Daily Archives: December 26, 2017

Salt Lake Tribune delivers a lump of coal to Sen. Orrin Hatch on Christmas Day

I have always considered Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah one of the smarmiest politicians who has ever served in Congress. His recent fluffing of Donald Trump was gag-inducing:

Screen Shot 2017-12-26 at 12.36.27 PM“This president hasn’t even been in office for even a year and look at all the things that he’s been able to get done by sheer will in many ways,” he said. “I just hope that we all get behind him every way we can and we’ll get this country turned around in ways that will benefit the whole world, but above all benefit our people.”

He said Trump, “who I love and appreciate so much,” is on track for one of the greatest presidencies in history.

“We’re going to make this the greatest presidency that we’ve seen,” he said, adding. “Maybe ever.”

Apparently this was not just too much for us, but for the editors of the Salt Lake Tribune as well.

The paper does its own version of Time‘s “person of the year.” The editors select the Utahn of the year, the label being assigned to “the Utahn who, over the past 12 months, has done the most. Has made the most news. Has had the biggest impact. For good or for ill.”

The Tribune editors delivered a lump of coal to Sen. Hatch on Christmas day. Why Orrin Hatch is Utahn of the Year:

The selection of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch as the 2017 Utahn of the Year has little to do with the fact that, after 42 years, he is the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history, that he has been a senator from Utah longer than three-fifths of the state’s population has been alive.

It has everything to do with recognizing:

  • Hatch’s part in the dramatic dismantling of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.
  • His role as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee in passing a major overhaul of the nation’s tax code.
  • His utter lack of integrity that rises from his unquenchable thirst for power.

Each of these actions stands to impact the lives of every Utahn, now and for years to come. Whether those Utahns approve or disapprove of those actions has little consequence in this specific recognition. Only the breadth and depth of their significance matters.

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Campaign to Outlaw Dirty Money with a “Right to Know” Initiative

Dark Money is so prevalent that it helped defeat preschool scholarships in Tucson. The Koch brothers’ front organization “Americans for Prosperity” teamed up with local Republicans to kill Prop. 204. And that’s not all.

Governor Doug Ducey was elected in 2014 with $3.5 million in spending by six dark-money groups, and he signed a law in 2016 that loosens state control over anonymous campaign donations. Ducey regularly visits the Koch brothers to get his marching orders and to collect more anonymous cash.

On the Arizona Corporation Commission, Republicans Doug Little and Tom Forese are suspected of taking $3.2 million in “dark money” from Arizona Public Service Co. to elect them in 2014.

How much have the right-wing Kochs and power companies spent locally and statewide to sabotage Arizona’s elections? We may know one day if a state constitutional “right to know” amendment is adopted.

Don’t call it dark money

To expose how dark money is spent in Arizona, former Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard is spearheading a campaign to amend the state constitution that will expose any donor who contributes at least $10,000 into any campaign.

Without the measure, there is no way to find out how is behind commercials, yard signs and phone calls paid for by the Kochs and other right-wing groups. Many are “social welfare” fronts created under 501(c)(4) of the federal tax code and don’t need to disclose their donors

“Don’t call it ‘dark money,’” says campaign strategist Bob Grossfeld. “It’s dirty money. These donors follow a procedure that’s identical to what criminals and drug dealers follow to launder money. The purpose is to hide the source. That’s because the donors are cowards. If they weren’t, they’d step out in public to say ‘I oppose this.’ They don’t do that, they want to hide.”

Arizona has become ground zero for dirty money since the US Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case in 2010 that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend all they want in political campaigns. Anonymous interests spent at least $15 million trying to get their favored candidates installed in Arizona’s state and legislative offices in  2014.

“These people are sitting in the shadows, targeting good ideas or fostering bad ideas. What the legislature did to expand school vouchers was a Koch brothers operation,” he says.

The “right to know” public initiative must be approved by voters in November 2018, and the campaign is working to collect the 225,963 signatures needed by July 5 to qualify for the statewide ballot.

Grossfeld says that a poll taken before the 2016 election showed that 85% of voters want to stop dirty money contributions. “That cuts across all party lines,” he says. “We know the support is there if we can get it only ballot. That means we need a whole lot of volunteers.”

Your can visit the Outlaw Dirty Money Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/outlawdirtymoney, or contact Bill Elliott at info@outlawdirtymoney.com and 602 770-6735

This article originally appeared in the Democratic Party LD9 newsletter.

Left behind by Congress until January 19

You may have noticed that we did not have a government shutdown for Christmas because Tea-Publicans in Congress agreed to a “clean” Continuing Resolution” (CR) to continue funding programs at current levels until January 19, when the real fight will take place.

Congress kicked the can down the road on a number of controversial issues that Congress had said it wanted to resolve before the end of the year. Who gets left behind in the spending bill:

Keeping the government funded was nearly an afterthought after Republicans celebrated passage of their historic tax bill and ditched town for the holiday season.

But in the rush to close out a year of turmoil in Washington, Congress left disaster aid, Dreamers and pensioners on the back burner, and gave only a temporary reprieve to children’s health insurance and spying powers. Even though lawmakers stripped out most additions to the spending bill, GOP leaders scrambled for days to clear it.

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Trump inspired Christmas tune parodies

The Russia collusion investigation into Donald Trump has inspired a few new Christmas tune parodies this year that people have forwarded to me (I know that there are more out there on the Internet).

The first is a remake of the children’s Christmas tune “I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” Listen to “I Want a Papadopoulos For Christmas” from Rocky Mountain Mike.

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The second is a remake of Eartha Kitt’s classic “Santa Baby” which most of you are probably more familiar with by Madonna. This is a sing-along “Mueller Baby” which is witty and fun. My favorite. Watch the video.

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Rocky Mountain Mike also has a parody of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Listen to “The Twelve Days of Trumpness.”

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If you want to draw attention to other worthy Trump inspired Christmas tune parodies, post a link in the comments.