FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Thursday, February 28, 2013

WATCH: Rep. Franks Blasts Obama Drone "Hypocrisy": "More Than Subtle Difference Between Waterboarding and Blowing Someone Into Eternity!"

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD8) dramatically blasted the Obama Administration's drone strikes policies yesterday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.  In questioning a Bush Administration attorney, John B. Bellinger III, and law professor Stephen Vladeck, Franks noted that Obama and Democrats had "eviscerated" the Bush Administration over issues of torture, but was now fine with drone strikes against U.S. citizens who might be enemies in overseas battlefields.

"It seems to me that there's more than a subtle difference between waterboarding and blowing someone into eternity.  The hypocrisy of this Administration is profound in my opinion on this front."



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WATCH: Rep. Schweikert Upset With GOP Leadership's VAWA Handling

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD6) took to the House floor this afternoon to express his "great frustration" with his party's leadership and how they handled the Violence Against Women Act proceedings today.

Over the weekend, it looked like the House GOP leadership was going to allow a vote on an alternative that would have addressed the Tribal Court jurisdiction loophole.  Schweikert notes that Reps. Darrell Issa and Tom Cole had worked on it with Native American courts - it had gone to a vote last year - and that Schweikert had worked with the "sophisticated" Salt River-Pima Maricopa Indian Community on it.

His "great frustration" was evident in this one-minute speech, and he was gaveled almost as soon as his alloted minute had expired.  (Of course, Schweikert has been frustrated with his party's leadership before.)




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WATCH: Rep. Kirkpatrick's Final Push For VAWA


Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) made a brief speech this morning, urging colleagues to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act.  This speech was after the Republican substitute had been defeated, and just before the House passed the Senate version, 286-138.



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WATCH: McCain Upset About Lack of Consideration Of GOP Sequester Substitute; "Are We Going To Lurch From One Fiscal Cliff To Another?"

Arizona Senator John McCain (R) spoke on the Senate floor, bemoaning "the charade" that the Senate was going through on two responses to sequestration that were not going to get 60 votes to pass anything through to the House (which is probably what enables the House GOP to complain about the Senate never passing anything).



He noted that the President did not take action to try to stop the sequester over the past year plus, while he and a couple of his Republican colleagues have been warning about the effects of the cuts on the military during the time.  "But, that's the blame game, and I'm ad to engage in that.  But, can't we at least come to some agreement to prevent this.  Are we going to lurch from one fiscal cliff to another?"


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WATCH: Arizona Rep. Matt SalmonTakes C-Span Questions On Sequestration

Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon (R-CD5) was a guest this morning on C-Span's "Washington Journal" program, answering questions chiefly on budget and sequestration issues.

His 31-minute appearance included him going one step further than supporting the previously-passed measure that will withhold some of Congress' pay until they pass a budget, and would dock 20% of Members' pay if they do not pass a BALANCED budget - "Let's lead by example!"






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Arizona GOP Members Vote Nay As House Passes Senate Version Of VAWA

All four Arizona Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against reauthorizing the lapsed Violence Against Women Act ("VAWA") this morning.

No Democrats voted against the Senate-passed version, which is now on its way to the desk.  87 Republicans also voted "aye".  Arizona's Reps. Trent Franks, Matt Salmon, David Schweikert, and Paul Gosar voted "nay".

Here is a copy of the roll call.

Gosar and Schweikert also voted against the Republican substitute reauthorization, which failed 166-257.


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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WATCH: Rep. Barber On House Floor Urging Sequestration Replacement

Arizona Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) took his turn at the Democrats' (for the day) microphone on the House floor today, to bemoan the upcoming across-the-board sequestration cuts and the effects they will have on his southern Arizona district.






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WATCH: Arizona Rep. Kirkpatrick On House Floor Re: Sequestration Effects On Grand Canyon

Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) took part in the parade of Congressmembers speaking out on the looming sequestration cuts.  As an example, she talked about how it would effect the Grand Canyon (in her district), students in northern Arizona, and tribal communities.


She noted that Medicare is exempted from the cuts, but that the Indian Health Service is not.





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WATCH: Rep. Sinema's 1st Floor Speech, Joins McCain Saying "Sequester Will Be Devastating For Arizona"

Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) made her first speech on the floor of the House this morning, focusing on the dangers that the sequestration budget cuts pose to Arizona's economy.  She cited "the dean of our state's delegation, Senator John McCain, when I say this sequester will be devastating for Arizona."

She stated that "...avoiding the sequestration should not be about partisanship or finger-pointing. It's about jobs."








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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Questions, Research Re: Proposed Amendment To Phoenix Human Relations Ordinance

As noted in my previous post, you can watch the marathon Phoenix City Council hearing on the proposed amendments to the Human Relations Ordinance.

Last night, this proposal and hearing were brought to my attention by an e-mail about my Councilman Sal DiCiccio's strong opposition to the proposed amendments and by an almost simultaneous e-mail about Equality Arizona's advocacy for the proposal.

I had problems with both of their missives, and asked them each questions by e-mail.  Given all the hub-bub, I am not surprised that they did not respond.  Here are the questions:

For DiCiccio1)  Do you have any backup information for your statements that this would "criminalize business owners", and that "the floodgates of litigation will be opened"?  Have you checked statistics and/or court cases from the other states and municipalities that have similar laws/ordinances?  Can you provide some examples for this article?
2)  Have you received any word from the Mayor or other Councilmembers regarding your call for a delay?  
3) Any response to the criticism that you are receiving from the Equality Arizona organization and their supporters?

For Equality Arizona1)  This WOULD prohibit gender identity discrimination in public restrooms, wouldn't it?  If not, why do you think it does not?  It appears to have effected it under similar ordinances in other states, doesn't it? (Transgender Law Center: http://bit.ly/Yxk2kW, Maine ct ruling: http://bit.ly/Xy5HVg)
2)  If you believe it does not effect public restrooms, would you favor language making that explicit?
3)  DiCiccio is calling for a delay.  Is this a bad idea and, if so, why?

Some other research
1) Here's a rept on 1 of the few cases I could find re: laws similar to 1 Phx considering. Found T-G's could use bathrm. 
2) Here is the proposed amended ordinance: http://1.usa.gov/XEK3eS


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LIVE, WATCH: Phoenix City Council Nearing Conclusion Of Marathon Hearing On Expanding Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

A marathon Phoenix City Council hearing is nearing an end after a sometimes-raucous parade of speakers for and against proposed amendments to the Human Relations Ordinance.

After all members of the public who wish to speak have finished their one-minute comments - which should be soon - the members of the Council will each have 10 minutes to speak.

You can watch the hearing at this link, or on Channel 11 on Phoenix cable.

(I will follow with questions that I asked Councilman DiCiccio and of Equality Arizona, along with links to the research I did last night.)


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Thursday, February 21, 2013

WATCH: Anti-Recall Arpaio Group News Conference; READ Their Cease and Desist Demand; Analysis

Unfortunately, Arizona's Politics was unable to attend the inaugural news conference of the Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results ("CPFER") yesterday - I already had meetings scheduled.  Fortunately, though, CPFER has already posted the entire conference and the demand letter online.  They have sent out their cease and desist letter to the committee attempting to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and have given them until (Saturday) March 2 to comply.



Well-known attorney Larry Klayman announced that he had been retained as General Counsel for CPFER, rather than just an attorney retained by the LLC for possible litigation.  He reiterated the claim that the recall was filed unconstitutionally early, ignoring the six-month waiting period.  He riffed on the name of the recall group, saying that Respect Arizona was disrespecting voters and disenfranchising them.  He called the recall proponents "vigilantes" and he said they are violating the 1st, 5th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

He sat down and allowed CPFER member Linda Brickman* dramatically read a manifesto promising that the Arpaio recall was result in electoral war and that it is already prompting responses that will attempt to recall numerous other elected officials.  (It may, in fact, be a hint of the "blocking" strategy that Arpaio campaign manager Chad Willems hinted at last weekend: flooding the streets with competing recall petitions, thus turning off potential signers and public opinion.)

Klayman then praised Brickman's "excellent recitation", and refused to take any questions.  Here is his demand letter:


Arizona's Politics has already participated in some analysis of the legal basis CPFER's demand on this blog and elsewhere.  A very good presentation is found in this Phoenix New Times' article.  Well-known Arizona election law expert Paul Eckstein gave an unequivocal thumbs down to Klayman's interpretation of the Arizona Constitution in the Channel 12 video below.  And, ASU Law Professor David Gartner gave CPFER a kernel to hold on to in the Associated Press article when he said that he "interprets" the constitutional section to permit the recall against Joe; a valid legal term, but permitting Klayman to hang on to the claim that his interpretation is different.

That glimmer of hope could matter, because Arizona statutes permit attorneys to be held personally responsible for opponents' attorney's fees and double damages if they litigate groundless claims for harassment purposes (A.R.S. 12-349).



* Brickman was on November's election ballot along with Arpaio.  She ran unsuccessfully for one of five open positions on the Central Arizona Water Conservation District's Board of Directors; she received 214,000 votes and finished 8th (out of 13 candidates)

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Recall Arpaio Leaders Issue Own Cease and Desist Demand, To County Republican Chair

Two of the leaders of the group gathering signatures to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio have issued their own "cease and desist" demand today, to the chair of the Maricopa County Republican Committee.

The Phoenix New Times was the first to report on and reproduce the letter from Randy Parraz and Chad Snow on Citizens for a Better Arizona letterhead.  They refer to comments that MCRC Chair A.J. LaFaro made last week in his "call to arms" for a "shadow army".  He called the recall proponents "thugs" and "domestic terrorists".  The letter notes that such statements are "defamatory."

At 2:00pm, a new group supporting the Sheriff is holding a news conference to issue their cease and desist demand letter to the recall proponents, claiming that the recall is illegal because it is too early and does not show sufficient grounds to recall.

The timing of the new letter - especially considering the gap between LaFaro's remarks and this response - seems designed to make the pro-Joe folks think about the raised stakes.

The Phoenix New Times has also released an article that will hit newsstands tomorrow, with apparent inside comments from the no-media-allowed "call to arms" meeting that LaFaro called (and Arpaio campaign manager Chad Willems apparently spoke at).  The article promises that they will put up video from that meeting shortly.


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Rep. Raul Grijalva, 3 Other Democratic Reps., In Mideast Meeting With Israeli and Palestinian Officials; Sponsored By J Street

Yesterday, Arizona's Politics noted that Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) was celebrating his 65th birthday in Israel.  His Facebook post raised a lot of questions in this reporter's (and at least one reader's - check out the comments) mind.

I received some of the answers this morning from Grijalva's Communications Director, Adam Sarvana (who is not traveling with the Congressman).  


Grijalva's trip is sponsored by the upstart organization called J Street.  J Street bills itself as a "pro-Israel, pro-peace" PAC which is pushing for a two-state solution to reaching a peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians.  


(J Street is a more peace-oriented Israel support organization than the influential AIPAC ("American Israel Public Affairs Committee", which is not a PAC) that generally defends the Israeli government in the U.S., and is often seen as preferring a more hard-line Israeli government policy.)


Sarvana notes that the other Representatives on the trip are "Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Hank Johnson (D-GA).... They’re meeting with government officials, business leaders, settlers, Palestinian officials, and representatives of NGOs. He’s flying back tomorrow."


As we get more details, we will share them with you.





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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Surprise Tea Party Issuing Legal Demand That Arpaio Recall Group Cease and Desist

(edited to correct spelling of "Klayman")

The new group formed by the Surprise Tea Party Patriots ("STPP") is holding a press conference Wednesday afternoon with the founder of the conservative Judicial Watch to announce that they are sending a legal demand to the Respect Arizona committee that they immediately cease and desist from attempting to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Earlier today, it became known that the STPP - which has teamed with Arpaio on his investigation into President Obama's birth certificate - was planning legal action to stop the recall effort, which began in the end of January and has four months to collect approximately 500,000 petition signatures.  It then became known that they had formed a limited liability company ("LLC") called Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results, LLC ("CPFER").

The press conference will be at 2:00pm, and Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman will be appearing as a private attorney for CPFER.  The media advisory claims that the recall is "illegal and unconstitutional".  It then seems to indicate that the grounds for that claim are "(S)ince Arpaio was only recently reelected to a sixth term on November 6, 2012, Respect Arizona's petition is not only untimely but fails to set forth any valid grounds for a recall so soon after this election."

However, as Arizona's Politics noted in response to a reader's question on January 29, the six-month "waiting period" for a recall ONLY applies to an office-holder's first term in the office.  "The statute (A.R.S. 19-202) specifically notes that it does not apply when the person is re-elected to the same office.  And, the following section states that the "valid grounds" shall simply be a "a general statement of not more than two hundred words stating the grounds of the demand for the recall".  (It will be interesting to hear what else Klayman has to back up the demand.)

If the recall organizers fail to immediately cease and desist from their efforts, the advisory notes that "legal actions will be pursued against Respect Arizona and its officers personally." (emphasis added)  The known officers of Respect Arizona are chair William Fisher and treasurer Robert Unferth. 





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VIEW: New Anti-Arpaio-Recall Group Forms LLC, Ready To File Legal Action?

Earlier today, Channel 12 political reporter extraordinaire Brahm Resnick noted on his Facebook page that the Surprise Tea Party had teamed up with well-known attorney Larry Klayman to prepare to issue a "cease and desist" order against the Respect Arizona group collecting signatures to attempt to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

This evening, Arizona Republic reporter Michelle Lee tweeted that the leaders of that Tea Party group has formed a committee.

Here is the Corporation Commission filing for the Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results, LLC.


There is not yet a committee filing shown on the Arizona Secretary of State's website, which is where a political committee's organization would be filed.  (The SoS generally posts these filings in close to real time.)  An LLC (limited liability company) is a good corporate structure and is a good entity for filing a legal action under, because of the difficulty in holding the individual members of the company liable (for, say, legal fees in the event of an unsuccessful legal action).  However, any actions this committee takes will (almost) undoubtedly qualify it as a "political committee" that will require it to file with the Secretary of State and disclose contributions and expenditures (eventually).

Klayman, and the Wises, declined to respond to Arizona's Politics inquiries.  Another member of the Surprise Tea Party did respond and asked me to wait for either the Wises or for the announcement.  He reminded me that the Surprise Tea Party is the organization that "was successful in getting Sheriff Joe to ask the Cold Case Posse to investigate whether Obama meets the Constitutional requirements to be POTUS."

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READ: Gov. Brewer Lists Qualities She Admires In Nation's Leaders

The Governor's Office re-sent me Gov. Jan Brewer's Presidents' Day message this morning, which I took as an indication that they really, REALLY want me to post it.  Frankly, I had ignored it the first time it hit my inbox over the weekend - these kind of things are not usually very newsworthy or interesting.

But, lo and behold, I found this one to be both.

Perhaps, it is because of the Governor's well-known interaction and feelings toward our current President;  her message pointedly - and, properly - honors "past" Presidents.  But, more likely, it is because she notes qualities that she admires, which would apply equally to leading the nation as to leading the state.

She pays the somewhat-obligatory homage to Washington and Lincoln before praising her "favorite president (sic) and personal hero, Ronald Reagan" for his "eternal optimism and shining patriotism".  The Governor - love her or not - seems to seek to emulate those qualities.

Brewer then gets to the meat of her message.  She notes that the "greatest presidents put our country's hopes and dreams before their own."  She points out their "demonstrated dignity", "statesmanship even through the darkest of hours", and that they make us feel assured.  She praises their "optimism, humility and grace."

Her complete message is below the jump:

Rep. Grijalva Spending Birthday In Israel

(UPDATE #2, 2/20, 11:00AM:  New post with more details of trip from Congressman's office. bit.ly/AZp470 .)

(UPDATE: Rep. Grijalva turns 65 today.)

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) is spending his birthday - and the Congressional recess - in Israel, "learning more about our diplomatic relationship and the need for a better approach."

The announcement came not in the form of a news release, but in the form of an "it's my birthday" message on Facebook.  Grijalva is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which has concentrated on national issues.  Similarly, Grijalva has not spoken out often on foreign policy issues.  Two examples of weighing in on the Israel-Palestinian tensions are when he co-sponsored a 2008 resolution condemning indiscriminate Palestinian rocket attacks into Israel and when he co-signed a letter in 2010 calling for Israel to halt its blockade of Gaza in response to rocket attacks.

Here is his Facebook post:

"Today's my birthday, and I'm in Israel learning more about our diplomatic relationship and the need for a better approach. It's a good trip and I'm meeting a lot of great people. Wish me good luck! I'll be back in a few days."


No word yet on who is sponsoring the trip, whether other Congresspeople are with him, who he is meeting with or where he is going, and other fun details.  We will update as available.

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

WATCH: Arizona Reps. Kirkpatrick and Sinema Join Bipartisan Freshman "United Solutions" Caucus To Address Fiscal Crisis; Sinema On Fox News

Arizona Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) joined nine other freshman Democrats and 21 freshman Republican lawmakers in forming a "United Solutions" caucus to fight for a bi-partisan solution to the fiscal crisis (crises) facing our federal government.  Sinema discussed the caucus this morning on Fox News along with the lead GOP member, Robert Pittenger (R-NC).

The "Gang of 32" held their news conference on Thursday, at which both Kirkpatrick and Sinema spoke of the need for Congress to forge solutions across the aisle.

The group sent their "Statement of Principles" to the House leaders from both parties (Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi) and to President Barack Obama.  Today, Sinema said that Pelosi had told them to "go for it", and Pittenger agreed that the GOP leadership had also encouraged the group of frosh lawmakers.



Here is the letter, which calls for no longer accepting piecemeal solutions. The principles do not call for any new revenues, but do call for finding additional spending cuts.
We'll upload the Fox News video of Sinema and Pittenger when (if) it becomes available.



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WATCH: Rep. Kirkpatrick Speaking Out For Violence Against Women Act, Importance Of Indian Nations

Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) took to the airwaves and to the House floor this week to speak out in favor of the Violence Against Women Act ("VAWA") that was reauthorized by the U.S. Senate this week on a 78-22 vote (Arizona Senators Flake and McCain both voted "aye").

The VAWA is facing tougher sledding in the GOP-controlled House, where the major expressed concern is a new section that would allow Native American Nations to prosecute non-Native Americans who attack women on tribal lands.  To date, that has been a loophole that has left some cases in what should be - in more ways than one - a "no man's land".

Kirkpatrick's district makes up much of the eastern half of Arizona and contains a high percentage of sovereign tribal lands.  Thus, she has been particularly outspoken on this issue.  Early in the week, she joined a group of House Democrats in calling for their colleagues on the other side of the aisle to take up the bill.





On Friday, she took to the House floor to connect the issue to the looming sequestration cuts.  House Democrats were protesting that the GOP was recessing for a week when they should be trying to prevent the across-the-board cuts from going into place.





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McCain, Kelly Both On NBC's Meet the Press On Sunday

Arizona continues its over-sized presence on national Sunday news shows - and, on the national political scene in general - this weekend, as senior Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and ret. Space Shuttle Commander - and husband of ret. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) - both are interviewed on NBC's Meet the Press.

McCain will primarily be questioned about the ongoing drama surrounding the nomination of former friend and GOP colleague Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.  McCain joined his fellow Republican Senators in opposing the nomination in the Armed Services Committee and in opposing bringing it to a vote in the full Senate, but he did defend Hagel's integrity when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was questioning whether Hagel had received speaking fees from "radical and extreme groups".

McCain was among the Republican Senators at the forefront of refusing to allow the nomination to be brought to the floor for a vote this week, stating that he and others still had questions about the President's knowledge and actions during the Benghazi attack.  McCain has signaled that - even though the Administration did not appear to further answer any of the questions - he would support voting on the nomination after the Senate returns from its week-long recess.  (Expect David Gregory to question him about this apparent gamesmanship.)

Mark Kelly has become one of the most prominent voices in the front-and-center debate on reducing gun violence.  Kelly and Giffords formed Americans for Responsible Solutions to support elected officials/candidates who support measures such as universal background checks.  Here is the ad that Kelly and Giffords planned to air earlier this week surrounding President Obama's State of the Union address.

While Kelly and McCain have been Arizona's* two most prominent voices on Sunday morning news shows so far this year, several other Grand Canyon Staters have taken part in the Beltway tradition, easily outpacing what would be Arizona's per-capita representation on the national stage.  (I will do the numbers if challenged on this, but I am Nate Silver-confident in this statement.)


* Kelly is probably spending more living time in Arizona since Giffords retired and moved back to Tucson to continue rehab, and McCain is probably spending less since spending every Sunday in D.C. studios.



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Thursday, February 14, 2013

WATCH: Arizona Rep. Franks Brings Back PreNDA, Restores Controversial "Race-Selection Abortion", Criminalization Provisions

If a watered-down version of your bill gets voted down, what do you do in the next Congressional session?  If you are Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD8), you go back to the original, much more controversial version of the bill.

Ahead of speaking at this weekend's "Endangered Genders Symposium", Franks has reintroduced his bill to criminalize abortions performed on the basis of race-selection or sex-selection.  Franks has been the primary sponsor of this controversial measure since 2008.

Last year, he was able to get the House of Representatives to debate and vote on the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act ("PreNDA"), and it fell short of the 2/3 majority it needed (290), 246-168.  However, to get that it to a vote, it was stripped of the portion that dealt with "race-selection abortions" , and provisions that criminalized the performance of "sex-selection abortions".  It permitted civil actions against providers, required loss of federal funding and reporting requirements.

The stripped provisions are back in the newly-introduced version.  And, likely for a variety of reasons, the 2013 version has four fewer co-sponsors than the 2012 bill.  (For example, Arizona's Jeff Flake moved from the House to the Senate; he has not co-sponsored the Senate version of the bill.)  In fact, the Senate version has lost 23 co-sponsors between 2012 and 2013.

Notwithstanding Arizona's Politics requests, Franks' office last year declined to comment on whether the Congressman agreed to the pared-down version, and how it came to be that PreNDA and other abortion bills last year were set up to require a 2/3 majority vote to move on to the Senate.

Arizona's Politics compared (available upon e-mail request) the texts of the initial 2012 H.R. 3541 and this year's H.R. 447 (introduced Feb. 1, 2013): it makes some minor changes and adds some new, controversial supporting material for the resolution.  Without naming Planned Parenthood by name, it states:


(D) A thorough review of the history of the American population control movement and its close affiliation with the American Eugenics Society reveals a history of targeting certain racial or ethnic groups for `family planning'. This history likely contributes to the current statistic that a Black baby is five times as likely to be aborted as a White baby, often in a federally subsidized clinic.


Franks and other like-minded individuals have been trying to connect Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger's with the early 20th century eugenics movement, and bring that forward to the organization's current efforts.

To that end, Franks continues to speak out every opportunity he gets.  "We are besieged by a racist abortion policy, and the whole abortion industry came out of the eugenics movement where they were deliberately trying to decimate the Black population." (from the 2009 interview where he said it might be time for a second Civil War).

Planned Parenthood has a page devoted to refuting many of the claims about Sanger and racial motivations.

Here is video of Franks' opening statement last May on the stripped-down bill, where he states that now, "the three deadliest words in the English language are 'it's a girl!":


(*When Franks first introduced this bill in 2008, he only had 5 cosponsors.  The next year, he had 49, and in 2011-12, he gathered 98 co-sponsors.  To date, the 2013 version has 94 co-sponsors.)

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WATCH: Rep. Schweikert and His Wife Play Funky Game, On Valentine's Day?!?; Minority Youth Don't Need Higher Minimum Wage, Need Training Wage

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD6) was a guest this morning on C-Span's Morning Journal program.  The first question out of the box was about his reaction to President Obama's call to raise the federal minimum wage over the next two years to $9/hour.

Schweikert responded by talking about a game he and his wife like to play.  On Valentine's Day, that sounded like a dangerous opening.

"My wife and I have a little game we play.  It's called 'Think Like An Economist.'  If the President really, really is concerned about, you know, urban unemployment of youth, particularly minority youth, which is just astronomical numbers, you would have thought the proposal would have been for this population, for these urban areas, I'm going to do a training wage, those things necessary to expand employment.  Because we know in the economics models, you know, think like an economist, raising the minimum wage, what, almost 20%, is going to raise their unemployment.  So, look, it's great pandering to the political base, but it's really bad economics."



As noted in this Los Angeles Times article, there ARE a number of economists who are not certain that this is the right time to raise the minimum wage.  The article also points out that the average hourly wage in this country is currently close to $20/hour.

In the 45-minute interview, Schweikert weighed in on many issues, including the gun violence debate ("Time to do policy by facts, not feelings") and the GOP's lack of hoped-for success in last year's elections ("Actually, I lay it out as somewhat of a failure of telling our story").






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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

WATCH: McCain Questions Military Leaders On "Orwellian Experience" Of Sequestration Defense Cuts

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) questioned the military leaders before the Senate Armed Services Committee today, and drew them out on their fears of the fast-approaching sequestration cuts on defense spending.  He opened with a statement/question which he barely gave them a moment to answer:

"It's kind of, would you say, an Orwellian experience?  Here we are, looking at these draconian cuts, already some of the manifestations of, the requirements of which are taking place.  Meanwhile, it's a day after North Korea tests another nuclear weapon, Iraq is unraveling, the Iranians just rejected  the Vice President's proposal last weekend for one on one talks concerning nuclear weapons, Libya is obvious, Mali, Egypt in a state of unrest,  now Tunisia.  We're probably in a more unsettled period since the end of the Cold War than certainly I have ever seen. Would you agree with that assessment?  Meanwhile, we are now the signal we are sending, frankly, to the Iranians,is don't worry, this aircraft carrier is not coming.  This is really a disconnect the likes of which I have never seen before."


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WATCH: McCain Defends Hagel's Integrity, "No One...Should Impugn His Integrity"

The Senate Armed Services Committee meeting this afternoon considering the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) as Secretary of Defense was considerably lengthened after the statement by new Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).  Cruz claimed that it is unclear whether Hagel had received speaking fees from "radical and extreme groups."

Committee Chair Carl Levin (D-MI) engaged in a lengthy discussion with Cruz about the calls for more time and more information.  Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) then criticized Cruz for "over the line" attacks on Hagel's patriotism.

Arizona Senator and former Hagel friend John McCain (R-AZ) then got a big thank you smile from Nelson when he decided to enter - and end - the tense debate:  "I just want to make it clear, Senator Hagel is a honorable man.  He has served his country, and no one on this Committee, at any time, should impugn his character or his integrity."



That got the statements back on track, and McCain voted "no", along with the rest of Hagel's former GOP colleagues.  However, the nomination was passed along to the rest of the Senate.



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WATCH: McCain Statement On Hagel, Senate Armed Services Committee: "Worst" Performance Ever

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said that Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel's appearance two weeks ago in front of the Senate Armed Services committee was "the worst that I've seen from any nominee for office. He refused to answer a simple, straightforward question as to whether the surge was a success or not, and whether he supported it or not.  That was a key moment in the history of this country"

McCain, who used to be friends with Hagel and touted him as a possible Secretary of Defense during McCain's 2000 run for the Presidency, did later briefly defend Hagel's honor when it was under attack by other GOP Senators.  However, the McCain-Hagel showdown on January 31 still weighed heavily on McCain today: "He did not want to be forthcoming to this Committee."



McCain joined his fellow Republicans in voting against the nominee, who was a Republican Senator from Nebraska.  The nomination was passed on to the entire Senate, and McCain has indicated that he would not try to filibuster the nomination.



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Monday, February 11, 2013

Sheriff Arpaio Campaign Re-"Calls Out" Recall Committee To Publish Donors; Silent As To Releasing Own Results

(UPDATE, 3:33p.m.: Sheriff Arpaio's Campaign Manager Chad Willems responded to Arizona's Politics, declining to "go into details about fundraising at this point."  He notes that Arpaio's donors "are very engaged in this effort".)

The campaign manager for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio renewed his call today for the committee collecting signatures to recall Arpaio to release their donors.  Chad Willems was responding to an Arizona Republic Opinion page piece by the chair of the Respect Arizona campaign, William Fisher.

Fisher disputed the Republic's previous editorial claiming that the committee had already raised $1.3 Million, and stated that it is "a little less than $100,00", and that it is funded by "mostly small donations."

In a news release, Willems claims that "(i)f Mr. Fisher and the committee truly 'respect' Arizona voters, they should immediately release the names and the amounts of those that have given to the effort thus far."  (The complete text of Willems' news release is below the jump.)

Neither Arpaio nor his attempted recallers are required to file campaign finance reports until after the recall is certified for the ballot.  Arpaio's last finance report indicated that he had more than $388,000 cash on hand following November's successful re-election bid.  (Arpaio is now serving his sixth four-year term.)

Arizona's Politics has asked Willems on more than one occasion for an update on how much the Arpaio campaign has raised from last week's hard-edged fundraising e-mail, and whether his campaign would be releasing information similar to what he is calling for from the recall committee.  Willems has not addressed those requests.

Both the Republic's editorial - by the entire Editorial Board - and Willems (in last week's news release) incorrectly claimed that the recall organizers had raised or claimed to have raised $1.3 Million.  As Arizona's Politics first reported, that $1.3 Million figure was a back of the envelope calculation by a petition circulating company who was NOT working with the recall committee.

Respect Arizona apparently has big groups of both volunteer petition circulators and paid petition gatherers out of the streets.  (Arizona's Politics has been approached twice already to sign the petition.)

WATCH: "Take It From Me: Congress Must Act....": Gabby Giffords' First TV Ad

Retired Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Ret. Cpt. Mark Kelly, have released the first television ad for their new anti-gun violence Super PAC, Americans For Responsible Solutions.

In it, Giffords, who is recovering from her near-assassination two years ago, is the only voice heard on the ad, though Kelly is standing by her side when the two are on camera at the end of the ad.

The ad finishes with Giffords saying, "Take it from me.  Congress must act!  Let's get this done!"  The  ad asks viewers to join us, and the body of the ad addresses the proposed partial solution of universal background checks.

Arizona's Politics is seeking information on when and where the ad is running, and how much is being spent on it.  We will update when we receive an answer.  (However, Politico is reporting that they are hoping to bookend tomorrow's State of the Union address with the ad, and that they are planning another fundraiser for tomorrow.)




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