Saturday, June 30, 2007

ABBA Explaining Iraq

Gotta love Abba:

And don't forget: Heller owns this Waterloo, too. Since he's arrived in Congress, he continously voted for the Iraq war.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Heller's Head in the Sand - Watch it!

We've reported in the past week on the Defenders of Wildlife "Head in the Sand" campaign (including a radio ad in the district) against Rep. Dean Heller here and here. We also did a Q&A with Defenders of Wildlife CEO Dr. Rodger Schlickeisen.

Now, Defenders of Wildlife are continuing their campaign with this animated ad on the internet:

Want a capable representative in Congress? Join the Helluva Heller - Defeating Dean Heller in 2008 group at the Democratic Party's PartyBuilder social networking site!

Republicans Afraid Heller Might Lose

It's official: Republicans are afraid Heller might lose his re-election next year. The Las Vegas Gleaner alerted us to the news first published by the Hotline - which is behind a subscription firewall but the National Republican Congressional Committee was nice enough to republish the report from Roll Call (also behind a firewall) including the fact that they consider Dean Heller "vulnerable":

House Republicans have added 10 Members to the Regain Our Majority Program.

House leaders select Members they think might be vulnerable and raise and steer additional funds to their re-election campaigns.

Now, parse that rather neutral reporting with the Gleaner's choice words for Heller:

Apparently not red enough, though. Hotline reported Thursday that the War Party's "Regain Our Majority Program" has tagged Heller as one of the party's most vulnerable members of Congress. The ROMP distinction means that Minority Leader John Boehner and the rest of the House War Party leadership will do their level best to a) notify corporations who want to rip you off of the existence of Dean Heller, and b) urge them to give Heller lots of money that they stole from you in the first place so he can afford the televised assassination of his opponent's character and conduct in 2008, even if the opponent is Jesus H. Christ his own self.

Heller's appearance on the ROMP list must come as a bit of a disappointment to the campaign contribution brokerage profession. As aforementioned, in Heller's district (CD1 CD2), the needle on the bumpkin meter has been absolutely and immovably lodged in the extreme red for decades, and having an "R" after your name is usually all it takes. The ass-clown shouldn't need any more than perfunctory help from the rich and corporate to maintain the district's hallowed tradition of electing an impotent and obscure go-along get-along Republican for as long as Heller needs the seat before moving along to the next step in his exciting journey as a career politician. Imagine, if you will, being the guy paid to allocate corporate campaign contributions, and having to explain to your bosses that they need to give extra money to some guy in a district where Democrats are outnumbered by cows. Thank goodness we don't have that job.

Just trying to summarize it for you: Heller's weak. It took the help of President George W. Bush and a major fundraiser in Reno to help Heller across the finish line in 2006. With Bush being ever more unpopular, I doubt Heller would bring him in next year, so, yeah, he's heavily dependent on the corporate cash cows.

Now, that the legislative session has come to an end and some of the possible candidates (like Sheila Leslie and Debbie Smith) should have more time on their hands, how about one of them coming forward as a candidate in the near future? Whoever will run will have some serious fundraising to do.

Want a capable representative in Congress? Join the Helluva Heller - Defeating Dean Heller in 2008 group at the Democratic Party's PartyBuilder social networking site!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Heller Gets Spanked by Jane Ann Morrison

We've been reporting, rather infrequently, on Heller's problem of simply returning a reporter's phone call since he was sworn into office - here and here. In the latter AWOL post we wrote the following:

The Las Vegas Review Journal seems to be tired about the "Heller did not return calls" line and seems to be trying to shame him into answering by singling out his spokesman:

Heller has been singled out as a target by Americans United, which aired television ads slamming his war stance in Reno earlier this year. His spokesman, Stewart Bybee, did not return phone calls or e-mail Thursday.

What good is it to employ a spokesman (who's paid by the taxpayer) who is not speaking to the media?

One day later Jane Ann Morrison of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote a nice little opinion piece about Nevada's Republican delegation in Congress and their stance on a pardon for Scooter Libby. But when you read the whole piece you get a feeling that this was a set-up by Ms. Morrison to deliver a much needed spanking to Rep. Heller. After laying out how Sen. Ensign and Rep. Porter responded, she turns on Dean "Helluva" Heller:

But that was better than the silent treatment from Heller's office. My e-mail Monday morning to press aide Stewart Bybee explaining my questions was ignored. So were four calls to Bybee's voice mail and cell phone. An e-mail to Heller's chief of staff, Mac Abrams, also was not worthy of a reply.

Was this personal? After a few enquiries, I learned Heller's office just doesn't get back to the Review-Journal often. That seems foolish because Heller said in May that he will run for governor in the future. And part of his district is in Clark County.

Perhaps ignoring Southern Nevada voters is Heller's preference. Perhaps Heller doesn't know how often Bybee ignores news media questions. Perhaps Bybee is really busy. There are 16 press releases on Heller's Web site this year. That would take time.

But Congressman Heller, Nevadans would still like to know how you feel about pardoning Libby. Unless that's too tough a question.

Ouch! It'll be interesting to see how Heller's attitude towards the media will develop in the future. But one thing is for certain: if you ignore the paper many of your southern constituents in Clark County and beyond (Pahrump for example) read regularly, they may just be inclined to not only let you feel it when you run for governor (good luck with that, btw) but might also be willing to take a closer and more sympathetic look at your challenger in 2008.

One more free piece of advice: ignoring the biggest conservative paper in the state? That's just stupid.

Want a capable representative in Congress? Join the Helluva Heller - Defeating Dean Heller in 2008 group at the Democratic Party's PartyBuilder social networking site!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Heller vs. Life

Dean Heller voted today to ensure that more abortions occur overseas and that more mothers will die from wire-hanger abortions. On the surface and in his view he was working to stop abortions but it must be made clear he indeed did the opposite.

I think people on all ends of the political spectrum would like to see number of abortions decrease over time. However, the two parties have very different ways to go about achieving the goal.

Democrats: Educate individuals about sex and ensure access to birth control in order to limit unwanted pregnancies. If abortions have to happen (rape, incest, etc) then they should be clean, safe, and legal.

Republicans: Make abortions illegal, don't talk about sex and restrict access to birth control. This way no abortions happen and Jesus is happy.

The only thing that the Republican plan does is increase ignorance of sexual health and responsibility and ensure that wire-hanger abortions become the norm. That is what Heller did; he voted against giving organizations the tools to fight abortions abroad.

Representative Heller, with his vote today, worked to ensure more mothers will die overseas and more abortions will occur. Don't let him tell you the vote is pro-life, it's not.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Heller Has His Head in Oil

For someone that accepted over $40,000 from oil and gas industries within months of taking office, Heller sure has a suspicious voting record. This seems to be a growing trend in the Republican party, and as we know, he wouldn't be caught dead distancing himself from them. For a first time representative that will be trying to get re-elected, Heller really isn't looking for conservationist voters. Heller recently voted against and act to reduce subsidies to large oil companies and invest in clean energy. Why the government should be paying taxpayer money directly to oil companies when we already give them a large chunk of our incomes is beyond me. What is even worse is people like Dean Heller voting to keep them when the oil companies are setting record profits. He is obviously siding with the companies for a reason.
Oil/Clean Energy Vote
I am positive that if Heller had a good explanation for why he voted this way, he would immediately come forth with it and defend his vote. The only reason why he hasn't is that he doesn't have a good reason. All that he cares about is protecting large companies and lobbyists in the short term. He doesn't care at all about the long term effects of the things he stands for...or with.

As I stated before, it is a growing trend with Republicans in the Congressional and Executive Branches of the Government to stand by lobbyists and corporate America every chance they get. They realize that these companies donate large amounts of money to their campaigns, therefore helping them get re-elected. If you look at the contribution record of most Democrats, you will find that large companies generally don't even bother with them. It seems to be some kind of unwritten agreement between corporate America and Republicans that the representatives will get money for campaigns if in exchange they get votes benefiting their growth and profits. Do we really want these kind of people representing us and continually voting for big business?

There is a standard response from these people when they are asked a question about conservation and oil use. They say that it will hurt the economy if we burden big companies with restrictions. If we continue to emit infinite quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, there will be no economy, let alone life on Earth.

Despite the global warming argument, there are many other reasons to cut and eliminate carbon dioxide emissions. The same people who are voting for big companies and against reducing dependence on foreign oil are the same ones that are continuing the war in Iraq. If we really want this world to be a safer place, we can start reducing the amount of oil we import. Disruption in the Middle East sends crude oil prices spiraling upwards. This is the main reason why gas prices are so high right now. We are very unsafe with so much of our oil coming from these countries. If we keep pissing them off, they could just cut off all oil exports to the U.S. This would be far more crippling than a bomb or suicide attack. Also, our environment would be in a far better condition if we weren't polluting it as much. Another reason is that oil will eventually run out, it is bound to happen. If these corporate-loving representatives keep getting elected, they will run the oil companies until the oil companies run this country into the ground. Imagine how big of a crisis that would be.

If these representatives keep voting for big business, despite all the reasons not to, there is no reason they deserve an elected office. Our country would have a better environment, would be more safe, and would add more jobs if we would just start switching to alternative energy sources. There are so many other ways to get energy that aren't as harmful to environment and well being of our country. All other industrialized nations of the world have far more of their energy coming from nuclear power, solar, and wind power. Why aren't we on the same page? It is because there have been so many people like Dean Heller in the U.S. Government.

Intelligent Quote of the Month:

If we're going to talk about pollution let's talk about who's polluting here
- Dean Heller saying that the Defenders of Wildlife are polluting the airwaves by attacking him.

Well, Dean, to be honest with you I was hoping that the people of your district would get an intelligent and thought out explanation of a voting record.. for once. Obviously that is impossible. Now, what you said might have been my response to this situation in first or second grade. But from a United States Congressman, it is completely unacceptable.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Border Security - Heller Talks One Way, Votes the Other Way

Republicans in Congress voted down a bill on Friday to fund the Department of Homeland Security. Among the Republicans: Dean Heller. In that bill: money for border security. Heller's choice: cut the budget by 5.7% and thereby having 170 less agents patrol the border. The response from the DCCC:

“Representative Heller talks tough on border security, but his vote to cut more than 170 border agents tells the real story,” said Jennifer Crider, Communications Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Whatever you may think about the current discussion on immigration and border security, one thing is clear: Heller talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk.

Republicans talk tough all the time using some rather ludicrous arguments at times, especially drawing the fear card whenever it suits them, but when it comes to enforcement, to actual governing they are nothing less but incapable. And Heller's no exception.

Want a capable representative in Congress? Join the Helluva Heller - Defeating Dean Heller in 2008 group at the Democratic Party's PartyBuilder social networking site!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Heller allies with big oil, corporate polluters, lobbyists against Nevadans

Global warming is real. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is made up of scientists from 113 countries, was created by the U.N. in 1988 and releases its assessments every five or six years.

"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level," said the IPCC report. [The Progressive Connection]

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Ken Calvert
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
John Doolittle
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Dean Heller
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Steve Pearce
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Rick Renzi

Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund launched a targeted radio and web campaign -- -- to hold accountable five Congressmen – Reps. Ken Calvert (CA), John Doolittle (CA), Dean Heller (NV), Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Rick Renzi (AZ) – who have ignored the facts on global warming because of the undue influence of corporate polluters and their lobbyists. [Democracy for New Mexico]

Heads in the Sand is Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund's expanding campaign to expose members of Congress who continue to ignore the facts on global warming. Despite the overwhelming scientific consensus and looming threat, these members support a short-sighted Heads in the Sand energy policy favored by big-money lobbyists for polluting industries – all at the expense of wildlife, future generations and our national security.

The Heads in the Sand website contains a wealth of information about global warming and its impact on life and the planet. The site features 22 videos of the effects of global warming.

The site reveals that “In his short career in Congress, Heller has already taken tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from industries that contribute to global warming. In the five short months he’s been in Congress, Heller has taken a whopping $40,950 from the oil and gas and automotive industries. He has also taken significant contributions from other industries that contribute heavily to global warming, including the mining industry, as well as $58,757 from corporate lobbyists.

Additionally Heller’s voting record is displayed showing his alliance with big oil, corporate polluters and their lobbyists.

The Defenders are running radio ads about the five Republican Congressmen.

“Congressman Dean Heller has his head stuck in the sand. He’s voted against legislation to combat global warming and help break our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. Could it be because Dean Heller has taken thousands of campaign cash from big oil?” the narrator says in the ad against Heller. [Politico]

You can listen to the full radio ad here.

On Wednesday, Reps. Pearce and Heller – both members of the House Natural Resources Committee – voted against legislation to help combat global warming and protect wildlife from its impacts.

Heller accuses Defenders of wanting to close down mining and public lands in Nevada and "take away our guns." I don’t know how Heller ties guns into all this or closing down mining and public lands. The only thing being sought is stopping the destruction of the planet we live on. No planet—no guns, mining or public lands. Heller also complains “Defenders was ‘polluting the air waves’ with their ads. ‘If we're going to talk about pollution let's talk about who's polluting here,’ he said.” [;] That’s an immature childish reaction by Heller.

Elected people who do not act in their constituents’ best interest should be removed from office by their constituents. That’s what elections are for. Those people with their “heads in the sand” are detrimental to our well-being. [CQ Politics] Those who continue to favor big polluters and their special interests can pursue careers for those polluters and special interests if they want. We should shake them like dust from our shoes.

Heads in the Sand provides a means to e-mail Congressman Heller asking him to “get his head out of the sand” on global warming.

Heller Has His "Head in the Sand" - Q&A About New Ad Campaign

Dean Heller has his "head in the sand" on global warming. So says a new ad campaign about Heller and four other Republican Congressmen from western states. Heller's only been in Congress for five months but he's already managed to have a very negative record on this issue. He's the only freshman representative on this list.

Surprisingly, Dean "AWOL" Heller has given a statement on the campaign by the Defenders of Wildlife action fund. It's as ridiculous as his voting record on environmental issues:

Heller said Defenders was "polluting the air waves" with their ads. "If we're going to talk about pollution let's talk about who's polluting here," he said.

Judge for yourself. Listen to the ad here.

The CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, Dr. Rodger Schlickeisen, was kind enough to answer a couple of questions for Helluva Heller. Here are his answers:

The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund launched an ad campaign against five western Congressmen. What's your motivation behind this campaign?

Defenders Action Fund has a responsibility to its members and the public to hold accountable elected officials with extreme anti-conservation records – and that’s what we’re doing. With the “Heads in the Sand” campaign, we’re exposing the records of five anti-conservation House members who have their heads in the sand on global warming and have voted against our national interest and a sensible energy policy to deal with global warming. A growing majority of Americans see what national security experts, scientists, and economists have seen: global warming is a crisis that needs to be addressed now. If so many Americans understand this, why do our elected officials like these continue to bury their heads in the sand on the issue? That’s what we want to talk about.

Why did you include Dean Heller in your campaign?

Heller – like the four other members, Reps. Calvert, Doolittle, Pearce, and Renzi – has demonstrated a clearly anti-conservation record. Instead of reducing our country’s dependence on oil and dealing with the global warming crisis, he’s expressed support for extracting global warming-producing oil reserves from shale. In January, he voted against repealing billions in subsidies and tax breaks to energy companies, including billions that even industry acknowledges was granted in error, and investing that money in alternative energy sources, with his vote on HR6 , The Clean Energy Act of 2007. And just this week, Rep. Heller voted against another forward looking bill, HR 2337, The Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007. He's new to the House Resources Committee this year but is already following a too well-established pattern of others who've joined the committee, accepted large contributions from the extractive industries, and then voted for their special interest over the public interest.

How do the contributions to his re-election campaign influence Heller's voting behavior in Congress? Who are these contributors?

In the five short months he’s been in Congress, Rep. Heller has taken more than $40,000 from industries that contribute to global warming, as well as an additional $58,757 from corporate lobbyists. It seems like he’s already siding with lobbyists and corporate polluters instead of doing what the committee is supposed to do which is protect our natural resources for the public and future generations, which right now should mean making real progress on global warming.

How often and for how long do you plan to run the ad in Nevada?

We’re launching this campaign by running the ad on Nevada radio for the next week. We'll make the decision of next steps later. Visit our website ( to learn how you can help us keep these ads on the air longer to reach more people.

What can voters in Nevada do to help influence Heller's stance on global warming?

Defenders Action Fund is working to hold Rep. Heller accountable on global warming. Nevada residents should visit our website, www.headsinthesand/, to learn more about Rep. Heller’s position on global warming. We encourage them to contact us with their feedback and stories. They can tell Mr. Heller to get his head out of the sand and do the right thing to protect the southwest which is expected to suffer tremendously from global warming.

We'll be following the ad campaign and the reactions by the media in the coming week and follow up with more posts on Heller's stance on environmental issues.

Want good representation in Congress? Join the Helluva Heller - Defeating Dean Heller in 2008 group at the Democratic Party's PartyBuilder social networking site!

Heller - Answering Questions? Why?

Dean Heller's gone AWOL again.

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Heller could not be reached for comment.

Yeah, Heller didn't want to aswer questions about his Iraq war stance or what the heck he's gonna do once the magical GOP September benchmark comes. Would be surprising should anything change.

The Las Vegas Review Journal seems to be tired about the "Heller did not return calls" line and seems to be trying to shame him into answering by singling out his spokesman:

Heller has been singled out as a target by Americans United, which aired television ads slamming his war stance in Reno earlier this year. His spokesman, Stewart Bybee, did not return phone calls or e-mail Thursday.

What good is it to employ a spokesman (who's paid by the taxpayer) who is not speaking to the media?

Want good representation in Congress? Join the Helluva Heller - Defeating Dean Heller in 2008 group at the Democratic Party's PartyBuilder social networking site!

Hellers Worth $2 Million

According to the yearly disclosure reports by members of Congress, Dean Heller and his wife are worth about $2 million. Most of the investments are held by Lynne Heller. The Las Vegas Review Journal takes a closer look.

The only thing I really care about is this:

The congressman also listed as an asset a loan to the Heller for Congress campaign valued between $15,000 and $50,000.

I touched on this before, essentially Heller might not even be in Congress would it not have been for that loan. Now that Republicans are in the minority in Congress, fundraising efforts seem to be even more difficult, so we'll wait and see when his campaign pays Heller's loan back and if he needs to take out another loan in 2008.

You can read the full report here (large pdf!). You just need to wade past the 76 pages of Shelley Berkley's disclosure report to get to Dean Heller's 10 pages.

Want good representation in Congress? Join the Helluva Heller - Defeating Dean Heller in 2008 group at the Democratic Party's PartyBuilder social networking site!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Possible Heller Opponents Stand Out in Legislature

The Las Vegas Sun took a look at the winners and losers of the legislative session. One big winner: Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley. One reason for this was her willingness to delegate to other competent Assembly members, among them possible Heller opponents Sheila Leslie, Debbie Smith, and Bonnie Parnell:

Buckley's leadership skills showed in her ability to effectively delegate to other Democrats in her caucus. She gave significant responsibility to lieutenants, who ran with it. By doing so, she nurtured legislative leadership while engendering loyalty, though she was still closely involved in the issues.

Majority Leader John Oceguera showed leadership on commerce and public safety issues; Sheila Leslie on fiscal, health and human services issues; Marcus Conklin helped manage the caucus; Debbie Smith and Marilyn Kirkpatrick came to dominate the issue of tax breaks for environmentally friendly building; Bonnie Parnell became a point person on education; Kelvin Atkinson pushed transportation policy; and David Parks advocated reform of prison policy.

Now that the Legislature's session is over, it's time to recruit a Democratic candidate for Nevada's 2nd Congressional District. Sheila Leslie, Debbie Smith, or Bonnie Parnell would all make great contenders.

Debbie Smith, Bonnie Parnell, and Sheila Leslie

Want good representation in Congress? Join the Helluva Heller - Defeating Dean Heller in 2008 group at the Democratic Party's PartyBuilder social networking site!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Heller got a break

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democrat, was sued by the Bush Administration's Justice Department for not complying with the federal requirements on developing statewide voter registration lists, but when the same company had similar problems compiling lists in Nevada the Justice Department did NOT sue Republican Secretary of State Dean Heller, "who was running for Congress at the time." [McClatchy]

States were to have met the HAVA January 1, 2006 deadline for completion of statewide voter registration database. [ELOrg pdf]

Nevada's Covansys developed database was scrapped after delays and complaints from county officials. [ELOrg pdf p.26] Then Secretary of State Heller met with county election officials in early December 2005 and admitted that the statewide registration system "just isn't going as smoothly as we had hoped." [NLTB] Nevada clerks were more blunt: The new computer system was unreliable, inaccurate, and needed to be scrapped. [LVSun] The Las Vegas Review Journal reported on March 17, 2006 that Heller had suspended the Covansys contract. Clark County registrar Larry Lomax said Heller had botched the Covansys deal and should not have awarded the contract to an out of state company. [LVRJ]

Maine, which had a $4.5 million dollar contract with Covansys experienced similar problems and was sued for non-compliance. [DoJ] Maine SoS Dunlap terminated the state's contract with Covansys in February, 2006. [VTusa] The Department of Justice announced an agreement with Maine "to protect voting rights" on July 28, 2006, but apparently couldn't resist adding that its "investigation also found that Maine's rolls contained a significant number of ineligible voters." [DoJPR] No mention of how many ineligible voters it took to reach a level of "significance" was made in the press release.

The fact that Maine recognized its problems with its Covansys contract and terminated the company's involvement with its statewide voter registration database a month before the similar contract with the same company in Nevada was scrapped might seem to imply that Maine was making more progress toward its statewide registration database than Nevada. The Department of Justice, evidently, didn't share that perspective.

New Jersey also had a contract with Covansys for $14.8 million. [BW-fa] It, too, failed to meet the DoJ deadlines, and reached an agreement with the DoJ just one month prior to the 2006 elections. [EOrg]

McClatchy sums it up: " The former department officials note that researchers have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud and that no lawsuits have targeted states whose elections were managed solely by Republican officials. At the same time, the department has done little to enforce the core provisions of a 1993 law that requires public assistance agencies to help register the mostly Democratic-leaning, poor and minority voters they serve despite complaints from a national group, Project Vote."

Status report on statewide registration for the 2006 elections.
Cross posted at Desert Beacon