Senator Harry Reid’s methods of intimidation and attempts at censorship are rather well known. With a little checking, you may even find an example of this in a tirade he delivered against a stunned Nevada high school student who dared to visit his office. Minor bureaucrats, local politicians and any media not appropriately positioned to kiss his butt receive the same treatment. At a Senate hearing two or three years ago, he sneeringly referred to himself as "the Devil in Churchill County" as he proceeded to tell ostensible constituents seated before him that he would tolerate no criticism of himself or of his crude arrogance. But Harry Reid isn’t just a beady-eyed bully with too much ego. Reid has real power, so much so that his real impact on the media in Nevada is not so much to censor criticism, but to chill any real efforts at serious reporting on the way he handles his office. Even Churchill County’s own newspaper, The Lahontan Valley News, declined to carry the recent account in the Wall Street Journal, telling questioners that Reid’s association with Del Webb was old news about which they had already reported. Nonsense. Here is Nevada’s most powerful politician, the richest office holder in the state who somehow got that way out of little ol’miner’s roots in Searchlight. The guy who served on the Gaming Commission. (Is that him in the movie?) The former Lt. Governor who was later proud of a memorial passed by Congress to recall his many social dinners at the executive mansion with Del Webb big wigs. The guy who introduced that memorial as Del Webb was getting out of the gaming business and going, big time, into real estate—just ahead, some say, of a federal investigation that didn’t go quite far enough. This is the second term senator who ordered BLM officials in Las Vegas to put Del Webb "on a fast track" to getting a good deal—a very good deal—in a federal land swap. The buddy of Del Webb’s legal counsel at the time, Bruce Babbitt, would later profit from Babbitt’s campaign cash dispersing position as head of the League of Conservation Voters. This is the senator who directed that an agreement be made with The Nature Conservancy to act as surrogate for the government in brokering the sale of lands in Churchill County for the benefit of Del Webb in Las Vegas. The self-professed "family man" who rails at teenagers and cuts career bureaucrats off at the knees if they don’t do his bidding. Shouldn’t some of that raise a little interest to an enterprising journalist on one of the state’s major papers? Apparently not. Seems to me we’ve got some lazy journalism or some heavy influence here somewhere. The real chill of Harry Reid resides in that major media’s acceptance of a "politically correct" liturgy laid out by sorts such as Reid and The Nature Conservancy, which poses as an environmentally concerned group of college kids but actually wields its billion dollar nonprofit budget more like land and property swindlers. Does that make Harry Reid a crook? Gosh, I hope not, but it sure seems to make fools out of the major media. Is it the Right Wing Conspiracy saying all these things about Harry? Or the secret Republican agenda? I dunno, but so what if it was? How is that so different from how Reid and Babbitt and others have fattened themselves at the sugar feasts of supposed "environmentalists" and big time developers at the same time they mowed down the protests of "little people?" The way Harry and Bruce would have it, hard ball politics can only be played when they are pitching. Me, I remain a devout if cross-voting Democrat, much to the left of Bill Clinton in my thoughts about social policy and as far as I can possibly get from Harry Reid in my beliefs in individual rights, state sovereignty and resistance to the tyranny of unrestrained power. I like to think I’m closer to Andy Jackson, and, dare I say, Thomas Jefferson in how I think about being a Democrat. Harry Reid, on the other hand, might most properly be described as a Del Webb Democrat.

Tim Findley |
Churchill County, Nevada

NPRI is not unaware of Senator Reid’s sting, having had a radio station in Las Vegas seek to censor our radio commentaries after we dared to report on activities of Senator Reid which the Washoe County daily press has been so bashful about reporting. In our case the screws were tightened by former Governor Mike O’Callaghan who notified the Las Vegas radio station about Reid’s unhappiness. It seems we’re now blessed not only with Jefferson Democrats and Franklin Roosevelt Democrats, but also with Del Webb Democrats.—Ed.


I appreciate the Issue Briefs that you publish but I think one of the recent ones, while outstanding in many respects, is fatally weak on the central issue of punishment and the attitude it projects with regard to drinking and driving is inexcusably permissive. What is needed to put a stop to this motorized mayhem caused by drivers who drink is instant punishment in the form of permanent confiscation of the automobile and one month in a state prison on the first offense. The second offense would be one year in prison, and the third would be life. How can you justify permitting anyone to drive a car, bus or truck with alcohol in his or her system when the consequence could be, and often is, the death of an innocent driver or pedestrian? These are government roads which should be open to all with an equal amount of safety. Discussions and arguments over the degree of alcohol content in the bloodstream is nonsense. That there is alcohol in the blood is sufficient to decide that the rights of others to drive alcohol-free is being violated and that the result can be indistinguishable from having fired a gun into a crowd of people. The permissive foolishness of discussing which statistical group is more or less responsible for alcohol related accidents or deaths and whether it’s hard-core alcoholics or casual drinkers or kids or the elderly, is simply an excuse for the failure to make a decision. That ingesting alcohol by those who drive on the highways, freeways or city streets is a dangerous and irresponsible act is a matter beyond dispute. Appropriate and immediate punishment is the only way it can be stopped. NPRI should be the one group in Nevada that should stand up for equal rights on the roads in the form of the total absence of alcohol.

James Richards
Reno, Nevada

Many people enjoy our Issue Briefs which go out to all NPRI members once a month. Mr. Richards’ concern over alcohol related highway mayhem is appreciated, but public concern over drunk driving appears to be at odds with Nevada’s unusually liberal liquor laws. On the one hand we have the state’s gaming establishment welcoming visitors to our state with scantily attired cocktail waitresses on billboards inviting tourists and others to drink ‘round the clock, while at the same time the state wants to crack down on those who take all of this too literally. At the very least, tougher drunk driving laws will have to be accompanied by tighter laws in other areas if Nevada is to avoid a reputation for unfair police entrapment. –Ed.


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