Category Archives: Election Integrity

(Update) House Tea-Publicans vote to restrict your constitutional right to make laws

The unrelenting assault on your constitutional rights by the Chamber of Commerce organizations and their lickspittle lackeys in our lawless Tea-Publican legislature continues unabated. The Chambers’ package of bills to take away your constitutional rights passed in the House on Thursday.

The Arizona Republic reports, Arizona House passes bills to restrict citizen initiatives:

In an attempt to gain control over laws proposed by citizens, [Tea-Publicans in] the House on Thursday night approved a package of bills designed to rein in the century-old initiative process enshrined in the Arizona Constitution at statehood.

Opponents say the moves would undercut the power of the people to shape laws, and run counter to the citizen initiative process, while proponents argue lawmakers need the flexibility to fix unforeseen problems that might arise from a ballot measure. The measures now move to the Senate for consideration.

Four bills affect the initiative process. Two ask the voters to review the 19-year-old Voter Protection Act that blocks the Legislature from changing voter initiatives; the other two make changes to the laws governing initiatives. They passed along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed, in a contentious session that lasted late into the night.

Even if the bills win Senate approval in the coming weeks, two would need voter approval in November 2018. Two others would go to Gov. Doug Ducey for his signature.

Still pending is a bill that would change the way signatures are gathered on citizen initiative petitions. House Concurrent Resolution 2029 won approval from a committee late Wednesday but was held up from a full vote over questions about its constitutionality.

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Latest on Trump-Putin campaign investigations

The always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief Donald J. Trump publicly insists that he has no ties to Russia (while refusing to release his tax records and business records for public scrutiny which likely demonstrate otherwise).

You’re always  asking me about the Russians. I don’t know nothin’ about no Russians!

We know this is bullshit, as David Leonhardt reminds us at the New York Times. Trump’s Russia Motives:

The mystery at the core of the Trump-Russia story is motive.

President Trump certainly seems to have a strange case of Russophilia. He has surrounded himself with aides who have Russian ties. Those aides were talking to Russian agents during the campaign, and some are now pushing a dubious peace deal in Ukraine. Trump recently went so far as to equate the United States and Vladimir Putin’s murderous regime.

But why?

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(Update) House Tea-Publicans vote to restrict your constitutional right to make laws

Last week I posted about how Tea-Publican newbie legislator Rep. Todd Clodfelter (R-Tucson) was the decisive vote in committee to advance a package of bills from our corporate overlords in the Chamber of Commerce organizations to restrict your constitutional rights to the initiative and referendum process. House Tea-Publicans vote to restrict your constitutional right to make laws.

This week it is Rep. Vince Leach (R-Tucson) who is carrying water for our corporate overlords in the Chamber of Commerce organizations and doing the bidding of his “dark money” masters. Arizona lawmakers advance bill to limit voter initiatives:

Spurred by business interests in the wake of a voter-approved minimum-wage hike, Republican lawmakers approved legislation Thursday that could curtail the ability of citizens to create their own laws.

The most significant provision of HB 2404 would effectively eliminate the ability of groups to use paid circulators by prohibiting payment by the number of signatures gathered.

Paid circulators would still be allowed — but only if compensated on an hourly or other basis. But that removes any incentive for circulators to gather as many signatures as possible.

“It reforms the incentive for fraud and forgery,” said Rep. Vince Leach, R-Tucson, who is carrying the legislation that was largely crafted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The measure approved by the House Government Committee on a party-line vote and sent to the full House also imposes a series of new procedural hurdles and gives those who oppose initiatives new rights to try to have them knocked off the ballot before voters get a chance to weigh in.

The legislation also requires strict compliance with all initiative requirements, something Sierra Club lobbyist Sandy Bahr said could result in disqualifying petitions simply because their margins are not the right size.

And it would require any initiative committee that uses paid circulators to purchase a bond of up to $50,000.

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Intelligence agencies have intercepted calls between the Trump campaign and Russian Intelligence officials

The intelligence agencies continue leaking to the media about the unprecedented level of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence officials that they are investigating. The New York Times reported overnight that Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence:

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.

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The Kremlin’s handler for Trump, Michael Flynn resigns under pressure

National Security Advisor and former commentator for Russia Today (RT), retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, resigned on Monday evening. Michael Flynn Resigns as National Security Adviser:

Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, resigned on Monday night after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Flynn, who served in the job for less than a month, said he had given “incomplete information” regarding a telephone call he had with the ambassador in late December about American sanctions against Russia, weeks before President Trump’s inauguration. Mr. Flynn previously had denied that he had any substantive conversations with Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak, and Mr. Pence repeated that claim in television interviews as recently as this month.

But on Monday, a former administration official said the Justice Department warned the White House last month that Mr. Flynn had not been fully forthright about his conversations with the ambassador. As a result, the Justice Department feared that Mr. Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

Wait, the White House sat on this hoping that no one would notice until someone leaked the information to the media last week? “It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup.”

In his resignation letter, which the White House emailed to reporters, Mr. Flynn said he had held numerous calls with foreign officials during the transition. “Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador,” he wrote. “I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology.”

“I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way,” Mr. Flynn wrote.

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Stephen Miller subs for Kellyanne Conway on the Sunday morning bobblehead shows, it does not go well

Kellyanne “alternative facts” Conway was not available this weekend for the Sunday morning bobblehead shows because she violated ethics rules by promoting Ivanka Trump’s clothing line in a Thursday morning interview with Fox News — “I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody; you can find it online” — for which she is allegedly being “counseled” (a “time out”?) Kellyanne Conway Promotes Ivanka Trump Brand, Raising Ethics Concerns:

Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Ms. Conway’s comments were ‘wrong, wrong, wrong, and there’s no excuse for it.’ Chaffetz and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings, formally asked the Office of Government Ethics for an inquiry.

For a brutal takedown of Kellyanne Conway, you have got to watch Saturday Night Live’s “Fatal Attraction” parody entitled Jake Tapper. Wow!

With Kellyanne in “time out,” the Trump administration trotted out the other half of its updated version of The Daily Show’s Even Stevphen act, Steve Bannon’s counterpart Stephen Miller, who was featured in unflattering background pieces over the weekend in both the New York Times, Stephen Miller Is a ‘True Believer’ Behind Core Trump Policies, and the Washington Post. Stephen Miller: A key engineer for Trump’s ‘America first’ agenda.

I happened to catch Miller on ABC’s This Week with George “Snuffleupagus.” (He also appeared on NBC’s Meet Chuck Todd). What a raging asshole!

This guy was like a pez dispenser spewing out lie after lie with an angry attitude of “how dare you question my alternative facts!” Whenever “Snuffleupagus” pointed out he had presented no evidence to support his lies, Miller had a look on his face that said “how about I come over there and kick your ass!” This guy needs anger management.

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