A media company that operates several West Virginia newspapers is suing Google and Facebook for threatening the extinction of local newspapers across the country by their alleged anticompetitive business practices.
HD Media Company this week filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to determine whether the two Silicon Valley companies had violated anti-trust laws. The lawsuit claims Google had unlawfully exercised monopoly power of the digital advertising market, which has prevented newspapers from competing in the market and losing their primary source of revenue.
It also claims that Google and Facebook had “unlawfully conspired to engage in anticompetitive conduct,” through an alleged secret deal nicknamed “Jedi Blue.” Details of the alleged agreement were first revealed when 10 state attorneys general sued Google for multiple violations of federal and state antitrust and consumer protection laws.
According to a redacted version of the lawsuit (pdf) filed in December, Facebook announced in 2017 that it would try a new method of selling online advertising called “header bidding,” which would act as a threat of competition for Google. The lawsuit suggested Facebook eventually “curtailed its involvement” with the project after Google gave Facebook “information, speed, and other advantages in the [redacted] auctions that Google runs for publishers’ mobile app advertising inventory each month in the United States.”
The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, who both say they’ve reviewed an unredacted version of the complaint, reported the alleged secret deal referred to in the lawsuit was code-named “Jedi Blue” by Google.
HD Media’s lawsuit claims that as a result of Google and Facebook’s alleged anticompetitive and monopolistic practices, newspapers in West Virginia and across the country are facing “a very real existential threat to their existence.”
“Without redress, these newspapers, and hence the citizens of West Virginia, may well end up in the ‘news desert,’” the lawsuit states (pdf).
It claims that Google’s monopoly has created an uneven playing field to compete for online advertising revenue. It says Google had integrated itself through numerous mergers and acquisitions to “enable dominion over all sellers, buyers, and middlemen in the marketplace.”
“The freedom of the press is not at stake; the press itself is at stake,” the filing states.
“As a result of falling revenues, newspapers are steadily losing the ability to financially support their newsrooms, which are costly to maintain but provide immense value to their communities. A robust local newsroom requires the financial freedom to support in-depth, sometimes years-long reporting, as well as the ability to hire and retain journalists with expertise in fundamentally local issues, such as coverage of state government.”
Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.
HD media is seeking an order that declares Google and Facebook’s actions violated the law and blocks them from further engaging in such conduct. It also seeks damages for any injury caused.
HD media owns and operates newspapers such as The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington and Cabell County, the Charleston Gazette-Mail, The Wayne County News, The Putnam Herald, the Williamson Daily News, The Logan Banner, the Coal Valley News in Boone County, and The Independent Herald in Pineville.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on all Americans to not engage in any violent demonstrations, vandalism, or lawbreaking ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking, and NO vandalism of any kind,” Trump said. “That is not what I stand for and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”
The Epoch Times reached out to the White House for comment. Trump’s statement will go out as an email from the White House press office and the White House will post the statement through the president’s social media accounts. The report also cited an advisor as saying that the president wants Big Tech companies to assist in disseminating his message of non-violence.
It came after the president was suspended from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other tech platforms.
Other Republicans and Trump surrogates have called for no violence following the U.S. Capitol breach.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel stated Wednesday that “violence has no place in our politics. Period.”
“I wholly condemned last week’s senseless acts of violence, and I strongly reiterate the calls to remain peaceful in the weeks ahead,” McDaniel remarked. “Those who partook in the assault on our nation’s Capitol and those who continue to threaten violence should be found, held accountable, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
She added: “Let me be clear: Anyone who has malicious intent is not welcome in Washington, D.C. or in any other state capitol. The peaceful transition of power is one of our nation’s founding principles and is necessary for our country to move forward.”
The breach occurred during the Jan. 6 Joint Session of Congress as members were counting to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election. Critics have said Trump incited violence with his rhetoric during a speech to supporters, leading to House Democrats introducing articles of impeachment this week. A vote on impeachment is scheduled for later this week, although it’s unclear when the Senate might take it up.
McDaniel noted that “now is the time to come together as one nation, united in the peaceful pursuit of our common democratic purpose.”
Trump attorney Jenna Ellis said that “it is possible (and correct) to support election integrity, the Constitution, and free speech and also condemn violence,” adding: “We are a nation under the rule of law.”
Ellis remarked that some leftists and media outlets are attempting to create a narrative that the Trump team’s support for election integrity is supporting “violence” against and “disdain for the Constitution.”
“Some on the right are trying to build a false narrative that support for the Constitution is condemning election integrity,” Ellis remarked.
According to a report in The Washington Post, the FBI had warned that extremists were preparing to come to Washington, attack Congress and engage in “war.”
The report says the warning was issued internally by the FBI’s field office in Norfolk, Virginia, a day before the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The warning directly contradicts statements from the Justice Department and FBI officials that they had no intelligence to suggest a storming of the Capitol.
The Post says the memo described how people had been sharing maps of the Capitol’s tunnels and discussing rallying points to meet up to travel to Washington. The newspaper reported that the document detailed posts calling for violence, including that “Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Antifa slave soldiers being spilled.”
It also said to “go there ready for war.”
The Associated Press has not obtained the document. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Charged & uncharged
The U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia has brought federal charges against about 20 people so far, while 40 others have been charged in D.C.’s Superior Court. The people charged in Superior Court are mainly accused of things like curfew violations and gun crimes. Those being tried in federal court, where prosecutors can generally secure longer sentences, are charged with offences such as violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, assaulting a federal law enforcement officer and threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
On Sunday, federal authorities arrested two men who were photographed with plastic restraints inside the Capitol. Investigators said they used social media and livestream videos to identify Eric Munchel of Tennessee as the masked person seen in photos shared widely over social media carrying plastic hand restraints in the Senate chamber.
Retired Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. of Texas was photographed on the Senate floor carrying zip-tie handcuffs and wearing a military-style helmet and vest, authorities said. Brock’s ex-wife helped authorities identify him, according to court documents. He confirmed to The New Yorker that he was the man in the photographs and claimed he found the zip-tie handcuffs on the floor. “I wish I had not picked those up,” he said.
Authorities are working to identify more suspects and more charges are expected.
Many people were allowed to leave the Capitol freely the day of the attack, so investigators have to sort through a sea of photos, video, social media posts and tips from the public to see who was there and track them down.
Federal prosecutors across the U.S. have also said people could face charges in their home states if they traveled to Washington and took part in the assault.
Latest developments: 2:35 p.m. EST
Vice President Mike Pence has told governors on a call about the coronavirus that “our time” is coming to an end and a “new administration” is taking over.
Pence said Tuesday that the administration is in the middle of the transition and is working “diligently” with President-elect Joe Biden’s team. He thanked the governors for their leadership on the coronavirus and promised them a “seamless transition.”
He says the objective “is that there is no interruption in our continuous efforts to put the health of the American people first.”
Pence’s comments come as the U.S. House moves forward toward impeachment or other steps to forcibly remove Trump from office after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol last week to stop Congress from affirming Biden’s victory. Trump has falsely claimed widespread voter fraud cost him the election
Within a span of about 24 hours, three House Democrats have announced they tested positive for COVID-19, prompting concern that last week’s insurrection at the Capitol has also turned into a super-spreader event threatening the health of lawmakers and their staffs.
Those who have tested positive were among the dozens of lawmakers whisked to a secure location when pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. Some members of Congress huddled for hours in the large room, while others were there for a shorter period.
While it’s not certain where and when lawmakers caught the illness, the Capitol’s attending physician notified all House lawmakers of possible virus exposure and urged them to be tested. Dr. Brian Moynihan said that members who were in protective isolation last Wednesday “may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection.”
The three Democratic lawmakers directed their anger toward some House Republicans who were also in the secure room and declined opportunities to wear a mask, despite their role in blocking the spread of COVID-19. Video surfaced of multiple Republican lawmakers refusing to wear a face mask even when they were offered one.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the violence at the Capitol shows the need for the Senate to swiftly confirm Joe Biden’s national security team on the first day of his administration.
Schumer said in a letter to colleagues that the deadly Capitol riot by a mob loyal to President Donald Trump last week was “one of the darkest days in all of American history.”
He said Biden will need “key national security positions on Day One.”
The Senate often confirms some nominees on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, but this year the Senate will also likely be convening Trump’s impeachment trial. The House is set to impeach Trump this week on a sole charge of inciting insurrection in the violent riot.
Schumer wants the chamber to swiftly take up those nominees for secretary of defense, secretary of homeland security, secretary of state, attorney general, and others.
Schumer outlined the party’s agenda, vowing to push ahead on Democratic priorities.
A total of 15,000 National Guard members have now been activated and will deploy to Washington, D.C., to help provide security in the run up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The number of Guard members coming in from other states has been growing, amid escalating fears of more violent protests in the wake of the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.
Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, was given the authority to tap up to 15,000 Guard, but he has said that requests for assistance from the Secret Service, the U.S. Park Police and the Capitol Police have been increasing this week.
The Army also said Tuesday that officials are working with the Secret Service to determine which Guard members may need additional background screening. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Co., had asked Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy to have the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command screen Guard members coming in to ensure they were not “sympathetic to domestic terrorists.”
The Army said CID will not be reviewing all the Guard, but some members may be subject to additional background screening. Traditionally, those who get within close proximity to the president — or in this case the president-elect — are checked more closely.
So far, officials said they have not yet identified any Guard members who participated in the protests, but investigations are ongoing.
In a statement, the Army said the D.C. National Guard is also giving troops additional training as they arrive in the city, so they know to identify and report any extremist behavior to their commanders.
The Army also said it is working with the FBI to identify people who participated in Capitol attack, adding, “any type of activity that involves violence, civil disobedience, or a breach of peace may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or under state or federal law.”
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the FBI to add anyone identified breaching the Capitol during last week’s violent riot to the federal no-fly list.
Schumer sent a letter Tuesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray, saying the attack on the Capitol as Congress was voting to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win was “domestic terrorism.” He said those who stormed the Capitol should qualify as “insurrectionists for the No-Fly List.”
Schumer told Wray that they must also be fully prosecuted to the full extent of federal law. The letter was obtained by The Associated Press.
The federal no-fly list is part of the U.S. government’s Terrorist Screening Database and prohibits anyone who “may pose a threat to civil aviation or national security” from boarding a commercial aircraft. Generally, in order to be placed on the list, the government must have information that the person presents “a threat of committing terrorism” to the aircraft or the U.S. homeland or U.S. facilities.
The no-fly list is one of the government’s most controversial post-Sept. 11 counterterrorism programs.
President Donald Trump is taking no responsibility for his role in fomenting a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week.
A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot a woman during the violence. Three others died in what authorities said were medical emergencies.
Speaking to reporters before traveling to Texas on Tuesday, Trump says his remarks to supporters last week were “totally appropriate.”
Minutes before his supporters stormed the Capitol, Trump encouraged them to march on the seat of the nation’s government where lawmakers were tallying Electoral College votes affirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Trump, for months, had also spread baseless claims that the November election was fraudulent, despite his own administration’s findings to the contrary.
As rioters were still in the Capitol, Trump released a video seemingly excusing the events, saying of the rioters: “We love you. You’re very special.”
President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday at the White House that the prospect of impeachment is causing “tremendous anger” in the nation. But he said he wants “no violence.”
The president spoke as he left for Texas to survey the border wall with Mexico. His remarks were his first to reporters since the Capitol attack.
On impeachment, Trump said it’s “a really terrible thing that they’re doing.” But he said, “We want no violence. Never violence.”
A six-person team that included Rudy Giuliani and Peter Navarro on Saturday briefed hundreds of state lawmakers on evidence of election irregularities.
The Zoom meeting included hundreds of legislators across Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Navarro, the White House director of trade and manufacturing policy, said during an appearance on Fox News.
“These legislators, they’re hot, they’re angry, they want action,” Navarro said. “We gave them the receipts. We explained exactly how the Democrat Party, as a matter of strategy, stole this election from Donald J. Trump.”
According to Got Freedom?, a nonprofit election integrity watchdog, the meeting included an address by President Donald Trump. Nearly 300 legislators heard from the president, Navarro, and Trump’s lawyer, Giuliani.
John Eastman and John Lott were also part of the briefing. Eastman represented Texas in the now-dismissed interstate challenge to the outcome of the election. Lott, a senior adviser for research and statistics for the Department of Justice, authored a recently released report on election theft.
Legislators were briefed on evidence of alleged voter, ballot, and election fraud, which can be viewed on a webpage hosted by Got Freedom?
“This information should serve as an important resource for state legislators as they make calls for state legislatures to meet to investigate the election and consider decertifying their state election results,” Phill Kline, who heads the Thomas More Foundation’s Amistad Project and who hosted the call on behalf of of the group, said in a statement.
“The integrity of our elections is far too important to treat cavalierly, and elected officials deserve to have all relevant information at their disposal as they consider whether to accept the reported results of the 2020 elections, especially in states where the process was influenced by private interests,” he added.
Navarro released a report on Dec. 21 that summarized and categorized evidence of election theft. In the Jan. 2 interview, he said he will be releasing another report on Monday. Navarro said Saturday the report “shows beyond a shadow of a doubt this election was stolen.”
Trump’s legal team and a handful of third parties are litigating challenges to the election in court in six battleground states. Dozens of U.S. Senators and House members have committed to lodging objections to electoral slates from those states when Congress counts the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.
Democrats have criticized the efforts and say the election ran smoothly, apart from a small number of voter fraud cases.
Navarro also suggested that a special counsel may be appointed to investigate if fraud had occurred.
“I would not be surprised to see a special counsel on this,” Navarro said.
Trump’s legal team testified before several panels and committees from state legislatures, including in Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia. The team argued that the mounting evidence of election theft and malfeasance necessitated that the legislatures assert their constitutional right to appoint presidential electors. None of the legislatures have so far followed the team’s advice.
Trump has called on his supporters to descend on Washington when Congress counts the electoral votes on Jan. 6. Some of the senators who committed to objecting to the Electoral College votes that day said they will do so unless Congress appoints a special commission to conduct a 10-day emergency audit of the election. Individual state legislatures would then vet the findings and have the opportunity to convene and vote on a new set of electors.
You can find whispers of this on Twitter but I’m pretty sure it’s throttled down and, if I had to bet, I would say it will get censored in short order. Especially if the order goes into action.
But it’s not a theory. It is an Executive Order that was issued by President Trump on September 12, 2018. It’s almost as if President Trump saw this situation coming.
The order is titled:
“Executive Order on Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election”
I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that the ability of persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States to interfere in or undermine public confidence in United States elections, including through the unauthorized accessing of election and campaign infrastructure or the covert distribution of propaganda and disinformation, constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. Although there has been no evidence of a foreign power altering the outcome or vote tabulation in any United States election, foreign powers have historically sought to exploit America’s free and open political system. In recent years, the proliferation of digital devices and internet-based communications has created significant vulnerabilities and magnified the scope and intensity of the threat of foreign interference, as illustrated in the 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment. I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with this threat.
So, what remedies are described in this Executive Order?
Section 1 says the Director of National Intelligence (John Ratcliffe) shall conduct an assessment and report on any foreign related interference in our elections.
Section 1. (a) Not later than 45 days after the conclusion of a United States election, the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the heads of any other appropriate executive departments and agencies (agencies), shall conduct an assessment of any information indicating that a foreign government, or any person acting as an agent of or on behalf of a foreign government, has acted with the intent or purpose of interfering in that election.
We could be approaching 45 days fairly soon depending on when they deem the conclusion of the election to be.
The report will be delivered to the heads of State, Defense, Treasury, Homeland Security, Attorney General, and the President.
The report will then include any recommended remedial actions that the United States take against such actors, other than sanctions described in the order.
Sec. 2. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any foreign person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security:
The actions that could be taken are wide ranging.
Will this Executive Order come into play? The implications could be huge, if so.
GOP campaigns, voter file lawsuit alleging improper votes in Nevada
The original article on LV Review-Journal is currently being blocked from sharing on Facebook.
Two Republican congressional campaigns and a Nevada voter filed a federal lawsuit Thursday night against Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske and Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria, asking the court to stop the use of Clark County’s electronic mail ballot counting machine and making a variety of fraud accusations.
Although President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Nevada Republican Party are not listed as plaintiffs, they held a news conference Thursday morning promising the lawsuit, an event that featured the named plaintiff, Las Vegas resident Jill Stokke.
The campaigns of Dan Rodimer and Jim Marchant, who are challenging Reps. Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, respectively, are two of the other listed plaintiffs.
Their lawsuit alleged “3,000 instances of ineligible individuals casting ballots” in Clark County, including ballots from deceased voters. It offered no evidence of that or any other allegations, and there are no attached exhibits to the filing.
It also does not note whether the cast ballots have, in fact, made it through the county’s ongoing verification process.
A separate letter sent to the Department of Justice on Wednesday by the Nevada Republican Party alleged to have identified 3,062 individuals who cast a ballot in Nevada while living in another state. It includes an attachment that lists only addresses of the allegedly ineligible voters but not names or any other identifying information. The Review-Journal has requested the names but has not yet received them.
There are a variety of reasons why a person residing out of the state may be allowed to cast a ballot in Nevada, including part-time residents of the state with homes elsewhere, attending college in another state, or people who have recently moved.
Complaint about machines
The lawsuit alleged the Agilis software used by Clark County as the initial step in signature verification of mail ballots violates state election law because other counties do not use the same method, which means Clark residents are “at an unequal risk of having their legal votes diluted by votes with mismatched signatures.”
Stokke, the lawsuit said, was stopped from voting in person after an election official told her a mail ballot had been submitted in her name. The filing alleged the Agilis machine verified this signature and allowed it to be counted.
In a news conference after the Trump campaign’s event, Gloria said he handled Stokke’s case personally.
“I personally dealt with Ms. Stokke,” Gloria said. “She brought her claim to me, we reviewed the ballot, and, in our opinion, it’s her signature. We also gave her an opportunity to provide a statement, if she wanted to object to that if she wanted to challenge that. She refused to do so.”
Gloria said an investigator with the Nevada secretary of state’s office also reviewed the matter.
“They had no issue with the assistance we tried to give her,” Gloria said.
Gloria said he was not aware of any illegal votes being counted.
The machine in question, county officials have said repeatedly, is only the first step in the signature verification process. If it rejects a signature, as it does 70 percent of the time, that ballot goes to county staff for verification, with Gloria having the final say.
The lawsuit also falsely asserts that the county is the only one in Nevada that does not verify signatures on absentee and mail ballots in person.
Problems with observation
It also alleged that another plaintiff, Chris Prudhome, listed on the lawsuit as a “credentialed member of the media” but on his Twitter account as a Republican strategist and Fox News guest commentator, was denied his right to observe the counting of ballots.
The lawsuit said that Prudhome attempted to watch the count at 12:45 a.m. on Wednesday, and he was told by Gloria the counting had already completed for that day.
This lawsuit is the fourth filed against either Clark County or both Clark and the state by Republican campaigns and the second seeking some sort of change to the counting or verification of mail ballots, which have trended heavily for Democrats.
As of Thursday morning, Trump trails Biden by about 11,400 votes in Nevada. Another round of vote tabulations is expected to be released Friday morning.
Trump’s campaign repeated many of the allegations made in the lawsuit at its news conference Thursday morning.
“We firmly believe that there are many voters in this group of mail-in voters that are not proper voters,” Adam Laxalt, former Nevada attorney general and co-chair of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign in Nevada said at the Trump news conference outside the Clark County Election Department vote center in North Las Vegas. “We have received reports of many irregularities across the valley.”
Two Trump representatives spoke but refused to give their names as they alleged that illegal voting had unfolded.
One was former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, who declined to offer specifics when asked for evidence of the campaign’s allegations.
The other was Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union.
Stokke also spoke
In response to the Republican news conference, Nevada State Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy II said Trump’s campaign has “no other recourse than scare tactics and baseless suits.”
“Republicans want to circumvent democracy because things aren’t going in their favor,” McCurdy said. “But the will of the people will not be ignored.”
Settlement in a prior lawsuit
The Trump campaign and Nevada Republican Party agreed to a settlement with the state and Clark County on a previous lawsuit that similarly tried to stop vote counting in the county.
That attempt was shut down in court, but the lawsuit was still technically active.
The campaign filed a motion with the State Supreme Court on Thursday that said Gloria had agreed to allow more observation of the county’s ballot duplication area in exchange for dismissal of the case. Ballot duplication occurs when a staff member finds something wrong with a voter’s physical ballot, which is then duplicated onto a blank ballot and counted.
A decision on water law and the extent of the Nevada State Engineer’s authority over domestic wells is one step closer to reality, with the Nevada Supreme Court recently holding a hearing to take oral arguments from both parties in the appeal lawsuit filed by the engineer’s office over water Order #1293(A).
A decision on water law and the extent of the Nevada State Engineer’s authority over domestic wells is one step closer to reality, with the Nevada Supreme Court recently holding a hearing to take oral arguments from both parties in the appeal lawsuit filed by the engineer’s office over water Order #1293(A).
The water order was issued in Dec. 2017 as a method of curbing the drilling of new domestic wells in Pahrump’s Basin #162. The order created a new requirement for property owners to purchase two-acre feet of water rights and relinquish them back to the state prior to drilling a new domestic well, unless water rights had already been relinquished or dedicated to the property for that purpose.
This prompted immediate resistance from local property owners, real estate agents and well-drilling companies. Together, those opposing the order formed Pahrump Fair Water LLC and filed a lawsuit with a Nevada district court to halt the order. That court decision late last year to overturn the water order, leading to the state engineer’s appeal of that decision.
The matter has been with the Nevada Supreme Court since early this year, with a stay on the lower court’s decision issued, keeping the order in effect until such time as the Supreme Court renders a decision. The case, #77722, has now been submitted for a final ruling.
Due to the significance of the subject at hand and the wide-ranging impact a decision on the case could have, the decision has been placed in the hands of the “en banc” court rather than a smaller panel. In typical cases, a panel of only three Nevada Supreme Court justices is used to make rulings but for the appeal on Order #1293(A) the entire court of all seven justices is being utilized.
Attorney David Rigdon of Taggart and Taggart, LTD, the law firm representing Pahrump Fair Water, explained that the hearing held on Nov. 5 focused primarily on two central arguments, whether the state engineer needed to provide notice and hold a hearing before issuing the order, and whether or not the state engineer had the authority to regulate domestic wells in this manner in the first place.
“Both sides had what we call in the business a ‘hot bench’ with judges regularly interrupting the presentation to ask questions,” Rigdon detailed when asked to provide a brief overview of what occurred at the hearing on Nov. 5. “Most of the questions about the notice were directed at the state engineer’s attorney, while most of the questions about legal authority were directed at us.”
The Nevada Attorney General’s Office, which is representing the state engineer’s office, declined to provide an overview of the Nov. 5 hearing.
However, Rigdon said he felt both sides had made good presentations but there was no way of telling which direction the justices would ultimately turn. He, Pahrump Fair Water and the state engineer’s office, as well as the many local property owners and other stakeholders involved, will simply have to wait to see how the Nevada Supreme Court rules.
For those who would like to listen to the oral arguments made during the Nevada Supreme Court hearing visit bit.ly/2QAokKH
WINNEMUCCA – Nevada Republican Party officials, seeking to put 2018 state losses behind them and set a glide path for nominating President Donald Trump for a second term in 2020, re-elected their incumbent chairman and other party leaders Saturday and formally took the party out of holding a presidential caucus to choose its candidate in February.
The Silver State’s GOP thus becomes the latest state party to all but formally endorse the sitting president more than a year before the election, though central committee members stopped short of nominating him outright. That vote, per Republican national committee rules, won’t happen until February, state leaders said Saturday.
But by opting against a caucus, a move favored by the Trump campaign in Nevada and elsewhere, state Republicans do avoid a contest that could sow division and would cost the party money, but whose outcome would not be much in doubt.
Republicans in South Carolina and Kansas voted to forgo their states’ primaries earlier Saturday, and Arizona Republicans were expected to follow suit as well.
“We have an incredible incumbent who’s very strong,” Douglas County’s Amy Tarkanian told fellow delegates as party faithful debated the move. “And I think it would be a slap in his face if we did not pass this.”
The measure was approved on a show of raised hands. Those who spoke against it said skipping the presidential caucus would sharply curtail participation and enthusiasm for other caucus contests, which will continue as normal.
“It is not only about money. It’s also about the individual’s right to go to the (caucus) and cast a vote,” said Clark County delegate Mary Beganyi. “You want to elect Republicans? Engage Republicans.”
Meeting Saturday in Winnemucca, the county seat of strongly-Republican Humboldt County in Northern Nevada, far from Democratic strongholds in the south, party officials also backed the full slate of incumbent leaders, all Trump stalwarts who enjoy the similar backing of the president.
Chairman Michael McDonald, who has served since 2012, easily won a three-way race with 57 percent of the vote, or 205 out of 362 votes cast, beating back opponents who sought to blame him for the party’s losses in 2016 and 2018.
Trump lost the state in 2016, and Republicans suffered steep losses in 2018 up and down the ballot, including races for U.S. Senate, three of four U.S. House races, and the governor and attorney general races. Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske remains the only Republican statewide elected official.
McDonald defeated Mesquite Councilwoman Annie Black, who received 102 votes, and former Clark County GOP chairman Dave McKeon who won 54.
The caucus opt-out had the backing of the chairman and leadership.
“Caucuses are expensive,” McDonald said during a break in the meeting. He noted that county party organizations had their eyes on reversing 2018’s losses in state legislative races and wanted to “focus on and put the resources where they’re needed.”
In Nevada, Democrats hold a 73,000 active registered voter advantage over Republicans on the strength of their 165,000-voter lead in Clark County, where 71 percent of Nevada’s voters reside. Republicans have a registration advantage in the state’s other 16 counties. State active-voter registration is 38 percent Democratic, 33 percent Republican, and 22 percent nonpartisan according to August figures from the secretary of state’s office.
Hundreds of Valley Electric Association Inc.'s members that take advantage of the co-op's net metering program could see a change in the current rates that are paid. Valley's board will consider a tiered system at the co-op's next board meeting.
By Jeffrey Meehan ~ Pahrump Valley Times
June 21, 2019 - 7:00 am
Valley Electric Association Inc.’s board of directors is set to mull over potential changes to the co-op’s current net metering policy.
The new policy, set to be taken up at Valley’s June 26 board meeting, would lower the current rate of 100 percent, or 11.9 cents per kilowatt-hour, to a tiered system where those with solar would get 75-95 percent of the current rate, “depending on when the member-generator interconnected with the VEA grid,” according to a news release from Valley.
That comes out to 9 cents a kilowatt hour under the 75 percent bracket, according to Interim Chief Executive of Valley Electric Association Inc. Dick Peck.
According to the co-op, the new policy would mirror Assembly Bill 405 on net metering, which was signed into law in 2017 by then-Gov. Brian Sandoval. Net metering is where those with rooftop solar get a credit for the excess energy they return to the grid.
Valley is exempt from the law but offers the program to local customers wanting to install solar, according to a news release from the co-op.
The co-op currently offers 100 percent, or 11.9 cents per kilowatt-hour for the excess energy it sends back to the grid.
Under the proposed net metering policy, VEA policy No. 136, members of Valley installing solar will follow a tiered system, which will be “tied to the date that a completed application to install a net-metering system was received,” according to Valley’s news release.
According to Valley, the first solar generator interconnected to the co-op in 2006 and has grown into the hundreds since that time.
Overall, the system is set that the earlier an application was put in, the higher the reimbursement rate.
For Tier One, where members who interconnected with Valley prior to the generation amount exceeded 1.25 megawatts, those members will receive 95 percent of the full retail rate of 11.9 cents per kilowatt hour. The 1.25 megawatt threshold was crossed in 2015, according to Valley’s release.
Tier Two includes those members that brought the generation from 1.25 to 2.5 megawatts, which occurred in 2017. Under that tier, members will be paid 88 percent of the full retail rate.
Tier Three will be paid 81 percent of the full retail rate for excess energy. This group brought the generated amount from “2.5-3.75 megawatts” in 2019.
Members falling under Tier Four will be reimbursed 75 percent of Valley’s full retail rate.
“The majority of VEA’s generation of renewable energy by members comes in the form of solar, but some members generate power with wind turbines,” Valley’s release stated. “Since the total number of applications in house would bring the system size to nearly 6 megawatts, virtually all new applications would be reimbursed at 75% of the retail rate.”
“With these revisions, Valley Electric will be in line with state law, which serves to encourage the development of solar generation,” Peck said in a news release. “The wholesale power rate is approximately 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, but we had been paying our member-generators 11.9 cents for their excess power. We have to always remember that members who do not generate renewable energy are subsidizing those who do.”
According to Peck, the number of member-generators has grown significantly in the past couple years, which is prompting the need for revisions to the co-op’s policy.
In a news release, Peck estimated that Valley paid $230,000 for power under its net metering program in 2018.
Valley currently has over 600 generators that participate in Valley’s net metering program, equating to approximately 3 percent of the membership, according to Valley’s release.
The number of generators did not pass 100 until 2014, according to Valley’s release.
The topic will be taken up at Valley’s next board meeting at the co-op’s administrative offices in Pahrump. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. at 800 E. Highway 372.
The U.S. Department of Justice is leading a new effort to fight domestic violence. U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr announced details earlier this week.
U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr recently announced the formation of a Domestic Violence Working Group aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers, using the tools of federal prosecution to stop and prevent domestic violence.
The group will operate under the auspices of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (AGAC) and be comprised of nine U.S. attorneys across the country, chaired by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
“Too often, domestic abusers start with threats and abuse, and end up committing extreme violence and even homicide, with devastating impact on families and the community around them,” Barr said in a news release that provided details. “I have directed this working group to examine this issue and determine the best way to use federal gun prosecutions and other appropriate tools to supplement state, local and tribal efforts to address domestic violence.”
Cox said: “With so many domestic disputes escalating from bruises to bullets, we felt we needed to supplement our state and local partners’ efforts to curb domestic violence with federal prosecutions. We hope our initial cases send a message to convicted abusers: Not only could the Justice Department theoretically prosecute abusers for firearm possession – they have and they will.”
Federal law has long barred convicted felons, as well as individuals subject to certain domestic violence protective orders or convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors, from possessing firearms.
The Justice Department news release said:
■ Offenders with domestic violence in their past pose a remarkably high risk of homicide. Research shows that abusers with a gun in the home are five times more likely to kill their partners than abusers who don’t have that same access to a firearm. And according to one recent study, more than half of America’s mass shootings are cases of extreme domestic violence.
■ Keeping guns from domestic abusers legally prohibited from possessing them would significantly reduce violence in America, a major priority of the Justice Department.
■ Federal gun cases involving domestic violence present unique challenges. In some states, the federal and state definitions of domestic violence differ, requiring complex legal analysis that varies based on the location of conviction.
The working group will share best practices, legal analysis and guidance on prosecuting abusers who unlawfully possess guns, and will advise U.S. attorneys across the country on outreach to local law enforcement, judges, and nonprofit groups.
At a glance
Working Group members include:
Scott W. Brady, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania
Robert M. Duncan, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky
Nicola T. Hanna, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California
Justin E. Herdman, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio
Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas
Christina E. Nolan, U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont
Byung J. Pak, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia
R. Trent Shores, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma
Timothy J. Downing, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma