Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mona Charen shows Chris Christie what sophistry really looks like UPDATED 8:15 pm MST 10-31-14

Apparently today's print edition of the Arizona Republic published a piece by syndicated columnist and right-wing/ALEC apologist Mona Charen claiming Democrats in America,
Democrats want everyone to vote: old, young, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, citizen, non-citizen. Wait, what was that last one again?
I don't find the column on azcentral.com but I did find it at TownHall.com. Ms. Charen goes to great lengths to justify Voter ID laws ("passed in 30 states so far"). She cites
Voter ID laws, passed by 30 states so far, are efforts by legislatures to ensure the integrity of votes. Being asked to show a photo ID can diminish several kinds of fraud, including impersonation, duplicate registrations in different jurisdictions and voting by ineligible people including felons and non-citizens.
The Democrats have made a number of arguments against voter ID laws. They argue a) that the problem of voter impersonation or in-person voter fraud is nonexistent, b) that black and poor voters are more likely than others to lack a valid ID and c) that Republicans are attempting to "suppress" the votes of Democratic constituencies in a bid to revive Jim Crow.
To believe a), you must assume that Americans, who engage in widespread tax evasion (an estimated $2 trillion in income goes unreported), insurance fraud (an estimated $80 billion worth in 2006), identity theft (15 million victims annually) and thousands of other deceptions and crimes large and small, are perfect angels when they step into the voting booth. Vote fraud simply "doesn't exist," pronounced Attorney General Eric Holder. 
Charen's "logic," that to believe Republicans' efforts are aimed at suppressing voting rights of citizens, one MUST assume Americans -- who, she cites commit rampant tax evasion, insurance fraud and identity theft -- are perfect angels when they vote is simply bullshit.

The Republican motive for suppressing voting rights is neither rationally or logically connected to deceptive practices of Americans. BUT GOP deceptive practices ARE responsible for the persistent Republican claims their intent is to protect the "integrity of the vote."

For the sake of argument, let's say Charen is right about those deceptive practices.

She blames AMERICAN citizens' conduct for Republicans imposing restrictions that most definitely hinder the rights of actual law-abiding AMERICAN citizens, when her premise is that Democrats want NON-citizens to vote.

Do you need me to identify which fallacies she employs to make her case? Isn't it blatantly obvious on its face?

She further cites research that "three professors from Virginia universities answer in the affirmative."
Using an enormous database of voters nationwide (32,800 from 2008, and 55,400 in 2012), the authors find that about one-quarter of the non-citizens who participated in the survey were registered to vote.
Studying survey responses, the authors judge that non-citizen voters tend to favor Democratic candidates by large margins.
Shocking, right? Well, um, not quite.

By the way, Charen does not name the researchers or the universities. Nor does she quote ANY text or statistics from the study. I was able to locate reference to the study but in order to gain access to it, I would have to pay $19.95.

The key to understanding Ms. Charen's claims is in scientific concepts of peer review and replication. She doesn't cite any peer review as having (yet?) been done on this study.
Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence to the producers of the work (peers). It constitutes a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards of quality, improve performance, and provide credibility.
Second, can the findings be replicated independently?
Replication is a fundamental tenet of science, and the hallmark of peer review is that other researchers can look at data and methodology and determine the work's validity.
That Ms. Charen takes an incredible leap across a chasm that is not spanned by logical reasoning and pronounces conclusions based on one study that has not been replicated is telling indeed. But not as telling as blaming the deceptiveness of American citizens for the GOP strategy to suppress the voting rights of American citizens.

The salient fact of this matter is that Mona Charen's column may be the best example of actual sophistry since Chris "shut down that bridge" Christie attached that label to Brahm Resnik's reporting.
soph•ist•ry (ˈsɒf ə stri) 
n., pl. -ries.1. a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.2. a false argument; sophism.

The bottom line is that Charen did NOT make a valid argument for depriving actual American citizens the right to vote. And those are, without question, the real ramifications and in my opinion the real intent of Voter ID laws.
The most significant election problems will likely occur in Texas, where a voter-ID law struck down twice as discriminatory—most recently as an “unconstitutional poll tax”—is now in effect because the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. Six hundred thousand registered voters in Texas don’t have a valid voter ID, but the state had issued only 279 new voter IDs of September. If you think voter-ID laws don’t disenfranchise people and aren’t discriminatory, read this Guardian story on Eric Kennie, one of the 600,000 Texans who won’t be able to vote.
Here's one of their own, Paul Weyrich, in 1980 spelling out the intent.



And from BillMoyers.com





UPDATE           UPDATE           UPDATE

H/t to Donna Gratehouse of Democratic Diva for this update.

Not only is the study referenced by Ms. Charen not peer reviewed, but the authors themselves discount the appropriateness of their study for making the conclusion Charen drew.
...they note their research has "obvious limitations" and that, despite their claim about Franken, "extrapolation to specific state-level or district-level election outcomes is fraught with substantial uncertainty."
Subsequent to when Charen's op-ed was first published, in the Washington Post,
Three days later, the blog featured a follow-up post headlined, "Methodological challenges affect study of noncitizens' voting," by University of California, Irvine assistant professor of political science Michael Tesler.
He notes that the study's findings are based on use of Cooperative Congressional Election Study data from opt-in internet survey data constructed by the polling firm YouGov to be nationally representative of the adult citizen population. Its use for being representative of the nation's noncitizen population, Tesler writes, "seems tenuous at best."
Tessler says a bigger problem is that some respondents might have simply checked the wrong box regarding their citizen status. The study's authors say that if most or all "noncitizens" actually did this, then the data "would have nothing to contribute concerning the frequency of noncitizen voting."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dedicated to John Kavanagh and Catherine Miranda -- and to VOTERS, Caveat Emptor

There are more lawmakers and other candidates for whom this song rings true, but I dedicate it to my dear friends John Kavanagh and Catherine Miranda who brazenly offer their services to the highest bidder. Enjoy the Haymarket Squares!



In the spirit of Caveat Emptor, there has to be a better way to evaluate candidates. Incessant attack ads on television cause voters to tune out, don't they? And those shiny, colorful over-sized postcards how much help are they?
Caveat emptor [(kav-ee-aht, kah-vee-aht emp-tawr)]
Latin for “Let the buyer beware.” It means that a customer should be cautious and alert to the possibility of being cheated: “Caveat emptor is the first rule of buying a used car.”
This, of course, is the whole reason I have offered analysis on the track record, words and campaign finances of some of the sinister or incompetent, mostly Republican candidates this year.

Debates can be one mechanism for "kicking the tires." But Scrooge McDucey, Michele Reagan, Mark Brnovich, Diane Douglas as well as Doug Little and Tom Forese all did their best to either avoid debates altogether or refuse to answer uncomfortable questions (or both). So how can voters have reasonable basis for casting their votes for these state wide office Republicans?

In most cases, the candidates still offered slick sales brochures (websites and mailers touting themselves). But you can only expect to get what the candidate wants to tell you about themselves there. Don't you need more information than just what the salesman/women want to give you in order to feel comfortable marking your ballot?

Additional key senate races, if these sell out Republicans can be knocked out of office, will make a tremendous difference. That would include Steve Yarbrough, Kimberly Yee, Don Shooter, and Jeff Dial. Each faces a credible, quality Democratic candidate.

So, voter, be aware of as much as possible for every candidate for whom you cast a vote.

If you want to put Arizona on a new path, elect Paula Pennypacker, Kristie O'Brien, Patty Kennedy, Terri Woodmansee, and Janie Hydrick to the Arizona Senate. Well, vote for Democrats in whichever race you can this year. Especially those campaigning with Clean Elections funding.

Let's Turn AZ Blue!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Forget speculation over a new SB1062, what about repeal of Medicaid Restoration?

As Simon Sinek regularly propounds, start with WHY!

With this being election season and all, how many people have told you how annoying they find the incessant attack ads on television to be?

How many of those people just tune out and surrender to the GOP's decades long voter suppression strategies?

Well, with those marginal voters, ones who don't see why they should bother, you can help them. Why?

Because you can show them how voting will empower them. Words are the most powerful things we have. You can show people WHY they should vote and you can show them WHY they should vote for Democratic candidates and issues.

Last week we explored WHY Arizona Public Service wants to capture the office of the Attorney General to go along with a legislature that already does its bidding and Corporation Commission that functions as a wholly-owned subsidiary of ALEC. We don't have to let them get away with it.

The week before that, because the Supreme Court (of the US) declined to hear several cases related to marriage equality, Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage was declared unconstitutional and overturned.

Christian Dominionists grieved for a couple of days then came up with new strategies and tactics for resisting the US Constitution's equal protection provisions. That brought renewed chatter GOP state lawmakers for again introducing SB1062 type bills. Expect that to happen. Because they can.

BUT if Scrooge McDucey, known to some activists as "Cathi's Clown" is elected governor, expect such bills to find their way to the 9th floor of the Capitol where McDucey will sign them into law.

Then today Donna Gratehouse, who writes for Democratic Diva, articulated the question, "If the lege wanted to and had a governor willing, could Arizona pull out of the Medicaid [Restoration]?"

How many of you need me to make a case to say that they most certainly will try? Of course, with a Gov. Fred DuVal there's no way it would fly. Because the GOP will (almost certainly) not have a veto-proof supermajority, they'd be fools to waste any time on such an effort.

BUT if Scrooge McDucey wins, all bets are off.

We already know that the legislature has filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the program that narrowly passed in the waning hours of the 2013 (special) legislative session.

We already know that Scrooge McDucey has announced his intention to do whatever the hell he pleases as governor, if he's elected, voters be damned.

We already know that McDucey will emulate Sam Brownback and Scott Walker. We already know that there will be major pressure to cut something big from the next state budget. By the way, expect Arizona to turn into the next Brownbackistan if McDucey succeeds next week.

On the question of repealing the Medicaid restoration, THAT is what the Arizona Democratic Party and the DuVal campaign need to drive home for voters. Because THAT will help voters understand WHY it matters that they vote.

You can bet that if McDucey tries it, there will be plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth. This is clearly foreseeable. At this point, it IS preventable. How?

We MUST elect Fred DuVal and send McDucey packing.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Revisit Laurie Roberts' question -- WHY is APS trying to BUY itself a personal Attorney General?

Of course, that's not the exact phrasing of her question. Roberts took it back an additional step or two. Why has APS poured such large sums of what ultimately is ratepayer cash into propagandizing for Mark "I am NOT a CROOK" Brnovich? Why do they want to persistently attack the one AG candidate who actually intends to serve the PEOPLE of Arizona, Felecia Rotellini?

The social psychology research of Arizona State University Professor Emeritus Robert Cialdini has established that large donations to political campaigns are not given without firm expectation that the candidate, if elected, will reciprocate. I've established it by reference in several blog posts. That's why it's entirely appropriate to frame the question in terms of the obvious motive. We know APS has contributed heavily to Brnovich because it wants to purchase its own personal Attorney General.

So the real question underlying Roberts' concern is, "why do they want Brnovich?" I believe I answered that question adequately a few days ago.

This evening, however, I found a compelling article on Grist.org that may further illuminate the situation.
By now, most people are aware that solar power — particularly distributed solar power, in the form of rooftop panels — poses a threat to power utilities. And utilities are fighting back, attempting to impose additional fees and restrictions on solar customers. These skirmishes generally center on “net metering,” whereby utilities (forced by state legislation) pay customers with solar panels full retail price for the power they produce, which can often cancel out the customer’s bill entirely. That’s lost revenue for the utility.
Net metering, however, is largely a distraction, a squabble over how long utilities can cling to their familiar business model. Larger reforms are inevitable, because the threat to utilities goes far beyond solar panels and demands a response far more substantial than rate-tweaking. Sooner or later, there must be a wholesale rethinking of the utility business model. And if utilities are smart, they’ll do it sooner. [And if Arizonans are smart, they will exercise whatever leverage they can to force APS to adapt sooner, rather than later].
To understand why, let’s have a look at two recent analyses. One examines the short-term issue for utilities, revealing the core problem lurking within. The second pulls the lens back to take in the big picture. [...]
In short, solar PV at 10 percent would reduce return on equity and earnings a lot — 40 percent in the case of the wires-only utility — but raise rates only a little [based on hypothetical scenarios in which rates are only raised a little bit]. (Why the sharply different impact on the two utilities? Because the wires-only utility only invests in wires and other distribution infrastructure, and those are the kinds of investments that solar PV renders unnecessary.) I don’t know if this is a big enough hit to constitute a “death spiral,” but it certainly isn’t good news for utilities. [...]
...Our power utilities are structured to oppose our social and environmental goals... [...] 
For better or worse, this isn’t just a problem for climate hawks. Now that solar PV and other distributed energy solutions are growing [and becoming dramatically less expensive to install and operate], it’s a problem for utilities too. Standing still is not an option. They either adapt or face the much-discussed “death spiral.” 
That’s what the second analysis is about: “Does Disruptive Competition Mean a Death Spiral for Electric Utilities?” It’s in Energy Law Journal, by Elisabeth Graffy and Steven Kihm. 
It begins with a simple premise: The growth of distributed solar PV is not an isolated or one-off phenomenon, but the leading edge of “a synergistic wave of innovations occurring in several sectors at once—technology research and development, policy development, social and cultural preferences, scientific investigation, and business.” After nearly a century spent in a zone of limited-to-no competition, utilities are entering a zone of disruptive competition, in which customers can reduce or even eliminate their dependence on utility power and grid services
Graffy and Kihm describe two broad strategies utilities might choose to cope with this wave: value creation and cost recovery. The former is more promising, but requires more substantial adaptation of institutional practices. The latter might stave off changes for a little while, but by doing so it makes utilities more vulnerable when changes become too substantial to resist. [This is why APS' strategy, a third option in this hypothetical scenario, is to capture key portions of multiple branches of Arizona government in hopes of ensuring the survival of the utility enterprise].
Needless to say, utilities are not prepared for this sh*t. At all. After a century of enjoying regulated-monopoly status, with returns guaranteed by law and expansion as far as the eye could see, utilities have virtually none of the organizational foresight and habits needed to respond proactively to disruptive threats. So at least at the beginning, they’re going for cost recovery. 
Or they are investing heavily in what they've developed as an institutional skill -- buying politicians and the bureaucrats who work with them.
It is the standard utility play and one they’re quite accustomed to. They’ve been protected from competition by regulators for decades. But in present circumstances, the strategy poses three dangers:
First, it requires successive upward recalibration of customer rates [dramatic rate increases] as system costs remain largely fixed while electricity use shifts from the grid to distributed systems. Second, it encourages utilities to defer corporate adaptation unless a deep crisis forces the issue. Third, it encourages them to take actions that slow innovation either by competitors or in the policy domain. Customer backlash, loss of regulatory support, high opportunity costs, and institutional brittleness to external shocks are all foreseeable byproducts that put utilities at greater risk.
The author of the Grist article finally touches on what has been going on in Arizona: utilities defer corporate adaptation (to the disruptive technologies) and they take action to slow innovation by insinuating themselves much deeper into Arizona government (intending to control public policy).

-----

This underscores the incredible urgency for Arizona voters to elect Felecia. The immediate future under APS controlled Arizona state government portends economic gloom, even if not doom.

Is there ANY basis for expecting an Attorney General Brnovich to do anything but the bidding of Cathi and Mike Herrod, the private prison industry and Arizona Public Service?


The one thing we can and MUST do to stave off the seriously deleterious ramifications of this near certain scenario is to elect Felecia as the next Attorney General of Arizona.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Beware the "grown up" Republicans who must have their pacifiers.

I SO regret not having gotten a picture of this.

There we were at the Rally to Move Arizona Forward, at Mesa's Riverview Park (right next door to the new Cubs (spring training) Stadium, shortly after sunset.

State Reps. Juan Mendez and Andrew Sherwood's (D-LD26, Tempe and Mesa) Republican opponent, James Roy, showed up today at the Rally wearing his penis... er, sidearm, outside of his pants. I asked him if, in the unlikely event he wins the election, he intended to wear the sidearm to work at the legislature every day.

Roy asked me if I was going to write about it if he answered and I said, "of course." So, he didn't answer. BUT he did say that he doesn't feel safe ANYWHERE without his gun. This is what you get from the Republicans who want to be elected these days!

The rally was a wonderful event with statewide office candidates Fred DuVal, David Garcia, and Jim Holway and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona's 9th District) addressing a crowd of a couple of hundred people.

We've got a solid opportunity to pick up seats in the legislature as well as winning the statewide offices. So get out there and VOTE and make sure all of your family and friends vote!

Here's a couple of pics from the Rally.


photo (above) by Liz Forsyth




Thursday, October 23, 2014

2014 General Election is all about APS; Republican voters should be very concerned -- UPDATED 3:20pm MST

Yesterday afternoon, Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts asked the question, "Why is APS doling out cash to get Mark Brnovich elected?" It's an excellent question.



Unfortunately, Roberts didn't come up with an answer.

It's not really a legitimate rhetorical question if the audience/readers cannot answer it for themselves. There is, however, a clear answer available. Voters -- especially Republicans whose interests are being subverted -- need to become aware of the background, reasons and the stakes involved.

-----

What would conservative voters do if they realized that the officials they have elected -- and think they want to elect now -- were looking out for socialist interests instead of the interests of those Republican voters?

From a Forbes magazine article on utility death spirals dated December 2, 2013,
Generally speaking, utilities socialize the cost of maintaining the electric power grid across their customer base. The costs imposed on each customer is a function of the size of the customer base. If the number of customers increases, the costs allocated to each customer should decrease. If the number of customers decreases, the costs allocated to each customer should increase. [...]
Rooftop solar panels, small wind turbines or advanced energy storage technologies can technically provide customers with 24/7 power, but at a cost that is virtually certain to be an order of magnitude larger than what those customers would pay for grid-supplied power.
Well, a year ago it may have seemed to many that alternative technologies would come "at a cost that is virtually certain to be an order of magnitude larger than what those customers would pay for grid-supplied power." But the cost for such systems is dropping rapidly.

So what does all of this have to do with APS and the 2014 general election?

Over the last three years, APS has increasingly been acting like a cornered animal fighting for survival.

In the 2012 election, special interests (including Arizona Public Service and Southwest Gas) dumped a boat load of cash that successfully influenced the election of three corporation commissioners, all three Republicans -- Bob Stump (re-election), Bob Burns and Susan Bitter-Smith. The outcome: the five member Corporation Commission consists now entirely of Republicans. APS apparently wants this year's Republican candidates Tom Forese and Doug Little to help "regulate them."

In the summer of 2013, Arizona Public Service was outed as having dropped a ton of money on a campaign to pressure the Corporation Commission into assessing fees on homeowners with rooftop solar. The Corp Comm ruling was intended to provide "some relief" to APS for revenue lost because distributed generation (residential rooftop solar) has disrupted APS' business model. Big time disruption. A year ago, I wrote,
But we turn back to Arizona's most obvious competitive economic advantage -- solar electricity generating capacity. If only the doors are not kept closed by Big Money lobbyists for the monopoly utilities.
It's not altogether far-fetched to consider that the recent trial balloon -- put forth by the Arizona Corporation Commission about the possibility of reopening the door on deregulation -- was a chess move by the monopoly power companies, in particular APS, to shut the door before the knob could even be turned to open it.
After all, that's all those monopoly enterprises have to protect their economic interests. If you refuse to implement the innovations that will revolutionize your industry, all there is left is to appeal to those who can protect the monopoly. For APS, that's the Arizona Corporation Commission. For Salt River Project, that's the Arizona Legislature. In light of this year's passage of the Lobbyist Shakedown Bill (HB2573), rather than investing in technology advances, expect them to invest in incumbent state lawmakers committed to protecting the interests of those monopolies. [...]
Now, just how imminent is this disruptive innovation that could bankrupt Arizona Public Service if it doesn't respond to the competitive threat?
If (since?) APS already has captured its own regulators, why would it need to have the state Attorney General in its pocket?

In 2006, the ACC enacted Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) rules mandating that regulated utilities must produce at least 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. The ACC was able to do so because the Attorney General (according to briefs filed by the Goldwater Institute in Miller v Arizona Corporation Commission, a lawsuit challenging the REST) reviewed and approved the rules.
Before the REST Rules became effective, the Attorney General was required to review them pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes Section 41-1044(B) specifically to determine whether the Rules were within ACC’s power. The Attorney General was required to disapprove of the Rules if they exceeded ACC’s authority... Nonetheless, the Attorney General approved the REST Rules on June 15, 2007, and they became effective on August 14, 2007.
What would a cornered raccoon do if it succeeded in capturing the entire Office of the Attorney General? Might APS have another lawsuit challenging the REST rules up its sleeve? Might a crony elected to be AG be capable of greasing the skids by re-reviewing the REST rules and declaring them outside the constitutional authority of the ACC?

-----

Last Friday, APS "graciously" hosted a briefing for Democratic candidates for the Arizona House and Senate. Few, if any incumbent Democrats attended. By the way, APS and Salt River Project have, for many years, have had their way with lawmakers.

The purpose of the briefing appeared to some in attendance to be APS explaining what they do to provide electric power to Arizonans. Notably, candidates understood APS had told them solar power would never be capable of meeting the demands of Arizona communities. Because peak demand generally occurs after 6pm, even in summer the sun is already at too low of an angle to produce enough electricity to meet the demand.

My question then was, "what did they say about storage?" The reply, "NOTHING." That struck me as incredibly bizarre, since APS' own website brags in a post dated October 9, 2013, solana begins serving customers; providing power at night.
... the Solana Generating Station has successfully passed final production tests and entered commercial operation on Monday. At 280 megawatts (gross), Solana is the world’s largest parabolic trough plant and the first solar plant in the United States with thermal energy storage allowing for electricity to be produced at night.
Unlike other solar-powered electrical plants, Solana produces electricity at full capacity for up to six hours after sunset, using Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technology with solar thermal storage. Solana is Abengoa’s first utility-scale solar plant in the country to begin operation.
Could APS' "briefing" have been anything other than an indoctrination and propaganda session designed to co-opt and capture more Democratic lawmakers before they even get elected. Of course, APS may have provided a similar briefing to Republican candidates.

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So, why IS APS pouring out so much money to purchase itself an Attorney General, AND a Corporation Commission, AND Democratic lawmakers like Catherine Miranda?
Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating. Regulatory capture is a form of government failure; it creates an opening for firms to behave in ways injurious to the public (e.g., producing negative externalities). The agencies are called "captured agencies".
Isn't it obvious? APS is doing it -- because it can.

Because APS apparently believes its chances of survival are better with a captured Arizona government than by focusing on implementing the technology that is rapidly making its business model obsolete.

Beware of the risks of allowing Mark "I am NOT a CROOK" Brnovich to become APS' personal Attorney General.

-----

By the way, a little birdie told me that John Kavanagh was invited to appear this week on Sunday Square Off with Brahm Resnik. He apparently declined because he refuses to again appear in public with his opponent, Paula Pennypacker.

I'd also like to give a shout out to Arizona Eagletarian reader Kim Bartman along with the Fountain Hills Times. Kim wrote a letter to the editor published this week citing the recent blog post about the Kavanagh Kingdom and providing a link.

UPDATE           UPDATE           UPDATE

Brahm Resnik advised me this afternoon that Kavanagh was NOT invited to appear on Sunday Square Off this week.

The question remains -- and of course, Resnik was not the person to ask or answer it -- IS John Kavanagh afraid to appear in public with Paula Pennypacker? You know, after she nailed him with her "rant" at the Clean Elections Debate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tell Cathi and Mike Herrod that they don't own the women of Arizona -- UPDATED 4 pm MST 10-22-14

See UPDATE at the bottom of the post

Ten days ago, the Arizona Eagletarian posted a call to FIRE Maricopa County Superior Court judge Michael Herrod.

Not long after the post was published, a poster calling her self Sarah posted a comment:
In the performance of his job duties, is he a capable and impartial jurist? Even though his wife is a lobbyist with views that I find wrong at best and abhorrent at worst, if he is capable and impartial in his duties, what grounds do I have not to vote for his retention?
To which, I replied that Sarah doesn't have to justify her vote to anyone. So, who am I to say what grounds she must use for deciding her vote?

Yesterday, Arizona Republic resident curmudgeon Doug MacEachern wrote an op-ed expressing horror over the suggestion that Herrod should be fired because of "guilt by association." He opens with,
A campaign is underway to oust Judge Michael Herrod of Maricopa County Superior Court. It has nothing to do with Herrod's record as a judge. It has nothing to do with Herrod himself. He is married to Cathi Herrod, whose opposition to abortion and support for traditional marriage has rendered her a Koch brother to the left. For the crime of being married to such a person, they wish to run Judge Herrod from the bench. Politics of personal destruction, anyone?
The claim that the campaign to remove Mr. Herrod from the bench has nothing to do with Herrod himself is a brazen misrepresentation of the facts. It is also a red herring.

Red Herring seems to be MacEachern's favorite fallacy.
The idiom "red herring" is used to refer to something that misleads or distracts from the relevant or important issue. It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or characters towards a false conclusion. A red herring might be intentionally used, such as in mystery fiction or as part of a rhetorical strategy (e.g. in politics), or it could be inadvertently used during argumentation.
In this case, as with the other recent Republic op-eds claiming "guilt by association" it represents a shiny object used to distract.

IF MacEachern had interest in enlightening rather than deceiving his readers, he could easily have included key facts. Namely, that Michael Herrod served on the board of the Center for Arizona Policy. Including subsequent to his appointment to the bench. Is that not political activity? Does it not violate his code of judicail conduct (see Canon 4, and NOTE below)?

Arizona environmental activist Steve Brittle yesterday posted to Facebook that he filed a complaint against Herrod because of this political activity. The complaint was dismissed but immediately thereafter, Herrod resigned his spot on the CAP board.


Does not Judge Michael Herrod's OWN political involvement in CAP completely undermine MacEachern's claim that the campaign to deny him retention has nothing to do with the judge himself?

Enjoy this song for a moment. Then consider why Judge Herrod's involvement in CAP matters.




The Center for Arizona Policy is a Christian Dominionist advocacy organization.

One of CAP's primary areas of focus is on eliminating the right of women to exercise individual sovereignty, or ownership of her own person. Of course, they would rather not have people recognize that as their intent. On CAP's page on Defending Life,
Promoting life is all about standing for those whose voices have been silenced. From the preborn child, to the medically incapacitated, to the young woman with a crisis pregnancy, creating a culture of life in Arizona is critical to protecting the most vulnerable in our society and is central to the mission of Center for Arizona Policy (CAP).
We may never fully know the devastating impact the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade has had on our nation. Yet as the dangerous practices of the abortion industry are being exposed and the stories of men and women who have been forever scarred by abortion are told, more people are beginning to understand the consequences of abortion on demand.
If the Herrod's were at all concerned about individual sovereignty, they could focus their effort on measures to reduce the need for abortion services. But that would require them to acknowledge that the government they want to establish has no right to tell a woman when she is or is not allowed to have sex. They could focus instead on making birth control and contraceptives available to young people.

The bottom line is that Cathi and Michael Herrod need to get the message the women in the video are trying to send them.

By the way, MacEachern seems to suffer from selective amnesia. The Center for Arizona Policy paid for Cathi Herrod to put the following blurb in the official publicity pamphlet advocating passage of the 2012 Proposition 115.
Vote "Yes" on Proposition 115! This measure is a step forward to improve the accountability and transparency of how judges are selected in Arizona.
It's important to note that the measure is supported by judges and attorneys. Proposition 115 is a consensus measure agreed to by judges at every level, the State Bar of Arizona, and legislators from both major political parties. As an attorney and longtime advocate of judicial reform, I support Proposition 115 because it offers reasonable and necessary changes to the current system.
Proposition 115 improves judicial selection by making these needed changes:
- Removes the requirement that the judicial nominees be selected according to party affiliation. Party affiliation should not be a factor in evaluating the qualifications of judges. This requirement has often resulted in limiting the number of qualified individuals who apply for and who are nominated for judicial positions.
- Increases the number of qualified, meritorious judicial nominees sent to the Governor. The current system, whereby the selection commissions often limit the number of nominees to three, unnecessarily limits the nominees available to the Governor who is duly elected by the people. Using commissions to limit those they deem "meritorious" is one of the biggest concerns about the current system. Proposition 115 fixes this issue.
-Expands the process for nominating attorney members to serve on the commission thereby making the process more accountable to the people.
Whether you favor the current merit selection process, election of judges, or a different federal model to select judges, I urge you to vote YES on 115. For more information on judicial selection in Arizona, visit azvoterguide.com.

Cathi Herrod, Esq., President, Center for Arizona Policy, Phoenix

Paid for by Center for Arizona Policy
She didn't call attention to, but no doubt was fully aware that Prop. 115 sought to amend the Arizona Constitution Article VI, Section 42 on Retention evaluation of justices and judges. Currently that section states,
The supreme court shall adopt, after public hearings, and administer for all justices and judges who file a declaration to be retained in office, a process, established by court rules for evaluating judicial performance. The rules shall include written performance standards and performance reviews which survey opinions of persons who have knowledge of the justice's or judge's performance. The public shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity for participation in the evaluation process through public hearings, dissemination of evaluation reports to voters and any other methods as the court deems advisable. 
Cathi Herrod wanted this language added to Section 42,
B. THE SUPREME COURT SHALL MAKE EVERY WRITTEN OPINION OR ORDER THAT IS ISSUED BY A JUDGE OF A COURT OF RECORD, THAT RESOLVES A CONTESTED MATTER OF LAW AND THAT IS NOT SEALED OR CONFIDENTIAL PURSUANT TO LAW ELECTRONICALLY ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC THROUGH THE SUPREME COURT'S WEBSITE.
C. NOT LATER THAN SIXTY DAYS PRECEDING THE REGULAR PRIMARY ELECTION THE SUPREME COURT SHALL TRANSMIT A COPY OF THE JUDICIAL PERFORMANCE REVIEW OF EACH JUSTICE AND JUDGE WHO IS UP FOR RETENTION TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. NOT LATER THAN SIXTY DAYS PRECEDING THE REGULAR GENERAL ELECTION FOR THE RETENTION OF JUSTICES AND JUDGES, A JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE CONSISTING OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE AND THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, OR THEIR SUCCESSOR COMMITTEES, MAY MEET AND TAKE TESTIMONY ON THE JUSTICES AND JUDGES WHO ARE UP FOR RETENTION.
Shouldn't Mrs. Herrod have really been more careful in 2012 about what she was asking voters? Despite the failure of Prop. 115, she's getting what she asked for with the voters demanding now that Michael Herrod be removed from office.

Make no mistake, the Herrods will not suffer financially when he's removed from the bench. He'll be able to (lawfully) make more money than he does as a judge. What they will suffer is the people reclaiming the authority from one Christian Dominionist judge to further hinder the freedoms of Arizona citizens. I'm not suggesting I know anything about how he has exercised his authority or about the decisions he has made. But his political activity is political activity.

Nobody could rightfully imply that Michael Herrod controls anything his wife does. But it's not too difficult to imagine them sitting down to dinner and talking about what he has learned in his time on the bench. What new ideas might he give her for a new piece of legislation to further undermine womens' rights?

-----

NOTE: Rule 4.1 includes this language (in comment paragraph 7)
A judge or judicial candidate must not become involved in, or publicly associated with, a family member's political activity or campaign for public office. To avoid public misunderstanding, judges and judicial candidates should take and should urge members of their families to take reasonable steps to avoid any implication that the judge or judicial candidate endorses any family member's candidacy or other political activity. 
What constitutes reasonable steps? From the American Bar Association in 2010,
Once upon a time, firms built “Chinese Walls”—a barrier between the conflicted attorney and the rest of the firm. The theory was that because the conflicted attorney did not see any memorandums or documents or anything else from the current case, the firm no longer had a conflict and could undertake representation of the client causing the conflict. The time of the Chinese Wall has passed, however. 
How can anything resembling the Chinese Wall be possible with two attorneys, Cathi and Michael, one an aggressive political lobbyist, the other a judge, sharing a home and a dinner table?

Michael Herrod should not have been appointed to the Superior Court bench in the first place. He was appointed (by Jan Brewer) in 2011. The fact that Brewer's press release on the 2011 appointment conspicuously fails to disclose Herrod's connection to his wife's political activity makes the cronyism incredibly conspicuous.

But having been appointed, it is most definitely within the appropriate scope of the voters of Maricopa County to hold him ACCOUNTABLE for his violation of the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct.

-----

Mother Jones has a story that's intriguingly timely for this situation.

A paragraph from This Is How Judges Humiliate Pregnant Teens Who Want Abortions illustrates the significance of having Michael Herrod make decisions on the Family Court bench.
It isn't supposed to be this way. In 1979, the Supreme Court ruled that a girl's parents can't exercise an absolute veto over her right to an abortion: States requiring parental notification or consent had to provide an escape hatch. The court did not mandate what form this escape hatch should take. Maine, for example, allows a physician to decide whether the minor is competent enough to make her own decision. But that's not good enough for anti-abortion activists. Led by Americans United for Life, the legislative wing of the pro-life movement, they've advanced laws to put the decision in the hands of judges instead.
UPDATE        UPDATE       UPDATE

This afternoon, a JoycevsJesus posted a comment questioning the veracity of the allegation about Michael Herrod. I replied to the comment by referring to the image embedded in this post which contains the text of a complaint filed by a citizen with the Commission on Judicial Conduct. That complaint indicates the citizen had personally inspected IRS tax filings during a visit to the office of the Center for Arizona Policy. That's more than just speculation.

However, record of the CAPs annual filings with the Arizona Corporation Commission further document Mike Herrod's political activity as a member of the CAP Board of Directors. Mr. Herrod, according to documents linked in the original post, was appointed to the Superior Court bench in May 2011 by Jan Brewer. The image below is of CAPs annual filings dated May 11, 2011, the day the Corporation Commission received the report.


The press release from Gov. Brewer's office -- announcing the appointment of Mike Herrod to the bench -- is dated May 13, 2011.

In addition to the previously reported documentation, this document should remove all doubt.

Monday, October 20, 2014

About Scrooge McDucey's plan for AZ -- Can we learn from Kansas' failed experiment?



Despite the horrendous future that another Republican governor portends for Arizona, a poll by Republican leaning McLaughlin & Associates, dated October 14, shows Fred DuVal and Scrooge McDucey in a statistical dead heat. Reviewing a previous post on McDucey,


Who are the "conservative-minded governors" McDucey has sought out to learn from? Scott Walker and Sam Brownback? Ohhhh, PUH-leeze.
How exactly does building a campaign operation that functionally deceives the electorate at every turn, on every uncomfortable question from reporters and citizens, demonstrate fitness for holding that office? Shall we even discuss McDucey's pre-election disclosure of how he will justify abusing his office? "Strategic agility." That sounds like something he came up with from a Bullshit Generator. What it really means is that he reserves the right to do the exact opposite of what he promises.
That the Republic even dares to write the words, "He speaks of the need to streamline an executive branch that sprawls across an organizational chart," shows contempt for the historical record of the 1990s when the Symington administration wreaked havoc on Arizona. Fife's entire administration was geared to doing that exact same thing.

A favorable result in this election will turn on the level of turnout and the degree to which we get our message out.

Please spread the word!

Time to DUMP Yarbrough!




Despite a Republican voter registration advantage in LD17, Kristie O'Brien has the opportunity to defeat self-servative Steve Yarbrough and kick him out of the Arizona Senate.




Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Major Flaw in the work of Charles Murray, one of Scrooge McDucey's heroes

Recently, the Arizona Republic's Bob Robb wrote a short blurb for a quick hit on the opinion page of its print edition. He said something to effect that those who would trash academic Charles Murray (co-author of The Bell Curve) say more about themselves than about Murray.

Recall that Scrooge McDucey, when speaking to the June 2014 gathering of Koch brothers' cronies, lauded Murray who was in the room at the time. A quick Google search returns several references Robb has made to Murray and his work over the years.

Murray's controversial work has been used as justification for treating low-income and minority Americans as unworthy of the full rights due any other citizen. This is, disturbingly, the antithesis of an egalitarian America.

Arizona Eagletarian reader Lee Poole thinks there's a different way to view Murray and his work.
When conservative commentators like Robert Robb defend the work of academic Charles Murray (whose degrees are in History and Political Science), they fail to understand that their error has little or nothing to do with "political" correctness, and everything to do with scientific correctness. 
This debate mirrors the debate about Darwin vs. Genesis--namely, are we going to accept as intellectually valid the act of equating science with religious or cultural mythology?
The simple fact which Dr. Murray dances around -- and which is brilliantly confronted head-on in such scientific literature as "The Race Myth" by Dr. Joseph L. Graves* (his PhD. is in human biology) -- is that "race" is a fundamentally anti-scientific (and therefore, fundamentally mythological) concept. 
There is no such thing as Negroid DNA, Caucasian DNA, Asian DNA or Hispanic DNA, period. This isn't just a matter of personal opinion, regardless of what anyone sitting on any editorial board anywhere on the planet may choose to believe. 
"Race" is a fundamentally pseudo-scientific mash-up of notions which have their origin in geography and regional culture, and any attempt to classify humans according to such notions is inevitably an example of "garbage in/garbage out" analysis, regardless of the credentials of the analyst. In this case, it is too easy to point out that Dr. Murray is operating outside his skill set. It really is just that simple. 
-----

*NOTE:
Most Americans still believe that there is some biological legitimacy to our socially constructed racial categories. However, our modern scientific understanding of human genetic diversity flies in the face of all of our social stereotypes. -- Joseph L. Graves
Additional Note:

At the beginning of 2014, John Kavanagh was enthusiastically spouting nonsense about how we should NOT make a state university education available to all who want it, who would be academically capable of succeeding. That notion appears linked to the work of Charles Murray and has been written about by Robert Robb in 2002, 2007 and 2009.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Fred DuVal rebutted Kavanagh's views in a guest post on the Arizona Eagletarian calling it an attack on opportunity.

Rally to Move #AZForward -- Saturday


Join LD26 and Maricopa County Democrats as we RALLY to celebrate the election that will serve as a turning point in Arizona's long history of political embarrassment.

Print out the image above to have coupons for a free burger and drink.

There will be only 10 days left until the end of election season.

Let us together encourage the Rising American Electorate to make their voices heard at the polls.



Saturday, October 18, 2014

Guest post -- Republicans ruled by Power and Party

Written by state Rep. Andrew Sherwood (D-LD26/Tempe) 

As the 2014 election draws closer, it’s important to remember that an election is a job review for elected officials. Let’s review.

The 51st legislature did almost nothing to achieve a healthy, educated, prosperous Arizona. 
Instead, we got phony proposals, starved agencies, and bad legislation – all as a result the extremism of the Republican majority.

Some are zealots and some were too frightened to object.

So how did the GOP spend its time in the legislature? Some was spent on a bill to have government patrol the bathrooms of our state. Every Republican voted for it. Some was spent trying to control women’s health care. Republicans also want the state to meddle with our medicine. So much for getting government out of our lives.

Education -- after 30 years of Republican control, no state spends less on students and we remain at the bottom of national education rankings. While Democrats pushed to restore K-12 education funding, Republicans argued to put guns in schools.

What about jobs? Each year, Republicans lower taxes and the result is “sub-par” economic growth. Tourism is at risk. Construction is stagnant. Housing is dormant again. Transportation is scraping by. Economist Elliot Pollack called Arizona’s recovery “anemic.”

What about democracy? Republicans oppose it. They passed HB2305, the “voter suppression bill”, which added more hurdles for seniors, rural residents, and minorities to register and vote. Don’t forget that Democrats helped the 2013 effort to collect signatures for a “citizen veto”.
Then there is the so-called Republican leadership. A national embarrassment. The School Superintendent was recently ousted for insulting Latinos and the poor as an anonymous blogger. His hidden life had been going on for years.

Tom Horne’s unethical behavior got him banned-for-life from securities trading, but that hasn’t taught him any lessons. Horne has been under investigation nearly his entire term and we hear constantly about FBI and state investigations detailing his violations of campaign finance laws and the mismanagement of the AG’s office.

12 News anchor Brahm Resnik asked the Republican nominee for governor if he would have supported the Medicaid restoration. That’s a reasonable question, right? He repeatedly refused to answer. What kind of governor would Doug Ducey be if he refuses to answer tough questions?

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed SB1062 to legalize discrimination. 
It caused a national firestorm of ridicule and scorn. Lasting damage was done to Arizona’s reputation. Not a single Democrat voted for it.

Individual Republican members have been accused of child abuse (Senator Murphy), of writing laws to pad their own pockets (Senator Yarbrough) and of living in a different district than the people they represent (Representative Mitchell).

These people don’t deserve their offices.

But not all legislation since the last election was unethical or underwhelming. Remember the expansion of health care where we get our own taxes back from the feds? Thank the Democrats for passing that bill.

Republicans would rather have given away your tax dollars to other states than accept the political reality that providing health care is morally and fiscally responsible.

Glenn Hamer, CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, got grilled while testifying in support of the expansion. Why? Opposition to the expansion consistently boils down to the same source: ideology.

Meanwhile, supporters of Medicaid always cited the same reasons: the math. I know because I serve on the Appropriations Committee where Glenn testified. Math vs. ideology; which is best for Arizona? Math- best of all, it’s working.

Let’s get rid of the extremism in politics. Make sure to vote early or on November 4th.

A version of this post appeared in the October 18 edition of a community section in the Arizona Republic. 


Friday, October 17, 2014

Fountain Hills mayor trying to change town name to Kavanagh Kingdom?

Cronyism by any other name would smell just as bad.

The Fountain Hills Unified School District, like many other public school districts in Arizona, is asking its voters to approve a budget override in the November 4th election.

The school district was recently in the news because its governing board voted 4-1 to fire teacher Pam Aister.

The public is concerned because the media has framed the situation as the teacher having intervened to defend a minority student who had been subjected to bullying. It's difficult for me to overlook bullying for whatever reason. But when Fountain Hills' royal family, Linda and John Kavanagh, insert themselves into the situation, I have to take a step back and consider whether that is really what was going on.



On October 1, Mayor Linda Kavanagh sent this email to Jerry Miles. Jerry is one of the citizens who paid for the ad (pictured above the Kavanagh email) that I'm told appeared in the Fountain Hills Times. Miles is also a former mayor of the berg on the extreme NE end of the Valley of the Sun.

Linda Kavanagh wrote,
I know I said that I would support the Override but I have reconsidered and have to withdraw my name.
Because of what happened to Pam Aister, I am unable to support this Override until they rescind their recommendation to fire her or we get a new board.
There are hundreds of people contacting me asking me not to support the Override because of Pam. I am also a close friend of both Pam and Cassie and supporting the Override is now being associated with supporting the board.
It's unfortunate but I think that the school board should have considered the consequences of its actions.
Linda
Cronyism oozes out from Mrs. Kavanagh's email. I've read news reports of Aister's firing and I've read the report from the hearing officer who recommended Aister's termination. Aister rebutted the hearing officer's report in a PDF file linked to the Fountain Hills Times.

My source indicated that
once the email was in public circulation, [Mrs. Kavanagh] attempted to back track from her 'quid pro support' for an advertisement that was planned for the local paper. The concept for this advertisement was to list a number of (prominent) names who were going to support the override. She claimed that she was misquoted and that she always supported the override but that she didn't like how it was worded.
Because of the about face, no one has ever challenged the Mayor's contention that she was always "for" the override but that she simply did not like the way the advertisement was worded. The fact is that the committee never produced 'copy' for the advertisement when the Mayor wrote this email. It was simply collecting names with the understanding that those names would vote 'for' the override. 
The source says,
It is very clear from her email, the Mayor was attempting to use her office to influence the outcome of a vote taken by an independent jurisdiction regarding a personnel matter. In her reaction to this decision (to fire her 'friend') she violated numerous Town Council Rules and her own Code of Ethics*.
That may be a difficult charge to prove in a courtroom. But the appearance remains nevertheless. And it certainly coincides with John Kavanagh's quid pro quo exercise of the influence of his public office.

The source goes on to say,
Cronyism and coercion are badges of pride for people like the Kavanaghs. God forbid we let the welfare of our students and public trust get in the way of personal relationships or disdain for our political opponents.
From where I sit, the fact that Linda Kavanagh dismisses -- out of hand, completely -- the reasons why the school board would submit the question to voters for authorization for an operating budget override is stark and alarming.

Linda Kavanagh did not make a legitimate case or a sound, valid argument for denying Fountain Hills school children the resources necessary to be provided the best possible education. Instead, she laid bare that her reason for exercise of the influence of her public office was cronyism.

Isn't it time to tell John and Linda Kavanagh that what may have worked for them in New Jersey won't fly in Arizona?

Dump the Kavanagh's of Fountain Hills. Their disdain for the integrity of their public offices and for the legitimate use of taxpayer funds is dreadful and should be stopped.

-----

Fountain Hills Unified School District issued a media release following the board's decision to terminate Pam Aister.
Fountain Hills Unified School District (District) is well aware of Ms. Aister's claim that she was intervening to stop a group of students from racially taunting and bullying another student. But based on a full investigation, the District is confident that no racial taunting or bullying ever occurred. More importantly, the independent hearing officer, that both sides agreed to, likewise concluded that Ms. Aister's claim is not credible and that no racial taunting or bullying ever occurred.
So what is most unfortunate is that a group of young students is made to sit by as they are unjustly labeled and maligned as racists, bullies, and now liars. Such mistreatment of these students, or of any student, is wholly inconsistent with the District's values and mission.
For anyone seeking to understand the District's basis for terminating Ms. Aister's employment, you are invited to review the independent hearing officer's report, copies of which are available at the District office.
Furthermore, and notwithstanding the conclusion that this is not a case of racial taunting or bullying, the District affirms its commitment to nondiscrimination in matters of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, and disability, as well as its commitment to providing a safe learning environment that is free from bullying, harassment, or intimidation.
-----

* NOTE: Pertinent excerpts from Fountain Hills Town Council Rules and Code of Ethics include (but are not limited to) Section 7 on Conflict of Interest, and Section 8 on the Code of Ethics,
7.7 Public officers and employees are prohibited from using or attempting to use their official positions to secure valuable things or benefits for themselves, unless such benefits are (A) part of the compensation they would normally be entitled to for performing their duties or (B) otherwise permitted according to State Law.
Using her influence to benefit a close friend, at the expense of school children served by an independent jurisdiction is most unseemly.
7.9 ...It is the policy of the Council to encourage members to adhere to strongly held ethical values, which are exercised in good faith...
8.3 AFFIRM THE DIGNITY AND WORTH OF THE SERVICES RENDERED BY THE TOWN GOVERNMENT AND MAINTAIN A DEEP SENSE OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AS A TRUSTED PUBLIC SERVANT.
8.4 BE DEDICATED TO THE HIGHEST IDEALS OF HONOR, ETHICS, AND INTEGRITY IN ALL PUBLIC AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS.

A. Public Confidence. We shall conduct ourselves so as to maintain public
confidence in Town government and in the performance of the public trust.

B. Impression of Influence. We shall conduct our official and personal affairs in such a manner as to give a clear impression that we cannot be improperly influenced in the performance of our official duties.
8.5 RECOGNIZE THAT THE CHIEF FUNCTION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS AT ALL TIMES TO SERVE THE BEST INTERESTS OF ALL THE PEOPLE.
We shall treat our office as a public trust, only using the power and resources of public office to advance public interests and not to attain personal benefit or pursue any other private interest incompatible with the public good.
8.8 CONDUCT BUSINESS OF THE TOWN IN A MANNER, WHICH IS NOT ONLY FAIR IN FACT, BUT ALSO FAIR IN APPEARANCE.
At no point in the email communication cited above did Mrs. Kavanagh indicate that she was exercising her rights as a citizen (as opposed to being the Town Mayor) to voice an opinion on the school district personnel matter. In failing to make that distinction, the Fountain Hills mayor crossed a very serious line giving a strong appearance of impropriety.

I'm confident that Linda Kavanagh knows the significance of the school district governing board's responsibility to evaluate all information provided to it in personnel matters such as Pam Aister's. Yet, Mrs. Kavanagh gave a clear impression that she was in fact improperly influenced -- by her relationship with Ms. Aister -- in the performance of her official duties.

No doubt she considers herself having spoken out for the public good. As a citizen, she may have a right to say she doesn't approve of the decision. As Mayor, she has no right to insinuate herself into the affairs of another government body.

-----

John and Linda Kavanagh conduct themselves as if they have NO understanding of the proper boundaries of their duties and responsibilities as public officials. And right now, they are both public officials.

I hope the voters of Fountain Hills approve the budget override and along with the rest of the voters in LD23 elect Paula Pennypacker to represent them in the Arizona Senate for 2015-2016.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mario Diaz is at it again... spending Dark Money to support Catherine Miranda

Mario F(***ing) Diaz sent out another mailer in support of Catherine Miranda.



The other side of the mailer says something to the effect that "Most politicians make a lot of noise..."

Diaz claims that Catherine Miranda gets things done. Which is, beyond ALL doubt, bullshit.

Mario cites four examples. Before I cite the actual record for each of those examples, it's important to note that "worked to hold schools accountable" is not an accomplishment. It's an action. In NOT ONE of this listed items in Miranda's record is there ANY indication that she got ANYTHING actually accomplished. Not one!

  • Worked to hold schools accountable for not enforcing anti-bullying standards. HB2135 from the 50th Legislature, Second Regular Session (2012) -- Miranda was a sponsor. The bill was NOT even heard in committees. NOTHING accomplished.
  • Fought for our veterans to have access to job opportunities. HB2484 51st Legislature, First Regular Session (2013). A bi-partisan bill with more than 50 sponsors, Miranda was only a co-sponsor, not a prime sponsor. With that many sponsors, it is more than fair to say that since the bill did not become law, she didn't fight very hard. NOTHING accomplished.
  • Advocated for public investments (state government spending) to go to local businesses. HB2392 50th Legislature, Second Regular Session (2012). Miranda was a sponsor but the bill never was heard in committees. NOTHING accomplished.
  • Championed affordable education for DREAMers. HCR2016, 50th Legislature Second Regular Session (2012) would only have (if passed) presented the issue to voters in the 2012 general election. Miranda was a sponsor. The measure was never heard in committees. NOTHING accomplished.
When you read the word "champion" does that make you think of somebody that introduced a bill that died without being heard in any committee? Miranda is a champion of NOTHING.

On the other hand, Miranda did advocate in 2013 for Arizona Public Service to get out of being held accountable for environmental risks at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. The bill passed.

This time, since Miranda faces no opposition of note in the general election, it's likely Mario's goal is to increase the number of votes cast for the LD27 senate seat -- with a view to making a recall election more difficult.
A number of qualified electors equaling twenty-five per cent of the number of votes cast at the last preceding general election for all the candidates for the office held by the officer, even if the officer was not elected at that election, divided by the number of offices that were being filled at that election, by recall petition, may demand the officer's recall.
I said no opposition of note. There is a Republican candidate who will be on the ballot opposite Miranda. However, that candidate, Natalie Taswell, did not take the usual route to get on the ballot. On July 17, Ms. Taswell filed papers to be a write-in candidate after having registered a campaign committee on July 9. But the deadline for nominating petitions was in May.

On page 6 of the official canvass for the 2014 primary, it shows Republican write-in candidate Taswell received 151 votes qualifying her as the only candidate to oppose Miranda in the general election. Another indication that Taswell is inexperienced and unprepared for a legitimate campaign is that she filed her post primary campaign finance report late and has accrued a fine of $140. However she reported neither having received any campaign contributions nor made any expenditures.

The bottom line is that for some reason, Dark Money operator Mario F***ing Diaz and his benefactors continue to invest time and money into Miranda. But her days as an Arizona lawmaker are numbered.

Somebody's gotten under John "Quid Pro Quo" Kavanagh's skin! UPDATED 3:00 am MST 10-17-14



It could be his new theme song. I would have embedded a video clip of the song, but I don't think it really sets the right mood. On the other end of the emotional spectrum might be Mary Higgins Clark's recent suspense novel by that title. Though there is increasing suspense over the outcome of the LD23 senate race between Paula Pennypacker and John Kavanagh, this isn't a murder mystery.

What caused me to think in those terms? Well, briefly set the stage with a profile of this race in the Phoenix New Times from last February. Shortly after the piece in the NT, Kavanagh was making appearances on cable news programs declaring with full confidence that Gov. Brewer was going to sign SB1062 into law.
The only thing missing from Paula Pennypacker's stump speech before the Democratic state committee meeting in January was the Rocky theme.
Charismatic and scrappy, the lifelong GOPer recently painted a "D" on her shield and called out Republican black knight John Kavanagh, current chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
Friend of lobbyists, enemy of the poor, and taker of free trips from Chinese communists and the government of Azerbaijan, Kavanagh wants to soft-shoe over to the state Senate this year in Legislative District 23, which tilts hard to the right.
But Pennypacker is lookin' to put a steel heel through Kavanagh's loafers.
In 2013, Kavanagh was hot and heavy into promoting legislation allowing him and his cronies to more vigorously shakedown lobbyists and suppress voter rights.

Except for the fact that Kavanagh cavalierly declared himself a victim of Dark Money, you'd think he doesn't take his opponents (in the primary, it was Jeff Schwartz) seriously. Don't forget the cheap shot he took at Paula Pennypacker at the end of the Clean Elections debate. Well, sheepish John Kavanagh (his claim to me that he had done nothing wrong despite the bright and clear appearance of him having sold his influence as House Appropriations chairman) has issued a nasty, brazenly false hit mailer blasting Pennypacker.

The only thing sheepish about the mailer is the fact that he couldn't rely on the truth to make his point.




Kavanagh, self-proclaimed Drug Warrior, apparently has never heard, despite his claim to be so concerned about religious rights (as he continues to declare that SB1062 was not discriminatory but aimed at preserving religious rights and freedoms) that it is the TRUTH that sets you free.

In this case, we know that Fountain Hills mayor Linda Kavanagh, loyal wife of candidate John, broached the subject of an op-ed Paula wrote in 2004 on the subject of the War on Drugs. Linda and John were shown to be unequivocally off the mark on that claim.

Nevertheless, the desperate Republican candidate for the LD23 senate seat not only restated the claim but did so even more brazenly. Claiming that Pennypacker was calling for making all drugs available to children is just plain false.

IF Kavanagh was confident enough to compete by having vigorous and robust debate on the actual issue, he would have noted that Pennypacker's ten-year old op-ed cited the need to legalize drugs for adults. He's a big boy. He should be able to handle the truth, right? If being a Drug Warrior is such a good thing, why does he have to distort his opponent's position on it?

Is he that desperate?

He shouldn't be. He's already drawing three public pensions and as soon as he's out of the legislature, he'll get one more. But I guess he hungers for the power that comes from controlling the general fund purse strings.

But there's more. Not only did he intentionally misrepresent his opponent's position, his mailer lies about HIS record.



Well, on two of the three bullet points on this side of the mailer anyway. He has been all about starving the general fund by cutting taxes.

As far as jobs? Really John? Where's the jobs? Growing economy? You must have been thinking of that socialist state to our west.

During his eight years in the Arizona House, how has the state economy been going and what's been the unemployment rate? On August 9, USA Today reported that Arizona was 3rd hardest state to find full-time employment THIS YEAR.
3. Arizona> Underemployment rate: 16.1%
> Unemployment rate: 7.5% (5th highest)
> GDP growth 2012-2013: 2.8% (15th lowest)
> Labor force growth 2007-2014: 1.4% (23rd lowest)
While housing prices in Arizona improved in 2013 compared to the year before, home values were just 70% what they were in 2007, among the largest declines in the nation. As Kohli explained, Arizona's construction sector was hit particularly hard as housing prices fell. This has likely not helped the state's labor market, which has been slow to recover. Arizona's unemployment rate of 7.5% is one of the highest in the nation. The average weekly wage for those who are employed recently dropped 1.5%, the second-steepest wage decline in the country.
Wages DECLINED under his watch. Underemployment at 16.1 percent. The 5th highest UNEMPLOYMENT rate in the country at 7.5 percent.

Growth of the economy? 15th lowest in the country. In other words, 35 states have had better economic growth than Arizona.

Voters have to pay attention to the desperation of Greedy Old Pricks like Kavanagh. In fact, what's got him nervous is that despite the fact that he has a huge voter registration advantage, the LD23 senate race is actually competitive. And his opponent is legit.

Actually, voters ARE beginning to wake up. Some still are pessimistic because the GOP in Arizona has so run our economy into the ground that it is genuinely oppressive. But a good number of them are tuning in to the Arizona Eagletarian and turning on to the optimism that comes with seeing a growing light at the end of the tunnel.

Folks, John Kavanagh's message echoes the pious but plainly empty platitudes coming from the Scrooge McDucey campaign. And both of them are in for a rude awakening when they realize the people are fed up with their lies about what it takes to grow the economy.

By the way, over in the "socialist nation of California" how's the economy doing? Well, according to the Sacramento Business Journal, California has the WORLD's 8th largest economy. In July, California added 27,700 jobs. In 2013, California's economy grew at a rate of 2 percent. Arizona's economic growth for the same period was a paltry 1.1 percent.

Arizona looked like this in a 2013 report on the best and worst run states in the country.
45. Arizona> Debt per capita: $2,197 (9th lowest)
> Budget deficit: 18.2% (10th largest)
> Unemployment: 8.3% (16th highest)
> Median household income: $47,826 (21st lowest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 18.7% (8th highest)
Only Nevada suffered more than Arizona from the housing crisis. The state’s median home value fell by more than 36% between 2007 and 2012. More than one in six residents lived in poverty last year, which may help explain the state’s relatively high spending on social programs. Twenty-nine percent of all spending in fiscal 2011 was on public welfare programs, one of the highest proportions in the country. Meanwhile, Arizona’s revenue per state resident was $2,197 in fiscal 2011, among the lowest. Although many of its financials, including debt and pension funding, are better than the average state, Arizona had an 18.2% deficit for fiscal 2012, one of the highest in the country. The state’s credit ratings are among the worst in the country.
Only seven states have a higher percentage of its residents living below the poverty line. And only five states are run worse than our state.
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No wonder Pennypacker has gotten under Kavanagh's skin.

By the way, have you heard Laurie Roberts talking or writing anything about the KOOKS at the legislature lately? It's election season, just the time voters may need to refresh their memories about the insanity of the last few years in the legislature.

SB1062 made it to Brewer's desk with little to no resistance from the Greedy Old Pricks who run the legislature. There were plenty of bills aimed at further degradation of our K-12 public schools. At least Pennypacker has made it a point to call for restoring sanity at the Capitol. From Laurie Roberts on this very relevant concern, crickets.

John, you simply cannot kickstart the economy on the austerity you have had a hand in forcing down the throats of Arizonans.

UPDATE       UPDATE       UPDATE

Posted today to the Arizona Republic's website, "Hopes for strong 2014 job growth slipping away in Arizona." The story includes an interactive graphic in which one can compare regions or individual states and how job growth has occurred since 2007. Of course that time frame coincides with Kavanagh's time served in the Arizona House. I set it to compare Arizona with the "Socialist State" of California.



The general shape of the curves for each of the two states is extremely similar. However, California's decline was not as steep as Arizona's and our western neighbor has clearly shown a pronounced increase in resilience over ours.

Why does the state allegedly over run by socialists have better economic performance?