Editorial: Harry-the-pot calls Donald-the-kettle black

Former Nevada Democratic Sen. and Senate majority leader Harry Reid appears to be on what one might suspect is a farewell media tour. Though he never was too cozy with the media, Reid has in recent weeks, while being treated for pancreatic cancer, granted lengthy interviews with The New York Times Magazine, the Las Vegas public radio station and the editor of the contribution-funded news and commentary website The Nevada Independent.

While most of the buzz has been about his harsh criticism of President Trump, calling him amoral, he also has been downright unrepentant about his own deeds over the years that pushed the boundaries of propriety.

In the Times article he was quoted as saying, “Trump is an interesting person. He is not immoral but is amoral. Amoral is when you shoot someone in the head, it doesn’t make a difference. No conscience.”

Reid went on to say, “I think he is without question the worst president we’ve ever had. … We’ve had some bad ones, and there’s not even a close second to him. … He’ll lie. He’ll cheat. You can’t reason with him.”

Harry Reid (NYT pix)

In the radio interview he doubled down, saying, “What amoral means is this: immoral is you do things and you feel bad about it. … If you are amoral, you have no conscience,” adding, “I didn’t use the word as a throwaway word. I used the word because I meant it.”

The Nevada Indy editor described Reid as seeming “positively giddy that his use of the word ‘amoral’ to describe Trump … had generated so many Google searches for the definition — 4,300, he beamed.”

Without a hint of irony the magazine story recounted how Reid in 2012, with no proof to back it up, falsely claimed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had not paid any income taxes in a decade. He later told CNN by way of justification, “I don’t regret it at all. Romney didn’t win, did he?”

The Indy even quotes Reid as being boastful about using the power of his office to badger bankers into lending money for MGM Resorts to finish its stalled City Center project and intimidating hedge fund managers into pulling out of financing coal-fired power plants near Ely that cost hundreds of jobs.

“No one in their right mind would have done what I did ….” the 79-year-old Reid said. “No one would have done that … but it paid off.”

This was the same Reid who twisted arms at Immigration and Customs Enforcement to reverse a decision that was blocking visas for Chinese investors in a Las Vegas casino with ties to Reid’s son Rory.

And yes, the same Reid who in 1998 invested $400,000 in a parcel of land in Las Vegas, but transferred the land to another party three years later for the purchase price, according to records. Yet, when the land sold in 2004 he pocketed $1.1 million. Reid aides dismissed the earlier deal as a “technical” transfer.

Sometimes his efforts fell short. After Reid acquired 160 acres in Bullhead City, Ariz., the land was expected to increase in value after Reid passed a bill to spend $20 million to build a bridge over the Colorado River nearby, but the bridge was never built.

No need to mention one of Reid’s backers went to prison for illegally bundling contributions to Reid.

On the radio Reid also boasted about getting millions in funding to research unidentified flying objects.

“I think it is something we can’t ignore. I personally don’t know if there exist little green men places. I kind of doubt that, but I do believe the information we have indicates we should do a lot more study,” he said, without deigning to mention that much of the secret “research” money went to a Las Vegas crony and campaign contributor.

Reid has a well-earned reputation for being truculent, belligerent, rude, viciously vindictive, antagonistic and downright Machiavellian. His own former press aide once told a reporter Reid looks at a person’s vulnerabilities to “disarm, to endear, to threaten, but most of all to instill fear.”

Perhaps we can file this under the category: It takes one to know one.

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.


When a teacher is accused of kicking a student, mum’s the word

What would happen to you if you were accused of assaulting someone at work and refused to talk to the police about it?

Perhaps nothing if you are married to the boss.

According to a column by Victor Joecks in today’s morning newspaper, but posted online two days ago, school teacher Jason Wright, the husband of Clark County School Board President Deanna Wright, was accused back in March of kicking the hand of a 10-year-old student and jerking him about. The teacher refused to talk to school district police and the police declined to press charges, even though Joecks quotes a police report as saying the boy’s pinkie finger was “swollen and bruised.”

The teacher has since been transferred to another school.

To add insult to injury, so to speak, Joecks’ former employer, the Nevada Policy Research Institute, points out that there is a clause in the county teacher union contract that requires all information about such incidents if the accused is “cleared” to be expunged from all personnel files. Is declining to press charges the same as cleared?

Article 12, Section 10 of the contract states: “In the event civil or criminal proceedings are brought against a teacher and the teacher is cleared of said charge, all written reports, comments or reprimands concerning actions which the courts found not to have occurred, shall be removed from the teacher’s personnel file. No reference to criminal charges as described above shall be included in the personnel file. Entries into said file as they relate to civil or criminal proceedings described above shall be limited to violations of School District policy or administrative regulations, which are known beyond a reasonable doubt to have occurred.”

The NPRI article cited a case on point in which a teacher, who eventually pleaded guilty to three felony counts of attempted lewdness with a child in 2015, had his file wiped clean of other allegations dating back to 2008. “Had those allegations been reported on his confidential personnel file when he was transferred to a different school after the 2008 incident, perhaps administrators could have taken necessary steps to prevent the later abuses to which Mazo eventually pleaded guilty,” the article suggests.

We suspect the transfer of teacher Wright was not resisted by his principal. The guardian of the child in question told Joecks that the principal urged her to file a complaint and mentioned that the teacher’s wife was the president of the school board. The principal declined to talk to Joecks.

Mum’s the word.


Teacher Jason Wright (R-J pix)

Reid doubles down on his ‘brazen lie’ about Romney’s taxes

Harry Reid took to the airwaves in Nevada Wednesday and continued his practice of dissembling, dodging and outright denying his prevarication on the Senate floor in 2012 when he said Mitt Romney had not paid taxes for a decade. In fact, he doubled down.

A caller to KNPR public radio asked Reid about that “brazen lie,” prompting Reid to assert:

First of all, Ryan, there were no brazen lies. What I said is the truth. Mitt Romney has refused and has still refused to show us his tax returns. He gave us the main part of two tax returns. These were when he was running for president. That is not a true sign of what he had done.

Remember, I guess the new plan we have to look at is Donald Trump, who shows us nothing. Prior to Trump it was standard procedure going back many, many decades that presidential candidates would give us 10 years of their tax returns. Mitt Romney has never done that.

So, there was no brazen lies. I did what was necessary. He fought even giving those two years that were meaningless because he was already running for president and all of his financial dealings where he became an extremely wealthy man. We were unable to see any of that. So, you can brand it anyway you like but it was no brazen lies. It was the truth.

Actually, Romney released both his 2010 and 2011 tax returns, the latter in its entirety, as well as a notarized letter from his tax preparer that gave a summary of tax rates from his tax returns for 20 years.

Meanwhile, Reid — who said in 1974, “Any man or woman who will not be completely candid about his or her finances does not deserve to be in public office”  — refuses to release his own tax returns and says his congressional financial disclosures, which list assets and liabilities in broad ranges, are sufficient.

In 1974, while running for the Senate against Paul Laxalt, Reid claimed there were years in which Laxalt paid no taxes. He was proven wrong then, too.

Harry Reid (AP photo via KNPR)

Harry Reid (AP photo via KNPR)

Reid brings his Beltway rhetoric home: Government knows best

While on public radio and public television this past Friday, Harry Reid admitted the objective of ObamaCare is eventually to nationalize health care — also known as the public option.

During a discussion of the myriad adjustments, waivers and delays that have plagued the Affordable Care Act, a liberal newspaper columnist suggested to to Nevada’s senior senator and senate majority leader that these problems would not exist had Congress simply passed a single-payer system and ended private health insurance entirely — also known as socialized medicine.

“Don’t think we didn’t have a tremendous number of people who wanted a single-payer system,” Reid responded (see it for yourself), as reported in this week’s newspaper column, available online at The Ely Times and the Elko Daily Free Press.

IBD’s Michael Ramirez on Reid’s comments on Nevada public radio a week ago.

Asked if the country will eventually work beyond private health insurance, Reid enthusiastically replied, “Yes. Absolutely, yes.

Reid segued into his thoughts on why electric utility companies should be controlled by the government regardless of cost.

When it was pointed out renewable energy generation costs much more than energy produced by coal- and natural gas-fired plants, Reid insisted, “Each day that goes by solar is plummeting in cost.”

Then he insisted costs are competitive now, but contradicted himself by saying, “You have a few incidents where they are higher, especially with natural gas, which is so cheap now. We have more natural gas than any country in the world, and that’s very inexpensive. So I don’t accept all your statistics.” Never let the facts get in the way of your religion.

Meanwhile, on pubic radio earlier in the day (listen to it yourself), Reid unleashed a scathing attack on what he calls tea party Republicans that included accusations of racism on the part of those reluctant to embrace Obama’s agenda of centralized power.

“It’s been obvious they are doing everything they can to make him fail. And I hope, I hope that it’s, and I say this seriously, I hope that they’re based on substance and not the fact that he’s an African-American,” Reid stammered.

This is from the man who once claimed to be awed by Obama’s gift for oratory and believed the country was ready for a black president, especially a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

Read the entire column at Ely or Elko sites.