Author Archives: Michael Bryan

Donkey Feed for August 5, 2018

By Michael Bryan

The Donkey Feed is here again, the skies are clear and blue again, happy days are here again! Seriously, though, this is the Donkey Feed: time to put on your specs, shift the browser to reader mode, and get down to the most relevant news stories, opinion, and long-form journalism I could find over the past 5 days. Please note our new, and much cuter, logo! Look at that! Awwwwwww…

I found some cool stuff online for you to get you started: a great visual breakdown of Arizona’s income inequality, a visual comparison of how the states raise their revenue (note how heavily Arizona relies on sales taxes), and a visual breakdown of America’s land use by area.

For best video of the week, I present U.S. Senator Chris Coons schooling the President on the criminality of collusion with Russia by simply reading the U.S. Code (BTW, here’s what real national security lawyers think about collusion, and seven theories of the case Mueller might consider).

As per reader requests, I have limited myself somewhat in the number of stories I present to you. This week, 10 stories for Arizona, 10 for national news, and 5 international stories, plus 3 books I’m reading this week. Hope that makes things a bit less overwhelming.

We are still fundraising here at BlogForArizona, so if you like all the weekly features and our regular blogging, please consider a small donation; you can start with buying us a Starbucks Venti Latte for just $5.

On with the main meal, then! Click on the ‘Continue Reading’ for the Feed.

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Politics and Brotherhood

by Dot Hale

Crossposted from Arizona’s Politics Blog

Can a candidate for public office be viable today having also been a member of an organization that excludes and targets for violence people of a particular category? Most Americans now take it for granted that if you’re revealed to have worked with the KKK, you can no longer be under consideration for Congress or state legislature. So what do we think about politicians who have been affiliated with sexually violent fraternities?

There are, of course, fraternities built around academic honors as well as disciplinary or intellectual pursuits. Many social fraternities, moreover, sport records that are relatively benign. But others have earned reputations as petri dishes of sexual coercion and assault.

At the same time fraternities are incubators of U.S. political and economic power. According to a recent New York Times report, 74% of members of Congress have been fraternity members, along with 80% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. 100 of the last 158 cabinet members and 40 of the last 47 Supreme Court justices have been members of fraternities. All of this in spite of the fact that only 2% of American men alive now have also belonged to fraternities.

One example of the downside of this trend comes in the form of Don Shooter of Yuma, Arizona, who was forced from the Arizona House of Representatives early in 2018 after five women accused him of sexual harassment. (Since his ejection from the AZ House, Shooter has launched a campaign for a seat in the Arizona Senate for the 13th Legislative District.) In the accounts offered by his accusers from the Arizona legislature, Shooter appears as the very incarnation of a certain predatory male sexuality. According to the report eventually submitted to the Arizona House of Representatives, Shooter would make regular and lewd remarks to his female colleagues, turn up unwontedly at the hotel rooms of these colleagues while on official governmental trips, and comment habitually upon various aspects of their anatomy.[i]

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Stop Thief! Let’s Restore Fair Taxes Event

Posted by Michael Bryan

State Reps. Randy Friese and Pam Powers Hanley hosted the event and gave presentations on Arizona’s tax giveaways:

The Truth Behind Second Amendment Activism

By Michael Bryan

Consider for a moment what you would want as a manufacturer and merchant of firearms: to sell lots and lots of guns, as many as you can, to anyone who can pay for them. That’s simply what every business wants. I claim that, at base, all the behavior of “gun rights” activists reduces to this basic business drive. Oh, they may claim more high-minded motives, but to the people who actually bankroll that activism, this is all that matters.

So, how does one effectively stimulate gun sales? Ads are not generally effective, nor frequently accepted, except in certain niche markets. How to reach the widest audience most effectively? Fear. Fear motivates most gun sales: fear of others different than you; fear that someone else will bring a gun to bear on you; fear that someone will hurt or kill you; fear that the government will come and take away your guns. Do your best to scare the shit out of everyone, and many of them will buy a gun. Do you recognize the tactics and rhetoric of the gun lobby among all these fears?

More guns, more easily available is also a wonderful motivator of gun sales. Paranoia over all the guns out there in the hands of bad guys is also a great sales motivator. The gun industry actually sells a product that stimulates its own sales once a critical mass of guns is in the hands of the public. And, boy, have we reached critical mass in America. The more there are, the more there will be; Americans are in an arms race with ourselves. You might think that nearly a gun for every American man, woman, and child would be enough guns, but the wheels of industry must turn, so we must have more guns. So scaring the crap out of their best customers, and encouraging their paranoia, is best business practice for the gun makers and merchants.

Obama is coming for your guns! Mexicans are coming to rape your women! A black man is coming to take your property and kill you! Be afraid! The more fear is abroad, the better are sales. But no one seriously wants or expects to take away law-abiding folks guns – we just want to limit the market to non-crazy, non-homicidal, non-wife-beating, non-terrorist, non-felon folks who don’t want that gun in order to go hunting strangers or intimate partners. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Well, if you are a gun maker or merchant it sure is too much; they want the biggest possible market with the least transactional friction possible – thus, as little regulation of gun sales as possible. No high ideals, just commerce.

The grand irony is that all the gun violence resulting from guns in the wrong hands makes normal people long for safety. That desire for safety make us more amenable to more police, and more heavily armed police, and more abrogations of civil liberties to keep tabs on all those dangerous folks with guns. Thus the police state that 2nd Amendment folks say they wish to guard against is brought ever closer to fruition by the gun merchants’ own business model.

We need to regulate gun sales from a standpoint of public health, safety, and security, and not from the paranoid and mercenary viewpoint of the gun merchants hiding behind the window dressing of 2nd Amendment maximalism. Otherwise, this spiral of death will keep grinding up our citizens and our children. We need leaders who will cut through the nonsense and speak the truth about the gun industry and advocate for common-sense gun regulations. Don’t vote for leaders who don’t speak out on this topic; they are in fear of the gun merchants’ lobbying, and they aren’t really leaders.

Problems contacting BlogForArizona? Do This!

By Michael Bryan

We just installed a new SSL certificate, which provides our readers with better security when logging on to BlogForArizona. Unfortunately, it also means that you may have to clear your cache in order to get on the site if you have been visiting us before the update.

In most browsers this is an option in your preferences. Simply go to the application, File, or View menu (it varies by browser) and choose preferences. Look for the option to “clear your browser cache”. This may be in the security tab, or may be under advanced settings. This will clear out saved pages and allow you to get back into the site. Some browsers allow you  to clear the cache of a particular site and they are listed alphabetically; in which case you need only clear the cache for BlogForArizona.

Sorry about any frustration or inconvenience this causes you. Please know that we made this update to protect our readers from malware and snooping eyes, and to ensure that you can continue to find our blog through Google and other major search engines, who are soon requiring all sites to have valid SSL certs to list our pages in their results.

Donkey Feed, August 1, 2018

By Michael Bryan

Here is this week’s first installment of the Donkey Feed. You can see we have an amusing new logo. This week I also added a selection of three books I’m currently reading and would recommend to anyone interested in the sort of stuff I am.

I still don’t have a good qualitative read on how this feature is landing with readers. I can see that people are reading it, but I still have very thin information on how you are using it, if it’s helpful to you, if you have ideas about it that I should hear. So please, leave me a comment if you read this and let me know about your experience and suggestions so that I can make it useful as possible.

We are still in fundraising mode, so if you haven’t yet, and you like this feature, please consider a small (or large) donation.

So put your browser in reading mode, grab a cold drink, put on your specs, ’cause this is the Donkey feed…

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