Former AZ Legislator says US House might impeach Judge Snow

24 Apr 2015 05:00 am
Posted by: Donna

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County is having a less than stellar week, as he stands trial for contempt of court. On Thursday afternoon he was asked by US District Judge Murray Snow if what had been reported by Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times in June 2014 and January 2015, that Arpaio’s office had investigated Snow’s wife, was true. Arpaio admitted it was, to what the AZ Republic reported as “gasps and murmurs in the downtown Phoenix courtroom”.

Arpaio’s fans, who usually bombard comments sections with support for their hero, had been mostly absent on articles about this new development in the trial. One intrepid soul who did wade into the fray was none other than Republican former Arizona Legislator Jack Harper.

That’s a nice “career” you have there, Judge Snow. Harper would hate to see it be, uh, loosed and stiffled by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and his statesmanlike GOP colleagues!

Gay is the new abortion?

22 Apr 2015 06:43 am
Posted by: Donna

This remarkable item has gone viral:

Columnist Dan Savage calls it a “new variation on the “straight people are terrible” argument against marriage equality.”

Religious conservatives have already argued that straight people will stop getting married if gay people can and that marriage must be reserved for straight people because only straights can get pregnant by accident, and without the special inducements of marriage (a big party, a special cake, a honeymoon), straight people won’t take care of all those babies they’re having by accident. Now they’re arguing that straight people will abort their babies if gay people get married.

Man, straight people are terrible—why were they ever allowed to get married in the first place?

The anti-choice movement is an entire parallel bizarro world of crackpot bullshit so it would be easy to dismiss this as yet another weird myth, like the belief that abortions can be reversed, that has taken hold there. But there is an important context for this. The argument is being put forth in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court as it considers the latest challenge to same sex marriage.

A reduction in the opposite-sex marriage rate means an increase in the percentage of women who are unmarried and who, according to all available data, have much higher abortion rates than married women. And based on past experience, institutionalizing same-sex marriage poses an enormous risk of reduced opposite-sex marriage rates. As the amicus brief explains in detail, redefining marriage in genderless terms—which is legally necessary to permit marriage by same-sex couples—undermines the existing social norms of marriage in ways that are likely over time to reduce opposite-sex marriage rates. For example, an “any-two-adults” model of marriage implicitly tells men (and women) that a child doesn’t need a father (or mother), thereby weakening the norm of gender-diverse parenting. Other norms, such as the value of biological bonding, partner exclusivity, and reproductive postponement until marriage, will likewise crumble. It is thus not surprising that, even in the short time that same-sex marriage has been officially recognized in some states at home and abroad, man-woman marriage rates have declined—even as marriage rates in other jurisdictions have remained relatively stable.

If you’ve been following the Supreme Court on both reproductive and LGBT rights the past few years it should be obvious that this brief is a Hail Mary pass aimed squarely at Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy, swing voting attention whore that he is, has been decent on gay rights lately but has a big sad about abortion and has consistently sided with anti-choicers. (When he sided with the majority in the Hobby Lobby decision he cited his concern that abortion might one day have to be covered in employer health plans.) It is unlikely (one hopes!) that this risible attempt by the homobigots to link same sex marriage to abortion will succeed with Justice Kennedy but it’s no surprise that they tried it. It’s all they’ve got.

It also looks to be consistent with a broader strategy by right wingers to reinstate OMG SLUTZ!1! firmly at the forefront of their theocratic crusade under the (sadly, mostly correct) assumption that Americans will put up little to no resistance to things that are seen as punishing “promiscuous” women. The religious fascists have learned the hard way that allowing “religious freedom” to be framed as something used primarily to attack anyone else but sluts dooms it to failure these days. Hobby Lobby? Free ride all the way to the Supreme Court! SB1062 in Arizona and subsequent state bills that were seen as efforts to codify into law discrimination against LGBT and possibly other minority groups? Slow your roll, bigots!

The “100 scholars of religion” who filed the brief with SCOTUS are following the anti-choice playbook of making the following competing claims about women: That we are innately and relentlessly driven toward motherhood and a lifetime of marital servitude to the first man who will have us and that we are terribly fickle creatures who will abandon that project and immediately abort pregnancies (that we would gladly welcome otherwise) at any stage up to “seven pounds” at the slightest provocation. As for you straight men, the anti-choice assumption about you is straightforward and singular: You’re a bunch of selfish, immature louts who must be forced into responsibility by a shotgun wedding. If that is all true then Dan Savage has a point. Straight people are terrible!

This conflating of same sex marriage with abortion lends credence to Amanda Marcotte’s observation that right wingers have taken to describing a lot of things they don’t like as “abortion” in the hopes of tapping into the mainstream public’s (and Anthony Kennedy’s) unease over female autonomy.

It makes sense, from a political standpoint. On its own, health care reform is quite popular with the voting public. People want to curb the abuses of insurance companies, want to do something about the millions of Americans that are uninsured, and want some kind of cost controls on insurance. But if you can call health care reform “abortion,” then you can get people to quit thinking about how they’d like to have health insurance, and start getting them to think about how much they hate it when women can make their own sexual and life choices, as if they were men or something.

This is the result we get from media that are working on too short of a cycle (or are too cowardly) to check the veracity of claims emanating from the right, a world where the right can brazenly use the term “abortion,” and discussion about women’s health care in general, as scare tactics without much fear that they’ll face criticism from supposed fact-checking referees. Pro-choicers shouldn’t stand for it. We can demand a world where there’s no stigma attached to abortion itself, and where the word “abortion” isn’t used inaccurately to dredge up fears and hostility towards issues that don’t have anything at all to do with pregnancy termination.

People who support LGBT equality shouldn’t stand for it either.

Top Two Primary is back, with twice the magical thinking.

21 Apr 2015 06:38 am
Posted by: Donna

Photo: Arizona Capitol Times

As promised, the brain trust of Arizona centrist business establishment types (country club Republicans and corporate Dems) that failed to pass Prop 121 in 2012 plan to return with a slightly altered version of it in 2016.

Former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson, who led the campaign for Proposition 121 and is spearheading the 2016 measure, said organizers of the proposed Open Nonpartisan Primary Election plan on doing things a bit differently this time around.

“We get we lost last time,” Johnson said. “You don’t have to remind me of that. I get that one. So you have to look at why did I lose and what assets are out there that I can utilize to try to expand it.

Top Two primaries (also known as open or jungle primaries) are based on the surreal premise that having only the top two vote getters in the primary (regardless of party affiliation) advance to the general will improve government by enabling more “moderate” (read: business-friendly) candidates to defeat partisan ideologues. It seems reasonable if you don’t think about it for more than thirty seconds (and proponents are dearly hoping you won’t) but, alas, a cursory examination of the wildly optimistic promises of this scheme reveals its implausibility as a statewide solution for Arizona’s political dysfunction.

As I and others have explained before, Top Two only “works” in the way its designers intend if a whole bunch of variables fall neatly into place. Take the example of a Republican-dominated district that regularly elects radical reactionary conservatives like, say, Russell Pearce or Sylvia Allen. Under a Top Two primary, the Chamber of Commerce could recruit a less obstreperous Republican who perhaps holds a socially liberal view or two to run and garner enough moderate Republican, non-party designated (NPD), and Democratic votes to overcome the conservative votes that the right winger would undoubtedly get.

Is this possible? Of course. The difficulty is that it requires that no Democrat enter the race, and that includes sham Democrats recruited by right wing operatives to dilute the moderate Republican candidate’s primary vote total. If the moderate does manage to secure one of the two coveted spots for the general election, then it is imperative to get the votes of the moderate Republicans, left-leaning NPDs, and Democrats for that Chamber-anointed Republican. That would necessitate a lot of personal outreach to those general election voters, who tend not to be as versed in local politics as their primary voting counterparts. Who will do that work? Some of it can be done by paid canvassers but it’s not likely that the effort would succeed without considerable support from Democratic PCs and volunteers willing to knock on doors – in both the primary and general election seasons in 100 + degree temperatures – for a candidate who may hold views those activists find objectionable.

Ultimately, Top Two provides a specific, high-maintenance, and luck-dependent path to the centrist Nirvana that its proponents promise. Sometimes the stars align and it does work, as with the 2011 recall of Russell Pearce. There are, however, an infinite number of other, unintended paths that could unfold. And that is leaving aside the ability that right wing candidates currently have merely to make a phone call to Americans for Prosperity or any number of national conservative big funders for a few hundred thou or a million or so to drop in their races. The Top Two people appear to be oblivious to how elections have changed since Citizens United and related court decisions. It’s understandable, since many of them were big ballers in Arizona until only few years ago, that it is tough for them to accept that they are no longer as influential as they used to be in state elections but that does not confer an obligation upon others to embrace their magical thinking-based grasp at relevancy.

If you had any doubt that Top Two proponents are delusional, consider Paul Johnson’s defense of the new iteration of the proposition:

First of all, the language will be different. Johnson said organizers aren’t entirely sure what the language will look like, but it may end up being quite similar, though not identical to Proposition 121. Organizers don’t expect to complete the language until this summer. But the current draft makes one notable change. Candidates’ party affiliation won’t be listed on the ballot under the proposed open primary system.

The change may seem small, but Johnson said it’s quite significant. Opponents of Proposition 121 criticized the 2012 measure because it could have led to situations where two members of the same political party face off against each other in the general election.

“That’s a big change. That was one of the very big issues that the other side used against us in the last campaign,” Johnson said. “Their TV ads said this could result in two Democrats ending up on the ballot and you really wouldn’t have a choice. That’s a big difference.”

No one ceases being a Republican or Democrat (or whatever party) simply because no letter appears by their name on the ballot! I’m honestly not sure what planet these Top Two people live on, let alone what country or state.

I’m taking this one personally, Governor Ducey

16 Apr 2015 07:48 am
Posted by: Donna

Per AZ Capitol Times (yes, behind a paywall but I pay for my subscription so I get to talk about it):

Gov. Doug Ducey may have just cost more than 200,000 Arizonans a shot at keeping the health insurance they received through the Affordable Care Act, though they won’t know for sure until the U.S. Supreme Court rules this summer.
Ducey has signed HB2643, which prohibits Arizona or any of its political subdivisions from using taxpayer dollars or personnel to establish a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. Arizona is one of 34 states using a federally run exchange after declining to set up a state-run exchange of its own.

About 204,000 people in Arizona now have health insurance through the state’s federal exchange, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

But those federally administered exchanges may not be around for much longer. The U.S. Supreme Court in March heard arguments in King v. Burwell, in which opponents of the Affordable Care Act argued that the law does not allow the federal government to provide subsidies for health insurance purchased through federally run exchanges. Obamacare critics argue that the law only allows for subsidies in state-run exchanges.

Oh great, our “pro-life” Governor wants me to lose the health insurance I got last year, after seven years of being uninsured due to pre-existing conditions. Thanks, Doug.

This raises new questions about where Ducey’s administration falls on the stupid/evil continuum of conservatism. It is certainly callous and cruel to be willing to cast tens of thousands of Arizonans out of the health care coverage they were able to obtain in 2014, so score one for evil! Then again, should the Supremes vote in favor of the plaintiffs in King v Burwell, then Arizona is left with few to no health insurance options for all the striving entrepreneurs that Ducey claimed to be the champion of when he ran for Governor in 2014. It is incredibly dumb of Ducey to signal to budding business owners that they should probably pick another state in which to open up shop. That puts him squarely in “I read Ayn Rand when I was fifteen and it changed my life!” territory, right along with the likes of noted dumbasses like Sam Brownback and Scott Walker.

Either way, Ducey basically told me to fuck off and die.

News people, you don’t have to play dumb to be objective

14 Apr 2015 06:15 am
Posted by: Donna

AZ Rep. Ken Clark (D) and Sen. Debbie Lesko (R) were on Channel 3′s Politics Unplugged to discuss the recently ended legislative session (one of the quickest in history).

(Link to video since, of course, it autoplays when embedded.)

I’m not singling out host Dennis Welch because he’s far from the only news person in Arizona who does this, but this interview is the latest example of the infuriating habit they have of pretending to be utterly ignorant of our state’s political realities so as to appear “balanced”. On the topic of the budget Sen. Lesko stuck to the GOP/Governor Ducey script of how a parsimonious spending plan was what they were elected to do and how education funding wasn’t cut at all (if you squint really hard). Clark criticized Lesko’s dubious math on spending-per-pupil and decried the GOP majority’s abandonment of investment in education and infrastructure in favor of 23 years of tax cut magic. It was what you’d expect from a bipartisan panel. The part that irritated me the most was Welch demanding to know what the Democratic plan was.

Now, Dennis Welch is a very smart man who is well-versed in Arizona politics and government, having covered both in print and on television for years. I find it difficult to believe that he does not know that Democrats run no legislative committees, that their bills and amendments generally die a quick death, their budget proposals are ignored, and that anything that is remotely a Democratic fiscal priority requires persuading several Republicans to go along with it for it to go anywhere. It’s been a full-on GOP hoedown here since 2009 so interrogating a Democratic lawmaker the way Welch did Clark on TV can only be read as an attempt to obscure that fact and push the idea that “both sides” are to blame for our lack of revenue when that is obviously false.

Furthermore, any political reporter in Arizona (who shouldn’t be fired immediately for gross ignorance) is surely aware of Prop 108, passed by voters in 1992, which requires a 2/3 majority vote of the Legislature to raise revenue. So a news person goading Rep. Clark (or Dem Governor candidate Fred DuVal, as they did relentlessly in 2014) into admitting to wanting to raise taxes appears to be doing little more than trolling for a soundbite. Democrats have zero ability to raise taxes here via the legislative process, even if all of them were shouting that they wanted to do that from the hilltops.

News people, you know exactly why Arizona is in our current predicament. Decades of tax cuts have led to insufficient revenue for the schools and other nice things for our state. It’s no inscrutable mystery so quit with the dumb act. Report on it accordingly. What you’re doing now is beneath you and annoying as hell besides.

The centrist fantasy on abortion rights is a dangerous farce

09 Apr 2015 06:36 am
Posted by: Donna

The folks at Vox commissioned a poll on attitudes toward abortion, asking more nuanced, and specific, questions than are usually asked and the results are fascinating.

Vox’s Sarah Kliff was intrigued enough about the responses that she contacted some of the respondents for further clarification.

“From my point of view, I believe all babies go to heaven,” King told me when I asked him to explain how both labels fit his viewpoint. “And if this baby were to live a life where it would be abused … it’s just really hard to explain. It gets into the rights of the woman, and her body, at the same time. It just sometimes gets really hazy on each side.”

King’s perspective is, in a way, unique: he has a distinct and nuanced view on when abortion should and shouldn’t be legal, one that takes in all sorts of personal and circumstantial factors. He’s generally anti-abortion, but not completely. He doesn’t fit neatly into either side of the debate.

In another way, though, King’s viewpoint is common: in our poll, we found that 18 percent of Americans, like King, pick “both” when you ask them to choose between pro-life and pro-choice. Another 21 percent choose neither. Taken together, about four in 10 Americans are eschewing the labels that we typically see as defining the abortion policy debate.

Vox also asked some people on the street how they felt about abortion:

Almost everyone in those interviews came across as kind, empathetic, and respectful of the rights and boundaries of women seeking abortion, whether they supported abortion or not. Except for one guy who was terrible. If you watch the video you can probably tell who I’m talking about. Judging from social media, this Vox project is bound to spawn at least a thousand think pieces by abortion centrists insisting that we simply must find “common ground” on this divisive issue. I hope at least some of the centrist pundits paid attention to where considerable common ground lies beyond things that are usually asked about, like late-term bans and parental notification.

Anti-choicers lately have been pushing hard on how some of their legislation, such as 20 week bans and eliminating “taxpayer funding” of abortion, enjoy majority support in the polls, making them “common sense”. But centrists have been proposing “sensible compromises” with anti-choicers since forever. Their utopian delusion is that if we just throw the antis a few limits they’ll reciprocate by leaving first trimester abortions alone and possibly even embracing sex ed, contraception, and social support for parenting. It’s nonsense, as Ed Kilgore explained in 2013:

…Suppose it were possible to engineer a permanent national deal (it’s not, but just consider it as a thought experiment) wherein in exchange for a strictly enforced ban on post-viability abortions that didn’t involve direct threats to the life of the mother, we’d also start treating all forms of contraception and pre-viability abortions not only as legal, but as medical procedures that would be publicly funded just like other medical procedures, under normal (not prohibitive) inspection and regulatory regimes? I suspect a large number of pro-choice folk would go for that kind of deal, which isn’t that different from the situation in much of Europe. It would reflect the fact that most late-term abortions happen not because some bad girl has had sex and now finds motherhood inconvenient, but because she hasn’t had meaningful access to contraception, Plan B, or early-term abortions.

But would any antichoice activists go along with it? No. Because they don’t really care about late-term abortions other than as a lever to move public opinion away from legalized abortion generally. I mean, if late-term abortions were really what upset you, wouldn’t you perhaps be even more adamant than the Planned Parenthood folk in trying to make sure steps short of late-term abortion were not only tolerated but encouraged?

Despite how obvious all of that is to anyone paying attention to the anti-choice movement, it has proven impossible to dissuade centrists from their near-religious refusal to see that anti-choicers see inches ceded to them as miles for which to aspire. The other (scary) problem with the centrist fantasy is that laws are real and arbitrarily enforced against real women. And they don’t even accomplish what purported intentions are, as legal expert Scott Lemieux (and others) explained back in 2006:

There is a further problem here, however: the complete disjuncture between the purported goals of abortion “centrists” and the actual effects of the regulations they support. It’s important to make a distinction between the moral and legal position of abortion centrists, which they constantly blur to disguise the fact that there’s no rational connection between the two. It’s defensible, whether one agrees with it or not, to believe that some abortions are more morally problematic than others, and that it varies based on context. But abortion regulations have nothing to do with that. In some cases, they’re openly contradictory: Patterico argues that “many of us who are uncomfortable with abortion become more so as the fetus advances in age”–a common argument among both the center-right and center-left–but of course creating regulatory obstacle courses makes later-term abortions more likely. But even when there isn’t an obvious contradiction, there’s no rational connection between the regulations and the moral position (and in the case of arbitrary bans on medical procedures given scary scientifically meaningless names, no rational connection with any purpose.) Abortion regulations don’t inscribe “centrist” moral positions into law: they just give more decision-making power to third parties for no good reason, and make abortion access more inequitable. Lizardbreath recently made this point very effectively:

(1) Regulations of this sort don’t discourage abortion in any targeted way. If you believe that abortion is always a wrong decision, regardless of the woman’s individual circumstances, I’m not talking to you right now – go over and sit with the committed, consistent pro-lifers. If you think that there are circumstances where a woman should be able to decide for herself whether to have an abortion, whatever you think those circumstances are, you have to recognize that these regulations aren’t going to preferentially discourage the abortions you disapprove of. Regulations requiring waiting periods are going to discourage poor women, who can’t get consecutive days off from work or can’t afford an overnight stay near the provider. Spousal notification regulations are going to discourage women with bad or fearful relationships with their husbands. Nutty “safety” regulations (such as those requiring an abortion clinic to have a written transfer agreement with a hospital to accept emergency patients — what, the hospital would otherwise refuse to accept emergency patients because they came from an abortion clinic?) raise the costs, travel and otherwise, of abortions, and so discourage poor women. None of them are going to preferentially discourage women who don’t take abortion seriously, women who use abortion as birth control, or any other category of women whose abortion decisions you disagree with.

If you think that abortion is always a difficult moral decision, but is sometimes the least of the available evils, regulations like this don’t bear any relationship to discouraging abortion when it’s the wrong decision and allowing it when it’s the right decision. All they do is serve as obstacles, making abortion available for affluent women in comfortable circumstances, and closing it off for poor women or women in difficult family situations. This isn’t right, and it isn’t just.

(2) Taking these regulations at face value, people who favor them don’t trust women. If we take mandatory counseling, waiting periods, and spousal notification regulations at face value as regulations intended to address the concerns of moderate pro-lifers (rather than assuming that they are cynically favored by pro-life absolutists who know that they can’t pass absolute abortion bans, and so favor any regulation, however irrational, making abortion more difficult to obtain) they reflect a mistrust of women as moral decision-makers.

The nominal goal of such regulations is to make the woman concerned consider additional information and opinions or spend additional time thinking about whether she should or should not have an abortion. Isn’t it clear that this reflects an opinion that women, if unregulated, will make abortion decisions flippantly or thoughtlessly? It’s not a simple case of saying that the woman involved has interests that are opposed to those of the fetus, and that she therefore, as an interested party, can’t be permitted to make the decision. These regulations still leave the decision in the woman’s hands – they just assume that women, as a class, can’t be trusted to inform themselves of the relevant facts and make abortion decisions thoughtfully and after moral deliberation. That assumption, made by someone who has considered it explicitly, reflects a profound contempt for women as moral decision makers.

Both of these points are exactly right. First, abortion regulations do nothing to ensure that women will only have abortions under conditions that either Patterico or Will Saletan will find acceptable (leaving aside the question of why their opinion on a highly contestable moral choice should matter more than the woman whose life is actually at stake in the first place.) Rather, as I’ve argued before, the effect of these regulatory obstacle courses is abortion-on-demand for affluent women in urban centers and highly restricted abortion for other women (even if these women are having abortions for reason Lord Saletan finds tolerable.) And the elitism here is again manifest: some women can be trusted with the decision, but others cannot…

Nine years passing have fully vindicated these arguments. Centrists seemed to believe that late term abortion laws would be simple admonitions to pregnant women not to wait too long to get an abortion, with no criminal penalties awaiting who violated it. Yet women are already being arrested and tried, convicted, and sentenced for decades-long prison terms for (alleged) self-induced late-term abortions. Neither Jennie Linn McCormack of Idaho nor Purvi Patel of Indiana had received any prenatal care, and thus lacked the knowledge of how far along they were. That didn’t stop third party authorities from targeting them for prosecution. It is horrifying to think what women experiencing pregnancy complications face when the decision over whether they get terminations or not is made by an anti-abortion hospital administrator or a nervous bureaucrat and not by themselves and their doctors.

Parental notification was another “sensible compromise” centrists urged pro-choicers to embrace. Leaving aside how divorced from reality it is as a policy, consider how anti-choicers are proposing things like appointing attorneys to fetuses and exposing judges who grant judicial bypasses.

Many of the young women who use the bypass system have been physically abused by a parent or have a mother or father who threatened to kick them out of the house if they ever got pregnant. Some are caretakers for their parents. Others are estranged from them: “Mom’s dead, Dad’s in prison, they never liked me much anyway,” is how Hays, the attorney, has described these cases.

But if the state were to start naming judges, many would become unwilling to participate in the process, Hays argues. “Some of these courthouses already refuse to hear the girls’ petitions, which is eight shades of illegal, but what are we going to do about it?” she says. “Now, if it’s going to be public which judges are doing these, you’re going to have girls with nowhere to go.”

Texas Republicans have tried before to out the judges who make these sensitive rulings. In 2005, Republican Rep. Phil King introduced a bill that would have not only publicized judges’ names and rulings, but also would have altered the law to make transcripts of the hearings available to the public. Opponents of the bill objected, noting that bypass hearing transcripts often contain enough information about a minor, such as the name of her school and a description of her home life, to make her identifiable to people who know her.

But one opponent of the bill was also concerned about the safety of the judges: Craig Enoch, a former Texas Supreme Court justice and a lifelong Republican, warned the Legislature that naming judges could place them and their families in danger from violent parents or extreme anti-abortion groups.

Parental notification isn’t exactly working out to be the “reasonable” olive branch that centrist fantasists have sold it as.

And then there’s the Patient Zero of Centrist Abortion Policy Fantasy: Bans on taxpayer funding of abortion going back to the Hyde Amendment of 1976. Centrists have been down for that all the way. In 2009 they insisted on reinforcing Hyde in the Affordable Care Act, while also insisting on granting religious organizations an exemption from the contraception mandate. Strangely, these concessions have not appeased the anti-choice lobby. Instead, they led to things like the Hobby Lobby decision and and a new Arizona law banning private insurance coverage of abortion. I’m sure that centrists would blanch at the suggestion that they have played a role in a North Carolina bill to ban funding to medical schools that train doctors to perform abortions but it’s hard to deny they have.

If abortion centrists have a single accomplishment of theirs that they can point to, that has improved and not worsened the status of reproductive health outcomes for women, I am very interested in seeing it.

Grand Old Privilege

08 Apr 2015 06:31 am
Posted by: Donna

www.phrases.org.uk

I stayed up past 3am to watch the AZ House vote on final bills before Sine Die last Friday morning. The very last bill the Committee of the Whole was debating when it was announced that the Senate would be skedaddling, thus, not hearing any more bills was SB1339, which would have forbade so-called “ballot harvesting”. It was directed at Democratic volunteers, under spurious allegations that they are stealing thousands of ballots or forging them, or something. Democratic Reps were understandably impatient with this slander and took to the floor to say so.

Rep. Rebecca Rios (D-South Phoenix) had sharp words for her colleagues. “Politeness be damned!” was her retort to the notion that the Republicans’ motives (suppressing Democratic votes) should not be scrutinized. Naturally this led to her being admonished for “impugning the motives” of her colleagues. It was yet more of the kind of tedious civility politics that enables the powerful majority in Arizona to silence critics and demand that their obvious bullshit not be publicly exposed for what it is. You are just supposed to accept the following (ludicrous) claim at face value: That volunteers collecting ballots in Democratic-heavy precincts are probably committing fraud and that Republican lawmakers are not cynically advancing this evidence-free assertion so as to pass a law aimed at suppressing Democratic votes.

Then, on Friday afternoon following Sine Die, at an education forum in Northern Arizona, Reps Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake) and Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff) addressed an unfriendly crowd about education cuts. Once again, conservatives were miffed at not being shown deference (by people who are not required to follow legislative protocol) and their stated intentions not being treated as if they were magic:

So when an FUSD parent walked up to the microphone, decried how college tuition rates in Arizona have increased 80 percent in the past five years, and criticized Thorpe and Allen for providing tax cuts to corporations, Allen snapped.

“You’re asking me, sir, because I have the power to go after other people’s money,” Allen said. “You want me to go after other people’s money because you think it justifies (it) because we’re going to give it to kids for their education. It would have to be done very carefully because, you know, go look up socialist countries.”

The crowd gasped but Allen was not finished.

“Oh yeah?” she said, challenging the audience. “You can’t be polite about what I say but I have to be polite about what you say. You’re all here to beat us up because you’re upset that we just don’t raise taxes.”

Allen also took a few jabs at NAU and the Arizona Board of Regents by telling students they should ask NAU administrators where they are spending money. At one point, she implied NAU spends its funds on cars and credit cards.

I’m fairly certain most people who were in that room have at least a glancing familiarity with tax-averse right wing economic dogma. They were rejecting it, and this was considered impolite to Rep. Allen. Meanwhile she expected her own insinuations about the motives of people who want more funding for schools (socialist! wanting to take “other people’s”* money!) and of the ethics administrators of colleges (bad!) to be found acceptable and inoffensive.

In other words, pure privilege on display.

In other words, they demand the constant pretense on your part that their Emperors are fully clothed.

*The unending attacks on school funding strike me as very similar to right wing objections to any coverage (public or private insurance) of reproductive health care. Once again, there is the insistence that “taxpayers” shouldn’t have to pay for a certain thing, in this case public education. The obvious implication is that students in the public education system are not in the care of people who also pay taxes. And since women are seen as the universal caretakers of children, this is no surprise. It looks like conservatives are framing public education funding as (non-working bon bon eating) women grasping for public dollars. They must think the single moms doing all those menial jobs they take for granted are a mirage.