Archives for April 18, 2012

Preschool on the 9th Floor

So yesterday Gov. Brewer threatened to veto all non-budget bills that aren’t already on her desk – no matter what.  “The governor has indicated to leadership that, outside of the bills that are on her desk now, she won’t sign any more bills until there’s a budget,” Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said.

Anyone who pays attention to the AZ Capitol scene knows well her propensity to act like a four-year-old when she doesn’t get her way.  However, her newest negotiation tactic seems particularly reckless.

A few conservative members have suggested responding to her threat by immediately sending up HB2721, the CPS reform bill.  This approach is especially tempting since the bill is the bi-partisan consensus result of her own highly-publicized CPS Task Force from last fall.  She’d either cave and sign it, which would look weak, or veto it, which would look as childish…well, as her threat was.

The conservatives are trying to budget for the long term by keeping the state from having another budget meltdown in a couple of years.  Brewer wants to spend MORE than the Democrats.  Since she’ll be on her way out by then, she doesn’t really care much whether she leaves a funding cliff for the next administration.  For some reason, she wants applause from the K-12 and welfare spending lobbies.  She still hasn’t learned that no amount will ever be enough for the spenders.

If this is how she negotiates with her “friends”, it’s a wonder she ever accomplished anything as a legislator.

Progressive Democrats set example of Enlightened Civility and Tolerance

The following is a re-print from the Arizona Daily Star and is posted here as a sterling example of the civility and respect with which the Progressive Democrats view anyone who thinks differently from them.  Here we can see such Leftist virtues as *Tolerance* of *Diversity* and *Respect* for Others.    In other words, the Progressive Democrats want everyone to DO as they SAY but NOT as they DO.   These are the folks who want you to elect them to steer the ship of state.

By the way, what is the fetish the Progressive Left has with college and university education?  They seem to think it magically bestows some kind of smartness on those who endured four or more years of higher education.  They seem to look down their collective noses on those who are graduates of the School of Hard Knocks, in other words, those who may possess good old common sense.  Liberals seem to believe that once you leave high school your ability to continue learning ends unless you sit for endless hours listening to a college professor who’s never practiced anything remotely like what he teaches.  But I digress.  Read this example of *civility* that hails from the enlightened troglodytes in Baja Arizona.

Fitz: Kelly wins

Dave Fitzsimmons The Arizona Daily Star | Tuesday, April 17, 2012

     High school graduate Jesse Kelly defeated a Harvard educated Air Force pilot, a nice American named Dave Sitton and Frank “Spank me, I’m bad” Antenori. Now that the fat lady has sung and the primary is over it’s time for Act II of “The Barber of Civility”: A contest between the guy who looks like the Jurassic Park professor without the pith helmet and a carpet bagging gun-toting Bible thumping gosh and shucks Gomer Pyle who can channel Sean Hannity.

Jesse will do great among the unwashed, the rural, the illiterate, the scared goobers willing to cheerfully vote against their own interests, whipping up the groundlings and the believers with rhetorical red meat so rotten with the stench of untruths that honorable flies will choose to lay their eggs elsewhere. And he’ll smile like a man surprised he said something resembling a coherent thought. And the crowds who hate elitists and grammar and syntax and critical thinking will slap their knees and hoot. Scan the online comment section for repugnant speech and unfiltered anonymous hatred of all who differ with the strict conservative  view and and you have found your archetypal “here come the black helicopters from Kenya” Kelly supporters.

And he will be petted and stroked and groomed and cooed to by right-wing think tanks and he’ll be showered, nay, flooded with bags of cash from big oil and all the right PACs looking for a manly mannequin with a pull string. And he’s a pretty one. He’s tall and he’s handsome and he’s tall and he’s handsome. Elderly church ladies who can’t tell you who the Vice-President is gaze adoringly up at Kelly, yearning to vote for him and to adopt him and to feed him apple pie. Goodbye Mo Udall, hello empty plastic Ken doll.

And he will be angry at those who question his ascendency and his indignant finger will raise up to poke the sky and he’ll thunder incoherent talk radio babble about freedom and liberty and liberty from freedom and FOX news and the right-wing machine will give him their cameras and their spotlights every chance they can.

He won’t represent you. He will represent the Tea Party fanatics, talk radio freaks, the hand-wringing evangelicals, the gun fondlers and the paranoid. The rest of you are just not Americans, you Marxists and Communists and baby killers and you can go to Hell for all he cares. He’ll terrify crowds with his tales of the liberal straw man, the wretched progressive sasquatch, the abominable secularists and he’ll shake the scarecrow and he’ll offer himself up as the great peasant’s torch just waiting to be pressed into battle against the fictitious kindling. Swaddled in the flag and clutching his sacred Constitution he’ll weep for America and prophesy a plague of socialism sweeping across the land that will rival the fire-in-the-sky visions of St. John. Evolution is a head-shaker and abortion is for harlots and those who are not with him are devils. The Word is Limbaugh and he is the word made flesh. Hearken to Jesse all ye Limbaugh Christians, the end times are upon us and the Messiah has a high school diploma. Reject him not, oh ye dittoheads. The Republicans have their man, their folksy Baron of bromides, their King of jingos, raised in the womb of the right-wing echo chamber. And their darling will have an army of fanatical feverish shock jocks who’ll trumpet at the Walls of Jericho for He who is Him everyday until Medicare, Social Security, Big Government, Taxes, the department of Education, our rotting public education system, and those diabolical regulators and the United Nations all come tumbling down.

At the final debate with Giffords in 2010 he was figuratively hoisted on the shoulders of believers with pitchforks and torches who cheered their Messiah with yahoos and slogans in lieu of palm fronds. How can one be civil when you’re debating an opponent who lies and smirks and makes George Bush sound look Stephen Hawking? His adherents cannot be moved by facts, they have found faith.

Sinclair Lewis had his Main Street Babbitt, we have Kelly. This Barber v. Kelly election will truly be an American spectacle rivaling the Scopes Monkey trial because its outcome will define us for years. Are we an easily frightened America aching for the shallow comfort of the primitive and the superstitious or are we the fearless America that questions, that embraces the future, that is modern and smart? Mark Twain and H.L.Mencken savaged their respective times as the gilded ages of carnival hawkers and tent evangelists and smiling shoeshine salesmen and gullible rubes willing to say yes to any smiling carpet-bagger. They are gazing up from Hell longing to see this show unfold. This summer the oldest American story shall repeat itself.


Even Republic denounces crony million dollar payouts to Mary Rose Wilcox

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Before Payouts, Prove Claims

Maricopa County Treasurer Charles “Hos” Hoskins wants something simple from the elected county officials who are looking for a big “pain and suffering” payout from taxpayers.

Prove it.

Verify that the claims these elected officials are seeking — in the case of Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, $975,000 — are justified.

Declaring he has no intention of serving as a “rubber stamp” for county administrators, Hoskins has asked County Attorney Bill Montgomery for a legal opinion regarding what, exactly, constitutes proper compensation to an elected county official who has been maltreated by other county officials, namely Sheriff Joe Arpaio and now-disbarred former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

It is a fair question. Hoskins must sign off on compensation for claims made by elected officials, and the huge claims filed by both Wilcox and Supervisor Don Stapley deserve close scrutiny.

Both officials, for example, argue that the infamous civil racketeering charge levied against them and other top county officials by Arpaio and Thomas were ruinous to their careers and reputations. Wilcox said the “intimidating” charge harmed her “emotionally and economically.”

Really? The infamous federal racketeering charges filed Dec. 1, 2009, were almost universally mocked and condemned from the moment they were filed. They were so outlandish that their filing became the anchor argument in the just-completed disbarment cases against Thomas and his top aide, Lisa Aubuchon.

It may be fair to ask what is more emotionally ruinous to the supervisor: The racketeering charges? Or Hoskins’ unexpected challenge to the big payday?

If those ludicrous racketeering charges were ruinous to anyone’s reputation, they were more so to Thomas’ than anyone else’s.

Should County Manager David Smith eventually opt to settle with Stapley, the issues facing the county treasurer become still more complex.

The November 2008 indictment of Stapley on 118 felony and misdemeanor counts was, by any fair estimation, an abuse of power by Thomas and Arpaio and a humiliating, unjust event for Stapley. But the 22 felony charges logged against him in December 2009 are another matter entirely. In that case, Stapley had raised about $140,000 to “run” for office for a national association of county officials, much of it raised from donors with business before the county. Without disclosing the contributions, Stapley voted on issues involving the donors and spent much of the donations on Hawaiian vacations and audio/visual equipment.

A county attorney who investigated the charges believed they had merit. How do those charges factor into the supervisor’s claim of pain and suffering at the hands of Arpaio and Thomas?

Hoskins is raising fair questions. Before cutting any more checks, let’s get some fair answers.

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Government Workers Deserve Paycheck Protection

By Darcy Olsen

If you’ve ever signed up for a magazine subscription, bought cable TV, or purchased something from an infomercial, you’ve probably encountered the automatic renewal process. After the initial subscription period ends, some companies continue charging you until you jump through myriad time-consuming hoops. And you may never get your money back.

This happens perpetually to Arizona workers, but the consequences are far greater. Year after year, unions take dues from the paychecks of government workers without asking them for permission. The unions then spend the millions of dollars raked in from automatic renewals to fund political warfare their own members oppose.

The Arizona Legislature is considering HB 2103, a bill that would require unions to get members’ permission every year before taking dues from their paychecks.

Under Arizona law, once you’ve joined a government-employee union, you’re never asked if you’d like to continue authorizing paycheck deductions. Big Labor diverts some of those deductions to political activism, which may directly conflict with your political beliefs and have little to do with your job.

For instance, the Service Employees International Union, which represents more than 1 million local and state government workers, public-school employees, and bus drivers nationally, spent much of 2010 organizing boycotts of Arizona in the wake of SB 1070, the immigration legislation overwhelmingly supported by Arizonans.

A half-dozen states have already passed similar paycheck-protection measures, including union strongholds Michigan and Ohio.

Within five years of the passage of Washington’s paycheck-protection law, voluntary paycheck deductions to the state’s teachers-union PAC had shrunk by 75 percent. Paycheck-protection legislation in Idaho and Utah yielded comparable results.

Paycheck-protection laws give government workers a greater voice and force unions to justify to their members why they should continue to subsidize union bosses’ political activism.

HB 2103 will restore the balance of power to working Arizonans – public employees and taxpayers alike.

Darcy Olsen is president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute.

Learn more:

Arizona State Legislature: HB 2103

Arizona Republic: Bill Would Stop Unions from Raiding Paychecks