Friday, July 30, 2010

Democrats 3.0? Anthony Weiner Gets It

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) blasted GOP obstructionists yesterday for blocking a bill that would have provided healthcare to 9/11 rescue workers plague by disease as a direct result of their heroic efforts. Weiner held no punches as he angrily called out the House Republicans. Congressman Weiner chides blatant and wanton Republican obstruction, while urging them to do the right thing for the right people, or at least come clean with their real reasons for opposing and not just blaming procedure. He even shouts down a GOP heckler, and drops the instant classic “The gentleman is CORRECT in sitting” crush.

If so-called Blue Dogs are Democrats 2.0, are Weiner and Grayson Democrats 3.0? I think so, and if not, I think we should at least look at their consistent candidness as a model. It is widely accepted that the GOP is willing to get nastier and play dirtier, and it has always been a political handicap for the left. I’m not suggesting the Democrats go all Machiavelli, but sometimes a little fire breathing is just what the doctor ordered for a base disenchanted with the tepidness of the party.

The real question is, how long until Andrew Breitbart edits the Weiner video to "expose" Anthony as the "real obstructionist"?

If only we could get Senate Democrat to follow suit.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

With SB1070 Defanged, our Victory is Fleeting

While I’m very happy with Judge Susan Bolton’s decision, it’s only the beginning of addressing our larger immigration problem, the need for federal action.

Arizonans will continue paying to enforce federal law, and it will be that way until there is immigration reform on a national level. Arizona cops have long been able to question someone's immigration status if they suspected they were here illegally, they just weren't required to do so (under threat of lawsuits by nativist civilians) when they had "probable cause". PC as you know is a terribly nebulous concept that could mean anything.

The injunction will ultimately save Arizona taxpayers money though. It will stop a litany of profiling lawsuits against the state, and also I'm sure the 7 civil rights groups who have sued Arizona will no longer have a case to take to court, also saving us money. It will probably end some of the boycotts against Arizona, which means more outside dollars flowing in.

I'm not pro illegal immigration but forcing Arizona to front the bill for a federal job only hurts us in the long run. I mean Christ, in deep red AZ we just had to raise taxes to support our schools, police, and firefighters (Prop 100).

Current federal law should be enforced, but it’s a broken system that offers only incentive to skirt the system. Currently 41 senators have ground our nation to a halt and it’s just partisan politics. We all suffer as a result.

Be part of the solution, support federal immigration reform, and if you are feeling particularly outraged, filibuster reform.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Netroots Nation: I Knew I Should Have Gone

"Remember that fundamental truth of our democracy, that change doesn't come from the top down, it comes from the bottom up. It comes from the netroots, the grassroots, from every American that loves their country and believes they can make a difference."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nothing is Over

We out number them by 10 million.
They can only take ground we give them through our own complacency.
Don't let hate triumph over hope.
Don't let our more liberal friends make the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Sitting out isn't an option.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Arizona, Liberals are on the Rise

According to a poll released by the Behavior Research Center, the number of voters who self-identify as “very liberal” has grown 150% in Arizona since 1988. This is of course great news, but as the poll points out, we still have a large gap to conquer.

Via AZCentral:
To be sure, the far left does not have a majority in Arizona. The far right has grown at an 80 percent clip over the same period, from 10 percent in 1988 to 18 percent today. The right holds a near-majority in Arizona politics, with 46 percent of voters calling themselves conservative or very conservative. Only 22 percent of voters call themselves liberal or very liberal.

New Hayworth Ad Attacks McCain for Calling for Civility in Political Discourse

During the 2008 election cycle, John McCain was forced to call for civility from his supports after Sarah Palin used inflammatory rhetoric at campaign rallies in Virginia and Florida. Specifically, the clip used by J.D. in his new spot came after an old woman in the audience called then Senator Obama ‘a Muslim’ and ‘an Arab’. When McCain corrected her calling Obama a ‘decent man’, there was a chorus of boos from the crowd.

Hayworth, who said during his recent debate with Senator McCain that bipartisanship was ruining our country, shows the level of hatred and willful ignorance on in the New Right. When a candidate for national office suggests treating other people with a minimum level of respect should be considered a political liability, that candidate should take a long look at the people he is pandering to. We all should.

To be fair to J.D., the angry McCain abandoned his stance on respect November 5th, 2008.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nazi Group Patrols the Arizona Desert

It's not about race: Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready and Arizona state senator Russell Pearce

Infamous Phoenix neo-Nazi, Jason “J.T.” Ready (seen here with SB1070 author state senator Russell Pearce) and his group of not-so-merry-men are patrolling our deserts outside Phoenix to hunt down illegal immigrants. Heavily armed with military-grade assault rifles, ignorance, and hate; Ready’s group believes anyone who isn’t straight, white, and Christian should be forced to leave America either peacefully or by force.

I once met J.T. at a pro-SB1070 rally at the state capitol. (I was there taking pictures of teahadists) He said some of the most hateful things I’ve heard one person say to other’s face. Case in point, I saw him tell an old Native American woman that if they weren’t such an “inferior race” they wouldn’t have all died from chicken pox “we gave them”. From his body language and rhetoric it’s easy to see that J.T. is a very sad person. Perhaps it’s a result of his hate, or perhaps his hate is a coping mechanism, but when confronted in person, Ready quickly reveals himself to be lonely and self-isolated.

Local law enforcement agencies have expressed concern that hate groups taking matters into their own could only hurt their efforts and create a more dangerous environment for legitimate enforcement officials. Pinal county Sheriff Paul Babeu went as far as to tell them to stay away from his jurisdiction.

J.T. Ready's band of neo-Nazis on patrol.

Don't Look Now - Harry Mitchell Leads AZ CD-5 in Fundraising; Cash on Hand

Perhaps predictions of a Speaker Boehner have been a bit premature. According to the FEC quarterly report, Democratic incumbent Harry Mitchell (who I had the pleasure of meeting on Saturday) leads the way in CD-5 fundraising this election cycle. Not only that, but most of the money that has come in for Mitchell’s Republican challengers (with the exception of the carpet bagger Jim Ward) has been from “loans” the candidates made to their own campaigns.

What does this mean? Well, thus far the numbers tell us Harry has much more popular support than his would-be challengers. Mitchell is bringing in a significant amount of donations from Arizona individuals and families while his opponents are using their personal fortunes to fund their campaigns. As the Republican v Tea Party civil war continues, Harry’s position looks surprisingly strong today, while the Tea Party’s astroturfing looks just the opposite. (We will get another measure of their clout with the August 24th primary.)

Congressman Mitchell has been declared by Sarah Palin to be one the Tea Party’s top 20 targets for Decision 2010. Something she felt it was necessary to use crosshairs to represent.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Incase You Missed it: The McCain - Hayworth Debates

Sadly, Channel 3 broke up the first debate into several parts. I'm not going to comment other than say both get very ugly rather quickly. It is quiet the spectacle. I live-tweeted the first one, but was out with friends during the second. I wish there would be 100 more McCain-Hayworth debates.

The second debate.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sheriff Joe Takes .50 Caliber Machine Gun on Old Fashioned Witch Hunt

Sheriff Joe took what looks like a prop from the recent A-Team movie into the desert surrounding Phoenix last night on a crime suppression sweep round up. As you could probably imagine, I have a few problems with this.

Why is Joe Arpaio spending tax payer money on a quasi-tank? In cash strapped Arizona, does the Sheriff really need to be preparing for a war? I suppose given the level of his base’s xenophobia, it is possible Joe sees the war machine as good Realpolitik. But what is even scarier; the possibility that Joe thinks this weapon is necessary to maintaining his office’s mandate.

Where is the right wing outrage? If that’s not big government and big spending, I don’t know what is. Surely if health care for the poor is tyranny, then the ability of local governments to mow down groups of citizens on only the authority of a power hungry Sheriff is downright Orwellian. I don’t generally like slippery slope arguments, but I mean Christ, he’s already using a tank! Joe loves (and needs) to continually outdo himself to garner more attention, and with this move, I fear for what is next. Is Napoleon-Complex Joe going to start deploying landmines and constructing pill boxes? Hyperbole sure, the question is: hyperbole to what degree?

Why does Sheriff Joe think a .50 caliber machine gun is an appropriate tool to use in his crime suppression sweeps round ups? It's simple intimidation, he wants people to fear him. With bullets as thick as Rush Limbaugh’s fingers and as long as premium cigars, a person hit by one of these giant projectiles is likely to be blown in half.

Hatroits will argue talking points like, illegals commit 99.99999% of violent crimes, they are all drug mules, or they are human smugglers. When they aren’t smuggling drugs and themselves, they are beheading people just outside our metropolis, or kidnapping our children. They will say illegals don’t pay any taxes and are bankrupting our state and country. So let me preemptively say that none of that shit is true, and even if it was, Joe still wouldn't need a tank. If things were as bad as Teahadists would have you believe, the unelected governor would been forced to activate the Arizona National Guard a long time ago. Please provide sources when you start commenting about how wrong I am. Sorry, navitist think tanks are legitimate not sources.

Note: According The Phoenix New Times, Joe is claiming his crime suppression sweep round up netted 11 “human smugglers”. By human smugglers he means illegal immigrants. Under Arizona law illegals are considered human smugglers, and charged with “smuggling themselves across the border”.

Way to go Joe, keeping making sure no illegal finds a better life, at least not in Arizona.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brewer Doubles Down on Beheadings Claim with Dubious Anecdotal Evidence

You may remember last month when Unelected Governor Brewer kicked off her campaign to chase every last tourist dollar from cash-strapped Arizona, well get ready folks, she is at it again. Making one outrageous claim after another, Brewer started her crusade by asserting Arizona was under terrorist attack as a result of illegal immigration. The racist base rejoiced, and sensing political opportunity (she was facing primary challengers from the right at the time) she quickly followed that up with “most illegal immigrants are actually drug mules”. Brewer (and Pander-in-Chief John McCain) later claimed several times on national TV that Phoenix is the number two kidnapping capital of the WORLD (yes, world). She has said repeatedly that 87% of border crossers have criminal records, and as such crime rates have exploded in Arizona. And finally - for her piece de resistance – she went with the infamous decapitated-bodies-are-littering-our deserts quackery. All of unelected Governor Brewer’s remarks have been methodically exposed as irresponsible exaggerations, or flat out lies.

Since announcing to the world that Mexicans were decapitating people as close as 20 miles south of Phoenix, The Arizona Guardian has been trying to find evidence to support Brewer’s claim. Guess what? There is none, zero, zilch. Six Arizona county medical examiners, four of which are on the border, have publically stated they haven’t seen any beheadings and they have no idea what Brewer is talking about. The far right, in their classic denial, has accused the coroners of having a liberal political agenda.

Governor Brewer doesn’t seem to care that every news organization other than Fox News and talk radio hate mongers are openly dismissing her “facts” as demonstrable lunacy. Indeed, she has doubled down on her Mexicans-are-fighting-a-jihad-in-Arizona position. Yesterday she told The Arizona Daily Star that her comments are based on anecdotal evidence from the Arizona residents who are finding these phantom bodies. One wonders what these residents do with the bodies upon discovery, since clearly they don’t report them to the state. If they had alerted authorities, the county medical examiner would be the one performing the autopsy, and I’m sure they would remember such a bizarre case. You know, unless they are under the spell of Al Gore’s vast mind control apparatus, UN chem trails, black helicopters or something…

So Unelected Governor, as an Arizona resident, I ask you to show us the bodies or stop demonizing our state to the local and national press.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hate Group Answers Brewer's Call

American Third Position (A3P), a hate group whose one sentence mission statement is “The American Third Position exists to represent the political interests of White Americans, because no one else will”, has made a “triple digit” donation to unelected Governor Brewer’s SB 1070 legal defense fund. In a statement on their website A3P make it very clear it’s really about race.
"A3P is aiding the state of Arizona because of the critical nature of this issue. We support all constructive endeavors by private citizens, businesses, local governments - or in this case a sovereign state - to stem and reverse the browning of America."
The question now is will Brewer give the money back? If she does, will she lose her support among the racist right? If she doesn't, how will independents react to what is becoming a more and more openly racist GOP? Will this serve to motivate the Democratic base to rally behind Terry Goddard? Time will tell, but one thing is for certain: Brewer and the hate her rhetoric is inspiring, have to go.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Washington Post Goes After Brewer

From the first line of “Jan Brewer has lost her head”, to the last jab “[Governor Brewer] should screw her head back on and start telling Americans the truth,” Dana Milbank’s op-ed in today’s Washington Post absolutely slams the unelected governor of what Milbank called “her pariah state”.

My favorite quote:
Last year gave us death panels and granny killings, but compared with the nonsense justifying the immigration crackdown, the health-care debate was an evening at the Oxford Union Society.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Commenting System

Having some problems with my commenting system. Trying to reinstall, don't worry Marcus.

Dean Martin Suspends Campaign

One day removed from giving the interview below (I haven't watch it yet), state treasurer Ricky Gervais Dean Martin put out a press release (at 3:00pm on a Friday) announcing his bid for governor would come to an abrupt end. Not surprisingly Martin blames President Obama for his failure to raise money, come up with a decent message, and motivate voters. Come Dean-o it's not Obama's fault; what's all this about personal responsibility? I suspect it had more to do with a polls showing Brewer with a herculean lead among likely primary voters. But, you know, whatever, Obama's bad.

After Martin was finished blaming his problems on other people, he then went on to do some political posturing, and finally crawled back into the conservative bubble (and Brewer camp) he came from. Que sera, sera.

I wonder if right wing nut job and friend of the blog Marcus “I’m bringing sexy back” Kelley has seen this news yet. As Martin is "going rogue" or "quitting", I won’t be doing a write up on Kelley’s “interview” with him.

It's a Dry Hate

Our national embarrassment continued last night as Jon Stewart went after Arizona again. The Daily Show also compiled a best-of list with all Arizona segments. They are as funny as they are sad. (H/T @kyrstensinema)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Meet Don Hawker - GOP Candidate in D17

Donald Hawker sports a neck beard. This is the only picture I could find of him - anywhere.

After the Augustus Shaw debacle (Shaw was removed from the ballot for not actually living in the district), Don Hawker is the only Republican running for the Arizona state house seat in LD17. His recent interview with ultra right “journalist” Marcus Kelley is, needless to say, quite the exercise in quackery.

From the very beginning when Marcus lays out the right wing slogans he is going to propagate, the awkward Hawker is led through the interview like a stray puppy. Pandering for the tea bag vote, Hawker seeks to solidify his credentials as a hypocrite. As we already know that being an unabashed hypocrite is essential for picking up the far right vote, just ask J.D. Hayworth and John McCain.

Don says his marriage is based in religion and he is therefore not allowed to divorce, but answering the very next question he admits he has a son from a previous marriage. He calls himself a fiscal conservative but like Ricky Gervais Dean Martin, supports building a statewide border fence regardless if the federal government every pays the state back. In the midst of record state deficits Hawker proposes tax cuts for individual property owners to businesses, but also admits he voted from Prop 100. (For those not living in Arizona, Prop 100 was a recent voter approved sales tax increase of $.01 to prevent the Republican legislature from further gutting the education, police, and fire budgets.) He repeatedly calls health care reform an unfunded mandate, but lambasts the federal spending it required. Ignoring that freedom of religion also includes freedom from religion, Don supports “religious liberty”. By that he means the right of the state to push their preferred religion in the public schools by injecting prayer and creationism - a big government indeed, eh Don? Hawker goes as far to actually call George W. Bush a liberal, something that I’ve noticed is increasingly trendy on the far right as they continue to deal with the fall out the Bush years, and reconcile their own hypocrisy.

Don Hawker is clearly not comfortable discussing his policy positions (probably because he knows they will turn off everyone but teabaggers); he often gives one word answers while slouching deeper into his chair. When asked about controversial issues, his mumbling often becomes so incoherent and inaudible that it's a struggle to understand exactly what he is saying. He gives wishy-washy answers and is never pushed by the softball interviewer to for clarity. The disingenuousness of the "interview" is truly staggering. Sean Hannity thinks this Marcus Kelley guy has credibility problem.

On a more superficial note, his website is absolutely terrible. By far the worst I’ve seen from someone running for public office. From an awful layout, atrocious spacing, bad grammar, random capitalizations, outrageous misspellings (cam-pain, WTF?), conspiracy theories, to intelligent design propaganda, his site hits on all the negative stereotypes one associates with the so-called “Tea Party”.

Also, what’s with the full on neck beard? Is he going to raise a barn later or what? Not a good look, Donald.

UPDATE: In my article I said Hawker called Bush a liberal, it was in fact Mr. Kelley. Though, even as such, the sentence is still completely valid if you just substitute Kelley for Hawker, without any other changes. It was an innocent mistake, and I even had it written has Kelley saying in my notes.

Mea culpa.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

AZ Senator Pearce Calls Latina "Idiot"

Russell Pearce, Arizona state senator, author of the "Papers Please" law, and nativist called a latina woman an idiot (on national TV) today after she suggests he doesn’t care about racial profiling because he is white and therefore would never be subjected to it. An astute, if poorly worded analysis from Mrs. Garcia; everyone is a Republican until it happens to them.

Regardless of how you feel about immigration SB1070 is terrible for Arizona. It has brought a wave of national embarrassment and economic boycotts upon us. Whether the law is ever implemented or not, it will cost the tax payers millions, from defending it in court, to lawsuits from citizens who were wrongfully harassed by local police, it is the people of Arizona who will pick up the tab. Of course, this is something the double-the-debt-in-eight-years fiscal conservatives conveniently forget to mention as they spout their sloganeered talking points.

Check out this nativist asshole:

Story via Political Correction.

Looks Like I Spoke Too Soon - Hayworth Hits McCain

Hayworth put out his first TV ad yesterday, though I didn’t personally see it run. While local Hayworth apologists continue to viciously attack McCain on every front imaginable, I was surprised to see J.D.’s spot isn’t nearly as scathing of an indictment (and distortion) as I was expecting. I wonder if this was by design, to try and take the high road from McCain’s almost entirely negative campaign. (Remind you of 2008?) It very well could be in the fallout of the “nuclear warhead that detonated squarely on top of JD's perfectly horizontal head,” as one commenter put it, this is the best Hayworth (or his wife) has got.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

McCain Just Won't Let Up

Panderer-in-Chief John McCain just keeps slamming Hayworth. Beating him over the head day after day, he dominates primetime political ads in the Valley of the Sun. While watching Olbermann and Maddow I see at least 2 McCain ads per 30 minutes. Telling of the state of the race, I have yet to see one Hayworth spot.

Watch McCain’s latest skewering of ole J.D.:

McCain knows there is blood in the water and he is going for the kill, but will it be enough to finish off Hayworth? Judging from the local kooks on Twitter, J.D.’s wanton hypocrisy wasn’t enough to turn off the Tea Party, and according to Rasmussen, McCain still isn’t polling over 50%.

What is more, there is a growing chorus of rumors that J.D. will run as an independent if he can’t improve his position. If for no other reason than the political theater, how great would that be? As I've said before, Hayworth getting the nomination is an overall win for Arizona progressives, no matter what happens in November.

In Other Bitter Old Man News:

As predicted here, pandering to hatred, the new John McCain said he won't support immigration reform.
The Hill reports that McCain said in an interview today with local radio in Tucson that he opposed any program that would allow illegal immigrants a way to become citizens, after he had previously championed a pathway to citizenship in 2006. "No amnesty. Many of them need to be sent back," said McCain, who also explained that a temporary-worker program would only be for those who are entering the country as part of that future program, and not for those now here illegally.

Via Talking Points Memo

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Brewer and McCain Need to Put Up or Shut Up

Yesterday (unelected) Governor Brewer ran a blistering ad demanding “Mr. President. Do your job. Secure our borders. Arizona and the nation are waiting.” Since backing a plan in 2006 John McCain has completely and without shame reversed himself on the issue he used to champion. You guessed it, we must be talking about immigration reform.

Today President Obama used a speech at American University to call for comprehensive federal immigration reform. As he gave an outline for the reform he would like to see, one quickly notices it’s almost exactly the same plan that President Bush proposed in 2006. Obama called on the 11 GOP senators who supported Bush’s efforts in 2006, he asked them to break from their blind partisanship and back the legislation written by Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. While Republican Lindsey Graham co-authored the current bill, he has since backed away from it citing mounting political pressure.

Arizona politicians hacks love to call for immigration reform, but when it comes down to it will they support any plan that isn’t “boot brownie and militarize the border”? Of course they wouldn’t, it’s an election year. As such if they did support any plan, that would mean they aren’t hypocrites, xenophobes, or partisans, which would make them unlikely to win a GOP primary. Anybody who thinks that fervor here in Arizona is about respect for law and not politics is kidding themselves. The GOP has a race problem, and the Democrats have a spine problem. It is that simple.

Brewer is essentially running against Obama. She blames him for all the state’s woes, and has dug herself such a deep rhetorical hole that any support for Obama’s center-right immigration reform would be sacrilegious to her base. And McCain – hah - there is no chance that the bitter loser, shameless panderer, and threatened incumbent will dare support an immigration plan from the guy who trounced him by 7 points in 2008. Don’t forget that during the 2008 election cycle he said he wouldn’t support the immigration bill that he wrote! Since then he has be forced to repeatedly flip flop on almost every issue imaginable. The guy is the consummate politician and therefore unlucky to show any courage in 2010. I bet we see McCain running against Obama’s plan in the next few days as he desperately tries to fend off Teabag challenger J.D. “Free Taxpayer Money” Hayworth.

Governor Brewer; Senator McCain, please do the right thing. This is your chance to be part of the solution. As you said in your ad Governor, “Arizona and the nation are waiting.”

Highlights from President Obama's call to action. (Full Video)