Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

More from last night's Tea Party forum with Pennypacker and Kavanagh

First order of business is that the recording I referenced in last night's blog post, is audio not video. For the most part, the sound quality is good. The 49-minute audio recording is available here.

About that question by John Kavanagh's "classy" wife, the Fountain Hills mayor, -- on the subject of heroin legalization...

Because the event was a Tea Party sponsored forum, it's not at all surprising that Paula would get questions and comments that were "off the wall." Some of the audience members with questions got downright argumentative.

Kavanagh's wife asked, "why do you want to legalize heroin use?" Can there be any more clear signal that Kavanagh is weak and feels threatened?

The question apparently arose from research on Pennypacker that Kavanagh has done. In September 2004, Paula Pennypacker penned an op-ed for the North Scottsdale Republic (a community edition for the Arizona Republic). It read,
Recent reports regarding alleged narcotics peddling to area high school students should scare us all into action. And at the risk of becoming the next Joycelyn Elders and run out of town, any discussion designed to turn this around must include drug-policy reform.
If we are unwilling to accept this, then let's at least admit that we're operating from a different agenda than one that the evidence supports.
First, this is not a problem that just faces Scottsdale Unified School District. Drug use in our nation's schools has been a problem for years.
Second, whether drugs were sold in, on or near Scottsdale schools is irrelevant. What we as parents need to be screaming from the rafters is: How are these deadly drugs getting into the hands of our children, period?
The fact that students, attending Scottsdale schools, have been busted for alleged heroin use proves just how perverse the drug problem has become because of obsolete government thinking. The war on drugs is a complete and utter failure that has created a criminal underclass and crime problem unlike anything in the history of our country. 
And what have we netted for the billions spent on the drug war?
Our ill-conceived mandatory minimum sentencing laws only forced dealers to target children for the manpower needed to push illegal drugs because, if caught, juveniles serve up to 30 days; adults could serve up to 60 years. The result is children selling drugs to children.
Because of drug prohibition, drug producers have had to come up with new and improved drugs that are easier to manufacture in order to escape detection. The result is cheaper and more addictive drugs.
During alcohol prohibition, bootleggers stopped making beer because it was too hard to brew and bulky to ship and started producing "rotgut."
We are seeing the same thing with drug prohibition. Meth, crack, ecstasy and black tar heroin were unheard of when I went to high school in the 1970s. I thank God pot was the only drug going around when I was young and stupid.
For decades now, mostly white, male politicians have used the drug war to advance their political careers. So it is not surprising that it took a woman, Pauline Morton Sabin, a Republican aristocrat, to deal the fatal blow to the 18th Amendment.
It was because of the growing corruption and violence that Sabin changed her position regarding prohibition, saying that before the Volstead Act, her children had no access to alcohol. Now they could get it anywhere.
Today more than ever we need a government policy that sets up a tightly controlled legal market for all drugs, as we do now for cigarettes and alcohol. Adults should be able to ingest anything they want, as long as they do not harm others. Children under age 21 would not be able to purchase any drug, including over-the-counter medications.
The time has come to choose. Do we want pharmacists selling drugs -- or 14-year-olds?
It has now been ten years since Paula's op-ed was published. In the Drug War, some things have changed, some have not.

Prior to 2004, Portugal decriminalized drug use. Today, we have more than a decade of data to show what happened as a result.
Portugal paved a new path when it decided to decriminalize drugs of all kinds.
"We figured perhaps this way we would be better able get things under control," Goulão explains. "Criminalization certainly wasn't working all that well."
The most important finding is that drug abuse is DOWN in Portugal over that time frame.
The data show, among other things, that the number of adults in Portugal who have at some point taken illegal drugs is rising. At the same time, though, the number of teenagers who have at some point taken illegal drugs is falling. The number of drug addicts who have undergone rehab has also increased dramatically, while the number of drug addicts who have become infected with HIV has fallen significantly.
The stark reality is that Kavanagh's approach is locked into his decades of personal conditioning from a law enforcement perspective. From the audio recording of the event (at around 16:40), Kavanagh proclaims that he is FOR the War on Drugs. He was a cop for 20 years. He's been a footsoldier in the the War on Drugs.

More to the point, he declared (unabashedly) his lockstep promotion and representation of the government-funded "lock 'em up in private prisons" approach. It's clear he has no intention of thinking "outside the box." Does his future wealth depends on continuing to lock up drug users for no other reason?

The bottom line is that John Kavanagh represents oppression for profit.

Remember, this is the guy who STILL wants to eliminate Arizona's Medical Marijuana program and repeal the voter initiative(s, THREE of them) that made the will of the people very clear.

There were numerous moments in the debate where Kavanagh reveals that he doesn't stand for freedom for everyday Arizonans. But an incident he related in response to a question on major donors was breathtaking in its candor for how John Kavanagh sells his favors.

He said he received a $2,000 campaign contribution from a cigarette distributor. Then he spelled out how he intervened on that guy's behalf so that he would not have to pay for the cigarette tax stamps up front. Besides promotion of a vice that promotes disease and causes substantial burden on governments at all levels, that issue is an intervention that would have substantial cash flow ramifications to the detriment of the interests of the People of Arizona.

Kavanagh justifies it (at the 30 minute mark in the recording) by using innocuous terms -- and making claims he could not possibly back up even if he was called on them -- to make the audience believe he's fighting for the little guy. But given the consequences of tobacco use on public health and the burden on government, what Kavanagh did was twist arms (after all, he IS the House Appropriations chairman and state agencies know better than to piss off people in that position) to delay (not just for this lung cancer vendor) tax receipts cash flow for funding state government (i.e. SCHOOLS and public safety, etc). That is, IF Kavanagh's story even had ANY grounding in fact and reality.

On Kavanagh's most recent campaign finance report, he discloses (on page 10) a $2,000 PAC contribution from the Arizona Committee of Automotive Retailers. That likely has more to do with the Republican candidate's behind the scenes role in killing TESLA's plan to sell electric cars in Arizona without going through car dealers.

Separately, in May this year, Kavanagh received a $2,000 contribution (reported on page 6 of this report) from Brad DeSaye of Prescott. The Prescott Daily Courier describes DeSaye in terms that do not seem to fit the "poor hard-working small business owner" scenario that Kavanagh described last night. The American Conservative website describes DeSaye's business,
No one really expects business to increase 60 percent in a worldwide economic crisis. Unless, of course, you own a firearms store, online ammo shop, or lease a booth at the regional gun show, in which case business is exploding.
Brad DeSaye’s family has been selling guns and ammo since 1946, when his father Joe opened J&G Rifle Ranch in Montana. The business moved in 1977 to Prescott, Arizona, renaming itself J&G Sales. Specializing in guns and ammo for “sportsmen, law enforcement and firearms enthusiasts,” J&G has thrived through multiple wars, recessions, and national panics. But sales have never been as high as they are at the moment, DeSaye says. “Business is probably triple more than normal,” he tells TAC. “It’s unprecedented.”
The bottom line is that John and Linda Kavanagh arrogantly made bad policy related comments last night and told some outright lies on other points which they carelessly figured nobody would be able to call them on.

They also showed tremendous lack of respect and manners toward opponent Paula Pennypacker, likely because of the fact that they were in a Tea Party sponsored forum.

Because he is a regular reader of the Arizona Eagletarian, I'll pose this question here: John Kavanagh, why did you not even ask DeSaye his employer and occupation? On your campaign finance report, it does not say what they are and does not even say that you requested the information.

Talk about selling your authority as a state lawmaker! And then you even make up stories about the donor and what you did to repay the favor. You must have huge testicles, John.

Mark Brnovich -- I am NOT a CROOK!

Democratic nominee for Arizona Attorney General Felecia Rotellini and GOP nominee Mark Brnovich appeared on KTVK Channel 3's weekly news program, Politics Unplugged this week.

Brnovich's on screen persona is rough and tough with a gruff, gravelly voice. It's all a fake out, demagoguery.

Dennis Welch asked Brno about having been endorsed by Cathi Herrod. Brno demurred, saying that he had not gotten her endorsement. The truth is probably closer to that he scrubbed his endorsement list because he knows her name is toxic. He still boasts endorsement by the Arizona Right to Life PAC and makes an emphatic point on his campaign website to let people know he aligns completely with Herrod, for example, on "protecting the unborn," without using her name.
We also have an obligation to protect and defend our laws that concern the unborn. As attorney general, I will defend our state statutes and enforce our laws. I am proud to be endorsed by the Arizona Right to Life PAC...
Damn the torpedoes (and a woman's sovereignty over her own life, and her right to self-determination), full speed ahead. So, why would Brnovich NOT want Herrod's endorsement? He's lined up completely with her dogma anyway.

And while he's at it, Brnovich's employment and advocacy record suggests he's not willing to discuss the fact that he was a senior director for human warehousing and forced labor privateer, Corrections Corporation of America. He was a registered lobbyist for CCA for all of 2007. Prior to his disclosure of that activity, he (clandestinely?) engaged in lobbying for CCA. He must have meant, when he wrote that blurb about his passion for protecting the most vulnerable among us, that corporations, specifically private prison operators, were among those most vulnerable. Again, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

Here's what I mean. In 2006, Sen. Bill Brotherton (D-Central Phoenix, now a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge) and then Rep. Judy Burges (R-Sun City/Peoria/Tea Party), together sponsored SB1547. Specifically SB1547 would have prohibited the transfer of private prison inmates into Arizona from other states if any of the following conditions exist:
  1. was convicted of a sexual offense, attempted sexual offense, homicide or attempted homicide committed in another jurisdiction.
  2. has a history of escape.
  3. assaulted a peace officer or correctional service officer.
  4. is infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Tuberculosis or Hepatitis A, B or C.
In other words, a Democrat and a Tea Partier (before there was a Tea Party, however) bridged the partisan gap to introduce legislation to protect Arizona citizens and communities. But then along came CCA, specifically represented by the same Mark Brnovich who now claims he is concerned for the safety of vulnerable Arizonans.

You see, Brnovich advocated for and apparently helped kill SB1547 in 2006. On the legislature's Request to Speak system, Mr. Protect the Vulnerable was registered for the February 16, 2006 Senate Government committee hearing as opposed to SB1547. The opposition was almost entirely made up of people representing the private prison industry, including Mark Brnovich, Senior Director, Corrections Corporation of America.

In that committee, the bill received a Do Pass recommendation by a vote of 5-2 (the five included both Democrats and Republicans). You can bet, however, that CCA and Brnovich were heard loud and clear by then Senate President Ken Bennett because SB1547 was never heard from again. It died without being debated by the full senate.

Make no mistake.

In July 2010, three dangerous inmates escaped from a Kingman area private prison. One was quickly recaptured. Two others evaded authorities long enough to kill vulnerable citizens. John McClusky was one of the escapees.
Fingered by a fellow fugitive and accomplice girlfriend as the triggerman, McCluskey was the only suspect to face the death penalty for the August 2010 slayings of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla., high school sweethearts and recent retirees who had the misfortune to cross the fugitives' paths on a New Mexico highway.
Might the Haas's blood be on Brnovich's head? It does appear so. But I do know that in addition to having lobbied for CCA before registering to do so, Brno later chaired Gov. Jan Brewer's Commission on Privatization and Efficiency. So, besides advocating against the safety of Arizona communities and prison workers, Brno was very much about selling out the public, in general.

Make no mistake, we must NOT elect this charlatan who is all about demogoguing even though he is on record denying it (in the video embedded above, in response to moderators Dennis Welch and Carey Peña).

Make no mistake about Mark "I am NOT a CROOK" Brnovich.

I will examine Brnovich's demagoguery in detail in a future blog post.


If the embedded video does not play, click this link and view the second segment for the referenced material.


And on the issue of Russell Pearce being ousted from his vice-chair position with the AZ GOP, Phoenix New Times writer Stephen Lemons reported that it was Sean Noble who started the ball rolling to get Republican candidates denouncing Pearce. Noble, of course, is Arizona's god of Dark Money, funneling hundreds of millions of dollars, largely from the Kochtopus network, into campaigns for GOP candidates in our state and others. He is connected very strongly to the Republican Attorneys General Association, which has already committed to purchase more than $1 million in ads for the Brno/Rotellini race.

Noble has skin in the game and knew that the Pearce problem was likely at least as bad as Tom Horne's reputation had gotten over the last four years. If Noble had not intervened, he would have had a lot of problems in his Koch network.


Image at the top of this post included under the FAIR USE Doctrine.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kavanagh apparently missed the news about Russell Pearce!

At a Tea Party sponsored candidate forum in Fountain Hills this evening, private prison lapdog John Kavanagh had to face -- one on one -- a poised, not-at-all intimidated by his New York personality, Paula Pennypacker, the Democratic nominee for the LD23 seat in the Arizona Senate.

Apparently, Kavanagh was so cocksure of himself he didn't come with any notes. He did, however, seem to need to consult Paula's notes during the forum.

A member of the audience reported that,
Kavanagh said he has been a consistent conservative since he was 16 and didn't go through a mid life crisis and become a liberal... the women gasped, the men looked nervous and somewhere Russell Pearce smiled
The audience was very small, barely more than 25 people showed up. Though Paula has some Tea Party contacts, a couple of rude, obnoxious people raised inane questions. 

One "gentleman" (I use the term loosely) asked Paula "How do you feel about the government paying for recreational sex?" Of course, the underlying question was about insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Another obnoxious audience member thought she would be cute and reportedly asked Paula "why she wanted to legalize heroin." According to a member of the audience, the questioner "looked stupid and Paula handled her well." 

Oh, I forgot to mention that the heroin question came from Fountain Hills mayor Linda Kavanagh, wife of Paula's opponent.

I understand the forum was recorded. I hope to be able to get access to the recording. If possible, I will update this post so that you can view it too.

Monday, September 15, 2014

What ever happened with Catherine Miranda's campaign finance complaint?

On the day before Arizona's primary election, Frances Mendoza filed a complaint against the now lobbyist-owned Senator-elect Catherine Miranda (D-APS/Cathi Herrod). State elections director Christina Estes-Werther sent notice of the complaint to Miranda, Dark Money operator Mario Diaz and a person known to be responsible for federally registered Cactus PAC. Estes-Werther gave each a deadline of September 9 to respond to the complaint.

Cactus PAC, apparently chaired by retiring Congressman Ed Pastor donated $1,000 to Miranda. It responded with a mea culpa, acknowledging that it had not registered with Arizona. It pleaded for mercy claiming it did not know that it was supposed to be registered with the state. On September 9, it filed its registration with the AZ SOS. But still has not filed any reports regarding its expenditure on an Arizona race or on any donors. Because the bottom line is disclosure of who is trying to influence voters, the thus far UNDISCLOSED report is what, to me, seems most important.

And since that has not been filed, I have to figure Cactus PAC should be penalized for that non-disclosure. If I am wrong, I'm confident we will find out when Estes-Werther makes a determination. She advised me that it could still be a couple of weeks before that takes place.

Next up, we have Dark Money operator (and current candidate for an at-large seat on the Maricopa County Community College District board) Mario Diaz. He personally responded with what appears to be a lawyer-written statement claiming he had no contact and did not coordinate with Miranda. Given the scenario where Miranda had people in a coordinated campaign office with Mary Rose Wilcox and at least one other candidate, it seems likely that there was indeed, at minimum, indirect communication between Diaz or someone in his organization (if there are any others besides him) and the Miranda campaign.

I hope that Estes-Werther successfully parses all of that extraneous language and gets to the essence of whether Diaz ever had any contact with Miranda or anyone who did directly work with Miranda's campaign. The appearance of coordination between Diaz and Miranda's campaign exists even though he swears upon an oath that he's like Sgt. Schultz from the old Hogan's Heroes sitcom.

Of course, the setting of Hogan's Heroes, a World War II German prisoner of war camp, is no laughing matter and neither is it that Arizona Public Service and Cathi Herrod have effectively purchased* their very own Democratic state senator. When local news pundits want to pretend Democrats are ineffective or irrelevant, demand they explain why Herrod and the state's largest investor owned electric power utility have, whether they played by the rules or not, put so much effort into locking Miranda up as their very own lawmaker.

The other item related to Diaz is a statement from attorney Kory Langhofer. His four-page letter includes the following:
In addition to being inferred from certain intertwined relationships between the expender and a campaign, coordination also can be predicated on specific conduct. If there is any “arrangement, coordination or direction with respect to the expenditure” between the expender and the candidate, or if the expenditure is “based on information about the candidate’s plans, projects or needs” that was provided by the campaign “with a view toward having the expenditure made,” then the expenditure necessarily is not “independent.” See Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 16-911(A)(2), (4). Similarly, a communication that entailed “cooperation or consultation” between the expender and the campaign, or that was made “in concert with or at the request or suggestion of” the campaign, is considered coordinated. See id. § 16-901(14). As established by Mr. Diaz’s declaration, no individual affiliated with Friends of Arizona ever communicated directly or indirectly with the Miranda Campaign concerning either organization’s plans, projects, needs, activities, or expenditures. Friends of Arizona’s communications in support of Representative Miranda were made wholly independently of the Miranda Campaign and were in no way the product of any communications or arrangements with the latter. See Diaz Decl. ¶¶ 9-10.
In other words, Langhofer acknowledges that even indirect communication between the organization Diaz operates and the Miranda campaign would be unlawful. Being a lawyer, however, Langhofer overstates his case when he says "As established by Mr. Diaz's declaration..."

Actually, Mr. Diaz's declaration only establishes that Mr. Diaz denies there was any coordination. It does NOT establish that no coordination ever took place.

Then, Langhofer addresses the part of the complaint attributed to me.
Mr. Muratore alleges that because Friends of Arizona has not yet applied for and received recognition as a tax-exempt entity, Arizona law requires that it disclose the identities of its donors. This argument, however, is founded in the erroneous supposition that I.R.S. approval of a Form 1024 application is a prerequisite to tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(4).
This appears to be an admission by Diaz (through his attorney) that I was correct in the assertion of fact that Diaz had NOT applied for or received recognition as a tax-exempt entity. Langhofer expounds his interpretation of the Internal Revenue Code indicating that it does not matter that Diaz was not really a qualified 501(c) 4 organization.

I can't speak to whether Langhofer's legal interpretation is correct. But it's nice to know that Diaz got caught with his pants down, so to speak.

From where I sit, as pertains to Diaz, there are (at least) two questions remaining unresolved. First, it needs to be established whether or not Diaz and Miranda's campaign did ever coordinate. Second, there needs to be an interpretation from somebody NOT representing Diaz (i.e. the State Elections Director, and then the Attorney General) as to whether Diaz actually can get away with failing to disclose his donors. In the interest of election integrity, the people of Arizona and of LD27 deserve to know who was working to manipulate their votes.

Langhofer concludes by claiming that Diaz's Dark Money operation is not even a political committee and that as such, the complaint is meaningless. He further states that (but does NOT provide any evidence supporting his claim),
Friends of Arizona consistently has been engaged primarily in activities promoting social welfare and Mr. Muratore has furnished no evidence indicating otherwise.
Because this is a civil matter, not criminal, it should be up to Diaz to provide evidence of whatever "social welfare" activities his group has engaged in. Frankly, the language Langhofer used suggests Diaz is hiding more than he is lawfully allowed to hide. It's understandable that he would make the claims he does, at minimum in hopes that this distracts Ms. Estes-Werther and makes her decide to declare without further examination that it's not worth the bother to exercise due diligence to properly conclude the investigation. I have confidence that she will make sound legal decisions and judgments about the disposition of these complaints.

That leaves Catherine Miranda's response as the only one left to examine. There was more than one issue that Miranda had to address. First, it was implausible that she campaigned all summer without spending any money on her campaign. Second, she accepted $1,000 from an organization not registered to make PAC contributions in Arizona legislative races.

Miranda makes several points, in a one-page, one-paragraph letter, barely coherent letter.
  • During my 2014 Senate campaign, I was sole commitment of my campaign. I was out many hours and days campaigning alone due to my campaign manager, organizer and husband passed away.
  • My finance expenditure report has now been submitted as of September 7, 2014 at 9:55 p.m.
  • The additional alleged complaint alleges involvement with an outside group. I have no control of groups that support me or against me. I have not spoken to anybody.
  • Attorney Kory Langhofer made a statement in the yellow sheets August 28, 2014, "Affirmative approval of 501 (c)(4) tax statutes is no longer necessary and stated there was absolutely no coordination between Miranda and the group."
  • The CACTUS-PAC check for $1,000.00 came from Congressman Ed Pastor. If this is not allowed, I will pay him back immediately.
In reverse order, my thoughts on Miranda's response include:

I don't know that the Cactus PAC check, from her perspective, is significant. I want to know if anyone other than Ed Pastor was wanting to influence the vote in LD27. Disclosure of donors is important to me.

It really is immaterial just what Langhofer told the Yellow Sheet about any 501 (c) 4 organization. That part of the complaint was not relevant to anything Miranda was responsible for, other than the allegations of coordination.

The "additional alleged complaint alleges..." Look, Catherine Miranda apparently holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees, has worked in education, including as an administrator and served on school boards. How can anyone who writes like that obtain a Master's degree, work as a school administrator or get elected to office to represent voters? Good grief.

Miranda's campaign finance report was due on August 22. She apparently did not complete it until September 7. One that she filed timely was grossly incomplete.

State lawmakers have consistently claimed that disclosure is the cure all for campaign finance indiscretions by donors and candidates. This situation presents a clear case study on why that claim is complete bullshit. ESPECIALLY if Miranda and Diaz end up without any penalties or other consequences. Should they both not be compelled to disclose email and phone records?

The first point Miranda made in her response letter is more or less indecipherable. Something about woe is me because my husband died. Ben, her husband, passed on November 15, 2013. If she is still grieving to the degree that she cannot fulfill her lawful obligations to her legitimate constituents, maybe she should have just chosen not to run for the Senate.

Here's something I do know about Catherine Miranda. She had campaign workers with whom she DID coordinate something and they lied to voters on the phone about Catherine's positions on women's health sovereignty and self-determination.

If she is not held accountable for her role in campaign irregularities, it will be a significant indication that nobody in the state legislature can be held accountable for any campaign irregularities. That would, in my view, be a tragic blow to the hope that Arizona will ever be a functioning democratic republic.

It would also signal to lawmakers in the immediate future that they can get away with AZSCAM scale corruption with impunity because nobody is willing to dig deep enough to ferret out the truth.


*NOTE: Whether the financial audit trail can be found or not, there is clear evidence that APS has gotten Miranda to support its special interest legislation to the detriment of Arizona citizens. And that Cathi Herrod has boasted of Miranda effectively advocating legislation Herrod's group has pushed.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How long must Arizona cope with pols like Russell Pearce and LAZY GOP apologists like Doug MacEachern? UPDATED 1:45 am 9-15-14

When AZGOP vice chair Russell Pearce made his latest outrageously hateful comments, it took GOP statewide office nominees Ducey and Brnovich a couple of days to decide how they felt about the comments. That's despite the AZGOP falsely claiming,
Republicans are the party of the people.  Republicans believe the formula that will lift all Americans is equality, freedom and limited government. Our party is deeply rooted in protecting human rights... (emphasis mine)
Apparently, this statement by Russell Pearce is what they mean by "deeply rooted in protecting human rights,"
"You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I'd do is get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations…Then we'll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job." -- Russell Pearce, AZGOP First Vice-chair.


Then there's the Arizona Republic's chief GOP apologist, Doug MacEachern. Pathetically crying in his latest missive that Congress is considering repealing, er eviscerating the First Amendment.
They've decided that eviscerating the First Amendment is a really good idea.
Not only is it well known that MacEachern is the most radically right-wing editorial writer in the Republic's newsroom, but he consistently demonstrates himself to be the laziest. Editorials in major newspapers ought to be well thought out and present sound arguments for the viewpoints they propound. Not MacEachern who does so rarely, if ever. Consider his latest. To set up his specious claim that Congress has decided that eviscerating the First Amendment is a really good idea, he goes back to Watergate.
It has been 40 years since the Watergate scandal convinced us that by squeezing political contributions, we could squeeze out political corruption, special interests and those ubiquitous "outsiders" with them.
It hasn't worked out. But that doesn't mean the changes that happened in 1974 — again, as a reaction to Watergate, the CREEP bunch and the Nixon slush fund — weren't significant.
Watergate and its aftermath didn't just change how we view the financing of elections. It changed our view of politics, from presuming the opposition is loyal just wrong to believing they are corrupt and malevolent. 
Let's start with "the CREEP bunch." WTF is MacEachern talking about? He did not define the term. He did not provide any point of reference for figuring it out except to name Nixon in the context. I still had to do more than one Google search to figure out what he meant. How many readers of the dumbed down Arizona Republic editorial page are going to know off the top of their heads? Likely very few, apart from people who have recently studied 40 year old presidential history.

So, Mac draws in his readers claiming this is all Nixon's fault and sets forth a progression hoping to get people to believe the current Move(ment) to Amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United is nothing more than an assault on Freedom of Speech.

This isn't about Watergate or the Committee to Re-elect the President. But it does reasonably trace back to Nixon. Because Nixon appointed Louis Powell to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court. And Louis Powell authored the document that has allowed the US Chamber of Commerce and ALEC to capture federal regulators and own Congress.

MacEachern's laziness is not an isolated occurrence. It's consistent and it's pervasive. It's readily apparent in what he puts under his byline but it's also readily apparent in unsigned editorials that espouse the conservative bias.

Ya know, the Republic has another conservative political columnist, Bob Robb. Though conservative, Robb almost always presents his commentary in thoughtful, rational ways. In other words, he's not nearly as lazy as MacEachern.

In order for the Arizona Republican Party to rightfully claim they stand for human rights, they must banish Russell Pearce. The sooner the better.

In order for the Arizona Republic to restore a modicum of editorial integrity to the conservative viewpoints it propounds, it must rid itself of Doug MacEachern. Every day he remains employed by the Republic/Gannett is additional scourge on Arizona.

And don't give me that malarkey claiming I am against free speech. Freedom of speech does not include protection from criticism. Heck, in comments on my blog post about Duplicitious Doug Ducey, John Kavanagh calls me "thin-skinned." I'm not sure why he said that, but it hardly concerns or bothers me.

I will qualify that in today's "capitalist" environment, Freedom of the Press really only means that whoever owns the press has the freedom. And if Gannett decides that MacEachern is a drag on its bottom line, THEY will cut him loose faster than you can shake a stick at them.



The Phoenix New Times and the Arizona Republic have reported that Russell Pearce resigned his vice chair position at the Arizona Republican Party on Sunday evening.

Now, what about MacEachern?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dupilicitous Doug "Tooth Fairy Math" Ducey -- Arizona's demagogue of the year

There were few genuine surprises in last night's debate between the nominees from the two major political parties for Arizona governor. DuVal presented intelligently with characteristic poise. Ducey was persistently evasive, as his manner is.

Really, those bottom line impressions are entirely what you can expect from each candidate until the election AND for the one who emerges victorious, it's what you can expect throughout his term as chief executive of Arizona state government.

On the economy the Republican earned a new nickname, Doug "Tooth Fairy Math" Ducey. Arizona Republic reporter Yvonne Wingett Sanchez summed up the debate thus,
As governor, Ducey says he would recruit companies from California and Illinois, eliminate unnecessary regulations and eventually do away with the state's personal and corporate income taxes by reforming the tax code. The income taxes account for nearly half of the $9 billion that flows into state coffers each year.
Lame. Tired. Worn out. GOP bullshit. Cut taxes and eliminate regulations. And what would he have to offer companies from Illinois to relocate to Arizona? Tax incentives.

When Scoop "Tooth Fairy Math" Ducey senses a question or an issue on which voters want to hear something other than the usual GOP tripe, he is nothing but evasive. When he thinks he can get away with telling the truth -- like on his Grover Norquist style plans -- he'll tell you.

Ducey was adamant that he would cut government services along with taxes. More than 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan pulled that wool over the eyes of Americans and thus began the largest growth in the federal government in US history up to that point. AND the largest budget deficits. Hence, Tooth Fairy Math. Reagan had the advantage that adequate data to disprove his cockamamie notion was not as readily available in 1980 as it is today.

A quick Google search on "states eliminate income tax" returns about 13.6 million results. The notion was spreading like wildfire across the country in early 2013. GOP dominated states including Louisiana, Kansas, North Carolina, and Wisconsin apparently have such plans in the works.

If GOP governors and legislatures are moving in that direction from sea to shining sea, where do you think the idea originated? There's really only two possibilities: ALEC and Koch brothers.

In Wisconsin,
Heading into an election year, Gov. Scott Walker has embarked on a major review of the state’s tax code, including the possibility of eliminating income taxes and raising the sales tax.
Walker told on Tuesday that he is “envious” of other states that have eliminated income taxes, and that he could support raising the state’s 5 percent sales tax rate.
In Arizona, the trend for relying heavily on regressive sales taxes started under the last governor to declare his intent to run the state like his business (effectively, as it worked out, running it into the ground). Symington led the legislature into cutting income and property taxes. What remained was the sales tax, which more ominously burdens lower and middle income families and presents disincentives to economic development.

That may be one of the main reasons Arizona has not been a job growth leader in emerging from the Great Recession.

On education, in light of the recent court ruling requiring additional $300 million funding for K-12 public schools, Ducey was emphatic in saying, "I'll take this crisis as an opportunity to restructure our education funding and I do support the appeal."

In other words, Ducey is all and only about CUT, CUT, CUT for anything about which state government is responsible. Public education is the biggest of those responsibilities.

And speaking of the CUT, CUT, CUT perspective, here's John Kavanagh's comment from the other day, which I held back because I believe "Dr. J" was trying to change the subject. Well, the comment fits with the subject of this post.
According to Robert Robb of the Arizona Republic, DuVal's budget plan makes the budget problem worse. Robb observes:
The Legislature's budget staff projects that the current budget is already $50 million in the red. Paying what a judge has said the state owes the schools – which DuVal has demanded be paid yesterday – would increase that to more than $365 million. The projected shortfall for the following year's budget is a jaw-dropping $800 million. The state only has $455 million in its rainy-day fund.
In his "plan," Ducey says that increases in the state budget should be limited to less than population growth and inflation. That's not much guidance on how he would propose climbing out of an $800 million hole.
For his part, all DuVal has proposed is to make the hole larger. He has advocated restoring state funding for all-day kindergarten. That's a cool $230 million a year. The 2016 hole just got over $1 billion."
State Rep. John Kavanagh
Well John, in the box you've tightly packaged your self in, DuVal's plan might make things worse. Because after all, anything that doesn't provide generous increases to the private prison industry will probably not bode well for you personally. Investing in education of Arizona's children, especially minorities, in low-income neighborhoods, will have a dramatic impact on demand for government funded private facilities to profit from future warehousing and forced labor from those children.

That's right, Kavanagh, who has spent the last couple of terms as chairman of House Appropriations, has himself hemmed into a box that prevents him from understanding the many ways private prisons are a poison to our society.

Which is why Paula Pennypacker, THE candidate to restore sanity(TM) to the LD23 seat in the Arizona Senate, is the only responsible choice in Kavanagh's race.

But I digress.

It may strike fear into some that any candidate would dare take a stand against the Grover Norquist approach to governing. But somebody (me perhaps, as one of hopefully many in the weeks and years to come) has to get the attention of voters. We (voters) need to realize that we've been put in a pot of cold water on the stove. Tax cuts over the last couple of decades have decimated our infrastructure, turning on the heat. In the meantime, tens of millions of jobs have been shipped overseas and the safety nets necessary to keep families from disaster have been overwhelmingly cut as a result of advocacy as described in Kavanagh's comment above.

But the biggest surprise last night was in Ducey exposing his intent to commit a massive bait and switch on voters. He said that in campaigns, voters set the agenda but once he is in office, HE will set the agenda. In other words, he'll tell you one thing as a voter. Yet as his duplicitous manner is, the voters' agenda will mean nothing once he is sworn in.

We must not let that happen. We must elect Fred DuVal the next governor of Arizona.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Preview of DuVal/Ducey debate

To hype viewership and boost ratings of its broadcast of the gubernatorial debate tonight (which apparently will exclude Libertarian Barry Hess), posted,
Well, I don't know who is right and who is wrong either, but if you plan to vote based off the 30-second advertisements, you could be a little bit confused on election day.
Good news! Tonight on 12 News and streaming online at, we will be hosting a debate for the two candidates running for governor of Arizona. Republican Doug Ducey and Democrat Fred DuVal will be answering questions and giving opinions that you can't see in those commercials.
For this viewer, I think there is plenty to be learned from those 30-second video spots. Whether or not you can take them at face value is a different question. There has been and will continue to be plenty of commentary from people who look beneath the surface of those videos to flesh out what's true and what's not. Viewers with critical thinking skills can learn a lot from them, but tonight's debate will still be illuminating.

Here's a recent clip supporting DuVal for Governor:

You say this is hyperbole? I say, yeah, Ducey's claims are exaggerated quite a bit. The double exposure of sorts shows that this apparently has been the script of his stump speech and he has repeated it to groups all over the state.

Tonight should be entertaining even if somewhat nauseating.

Channel 12 is encouraging viewers to participate by posting questions on Twitter using the hashtag, #azgov. The debate will begin (hopefully very soon) following President Obama's address at 6 pm. For people who have shaken the addiction to television, 12News says it will livestream the debate at