Here are some reactions to the Kavanaugh hearings, the InvestinEd Initiative, Identity Politics, John McCain and more.
To the Editor:
"Rachel Mitchell was superb in Senate hearings" (Phil Boas 9/30/18) is a misleading headline. It implies that she found the truth "confirmatory or exculpatory," about an alleged sexual assault, with sensitivity to the victim. Despite the ridiculous format of alternating 5-minute sessions that interrupted the flow of any line of questioning and limited follow up, Ms. Mitchell seemed more interested in Dr. Ford's airline habits than the actual assault.
Once she started to inquire Judge Kavanaugh about a suspicious date on his calendar the Republicans dismissed her so they could have a pity party for their boy.
I agree with Mr. Boas' last line, "... she saved the Senate Republicans from themselves." They hid behind her skirts while she filibustered their time away, so we don't have any Anita Hill-type video. Mission Accomplished.
To the Editor:
Robert Robb (9/23/18) thinks those mean leftists like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D Massachusetts) should lay off corporations and not interfere with however they make everyone's lives so wonderful.
Even though the Supreme Court views corporations as "persons" they exercise "personhood" selectively, claiming money/free speech rights and even religious freedom. They rarely show up for jury duty and they kill other corporate persons (and often flesh-and-blood persons too) with impunity .
Most of us know that they are government regulated legally constructed entities with limitations on liability. While corporate insiders may want to work strictly in the interests of management, including some shareholders, most of us biological "persons" including employees of said corporate "persons," count on our government to look out for our interests. Believe it or not, most creativity and progress don't depend on totally unfettered corporate self interest.
I have all seen corporate persons and I am rarely impressed by their wisdom, creativity, patriotism, integrity or competence. And that goes for the wealthy successful ones too.
To the Editor:
How to describe how Republicans are orchestrating the Kavanaugh nomination? Red Queen Court: sentence first, verdict after? See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil? Nothing to see here? A little bit nutty and a little bit slutty? He may be a sonofabitch, but he's our sonofabitch?
I prefer "rush to Judgment." And a rush to judgment is not a considered judgment. Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Republicans in general obviously believe that a thoughtful, thorough, sober assessment including getting all the witnesses under penalty of perjury will not work out well for them.
Do Senators Flake and Kyl believe the ends justify the means?
To the Editor:
Another diatribe against "identity politics' by Phil Boas (9/23/18). Maybe he should practice what he preaches with his own Mormon "tribe." Mitt Romney who is widely admired in the Mormon community, even considered to be fulfilling prophesy by some, gets a pass on voting illegally in Massachusetts, impersonating an officer (Michigan state trooper) as a young man, and making a fortune as a "vulture capitalist." This man of integrity has flip flopped on abortion, Donald Trump and even where he lives, but he's forgiven by his "tribe."
I can understand that Mormons support their own because they have been discriminated against forever. Just like African Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, Jews, Muslims, Gays, the poor and working classes, and WOMEN .
But straight, White, (Mainstream) Christian men have not been oppressed and shouldn't claim to be.
To the Editor:
As a Democrat I welcome current and former Republicanslike Grant Woods, who have seen the light and come over to our side (9/23/18). If you want to run for office feel free to compete, but I doubt you will get much traction against Democrats who have supported our positions forever. Maybe I'm wrong. But don't run as an Independent. We don't need a 40% winner a la Evan Meacham redux. Make your case and support the primary winner.
We don't need any other savior candidates like Michael Bloomberg, or Tim Steyer or Mark Cuban or Oprah. We have lots of qualified, even experienced potential candidates who won't have to spend a lot of time "explaining" their conversion, or how they're just regular folks with billions of dollars.
Most of us Democrats, independents, Moderates and non-white-supremacist-conspiracy-nuts never run for anything, but appreciate those who make the sacrifices necessary to represent our views.
To the Editor:
Arizona charter schools operate in the dark. Republicans in the governor's office and the legislature set up an opaque system deliberately. It's as if they designed it for cockroaches who scurry away when you turn on the light.
Representative Eddie Farnsworth's (Ben Franklin charter schools) and Damian Creamer's (Primavera Online charter school) corrupt, self-dealing multimillion dollar paydays, courtesy of the Arizona taxpayer, would be inconceivable in the light of day.
And cockroaches love dirt(y money). Some I assume, are clean cockroaches, although I have never seen one.
If you want your government to promote the care and feeding of cockroaches, vote for Eddie Farnsworth and his collaborating Republican colleagues.
If not, vote for Elizabeth Brown (District 12, Gilbert) and Democrats throughout the state who have been trying to shine a light on charter school finances for years.
To the Editor:
The Arizona Supreme Court ruling tossing the InvestinEd initiatve off the ballot was made in bad faith. (I suspect the same for tossing the Outlaw Dirty Money initiative too.) This is not an aberration or an accident. This is why Governor Ducey and Republicans pack the courts. This is not a technical legal ruling. It is legislating from the bench to preempt democracy.
Do not view this in isolation. The context is important. And that context is that wealthy powerful White men and their White male identity supporters know that their views range from unpopular to anathema to large majorities of our population since African Americans, women and immigrants got a voice.
Given a choice between authoritarian tendencies and democracy - democracy had to go. When packing the courts and suppressing the vote is insufficient you pervert the First Amendment to define money as speech and protect the "rights" of corporations over those of flesh-and-blood human beings.
If you can get a court to profess such nonsense (Citizens United, Hobby Lobby...) there's no limit to what you can make people believe: climate change is a hoax, millions of illegal immigrants are lining up to vote, death panels, Pizzagate, chem trails, birtherism.
Or disbelieve - 1,000's of mostly African American men shot, kicked, strangled by police - caught on video and seen with your own eyes - nothing to see here. A president who brazenly tell 1,000's of lies and commits crimes right on television.
What do you do if you believe all this terrifying nonsense? Whatever is "necessary."
Torture, lock children up in cages and split up families. Gerrymander, throw millions of African Americans in prison for crimes that White men would skate on, to take away their voting rights.
Celebrate Electoral College malfunctions, totally obstruct Democratic presidents, including stealing a crucial Supreme Court seat.
Harass journalists ("The enemies of the people."), scientists - even the FBI and CIA.
Look the other way when Vladimir Putin intervenes to tilt an American election his way and even prevent an investigation into Russian interference and , wink, wink, hope he does it again.
Democracy, the people's voice and their rights, are inconvenient for those who have dominated the country for most of our history. Other countries (Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Philippines ...) have figured out how to retain the facade of democracy while keeping the real power for one dominant elite.
It can happen here. This Arizona Supreme Court "decision" fits the pattern.
Which side are you on?
7244 N 12th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85021
...and another point of view:
A Voter’s Recollection of Senator John McCain
I did not know Senator John McCain. To all those who were close to him and respected him and are grieving his recent passing, my condolences. But for the rest of us, who only knew him as the war hero he truly was and as Arizona’s representative in the US Senate, there are many contradictions that are difficult to reconcile.
The Keating 5. McCain appeared to have had dark-money ties throughout his time in office. His record is one of quid pro quo, accepting corporate donations and voting for tax spending cuts and market deregulation. This is a pattern of political trade-offs that was also at the forefront of the the subprime catastrophe and “Great Recession” of 2008.
In 1989 McCain was one of five US Senators accused of corruption, igniting a political scandal that was part of the larger savings and loan crisis They were accused of improperly intervening on behalf of Charles Keating, chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which was the target of a regulatory investigation. Lincoln Savings and Loan collapsed in 1989 at a cost of $3.4 billion to the federal government. Ultimately, McCain were cleared of having acted improperly, but was criticized for having exercised "poor judgment." Newsweek magazine stated that this was a classic case of the government trying to investigate itself, labeling the Senate Ethics Committee "shameless" for having "let four of the infamous Keating Five off with a wrist tap.” (per Wikipedia)
Between 1982 and 1987 McCain and Keating had become close personal friends. During this period McCain received $112,000 in contributions from Keating and associates. In addition, his wife Cindy McCain and her father invested $358,000 in a Keating shopping center project. The McCain family also made nine trips at Keating's expense and McCain did not reimburse Keating for some of these trips until years after they were taken, and only after he learned that Keating was in trouble over Lincoln scandal. (per Wikipedia)
Later in 1997, as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committed, it was exposed that McCain had been inappropriately accepting funds from multiple corporations and businesses. While he later atoned for this with passage of the McCain-Feingold Act, which limited “soft-money” campaign donations, by 2007 he was accepting millions of corporate dollars in campaign financing for his presidential run.
Celebrated 70th birthday with Russian oligarch. While celebrating his 70th birthday in Montenegro (his choice of this small Balkan nation raises a few questions), he was joined by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who is currently under investigation for his role in the Russian hack of the 2016 election. McCain, like General Flynn and many others, including the NRA appear to have no political filter when it came to seeking out Russian money (reported by Time magazine 7/19/18).
Accepted Russian PAC money. Per House of Trump, House of Putin by Craig Unger, page 216 (2018) McCain received Russian financed campaign donations. In 2016 millions of dollars in Russian money was funneled to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and other high profile Republicans. “In the 2015-16 election a Ukrainian-born oligarch…put a small fraction of his $20 billion fortune into GOP Senate races, among those receiving this money was “Arizona senator John McCain.”
McCain’s support of Trump for president. Trump’s complete dismissal of McCain as a war hero should have immediately disqualified Trump from running for the presidency. Trump received 5 draft deferments for bone spurs, and had the nerve to completely disrespected McCain and veterans throughout this nation, when he dismissed McCain as not being a war hero––“because he had been captured” and later, “I like people who weren’t captured.” But more astounding to me than this gross disrespect of McCain, was McCain publically genuflecting and supporting Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. While, at times, he equivocated in his support, he could never come right out and denounce Trump. In the end, both diminished themselves for power. McCain’s support of Trump suggests, to me, that as a politician he valued fealty-to-power over self-respect.
Politely called “hawkish” and a “foreign policy expert.” McCain seldom encountered a potential military conflict that didn’t warrant armed intervention and/or military escalation. This was always his fallback position on the Senate Armed Services Committee. As a veteran of that Vietnam War he appeared to have learned few lessons, as he strongly supported US intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq and continually supported these wars from 1991 through 2018, as well as the bombing of Libya in 2011 and of Syria in 2013. America has now been at war for nearly 27 years with his full support, which helped open the door to modern terrorism and the current violent chaos in the middle east today.
Selection of Sarah Palin as his vice president. McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his vice president in his 2008 presidential campaign raises serious questions about his political judgment. It also marked the beginning of elevating populism by the Republican party. Sarah can probably still see Russia from her backyard––a key bullet point on her resume under foreign policy experience. He apparently chose the only person he was clearly smarter than. Her choice was a prelude to Trump and the elevation of ignorance to political immanence and speaks volumes about his judgment and personal insecurity.
Voting record on the wrong side of history? Over the years I have been continually disappointed by Senator McCain’s voting record. On small matters he tended to be a Republican maverick, but on significant issues he consistently voted the ideological party-line, and not in the best interests of his constituents. While he enjoyed the reputation of being a senate “maverick”—a moderate who could reach across the isle, on closer inspection he mostly talked out both sides of his mouth––saying one thing and doing another. In his later years in office, despite his recent impassioned Senate speech for “proper order,” his voting record met all the traditional ideological markers and very little of what the nation needed.
- opposed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a federal holiday (1983)
- voted against legislation supporting gays in the military (1993 and 2011)
- vote against the Dream Act. This act was an effort to provide a pathway to citizenship for minors not legally in the US (2001 and 2017)
- voted for the “Trump Tax Cut,” which was the largest tax give-away to the wealthy 1 percent in US history
- voted for a “Savings Plan” to help fund charter schools and gut public education
- voted to limit the scope of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- twice voted against measures to fund FEMA disaster relief fund
- voted against funding for Planned Parenthood
- voted to not repeal Title 1 of Obama Care, but later back-tracked his “principled” stand and voted to fast track authority that Congress could then use to repeal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and to expedite repeal of Obamacare
So, who was Senator John McCain? For me, he was a true war hero, but also a Republican Senator with domestic and foreign dark-money ties, not so different than many of his Republican colleagues. He often talked one game and voted another, typically against the best interests of most Arizonans––tax breaks for the wealthiest, gutting public education and limiting health care. And in light of the recent flooding on the east coast, his 2017 failure to vote funding for FEMA on two separate occasions, was remarkably short-sighted. But, then, he wasn’t much of a believer in climate change either. A good man, but as a politician he was not someone I either believed in or trusted during his 30-years in office.