Tag Archives: Ira Hansen

Ripped from a few Headlines: Friday Edition

If you haven’t already seen the New Yorker article concerning Trump, Putin, and what the Russians want…click immediately for some excellent reporting and analysis. Here’s a taste:

“The great fear is the neutering of NATO and the decoupling of America from European security. If that happens, it gives Putin all kinds of opportunities. If Trump steps back the way he seemed to as a candidate, you might not even need to do things like invade the Baltic states. You can just dominate them anyway. You’re beginning to see the collapse of institutions built to insure our security. And if that happens you will see the re-nationalizing of Europe as a whole.”


If anyone is counting, and they are, there have now been THREE Jewish cemeteries vandalized within the last few weeks, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Rochester, NY. And then there are the bomb threats to Jewish community centers.

“In all, 48 JCCs in 26 states and one Canadian province received nearly 60 bomb threats during January, according to the JCCA, an association of JCCs. Most were made in rapid succession on three days: January 9, 18 and 31. A number of JCCs, including Orlando’s, received multiple threats. On February 20, another wave of bomb threats hit 11 JCCs across the country, bringing the total to 68 incidents targeting 53 JCCs, according to the JCCA.” [CNN]

It would appear that while most people are protesting immigration related raids, Muslim travel bans, and assorted Trumpian outrages, others are taking the opportunity to express their antisemiticism, racism, and bigotry.


Meanwhile in the last two months four mosques have been attacked by arsonists.  The Oval Office remains silent:

“The press has certainly covered Trump’s attitudes—and those of his top advisors—toward Islam, particularly since he announced a ban on travel from seven majority-Muslim nations on January 27. But attacks on American mosques have received far less attention than the bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers. As far as I’m aware, no reporter has asked Trump about them at a press conference. And no major network would suggest that Trump’s failure “to adopt a stern, public line” against Islamophobia has been “politically damaging.”


Floating around in the Swamp, the Trumpster Regime — again (and again) says there was no connection between the campaign and Russian operatives. This, of course, goes nowhere toward explaining the contacts made by Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn, … and what names are to come?


The most bizarre explanation for opposing Motor Voter/automatic  registration in Nevada comes compliments of Nevada’s political gadfly and whack job Ira Hansen, did you miss this one?

“Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, was the most vocal opponent during the committee hearing and said it represented an overreach of people’s privacy, especially those who don’t want to partake in the electoral process.”

 

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Filed under Foreign Policy, Hate Crimes, Immigration, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics, Politics, racism, Voting, White Supremacists

Post Hansen Kerfuffle in Nevada Legislature

Hansen Sometimes it’s your friends.  In the case of Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R-NV32) it’s friends and some relatives. 

“John Wagner, the chairman of Nevada Independent American Party, which was founded by Ira Hansen’s father, Daniel Hansen, defended Ira Hansen Sunday and said he should not resign the speakership.  Wagner defended Hansen for a column the assemblyman wrote about civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“King’s private life was trashy at best,” Hansen wrote in a column for the Tribune. “King Jr. is as low as it gets, a hypocrite, a liar, a phony, and a fraud.” That does not make Hansen a racist, Wagner said.  “And I suppose if you criticize Jessie Jackson or if you criticize Al Sharpton, does that make you a racist today?” Wagner said.”  [RGJ]

Since when?  Let’s not conflate racism with ideological differences. Racism has a clear definition: “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”    It’s entirely possible to criticize Reverend Jackson, or Reverend Sharpton without reference to their “innate inferiority,”  However, it’s impossible to dodge the racism inherent in the acceptance of the smear campaign to discredit Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and to discredit the modern civil rights movement as an attack on white supremacy.

“The problem is that racism isn’t reducible to “different treatment.” Since if it is, measures to ameliorate racial inequality—like the Voting Rights Act—would be as “racist” as the policies that necessitated them. No, racism is better understood as white supremacy—anything that furthers a broad hierarchy of racist inequity, where whites possess the greatest share of power, respect, and resources, and blacks the least.” [Slate]

The expression of this concept is illustrated by Assemblyman Hansen in one of his columns:

“He wrote that African-Americans are insufficiently grateful for being given their freedom: “The lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to.” [NNR]

Lack of gratitude?  Deliberate ignoring?  How might that “gratitude” be expressed in a manner which would please Mr. Hansen?  Should it be that African Americans would “know their place” and remain ‘gratefully’ in it all the while thanking the White Masters for the ‘privilege’ of being human? Racism doesn’t get more blatant than in Mr. Hansen’s expression.  Assemblyman Hansen seems not to have traveled too far from his roots, from the Nevada Independent American Party, founded by his father, and recently adopted by none other than outlaw rancher Cliven Bundy. [Fox]

If the Nevada Republican Party leadership is uncomfortable with having a blatant racist in the Assembly speaker’s chair – who might be available?

Names such as Michele “Pistol Packing Mama” Fiore, of the Bundy Ranch Epic have emerged, along with those of Paul Anderson,  John Hambrick, and  Wes Duncan. [RGJ]

Fiore may be just a little too close to the Bundy Ranch business, which leads to thoughts of Cliven Bundy explaining why African Americans were better off as slaves, which leads the Nevada GOP right back to where it started with Assemblyman Hansen’s “ungrateful” scoundrels who won’t apologize for the modern civil rights movement.

Hambrick is a lesser known member of the Assembly representing District 2 (Summerlin) in Carson City.  His major contributors are the gaming industry, including the Sands, real estate interests and general contractors. [InfExp]  During the 2013 legislative session he was one of the co-sponsors of SB 520, section 14 of which provided criminal and civil immunity for a person who does not request a background check for a firearm sale – for “any act or omission that was taken in good faith and without malicious intent.”  AB 373, also sponsored by Hambrick, established a tax credit for donations to a school tuition organization (BDR 34-716).  In short, Hambrick has been a loyal, gun supporting, contractor supporting, private school supporting, and vote suppression supporting Republican regular.

Wesley Duncan, has proposed amending the state constitution to allow voucher schools, enacting the “Nevada Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” and enacting SB 378 from the last session, the Nevada Liberty Preservation Act.  This last item comes from the Right Wing Fever Swamp which at one point was Outraged! about two sections of the National Defense Authorization Act which allowed for the capture and detention of terrorists. The radical right was convinced the Obama Administration was about to round up the citizenry and open the detention camps. 

Assemblyman Paul Anderson has wanted the speakership before, and still wants it now.   He, too packs his NRA credentials on his sleeve, signing on to the Assembly support for SB 223AN ACT relating to concealed firearms; authorizing employees of the Nevada System of Higher Education or a private or public school who hold permits to carry concealed firearms to carry concealed firearms on school property under certain circumstances; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.”  As if what we need are more guns on more school campuses.  He, too, is a school privatization advocate.

The trick for the Assembly Republicans will be to find a speaker who doesn’t have a history of Fever Swamp Activity, who will be amenable to the ALEC program of corporate support, and who can convince the leadership that he or she won’t prove to be too big an embarrassment?

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Ira Hansen: Hapless Victim?

Victim Card “For the greater good of the State of Nevada and the cause I support it is necessary for me to withdraw as Speaker Designee. The tens of thousands of people who both read my columns and listened to my radio shows through two decades in the media know this has been a carefully orchestrated attack to remove a conservative Republican from a major leadership role in State government. The deliberate character assassination and the politics of personal destruction have totally distorted my views and record.” Ira Hansen (R-NVA39) [RGJ]

Merciful Heavens what a whine!  Better still, it has all the hallmarks of a classic Victim Card – there’s the “carefully orchestrated attack” line, and the “deliberate character assassination” line, and finally the “politics of personal destruction” canard.   All the ingredients deemed necessary to include in a perfect recipe for a Great White Whine.

An additional element which makes Hansen’s announcement even more interesting is that, as usual, none of the GOP powers-that-be actually called for his resignation:

“Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, State Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, and state Sen Greg Brower, R-Reno, joined the GOP leadership choir in condemning Hansen’s views Friday. None of them, including Sandoval Heller or any prominent Nevada Democrat, have called for Hansen’s ouster.” [RGJ]

This certainly isn’t the first instance in which a Nevada Republican has strayed into the weeds of the Neo-Confederacy.  Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R-NV39) was ever so willing to vote in favor of slavery, if that’s what his constituents wanted him to do. [LVSun 2013]  Gee whiz, he just couldn’t fathom how anyone might have mis-interpreted his words.  Wheeler remains in the Assembly.  Congressman elect Cresent Hardy opined, that GOP candidate Romney was right about those 47% “takers,” although neither the statistics or the context substantiate the claim [LVRJ] and, no, SNAP benefit recipients aren’t driving their Escalades down to the food pantry – a riff on the Cliven Bundy assertion about African Americans in Clark County – who would be “better off” learning to pick cotton.  Hardy will take his seat in the Tea Party Caucus in January.  What’s different now?

Just perhaps the reason Mr. Hansen faced such powerful opposition was not for some ill-timed, ill-advised, and ill-meaning commentary but because his was predicated on a history of Limbaugh Wanna Be rhetoric which if dribbled out over time threatened to box the Nevada GOP into its already convenient container. Consider the support Mr. Hansen received from one conservative activist:

“Hansen has his supporters. Conservatives in the Nevada GOP are rushing to his aid even as party leaders are condemning Hansen’s comments.

“Why should any Republicans give a damn about what the NAACP thinks?” said conservative activist Chuck Muth of Las Vegas. “They don’t vote for our candidates. That is not who our base is.” [RGJ]

Nothing says Old White Guys quite so succinctly.  

Assemblyman Hansen represents a district (32) which is predominantly white (83.7% compared to the statewide 73.5%), with a mode household income between $50,000 and $75,000, and has a 48.2% to 29.7% Republican registration edge. [NVLeg pdf]  These are people who quite possibly don’t care what the NAACP thinks, or what any other ethnic or minority population might think either.   Mr. Hansen’s strength in Assembly District 39, his appeal to Old White Guys disgruntled with the possibility of women, members of the Hispanic/Latino community, and African Americans taking positions of political, economic, and social power, is also a fatal weakness when dealing with a state in which the African American population is 8% (unlike the 1.4% in the district) and 26.1% Hispanic or Latino compared to the 17.4% in the district.  The statewide figures, which are almost irrelevant for the local campaigns, could be deadly when placed in a statewide context.

Assemblyman Wheeler (NV32) may continue to represent his constituents, so long as he doesn’t commit another gaffe of the first water, and Congressman Hardy may take his place in the Gohmert Caucus, so long as he keeps his head down and doesn’t make a pilgrimage to the Bundy Ranch.  However, when there’s the prospect of inflammatory opinion columns ranging from 1994 to 2010 – every attempt at outreach beyond the Old White Guys Box by the Republicans can be countered by the Top Ten Latest Revealed Quotes from the pen and pixels of Mr. Hansen.

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Ira Hansen Becomes a National Embarrassment

Ira Hansen

Oh my, merely a few hours after his selection as the Speaker of the Nevada State Assembly Ira Hansen (R-NVA32) made national headlines – mostly for all those “interesting”  columns he wrote between 1994 and 2010. [Wonkette]  Mr. Hansen has gathered attention to himself from Think Progress, and The Huffington Post, and the Atlantic, and Talking Points Memo, and Media-ite.   Mr. Hansen, who won his Assembly seat with  71.96% of the vote in the 2014 election, [NVSoS] offered a formulaic apology:

“I am deeply sorry that comments I have made in the past have offended many Nevadans. It is unfortunate that these comments, made almost 20 years ago as a newspaper columnist and talk radio host, have been taken out of context and are being portrayed as intentionally hurtful and disrespectful. These comments were meant to be purposely provocative in various political, cultural and religious views. I have the utmost respect for all people without regard to race, gender, religious or political beliefs.” [RGJ]

This statement is almost pure Limbaugh.  “I’m sorry IF you were offended.” Of course people were offended – his comments were intrinsically, blatantly, offensive.

The comments were made long ago,”  And, what have you said or done since, say,  last Wednesday to demonstrate you’ve cleaned up your act since?

And, “they were taken out of context…” In what context would these have been appropriate comments in the 21st century – or the 19th for that matter? Doesn’t that “taken out of context” refrain ever get old and hirsute?

And, “the comments were purposefully provocative,” PLEASE! Of course, and Limbaugh was only kidding?  Just trying to get a rise out of your audience?  Those right wing hate speech, hate radio, pack of bigots, racists, and fringe wingers, who call in to shows that re-enforce their own bigotry, racism, and homophobia?

And, Mr. Hansen, if you’d had any respect for non-white people, members of the LBGT community, members of the Hispanic/Latino community, you’d not have made the comments in the first place.

And, he ends his non-apology apology on the common hackneyed note:

“I am committed to showing that actions are much louder than words and my office will always have an open door to all backgrounds and political viewpoints. This will not distract us from finding solutions to building a brighter and more prosperous Nevada.” [RGJ]

Right,  the door’s open.  We’re supposed to believe that the Tea Party Darling who bested a Party Regular (no raving moderate himself, Pat Hickey) for the Speakership doesn’t believe in the privatization of any public activity in which someone can make a buck, and maintains overtly racist, bigoted, beliefs, is going to lead us to the Promised Land of whatever…

However, this isn’t Grandpa’s Republican Party anymore.  This is the Party of Cliven Bundy, [Reuters] of Jim “I’d vote for slavery if my constituents wanted it” Wheeler, [LVSun] of Cresent “The BLM doesn’t have the right to enforce federal laws on federal land” Hardy. [LVRJ]  This is the Republican Party in Nevada which adopted a Tea Party Platform at its 2014 convention. [RenoNewsR

There’s one Nevada Republican who’s embarrassed – our Striving For A Centrist Image Senator Dean Heller:

“Assemblyman Hansen’s past comments and positions on race, religion, and gender that have recently been reported give me great concern. These comments were insensitive, wrong, and extremely offensive and insulting. Statements like these do not have a place in public discourse.” [EDFP]

Yes, Senator Heller is concerned – however, where was Senator Heller’s concern when his state party adopted the Tea Party platform, promoted the election of Wheeler, and the election of Hardy?  The “moderates” were noticeably silent before the 2014 elections, and before the selection of the Assembly Speaker – and now that the cat has slipped the bag they are “concerned,” nay “greatly concerned.”

In the immortal words of Meryl Streep’s character in the 1992 comedy “Death Becomes Her,” “Now a Warning?”

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