Monthly Archives: November 2018

Thankful to have Raúl in the Fight

Ok, it’s a little late for Thanksgiving.  But I was too busy cooking to give thanks properly, and to do it properly I have to tell you a story.  Last week, I wrote about a Mexican man I met in South Tucson who wanted to build a wall, and why I feel like we have to address even misguided concerns.

This week, let me tell you about a different Mexican man in South Tucson, one who invited me in when I knocked on the door with my campaign lit.  He sat me down in his kitchen, and talked about respect.  About how he works hard, pays his insurance, cleans not only his home but the public areas in his complex on weekends.  How his daughter started a company that employs many people.  How he sends washers and dryers down south of the border to anyone who needs them.  And he asked, even with all that he does, why is he not respected in this country?  Why are other families who work hard and just want to build a life targeted by deportation?

We talked a while, and I brought the conversation around to this election.  He was frustrated – he told me, ‘I voted, I voted for Obama – and what good did it do?’  He was disgusted with the deportations that happened under the Obama administration, and wasn’t sure he could bring himself to hope and vote Democrat again.  I spread out the literature, including Raul’s piece – you know, the one that said: “It’s not the Dog in the Fight, its the Fight in the Dog.”  I love that one.  And as soon as he saw Raul’s photo, he stopped and said – he helped me, he helped my wife.  When she needed some documentation from a government agency, Raul’s staff got on the phone and made it happen.

Then he looked a little sheepish.  He had been so disgusted, that he’d thrown out his ballot.  But he told me, that because I’d come and we’d talked, that he’d call the number and get another one.  And the next week, it happened I drew his complex again on my walk list, and I met his wife.  She had the new ballot in an envelope on the counter, ready to go out.  But if it hadn’t been for Raul really doing his job, going the extra mile, that might not have happened.

Outstanding constituent service

Raul Grijalva’s office got the first ever Outstanding Constituent Service award for a reason.  Whenever I get frustrated trying to get thru to McSally’s staff on something important, I call Raul’s office, and lead with “Hi, I’m not in your district anymore, but…”  and get an email contact with a staffer who genuinely tries to help, and will engage in a conversation over email.  If you’ve ever tried to lobby Congress, you know how rare that is – usually “I’ll tell them your concern” is the first line of defense, and even if you breach that wall the best most offices will do is let you leave a voice mail for a named staffer.  I was disappointed right now with Sinema’s people, who are using “in transition” as an excuse apparently until January – hopefully, that will change.  But Raul is always on it.

I’ve asked him for help with monks being shot in Myanmar back when we were trying to get Aung San Suu Kyi free (and before she backed killing the Rohingya).  Raul co-sponsored the no blood rubies bill.  I’ve buttonholed him in Epic Cafe about animal rights and the size of chicken cages, and he listened and gave me a staff member to contact.  A neighbor asked him for help when his son was hurt on leave after two tours in Iraq, and his staff met in person with him to see what could be done.   Raul has the back of everyone fighting for the right thing, and I hope we have his when it comes down to it.

Thanks, Raúl.

House Democrats have won an historic mandate

FiveThirtyEight now projects The Last Unresolved House Race Of 2018, the California 21st is likely to be the 40th Democratic pickup. Democrat TJ Cox will turn out Republican Rep. David Valadao.

NBC News reports, Democrats smash Watergate record for House popular vote in midterms:

Democrats won the House with the largest margin of victory in a midterms election for either party, according to NBC News election data.

While votes are still being tallied, Democratic House candidates currently hold an 8,805,130 vote lead over Republicans as of Monday morning. The Democrats’ national margin of victory in House contests smashes the previous midterms record of 8.7 million votes in 1974, won just months after President Richard Nixon resigned from office in disgrace amid the Watergate scandal.

Of the more than 111 million votes cast in House races nationwide, Democrats took 53.1 percent — retaking control of the House of Representatives by flipping nearly 40 seats — while Republicans received 45.2 percent of the vote.

Brent Budowsky writes at The Hill, House Dems won a historic mandate (excerpt):

In the most important midterm election in a century, after voter turnout of epic and historic proportions, House Democrats won a popular vote majority of more than 9 million votes. By contrast, Donald Trump lost the 2016 popular vote by some 3 million votes, and is now viewed as a great divider and dangerous pariah by peoples and leaders of democratic nations throughout the world.

Politics is about power. Effective January 2019, no bill will be enacted into law, and no dollar will be authorized or appropriated, without the support of the Democratic House. House Democrats have won a dramatic mandate to propose — and ultimately pass — legislation to lift the health, wages and lives of Americans, as well as to set the stage to elect the next Democratic president and Democratic Senate in 2020, when most senators running for reelection will be Republicans.

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The Real Recycling 101

After the city’s falsely named “Recycling 101” event turned out to be more of a budget meeting than a presentation on how to recycle, Sustainable Tucson hosted our own program, “Recycling and Beyond.” We stressed to Sherri Ludlam, Environmental Scientist in the Department of Environmental and General Services, that this time we wanted her to concentrate on the rules for recycling. Her chosen topic was “old and new challenges to Tucson’s recycling program.” One of the new challenges was that China wouldn’t be accepting all of our dirty recycling anymore because of the contamination. Contamination is all the trash that doesn’t belong in recycling – including plastic bags that jam up the machines. That same contamination is costing the company contracted to do our recycling truck loads of money. Our bad. Tucsonans put everything from dirty diapers to dead cats to Saguaros in our recycling cans. Sherri reminded us that there are actual people who sort through all that yucky trash. So don’t throw in anything that you wouldn’t want to find in your own recycling can.
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Special Election To Replace AZ Sen. Jon Kyl Next Summer, AZ Law Unconstitutional –New Lawsuit

The constitutionality of Arizona’s law giving Governor Doug Ducey the right to control the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the passing of John McCain has been challenged in federal court.

A group of plaintiffs led by William Tedards filed the action against Ducey and Senator Jon Kyl yesterday and asks that the Governor be required to call for a special election within six months. Their contention is that the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (text below) which requires that U.S. Senators be elected invalidates the Arizona law (also below) that the special election for a Senate vacancy can only be held at a biennial general election.

17th Amendment, U.S. Constitution

McCain passed away in August, too late for Governor Ducey to add a primary and general election to be held by November 6, 2018. Instead, he appointed former Kyl to the seat, even as Kyl indicated that he might very well only stay in the position through the end of 2018. That would permit the Governor to make a new appointment for another two years, for a total of 28 months.

When asked by Arizona’s Politics about the timing of this action, nearly three months after the Kyl appointment, lead attorney Mike Persoon stated there was Continue reading

Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress about being a back channel to Putin’s Russia

President Donald Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty today to an additional count of making false statements to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow during the 2016 presidential election. Criminal Information (.pdf) and Plea Agreement (.pdf). Cohen now admits that he was a back channel between the Trump organization and Putin’s Russia.

Three quick observations. First, this is Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s counterpunch to President Trump and his his shyster lawyer Rudy Giuliani crowing this week about their criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice through former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort acting as their “mole” to impede the Special Counsel’s investigation. They won’t be so cocky when they face criminal charges.

Second, Cohen’s Criminal Information today is Robert Mueller showing only one of the cards that he is holding, and this card hints that more criminal indictments are in the offing.  Cohen identified Donald Trump as “person 1” in open court, and his felon cohort Felix Sater appears to be “person 2” from the   context of the Criminal Information. Cohen briefed Trump family members about the Trump World Tower Moscow Project, potentially implicating them as well.

Cohen has also been cooperating with the Southern District of New York and the Attorney General of New York regarding the Trump Foundation and Trump business interests. He knows everything, and the Special Counsel has all of his files, phone records, emails and secretly recorded conversations.

Finally, this is a warning shot across the bow to other witnesses who have made false statements to Congress, in particular, that smarmy Donald Trump, Jr., and others who have lied to the FBI or Special Counsel including Jerome Corsi, Randy Credico and Roger Stone. Their “time in the barrel” is coming.

“It’s Mueller Time.”

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