Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 comment:

  1. I did ask. Thanks for giving me the information. I added the information about Mr. DeSaye and updated my report.