Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Arizona GOP Chair Tempers His Blasting Of Arizona Republic's Historic Endorsement Of Clinton Over Trump; Bears Discussion (WATCH, NEWS ANALYSIS)

The Arizona Republic endorsed Hillary Clinton last night - the first time the editorial board has EVER given its nod to a Democrat for President - and, predictably, they have heard an earful today. The Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party joined in the blasting, but has since tempered his criticism.
Trump takes Republic's endorsement
of Clinton surprising well ;-)

Robert Graham's reactions also raise a larger question about whether newspapers should be endorsing candidates in this day and age of a divided electorate and the increase in partisan news coverage.

The historic nature of last night's endorsement of the sweeping rebuff of Donald Trump and endorsement of a Democrat was not lost on anyone, drawing national news coverage from the moment the Republic made its live announcement (below*)

AZ GOP Chair Robert Graham took to the Twitter sphere this morning to blast the Republic as "a liberal publication",  For them to say that Trump is not conservative was a "terribly, unethical commentary." (full tweet at right)

After being asked by Arizona's Politics whether he seemed to be over-reaching a bit, given the separation between reporting and editorializing, Graham gave this response:
"Many voters have been contacting my office concerned with what is perceived as the Arizona Republic's deep bias toward Democrat (sic) candidates both state and federal. If nothing else the Arizona Republic's endorsement of "the democrat" destroys their credibility and will call into question any future coverage of either candidate."
Graham deleted his initial tweet, and replaced it with two suggesting that their credibility has been compromised and telling the Arizona Democrats that the endorsement was "#boughtandpaidbfor"

Graham's comments to Arizona's Politics raise some interesting points. Points that he is not alone in making. The well-respected Columbia Journalism Review published an article two years ago about how and why some newspapers are changing their endorsement practices.

It noted that while some newspapers reversed previous decisions to not make endorsements, a couple of dozen had decided to break the endorsement tradition. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's editorial page editor suggested that a blurred line between the reporting and editorializing sections was the reason.
Editorial page editor David Haynes wrote at the time that some readers “confuse our political news coverage with our editorial recommendations… This loss of credibility is a high price to pay to conjure a ghost of newspapering past that we have come to believe is of little value today.”
The Republic's Editorial Board says they are cognizant of such concerns, but attempted to explain to readers (and viewers) why the Republic will continue endorsing and how it is completely walled-off from the news-gathering function of the paper (as well as corporate influence).

Editorial board member Joanna Allhands told Arizona's Politics that the tradition and the mission are key reasons:
In a nutshell, it’s part of our tradition: We’ve endorsed in the presidential race virtually since this newspaper was founded. But it’s also part of our mission. We respect readers’ ability to make their own decisions. If as a board we can help shape the community discussion and get readers to think critically about their vote – even if it’s different than what we are recommending – we’ve done our job.
Here is the video the Republic produced discussing their endorsement policy.

As noted in the CJR article and as is evident in Graham's comments, it has become more difficult for news reporting entities - old school or new media or in-between - to maintain an impression that they are trying to gather and present news in an unbiased way. A concerted effort to portray traditional news outlets as biased has taken an irreversible toll on much-needed credibility.

Traditions sometimes become obsolete and give way to new traditions. The Donald Trump candidacy has damaged traditional unity in the Republican party, and he is leading editorial boards to make endorsements that they never have before. And, maybe, never will again.

We invite you to share your perspective and comments on this analysis. Please feel free to leave a comment below, or reach out by email ( or Twitter (@AZs_Politics)

*Sidenote to Republic: I appreciate that your Livestream gives me the option of NOT auto-playing and/or muting by default the embedded video. You should consider using those options on!

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Donald Trump Needs YOU! Help Him Better Prepare For 2nd Debate (Please!)

He has not blamed YOU  for his debate performance (yet!), but GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump is again asking you to step up your game and help him prepare for the next debate against Dem nominee Hillary Clinton.

Arizona's Politics wrote about Trump's request before the 1st debate. We even gave you a link to click on. ("BREAKING: Donald Trump IS Preparing For Monday's Debate; New Info On How (Semi-Exclusive)")

Enough of us did give him advice (which he likely forgot about when his microphone was fritzing) that he decided to give us a second chance. Again, here is the link.

Like the previous time, you have some difficult questions to advise him on. In fact, a few of the questions appear to be carry-overs. (Maybe he will listen to you this time.)

In his personalized email (below), Trump writes that he needs our help immediately because "debate preparation is already underway" (phew) and "we can't leave anything to chance."

So, what are you waiting for? Advise him already. (Past performance not indicative of future performance.)


The next debate against Hillary Clinton is just 11 days away. I need your immediate feedback from the first debate in order to win the second one.

Please take the TRUMP Debate Preparation Survey now. >>

The race is close. We can’t leave anything up to chance.

But because you got me to where I stand today, I’m turning to you.

This is your moment to help shape the direction of the presidential race, and ultimately the direction of our country.

Debate preparation is already underway, so you’ll need to get your input in immediately.

Arizona's, I want your honest input. I cannot win this fight alone.

Please take the TRUMP Debate Preparation Survey now. >> 

Thank you,

Donald J. Trump
We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

McCain Shifts, Ready To "Alienate Saudi Arabia" And Override Obama Veto; Joins Kirkpatrick

(UPDATE, 9/28 9:20am: Senators McCain and Jeff Flake joined all of their colleagues in voting to override. The President's veto message is also added to the bottom of this article.)

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) reversed field today, and announced that he would vote to override President Obama's veto of the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act." In May, he had worried that the bill would alienate Saudi Arabia - a critical ally of the U.S.

In a statement to Politico today, McCain said that when the Senate votes tomorrow, "I plan to vote to override the president’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. “Going forward, I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that American military, intelligence, and diplomatic personnel are protected from any potential retaliatory lawsuits and that the implementation of this law is true to its narrow intent.”

The veto is expected to be overridden by Congress, which will be the first time that has happened during the Obama Presidency. JASTA is intended to allow families of victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue the Saudi Arabian government in U.S. courts for any part that it may have played in the terrorist attacks.

When the measure first passed the House and the Senate in May, McCain had sided with several other "hawkish allies" in cautioning against passing the measure. He worried that it could undermine the long-standing U.S./Saudi relationship. "We need the relationship," he said in April, citing the Saudis' threat to "unload hundreds of billions of dollars in assets."

Both the House and Senate passed it on voice votes.

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1), who is challenging McCain for the Senate seat this November, had previously announced that she opposed Obama's veto and urged him to reconsider.  "I believe these Americans should have the right to file financial claims if it is found that another nation has played a role in terrorist attacks on United States soil.”

Earlier this year, Arizona's Politics had reported on McCain's repeated praise for the Saudis and the Saudis' $1M gift to the McCain Institute Foundation.

Here is the President's veto message that they are overriding:

Veto Message from the President -- S.2040

I am returning herewith without my approval S. 2040, the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act" (JASTA), which would, among other things, remove sovereign immunity in U.S. courts from foreign governments that are not designated state sponsors of terrorism.
I have deep sympathy for the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), who have suffered grievously. I also have a deep appreciation of these families' desire to pursue justice and am strongly committed to assisting them in their efforts.
Consistent with this commitment, over the past 8 years, I have directed my Administration to pursue relentlessly al Qa'ida, the terrorist group that planned the 9/11 attacks. The heroic efforts of our military and counterterrorism professionals have decimated al-Qa'ida's leadership and killed Osama bin Laden. My Administration also strongly supported, and I signed into law, legislation which ensured that those who bravely responded on that terrible day and other survivors of the attacks will be able to receive treatment for any injuries resulting from the attacks. And my Administration also directed the Intelligence Community to perform a declassification review of "Part Four of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11," so that the families of 9/11 victims and broader public can better understand the information investigators gathered following that dark day of our history.
Notwithstanding these significant efforts, I recognize that there is nothing that could ever erase the grief the 9/11 families have endured. My Administration therefore remains resolute in its commitment to assist these families in their pursuit of justice and do whatever we can to prevent another attack in the United States. Enacting JASTA into law, however, would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks. As drafted, JASTA would allow private litigation against foreign governments in U.S. courts based on allegations that such foreign governments' actions abroad made them responsible for terrorism-related injuries on U.S. soil. This legislation would permit litigation against countries that have neither been designated by the executive branch as state sponsors of terrorism nor taken direct actions in the United States to carry out an attack here. The JASTA would be detrimental to U.S. national interests more broadly, which is why I am returning it without my approval.
First, JASTA threatens to reduce the effectiveness of our response to indications that a foreign government has taken steps outside our borders to provide support for terrorism, by taking such matters out of the hands of national security and foreign policy professionals and placing them in the hands of private litigants and courts.
Any indication that a foreign government played a role in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil is a matter of deep concern and merits a forceful, unified Federal Government response that considers the wide range of important and effective tools available. One of these tools is designating the foreign government in question as a state sponsor of terrorism, which carries with it a litany of repercussions, including the foreign government being stripped of its sovereign immunity before U.S. courts in certain terrorism-related cases and subjected to a range of sanctions. Given these serious consequences, state sponsor of terrorism designations are made only after national security, foreign policy, and intelligence professionals carefully review all available information to determine whether a country meets the criteria that the Congress established.
In contrast, JASTA departs from longstanding standards and practice under our Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and threatens to strip all foreign governments of immunity from judicial process in the United States based solely upon allegations by private litigants that a foreign government's overseas conduct had some role or connection to a group or person that carried out a terrorist attack inside the United States. This would invite consequential decisions to be made based upon incomplete information and risk having different courts reaching different conclusions about the culpability of individual foreign governments and their role in terrorist activities directed against the United States -- which is neither an effective nor a coordinated way for us to respond to indications that a foreign government might have been behind a terrorist attack.
Second, JASTA would upset longstanding international principles regarding sovereign immunity, putting in place rules that, if applied globally, could have serious implications for U.S. national interests. The United States has a larger international presence, by far, than any other country, and sovereign immunity principles protect our Nation and its Armed Forces, officials, and assistance professionals, from foreign court proceedings. These principles also protect U.S. Government assets from attempted seizure by private litigants abroad. Removing sovereign immunity in U.S. courts from foreign governments that are not designated as state sponsors of terrorism, based solely on allegations that such foreign governments' actions abroad had a connection to terrorism-related injuries on U.S. soil, threatens to undermine these longstanding principles that protect the United States, our forces, and our personnel.
Indeed, reciprocity plays a substantial role in foreign relations, and numerous other countries already have laws that allow for the adjustment of a foreign state's immunities based on the treatment their governments receive in the courts of the other state. Enactment of JASTA could encourage foreign governments to act reciprocally and allow their domestic courts to exercise jurisdiction over the United States or U.S. officials -- including our men and women in uniform -- for allegedly causing injuries overseas via U.S. support to third parties. This could lead to suits against the United States or U.S. officials for actions taken by members of an armed group that received U.S. assistance, misuse of U.S. military equipment by foreign forces, or abuses committed by police units that received U.S. training, even if the allegations at issue ultimately would be without merit. And if any of these litigants were to win judgments -- based on foreign domestic laws as applied by foreign courts -- they would begin to look to the assets of the U.S. Government held abroad to satisfy those judgments, with potentially serious financial consequences for the United States.
Third, JASTA threatens to create complications in our relationships with even our closest partners. If JASTA were enacted, courts could potentially consider even minimal allegations accusing U.S. allies or partners of complicity in a particular terrorist attack in the United States to be sufficient to open the door to litigation and wide-ranging discovery against a foreign country -- for example, the country where an individual who later committed a terrorist act traveled from or became radicalized. A number of our allies and partners have already contacted us with serious concerns about the bill. By exposing these allies and partners to this sort of litigation in U.S. courts, JASTA threatens to limit their cooperation on key national security issues, including counterterrorism initiatives, at a crucial time when we are trying to build coalitions, not create divisions.
The 9/11 attacks were the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil, and they were met with an unprecedented U.S. Government response. The United States has taken robust and wide-ranging actions to provide justice for the victims of the 9/11 attacks and keep Americans safe, from providing financial compensation for victims and their families to conducting worldwide counterterrorism programs to bringing criminal charges against culpable individuals. I have continued and expanded upon these efforts, both to help victims of terrorism gain justice for the loss and suffering of their loved ones and to protect the United States from future attacks. The JASTA, however, does not contribute to these goals, does not enhance the safety of Americans from terrorist attacks, and undermines core U.S. interests.
For these reasons, I must veto the bill.
September 23, 2016.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

This AP Photo Of Arpaio and Trump May Be More Appropriate

We used a standard (boring) AP photo in our previous article. This one - also an AP photo, taken in Iowa this past January - may be more appropriate.
(AP Photo)

We'll caption it, "Arpaio Still Doing The 'Birther Soft Shoe'; Trump, Not So Much"

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Man Who Birthed Joe Arpaio's Birther Investigation Slams Sheriff For Continuing "Deceptive...Sham"; Zullo: "Closer Than Ever" (READ)

Last week, in the wake of Donald Trump's bombshell announcement that he suddenly believes that President Barack Obama was born in the United States*, we wrote that "eyes now turn to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio." Though our eyes may have wandered, Arpaio finally responded last night and told the nation that he is still investigating the production of the Obama birth certificate for signs of forgery.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer...flag too small

The Sheriff addressed those questions last night in a talk to the group that started his involvement - the Surprise Tea Party Patriots - and he brought his lead posse investigator, Mike Zullo. However, the now-former STTP board member who initiated the petition that convinced Arpaio to begin the investigation more than five years ago, says Arpaio "is still milking my idea for every bit of publicity he can garner."

In an email this morning to the Arizona Republic and Arizona's Politics, Brian Reilly summarized why the investigation should have been terminated in mid-2012 after Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and then-Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett reviewed the evidence and accepted Obama's documentation.
"Joe Arpaio, the master of showmanship and dog and pony shows, is showing Maricopa County Republicans and Tea Party members complete and total disrespect by continuing to assert that he and his volunteer posse are still investigating President Barack Obama's birth certificate, when the investigation should have been concluded May 22, 2012. Arpaio's actions, in my opinion, are deceptive, and shameful."
The Arizona Republic article includes several quotes from Trump's Arizona campaign and the STTP members who attended, and those comments were not critical of the Sheriff - a top-line Trump surrogate - and were consciously trying not to criticize Trump for backing down.

Reilly relinquished his positions on the MCSO's Cold Case Posse - the Zullo-led unit apparently "closer than ever" (to something) - and the STTP board after becoming convinced that the birth certificate is not forged. He began speaking out in 2012, and Arizona's Politics has found his information to be very credible.  He said it was "unfortunate" that the Republic article did not seek out dissenting views such as his.

Both Trump and Arpaio will be on the November 8 ballot - Arpaio for a 7th term in Maricopa County, and Trump nationally for the Presidency.

Here is his letter to the Republic:

It's unfortunate azcentral didn't take the time to ask the individual who developed and initiated the plan and wrote and delivered the petition with 242 signatures to Sheriff Arpaio and Chief Brian Sands requesting that the MCSO investigate the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate back on August 18, 2011 and what the originator now thinks of Arpaio's latest remarks regarding Arpaio's ridiculous, "ongoing," sham investigation. 

I am the originator of the plan. It was my idea. It was my petition and Arpaio is still milking my idea for every bit of publicity he can garner. The so called Arpaio investigation should have been over on May 22, 2012 when the Arizona Secretary of State, Ken Bennett received the certified Verification of Birth for Barack Obama from the Hawaii Department of Health. A similar Verification of Birth was also used in court in Mississippi in 2012 to prove that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. 

In a personal email sent to me in 2012, by Maricopa County Attorney, William Montgomery, he stated that he had reviewed all of Arpaio's "evidence" and he said he considered it "speculation." Montgomery also stated that Arpaio would need to prove that Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen for Montgomery to take any action. The Hawaii Verification of Birth proves that Barack Obama is in fact a U.S. citizen. 

Joe Arpaio, the master of showmanship and dog and pony shows, is showing Maricopa County Republicans and Tea Party members complete and total disrespect by continuing to assert that he and his volunteer posse are still investigating President Barack Obama's birth certificate, when the investigation should have been concluded May 22, 2012. Arpaio's actions, in my opinion, are deceptive, and shameful. 

What continues to amaze me is that many Republicans in Maricopa County still put their blind faith in the credibility of a sheriff who has none.

*Trump acknowledged Obama was born in the U.S., though he significantly - to many Birthers - did not also acknowledge that he believes either that Obama is a citizen or that the birth certificate produced by Obama is fraud-free.

(Corrected year in which Reilly began speaking out, to 2012.)

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Monday, September 19, 2016

CLARIFICATIONS Re: AP's Article About Citizenship Given To 858 "Potentially Ineligible Immigrants" From Security Concern Nations

The Associated Press distributed an article today that is being prominently featured on Drudge Report and is sure to get increasing attention on the campaign trail. The headline over Alicia Caldwell's report is "More than 800 immigrants mistakenly granted citizenship." Drudge's headline included the information that the immigrants had (cue ominous music) "security concerns".

The article summarizes the press release from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General. Of course, that release - identical to the title of the eight-page report - is the most accurate summary: "Potentially Ineligible Individuals Have Been Granted U.S. Citizenship Because of Incomplete Fingerprint Records".

However, neither the article, the news release, nor the report itself makes clear several points. Arizona's Politics requested further information, and received some of the answers tonight.

First and foremost, the report gives no time range for when these 858 "potentially ineligible immigrants" slipped through the system and became naturalized citizens even though they had been "ordered deported or removed under another identity". They obviously lied about their previous deportation/removal order and used a different identity. They did give their fingerprints, but because their fingerprints from their deported/removed identity were not properly digitized and/or searched, they were granted citizenship.

The time range is significant because it tells us whether this is 858 people in just the past year, whether that is a per year statistic, whether it is a problem within the current Obama Administration's DHS, whether it is a persistent problem since fingerprints first started to be compiled nearly 100 years ago, etc.  Certainly, the impression that the Drudge Report wanted to convey is that this is indicative of the Obama Administration, and it is something that GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump is likely to seize.

Arizona's Politics learned from the OIG tonight that four of these "potentially ineligible immigrants" were granted citizenship before 2003, and that the other 854 received citizenship during the 11 years between 2003-2013. That obviously spans two Administrations and all six DHS Secretaries (the DHS was created in 2003, in the aftermath of 9/11), and is less than 80 per year.*

And, that brings another point into focus, which the Associated Press vaguely mentioned in the final sentence of the article: the two recommendations to fix this weakness are actively being implemented. The contract to digitize the old fingerprints is expected to be awarded by within the next two weeks, and the review of which of the 858 need to be prosecuted and removed will be completed by the end of 2016.

The audit also notes that three of the 858 were able to receive security clearances once they were granted citizenship. Those maritime and airport credentials were then revoked, although one other person has apparently been permitted to remain as a law enforcement officer. (page 6 of the report)

Arizona's Politics has asked for more information on those four individuals, as well. We will update this article as necessary.

*There are another 953 individuals who were naturalized after being removed under a different identity. However, they were not included in the main report because they were not necessarily from countries of special concern and it was not clear whether their previous fingerprints were in the database or not. It is also not clear when they were granted citizenship.

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BREAKING: Donald Trump IS Preparing For Monday's Debate; New Info On How (Semi-Exclusive)

Contrary to popular belief, GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump IS preparing for next Monday's debate. He gave his "strongest supporters" the insight this morning AND asked for their debate prep help.

Trump's email (reproduced below) claims that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is being taught what to say by advisors and psychologists, and that he prefers to prepare by asking supporters 30 questions.

There ARE some great questions on there, and he probably does want to see what his friends say about them. He is not sure whether he should call Clinton "Crooked Hillary" during the debate (or, to wait until the post-debate tweets). And, he is not sure whether to refer to Clinton's (and Obama's) "Russian Reset", which could cut both ways given his respect for Vladimir Putin.

YOU can fill out the survey, too, within the next 24 hours. (Hey, you might already be one of his "strongest supporters" or you might become one.) Caution, you WILL be asked to contribute to the previously-self-funding billionaire's campaign.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Friday, September 16, 2016

R.I.P., ROSE MOFFORD: Genuinely Good Person (Personal Reflection)

I would like to briefly add my favorite Rose Mofford memories to the flood of touching tributes and articles about Arizona's first female Governor. Gov. Mofford passed away yesterday.
(photo: Phoenix New Times)

I had the task of helping cover Arizona politics in the mid-to-late 80's, during a then-characteristically turbulent period in the Governor's office. Mofford had become Governor after the brief Evan Mecham interlude. I covered her first couple of gubernatorial trips down to Tucson. During an interlude, she started chatting up this (then) young reporter.

Mofford learned that I would only be a journalist for a few more months, and would then be heading up to Tempe to begin law school. The new Governor immediately offered her (old Secretary of State's) set of Arizona Revised Statutes to help get me started. I thanked her but declined the offer - in retrospect, the many-volumed set would not have fit in my grad student-sized apartment.

Fast forward one year. I had survived my first semester of ASU Law and was midway through the second. Sometime around dinner time, my phone rings. It was the time of day my soon-to-be fiancee and I usually spoke (for as long as our long distance budget would allow). However, it was the less familiar voice of the Governor, who wanted to see how law school was working out. She did not re-offer the statutes but did elicit a promise to call if she could help out in any way.

A short conversation, but one that demonstrated how a genuinely good person can make big impacts with small gestures.  As Karina Bland's tribute in the Republic so perfectly shows, Mofford maintained her caring for people even after she was no longer involved in politics. Further proof of genuineness; this world would benefit greatly from more Rose Moffords and it is a little bit worse off today without her.

(This story contributed by Phoenix attorney - and, Arizona's Politics' co-founder - Paul Weich.)

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Now That Trump Has Moved On, Eyes Turn Again To Sheriff Arpaio's Birther Investigation(s) (FLASHBACK FRIDAY)

With GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump's statements this week related to his leadership in the Birther movement - the people who claim that President Barack Obama has lied about his citizenship and being born in the United States - and his eventual statement* today that the President is a U.S. citizen, eyes now turn to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Arpaio - a prominent Trump surrogate - has shared some of that leadership role in the Birther movement, and has never publicly stated that he has ceased investigating what he is convinced is a fraudulent birth certificate.

Here is a series of past articles on Arizona's Politics about Arpaio's birther games:

1) Why Is Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio Using ANY Taxpayer Resources On Obama Birth Certificate Investigation?; Also, Promoting Private, Political Interests (3/1/12)

2) LISTEN: Joe Arpaio Will Make Arrest On Obama Birth Certificate Once He Figures Out Who Forged Documents (3/22/12)

3) Forget The Birth Certificate, Some Will Now Want To See Obama's Marriage Certificate; "Marriagers" Are Birthed (10/4/12)

4) READ, NEW TARGET: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Needs A "New Fight"; Branching Out To Go After Hillary Clinton Presidential Run, Or Giving Up On Obama Birth Certificate? (7/11/13)

BREAKING: MCSO Confirms Sheriff Arpaio Now Has 2 FT Detectives Working On Investigation Related To President Obama Birth Certificate Investigation (2/10/14)

6) BREAKING UPDATE: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office DENIES Detectives Are Working On Criminal Ancillary Investigation Related To Obama Birth Certificate Probe (2/10/14)

7) How Arpaio's Obama Birth Certificate Investigation Is Likely Cause Of Current Posse Vehicle Grounding, Insurance Issues (4/3/14)

8) MCSO Still Using Taxpayer Money To Chase Conspiracy Theories Re: Obama Birth Certificate, Per Mounting Evidence (6/4/14)

*Trump wrapped his brief statement in falsehoods: neither Hillary Clinton nor her campaign started the Birther movement, and he did not finish it.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

BREAKING, READ: Arizona Supreme Court Upholds "Release Time" For Phoenix Police Union Reps

In a 3-2 decision, the Arizona Supreme Court today upheld the right of cities to give police union personnel "release time" for negotiation preparations, seminars, and other union responsibilities.

Chief Justice Scott Bales authored the majority opinion in a five-year old case that arose when taxpayers represented by Goldwater Institute attorneys sued Phoenix, alleging that "release time" violated the Gift Clause of the Arizona Constitution.  Clint Bolick, the newest Justice, recused himself in the matter, as he previously was involved in the case while at the Institute.*

The Court found that there is a public purpose for the City to allow release time - including full-time release for six officers who conduct Phoenix Law Enforcement Association ("PLEA") business - because it allows the city to procure law enforcement services. 
"The dissent, like the trial court, concludes that release time does not serve a public purpose but instead benefits PLEA as a “private entity.” But this position views the release time benefits in isolation rather than as part of the MOU as a whole, which provides police services to the public. This also views too narrowly both the role of public employee unions and the public’s interest. PLEA, as the authorized representative chosen by a majority of Unit 4 officers, serves not only its own interests, but also those of its members. While the City may sometimes be in an adversarial role relative to the union (sitting across the table, so to speak, in labor negotiations or employment-related disputes), the City – as its own ordinance recognizes – may also benefit as an employer by having an identified representative of the Unit 4 officers for employment-related issues. (citations omitted)

Justic Ann Timmer's dissent flatly disagreed: "No public purpose is served by diverting officers from safeguarding the public to work almost unchecked for PLEA. The City has no control over how PLEA directs the officers on release time and is not even told what the officers do for PLEA." (citation omitted)

*Bolick was replaced by Judge Joseph Howard (Court of Appeals, Div. 2), who was in the majority.

Phoenix attorney Paul Weich contributed this article.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

WATCH: DCCC Doubles Its Headmaster Ad Spend Against Babeu In #AZCD1...$340k (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

The Democrats' DCCC is going big early, quickly doubling its ad buy hammering GOP nominee Paul Babeu in the open-swing-mega-district that is Congressional District 1.  $340,000 has now been spent on the ad.

That first ad continues to feature snippets of Channel 15 reports on the Pinal County Sheriff's previous life as the controversial headmaster at DeSisto School in Massachusetts. Arizona's Politics reported on the disclosure that $170,000 went into the production and first week of air time.

The new FEC filing this afternoon indicates that an additional $171,121.30 in ad spots were purchased yesterday, bringing the total to more than $340,000.

Surprisingly, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee still has not yet posted the ad online and has not provided a copy to Arizona's Politics. However, a somewhat-blurry copy has been posted on YouTube by DailyKosElections, and it seems to match what we have seen on air; therefore, we are including it here.

DCCC has now spent nearly as much in less than one week as the campaign for Democratic nominee Tom O'Halleran had spent ($373k) in the entire first year of his effort to replace Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1). Kirkpatrick is running against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Going into the last three weeks of the primary - as of Aug. 10 - O'Halleran had $471k of cash on hand, and likely did not have to spend much before the Aug. 30 primary. Babeu had raised almost as much as O'Halleran, but had to spend much more in his competitive 4-way primary; he only had $116k cash on hand on Aug. 10, and likely spent much of it before Aug. 30.

The district - which covers a huge swath of eastern Arizona has long been a hotly-contested swing district.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

GOOD FOR THE GOOSE, GOOD FOR THE GANDER: Biggs Preparing To Try To Add His Votes If Judge Lets Jones Add Hers Tomorrow (#AZ05Recount)

Earlier today, Christine Jones' campaign sent out a plea to people who gave her emails: Let us know TODAY if your early or provisional ballot was counted! This afternoon, Andy Biggs' camp sent out a similar blast to its supporters. Good for the goose, good for the gander.

So, if Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joshua Rogers decides at tomorrow's hearing (10:30am) that the County Elections Department should open and count ballots that it had held out for various reasons, each side will be prepared to present a list of their (likely) supporters who want their ballot envelopes re-checked and counted. They may even ask some of them to come to the hearing to explain to the judge why their vote should be counted.

If the judge orders some or all of them included, whoever has the bigger list might have a head start as the 9-vote primary election contest goes into automatic recount mode.

At 9:10 this morning, Ms. Jones - who is currently 9 votes behind for the GOP nomination for CD5 (East Valley) - sent out the following email urging people to check online to see if their early or provisional ballot was counted, and if not to contact them by midnight tonight.


The seven days since Election Day have been a flurry of activity... here is the latest:

1) On election night, we had a 1.3% edge over Andy Biggs with 100% of the precincts reporting. Statistically, there was no clear path to victory for our opponents.

2) As of Friday night (the final night of counting ballots), Andy Biggs somehow, beyond all mathematical probability, edged us by just 9 votes. That makes this the closest congressional election in modern Arizona history. This means, by Arizona Statute, that there will be an automatic recount.

3) Seeing that the vote was so close, we looked closer at all ballots cast, and found that more than 300 ballots have not been counted for various reasons. As you know, voting is a constitutional right and we have taken this issue to court to ensure every vote is counted.

4) We believe your vote should count! Please do the following:

- To check if your early ballot was counted:

- To check if your provisional ballot was counted:

PLEASE do this ASAP. We need to know about ANY votes that were not counted by tonight (Wednesday) at midnight.

If you find that your vote was not counted, please reply to this email immediately.
Christine Jones

PS: Please forward this email to anyone you know who is our supporter. Please do it NOW! Thank you.
Biggs' attorneys and campaign management quickly realized that what is good for the goose would also be good for the gander. Their remarkably-similar email hit inboxes at 3:10pm, and only gave people 2 hours to let them know.

Dear Friend,
9 votes - that's all that separates me and my next closest opponent Christine Jones in the race to replace Matt Salmon in the United States House of Representatives.
Because of the closeness of the vote, there will be an automatic recount and legal challenges before the election is officially over.
There are several early ballots and provisional ballots that may not have been counted - and one of them could be yours! These early and provisional ballots are being called into question in an ongoing court case, and we want to make sure that all who have voted legally have their votes counted.
It's important that you check now to see if your early or provisional ballot was counted!
Call Daniel Stefanski at 623.451.1729 or Cesar Ybarra at 619.843.3434 if you believe that your ballot did not count.
You have until 5 pm tonight to resolve this issue if your ballot did not count. Time is of the essence!
Thank you for your support! 
Andy Biggs
The differences between the two emails that jump off the screen are that the Jones campaign - in the  P.S. indicates that it is looking especially for "supporters", and that while both say they want your votes to count, the Jones email does subtly point out that THEY brought this case to court to stand up for people's right to vote.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

3 LAPS TO GO: Well, THAT Clears the Air! McCain Revs Up For Congress' September Sprint

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is a known fan of just about all things sporting (and, semi-sporting). So, it should come as no surprise that his first official act in returning to Congress this week was to sign on as a co-sponsor of the RPM Act of 2016!
(photo from Fox Sports)

The cleverly-acronymed bill is more completely known as the "Recognizing and Protecting Motorsports Act of 2016" and was introduced by North Carolina Republican Richard Burr back in March. After a couple of pit stops, the bill snagged McCain and two other Senators yesterday as co-sponsors, bringing the almost bi-partisan crew to 26 in time to step on the gas to cross the finish line before this Congress adjourns following the election.

Oh yeah, were you wondering what exactly the RPM Act does? Simple, it would exempt motor vehicles from the anti-tampering measures of the Clean Air Act IF it is SOLELY used for competition.

Questions abound: Does that mean you cannot test it out or run practice laps with it? And, could the Senator modify his campaign's car and declare the entire election season as a competition? (Attention, Congressional candidate Biggs.) Alas, we were not motivated enough to check to see if the Clean Air Act has a definition for "competition.

We were motivated enough, however, to check to see if McCain's general election opponent had also co-sponsored the identical House bill. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) has not, although occasional ally Rep. Paul Gosar has (R-CD4). (The only other AZ Rep. co-sponsoring.)

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.