Friday, October 31, 2014

AZ Republican Party gives my mother-in-law a "D"

Why?  She is disabled and cannot communicate.  I guess what follows, as I described in a letter to multiple editors, is the Republican version of effective GOTV.

Today my mother-in-law received a "voter report card", "paid for by the Arizona Republican Party".  It says she is receiving the communication because of "low expected voter turnout in your area." "What if your neighbors knew whether you voted?" it trumpets.  "Your individual voting history [is] ... public record ... [your neighbors] can now see yours."  They assigned her a grade of "D".  Then came the threat: "A follow-up report may be issued to detail who in your neighborhood does and does not vote ..."
Here is my response to the AZ Republican Party.  My mother-in-law's "neighborhood" is an assisted living community.  She has suffered multiple strokes and cannot communicate her voting desires.  She cannot speak nor can she write.  And you presume to give her a grade?
Please, fellow Arizonans, vote these scoundrels out of office - every single one of them.  They have no respect for you, your parents, or your children.  They do not deserve your vote.  

Feel free to share this far and wide.

Dicey Ducey: The shady salesman would be a disaster for AZ

It may be panic time.  Attack ads are running 6 or 7 to 1 against Fred.  And Dicey continues to hide his fundamental commitments to extending the disastrous economic policies of the Republicans in AZ (and which are now known to have failed in Kansas).  So, sorry for the long post here, but you need to spread this far and wide.

Stephen Lemons in the Phoenix New Times has an extensive expose' of Ducey's policies and his personal history.  To the latter, I will just say that his family is reported have been involved with organized crime.  Neither Lemons nor I like the guilt by association tactic, but that is exactly what Ducey and the Rs are doing to Fred.  So, turnabout is fair.  But enough with the family history - you can read about that in Lemons' report.

I think that there is enough economic dynamite in Lemons' report to sink Ducey's campaign. So that's what I will feature in the snippets from Lemons' column here.

Let's start with the status quo inflicted upon AZ by the converging actions of a GOP lege and a GOP administration (which includes Dicey as AZ Treasurer).

A DuVal governorship would be as welcome as Babbitt's was back in the day, and it would end a six-year trifecta by Arizona Republicans, with that party's owning the executive office and both chambers of the state Legislature.
For part of this time, the GOP even had a supermajority in the state Senate and the state House.
What did they do with all of this power?
You know, other than offering up divisive, sometimes bigoted, and often downright nutty legislation, from the anti-immigrant Senate Bill 1070 to the anti-gay SB 1062 to the anti-Obama "birther" bill to a bill that would have made it a criminal offense for transgenders to use the "wrong" bathroom?
Well, they cut taxes and they cut government services. A lot!
The tax cutting was justified partly as a way to make the state more attractive to businesses and also as a way to spur growth and spending in the private sector, which hypothetically would result in more taxes getting collected.
Those who grew up in the Reagan era will remember this as supply-side economics, "voodoo economics," as Republican President George Herbert Walker Bush once called it.

What did all that tax cutting do for AZ?

How has this long-discredited economic theory worked for Arizona? Not well, according to a new economic report, released recently by ASU's Morrison Institute for Public Policy.
"The tax cuts that have been implemented in Arizona have had no measurable impact on economic growth," states the Morrison Institute's report. "That is, the loss of revenue resulting from tax cuts has not begun to be offset by greater economic growth, even years after the reductions were implemented."
Evidence for these statements lies in various economic indicators, where Arizona continues to lag behind most other states, which are recovering from the Great Recession faster.
Arizona's economy has recovered only 60 percent of the jobs lost during the recession, according to the Morrison Institute report.
And Arizona's unemployment rate is a full point behind the national unemployment rate, almost on par with that of California, often maligned by Arizona Republicans as some sort of failed socialist state.
According to a report in the Phoenix Business Journal based on U.S. Census data, Arizona currently suffers from the fourth-highest poverty rate in the nation, with nearly 20 percent of the state's population living below the poverty level.
What does the Morrison Institute recommend? Restoring cuts in spending made by the Republican Legislature, particularly in education.
Why education? Because the Morrison Institute finds that a sound system of public education and a skilled workforce are far more likely to encourage businesses to move to Arizona than lower taxes.
This, by the way, is exactly what DuVal has argued on the stump.

So what is Ducey's prescription for what ails Arizona?

... He wants to persist in the folly of the last six years and keep cutting taxes and spending.
During the primary, and on his website, Ducey promises, if elected, to "submit legislation to reduce taxes every year, with the goal of pushing income tax rates as close to zero as possible."
During the general election contest, Ducey's backed off this promise just a tad, calling it "aspirational" during one debate with DuVal.
Still, Ducey pledges to cut spending even further, by going "line by line" in the state budget and by not replacing some of the state employees set to retire in coming years.
But in talking to the Wall Street Journal's Riley, Ducey suggested that he remains hopelessly devoted to the supply-side theories of much-debunked voodoo economist Arthur Laffer.

Lemons' conclusion:

Should voters trust a politician who refuses to discuss his biography with reporters, who remains devoted to crackpots like Arthur Laffer, and who claims -- despite telling his plutocrat patrons otherwise -- that his goal of cutting income taxes to zero is "aspirational"?
It is courting disaster to do so. The Republicans have had their chance at leading Arizona, and they have made a mess of it.
The state needs new leadership, a new direction. Electing Doug Ducey governor will only ensure further economic catastrophe.

Now, if you have gotten this far, you might be skeptical about this fact-based argument against Dicey and for DuVal.  But you will have to queue up in the line of skeptics behind AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona:

Voters should give a damn about Stephen Lemons is writing about. But experience tells me that Republican voters in this state just don’t give a damn. And that is more of an indictment of Arizona Republicans than it is of Doug Ducey.

Actually, it is an indictment of all things Republican including the SCOTUS ruling permitting those with money to secretly buy our elections.  If Ducey wins, it will be because of the Rs who are informed only by attack ads on TV and the flood of dark money inflicted on us by a partisan Supreme Court.

AZ Republicans in the national news - party tagets moderates supporting DuVal and Rotellini

Maricopa County Rs are on a witch hunt, threatening their own committee persons for (GASP!) supporting Fred DuVal and Felecia Rotellini.  (Reported by TalkingPointsMemo.)

Arizona Republicans seem to be having a little trouble with defectors.
[Maricopa County] Committee member Susan Charlton received a letter, but had told the committee she would support DuVal when the GOP recruited her to run for the committee.
"This is not the Republican Party that I signed up for," she told the Arizona Republic. "And I wouldn't do it any differently — I would still support Fred. I'm always going to vote my conscience."

Now, if only more Republicans would see that their party has been hijacked and is leaving them ...

Terry Goddard's message about dark money

Jim Nintzel posted this one at Tucson Weekly/The Range.  Goddard writes:

The 60 Plus Association describes itself as a “non-partisan seniors advocacy group,” but like anything involving Dark Money, what they say is far from true.
The 60 Plus Association, in fact, is a Koch Brothers-backed front group that floods our airwaves with political ads paid for with anonymous corporate cash designed to distort our elections and deceive voters.
But it also has another purpose: to advocate for the privatization of Social Security.

Read more about Goddard's campaign against dark money in Nintzel's post.

Essential messages about voting and more via entertaining video clips

A Message from the Republican Party: Do your civic duty - don't vote!  You gotta watch this one. (h/t Shasta McManus)

Jon Stewart puts the Koch brothers in a stew.  Watch him rewrite the Koch brothers Comedy Central ad.

Income inequality explained .... by three alpacas.  Great video with voices of tres comediennes (at vox.com).

Legislature wants another black eye for AZ: let's fight, not fund. How about funding and not fighting education?

Jim Holway's video town halls featuring David Garcia, Terry Goddard, Ruben Gallego, and Corporation Commission issues.  (h/t Jim Woodbrey)

Paul Krugman on ideology vs. investment

America used to invest in its infrastructure.  Consider Eisenhower and the interstate highway system.  These kind of projects made America work better and we all got richer.  No more.  Here are snippets from Krugman's column in the NY Times.

America used to be a country that built for the future. Sometimes the government built directly: Public projects, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, provided the backbone for economic growth. Sometimes it provided incentives to the private sector, like land grants to spur railroad construction. Either way, there was broad support for spending that would make us richer.
But nowadays we simply won’t invest, even when the need is obvious and the timing couldn’t be better. And don’t tell me that the problem is “political dysfunction” or some other weasel phrase that diffuses the blame. Our inability to invest doesn’t reflect something wrong with “Washington”; it reflects the destructive ideology that has taken over the Republican Party.

Sorry, but if the polls and forecasters are correct about this election, the outlook for investment will be even worse in the years ahead. 

Forecasters predicting GOP gains in House

Analysts have been predicting a likely flip of the Senate to GOP.  Now some analysts predict losses of 5 seats or more in the House as well.

Too funny

Let's quarantine Christie.

The GOP's base.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sarah Gerracht-Gassen: If you don't like the status quo, vote!

Her column in the Daily Star/tucson.com is right on.  

Attack ads funded by dark money are designed to make you stay home and not vote.  (See also today's post on toxic ads.) 

Candidates dodging interviews deprive you of information you need to vote intelligently. 

Our legislators feed us nonsense and insult our intelligence and sense of fairness by insisting funding of public education is "impossible" while cutting more taxes.  

Here is a strategy.  If we want change, we'd better damn well get to the polls and vote the scoundrels out. 

Figure out who is doing most attack ads - vote against that candidate.  Figure out who is stiffing the press and not answering questions - vote against that candidate.  Find out which legislator will cut taxes and cut education - and vote against that candidate.  

And then spread the word to everyone you know.

News from Brownbackistan: Things might be looking up, Toto.

E.J. Dionne writes at Truthdig:  

[Governor] Brownback set things up [for a citizen revolt in Kansas] by launching what he called, proudly and unapologetically, a “real, live experiment” that he hoped would provide a model of red-state governance. He pushed steep income and business tax cuts through the Legislature, insisting that his program would spur unprecedented economic growth. The results so far have been less than inspiring: large budget deficits, credit downgrades, and substantial cuts in education spending, some of which were reversed only because of a court order. Only rarely does an election pose such a clear philosophical and policy choice.
What it means to be Kansas is precisely what’s at stake, and it’s why [candidate for Governor] Davis’ campaign uses #RestoreKansas—a traditionalist’s slogan when you think about it—as its Twitter battle cry. The choice Davis is offering is not between liberalism and conservatism but between two kinds of conservatism—the deeply anti-government tea party kind, and an older variety that values prudence and fiscal restraint but also expects government to provide, as Davis put it, “the basic services that are essential to the state’s vitality.”

Most recent polls (from PollTracker) have Davis running ahead of Brownback.  

Among those who came out to greet Davis here was David Toland, executive director of Thrive Allen County, a social service and economic development organization. He summarized why the decision here matters so much.
“If moderates are starting to push back against the extremism of the Republican Party in Kansas, I cannot believe they won’t be pushing back in other states,” Toland said. “This is a state with a strong conservative tradition that’s in open rebellion against the policies of its own party.”

So, Toto,  there may be hope for KS after all.  And maybe some hope for crAZy as well.

Dionne's article is a good read on its own, but the photo of a tornado on the midwestern plains at sunset is a work of art and not to be missed.

Toxic ads designed to make voters stay home

Jim Hightower writing at alternet.org provides a few astronomical numbers showing how the SCOTUS ruling on campaign cash is wrecking our democracy.  Money is speech and those with more money determine the speech and consequently the issues at stake in our electoral campaigns.  Hightower views that as turning off voters and suppressing turnout.  See today's post about Garrecht-Gassen's column for reasons to get out of the house and vote.

Standing next to hand sanitizer makes you conservative. What about Ebola?

Ezra Klein writing in vox.com explores the evolutionary basis for our "behavioral immune system."  The basic point is that  many of our reactions to illness and infection are rooted deeply in our collective psyche.  Those reactions served us well in the past as we avoided diseases and those who carried them.  But those reactions now serve us badly when disease can be spread widely by modern transportation.  Check out his summary of the research on psychological reactions to illness.

Klein goes on to explain why the travel ban is a bad idea and why we need to stop Ebola at the source.

Today's funnies

What Republicans really think about liberty

How to control Fox news

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Making AZ into KS, Step 1: Cut taxes and cut education

Tim Steller has a good column today in the AZ Daily Star/tucson.com.  He takes on the state's position that paying what is owed K-12 is "impossible".  Why "impossible"?  How about the choice to cut corporate taxes in spite of the complete lack of evidence that tax cuts will grow the economy?

The state Legislature has spent the past several sessions cutting corporate taxes while declining to increase funding to public schools at the rate required by a referendum we voters passed in 2000. If you think way back, you may remember Prop. 301, which the Legislature referred to voters that year, asking us to increase the state sales tax by six-tenths of one cent for 20 years to pay for public education.
The key part of that proposition now, which none of us likely considered at the time, was that it also prescribed “automatic inflation adjustments.” The state increased funding to keep up with inflation for years but stopped in 2010, when the recession smashed state tax revenue.
Not only has Judge Katherine Cooper ordered the state to pay schools an additional $336 million this year, but she may order back pay that could top $1 billion. That’s what led [attorney for the state] Richards to declare it an impossibility that could cause Arizona “administrative and economic turmoil.”

Steller argues against that prediction.

But that’s simply not the case. First, the plaintiffs have offered to settle the suit if the state agrees to pay this year’s $336 million and continues to make the required inflation adjustments in future years. Plus, if the state is ordered to pay retroactively, it would likely be allowed to do it over many years.
Second, the state Legislature has been refusing to pay for inflation adjustments at the same time it has been cutting taxes. Corporate income tax cuts that passed in 2012, for example, are projected to reduce state tax revenue by $120 million this year, a loss that increases to almost $400 million in 2018.

The supporters of these tax cuts continue to claim, almost theologically, that we need a better business tax climate.  But Steller takes that argument apart with some research.

Among the 10 states with the worst business tax climates, five had rates of economic growth that matched or exceeded the country’s average growth rate in 2013, 1.8 percent. Minnesota, for example, is the 47th worst state for its business tax climate, but it grew by an impressive 2.8 percent (compared to Arizona’s 1.1 percent) in 2013.
Among the 10 states with the best business tax climates, three had below-average growth in 2013. Clearly, a state’s business tax climate is not the determining factor in its growth rate. So the Legislature should consider rescinding future corporate tax cuts to pay for education.

Steller's research complements that of international economists showing, for example, that there is no relationship between tax cuts and GDP.  He highlights another aspect of business growth.

In fact, while a state’s tax climate may affect where and how corporations grow, the state’s education system also has an impact on those decisions.

Finally he describes how those supporting tax cuts also oppose closing loopholes, thus forcing the state into a choice: impose a regressive sales tax or cut education even more.  

I recommend reading the column.

The judiciary is the next right-wing target -- and their weapon is money and lots of it

For over 40 years, there has been a right-wing conspiracy gradually unfolding.  The architect, as we now know, is the former Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell.  Just prior to his appointment to SCOTUS, Powell drafted a memo to the US Chamber of Commerce outlining the way for corporatchiks to rise back to power.  His now well known targets were education at all levels and the media with the aim of getting public opinion and political power back under corporate control.

Powell was smart.  He understood that sudden actions would not produce the change he envisioned.  Instead, he argued for a protracted battle.  He wrote in his memo: “Strength lies in organization, in careful long- range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.”

In addition to the educational institutions and the media, Powell looked to wielding judicial power as another means of gaining control.  “Under our constitutional system, especially with an activist- minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.”

The attack on the judiciary is well underway. Thom Hartmann writes:  "Then came the Federalist Society, founded in 1982 with millions of dollars in funding by the Royalist- allied Bradley Foundation, which built a nationwide network of jurists, attorneys, legal scholars, and politicians to indoctrinate a new generation’s legal system with Royalist interpretations: Corporate personhood is real, money is speech, democracy is not sacred, and organized money should always have privilege over organized people." (Hartmann, The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America -- and What We Can Do to Stop It)

Over the last decade or so, the assault on the judicial system has been facilitated by increasing amounts of dark money.  The application of that money to elections of judges is chronicled here at motherjones.com.Fewer than two dozen big players were behind nearly $72 million in campaign spending on supreme court races nationwide between 2000 and 2012. They included business heavyweights such as the US Chamber of Commerce and partisan groups focused on specific races in states like Michigan (where an estimated $13-$18 million was spent in 2011-12), Florida (at least $4.8 million in 2011-12), and North Carolina (at least $4.5 million in 2011-12).
The outside money, which has more than tripled over the last decade, primarily funds TV attack ads. In 2012, an ad backing a Republican judicial candidate in Ohio said his Democratic opponent "expressed sympathy for rapists." In the North Carolina Supreme Court primary this year, an ad blasted a candidate who "sides with child predators." The local bar association condemned that ad, as did six former state justices, calling it "disgusting" and "false."

But do these ads work?  Are there practical consequences as assessed by rulings from the bench?  Absolutely!

The total cost of judicial elections ($288 million since 2000) is still nowhere near that of congressional races ($17 billion since 2000). Donors potentially buy a lot more influence, with less money, when they back judges: In West Virginia in 2004, the CEO of Massey Energy spent $3 million on his preferred Supreme Court candidate; that justice later cast the deciding vote to overturn a $50 million verdict against the company—a nearly 1,600 percent return on investment.

Sandra Day O'Connor recognized the problem: "Motivated interest groups are pouring money into judicial elections in record amounts. Whether or not they succeed in their attempts to sway the voters, these efforts threaten the integrity of judicial selection and compromise public perception of judicial decisions."

(Justice O’Connor, Nov. 15, 2007, Wall Street Journal commentary)

If the vast amounts of dark money sends judicial selection along the way of Congressional elections, and it the public grows equally disillusioned and cynical, then O'Connor's prediction will be realized.

"In too many states, judicial elections are becoming political prizefights where partisans and special interests seek to install judges who will answer to them instead of the law and the Constitution." (justiceatstake.org)

NRA to police: We have met the jack-booted thugs and they is you

The NRA has signed onto the transfer of military hardware to local police big time.  Yet they are afraid of repression by said police forces.  But nobody ever expects rationality and consistence from the NRA.  Here are snippets from motherjones.com.

The NRA has long walked a delicate line between glorifying law enforcement and fanning fears of big, tyrannical government. In 1995, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre infamously wrote of "jack-booted government thugs" and "federal agents wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms," and he still routinely warns of imminent crackdowns on gun owners ...
Yet the NRA is also a trade lobby for firearms manufacturers, which may explain its soft stance on the militarization of American police. ... a multibillion dollar industry has sprung up to provide ever-bigger weapons and military-style equipment to law enforcement. Since 2002, the Department of Homeland Security has given local police departments $41 billion to buy new gear.

You see the problem for NRA - they fear jack-booted thugs but they are participating in creating jack-booted thugs.  The events in Ferguson make the dangers of all this quite clear.

For more, here is a companion piece on warrior cops.

Some funnies from Truthdig

Riding the wave of cash in the election

Real elephants don't wallow in their ...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

AZ lege pleads "impossibility" to avoid funding schools

 That's a legal defense for breaking a contract, essentially arguing that, through no fault of your own, you cannot honor the terms of the contract - act of God, for example.  I think I have that right, but, regardless, AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona comes to the rescue with a legal analysis.  Bottom line: lege impossibility defense is BS.  It's a good read especially if you want to know the background for the maneuvering around the public education funding ruckus.

11 reasons why Dicey Doug Ducey should not be Governor

The first 10, categorized, with media citations, are in a press release from Fred DuVal's campaign.

Education

1. Doug Ducey opposes settling the Cave Creek v. Ducey lawsuit, and wants to keep fighting our schools in court. [Arizona Republic, 9/29/14]

2. Doug Ducey opposed Governor Brewer’s temporary one-cent sales tax increase. Without it, according to Governor Brewer, “cuts to core state services would have been a magnitude worse...K-12 would have endured the brunt of those cuts.” [Dougducey.com, accessed: 10/2/14] [Arizona Small Business Association, 5/31/13]

3. Not only does Doug Ducey oppose Governor Brewer’s Arizona College and Career Ready Standards; he’s said he would “stop it.” [Twitter, 7/12/14]

Extreme anti-Latino policies

4. Doug Ducey said that he would continue Arizona’s prohibition on driver’s licenses for DREAMers, the children of undocumented immigrants who are legally permitted to reside and work in the United States. [Arizona Daily Star, 9/29/14]

5. Despite causing significant economic harm to Arizona, Doug Ducey said he “would have signed SB 1070, and would support similar provisions in the future.” [East Valley Tribune, 7/4/14]

6. While Ducey’s supports extremist anti-Latino policies, he has an idea for reaching out to Arizona’s Latino community -- marrying a Latina. [Arizona Republic, 6/6/14]  

Ducey’s shady business dealings

7. The Arizona Republic reported that there are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the sale of Doug Ducey’s former company, and at a September debate, Doug Ducey refused to answer whether he was accused of “material misrepresentation.” [Arizona Republic, 7/31/14] [Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission Debate, 9/29/14]

8. When questions about the sale of his former company started to come out in July, Doug Ducey called an attorney involved in the disputed sale and offered him a job. [Arizona Republic, 7/31/14]

Tea Party Extremism

9. Doug Ducey has been endorsed by Sarah Palin, who used gun crosshairs in a 2010 ad attacking Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, who were the architects of the government shutdown that cost Arizona millions. [Huffington Post, 1/9/11] [Cronkite News, 3/3/14]

10. Doug Ducey opposes a woman’s right to choose -- even in cases of rape and incest. [Center for Arizona Policy questionnaires for 2010 & 2014] 

The last reason is from me.  

11. The most recent attack ad directed at Fred DuVal is disgusting.  Basically Ducey is benefitting from dark money and is exploiting the Black President fear factor in associating Fred with Obama.  And his spokeswomen, Melissa Delaney, has the gall to say that Ducey is running a "positive campaign".  These people should be careful of sucking bottom.  Never can tell what you might suck up - or which dark money sponsor you have to suck up to.

Michele Reagan is in the national news - but does she want the notoriety?

Maybe not.  She was grilled by TV newsman Brahm Resnik and really botched the interview.  She couldn't (or wouldn't) explain her "birther" and SB1062 votes and kind of babbled about dark money.  The goofy thing is that those who most intensely dislike government and view it as incompetent are those most likely to vote for her.

Resnik's interview was featured in various national media - here is one from TalkingPointsMemo.

I apologize for North Dakota and its personhood bill

I grew up in ND.  I went to public schools in ND.  I attended ND's land-grant university.  I worked in ND for most of my academic career.  And now I am ashamed of ND.

I left ND for another academic position.  But it feels more like the state has left me.

ND legislators have pushed a personhood measure onto the ballot. (Quotes from TalkingPointsMemo.)

The single-sentence measure would be the nation's first to amend a state constitution and require the "inalienable right to life" at "any stage of development." Supporters say it's meant to protect the state's current abortion laws from judicial activism. Those opposed believe the intent is to outlaw abortion altogether and say the vague wording could affect birth control, end-of-life care plans and in vitro fertilization.
[Dina] Butcher [a Republican opposed to the measure] said the measure's vague language is meant to "camouflage" its real intent to bar abortions and also could potentially affect end-of-life care plans and cause problems for infertile couples seeking to use in vitro fertilization.

Proposition supporters insist that is not the case and that the bill is mean to "protect" existing laws. But regardless of what the intent is, consequences of that measure loom large.

... Dr. Steffen Christensen, who founded North Dakota's only in vitro fertilization clinic in Fargo 20 years ago, said he will close the clinic if the measure passes. His attorneys have told him doctors and workers are at risk of legal action "if there is a loss of an embryo."
"We are covered for malpractice but criminal charges? We're on our own," he said. "Sooner or later, someone would try to make an example of us."

Come on, North Dakota.  You used to be a reasonable place.  Stop trying to compete with Arizona as the craziest state in the nation.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Buying Brnovich: APS backs GOP candidate for AZ Attorney General, but why?

Laurie Roberts at The Republic/azcentral tilts again at the dark money windmills.  Here is part of her report.

... APS is banking on Brnovich becoming AG. Why?
Turns out the attorney general has a role in overseeing the Corporation Commission, specifically in making sure that any rules passed are "clear, concise and understandable" and within the commission's authority to make.
So if a utility (let's say APS) wanted to get out from under what it considered an onerous set of rules (let's say the ones that require it to eventually meet a certain renewable energy standard), it might want a certain candidate (let's say Brnovich) sitting in the catbird seat.
In 2006, the Corporation Commission approved a set of rules requiring regulated utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar or wind by 2025. APS estimated the cost to ratepayers would total $347 million by 2012. The Attorney General's Office, under then Attorney General Terry Goddard, approved the rules in 2007.
In 2008, the Goldwater Institute sued both the Corporation Commission and Goddard, contending the commission had no authority to impose the stringent rules on utilities. Goldwater attorney Clint Bolick called it "an unconstitutional power grab by an agency that is rapidly becoming Arizona's fourth branch of government."

(Really.  I always thought it was a constitutionally mandated 4th branch.)  Roberts continues:

In 2009, Goldwater lost and lost again on appeal in 2011.
As APS continues its battle with the rooftop solar industry, I suppose Goldwater and APS would like to ensure a friendlier set of rules in the future. Brnovich is a former senior fellow at the Goldwater Institute.
A handy guy to have in your hip pocket, don't you think?

The most qualified and experienced candidate Felecia Rotellini must scare the bejesus out of APS.

APS should promote a new slogan in the energy industry: Buying Brnovich.  Or maybe that would be a good movie title.

Brahm Resnik grills Michele Reagan: She turns to toast

Resnik at Channel 12's Insider asks some tough (for Reagan) questions.  

"Republican secretary of state candidate Michele Reagan struggles to explain her 2011 vote for the 'birther bill,' which would have required the secretary of state to certify the citizenship of presidential candidates."  

Struggles?  She didn't come close to an answer.  And she flubbed the "what would you do about dark money" question.  She would have the lege "consider it".  This person is really an intellectual lightweight.  She voted for the birther bill and SB 1062 and cannot come to an effective approach to limiting dark money.

Vote for Terry Goddard!

Just when you though the ads could not get worse ...

... Dicey Ducey is featured on a TV ad associating Fred DuVal and President Obama.  In Scriber's opinion, this is a shameless, racist, cowardly thing to do.  Dicey, you really suck bottom on this one.

Predicted headlines Nov. 5, 2014: Ducey wins - new Governor promises no more income tax

Let's hope not.  But consider some other potential headlines if Dicey wins it.

Jan 1, 2015: Ducey embraces Kansas Gov. Brownback's "real live experiment" 

Feb 1, 2015: Ducey signs bill decreasing AZ income and corporate tax

Jul 9, 2015: AZ budget officials sound warning - AZ revenues fall short

Jul 10, 2015: Ducey defends tax cuts - urges counties and cities to pick up slack

Oct 13, 2015: Ducey disses research report - says less state spending will stimulate economy

Nov 5, 2015: AZ budget officials predict $1 billion AZ deficit

Nov 6, 2015: Ducey orders school closings, cuts highway funds for rest-stops

Nov 20, 2015: Ducey orders AZ schools to furlough teachers

Dec 5, 2015: Ducey says his policies worked in Kansas, puzzled over state budget crisis

Ducey thinks his tax-cutting plan will take two terms to stimulate the economy.  Anyone want to bet on the AZ economy tanking again a lot sooner?  GOTV, folks.  We cannot let this disaster happen.  We need Fred DuVal in the statehouse.

Abortion rights threatened if Senate flips to GOP

From TalkingPointsMemo.  The Rs, particularly Mitch McConnell, have a serious anti-abortion agenda.  For example: No chance for the fetus to survive birth?  No problem, take it to term anyway.  

"I am woman.  Watch me vote."  I hope so.

Monday mourning courtoons

As usual, courtesy of AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona.

And here is one more from Truthdig.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

NEWS ALERT: Watch Zona Politics this morning on TV

Check out Zona Politics - a new Sunday morning show hosted by Jim Nintzel (9:30 AM, Ch. 9).  This morning features an interview with Fred DuVal and a conversation with Jeff Rogers evaluating various state-wide races.

DuVal takes off gloves in Governnor race. GOP opponent Dicey Ducey spokesperson cries "ouch"

Well, almost.  Melissa Delaney, Dicey's spokeperson, had the gall to (a) claim that Dicey is running a "positive" campaign, and then (b) to accuse DuVal of being dishonest.  Remember all those negative attack ads?  Remember how many of them are aimed at DuVal?  Delany has a great strategy.  Tell a big lie and then call us liars when we disbelieve the lie.

I'll let you judge for yourselves.  Here is the full article from The Republic/azcentral.

Newly aggressive DuVal attacks Ducey

Democratic governor candidate Fred DuVal blasted his GOP rival over education funding Friday, taking a more aggressive tone as the race barrels toward Election Day.
DuVal went on the attack as polls show him tied with or trailing Republican Doug Ducey, and as Ducey's allies prepare to spend another $900,000 in an attempt to seal the victory for their candidate.
DuVal on Friday characterized Ducey as educators' Public Enemy No. 1. He stood alongside teachers at the Arizona Education Association's headquarters in central Phoenix as he leveled his attack.
"Doug Ducey is the most anti-public-education candidate for governor in my lifetime," said DuVal, a former staffer to President Bill Clinton, lobbyist and Board of Regents chairman.
DuVal took aim at Ducey's vow to submit legislation each year to eliminate the state's income tax despite a projected $1billion state deficit next year.
"He wants to do giant tax giveaways to the rich that would cause the largest funding cuts to education in our state — it is simple math," DuVal said. "The fact that he won't admit that his plan doesn't add up shows that Doug Ducey isn't honest enough to be our governor."
Ducey has said he believes the state is on the verge of a rapid comeback that would accelerate if he implements his plan to get rid of income taxes. He has pledged to "submit legislation to reduce taxes every year, with the goal of eliminating personal and corporate income taxes in Arizona." He has said it would take two terms to accomplish.
DuVal has shied away from combative politics during the campaign and has been criticized by some in his party for playing too nice.
The aggressive posture comes in response to an onslaught of attack ads by pro-Ducey groups, including the 60 Plus Association, which accuses DuVal of helping Puerto Rican terrorists gain clemency from the Clinton administration.
DuVal has said the allegations are false.
Asked how his campaign would be heard over the din of the attack ads against him, DuVal said voters "are getting sick of the deceptive ... wrong, factually wrong, deceptive, mean-spirited ads."
He accused Ducey of "using other people, attacking other people, pitting them against each other in order to get him ahead" in both his career as CEO of Cold Stone Creamery and now as a candidate.
"He did it in the primary, he's trying to do it now, it's not going to work, people are sick of it," he said. "People want to feel positive about Arizona's future."
Ducey campaign spokeswoman Melissa DeLaney criticized DuVal's career as a lobbyist and said Ducey is running a positive campaign.
"As more and more polls show DuVal trailing, he is growing increasingly desperate and making fictional claims with no basis in reality," she said.
Rodd McLeod, DuVal's campaign consultant, said DuVal'smedia consultant alerted the campaign that pro-Ducey groups are spending an additional $900,000 on ads attacking DuVal in the final week before the general election.
DuVal made his remarks with 11 days remaining until Election Day, after many voters have already returned their early ballots.
DuVal's congenial tone to this point in the campaign may play well with some voters, "but some people would expect him to respond to the attacks and he really hasn't," said David Berman, a senior research fellow at Arizona State University's Morrison Institute for Public Policy. "He's not an aggressive kind of guy."
DeLaney said DuVal's remarks are "dishonest and false."
"Arizona voters will remember the ... debate on education just a few short weeks ago when Doug demonstrated a deep proficiency on the subject matter and was clearly better prepared than DuVal to address it as governor," DeLaney wrote in a statement. "In just over one week, we are confident Arizona voters will elect Doug Ducey to lead on both education and the economy, and as governor, he will make certain there are no winners and losers in Arizona's schools."
Education has been the cornerstone of DuVal's campaign, while Ducey has highlighted "kick-starting the economy" as his top issue.
DuVal has repeatedly accused Ducey of planning to undermine schools because he wants to appeal a ruling that would direct an extra $317million a year to the public and charter K-12 system.
In August, a Maricopa County Superior Courtjudge issued a ruling in a long-standing lawsuit challenging school funding, requiring the state to boost funding to the schools by more than $300million this fiscal year and in following years. The courts had already determined that the state shorted the public-school system during the Great Recession by not fully covering inflation costs required under the voter-approved Proposition 301.
Ducey has said he wants to appeal the judge's decision because it would buy time for state officials to come up with cost-saving reforms to K-12. He said he would make the first payment "once the appeal is exhausted."

Scriber's message to Delaney and Dicey:  if you are sincere about building education in AZ, start with the truth.

Hugh Downs backs Fred DuVal for Governor

Downs has been a news anchor, broadcaster, and TV personality (bio at Wiki).  Here's the YouTube link. h/t Jim Woodbrey

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=i-LrdsCCtXU

Nancy Reagan's astrologer was a power behind the throne

Here is a short version from TPM with links to the details. 

Now think about it.  If we learned that the Russians were contemplating an attack on us because of some old guy throwing aardvark bones on the floor, what would we do?  Too scary?  OK.  How about a political party founded on some astrologer giving advice on what the leader of their party should do?  More scary?  All this makes George Will, another Nancy Reagan confidant, sound reasonable.

BTW: it's not just that the GOP denies science - rather, the problem is that they believe in this kind of pseudoscience.  Fox viewers slurp it up like flies on horse droppings.

Here is the 8th and most fundamental source of challenge to the American dream

Economic inequality and its products are the biggest single challenge the nation faces.  The accumulation of capital drives increased spending on political campaigns.  And there is no reason to believe that lower taxes increases prosperity.  Here is an overview from Salon.com.  (See earlier post below.)

Is the American dream dead? Here are 7 reasons to think so

From the article in Salon.com.  The 7 disappearing middle-class mainstays are:

Vacations; an education; staying home to raise your kids; a life without crushing debt; seeing the doctor when you don’t feel well; a chance to retire: one by one, these mainstays of middle-class life are disappearing for most Americans. Until we demand political leadership that will do something about it, they’re not coming back.
Can the American dream be restored? Yes, but it will take concerted effort to address two underlying problems. First, we must end the domination of our electoral process by wealthy and powerful elites. At the same time, we must begin to address the problem of growing economic inequality. Without a national movement to call for change, change simply isn’t going to happen.

That was the conclusion.  Now check out the report for the details on each of those 7 reasons.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The next scariest thing from Republicans

This is the modern version of the Powell memo.  John Nichols in The Nation and Joan Walsh in Salon.com report on Chris Christie's grand scheme to take over everything using voter suppresion to do it.  New research shows nonvoters to be more liberal than voters.  And Rachel Maddow weighs in. (Oops, bad choice of words considering Christie.)  

Walsh:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie prides himself on saying things other politicians don’t have the cojones to share with the public: calling teachers unions “thugs” and his Democratic opponents “jerks,” for instance. In his latest candid moment with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, he laid bare his party’s voter-suppression agenda – or rather, its crusade to make sure Republican governors control the “voting mechanism” of every state possible, in order to regain the White House in 2016.

Nichols:

Yes, yes, Christie wants to elect governors who will stop all this talk about raising the minimum wage. Yes, yes, Christie wants to elect governors who will “start offending people”—like school teachers and their unions.
But that’s not all the New Jersey governor wants from his fellow Republican executives. Among the reasons he mentions for electing Republican governors, says Christie, is a desire to put the GOP in charge of the “voting mechanism” of likely 2016 presidential battleground states such as Florida and Wisconsin and Ohio..
In a remarkably candid speech to the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform this week, Christie acknowledged a fact that politicians often avoid: the governor of a state, particularly a governor with allies in the legislature and key statewide posts, can play a big role in deciding how easy or how hard it is for working people, minorities, seniors and students to vote.
Chris Christie has been campaigning hard for [Scott] Walker, despite the fact that the men are potential rivals for their party’s 2016 presidential nomination, Next week, the New Jersey governor will make his second visit this fall to Wisconsin and the RGA just upped its pro-Walker TV ad buy to $2 million, after polls showed the anti-labor incumbent is struggling. The RGA is all in, as well, for Scott in Florida and for Republicans running in battleground states across the country. That’s smart politics for Christie, as it puts him in the spotlight and allows him to get on the good side of Republicans in key states. And if those Republicans happen to be in charge of the “voting mechanisms” of those states in 2016, Christie reminds us, that could be “incredibly important.”

And why is that so terribly important?  Here is a research study reported in TalkingPointsMemo showing that those who do NOT vote are more liberal than those who do.  So as the turnout increases, elections shift leftwards.  GOTV!

And don't miss Rachel Maddow's comments on all this in her show yesterday evening.

John McCain's legacy: Sarah Palin speaks out about her family's drunken brawl

She blames the media's bias against conservative women.  The alternative hypothesis is that the media has shown itself to have a healthy sense of humor. Here's to you, Sarah, and Bristol, and etc. The country needs a dose of laughter.  (From TalkingPointsMemo)

Of note

Here is a good contagion: Solar power.  If your neighbors are infected with solar power, chances are you will catch it too. Interesting piece of research.

Google rethinks your inbox with its Inbox.  Could be a game changer for how we deal with email.  More to come if Google clears me for one of the "invites" to test Inbox.

Why we need to stop Ebola in West Africa: The world is interconnected. 

Six reasons why Elizabeth Warren should run for President

Friday, October 24, 2014

Heads up: The crazy is back in AZ. SB 1062 redux.

Here is one of the reports on the conservative cash machine getting revved up for the next legislative session.  Preparations are underway to revive 1062.  Check out this report in Tucson Weekly/The Range and follow the links.

Brewer keeps trashing dreams ...

... and "dreamers".  She really does have it in for those folks.  Or, maybe, she's pursuing this litigation with an environmental objective.  Wait for the billboard with catchy slogans:  Save some gas. Walk to work.

Report on legal wrangling at AZ Daily Star/tucson.com.

More rottenness in Arizona: The 2014 election is all about APS

Arizona Eagletarian, at this cross-post in Blog for Arizona, charges APS with buying the 2014 election.  It is widely believed that APS funded a primary campaign to get two Republicans on the Corporation Commission.  Now the same sources of funds are being used to attack the Democratic candidate for Attorney General, Felecia Rotellini, and support her Republican opponent, Mark Brnovich.  You gotta read this one.

Why Fox viewers are so misinformed

I know. You want to say that Fox presents misinformation ... and you are certainly right.  But here's a summary (from alternet.org) of research findings that indicate that people with certain psychological characteristics selectively expose themselves to Fox-type media.

And thus we find, at the root of our political dysfunction, a classic nurture-nature mélange. The penchant for selective exposure is rooted in our psychology and our brains. Closed-mindedness and authoritarianism—running stronger in some of us than in others—likely are as well.
But nevertheless, it took the emergence of a station like Fox News before these tendencies could be fully activated—polarizing America not only over politics, but over reality itself.

That's the tickler.  How that conclusion was reached is an interesting amalgamation of psychological research and political survey work.  It's worth the read.

"What's more offensive? A little girl saying f*ck or the sexist way society treats girls and women."

If you abhor the F word, skip this one.  On the other hand, if you want the answer to the question go to this alternet.org post and watch the video.  Yes, it's bad language but it ends in a good place.

If you can't stand the idea of little angelic girls cursing, you better not watch this video. On second thought, maybe you should. Because what the f*ck is so bad about saying f&ck? There are a lot of things more f%cked up than that.
In the clip, six girls aged 6-13 dress up as princesses and liberally drop the f-word to draw attention to the fact that women are still paid 23 percent less than men for the same work and 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted. The point is: Telling girls and women how to dress and how to speak properly is really besides the point. After all, they ask, “What’s more offensive? A little girl saying f*ck or the sexist way society treats girls and women.”

Conservatives are from propaganda, liberals are from facts

At least that's the case when it comes to questions about which media outlets are trusted (report from alternet.org). 

Investigating causes of political polarization, Pew research:

... discovered that conservatives are consuming a right-wing media full of lies and misinformation, whereas liberals are more interested in media that puts facts before ideology. It’s very much not a “both sides do it” situation. Conservatives are becoming more conservative because of propaganda, whereas liberals are becoming more liberal while staying very much checked into reality.

Hey!  Don't stop reading here.  Go to the article and get the facts.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Questions for Dicey Ducey (and Mitt Romney)

From Fred DuVal campaign press release.

Phoenix, AZ -- Today, Tea Party Republican Doug Ducey welcomes failed Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney--and all his baggage--to Arizona to help rescue his moribund campaign, leaving many to wonder: Does Ducey agree with Romney's politics of protecting the 1 Percent at the expense of everyone else? 

Here are the questions people should be asking Doug Ducey:

  1. Does Ducey support Romney's history of laying off American workers and investing in corporations that shipped good American jobs overseas?
  2. Does Ducey approve of Romney hiding millions of dollars in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes?
  3. Does Ducey believe that millionaires like himself and Romney should get away with avoid taxes that ordinary Arizonans pay by using special tax breaks?
  4. Does Ducey share Romney's belief that 47% of Americans see themselves as victims who are entitled to be being taken care of don't think that they "should take personal responsibility and care for their lives"?
  5. Would Ducey, like Romney, be "delighted" to take away a woman's right to make her own decisions about pregnancy?
As I said before, Dicey is known by the company he keeps.

With friends like this, who needs enemies? A nomination for the most hypocritical endorsement ever

This is from the "eTracks" newsletter produced by the Pima County Republican Party.

Mark Brnovich Endorsed by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu
Today, Republican candidate for attorney general Mark Brnovich was endorsed by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. In his endorsement, Sheriff Babeu remarked:
"With the federal government actively encouraging state attorneys general to disregard laws they do not see fit to enforce, the states chief law enforcers are given the license to impose their ideologies over the rule of law. In a border state like Arizona, this mentality could be extremely dangerous for our local communities. Mark Brnovich does not fit that mold. Rather, Mark will enforce the law every time, in every place, whether or not it happens to fit his political ideology. As Pinal County Sheriff, Mark is exactly the type of Attorney General I expect to partner with to help keep our communities safe."

Check the bold above (emphasis added).  What does Babeu think Prop 122 does?

“Our law enforcement coalition continues to expand and I’m humbled to receive the support of Sheriff Babeu,” said Mark Brnovich. “As attorney general, my office will serve as a force multiplier and work proactively with county sheriffs and our local law enforcement communities.” He continued, “We must aggressively prosecute human, drug, and weapons smugglers that intend to do our communities harm.”

Brnovich just got himself some serious baggage.

Why women should vote for Congressman Ron Barber

For DCSRA members and subscribers to the SkyIslandScriber blog:  this is an unsolicited letter comparing Ron Barber and Martha McSally.  This is a big deal so please pass the word.  If you are female, and you do not vote for Ron Barber, you lose!

This was originally passed on by a woman who would really, really like to be represented in congress by another woman.  But ...

"Wow, what a shame.  I was hoping that a woman could become our CD - 2 representative, but it certainly is not this woman.  She does not represent my views and beliefs, how about you?"

Here is the forwarded letter (emphases added).

From: "Alison Hughes" <alisonhughes@cox.net>

To: alisonhughes@cox.net

Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 8:53:52 PM

Subject: Barber vs. McSally --Making the Real Difference for Women

Dear Friends and Colleagues, a friend recently sent me the below link to a survey Martha McSally submitted in 2012 to the Center for Arizona Policy in Phoenix.  In the document, Martha circles her opposition or support for 15 issues identified by the Center.  I write now to summarize what I learned, and if you agree, to ask you to please forward this note along to people who you think have a vote in Congressional District 2.

I admit I had not heard of the Center for Arizona Policy so I checked the Website to learn about the Center’s mission:   CAP “promotes and defends the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and religious liberty.”  What I found was a far right policy group located in Phoenix. 

I got to know Martha somewhat through the Women’s Commission.  From individual conversations we had,  I initially thought she was fairly liberal in her views, but perhaps she knew she was talking with a “known” liberal!   Having now discovered how she presents herself to conservative groups, I  have formed a different opinion. This week, I contacted Ron Barber’s office to find out his views on the same issues.  In case you are not inclined to open the link and see for yourself how Martha completed her survey, let me summarize and compare some of her views with Ron’s as this is dead serious, and the CD 2 race is close, with only two weeks until election day.

Abortion rights:  Martha supports the prohibition of abortion except where it is necessary to prevent the death of the mother.  She opposes Federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions.

Ron is pro-choice, supports Planned Parenthood, and opposes the Hobby Lobby decision that made it ok for employers to impose their religious views on the reproductive choices of female employees.

Gay rights:  Martha supports amending the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman.  Ron supports marriage equality and has signed on to legislation that will prevent discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace.   

Health care:  Martha supports permitting healthcare professionals to opt out of performing procedures that violate their moral or religious beliefs.  She also opposes the use of human embryonic stem cells for research purposes.  Ron’s positions are the exact opposite of Martha’s on these issues. 

See for yourselves.   Martha’s signature is on her completed survey in the below link.  We cannot afford to have these views representing us in the U.S. Congress.  Please help to get the word out

This might be the worst "news" article in the election season ...

... or maybe the worst article ever. <UNDERSTATEMENT ON>Howard Fischer of the Capitol Media Services is no liberal to be sure.<UNDERSTATEMENT OFF> But in this article appearing this morning in the AZ Daily Star/tucson.com he really lets his biases all hang out.  Posing as a report on the lack of transparency at the old CPS and now the new DCS, he actually sells the 'Yeson122" kool aid.

Postcards being paid for and mailed to voters by the Arizona Republican Party declare “an unconstitutional federal law” forces the state “to hide botched investigations of abused kids.” It features a photo of a young girl with a bruise on her arm crouching in the corner with her teddy bear.

Seriously, Howie?  You let that one go without comment?  This has to be the most nauseating ad ever. And here comes the deception.

The measure on the November ballot would allow the Legislature — or voters — to declare the new Department of Child Safety will not follow the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which includes provisions about what can and cannot be publicly released.

Prop 122 actually goes much further in allowing the state to nullify any federal law its legislature does not like.  In short, Prop 122 is being pushed by the sovereignty/nullification/TeaPotty crowd.  But Fischer does not report that.  See my post on this from a couple of days ago and AZBlueMeanie's excellent legal analysis.

You will lose your breakfast on this one.

Models predict loss of Senate to GOP

Very cool interactive graphics here from NY Times.  Once your graphical high is done, the political low will set in.  The probabilities are that the Senate will tip red.

If Malala Yousafzai can win a Nobel, why not Bristol Palin?

You can find the answer in this side-by-side comparison of these young women at jezebel.com.  For starters:

Two bright young women dominated headlines late last week. On the same day that Malala Yousafzai, 17, won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, Bristol Palin, 23, was cited in an Alaska police report for getting drunk at a party and punching her host "multiple times."

h/t Sherry Moreau

Of note

NY Times The Upshot: Results of Sam Brownback's "real live experiment" on tax cuts.  "So far, the main result of the experiment seems to be that cutting taxes causes the government to lose revenue."  Duh.

Chuck Todd's amazing defense of the stenography model of journalism: "it's not his job to inform viewers when politicians spread misinformation".  This is last year's news from fair.org, but we talked about it yesterday in the Wednesday discussion group.  It's worth the reminder.

Also of note are two articles exploring the possibility of revolt, one in politico.com and another in Nation of Change. h/t Maddie Urken

Reasons for revolt? How about severe economic inequality?  (Report from AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona)

Robert Reich worries about America's fortitude:  Bob, Bob, you are describing the reality of the corporatocracy.

Fearbola to the fore:  As we sipped our wine on the transatlantic flight from South Africa, I sat there wondering about Ebola.  Sure I did.  Here is a fear check.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Public utility and dark money in the Attorney General race: "There's something rotten in the state of Arizona"

What's new, I hear you say.  But take note.  This is the rotten-est new thing in this election.  The public utility (APS) accused of running dark money ads in the GOP primary for Corporation Commission is back at it again, this time in the Attorney General race.

Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services, for sure no raving liberal, reports in the AZ Daily Star/tucson.com.

PHOENIX — The parent company of the state’s largest electric utility is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars through a third party to ensure that Republican Mark Brnovich becomes the next state attorney general.
Records obtained by Capitol Media Services show Pinnacle West Capital Corp. has given $425,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association. That amounts to more than one dollar of every six of the $2.5 million association has amassed so far in Arizona for ads critical of Democrat Felecia Rotellini.
Pinnacle West spokesman Alan Bunnell would not comment on why the corporation is spending that kind of money on the race for who becomes the state’s top law enforcement official.

Wait for it - more darkness coming ...

Strictly speaking, RAGA is not a “dark money” group. Unlike others involved in trying to influence this year’s election, it does provide a list of donors.
But it’s not that simple, as the association does take cash from other groups that do not make such disclosures.
That includes the American Future Fund, which gave it $650,000 earlier this year, meaning that the ultimate source of all of its dollars remains secret.
Other reports, however, show that the American Future Foundation, in turn, received much of its funding, at least in the 2012 election cycle, from Center to Protect Patient Rights, a group founded by Sean Noble that has now morphed into American Encore.
And Noble, who works for Brnovich, has previously been a consultant for APS.

AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona provides more analysis

What is this sudden interest in the Attorney General race? Is APS and Pinnacle West afraid that Felecia Rotellini will investigate their dark money activities in this campaign and possibly prosecute them for campaign finance law violations? (as well she should). Has Mark Brnovich made any promises to turn a blind eye for this “dark money” support?
There’s something rotten in the state of Arizona.

But all those good Republicans who are going to vote for Brnovich are just fine with that.  The only question is whether Brnovich is fine with that too.


DuVal position on abortion clarified

Yesterday Laurie Roberts wrote in The Republic/azcentral about Fred DuVal's position on abortion, especially abortions for teenagers.  That started a major ruckus in the comment section.  The opponents of such abortions sees 14-year olds as too immature to make such decisions (corollary: 14-year olds are the property of parents).  And boy did they jump on this one.  Today Donna Gratehouse in Blog for Arizona takes Roberts to task and provides counter-arguments.  DuVal's assistant campaign manager wrote a letter in response that outlines DuVal's position - printed in full here.

I wanted to send you a personal note given Fred’s visit to Redemption Church last week and the recent attack against Fred on the issue of parental consent for minors. As you know, Fred does supports a women’s right to choose, however, Fred didn’t clearly state his position on parental consent which is highly regrettable.
Here are the facts about where Fred stands:
Fred supports Arizona’s law requiring parental consent for a minor seeking an abortion, as long as there is an opportunity for a judicial bypass for girls in dangerous or abusive situations. As Governor, he would not attempt to overturn that law.
In an ideal world, young girls would not find themselves in this terrible situation. In an ideal world every girl would have a loving and supportive parent to help guide her in these trying moments.
Unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world, and this issue is complicated. There are cases such as incest or abuse when a parent is not the best person to help their daughter navigate this extremely difficult time.
Arizona is one of several states with a ‘judicial bypass option” where a judge and a guardian can safeguard girls and protect their rights. Fred fully supports this law – the safety of Arizona’s children is too important to be left in the hands of people looking to abuse and exploit our kids.
No young girl should be left alone in this terrible and life-altering moment, but we must have safeguards to assure that the adult involved is truly focused on the well-being of the child.
Please feel free to contact me at any time with questions, concerns on clarifications on this information. I know that you are on the front-lines of our GOP outreach and I’m sure that this issue hasn’t been fun to hear about and deal with today. For that, I am extremely sorry.
Please feel free to forward this email, send out your own version, use it on Facebook or in any other way that will help clarify this issue with supporters or with folks from your network who are still undecided in this election.
Let’s finish strong. Thank you for your support and your energy.

Onward to victory,

Leah

Leah Gillespie

Dep. Campaign Manager

DuVal for Governor Campaign

Cell: (617) 850-5126

http://www.Fred2014.com

Prop 122 supporters run "The most misleading ad ever"

Channel 12 news reporter Brahm Resnik asks whether the flyer I went after yesterday is "The most misleading ad ever?"  He also exposes the connect between Props 122 and 303 (Goldwater Institute).  He caps off his expose' with the Chamber of Commerce's inconsistent endorsements.  Presumably the Chamber wants educational standards and supports common core, so they declined to endorse Diane Douglas.  But they endorsed Dicey Ducey who opposes Common Core.  Go figure.  

No, don't go figure; go out and vote for all our Democratic candidates for state offices.

Check out Resnik's short video clip at azcentral here.

"Elizabeth Warren is the star of this show"

Eugene Robinson, writing at truthdig, chronicles some of Warren's appearances and her star power.  

... If Democrats are to keep their majority in the Senate, the party’s base must break with form and turn out in large numbers for a midterm election. Voters won’t do this unless somebody gives them a reason.
Warren may be that somebody. Her grand theme is economic inequality and her critique, both populist and progressive, includes a searing indictment of Wall Street. Liberals eat it up.
The core issue in all the Senate races, she said, is this: “Who does the government work for? Does it work just for millionaires, just for the billionaires, just for those who have armies of lobbyists and lawyers, or does it work for the people?” 

He speculates about whether she will be forced into running for President.

So far this year, Warren has published a memoir, “A Fighting Chance,” that tells of her working-class roots, her family’s economic struggles, her rise to become a Harvard Law School professor and a U.S. senator, and, yes, her distant Native American ancestry. She has emerged as her party’s go-to speaker for connecting with young voters. She has honed a stump speech with a clear and focused message, a host of applause lines and a stirring call to action.
She’s not running for president apparently because everyone assumes the nomination is Clinton’s. But everyone was making that same assumption eight years ago, and we know what happened. If the choice is between inspiration and inevitability, Warren may be forced to change her plans.

Warren's message deeply resonates with progressives.  The question is whether such a candidate and such a message is viable given the extent of this country's infection by the corporatocracy.

Ohio's Gov. Kasich wants to repeal ACA but keep the money

Republicans don't make a lot of sense these days when it comes to health care. (Well, they didn't make sense in other days either.) But Kasich takes the Kach.   

Ohio, with Kasich at the helm, rejected Obamacare but then expanded Medicaid and took the money.  Now he says he is firmly against ACA but wants to keep the Medicaid expansion funds authorized by ACA.  The report at Salon.com has the details, concluding thus:

“We’re going to get ours while the getting’s good” isn’t the most principled stance to take, but at least it makes sense. And it was good policy! The argument Kasich is peddling now about the Medicaid expansion being separate from Obamacare is contradicted by the actual policy, his own words and his own budget. But this is the ridiculous spin Republicans have to indulge in to maintain the fiction that the Affordable Care Act’s days are numbered.

Ebola matters

A one-minute video on what you should know about Ebola (Facts not fear from vox.com.)

CDC issues new guidelines for health workers treating Ebola (Al Jazeera)

Why is Rwanda screening Americans? (Rwanda has zero cases of Ebola, US has three.  More of the story is at mother jones and TalkingPointsMemo.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On today's one post

I could have blogged about several things, like this one:  what's a governor to do when their own investigator investigates their administration?  Obvious: fire the investigator.  Way to go, Jan.

But I wanted to focus my and your attention on the need to kill Prop 122.  Its supporters are waging a well-funded but pretty scummy campaign using child abuse to mask their secessionist, Tea Party agenda.  Here goes.

Prop 122 supporters suck bottom with flyer on child abuse

Here is the bottom line for this lengthy post.  Vote NO on Prop 122 and then get out on the physical and virtual streets and get everyone you know to do the same.  Here is why.

Yesterday I received in the mail a glossy flyer with pictures of a very young girl.  The flyer trumpets "Your vote can make all the difference to the victims of child abuse", "... an out-of-touch congress passes an unconstitutional federal law that forces CPS to hide botched investigations of abused kids.", and "Protect our children from abuse.  Vote YES on 122." After I tweeted it as "my nomination for the lowest bottom sucking ad of the AZ election", I did some research on what the flyer claimed.

Following the link in the flyer leads to this document by one of the 122 supporters - Jonathan Paton.  It is mainly a lot of griping about a law known as CAPTA and, he asserts, how it interfered with investigations of AZ Child Protective Services.  Here is essence of Paton's claim.

In a period of one year six Tucson children had three things in common: CPS investigated their parents for abuse, CPS lost track of them and at the end of one year all six children were dead.
As a result of these deaths, the Arizona Legislature passed reforms to make CPS records available in cases where the child died or there was a near fatality. The bills were passed with overwhelming majorities of Republicans and Democrats. The idea was that Arizona would have the most open child protective services system in the U.S.
The problem was that despite changes in Arizona law, CPS still managed to keep records of these children hidden from public scrutiny. Each time CPS and their attorneys cited regulations from a federal law called the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). Washington, they said, bars Arizona from releasing records

You can find out more about CAPTA at Wiki (and lots of other federal web sites)

I am prepared to believe that some people involved with CPS did hide evidence of mismanagement.  We all know that CPS has been a problem for quite a while.  The press was full of instances of investigations not done or done badly.  OK, here is a government agency that needs fixing and Governor Brewer set AZ on the path toward fixing it.  But this sorry mess does not and should not be an excuse for a political campaign that amounts to nullification or possibly secession.  To do so, I assert, is itself an act of abuse.

What is the real driver behind Prop 122?  Yesterday I posted some background on Prop 122.  

Laurie Roberts of azcentral wrote a blistering critique of the whole ad campaign

Today I point you to a legal analysis by AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona.  Snippets follow.

Prop. 122 is unconstitutional. The U.S. Constitution, Article VI, Clause 2 (the “Supremacy Clause”) provides that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all 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, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” The Arizona Constitution, Article 2, Section 3 similarly provides that “The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.”
Americans fought a bloody Civil War over the now long discredited political doctrines of “nullification, interposition and secession.” The post-Civil War 14th Amendment reaffirmed the supremacy of the federal government through the “privileges or immunities clause” – “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.
The U.S. Supreme Court has always rejected the doctrines of “interposition and nullification.” In Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 (1958), the Court held that since the Supremacy Clause of Article VI made the U.S. Constitution the supreme law of the land and Marbury v. Madison gave the U.S. Supreme Court the power of judicial review, the precedent set forth in Brown v. Board of Education is the supreme law of the land and is therefore binding on all the states, regardless of any state laws contradicting it. The Supreme Court rejected the doctrines of nullification and interposition, which had been invoked by segregationists.
Segregation supporters argued that the states have the power to nullify federal laws or court rulings that they believe to be unconstitutional and the states could use this power to nullify the Brown decision. The Arkansas laws that attempted to prevent desegregation were Arkansas’ effort to nullify the Brown decision. The Supreme Court held that the Brown decision “can neither be nullified openly and directly by state legislators or state executive or judicial officers, nor nullified indirectly by them through evasive schemes for segregation.” Thus, Cooper v. Aaron held that state attempts to nullify federal law are ineffective.
Moreover, since public officials are required to swear an oath to uphold the Constitution (as per Article VI, Clause 3), for these same officials to ignore the Court’s precedents is equal to a violation of that oath.
Only an Article III federal court can determine whether a federal law is unconstitutional. No state court, no state legislature or political subdivision of a state, nor the citizens of a state acting through referendum or initiative possess the power under the U.S. Constitution to declare a federal law unconstitutional.

Therefore, should it pass, Prop 122 is destined to be ruled unconstitutional and defending it will do nothing more than waste taxpayer money and distract us from the pressing problems that need our attention.

What if it does pass?  Here is AZ Rep. Chad Campbell's take. (h/t AZBlueMeanie)

Contrary to proponents' claims, if Proposition 122 passes not a single child will be saved, the Grand Canyon will not become a state park, and Arizona legislators will not be able to tell the federal government how to do its job. (And let's be honest, the only thing more frightening than Congress running the show is putting the Arizona Legislature in charge, am I right?)
Because no matter what some people believe, states do not have the authority to tell the federal government what to do. It's called the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution. Attempting to alter the Arizona Constitution will not change it. If this proposition passes, there will be no substantive changes in how we interact with the federal government. The only thing that will happen, and this is a guarantee, is that we'll end up wasting taxpayer dollars on a court case we are certain to lose.
Furthermore, if Proposition 122 passes, it will erode our already tenuous relationship with the feds and jeopardize desperately needed funding for transportation, disaster relief and other critical programs. So, not only will we be wasting money in court, but we'll be sending our already paid federal tax dollars to other states. Sounds like a great deal, right?
Once it gets ruled unconstitutional, the only question left to ask is, "What will the supporters of Proposition 122 do next?" Their only option will be to propose seceding from the Union. Think about that for a minute, and I think it about sums up the outlandish nature of any supporting arguments for Proposition 122.

Regardless of whether 122 is approved by the voters in November, the analyses presented here make one thing crystal clear to me.  Any sitting legislator who voted for this measure is in violation of their oath of office.  And any candidate aspiring to public office who supports 122 does not deserve that office because they cannot in good conscience take that same oath - to uphold the constitution of the United States.  That means you, Dicey Ducey.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Information on Prop 122 - a must read - and take action!

Here is an opportunity to take some action - easy to do if you are on Facebook.  The Republic/azcentral has a story on Prop 122 - you know - the one declaring supremacy of AZ over the US.  It is destined to cost a lot of $$$ and ultimately fail in the courts.  This article is especially revealing because it reports Dicey Ducey's support for this travesty.  So, go to this article, read it, and then click on the comment icon at the bottom.  (You will need a Facebook login.)  Tell 'em to vote no on Prop 122 and then take a whack at Ducey while you're at it.

FYI:

[Prop 122] Changes the state constitution to allow Arizona to "exercise its sovereign authority to restrict the actions of its personnel and the use of its financial resources to purposes that are consistent with the (U.S.) Constitution." It allows the state to pass an initiative, referendum or legislation, or go to court to determine a federal action or program is unconstitutional and forbid the use of any state or local personnel or money to comply with that action or program.
Arizona Republican leaders, including gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey, are pushing a ballot measure they say will protect Arizonans from being forced to fund federal overreach. They argue Proposition 122 is the solution to federal health-care mandates, children dying under the watch of the state's child protection agency and Environmental Protection Agency regulations harming farmers and ranchers.
"Arizona needs to decide how it will best spend its own budget," Ducey wrote. "Many federal programs cost Arizona more than the state receives from the federal government. Prop 122 creates a way for the state to evaluate these programs and determine what makes sense for Arizona's taxpayers."

That sounds good to some, I guess, but it will lead to more crazy in AZ.

[Sandy Bahr of the Sierra Club weighs in:] These types of measures ... are bad for business," she said. "The view of Arizona is it's kind of wacky and people will wonder what federal law they're not going to abide by next."

Ann-Eve Pedersen takes on Dicey Ducey for his role in defunding education

This op-ed in The Republic/azcentral is a good read about contrasting approaches to public education policy.  Pedersen led the drive for a permanent tax base for public instruction - Prop 204.  Ducey worked to kill it, making promises to work it out later.  He did not follow through. Pedersen writes:

Ducey promised voters if they defeated Proposition 204 in 2012 he would work with all sides to come up with a funding solution. As a volunteer parent, I organized the Prop. 204 effort from its inception, working with business leaders, educators and parents. After the election, Ducey never lifted a finger to work on a solution for our schoolchildren.

... in Ducey's mind, educators have all the funding they need, and he must protect Arizonans from spending even one cent more on children's schools.
That's what he argued while opposing a ballot measure [Prop 204] to permanently establish a funding source for K-12 education.
And that's what he will do if elected governor.

Vote no on Dicey Ducey.  Vote for Fred DuVal for Governor.

Some cartoons to ease your way into the week

From AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona.  Tnx BlueMeanie!

Good news: same-sex couples get married. &nbsp;Better news: I am still married.

This week I am taking my wife of 40+ years out to dinner.  I plan a toast to those same-sex couples who are now getting married in AZ (and elsewhere) because of the change in our laws.  When those laws changed, my marriage did not collapse.  And when I make the toast, I don't anticipate a divorce.  There never has been an adequate answer to the question of how same-sex marriages damages existing opposite-sex marriages.  Nor has there ever been a convincing argument about how the possibility of same-sex marriages would suddenly lower the rate of men marrying women.  You disagree?  Show me the data.  Here is more along these lines by EJ Montini writing at azcentral.com.

Shawn Aiken, a lawyer representing seven Arizona couples who were challenging the law in court, said afterwards, "These couples from across Arizona bravely stood for equality for themselves, their families, and over 21,000 other gay and lesbian couples living in Arizona today."
The judge had given the state until Thursday to come up with an argument to convince him otherwise.
But there is no good argument.

Here are two contrasting reactions to the legal decisions.

Gov. Brewer, speaking from some dark place out of the past, said, "In 2008, Arizona voters approved a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Now, with their rulings, the federal courts have again thwarted the will of the people and further eroded the authority of states to regulate and uphold our laws. It is not only disappointing, but also deeply troubling, that unelected federal judges can dictate the laws of individual states, create rights based on their personal policy preferences and supplant the will of the people in an area traditionally left to the states for more than two hundred years."
... Arizona ACLU Executive Director Alessandra Soler, said of the court's decision, "Today's ruling brings security to thousands of families in Arizona. It's a moment to be celebrated. Equal protection of the law is one of the fundamental principles that allows our country to thrive and evolve. Dismantling this discriminatory ban brings our state and nation closer to our founding ideals of fairness, justice and liberty. We will continue to fight for equality for all Arizonans and oppose any efforts to unravel today's historic victory."

Montini has a knack for cutting right to it.

In Arizona on Friday the earth did not stand still. Traffic flowed. Children went to school. Restaurants served food. Mail was delivered. A blanket of clouds pulled itself over the Valley in the early morning hours, but then the sun broke through.
And some people who couldn't get married before, got married.

And my married life goes on.  I wish them well.

Ezra Klein on the new Ebola czar: Klain is a great choice

Here is some background on Ron Klain, Obama's appointee as Ebola czar, from Ezra Klein writing at vox.com.

Klain entered the administration as Vice President Joe Biden's chief of staff. This was, itself, notable: Klain has been chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore, too, making him the only person to serve in that position for two different vice presidents.
But the esteem for Klain wasn't based on his resume. Rather, he had a mix of policy, political, and bureaucratic chops that everyone agreed was rare. The policy people spoke admiringly of his policy savvy, and they all agreed he lapped them in political instincts. The political people admired his political instincts, but recognized he was better at policy. And everyone agreed Klain knew how to run an interagency process.
"He understands the intersection of politics and policy better than anyone I've ever worked with," says economist Jared Bernstein, who worked closely with Klain in Biden's office, "and is thus uniquely effective in getting things done."

And all that is infinitely more important than having a medical degree.  Klein thinks that Klain will be better at getting stuff done than a new Surgeon General.

Actual government experience is badly underrated in Washington. Politicians run for office promising that they know how to run businesses, not Senate offices. "Bureaucrat" is often lobbed as an insult. But in processes like this one, government experience really matters. Nominating Klain suggests the White House is thinking about this correctly: as an effort that requires the coordination of already ample resources, where the danger is that the federal government will be too slow in sharing information across agencies and getting the resources where they need to go.

Let's hope that Klein is right about Klain.

Water watch

Here are a few maps to expand your views of the drought in the Western US (from vox.com).