Category Archives: Ethics

Beg your pardon, but this is obstruction of justice hiding in plain sight

Last Friday, Donald Trump’s consigliere Michael Cohen was in court on a motion to suppress evidence seized in a raid by the FBI on his office, home, and hotel room, and a bank deposit box. (It did not go well for him on Monday).

Trump called Cohen on Friday to “check in,” according to two people briefed on the call. Depending on what else was discussed, the call could be problematic, as lawyers typically advise their clients against discussing investigations. Trump Sees Inquiry Into Cohen as Greater Threat Than Mueller.

This could be viewed as witness intimidation or tampering, or even suborning perjury. “Don’t say nothing, Mikey. You keep your mouth shut! You know whadda mean?

Federal prosecutors revealed Friday that Cohen has been under criminal investigation for months and that they have impaneled a grand jury to probe his business dealings.

Donald Trump sent another message to Michael Cohen on Friday to keep his mouth shut: he pardoned Scooter Libby, who was convicted of one count of obstruction, two counts of perjury and one count of lying to the FBI about how he learned of Valerie Plame’s identity and whom he told (leaking classified information, Valerie Plame was a nonofficial cover (NOC) CIA spy, putting her life and those of all her known associates and contacts at risk). Jurors Convict Libby on Four of Five Charges.

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Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen is getting a legal education

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer Michael D. Cohen is like Thomas “Tom” Hagen, the consigliere to the Corleone family in The Godfather.

A couple of weeks ago, McClatchy News reported Mueller probe tracking down Trump business partners, with Cohen a focus of queries;

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators this week questioned an associate of the Trump Organization who was involved in overseas deals with President Donald Trump’s company in recent years.

Armed with subpoenas compelling electronic records and sworn testimony, Mueller’s team showed up unannounced at the home of the business associate, who was a party to multiple transactions connected to Trump’s effort to expand his brand abroad, according to persons familiar with the proceedings.

Investigators were particularly interested in interactions involving Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney and a former Trump Organization employee. Among other things, Cohen was involved in business deals secured or sought by the Trump Organization in Georgia, Kazakhstan and Russia.

The New York Times reported on March 15 that Mueller had subpoenaed unspecified records from the Trump Organization. Days before that, the Washington Post reported that Mueller’s team was looking into a Moscow hotel deal for which Cohen brought to Donald Trump a letter of intent from a Moscow developer during the 2016 presidential campaign.

They must have obtained something of evidentiary value because a week ago Monday the F.B.I. Raided the Office of Trump’s Longtime Lawyer Michael Cohen: “The F.B.I. raided the Rockefeller Center office and Park Avenue hotel room [and home] of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, on Monday morning, seizing business records, emails and documents related to several topics, including a payment to a pornographic film actress.”

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After Prop. 123, ‘we don’t get fooled again’

You can smell desperation coming from the governor’s office on the ninth floor.

Last year Gov. Ducey’s budget gave teachers a 2 percent raise over five years, or put another way, they would get a four-tenths of a percent raise per year over five years.

The legislature eventually settled on one percent last year — this was actually a one-time bonus — and one percent this year, with no promises for future pay raises.

The peasants should be grateful that we gave them anything.”

But now there is a national teachers revolt that has rocked West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and the grassroots educators group #RedForEd in Arizona is threatening a walkout of their own. Arizona teachers demand 20 percent raises, more money for students:

Frustrated and desperate, Arizona educators are demanding 20 percent pay raises to address the state’s teacher crisis and have threatened to take escalated action if state leaders don’t respond with urgency.

Besides the 20 percent teacher raises, educators’ demands are:

  • Restoring state education funding to 2008 levels. Arizona spends $924 less per student in inflation-adjusted dollars today than it did in 2008, according to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Restoring education funding to that level would cost the state about $1 billion.
  • Competitive pay for all education support professionals, such as teachers’ aides and paraprofessionals. Dollar figures for this weren’t specified Wednesday.
  • A “permanent” step-and-lane salary structure in which teachers are guaranteed annual raises and steady advancement in wages.
  • No new tax cuts until the state’s per-pupil funding reaches the national average. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 figures, the most recent available, Arizona spent $7,489 per pupil compared with the national average of $11,392.

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Evil GOP bastards are plotting to deny your right to vote on Proposition 305

Tea-Publican state lawmakers are plotting with outside groups (read “Kochtopus” and Betsy DeVos) on a plan that could knock Proposition 305 off the November ballot before voters can decide the fate of Arizona’s expanded school-voucher program (vouchers on steroids bill). Will Arizona Republicans ‘repeal and replace’ voucher expansion to thwart referendum?

The goal is to repeal last year’s legislation that expanded the ESA program to all 1.1 million public-school students and replace it with legislation intended to address criticisms of the expansion, according to more than a half-dozen people familiar with the wide-ranging discussions.

Sen. Bob Worsley, a Republican from Mesa (a mythical moderate Republican), has talked in broad terms over the past week with lawmakers and outside groups about new Empowerment Scholarship Account legislation but did not offer specific details to The Arizona Republic.

The “repeal and replace” idea would circumvent Arizona’s referendum process, which allows voters to try to veto a law if they gather sufficient signatures to place it on the ballot.

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Governor Ducey disses Arizona teachers, inviting a teacher walkout

Reminder: Today is another #RedForEd Wednesday, wear red in support of Arizona’s embattled teachers.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Ducey to meet with ‘decision makers,’ not teachers to talk about salaries:

Gov. Doug Ducey won’t meet with the leaders of two teacher groups to talk about salaries and related issues even as they are taking the first steps toward a walkout.

The governor’s statement comes less than a week after a request by Noah Karvelis of Arizona Educators United and Joe Thomas of the Arizona Education Association “to begin a negotiation process to resolve the #RedForEd demands.”

That includes not just the 20-percent salary increase to compete with neighboring states but also restoring education funding levels to where they were a decade ago.

It also comes as Arizona Educators United, a grassroots group of teachers, is working with its member teachers to set a date for walkout to get the attention of Ducey and legislators and show they are serious.

Ducey, in essence, has written off both groups as irrelevant to his own education funding plans.

“We’re meeting with the decision makers,” the governor said, meaning school superintendents and other officials. “And we’re going to continue to meet with the decision makers.”

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GOP legislators reject equal rights for women, because abortion (Updated)

This week Arizona’s GOP legislators reaffirmed, once again, that they believe women are second-class citizens who do not enjoy the full panoply of rights that white men do (they’re not convinced that men who are minorities do either), because abortion.

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley proposes the Equal Rights Amendment.

On Tuesday, Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley (D-Tucson), for the second year in a row, attempted to use a procedural maneuver to bring up a bill for debate on approving the Equal Rights Amendment. And for the second year in a row, white men moved to adjourn the House rather than debate the bill and take a vote.

The Republic reports, On Equal Pay Day, Arizona Republicans block vote on Equal Rights Amendment:

Democrats in the Arizona Legislature fell short Tuesday in their attempt to force a vote on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

For the second consecutive year, they failed to persuade Republicans to allow debate on the ERA — a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that broadly guarantees equal rights between men and women.

State Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, D-Tucson, tried to use a procedural move to bring an ERA resolution to a vote in the House of Representatives, but the House adjourned before that could happen.

Hannley said she chose Tuesday to push the issue because it marks Equal Pay Day, the day on the calendar when the average American woman’s earnings catch up to what a male peer earned in 2017.

Nationally, women earn about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. In Arizona, women earn about 82 cents for every dollar.

‘No time limit on equality’

“Arizona women want equal pay for equal work,” Hannley told fellow lawmakers. “Let’s make history. There is no time limit on equality.”

But Majority Leader John Allen, R-Scottsdale, intervened to prevent a vote on Powers Hannley’s motion. His motion to recess the chamber for the day passed 32-25, along party lines.

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