Monthly Archives: January 2018

Rep. Don ‘Tequila’ Shooter to be censured for sexual harassment? It should be expulsion (Updated)

A House investigation finally confirmed yesterday that there is “credible evidence” Republican Rep. Don “Tequila” Shooter violated a sexual harassment policy and created a hostile working environment at the Capitol. Well no shit.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Rep. Shooter sexually harassed women, created hostile work environment, investigator finds:

A House investigation confirmed today that there is “credible evidence” Republican Rep. Don Shooter violated a sexual harassment policy and created a hostile working environment at the Capitol.

After the allegations against Shooter surfaced, House Speaker J.D. Mesnard suspended Shooter from his powerful position as the chairman of the House Appropriations committee.

Mesnard said today Shooter will be permanently removed from all committee assignments immediately. Mesnard also said he will seek to censure Shooter for his behavior.

Excuse me? I’m sorry, but the remedy here is one of only two options: Rep. Shooter can either voluntarily resign his seat, or the House should vote for expulsion of a member. A censure is merely a slap on the wrist with no serious consequences.

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David v. the Goliath of the dark money ‘Kochtopus’ and lawless Tea-Publicans on Proposition 305

First, the good news … because you really could use some good news these days.

The “Kochtopus” network trying to prevent the citizens referendum of the “vouchers on steroids” bill to privatize public education from appearing on the 2018 ballot lost in court on the first round. The trial judge dismissed the case saying “there is no legal basis for the challenge.” Dismissals for failure to state a claim are awful hard to overturn on appeal.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Voucher measure can go to ballot, judge rules:

A judge has refused to block voters from getting the last word on whether they want to expand a system of vouchers that uses public funds to send children to private and parochial schools.

In a six-page ruling made public Tuesday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Margaret Mahoney ruled that the law in effect last year when the referendum was filed did not give individuals the right to challenge petition drives. She pointed out it was repealed in 2015.

Mahoney acknowledged that lawmakers did vote to reinstate the individual challenge law last year. And that change took effect on Aug. 9, 2017.

But the judge pointed out that the petitions demanding a public vote were turned in on Aug. 8. Quite simply, Mahoney said, there is no legal basis for the challenge.

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Billy Kovacs Outlines 5-Point Plan to Grow Arizona’s Economy

Democratic Congressional Candidate Billy Kovacs

Democratic Congressional Candidate Billy Kovacs

Democratic candidate Billy Kovacs outlined a detailed plan for how he would grow Arizona’s economy as Tucson’s Congressman.

“We can grow our economy without giving massive tax breaks for corporations,” he said at a recent meeting of the Democrats of Greater Tucson.

Among the five serious candidates, Kovacs is the only one emphasizing the economy in Congressional District 2. As Bill Clinton pointed out in 1992, winning elections is about “the economy, stupid!”

In a nutshell, his plan focuses on:

  • Education – creating an educated workforce.
  • Renewable resources – solar energy and energy storage.
  • Public transportation – expanding the Tucson streetcar in all directions and preserving Amtrak in Arizona.
  • Infrastructure – creating millions of jobs with a $1 trillion investment over 10 years.
  • Immigration – creating a path to citizenship for 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants.

“We need to attract companies and workers to Arizona, and I’m talking about smaller companies that want to live in Arizona because of our natural resources and trained personnel from the university — and not for tax breaks,” he said.

Education

According to Kovacs, the US Department of Education is gutting public education with budget cuts to after-school programs, teacher training, Pell Grants, literacy programs and even school lunches. He calls for:
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Recommended reading in The Atlantic

Franklin Foer at The Atlantic has a must-read lengthy biography of the shady career of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, the now indicted Paul Manafort. The Plot Against America.

This article is far too dense in rich detail to try to highlight key points, so here is just a snippet from the article to encourage you to read it — you can bet someone on the Special Counsel’s team already has:

By the early months of 2016, Manafort was back in greater Washington, his main residence and the place where he’d begun his career as a political consultant and lobbyist. But his attempts at rehabilitation—of his family life, his career, his sense of self-worth—continued. He began to make a different set of calls. As he watched the U.S. presidential campaign take an unlikely turn, he saw an opportunity, and he badly wanted in. He wrote Donald Trump a crisp memo listing all the reasons he would be an ideal campaign consigliere—and then implored mutual friends to tout his skills to the ascendant candidate.

Shortly before the announcement of his job inside Trump’s campaign, Manafort touched base with former colleagues to let them know of his professional return. He exuded his characteristic confidence, but they surprised him with doubts and worries. Throughout his long career, Manafort had advised powerful men—U.S. senators and foreign supreme commanders, imposing generals and presidents-for-life. He’d learned how to soothe them, how to bend their intransigent wills with his calmly delivered, diligently researched arguments. But Manafort simply couldn’t accept the wisdom of his friends, advice that he surely would have dispensed to anyone with a history like his own—the imperative to shy away from unnecessary attention.

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Trump refuses to impose new sanctions on Russia despite ongoing cyber war attacks against the U.S.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in an interview with the BBC on Monday that he expects Russia to try to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections. The director of the CIA expects Russia will try to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections:

“I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that,” Pompeo told BBC reporter Gordon Corera. “But I’m confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election (and) that we will push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won’t be great.”

Pompeo also told the BBC that, despite some cooperation on anti-terrorism efforts, he views Russia as an adversary, stressing that they are still trying to influence the US and Europe.

Despite the fact that the U.S. is still under cyber war attacks from a hostile Russian government, Putin’s Puppet in the White House on Monday refused to impose new sanctions on Russia that Congress had overwhelmingly approved. Trump Administration Won’t Impose Sanctions on Buyers of Russian Arms:

The Trump administration announced Monday that it had decided against imposing any sanctions on countries that buy Russian military equipment, saying that a new law was already deterring billions of dollars in such purchases.

The law required that sanctions be imposed against large purchasers of Russian arms, but it granted exceptions for a variety of reasons. The administration explained the exceptions it was citing to members of Congress in a classified briefing on Monday.

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In unprecedented move, GOP House Intelligence Committee jeopardizes national security to aid Donald Trump in obstruction of justice

Donald Trump is engaged in a slow-motion “Saturday Night Massacre” purge to get to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He does not necessarily have to fire Mueller, but he can put him on an island by replacing everyone in the chain of command around him with yes-men who will deny Mueller resources, or deny his requests for subpoenas of documents or witnesses, etc., to effectively impede his investigation.

As I pointed out in a link to Foreign Policy yesterday, it reported on an organized campaign to discredit top DOJ and FBI leadership, expressly so that they would lose power in acting as witnesses to support Comey.

President Donald Trump pressed senior aides last June to devise and carry out a campaign to discredit senior FBI officials after learning that those specific employees were likely to be witnesses against him as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to two people directly familiar with the matter.

* * *

The FBI officials Trump has targeted are Andrew McCabe, the current deputy FBI director and who was briefly acting FBI director after Comey’s firing; Jim Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff and senior counselor; and James Baker, formerly the FBI’s general counsel. Those same three officials were first identified as possible corroborating witnesses for Comey in a June 7 article in Vox. Comey confirmed in congressional testimony the following day that he confided in the three men.

FBI Director Wray replaced Jim Rybicki last week. Baker was reassigned in December. And now McCabe is gone.

Trump has previously attempted to force Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, and to force Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to resign, who is now the target of the #ReleaseTheMemo smear campaign from Rep. Devin Nunes, FAUX News (aka Trump TV) and Russian intelligence bots. Russia-linked Twitter accounts are working overtime to help Devin Nunes and WikiLeaks.

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