/10/16]

PolitiFact Nevada: NRSC Claim That Cortez Masto Took Pay Increases Is “A Highly Misleading Claim.” “The NRSC said Cortez Masto ‘was happy to line her own pockets with taxpayer dollars when state employees were slammed with frozen salaries,’ but this is a highly misleading claim. The state increased Cortez Masto’s salary during a time of pay freezes for Nevada’s state workers. She was unable to legally reject the pay increase, so she donated $38,000 back to the state during her last four years in office. We rate the claim Mostly False.” [PolitiFact Nevada, 2/3/16]

PolitiFact Nevada: It’s Clear That As Attorney General, Cortez Masto Didn’t “Pad Her Pockets” While State Workers Suffered – She Received Essentially The Same Salary During Her Eight Years In Office. “According to information collected from TransparentNevada.com and records request from the state Controller’s office, PolitiFact Nevada put together this spreadsheet of salaries, donations and what percentage of salary was donated back to the state. As shown, it’s clear that as Attorney General, Cortez Masto didn’t ‘pad her pockets’ while state workers suffered — rather, she received essentially the same salary (not counting benefits) during her eight years in office when donations are subtracted out.” [PolitiFact Nevada, 2/3/16]

Jon Ralston: Freedom Partners Uber Ad Is “Bullshit” – Uber Is Still Here. In June 2016, Jon Ralston tweeted: “@FreedomPartners digital ad on @CatherineForNV is brutal but BS: It says she ‘drove them out of town,’ but Uber is still here.’ [Twitter, Jon Ralston, 6/24/16]

Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Steve Sebelius On Uber Ad: Cortez Masto Had The Gall To Actually Enforce The Law. In June 2016, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Steve Sebelius tweeted: “Shorter @FreedomPartners on @CatherineForNV: ‘As attorney general, she had the gall to actually enforce NV transpo laws as written!’” [Twitter, Steve Sebelius, 6/24/16]

Headline: Politifact: Freedom Partners Ad Attacking Cortez Masto On Uber “Mostly False.” [Politifact, 7/7/16]

Politifact Rated The Uber Attack Ad Mostly False “Because The Ad Takes Things Out Of Context.” ” Freedom Partners got a couple of the details right in the amount of taxi industry donations and Cortez Masto’s aggressive legal actions against Uber. But there’s a convincing argument that Uber at the very least bent the rules, and it’s clear that Cortez Masto didn’t have some sort of individual vendetta against the ride-hailing company — her office was working with state regulators who specifically requested the attorney general take action. The ad also neglects to mention how Uber only temporarily left town. The ridesharing service is very much up and running through Nevada a year after its initial skirmish with the state. Because this ad takes things out of context, we rate it Mostly False.” [Politifact, 7/7/16]

Heck Supporter And Former Nevada Transportation Authority Chairman Said It’s Possible Cortez Masto Could Have Ignored The Will Of The State, But It Would Have Been Highly Unusual, “I Couldn’t Foresee The AG Or Any AG Not Enforcing State Law.” “Former Nevada Transportation Authority chairman Andrew MacKay said the massive size of Uber’s workforce dwarfed the enforcement capabilities of state regulators, meaning the only real maneuver available was a court-ordered restraining order. MacKay, who disclosed that he’s supporting Republican Joe Heck in the state’s Senate race, detailed some of the issues with Uber in a three-page affidavit describing the more stringent requirements of Nevada’s cab companies. […] MacKay, chairman of the state’s ‘client’ in the case against Uber, said it’s theoretically possible that Cortez Masto could have ignored the will of the state and not filed suit, but it would have been highly unusual. ‘I couldn’t foresee the AG or any AG not enforcing state law,’ MacKay said.” [Politifact, 7/7/16]

Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Steve Sebelius: Two Recent Ads From The Koch Brothers-Backed Freedom Partners Action Fund PAC Targeting Cortez Masto Arranged Perfectly True Facts To Lead To A False Conclusion. “Anybody who’s ever been to a courthouse knows its possible to arrange perfectly true facts to lead a jury to a false conclusion. It’s no different in the court of public opinion. Take two recent ads from the Koch brothers-backed Freedom Partners Action Fund PAC targeting Democratic former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who’s now running for Senate. The ads allege she hired a well-connected Washington, D.C., law firm to sue Bank of America during the foreclosure crisis. The firm earned millions in fees. Partners in the firm later gave Cortez Masto campaign contributions. Therefore, corruption!” [Las Vegas Review Journal, Column, 5/10/16]

Las Vegas Review Journal’s Steve Sebelius: “Sounds Much More Like Cortez Masto Doing Her Job Than Cozying Up To A Washington Special Interest For Personal Profit.” “So, while it’s true Cortez Masto recommended the hiring of a law firm that earned money representing the state and whose partners later contributed to her campaign, it’s also true the firm successfully forced one of the largest banks in the country to pay the state millions to compensate for alleged wrongdoing. That sounds much more like Cortez Masto doing her job than cozying up to a Washington special interest for personal profit. In fact, you’d have to very carefully arrange the facts to lead people to that conclusion. That’s why you always have to wait until you’ve heard the entire story, in court and out.” [Las Vegas Review Journal, Column, 5/10/16]

VOICEOVER:
But the deal gets billions to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism
THE TRUTH: MILITARY & NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERTS AGREE: IRAN DEAL IS THE BEST PATH FORWARD
75 Arms Control And Nuclear Nonproliferation Experts Endorsed The Iran Deal. “Dozens of arms control and nuclear nonproliferation experts have signed a statement endorsing the Iran nuclear deal, the latest salvo in a lobbying campaign battle ahead of a congressional vote next month on President Barack Obama’s landmark agreement with Tehran. The Arms Control Association, a nonpartisan group based in Washington, will release the statement Tuesday morning. It declares the deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief ‘a net-plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts.’ Story Continued Below Among the 75 signatories are the former CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson, prominent opponents of the Iraq War. Others include Hans Blix, a former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Morton Halperin, a foreign policy veteran of three administrations; and Thomas Pickering, a retired diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Israel.” [Politico, 8/18/15]Three Dozen Retired Generals And Admirals Called The Agreement “The Most Effective Means Currently Available” To Prevent Iran From Getting The Bomb. “Three dozen retired generals and admirals released an open letter Tuesday supporting the Iran nuclear deal and urging Congress to do the same. Calling the agreement “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” the letter said that gaining international support for military action against Iran, should that ever become necessary, ‘would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance.’” [Washington Post, 8/11/15]

More Than 100 Former U.S. Ambassadors Praised The Iran Deal For Preventing The Spread Of Nuclear Weapons In The Middle East. “More than 100 former American ambassadors wrote to President Obama on Thursday praising the nuclear deal reached with Iran this week as a ‘landmark agreement’ that could be effective in halting Tehran’s development of a nuclear weapon, and urging Congress to support it. ‘If properly implemented, this comprehensive and rigorously negotiated agreement can be an effective instrument in arresting Iran’s nuclear program and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the volatile and vitally important region of the Middle East,’ said the letter, whose signers include diplomats named by presidents of both parties.” [New York Times, 7/16/15]

Former Republican National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft Said The Iran Agreement Will Prevent “The Possible Spread Of Nuclear Weapons” And Stabilize The Middle East. “Congress again faces a momentous decision regarding U.S. policy toward the Middle East. The forthcoming vote on the nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) will show the world whether the United States has the will and sense of responsibility to help stabilize the Middle East, or whether it will contribute to further turmoil, including the possible spread of nuclear weapons. Strong words perhaps, but clear language is helpful in the cacophony of today’s media.  In my view, the JCPOA meets the key objective, shared by recent administrations of both parties, that Iran limit itself to a strictly civilian nuclear program with unprecedented verification and monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the U.N. Security Council. Iran has committed to never developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon; the deal ensures that this will be the case for at least 15 years and likely longer, unless Iran repudiates the inspection regime and its commitments under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and Additional Protocol.” [Washington Post, Brent Scowcroft Op-Ed, 8/21/15]

Former U.S. Ambassador To Israel Under President Reagan, Thomas Pickering, Endorsed The Iran Agreement. [Arms Control Association Press Release, 8/17/15]

Former Senators Richard Lugar And Sam Nunn: Rejecting The Deal Will “Severely” Damage U.S. Leadership, Diplomacy, And Credibility. “Finally, and perhaps most importantly, members of Congress must think long and hard about the consequences if this agreement is turned down. There is no escaping the conclusion that there will inevitably be grave implications for U.S. security and for U.S. international leadership in the decades ahead. Sanctions allies will go their own way, reducing the effectiveness of our financial tools and leaving Iran in a stronger position across the board.  Any future effort by this president or the next to assemble a “sanctions coalition” relating to Iran or other security challenges will be weakened. U.S. leadership, diplomacy and credibility, including efforts to achieve support for possible military action against Iran, will all be severely damaged.” [Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar, Politico, 8/30/15]

Former Republican Senator Nancy Kassenbaum Endorsed The Iran Deal. “A bipartisan group of 60 former U.S. government officials are encouraging Congress to support the nuclear deal with Iran and warning that rejecting it could pose a greater risk to U.S. security. […] Former lawmakers who signed the statement include Democratic Sens. Tom Daschle (S.D.), Gary Hart (Colo.), Carl Levin (Mich.), George Mitchell (Maine), Donald Riegle (Mich.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Tim Wirth (Colo.), and former Republican Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (Kansas). Former Democratic Reps. Lee H. Hamilton (Ind.) and Jim Slattery (Kansas) also signed the statement.” [The Hill, 7/20/15]

REALITY: IRAN SANCTIONS ON TERRORISM AND HUMAN RIGHTS REMAIN IN PLACE AND COULD BE INCREASED

Iran Deal Kept In Place U.S. Sanctions Against Iran For Terrorism And Human Rights Abuses. “The United States imposed additional sanctions when, in January 1984, the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah, an Iranian client, was implicated in the bombing of the U.S. Marine base in Beirut. That year, the United States designated Iran a state sponsor of terrorism. The designation, which remains in place, triggers a host of sanctions, including restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, a ban on arms transfers, and export controls for dual-use items. Sanctions related to sponsorship of terrorism and human rights abuses were not affected by the nuclear deal.” [Council On Foreign Relations, 7/15/15]

President Obama Promised To Maintain Or Increase Sanctions To Punish Iran For Terrorism, Human Rights Abuses. “To reward Iran for imposing constraints on its nuclear program, the United States agreed to lift many of the crippling sanctions that have blocked the country’s integration into the world economy. But to win over wary Democrats, Mr. Obama promised that he would maintain — and perhaps even increase — sanctions to punish Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses and other ‘destabilizing activities in the region.’ Many lawmakers have indicated they would like to go further, and they are considering legislative proposals that include renewing the current sanctions against foreign companies that invest in Iran’s energy industry. Mr. Obama would waive them as long as Iran complied with the nuclear accord, but these sets of actions would be a signal that Iran is not to be trusted and that sanctions could be restored rapidly.” [New York Times, 9/11/15]

THE TRUTH: INTERNATINAL ARMS RESTRICTIONS WILL REMAIN IN PLACE FOR THE NEXT FIVE TO EIGHT YEARS

Iran Deal Kept International Restrictions On Conventional Arms For Five Years And On Ballistic Missiles For Eight Years. “The Pentagon exerted key influence over one major sticking point in the final hours of the nuclear negotiations with Iran, according to current and former U.S. officials and diplomats: when to relax the international embargo on advanced military weapons to the Islamic Republic. […] But while economic sanctions will be lifted and billions of dollars in assets unfrozen under the deal reached Tuesday, the restrictions on conventional arms sales will remain in place for five years — and for ballistic missile technologies, which worry the U.S. military commanders the most, for eight years. ” [Politico, 7/14/15]

  • Politico: Arms Restrictions Came As “Surprise To Many” And Was Seen As A “Major Win” For The U.S. Because Iran Had Insisted On Immediately Lifting The Arms Embargo. “The Pentagon exerted key influence over one major sticking point in the final hours of the nuclear negotiations with Iran, according to current and former U.S. officials and diplomats: when to relax the international embargo on advanced military weapons to the Islamic Republic. As the talks entered the final stages, U.S. negotiators were under enormous pressure — from Russia and China, as well as some European allies — to immediately lift the United Nations embargo that was put in place in 2010 as punishment for Iran’s nuclear weapons development, they said. Iranian diplomats, meanwhile, were insisting on immediate relief in exchange for forgoing the nation’s nuclear ambitions. But while economic sanctions will be lifted and billions of dollars in assets unfrozen under the deal reached Tuesday, the restrictions on conventional arms sales will remain in place for five years — and for ballistic missile technologies, which worry the U.S. military commanders the most, for eight years. That came as a surprise to many. And it was seen as a major win for the U.S. military establishment, which had argued both publicly and behind the scenes that allowing Iran to rearm quickly — before any confidence could be built that it was living up to the terms of the nuclear pact — was a dangerous prospect given Tehran’s recent record of destabilizing military behavior in the region.” [Politico, 7/14/15]
VOICEOVER: Paves the way for Iran to build a new your bomb and rewards a country whose leaders chant death to America. THE TRUTH: CORTEZ MASTO CALLED FOR AN END TO PARTISAN BICKERING, VOWED TO HOLD IRAN ACCOUNTABLE

Cortez Masto: We Need To Stop The Partisan Bickering And Move Forward As A United Front With This Agreement. In September 2015, Catherine Cortez Masto stated: “That part of this is that we need to project to Iran as a united front, that we are going to take action, that we are going to stop this bickering over the position—over this agreement. Once it’s an agreement, now we need to move forward and that’s where it’s going to be, and so, no, I think, again we’ve got to get back to a country where we’re leading and we’re fighting as a united front here and that’s what I’m talking about when we move forward with this agreement.” [Ralston Live, Catherine Cortez Masto interview, 9/14/15]

Cortez Masto: “If Iran Were To Violate The Agreement, Then We Take Immediate Military Strike Or Action.” In September 2015, Catherine Cortez Masto stated: “Most importantly, to ensure that if Iran were to violate the agreement, then we take immediate military strike or action. They need to know they are going to be held accountable.” [Ralston Live, Catherine Cortez Masto interview, 9/14/15]

THE TRUTH: U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY VOTED TO LIFT INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS IN EXCHANGE FOR STOPPING IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM

U.N. Security Council Voted Unanimously To Lift International Economic Sanctions Against Iran. “The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution that creates the basis for international economic sanctions against Iran to be lifted, a move that incited a furious reaction in Israel and potentially sets up an angry showdown in Congress. The 15-to-0 vote for approval of the resolution — 104 pages long including annexes and lists — was written in Vienna by diplomats who negotiated a landmark pact last week that limits Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for ending the sanctions.” [New York Times, 7/20/15]

The Deal Limited Iran’s Nuclear Capability And Imposed Strict Monitoring In Exchange For Lifting International Economic Sanctions.  “The United States and other world powers reached a historic agreement with Iran here Tuesday, aimed at preventing the Islamic republic from building a nuclear weapon in return for the lifting of sanctions that have isolated the country and hobbled its economy. President Obama, after announcing the agreement in Washington, quickly turned to what may be the more arduous task of selling the deal to skeptical lawmakers and U.S. allies in the Middle East. […] In Vienna news briefings and Washington conference calls, senior administration officials joined the president in hailing the agreement — which limits Iran’s nuclear capability and imposes strict international monitoring in exchange for lifting international economic sanctions — as a way to make America and the world more secure.” [Washington Post, 7/14/15]

REALITY: INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS WILL SNAPBACK IF IRAN CHEATS

Obama Administration Vowed That Iran Would Not Be Allowed To Bankroll Terrorism And Sanctions Would Be “Snapped Back” Quickly If Iran Cheats. “Obama administration officials told lawmakers on Wednesday that sanctions relief under the Iran nuclear deal will not be allowed to be used to bankroll terrorism and said the sanctions can be ‘snapped back’ quickly if Tehran violates the agreement. […] If Iran were to violate its commitments under the deal, U.S. sanctions could be reimposed ‘in a matter of days,’ he said. Sherman repeatedly reminded the panel that the military option remains on the table and insisted the deal was the best alternative to war.” [Reuters, 8/5/15]

International Sanctions Against Iran Would Automatically Resume If The U.S. Or Western Allies Believe Iran Violates The Deal. “The so-called snapback mechanism to renew United Nations sanctions is one of the most unusual parts of the deal. In the event that Iran is perceived as violating it, the agreement allows the full raft of penalties to resume automatically, without a vote on the Council that would risk a veto by one of its permanent members — namely, Russia, Iran’s closest ally on the Council. Preventing a resumption of sanctions would require a vote by the Security Council. Instead, the snapback mechanism allows any of the six world powers that negotiated the deal to flag what it considers a violation. They would submit their concerns to a dispute resolution panel. If those concerns remained unresolved, the sanctions would automatically resume after 30 days, or ‘snap back.’ According to the draft Security Council resolution, this means that the previous penalties ‘shall apply in the same manner as they applied before.’ Preventing a resumption of sanctions would require a vote by the Security Council. That in turn can be vetoed by those who would want the sanctions resumed, presumably the United States and its Western allies.” [New York Times, 7/16/15]

U.N. Security Council Resolution Allowed U.S. To Block Future Attempts At Sanctions Relief If Iran Cheats And Sanctions Are Reimposed. “The U.S. circulated a U.N. Security Council resolution Wednesday that would endorse the nuclear deal reached with Iran and lift most U.N. sanctions over the next decade. The resolution would allow the U. S.—or any other permanent member of the Security Council—to use its veto to restore the measures if Iran is seen to be violating the nuclear deal, a U.S. official said. […] At any time, the U.S. or any of its partners in the deal could bring an allegation of violations of the agreement to a new dispute-resolution mechanism. If that fails to resolve the issue, the U.S., for example, could ask the Security Council for a vote on whether to continue sanctions relief. Thus if the U.S. wanted to ‘snap back’ the U.N. sanctions, it could use its veto and the sanctions would be restored. The entire process would take a maximum 65 days.” [Wall Street Journal, 7/15/15]

VOICEOVER: No concern? Cortez Masto Nevada should be concerned very concerned THE TRUTH: FROM 2004 TO 2015, OVER 2,000 SUSPECTED TERRORISTS WERE ALLOWED TO PURCHASE FIREARMS…

Between 2004 And 2015, No Fewer Than 2,265 People On The Terrorist Watch List Passed A Federal Gun Background Check – A Successful Purchase Rate Of Over 90 Percent. “‘Membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law,’ as the Government Accountability Office concluded in 2010. And indeed, plenty of people on these watch lists do purchase firearms: Between 2004 and 2015, people on the terrorist watch list passed federal gun background checks no fewer than 2,265 times. At least three of those background checks involved the purchase of explosives. Only 212 attempted purchases were blocked, a successful purchase rate of over 90 percent.” [Washington Post, 6/17/16]

  • In 2015 Alone, 223 Of 244 People On The Terrorist Watch Successfully Attempted To Purchase Guns. “Last year alone, people on the terrorist watch list attempted to purchase guns 244 times. Of those, 223 attempts were successful.” [Washington Post, 6/17/16]

… BUT CONGRESSMAN HECK VOTED 24 TIMES AGAINST DEBATING A BILL TO BAN SUSPECTED TERRORISTS FROM PURCHASING FIREARMS, EVEN AFTER TERRORIST ATTACKS IN ORLANDO & SAN BERNANDINO

Heck Voted 11 Times Against Democratic Measures To Close The Terrorist Gun Loophole After The San Bernardino Terrorist Shooting. “Republicans in Congress made it clear Thursday that they will not be moving quickly to bring up new gun control legislation in the wake of Wednesday’s shootings in San Bernardino, Calif. […] Obama said Wednesday that Congress should, at a minimum, take up legislation that would bar anyone on the federal terrorist watch list from buying a gun. He told CBS News ‘some may be aware of the fact that we have a no-fly list where people can’t get on planes but those same people who we don’t allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm and there’s nothing that we can do to stop them. That’s a law that needs to be changed.’ But House Republicans have rejected several Democratic attempts to use a procedural motion to bring that legislation to the House floor this week.” Heck voted 13 times against motions to bring forth the “No Fly, No Buy” bill that would close the terrorist gun loophole. [USA Today, 12/3/15;  H.R. 3662, Vote 36, 1/12/16; H.R. 581, Vote 21, 1/7/16; H.R. 580, Vote 4, 1/6/16; H. R. 579, Vote 2, 1/6/16; H.Res. 560, Vote 690, 12/11/15; motion to table H.R. 1076, Vote 688, 12/10/15H.R. 2130, Vote 685, 12/9/15H.Res. 556, Vote 682, 12/9/15; H Res 546, Vote 666, 12/3/15; H Res 542, Vote 653, 12/2/15; H Res 539, Vote 646, 12/1/15]

Heck Voted 13 Times Against Closing The Terrorist Gun Loophole After Democrats Staged A Sit-In To Try To Force The U.S. House To Vote On The “No Fly, No Buy” Measure After Orlando Shooting. “House Democrats are trying to force a vote on several gun control measures, but are being shut down by the GOP majority. For the second time in two weeks, Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.) sought to be recognized on the House floor Tuesday night so he could bring up two gun-related bills on expanded background checks and the so-called ‘No fly, no buy’ proposal. That measure states that anyone on the FBI’s ‘No Fly’ list cannot purchase a gun. But Republicans refused to allow Clyburn to move forward.” Heck voted 11 times against motions to bring forth the “No Fly, No Buy” bill that would close the terrorist gun loophole. [Politico, 6/21/16; H.Res. 783, Vote 304, 6/15/16; H.R. 5053, Vote 299, 6/14/16; H J Res 88, Vote 337, 6/22/16; H Res 796, Vote 343, 7/05/16; H Res 793, Vote 345, 7/05/16; H Res 794, Vote 347, 7/05/16; H Res 803, Vote 352, 7/06/16; HR 4361, Vote 375, 7/06/16; H Res 809, Vote 387, 7/07/16; H Res 820, Vote 406, 7/12/16; H Res 89, Vote 408, 7/12/16; H.R. 2130, Vote 415, 7/12/16; H Res 822, Vote 439, 7/13/16]

 VOICEOVER: NRSC is responsible for the content of this advertising.

 

REALITY: WASHINGTON REPUBLICANS ARE TRYING TO DISTRACT FROM CONGRESSMAN HECK’S SUPPORT FOR DONALD TRUMP…

Heck: “I Have High Hopes That We Will See Donald Trump Become The Next President.” “‘I have high hopes that we will see Donald Trump become the next president,’ he said. ‘Though I don’t necessarily agree with how he talks about women and minorities and all of his policy positions, but if he wants to make America great again by bringing jobs back to America, then I am willing to help him achieve those goals and hold him accountable. And as the next U.S. senator from Nevada, I will make sure I stand as a check against anything that is not in our best interest.’” [Pahrump Valley Times, 6/1/16]

KTNV: Heck “Swatted Away Suggestions” That Trump’s Rhetoric And Immigration Policies Would Hurt His Chances. “Heck also swatted away suggestions that Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric and plans to deport 11 million undocumented migrants would hurt his chances, saying that he won his demographically diverse congressional district by increasingly larger margins over the last three elections.” [KTNV, 3/14/16]

Heck On Donald Trump: “He’s Out There Talking About What He Needs To Talk About To Run For President.” “So, what does Congressman Joe Heck, Nevada’s Republican candidate for US Senate, think of the guy at the top of the GOP presidential polls? ‘I don’t talk about Donald,’ Heck told News 3 after a morning event put on by the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce. ‘He’s out there talking about what he needs to talk about to run for President,’ Heck added after ‘Eggs and Issues,’ the Chamber’s breakfast debrief with local newsmakers. The Thursday event was held at Vdara in CityCenter.” [KSNV, 8/27/15]

…AND TRUMP’S DANGEROUS AND RECKLESS FOREIGN POLICY THAT WOULD PUT AMERICA’S NATIONAL SECURITY AT RISK

Headline: USA Today Editorial: “Trump’s Unreal Foreign Policy.” [USA Today, Editorial, 4/27/16]

Headline: Washington Post Editorial: “Trump’s Incoherent, Inconsistent, Incomprehensible Foreign Policy.” [Washington Post, Editorial, 4/28/16]

Headline: National Review Editorial: “Trump’s Reckless Foreign Policy.” [National Review, Editorial, 7/21/16]

Former U.S. Diplomat Under George W. Bush Nicholas Burns: “Donald Trump’s Foreign-Policy Ideas Are Dangerous.” [Market Watch, Nicholas Burns Opinion, 4/30/16]

NATO

  • Trump Set Off Alarm Bells Among U.S. Allies By Suggesting He Would Not Honor Core Tenet Of NATO’s Military Alliance – Comments That Were Perceived By Some Analysts As Carte Blanche For Russia To Intimidate NATO Allies. “Donald Trump set off alarm bells in European capitals Thursday after suggesting he might not honor the core tenet of the NATO military alliance. Trump said the U.S. would not necessarily defend new NATO members in the Baltics in the event of Russian attack if he were elected to the White House. He told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday that doing so would depend on whether those countries had ‘fulfilled their obligations to us’ in terms of their financial contributions to the alliance. ‘You can’t forget the bills,’ Trump told the paper. ‘They have an obligation to make payments. Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what they’re supposed to make. That’s a big thing. You can’t say forget that.’ Trump’s comments were perceived by some analysts as carte blanche for Russia to intimidate NATO allies and a potential harbinger of the alliance’s collapse were Trump to be elected.” [NBC News, 7/21/16]
  • Trump Questioned The Need For NATO, The Backbone Of Western Security Policy Since The Cold War. “Donald Trump outlined an unabashedly noninterventionist approach to world affairs Monday, telling The Washington Post’s editorial board that he questions the need for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has formed the backbone of Western security policies since the Cold War. […] Trump said that U.S. involvement in NATO may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years, breaking with nearly seven decades of consensus in Washington. ‘We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore,’ Trump said, adding later, ‘NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money.’” [Washington Post, 3/21/16]

TORTURE

  • Headline: McClatchy: “Trump’s Call To Bring Back Torture Alarms Professional Interrogators.” [McClatchy, 2/12/16]
  • Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Strongly Reject Trump’s Torture Remarks, Saying They Did Not Represent American Values. “Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford indirectly but strongly rejected Thursday the campaign statements of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump that ‘torture works.’ Put on the spot about Trump’s remarks by Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, Dunford didn’t respond directly but made clear that torture was out of bounds for a military that embodies American values. ‘One of the things that makes me proud to represent this uniform is that we represent the values of the American people,’ the general said in testimony before the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. While he never mentioned Trump’s name, he said, ‘When our young men and women go to war, they go with our values.’” [Military.com, 2/25/16]
  • Trump Said He’d Force U.S. Military To Commit War Crimes. “In an answer at Thursday night’s presidential debate, tycoon Donald Trump said he would force the U.S. military to commit war crimes. Mr. Trump has suggested that he’d order the U.S. military to kill families of Muslim terrorists and institute interrogation techniques worse than waterboarding, itself widely condemned as torture. Torture and retaliatory executions are both war crimes under international law. […] ‘They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me,’ he said. ‘If I say do it, they’re going to do it.’” [Washington Times, 3/3/16]

AFGHANISTAN

  • Trump Tweeted That Afghanistan Was A Mistake And That The U.S. Should Pull Its Troops Out. “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense!  Rebuild the USA.” [@realDonaldTrump, 1/11/13]
  • Trump On Afghanistan: “We Made A Terrible Mistake Getting Involved There In The First Place.” “But a review of the transcript from his October 6 interview with Cuomo makes clear that Trump was indeed labeling Afghanistan a mistake, since he was comparing the situation there with that in Iraq. Though Trump and Cuomo were initially discussing the situation in Iraq and Syria, the host switched gears to talk about Afghanistan, mentioning the country by name twice. […] He continued, ‘We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place.’” [CNN, 10/21/15]

ISRAEL

  • Times Of Israel: Trump Says He’ll Make Israel Pay For Defense Aid. “During a press conference in Washington, Trump was asked whether he believed the Israeli government should pay for American defense, as he had called for other US allies such as South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia to do. ‘I think Israel will do that also, yeah, I think Israel do—there are many countries that can pay and they can pay big league,’ responded the billionaire businessman.” [Times of Israel, 3/22/16]

NORTH KOREA

  • New York Times: North Korea Applauded Trump’s Threat To Withdraw Troops From South Korea. “On Wednesday, the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party published a commentary praising Mr. Trump’s threat to pull American troops out of South Korea if elected president, unless Seoul pays more for their presence. It said the threat had shocked South Korean policy makers, who it characterized as servants of America, a standard theme of the North’s propaganda. […]In a March interview with The New York Times, Mr. Trump accused South Korea of not contributing enough toward the cost of keeping tens of thousands of American troops in the country, suggesting he might withdraw them if elected.” [New York Times, 6/1/16]
  • Trump Said He Would Be Willing To Withdraw U.S. Forces From Japan And South Korea If They Did Not Substantially Increase Their Contributions To Maintaining Troops. “He also said he would be open to allowing Japan and South Korea to build their own nuclear arsenals rather than depend on the American nuclear umbrella for their protection against North Korea and China. If the United States ‘keeps on its path, its current path of weakness, they’re going to want to have that anyway, with or without me discussing it,’ Mr. Trump said. And he said he would be willing to withdraw United States forces from both Japan and South Korea if they did not substantially increase their contributions to the costs of housing and feeding those troops. ‘Not happily, but the answer is yes,’ he said.” [New York Times, 3/26/16]
  • North Korea Claimed Advancements In Ballistic Missile Technology And Called For Further Nuclear Warhead Tests. “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claimed a key advance in ballistic missile technology and called for further missile and nuclear warhead tests ‘in a short time,’ the latest in a string of recent threats aimed at creating fear of war in the U.S. and South Korea. Mr. Kim observed a simulation of a ballistic missile warhead’s ability to withstand the heat and pressure of its descent to target, according to a report from the nation’s state news agency published Tuesday. The date of the test wasn’t given.” [Wall Street Journal, 3/14/16]

THE TRUTH: WASHINGTON REPUBLICANS ARE SPENDING MILLIONS TO PROP UP CONGRESSMAN HECK AFTER HE VOTED NINE TIMES OUT OF TEN WITH HIS PARTY BOSSES

Outside Groups Linked To The Koch Brothers And Mitch McConnell Have Already Spent Nearly $10 Million On Heck. “In the race to replace retiring Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), groups supporting Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) spent $9.8 million compared to $2.5 million for those in support of former Lt. Gov. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). […]The top spenders in all of these races are the same. On the Republican side, support comes from groups connected to the billionaire Koch brothers ― including Freedom Partners Action Fund, Americans for Prosperity and Concerned Veterans for America ― as well as from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and One Nation, a nonprofit group connected to both Karl Rove and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).” [Huffington Post, 7/13/16]

Headline: Las Vegas Review-Journal: “Burst Of ‘Dark Money’ To Boost Heck On TV, Radio.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/22/15]

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Heck Received A “Big Boost” With Ads From A Dark Money Groups. “U.S. Senate candidate and Rep. Joe Heck is getting a big boost from One Nation, a nonprofit group with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. One Nation has launched a $792,000 ad buy that will run on Las Vegas TV and radio stations. The 30-second clip will run for 20 days, the group said in a press release Thursday.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/22/15]

Heck Has Voted With His Party 90 Percent Of The Time. According to CQ, Heck voted with his party 87% of the time in 2014, 93% of the time in 2013, 89% of the time in 2012, and 90% of the time in 2011. [CQ Vote Studies, Accessed 5/18/16]

Roll Call: Heck Was On The “Good Side” Of The More Conservative Wing Of The Republican Party. “Heck has managed to stay on the good side of the more conservative wing of the Republican Party, which could help him fend off a serious primary challenge from the right. Republicans hope to avoid the situation they faced in 2010, when a crowded, messy primary resulted in the nomination of Sharron Angle, a flawed and gaffe-prone candidate who lost what was seen as a winnable race against Reid.” [Roll Call, 5/11/15]

MSNBC: Heck Voted For A “Far Right” Budget Scraping Medicare, Opposed Minimum Wage Increases, Was A Staunch Opponent Of Reproductive Rights, And Called Social Security A Pyramid Scheme. “Republican Rep. Joe Heck is a prominent U.S. Senate candidate in Nevada, and at first blush, the conservative congressman, running for an open seat, appears to be well positioned. Nevada is a fast-growing swing state with a diverse population, and Heck has previously won with fairly broad support. But it won’t be easy. Heck voted for a far-right budget plan that tried to scrap Medicare; he’s opposed minimum-wage increases; the GOP candidate is a staunch opponent of reproductive rights; and he’s even condemned Social Security as a pyramid scheme.” [MSNBC, 9/2/15]

THE TRUTH: CYNICAL GOP STRATEGY TO POLITICIZE IRAN DEAL OVERREACHES AND SABOTAGES U.S. FOREIGN POLICY

GOP Strategy To Politicize Iran Deal Largely Relies On The Agreement “Failing Spectacularly.” “Republicans are plotting to make Democrats pay dearly for backing an agreement the GOP argues hinges on an historic enemy of the United States playing nice. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to return to the floor next week to force Democrats to take more votes Republicans say they’ll regret as soon as Iran violates the terms of the deal or sponsors terrorist attacks, which critics believe is just a matter of time. After that will come the attack ads, national GOP officials say. It’s expected to be a key cog of Republicans’ electoral strategy: some GOP senators are already comparing it to Obamacare in its scope and potential to damage Democratic supporters politically. […] But the GOP strategy largely relies on the Iran agreement failing spectacularly. Democrats acknowledge they cast a risky vote but say that Republicans almost seem to be hoping for something bad to happen in order to reap the political benefits.” [Politico, 9/10/15]

Headline: Vox: “Republicans Are Crossing A Dangerous New Line: Sabotaging US Foreign Policy.” [Vox, 3/9/15]

Republicans Have Brought Their Unprecedented Tactics Of Obstructionism And Sabotage To Foreign Policy. “Throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, Republicans in Congress have deployed a strategy that has worked remarkably well for them: oppose, obstruct, and sabotage the Obama administration at every turn. ‘The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,’ Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, then the Senate minority leader, said in 2010. A few months later, McConnell acknowledged that Republicans had decided to deny President Obama any bipartisan support, not because they necessarily opposed each and every initiative, but to hurt Obama politically. ‘We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals,’ he said. ‘Because we thought — correctly, I think — that the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan.’ This strategy led Republicans to adopt largely unprecedented tactics of obstructionism and sabotage. But no matter how far they went, there was one line they always avoided crossing: undermining US foreign policy.” [Vox, 3/9/15]

  • GOP Iran Letter Was An Unprecedented Congressional Meddling In The President’s Foreign Policy. “Democrats say there’s an opportunity for them, too, to make something of what they call the GOP’s reflexive opposition to the agreement. They also point out that GOP incumbents running for reelection signed on to a controversial letter to Iranian leadership earlier this year that was seen as unprecedented congressional meddling in the president’s foreign policy.” [Politico, 9/10/15]

Ruben Kihuen re: Rep. Hardy’s Sham Publicity Stunt on Public Lands

Ruben J. KihuenToday, Congressman Cresent Hardy and Congressman Rob Bishop of Utah are holding a House Committee on Natural Resources “field hearing” in North Las Vegas to discuss their plans to radically change federal land management policy in Southern Nevada.

State Senator Ruben Kihuen, Democratic candidate for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, issued the following statement:

“Once again, Congressman Hardy – this time with the help of his fellow extremist Congressman Bishop – is organizing a publicity stunt to make the case for implementing his racist friend Cliven Bundy’s reckless agenda on public lands. Overwhelmingly, Nevadans across party lines understand that keeping public lands in public hands grows our state’s economy, improves our quality of life and supports outdoor recreation opportunities. The Hardy-Bundy agenda on display today at this sham hearing would open up our public lands to being privatized, restrict access for Nevadans and blow a hole in the state budget.”


Ruben Kihuen is scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday, sometime around 5pm eastern time (2pm Nevada time). If you have cable/satellite, tune in on C-SPAN to watch without all the talking head spin and interruptions.