Author Archives: Larry Bodine

Koch Brothers Deeply Infect the U of A and Tucson Schools

University of Arizona History Professor David N. Gibbs

University of Arizona history professor David N. Gibbs described how deeply the billionaire Koch brothers have infected the University and Tucson high schools with millions of dollars for right-wing propaganda.

The Charles Koch Foundation made a $1.8 million grant to the University of Arizona’s “Freedom Center,” which is a conservative think tank designed to turn students into lobbyists. It produced a bogus economics textbook that was recently abandoned by Tucson high schools.

The Freedom Center also got a $2.9 million grant from the Templeton Foundation, a part of the Koch network that seeks to corrupt the discussion of science in the interests of religion.

“This is a center that should not be on a university campus,” Gibbs said at a meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson. “I am surprised that the Philosophy Department is affiliated with something so dodgy and naive about how this will affect their reputation.”

Hiring right-wing faculty

The Freedom Center just spread its tentacles to a spin-off in the University’s “Department of Political Economy and Moral Science,” staffed with key personnel from the center. The purpose is to “hire faculty in economics without the approval of the University’s Economics Department,” Gibbs said.

The Freedom center has used the Koch money “to hire four right-wing faulty, making the Philosophy Department a hotbed of right-wing thinking,” Gibbs said.

“The Koch family not only wants to be able to use money without regulation and taxes, it wants it to be viewed as moral. What better way to do that than by affiliating with a university. That’s the objective, to establish a moral basis,” Gibbs said.
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Koch-Funded Prof Back Again with Lecture Against Public Schools

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Remember professor Jonny Anomaly? When faced with public outrage last September, he canceled his anti-public school lecture at a Koch-funded University of Arizona class in Tucson.

Like Jack Nicholson in The Shining…he’s back. Anomaly will present “Public Goods and Education” on Thursday, January 25 at 12:30 pm in the Maloney Room, Social Science building 224, on the UofA Campus in Tucson.

The class description reads:

“But public financing of education can produce negative externalities by creating perverse incentives, and a public monopoly on the delivery of education can discourage experimentation and turn schools into an outlet for intellectual fads and political propaganda.”

“I conclude with a note of skepticism about the desirability of direct government involvement in education, even if it plays a limited role in financing it through vouchers, grants, or loans that can be redeemed at accredited schools.”

This talk is directly from the propaganda playbook of the right-wing Koch Brothers, their front group Americans for Prosperity, and their toady — anti-education Governor Doug Ducey.

The dark-money Charles G. Koch foundation donated $1 million to the UofA to create the “Center for the Philosophy of Freedom,” which is a think tank designed to turn students into future lobbyists for the right-wing, anti-education foundation.

Bogus economic analysis

Concerned parents, teachers, and elected representatives should attend to ask why a publicly-funded university is being utilized as an indoctrination tool to sabotage publicly-funded education.
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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.

Gordon Promises to Oust Secretary of State and End Voter Suppression

Mark Robert Gordon, an Arizona native, has 25 years of experience as a voting rights watchdog.

Mark Robert Gordon, an Arizona native, has 25 years of experience as a voting rights watchdog.

Mark Robert Gordon, a Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, vowed to end the voter suppression tactics and partisan politics that have infected the office that serves as the chief elections officer for Arizona.

He called Republican incumbent Secretary of State Michele Reagan “a Grinch who stole democracy,” at the recent Democrats of Greater Tucson meeting.

Reagan and GOP legislators “are supposed to promote democracy and protect the vote. They did just the opposite,” he said. “The people we have in Arizona running our election system are among the worst violators and offenders of voting rights in the country.”

Arizona was one of only seven states listed in federal court for intentionally restricting the opportunity to register and vote. Under the Voting Rights Act, the state was subject to pre-clearance by the Justice Department before making any voting changes.

Travesties

But that went out the window with the 2013 US Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder that gutted the Voting Rights Act. Gordon said that since then, the following travesties have happened:
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ACLU Report: Arizona Charter Schools Illegally Discriminate

Arizona charter schools are illegally choosing students who fit their mold by applying exclusionary policies, failing to fulfill their “school choice” promise that all students have an equal opportunity to enroll, according to a new report by the ACLU of Arizona.

The report, Schools Choosing Students, exposes Arizona’s 543 charter schools and their discriminatory—and sometimes unlawful—policies, which create barriers to enrollment for low-income students, English learners, students with disabilities, and other vulnerable student populations.

Schools Choosing Students found that at least 262 charter schools, or 56 percent, have policies that are clear violations of the law or may discourage the enrollment of some students. Some of the troubling findings include:

  • At least 19 charter schools have policies or language in their enrollment documents that may prevent or discourage the enrollment of students who have struggled academically in the past. Arizona law prohibits schools from choosing students with high test scores or grades over other students.
  • At least six charter schools place an enrollment cap on the number of students with special education needs, violating federal law and an Arizona statute that states charter schools shall not limit admission based on a student’s disability.
  • Under the Arizona Constitution, students have a right to a free public education; however, at least 35 charter schools charge fees for a range of items without giving parents a waiver option.

The report gives specific examples of discrimination against students with disabilities, special education needs, a need for academic assistance, and kids who “don’t fit the mold” (which is code for “not good enough for the school.”)

Arizona charter schools operate independently, but they are part of Arizona’s public education system and use taxpayer funds. They must be open to all students. Education leaders must act to remove discriminatory barriers to enrollment so that all students have equal opportunity to enroll at a charter school if that’s what the student’s family wants.

“School choice” means families choose schools, not the other way around.

Read Schools Choosing Students in its entirety, available in English and Spanish, on the ACLU of Arizona website.

Congress Candidate Ann Kirkpatrick Vows to Take on GOP

Vowing to take on the Republican leadership over unfair tax reform, trashing the environment, and sabotaging education, Congressional candidate Ann Kirkpatrick said it’s time for a Democrat to represent Tucson in Washington.

She got a warm welcome at the Democrats of Greater Tucson meeting on Monday.

“My focus is on holding (House majority leader) Paul Ryan accountable,” she said. “He is complicit. We have a slight chance of taking back the majority in the House, and we could be a check on Trump and hold him responsible.”

Kirkpatrick is considered the favorite by national news outlets in the crowded Democratic race to take back Congressional District 2. “Hillary won by 5 points in this district, and it should be a Democratic seat,” she said. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Kirkpatrick in its Red to Blue program, which highlights strong Democratic candidates and opens doors to donors.

Kirkpatrick has the endorsement of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Rep. Ruben Gallego, EMILY’s List and End Citizens United.
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