Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, January 6, 2014

John Kavanagh, sour grapes?

On November 23, the local daily newspaper quoted state Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) after having lifted his comments from this blog. The first was taken from comments to my November 19 blog post about the first bills pre-filed for the upcoming legislative session.
“The Legislature is not a debating society. It is a lawmaking body. ... We debate bills in the Legislature that have a chance of passage to improve them, not for sport or to comply with some liberal equal-time rule.”
Then in a follow up interview, the daily quoted him,
“Dem bills rarely get heard for two reasons. First and foremost, they tend to be ideologically liberal, so the conservative-dominated chambers do not want to advance them. Given that they would never get the votes to pass, hearing them would only waste time and give liberals a platform to advocate liberal positions. Second, some Dems (a small number) have “burned bridges” with Rs by repeated harsh attacks. Consequently, nobody is going to help them.
This, a mere five months after the brash former New York Port Authority and New Jersey Police Department detective sergeant said the following during floor debate on the Medicaid Restoration bill.

But John, I thought you said the Arizona Legislature is NOT a debating society.

When the tables were turned around on Kavanagh and his comrades, he was quick to squawk. Oh... the pain of it all.

Oh, the pain of it all, just because a bi-partisan coalition was tired of getting steamrolled by the likes of John Kavanagh. All because they dared pass a bill to ensure Arizona doesn't lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding for hospitals and health care services.

"Chicago-style politics," eh John?

Let's explore Kavanagh's pejorative comment. A list of 45 examples of tactics or strategies that have been attributed to Chicago's "ONE-PARTY" system may shed some light on our good friend John Kavanagh and what was really his description of Arizona Republican Party style politics.

A sampling of the so-called Chicago-style politics:
7.  Rewrite the law to require independent and opposition party candidates to collect ten times the ballot access petition signatures your candidates must.
See #StopHB2305. From the legislative summary/fact sheet for the final version of the Tea-publican bill to suppress voting rights in our state:
Amends the number of signatures required for nomination petitions to the following percentage and alters the basis from which the signatures are to be gathered to the total voter registration rather than of the candidate’s party...
In other words, Libertarian Party candidates, for example, in order to qualify for the ballot, must obtain more signatures on nominating petitions than there may be Libertarians actually registered to vote. John, and 32 of his House Republican colleagues (as well as 16 GOP senators) voted to rewrite the law to require so many signatures that many potential opponents cannot possibly qualify.

The good thing is that the people of Arizona will have the opportunity to VETO this bill in November. John Kavanagh, of course, voted in favor of HB2305.
18.  Steal opponent’s signs and campaign materials and have local authorities ignore it.
John Huppenthal, longtime GOP state lawmaker and current Superintendent of Public Instruction, in 2008 stole a competitor's campaign signs and got away with it even though he was caught in the act.
20.  Run candidates in the other parties’ primaries.
John Rowland Mills, longtime taxpayer funded GOP political operative and now convicted felon, was known to have recruited Green Party candidates* to run against and dilute the vote for Democratic candidates.
32.  Line the government from top to bottom with friends, family and contributors.
In 2012, the GOP legislature passed Gov. Brewer's personnel "reform" which eliminates merit system protections which had been put in place decades earlier to minimize the harmful effects of political patronage. Our good friend John Kavanagh voted in favor of this reinstitution of the Spoils System. Evidence of the insidious nature of this so-called reform was on full display when Gov. Brewer had Joey Strickland fired from his position as director of the Arizona Department of Veterans Services.
37. Run 2 candidates for the same office, ganging up on the real challenger and stealing away opposition votes.
Remember the historic Russell Pearce recall election, which succeeded in ousting the sitting Senate President from office completely in spite of (a number of) dubious actions by Pearce supporters, including running fake candidate Olivia Cortes.
45.  Have party workers at the Board of Elections accidentally forget to print the opponent on the ballot, or even their entire party.
In the run up to the 2012 general election, Maricopa County Elections officials (overseen by elected County Recorder, Republican Helen Purcell) "inadvertently" gave out Spanish language documents showing the wrong date for the election.
30. Reward all campaign contributors with ten-times the amount they donated in government grants, pork or no-bid contracts.
Think Chuck Coughlin, special aide to Gov. Brewer, and key lobbyist for the private prison industry. Oh, and our good friend John Kavanagh, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and beneficiary of private prison campaign donations, is an avid supporter of bilking taxpayers to warehouse humans.

Even though marijuana is safer than alcohol, in Arizona, possession of even the smallest measurable quantity of marijuana is a felony. That makes simple marijuana possession one of the quickest and easiest ways around the 13th Amendment abolition of slavery. Next time you're at the Capitol, if you see workers in orange jumpsuits tending the grounds, this is how that came to be. Slave labor is much less expensive than paying state employees.

Should I continue?

The bottom line is this, Kavanagh hung on to an expression that was introduced as dog-whistle code for GOP voters during the 2012 Presidential campaign, hoping to topple the Obama administration. Then, in a hissy fit during the legislative machinations to pass Medicaid Restoration, the (near) epithet passed over his angry lips and was recorded for posterity.

By the way, this John Kavanagh was the prime mover for the 2012 legislation criminalizing PASSIVE RESISTANCE.

Now we have reports that House Appropriations chair Kavanagh is willing to find funding to address problems at Child Protective Services, as long as he can take it away from the Early Childhood Development and Health Board.

Kavanagh, ever generous with his comments to the press, also recently stated he intends to introduce legislation to repeal Arizona's Medical Marijuana Law. No doubt encouraged on by his benefactors in the private prison industrial complex.

Wouldn't it be exquisite if what Kavanagh declared during his hissy fit (in the video clip above) was merely him subconsciously disclosing that he relishes the opportunities he enjoys to exploit GOP domination in Arizona lawmaking?

Isn't it time for the Republican dominated state legislature to reap what it has sowed for so many years?


* See page 10 of the pdf document to note that Democrat Jackie Thrasher lost by a margin far less than the number of votes cast for the Green Party candidate, who was known to have been recruited by Mills.


  1. Isn't State Representative Kavanagh a direct beneficiary of the expansion of the "Tuition Tax Credit"?

  2. I don't know about that. You may be thinking of Steve Yarbrough. Morgan Loew at Channel 5 did a good investigative piece showing just how much Yarbrough has skimmed off the top at his tuition organization.

    1. You are right. Thank you for the correction. It is so difficult to tell the difference between one corrupt Republican and another.

    2. How ironic that someone who names himself or herself Phoenix Justice calls someone corrupt without any factual basis.Certainly not very eagelatarian.

    3. Going after someone you don't know, just because you're offended that he got you mixed up with Yarbrough?

      How very gallant of you.

    4. Steve,

      The community colleges have a course named CRE101: Critical Reading and the title speaks for itself. You need to take it. Phoenix Justice did not just mix us up. After you pointed out that he or she meant Sen. Yarbrough, PJ did not say, 'My mistake." Instead he or she said, "It is so difficult to tell the difference between one corrupt Republican and another." That is not, as you interpreted it,"Going after someone you don't know, just because you're offended that he got you mixed up with Yarbrough?"

      Anybody with even an 8th grade reading level can tell you that PJ called both of us corrupt. How could you miss that? Please explain.

      I should also point out that the starting point of your post also suggests reading comprehension impairment. As you wrote, my debating society comment said that we do not waste time debating Democrat bills because they have no chance of passing and we are not a debating society. My "squawking" on the Medicaid expansion bill was debate on a bill that had an excellent chance of passage, so that debate was not a waste of time and was more that just debating society amusement. No inconsistency there.

      I would also add that the one time the Dems were players on a bill in play (Medicaid expansion), all but Rep. Campbell refused to debate. Do you defend that?

    5. Well, John, thanks for stopping by. As you've done in the past, you seem to want to make this about something other than the blog post. Besides attacking my reading comprehension skills (as a diversion), previously I recall you accusing me of various logical fallacies, notably the straw man.

      In this situation, you are not the moderator (guiding the direction of discussion). I'll remind you again that you do not have the gavel.

      So, here's the situation as I see it.

      You did not deny anything in my blog post. Instead, you employ nothing that can reasonably be considered logical or rational argument on the facts presented. Isn't that what fallacy is all about? Bluster to distract people from the realization that I was right on the mark?

      Can you name the fallacies YOU employed?

      Rather, this is about your specious claim that those who effectively challenged your party's legislative dominance last spring somehow engaged in "Chicago" politics. Your claim is complete nonsense. You and your "cohorts in crime" (I use the expression figuratively, btw) are the ones emphatically guilty of abusing political process, in general, in Arizona.

      More than 400 of my blog posts about redistricting demonstrate that fact more than adequately.

      Of course, I agree with you that you were well within your rights to debate the Medicaid restoration bill, even though the statements you made at that time are fairly characterized as hyperbolic nonsense.

      As to you allowing yourself to be distracted by the comments made by Phoenix Justice, you do realize that reveals a weakness, don't you?

      Why are you so sensitive, John?

      By the way, will you be giving me credit for your introduction of HB2023?

    6. You did point out the flaw in the fingerprint clearance card system (permissive authority versus mandate for the checks to be run) that inspired 2023, so credit given.

      Regarding your criticism of my post that said, "You did not deny anything in my blog post," that is not true. However, because my denial was only seven lines in length, maybe your EAGLEtarian eye missed it. So I will repeat it here, so you can comment on it:

      “I should also point out that the starting point of your post also suggests reading comprehension impairment. As you wrote, my debating society comment said that we do not waste time debating Democrat bills because they have no chance of passing and we are not a debating society. My ‘squawking’ on the Medicaid expansion bill was debate on a bill that had an excellent chance of passage, so that debate was not a waste of time and was more that just debating society amusement. No inconsistency there.”

      Since you seem to be in the soliciting criticism mood, let me offer more critical commentary. Your post suggests that I am part of a Republican "Chicago-style" political gang. That feeling is indicative of what seems to be your activist ideolog mindset, which tends to view the world in a "them-us" manner and in very "black and white" terms. I was there in my younger years and it is not a good place to be intellectually. But your accusation is not true.

      You cannot lump people together that neatly and “guilt by association” is a logical fallacy. (You should read Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric by Cavendar and Kahane.) Specifically, when did I ever do the things you criticize the me for, such as stealing campaign signs, running candidates in other party primaries, engaging in patronage, conspiring with the elections board to not print ballots, rewarding contributors with grants, pork and no-bid contracts? The answer is never. (I did not mention number seven, because it is debatable whether or not that was good or bad, suppression or reform.)

      Finally, you again find it necessary to assert your blog authority (“In this situation, you are not the moderator (guiding the direction of discussion). I'll remind you again that you do not have the gavel.”) But you fail to use your blog gavel (keyboard?) to properly control your blog. I would never let someone call another person “corrupt” at a hearing without admonition, at least without proof. You have no problem allowing unsubstantiated slander inhabiting your posts. That’s too bad because it detracts from your credibility and professionalism.

    7. Criticizing my reading comprehension skills does not equate to denying the charges. In case you did not notice, I ignore when you level criticism at me. That's a "shiny object" that I choose not to let distract me from the main focus of the discussion.

      I appreciate you citing the "black and white," which can also be analogous to "either/or" but not necessarily to "us vs them." Indeed, it IS important when discussing public policy options to be able to understand and cope with ambiguity. On this, I agree with you emphatically.

      Back to the point, however, you stated, "You cannot lump people together that neatly and "guilt by association" is a logical fallacy." Bravo. THIS is the bottom line of my blog post. YOU invoked the expression "Chicago politics." (See the video clip)

      Besides being dog-whistle racist code, ( that is very much lumping your opponents on that bill... well, not necessarily very neatly, but lumping them anyway. Thank you VERY much for identifying YOUR logical fallacy.

      My list of seven examples show that the political party you associate and identify yourself with is guilty in Arizona of that which you wrongly accused the bi-partisan coalition of doing. I did not suggest, of course, that you personally had done each of those tactics, but Arizona Republicans that you identify and/or associate yourself with have indeed committed those things and more.

      By the way, it appears that you are disturbed by Phoenix Justice having used the word "corrupt" to describe you. Rather than "unsubstantiated slander" as you claim, your invocation of the expression "Chicago politics" was very much an accusation of corruption, which, by the way, is a subjective term.

      I am not aware of any place or time wherein you may have recanted YOUR baseless accusation. So, I'm having a hard time understanding just how you think you could get anyone that mattered to consider what was said about you to be "unsubstantiated slander."

      Since you're so sensitive about the label on you (the three fingers you pointed back at yourself when you pointed one at your opponents on the Medicaid restoration bill), perhaps your best bet would be to distance yourself from the bullying tactics employed by AZ GOP operatives.

  3. Meaningful and productive communication can only occur when both parties speak a common language with agreed upon definitions. That is why dictionaries are so important. Your bending of language as witnessed by your outlandish race-tinged definition of "chicago politics" and belief that the definition of the word corrupt is "subjective" is corrosive to meaningful debate and brings into question the legitimacy and worth of your blog. It is really disturbing and pathetic.

  4. I don't recall you offering any definition of what YOU meant by "Chicago politics" or "Chicago-style politics." Given the context of the debate in question (floor debate on the Medicaid restoration bill), just what exactly do you think people understood you to mean? Did you mean something other than the generally understood epithet that was used so freely against President Obama by those with whom you identify? And then you linked the term, in the context you used it, to Obamacare, did you not?

    As to the dictionary definition of "corrupt," how about we use this one, unless you have one you prefer more.

    Let's consider the first listed meaning at that link: "Marked by immorality and perversion; depraved."

    You may not like it any more than you did before suggesting we use a dictionary definition, but the fact that you have taken money from the private prison industry and have -- at minimum -- been complicit in promoting that industry is increasingly being considered immoral. In fact, in the science of economics, the private prison industry is rife with and specifically demands writing "perverse incentives" into contracts with governments. You've heard of that, haven't you? When GEO Group or CCA succeeds in getting a minimum occupancy written into a contract, right?

    Of course, it's a matter of opinion, right John? Should I bring in a dictionary definition of "subjective?"

    By the way, John, isn't it a logical fallacy to attack the messenger? You know, "your outlandish race-tinged definition of "chicago politics..." ??? You cited the importance of dictionaries, right? Did I overlook where you may have shown where any dictionary definition of either the word "corrupt" or the expression "Chicago politics" as I used them were incorrect or even simply misleading?

  5. Oh, and John... if you'd like me to side with you about corruption, I certainly would be willing to do so if you were to publicly endorse and promote the American Anti-Corruption Act.

    But then again, John, where do you stand on the issue of the Lobbyist Shakedown Bill (2013's HB2593)?

    The Lobbyist Shakedown Bill clearly seeks to legitimize corruption in and for the Arizona Legislature.

    Don't say I didn't tell you so when I first suggested you were taking the comment by Phoenix Justice too personal.

  6. So you think I am perverse, immoral and depraved?

    1. Are you really interested in what I think about you? Why?