Ducey’s appoints notorious anti-public education figure to AZ Supreme Court

07 Jan 2016 04:12 am
Posted by: Donna

Governor Ducey’s spokesman, responding to an EJ Montini column critical of his appointment of Clint Bolick to the AZ Supreme Court.

Ugh, what a week. My brain is so crowded with things to be irate about I don’t even know where to start, but I’ll go with waking up Wednesday to learn that Governor Ducey had appointed Goldwater Institute litigator Clint Bolick to the state’s Supreme Court. Bolick has no experience as a judge but a long history of attacking public education and public workers, as detailed in the Montini column sneered at by Ducey’s communications director. And, hoo boy, does Bolick take a dim view of workers’ rights in general!

Bolick has long been a huge “school choice” (privatization) proponent and a steadfast opponent of full public school funding. For years his Goldwater Institute has provided conservatives with fuzzy math-based inflated per-pupil spending amounts to enable them to obscure how much they have truly gutted public education. For example, here’s the howler the Institute peddled about K-12 spending when they worked to defeat the Prop 204 sales tax measure in 2012 (emphasis mine):

Arizona schools spend $9,233 per student when you add up all funding sources, a 9 percent increase from 2000.

Such unusually high dollar figures (most surveys put Arizona substantially lower) are the result of GI including every expenditure they can get their hands on – “lunch money, after school sports, adult night programs, adjacent ways (sewer & road repairs as a result of city maintenance), and other non-revenue dollars” – which the other states we’re compared with do not use in their calculations.

The bullshit-based defeat of Prop 204 cost the schools $1 billion. Of course, remember who else was a big Prop 204 opponent. I won’t speculate on whether the Bolick appointment was repayment or not. You decide.

It was especially unnerving to see the announcement of Bolick’s appointment the day after the legislative district meeting I attended Tuesday night, wherein we were told that Democrats were duty-bound to support Ducey’s state land trust grab, AKA Prop 123, because we don’t want to be seen as “anti-education”. This is obviously not a concern for Governor Ducey, who strongly broadcast his contempt for the education groups who signed on in support of Prop 123 with this Supreme Court pick. IOKIYAR!

Look who’s excited about Prop 123

05 Jan 2016 12:45 pm
Posted by: Donna

santa cruz land

Per the AZ Capitol Times, Governor Ducey is positively giddy over the strong support his education funding plan is getting from the “business community”:

Let’s Vote Yes for Arizona’s Schools, the campaign committee formed to promote Prop. 123 in the May 17 special election, announced that it brought in about $1.75 million in its first two months of fundraising. The fundraising haul brings the campaign about halfway toward meeting the expectations of campaign manager J.P. Twist, who has said he expects it to raise between $3 million and $4 million.

The biggest contributors were GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons and his wife, Renee, who each gave $250,000 to the campaign. Greater Phoenix Leadership has given $220,000, while the Helios Education Foundation contributed $100,000.

Salt River Project and the Arizona State University Foundation each gave $75,000. Cox Communications, DMB Associates, Blandford Homes and auto dealership magnate Larry Van Tuyl each gave $50,000. Developer Edward Robson and his company, Robson Communities Inc., each gave $25,000 to the campaign.

“We have overwhelming support from the business and education communities who have rallied behind this landmark opportunity,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in a press statement issued by the campaign. “This money – and the money to come – shows that people understand just how important passage of Prop 123 is to our schools, teachers, children and our state.”

I’m sure this is because those developers are impressed by the initiative itself, with its triggers that cap school funding to just under half the state budget no matter how much that budget is slashed by the Republicans, thus ensuring that Arizona’s public schools remain at the bottom of the nation. Yeah, it has to be that and not all that sweet state trust land they’ll have access to for rock bottom prices.

Ducey: Prosperity Is Just Around The Corner!

04 Jan 2016 06:41 pm
Posted by: Donna

HooverNo, this isn’t Governor Doug Ducey. It’s President Herbert Hoover. But same shit, different century.

It appears the efforts of Governor Doug Ducey and his communications people to enforce mandatory optimism are working, judging from this recent piece in the Arizona Capitol Times about the governor’s first year in office:

Remaking Arizona: Ducey’s free-market approach succeeds in year one

It would be difficult to imagine a more successful first year for Arizona’s 23rd governor.

Gov. Doug Ducey took office with two severe problems requiring immediate attention: a massive budget deficit and a K-12 funding lawsuit that threatened to drop Arizona even further into the fiscal hole. He set out to find an early resolution to the first and ended his first year by mediating a solution to the second. In the intervening months, he stayed active, putting his conservative, free-market imprimatur on state government.

Since the moment Ducey took the dais for his first State of the State address, the new governor has achieved most of the goals he set for his administration. And, in a departure from the rancor between lawmakers and the executive branch that so often characterized former Gov. Jan Brewer’s administration, he did so with legislative leadership by his side.

With an administration packaged in a slick public relations campaign and slogans like “opportunity for all” and “government at the speed of business,” Ducey set out to remake Arizona.

“Ten out of 10,” was how lobbyist Kurt Davis, a veteran of former Gov. Fife Symington’s administration, characterized Ducey’s first year. “To be able to come in and establish and confront a very difficult budget … and then have to turn around and solve a multiyear education lawsuit and figure out how to pay for that, those are two substantial achievements. And all during that time you’re appointing people to head your agencies and beginning to put your imprimatur on how the government’s going to look.”

Actually, there wasn’t a whole lot of rancor between Governor Brewer and the GOP majority lege in her first year either, when SB1070 got passed quicker than crap goes through a goose so give that time, Cap Times. That aside, it’s fascinating to watch the Arizona Villagers insist that everything is just peachy under Governor Hoover, I mean Ducey. That education deal? Ignore how it requires voter approval and even then keeps the state at the bottom of the nation in education funding! That budget? Well, I guess it’s only “harsh” if you are one of those poor children whining about how your family’s assistance got cut. Or how the abuse or neglect you are suffering isn’t being addressed. If you are a disconnected (meaning not employed or attending school) young person between 16 and 24 in one of our urban areas, then you must not have a full appreciation of government at the speed of business, or something.

I know, I’m being such a negative nabob. Just keep repeating “Prosperity Is Just Around The Corner!” and it will be true.

It’s a dry denial

29 Dec 2015 02:46 pm
Posted by: Donna

I had to interrupt my holiday blogging hiatus to bring you the “Journalist Year in Review” segment from Channel 8 Horizon.

Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts, AZ Capitol Media Service’s Howie Fischer, and KJZZ host Steve Goldstein were asked for their prognostications for 2016, with the winning scores being tallied at the end of next year. The first questions were about the Presidency: who would win their respective party nominations and then the general elections. The three panelists differed on who would win the GOP nod, with Roberts picking Rubio, Fischer Cruz, and Goldstein going with Jeb Bush. All three believe the GOP nominee will prevail narrowly in the electoral college, though Roberts suggested that a third party run by Trump could derail that.

Only white people living in a very rarefied Phoenix establishment bubble could express the kind of confidence this panel did in a GOP victory in 2016. Fischer thinks Cruz(!) will win because Democrats won’t show up to vote for “damaged goods” Hillary Clinton (despite her being about the most popular politician there is among Dem voters). Goldstein thinks Jeb will win Florida and Ohio. Laurie Roberts seemed to be expressing her own wishful thinking when she predicted that Marco Rubio would be swept to 287 electoral votes through his “electability” and because terrorism will be the number one concern of voters throughout 2016.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting the eventual Democratic nominee (who I think will be Hillary but not a single primary vote has been cast yet) is going to have an easy time of it. I’m just saying it takes an incredible level of denial of the demographic changes that have taken place in America to think the GOP will even eke out a win for the weak reasons the Horizon panel offered. The GOP could win, but not without employing a whole bunch of voter suppression and other dirty tricks.

Remember that George W. Bush – the amiable guy you wanted to have a beer with – didn’t even win the popular vote in 2000, in a much more demographically favorable electorate for Republicans and after Al Gore had been reduced to a stiff, boring, beige liberal caricature by the MSM.

Dad always gets his hot rod

22 Dec 2015 02:35 am
Posted by: Donna

Probably the best non-voter file or ISIL related takes on last Saturday’s Democratic debate:

I mean, right? I’ll just add that “Mom” (Democrat) is proposing things that help people not considered important to the Very Serious People – the poor, women, children, students, minorities, etc. – while “Dad” (Republican) wants to spend oodles of money (what deficit?) on the cool tax cuts, privatization schemes, and military adventures that the owners of TV networks love. Thus, President Obama had to account for every dime spent on the 2009 stimulus (and make it about a third tax cuts) and demonstrate that the Affordable Health Care Act would “bend the cost curve” (AKA save the government money) rather than emphasize how millions of Americans should have access to health care coverage and maybe not die prematurely or go bankrupt surviving, regardless of cost. Despite these concessions, the President’s accomplishments have been regarded with skepticism, if not outright derision, by pundits and Beltway insiders famously indifferent to the problems of working class people.

President Bush before him was under no such pressures, for he was buying himself a sweet Hummer made of tax cut fairy magic. David Brooks circa 2001 was so excited!

In other words, if you wade through the economic literature, it’s hard not to agree with the Cleveland Fed’s Jerry Jordan: We are living at a once-in-a-generation moment of economic opportunity. As productivity grows, the economy will grow. As the economy grows, revenues will grow, maybe beyond what the CBO projects. The real question about the Bush tax cuts, then, is not, Can we afford them? The real question is, Why are they so small?

They are not small in a dollar sense. They are intellectually small. Now, maybe for the last time in our lives, we have the financial opportunity to enact fundamental changes. We will have enough revenue to allow us to reform our entire tax system. We can simplify it, cut it, and turn it into a system Americans will at least regard as fair. We have the chance to reform our entitlement system, and much else. Bill Clinton squandered the first three years of this opportunity. The Bush administration promises fundamental Social Security reform.

Sure, some of the money for Dad’s tricked-out gas guzzler was going to have to come from the grocery money and Grandma’s widow’s mite because fuck her. You want to see Dad rolling in some embarrassing, beat-up minivan? What are you, some kind of emasculating commie? And are you sure you and the kids really need those food stamps?

Seriously, pay attention to how Republicans running for President now are asked about their hyooge tax cut plans.

As unorthodox or wildly unrealistic as some of these tax plans may be, economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics said he still finds them overall to be “therapeutic” in that they’re opening up the discussions to where nothing is off limits.

Of course, he said, it would be a totally different matter if one of them actually became president and had to execute on the idea. One of the most distinctive features uniting the candidates’ plans is that there’s very little in them about how they would balance the budget.

“They’re massive cuts,” Zandi says. “It’s hard to make it all add up.”

It’s not Dad’s job to figure out how his toys new toys will be paid for! It’s the rest of the family’s duty to suck it up and go without.

What we pro-choicers said would happen

15 Dec 2015 03:48 am
Posted by: Donna

Clayton DykstraYoung “pro-lifer” Clayton Dykstra helpfully explains to me how lazy women would rather stick coat hangers into their cervixes than drive a few miles to obtain those super-easy-to-get abortions in places like Tennessee.

In case you missed it, a woman in Tennessee has been charged with attempted first degree murder for attempting to perform an abortion on herself with a coat hanger.

After losing a great amount of blood, Yocca was taken to the hospital — where she delivered a 24-week-old baby boy. His puncture wounds from the hanger will likely leave him permanently hooked up to an oxygen tank, according to local reports, and leaves Yocca facing attempted homicide charges.

These charges, which will bring Yocca to court on December 21, are based on a state law originally introduced to protect attacks against pregnant women. Tennessee is one of 37 states in total that have “fetal homicide” laws on the books. But, according to reproductive rights groups, these laws have morphed into a tool used by anti-abortion state legislators to punish women for seeking abortion.

For years anti-choicers have sworn that abortion restrictions: a) would not lead to women resorting to the black market or self-induced procedures, or b), if they did it was too bad but abortion should be illegal anyway, or c), it wouldn’t be any worse since legal abortion is so terribly unsafe! (All those claims are made here.)

Furthermore, the very idea that women would be prosecuted for abortion under bans was a preposterous defamation of the anti-abortion movement invented by desperate pro-choicers!

What an ingenious strategy from the National Institute for Reproductive Health and their friend Anna Quindlen. Only the best inside-the-Beltway political gurus could route out such a good fear and panic-tinged wedge issue. But alas, their complete cognitive dissonance when it comes to understanding abortion opponents will defeat them. They hope to prop up the stereotype of abortion opponents as harsh, uneducated, unfeeling Neanderthals who either want to punish women or who are legal idiots not willing to accept the consequences of their position.

But “Just pray for them” is exactly what will continue to emanate from the “national conversation” they seek to ignite. Compassion for mother and child will continue to dominate YouTube and any other outlet where Quindlen or her friends hope to “out” abortion opponents. My guess is that as soon as this happens the “conversation” will go mute.

The fact of the matter is that compassion for women before abortion was legal and compassion for them after unborn protections are enforced will drive the law. The focus of such laws is on protection, not punishment. Women were not punished by the legal system before 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision and there is absolutely no drive to punish her now. While the position may be counterintuitive to some, it is clearly a uniquely American case of handling a delicate and tragic situation with sensitivity.

Long and short of it is, anti-choicers lied. And I’m straight-up calling it lying because there is no other explanation for what can only be called a gleeful reaction whenever a woman is arrested and prosecuted under the restrictions they insist are intended to protect women, such as this one by Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger.

“There are plenty of places for her to go. Every state has at least one abortion clinic. There is no excuse for that. Every state has a number of pregnancy help centers that offer free help to women who are pregnant. So you know for a woman to feel like she has to self-induce there is no reason for that in America today. We all have to obey the law whether they are convenient or not convenient. If she felt like she didn’t want to drive a couple of miles down the road to the nearest abortion clinic, she would rather self-induce, then she should be prosecuted,” said Sullenger.

“There are plenty of abortion clinics in Tennessee. I find it annoying that when a woman breaks the law if it’s related to abortion then pro-aborts want to cry and say it’s because we have too restrictive abortion laws,” continued Sullenger, who said she counted seven abortion clinics in Tennessee, and Tennessee “is not that big of a state.”

Sullenger is a fascinating choice to be interviewed on this topic considering how she is a convicted terrorist but her comments are similar to many I’ve seen from anti-abortion advocates about the Tennessee woman’s prosecution. They really want you to believe that women in places with an abundance of abortion restrictions are simply choosing to insert sharp objects into their bodies (which goes against every human instinct) or to take drugs that will make them violently ill rather than wade through a few trivial “inconveniences” to get those easy-peasy earlier abortions safely in a clinic.

What’s truly horrifying about this relentless dishonesty by anti-choicers is how insidiously and profoundly it influences people – everyone from hospital workers, to cops, to people in the media to people in the “mushy middle” on abortion. to even pro-choice liberals who don’t pay a lot of attention to the true extent of attacks on (mostly) poor women’s ability to access reproductive health care. It seems to be making a lot of people who may not be anti-abortion activists willing to accept some damn harsh punishments to desperate women taking desperate measures rather than empathizing with them. Which I believe is exactly what anti-choicers have always wanted.

Hard to call something “terrorism” when so many people seem to agree with the perpetrator

11 Dec 2015 04:29 am
Posted by: Donna

In case you were unaware, shortly after the Planned Parenthood attack there was a committed effort by right wingers to deny the shooter was even targeting a clinic, hence the lingering desperation of the likes of this chap who replied to Jake Tapper

The angry man who shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs two weeks ago, killing three and wounding several others, was arraigned on Wednesday and made it crystal clear that his target was abortion providers.

“I’m guilty. There’s no trial,” Robert L. Dear Jr. told a startled courtroom here on Wednesday. “I’m a warrior for the babies.”…

…“Let it all come out,” he said in one of a series of outbursts that seemed to remove any doubt about his motivation. “The truth.”…

…As Judge Gilbert Anthony Martinez of Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District and the lawyers discussed which parties might be affected by a pretrial publicity order, Mr. Dear, 57, shouted: “Could you add the babies that were supposed to be aborted that day? Could you add that to the list?”…

…“You’ll never know what I saw in the clinic, the atrocities,” he said on one occasion. “Protect the babies!” he said on another.

Hell, Dear could easily be a GOP politician anywhere, including running for President like Carly Fiorina (who famously imagined seeing atrocities) or Mike Huckabee, with those comments.

(Huckabee) “[T]here’s no excuse for killing other people, whether it’s happening inside the Planned Parenthood headquarters, inside their clinics where many millions of babies die, or whether it’s people attacking Planned Parenthood,”

Oh yes, it was terrible what that shooter did, according to so many anti-choicers, but it’s really no worse than what Planned Parenthood does!

Abortion Docs Terrorists

But part of the blame for recent anti-abortion violence not getting the accurate description it is due – terrorism – also falls upon the broad swath of “mushy middle” people, including MSM people, who have treated the Center for Medical Progress video bullshit like it was legitimate from the very beginning. Hard to call something “terrorism”, when you are agreeing with Robert Dear on how terrible the “baby parts” make you feel.

It’s jarring to see doctors acting as negotiators as they dicker over the price of a fetal liver, heart, or brain, and then talk about how they meticulously go to the trouble of not crushing the most valuable body parts. This practice is perfectly legal, and for some people, it is just a business. With millions of abortions each year in America, business is good.

Who could forget Dr. Mary Gatter, council president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Directors, when, in Video #2, she tells undercover investigators that it isn’t about the money—before she zeroes in on dollars and cents?

“Let me just figure out what others are getting, and if this is in the ballpark, then it’s fine,” Gatter said. “If it’s still low, then we can bump it up.”

Then, going for broke, she added: “I want a Lamborghini.”

I want a shower.

Being “mushy middle” apparently means not even having to acknowledge the ugly misogyny and violence being carried out by people who are in agreement with you about the Planned Parenthood “sting” videos. Ruben Navarrette (the columnist I quoted above) who obviously had much to say about those bogus videos, has written nothing about the Colorado Springs attack that I can find since it happened. He’s not the only one. I’m amazed at how many “I’m pro-choice but gosh darn it those Planned Parenthood videos bothered me so much!” pundits haven’t had shit to say about the shooting. Cat got their tongues?

UPDATE: AZ Senate President Andy Biggs(R) has no qualms about employing the very kind of “baby parts” calumny that inspired the Colorado shooter.

Biggs said he believes there are legal ways to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services.

“I think that there are ways to get at it and that’s what we are going to be trying to do,” Biggs said. “The second component of the measure we’re talking about is the prevention of their practices with regard to the abuse of the aborted babies – the bodies and body parts and trafficking in that.”

Note that the funds at issue do not go to abortion but to family planning and other health services. This isn’t about “baby parts”, it’s about sex.

And behold this eloquence:

Planned Parenthood-Arizona says it doesn’t transfer fetal tissue, but Biggs said he doesn’t trust their word.

“I don’t know that I’m acquiescent in their self-proclaimed righteousness there,” Biggs said.