Daily Archives: May 2, 2018

GOP House Freedom Caucus members are accessories to a conspiracy for obstruction of justice

Members of the GOP House Freedom Caucus — led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a Trump confidant — have been engaged in disputes with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over the Justice Department’s response to congressional requests for documents about the decisions and behavior of federal law enforcement officials working on the Russia investigation and other federal probes, including the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s email server.

The purpose of these members of Congress is to run interference for the Trump administration with the Special Counsel, and to “investigate the investigators” to undermine public confidence in the DOJ nd FBI. In short, they are accessories to a conspiracy for the obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation.

Congress is not entitled to review evidence or work product in an ongoing criminal investigation by the Department of Justice. DOJ Rules provide:

1-7.400 – Disclosure of Information Concerning Ongoing Criminal, Civil, or Administrative Investigations

  • Any communication by DOJ personnel with a member of the media relating to a pending investigation or case must be approved in advance by the appropriate United States Attorney or Assistant Attorney General, except in emergency circumstances. For administrative investigations not overseen by a U.S. Attorney or Assistant Attorney General, approval must be obtained from the Assistant Attorney General for Administration. Where the investigation is being handled by the Office of the Inspector General, approval must come from the Inspector General.
  • DOJ generally will not confirm the existence of or otherwise comment about ongoing investigations. Except as provided in subparagraph C of this section, DOJ personnel shall not respond to questions about the existence of an ongoing investigation or comment on its nature or progress before charges are publicly filed.
  • When the community needs to be reassured that the appropriate law enforcement agency is investigating a matter, or where release of information is necessary to protect the public safety, comments about or confirmation of an ongoing investigation may be necessary, subject to the approval requirement in subparagraph A.

[updated April 2018]

Nevertheless, DOJ has previously provided Congress with hundreds of texts between ex-Mueller team agent Peter Strzok and alleged mistress Lisa Page in pursuit of a right-wing conspiracy theory. And DOJ recently turned over redacted Comey memos to congressional committees.

Within minutes after Republicans received these investigation materials, they were selectively leaked to the media. AP obtains Comey memos on Trump interactions. Congressional Republicans have not demonstrated that they are acting within the confines of legitimate congressional oversight, or even in good faith.

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It looks like the First Chapter in Increasing Education Funding is not quite finished yet.

It appears the teacher walkout will continue into tomorrow (maybe Friday as well)  as the Legislature was unable to pass a budget as originally planned. State Representative Townsend, a foe for increasing Education Funding, indicated that the budget may not pass until Saturday. Educators and their supporters will be back at the capital and other locations tomorrow and remain there until the legislature completes its responsibilities.

While the budget process lingers, please take time to review the amendments Democrats are offering to the budget that affect education. These include measures to “cap” class sizes, give raises to support staff, and reducing the counselor to student ratio.

Finally, also review the other budget provisions in education that are being debated such as a “repeal and replace” of the voucher measure or giving twenty percent of the University increased budget to two Koch Brothers-sponsored centers (one at Arizona State University and the other at the University of Arizona).

Please contact your legislators and let them know your views on these budget priorities for our K-12 schools and state universities.

Please remain patient. This is the first step in ensuring that all so children in the state get a first-rate quality education. This is just a short delay that will hopefully be over in 48 hours. Afterward, the educators will be back at school and the movement to increase education funding will take the shape of electing candidates in November that want to properly fund schools and working to pass measures like the Invest in Education Ballot Initiative.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2018/05/02/arizona-teacher-redfored-walkout-really-end-thursday-legislature-budget/574251002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2018/05/02/arizona-house-take-up-back-door-voucher-expansion-bill-today/573499002/

https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2018/05/01/asu-ua-koch-brothers-economic-freedom-schools-arizona-budget/570667002/

A New Chapter Dawns on the Fight For Education Funding

The leaders of the Educator Walkout (Red for Ed and the Arizona Education Association) signaled that the teachers and support staff would return to the classroom on Thursday if the Governor signs a budget that provides a raise to teachers and monies to go towards support staff and other urgent school needs.

Is this the perfect solution to Arizona’s school funding woes? No, this is simply a down payment on solving the needs our Public Schools have in providing a first-rate quality education to the state’s children.

With the closing on this chapter where the walkout brought the Governor and legislature to agree to a teacher raise and additional monies for schools, a new one will start to be written on Thursday as educators return to the classroom.

There is a ballot initiative to fund education through taxing high-income earners that must be debated and voted on.

There is an election in November where voters will have a chance to choose Progressive Candidates in a new Superintendent for Public Instruction, a new Governor, and many new legislators. If chosen by the people, these public servants will continue what started this last week and fully funding our schools by following the ballot initiative, closing corporate tax loopholes, or both. They will chart a new course to take our schools into the Twenty-First Century where our students are actively engaged and challenged in safe and modern buildings with educators who are well compensated.

These future opportunities for the children and their schools are in the next chapter that still needs to be written. It can not happen without the people banding together to help to write it so please remember to participate, engage in the process, and vote this November. Nothing can happen without you.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2018/05/01/redfored-teachers-stay-legislature-debate-arizona-budget/569229002/

 

 

Governor Ducey’s school safety plan gutted by Republicans beholden to the gun lobby

We all knew this was going to happen. Arizona Senate waters down school safety bill:

State senators voted Tuesday for what was crafted as a comprehensive school and public safety plan — but not before Republicans removed a key provision designed to take guns away from dangerous people.

SB 1519, given preliminary approval on a voice vote, still allows police to ask a judge to have someone brought in for mental evaluation. And judges remain able to order temporary removal of weapons if there is “clear and convincing evidence” the person is a danger to self or others.

But Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa (this asshole again) removed language that would have allowed family members, school administrators, probation officers, behavioral health professionals, roommates and “significant others” to go to court to seek what are known as Severe Threat Orders of Protection.

This amendment guts this bill, period,” said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson.

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What’s up with the Patriot Movement support for Governor Ducey?

Earlier this week, Governor Doug Ducey faced a backlash for photo with Patriot Movement AZ group:

While appearing at the Mohave County Republican Party’s Patriot Dinner Saturday at the Mohave County Fairgrounds, Gov. Ducey posed with members of Patriot Movement AZ, a small but vocal activist group known for bringing guns and yelling at people at events in metro Phoenix.

DuceyPatriots

In the photos, group members made the hand sign for OK, which in recent years has been called a symbol of white supremacy, although the Anti-Defamation League has said that is a hoax.

Patriot Movement AZ is a group comprised of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim activists. Two women affiliated with the group Patriot Movement AZ (PMAZ) were arrested Thursday, March 15, on felony charges with a possible hate crimes enhancement for an incident earlier this month at a mosque in Tempe, Arizona. Kids in tow, women mock Muslims inside Tempe mosque; Two women tied to Patriot Movement AZ arrested after incident at Arizona mosque.

Patriot Movement AZ members swiftly distanced themselves from the women following the mosque controversy: A group representative at the time said one woman was “never part of our group” and the other was “removed and publicly denounced when we were made aware of this awful act.”

Antone said the group had warned police about one of the women prior to the mosque controversy. The Republic has requested records to confirm that report.

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GOP Holds 2d Secret Candidate Forum — Refuses to Let Reporter Attend

pima county tea party patriotsThe Pima County Tea Party Patriots held the second secret GOP Congressional Primary Debate among Republican candidates for Tucson’s CD2 — but refused admission to this reporter for the Blog for Arizona.

The covert rendezvous took place last night at Pima Community College Northwest campus on Shannon Road under heavy police guard. I saw candidates Brandon Martin and Danny Morales lurking by the front door, but front-runner Lea Marquez-Peterson skipped the closed event. The registrar said 80 people were expected to attend and about 60 were let in.

But not this reporter. “Frank,” a guy with double hearing aids fussed around at the registration table and said to wait. Then the word came, “you can’t come in.” I inquired further and a guy weighing 300 pounds in a T-shirt made out of an American flag said, “You’re the guy who came to the forum last month.”

“Yes, I am,” I said. He was referring to my attendance at the GOP’s March 24  secret CD 2 Congressional Candidate Forum at the Oyster Club. It seems the Tea Party Patriots read my report Fear Dominates Secret Tucson GOP CD 2 Congressional Candidate Forum and knew me on sight. They probably also read Tim Steller’s newspaper article in The Daily Star about my report.

That’s real paranoia. I’ve attended and reported on half a dozen Democratic candidate forums with no problem, including the Feb. 25 forum in Green Valley, which attracted 400 attendees.

But the Tea Party “Patriots” and the GOP don’t want a free press attending their events, even when the speakers are candidates who are running for elected public office. 

Consider what might be reported! That the candidates want Special Counsel Robert Mueller to be fired? That in the wake of mass shootings, gun laws should be loosened? That the US should pre-emptively launch a strike on North Korea? That the DACA recipients should be rounded up by ICE and deported? All of these ideas were supported by the candidates at the last forum.

It is clear that the once-vaunted Pima County Tea Party Patriots have degraded into a splinter group, becoming a secret society like the Illuminati or Scientology.

Meanwhile, I recommend you attend Thursday’s CD 2 Democratic Candidate Forum sponsored by Represent Me AZ. You’ll hear real candidates who are not afraid to let their opinions be known in public, and who welcome reporters to attend. It will start at 6:30 pm on May 3 at Catalina High School, 3645 E Pima St., Tucson, AZ 85716.

More info is at https://www.facebook.com/events/462727204182164/.