Katie Dunne, Passionate believer in democracy and member of UHM's Digital Media Content Crew.
Amy Vilela on Medicare for All, Intersectionality, Climate change, Renewables, the Justice Democrats, Emergency relief, Public Servants, Nina Turner, the Profit Motive, Guns and Racism, Education and Teaching the real history of the United States.
. #WeThePeople interviewed Amy Vilela, Democratic candidate in the 4th Congressional District of Nevada on October 9th, 2017.
Amy’s campaign ad explains how the tragedy of her daughter Shalynne’s death - two years ago, led to her deciding to run for Congress and to her fighting tooth and nail for Medicare for All for her district, Nevada and the U.S. As she says in the ad: “I didn’t choose this fight, it chose me.” And “I’m not just a business woman. I’m a human, a grieving mother, a Nevadan and now an activist. I know that healthcare is a human right, not just another consumer product.”
Amy has always been active in various political causes, but it became really personal when Shalynne could not provide proof of insurance and ended up dying. “It was a very, very hard time, and it was a compounded by the immense grief and anger that arose from knowing that it was needless. My daughter did not have to die.” She went to speak to her Congress member Ruben Kihuen (who has since declined to run). She had voted for him. She told him in clear detail of the emotional shock that she (Amy) was in when her daughter died and of the reasons why people needed Medicare for All. His response - Well I’m so busy fighting against the repeal of the ACA. How about Medicare for no one? Then there was something about fighting Korea … We showed him facts and figures – Amy tells us, about how the majority of the Democrats supported this and a majority of even the Republicans supported rather than opposed this too. We even presented the analogy that having an additional 20 million people uninsured is horrible, but why was it okay to have 30 million uninsured under the ACA? And what of the 30,000 people dying every year from lack of insurance? At one point he said - I heard your story today. You know, I don’t have to be here. I could have been enjoying my week-end.
Where does (the legislative body in) Nevada stand (10.09.2017) on Single-Payer – John asks? Amy answers that they have one lone warrior fighting for it. That’s Representative Dina Titus. She is a fierce leader in NV and she co-sponsored the Medicare for All bill and did so early – Amy emphasizes.
These are some of the other key issues for Amy:
Racial, social and economic justice; Climate justice and environmental stewardship; Humane foreign policy; Democracy.
And Amy Vilela makes sure to point out that Medicare for All ties into all of these.
All forms of injustice are intersectional. For example where you have an African-American and a Caucasian with the same level of insurance, the African-American will still die 10 years sooner – Amy tells us. If we pollute the Earth, we have more healthcare issues. Poor areas will be the most adversely affected. I’m not a one issue candidate. We have to address all of these issues in order to have true justice and healthcare.
John would like to discuss climate now because a lot of things are on fire at the moment, as he says – California for one (10.09.2017). On the Doomsday clock as John calls it, Amy says that to her mind, we’re definitely an 8+ out of 10, because Democratic and Republican politicians are beholden to their donors. We are lagging behind other major countries in developing infrastructures and green tech that would help us protect our planet. Green tech is economically fiscally responsible as well. She can’t get her mind around us going down the path of not being the caregivers of the Earth. Others far less wealthy than the U.S. are way ahead. John says that he is 47 and that he grew up thinking that this was the greatest country on earth which for a lot of reasons turned out not to be true. I’m embarrassed he says. Amy says that we need to be doing a lot more than what is set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. John specifies that the “we” refers to a government that is out of control just now and not We The People (of the United States). John asks about Nevada and what they think of climate change there. Amy replies that they have a lot of great activists out there continuously advocating for greener energy. She tells us that she has solar panels on her roof, although they kept her from being able to use them for months because even for that, there was push back (from the fossil fuel industry). I know that they have worked to reverse that and come to an agreement, but oil isn’t endless, we have to go the way of green tech in the future. It would also probably help out with our situation in wartime – she adds. John tells Amy that he just showed a picture of Boulder City Nevada and 400 acres of 64 Megawatts worth of solar panels and that automakers have for the most part announced that they are going to be switching over to electric vehicles. The fossil fuel industry and the establishment relationships attached to that are pushing back against all of this, while the business sector is growing in leaps and bounds. If you are elected to Office, how will you deal with that? Amy responds that firstly the EPA has to be strengthened again. There will need to be a lot of reversal of the damage that has been done. Then there should be grants and funding in innovation. We need to start giving incentives so that companies can get to the point where they can get the technology. We have to invest as a government and make sure we are leading the way.
What does it mean - says John, to be endorsed by the Justice Democrats? It means that mine is a grassroots campaign and that I take no money from Super PACs or large donors. My platform is also a very progressive one. I seek to be elected with the support of the people and will remain beholden to the people.
Kimo in YouTube chat asks whether Amy would work with FEMA to pay the medical bills of people who were victims of terrorist attacks such as that in Las Vegas. Amy finds that very interesting and says that yes they do need assistance. She is horrified that lots of the families are having to resort to putting up GoFundMe pages.
They are pulling out of the ACA, even as they are reporting record profits! Aetna has had a 631% increase in their stock prices since the ACA came into effect. When you are a CEO of a publicly traded company, that correlates directly to your pay. These companies and our politicians are co-conspirators. In a lot of cases we are paying for their employees - the government and We The People by extension. Don’t get me started on Walmart – Amy says. All that my daughter needed was a bedside ultrasound – that was not an expensive treatment! Instead, taxpayers ended up footing the bill of $500,000 to kill her!
Laura interjects with what I presume was a YouTube chat question. What about the idea of getting Medicare to pay the medical bills for people in a large catastrophic situation, like a poisoning of a city by the water or some other natural disaster – and having that be an early road into Medicare for All, until we get the latter for everyone? Amy replies that she is into taking care of everyone - and certainly those affected by economic, violent, environmental etc. crises. The way to make an improved and expanded version of Medicare affordable and successful for the government and the U.S. citizens, is for Medicare to be able to negotiate pricing, to be able to budget, to be able to negotiate with Big Pharma. One death is too many when it’s your loved one - trust and believe me! For now we need to put aside emergency funds for this. We haven’t time to wait for legislation and bickering back and forth. The Representatives need to do what they were put into Office to do, and that is represent the People!
John adds that there is always money for the military. If some of that cash were invested in (healthcare) we wouldn’t be in this mess. If we were subsidizing the solar industry instead of the fossil fuel industry … Amy agrees.
Amy tells us that Medicine and medical treatment costs are the highest in the world. The CEO of Aetna is excited about Medicare for All. He said he’d love to do that - so long as insurance companies get to decide everything! We need to get out and vote for true progressive candidates in 2018 and clean house of both Republicans and Democrats. When this is able to be passed, we want progressive Representatives there, to make sure that it is done in a fiscally responsible and humane way. It is so important that people get out and vote in 2018 for true progressive candidates – Amy says. John comments that Obamacare was great until it was eviscerated to meet Republicans’ profit needs. Amy replies – exactly!
Amy and her husband love Nina Turner. They attended the Single-Payer conference in New York City, and while there, Amy’s husband met Nina in an elevator and told her about Shalynne. Amy wasn’t aware that this conversation had taken place. During the Conference, Nina suddenly says “In this great country, no 22 year old should be dying from a lack of healthcare”. The tears started to flow down Amy’s face and Nina talked about her Grandma. Afterwards they spoke. Nina told her that she had to fight!! She had to draw on the pain and other emotions to do so. It’s about everyone else after you now, Nina told her. Amy went home and did her first healthcare rally. It feels great not to be a victim and I’m not backing down - she says.
Politicians aren’t public celebrities, but public servants! We need real people and their life experiences in Office, is the message from Nina and Our Revolution. John smiles. He so agrees!
Nothing in life was given to me easily. I’m the daughter of a tobacco farmer, turned union iron worker. My parents divorced when I was young. My mother was a single-mother. I understood that unique hardship. Then I married young myself and we were an inter-racial couple living in poverty in southern MD. Eventually poverty took its toll and I ended up being a single mom on WIC, food stamps and Medicaid. And I understand all too well what that is like and how hard it is to get out. I tell people I only made it because of the safety nets that we had in our system, although those shouldn’t be viewed as safety nets. That should just be part of who we are. After her daughter’s death she realized that this idea of attaining the American Dream was really just a facade. As long as there is injustice to the weakest, there’s injustice to us all. She starts to get emotional. Referring to the public servants mentioned earlier, John says he wants the politicians to hear the harshness in the tone, and also to know that the expression should carry respect. Politicians he says don’t seem to have a moral compass anymore. He doesn’t see any decency coming out of Congress. Neither does Amy. You can’t blame Donald Trump for everything. Minority communities feel afraid to speak out and hold their Representatives accountable – she says.
We have a gun control problem on the streets with citizens and with our police – John says. What about violence and guns in Nevada? Amy answers that to her, guns are another intersectional problem. Gun control exists but mainly only affects our black and brown men in America and contributes to our mass incarceration crisis. If we want to talk about gun control we need to be aware of who it affects and what it will reduce. Most gun deaths in America are from suicide and not from homicide or mass shootings. We often hear about Australia - Amy says, and how successful they have been when it comes to gun control. Yes, they had a decrease in their gun deaths. They also had a rebound in deaths by other violent means. We have to get to the root cause of this and deal with all the other types of injustices in this country, before we can really have a true answer regarding gun violence. John asks what she thinks of gun regulations. Amy is for sensible gun control. Even the majority of NRA members agree on that, she reminds us. However I don’t want to do as the media have trained us all to do – to get all hyped up over one issue, and then forget about the others that are intersectional. In Las Vegas, the shooter wouldn’t have been caught by a background check. John says that that is because they don’t target the white Christian terrorists in this country - do you agree Amy? Absolutely - she says. They speak about the huge discrepancy in how white people versus people of color are categorized when we speak about violence and the reasons for it. Intersectionality is at play again with regard to mental health, violence … John adds that the U.S. has a large percentage of the guns in the world, for a small percentage of the overall population. It’s frightening – he says.
They move on to education. We promote violence. We promote a very violent sport (football) over science – John says. Amy agrees and says that in Nevada they need less admin(istrator)s, more teachers and more money going to the latter. We need to teach our students the real history of America and make sure that we are educating them on social and historical issues that are relevant to what is happening in our country today. John makes her smile when he says that it’s Indigenous People’s Day today. Nevada did pass a Day for Indigenous People - Amy says. That’s great - replies John. She hopes that more (States) will follow suit. They talk about the way history was taught, and how the accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans and other minority groups were left out. Amy adds that her children’s great-grandfather was the first African American to get a Doctorate in Anatomy - and that there is a whole section of Howard named after him. We just don’t hear enough about the contributions of ethnic groups - she says. John reckons that that is because they didn’t celebrate that diversity, they celebrated whiteness.
John Warren asks about Common Core. Amy says that there are disadvantages and advantages to it, but that they haven’t really addressed it too much in Nevada quite yet. John adds that he doesn’t know what the quality of education in Nevada is like, but in Oregon which is supposed to be liberal (and isn’t) it’s not good. Do you think that the government should have more or less of a hand in our overall education as citizens – he asks? Amy replies that a lot of leeway has been taken away from teachers. They are not able to teach students based on how they need to be taught. The testing that we have now often inhibits learning for the students which then penalizes the disadvantaged and the economically disadvantaged communities. I haven’t gone into it too much but I’m definitely getting ready to do a listening tour with teachers, here in Nevada – Amy says. The teachers that she has spoken to (who are in more disadvantaged areas), say the testing really hurts teachers who are more experienced and pushes them out of the school system. That’s the American profit-centered (i.e. efficiency and cost) model - says John!
Amy is a business woman. She did non-profit for most of her career – working with children who had severe disabilities. It is really hard to get funding for that – she says. When you’re talking about cutting Social Security and Medicare, then know that you’re talking about a huge population of people with disabilities! Her job involved budgeting, working with State and local agencies, and working with governments to get grants and to develop relationships with them. Amy also worked on the for-profit side and is keenly aware that there are a lot of areas that for-profit companies shouldn’t exist in. Prison, schoolings … healthcare! We are not talking then at board meetings about people, but about cutting costs, gaining a market advantage etc. And, there is a point (a sweet spot) where the complaints aren’t so bad and the profits are maximized. John is glad Amy was able to leave the corporate world to do this, but in terms of business – he asks her, can you see a future where corporations actually have a soul? Amy replies that corporations exist solely to maximize profit for their shareholders (if they are public) and for their owners (if they are private). They do not have a soul. They should not have a voice.
What about Bernie for 2020? I’d love it if he would run – Amy says. Nina Turner would be great also! John agrees. We need to have someone lined up if he doesn’t – she says. Bernie said many times that this wasn’t just about him. He gave us a gift by waking us up and we have to go forward with the stewardship of that knowledge, while keeping an eye on Congress, the Senate…
Amy understands how hard it is because she has experienced many of the things that people are struggling with. Even now, she does not have the DNC behind her (so any donations are appreciated). That gives her a unique perspective. She has a very progressive platform, and the business sense to get it implemented. She has a vast knowledge in a lot of different areas. She is and will be beholden only to the People.
Perhaps it’s Amy’s motivational choice of outro that makes John ask about cannabis? “Puff, puff, pass that bill” Amy replies. She is 100% for it. It’s ridiculous that we do not have that legalized - she says. The outro by the way is Bob Marley singing “Get up, Stand up.”
Amy is strong, determined and inspirational. The links are in the video description. Good luck Amy Vilela!
Rick Shepherd on Technology, Electronic voting, the Democratic Party in Nevada, SpinkleCare, Election results and Progressive candidates, Wild horses, Cannabis, Climate change, Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, Renewables, Mining, UBI, Medicare for All, the Military Industrial Complex, Law enforcement and DACA.
#WeThePeople interviewed Rick Shepherd, Democratic Candidate in the 2nd Congressional District of Nevada (a large district in the Northern half of the State) on September 27th, 2017. The Republican incumbent Mark Amodei was campaign manager in Nevada for Donald Trump. Rick was State Delegate for Senator Sanders and was in Las Vegas for that 16 hour disaster.
Not surprisingly and admitting openly to already being biased - given that Rick is a computer nerd, John’s first question concerns technology. How important is it for someone running for office today to be up to speed on technology? Rick answers that while he is fairly tech literate himself, he doesn’t expect everyone to be in the way he is, but they should at least be competent with the understanding of what the technology does.
He continues. It does bother me that we have the capacity to do electronic voting for our elected Representatives, but that we don’t. Representatives who are supposed to be in their home districts, should be able to cast their ballots from there rather than having to go to Washington D.C. to do so, so that they can continue to take care of business at home. Not to mention the environmental impact and the expense of flying out to D.C. each time – John adds. Rick agrees.
As to blockchain, Rick is totally on board for electronic voting for elected Representatives but not so much for We The People. He explains. The Representative’s vote is already a matter of public record and the blockchain would serve to validate that which is already verifiable. As a citizen you rely on the privacy of going in and casting a ballot privately. If you have your ID connected to a blockchain which it has to be if you expect to be able to verify your vote after the fact … now your vote could be compelled. The risk of losing anonymity is enough to make me shy away from using cypher block at a public election. John asks whether Rick would meet somewhere in the middle, if it were possible to provide a vote that was on public record for the People as information, as data about a particular Representative’s constituency. They could see the data. There are different apps - such as Countable, where the People could say to you that they’d like you to vote this way. Would you find any value in that as a Representative and want to take it with you to Congress? From the elected person’s perspective I can see that as valuable information. But I don’t want to be able to de-anonymize any of that information and expose any of the voters’ preferences. That’s paramount to me. I don’t want you to color your vote because you’re afraid someone will see it and have an opinion about it. Moreover, you can’t know for sure that the software that is in that voting machine is actually the software that they say it is. They could even say it’s open source, you could put it up for scrutiny, we can say that this code passes muster, but you don’t know if that code is what’s running on that device that you’re voting with. John thinks that if “we” wanted to we could find a way to validate it with today’s technology. Rick says if we had a way to get into the machine itself - yes, but you know that those things are proprietary. So they are going to query it. It’s going to give up the answer that it knows you want to hear whether or not that’s accurate you can’t ascertain. Absent We The People deciding to vote by phone - uncaring of our anonymity being protected with respect to our vote, for the convenience of it - in the which case cypher blockchain this whole bit Rick says, he wants to be respectful of the voter’s privacy concerns. Rick wants paper ballots being looked at by lots and lots of people who don’t trust each other. That’s okay by John as answers go, because it’s not a fear of machine based one. John loves mail-in ballots (Oregon). Rick says that between mail-in ballots in Oregon and California’s automatic voter registration, we’re surrounded (in Nevada) by Secretaries of States with good ideas. I’m hoping in 2018 when we get a chance to replace our Governor and Secretary of State we’ll get someone in who wants to do things like automatic registration, open primaries, rank-choice voting and mail-in ballots … if we get those kinds of things … you could stop looking at party affiliation and you could start looking at people like applicants for a job that you assess and then accept or reject.
John is surprised to find out that Nevada is a lot closer to being flipped than he thought. Three out of four of the State’s Congress members are Democrats and one of the two Senators. That leaves Congressional District 2’s Republican Mark Amodei and Republican Senator Dean Heller. Nevada also flipped the Legislature back in November (2016) by a small majority. We have an Independent who caucuses with us – who used to be a Republican, Rick tells us. The vast majority of the Democrats are progressive and there are quite a few women who are bringing up lots of social programs and protections. There has been quite a bit happening with regard to health and human services and taking care of people. Nevada’s three (2016) National Delegates (including Rick’s campaign manager) are still working hard for the Democratic Party in NV.
We almost had a Medicaid buy-in bill. “SprinkleCare” got as far as the Governor’s desk. He wouldn’t sign it though. “Good legislation dies on the desks of questionable Governors.” He terms out in 2018 – Rick says. Candidate Chris G. (Giunchigliani) seems to be a ball of energy and good ideas. I have no reservations about her at this point (09.27.2017), he adds.
Rick ran in 2016. He came 2nd in the Democratic Primary with 35.8% of the vote. He did this, with no name recognition, very little money and no experience. Chip Evans (Berniecrat) won that Primary and spent under $210,000 on the elections as compared to Mark Amodei’s $901,000. Chip lost in the General election, but got a respectable 36.9% of the vote. I believe (09.27.2017) he’s running for Lt. Governor this time - Rick says. (Chip Evans is running for the position of County Assessor for Washoe County in 2018.) Vance Alm (also a Berniecrat) will be running in Rick’s 2018 race once again. Rick says he loves that the Primary is filling up. It means more interest and enthusiasm in the race, more opportunities for town halls and debates and more chance to get the message out. Great - says John, unless the Democrats throw in some high-dollar ringer to try to take this. It sounds like Mark Amodei is in trouble though. He gets his money from Marathon Petroleum; Casinos/Gambling; Defense/Aerospace; Lawyers; Beer, Wine & Liquor … However Rick has been going out to the rural communities for the last several months and meeting people … He has spoken with Donald Trump supporters, but has yet to meet Amodei supporters. One lady (rancher) as a result of Amodei’s vote on the healthcare bill last time around … is no longer a Republican. “The winds of change are blowing.” Laura and John laugh at the reference to the Scorpions. (Pity Markus wasn’t around!)
Rick has a bad ass website. John tells us that he has never seen one so complete with content. (With all that was covered during this interview, Rick and John didn’t get to discuss education, other than to mention that some rural schools in Rick’s district had too few students and other schools the opposite. Check out the site to find out more about this topic.)
Barbara Bartleson in YouTube chat asks about the wild horses in Nevada (and Laura adds that her sister is very involved in wild horse conservation). Rick knows what she is referring to. There are two camps he says. There are those who look at these horses as invasive, feral; and those who recognize that the horses are indigenous and need to be managed (Rick is one of that group). I’ve looked into the fossil record – he says, and we’ve seen that there were horses that were in Nevada up until 10,000 years ago. The last Ice Age kind of knocked them out and it appears that they weren’t just here, but that they evolved here. They went back across the Bering Strait to go to Europe only to then be shepherded across the Atlantic and re-introduced to what was previously a native environment. Horses belong here just as much as sagebrush. The problem is that we need to reintroduce coyotes and especially wild cats because the horses no longer have predators. We have to put nature back together the way she intended (it?) to be.
Jilly in YouTube chat wants to know if NV is still in a state of emergency due to a lack of cannabis. “Not to the best of my knowledge - Rick replies, I’ve been into a couple of dispensaries lately and had no problem acquiring whatever I was looking for.”
What about climate change Rick? Obviously we’ve had cycles of climate over the eons – he replies. There are natural changes in cycles, but we also have this thing called anthropogenic climate change - that’s the stuff you and I are responsible for, and had better do something significant about very soon or we are going to reach the point of no return. I am a huge fan of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors. We could take care of a tremendous amount of the difficulties that we have in this country and around the world with this.
At this point, we see a slide with a picture and this quote from Rick: “At a national level we need to pursue good nuclear solutions. Oak Ridge National Laboratory built a Molten-Salt reactor in 1964, ran it for five years and then Nixon simply turned it off to pursue worse technology. Molten-Salt reactors like the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) are safe, effective and will satisfy the energy demands of our 21st century lives.”
We can get rid of the 71,000 tons of nuclear waste that is supposed to be headed to Yucca Mountain. We can instead burn that up in lifters. We don’t have to worry about storing it. We can desalinate water. We can produce Dimethalether a direct replacement for diesel fuel, as well as ethanol - a replacement for (both) gasoline as well as Ammonium fertilizer. So we can - with Molten-Salt Reactors turn the entire liquid fuels industry into a carbon neutral cycle. You can still drive your car and fill it up on gas or diesel - but that won’t be coming from hydrocarbon extraction but from hydrocarbon manufacture at these facilities. Once we do that, guess who no longer has to pretend to care about Middle East Affairs. We can end our seven foreign wars, the $4,000,000 an hour we spend on unfunded foreign wars and the $10,000,000 a minute we spend on oil and gas subsidies. We can then take that money and put it to use doing something significant. You’re the 2nd candidate to talk to me about Liquid (Fluoride) Thorium Reactors – John tells Rick. The Dutch have one up and running. They say in 20 years they plan on having it power things. The only reason in the 1960s that we did not pursue the technology Rick tells us, was because it does not produce the nuclear waste that we need to be able to refine and turn into weapons. A LFTR runs at 700 degrees Celsius. At that incredible high temperature, you can do direct chemical manipulations. You have enough waste heat there that you can perform assembly of hydrocarbons direct from the atmosphere or from water. You pull the carbon out. You combine it (with the chemicals) in whatever form you want it, whether you’re making the ether, or the ammonium, or the fertilizer. Now you’ve produced it without having to dig into the ground in the first place. In fact if you want to take this full circle we bring a carbon tax into this mix, and now we can take carbon sequestration and turn it into an entirely new industry. Imagine if you will, that we can capture CO2 from the atmosphere and now it needs to be sequestered. If we pay to do so underground, in two years it will take the subsurface rock and change it into limestone, permanently sequestering the CO2 and (turning) the carbon that was in the atmosphere, actively removing it from the environment. We are at 410 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere and we’ve got to get down below 350 if we are to have any hopes of holding out. If we stopped extracting hydrocarbons right now, it’ll be four decades before we level out. So the idea is that we can implement a carbon tax where you charge people to create it, and then reward them for sequestering it and now we can actively get in front of this 40 year cycle. And think about this, Exxon, Chevron … they will be the heroes of the green energy movement, because they are the ones who know how to find an appropriate geology, drill a hole and pump a fluid through it. We can through money and incentives turn the people who helped wreck the planet into the people who are going to fix it.
Phil Brittan in YouTube chat says it is “unproven radioactive bullshit”. John argues that he is familiar with much of this. Laura intervenes to say that Phil is saying that it’s a nuclear reactor … Rick explains further. It is in fact a nuclear reactor, but the reactors that you know today ... those reactors use a solid fuel, high pressure and low temperature. This is a liquid fuel, atmospheric pressure and high temperature. There is no risk of it going pop. There is no pressure vessel to contain. It is walk away safe and the results are non-proliferating. Not only does it not make nuclear waste, we can consume it. Lastly, since it’s not a high pressure vessel that has to be actively cooled externally, you don’t have to position these things next to water sources. So, we can drop them off right where energy is already being produced. We’ve got coal-fired plants in NV like Valmy. We could build a LFTR right next to it and plug into the existing infrastructure. Take that polluter offline and put the Molten-Salt reactor on.
John asks about the net metering battles going on in NV and where Rick thinks we need to be with renewables. Wind and solar are great – Rick says. I want to see them done at an individual and municipal level rather than at the level of an enterprise. Because wind and solar are diffuse and intermittent, they don’t provide a good solution for base load generation and until we have batteries in place that can store and redistribute that energy out, you have to have something that can handle our base load needs. For now that means coal fired plants - geothermal predominately. Geothermal is fine but it does impact water tables to an extent (wells…). We might be able to use it in NV (but it’s not the answer for the other 49 States). Wind and solar I want to see as part of building codes. I would like to have our city make it a mandatory building code. If that was done on construction and en masse, it would take a lot of the load out of our network. As an end user, you are responsible for about 14% of the power consumed in America – he says. The rest of it is done by industry, so that 14% is our part, and if we’re going to go green (or blue), that 14% is our responsibility. Solar panels, building homes with better R-value and moving towards something that is net energy producing or blue home. John talks of the Tesla Gigafactory. He’s going to be pushing out these battery packs. He’s already done so for Australia and California. They’re there … it’s a matter of investment. This is where John and Rick start talking about mining. Rick tells us that Nevada was founded on Mining, Gaming, Drugs and Debauchery … the pillars of the State - he calls them. I quote Rick: “Moving into the 21st century, Nevada is fast becoming the next Silicon Valley, or as I like to think of it, Graphene Valley. In addition to the gold and silver mines upon which Nevada was founded and with which we helped win the Civil War, we require Lithium for Tesla’s batteries and that means mining is going to increase.” We’d need to do a better job of land reclamation though – says Rick. (Outgoing) Governor Brian Sandoval (fairly moderate Republican who did a few good things) was working on putting together some rules so that we would actually be taxing the mining business in such a way that we would come in and do the clean up after. They used to have really good land reclamation here in NV. They would come in after they were done and clean up the (damaged ponds) test the soil, put back indigenous plants, move the rocks around and make it perfect. But now we have a lot of extranational corporations that are running these enterprises and they've found it is easier to extract the profits, keep someone on the payroll and pretend that the mine is open. They let it lay there rather than spend the money to clean up the mine after the fact. Rick wants to sort this out, but insists that mining is very important to NV. Most of the parts of your car, my wedding band and every piece of electronics, neodymium and lithium come out of NV. John adds that we’ve created a number of metals that we now have to manufacture, that require those other rarer elements too.
Rick is also in favor of Universal Basic Income (UBI). He tells people about the advantages of a single income with no restrictions, and which one can spend locally, while at the same time helping to grow the economy. John intervenes to jokingly call him a socialist. Rick responds with “Guilty as charged, Sir.” He continues. If you have UBI and Universal healthcare, you are now free to move about this country and do what you want to do, instead of worrying about whether you are covered or can afford to make the trip. I want people to have freedom of mobility – he says. Medicare for All is the only answer that covers everybody and there is no other answer that is more cost effective. All the other programs are 20+% overhead, whereas Medicare is 2%.
John asks Rick about the fact that it seems that so much money goes to the Military Industrial Complex, and were that not the case there would be plenty of money for healthcare and everything else. Rick’s answer is Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors! We are at war – he says, in 7 countries and they are undeclared, unfunded wars at that. This is all in the interests of hydrocarbon extraction. If we were genuinely concerned about exporting democracy or any other kind of truly humanitarian effort - with the military, we’d be in Africa dealing with Boko Haram as well. That makes sense to John.
I know we are already downsizing fission reactors – John says. What about a downsized LFTR though? Rick mentions that the ones he was looking at, that seem the most likely, are from Flibe Energy, Huntsville, Alabama and they are modular. I think they are 250-Megawatt (Hr), so you would just stack them.
What does Rick Shepherd have to say about BLM? “Law enforcement will train their cops better or I will take away their guns. Black lives matter.” How do you think that statement is going to go over with the Fraternal Order of the Police, in your run - says John? Poorly – replies Rick! He continues. 1200 people died in police custody in 2015. Most were shot dead. The people who shot them are more interested in gun control with respect to type grouping than gun control with respect to de-escalating a hostile environment. Rick is amenable to the idea that new cops have a probationary period before they get to carry a sidearm. He elaborates calmly and clearly. Salt Lake City – John says, did cop training on de-escalation and they didn’t murder anybody in 2015. Black people make up 12% of the population and 48% of the deaths in police custody. Something dramatic has to happen if law enforcement won’t step up and police their own - Rick says, all the while trying not to throw law enforcement under the bus. Rick is even more bothered by those who work among them, who know who these people are, what they do and are capable of, and yet do nothing and say nothing. That is what is most disheartening – he says. We’ve a lot of work to do - John comments, mentioning that the cops who (recently) took a knee were suspended or something. There is a lot of systemic racism.
Rick does have a more positive story to relate on this matter though. He was on the winning side of institutional racism in Reno once. That’s what got him involved in activism. There was wilful negligence and dereliction of duty taking place at the Reno Police Department and he exposed it statewide. When he brought this to the attention of Reno’s Mayor Hillary Schieve and Nevada State Senator - now passed, Debbie Smith, these 2 remarkable women came to his aid. Once he made them aware of what he was aware of, they leaped into action and in a matter of weeks did what he couldn’t accomplish in nearly a decade. It drove home for him the point that activism was great but if he could take the fight to D.C. he could be far more effective.
Rick does not think highly of ICE, and speaks of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and local law enforcement. We have corruption up and down the ranks – he says. As regards the DACA recipients, they know only this country. They were brought here without their knowledge or consent. They fund DACA themselves. 100% have no criminal record. Some 96% are employed. Most are going to school. These are wonderful people. These are the kind of citizens you want around here. There was nothing broken with DACA. Donald Trump is just intent on undoing everything Obama did, that’s all. The Reagan amnesty in the 1980s was given to (2.7) million immigrants. We need to do the same again – Rick tells us. We are even at a net negative when it comes to immigration from Mexico. Rick points out that most of those who come don’t do so illegally, they overstay their visas and by the way fly here in planes over that wall that Donald Trump wants to build.
What an enjoyable interview! Rick Shepherd tells us clearly and bravely what he believes needs to happen. He is smart, listens and responds well, has a lovely relaxed manner, a sense of humor and even a little German too. The links are in the video description. Good luck Rick!
Bobby Mahendra on Money in Politics, Immigration, War and the Military, Cannabis, Revenue for Nevada, Guns, Freedom to Marry, Climate change, Solar energy and the Nevada Democratic Party.
#WeThePeople interviewed Bobby Mahendra, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Nevada on September 13th, 2017. Bobby identifies as a socially liberal and fiscally conservative Democrat.
Dean Heller is the Establishment Republican incumbent U.S. Senator from Nevada.
Bobby starts by encouraging everybody to contribute - as proud Americans, to the people of TX, FL and the Caribbean, who are in everyone’s thoughts and prayers. He reminds the viewers and team that in so doing, they are helping their own country.
The symbols on his website are intended to highlight in a simple manner - the key issues he stands for, as his team don’t necessarily have the infrastructure to keep updating it every 5 minutes, because things keep changing. His Facebook page spells out the details of his platform he tells us and would reach more people. That’s a good idea – John says, depending on how you believe FB is censoring your data. That’s correct Bobby says.
His website informs us that Bobby is non-Establishment and has no Special Interests, Super PACs or corporations behind him. “I am not from the government. I am here to help.” John asks what that means. Key thing that’s a problem is money, that dumps in and corrodes the system - Bobby answers. Medicare (etc.) doesn’t pass because of that money that Senators and House Members receive … policy is geared towards whatever those with the money would like, and that prevents things (ordinary) people need and want from happening.
The next slide concerns Bobby’s immigration policy, which should be tough and fair. It is called: “Life, liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. The icons show an undocumented family and the steps that should occur. The people need to apply for jobs and once they have an employer request visas by way of the government. Once those visas are approved, they become legal immigrants. There should then be a waiting period (path) of about 10 years as they are considered for citizenship. There are 258 likes recorded here.
One should immigrate legally - Bobby says, but we do have quite a number of people who have immigrated here illegally - by choice, or because their parents brought them - such as the DACA children. In the 1980s there was a blanket amnesty but the problem didn’t go away. This will continue to be the case if we don’t solve the reason people are coming across the border from Mexico or even from other countries. I think it is very important to have immigration - job or need(s) based. So, if employers are looking for people for positions that Americans don’t want to take, then there should be a legal channel for people to immigrate in order to fill those positions. Once we have the actual border secure, then we can figure out the actual path that people need to take.
John asks what Bobby feels about the DACA children and whether they should be given this path to freedom, and if he thinks they should be sent back to where they or their families came from. Bobby’s answer is that the DACA children don’t know any another country. They are effectively American. They participated in an American program set up by the government and he believes that at this point they are on the path to citizenship. It is incumbent upon Congress to fix that. To him, if the Congress doesn’t want to, then the President should continue the current set-up and let them stay until a solution is found. They’ve been contributing to our country greatly. They should definitely stay. It makes no sense that they should have to go. To be honest John says, most DACA kids probably know more about the history of the U.S. than most Americans. That’s probably true Bobby says. John adds that he would like to see civics taught again. His knowledge of that subject - he says, came by way of a merit badge in boy scouts.
What do you think - John asks, about the undocumented immigrants that we rely on in this country - and wholly underpay and abuse, to take care of our agriculture industry? What happens to those people? Bobby mentions job openings on some of the farms in Florida, and that (Americans who try to work there) don’t last because those are not the type of jobs that they want to do. The people who immigrate to do this work should be covered by a “guest-worker” program. If we decide that we need someone to do the job on a long term basis, then those people would need to be on some type of a path to citizenship, as we figure out what the solution is to stop immigration going forward. We would need to have a “guest-worker” number (like a social security number) when these people are here legally. They can get paid fairly, open a bank account and participate in the system. They would not have to hide in the shadows somewhere. John asks whether Bobby would see fit to enforce rules on the employers and perhaps also change laws to make the situation more fair and equitable for the workers. Bobby doesn’t seem too keen on this idea. He speaks of businesses leaving in droves as it is and admits to not knowing the economics of how the farming industry works. I hear that they get paid minimum wage if there isn’t enough production - but I haven’t verified that on my own. Do you have some knowledge showing that they are getting paid less than the minimum wage – Bobby asks? Absolutely - says John, I don’t have any sources with me, but I can definitely share them with you after the program. Bobby nods to that. Not only - says John, are they paid sub-standard wages, but they are treated poorly. They are not allowed to take breaks. They don’t get bathrooms to go to ... It’s a horrible issue. There was a couple that died just recently in Washington State, because they were out there picking berries in 100° plus temperatures and they weren’t allowed to take a break or a drink. It is an unregulated industry and a horrible thing that’s happening to these undocumented immigrants. Right now in California the agricultural fields are rotting - actually they’re rotting across the country, because the farming industry can’t find anyone willing to do those jobs at those wages (any more). There are some farmers that do pay good wages, but the problem is that the families they were working with, fled to Canada because Donald Trump was going to deport them. We need a path (to citizenship) - says John.
I think - says Bobby, that there are plenty of creative people in the country who want to do the right thing, like Ben and Jerry. In their case, they find farms that are sustainable and help them produce the right kind of quality goods that they want to consume. Bobby thinks that that is the way to go. He feels that the I-phone ought to be made in the U.S. where it’s created and that there is much that could be done to bring employment to the U.S. which would solve (farming aside maybe) a lot of the problems. There’s not really any manufacturing left in the country. I imagine 50 to 70% (of goods are) now made in China. I understand that the world is changing and we probably can’t change that, but we don’t have to abuse our workers and put them last. We need to put them first. Having a good job keeps people away from criminal activities. I don’t know that I have a great solution on the farming issue, but my constituents give me great ideas on other issues - we’ll talk about those afterwards.
Barbara in YT chat wonders what his position is on immigrants who are fleeing war or persecution. Bobby thinks that Americans have big hearts. He feels that one needs to be careful about who one lets into the country. The terrorism problem in the United States may not be great, but he feels that there are two types of people arriving in Europe. There are those individuals that are out for terrorism and who don’t really care whether you let them in or not - they just want to kill Americans or Westerners or Europeans, and those individuals who are escaping a war which they want no part of. Governments should be able to think about and balance fairly the needs of the (refugees) and whether to let them in - on the one hand, and the problems of rampant immigration on the other. So I think – he says, that is something (even if not needs-based) we can do and vet properly too.
Statistically in the U.S. right now - says John, there are more people fleeing than coming at this point. Right - says Bobby. Also – John continues, statistically in most of those European nations, ISIS has claimed responsibility for most of those terrorism acts. (Regarding) the diversity of the immigrants - and they have taken thousands and thousands and thousands in Europe, while we’ve refused to allow them in; most of them are fleeing nations that we’ve bombed in some aspect, but it has been found that the crime rates in those areas (where they live) are lower than the crime rates in non-diverse areas. So - says John, statistically there is something to be said for the fact that the data doesn’t match the statements coming out of a lot of people about immigration and refugees.
Bobby responds. I think that the crime rate is not something you would look at immediately and that the people that are fleeing a war-torn country are probably very grateful. I would be. I can understand that people would be trying to fit in, not necessarily knowing all the laws and rules and trying to learn that system. However Bobby feels that after the new immigrants are there for a while, they may become radicalized or start to think differently, or to feel more comfortable because they are (living) in their own community and then things start to change. So we want to make sure that we do a good job of maintaining the situation when the people come and that they also want to be part of the fabric of America, and integrate – he says.
John suggests that Bobby is actually concerned about a larger issue – such as infrastructure or healthcare etc. in the U.S. If I were an immigrant fleeing my country - he adds, I wouldn’t come here. I’d go to Canada or to Germany. I’d go anywhere other than the U.S. at this point. This place doesn’t look safe to me at all - especially if one is a person of color. I (don’t) disagree with that, Bobby replies. I’ve traveled to France and the U.K., and even though they have terrorism, I sometimes feel safer when I’m walking around the streets over there because you literally see thousands of people on foot. In the U.S. - unless you’re living in a major metropolitan (area) like New York, San Francisco or Chicago, you generally don’t see a lot of people walking around. Most of the movement is in cars. John adds that he lives in rural Oregon right now and that personally he is very fearful of walking the streets there because of the police presence that’s so militarized. That bothers me more than anything else – he says. I’ve never really had a problem with crime. Police abuse seems to be on the rise though. I want to talk about that in relation to the next set of icons, because one of them is my personal fave issue, because I’m a cannabist - I smoke marijuana.
On the next slide there are a number of issue icons. Freedom to live (Strong military and anti-terror) got 708 likes. Freedom to smoke got 1098 likes. Freedom to defend got 658 likes.
Bobby thinks the U.S. has a pretty good military and that they do a great job. He’s proud of the fact that there is a low amount of terrorism in the U.S. and feels that that’s really important. He quotes Senator Lindsey Graham “The people that want terrorism, they don’t care, they just want to kill you” and adds that Senator Graham also made a statement about wanting to make sure that those wars were held in their backyard, not in the American backyard. If you think - says Bobby, about that statement and how our government has maintained the U.S., I think they’ve done a pretty good job in that regard. Being a Berniecrat we can’t have these never-ending wars, so I think it’s important that we have to balance that, but I don’t know if there is a great solution. I would like to see those wars end and come to a conclusion, but I don’t see that happening until I can figure out what the root cause of the problem is. I’ve spent a number of hours thinking about this and I feel that there is some kind of educational deficiencies in these countries where terrorism is picking up. I feel that they don’t have the same opportunities that we have, but solving an educational problem takes many years to do. I do believe that there are threats to Americans and we have to be cognizant of that.
John responds to the above by saying that he personally believes that most of the conflict around the world today is being brought about by America’s activity in other Nations - starting with Iran in 1953. We are the regime-changers and a lot of people on the progressive side - particularly Berniecrats, believe this. As to educating a populace, ours seems to be the one that really needs an education. What do you think of that - he asks Bobby? You know that’s a great point – Bobby replies, but we are at where we are at. Just because somebody made a bad decision before, it still doesn’t change the dynamics that we’re in today. We can go back and try to educate ourselves and improve and I think that’s really important as well, but it doesn’t change the fact that we have these individuals who want to get rid of Americans or don’t like Western views, and we need to be aware of that and just be reasonable. That makes sense – John says.
In terms of the military – John continues, Hilary Clinton - whether you like her or not, and I’ll do her a favor and say 2016 is over; she sold a lot of weapons. She was really good at selling weapons. She sold more weapons than any other Secretary of State in the history of America, and a lot of those weapons are in the hands of our enemies today because we sell weapons to a lot of people. Our military is 57% of our budget. That seems ridiculous. How do you maintain freedom to live, strong military and anti-terror and maybe bring that down to a smaller penis extension for the American people? Bobby replies that there is always a balance of things. We had sequestration a few years back and there was a 10% budget cut across the board because people couldn’t figure out what to do and where they wanted to cut things. Americans didn’t really notice any difference in their lives after sequestration occurred. There is probably a lot of waste in the government, regardless of what department you look at. I think that we can bring the budgets down and improve things that people want, for example healthcare, but I do think that the politicians have to be working for the people.
John asks Bobby whether he has ever seen the pie chart. The military is a huge chunk and everything else slivers. Education could use a big piece of that military chunk! NASA is just a tiny sliver and could use a big piece too. I’m not sure there are really a lot of other places to cut, other than public services - which is what Donald Trump is going after … these little nickels and dimes and Planned Parenthood and such. Bobby replies – yes, the military does make up a big chunk and social security too … If you look at our government, even with sequestration I don’t think they’ve been living within their means. Americans have been for a long time, with unemployment … Below their means - comments John. Bobby continues – The government should be doing that, figuring out a balanced budget and making sure things are running and operating smoothly. At the end of the day we have almost 22 trillion in debt and that’s not the way to survive. The country keeps weakening and eventually at some point this is not going to be sustainable.
Laura intervenes to ask her own question and to repeat that the military budget really is ridiculous. What about the trillions and billions of dollars that just go missing – she asks? I think that our military is fluffed up to the gills and I also think we could do what we are doing and pay a lot less. Bobby answers that he doesn’t believe that any money ever really goes missing. It is used by the government to do something that they don’t want people to know about … for example black ops or whatever. They’re not really buying toilet seats for a thousand dollars apiece … but again, that’s just what I feel and I have no direct knowledge of anything.
Jeffrey in YouTube chat wants to know what you think of decriminalizing all drugs in your State – Laura asks. Bobby answers that the government machine is slow and one has to try things out. Colorado took the lead and they got a pretty good result for it. The people of NV also voted on legalizing recreational cannabis. We’re going down that path too now. I heard a few things about awful accidents that have happened up in Colorado … I think we need to start with cannabis, learn more about it and then see what happens. Bobby is though concerned about the opioid crisis in the U.S. and wonders where people are obtaining these meds. He doesn’t think it would be a good idea (to make opioids readily available) right now, but he would be open to reconsidering this or at least learning about the issue, once they see what happens with marijuana in NV.
John asks when exactly it was made legal. I believe it was July 1st (2017). There was a bit of a run on it to start with – Bobby replies. I know you guys ran out – John says, and CA has overstock but because of federal rules they couldn’t ship you any across State lines. I’m sure - Bobby smiles, that if there is a demand it will be or perhaps has already been supplied. I’m going to send you some statistics on cannabis – John comments, because they are all positive. There hasn’t been a negative statistic yet. Okay - says Bobby. And I think you’re State number 4 or 5 to legalize recreational use of cannabis - says John. Washington has been on it and has seen the same results as Colorado.
It’s a great thing that you brought this up, because we’re going to talk about revenue as you have these “Grow Nevada, grow America” plans - which sound very Bernie-esque “pie in the sky” and a lot of the funding may come from marijuana. Is that so – John asks? I don’t look at any specific industry Bobby replies. I worked in Fortune 500 for many years. My campaign team is made up of many smart people, has a lot of connections in corporate America and we have a lot of knowledge about how it works. What we want to do is go after companies like Apple, Samsung … big manufacturing companies and get them to open up facilities here in the U.S. It’s not that they wouldn’t want to do so - they’d love to, but sometimes they may need an incentive. They may be foreign corporations who don’t necessarily know how to do business in the U.S., and a lot of (the work) is just providing knowledge or education about how to open up a company and providing them support resources. So I really feel the “Grow Nevada, grow America” theme can be really effective. When it comes to our State there’s no reason not to move here. We have no natural disasters. We have no bugs or insects of any kind. I hardly ever see a spider, (although) we get moths in the fall. We have no State income tax … Apple for example (already) has their financial headquarters (sitting in) Reno so all that money is funneling there but that money funneling doesn’t really generate a lot of jobs, because it’s really easy to move money around. It’s much more difficult to move a physical product around. I think it can be done pretty easily.
Can it be done without screwing the people though - asks John? He explains that there was a recent story about Apple opening a facility somewhere, and it really turned out to be a bad deal. Apple gets paid a ton of money for opening a facility because they need an incentive, but it doesn’t create a lot of jobs, and it costs the taxpayer a shit ton of money, because Apple doesn’t even pay for it. The same thing applies to the Foxconn facility - which is a joke of a deal. Right says Bobby. By the way – John continues, you’re an accountant and this is what you do. So is it possible without …? Yes absolutely – Bobby replies. I don’t see why we can’t have a fair solution. We’re not saying you have to give them an incentive (of) free money just to open up the facility. That’s not the (kind of) company I want. I want companies that are interested in doing global business and that find the U.S. is a great spot to do that. They can reduce their shipping costs to get those products over here. We saw a lot of success with automobile manufacturing. I don’t see why that can’t be replicated in other industries and we don’t have to be excessively generous. You know a lot of it is just education … I have worked with people from all over the world. Some people don’t understand the U.S. tax system and they hire CPAs ... There is always a win-win that you can create. John has a hard time believing that Apple, Foxconn and other companies that size don’t know exactly how to work with the U.S. government - because they land the deals. Apple is probably well aware of it, Bobby responds, but there is an issue here. Most of the government still uses BlackBerries which are a Canadian product. Why not an Apple iPhone? It’s well proven that it’s very secure and probably works for government purposes and is our own product.
They move on. What does freedom to defend mean? Bobby explains that the (Second Amendment) was about protecting yourself from the government. The world has changed and I do believe that it is difficult to protect yourself from the government when said government has nuclear weapons. I personally have a concealed carry permit in my State, which is valid in many other States. I’d like to see Constitutional carry so that the same (rule) applies throughout the country. However one can argue about where to draw the line. Should individuals be allowed to have assault weapons for instance? The 47 year old John agrees on the need - at this stage, to protect oneself from the government. The 20 year old John thinks that is scary. He says - let’s just move on to the more frightening situation in that we have under-educated, ignorant Americans able to access guns, with zero training or registration. You know it’s harder for them to get a car. There was an incident last week in Walmart where 2 people pulled a gun on each other over a product! John asks Bobby whether he would want to institute laws on this matter – so that people are sure at least that the person carrying an AR-15 is well trained, has a special permit and isn’t an idiot. Bobby thinks it is up to the individual to educate themselves on the matter and be careful – at least with regard to handguns. He’s fine with whatever solution America finds regarding assault weapons. Concealed carry comes with additional training, you have to pass a test and be able to use it in a safe manner – he adds. John isn’t so sure about people in America finding a solution, as we appear – he says to have a violence problem in this country. It seems to be out of control with police and with citizens. So – he says to Bobby, you believe people will come up with solutions, but wouldn’t yourself be interested in pushing forth legislation to regulate or control who (including the mentally ill) has guns or in doing background checks and such? No - says Bobby, who has seen (or made?) videos about the mentally ill. Senator Dean Heller voted to reverse a law where the mentally ill could get guns. If they can’t manage their money how could they manage their guns - he argues. With regard to Sandy Hook, yes there does need to be some change there. A fair solution is needed. If people don’t like it then they need to do a Constitutional Amendment. There are many groups working on Constitutional Amendments for everything, including groups to get money out of politics. Citizens United was a big mistake - says John. Right - says Bobby.
The following icons on Bobby’s slides are freedom to choose - with 899 likes, freedom to marry - with 1108 likes and freedom to pray - with 449 likes. Are these issues with your base in NV? Bobby replies that these are a little more out of favor - with the exception of freedom to marry. There seems to be more of an assault on the LGBTQ community currently – he says. Bobby has been working with one of the largest organizations - The Stonewall Democrats, in his local area, that deals with the LGBTQ community and he has been learning what he can about their needs and interests. Those are largely simple. They just want what everybody else has, the right to choose to marry whomever they like, the right not to be assaulted … Agreed says John. Bobby thinks that there should be laws that support everybody (and help them) be productive members of society without discrimination as to their sexual orientation.
Kimo in YouTube chat has a question. As NV is climate unsustainable, what advances should the State take to halt climate change? Climate change is incumbent on all of us to work on - Bobby replies. It is pretty obvious that it is occurring and we need to act. Bobby just got appointed to the executive committee of the Southern Nevada Sierra Club (chapter). He drives a Prius and tries to cut the water off whenever he can. The little things we do on a day to day basis can have a big impact. I know that the climate is heating up, but people are under pressure to get electric cars … I think these things could make a big difference.
They might - John says, but now we know that Exxon knew (about climate change) and they lied. You’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies, and they are being sued by so many people right now. The data shows that they misled their shareholders, lied about climate change and paid the New York Times for hundreds and hundreds of articles that were to promote the negative. “Honestly it seems to me like that’s a super criminal entity. They have worked for decades to destroy this planet, and the reason I tell you this is because it doesn’t matter if everybody drives electric today, the amount of carbon we continue to produce and emit into the air because of our fossil fuel industry, has doomed us.” How do we stop the fossil fuel industry from destroying our planet - because they are doing so, John asks?
Bobby responds - Great points, but what else do you expect from any company that wants to make a profit? They are always going to be looking after their own interests. He quotes a Shell CEO who says that the world would probably be hitting peak oil within the next 10 years, not because we’re going to run out of oil or the demand is consistently outstripping it, but because the demand for oil is likely to go down and there will be a shift towards electric power. And we have a lot of free energy available from the sun - that makes more sense. “They may have done something in the past and done something to evaluate whether we need to charge them with a crime. There probably is nothing that you can get them on, because the EPA is pretty good at going after people and because there is probably no law or they had the law written out. But the little things we do every day … are making a huge impact, and it’s passed the point where the oil companies can stop it now. He says that people like Elon Musk stood up and helped make Tesla into a great company and we are rolling downhill at this point. John is not convinced. He feels we are in a death spiral that requires global mobilization, which he says will not happen as long as we continue to pander to fossil fuel companies.
In NV you have sun. There is a battle going on. Net metering was in place and then the NV energy guys and the greedy came in and said we want to trash that. You Nevadans said no. It’s been going back and forth. If you were elected how would you promote solar? This would be a State issue – Bobby says. It’s about balancing energy companies’ rights (regarding) how they make their profit and what the people want. I think here the people are winning on that. He says that the Republican Governor is termed out, so he’s hoping for a Democratic Governor and to really be able to push on this. Bobby is not sure how progressive the Democratic politicians are, but Bernie’s progressive movement is just not dying out. He gets a lot of e-mail from constituents … and there are two groups. “I do see” Bobby says “that we are starting to become a country where the issues are a lot more important, and I think that will help drive improvements in politics.” That’s the key statement right there – says John, and what we like to call it is awake. Bobby says that about 6 months ago the newspapers said NV was leaning conservative. That’s an odd statement – he says, because NV went pretty heavily for Clinton. Many more people are now active in politics. The amount of people in the Democratic Party has expanded rapidly he says. Club membership is up by 15 to 20%. Dean Heller is in trouble – he says. They agree that there will be a mixed bag of Democrats in 2018, but John thinks the corporate ones can be pressured to move in the direction we want them to go. Bobby agrees.
To finish, Bobby reminds everyone that he is against money in politics. You’re wasting people’s time if you spend 6 to 8 hours a day dialing for dollars. He and others want to push issues. He has 30,000 supporters on his FB site. You only need 50,000 votes in NV to win the Primary – he says. I think it’s important for people to start researching what they want from the people in government and come to candidates like me if they want issues to be dealt with.
The links are in the video description. Good luck Bobby Mahendra!