A Few Simple Solutions

Tourists keep writing in to complain about all those illegal immigrants bracing them on the sidewalks along the Las Vegas Strip, pushing those little fliers and cards into their hands, the ones with photos of young babes in provocative poses: “Straight to Your Room, just dial 1-800-BOOBs.”

To their credit, the complainants rarely object to the risque poses or the nature of the services offered. They complain primarily about the unsightly litter — most of these solicitations end up on the sidewalk — and secondarily about the low-grade grunt-and-shove harassment by the non-English-speaking purveyors, many still wearing their colorful wool caps from the mountains of Jalisco.

These objections have been a low-level background noise for decades. There’s only one reason no one in a position to change this acts: hypocrisy.

Oh, the city and county keep trying to enact “anti-handbilling” ordinances. The courts quite rightly keep throwing them out on their ears. The First Amendment, and all that.

There are two pragmatic solutions that might work. The major Strip hotels meet with the fellows who operate these “escort” services, saying, “Look, your current method of promotion is unsightly and surely pretty wasteful. Would you consider something more efficient? If you’ll suspend your current Operation Bracero, We’ll ask each guest as he or she checks in whether he’d like to receive a sealed opaque envelope containing advertisements for sexually-related services. Print them up, seal them in the envelope; anyone who answers ‘Yes’ or checks the appropriate box on the registration form will get a packet.”

Presumably the “legitimate” hoteliers don’t do this because this would tacitly recognize that acts of prostitution are taking place — perhaps even inviting lawsuits against the hotel by customers who don’t feel they received fair value for their money.

Isn’t that silly?

If plan “A” doesn’t work, we could always just legalize it, the way almost every other Nevada county has. Give them a booth next to the frozen yogurt stand.

How come we tax gaming, but not drugs and prostitution? These latter industries need the help to survive?

Other jurisdictions have adopted sensible solutions to ancient problems. Try to leave a New Orleans bar with a cocktail in a glass: The doorman cheerfully hands you an unbreakable plastic “Go cup” into which you can pour your libation. Prostitution and hashish have long been openly legal in Amsterdam, with much of the rest of Europe now following suit. Seems to work pretty well. Europe has many problems, but these aren’t among them.

The Europeans make the daring assumption that their inhabitants are for the most part adults and appreciate being treated as such. If they stop coming to Vegas, we should not forget to inquire whether our failure to do the same hasn’t played a significant role.

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Always interesting to review the responses to our former scrivenings — never forgetting that, as Bastiat preached in “What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen,” sometimes the most interesting response is silence.

Responding to my recent missive on illegal aliens, a number of hand-wringers complain we should not take a punitive attitude towards under-age illegal aliens, since their being here is “not their fault.”

I’m never sure whether to attribute to ignorance or disingenuousness the failure to note that — under current federal law — if these kids are granted legal resident status, the parents can then apply for legal resident status, which is likely to be granted to prevent the kids being “orphaned.” The parents are thus rewarded — in fact, they win the jackpot — for illegally bringing these “anchor children” here “against their will.”

But what about my accompanying point that — if the law was enforced and all the illegals sent home — Congress of necessity would have to expand the number of LEGAL immigration slots to provide the required labor pool?

At that point, many law-abiding would-be immigrants from Europe, Asia and Africa, who have been patiently waiting their turn in line, would be allowed to immigrate here far sooner.

Why is there no sympathy for their plight, when the places of such well-educated, often English-speaking would-be immigrants are seized by quasi-literate Mexican Indian gardeners, cutting ahead in line in defiance of any sensible standards Congress wishes to set?

The illegals, for whose desire to become Americans we may feel some sympathy, are the class that is “seen.” Those others, waiting patiently in line in Budapest and Bangladore and Brisbane, turned silently away, are what is “not seen.”

As no answer is forthcoming, I’m obliged to conclude it’s because the point is unanswerable.

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Speaking of non-answers: Isn’t it interesting how no high-ranking Nevada office-holder can explain — if they still contend they really want to stop the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste suppository — why they have not brought a suit at the United States Supreme Court, asking the justices to rule that the federal government does not own the land around Yucca Mountain, because they can show no deed or bill of sale for that land, never having purchased it “by the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be,” as required in order for the federals to obtain a right of “exclusive legislation” over any parcel within the several states under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution?

(No, a promise not to do so by the former TERRITORIAL legislature is not binding, if the states enter the union on an equal footing.)

Then, independent of the question of ownership (though in fact that same suit should seek a declaration that the federal government owns and controls virtually no lands within Nevada), the state attorney general should demand that the court confirm Nevada’s right to superior JURISDICTION over the granting of permits for nuclear waste disposal.

We could try to order such a lawsuit by referendum, I suppose — if we had a straight state Supreme Court that wouldn’t toss it off the ballot on some pretense.

If it were up to me, a second initiative would then instruct the governor and attorney general — the lawsuit stipulated above having been filed and being pursued aggressively — to open negotiations with the federals from a position of strength, offering to issue a state permit for Yucca Mountain, “In keeping with Nevada’s proud tradition of patriotic sacrifice, to encourage the expanded use of domestic nuclear power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” etc.

The condition? Nevadans get the right to take title to the waste in future, when it becomes economically lucrative to reprocess it.

The price? Ah, the price.

1) Decennially count the population of Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California below the 37th parallel. Regularly re-allocate the water of the Colorado River and the electricity generated from its fall among these states, on a per capita basis (considerably upping our share); and

2) Declare that no person who was a legal resident of Nevada as of Jan. 1, 2008 — including military personnel stationed elsewhere — shall be obliged to file or pay any federal income tax, nor shall said person or his or her property ever be subject in any way to the so-called “Federal Endangered Species Act of 1975,” or as amended, for as long as he or she shall live.

I suspect they’d rather pay each of us 20 ounces of gold per year — a mere $400, if they’d kept us on hard money — than set loose three million tax slaves. But I think I’d instruct our office-holders to authorize the waste dump only on the two conditions named.

If it were up to me.

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