Arizona Republic skips out on Obama-inconvenient story once again

Keeping up a long tradition, The Arizona Republic again is doing what it can to play good-puppy with the national media, this time joining most of them in avoiding the Susan Rice Story as if it had been tongue-washed by Donald Trump.

At least the ideological ringleader New York Times wrote something on Monday. The Arizona newspaper of record (of fun, new drink concoctions at Tempe bars!) has gone full Don Lemon/CNN on the story. It doesn’t exist on the Republic’s pages, thus opening the door for cartoonist Steve Benson to render another howlingly humorless cartoon about a Donald Trump story his publication refuses to cover.

At least the Times gave it something more than the A-16, middle-of-dull-story treatment today. President Trump said some stuff that was sufficiently over the top for Times reporter Maggie Haberman (who reportedly sat on the original Rice story for at least two days) to, yes, turn it into another “Crazy Trump Cites No Evidence” story. She quotes Rice declaring her innocence and, well, that’s that then, isn’t it?

The rigid, determined lack of curiosity on the part of these reporters is the real stunner here. Dare I say it? Sad!

It’s not like there isn’t evidence for Haberman to sift through if she was so inclined. Which she clearly is not.

Two weeks ago, Rice said “I know nothing about this” when asked about Devin Nunes’ allegation that Trump campaign aides and transition-team members may have been swept up in surveillance by U.S. spy agencies.

Yet in her interview Tuesday with Andrea Mitchell (for whom the phrase “follow-up question” put to a sympathetic subject constitutes a gross impertinence), Rice changed that line completely, posturing as an “investigator” who just had to get to the facts behind… President-elect Trump’s foreign-policy plans. And here I thought the media were consumed with liars of late. Only certain ones, apparently.

The Obamas have done everything to advertise their willingness to abuse surveillance powers, short of posting a neon-sign declaring “Get Yer Hot Russia-Trump Tips Here!”

Wait a minute. They were telling people to “Get yer hot Russia-Trump tips here!

For no apparent reason, President Obama loosened the rules on sharing surveillance intel a week before he left office, rendering the profuse leaks we have seen these last five months a given. His administration did almost exactly this same thing as what Rice is accused of doing now when they snooped on members of Congress during the Iran nuke negotiations.

There really is no professional explanation for this lack of curiosity beyond abject Trump-hate. Haberman is the one who is supposed to be digging up evidence, not the one whining that Trump isn’t serving any up to her.

Do you suppose anyone is ever going to ask Susan Rice what the national-security imperative was for focusing a months-long investigation on Trump communications? Or why none of the intel reports on Trump team activities that Nunes saw had anything to do with Russia? What was Inspector Rice inspecting, then?

Don’t hold your breath for it.

(Wild guess: Now that Haberman and the Times have broken ground with a story that turns the Susan Rice-abuse-of-power story into another Mad Hare Trump story, that’s something we may see in tomorrow’s home-town paper.)

 

 

 

Now, Becky….

A Letter to the Editor that include the phrase, “I am outraged…” is a letter from a zealot.

Right or Left, they all arise from the same crop of pods (yes, I did watch “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” last night on Turner Classic Movies, thank you). One arrived from a Person of the Outraged Left in The Republic today.

“I am outraged that our senator, Jeff Flake, during his time to question the Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch would ask: ‘Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck?” wrote Republic reader Ms. Becky (full name withheld because maybe she’s taken a pill and calmed down by now).

You know, it was an odd question for Sen. Flake to ask. But with all the purple-faced fake outrage being directed by the Left against Gorsuch (the worst? the absolute worst? oh, yesssss: Right here), a little silliness doesn’t hurt.

Flake in fact has indicated just how seriously he takes Gorsuch’s nomination. And his seriousness won’t please Ms. Becky.

But here is the thing: After four days of Senate hearings with this elegant, intelligent constitutionalist, a reasonable person — Ms. Becky in her present state of pique clearly excluded — simply cannot end a Letter to the Editor with this, and not be pegged as a Perpetually Outraged Pod Person:

“Gorsuch is not fit to sit on the Supreme Court. He must be opposed.”

Arizona Republic: Poll shows Arizona marijuana-legalization campaign could fail if voted on today

Arizona Republic: Poll shows Arizona marijuana-legalization campaign could fail if voted on today

As seen on AZCentral.com

Yvonne Wingett Sanchez
April 20, 2016

If a vote were taken today, Arizonans could reject an initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana by adults, according to a poll released by the campaign opposing the plan.

The survey shows 43 percent of likely voters support legalizing marijuana for recreational use while 49 percent would vote against it. About 8 percent of likely voters were undecided. The telephone survey has a margin of error of about 4 percent.

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy released the poll on the eve of 4/20, a day on which the drug culture celebrates and consumes cannabis.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is gathering signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot that would allow people age 21 and older to carry up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants in a home occupied by at least two people, without obtaining licenses. It would also create a distribution system similar to Colorado’s, where licensed businesses produce and sell marijuana, which would be taxed.

Barrett Marson, spokesman for the legalization campaign, said of the poll results: “We look forward to a vigorous campaign informing voters of the benefits of ending the failed policy of prohibition. By regulating and taxing marijuana, we benefit our schools and keep it out of the hands of teens.”

The poll, released to The Arizona Republic on Tuesday, shows voters could narrowly oppose the measure. According to the survey of 500 likely voters conducted April 11 through April 14:

  • When asked if they would be more or less likely to support the ballot measure if they knew recreational marijuana would be taxed at 15 percent and the funds would go to public health and education, 50 percent said they would be more likely to support the measure, while 29 percent said they would be less likely to support it. Eighteen percent said the tax would not really change their decision, while 4 percent were undecided and 1 percent wouldn’t answer the question.
  • About 19 percent said they would be more likely to support legalization in Arizona after being told teen use of the drug here is 70 percent higher than the national average. About 53 percent said they would be less likely to vote for the measure, 21 percent said they still held the same view, 6 percent were undecided and 1 percent wouldn’t answer the question.
  • Asked if they knew the measure would allow growth of up to 12 plants in their homes and allow them to smoke in their backyard, 31 percent said they would be more likely to vote for it, 52 percent would be less likely, 13 percent said their opinion remained about the same, 3 percent were undecided and 1 percent refused to answer.

Of those who responded, 39 percent were Republican, 33 percent were Democrat, 28 percent were independent, and 1 percent didn’t know their affiliation. About 36 percent were 65 or older, 21 percent were 55-64 years old, 17 percent were 45-54 years old, 13 percent were 35-44 years old and 13 percent were 18-34 years old.

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy argues legalization could upend decades of policies surrounding substance-abuse prevention, law-enforcement and health. They argue legalization could lead to the abuse of marijuana and negatively impact the workplace.

The group’s leaders, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk and radio host Seth Leibsohn, say legalization could lead to increased incidents of impaired driving and lead to accidental ingestion by youth who may find marijuana-laced cookies and candies enticing without knowing they contain the drug.

“Advocates for recreational marijuana argue that legalization is inevitable, but this poll shows it’s just not true,” Leibsohn said in a statement. “Arizonans are beginning to understand that today’s marijuana is not the marijuana of the past. It’s a great deal more potent — practically a different drug — and is made attractive to youth in seemingly innocuous candies like gummy bears.”

Campaign officials argue prohibition of the drug has been a failure, and it’s in the public’s best interest to try to regulate and tax it.

Taxation of the proposed program would pay the state’s cost of implementing and enforcing the initiative. Forty percent of the taxes on marijuana would be directed to the Department of Education for construction, maintenance and operation costs, including salaries of K-12 teachers. Another 40 percent would be set aside for full-day kindergarten programs. Twenty percent would go to the state Department of Health Services for unspecified uses.

A state Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control would regulate the “cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation and sale of marijuana” and would give local governments the authority to regulate and ban marijuana stores. Current medical-marijuana dispensary owners would get first dibs on licenses for the stores.

The Links between Arizona Media and Leftist Non-Profits Attacking Dark Money

There’s a story in the Arizona Republic today about [queue eerie music]… “dark money.”

LeftsTangledWebIt is basically a hit piece on conservative Sean Noble and gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey. The underlying theme is that those “evil” Koch Brothers are trying to buy the election here in Arizona because organizations that they have supported are spending money on political ads.

Because I worked for one of these organizations – which are 501(c)3 and (c)4 organizations – I am very familiar with why donors who give to these are protected and not subject to campaign finance laws. There is a good reason for that and you can ask other organizations like NAACP or AIDs research non-profits why.

What the article doesn’t tell you is that the term “dark money” was coined by a non-profit organization called the Sunshine Foundation. The biggest donor to the Sunshine Foundation is another progressive organization called the Knight Foundation. That organization receives and gives to progressive causes. They also give to journalism work like the Cronkite School at ASU and have members of the Morrison Public Policy Institute at ASU sitting on its advisory board

I imagine if I dug a little deeper I would probably discover that they have also supported work associated with the Arizona Republic. The lesson in all this is that there are two sides. You just have to decide which side you’re on.

Top Journalists who serve on Soros-funded Boards of Directors or Advisers

Despicable Steve Benson

First, kudos to Greg Patterson for catching this one and posting on EspressoPundit. (Glad to see you’re back posting on a regular basis.)

I admit, I don’t run to the Arizona Republic first thing in the morning to read what the left-of-center media is disseminating so I missed this horribly despicable cartoon by Steve Benson that ran on May 10th.

SteveBensonCartoon

It’s probably a good thing that I’m no longer the Communications Director at the Arizona Republican Party because I would have had a hard time letting this one go until Benson and management both apologized AND Benson was summarily terminated.

For starters, Benson dragged politics into a horrifying criminal situation by showing just how insensitive the left can be injecting their political agenda into a criminal matter. By Benson’s logic, abortion should have been safe and accessible for Ariel Castro to continue covering up his evil crimes – “destroying the evidence.”

Secondly, Benson is so far removed from the real world of what happens among conservative people of faith who personally put their time, talent and treasure to work helping women in real-world crappy situations through crisis pregnancy centers, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, foster care, the list goes on. Benson, we really do put our money where our mouth is.

This type of trash by Steve Benson  is wrong, beyond civility, insensitive and even evil. He needs to go away permanently where he can no longer pollute our political discourse.

Phoenix City Councilman Speaks out on Phoenix Food Tax Repeal

Sal DiCiccioPolice and fire cuts were a hoax.

Budget and research numbers released this week show $107 million doled out for pay raises and bonuses.

Not one police officer was hired.

Pay raises could have hired 272 more police officer protecting your family. Average total compensation jumps to over $105,000 per person for over 14,500 employees. Yes you read that correctly. The average cost per employee is over $105,000 for more than 14,000 employees. Mayor Stanton must follow through on his promise to abolish food tax by April, 2013.

No more scare tactics. No more delays. No more phony and tired stories about how police and fire will be cut. I’m not going to let this go.

Promises must be kept.

Read more by Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts – “Is Greg Stanton waffling on food tax repeal?”

Speaker Andy Tobin Rebuffs Partisan Attacks by the Arizona Republic

Only the Arizona Republic would allow one of their employees to disrespect public servants, attempt to justify that abuse and arrogantly announce they must be right if they angered people on both sides of some conservative index. To top it off, when the House Director of Communications asked their editor why the sole recipients of the attacks were Republican legislators, he responded, “She (Laurie Roberts) only focused on Republicans because Democrats are not in power and are irrelevant at the Capitol.” I contend that if Democrat legislators are so irrelevant, why is the Republic giving them editorial space or endorsing any of them?

Although Ms. Roberts may not care for many lawmakers, she certainly feels that at least 10 Republicans earned their places on her attack list. I would like to point out to her that most of the legislators that made her list supported additional funding for K-3 education, State Universities, Child Protective Services, the seriously mentally ill, TANF (Temporary Assist for needy families), Tourism, UofA Medical School (Phoenix Campus) and DPS.

They can also take credit for three years of balanced budgets, paying down state debt, improving Arizona’s credit rating, creating a rainy day fund and making Arizona the number one state in America for business startups. The Republican led legislature contributed to the growth of 54,000 non-farm jobs in last 12 months, operated under budget projections for this year by over $300 million, developed tort reform, pension reform, created the Arizona Commerce Authority and can be credited with many other worthwhile and significant achievements.

Ms. Roberts should be ashamed of her rancor, vitriol and overtly left leaning partisanship. She seems to have forgotten that in this session alone, two House Democrats resigned for ethics issues, one is currently under FBI investigation and no Democrats voted to support any of the above achievements I mentioned. That’s not “kooky”, that’s just incompetent.

Honestly, the only group of “Kooks” worth mentioning this session is the management team of the Arizona Republic. They should be maligned for allowing and encouraging this unfettered verbal abuse of elected public servants who are simply serving the people whom elected them. I accept the fact that we don’t all agree on every piece of legislation and that some members have constituents who would like to have their issues heard above others. However, I do not accept legislators being attacked by “journalists” who enjoy the blessing of their management to abuse and disregard their duty to properly inform the public.

Andy Tobin
Speaker, Arizona House of Representatives

Republic knocks down “lies” from Stanton and his supporters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 20, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Gullett says ad should be removed 

PHOENIX – The Arizona Republic today completely knocked-down statements made by career-politician Greg Stanton, and now by an independent group supporting him. The Republic went so far as to call the claims “lies.”

Wes Gullett is calling on the ad to be removed and for Stanton to stop deceiving the public.

The statements, used in a television ad paid for by an independent group supporting Stanton, originated in press releases and public statements made by Stanton. And they are repeated in a mail piece being paid for by Stanton himself.

“There just is no other way to say it: In asserting that Gullett lobbied the Phoenix council for a $100 million tax to benefit the arts, the ad lies. It also contends Gullett voted on the Phoenix Planning and Zoning Commission on behalf of a client, yet another lie,” the Republic wrote.

The editorial continues: “As The Republic’s Lynh Bui reported earlier this month, however, the Stanton campaign in August issued news releases alleging some of the same claims asserted in the TV ads funded by Phoenix Citizens United.”

“These outrageous claims have now been repeatedly knocked-down by independent journalists,” said Wes Gullett. “It’s time for Greg Stanton and his allies to stop deceiving the public and stick to the facts. Intentionally lying to the voters is not a good sign of how someone will operate as Mayor.”

###

Wes Gullett: City forced to explain $200 million in unaccounted funds

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 13, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Republic also debunks claims in attack ad, erroneous Stanton press releases

PHOENIX – Phoenix city bureaucrats have been forced to explain where more than $200 million in unaccounted taxpayer dollars are being spent in response to questions raised by Mayoral candidate Wes Gullett.

A report in this morning’s Arizona Republic includes an alarming discovery that the city has budgeted a 10 percent increase in spending – $230 million – despite claims that the budget would only increase by 1 percent. The city was forced to explain how this slush fund will be spent, only after Gullett raised the issue.

Amazingly, Stanton defends this practice and the status quo, calling Phoenix “not perfect – but well run” in a press release today.

“We can’t continue to play this shell game with taxpayer money,” Gullett said. “This is the game Greg Stanton played for nine years on the City Council and would continue to play as Mayor. It’s actually frightening that someone who wants to be Mayor would just believe everything city bureaucrats put in front of him and refuse to ask any tough questions.”

The story also outlines in detail Wes Gullett’s plan to immediately repeal the food tax and pay for it. Gullett outlines specific savings for finding more than the $50 million needed to repeal that tax. Stanton continues to find excuses to keep the tax on the books for at least another two years, removing money from the economy and hurting families who are struggling to get by.

“I’ve put forward specific plans to get rid of the food tax and pay for it,” Gullett said. “Greg Stanton refuses to because he needs this tax to pay for his big government agenda.”

DEBUNKING AD
The Republic also debunks an attack ad against Gullett that is airing on television based on erroneous press releases by the Stanton campaign.

The story knocks down an oft-repeated claim by Stanton that Gullett is lobbying for a $100 million tax for the arts. “Gullett isn’t lobbying for the tax,” the story states.

Additionally, the story highlights that Gullett never worked for the Phoenix Association of Realtors, despite claims by the Stanton campaign that he did.

In fact, the only candidate in this race who has voted to benefit a client he was being paid by was Greg Stanton, as reported by the Republic in a separate 2007 investigation. According to the story, Stanton actually voted eight times to benefit his client, and even used his office and taxpayer resources to profit – a violation of state law.

“Stanton also used city email, newsletters and meetings to talk up partnerships among Phoenix, the Maricopa colleges and Arizona universities,” the Republic reported. While getting paid by his client, Stanton made sure to put himself in positions where he could have influence over pet college causes. He chaired the council’s education committee and sat on the panel advising GateWay Community College.

It’s not clear whether Stanton ever stopped these practices before quitting his job on the Council. Once caught, Stanton actually defended the unethical practices, despite an outside expert telling the Republic, he was “not acting impartially.”

At a recent debate, Stanton admitted the violations.

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Senator Lori Klein’s Statement Regarding Handgun Incident

The following statement was issued by State Senator Lori Klein regarding the allegation that she intentionally pointed a handgun at Arizona Republic reporter Richard Ruelas on January 10, 2011:

Thank you for your inquiry, but I will not be giving any more interviews on this topic. It makes little sense to contribute to a media feeding frenzy that is driven by a few individuals who never miss the opportunity to advance an anti-2nd Amendment agenda.

What I will do is recap the events so that you can draw your own conclusions based on the events as they occurred.

I was asked to show the reporter my weapon so that they could take pictures of it. I ensured that the chamber was clear before displaying the weapon. That is basic gun safety and something that I do instinctively, just like virtually every gun owner.

The photographer, who was behind me at the time, asked me to show him the laser sight and I did so, turning it on and shining it on the wall in front of me (away from the photographer). During this demonstration, the reporter came and sat down in the sofa in front of me, placing himself in the line of the laser sight.

He noticed the light, then I noticed the light, then I turned it off.

I apologized and let him know that he was safe because I keep my finger out of the trigger guard. Again, that is basic gun safety. If he was uncomfortable as a result of this, he did not indicate any discomfort at that time. But I have learned several lessons that I will never forget. First, it doesn’t matter if a reporter or anyone else asks, I won’t be showing anyone my gun. It may help them take a better picture but my gun isn’t a fashion statement or accessory, it is a life-saving tool to keep me and my family safe. Second, if anyone wants to see a demonstration of any of my gun’s features, it will have to take place at a gun range. Such a demonstration would be of far greater value to them in any case as it would allow them to see more, do more, and better experience the enjoyment and security that hundreds of thousands of Arizonans enjoy as a result of our Second Amendment freedoms.

I hope this helps to answer any questions you have on the matter.