Category Archives: Constitution

Education Shorts

Catching up on my “to do” list on education issues in Arizona.

In late November, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a new analysis of school funding in 48 states which shows that funding for Arizona’s kindergarten to grade 12 public school system remains nearly 14 percent below what it was before the Great Recession hit in 2007. The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Arizona school funding still lagging, report shows:

The study by the Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan research institute showed that even with an infusion of money since Gov. Doug Ducey took office in 2016, the state’s per-pupil spending is well below its 2008 funding levels when adjusted for inflation. It also said per-pupil formula spending dropped last year by 1.2 percent.

Ducey has touted his efforts to boost K-12 spending, and laughingly proclaimed himself to be the “education governor.”

“Arizona has put more money into K-12 education over the last three years than any other state in the country, without raising taxes,” he told KTAR radio earlier this month. “It has been the focus of every budget that we’ve had.”

But much of that increase came from settling a lawsuit brought by schools that alleged the state illegally cut spending during the recession. [And that case was settled for substantially less than the restitution actually owed by our lawless Tea-Publican legislature for its theft of education funds.]  The settlement added some state spending but most of the new cash came from increasing withdrawals from the state land trust dedicated to schools.

The study found that Arizona school funding hasn’t recovered from the cuts despite the new spending and could be getting worse, said Mike Leachman, the center’s state fiscal research director.

“It’s clear that Arizona school funding is down significantly and the data we have suggest further worsening at least in terms of formula funding, which is the major source for general support for all school districts in the state,” he said.

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Moral bankruptcy: the GOP has become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump

I have said it before and I will say it again: The GOP has become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump.

Back in mid-November when the Roy Moore serial child sexual predator scandal first broke, the RNC pulled financial, ground game support for Roy Moore in Alabama Senate race, and Republican senators, including the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, were saying they had no reason to doubt the claims of nine women against Roy Moore and that he should withdraw from the race. McConnell Says Roy Moore Should Withdraw From Senate Race in Alabama. The GOP even contemplated extra-constitutional means to run a write-in candidate to replace Roy Moore on the ballot. The Republican Party’s Dream of an Alabama Write-In Candidate Is Dead.

What a difference a few weeks makes. In an instant replay of last year when the GOP was freaking out over the Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump admitting to being a serial sexual predator to Billie Bush and GOP politicians were fleeing from endorsing their party’s nominee, and Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence was plotting a “coup” to replace Trump as the GOP nominee for president, God’s Plan for Mike Pence, in a few weeks they all came back to supporting Trump, because GOP tribalism. IOKIYAR.

Serial sexual predator Donald Trump has consistently stood by serial child sexual predator Roy Moore, and he has dragged the GOP along with him. All is forgiven. The GOP has become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump. Roy Moore Gets Trump Endorsement and R.N.C. Funding for Senate Race:

President Trump on Monday strongly endorsed Roy S. Moore, the Republican nominee for a United States Senate seat here, prompting the Republican National Committee to restore its support for a candidate accused of sexual misconduct against teenage girls.

Mr. Trump’s endorsement strengthened what had been his subdued, if symbolically significant, embrace of Mr. Moore’s campaign. At Mr. Trump’s direct urging, and to the surprise of some Republican Party officials, the national committee, which severed ties to Mr. Moore weeks ago, opened a financial spigot that could help Mr. Moore with voter turnout in the contest’s closing days.

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Donald Trump channels the spirit of Richard Nixon

Donald J. Trump is channeling the spirit of Richard M. Nixon, who told David Frost in an April 1977 interview that “If the President does it, that means it’s not illegal.”

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Or perhaps Trump is going back to the original source and is channeling the spirit of Louis XIV of France, an adherent of the concept of the divine right of kings, which advocates the divine origin of monarchical rule, who believed in the theory of absolute monarchy and consciously fostered the myth of himself as the Sun King, the source of light for all of his people. During Louis XIV’s reign, his main goal was “One king, one law, one faith.” “I am the State.”

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President Trump’s bumbling lawyer John Dowd gave this exclusive interview to Mike Allen of Axios.com. Exclusive: Trump lawyer claims the “President cannot obstruct justice”:

John Dowd, President Trump’s outside lawyer, outlined to me a new and highly controversial defense/theory in the Russia probe: A president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice.

The “President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case,” Dowd claims.

Dowd says he drafted this weekend’s Trump tweet that many thought strengthened the case for obstruction: The tweet suggested Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI when he was fired, raising new questions about the later firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Dowd: “The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion.”

Why it matters: Trump’s legal team is clearly setting the stage to say the president cannot be charged with any of the core crimes discussed in the Russia probe: collusion and obstruction. Presumably, you wouldn’t preemptively make these arguments unless you felt there was a chance charges are coming.

Americans rejected the divine right of kings and absolute monarchy when we told George III of England to “go stuff it up your ass” with the American Revolution. The source of power is “WE the people” in a democratic republic. Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution requires the President to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” And if he fails to do so, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5, provides for the impeachment of the president. The hallmark of American jurisprudence is that “No man is above the law.”

The first article of impeachment against both Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton were for obstruction of justice. The articles of impeachment against Andrew Johnson alleged high crimes and misdemeanors that today might be construed as obstruction of justice.

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Governor Candidates Farley and Garcia Will Restore Education in Arizona

Student moderator Patrick Robles of Sunnyside High School, Candidates David Garcia and Steve Farley, and student moderator Aiselyn Anaya of Amphi High School.

Democrats in Arizona have two outstanding choices in the candidates for Governor: college professor David Garcia and veteran Arizona state senator Steve Farley — both of whom pledged to restore school funding and raise teacher salaries after years of sabotage by the Republican legislature and governor.

They spoke at an education town hall sponsored by the Arizona Education Association at Pueblo High School on the far south side.

Highlights:

Farley pledged to give teachers a 20% pay raise, to fully fund education, to sponsor a constitutional amendment to allow collective bargaining by teachers, and to block deportation of DACA recipients.

Best quotes by Farley:

  • “Every time President Trump tweets, another Democratic activist is born.”
  • When Governor Ducey tell you we don’t have enough money for education, he’s lying.”

Garcia called for an end to reliance on standardized testing, restoring ethnic studies in schools, paying teachers as professionals, revising the public school funding formula, and going to teachers’ unions first to formulate school policy.

He repeatedly spoke in Spanish to the standing-room only audience, emphasizing his Latino heritage, and referring to himself as “The anti-Ducey.”

Best quotes by Garcia:

  • “My goal is to have Arizona be one of the best places in the country to be a kid.”
  • “The legislature looks at teachers like missionaries, as people who would teach just for the good of the kids. The reality is we must pay our teachers as professionals.”

Teacher salaries
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The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 is about to become a big effin’ deal

Andrew Rudalevige, the Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government at Bowdoin College, has an excellent summary of the legal battle over the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). It’s the Game of Vacancies at the CFPB! Watch out for the bureaucratic duel of conflicting statutes.

It’s not exactly “Game of Thrones” – federal budget procedures make it difficult to acquire decent-sized dragons – but there is a monstrous battle over who should be head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

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The Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB, decreed that it should have a single Senate-confirmed director who would serve a fixed term and could not be fired by the president. It also funded the agency via the Federal Reserve instead of the regular budget process, limiting legislators’ ability to slash the CFPB’s budget during annual appropriations.

Most relevant to this week’s drama, the Dodd-Frank Act also states that the agency’s deputy director becomes its acting director in the event of a vacancy at the top. Last Friday, director Richard Cordray resigned, amid speculation that he might run for governor in Ohio. On his way out the door, he named his chief of staff, Leandra English, as deputy director – and thus, in short order, acting director.

FVRA vs. Dodd-Frank: Bureaucratic battle of the giant statutes

Or was she? President Trump turned to a different statute – the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998. The FVRA allows a deputy to fill a temporary vacancy, but also provides that the president can instead appoint another executive branch official in that deputy’s place, so long as that official has also been confirmed by the Senate. And so as soon as Cordray’s resignation took effect, Trump named Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney to do double duty at CFPB.

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The manufactured ‘crisis’ over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The latest attempt by Donald Trump to fill the D.C. swamp with his loyal cronies to destroy federal agencies he does not like is this manufactured “crisis” over who will head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This fake “populist” is actually a big supporter of the banksters of Wall Street, the The Predator Class whose unbridled avarice and greed led to The Mortgage Fraud Scandal, The Biggest In Human History, that nearly destroyed the U.S. economy and the world’s financial system.

Donald Trump, a grifter and con man himself, believes the banksters of Wall Street were the real victims in this financial scandal, and that they should be freed from the minimalist banking regulations enacted in the Dodd-Frank Act to allow them to once again prey on consumers victims again, something you would expect a grifter and con man to say. Casting Wall Street as Victim, Trump Leads Deregulatory Charge.

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The Twitter-troll-in-chief”s tweet is, of course, total bullshit, as Philip Bump of The Post explains. Trump once again rises to Wall Street’s defense:

This isn’t true: Banks have repeatedly set new quarterly records on incomes over the past several years, including in the second quarter of 2017. If that’s devastation, sign me up.

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Bloomberg News’s editorial board, in an editorial praising the watchdog agency, described some of its successes: “It created the first federal rules to make payday lending less predatory. It gave the public reams of valuable information, such as a database that allows consumers to compare credit-card agreements. Its practice of publishing complaints pushed financial institutions to be more responsive. Its investigation of Wells Fargo brought national attention to the fake-accounts issue.”

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