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So you think you have what it takes to be a Tucson City Council member? Act Now

AZ BlueMeanie

Posted by AzBlueMeanie: The Tucson City Council has decided upon the procedures for the application process to replace Ward 2 City Councilman Rodney Glassman, who resigned last week to run for the U.S. Senate. Friend of Blog for Arizona Carolyn Classen at the Tucson Citizen has the details for those of you with dreams of becoming … Read more

Two education shorts

David Safier

by David SafierNo need to write about the jaw dropping specifics of public school budget cuts here. You can read 'em and weep elsewhere. Here are two other bits from today's Star. TUSD's Supe, Elizabeth Celania-Fagen, is leaving. The reason she cites in her letter: "as the state budget reductions to education in Arizona continue … Read more

Any questions?

David Safier

by David SafierThe Goldwater Institute's lead litigator, Clint Bolick, wrote a book, "Voucher wars: waging the legal battle over school choice," published by the Cato Institute.In the introduction, Bolick calls the forces who are pushing for school vouchers part of a "freedom movement":It is a freedom movement because it involves challenging one of the biggest … Read more

Two Town Halls with Sen. Paula Aboud

AZ BlueMeanie

Posted by AzBlueMeanie: Late political calendar update from Sen. Paula Aboud: What: Townhall with Senator Paula Aboud (D-LD 28) When: Saturday, April 17, 2010 Where: Lighthouse YMCA (2900 N. Columbus Blvd.) from Noon to 2:00 p.m. Murphy-Wilmot Branch Library (320 S. Wilmot Road) from 3:00 p.m.to 4:30 p.m. Join me to discuss the state's priorities and where … Read more

The Farley Report: April 13, 2010

AZ BlueMeanie

Posted by AzBlueMeanie: Time once again for the Farley Report from Rep. Steve Farley (D-LD28): Sometimes it's not easy to get the words to paper for the Farley Report, and this is one of those times. It is so hard to sit here every day to watch this Repubilcan majority steer our beloved state further … Read more

Deconstructing the Daily Star’s John McCain Interview – Part 3

AZ BlueMeanie

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

John_mccain

We continue this series with the next subject matter Sen. John McCain Interview: Politics:

STAR: We had (McCain's primary opponent,) J.D. Hayworth here. The former congressman said that during the health-care debate, and as a general rule, he would take the role of being on the Senate floor, offering amendments, trying to manipulate the Democrat's agenda. And you have said you will oppose everything the Obama administration proposes. So how do you respond? Does stonewalling serve the voters?

McCAIN: What I said was that we would not, quote, cooperate. And that meant that if they wanted to sit down and try to pursue an agenda that is theirs, then I'm not going to cooperate with them. I will continue to work with them on issues that are good for America. For example, I am the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. And I work closely with Sen. (Carl) Levin on the defense authorization bill as I have for several years and then we will bring the defense authorization bill to the floor, the two of us. And we will get it passed in a bipartisan fashion. I worked on numerous other issues that are for the good of the country.

What I meant – well, I just said what I meant when I said I wouldn't quote cooperate.

The other reality is that they have not sought our cooperation. They came in with 60 votes, and they came in with a 40-some vote majority in the House. And I know bipartisanship because I have worked on numerous issues in the bipartisanship fashion. And their strategy, and I understand power, political power, their strategy was ram that through, if you can pick up a couple of Republicans, fine; if you can't, also fine.

On the stimulus package, they picked up a couple of Republicans, jammed it through; on the budget, jammed it through; on the supplemental, jammed it through; and health care obviously they jammed it through the way they did.

So and this reconciliation, of course, I think is really a blow to the institution of the Senate. Back when we did the gang of 14, it was to prevent exactly what they did, and that's governing by 51 votes. something that Republicans had done before, which I opposed before before, but never with the dimensions of what they did.

As I've explained before, "bipartisanship" to a Republican means "do it my way" and expecting Democratic appeasement, as occurred during the Bush years. This is McCain saying "I'll just take my ball and go home."

His response is disingenuous because Republicans decided upon a partisan political strategy of obstruction on day one of the Obama administration to "just say no" to everything. It is also disingenuous for McCain to suggest that president Obama has not made a genuine effort to reach across the aisle to achieve bipartisan support. Democrats will express their frustration over president Obama's valuing cooperation and bipartisanship over achieving legislative victories.

McCain's recollection of the "Gang of 14" is incorrect. That had to do with Bush's judicial appointments and ending the Republican "nuclear option" threat to end the filibuster — a procedure that they now freely abuse in historic numbers to the point of rendering the Senate dysfunctional. And as I've written in earlier posts, the Republicans used the reconciliation process freely under George W. Bush, including passing his massive tax cut for corporations and the wealthy with 50 votes plus Vice President Dick Cheney casting the tie-breaker vote. Karl Rove was the author of the "50 percent plus one" theory of governance.

McCain's repetition of "ram it through," "jam it through," etc. demonstrates that he can repeat the GOP talking points written by Frank Luntz. You can train a talking parrot to do that.

STAR: That kind of overstates your opposition to everything Obama.

McCAIN: He is taking his electoral victory and is governing from the left. That's why we own General Motors, why we own Chrysler, why we own AIG. Why we have just had the most, in my opinion, the most massive takeover of the private sector. Throw in student loans just for fun without debate or any amendment. You know, just have the government take over the student loan program.

In a fashion, that is an agenda that many of us believe could lead to a European-style government. And we don't think those are good governments.

STAR: Are you saying socialist?

McCAIN: Pardon? It's a form of socialist. I think European-style socialism is their goal, yeah. So I do oppose a liberal agenda that I believe, whether it be the stimulus package, the earmarks – which is a Republicans disease as well as Democrats – the movement into the private sector, and of course a $1.4 trillion debt this year and a $1.5 trillion debt next year. Domestic spending increased by 20 percent over the last year, while the city of Phoenix and the city of Tucson had to cut spending by some 30 percent. So this administration approved of a 20 percent increase in domestic spending. And so people are really angry.

I know that McCain napped in his Senate office while the rest of the government was addressing a financial panic and the collapse of our economy in September 2008, but did he sleep through the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression? The government bailed out the banks and AIG (credit default swaps) to keep the financial system from collapsing. It worked. The banks are paying back the loans, and the government is even making a tidy profit.

The same is true for GM and Chrysler. Auto manufacturing and its network of parts, suppliers, service and dealerships are ten percent of the U.S. economy. I suppose McCain would have preferred to see millions more people thrown out of work and a Great Depression.

When there is a depression, the government has to prime the pump with economic stimulus spending. Deficit spending is the only option.

There has not been a "massive takeover of the private sector." Has McCain been hanging out with the Minnesota Loon, Michele Bachmann? That's her ignorant shtick.

And did McCain just call president Obama a "European-style socialist"? Somebody hand him one of those ignorant, hateful signs from the Tea Party to carry around.

* * *

STAR: We get letters in our reader comments pretty much every day and what they say is you're a liberal. And I have to say I have been here 30 years, we didn't used to get those kinds of comments about you. Why are people calling you a liberal?

McCAIN: I think it is probably the Hayworth effect and some others on the extreme right. I think that it just is what it is.

STAR: So you think they are just using the label as a pejorative. You don't think it's anything you have done that can be construed as a liberal position?

McCAIN: Well, I don't know of any. But as I said, and you know that I have worked across the aisle on a number of issues and I think that people want us to get things done and I think you can do that without be trading principles. I think you can still be conservative and reach agreements. Certainly Ronald Reagan did that when he reached across the aisle with Tip O'Neill and others.

But I'm always ready to defend my record. But I think what's on most people's minds right now is what we can do for them now and in the future as they go through these terribly difficult times. And one's record is very important always. But what can I do to get people back to work? What can I do to keep their homes? What can I do to protect the nation?

McCain is no liberal. It is the Republican Party which has become radicalized in the era of conservative talk radio and FAUX News and that has moved hard to the right. The oft-repeated notion that this is a "center-right" country is nonsense. Over the past 30 years the Republican Party has moved so far to the right that it has fallen off the teeter-totter. The GOP is nowhere near the fulcrum in the center. This is not your father's GOP.

President Obama is actually a centrist, and drives progressives and liberals on the left batty because of it. But Republicans are so far to the right that even the center is now "left" to them. And yes Republicans use the word "liberal" as a pejorative. We have a problem in this country alright, and it is the radicalized right of the FAUX News nation. John McCain is pandering to them for reelection, rather than standing up to them as he has done in the past.

STAR: Because every day you are thinking jobs, jobs, jobs.

McCAIN: Yeah. Small business, small business, small business.

STAR: So that would be your agenda.

McCAIN: Primarily, yes. Well, I think we should reduce the corporate tax from 35 to 25; so that applies to big business.

STAR: How do you justify that when you were concerned about the federal deficit?

McCAIN: Because that would stimulate a world economy. And we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world, of any country in the world. And so it is a disincentive for businesses and corporations to stay here or businesses and corporations to come here … The U.S. and Arizona.

But again, Arizona is obviously an attractive place for some of these companies and corporations. That's why Intel could have gone anyplace in the world. That's why Raytheon came here, although I guess that was Howard Hughes' decision back in 1952 or something. So I think that it was applied to Arizona as well.

Once again, when Republicans say "small business" they really mean large global corporations. The vast majority of small businesses are not incorporated, they pay taxes as individuals. That's why McCain's "solution" is to cut corporate tax rates. Wrong answer.

IRS records show that, as of September 30, 2007, over 1.6 million businesses owed over $58 billion in unpaid federal payroll taxes, including interest and penalties. Some of these businesses took advantage of the existing tax enforcement and administration system to avoid fulfilling or paying federal tax obligations—thus abusing the federal tax system. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08617.pdf

Check out today's Denver Post U.S. corporations saving on taxes:

The average American household will pay roughly 32 percent of its 2009 income to federal and local governments in taxes by Thursday. But U.S. corporations paid closer to 25 percent in taxes on last year's profits, perhaps even less when their foreign operations are taken into account.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. companies and 68% of foreign corporations do not pay federal income taxes, according to a GAO report released in August 2008. Majority of corporations avoid federal income taxes – study – Aug. 12, 2008

Cutting the corporate tax rate is a bullshit GOP tax talking point. The effective rate is already 25% or less for most corporations, and two-thirds of corporations pay no federal income tax and owe the government billions of dollars in unpaid payroll taxes. Maybe McCain should show more interest in going after corporate tax cheaters to recover the billions of dollars owed the federal government to (1) reduce the national debt and to (2) reduce the taxes of average Americans who are paying for these corporate tax cheaters. Focus, man, focus!

And quit drinking the Kool-Aid of supply-side "trickle down" GOP economic theory. It has been entirely disproved and discredited. You voted against Bush's tax cuts. You know it's wrong.

G.I.’s Ladner pushes for firing experienced teachers as a cost saving measure

David Safier

by David SafierGoldwater Institute's Matthew Ladner warns if Arizona's school districts are not allowed to fire experienced teachers, class sizes will rise. The implication is, the best way to keep class sizes low is to fire the most experienced teachers and replace them with first year teachers whose salaries are lower. He refuses to consider … Read more

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