ITEM #1: A special session of the Nevada Legislature kicked off yesterday for the purpose of addressing the state’s large budget deficit — a byproduct of the government-imposed shutdown in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
It was Governor Steve Sisolak who called the special session … so it’s worth a look at what kind of “leadership” the Governor is providing as the state attempts to grapple with this challenge. In particular, there’s a lot of focus on whether the Governor, who as a candidate promised not to raise taxes, will break that promise now.
“My staff and I looked at a plethora of taxes,” the Governor said, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Not a great start.
He then bemoaned that:
“There’s an implementation time and a lot of ideas for taxes would take time to implement, to set up, and to generate and actually receive any revenue could take six months to a year. If it takes a year it’s not going to help me with this pandemic and the shortfall.
“So we looked at all the possibilities of adjustments to some taxes that currently exist that wouldn’t have that ramp up time that you could recognize revenue quickly.”
Sounds like someone eager to get his hands on more of your money, and fast!
Then he added: “But it’s gonna be up to the Legislature.”
Translation: Don’t look at me. I just work here.
Now, it’s true that raising taxes would take an act of the Legislature. But it’s also true that the Governor — who, again, promised not to raise taxes — could call on his party to take tax hikes off the table. But that would require leadership.
As the Review-Journal story notes, raising taxes would require at least one Senate Republican breaking ranks and supporting such a measure, since Democrats are one seat shy of the necessary super-majority in that chamber. Here’s the Governor on that subject:
“I don’t know how realistic, what the possibilities are … It’ll be up to them on the Republican side to see if somebody is willing to step up and want to fund education fully the way we had it funded or they’re gonna just step back and keep pushing red buttons.”
Got that? It’s on Republicans to decide whether they’re going to simply, blindly and dogmatically vote no … or whether they actually care about the children enough to do the right thing and soak Nevada’s taxpayers even more. Call it “education shaming.”
That’s what passes for gubernatorial “leadership” in our state, folks.
The fact is that COVID or no COVID, the appropriate response to a budget deficit is to make government smaller and more efficient, not to raise taxes. That’s especially crucial now, given how hard our private economy has already been hit these past few months.
Senate Republicans should stand strong and united in opposing any tax increase. And then the Governor should do his job and lead us — responsibly — through our current challenge.
ITEM #2: We remember fondly the time when there was a bipartisan consensus that mail-in voting increases the risk of voter fraud.
Not only Democrat Party officials, but also members of the left-wing press could be counted on to accept and even state this obvious fact.
As Marc Thiessen, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, helpfully pointed out recently, none other than the New York Times acknowledged just a few years ago that “there is a bipartisan consensus that voting by mail ... is more easily abused than other forms.”
The Times added that “votes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth.”
The growing evidence since the Times published those words back in 2012 has only strengthened the case that vote-by-mail is fraught with risk.
As we covered just last week, the State of New Jersey is now dealing with a major election debacle brought on by mail-in voting, which has been adopted in many states in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. As Mark Hemingway reported:
“Following accusations of widespread fraud, voter intimidation, and ballot theft in the May 12 municipal elections in Paterson, N.J., state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced Thursday he is charging four men with voter fraud — including the vice president of the City Council and a candidate for that body. …
“In the City Council election, 16,747 vote-by-mail ballots were received, but only 13,557 votes were counted. More than 3,190 votes, 19% of the total ballots cast, were disqualified by the board of elections. Due to the pandemic, Paterson’s election was done through vote-by-mail.”
This is merely the latest example of how voting by mail can open elections up to corruption, confusion and chaos.
As Thiessen noted:
“A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study found that in the 2008 presidential election, 7.6 million of 35.5 million mail-in ballots requested were not counted because they never reached voters or were rejected for irregularities. That is a failure rate of more than 21 percent.”
Additionally, the Detroit News reported that just last year in Southfield, Michigan, “City Clerk Sherikia L. Hawkins was charged … with six felony counts over ‘unauthorized and inaccurate’ changes to absentee ballots in the November 2018 election.”
The list goes on … and in fact, it’s helpfully being compiled by the Heritage Foundation, which maintains a database of cases of election fraud throughout the country that includes examples from coast to coast.
The Heritage database now includes 1,285 proven instances of voter fraud, though it comes with a note that it ”doesn’t capture all voter fraud cases and certainly doesn’t capture reported instances that aren’t even investigated or prosecuted.” Which means the actual number of voter-fraud instances is far, far higher.
Simply put, the evidence that widespread mail-in voting leads to increased voter fraud could not be any clearer.
ITEM #3: President Trump gave a speech at Mt. Rushmore on Independence Day, in which he extolled many of our nation’s most admired and celebrated historical figures for their contributions to our country.
The President’s speech came amid the widespread tearing down of statues, all across the country, of national historical figures — including America’s founding fathers.
Writing at The Federalist, Jordan Davidson recaps the President’s tribute:
“In his speech, President Trump listed numerous historical figures and celebrities who played a large role in American history. Among those listed were the founding fathers, the presidents of Mount Rushmore, Frederick Douglass, Ulysses S. Grant, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, and Elvis Presley.
“'Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children,' President Trump said, as he highlighted the accomplishments of notable Americans.
“'Those who seek to erase our heritage want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity, so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America’s destiny. In toppling the heroes of 1776, they seek to dissolve the bonds of love and loyalty that we feel for our country, and that we feel for each other. Their goal is not a better America, their goal is the end of America,' he continued."
Those names the President mentioned would seem to make for a pretty uncontroversial list in the eyes of most Americans — though, as Davidson notes, apparently not for U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat from Illinois.
In an interview with CNN, Duckworth criticized President Trump for his speech, saying: “He spent all of his time talking about dead traitors.”
This prompted a tweet from Giancarlo Sopo, who provided an even longer list of names the President mentioned in his speech …