Category Archives: Election Integrity

Initiatives may not be decided at the ballot box but by seven justices of the Arizona Supreme Court

Back in July, the Arizona Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a  legal challenge to void a statute requiring initiative petitions to be in “strict compliance” with each election law. State argues case on ballot-measure rule not ‘ripe’:

Assistant Attorney General Kara Karlson who signed the legal brief, told the justices that they don’t even have to consider whether the new requirements violate the constitutional rights of voters. She said only those who have suffered some harm from the new law — or are at least immediately threatened — have a legal right to challenge it.

Karlson said that’s not the case here.

She pointed out that none of the groups that filed suit have a pending initiative which is in danger of being disqualified from the ballot based on the new strict compliance mandate. And Karlson brushed aside their claims that the law interferes with efforts to plan future ballot measures, saying that amounts to little more than “a naked assertion that they may want to circulate initiatives at some unspecified point in the future.”

And that, she said, means the case is not legally “ripe” for the court to consider.

The justices gave no date to consider the issue.

Well the issue is now “ripe” as a result of two conflicting opinions issued yesterday on strict compliance versus substantial compliance in legal challenges to two initiatives. The Arizona Supreme Court will now have to rule on the issue. Judge rules tax on rich initiative can go to ballot:

A judge has slapped down efforts by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry to block people from voting whether to hike income taxes on the rich to generate $690 million a year for education.

In an extensive ruling Thursday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith acknowledged that, strictly speaking, hiking the top income tax rate from 4.54 percent to 8 percent for those earning more than $250,000 a year actually increases the tax rate on those earnings by 76 percent. Similarly, taking the tax rate for earnings above $500,000 for individuals to 9 percent is a 98 percent increase over the current rate.

But Smith said that did not make it inherently misleading for organizers of the Invest in Ed initiative to describe the tax hikes as 3.46 percent and 4.46 percent, the absolute difference between the current rate and the proposed new ones.

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War of the Roses: the ‘Kochtopus’ vs. the Party of Trump

Hopefully this family feud will end as badly for them as it did for Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas) and Barbara Rose (Kathleen Turner) in The War of The Roses (1989), with both sides destroying one another in the bitter end.

Maybe they can use one of the chandeliers at Mar-a-Lago, or the Trump Hotel in D.C.

The “Kochtopus” network and the Party of Trump fka the Republican Party apparently are feuding with one another after having enabled one another in 2016 in order to achieve their mutual goal of trickle down tax cuts for corporations and wealthy plutocrats. Now that they got what they both wanted, their annoyances with their differences are now coming to the fore.

Top officials with the “Kochtopus” donor network affiliated with billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch last weekend sought to distance the network from the Republican Party and President Trump, citing tariff and immigration policies and “divisive” rhetoric out of Washington. Koch group condemns ‘divisiveness’ and ‘lack of leadership’ in Washington:

At a gathering of hundreds of donors at the Broadmoor resort here, officials reiterated their plans to spend as much as $400 million on policy issues and political campaigns during the 2018 cycle. Earlier this year, they announced heavy spending aimed at helping Republicans to hold the Senate. But in a warning shot at Trump and the GOP, network co-chair Brian Hooks lamented “tremendous lack of leadership” in Trump’s Washington and the “deterioration of the core institutions of society.”

He called out the White House and Trump-allied GOP lawmakers, particularly over trade policy and increased federal spending, and added that “the divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage.”

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CD6 Candidate Garrick McFadden Knows How Democrats Can Beat Schweikert & Gosar

Congressional District Six Democratic Candidate Garrick McFadden with his wife and daughter.

Paying another visit to the Coffee Bean on Indian School and Miller in Scottsdale, Congressional District Six candidate Garrick McFadden offered his perspective (while I devoured a Volcano Brownie) on how Democrats can win in CD 6 and other state offices and local and congressional districts while improving their party infrastructure.

Saying “demographics is destiny,” McFadden, running for the Democratic Nomination in CD 6 against Anita Malik and Heather Ross, feels that Democrats can beat Republicans across the state by employing two methods to improve the Democratic state infrastructure: ground game and technology.

First, all candidates need a well-manned ground game, staffed with a multicultural team of volunteers that will go into all Democratic-leaning communities, knock on doors, and persuade the voters in those areas to turn out and vote in levels that will improve the hopefully winning margins for Democratic Candidates. Mr. McFadden feels that these voters in Democratic-leaning precincts are a largely untapped reservoir of Democratic supporters that need to be cultivated, educated, persuaded, and encouraged to turn out in levels that perhaps candidates in previous election cycles did not vigorously pursue.

Second, using technology effectively is another way McFadden believes Democrats can improve their infrastructure and improve their margins in Democratic-leaning precincts. Making use of the VAN vote builder software application, McFadden and other candidates can identify likely Democratic voters and efficiently target them to visit and discuss their candidacies with them.

Mr. McFadden’s strategy has already yielded unparalleled results. According to Mariana Aguilar, Mr. McFadden’s campaign coordinator “based on Garrick’s ground game theory, we have already knocked over 20,000 doors, more than any other Democratic campaign in the history of the district. And unlike other campaigns, we have not only prioritized Democrats who always vote, but also Democrats in marginalized communities that may not vote in every election. Garrick believes that only with both of these groups at the polls can Democrats win in District 6 or statewide—one of the reasons why we set up our campaign office at the Metro Center Mall along the I-17 corridor.”

McFadden’s approach to winning echoes many candidates who are running on a liberal progressive (rather than pragmatic progressive) message, employing a getting out the base strategy to winning. The campaign has and will also reach out to other potential supporters like independents, disaffected Republicans and Democrats that voted for Trump after they voted for Obama (although McFadden did express wonder how some Obama supporters could have supported to Trump, the ultimate Birther, after seeing his behavior, lies, and actions during the campaign). He feels that Democrats should run on issues similar to ones he is championing which include single-payer health care, paycheck fairness, disbanding private prisons, abolishing I.C.E. (or shifting it to the Department of Justice) and decriminalizing cannabis. He also feels that Republicans like David Schweikert and Paul Gosar are embarrassments and should be defeated because they have demonstrated a continual refusal to listen to their constituents on issues like the Affordable Care Act.

Garrick McFadden has several good ideas on how to improve Democratic turnout that should be considered. Voters are not going to turn out for a candidate if they do not make an effort like coming to their door to reach out to them and discuss ideas for moving the district forward.

For more information on Mr. McFadden, his ideas, and his race for the Democratic Nomination in CD 6, please view the links below.

https://www.facebook.com/electgarrick/

https://www.electgarrick.com/

https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Home&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.electgarrick.com%2F





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Can we officially call it a constitutional crisis now? (Updated)

Donald Trump “went there” this morning on the Special Counsel’s Russia probe.

Trump is, once again, setting up Confederate Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to be the fall guy by signaling he is now ready to pull a Nixonian “Saturday night massacre” if the Attorney General does not do as he is directed by the president, a clear violation of the independence of the Department of Justice from undue influence over criminal investigations by the chief executive. With Robert Mueller closing in, Trump is in a panic and is abusing the powers of the presidency to obstruct justice in order to protect himself.

Chris Cillizza at CNN reports, Donald Trump just tweeted something new about the Russia investigation — and it’s huge:

President Donald Trump has made his displeasure with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, special counsel Robert Mueller and the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election he is leading crystal clear over the past year. But he took that critique to new heights on Wednesday morning, suggesting that Sessions needed to step in and end the investigation.

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 9.30.28 AM

That seems like a pretty clear directive, no?

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The ‘Deplorables’ take a turn to the truly disturbing and dangerous

For Star Trek fans, “Q” is a recurring character portrayed by John de Lancie in the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager series. The name “Q” applies to the names of the individuals portrayed (all “male” and “female” characters refer to each other as “Q”), it also applies to the name of their race and to the Q Continuum itself – an alternate dimension accessible to only the Q and their “invited” guests.

This is not about this “Q.”

This is about the dark web racist conspiracy theorists of the alt-right and the Christian Nationalists and Dominionists who collectively generate the “QAnon” conspiracy theory in the dark recesses of the Internet.

They are also worshipers in the personality cult of Donald Trump. These are some truly disturbed individuals who are now openly showing up at Trump rallies. These disturbed individuals will make you long for the run of the mill racist Deplorables from 2016. These disturbing individuals are dangerous.

The Washington Post reports, ‘We are Q’: A deranged conspiracy cult leaps from the Internet to the crowd at Trump’s ‘MAGA’ tour:

On Tuesday evening, the dark recesses of the Internet lit up with talk of politics.

“Tampa rally, live coverage,” wrote “Dan,” posting a link to President Trump’s Tampa speech in a thread on 8chan, an anonymous image board also known as Infinitechan or Infinitychan, which might be best described as the unglued twin of better-known 4chan, a message board already untethered from reality.

The thread invited “requests to Q,” an anonymous user claiming to be a government agent with top security clearance, waging war against the so-called deep state in service to the 45th president. “Q” feeds disciples, or “bakers,” scraps of intelligence, or “bread crumbs,” that they scramble to bake into an understanding of the “storm” — the community’s term, drawn from Trump’s cryptic reference last year to “the calm before the storm” — for the president’s final conquest over elites, globalists and deep-state saboteurs.

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Russian attacks on the 2018 midterm election are underway

Earlier this year when Gov. Ducey kicked off his reelection campaign, it appears to have unleashed a horde of Twitter bots, similar to the Russian intelligence influence campaign in 2016. “A flurry of these kind of fake Twitter accounts have followed influencers and journalists in the Valley, all promoting Ducey’s re-election campaign.” We spoke to real people being used as pro-Ducey Twitter bots. Here’s what they said. “Regarding this recent rash of Twitter bots supporting Ducey, his campaign spokesperson Patrick Ptak told 12 News, “we saw it too. Not us.””

So the Ruskies love them some Doug Ducey, do they?

The local media quickly dismissed this incident and disappeared it down the memory hole.

But not so fast.

Facebook today announced it Has Identified Ongoing Political Influence Campaign:

Facebook announced on Tuesday that it has identified a coordinated political influence campaign, with dozens of inauthentic accounts and pages that are believed to be engaging in political activity around divisive social issues ahead of November’s midterm elections.

In a series of briefings on Capitol Hill this week and a public post on Tuesday, the company told lawmakers that it had detected and removed 32 pages and accounts connected to the influence campaign on Facebook and Instagram as part of its investigations into election interference. It publicly said it had been unable to tie the accounts to Russia, whose Internet Research Agency was at the center of an indictment earlier this year for interfering in the 2016 election, but company officials told Capitol Hill that Russia was possibly involved, according to two officials briefed on the matter.

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