No, Mr. Giuliani, she is not stupid

Clinton with Giuliani (Getty photo via LA Times)

Clinton with Giuliani (Getty photo via LA Times)

We’ll have to disagree with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

“The president of the United States, her husband, disgraced this country with what he did in the Oval Office, and she didn’t just stand by him, she attacked Monica Lewinsky,” Giuliani said in a video posted on social media, according to an LA times account of that online video. “And after being married to Bill Clinton for 20 years, if you didn’t know the moment Monica Lewinsky said that Bill Clinton violated her that she was telling the truth, then you’re too stupid to be president.”

No, she is not too stupid. She knew full well what was going on but for her the truth and character are irrelevant. She is willing to attack anyone at anytime for any reason if it serves her purpose.

She is malevolent, unprincipled, cunning, vindictive, manipulative, ruthless and self-absorbed, but not stupid.

Clinton once described the youthful, gullible, starry-eyed, duped, vulnerable intern Monica Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony toon.” Truth is unimportant to Clinton.


Democrats block government funding and blame Republicans for it

Reid tries to blame GOP for failure of government funding bill.

Reid tries to blame GOP for failure of government funding bill.

Senate Democrats today blocked a bill that would fund the government into December instead of shutting it down Saturday. Their excuse was that it did not contain funding for getting the lead out of the water in Flint, Mich.

The vote 45-55. Sixty were needed to move it forward.

Sen. Harry Reid — who would like nothing better than to shut down government, close parks and blame it on Republicans weeks before the election — wailed on the Senate floor:

Now, the Republican continuing resolution also ignores a two and a half year crisis in Flint, Michigan. Lead has poisoned all 100,000 people, almost 10,000 children, some of whom are babies.

Lead is a killer for children. After a short period of time, a month, a few weeks, and a child who ingests lead in any way – whether eating paint off the floor, but certainly drinking water – will affect them the rest of their lives. They won’t be as smart as they could be. They won’t be as agile as they could be. It really hurts them. And it’s not good for adults.

So after two and a half years, don’t those people deserve something? The Republican leader said, well, there’s a Water Resource Development Act bill. And I acknowledge that …

Wait a minute, a water bill? You have to go to The Wall Street Journal to get the skinny on that wrinkle in the Democrats’ scheme.

A WSJ editorial today relates that the Senate passed — 95-3 — that $9.4 billion Water Resources Development Act earlier and the House is to pass it this week. So what’s the problem?

The Democrats are simply angling for a way to blame gridlock on Republicans when they are the ones throwing a wrench in the works.

Trump had to fight referee, too

Holt, Clinton, Trump at debate.

Holt, Clinton, Trump at debate.

While I’m no fan of Trump, I do think the fight should be fair. He should not have to parry jabs from both his opponent and the referee.

But at the debate Lester Holt hammered Trump on his claim that he did not support the war in Iraq while ignoring the fact Clinton voted for it.

After Clinton accused Trump of pushing tax cuts for the top percent, Holt delivered the one-two with: “And, Mr. Trump, you’re calling for tax cuts for the wealthy. I’d like you to defend that.”

Holt pounded the birther nonsense as if Trump were running against Obama instead of Clinton.

The moderator hounded Trump about his tax returns, but the words “Foundation” and “Benghazi” were never mentioned.

Holt, who is black, did not ask a follow-up after Clinton said: “Lester, I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police.”

Nor did he challenge her claim that stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional because it was ineffective, when the judge actually said it violated the equal protection clause. The case was later settled.

Of course, Trump did manage to punch himself in the jaw with his ham-fisted comment about Clinton not having “the look” or “stamina” to be president. The look? Get a mirror, Bubba.


Some things just don’t seem to hold their value — such as induction into the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame

Some things just aren’t as significant as they used to be.

I’m sure there was a nice story and photo in the paper back around the turn of the century when Review-Journal Publisher Sherman Frederick was inducted in the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame. That was before electronic archives.

When longtime R-J investigative reporter A.D. Hopkins was inducted into the Hall in 2010 there was a nice writeup in the paper and I penned a column on the topic.

When R-J capital bureau chief Ed Vogel was inducted in 2012 there was a glowing account of his storied career. I mentioned Vogel’s Hall of Fame status in a blog once.

In 2014, the induction of Dave Sanford, whose family ran the Mason Valley News in Yerington for decades, and Brian Greenspun, editor and publisher of the Las Vegas Sun, warranted a sidebar in the paper.

But in 2015 when the late R-J political reporter Laura Myers was inducted the news was fully contained in the third paragraph of a story about the paper’s Nevada Newspaper Association awards. AP carried a short story. I defended Myers’ reputation in a blog earlier this year and remarked on her passing at the time.

On Sunday the paper reported the induction of former, 30-plus-years columnist John L. Smith. The news was contained in the third from last paragraph of an awards story: “John L. Smith, a longtime columnist for the Review-Journal, was inducted to the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame.”

Talk about deflation in value. I wonder why that is.

Smith doing commentary at KNPR

John L. Smith doing commentary at KNPR


Laura Myers

Laura Myers


Ed Vogel

Ed Vogel


A.D. Hopkins

A.D. Hopkins


Sherman Frederick

Sherman Frederick

Who will win tonight’s presidential debate?

You know the old shibboleth about those who listened to the Nixon-Kennedy debate in 1960 thought Nixon won, but those who watched on TV thought Kennedy won — something about Nixon’s 5 o’clock shadow and sweating brow.

If anyone only listens to tonight’s Clinton-Trump debate, there might be a similar dichotomy. The listener won’t be subjected to Trump’s smirks and wild hand gestures or be exposed to Clinton drooping like a wilted flower.

Let’s just hope debate moderator Lester Holt doesn’t pull a Candy Crowley and start incorrectly correcting either candidate.

I suspect the debate will be scored by viewers and pundits alike on style and performance rather than substance, mores the pity. Neither of them has articulated anything close to a coherent list of policies for how they would behave as chief executive and commander in chief.

Clinton has a memory like a steel sieve and Trump can contradict himself in a single sentence.

Unlike reality TV, this really is unscripted.

Doubtless tonight’s outcome will come down to who makes the biggest blunder. Like Gerald Ford insisting that Poland, Yugoslavia, and Romania were all “independent and autonomous” of the Soviet Union. Like Michael Dukakis’ leaden, stone-faced and rote opposition to the death penalty when asked if he would relent if his own wife were raped and murdered. Like Al Gore’s exasperated sighs. Like Obama’s smirks in the first debate with Mitt Romney.

I doubt we’ll be offered any debate zingers like Ronald Reagan asking, “Ask yourself, ‘Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was?”

Or like Lloyd Bentsen saying to Dan Quayle, “I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

Expect the primacy/recency effect to be heavily skewed to the primacy side of the equation. The debate will be won or lost in the opening minutes by whichever candidate lands the best and most blows. That’s when watchers will mark their mental score cards. By the final minutes, they and we will be too exhausted to pay attention or care.

But there is a distinct possibility with this match that both might end up on the canvas.


Joe Heller cartoon

Joe Heller cartoon




Publisher has hissy fit over former columnist receiving Hall of Fame honor

In one of the most petty, petulant and pusillanimous acts of perfidy in the annals of alleged journalism, the publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal has resigned from the board of directors of the Nevada Press Association in a fit of pique over longtime newspaper columnist John L. Smith being named to the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame, according to sources.

The announcement of Smith’s well deserved and frankly overdue induction into the Hall of Fame officially came during the NPA awards banquet in Mesquite Saturday night. Publisher Craig Moon’s resignation from the board came the day before. He reportedly did not attend the banquet, though few would have recognized him if he had.

Smith, who has written a general interest column four or five days a week for more than 30 years at the Review-Journal, about 5,500 columns, resigned earlier this year after being told he could not write about two of the most significant characters in the Las Vegas gaming industry — Sheldon Adelson, now owner of the newspaper, and casino executive Steve Wynn, both of whom had unsuccessfully sued Smith for libel over passages in two of the 15 books he has written.

Smith was among a handful of writers at the Las Vegas newspaper who unearthed the identity of Adelson as the paper’s new owner in December. That enterprise contributed to one of the newspaper’s awards Saturday night. Adelson heads the Las Vegas Sands hotel and casino operation and is a generous donor to Republican political candidates. All the reporters who unearthed Adelson as the new owner have since left the paper. At least two of them won writing awards in the NPA annual contest.

In the resignation letter that he left on the desks of fellow staffers, Smith wrote, “I learned many years ago about the importance of not punching down in weight class. You don’t hit ‘little people’ in this craft, you defend them. In Las Vegas, a quintessential company town, it’s the blowhard billionaires and their political toadies who are worth punching. And if you don’t have the freedom to call the community’s heavyweights to account, then that ‘commentary’ tag isn’t worth the paper on which it’s printed. … If a Las Vegas columnist is considered ‘conflicted’ because he’s been unsuccessfully sued by two of the most powerful and outspoken players in the gaming industry, then it’s time to move on.”

Adelson’s suit said Smith’s book “Sharks in the Desert” made false implications that he “was associated with unsavory characters and unsavory activities.”

Adelson asked that the libel case against Smith be dismissed when Smith’s attorney, Don Campbell, obtained confidential Gaming Control Board records. “In short, Adelson’s claims were about to be exposed for what they were … false and vindictive,” Campbell said at the time. Though he prevailed, the litigation forced Smith into bankruptcy.

Wynn sued when an ad for “Running Scared,” an ad Smith did not write, said the book ”details why a confidential Scotland Yard report calls Wynn a front man for the Genovese crime family.”

The book itself reported that the New Scotland Yard report was “not entirely accurate” and was politically motivated and largely based on investigative efforts of U.S. authorities who did not reach the same conclusion. Smith eventually was dismissed as a defendant and the publisher of the book reached an undisclosed settlement.

That the suits over books unrelated to his job as a columnist were dismissed for lacking merit mattered not to the new Adelson minions, who haven’t been in Las Vegas long enough to learn what the word “juice” means, though they certainly kowtow to those who have it.



Editorial: Will Congress allow BLM to curb horse overpopulation?

Wild horses near Bald Mountain. (Elko Daily Free Press file photo)

Wild horses near Bald Mountain. (Elko Daily Free Press file photo)

Earlier this month at a meeting in Elko the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board voted to recommend to the Bureau of Land Management that it actually follow the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 “by offering all suitable animals in long and short term holding deemed unadoptable for sale without limitation or humane euthanasia. Those animals deemed unsuitable for sale should then be destroyed in the most humane manner possible,” according to the Elko Daily Free Press account.

The recommendation was approved by all the board members except one after the board toured the range land in the area and saw first hand the destruction caused by an overpopulation of feral horses.

The newspaper quoted board member Dr. Robert Cope as saying that after the field trip “it became so obvious there’s an incredible crisis situation out there affecting the resource” and “something has got to be done.”

The current problem is that Congress has for years prohibited using federal funds to follow the law and euthanize unadoptable wild horses and burros or even allow them to be sold for processing into commercial products.

Congressman Mark Amodei, whose district includes much of Nevada’s wild horse territory, remarked, “This is one of those areas where actually Congress has created a lot of the problem with the amendment that prohibits euthanasia as something that needs to be evaluated as part of the solution to managing these folks.”

Budgets since at least 2009 has stipulated that no funds are to used “for the destruction of healthy, unadopted, wild horses and burros …”

“Regardless of where you are at the issue,” Amodei said, “you cannot look in the mirror and look yourself in the eye and say, whatever we’ve been doing is working, because what we have is holding facilities throughout the nation that are within 10,000 animals of being full. We have an annual feeding bill in the 10s of millions, which quite frankly BLM even says is not sustainable.”

The BLM is being crushed under the financial burden of feeding wild horses, he said.

There are an estimated 70,000 wild horses and burros on the open range, 40,000 more than the range can handle, and that number can grow by 9,000 a year without intervention.

“Here’s the last piece of the puzzle that will make your eyes roll, BLM will tell you that the population doubles at the present reproduction rate about every four years,” Amodei noted. “It is an exacerbated problem as we speak and it is only going to grow geometrically.”

Congress has to do something rather than nothing, he said.

“The only reason it’s been allowed to get to this point is quite frankly it’s a Western problem that affects Western congressional districts which are represented by about 22 people,” the congressman reasoned. “If this was an innercity urban problem it would’ve been solved decades ago.”

Coincidentally, on the same day the advisory board recommended euthanizing excess horses, the BLM canceled an experimental program to test sterilization techniques, because it was being sued by some self-styled animal rights groups.

The Congressional Western Caucus responded with a press release saying, “Responsible sterilization could help stem the exploding wild horse populations on federal lands in the West. Yet the BLM dropped the project under the threat of litigation by a special interest group. BLM Director Neil Kornze has said his agency is ‘overwhelmed’ by the growing herds, and described the situation as dire. The wild horse and burro population is nearly triple what the rangelands can support. As a result, the lands are being obliterated and the horses are dying of thirst and starvation.”

Amodei, a member of the caucus, added, “It is discouraging to see the agency has such a low opinion of its own administrative procedures that it won’t even defend them in court.”

He noted that the BLM denied a number of grazing permits in Elko County because wild horses had wiped out the vegetation. If cattle had done that there would have been a hue and cry, he noted.

“The last time this wasn’t a problem was when wild horses were treated like every other animal on the range, every other animal on the range, whether it be domestic or wild. We manage for deer. We manage for jack rabbits. We manage for cows. We manage for sheep. We manage for mountain lions. We manage for bears, but we’re not going to manage for horses,” Amodei said. “That makes no sense.”

Some people want to love the horses to death — a slow, painful, agonizing death.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.