FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

READ: Flake Says Liberals Making ARIZONA "The Key to Maintaining Their Majority In the Senate"; Features "Strong Endorsement" From Rep. Paul Ryan

Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) has never been afraid to use the word "liberal" to describe anyone left of him on the political spectrum.  His latest fundraising e-mail uses it four times and attempts to move potential supporters to immediately enter their credit card info at his website.  But, he may be overreaching when he says that the libs are raising Arizona up to being "the key to maintaining their majority in the Senate," and that "the pundits" have done their part by downgrading the seat from "safe Republican".  (The text of his fundraising e-mail is after the jump.)

It was the sentence about pundits downgrading the GOP's chances ("The pundits have downgraded the race from "safe Republican," fueling speculation that a liberal could win this seat." which sent me scurrying.  Did I miss a possible news story?  Nope.

He is apparently referring to the fact that all of the well-known political horse race watchers did downgrade the GOP chances to retain the Arizona seat... immediately after Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) announced his intention to not seek re-election in 2012.  The fact that the incumbent was not going to be campaigning for another term - and that fact alone - prompted the re-categorization all the way down to "likely Republican" or "lean Republican". 

For comparison purposes only, it should be noted that when next door neighbor Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) followed Kyl's lead, Roll Call Politics stated that seat went from "safe Democratic" to "TOSS-UP".  The well-known Cook Political Report has Arizona as "likely Republican", Rothenberg lists it as "leans Republican"

I was unable to find any reports of Washington "liberals" (and "liberals around the country") declaring Arizona to be "the key" in the national efforts to retain a majority in the Senate.  In the scheme of campaign and fundraising hyperbole, this almost qualifies as truth.

Also interesting was Flake featuring a "strong endorsement" from Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan at the top of the e-mail.  Ryan has been in the forefront of the Washington debate on federal budgets/debt/deficits the past couple of months.  However, he has taken it on the chin a little bit since Newt Gingrich's comments, and other Republicans pulling back from the Ryan budget that changes the basic nature of Medicare (among other things).


Jared Loughner Mentally Incompetent - For Now - To Stand Trial In Shooting Spree/Attempted Assassination of Giffords

After weeks of having his mental competency to stand trial evaluated, Tucsonan Jared Loughner was declared today to be unable to be tried in the January 8 attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the subsequent shooting spree which killed six.

According to the accounts of today's hearing, he will now be sent to a federal facility for up to four months in an effort to restore his competency.



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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

WATCH: Meghan McCain On "Tonight Show" Rips (and Rips, and Rips) On Palin, Beck, etc.

Arizona Senator John McCain daughter Meghan McCain spent two segments on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" last night, and was in rare form (OK, she is usually this up and outspoken).  There were repeated references - even when she was asked about other stuff - to Sarah Palin;  the bridges were burned long ago and noone wants to rebuild them.

A couple of her quotes:

Re: the anti-skin cancer PSA and talk show host Glenn Beck's juvenile response:  "No man will make me a victim.  Least of all, Glenn Beck."

Re: Sarah Palin possibly buying a house in Arizona and possibly running for the Senate seat here:  "I don't think she can (run), ever since the blood libel response in Tucson.  I just really don't want to go home to Phoenix and run into her in the grocery store.... I stopped trying to understand her a long time ago." 

McCain also (re-)pitched her belief that the Tea Party movement in the Republican Party is losing steam, and expressed praise for Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman among the 2012 candidates.






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Friday, May 20, 2011

INTERESTING WEEK: Rep. David Schweikert Gets Around, Including Guantanamo

If he had just ended at the gasoline pump, it would have been a boring week for Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5).  Just because Congress was not in session does not mean that he got a week off of work. 

And tomorrow, he will be meeting supporters in the park and at a tony reception featuring GOP message guru Frank Luntz (both campaign events, visit davidschweikert.com for info). 

However, in between those events (or before), Schweikert will be catching us up on his mid-week visit to Guantanamo Bay, where the U.S. continues to detain a number of so-called "enemy combatants."

Sooooo, what did YOU do this week?

P.S. I do feel sorry for him, though.  Next week, Congress is back in session!


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WATCH: Sen. McCain's Speech On Mideast; "Do All That We Can Short of Military Action, To Help The Syrian Revolution Succeed."

Here is the speech that Arizona Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) delivered about the Middle East last night at the U.S. Institute of Peace, hours after President Barack Obama gave an address on the same subject.  (Though, as McCain pointed out, his was scheduled before Obama's, and he called the President "eloquent".)

The Senator pushed for further intervention in the ongoing problems in Syria:  "We must do all that we can, short of military action, to help the Syrian revolution succeed. I commend the President for imposing additional sanctions on top Syrian officials, including Assad himself. And I would urge the administration to continue ratcheting up the pressure, in concert with the EU and Turkey. The President should also call publicly for Assad to go, just as he did with Mubarak and Qaddafi."



The speech begins at the 20:45 mark and lasts about 28 minutes.  A link to the transcript is below the video. (If the video takes too long to load, here is the link to the C-Span page with the video.)



Text of speech, from Sen. McCain's website.
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

WATCH, SOON: Sen. McCain To Deliver Own Mideast Speech (3pm, AZ Time); Obama Spoke On Subject Earlier Today

President Barack Obama gave a major speech on the Mid East and North Africa this morning.  Though he is no longer running against Obama, Arizona Senator John McCain delivers his own speech on Middle East policy this afternoon.

At 3:00p.m. (Arizona Time), McCain will speak at the U.S. Institute for Peace.  It will be carried live on C-Span, and may be watched online here.

Here is the transcript of President Obama's speech.  In it, he called for Israel to accept a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders (with mutually agreeable swaps).





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"Peace. Love. Gabby." Wristband Orders Blast Off... Again

UPDATE:  I just received word from Ryan Pont that they have received about 80 orders for the wristbands since the launch last week, and will ship all orders by Saturday.  (Probably a quick turnaround now that finals are over!)  He notes that all proceeds go to the Gabe Zimmerman Community Partnership of Southern Arizona Scholarship Fund though the Arizona State University Social Work School in Tucson, and that the initial presentation of the donation will be made this summer.

When the Space Shuttle Endeavour commander and crew floated their turquoise blue "Peace. Love. Gabby." wristbands into the "air" this morning, it was inevitable.  I received an e-mail from someone looking for one for herself, and I noted that others found my site by Googling for the wristbands.

There must be many more people who found the website where the wristbands can be ordered, and sales/donations are probably back into orbit.  The two interns (Danielle Dobrusin and Ryan Pont) for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords came up with the wearable reminder of those killed and wounded in the attempted assassination/shooting spree a couple of weeks after it occurred on January 8.  They quickly sold out their 5,200 wristband order.

Proceeds from the $2 wristbands go to a scholarship fund in memory of Gabe Zimmerman, the Congresswoman's outreach director who was killed on that awful day.  The scholarship will provide assistance for Tucson students in ASU's School of Social Work.

Here's the video (go to about the 29:30 mark, but stick around for the rest of the hijinks), and here's the link if you want to learn more or order your own.





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WATCH: Cmdr. Mark Kelly On Yesterday's Procedure; "Peace Love Gabby" Bracelets Float In Space

Here is the video from earlier today, with Space Shuttle Endeavour Cmdr. Mark Kelly - flanked by the rest of the crew - talking about how the cranioplasty on his wife, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, went.  Also, cute segment where the crew all take off the "Peace, Love, Gabby" rubber wristbands they're wearing and let them float about.



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WATCH: Space Huggin'... Bet You Weren't Ready For That!

I was just searching for embeddable video of Cmdr. Mark Kelly talking about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' procedure yesterday, and her condition.  Instead, I came across the NASA video below, recapping Endeavour's day in space yesterday.  The Shuttle docked at the International Space Station, and Kelly and the rest of the crew went aboard the ISS.  Backslaps and hugs all around.  It is really fun to see how they maneuver around, and how hugging can be even less awkward than it sometimes is on terra firma!




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CLARIFICATION: Press Briefing With Giffords Doctors At 8:30am, Arizona Time

The item about the press briefing on the next steps in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' rehabilitation, and about yesterday's cranioplasty, noted that the briefing would begin at 10:30a.m.  It did not specify what time zone that was.  It will start at 10:30, Houston Time, which is 8:30 in Arizona.




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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FOLLOW-UP: More Detail On the Procedure Gabrielle Giffords Underwent Today

NPR just posted a very concise and helpful interview (transcript, edited) with Johns Hopkins Hospital's neurosurgeon-in-chief, Dr. Henry Brem.  Dr. Brem discusses the details of the typical cranioplasty - the procedure that Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) underwent today.  (One of my kids and I had been discussing this procedure yesterday; now, we can have some real information to talk about!)


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GABRIELLE GIFFORDS MEDICAL UPDATE: Recovering Well From Skull Reattachment; News Conference Tomorrow

Very happy to receive an advisory from Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' office a few minutes ago.  She "is recovering well after her surgery today."  Further, her doctors in Houston will be at a press briefing tomorrow (8:30a.m., Arizona Time) to discuss the "next steps in her rehabilitation."


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FOLLOWING MONEY UPDATE: Arpaio Campaign Confirms Over $3 Million In Campaign Account, More Than $5 Million Raised, and Still Flirting With Senate Run

It is confirmed.  Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has crossed $5 Million and $3 Million milestones even before he has committed to running for re-election as Sheriff.

Monday, Arizona's Politics reported that Arpaio was "formally kicking off" his campaign for a 6th term in office, via a fundraising e-mail.  Tuesday, we reported on Arpaio's amazing fundraising machine that had collected nearly $4.7 Million in the two years immediately after his last election.

Since his last campaign finance report only covered the period through Nov. 22, 2010, and his next one will not be filed for many more months - due to a now-quaint quirk in the reporting system that did not anticipate permanent campaigns - our report could only speculate that Arpaio had now crossed the thresholds since late November, based upon his past performance and conservative guesstimates.

Re-Elect Arpaio Campaign Manager Chad Willems confirmed to Arizona's Politics yesterday (via e-mail) that the campaign has indeed raised more than $5 Million in small (less than $430) individual contributions, and that the campaign coffers contain more than $3 Million.  (See, Tuesday's post for overview of what the $2 Million was spent on.)

By comparison, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) had about $630,000 in the bank after his (easy) House race last November, and raised slightly more than $1 Million ($1,031,172.37) in the six weeks after he announced that he would try to replace Jon Kyl in the U.S. Senate.  His cash on hand is (as of March 31, 2011) a comparatively paltry $1.5 Million ($1,570,977.90).

The comparison is somewhat relevant because Willems stated yesterday that Arpaio has not yet made a final decision on whether or not to run for the opening Senate seat.  Conceivably, he could switch gears from his just announced formal re-election kick-off.  (Not sure whether state and/or federal campaign finance laws would permit the re-purposing.)


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UPDATE: Arpaio Campaign Confirms Over $3 Million In Campaign Account, More Than $5 Million Raised, and Still Flirting With Senate Run

It is confirmed.  Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has crossed $5 Million and $3 Million milestones even before he has committed to running for re-election as Sheriff.

Monday, Arizona's Politics reported that Arpaio was "formally kicking off" his campaign for a 6th term in office, via a fundraising e-mail.  Tuesday, we reported on Arpaio's amazing fundraising machine that had collected nearly $4.7 Million in the two years immediately after his last election.

Since his last campaign finance report only covered the period through Nov. 22, 2010, and his next one will not be filed for many more months - due to a now-quaint quirk in the reporting system that did not anticipate permanent campaigns - our report could only speculate that Arpaio had now crossed the thresholds since late November, based upon his past performance and conservative guesstimates.

Re-Elect Arpaio Campaign Manager Chad Willems confirmed to Arizona's Politics yesterday (via e-mail) that the campaign has indeed raised more than $5 Million in small (less than $430) individual contributions, and that the campaign coffers contain more than $3 Million.  (See, Tuesday's post for overview of what the $2 Million was spent on.)

By comparison, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) had about $630,000 in the bank after his (easy) House race last November, and raised slightly more than $1 Million ($1,031,172.37) in the six weeks after he announced that he would try to replace Jon Kyl in the U.S. Senate.  His cash on hand is (as of March 31, 2011) a comparatively paltry $1.5 Million ($1,570,977.90).

The comparison is somewhat relevant because Willems stated yesterday that Arpaio has not yet made a final decision on whether or not to run for the opening Senate seat.  Conceivably, he could switch gears from his just announced formal re-election kick-off.  (Not sure whether state and/or federal campaign finance laws would permit the re-purposing.)


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Obama Campaign Helping Birthers Find A New Conspiracy-Passion: "Conceivers"

Well, you've really done it THIS time, Mr. President!  The Obama 2012 campaign announced today that you can buy a t-shirt or a coffee mug with the President's long-form birth certificate on it.

Very cute.  But, on the front, underneath the President's mug - in what can only be assumed to be very deliberate wording - is the once-ubiquitous phrase "MADE in the USA".  (Surely, friend Bruce Springsteen would have been OK with "BORN in the USA".)

Unfortunately, the long-form birth certificate only states where the then-future-President was BORN, not where he was "made".  I am not sure they have a state document for THAT - but, then again, there is nothing in the Constitution about where Stanley and Barack Sr. were that night(?) in 1960 when Barack Jr. was conceived.

Newly-minted "Conceivers" - Donald Trump did say he would remain involved - will acknowledge that the conception issue does not rise to the pre-requisite level that birthplace does;  however, they will frame it as an(other) issue of the President's veracity and transparency.

Unfortunately, given that Obama's parents are both deceased, the Conceivers are going to need to be very (too) creative to compile their evidence. (Let us not think about that, shall we?)  Instead, they will use their tried-and-true tactic of trying to put the burden on the President to prove where he was conceived.  (Again, paging Donald Trump.)

P.S. Without endorsing - either the Conceivers or the Conceived - here is the link to find out more about the mug ($15 or more) and the t-shirt ($25 or more): http://bit.ly/ieQHX5



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THIS A.M.: Pump Your Congressperson Full of Opinions While He Pumps Your Vehicle Full of Gas; Schweikert Hits The Streets

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5) will listen to you gripe about the price of gas this morning, help you pump a few gallons and explain to you why the Republicans' "all-of-the-above" energy strategy is the right path for our country.

He will be at the Danny's Family Car Wash in Scottsdale (on Scottsdale Road between Greenway and Bell) from 8:00-9:00. 

And, how did he pick that location?  Well, the Hendon family who owns the local chain of car washes are regular John McCain contributors.

Next stop? Parking cars?







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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WATCH: Quayle About Town (Hall), Now (@9); Obama Still "Worst President", But "Has Made Some Strides"; Oil Producer Subsidies

Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) is in district this week, working the townhalls and the local TV stations.  He stood by his campaign ad claiming that Barack Obama is the worst President ever, but "lauds him" for making "some strides" since then.  He pretty much denied that oil companies get any tax breaks or subsidies that are not part of broader tax breaks, although that is disclaimed by conservative experts as well as Democrats.

First up is video from last night's townhall meeting in Anthem, posted on the liberal Think Progress website (and summarized by Phoenix New Times).  The clip is of the Congressman answering a woman who decried cuts to Planned Parenthood while oil companies receive subsidies.



Almost worthy of a Fact Check.  I am reasonably sure that the Senators were not only discussing broad-based tax provisions that do not only benefit oil producers.  And, even the experts at the conservative Heritage Foundation agree that oil companies do receive specific subsidies and tax breaks... which should be taken away.

Next up was an easy appearance on channel 15's 9a.m. program this morning.  He sat for two segments, and answered a variety of questions.  In saying that he does not regret his campaign ad calling Obama the worst President in history, he did acknowledge that "the President has made some strides, and I laud him for that."  Quayle cited Obama's support for extending tax cuts and making the call for going after Usama bin Laden were "good ideas".





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FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: More than $5 Million Raised; Does Joe Arpaio Have Largest Exploratory Campaign War Chest, EVER?

Yesterday, Arizona's Politics reported that Joe Arpaio was "formally kicking off" his 2012 campaign for a 6th four-year term as Sheriff of Maricopa County.  Fittingly, such an announcement came in the body of a fundraising e-mail, and prompted the question of just how much money has Arpaio raised BEFORE announcing his re-election.

Given yesterday's news that Jerry Lewis will be retiring from hosting the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon, it seems fitting that I should ask for a drumroll................ nearly $4.7 MILLION ($4,688,840.44)!!!  That figure is for the periods of Nov. 25, 2008 - Nov. 22, 2010; it is likely that by now, he is well over $5 million.

The truth is that the Arpaio re-election committee never stops actively raising money.  In the 13-month "dead period" after winning his fifth term (Nov. 25, 2008 - Dec. 31, 2009), his committee received more than $1.2 million dollars.  Nearly $100,000 per month..  Last year, his monthly take was nearly $300,000 per month.

All of these contributions are from individuals (around the country), and there is a cap of $430.00 per individual. 

As noted in yesterday's article, Arpaio did actually spend for his re-election campaign last year, and spent approximately $544,000 in advertising.  Most of that advertising chiefly touted political friends running in the 2010 elections (and bad-mouthed opponents), and he was fined $77,000 for some that were determined to be illegal in-kind contributions.

Not all of those contributions are still in the war chest, however.  It generally costs money to raise money, and Arpaio's committee is no exception.  Pulling out the advertsing expenditures - and the less than $40,000 spent in subsequent legal costs - Arpaio paid out (he is the Treasurer) more than $1.3 million ($1,344,537.40) in expenses.  The vast majority of those dollars were paid to Summit Consulting, which - during a campaign - provides much more than just fundraising services to Arpaio's committee.  (If you assume that most of the expenses during this pre-campaign period were for the fundraising, that is a fundraising expense percentage of 28.7%.)

The cash on hand, as of November 22, 2010, was $2,828,160.00.  Even subtracting the fine and conservatively guesstimating net receipts (which probably received a big boost when Arpaio flirted with running for Jon Kyl's Senate seat) and legal expenses, it is very possible that the war chest is over $3 million.  And, no doubt, yesterday's e-mail will bring in a new flood of small contributions.




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Carlos Santana's Thought(s) For The Day: Man's Heart, Man's Law

"Mans law does not change a mans heart, but mans heart can change the law." With those words - and others - music legend Carlos Santana returned to his usual peace/beauty/love/spiritual territory on Monday, when he posted his "thought of the day" on his typically-impersonal Facebook page.  Over the weekend, he made an uncharacteristic stretch into political controversy over the weekend when he castigated Georgia and Arizona for what he perceives as shameful anti-illegal immigration laws. 

Santana strung together several thoughts for his thought(s) of the day, all of which appeared to be reaction to the pushback he was witnessing to his earlier comments.  The full posting is after the jump.

Somewhat humorously, many of the derisive comments launched at the eternally-spiritual and soft-spoken guitarist focused on his ingratitude at making his comments when receiving an award and/or were of the "shut up and sing" variety. 

Having seen Santana in concert more than once, I can aver that Santana rarely sings - other than making his guitar sing - and that he rarely says much between songs (other than saying things like "thank you" and "God bless").  Shut up and sing did not even apply this weekend, when he did not sing, and when people did not even buy tickets to hear him sing.

And, in fact, he repeatedly expressed gratitude for being honored with the CIVIL RIGHTS BEACON award, and named off many of his civil rights heroes who he believes are far more important than he is.  But, would it have not been more of a shame if he - or MLB - did refrain from mentioning what he feels is an important CURRENT civil rights issue?  At a civil rights awards ceremony? 

P.S.  I made a quick attempt to determine whether Carlos Santana is quoting anyone else regarding man's heart being able to change man's law.  It is a creative variation on religious statements about God's law vs. man's law.  I did not turn up anything, and am tentatively concluding that the words are Santana's own. If anyone knows otherwise, please let us know.

Monday, May 16, 2011

LISTEN: NPR Report/Interview With Phoenix Suns President/CEO Rick Welts

Phoenix Suns President and CEO Rick Welts acknowledged publicly yesterday that he is gay, opening up to the New York Times.  Here is a report and interview aired this afternoon on NPR's "All Things Considered" program, in which Welts adds some interesting details.


http://n.pr/iTDzdh

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READ: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio "Formally Kicking Off" Re-election Effort With E-mail

Here is the text of the e-mail that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio just sent out to his e-mail list, "formally kicking off" his re-election campaign.  (Remember, it informally kicked off last year when he ran ads for now-County Attorney Bill Montgomery and against then-County Attorney Rick Romley, which Arpaio unsuccessfully claimed were for his 2012 re-election.)

SUBJECT LINE OF E-MAIL:  "Sheriff Joe: "Obama Wants Me to Stop Enforcing the Law"

TEXT:

Dear Concerned Citizen:


Did you happen to hear President Obama’s speech on “immigration reform” last week? What was billed as a major policy speech on illegal immigration turned out to be nothing more than a hyper-partisan diatribe against those of us who believe in enforcing immigration laws that are already on the books.

Obama shamelessly and recklessly insulted those of us who believe in a secure border by saying we want “moats with alligators” built along the border. He is completely out of touch with the American people on this issue.

And he said the cities along the border have never been safer. He must be living on another planet.

I’m writing you today to let you know that I am formally kicking off my re-election campaign for another term as Sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona.

It has been an honor and a distinct privilege to serve the people even in the face of difficult challenges as I go about doing the job I was elected to do. For example, you have probably heard by now that President Barack Obama’s Justice Department is suing me because I won’t conform to their turn-a-blind-eye strategy when it comes to arresting and detaining illegal immigrants.

They have even opened a “civil rights” investigation into my policies – all because I’m enforcing the laws on the books!

I made it clear that the Justice Department can make whatever empty threats they want to, but I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitutions of both the state of Arizona and the United States. As long as the laws are on the books, I’m going to enforce them unapologetically.

The reasons for running for another term are simple: I will continue to enforce illegal immigration laws, operate the “Tent City” jails, track down “dead-beat Dads,” and go after those who abuse animals.

But my re-election to another term as Sheriff will not be easy.

Because I have taken the lead over the years by enforcing existing state and federal laws against illegal immigration, I have become the target of attack by radical, left-wing, open-borders extremists.

I’ve been sued, picketed, burned in effigy and even had the Reverend Al Sharpton come to Phoenix – TWICE! – to march on my headquarters. Some have even gone so far as to call for my assassination! And, the Mexican Drug Cartels have put a $1 MILLION BOUNTY on my head.

What these extremists really want is a Sheriff who will look the other way, be silent and allow the charade to continue, while ignoring the laws of our land. That, I promise, will never happen.

I won’t back down. I won’t surrender to politicians, thugs or drug dealers! And I certainly won’t back down to the far-left ACLU!

But I desperately need your help. It's going to take a lot of resources to combat the attacks and false allegations against me and my deputies — as well as the latest talk about a recall campaign to remove me from office. We anticipate the hardest campaign in history to remove me due to my unyielding stance on illegal immigration enforcement.

I cannot compete with the local and national media machines that distort my record and the job I’m doing to protect this country. And, I don’t have the personal resources to defend myself from these vicious attacks.

That’s why I’m writing to you. I have to go directly to the people for their support. I need good people like you in this country to stand behind me and help me fight this fight.

Whether you live in Maricopa County or not, please understand that my efforts to stop the flow of illegal immigrants in this county affect your community as well. Maricopa County has become the gateway for human smugglers to place illegal aliens in “drop houses” before they are picked up and sent elsewhere in our state or our country.

Will you join me? I desperately need your help now. My election has been targeted as the frontline in the battle to end illegal immigration. We must win this battle.

Your financial support today is so critical. Please log on to http://www.reelectjoearpaio.com right now and make a much needed contribution. Any amount you can offer today is tremendously appreciated. I promise I will not let you down.

The fight starts now. Please help me. I pledge to you that I will never give up or surrender. Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,



Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Maricopa County



P.S. In addition to making a contribution, please do me a favor and forward this email to at least five of your friends, family members and other individuals who share our views. Together we can win this fight. Thank you.







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Just A Thought: MLB Should Bring Annual "Civil Rights Game" To Arizona, Pronto

COMMENTARY:

In light of the attempts by SB1070 opponents to keep Major League Baseball ("MLB") from bringing its All-Star Game to Phoenix, and in light of this weekend's comments by soft-spoken music legend Carlos Santana at MLB's 5th annual "Civil Rights Game" and the comments by MLB Commissioner (and part-time Arizonan), would it not be an appropriate response by MLB to bring the Civil Rights Game to Phoenix?

Controversial? Certainly.  Appropriate, for a number of reasons?  Definitely.

Santana hit the nail on the head.  While noting the civil rights movement of the 60's (and before, and since), he spoke out about the civil rights issue of the 10's (and before, and to come).  And, Arizona - by the desire of both those attempting to crack down on illegal immigration and those claiming that it violates the civil rights of those in the U.S. legally and illegally - has been center stage in the current civil rights debate.

The news coverage of this past weekend notes that the game is committed to be played in Atlanta again next year;  it is not likely that it has been scheduled beyond that.  Whether the Arizona Diamondbacks and/or Arizona makes a bid for the 2013 game, MLB should announce Phoenix as the host now.  Before the media writes its own narrative about Arizona hosting the All-Star Game in July.


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WATCH: Carlos Santana To "The People of Arizona": "You Should Be Ashamed of Yourselves"

The soft-spoken music legend Carlos Santana carried a big stick yesterday when he was honored by Major League Baseball with a "Beacon of Change" award before the MLB's annual Civil Rights Game in Atlanta.

On Friday, Georgia's governor had signed into law a bill that contains some similarities to Arizona's well-known SB 1070, dealing with enforcement of illegal immigration.  Santana took the microphone and said, "The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves."

After the on-field ceremony, he elaborated: "This law is not correct. It's a cruel law, actually.  This is about fear. Stop shucking and jiving. People are afraid we're going to steal your job. No we aren't. You're not going to change sheets and clean toilets."

Added Santana: "This is the United States. This is the land of the free. If people want the immigration laws to keep passing, then everybody should get out and leave the American Indians here."

He did not try to link Arizona's law - which is mainly on hold pending a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on whether to accept an upcoming writ of certiorari from Arizona - with the upcoming MLB All-Star game in Phoenix.

We will have more to add to this post shortly, but here is a report of his on-field statements (with photos), as well as a link to a soft-spoken video of Santana speaking on the subject shortly before the game.




MLB video interviewing Santana before ceremony:  http://atmlb.com/mrL7nU

UPDATE:  Major League Baseball is doing its best to play down Santana's remarks during and after yesterday's game.  They have not released (or permitted the release of) the video of Santana's comments before Sunday's game or the "impromptu news conference" afterwards.  The interview of Santana from before or after Saturday night's ceremony is mixed so low as to be extremely difficult to hear his (more benign, broad) comments.  MLB's website article about the Sunday ceremonies ignores Santana's comments.  For his part, Santana makes no mention of his comments on his website, although he does have an announcement that he was going to receiving/accepting the award.

Here is a link to the Saturday night ceremony, at which Santana accepts the award (from Harry Belafonte).  He speaks at about the 5:40 mark, about how "deeply honored" he is to receive the award. 

Carlos Santana was born in Mexico, and grew up in the San Francisco area (California), before reaching great heights in the music world.

He is scheduled to play concerts in both Phoenix and Tucson in September 2011.

Santana at the ceremony (at about 10:37):  "And I want to say that it's a shame that those in charge (in Georgia) would pass a law - an immigration law - just like Arizona.  The sound that comes to my heart - and my fingers - is the sound that we are all in it together.  We don't leave anybody out.  This is why it's called universal tone."

Afterwards: "It allows me to give voice to the invisible ones."








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Thursday, May 12, 2011

WATCH: Arizona Rep./Senate Candidate Jeff Flake Yesterday Re: Debt Ceiling

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) spent 45 minutes yesterday on C-Span TV talking about the latest news about raising the federal debt ceiling, budget cuts and related matters.

(link, in case embedded video takes to long to load: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Flakeo)



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BEDROCK: McCain Calls Out Former AG Mukasey On Role of Waterboarding In Tracking Down Bin Laden

Our previous posts on John McCain speaking out about Bin Laden: (1) his statement in the immediate aftermath; (2) his interview the following morning praising Obama;  and (3) his 2008 mocking of Obama for saying he'd go into Pakistan.

Arizona Senator John McCain published a column in the Washington Post yesterday, restating his reasons for opposing "torture" (often euphemistically referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques"), in light of last week's discussion regarding whether waterboarding helped the U.S. to find and kill Usama bin Laden.  In doing so, McCain revealed that he did some fact-checking on former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey's claim that waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed led us to Bin Laden;  "false", concluded McCain.

McCain said he called outgoing CIA Director Leon Panetta for details; Panetta had made some open-for-interpretation statements in an interview with NBC's Brian Williams.  McCain's account of his discussion with Panetta:

"...He told me the following: The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. The first mention of Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti — the nickname of the al-Qaeda courier who ultimately led us to bin Laden — as well as a description of him as an important member of al-Qaeda, came from a detainee held in another country, who we believe was not tortured. None of the three detainees who were waterboarded provided Abu Ahmed’s real name, his whereabouts or an accurate description of his role in al-Qaeda.


In fact, the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on Khalid Sheik Mohammed produced false and misleading information. He specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married and ceased his role as an al-Qaeda facilitator — none of which was true. According to the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in al-Qaeda and his true relationship to bin Laden — was obtained through standard, noncoercive means."
McCain closed his column with a straight-talking appeal that the U.S. should "stand as an example of a nation that holds an individual’s human rights as superior to the will of the majority or the wishes of government."

It is easy to conclude that the issue of torture and the treatment of prisoners is the most deeply personal political issue for McCain.  He may be criticized - rightly or wrongly - for changing positions on other issues, but this brings us down to McCain bedrock.





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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

FACT CHECK and UPDATE: Rep. Gosar Claims He Voted Today "To Lower Gas Prices...In Arizona"; Support?

Earlier today, we reported on Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-CD1) speech yesterday in support of H.R. 1229, named as the "Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act".  This afternoon, the House approved the measure on a party line vote, and Gosar's office quickly trumpeted his vote "to lower gas prices".

The bill would extend existing oil exploration leases in the Gulf of Mexico (which were affected by the drilling moratorium) and fast track government decisions on permit applications.  Republicans believe that it will lead to more drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf more quickly, while the Obama Administration opposes it because jeopardizes safety by restricting the review of the permit applications.  The CBO notes that it will increase the budget deficit by $10M in 2013 because it will delay existing claims being put out to auction.

Our earlier post did not mention Rep. Gosar's unsupported claim that the bill would lower gas prices, believing it to be a small bit of rhetorical hyperbole.  However, now that Gosar is headlining that dubious impact, it deserves greater inspection.

First, it bears repeating that Rep. Gosar has provided no support for his claim in either his speech (admittedly, just a one-minute thumbnail) or his press release.  Second, even the leaders in the Republican party behind this bill are not claiming that it will actually lower gas prices anytime soon. 

Finally, independent analyses claiming that it will help lower prices at the pump are non-existent; here is one that says it will be seven or eight years before these areas will produce large enough quantities to have an effect.  Top that off with well-known gas price analyst Trilby Lundberg stating that prices are already beginning to come down, anyway, and you have even less support for Gosar's claim.  (By the way, "topping it off" is only a wise way to minimize gasoline expenditures when prices are rising; given Lundberg's - and Gosar's - claims, you are not advised to top off your tank.)

Grandstanding on gas prices is a tradition among politicians of all stripes.  However, like so many before him, Rep. Gosar's claim that he just voted to lower the price at the pump is little more than the nasty vapor seeping out as you put another couple of gallons into your vehicle.

GRADE: 85 (= "D").  Just as we no longer have the lower grades available at the gas station, we should do away with claims like Gosar's.




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WATCH: Rep. Paul Gosar On House Floor In Favor Of Fast-Tracking Oil Exploration Leases In Gulf of Mexico

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) spoke on the floor of the House yesterday in support of H.R. 1229, a GOP-supported proposal to extend existing non-producing oil exploration leases in the Gulf of Mexico and to fast track government decisions on new lease applications.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the measure will not have a significant effect on U.S. debt, though it will slightly increase the budget deficit (only $10 million) in 2013.

The Obama Administration opposes the measure,  and believes the bill “would constrain the ability of DOI to ensure that permits meet safety standards by requiring permitting decisions to be made within 30 days of receiving an application — thereby curtailing the review period.” 

The House did not vote on the measure yesterday.



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Friday, May 6, 2011

NEW: Arizona Poll Numbers On Brewer, Arpaio, McCain, Kyl, State Gun, Planned Parenthood; Disapproval of McCain Crosses 50%

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was easily re-elected last Fall; today, only two Senators have higher disapproval ratings than McCain.  Meanwhile, Governor Jan Brewer's approval ratings stayed nearly flat from January, even after vetoing a flurry of bills.  And, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio continues to have a more favorable than unfavorable rating.
Public Policy Polling ("PPP") - an organization hired mainly by Democrats but which has noted to be one of the most accurate and unbiased pollsters - released the numbers, a couple of days after releasing portions of the poll dealing with the 2012 Senate and Presidential races.

Only 7 substantive questions in this portion of the poll results, so we will simply print them in their entirety below the jump. 

But, we will first note that the two Senators with lower approval ratings than McCain are close McCain friend Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Ensign (R-NV, just resigned).  However, not all of the states are polled, nor at the same time.

The pollsters surveyed 623 Arizonans, had a 3.9% margin of error, and did not try to limit its automated poll to registered or likely voters.  Conventional wisdom is that such polls are more likely to lean towards Democratic candidates.  The poll was not paid for by any candidate or political organization.  (Note: I have asked PPP to confirm whether or not they try to reach registered voters and/or screen the respondents for the likelihood of voting.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

WATCH: Arizona Sen. John McCain Spars With DHS Secy/Fmr AZ Gov. Janet Napolitano

All eyes were on Arizona yesterday at a Senate hearing as Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and DHS Secretary (and former Arizona Governor) Janet Napolitano sparred on who has spent the most time focusing on Arizona/Mexico border issues and how best to address the situation.

While Attorney General Eric Holder was briefing McCain and other lawmakers, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano was beginning her briefing to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs.  McCain came in late and Napolitano offered to catch him up later on DHS plans to initiate a new metric for gauging border security - a metric she said McCain has requested in the past.

McCain, too, wants to meet with Napolitano "before the election season gets too polarizing - although, obviously, it is," and expressed his disappointment that she had not seemed to take the McCain-Kyl-Flake 10-point plan seriously; she indicated that many of the points are already being done and that others may cost more money than the Congress is willing to spend.

The two grew testy over whether and how many drug cartel "spotters" may be sitting on mountain tops in southern Arizona.  McCain called it a fact, Napolitano said she that there are a couple of hundred possible spotting sites but that does not mean that they all have smugglers standing there watching law enforcement movements.  McCain grew exasperated but swallowed his statement that that is "crazy": "This is symptomatic to me of the lack of recognition" of the situation by the Administration.

However, both McCain and Napolitano agree that the border situation in Arizona has  gotten better. McCain:  "I agree that there have been improvements and I'm grateful for those improvements.  But., I argue that they have not kept up with the escalation of violence on the other side of the border."

Napolitano:  "In my judgment, what we need to do at the border is exactly what we are doing and more so and sustain it.  It's more manpower, it's more technology, it's more infrastructure.  It's adding air cover, which we now have across Arizona which we didn't have before."

The 15-minute exchange is worth watching.  Following that, I have embedded a fine summary report that aired on KJZZ (91.5, Phoenix, NPR) this morning.

Oh, and with all due respect to both McCain and Napolitano, I think that there are plenty of professional law enforcement individuals who have spent more time dealing with Arizona-Mexico border issues - some of them at the policy levels, too.



http://kjzz.org/news/arizona/archives/201105/NapolitanoSenate
(embedded player deleted because it automatically played)



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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Arizona Poll Numbers: Romney Ahead Of Obama By Four, Giffords Seven Ahead Of Flake; Bad News For Sarah Palin, J.D. Hayworth

New poll numbers show Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8) ahead of fellow Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) by 48%-41% for the soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat, and that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney would inch out President Barack Obama for Arizona's electoral votes.  Public Policy Polling ("PPP") - an organization hired mainly by Democrats but which has been one of the most accurate and unbiased pollsters - released the numbers, which also contained bad news for Republicans Sarah Palin and J.D. Hayworth and Democrat Phil Gordon.

For the Senate seat, the automated voice response poll showed Giffords leading all possible Republican challengers.  If she is unwilling or unable to run for the office being vacated by Sen. Jon Kyl, then Flake and former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard (D) are the next strongest candidates.  Head to head, they are tied at 45% each.

The other candidates tested were Democrats (Phoenix Mayor) Phil Brown and (Rep.) Ed Pastor, and Republicans (Former AK Gov. and VP candidate) Sarah Palin and (Former Rep.) J.D. Hayworth.  Palin and Hayworth both trailed any Democrat they were matched up against, and showed high favorable/unfavorable marks (32-62 and 21-56, respectively).

On the Presidential side, Barack Obama has made up several points in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups with Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and has lengthened a lead against Palin.  Obama also handily leads celebrity Donald Trump.  The backbone for Obama's gains appear to be in picking up favor among independent voters.  His favorable/unfavorable ratings among independents in Arizona is now 49-45, and he leads Romney by 17 percentage points among them - a big change from a poll in January, when they were tied.  However, Romney still leads 48-44%, just outside the poll's margin of error.

The pollsters surveyed 623 Arizonans, had a 3.9% margin of error, and did not try to limit its automated poll to registered or likely voters.  Conventional wisdom is that such polls are more likely to lean towards Democratic candidates.  The poll was not paid for by any candidate or political organization. 


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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

YEAH, WE'RE LOOKING AT YOU, ARIZONA: New York Times Peeks Behind Scenes At Flake's, Schweikert's Town Halls

(Occasionally, we try to highlight news coverage of Arizona from around the rest of the nation and world. The series will be titled, "Yeah, we're looking at you, Arizona.")

The New York Times ran a report today (page A9) about the behind the scenes efforts to rustle up people to attend congressional town hall meetings.  The article focuses solely on Arizona Reps. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) and David Schweikert (R-CD5).  (And actually, Flake's was a campaign event as part of his effort to take  Jon Kyl's seat in the Senate.)

Nothing much surprising in the report, and it does not put Arizona in a negative light.  In fact, the gist is that these efforts were representative of those going on around the country.




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WATCH, READ: In 2008, McCain Mocked Obama For Promising To Go Into Pakistan Without Approval To Capture/Kill Bin Laden

(Note: Previous posts have highlighted a McCain interview yesterday and his Sunday night statement.)

In at least one of the presidential debates in 2008 between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, Obama prophesied a time when the President might have to pursue Usama (aka Osama) Bin Laden into Pakistan, and promised that he would go in to capture or kill the terrorist leader with or without Pakistani help.  McCain tried to morph that statement into "threatening to attack Pakistan," and noted that he would be the more successful at building up a good relationship with Pakistan.  (Pakistan's government has since changed.)

Certainly, a fascinating exchange to revisit with today's hindsight.  The transcript of this portion of the October 7, 2008 debate is after the jump. Before the portion selected - and I certainly urge you to watch or read more - is the viewer's question about whether we should respect Pakistan's sovereignty and part of Obama's answer placing some of the blame for the Pakistan relationship on going into Iraq and letting bin Laden off the hook; after is McCain's promise to get bin Laden and that "I know how to get him."


Monday, May 2, 2011

LISTEN: Arizona Sen. John McCain: President Obama Deserves "Great Credit"; Al Qaeda Retaliation Doesn't Worry Him More Today Than Yesterday

Arizona Senator John McCain was interviewed by phone this morning by KTVK's (Channel 3, Phoenix) Tara Hitchcock. He twice gave explicit praise of President Obama for his role in the strike that killed Usama Bin Laden, and he does not believe that Al Qaeda is holding any attacks in reserve that make it more likely that they will retaliate.


He also deftly side-stepped a question about whether his opinion on waterboarding would change if it is confirmed that some of the key intelligence for yesterday's strike came from illegal torture methods. McCain reiterated that bad intel often comes from improper interrogation methods and that good intel often comes from accepted interrogation methods.



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Sunday, May 1, 2011

READ: Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle Statement On Killing Of Bin Laden; "Monumental Achievement"

Via e-mail, here is the reaction from Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) to tonight's news about the killing of Osama Bin Laden:

"Nearly ten years after the horrors of September 11th, the man most responsible for the attacks has been brought to justice. This development is a monumental achievement made possible by continuous operations of American intelligence officials and members of the United States Armed forces, many of whom were inspired to serve their country following the attacks in New York and Washington. While Bin Laden’s death is indeed significant, the threat of terrorism around the world will not dissipate. For the thousands of Americans who lost loved ones on 9/11 and in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, justice has been served tonight."







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READ: McCain Statement On Killing of Osama Bin Laden; "Overjoyed that we finally got the world's top terrorist"

Arizona Senator John McCain (R) released the following statement tonight:
“I am overjoyed that we finally got the world's top terrorist. The world is a better and more just place now that Osama bin Laden is no longer in it. I hope the families of the victims of the September 11th attacks will sleep easier tonight and every night hence knowing that justice has been done. I commend the President and his team, as well as our men and women in uniform and our intelligence professionals, for this superb achievement.


“But while we take heart in the news that Osama bin Laden is dead, we must be mindful that al-Qaeda and its terrorist allies are still lethal and determined enemies, and we must remain vigilant to defeat them.”





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