The Lyin’ King tells another big whopper

Donald Trump, aka The Lyin’ King, is well known for his inability to tell the truth. I’m not talking about boasting. I’m talking about outright lies.

Not only does Trump lie on a regular basis, he lies about things that are real easy to trace. But he doesn’t seem to care, nor do his supporters.

His latest bold faced lie had to do with the coronavirus, when he proclaimed Tuesday: “I’ve always known this is real–this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” He repeated the claim earlier today.

This is a complete 180 from what he was saying less than 2 months ago, when he said of the pandemic on Jan. 22: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It is going to be fine.”

At a rally in New Hampshire on Feb. 10, he told a gathering of acolytes: “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.” He followed that with a tweet 14 days later: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.”

Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, and a man who knows you don’t last long if you contradict the president, said Feb. 25: “We have contained this, I won’t say airtight but pretty close to airtight.”

Trump said the next day: “When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” Shortly thereafter, he gave himself a 10 on a scale of 10 for his handling of the crisis.

Either Trump’s an idiot, or he thinks the people he’s talking to are.

Posted in Donald Trump, Republican Party | Leave a comment

Republicans are the new ‘know nothing’ party

Some 58% of Republicans–69% of those who voted for Donald Trump–believe the severity of the coronavirus pandemic is being exaggerated, and only 10% of those over 65 (the most vulnerable group) are worried about it, according to a new poll from Yahoo News/YouGov.

They also believe a vaccine will be available later this year. While these views mesh with those of Trump, they don’t align with the opinions of the top medical experts in this country.

The fact that rank-and-file Republicans routinely dismiss the work of our top scientists is no surprise when you consider that the Republican Party has consistently rejected climate change science, tried to cut spending on scientific and medical research, and lashed out at supporters of vaccinations and other proven public health policies to advance its social agenda.

Trump’s supporters have been enthusiastic purveyors of conspiracy theories and bogus science in an effort to deflect criticism from the administration’s slow response to the pandemic.

Senator Tom Cotton (R, Ark.) continues to promote a bogus theory that the coronavirus escaped from a Chinese bioweapons lab in Wuhan, the epicenter of the problem. Rep. Matt Gaetz showed up on the floor of the House in a gas mask to mock the concern over the the disease, and Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted a denial that he and Senator Ted Cruz, both being self quarantined, requested a meeting with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Trump administration has consistently tried to cut spending at the National Science Foundation and on medical research and disease prevention, including the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. When asked why he disbanded the White House pandemic office, Trump called it a “nasty question.”

While Republican legislators like to proclaim “I’m no scientist,” it is clear they have lined up against science in the debate over climate change. In an effort to limit if not end the debate in government circles, the administration has muzzled scientists at the EPA, U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Climate Assessment.

Anti-vaccination crusaders have found willing allies among Republican legislators at the state level. Democrats in six states–Colorado, Arizona, New Jersey, Washington, New York and Maine–introduced legislation after the 2019 measles outbreak to make it harder to get children exempted from vaccinations. They encountered Republican resistance in each state.

Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly countered with a bill that would make it illegal to hire, fire or “discriminate” against employees who refuse to get vaccinated. (The bill made no exceptions for hospitals.) Another measure would require school districts to tell parents how they can opt out of vaccinating their children.

Texas state Senator Jonathan Strickland accused a dean at the Baylor College of Medicine of “sorcery” and profiteering after he expressed concern over the rising number of Texas students who aren’t vaccinated. Arizona state Senator Kelly Townsend said mandatory vaccinations reflect “communist” doctrine because you have to “give up liberty, the very sovereignty of your body.”

Former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin revealed that he exposed his nine children to Chickenpox rather than have them vaccinated. (Bevin was so unpopular in the solidly Republican state that the Democrats managed to flip the governor’s seat in 2018.)

Some Republicans also take a dim view of our medical professionals. Washington state Senator Maureen Walsh opposed a bill that would give nurses uninterrupted breaks for meals and rest. “I would submit that these nurses probably do get breaks,” she said. “They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.” (She later apologized.)

In the view of some conservatives, the mandates of God trump science and common sense. Florida state Rep. Mike Hill said God told him to write an abortion bill that allowed no exceptions for rape or incest. “As plain as day, God spoke to me,” he said. The head of the Family Research Council, routinely courted by Republican candidates, said mass shootings are caused by “driving God from the public square,” and specifically teaching children about evolution.

Trump is the perfect leader of today’s Republican Party: It is known that he ignores the facts and dismisses the conclusions of experts when they don’t align with his view or thwart what he wants to do. People who are more comfortable with their prejudices and superstitions than they are with science will find a home in America’s “know nothing” party.

Posted in Donald Trump, Environment, Health care, Politics, Republican Party, Science, Uncategorized, Vaccinations | 1 Comment

The revolution has been postponed indefinitely

You say you want a revolution. Well, you know. We all want to change the world. The Beatles

Much to the chagrin of the Bernie Bros and the Republican Party, the socialist revolution that was supposed to overwhelm the Democratic Party and sweep the county has been postponed indefinitely.

Senator Bernie Sanders has maintained since he ran for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination that the country was ready for a social revolution, and that only he could draw the young, the liberal and the independent voters to the polls in the massive numbers needed to prevail.

That didn’t turn out to be the case on super Tuesday. Instead, Democrats decided they favored the more moderate approach of Joe Biden, a candidate they believe has the best chance of accomplishing their No. 1 goal, the defeat of Donald Trump.

Even Bernie’s comrade-in-arms, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, couldn’t advance the revolution. Two Congressional candidates she endorsed and helped financially faired poorly in their primaries against mainline Democrats.

Biden’s big victory in the South Carolina primary drew other moderate candidates who left the race to back his cause, and this apparently influenced a lot of voters on Super Tuesday. Voters who settled on a candidate just before or on election day backed Biden decisively.

But Trump was the real catalyst. In state after state, exit polls showed voters put more stock in picking a candidate who can oust the incumbent than in choosing one who shares their views–and in state after state, Biden was seen as that candidate. On that question alone, Biden beat Sanders by 15%.

None of this plays into the game plan the Republicans were hoping to use to reelect Trump. The GOP and its media lackeys have been conjuring up images of Karl Marx and a Communist revolution that is sure to end the American way of life if Sanders becomes president. While it is still possible for Sanders the win the nomination, it is less likely than two weeks ago.

The Republicans were also planning to run on Trump’s accomplishments, especially the economy. But the spread of the corona virus and the decision by Trump’s buddies, the Saudis, to start at oil price war may have the U.S. economy in a recession by election day.

But Trump is not interested in running on the issues anyway. His massive ego insists that the election be about him, and he’s getting his way. A recent poll by Fox News revealed that the major issue on most voters’ minds is Trump’s conduct. As his performance in the corona virus epidemic shows once again, Trump is vulnerable if his conduct is the main issue.

***

Doug Fleming, the leading vote-getter for the three contested seat on the Nevada City Council, probably had it right when he implied voters were seeking calm and stability in leadership of the town after the chaotic proceeding under Mayor Reinette Senum.

Senum was the only one of the incumbents seeking reelection to prevail, finishing a weak third to Fleming and Daniela Fernandez. (Incumbent David Parker didn’t make the cut and Valerie Moberg decided not to seek reelection.)

“People wanted an adult in the room, and I don’t say that disparagingly toward anyone else,” Fleming said, perhaps with tongue planted in cheek. “The discord with the council was fresh in everybody’s mind. The people I talked to, they wanted change, they wanted civility, they wanted people to get back to the business of the city.”

Fernandez emphasized the issues that unite rather than divide residents of the Queen of the Northern Mines, and pointed to the diversity the new council will have. “Let’s talk about how exciting it is that this could be the most diverse city council Nevada City every had,” she said. “Nevada City is ready for diversity, not only diversity in race but in sexuality, in age and life experience.”

Don’t expect Senum to change much. She’s not one to back down from her firmly held beliefs, and Nevada City activists who support her wouldn’t have it any other way.

It will be interesting to see if a new majority on council can be formed to confront her. I think I know who the city’s employees are rooting for.

***

It appears that Supervisor Heidi Hall won’t get the “vote of confidence” she was hoping for in the primary election, but she can at least take solace in the fact that she got more bang for her bucks than her two opponents did.

Hall prevailed in the primary with 2,566 votes, slightly over 48 percent of those cast. She could have avoided a runoff in the November general election by getting over 50 percent of the vote.

She was able to lead the field even though she spent less money on the campaign than her two opponents, Deborah Wilder and Michael Taylor. As of Feb. 15, Hall had raised slightly more than $15,000 for the campaign.

That’s dwarfed by the $37,000 raised by Wilder, a former chair of the Nevada County Republican Party. She attracted just 1,386 votes, one more than Taylor received, according to the county totals when I wrote this. There’s still a chance a few ballot are floating around that could put Taylor in the runoff with Hall. He spent over $19,000 on his campaign, mostly his own money.

You have to wonder what has happened to the Republicans in the first supervisorial district when they can’t steamroll a liberal incumbent after outspending her by more than 2-1. Maybe Nate Beason retired at the right time.

***

Recent polls show that most Californians believe it has become too expensive to live in the Golden State, and that may explain why tax increases and bond issues fared poorly across the state.

Nevada County followed the trend, voting down a Penn Valley school bond proposal and an assessment increase to fund the operations of the Higgins Fire District. Local voters also voted by a 63 percent to 37 percent margin against the ill-named Proposition 13, a statewide school bond issue.

What should public officials take from this? Here’s one scenario worth considering: Voters have put a plug in the piggy bank and public officials should start looking at ways to cut expenses, especially the back-breaking pensions most of them are paying.

***

Donald Trump and most of the Republican candidates on the November ballot don’t figure to do well in California, but at least the GOP doesn’t have to worry about the north end of the state.

The three Republican incumbents–Rep. Doug LaMalfa, state Senator Brian Dahle, and Assemblywoman Megan Dahle–easily won their primary elections and should prevail in November. Based on their poor performances in the primaries, the Democratic challengers won’t get must financial support from the Democratic Party. Maybe next time.

UPDATE: Updated numbers were released after I posted this item, and Heidi Hall has increased her total to 52% of the vote. While just 45% of the votes have been counted, she can avoid a November runoff if her final total is above the 50% mark.

Posted in Assemblywoman Megan Dahle, Bernie Sanders, California Republican Party, Deborah Wilder, Democratic Party, Donald Trump, Heidi Hall, Nevada City Council, Nevada County Republican Party, Politics, Reinette Senum, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, Republican Party, Senator Brian Dahle, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Republican representatives ignore county candidate forums

The political season is starting much earlier in the Golden State than we’re used to because California wants to weigh in on the presidential primaries when it still matters.

California has traditionally held its primary in June in presidential election years, which usually meant the nominees for both parties had been decided by the time we voted. To make sure we get to weigh in before places like Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada decide the issue, California will hold its primary in March this year.

That means it’s time for candidate forums, and the Nevada County League of Women Voters will hold five of them at the Rood Center on consecutive Thursdays beginning this week with the 1st state Assemby district race.

Just don’t expect to see our Republican state senator, state assemblywoman, and congressman at any of them.

Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt and independent Paul Dahnuka are expected to attend Thursday’s forum for the assembly race, but Republican incumbent Megan Dahle won’t attend because of a “scheduling conflict,” according to LWV officials.

Dahle has yet to make a public appearance in Nevada County since declaring her candidacy for her husband’s assembly seat and then winning it in a runoff last November. A LWV forum scheduled for last October had to be cancelled because of a PG&E blackout and was never rescheduled.

After Dahle defeated Betancourt 58% to 42% but lost Nevada County be eight points, she promised to spend more time here. “Nevada County is probably the one county we’ve not been able to spend a lot of time in, but we’re looking forward to changing that,” she said after winning last November. “I think that’s just one of the places that going to get to know me better.”

Maybe she’ll show up at the fall forum before the general election so that her constituents can actually see and hear her. Dahle may also make it down here for a Republican women’s luncheon or maybe even the Nevada County Republican Party’s annual dinner, assuming they can find some place in the county to hold it this year. Those don’t count as public appearances, if you’re keeping score.

Her husband, Brian, who managed to avoid the county when he was seeking the state Senate seat he now holds, has not committed to attend the Feb. 6 forum for his office so I’m guessing he won’t make it.

Meanwhile, Rep. Doug LaMalfa said he’s not attending any forums in the lst Congressional district in the run-up to the primary. That makes sense since he has no Republican challenger in the primary, but he didn’t attend any of the forums in Nevada County when he ran for reelection two years ago either.

LaMalfa may be reluctant to make public appearances in the county because he lost in Nevada and Butte counties two years ago, and received a less than cordial reception the last time he held a constituents meeting here.

None of these Republicans need to win Nevada County to retain their seats in their heavily Republican districts so it’s easy for them to blow us off, but that may change when redistricting takes place in time for the 2022 election. Current census projections show California is likely to lose one seat in the House, and it could very well be a Republican seat.

State Assembly and Senate districts will also be redrawn, and Nevada County may end up in more liberal districts than it occupies now. In the meantime, you better get on the Republican mailing list if you want to hear from your local representatives.

Posted in Assemblywoman Megan Dahle, Nevada County Republican Party, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, Senator Brian Dahle, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Conservatives will continue to dominate Board of Supervisors

Three of the five seats on the Nevada County Board of Supervisors are up for election next year, but only one will be contested and–regardless of the outcome of that race–conservatives will remain in change.

Supervisor Ed Scofield is unopposed in District 2, while newcomer Hardy Bullock has an unobstructed path to election in District 5. Supervisors Chair Richard Anderson, who described himself to me as a “so-called liberal,” chose not to seek a third term and has endorsed Bullock.

That leaves the first district seat of incumbent Heidi Hall, who will face two opponents in her quest for a second term: Deborah Wilder, former chair of the Nevada County Republican Central Committee, and contractor Michael Taylor.

Hall has well-known liberal credentials and was a target of local conservatives when she ran 4 years ago for the seat held by retiring Supervisor Nate Beason. The conservatives had to settle for Nevada City Councilmember Duane Stawser, who changed his voter registration from Democrat to Independent when he declared his candidacy.

They will have at least once genuine conservative to back this time around in Wilder, who has been long active Republican Party affairs. But she has also shown the ability in the past to function successfully in non-partisan positions, said to be a component of a supervisor’s job.

Wilder served two terms on the city council–and was mayor twice–of Foster City in solid blue San Mateo County. (Hillary Clinton got 76 percent of the county’s vote in 2016.) She was a less-than-enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump when he was seeking the Republican presidential nomination, but has presumably drank the Kool Aid since then and is on board the Trump clown car.

It is hard to discern what liberal influences Hall has brought to the Rood Center during her tenure. She recently completed a trip to Washington, D.C., where she met with the STAFF of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, and Rep. Doug LaMalfa to discuss issues of local concern. Since she was dealing with staff people, Hall could have saved the taxpayers some money by just driving to Auburn (LaMalfa’s closest field office), Sacramento (Harris) and San Francisco (Feinstein).

But Hall did try to get FEMA to dislodge the money for two grants applied for by the county three years ago. Since none of the money the county is seeking has been granted since October 2018, don’t expect any action soon.

If Wilder can unseat Hall, conservatives will have at least 4 of the 5 seats on the board. That’s a lot more clout than Donald Trump will have in the county next November.

Posted in Board of Supervisors race, Deborah Wilder, Heidi Hall, Nevada County Republican Party, Politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nevada City’s dysfunctional government is led by a toxic mayor

I sat in our living room Tuesday night with the Christmas tree glowing, a medley of Velveeta, Kraft American singles, and Premium Saltine crackers thrown on our Melmac Christmas dish, a glass of 2 Buck Chuck chardonnay in hand, a Thomas Kinkade print above the fireplace.

It was time for the Nevada City Council meeting on NCTV.

Actually, none of that happened–if there was a Kinkade print in our house, it would most likely be in the fireplace instead of over it. There are much better things to do on a cold winter’s night than watch 6 hours of dysfunctional city government so I could post a comment at 12:48 a.m. Wednesday saying nothing happened. Still, there were lessons to be learned by reading the coverage of the meeting.

The biggest item on the agenda–and the one that drew a full house–was the conduct of Mayor Reinette Senum. She faced the possibility of censure and/or removal of her honorary title for a variety of alleged sins.

The item was placed on the agenda by Councilmember Erin Minett, who accused Senum of presenting her own views as those of the city or council, bucking the council majority on the issue of 5G technology, and generally creating discord and discomfort at city hall.

After several hours of discussion and comments by members of the community (most of them in support of Senum), the council chose to do nothing. But the meeting did reveal several underlying issues that nobody has been willing to discuss publicly, and they tend to paint the mayor and her supporters as bullies.

“We’re frustrated, that’s why it came to this,” said Councilmember Duane Strawser. “Our staff keeps getting thrown under the bus both here at meetings as well as in the office…That’s not comfortable anymore and that’s not fair to anybody.”

Former mayor Evans Phelps said the city staff has been impacted by the “chaos” surrounding council meetings. “This isn’t rumor, the staff is upset, it adds stress to the staff,” she said. “Grass Valley doesn’t do this nonsense. There is such a contrast here.”

Speaking of Grass Valley, Strawser claimed that Senum’s conduct has led to a worsening of relations with PG&E, the county, and the neighboring town. “The city of Grass Valley won’t work with us anymore…because of comments about our mayor, saying as mayor, the new Dorsey project should not happen,” he said. “There’s reasons why we have individuals from the county and other cities that surround us that prefer not to work with Reinette on committees.”

Some of this is overdone. Plenty of people, including residents of Grass Valley, object to the Dorsey Maketplace project, and Senum is hardly alone when she calls for the breakup of PG&E. Given her less than collegial style, I can see why people may not want to work with her.

But it appears Senum has created tension and discomfort–a nice way of saying bullying–among city staff, and she should have been censured for that. The majority of the council didn’t have the guts to go even that far.

Senum apologized for “any angst” she may have caused, but other comments she made suggests she has no intention of backing down or changing her tactics. The town’s voters can decide next year if they want 4 more years of that.

Posted in Nevada City, Nevada City Council, Reinette Senum, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bloomberg–and his checkbook–may enter the Democratic race

Reports have been circulating that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, apparently concerned about the ability of any of the current Democratic challengers to unseat Donald Trump, may enter the race for the party’s nomination.

Bloomberg, who at various times has listed himself as a Republican, Democrat or independent, sees himself as an alternative to Joe Biden for moderates in the party who are seeking a candidate. He could become a serious player immediately by virtue of his vast wealth, something he’s been willing to spend to advance his political goals in the past.

Bloomberg served three terms as mayor of New York, where he got the reputation of being a fiscal conservative and social liberal. Among other things, he turned a budget deficit into a surplus, set up a new tech center, crusaded against guns and gun violence on the streets, and promoted public-private partnerships to tackle civic and education problems.

But he wasn’t all that popular politically, forced to spend large sums of money against lackluster opposition to win relatively modest victories in his three races. His lack of dominance at the polls can be traced in part to the fact he was a Republican running in a heavily Democratic city.

Bloomberg’s expansion of the stop-and-frisk program while he was mayor won’t go over well with the progressive element of the national Democratic Party, where some people are already painting him as just another rich white guy. If he gets the party’s nomination, it will only come after an expensive, divisive campaign.

One more thing: Despite the national platform the position gives the holder, no mayor of New York has ever been elected president.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment