Our sad small town newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star, regularly runs a feature “tell us how to improve our newspaper.” They ask, but they do not listen. Every writer at this blog has given them advice on how to improve the Star over the years, and that advice has always gone ignored.
My biggest gripe: the Arizona Daily Star web site is the worst piece-o’-crap newspaper web site I have ever run across. The articles posted in the print edition of the newspaper are frequently not posted in the online version of the newspaper, and even when they are, the articles appear under different headlines and are not always included in the menu of articles. The “all headlines” function is a sick joke. Readers have to search for the articles, and the Star’s search function also sucks. Build a better web site already!
The only reason to buy the Arizona Daily Star is for David Fitzsimmons, the Star’s long-time editorial cartoonist and political satirist. Even the wingnuts who express hatred for Fitz for his “librul” views cannot fault him for the enormous amount of community service he does for a wide array of charitable organizations in Tucson. Fitz is truly a Tucson treasure.
Fitz’s column runs on Saturdays. This past Saturday was a Fitz classic: “The Ice Cream Man and the Koch’s dark money.” I still cannot find a link to this column on the Star’s craptacular web site as of Monday. So as a public service, I will transcribe it for you below [update: Finally a link! The Ice Cream Man and dark money]
Dark Throat: Your boy Doug Ducey. He doesn’t answer to people of Arizona.
Me: Who does he answer to?
DT: The Koch brothers.
DT: The Koch brothers of Koch industries. They’re billionaires, and they’d like nothing more than to do away with Medicare, Social Security, the minimum wage, the EPA, OSHA, public education, unions, all taxes and every government regulation ever signed into law.
Did you know the Koch brothers bankrolled the Tea Party? Their fingerprints are all over the efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are all Koch beneficiaries.
Me: What does Gov. Ducey have to do with any of this?
DT: Ducey hooked up with the Kochs when he was your state treasurer. Back then he led the Koch-financed fight to defeat the proposition making the 1-cent sales tax for education permanent. A lousy penny! Going directly for education and infrastructure! All the teachers, retirees and parents in the world couldn’t match the $1.2 million in dark money that Ducey got from a secret out-of-state cabal.
When he decided to run for governor, the Ice Cream Man went to California and asked the Kochs for support. They rained dark money down on his opponent, Fred DuVal, and drowned him in a river of lies and distortions.
And now, together, the victors are going to Wisconsin-ize Arizona. Wisconsin was just the warm-up for Arizona.
DT: In 2010, the Kochs bought Wisconsin and handed it over to an ice-cold Ayn Rand fanatic named Scott Walker. As governor he whacked public employees’ pay, restricted voting rights, killed unions, gave massive tax breaks to corporations, and cut $800 million in education funding. Sound familiar, Arizona?
Me: Whatever happened to Wisconsin?
DT: Hah. No one ever asks that question. Job growth is tanking and the middle class is shrinking. Wherever they try this trickle-down alchemy, the economy stagnates. They find scapegoats. Obama. Illegals. Liberals. The press. The usual. Results don’t matter. They aren’t rational. Maximizing corporate profits and keeping the 1 percent happy are their priorities – not your kids, your teachers, your veterans, your working moms.
Ducey and his Tea Party Legislature are just getting started. Gutting our universities, defunding our community colleges, abolish state agencies, building more prisons, attacking reproductive rights, ramming through a crazy right-wing budget by candlelight, crating a gang of investigators who report in secret only to the governor, shutting down public hearings, and privatizing public ed to benefit his charter school cronies are just the beginning.
Me: Next you’ll tell me there is a Koch operative in his administration.
DT: Ducey’s chief of staff, Kirk Adams, is a Koch man. He helped piece together the web of dark money “nonprofits” known as the “Kochtopus.”
Then there’s Ducey’s good pal, Sean Noble, a dark money mule and political hit man who learned the game in California by managing a Koch campaign against – you guessed it – increasing financing for education. The Kochs spent millions to win that little jihad.
Me: We’ll protest!
DT: Protest all you want. You saw what happened in Wisconsin. Dark money’s “free speech” will out-shout the people every time. Need I remind you that here in your state dark money paid for robocall hits, smearing and silencing and school superintendents who dared to protest Ducey’s budget cuts?
Me: Sounds grim.
DT: It is. Remember the legal challenge to Arizona’s redistricting plan? Dark money paid for it. Their power comes from gerrymandering safe districts and restricting voting.
They rig the game because they don’t respect the will of the people. Look at the polling. The overwhelming majority of us are socially liberal and happy to pay more for education. The overwhelming majority of us are fiscal conservatives but we also believe government and regulation should play a role in our lives.
Not today’s Kochonuts. They don’t practice fiscal conservatism. They practice cynical fiscal madness, shrinking the tax base by cutting taxes for their cronies and then acting astonished that there’s a deficit. Because voters have the memory of potheads, they buy the Republican ruse that the only way out of the crisis they created is to cut education and social programs.
Me: But maybe Ducey . . .
DT: Remember the new Department of Child Safety? The agency formed when Child Protective Services was failing abused children because it was underfunded and overwhelmed? Ice Cream Man agreed to cut $11 million from its budget. Eleven million buys a lot of child-abuse investigators. That’s a cold-stone heart, man, a cold-stone heart.
Once the Supreme Court said corporations were people and money was free speech, democracy got put on ice.
But hey, corporations have a bottom line to meet, right?
The editors of the Star should note that everything Fitz includes in his column can be linked to posts that we have done here at Blog for Arizona (Fitz is a regular reader) and generally not reported in the Star. So don’t give me any crap for having made Fitz’s column available here.