Category Archives: Ethics

A travesty of justice: GOP stonewalls on Judge Brett Kavanaugh documents while rushing his confirmation hearing

I previously explained that Judge Kavanaugh provided misleading testimony in his previous confirmation hearing.

Kavanaugh testified that he had no role in the Bush administration terrorist interrogation and torture program. A year after his confirmation, NPR reported Brett Kavanaugh may have been less-than-forthright with Congress at a crucial hearing last year to confirm his appointment to a seat on the powerful federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.  Federal Judge Downplayed Role in Detainee Cases.

In fact, in 2002, Kavanaugh and a group of top White House lawyers discussed whether the Supreme Court would uphold the Bush administration’s decision to deny lawyers to American enemy combatants. Kavanaugh advised the group that the Supreme Court’s swing voter, Justice Anthony Kennedy, would probably reject the president’s assertion that the men were not entitled to counsel. Kavanaugh had worked as a clerk for Kennedy. That meeting was first reported in The Washington Post. NPR independently confirmed the details with multiple sources.

Durbin now says he feels “perilously close to being lied to” at Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.

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A clarion call to defeat congressman David Schweikert

Arizona congressman David Schweikert, a member of the radical GOP House Freedom Caucus, recently drew an editorial opinion from The Arizona Republic practically begging voters to vote for his Democratic opponent — whoever wins the August primary. 5 reasons a Democrat could win David Schweikert’s seat, even in a Republican stronghold:

Everything about this contest seems superfluous. Why do you even go to the trouble of staging a Democratic primary in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District?

These are the posh enclaves of Paradise Valley, northeast Phoenix, Scottsdale and Cave Creek, where Republicans are born and bred to beat Democrats. They enjoy a substantial voter registration advantage of 45,000.

Consequently, the Republican incumbent has smashed his Democratic rival in the last three general elections by landslide margins of 24, 30 and 28 points.

Schweikert also enjoys the power of incumbency, and is currently far ahead in the money race.

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So why bother?

Here are five reasons Democrats and other Arizonans should care about the CD 6 Democratic primary:

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Michelle Reagan is terrible, but Steve Gaynor fancies himself the next Kris Kobach

Arizona’s bumbling  Secretary of State, Michelle Reagan, appears headed for defeat in the GOP primary as a result of her demonstrated incompetence and repeated failures in performing the essential functions of her job.

Unfortunately her Republican opponent, millionaire businessman Steve Gaynor, fancies himself the next Kris Kobach, the GOP voter suppression specialist from Kansas.

Daily Kos reports GOP primary frontrunner for Arizona secretary of state wants to stop printing ballots in Spanish:

At a recent debate ahead of Arizona’s Aug. 28 Republican primary for secretary of state, businessman Steve Gaynor advocated for banning the printing of ballots and other election materials in Spanish, arguing that they should only be in English. Furthermore, Gaynor called for repealing the 1975 amendment to the federal Voting Rights Act that, thanks to a history of discrimination by many states—including Arizona itself—requires jurisdictions with large populations of non-English speakers to provide election materials in voters’ native languages.

Given that record of discrimination in a state that’s one-quarter Latino or Native American, it’s astonishing that a candidate would openly advocate for a measure that could make voting considerably more difficult for so many. But with Republicans escalating their voter suppression efforts thanks to a Supreme Court that seems determined to eviscerate the Voting Rights Act, Gaynor’s proposal isn’t an empty threat.

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Gov. Doug Ducey to participate in Trump middle-finger to Americans on Monday

The Trump White House is planning a “Salute to the Heroes of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs [and] Border Protection” on Monday, August 20 in the East Room. The ceremony is a politically motivated stunt to provoke ire from opponents of Trump’s zero tolerance family separation policy.

Naturally,  Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey intends to participate in this middle-finger to Americans opposed to the political party of kidnapping and child abuse and making orphans out of innocent children. Way to make us proud, Trump troll.

Daily Kos reports, As hundreds of separated migrant kids remain locked up, White House to honor ICE and CBP ‘heroes’:

As hundreds of separated migrant children continue to remain under U.S. custody and at ongoing risk of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, Donald Trump plans to honor the border agents who kidnapped them from their parents’ arms and locked them up in cages in the first place.

Politico reports the White House has planned a “Salute to the Heroes of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs [and] Border Protection” event for next Monday, coming a few days after Trump claimed that immigration agents “have been absolutely abused.”

All right, if he wants to talk abuse, let’s talk about abuse.

Despite a federal judge’s court order, the Trump administration continues to hold more than 560 kids under U.S. custody, including two dozen kids aged five years old and under. [Contempt of court.] Not only is the administration blatantly violating a court order, it’s continuing to keep kids locked up in facilities where migrant children have already been molested, and are only there because of  Trump’s family separation policy.

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Democrat LD 15 House Candidate Tonya MacBeth wants to help dig Arizona out of the hole dug by the policies of Nancy Barto and John Allen

LD 15 State House Candidate Tonya MacBeth

Once upon a time, Republicans in legislative districts like LD 15 (a district that includes parts or all of Peoria, Phoenix, Glendale, Cave Creek, Paradise Valley, and Deer Valley) could run virtually unopposed for election and reelection because Democrats hardly challenged them. For example, current LD 15 State Senator Nancy Barto only had one opponent in 2012 and 2014, a Republican in the district primary before Tonya MacBeth challenged her in 2016. On the House side, incumbents Heather Carter and John Allen ran unopposed in 2014 and defeated single shot candidates Patricia Flickner in 2012 and Brandon Dwyer in 2016.

Well times are changing in LD 15 and other districts previously uncontested or little challenged by Democrats.

2018 is an embarrassment of riches for Democrats as three exemplary and passionate aspiring public servants led by 2016 State Senate Candidate Tonya MacBeth (the others are Jennifer Samuels and Julie Gunnigle) all vie for an opportunity to face off against incumbent John Allen and term-limited in the Senate Nancy Barto in the State House of Representative election on November 6 (Ms. Carter is term-limited in the House and running for the district state senate seat against a fourth exemplary, passionate, and aspiring Democratic public servant, Kristin Dybvig-Pawleko).

At what is becoming the press office for Democratic candidates in LD 15 (the Starbucks at Tatum and Paradise Parkway, Tonya MacBeth gave an impassioned presentation on why she would be an ideal legislator for LD 15 as a mature voice for pragmatic centrist-progressivism.

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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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