The (Taxi) Empire Strikes Back!

On October 25, 2014, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

Well, that didn’t take long.

No sooner did free-market, ridesharing Uber drivers hit the streets in Las Vegas yesterday than the Taxi Cartel’s bought-and-paid-for police force began cracking down on them. Get this story from this morning’s Las Vegas Review-Journal

“Uniformed officers were at the Fashion Show mall on the Strip late Friday to meet Uber driver Michael Elsner with a ticket. Five unmarked white Nevada Taxicab Authority vehicles surrounded his blue Ford Focus as he was driving east on Fashion Show Drive about 3:30 p.m. He was pulled over while trying to drop off two passengers. Two undercover officers wore black ski masks.”

“Wore black ski masks”? Are you f-ing kidding me!

Elsner described what happened…

“It’s like a sting. It was crazy, man. They had one cop on the front telling me to get out of the car, if I had any drugs. It was wild.”

His car was confiscated and towed to an impound lot, and the poor guy now faces a $10,000 fine.

For giving somebody a ride to the mall!

Fortunately, Uber will pay the fine and fees to get Elsner’s car back.

Now I know many of you aren’t yet familiar with Uber and this whole ridesharing business, so let me explain it in pretty basic, simple terms…

If you own a clean, safe, late-model car and want to pick up folks and drive them somewhere, either part-time or full-time, working on your own schedule as an independent contractor, you apply with Uber. Uber then does a background check and verifies that you have the necessary auto insurance.

Uber also provides additional insurance to cover you while you’re providing the ridesharing service.

Now if you’re an Uber customer, you set up an account online and give Uber a credit card number. If and when you need a ride somewhere – and choose, of your own free will, not to call a taxi and wait forever, let alone pay the sky-high taxi fares – you can request that a Uber driver come pick you up and give you a lift.

The driver is usually to your location within minutes. And the Uber smartphone app allows you to actually watch an icon of the car is as it makes its way to you.  You can also call or text the driver to tell him where exactly you are, what you’re wearing so he knows who you are, etc.

The fare is calculated using the driver’s smartphone and is automatically billed to your credit card…including tip. So you conveniently need no cash whatsoever to use the service.  It’s fast, efficient and comparatively less expensive.  I’ve now used the service in Los Angeles, Burbank, Phoenix and Denver and it is absolutely fabulous.

And one of the reasons is that you, as a customer, get to “rate” your driver after the trip. A driver who consistently gets low ratings will be dropped from the service, so it’s imperative that they go out of their way to provide you the best, most pleasant experience possible.

In fact, in Denver my Uber driver came INTO the terminal to meet me so I wouldn’t have to try to find him among all the other vehicles coming and going out on the busy street.

Try getting personal service like that from a traditional taxi driver!

No wonder Uber is so uber-popular.

Which is also why the Taxi Cartel here in Nevada is scared s***less.

As such, they were able to get Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto to seek an order from Carson City District Judge James Russell yesterday which now prohibits Uber’s drivers from operating anywhere in the state until a hearing is conducted on November 6.

Unbelievable.

It’s long past time to bust up the Taxi Cartel in this state.

If I, as an adult citizen in the United States of America, freely choose to pay someone a fee to take me to the grocery store or to my hotel from an airport, and that driver, also an adult citizen of the United States of America, freely chooses to provide that service for an agreed-upon fee, what the hell business is it of the government to tell us WE CAN’T DO SO?

Free-market conservatives of the world, unite! We want Uber!  We want Uber!

 

Can’t We (Conservatives) All Get Along?

On October 24, 2014, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

I don’t like it when bad things are done to good conservatives…especially when done by other good conservatives.

On Wednesday, a true education reform champion was attacked by a conservative education blogger in a post that, unbelievably, failed to disclose that the source of much of the negative criticism was the daughter of the author!

That’s bad enough. But much of the criticism was nothing more than unsubstantiated he-said/she-said innuendo in which the target was never given an opportunity to respond to or refute the attacks.

I’m hoping – PRAYING – that the very reputable conservative organization that published this highly inflammatory hit piece will do the right thing and simply take it down over the weekend so we can all go back to frying bigger liberal government fish on Monday.

Otherwise, the defense will have no choice but to present its case next week in the court of public opinion. And rest assured, the defense is loaded for bear.

Oh, and yours truly will be serving as the defense attorney.

 

Pat Hickey: Tough as a Pudding Pop

On October 24, 2014, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

In 2012, Democrat assembly candidate Andrew Martin was ruled by a judge ineligible to run for his assembly district because he didn’t live in his assembly district.  Go figure.

The Democrat majority in the Assembly seated him anyway, without a peep of protest from GOP Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey.

A week ago, Democrat assembly candidate Meghan Smith was similarly declared ineligible to run in AD-34 this year.  When asked about whether or not she would rule out the possibility of seating Smith anyway next session, Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick replied, “Why would we do that?”

Indeed, since the court ruling came too late to have Smith’s name removed from the ballot, there is certainly a possibility that Smith could still “win” the election on November 4th even though a judge ruled her as ineligible to run.  And if she does, Kirkpatrick and the Democrats are likely to seat her.

Having been burned once before and rolling over as a patsy in the Martin brouhaha, surely Hickey won’t stand for it again, right?

Asked by the Las Vegas Review-Journal “what he would do in Kirkpatrick’s place,” Hickey replied cutely, “I’m not in Marilyn’s shoes.”

What a weenie.

That was the perfect opportunity to draw a line in the sand. Something a true opposition leader would do, especially when holding the moral high ground.

“We stood by and allowed such an injustice in 2013 because it was the first time something like this had happened and, frankly, I’m a wimp,” Hickey could have said, but didn’t. “But Republicans will not allow such a thing to happen again in 2015 without serious consequences, which will poison the entire legislative session.  If Democrats unwisely choose this path, it’ll be on their heads.”

Instead, Hickey said, “We want to see what happens in that race before we have discussions about the outcome.”

What a weenie.

 

Uber Comes to Las Vegas!

On October 24, 2014, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

Free-market ride-sharing company Uber – despite threats from the taxi cartel and the bureaucrats they own – opened for business today in Las Vegas, Reno and Carson City.

Woohoo!

Folks, this is gonna be a political battle royale like you haven’t seen in Nevada in a LONG, LONG time.

Bruce Breslow, professional bureaucrat and Gov. Brian Sandoval’s hand-picked apparatchik of the state’s Department of Business and Industry, threatened Uber drivers in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “We’re going to enforce the law.  We’re not going to get into an argument over philosophies.”

Added one of Breslow’s *real* bosses, Brent Bell, president of Whittlesea Bell Transportation, “Just because they have slick new technology doesn’t give them the right to completely and arrogantly ignore the law.”

The law Bell is talking about? Probably the one where any new competitor to the taxi cartel in this state has to get permission from the Taxicab Authority, which the cartel all but owns, and PROVE there’s a “need” for their service.

In what other industry does a competitor have to “prove” market need to the government before entering? That’s insane.

Welcome Uber! Let the games begin.

 

UNLV prez candidate a walking s***storm magnet

On October 24, 2014, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

On Monday, UNLV announced that it had narrowed its selections for a new president down to three.

One of them is Ricardo Azziz, president of Georgia Regents University – which makes me wonder if the search committee, headed by a consultant who was paid $150,000, has ever heard of Google.  Because a quick Google search turned up a story out of Georgia headlined, “Dr. Azziz dodges questions about recent controversy.”

You’d think a story headline such as that might have raised a few red flags, no?

In my Google search, I also found these headlines…

  • Azziz Says GRU “Messed Up” In Altered Photos Controversy
  • Gov. Deal addresses Azziz controversy
  • Azziz is tone-deaf in naming controversy
  • Former Augusta State president tells Azziz: ‘It’s not about you’
  • Azziz weekend wedding raises eyebrows
  • Garage addition at home of Azziz planned without state approval
  • Azziz under fire over plan to expand garage with GRU money
  • Dr. Azziz’s new garage might not happen this fiscal year
  • Azziz to reimburse GRU for resources used at private wedding
  • Azziz Issues Statement On Use Of University Resources Controversy
  • Emails reveal new “tricked out” car for Dr. Azziz
  • University patrol car picked up Azziz’s children from school
  • GRU security officer brought Azziz’s children home from school

First, let me acknowledge that there are, indeed, two sides to every story. And it’s only fair to hear Dr. Azziz’s side of these controversies.  But that’s part of the problem.  When questioned by the media after a speech in April 2013, he stonewalled.

Azziz was asked about the wedding controversy. “We’re actually not going to answer that,” Azziz replied.  “Those questions I’m not going to answer today.”

The media wanted answers about “plans (that) were made but not approved for a $75,000 update to the president’s garage.” Azziz replied, “We’re talking about today’s talk. Any other discussion?”

What about “why school resources were used to pick up your children”?

Azziz again ducked. “Anything else?”

Yes, “whose idea was it to erase ASU’s logo from the pamphlet (school brochure)?”

“Any other questions about today’s talk?” Azziz said, refusing to answer.

Great. Just what UNLV needs. A new president with a controversial past who feels he’s above question and owes explanations to no one for his actions.

How’d this guy ever make it to the Final Three?

 

An Unloaded Gun Ain’t Good for Nothin’

On October 23, 2014, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

Under cross-examination in an opening scene of the movie classic True Grit, John Wayne’s character, U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn, was being grilled over a confrontation with some suspected outlaws he was trying to arrest who ended up dead.

Prosecutor: “Was your revolver loaded and cocked?”

Cogburn: “Well, a gun that’s unloaded and cocked ain’t good for nothin’.”

I couldn’t help but think of that exchange when I first heard that Nathan Cirillo – the uniformed guard at the Canadian National War Memorial who was murdered in cold blood by a radicalized Muslim terrorist on Wednesday – was unarmed.

A gun that’s unloaded ain’t good for nothin’.

I also thought about the Duke’s response when on November 9, 2009, Maj. Nidal Hassan opened fire at Fort Hood in Texas, killing 13 and wounding 32 unarmed soldiers and other military personnel. The victims weren’t even allowed to carry an unloaded weapon for show.

Ditto the 2011 Carson City IHOP shooting, where a gunman opened fire on a group of uniformed, unarmed National Guardsmen, killing four people.

Indeed, the only thing more useless than an unloaded gun is no gun at all.

And bear in mind, we’re not talking about civilians here. We’re talking about professionally-trained military personnel who are thoroughly proficient in the use of firearms.  And I’m talking about military personnel in uniform, which makes them an easily identified target in this day and age.

Now, I’m not suggesting that simply being armed with a loaded gun would stop every violent act. But at least these folks would have a fighting chance.  At least they’d have the ability to shoot back; maybe saving the lives of innocent civilians, as well as their own.

It is absolutely insane to trust trained, uniformed soldiers and guardsmen with guns in Iraq and Afghanistan but not trust them to carry their side-arms on American soil.

And while I’m on the subject of terrorists, guns and movies, do you remember Tombstone, starring Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp?

After a band of bad guys – known as the Cowboys and identified by a sash of red cloth tied around their gun belts – killed his brother, Earp laid down the law with this thundering declaration: “The Cowboys are finished, you understand? I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin’ it!”

If only we had a Wyatt Earp-type commander-in-chief in the White House today to deal with the ISIS barbarians!

One of these days our politically-correct civilian leaders in Washington will finally come to understand that you can’t reason with a rabid dog. When confronted, you cannot negotiate with it.  You cannot exchange diplomatic niceties.  You can only kill it on sight so it can’t hurt you or anyone else.

ISIS fighters are rabid dogs. They need to be treated as such.

 

 

The Liberal or the Liar?

On October 21, 2014, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

The incumbent in State Senate District 20, Michael Roberson, ran in 2010 as a fire-breathing conservative.  In fact, he signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge on Tax Day at a tea party rally!

He then sold out conservatives in the 2013 legislative session by breaking his Pledge and supporting the extension of the “sunsets” and proposing a massive $600 million-plus tax on our state’s mining industry.

Worse, Roberson went on to actively discourage, and outright oppose, conservative Republican candidates in primaries this year, as well as forbidding any of his hand-picked recruits from signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Now I know a lot of you believe in your soul of souls that any Republican is better than any Democrat. But in the immortal words of John Wayne to Bruce Dern in The Cowboys, “I can’t stand a liar.”

In the RJ’s Voter Guide on Sunday, Roberson started off by saying, “Excessive taxation is bad for our economy.” Yet he voted to extend the sunsets, tax the Internet, and continues to beat the drums for a mining tax hike.

Robo-Taxer went on to state that “As Senate Minority Leader, I have worked…to hold the line on tax increases.” But that’s patently untrue, as he voted to extend the sunsets, tax the Internet, and proposed that massive tax hike on mining.

Roberson then bragged that he “sponsored legislation to cut Nevada’s car registration fees,” which he described as “sky-high” on “working people.” But the truth is he voted to extend the “sunsets,” which includes a hike in those “sky-high” vehicle registration fees.

Roberson went on to claim that he “led the fight to pass legislation that cut payroll taxes for all Nevada businesses and eliminated the payroll tax for 75 percent of Nevada businesses.” But that’s not true either.  Those changes were made within the governor’s budget.  Roberson had nothing to do with it.

In other words, the guy is, and there’s just no polite way to put it in this case, a serial liar. And that includes the lies he told about his conservative GOP primary opponent back in the spring.

So if the Democrats had run a moderate candidate against him, I’d have been comfortable endorsing an honest “Blue Dog” Democrat over a lying sack of…er, suds any day of the week. But they didn’t.  Instead they put up a woman, Teresa Lowry, who says “it’s time corporations in Nevada, who receive billions of dollars in earnings, begin to pay their share so our kids and families get the funding they deserve.”

Pure, unadulterated liberal pap.

So while there’s no way I can support the dishonesty represented by Roberson, there’s also no way I can support yet another ill-informed Democrat Bolshevik with no understanding of, let alone appreciation for, the revenue-producing, job-creating contributions businesses and entrepreneurs make in Nevada.

So my recommendation to conservatives in SD-20: Vote for None of the Above by refusing to vote for either Roberson or Lowry. This is still Roberson’s race to lose, but why participate in encouraging even more dishonesty in politics?  Plus, you’ll sleep better at night!

 

What’s Up in District Court 8 Race?

On October 21, 2014, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

I’m having a really tough time getting a handle on this District Court Department 8 race between the incumbent Doug Smith and his challenger, Christine Guerci-Nyhus.

I have two good conservative Republican lawyers who I often rely on for recommendations in such races. One tells me Smith is “one of our best judges.”  The other says Smith is “the worst of the worst.”

Then you have the liberal Las Vegas Sun endorsing Guerci-Nyhus, but you also have the usually conservative Las Vegas Review-Journal editorializing that Smith is one of five incumbents “who have no business running for office.”

On the other hand, Smith has been endorsed by Clark County Republican Party Chairman Dave McKeon and Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald – who almost never agree on anything – as well as the conservative Citizens for Responsible Government.

I am truly perplexed on who to support in this race. If any of you have any additional helpful information, please shoot it my way.

 

For NV Senate District 9: None of the Above

On October 20, 2014, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

This is a tough one, as it’s a choice between two Democrats – it’s just that one of them recently changed her registration, but not philosophy, to GOP. The one who is still a registered D is incumbent state Sen. Justin Jones, the darling of the gun control crowd.  Problem is, his RINO opponent, Becky Harris, isn’t much better on the issue.

She’s also lousy on taxes. Harris refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and also refused to answer the RJ’s question as to whether or not the “sunsets” should be extended.

Plus she stinks on education reform, too. In the Voter Guide Harris said she only supports “PUBLIC school choice” (my emphasis), not vouchers so parents can rescue their kids from the entire public school system.

Worse, we’re talking about a candidate with no experience or public record as an elected official, yet has ducked media interviews and refuses to debate her opponent. A vote for Harris is akin to buying a pig in a poke.

Nevertheless, there’s no way I can support her opponent, who is so adamantly anti-Second Amendment.

For those satisfied with choosing the lesser of two evils, go ahead and vote for Harris. I understand.  But if I lived in that district, I’d be voting for None of the Above.  It’s time to stop rewarding the Republican establishment for giving us nominees who don’t embrace core, limited government conservative values.

NOTE: You can grab your Sample Ballot and match it up against all of my picks-to-date by clicking here

 

 

There’s No Question, Vote “No” on Question 2

On October 16, 2014, in Muth's Truths, by Chuck Muth

In an editorial voicing support for Question 2, the Las Vegas Review-Journal began: “If voters approve Question 2 on this fall’s ballot, they will not increase taxes on Nevada’s mining industry.”

But that’s like saying if the Gibbons Tax Restraint law – which requires a 2/3 super-majority vote of the Legislature to approve any tax hike – is repealed (as many liberals hope), no taxes will be increased. Which is “technically” true.  The problem is that both measures would not merely enable future tax hikes, it would almost guarantee them.

Indeed, make no mistake: If Question 2 passes, bills to increase the mineral tax on our mining community will be unleashed at warp speed!

In fact, liberals are salivating at the prospect, as well as Sen. Michael Roberson’s (RINO-Las Vegas) “Dirty Half-Dozen” gang that proposed a whopping $600 million-plus tax hike on mining in the last legislative session. Worse, the money would be dumped into a dark hole deeper than any mine shaft…

Nevada’s government-owned/bureaucrat-managed/union-operated public school system.

So if you vote for Question 2, just know that you are (a) voting for higher taxes and higher government spending, and (b) perpetuating our dead-last-in-the-nation status in education rather than forcing true reforms, including universal parental school choice.

And here’s another oft-overlooked point: In addition to the mineral tax, Nevada’s mining industry already pays every other tax that every other business pays. Oh, except, of course, for Tesla.

Indeed, while critics in the Legislature are complaining that the current cap on the mineral tax is unfair because it benefits only one industry (yeah, the one and only industry that pays it!), those same legislators last month eliminated the entire tax burden for the next 10 years for one COMPANY.

Now let’s do a little side-by-side comparison here, shall we?

  • Tesla’s battery factory is projected to create 6,500 jobs paying an average annual salary of around $52,000 and the operation will pay zero taxes in Nevada for the next ten years.
  • Mining employs over 12,000 rural Nevadans at an average annual salary of $90,000 and paid, in 2013 alone, a whopping $347.9 million in various taxes.

So we’re going to single out and give one newcomer company with no history or roots in Nevada a free ride for ten years while jacking up the taxes on an industry that’s been a great corporate citizen since before Nevada achieved statehood and will pay over $3 BILLION in taxes over the next decade?

Yeah, that’s fair.

Oh, and for you Clark County voters who don’t think this impacts you: Who do you think will be picking up the tab for all those unemployment, welfare and food stamp checks in the rural counties if mining in Nevada is harmed?

Vote “No” on Question 2.