SB 385 Cegavske’s Foray into Vote Suppression 2007 edition

Cegavske How can a person tell when a proposition is an effort at vote suppression?  Republicans across the country have offered, and in some unfortunate cases adopted, measures which they say will secure the “integrity of elections.”  There are several reasons why this should set off the BS Alarms.

#1. Because they’ve said so.  Bastion of ultra-conservative women’s subjugation advocate Phyllis Schlafly  who opined that early voting facilitates illegal votes – a term she left undefined – and for which she offered no proof whatsoever. [TDB 2013]  Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai told an audience in 2012 that Voter ID would deliver the Quaker State to Romney in 2012. [TPM 2012]  Pennsylvania GOP chairman Rob Gleason said after the election that voter ID helped to cut Obama’s margin by 5%.  [TNM] Former North Carolina GOP official Don Yelton lauded that state’s new restrictions as “going to kick Democrats in the butt.”   Current gubernatorial candidate in Texas, Greg Abbott, thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to have a GOP controlled legislature gerrymander districts and do so at the expense of Democrats. [TNM] South Carolina state Representative Alan Clemmons (R-Myrtle Beach) passed out packets of peanuts with cards attached which read, “Stop Obama’s nutty agenda and support voter ID.”  The GOP chairman (2102) in the second largest Ohio county, Doug Preisse,  advocated cutting early voting hours in Democratic leaning counties and expanding them in Republican controlled areas, saying: “ I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban – read African American – voter turnout machine.” [TNM]

#2. Because none of the vote suppression, gerrymandering, or access restriction suggestions have been paired with proposals to facilitate voter engagement.  For example, when Texas enacted its strict voter ID law someone forgot to mention that because of name changes in marriage some 66% of voting age women in the state might lack the proper identification to vote.  Did anyone think to suggest that along with the marriage license a county official might offer a voter registration form to the couple so SHE could revise her personal information?  Or, when divorce proceedings were finalized, and a name change was recorded, an official could offer the same form? Crickets.

North Carolina’s new voting restrictions forbid the use of a student ID for poll identification.  [BrennanCenter]  Did any North Carolina official propose that county clerks and voting registrars in locations where colleges and universities are located  increase their staffing such that registration and acceptable ID documents could be easily procured?  More crickets.

Indiana enacted strict ID provisions in the wake of voter fraud in absentee ballots – not voter impersonation fraud – in one county election.  Problems arise  for people who are natural born citizens but perhaps because of poverty have difficulty getting access to a birth certificate. [PRI] Did any Indiana official suggest at the time that a voting registrar could access other databases in Indiana and beyond, free of charge, for authentication of a voting registration application?  Crickets.

Wisconsin passed Act 23 in 2011 which requires a government issued ID before a person may cast a ballot.  Officials said they “fixed” the access problem by creating a free program from the state motor vehicle department so that people wouldn’t have to pay for the documents necessary to register. [Bloomberg]  Did any official in Wisconsin put forward a bill to expand the hours and the locations of DMV offices?  More crickets.

If a bill which restricts, impedes, or potentially suppresses a citizen’s right to vote, then if it’s not simply an exercise in partisan vote suppression it seems reasonable to conclude that provisions would be included to mitigate or remove the hurdles placed in front of otherwise eligible voters.

On The Home Front

And now we return to Nevada, and the campaign promise from candidate for Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske that she will insure the “integrity of elections.”  She took a shot at this before, in SB 385 in 2007.  SB 385* required photographic identification in the form of a driver’s license, an Armed Forces ID, a U.S. passport, a Native American tribal ID, or a voter registration card issued by a county clerk (at no charge.) Here we go again.

The DMV issue in Nevada has been the subject of numerous posts already, and there’s nothing free about getting a driver’s license in this state – the going price is $41.25.  The price for an ID issued by the Nevada DMV is $21.25 for those under 65, and $7.25 for those over 65.   [DMV]  If an individual in Nevada who uses public transportation, and hence doesn’t really need a driver’s license, wants to vote should the individual have to pay up to $41.25 for the ‘privilege?”  Poll tax anyone?

The U.S. passport provision in SB 385 was gratuitous immigrant bashing; my passport shows – me (in an unflattering photo), where I was born, and my birthday. That’s it. That’s all.  Mine happens to be a garden variety plain vanilla passport, and the little books cost $110.00.  The passport is no proof at all that I am a resident of Nevada, nor would it show I’m voting in the proper precinct, nor that I’m even eligible to vote in the election at interest.

It was all well and good to have the county clerks issue “free” IDs under the terms of SB 385, however the background costs for the most common ID (the driver’s license, DMV ID) aren’t anything close to free, nor would be the documentation required by the clerk or registrar.   For the moment let’s stick to the basics for the average person who wants a Nevada driver’s license.  The documentation which must be presented to the Nevada DMV is (1) a state issued birth certificate or (2) a valid unexpired passport.  What does a copy of a Nevada birth certificate cost?  That would be $20.oo if issued by the Nevada Office of Vital Statistics.  A birth certificate from California will cost $25.00, from Arizona $20.00; from Utah the going price is also $20.00.  Someone born in New York will have to fork over $30.00.  Massachusetts is a relative bargain at $18.00.

Under the terms of Cegavske’s SB 385, a county clerk would issue a “free” ID for voting purposes if the person comes to the office with “documentation showing the person’s date of birth,” (birth certificate price at least $20), and evidence the person is registered to vote, and documentation showing the person’s name and address.   There’s nothing ‘free’ about this whole process.

And now Barbara Cegavske’s campaigning to be the next Nevada Secretary of State, who doesn’t want to “suppress” anyone – that would be anyone who isn’t put off by the current prices for photo identification like the $41.25 for  the driver’s license, or the $110 for the passport, or the $20 for the birth certificate… and who can get to a DMV or voting registrar’s site during working hours…. that wasn’t quite the interest in “engagement” she was demonstrating in 2007.

Republicans across the country have already made it crystal clear that the purpose of voting restrictions is to restrict voting, especially voting while Democrat.  The only sop to the suggestion that SB 385 might be a form of poll tax was the inclusion of the free IDs from the county.  Nothing in the bill called for an extension of hours for the DMV to handle applications. Nothing in the bill called for additional DMV staffing to deal with applications. Nothing in the bill called for an increase in the number of DMV locations where ID’s could be obtained.   Nothing in the bill mitigated the potential costs of obtaining photo IDs for voting purposes. Nothing in the bill offered assistance to women who needed to update their personal information.  Nothing in the bill encouraged the university system to either provide appropriate IDs or make it easier for students to register.

Thus the BS Alarm should be going off at a decibel level sufficient to drown out  the engine of an F-22 Raptor (150dB).  The Republicans have made their intentions very clear, and when there are no suggestions for alleviating the inconveniences it merely serves to reinforce the contention that they mean to restrict voting by women, minority ethnic communities, and young people.   Period.

* SB 385 was cosponsored by Senators Cegavske, Beers, Heck, and Raggio.

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Filed under Nevada politics, Vote Suppression, Voting

Bankers Bank On Economic Amnesia

Occupy Wall Street bankers Zillow reports that the current median home value in Nevada is $189,700, up some 16.4% over the past year, and another increase of 6.2% is predicted. The median listed price of a home in Nevada is now $215,000, and the median selling price is now $198,475.  [Zillow] This is good news for Nevadans in Clark County because the median list price as of July 2011 was $118,500. [Movoto]  Bankrate posts mortgage interest rates ranging from 4.1% to $.4% in the Reno area, and a range of 4.05% to 4.4% in the Las Vegas metropolitan region.  [Bankrate]  There’s another factor to consider, especially in southern Nevada, home resale inventories have stabilized, and there’s been no major increases in distress sales (foreclosures and short sales) as a percentage of the total housing market in September. [Movoto]

Mortgage interest rate trends are also interesting because there’s been a decline since January 2005.  The interest rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage was about 5.71% in January 2005, 6.15% in January 2006, and 6.22% in January 2007 as the Housing Bubble was about to burst all over everyone.  As the Bubble started to splatter in January 2008 the interest rate was 5.76%, dropping to 5.05% in January 2009. Fast forward to January 2012 and the interest rate had dropped to 3.92%, going down to 3.41% in 2013, and then increasing again in January 2014 back up to 4.43%. [FredMac]

Why are these numbers of any interest?

(1) When homebuyers can get credit they are able to pay prices closer to the original asking price. (2) It’s no longer a buyers’ market when sellers are getting better prices. (3) Someone must be doing a bit better because there seems to be more competition for mortgage money, given that in a free market commodities (in this instance mortgage money) are slightly more costly the higher the demand.  (4) These numbers also highlight the Big Lie that the Wall Street casino operators are trying to sell across the country.

David Dayen, writing for Salon caught the Big Fib and described it as follows:

This is part of a larger myth, blaming government’s efforts to clean up the mortgage market for the slow housing recovery and sluggish economy. This idea that banks are so petrified about burdensome regulations that they’ve decided to scale back their business model of lending to people seems far-fetched.

That’s because it is far fetched.  We can see the whole picture simply by sitting here in one of the states most hard hit by the collapse of Wall Street’s Housing Bubble, and looking at our own numbers.

First, if bankers were so insecure about lending then why have interest rates rebounded since the Bubble burst?  When no one is buying homes rates go down because there simply aren’t enough customers clamoring for loans.  However, in this ‘sand state’ the interest rates have gone up by about 1%.

Secondly, it’s obvious someone is buying something because  the Las Vegas housing market, almost obliterated when the Bubble Burst, has seen an increase in the median price of homes, up by an impressive 16.4%.

It’s a bit difficult to make the case that bankers aren’t lending (because of the icky government financial regulation reform) when median list prices and median selling prices have both increased.  If banks weren’t lending then we’d expect housing prices to flatten out because there weren’t enough bidders for the homes.  Again, Dayen sums up the bankers’ game: “The real motivation here is to roll back regulations and return to the go-go era where anyone who can fog a mirror can get a loan. We know how that turned out the last time.”

Just in case anyone catches the overt fibbing, spinning, and general mendacity of the bankers’ latest pronouncements, they’ve left themselves a bit of wiggle room.  The economic revival is “sluggish.” Translation: If you’d just let us get back to deregulated free for all casino operations we’d be richer. And, “the housing recovery has been slow.”  Translation: Want to get more, and more, and more, mortgages from ‘anyone who can fog a mirror’ to slice, dice, and tranche, into mortgage based securities – upon which we will get richer.

There’s a better reason to explain a sluggish economy and a slowly reviving housing market.  Ordinary people have to have incomes which support major purchases – like homes – and what has happened to the median income in Nevada since the Bubble Burst in 2007-2008 isn’t pretty.

The median HI for Nevadans in 2013 was $51,230, down 9.1% since the Housing Bubble burst in 2008.  The Mean HHI for the top 5% of Nevada income earners was $294,939, which dropped by 2% after the washout of 2007-2008. [Pew]

Given the precipitous drop in median earnings, the question might not be about how “sluggish” the recovery has been, but how we’d experienced any recovery at all.  We might dare to ask the same question about home sales.  Again, given the decrease in median household income it’s a wonder home sales have rebounded – especially if we consider that home values are now up 16.4% with more increases projected.

Once more, Wall Street has demonstrated very clearly it’s profound dependence on debt and volatility, while Main Street remains dependent on consumer spending and stability.   In this instance, as in so many others, it’s important not to conflate what’s good for Wall Street with what’s good for business in general.

It’s great for Wall Street to have bundles and bundles of unregulated mortgages, car loans, and lines of consumer credit to shovel into its deregulated  casino operations and Bubble Factories – it’s not so great for Main Street to have abandoned homes, foreclosures on every street, and too many unemployed construction workers in the community.

Caveat Emptor – the latest Big Lie would have us believe the investment bankers want the very best for all of us – after their last debacle the only way they’ll sell this notion is if the American public gets a bad case of economic amnesia.

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Filed under consumers, Economy, financial regulation, Nevada economy, Nevada politics

Violence Leaves Home: Active Shooting Incidents and Domestic Violence

The report (pdf) from a joint FBI/Texas State University doesn’t have much good news for the absolutists of the National Rifle Association.  The study analyzed shooting incidents in the United States over the past 13 years and reported the following resolutions to the incidents.

The Violence

In 37 (23.1%) of the 160 active shooting incidents the shooter committed suicide at the scene before police arrived.  In 21 (13.1%) of the incidents an unarmed citizen successfully restrained the shooter.  In 2 of the incidents (1.3%) armed off-duty law enforcement personnel ended the threat.  In 5 of the incidents armed non-law enforcement citizens ended the shootings in which 3 shooters were killed, 1 committed suicide, and 1 was wounded.  For all the noise about arming everyone to the gunwales, only 5 of the 160 incidents ended because of armed citizen intervention.  No doubt the NRA ammosexuals would argue that if More Citizens were Armed, then More Incidents would have been resolved at the scene by a Citizen Shooter.  This conclusion is actually counter-intuitive.

More people firing more rounds in an active shooter situation doesn’t make anyone safer.  The NRA logic requires that we ignore a crucial part of the equation – the bystanders.  The fantasy that our Citizen Shooter will “take out the bad guy” requires that the scene be something out of the OK Corral mythology during which bystanders fled to safety, or possibly that the Citizen Shooter is so marvelously competent that no bystander or witness will be in peril of flying rounds of ammo.  Nor does the Citizen Shooter image crack through the actual numbers – in 13.1% of the incidents an unarmed citizen was successful and in only 3.1% was an armed citizen successful.

The Domestic Violence

However, there’s more to this analysis than the augmentation of what we already know – more guns doesn’t solve the problems – there’s a link between active shooting incidents and domestic violence. From the report:

“Of note, male shooters also acted violently against women with whom they had or once had a romantic relationship. In 16 (10.0%) of the 160 incidents, the shooters targeted current, estranged, or former wives as well as current or former girlfriends. In 12 incidents, the women were killed; in 3 incidents, the women sustained significant injuries but survived; and in 1 incident, the shooter could not find the woman.  While perpetrating this violence, an additional 42 people were killed and another 28 were wounded.”

Not to put too fine a point to it, but 42 people died and 28 suffered gunshot wounds because the ‘domestic violence’ got out of the house.

Here’s the point at which NRS 33 (Injunctions) kicks in.  Nevada statutes allow for an emergency restraining order or a  temporary restraining order, with courts available 24/7 to issue emergency orders barring the ‘adverse party’ from threatening the victim or victims, being in the victim’s residence, and doing any harm to pets.  [NRS 33.020]  But, the TRO doesn’t get the guns out of the house. The TRO doesn’t take the guns away from the ‘adverse party,’ and if the aforementioned ‘adverse party’ is of a mind to participate in something like the 16 incidents in the FBI report, then there is nothing in the law to stop him.

It is only when an extended order of protection is sought that anyone starts paying attention to the firearms.  NRS 33.031-033 offers the ‘adverse party’ potential shooter some protection for his firearms.  Here’s the catch:

“ A temporary order can last up to 30 days.  However, if you file for an extended order at the same time that you file for the temporary order (or at any time while the temporary order is in effect), the temporary order will last until the date of your hearing for an extended order (which could be up to 45 days from the date you file for the extended order).*1 [WLOrg]

That’s up to 45 days for our hypothetical ‘adverse party’ to retain the firearms, and perhaps decide to use them.  This gives the ‘adverse party’ his day in court to protect his ‘gun rights,’ but on the other hand it gives him possession of lethal weapons for up to 45 days.  In a much safer world the firearms would leave his hands during the imposition of the emergency restraining period.  The ammosexuals would no doubt start sputtering.

But, but, but “I have a Constitutional Right to my Gun?”  “You can’t take it away from me before I have my day in court!”  The Day In Court Argument is logically fragile.  I have a Constitutional Right to my own religious practices, however if I decide to become a practicing Aztec and select victims for sacrifice to the Sun – there’s little doubt the state would make every effort to stop me well before my court date.

In a safer world the guns would be gone during the period  specified by the temporary restraining order.   There’s no requirement that the ‘adverse party’ show up at the TRO hearing, but there’s nothing to prevent it either?  In our not-quite-so-safe world those guns can be in ‘adverse party’ hands for up to 45 days.  There are at least 70 casualties mentioned in the FBI report which might have been prevented by tougher injunctions, and more vigorous enforcement of those orders?

There is a compromise position which the Legislature might consider.  How might domestic violence in Nevada be mitigated if we agreed that if the domestic violence incident included shooting or threats of shooting, then the emergency protection order could include the dispossession of firearms? Or, if the ‘adverse party’ was the perpetrator of previous acts of violence then the firearms would be handed over to law enforcement for storage pending further actions by the court?   It would seem logical to take the escalation factor into account when dealing with those who tend toward assault and battery.

Nevada’s laws aren’t the worst in the nation, but they could be better, and more focused on preventing active shooter violence – something for the next session of the Legislature to consider?

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Filed under domestic abuse, Gun Issues, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics

Cegavske Surprises No One: Vote Suppression 101

Cegavske Here’s hoping exactly NO ONE is surprised by Secretary of State candidate Barbara Cegavske’s announcement that she is in favor of photo ID requirements for voting. [LVRJ]  The issue is on the GOP’s top ten list of ways to prevent “those people” from voting.   No matter that this is a solution without a problem – list the number of prosecutable voter impersonation cases brought in Nevada in the last 10 years?  None.   And, forget the whine: “she noted there is a pool of money at the Department of Motor Vehicles that is used to replace homeless persons’ IDs when lost. “We don’t want to suppress anybody,” she said.”  [LVRJ]  Do we have to reprint the DMV office map for Nevada?  The one that shows how far some people would have to go to get a replacement ID, or an original for that matter?  If you’ve clicked on the link, you’ll see that DMV offices are clustered in our metropolitan areas, with five in the Reno-Carson area.  Now look at the space between the “pins” and imagine all the people people who live in Nye, Lincoln, Elko, Humboldt, Lander, and Eureka counties. 

One glance at the map and it’s obvious the people without IDs who will be the most inconvenienced are in rural Nevada.  Another group which will be seriously inconvenienced are the elderly.  And, just for good measure there are those “other people” (Democrats, young people, working people, women, and minority ethnic people) who might “commit voter fraud!”  In September 2013 we were treated to the Great Walk Back during which Republican Assemblyman Pat Hickey (Reno) kicked off a brush fire when he said the 2014 elections would be good for Republicans because “minorities and young people” wouldn’t be voting.  There’s nothing like a bit of Wisconsin, Texas, Kansas, Ohio Republican vote suppression laws to insure this result.

If we go back just a bit further, in 2012 Nevada was treated to some Republican fraud in the form of Nathan Sproul  deliberately misleading Nevadans about voting and voter registration.  Sproul’s efforts were brought to light in September 2012.   The suggestion that Nevada voters need identification cards was precisely what Sproul was promoting during his scam in southern Nevada.

Sadly, this isn’t the first venture into Voter ID Vote Suppression in this state, witness Senator Mike Roberson’s SB 373 in 2011, joining the efforts of the Suppression Six in the state legislature.   Sharron Angle, Tea Party darling, is certain there’s an epidemic of voter impersonation fraud sweeping the nation.  Angle would make a movie about this if she could find any examples?

But wait, there’s another little nugget in Cegavske’s commentary which ought to attract a bit more attention.  Read this again:

“She argued that a business background makes her more qualified for the job than her opponent Kate Marshall, the Democratic state treasurer. If elected, Cegavske said she would like to allow county district attorneys to prosecute cases of fraud in the securities division that now are all led by lawyers in the attorney general’s office.” [LVRJ]  (emphasis added)

First, Cegavske isn’t running for Attorney General, which is probably a good thing because NRS 90.615 already allows District Attorneys to prosecute IF (1)  the prosecution is at the request of the Attorney General or (2) IF the state AG doesn’t prosecute.  Evidently, the candidate’s “business background” doesn’t include knowledge of the current statutory provisions regarding the prosecution of securities fraud in Nevada.  Secondly, while District Attorneys’ offices might be staffed and equipped to handle securities fraud in metropolitan areas – this could be a problem for smaller, less well staffed operations in the rural part of the state.  Not. Quite. Ready. For. Prime. Time.

But Cegavske, a staunch stalwart ultra-conservative legislator, is completely ready, willing and even enthusiastic about turning Nevada into the next Wisconsin, Texas, Kansas, or Ohio … with vote suppression antics of no value to anyone except the corporate interests and their Republican allies  who are equally enthusiastic about excluding their critics from the ballot box.

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Filed under Vote Suppression, Voting

Cresent Hardy Retrospective

Hardy 2 Stumbling candidate for Nevada’s 4th District in Congress, Cresent Hardy (R-Mesquite) is the subject of a very interesting retrospective compliments of Steve Sebelius.  Mr. Hardy’s adopted as his very own the 47% argument first inartfully set forth by Mitt Romney.  Then things got worse as Hardy attempted to conflate the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and whatever right wing rants to which he’s been listening, when speaking of the Cliven Bundy Ranch standoff between Bundy’s Brigade of radicals and cop killers and Federal officials attempting to get Bundy to pay up like every other rancher.   Undaunted, Hardy tumbled down the rabbit hole of “segregation laws” during an attempt to explain his position on discrimination in hiring.

As if his position weren’t crystal clear he added a reference to a “welfare district” which doesn’t leave much room for re-interpretation.    There’s a lesson in all this somewhere.  That lesson is probably not to plead illiteracy and a paucity of vocabulary: “I’ve never been slick or polished. I grew up on a ranch and learned to stand up for what I believe and to speak my mind respectfully even when others may disagree.”  [Hardy]  

Growing up on a ranch doesn’t explain away being inarticulate, nor does it offer any justification for being a practitioner of slip-shod logic and rhetoric. The reference is simply an appeal to the Common Folk brand of political propaganda.  The Plain Folks technique is as old as propaganda itself, and it demands that the listener ask: What are the speaker’s ideas worth when they are divorced from the personality of the speaker himself?

In Hardy’s case, not much.

The 47% Myth is a pure Republican creation, and about as self serving a concept as can be imagined.  If a person is not paying Federal Income taxes that’s because the person isn’t earning enough to have a tax liability – as contrasted with, say, Mr. Romney who managed to pay about 13.9% in taxes because most of his income is derived from interest and capital gains.  However, that doesn’t mean the individual isn’t paying any taxes.  Of the current 43.3% who are not liable for Federal Income taxes about 28.9% pay Social Security/payroll taxes.  That leaves 14.4% who don’t pay either Federal Income or Payroll taxes.  Who are these people? 

About 9.7% of these people are ELDERLY with incomes less than $20,000 annually.  3.4% of them are people who are not elderly, but whose income is less than $20,000, and there are 1.3% in the “others” category.  [Tax Policy Center] That “others” category often includes the disabled. Surely, Mr. Hardy is NOT trying to bemoan the lack of federal tax liability for the elderly poor? Or, the disabled? Or, both?

History Lesson – the Federalist Papers were written as newspaper opinion pieces on behalf of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.  They are NOT part of it, any more so than the anti-Federalist papers written by “Brutus” between October 1787 and April 1788 in New York. [mmisi pdf]  The Federalist Papers have become a cause for the conservatives, some of whom read them (or don’t) as a guideline for original intent; and, as with any documents the interpretation of them is often found in the eye of the beholder.  However, the ideological underpinnings for modern conservative thought are quite often more in line with the arguments offered by “Brutus” in the Anti-Federalist collection than in the contentions and ideas set forth by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay.   Consider this example from “Brutus” (Robert Yates)

“This government is to possess absolute and uncontroulable power, legislative, executive and judicial, with respect to every object to which it extends, for by the last clause of section 8th, article 1st, it is declared “that the Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution, in the government of the United States; or in any department or office thereof.” And by the 6th article, it is declared “that this constitution, and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and the treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution, or law of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” It appears from these articles that there is no need of any intervention of the state governments, between the Congress and the people, to execute any one power vested in the general government, and that the constitution and laws of every state are nullified and declared void, so far as they are or shall be inconsistent with this constitution, or the laws made in pursuance of it, or with treaties made under the authority of the United States.” [Const.org]

And, after this and several more paragraphs, Yates declares his opposition to the adoption of the new Constitution.  This excerpt from Yate’s publication is far closer to the modern States’ Rights/Limited Government than anything one might find in the Federalist Papers.   It must be very trying to purport to be a Constitutionalist while sounding ever so much like the Anti-Federalists who argued against the original ratification.

About those “segregation laws?”  No, it’s not inarticulacy which ties a politician up in knots when trying to explain that opposition to employment discrimination is tantamount to creating “segregation.”  It’s the sheer unalloyed nonsensical illogical construct itself.  What Hardy, and altogether too many others, are trying to say is that they opposed adding members of the LBGT community to those having standing to file a lawsuit for employment discrimination as a protected class. To “segregate” these individuals would be to continue along the current course – to separate them from those who have the opportunity to resort to litigation in the face of employment discrimination.   The essence of Hardy’s argument, such as it is, is that employers should have the right to separate themselves from those people they don’t wish to hire predicated on gender discrimination.  It’s discrimination which begets segregation, not the other way around, and that explains Hardy’s inability to express an acceptable position – not his “ranch bred inarticulateness.”  [See also NVProg]

About that “Welfare District?”  This isn’t so much a dog whistle as a fog horn.   He might as well have quoted one of the more infamous residents of southern Nevada:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do. “And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.” [Cliven Bundy, WaPo]

Would the North Las Vegas public housing project be that “Welfare District?”  Mr. Bundy and Mr. Hardy apparently have bought into the Welfare Queen Myth lock, stock, barrel, and ramrod.   There is probably no convincing them that the 2011 consumer expenditure survey (BLS) thoroughly debunks the myth.   Equally unproductive would be any attempt to convince them that only about 20% of welfare recipients are categorized as “long term,” some 80% get out of the system and stay out for at least five years.   No, for Mr. Bundy and Mr. Hardy, the face of welfare is Black, the cars are always Cadillacs, and they’d not listen even if CNBC told them the whole system has changed.

No, they’ve clutched the Heritage Foundation’s deeply flawed analysis which says that if you have a air-conditioner in your apartment you aren’t really poor.  Let’s think about this for a minute. 9.1% of Americans over the age of 65 are classified as living in poverty. [Pew]  Further, let’s exclude the fact that many apartments in hot climates come with air-conditioning included in the rental agreement.  Let’s simply focus on those 9.1% of Americans over 65 whose incomes are below the poverty line – do we want them living without air conditioning in hot locations?  Here’s a cautionary tale from the CDC:

“During June 30–July 13, 2012, a total of 32 deaths (0.11 deaths per 100,000 population) from excessive heat exposure were reported, including 12 in Maryland, 12 in Virginia, seven in Ohio, and one in West Virginia. In comparison, a median of four and average of eight (range: 1–29) heat-related deaths occurred in the four states during the same 2-week summer period each year of 1999–2009. The median age of the 32 decedents was 65 years (range: 28–89 years); 72% were male. Most decedents (75%) were unmarried or living alone.”  (emphasis added)

Is the death of a person from “excessive heat exposure” acceptable?  These people weren’t driving an Escalade, most were men living alone, without adequate ventilation or cooling in their quarters, and with a median age of 65.  Are those the Undeserving Poor who are “Takers” and thus are the  disposable parts of our social contract?   Mr. Hardy might want to hone his arguments against government assistance in light of these considerations?

It might be that for most people the tragic death of one elderly man in an un-air-conditioned apartment is one too many—but for Mr. Hardy is it better that the man succumbed to excessive heat exposure than for a single other person to game the system?

What we can gather from Mr. Hardy’s comments is a picture of a man, who isn’t really inarticulate, but whose arguments are so far from the reality of our social and political lives that they can’t be expressed without resorting to an unacceptable glossary of ideological and racial/ethnic ideas.  This has nothing to do with being “slick and polished.”  It has more to do with being humane and realistic.

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Filed under conservatism, Constitution, House of Representatives, Nevada, Nevada politics

Who is Andrew Martin?

desertbeacon:

An excellent introduction to the Controller’s race in Nevada

Originally posted on Nevada Rural Democratic Caucus:

If you were at Winnemucca’s Labor Day Parade or the Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, you would have had an opportunity to meet and talk to or at least wave at Andrew Martin who is running for State Controller on the November ballot.

As an Assemblyman and member of the Economic Forum Andrew has worked on Nevada’s budget, understands our finances, and knows what needs to be done to improve our economy.  Andrew  is a business owner, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF), and Certified Internal Controls Auditor (CICA). Mr. Martin has over 28 years of professional experience providing accounting, advisory, audit and tax services to a diverse group of business, individual, governmental, and non‐profit clients.

His opponent, Ron Knecht,  is a “limited government conservative” who was a member of the “Mean 15” and who has signed onto Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer…

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Dunce of the Day: Open Carry At High School

Embody There’s dumb, and then there’s dumber.  Leonard Embody, from the Nashville area, likes to pack his gun around so everyone can see it.  He’s a registered nurse, a licensed firearms dealer, and an avowed ammosexual.  Leonard has been actively flashing his gun since at least 2009 when he decided his 2nd Amendment ‘rights’ allowed him to pack heat in a state park. [ExCLS]  And now Leonard is unapologetic for scaring the bejeezus out of parents at Hillsboro High School.  [WSMV] [TPM]

“Witnesses say Embody was pacing Hillsboro Road, dressed much like a soldier, and it had a lot of people nervous. So nervous that 911 dispatchers had their hands full.

“He had a rifle across his back, and a Go Pro attached to his chest. I just thought that was kind of peculiar,” one caller said.” [WSMV]

Now what could possibly have alarmed those witnesses? Armed man? Dressed sort of  like a soldier? Rifle on his back? High School?  Columbine? Sandy Hook? Aurora?  Ready to film his adventures with his Go Pro? 

One parent interviewed by the television station was equally adamant:

“However, mothers like Telisha Cobb say doing this in front of a school is crossing the line.

“That man may not be worried about the epidemic of school shootings in our country, but moms and dads are, and we won’t tolerate this behavior,” Cobb said.” [WSMV]

And then the scary part continues as Embody explains himself:

Embody said he’ll continue making the rounds, defending the Second Amendment, no matter who it offends.

“I don’t think I look terrifying. Other people may think I look terrifying, but that’s in their own minds and that’s something they should deal with … with maybe a psychologist,” Embody said.

Metro school officials said their resource officers were aware of Embody’s demonstration, and had he set foot on campus, they would have arrested him. [WSMV]

Little wonder Mrs. Cobb is disturbed, as long as Leonard stays a step off campus he’s perfectly free to terrify anyone he likes, children and adults alike, because Tennessee is an Open Carry state.  He’s quite free to acclimatize children to the sight of a person carrying a firearm close to a school building, and equally free to ignore the possible consequences of doing so.  What happens when it’s NOT Leonard out there on the sidewalks?

Leonard Embody – Our Dunce of the Day!

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