Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What good are mining jobs if...?

... if you can't breathe? Or, if you contaminate all of the drinking water in the region? Or, if you immediately suppress the tourism industry in southern Arizona?

Advocacy group Save the Scenic Santa Ritas has been fighting the seemingly inevitable approval of permits allowing development of the Rosemont Copper Mining project for a few years now.
“The proposed Rosemont Mine will always be a bad project no matter who owns it,” said SSSR president Gayle Hartmann. “The massive open pit mine threatens southern Arizona’s drinking water, air quality, wildlife and mountains. We will continue to oppose this terrible proposal until it is defeated.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated that the massive open-pit mine that would destroy more than 3,000 acres of Coronado National Forest would result in ‘substantial and unacceptable impact’ to water supplies of ‘national importance’ and that proposed mitigation measures are ‘scientifically flawed’ and ‘grossly inadequate.’
SSSR announced yesterday that next Monday, January 5, its will have a hearing on its lawsuit filed to challenge the air quality permit issued by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Coalition Goes to Court Protect Southern Arizona’s Air Quality

Lawsuit Challenges “Illegal” State Approval of Rosemont Copper’s air pollution permit
(TUCSON, Ariz.) A lawsuit challenging the state’s approval of an air pollution permit for the proposed Rosemont copper mine on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson will get a hearing before a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge on Monday Jan. 5 in Phoenix. 
Save the Scenic Santa Ritas (SSSR) filed this suit last June alleging the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) illegally approved the permit because Rosemont manipulated data to hide potential air pollution violations at the proposed mine. SSSR is a coalition of southern Arizona small businesses, farmers, ranchers and conservationists. 
SSSR provided expert testimony during administrative hearings prior to filing the lawsuit showing that air pollution from the Rosemont mine would likely cause Pima County to violate those standards. If that were to happen, new restrictions could be imposed on air pollution sources in the County, with some companies being required to install expensive pollution controls. 
The air quality permit lawsuit is just one of several legal and regulatory challenges still facing Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals, Inc. as it seeks approval to build the massive open-pit mine. For example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has notified Rosemont that its plan to mitigate the mine’s unavoidable destruction of critical regional water resources is insufficient, thus jeopardizing the Corps’ approval of the Section 404 Clean Water Act permit. The mine cannot be built without this permit. 
In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service have initiated a new round of formal Endangered Species Act consultation after field cameras photographed an endangered ocelot near the proposed mine site. The discussions also include updated information regarding the mine’s impact on protected springs and streams and adverse impacts to other endangered species. 
What: Oral Argument
When: 10:30 a.m., Jan. 5, 2015
Where: Maricopa County Superior Court, Courtroom 504, 201 West Jefferson, Phoenix,
Save the Scenic Santa Ritas is a non-profit, community organization working to protect the Santa Rita and Patagonia Mountains from environmental degradation caused by mining and mineral exploration activities.
Two years ago, award winning investigative journalist John Dougherty produced and narrated a short documentary film, Cyanide Beach, about the project and the dubious interests that initiated the it. Dougherty's documentary focused on Rosemont's then owner Augusta Resource Corp. 

In the summer of 2014 Augusta was bought out by Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals, which has a hefty share of controversy of its own.

ADEQ approved an Air Quality Permit for the Rosemont project despite overwhelming evidence that the mine would have severe impact on air and water quality in the region. From the US Forest Service Environmental Impact Statement (page x):
Changes in air quality that could potentially occur from the mine operation were identified as a significant issue. Construction, mining, and reclamation activities at the mine and along transportation and utility corridors would increase dust, airborne chemicals, and transportation related (mobile) emissions in the affected area. The Clean Air Act and other laws, regulations, policies, and plans set thresholds for air quality, including Class I airsheds.
The emission of greenhouse gases has been implicated in global climate change, and the policy of the Federal Government is to reduce these emissions when possible (Executive Order 13514). Greenhouse gases are those in the atmosphere that retain heat. They are natural and keep the earth from becoming too cold. The specific gases known as greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and fluorocarbons. CH4, N2O, and fluorinated gases would be emitted by the project; however, the anticipated level of emissions of these gases is much smaller than the level of CO2 emissions associated with the project.
ADEQ director Henry Darwin serves at the pleasure of the Arizona governor. That means, in the event he or his agency make a decision that Jan Brewer doesn't like, she fires him, no questions asked.

With Scrooge McDucey moving in (and Brewer moving out) on the same day as the court hearing, the agency director may or may not change. You can be assured, however, that the agency will NOT serve to protect the environment and air quality for Arizona residents. This is why it was necessary, in order to look out for the interests of the people who live and work in southern Arizona to take ADEQ to court. Court action is required in order to rescind its approval of the permit.


Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century.

Monday, December 29, 2014

We Live in Capitalism, but...!

One of my heroes, Bill Moyers, who I consider one of the most soft spoken revolutionaries of our time, recently posted an interview on his website with science fiction and fantasy writer Ursula K LeGuin. LeGuin was recently honored by the National Book Foundation.
In 2014, Le Guin was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters by the National Book Foundation, a lifetime achievement award. Her acceptance speech, which criticized Amazon as a "profiteer", and praised her fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, was widely considered the highlight of the ceremony. 
Here's her speech. The most salient point she made begins at 4:10 into the clip.

Notably, Le Guin said,
We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable... So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art and very often in our art, the art of words.
The American Revolution, invoked by the Declaration of Independence, was a revolt against Great Britain and King George the whatever. Even more importantly, it was a revolt against the entire concept of hereditary succession achieved by the start of a new form of government -- Republicanism. It's extremely important to grasp that the word -- Republicanism -- has absolutely nothing to do with the political party we now know as the GOP.

Republicanism shifted the political paradigm to recognize the citizen as sovereign. The People's Sovereignty.
Popular sovereignty or the sovereignty of the people is the principle that the authority of the government is created and sustained by the consent of its people, through their elected representatives (Rule by the People), who are the source of all political power. It is closely associated with republicanism and social contract philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Popular sovereignty expresses a concept and does not necessarily reflect or describe a political reality.[a] It is usually contrasted with the concept of parliamentary sovereignty, and with individual sovereignty. The people have the final say in government decisions.
Benjamin Franklin expressed the concept when he wrote, "In free governments, the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns".
These ideas are intricately woven into what I've written on this blog for the last four years. When I described Machiavellian Democracy, it was about classical Republicanism.

These days, conservative and/or Republican pundits are inherently confused. They, notably Doug MacEachern, who rarely, if ever, writes anything that sets forth a coherent argument; and Bob Robb, who can argue rationally but still misses the entire point of government because he can sometimes seem to lack awareness of the social contract.

What got me started on this post was reading an op-ed by Local First Arizona founder Kimber Lanning which the Republic published on Friday. She effectively (highly effective, by the way) rebutted a Bob Robb column that asserted the local first concept to be faulty. Robb said,
The genius of a free-market system is that it facilities maximizing satisfaction for highly differentiated consumer preferences. And that includes preferences about shopping experiences. It would take an arrest warrant to get me to go to one of those megamalls. But they are packed with people, particularly this time of year.
Some people prefer the shopping experience of going to a big national chain with a mind-boggling array of goods. Some prefer specialty shops with smaller and quieter environments. Some people want a good at the lowest possible price. Some are willing to pay a little more for better customer service.
Some like the heft of a national chain behind what they buy. Some prefer knowing that the shop is locally owned.
The "buy local" movement, however, exhorts us not to maximize our consumer preferences. Instead, we should buy local, even if we'd prefer the value proposition of a national chain. The local economy is depending on you.
Robb cited exactly ZERO references in his "analysis." But the underlying philosophy he writes from, especially in this column, is Milton Friedman's Free to Choose. Friedman, of course, was also a key advisor to Ronald Reagan. Robb also grossly misses the target with his false claim that "The 'buy local' movement, however, exhorts us not to maximize our consumer preferences."

Lanning debunked Robb's false claim. She exquisitely demonstrates that consumers can make better and more informed decisions. By the way, she advocates Local First NOT Local only.
In his article, Robb questions the countless economic studies released since 2002 but does not offer any substantive reasons for the questioning. Instead of following Robb's simplistic calculations, let's turn to the professional economists who back these studies, which have all concluded that an average of $30 more out of every $100 spent will stay in the local economy when money is spent with a local company versus a non-local corporate entity.
A Civic Economics study from 2007 showed the state of Arizona's then-$5 million contract with OfficeMax was causing the state to lose $500,000 per year in economic leakage.
The methodology shows OfficeMax did not offer 62 percent of their employees any health-care benefits, costing Arizona taxpayers significant money to support them through the state's health-care plan, which drains the economy.
Those are actually not cheaper prices at OfficeMax. That's deferred billing: we are paying higher prices when we factor in the true cost of doing business with OfficeMax.
In comparison, Wist Office Products, their local competitor, provides 100 percent of their employees' health-care benefits. OfficeMax supports no business service jobs, called secondary jobs, in Arizona. They don't hire local accountants, graphic designers, attorneys, payroll service providers or any other business, while Wist sources more than 80 percent of their goods and services locally, which creates jobs.
While Robb makes the case that it's too complicated to measure all of Arizona's companies and how often they hire other local businesses, it's important to understand why that number, called the multiplier effect, is vastly greater at locals than chains, regardless of whether or not it's precisely measured.
If America had 30,000 Starbucks locations, the company would still only support one accounting firm, one graphic designer, one website developer, etc. Conversely, 30,000 independently owned coffee shops support 30,000 accountants who have a client, 30,000 website developers who have a gig, 30,000 graphic designers, and so on.
The chain-store model actually eliminates three jobs for every two it creates.
Robb also touts economies of scale, which should be the saving grace of a free-market society. But it's not cheaper to buy a latte at Starbucks. Or tires at Costco, or a movie at AMC. And if you measure the true cost of doing business with most chain stores, there simply is no reward for economies of scale. Unless, of course, you count gains so short they are measured by the day and not the year.
Money in a customer's pocket for a day certainly doesn't change the outcome of a community when the overall community's economy is attached to a lead balloon that includes low-wage jobs, no health-care benefits, and no secondary or tertiary job market.
The whole notion that money saved at chains drives an economy is flawed because it assumes chains are always cheaper, which isn't true. And any savings is significantly offset by jobs eliminated as well as lost income overall.
Economies of scale only work in a free-market society, which we are not. Our food is subsidized — consider 80 percent of all farm-bill dollars since 1995 went to the largest 10 percent of America's farms for commodity crops, which is why processed fast food is so cheap.
Our oil is subsidized, our biggest banks are subsidized, and even chain stores are subsidized — all using taxpayer money. To believe in free markets in the U.S. today is like believing in the tooth fairy. Americans actually have forgotten how the economy works and have no tools to measure the true costs — human, social or environmental — of doing business. To suggest that we shouldn't care about these costs is shortsighted and reckless.
Those who tout free markets often site large chain stores as shining American examples of free-market success, but in reality most of their success is easily traced to massive subsidies, passing the health-care buck to the taxpayers, and wages so low that today roughly 15 percent of Americans are on food stamps even though they have jobs.
In Arizona, Cabela's received more than $60 million in subsidies, and Bass Pro Shops more than $30 million. Walmart is the master of the subsidy, exploiting municipalities' drive for the short-term gains of sales taxes while bringing low wages, very little health-care coverage and then benefiting from food-stamp usage.
Chain stores actually create bigger government. Look around at low-wage jobs and the shrinking middle class. The corporate economy is failing the country, and our government is using our money to pay for it. One solution is to do business locally. Will it save the country? No. Does it empower people to make significant changes within their own communities? Absolutely.
Lanning eloquently describes the impact of externalities. Costs to society that are not directly included in the prices a person pays at the cash register. We do pay the external costs, but we pay for them in sales and income and property taxes. As she points out, even the direct costs are NOT necessarily lower at the national chains than they are with the local mom and pop shop.

So, where does the extra money, collected by the national chains, go if not to the consumer initially or in the long run? They go to out-of-state corporations. 

This is parallel to the economics of having state and local government workers provide services that the private sector cannot or will not. Yet, we have the financial predators wringing out an excess share of even that money when government employees are canned and replaced by privateers who then hire part-time and temporary workers (pay them less and provide no benefits). The privateers keep the money with a few key players getting rich while the Middle Class collapses.

So, I digress back to the words of Ms. Le Guin.
We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable... So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art and very often in our art, the art of words.
As Americans riled up against a political and economic system in the 18th Century turned the divine right of kings on its head, so too will 21st Century citizens of our country and others turn away the excesses of financial capitalism in favor of a legitimately representative government and economy.

What will YOU do about it?


Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Where do you think the GOP will start cutting in the AZ state government budget?

From last night's blog post,
In an interview with local broadcast news outlet Fox10, McDucey responded to a question about creating jobs, "How would you go about creating good jobs?"
"My goal is a growing, thriving economy where citizens of this state can make their own opportunities and be successful in their own way. I support reforming the tax code and reducing the individual income tax."
This is code for the fact that McDucey does NOT have any plan to promote job growth. Reducing individual income tax is the expression he uses to lure citizens into his trap. Because it's only the "takers" who need state government services, right? So his hypnotic mantra suggests anyway.

Everybody is on their own as far as his administration is concerned, as evidenced by installation of the Kochtopus as its driving force. Further, appointment of Club for Growth hack Stephen Moore as Scrooge's chief economic advisor portends a severe curtailment of the social safety net in Arizona.

Remember, Arizona -- in large measure due to McDucey's advocacy against extending the one cent sales tax -- has a huge budget deficit staring it in the face. This is not some mere possibility if something goes wrong in the future, it's the immediate challenge of the Arizona Legislature and the new governor.

What happens when people are punked into believing that everyone has the opportunity to make it to the top 1 percent financially if they only work hard enough? They end up with NO customers because nobody has any discretionary spending money. Then they blame themselves. That is exactly the message McDucey was telegraphing with his statement (quoted above) from the Fox 10 interview. It won't be my (McDucey's) fault when you fail as an entrepreneur, it will be your fault.

That's the prevailing mythology in present day Arizona (and America). That's why and how voters got punked into electing Scrooge.

There is critical insight for us in this week's Moyers and Company episode. Bill's guest, historian Steve Fraser has written a new book due out in early 2015 titled, The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power.
Bill’s guest this week, historian Steve Fraser, says what was different about the First Gilded Age was that people rose in rebellion against the powers that be. Today we do not see “that enormous resistance,” but he concludes, “people are increasingly fed up… their voices are not being heard. And I think that can only go on for so long without there being more and more outbreaks of what used to be called class struggle, class warfare.”

Revolutions are the result of taking a stand for big, important ideas.

The time to revolt against Scrooge McDucey austerity is nigh upon us. Gird up your loins!

From a protest in downtown Phoenix today:

Photos courtesy Michael Nehl Royer

What do you know? The Arizona Republic actually covered this demonstration.

Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century.

Friday, December 19, 2014

What to expect from Scrooge McDucey... and what Arizona Democrats need to do FIRST to prepare for 2016

As Governor-elect Scrooge McDucey prepares to take office in just a couple of weeks, few pertinent details of his plans have emerged for public consumption. The Arizona Republic apparently has not reported on the transition since December 10.
Kyl said Ducey has put together an impressive transition team. It includes former Brewer chief of staff Eileen Klein, former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams and Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore. Ducey earlier this month tapped Adams to be his chief of staff.
Heritage Foundation's Stephen Moore also previously founded the Club for Growth.
Moore calls his creation of the Club for Growth the defining moment of his career.
This is what the Club for Growth is about:
  • Reducing income tax rates and repealing the death tax
  • Replacing the current tax code with a fair/flat tax
  • The full repeal of ObamaCare and the end of abusive lawsuits through medical malpractice/tort reform
  • Reducing the size and scope of the federal government
  • Cutting government spending and passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution
  • Regulatory reform and deregulation
  • School choice
I could go on and on about the downside of each and every one of those bullet points but the bottom line is that Scrooge McDucey is "all in" on "Voodoo Economics."

For perspective on Gov-elect Scrooge's overt plans to drive Arizona's economy into the ground, consider this very recent report on the economic performance of Kansas, the Koch-model for McDucey's economic policies. From the Kansas City Star, "New Kansas job figures stun Brownback and not in a good way."
The new Kansas jobs numbers were released Friday morning, bringing horrible news to state taxpayers and Gov. Sam Brownback.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the total number of nonfarm jobs in Kansas fell by 4,100 in November.
Kansas’ disturbing experience was at odds with how much of the rest of the country did. A total of 37 other states gained in employment in November, while only 13 others, including Kansas, dropped. [...]
The figures show it’s going to be even tougher for Brownback — after pushing through excessive income tax cuts — to make up for the hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax revenues from those reductions. They took effect in 2013.
The Kansas Legislature and Brownback already knew they were going to have a rough time figuring out how to slash a staggering $648 million from the next fiscal year’s projected budget of just over $6 billion. That work starts in January.
But if Kansas is not creating lots of new jobs — which the tax cuts were supposed to help do — the state budget could be in even bigger trouble than is now recognized. [...]
Brownback, you will recall, has pledged that Kansas should be able to add 2,000 private sector jobs a month during his second term starting in January, which he earned with his narrow re-election on Nov. 4.
Simply put, there remains no good evidence to believe the governor knows what he’s talking about on this subject.

McDucey will take little comfort in the wisdom of Albert Einstein (or maybe it was Benjamin Franklin or Mark Twain or in a book published by Narcotics Anonymous),
Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.
Nevertheless, that practice differs from "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again" in that with persistence and repetition, one would expect to have learned from his own and others' mistakes and make adjustments to the effort. Yet, with McDucey hiring Stephen Moore, it's certainly not in the cards that the new administration will significantly change course any time soon.

Well, maybe. Of course, that's where McDucey's "strategic agility" comes in. It doesn't matter what he promised to do during the campaign, he can change course at any time.
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.
Take heart! The Arizona Republic's Michael Squires proclaimed, on December 14, that he'd be watching to see whether McDucey honors his word on campaign promises. Here's one of Scrooge's big ones:
• Eliminate state income taxes, which account for almost half the $9 billion in state tax revenue. After talking about it for months on the campaign trail, Ducey said in October, "no one's talking about eliminating the income tax."
And then there's McDucey's endorsement by Sarah Palin:
Doug Ducey is the private sector job creator and proven conservative leader that Arizona needs as its next governor. A self-made man, Doug came to Arizona for college, working at the local beer distributor to pay his way through. After graduation, Doug applied his skills and work ethic to the business world. Through his efforts as CEO, Doug grew Cold Stone Creamery from a small local Tempe ice cream parlor with four stores into a major international chain with 1,400 franchises in 31 countries. Still headquartered in Arizona, this international business provides jobs and revenue for the state. Since being elected State Treasurer, Doug has fought to close financial loopholes, fix the state’s books, and stop a $1 billion annual tax increase.
We all know you can take Palin's word to the bank! Wink, wink.

In an interview with local broadcast news outlet Fox10, McDucey responded to a question about creating jobs, "How would you go about creating good jobs?"

Government’s first role in job creation is to get out of the way. Much of the time, this is the single best service the government can provide. Why is our country still struggling through the slowest economic recovery ever? In large part because of federal tax and regulatory policies that are hostile to free enterprise, job creation, and the dignity of work.We can’t afford to make that same mistake at the state level. I want businesses across America to know that if they plan to build, expand or create more jobs – and do so with minimal hassle from government – then Arizona is the place to be. My business partners and I had a chance to build a great American success story, Cold Stone Creamery, right here in Arizona.
My goal is a growing, thriving economy where citizens of this state can make their own opportunities and be successful in their own way. I support reforming the tax code and reducing the individual income tax. I also support policies that reduce lawsuit abuse and regulatory overreach.

Doesn't that sound like he's channeling Saint Ronald?

That, as we have seen repeatedly over the last three decades, is nothing but nonsense. The GOP has bamboozled Americans into believing it. Economists call it "voodoo economics."


As of this posting, no new bills have been pre-filed for the first regular session of the 52nd Arizona Legislature (set to begin in January 2015) since my last post about Rep. John Allen's effort to stem the tide of campaign/political sign theft.


In the wake of the November 4 election, Democrats did a little wailing and gnashing of teeth over losing every statewide election race in Arizona. [This week, word comes that the -- anything but transparent -- CD2 recount has been conducted and Martha McSally has been declared the winner.]

The first thing we heard from news outlets was how badly Arizona Democrats had messed up. That was underscored by outgoing Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell declaring that the Arizona Democratic Party had died.
“There’s got to be a serious autopsy,” said outgoing House Minority Leader Rep. Chad Campbell. “And I say autopsy because I think we’re dead at this point. The infrastructure is dead, the party structure is dead. So there has to be an autopsy to figure out why it died, and move forward with a new model,” he said.
“It’s not just money, we have a much bigger problem than that,” he said, adding he’s also at fault as House Democratic leader and organizer of his caucus’s independent spending. “I can’t blame anybody. I’m part of the problem, too.’’
His declaration was both premature and overly harsh. Just saying he couldn't blame anybody doesn't mitigate the harshness. But that there's key value that can be and needs to be gleaned from those who ran the races and those who worked with them on campaigns (paid AND volunteers) is undeniable.

Today I received an email from the Democratic National Committee asking me to take a survey to give them my insight on how they can be or do their best in 2015. Of course, when I clicked the link, I got a list of questions that was focused more on how they could read me and get me to do what they want me to do rather than them doing more of what I want them to do.

Even though we know our results, notably with the legislative races, were not a disaster, the Arizona Democratic Party, as an organization, missed some significant opportunities in the later stages of the 2014 election season. There are ways to get a handle on the situation, as a learning organization, to better prepare for 2016.

My friend Representative-elect Ken Clark has talked about holding forums across the state to gather feedback from those who worked on campaigns and volunteered their time for candidates. He has not gotten much response from his suggestions to do so.

However, a well-designed survey/questionnaire can be inexpensively produced, circulated on paper at legislative district meetings and next month's ADP state committee meeting. It can also be posted online. Then feedback can be compiled and used for guidance in 2015-2016 decision making.

This must be undertaken. It can be done without requiring anyone to disclose their names and can be a safe mechanism for learning without harshly blaming individuals.

Among the pillars of the learning organization is that leadership must be able to engender and promote a shared vision. And she/he must be able to get people to follow with him or her on the path to making that vision become reality.

Traditionally, the chair of the Arizona Democratic Party has been expected to lead the fundraising campaigns necessary to allow the staff of the organization to function. That's all well and good but the next chair and executive committee of ADP must be able to demonstrate the capability to articulate and make that shared vision come to pass.

Thus far, the only big name I've heard of anyone interested in running for that position is Chad Campbell. Chad certainly has leadership experience to draw on. But as his harsh comments reflected right after the election, he has important room for improvement in developing that shared vision and inspiring Democratic activists to follow along.

Others have expressed some interest but are uncertain about undertaking the challenge. Hopefully, more people will be interested and a productive reorganization can take place on January 24.

It's time to Rise UP!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pre-filed House Bill seeks to penalize political sign stealers

Back in August, LD18 Republican state Rep. Bob Robson was accused of stealing campaign signs set up to disparage him. Right-wing blog site Sonoran Alliance, in a post date August 13 said,
What is it with the Tempe/Chandler area?
Former State Senator Harry Mitchell was caught stealing the campaign signs of Gary Richardson many election cycles ago.
This time Obamacare Republican Bob Robson was caught stealing signs from his opponents. And his escape was caught on video.
I’m sure those who caught him will sign an affidavit affirming to the theft. [...]
On Saturday night, August 9, 2014 at approximately 9:45 p.m. at Dobson and Warner Roads one Bob Robson, of the Robson/Dial get elected whatever the cost partnership, was out in force with an accomplice involved in a sign stealing caper and got caught.
Robson and Dial have been removing and destroying signs for about one month now. There have been in excess of 130 signs missing or destroyed. The signs in question are the public information signs that point out who voted for the Obamacare Expansion debacle thrust upon our state with the red “Arrow of Truth”. The arrows were pointed at the Robson Dial signs to inform the public of who it was in LD18 that did the dirty deed to Arizona and the AZGOP. (italics in original, bold added)
The signs at issue were something to similar effect as this image from a mailer sent out to people in LD15 this year.

I hope Rep. Carter (R-LD15) is not offended by my using this image. After all, she won reelection despite the campaign against her by RWNJs. Actually, so did Robson.

Nevertheless, Carter's seat mate, John Allen (R-LD15) has pre-filed HB2002 which aims to close what Robson's opponents no doubt consider a loophole that let the Chandler representative off the hook.

The Arizona Republic in September reported,
The sign scrum is yet another indication of the high tensions swirling around the Legislature's vote in 2013 to expand the state's Medicaid program to cover 300,000 low-income Arizonans. Robson, along with 13 other Republicans, joined Democrats to approve the expansion proposed by Gov. Jan Brewer. Opponents vowed to seek retribution at the polls, working to defeat what they called "legis-traitors."
As part of that opposition, the Arizona Taxpayer Action Committee installed signs stating "voted for Obamacare" with an arrow pointing at the campaign sign of certain Republicans. These signs, which the committee calls the "arrow of truth," were reportedly removed by Robson Monday as Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies witnessed the act. [...]
The citation is for tampering with a candidate's sign, but Ryan said the "arrow" signs Robson is alleged to have removed do not meet the state law's requirement of being a candidate sign. There is no candidate named "arrow," he argued.
Which brings us to Allen's HB2002, which intends to modify ARS §16-1019 by removing nine words and adding a subsection J.
A.  It is a class 2 misdemeanor for any person to knowingly remove, alter, deface or cover any political sign of any candidate for public office or knowingly remove, alter or deface any political mailers, handouts, flyers or other printed materials of a candidate that are delivered by hand to a residence for the period commencing forty‑five days before a primary election and ending seven days after the general election. [...]
As if, of course, John Allen doesn't have anything better to do with his time on the taxpayer dole than to make it easier to nail his political opponents during an election campaign.

Typical penalties for conviction for a Class 2 misdemeanor are fines. According to ARS §13-802, the maximum fine for a Class 2 misdemeanor is $750.00.
B. A sentence to pay a fine for a class 2 misdemeanor shall be a sentence to pay an amount, fixed by the court, not more than seven hundred fifty dollars.
According to ARS §13-707, if sentenced to imprisonment, the maximum for a Class 2 misdemeanor is four months.

Raising voter awareness is what those "arrow of truth" signs are about anyway, right? Well, given that there is NO cost to taxpayers for earned local news media coverage -- and alleged sign stealing always seems to get news coverage -- why should taxpayers be made to pay for local law enforcement investigations and possible imprisonment?

Doesn't this put Rep. Allen's apparent vindictiveness into perspective?

And that's without even considering that when the Arizona Legislature passed "Obamacare" (which was really the Medicaid restoration), it saved rural Arizona communities from having their hospitals shutdown. We can pretty much count on the RWNJs to fail when it comes to figuring out the ramifications of the dumb ass legislation ideas they propose.

Netroots Nation 2015 -- Discounted Registration Fee available

Through Friday, December 12, a discounted registration fee is available for attending the Netroots Nation '15 conference in downtown Phoenix. The conference will be held July 16-19 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Highlights for Netroots Nation 2015 include:
  • 80 panels and 40+ hands-on training sessions
  • Local activism
  • A progressive film Screening Series
  • An Ignite themed keynote, featuring fast-paced talks from movement leaders
  • Annual events including our pub quiz, comedy show and candidate reception and much more to be announced!
Please join me in Phoenix for NN '15. If you, like me, intend to be a leader in a Progressive Uprising for the 2016 election season, don't miss NN '15!

In the meantime, check out the NN '14 keynote.

Watch live streaming video from freespeechtv at

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stamp MONEY out of politics

Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world's ills, misery, ignorance, and violence. Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation. -- Robert F. Kennedy

On Monday, I joined the ranks of the Stamp Stampede.

"The Stampede is about giving voice to the 80% of Americans that realize that unlimited campaign "contributions" are corrupting our democracy and want to get money out of politics. " -Graham Nash


Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Maricopa County Democratic Party reorganization completed UPDATED 10:30pm MST 12-8-14

Yesterday (Saturday, December 6), elected Democratic precinct committee members in Maricopa County elected a new executive committee for the 2015-2016 election cycle.

With pretty much no drama (only one contested race), the new officers are:

  • Kelli Butler, chair
  • Steven Slugocki, 1st vice-chair
  • Randy Keating, 2nd vice-chair
  • Robert Donat, secretary
  • Jacqueline Adams, treasurer
  • Jessica Gonzales, sergeant-at-arms
These people have experience in the trenches. Kelli and Randy were, during the 2013-2014 cycle, LD chairs (28 and 26 respectively). Steven was re-elected as 1rst vice-chair.

Though Arizona Democrats, especially in Maricopa County, fared better than our counterparts in traditionally Blue States, nobody is satisfied that we failed to pick up ground in the legislature or that we lost all of the statewide office races. 

To highlight the perspective, Republicans in Arizona are apparently taking heat (in-fighting) for not picking up any seats (net gain) in the legislature.


In related news, now that Kelli Butler holds the MCDP chair position (which automatically makes her a member of the Arizona Democratic Party state committee), her state committee position from LD28 becomes open.

Because LD28 now has an open SC seat, there is a process for filling it. We already know that Rodney Glassman wants to be a member of the state committee, which is a requirement when a person runs for ADP chairman.

LD28 chairman Gary Gilger will make a recommendation to current ADP chair Bill Roe. Bill is not required to accept that recommendation but will appoint an LD28 elected PC.

When I criticized Glassman, on this blog and on Facebook, a few people took offense.

There is a plethora of data demonstrating Glassman's lack of fitness to serve in any leadership position in the Arizona Democratic Party. 

What had come up at the LD28 reorganization meeting about Glassman was that he had held a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Smith. If that had been all there was to the situation, it may not have been a big deal. But there was substantially more to it.

On the subject of support for Scott Smith, Glassman touted his long time friendship with the former Mesa mayor. I get that. Friendships, including those reaching across the aisle, can be a good thing. But the pertinent facts include that Glassman's family (financially rich as a result of a long history of predatory lending to small family farmers in California) donated (at least) $10,000.00 to Smith's failed campaign. But a paltry $100.00 (from Sasha, none from Rodney) to support Fred DuVal in his race against Scrooge McDucey. If anyone could have afforded to contribute 10 grand to help the Democratic candidate for governor, it's Rodney and his family.

Compiled from the Arizona Secretary of State's website:

Glassman Family (brother Jeremy. mother Linda, father Robert):
* total to Republicans: $6,500 ($6,000 for Smith; $500 for Jeff Dial)
* total to Democrats: 0

Rodney Glassman:
* total to Republicans: $2,000
* total to Democrats: $ 145

Sasha Glassman:
* total to Republicans: $2,950
* total to Democrats: $1,055

Detail by individuals, dates, and amounts below (all info retrieved from AZ SOS website):

* Foothills Democrats 03/19/2014 $40
* Smith Governor 2014 04/27/2014 $2,000
* Democrats of District 28 10/07/2014 $5
* Garcia 2014 10/15/2014 $100

* Landrum Taylor 2014 10/06/2013 $100
* Robert Meza for State Senate 2014 10/07/2013 $440
* Dial 2014 10/20/2013 $500
* Larkin for Legislature 10/20/2013 $100
* Vote Reagan 2014 12/10/2013 $100
* Anna Tovar for Senate 01/11/2014 $100
* Marquez for Arizona 04/01/2014 $15
* Smith Governor 2014 04/27/2014 $2,000
* Bob Worsley for State Senate 05/19/2014 $250
* BARTON4AZ 07/28/2014 $100 (rwnj Brenda Barton)
* Felecia for Arizona 2014 07/30/2014 $100
* Elect Eric Meyer 09/07/2014 $100
*Fred for AZ 10/25/2014 $100

As you can see, Glassman had his mother and his wife each contribute $500.00 to the Republican opponent of LD18 Democratic senatorial candidate Janie Hydrick. $1,000.00 to help defeat a Democratic candidate for state senate. Is that a big deal? Of course, he will say, rightfully no doubt, that said Republican, Jeff Dial, is also a close friend.

Why any Democratic activist would think somebody like Rodney would be a good candidate for ADP state chairman is beyond me.

Wait, there's MORE! 

To qualify for election as an LD28 precinct committeeman, Rodney submitted a nominating petition with ten signatures of voters, the minimum required in this case. The only problem is that two of the ten were and still are not valid signatures of Biltmore precinct Democratic voters. One is a registered Independent voter. Another is not registered to vote at the Biltmore precinct address listed on the petition.

Either Rodney was just careless in collecting and not verifying his signatures or he knew the two signatures were invalid, in which case one would rightfully question his integrity. Whichever it was, it seems quite clear that Rodney's not qualified for the position to which he aspires.

Barbara Serbin, whose signature is on line 3, was not and is not registered to vote at the address she listed on the petition, or anywhere in the Biltmore precinct.

Geoffrey Balon, an criminal defense attorney working in law enforcement, has his address restricted on the voter roll, but he was and apparently still is registered as an Independent, not a Democrat.

[As of July 2017, Balon says he has always been a Democrat. As an additional update, Glassman, having previously changed his party affiliation to Republican, fittingly has initiated paperwork to run for a seat on Arizona Corporation Corruption Commission filer ID 201800220. Glassman's campaign committee chair is Republican Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. Not that Glassman is any more qualified to serve as a Corporation Commissioner than as chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.]

The bottom line in all of this with Rodney is that he's pissing into the wind with his campaign to get elected ADP state chairman.

UPDATE           UPDATE           UPDATE

Previously, I forgot to add that Glassman's PC nomination paper has at least one pertinent, relevant detail that might matter, especially to my Progressive friends.

On May 27, 2014, Rodney Glassman submitted to Maricopa County Elections this nomination paper stating that he was putting himself forward as a candidate for the office of Precinct Committeeman for the Biltmore precinct and LD28, subject to the action of the DEMOCRAT Party. In other words, with as much information as is available to demonstrate that Glassman is #Bad4AZ, it really all boils down to the fact that he even uses the Republican epithet for the party he wants to represent.

Do I really need to make it any more clear than this?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Redistricting -- Holes in the Harris plaintiffs' SCOTUS brief?

If somebody with no law school training, like me, can find what looks like huge holes in the arguments put forth by counsel for convicted felon Wes Harris and his merry band of co-plaintiff misfits, imagine what a genuine legal eagle-eye can do with it.

First, they repeat a worn out claim (on page 2 of the brief) that has held no water from the start.
Proponents of the measure creating the IRC claimed divesting Arizona’s legislature from the redistricting process and vesting sole reapportionment authority in the IRC would remove partisan interests from the redistricting process.
Variously, opponents of independent redistricting have also stated it as intended to "take the politics out of the process." Neither is true. Neither expectation is realistic. And neither characterization is at all reasonable or fair. Instead, independent redistricting puts authority where the Framers of the Constitution always ultimately intended, which reflects genuine legitimacy that resides in the People's sovereignty.

Indeed, from the start of the 2011 redistricting cycle, Republican partisan interests -- besides posturing the entire time for litigation -- were heavily active in politicking to intimidate and influence the commissioners and staff.

On page three, an example of hyperbolic rhetoric, "the IRC asks this Court to uphold its unequal legislative districts until the next reapportionment almost a decade from now." By the time oral arguments are held, no earlier than the last week in February 2015, four years will have passed since the current commissioners were sworn in and began their work. Six years hence is not "nearly a decade from now."

Thor then proclaims, without making an argument supporting it, that the population deviations were not the result of "traditional race-neutral districting criteria."
We agree the Equal Protection Clause affords some degree of minor deviation from strict mathematical equality when necessary to accommodate traditional race-neutral redistricting criteria. States may draw districts with minor population disparities so long as those districts will not “deprive any person of fair and effective representation in his state legislature.”
In other words, we reserve the right to do the same thing the IRC did when we get the opportunity to control the IRC (or when the legislature (fingers crossed) regains the authority to draw district maps). We just don't like them doing it. And because they claim they had a lawful purpose for doing so, we just want you guys to say they were wrong. This, naturally, then becomes an argument for allowing Republicans to more brazenly suppress minority voting rights at some indeterminate time in the future.

Next blatantly obvious breakdown in Thor's brief,
The district court offered only two justifications for the IRC’s unequal districts: partisan advantage and a perceived need to gain Justice Department preclearance. We show above (and in the Jurisdictional Statement) that it was not necessary, as a matter of fact or law, to have unequal districts to obtain Justice Department preclearance. This is so even if preclearance under §5 was still a valid consideration after Shelby County.
In arguing that the district court was wrong to rule in favor of the IRC, Thor says "We show above... that it was not necessary, as a matter of fact or law, to have unequal districts to obtain Justice Department preclearance." He really is only saying that he "showed above." That doesn't mean that his argument actually was a logically, rationally or legally sound showing thereof.
We are left with the IRC’s desire to achieve partisan advantage as the only remaining justification explaining why it unequally apportioned Arizona’s legislative districts. The district court correctly assumed partisan advantage was not a legitimate objective.
The IRC has denied that partisan advantage was a motive for creating districts with unequal population. But the district court ruling said that the appearance thereof exists anyway. And Thor says they "correctly assumed partisan advantage was not a legitimate objective." I don't think that's what the district court ruling said. Judge Wake alone suggested it was not a legitimate objective.
...after Shelby County, partisan advantage is the IRC’s only possible justification for adopting unequal legislative districts.
Well, the district court ruled otherwise, and did so after SCOTUS issued the Shelby County ruling.

Thor and friends are not saying, "the district court was wrong" and we'd like you, the Supremes, to reconsider. They are simply stating that because of Shelby County the IRC should have known it had to do the legislative district map over again.
That did not happen in Arizona, where the IRC’s redistricting scheme allows voters in Hispanic-plurality districts to wield significantly more political influence than those in non-Hispanic-White-plurality districts.
It may be beside the point (the point Thor wants to make, anyway) that Hispanic-plurality districts in the Arizona Legislature really do NOT wield "significantly more political influence than those in non-Hispanic-White-plurality districts." But this argument (by Harris and friends) has been shown (in posts on this blog) on more than one occasion to not really be factually correct.

The underlying foundation of the Harris argument is that overpopulating non-minority districts dilutes the voice of the voters in those non-minority districts. The fact remains that the voice of the minority voter is STILL subjugated and suppressed during legislative sessions.

Because of Shelby County, SCOTUS may not buy an argument suggesting minority voters' rights have been intentionally suppressed. That doesn't mean, however, that elected Republicans in Arizona aren't really still vigorously opposing minority voter rights.

Here's the kicker. This brief makes a technically correct but brazenly and intentionally false claim about the interests behind the lawsuit.
Individual Arizona voters who have been unequally treated are bringing this challenge under the one-person, one-vote principle and ask this Court to vindicate their right to equal protection. This case is not a challenge by a political party or group claiming the IRC’s redistricting scheme makes it more difficult to elect representatives of its choice in certain districts. (emphasis in original)
Why not, Thor won't be sworn to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," will he? He's not going before SCOTUS to testify, but rather to argue. Further, even though Thor wants to exercise a bit of rhetorical sleight-of-hand, right after the above passage, he invokes the Arizona Legislature's pending case before the same court from three different angles.

First, since he says "constitutional deference traditionally accorded a state legislature is not applicable where (as here) the redistricting was not done by the state legislature." Second, in the brief's conclusion, Thor asks the court to stay this appeal pending its decision in the Arizona Legislature case. And third, when they do decide the other case, they want the district court's ruling vacated and this case remanded to the district court for a do over.

Ultimately, if (and it's a big IF) having Wes Harris (previously convicted of aggravated assault with a firearm) win this case would have the end result of drawing legislative districts more competitively, as measured by electoral results, I'd be all for it. But until somebody figures out how to turn the key and get a higher Hispanic voter turnout, the most likely result might just be another iteration of a GOP supermajority in both chambers of the legislature.

For a multitude of reasons, that's not a good thing for Arizona.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Redistricting -- Harris plaintiffs and AZ Legislature filed SCOTUS briefs

In Harris v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, an 18-page brief -- Opposition to Motion to Dismiss or Affirm -- was filed recently. The gist of the brief is a complete rewrite of the outcome of the week-long March 2013 trial. Rewriting history. That's probably the best way to characterize the hissy fit convicted felon Wes Harris and his fellow plaintiffs authorized their counsel, now led by "Thor" Hearne to put in writing.

Besides rewriting history, it appears Thor is beseeching the nine Justices to try the case de novo.


In Arizona Legislature v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, lead counsel Paul Clement's 86-page brief argues, with regard to the People having approved Prop 106, that the Legislature has been injured. From page 11 of the brief, in the first section of the summary of argument:
Here, the Legislature has been completely deprived of that power, which is now in the hands of the IRC. The divestment of the Legislature’s constitutionally-conferred redistricting authority clearly constitutes an actual, concrete, and particularized injury to the Legislature. The Legislature’s injury is directly traceable to the IRC’s usurpation of the Legislature’s redistricting authority, and a favorable decision by this Court will plainly redress the Legislature’s injury by restoring its constitutional authority.
States and other State-level entities routinely seek redress in federal court when deprived of rights or powers conferred or protected by the federal Constitution. There is no reason to treat a state legislature differently when it has been deprived of a power specifically conferred upon it by the federal Constitution. That is especially so when, as here, the unconstitutional usurpation is worked by an initiative, rather than through the ordinary legislative process. Whatever issues might be implicated by a scenario where a legislative party complains of a “self-inflicted wound,” here there is no possibility of repeal or resort to political remedies to redress the injury worked by Proposition 106 and the IRC-drawn maps. The Legislature’s injury was not caused by the Legislature, and it cannot be remedied by the Legislature. Recourse in the federal courts is both permissible and appropriate.
The absurdity of this summary is astounding. "Divestment of the... redistricting authority clearly constitutes an actual, concrete, and particularized injury to the Legislature." Those poor babies. If only their mothers were around to give them hugs and hot chocolate!
"That is especially so when, as here, the unconstitutional usurpation is worked by an initiative, rather than through the ordinary legislative process."
Wouldn't that statement more properly and fairly have been stated thus? "That is especially so when, as here, the "unconstitutional" usurpation is worked by the People, rather than through the ordinary legislative process?" This is rhetorical legerdemain.

Upon perusing the caption, table of contents and table of authorities I briefly felt somewhat intimidated. But that subsided when I read the summary of the Legislature's argument.

There's not much more I can do to digest and regurgitate the contents of these two briefs tonight (this morning). So, I leave you with this excerpt from Foreword: Out from Under the Shadow of the Federal Constitution: An Overlooked American Constitutionalism (page 24). (Notes for source citations included at the linked article)
In drafting and revising nineteenth century constitutions, American constitution-makers repeatedly acknowledged that "alter or abolish" provisions were "practical" principles that gave American republics their "distinctive character." In Virginia's 1829 convention, James Monroe observed,
"Ours is a government of the people: it may properly be called self-government. I wish it may be preserved forever in the hands of the people. Our revolution was prosecuted on those principles, and all the Constitutions which have been adopted in this country are founded on the same basis."  

Speaking of "alter or abolish," here's what Monroe was referring to in the quote above. You might recognize these words, an excerpt from arguably the most sacred political document in the history of our republic.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
I don't know how many millions of Americans have read or pondered these words over the course of the last 238 or so years, but I understand that many in contemporary times have expressed deep frustration with various aspects of American government. In the 1860s, some states even went so far as to attempt succession from the Union. We know that didn't work out well for those states and for many soldiers on both sides. Anyone conversant in current affairs knows that civil disobedience and armed rebellion are in the minds of many Americans today.

Many others, including perhaps dozens of members of the Arizona Legislature today, have openly called for an Article V convention to amend the US Constitution even now. Just last spring, House Concurrent Resolution 2027, proposing that very thing, was approved by the Arizona House of Representatives but died in the Senate. Further, voters just last month approved Prop 122 as an expression of frustration with American government.

Was not Prop. 106, which established the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, a conscious act of the People of Arizona to alter the federal AND state government because of longstanding and continuing oppressive acts by both Congress and the state legislature?

Is the long history of abusive partisan gerrymandering, wherein legislative officeholders choose the voters most likely to protect their incumbency, a "light and transient cause?" Or is that longstanding pattern rather a "long train of abuses and usurpations?"

As I see it, the Legislature's own argument demonstrates the very same "absolute Despotism" which drove the Founding Fathers to revolt against King George in 1776.

Maricopa County Democrats reorganizing this Saturday

The deadline for submitting candidate statements for advance posting on the Maricopa County Democratic Party's website -- for the impending reorganization -- passed this afternoon. Unless a surprise candidate emerges for any of the offices, the slate will be:

  • Kelli Butler, running for MCDP Chair. Former LD28 chair; ran for Arizona Senate in 2014.
  • Steven Slugocki, running for reelection as MCDP First Vice-Chair.
  • Randy Keating, running for MCDP Second Vice-Chair. Past chairman of LD26 Democrats.
  • Jacqueline Adams, running for MCDP Treasurer. Currently serves the Arizona Democratic Party as operations manager.
  • Robert Donat, running for reelection as MCDP Secretary.
  • Jessica Gonzales, running for MCDP Sergeant-at-Arms. Has served as Second Vice-Chair for LD30 Democrats.
I recommend you read each candidate's statement, posted online. The link, again, is the Maricopa County Democratic Party. This is Kelli (in the middle).

Kelli, along with Steven and Randy as chair and vice-chairs will set a clear vision for building Democratic LD organizations, developing volunteers and future candidates for elected offices. All of these candidates are strong, smart and care deeply about what matters for everyday Arizonans. 

I support this team. 

It's sunrise in Arizona. We're turning Arizona BLUE.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Scrooge McDucey officially installs the Kochtopus as driving force in his upcoming administration

On the day after before the general election last month in 2012, Talking Points Memo reported that California's Fair Political Practices Commission released a statement,
In a sharply worded press release, California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) said the money for the donation made by Americans for Responsible Leadership came from Americans for Job Security, the conservative organization, and had been funneled through The Center to Protect Patient Rights, a non-profit helmed by Sean Noble, a former congressional aide who has been tied to the movement of millions of dollars between political non-profits. The FPPC also said that in disclosing the donors, the Arizona group Americans for Responsible Leadership admitted to "campaign money laundering."
Rather than facing any kind of penalty, Kochtopus bag man Kirk Adams just got an important new job.

Scrooge McDucey has named Adams, the Americans for Responsible Leadership president, former Speaker of the Arizona House, and now admitted money launderer, (see Adams' letter below) to be the first chief of staff in the administration set to take over the 9th Floor of the Arizona Capitol executive tower in January.

By the way, even though the election is over, McDucey is still plowing forward, full steam ahead, with campaign propaganda. On his transition team website, immediately under the banner with his name, another prominent banner -- Opportunity for All -- bombards viewers, a message that brazenly contradicts his policy agenda.

Along with the California FPPC release, TPM published letters signed by Adams and fellow Kochtopus operative Sean Noble.

Today, ProgressNow Arizona executive director Robbie Sherwood released the following statement about McDucey's new hire:
Arizona Gripped by the Kochtopus as New Gov. Ducey Installs Koch Dark Money Bag Man as Chief of Staff
PHOENIX – Arizona Governor-elect Doug Ducey is repaying his out-of-state dark-money backers today by hiring controversial Koch Brothers bag man Kirk Adams as his new chief of staff. Former House Speaker Adams, who helped orchestrate a campaign-style war on Arizona’s emerging rooftop solar energy industry on behalf of mega-utility Arizona Public Service, has been a top Koch operative since his unsuccessful run for Congress in 2012.
Adams and his frequent associate Sean Noble operate a series of Koch-backed political non-profits that underwrote Ducey’s successful run for governor, kneecapping his Republican primary opponents with vicious attacks and helping build a more than 2-1 spending advantage over Democratic challenger Fred DuVal. The out-of-state money bombs began falling on Ducey’s political foes shortly after he pledged his fealty and admiration to the Koch’s at secret meeting in California that was caught on tape.
Adams and Noble also made national news in 2012 when they were accused of “laundering” political money and slapped with a record $1 million fine by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to disclose campaign contributions. Their legal troubles opened the first real window into the labyrinthine world of the ‘Kochtapus’ political money machine. At that same time, Adams and Noble were financing a campaign led by Ducey to defeat an extension of a voter-approved 1-cent sales tax for public education, and waging their then-secret war on solar energy in the sunniest state in the Union. For video of Adams trying, but failing, to defend his actions on behalf of APS, click here.
This move is no-doubt a big win for the Kansas billionaire libertarian industrialists, who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars financing the Tea Party and buying political influence in numerous states to reduce regulations on pollution, privatize education and degrade workplace rights. For Arizonans who value good public schools, clean air and water, workplace safety and high-wage jobs, installing the Koch Brothers on the 9th Floor is not such good news.

Multipartisan plaintiff group challenge to AZ SOS recount in Barber/McSally race UPDATE 8:20 pm MST, 12-2-14

Late Monday afternoon, Tucson attorney Bill Risner filed a Special Action petition for a writ of mandamus in the Arizona Supreme Court seeking to ensure the statutorily required recount in the Barber/McSally race be conducted lawfully.

The action, CV-14-0319 lists seven plaintiffs, three Democrats, one Republican, one Green, one Libertarian and one Independent.

Additional documents include:

The petition argues that the recount procedure the Secretary of State along with Pima and Cochise counties plan to implement violates Arizona Revised Statutes § 16-664.
C. The programs to be used in the recount of votes pursuant to this section shall differ from the programs prescribed by section 16-445 and used in the initial tabulation of the votes.
From the petition,

Plaintiffs allege that the Secretary of State intends to then exceed his legal authority and to violate A.R.S. § 16-664. It is of statewide interest that the recount proceed according to law and that the process not be repeated because the Secretary of State intends to ignore the statutory requirements of a recount.
The two counties directly involved are in one court of appeals and the Secretary of State in another. A uniform interpretation of our recount statutes is of state wide importance. Finally, a recount that confirms the accuracy of the vote count as required by statute to protect the purity of electronically counted elections is fundamental to our democratic system.
It doesn't appear that the Arizona Republic has yet caught wind of this special action. This recount will become a national story and the lawsuit will be subject to widespread scrutiny.

Stay tuned for more, either here or in national media.

The Brad Blog has a more detailed explanation of the issues surrounding the CD2 recount.

The Arizona Republic, in a sort of related story, on early ballot counting delays, quotes pollster Earl de Berge,
Pollster Earl de Berge, research director for Phoenix's Behavior Research Center, said the public is skeptical that elections represent the true will of the voters — and that the election results are not manipulated by those in power. Delayed early-ballot counts fall into that line of thinking, he said.
However, he said the Barber-McSally recount will allow voters to see what actually happened in the race, showing that their votes really do count at the end of the day.
Such skepticism is magnified by election issues in Pima and Cochise counties during recent elections. Cochise County had to pull its results down off the secretary of state's website and restate them in the primary, and had to send ballots to Graham County on Election Night to have them double-checked.
Meanwhile, Pima County "found" 213 extra ballots cast in the Barber-McSally contest just as it was finishing the count in that race. The ballots had been put inside special school-district election envelopes from the Green Valley area that had been set aside to be counted later.
Those comments underscore the serious nature and critical importance of protecting election integrity. Unfortunately, the wrong person was elected to actually do anything substantive to improve the situation.

UPDATE           UPDATE           UPDATE

The Arizona Republic reported this afternoon that, in a two-page order signed by Justice Ann Scott Timmer, the state Supreme Court,
In a brief two-page order, she dismissed the request without detailed explanation, saying it was considered by the full court. McSally's legal team opposed the lawsuit, the order noted. 
Elsewhere a recent report published by The Intercept decries the fact that "Hackers could decide who controls Congress thanks to Alaska's terrible internet ballots."

This is no joke, people. It is also NOT a crazy conspiracy theory. It's based on analysis of election systems worldwide by computer scientists.
When Alaska voters go to the polls tomorrow to help decide whether the U.S. Senate will remain in Democratic control, thousands will do so electronically, using Alaska’s first-in-the-nation internet voting system. And according to internet security experts, including the former top cybersecurity official for the Department of Homeland Security, that system is a security nightmare that threatens to put control of the U.S. Congress in the hands of foreign or domestic hackers.
Every American voter should be very concerned about the many ways our election systems can be compromised. The only remedy, ultimately, is eternal vigilance.