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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Is BP Trying to Sink Oil?

Ties That Bind: Arizona Politicians and the Private Prison Industry

In These Times
June 21, 2010

A revolving cast of lobbyists and legislators 
blur the line between public service and corporate profits.
Click image to enlarge

State lobby reports show that Brewer's current spokesman, Paul Senseman, previously worked as [Correction Corporation of America] CCA's chief lobbyist in Arizona
This story accompanies Corporate Con Game, In These Times' July 2010 cover story.

Over the past several years private-prison companies Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the Geo Group, through their work as members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and through their ties to the Arizona Legislature and the office of Gov. Jan Brewer, have had ample opportunity—and obvious intent—to ensure the passage of S.B. 1070.

According to Sen. Russell Pearce and Brewer’s spokesman Paul Senseman, the S.B. 1070 went through a lengthy edit and review process that took place predominantly within the Arizona Legislature and the offices of the Maricopa County Attorney and Gov. Brewer.

A little over a week after Pearce introduced S.B. 1070 on the floor of the Arizona Senate, CCA enlisted Highground Consulting, one of the most influential lobbying firms in Phoenix, to represent its interests in the state. Lobby disclosure forms filed with the Arizona Secretary of State indicate that Maricopa County also employed Highground during the time of the bill’s formation. Highground’s owner and principal, Charles “Chuck” Coughlin, is a top advisor and the current campaign manager of Gov. Brewer.

State lobby reports show that Brewer’s current spokesman, Senseman, previously worked as CCA’s chief lobbyist in Arizona as an employee of Policy Development Group, another influential Phoenix consulting firm. His wife, Kathryn Senseman, is still employed by Policy Development Group and still lobbies the legislature on behalf of CCA.

In other words, in 2005 and 2006, as Arizona legislators—many of them ALEC members—were drafting provisions of what would eventually become the “Breathing While Brown” law, Brewer’s director of communications, Senseman, was lobbying them on behalf of CCA.

Brewer’s “chief policy advisor,” Richard Bark—a man Senseman and Pearce both say was directly involved in the drafting of S.B. 1070—remains listed with the Office of the Secretary of State as an active lobbyist for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). CCA is a “board level” member of the ACCI and is the top employer in Pinal County, located just south of Maricopa County, where it operates five detention facilities for both state prisoners and immigrant detainees.

Geo Group employs consulting firm Public Policy Partners, which, like Highground, also provides consultation and lobbying services to Maricopa County.

While Public Policy Partners (PPP), an Arizona-based firm, has more than 30 Arizona clients, it only has two clients at the federal level: Geo Group (based in Florida) and Ron Sachs Communications, a Florida-based public-relations firm that, promotes prison privatization. PPP, as a firm, also appears to be an advocate for expanded use of private prisons. Federal lobbying records show PPP owner, John Kaites, lobbying on behalf of the firm on issues of “private correctional detention management.”

CCA has also shown special interest in Arizona through recent hiring decisions. In 2007, CCA hired on Brad Regens as “Vice President of State Partnership Relations” for the purpose of cultivating new contracts in Arizona and California. In the two years immediately prior to his employment at CCA, Regens had worked in the Arizona House as director of fiscal policy. Before his appointment as director of fiscal policy, Regens had spent nine years working in the state legislature in various roles, including assistant director of the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

Following its hiring of Regens, CCA elected former U.S. Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) to its board of directors.

Beau Hodai is a Red Lodge, Mont.-based freelance writer. He can be reached at mo_idaho@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Real Deficit Is Jobs!

By Dave Johnson
Campaign for America's Future
June 29, 2010 ET

 The real deficit is jobs. That is one more of those things that everyone can see in front of their faces, but we're told it isn't what it is. There aren't enough jobs, and we're being told this is our fault because we wanted pensions and good wages and vacations and respect and dignity and please, sir, just a little slice of the pie.
In case you haven't noticed, the world's economy is suddenly undergoing a classic "Shock Doctrine"-style, coordinated propaganda attack.
The wealthy and powerful, having insisted that countries cut their taxes and run up debt, now insist that the middle class and poor must work harder, have their pensions reduced, sell off (to them) their publicly-held resources, and take other "austerity" steps to pay off the debt that these lazy, parasitic peasants dared to run up.

The excuse is that "the markets" will “lose confidence” in us. Apparently we aren't working the salt mines hard enough. "The markets" -- that's the crowd who got in trouble and insisted that the world would end unless we immediately handed over to them all the rest of the money in the world -- will "lose confidence" in our ability to work the mines hard enough, and will cut us off, unless we cut our pensions, sell off (to them) our resources, and promise never to be lazy and make demands for better wages, pensions, workplace safety, and do it now.

The real deficit is jobs.

History teaches that the way out of an economic slowdown is to invest in infrastructure, education and modernizing manufacturing.

Continue reading here.

Sen. Jon Kyl attacks legendary civil rights lawyer and jurist, Justice Thurgood Marshall

Posted by AzBlueMeanie
Blog for Arizona

June 29, 2010

During the opening statements of the confirmation hearing for Elena Kagan on Monday, Sen. Jon Kyl and other Republicans thought it was a dandy idea to attack a legendary civil rights icon, Justice Thurgood Marshall.

That's just great. Jon Kyl, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, both lawyers, were chastised by the U.S. Supreme Court in a footnote in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld for misleading the court in an amicus brief submitted by the senators, in which they asserted a live colloquy on the floor of the Senate that never happened as evidence of congressional intent for the Detainee Treatment Act. For the background story see, Invisible men. - By Emily Bazelon - Slate Magazine, and FindLaw's Writ - Dean: Senators Kyl and Graham's Hamdan v. Rumsfeld Scam The Deceptive Amicus Brief They Filed in the Guantanamo Detainee Case:

To assist the [Bush/Cheney] Administration, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jon Kyl of Arizona engaged in a blatant scam that was revealed during the briefing of Hamdan.
Senators Graham and Kyl not only misled their Senate colleagues, but also shamed their high offices by trying to deliberately mislead the U.S. Supreme Court. Their effort failed.

* * *

Out of an apparent concern for interbranch comity, the High Court has chosen to ignore the bogus brief filed by Senators Graham and Kyl, rather than reprimanding the Senators. Nevertheless, when Graham and Kyl sought to file the very same brief, a month later, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columba, Slate's Emily Bazelon reports that court "issued an unusual order rejecting" their amicus brief alone, although they accepted five others.

This was a serious ethical violation for a lawyer. Kyl and Graham could have and should have been sanctioned by the D.C. bar.

These clowns aren't qualified to carry Thurgood Marshall's briefcase into a courtroom. How dare these shameful liars attack a legendary lawyer and jurist like Thurgood Marshall.

Here is how Dana Milbank described the hearing on Monday. Kagan may get confirmed, but Thurgood Marshall can forget it:

As confirmation hearings opened Monday afternoon, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee took the unusual approach of attacking Kagan because she admired the late justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked more than two decades ago.

"Justice Marshall's judicial philosophy," said Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, "is not what I would consider to be mainstream." Kyl -- the lone member of the panel in shirtsleeves for the big event -- was ready for a scrap. Marshall "might be the epitome of a results-oriented judge," he said.

Continue reading here.

The Truth About Payday Paton

By Jennifer Johnson
Arizona Democratic Party
June 29, 2010

Payday lending will be a thing of the past in Arizona at midnight on Wednesday! Go to www.PaydayPaton.com to learn how lobbyist-legislator Jonathan Paton tried to bail out the payday lending industry.

Did you know that CD8 Republican primary candidate Jonathan Paton was a paid lobbyist for the payday lending industry before he served in the state Legislature? As their spokesman, he even defended this predatory industry on the cover of the Tucson Citizen.

In 2008, Paton actively championed the deceptive ballot initiative, Prop. 200, to bail out this predatory industry while Arizonans struggled with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Read his ballot argument supporting Prop. 200’s deceptive claims here
Paton also made thousands of dollars working for the payday lending lobbyists who ran the Prop. 200 campaign in 2008 -- while Paton was serving in the state Legislature. That’s right, while Jonathan Paton was supposed to be representing Southern Arizonans, he was on the payroll of payday lending lobbyists!

Today, the Arizona Democratic Party is launching www.PaydayPaton.com so Southern Arizonans can learn the truth: If lobbyist Jonathan Paton had his way, on Thursday the predatory lenders would still be able to charge nearly 400% interest and trap Arizona families in a spiral of debt, fees and financial ruin.

Paton is trying to hide from these facts in his bid for Congress, but he can’t hide from his record. Visit www.PaydayPaton.com to get the real story about lobbyist Jonathan Paton’s past.


Gov. Jan Brewer needs to get her facts straight

Arizona Republic
Jun. 29, 2010 12:00 AM

Gov. Jan Brewer got instant national attention by signing Arizona's controversial immigration law. Obviously she did not gain an equally fast understanding of the issue.

To avoid making the state look foolish, Brewer needs to educate herself and stop making statements that are incorrect and potentially damaging.

Her most recent mistake - saying that most people coming across the southern border illegally are involved in drug smuggling - contains no more than a kernel of truth.

Here's the kernel: Border-security measures did not stop illegal immigration, but they did force migrant laborers to hire criminal smugglers to get them across the desert. Drug cartels began to get involved when smuggling people became lucrative. Criminal smugglers turned humans into valuable cargo and turned Phoenix into a national distribution hub for illegal workers. Smugglers set up drophouses where migrants are held for ransom, sending Valley kidnapping rates soaring.

This is an instructive example of the failure of the border-enforcement-only approach, which has been the federal government's default setting since comprehensive reform stalled.

It is not evidence that a guy who pays a smuggler for passage to a job washing dishes is a big, scary drug runner.

"The vast majority of those whom we arrest are not smuggling drugs," Brandon Judd, president of the union of Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector, told the Associated Press.

It is irresponsible and reckless for Brewer to suggest that migrants who come here to work are routinely smuggling drugs. It plays into the systematic vilification of illegal immigrants that extreme anti-immigrant groups use to poison and polarize talks about immigration reform.

Sen. John McCain, who traded his former leadership on the immigration issue for a bizarre election-year call to "complete the danged fence," stuck his neck out far enough this weekend to disagree with Brewer on the migrants-as-drug-mules statement. We need more straight talk from both McCain and Sen. Jon Kyl.

The problems of the border will not be solved by vilifying migrants or simply building a fence. Immigration reform needs to include tough, enforceable employer sanctions and a method for migrants to legally enter the country and provide needed labor. Reform also needs to provide a path for illegal immigrants who are currently living and working here to earn legal status - something polls show the majority of Americans supports.

These are facts.

The governor needs to learn them or risk looking increasingly silly on the national stage.

Attorney General Terry Goddard Reacts to Brewer's Untruths
Consider what Jan Brewer has had to say recently:

·      "The majority" of illegal immigrants are drug smugglers.

·      Some 87 percent of those arrested for being here illegally have prior criminal records.

·      Law enforcement has found "bodies in the desert" that "have been beheaded."

When she is asked for evidence of her untrue claims, she has nothing.  The list of untruths and misstatements grows every time Jan Brewer speaks. Today the Arizona Republic has called her on it, in an editorial entitled, 'Gov. Jan Brewer needs to get her facts straight." The Republic calls her "reckless" and "irresponsible."  They're being gentle.

Jan Brewer is scaring people out of visiting Arizona and creating fear in our communities - all so she can win an election.  Is that "irresponsible," as the Republic charges?  Yes. But it's worse than that.

It's politics - and it stinks. 

Arizona needs change, and I need your help to make it happen.  Please join our campaign and sign up to volunteer today. With your help, we can tell Jan Brewer that telling the truth isn't optional.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sign the Petition to Stop the Use of Methyl Iodide in Strawberry Fields

Click here

Sign the Petition to Stop the Use of Methyl Iodide!

We, the undersigned, ask the California Department of Pesticide Regulation not to approve the use of the toxic fumigant methyl iodide on strawberries.

This winter, a state-commissioned Scientific Review Committee concluded that use of methyl iodide "would result in exposures to a large number of the public and thus would have a significant adverse impact on the public health."

California produces most of the nation's strawberries, so your decision affects us all. We do not want to support an industry that jeopardizes the health of workers, children and the environment by using a fumigant known to cause cancer, neurological disorders, and miscarriages.

Do not approve methyl iodide as a soil fumigant.

DNC Launches Major Citizen-Tracker Project, Urging Activists To Film GOP

By Sam Stein
Huffington Post
Posted: 06-28-10 10:59 PM

The Democratic National Committee will debut on Tuesday a new web-based feature that will empower several million Democratic activists to serve as "trackers" of Republican candidates throughout the country.
In a move that could add a broad new element of accountability to elections -- or simply make the political process even more gaffe-centric -- the DNC is encouraging its followers to upload video, mail pieces or audio recordings of GOP officials to a DNC-run site.

If carried out as planned, the new online tool could drastically alter the landscape of the 2010 elections, with campaign functions contracted out to hundreds of free volunteers. At a minimum, it is a vivid illustration of the modern-day campaign, where a slip-up by a candidate caught on video could have profound impacts on his or her electoral prospects. Aides freely admit that the goal is to create another "Macaca moment" -- in which former Senator George Allen (R-Va.) famously doomed his reelection hopes by belittling an opposition videographer with a racial slur -- or at least to unearth a viral nugget such as those that changed the course of the health care debate at town halls last summer.

"Macaca was a game-changing event, not only for that race but for others," said Shauna Daly, research director at the DNC who is overseeing the new project. "Certainly it showed people a side of George Allen they hadn't seen before. They just hadn't been exposed to it. And the town halls last summer were amazingly eye-opening to people and video played a major role in it. ... We know that people have cameras everywhere now, whether it is your iPhone or a 200-dollar HD minicam that can take great video. This is something not exclusive to campaigns anymore."

Dubbed "The Accountability Project," the site, which is being emailed to the DNC's massive email list on Tuesday, will serve as a digital library for Democratic officials both state-based and in Washington, D.C. Users are given instructions on how to film a campaign, upload the video, submit copies of mailers or attack ads, record robocalls and place that audio on the web. An official with the DNC will monitor the submissions in addition to cataloging the content. It will be largely left to interested parties -- reporters, ostensibly, included -- to sort through the information for the more newsworthy or inflammatory bits.

"We really do want to take advantage of crowdsourcing," said Daly. "The idea of this is to provide a forum where people who know the issue, the folks who are on the ground in Iowa, can dig through information in the system that someone else in Des Moines has filmed."

The Accountability Project is not the DNC's first crowd-sourcing venture. But the direct encouragement for users to assume the role of unofficial candidate "tracker" represents a far more intense level engagement by ordinary citizens. Already, the presence of videographers at various political functions has produced its share of fireworks for Democrats and Republicans alike. Several weeks ago, video of Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) aggressively tussling with college students videoing him forced Etheridge to issue an embarrassing apology. Similar incidents have occurred on campaign trails this election cycle in which reporters have been videoed being knocked over by aides to candidates.

The Corporate Court Limits Access to Justice

Click here
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Alliance for Justice

The recent 5-4 ruling in Rent-A-Center v. Jackson has further limited the ability of Americans to have their day in court. The majority opinion, written by Justice Scalia, holds that the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 only allows a court to review a complaint to an arbitration agreement within a larger contract if the person making the claim objects specifically to the delegation clause (compelling binding arbitration). This decision means the Supreme Court ruled that companies have even more power to strip people - unaware of the intricacies of filing a complaint about their contract - of their right to access the court. The Court’s decision Monday is another example of the Roberts Court judicial activism working on behalf of large corporations at the expense of ordinary Americans, in this case, by misinterpreting a 85-year-old law.

This decision affects all Americans who sign agreements with arbitration clauses including the hundreds-of-millions of cell phone subscribers, the estimated one-hundred-million Americans that work under binding arbitration agreements, and anyone else in America that signs a contract with a business that chooses to include this agreement in their contracts. The dissenting opinion, written by the soon to be retired Justice Stevens, defended employee and consumer rights against arbitration agreements. With the Kagan hearing just 6 days away, the question remains if the would-be replacement to Justice Stevens shares his conviction on the rights of Americans.

">Monday, June 28

Alliance for Justice

Today marks the start of Elena Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. We support her nomination and look forward to fair and speedy proceedings.  If confirmed, Kagan will be the fourth woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court, and for the first time in history, on the first Monday in October, three women will take their seats on our nation’s highest court.

But Elena Kagan will also be joining a Supreme Court that has been transformed from a fair and independent institution into a highly politicized Corporate Court. Under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, a narrow conservative majority is actively advancing a political agenda that consistently favors big corporations over the rest of us.

In the past several years, the Corporate Court has radically rewritten laws in order to shield big business from liability, insulate corporate interests from regulation, make it easier for companies to discriminate, and enable powerful interests to flood our election process with special-interest dollars.

On this historic day, we say we no longer accept conservative rhetoric assigning the notion of "judicial activism" to progressives. The true activists, with a plain-as-day agenda favoring the powerful over everyday Americans, are Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Kennedy, and Scalia. These justices are no objective “umpires,” in John Roberts’ famous phrase; these five are leading an effort to throw the game to one side, tossing aside fairness and the interests of everyday people. Research shows that the conservative wing of the Corporate Court sides with big business 84% of the time. Our own research shows how this Court goes out of its way to push its political agenda.

It is time for progressives to send a message that this disregard for fundamental fairness and our core constitutional values cannot stand.

Join with us in our campaign to reveal what the Supreme Court under unyielding conservative leadership has become: A bastion of favoritism for the rich, the powerful, and the influential.

You can help by watching and sharing our just released video on the Corporate Court, and visiting the thecorporatecourt.com. With so much at stake, now is the time to learn, take action, and spread the word!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Democratic AG candidate mistake round-up

By Casey Newton
June 24, 2010

The debate between Democratic candidates for attorney general taped at 5:30 last night, but the debate about the debate has raged all day.

The first controversy arose when Felecia Rotellini, the former head of the Department of Financial Institutions, accused opponent Vince Rabago of "political grandstanding" when he filed a lawsuit against a payday lender shortly before quitting to run for attorney general.

Rabago, who was an assistant attorney general at the time, filed suit against lender Quik Cash accusing them of deceptive practices.

Rotellini said Rabago filed the case only to serve as a talking point in his attorney general campaign, then "walked out" on the "working families" he has spent much of his campaign talking about.

"You walked out on those families, Vince," she said, going for the jugular. "That lawsuit has stopped in its tracks. You didn't do anything to stop the payday lenders."

Rabago protested that, in fact, an injunction had been filed in the case, effectively stopping the payday lenders, but Rotellini wasn't having it.

"That's a lie," she said, raising her voice. "There is no injunction on the books."

It didn't take long after that for the Rabago campaign to show that, indeed, there was an injunction on the books (PDF).

"I hope my opponent is ready to eat some crow," Rabago said after the debate.

Rotellini delegated crow-eating duties to spokesman Dave Cieslak, who had this to say:

"In the heat of a TV debate, Felecia was mistaken about an injunction issued last year and regrets the error," Cieslak said in a statement. "Felecia has been fighting for Arizona families for 17 years and protecting seniors as a prosecutor and financial watchdog, and she'll continue that fight in the attorney general's office."

The whole heat-of-the-moment explanation strains credulity, though, as immediately after the debate, reporters received a helpful explanatory e-mail from the Rotellini campaign with attached legal documents purporting to show that the case has stalled out. (As of March, the parties were working on a settlement.)

"Felecia apparently can't or won't even do basic legal research," said Gilberto Zaragoza, a Rabago spokesman, on the candidate's website. "And now she wants to be Arizona attorney general, our top lawyer!? We need an attorney general that can get their facts straight."


Continue reading here.

Senate Obstructionists 'Want This Economy To Fail'

By Isaiah J. Poole
Campaign for America's Future
June 24, 2010

It is very clear that the Republicans in the Senate want this economy to fail," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., this afternoon in reaction to the latest efforts in the Senate to block a jobs bill from coming to the floor for a vote.

Her comment during a news conference call was just one of several angry reactions to a spate of right-wing obstruction that cannot be construed as anything other than a middle finger in the face of the unemployed and the economically struggling—and a blown kiss to the wealthy.

Republicans are expected to have an opportunity to take back the insult late this afternoon and allow a vote on HR 4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, which includes extended unemployment and insurance benefits, Medicaid support to the states, and supplemental food assistance. Senate Democrats, though, were skeptical that any members on the other side of the aisle would step up to the plate. Their latest failure to do so was Wednesday, when they formed a solid wall of opposition to a version of the bill that had already been seriously diluted in an effort to win one or two Republican votes.

Stabenow says what the conservative bloc is doing in the Senate constitutes the most vile form of politics. " 
It appears that everybody in the Republican caucus has gone purely into election mode [before] the fall. If they can stop the recovery from occurring, if they can create as much pain as possible, people will be angry and will not vote at all or will vote against those in the majority. This is a very cynical political strategy and I sure hope it doesn’t work."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also blasted the Senate Republicans. The Politico article that quotes her bears a bad, arguably biased headline—"Pelosi stokes House-Senate tension"—but as you will see this isn't the battle of the legislative chambers; it is a fundamental battle between lawmakers who want to respond to a jobs emergency and ideologues who show by their actions they could care less.
“Time and time again, Democrats in the House have sent legislation to the Senate to create jobs,” she said. “What did middle-class families ever do to Republicans in the Senate that they would snuff out every opportunity for job creation that has been sent to them?”
 Continue reading here.

NEW POLL: Decline of Manufacturing Jobs, Loss of Global Economic Standing, and Fears About China are Top Voter Concerns

Read the poll results.

John Dougherty Investigative Reporter Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate

June 23, 2010

Rodney Glassman, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate

June 11, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Brewer's truthteller strategy hits a snag: The truth

Press Release:
Brewer Campaign co-chair claims governor has created 'thousands of jobs'

PHOENIX -- Gov. Brewer's "I'm a truthteller" strategy hit a big snag over the weekend when her campaign co-chair, Mary Peters, made a head-scratching claim at a GOP event in Ahwatukee. Speaking on behalf of the governor, Peters said that Brewer "has already created thousands of jobs and will continue to work on that.''


Peters, who was Transportation Secretary in the job-killing Bush administration, needs to be briefed about Brewer's true record on job creation:

In May, Arizona lost another 4,300 private-sector jobs and the unemployment rate here increased to 9.6 percent, according to the state Commerce Department. Arizona's only job gains in May were due to federal Census worker hires. Arizona has a net loss of 98,900 jobs since Brewer took the reins as governor in January 2009. [Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/schedule/archives/laus_nr.htm]

In February, Brewer signed off on massive cuts to AHCCCS and KidsCare. According to a study commissioned by the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, these cuts could eliminate 42,000 Arizona jobs, devastating a sector of the economy that is actually growing in our state.

Gov. Jan Brewer's proposed cuts to health care would drain an estimated $2.7 billion in state and federal funding from Arizona's economy and result in the loss of 42,000 jobs, according to an analysis by economists at Arizona State University... The Governor's Office did not dispute the analysis. [Analysis conducted by Seidman Research Institute at ASU's W.P. Carey School of Business. -- AZ Republic, 2/25/10]

"Jan Brewer has wasted almost 18 months in office without any meaningful effort to create jobs," said Luis Heredia, Arizona Democratic Party executive director. "Her campaign shouldn't use funny numbers to trick Arizona voters into believing otherwise. Just saying you're a truthteller doesn't make it so."

Brewer has also unveiled several "jobs plans," but so far they've only generated publicity - no actual jobs. Examples:

Plan #1: Create a stimulus plan of her own [Source: 2009 inaugural address http://bit.ly/1zj5h2]
Result: Nothing.
Background: Brewer initially knocked the federal Recovery Act and announced that she would be creating a stimulus plan of her own. Since then, however, she has eagerly accepted federal stimulus money and taken credit in official press releases. So much for a plan of her own.
During her inaugural address, Brewer said Arizona will move ahead with its own stimulus program, rather than wait for federal money to trickle down. But she offered no details on what that plan will include. [Arizona Daily Star, 1/22/09]

Plan #2: Offer tax breaks for businesses [Source: Brewer's "Five Point Plan" for Arizona - 2009]
Result: Abandoned.
Background: Brewer's initial idea for job growth was to offer a friendly "tax code" starting in 2012. This idea was offered during her 'Five Point Plan' speech upon taking office. But while the state was losing thousands of jobs, Brewer's idea wouldn't take effect until three years later. She has since abandoned her major "tax reforms." Here's an excerpt from her Five Point Plan:
4) Reform and modernization of Arizona's state tax structure
The Governor's 4th point calls for a state tax reduction that would begin in 2012 and progressively build a more friendly tax code to create high wage, sustainable jobs in the state and attract investment capital. [Governor's Office Press Release, 3/4/09]

Plan #3: Eliminate the state Department of Commerce and replace it with a Commerce Advisory Council; create enterprise zones; and accelerate depreciation of corporate property.
Result: Not implemented.
Background: Before her 2010 State of the State address, Brewer created a 'Commerce Advisory Council,' the first step in her reform of the Arizona Department of Commerce. They were tasked with conducting a report to be delivered to the Governor in three months. In April, the advisory council returned with their recommendations. Brewer promised that this would not become "another one of those grandiose plans that ends up ... collecting dust on someone's shelf." [AZ Capitol Times, 4/14/10]. But those recommendations were embedded in Brewer's own "Job's Bill," which was never heard by the Legislature and is, indeed, collecting dust.

"Arizona is hurting," Heredia said, "and that means we need real leaders who are laser-focused on creating jobs."

Jon Kyl Just Makes Stuff Up - Remember This Exclusive BRAD BLOG Video With AZ's Senator?

By Brad Friedman
The Bradblog
June 23, 2010

Yesterday, the White House denied a claim made by Arizona's Republican Sen. Jon Kyl that he was told personally by President Obama that he would not work to secure the Mexican border unless it was part of comprehensive immigration legislation.

"The president didn't say that and Senator Kyl knows it," White House Communication Director Dan Pfeiffer told POLITICO yesterday in their story which includes video of Kyl's claims being made to supporters in Phoenix.

Today, Media Matters has a long list detailing Kyl's well-documented history of blatantly false claims.

But we had our own run in with Kyl --- and his proclivity to just pull stuff out of his hind-quarters when speaking to the press --- during the 2008 Democratic Convention, both outside, and then inside the Pepsi Center.

Remember this BRAD BLOG exclusive from August 28, 2008?


Voting News: No tangible record of the vote - DC overseas troops to email voted 'ballots'

By Joyce McCloy (about the author)   opednews.com
June 22, 2010

How do you recount electronic ballots?
A Boone Co Kentucky Commissioner wants to do recount on the paperless E-Slate machines. To do this "recount", the vendor would have to be involved and would charge $1,200 a day for each technician...House Action on Disclose Act (Campaign Finance) Bill Likely Thursday...Vendor Consolidation Continues: Dominion Acquires Sequoia..Are runoffs necessary?...Trading secret ballot for pin number? How do you do a recount or audit it: DC setting up email balloting system for with overseas troops votes...NSW Australia internet voting for disabled. Internet voting & email balloting remain insecure and non secret..

All this and more in today's news at Voting News

SB1070 Update: More on SB1070 in the schools

by David Safier
Blog for Arizona
June 22, 2010

Before I quote Ed Supe Tom Horne, it's important to remember he's a Harvard educated lawyer, and chances are he's read SB1070. That makes this quote, talking about students and SB1070, somewhere between a purposeful misstatement and a lie.

“If they don’t commit a crime, [police officers] won’t be asking them. If a student commits a crime, it’s always been the case that they could inquire about their legal residence,” said Arizona Superintendent of Education Tom Horne.

Horne knows full well that a "lawful stop, detention or arrest" can happen even when someone doesn't commit a crime, and all it takes is a "lawful stop, detention or arrest" for an officer to be required to ask for proof of immigration status if the officer has "reasonable suspicion" the person isn't in the country legally.

The most obvious example is, if someone is a suspect in a crime, that can lead to a "Show me your papers" situation even if the person is completely innocent. If there have been a string of locker thefts at school, a police officer might call in a number of suspects, some of whom have done nothing wrong. But if any of the innocent suspects are brown and speak with an accent, and especially if their clothes are a bit raggedy, the officer will have "reasonable suspicion" that student is here illegally.

I'm going to label Horne's statement, "If they don't commit a crime, they won't be asking them" a lie. A flat out lie.

When Horne says "it’s always been the case that they could inquire about their legal residence," that's a purposeful clouding of the issue. Yes, officers "could" inquire about legal residence before. But under SB1070, they're obligated to to inquire.

The difference between an officer exercising discretion and officer being mandated to check immigration status when there is a "reasonable suspicion" someone is here illegally is huge.

I would imagine most officers assigned to schools are more interested in keeping order by establishing a relationship with the students and taking care of serious problems than in busting kids for their immigration status. SB1070 will make students -- even citizens and non-citizens who are here legally -- consider the officer an enemy, which will mean his/her ability to get student cooperation will be stifled. And officers will be forced to put the lives of some students and their families in jeopardy simply because the families decided their children should go to school. [Clarification: By "put their lives in jeopardy," I don't mean in the life-or-death sense. I mean that sending a child to school can result in arrest and deportation for the child and/or the family. Sorry if there was any confusion.]

Under SB1070, an officer is an officer is an officer and "reasonable suspicion" is "reasonable suspicion" -- in a school, in the mall, on a sidewalk or on the highways. It makes no difference.

The learning environment in a school will be seriously damaged if students with brown skin and Hispanic facial characteristics know they always have a extra cloud of suspicion hanging over their heads thanks to SB1070.

Melvin's Reckless "Full Speed Ahead" Nuke Plan To Enrich Arizona Imperils Public, Protects Investors

 26Dems Editorial Opinion
June 22, 2010

Cheryl Cage (Explorer Opinion, June-16-2010) did her research, looked at the facts and tells us straight out that nuclear power plants are much too costly and risky for Arizona. She highlights Melvin’s misleading argument against solar energy and explains that Arizona should be leading rather than lagging the nation in the development of solar energy.

Her Republican opponent, incumbent State Senator Al Melvin would rather take the  “damn the torpedoes full speed ahead” approach in his drive to make Arizona the richest state in the union by building four or five nuclear power plants and waste dumps around the state.

Like his friends in the nuclear industry, Melvin minimizes safety and ignores dangers. Don’t his talking points sound like BP telling us  that oil rigs could never sink or that an oil spill could never rapidly envelop the entire Gulf of Mexico? The industry wants us to forget Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, or that nuclear energy really isn’t renewable, or simply faith that a catastrophe won’t happen.

 In his Explorer opinion piece June-09-2010,  Melvin says “Atomic energy is safe and clean. The US Navy has been underway on nuclear power for over half a century, without incident.” 
Why doesn’t he acknowledge that in February of 2009 French and British submarines collided somewhere in the Atlantic? Or that there are 13 documented nuclear incidents involving nuclear powered ships and submarines from 1959-1992? See http://www.lutins.org/nukes.html Eight nuclear submarines lie at the bottom of the sea as a consequence of either accident or extensive damage: two from the United States, four from the Soviet Navy, and two from the Russian Navy.  Japan and New Zealand have raised concerns about the safety of U.S. nuclear powered ships threatening their harbors.
The U.S. Navy does not disclose its risk management policies. Therefore sketchy press reports based on official reports, discount dangers. Nuclear power boosters maintain nuclear power is safe even though the risks are kept secret. 

Melvin said in an Phoenix Horizon Eight TV interview in November, 2009 that he is already working with Arizona utilities and foreign investors on legislation that will
“…attract foreign investors in a safe and reasonable return on investment in this type of energy."  He wants to make it safe to invest, but dangerous to live close to a nuclear waste dump. Melvin would make nuclear energy the primary source of power, the baseload. In that interview, Melvin indicated he is anxious to power through the “red tape” i.e. safety inspections, that hinder the construction of nuclear power plants.

 Al Melvin is recklessly ignoring risk in hot pursuit of profit which he says will make Arizona one of the “richest” or possibly the “richest” state in the union.  It’s easy to profit when the U.S. government subsidizes construction and insures risk.  The Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act of 1957 establishes a no-fault insurance type system that would have the taxpayers pay claims above $10 billion.  Say No More Nuclear Power Plants for Arizona.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Poll: Americans United Against Unlimited Corporate Cash in Elections

An important new poll commissioned by People For the American Way shows that Americans of every political stripe resoundingly reject the Roberts Court's dangerous decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which opened the floodgates of unlimited corporate cash in our elections.

We should have a government of, by and for the people. The polling results show increasing concern among Americans that, in part because of the Court's decision, which equates corporations with people, we are becoming a government of, by and for the corporations. The poll also shows broad awareness that when corporations spend unlimited amounts to influence the outcome of elections, it infringes on the rights of the rest of us by drowning out the voices of the average citizen.

The Court's decision in Citizens United was so disastrous that voters overwhelmingly support a constitutional amendment to correct it.

Three-quarters of voters said that they support a constitutional amendment to limit the amount that corporations can spend in elections. A similar majority are more inclined to support a candidate who has spoken out in favor of an amendment. This support cuts across party and ideology, with majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents in support of the measure.

Leading up to Election Day, People For the American Way, along with Public Citizen and other allies, will be asking congressional candidates to pledge to support a constitutional amendment, and sharing that information with voters.

Here are some of the polling specifics:

  • 85% of voters say that corporations have too much influence over the political system today while 93% say that average citizens have too little influence.
  • 95% agree that "Corporations spend money on politics mainly to buy influence in government and elect people who are favorable to their financial interests." (74% strongly agree)
  • 85% disagree that "Corporations should be able to spend as much as they want to influence the outcome of elections because the Constitution protects freedom of speech." (63% strongly disagree)
  • 93% agree that "There should be clear limits on how much money corporations can spend to influence the outcome of an election." (74% strongly agree)
  • 77% think Congress should support an amendment to limit the amount U.S. corporations can spend to influence elections.
  • 74% say that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who pledged to support a constitutional amendment limiting corporate spending in elections.
You can read more about the poll here. (PDF)

Dan Rather Reports: "We Don't Know"

Dan Rather Host,
Posted: June 22, 2010 11:15 AM
Huffington Post

"We don't know."

That's not a sentence we, as Americans, like to hear. But after talking to scientists on the Gulf Coast and in other parts of the country about the oil gusher now more than eight weeks old, "we don't know" is something I heard a lot. And it's scary.

We hoped for better answers when we set out to do a careful scientific report on the effects of all that oil in the water for this week's special edition of my weekly news magazine program Dan Rather Reports. But reality is as murky as the water when you're trying to measure an unprecedented event in complex ecosystems. You don't get the concrete assurances that reporters, policy makers and the general public crave.

Click to WATCH Video:

"We don't know."

That's not a sentence we, as Americans, like to hear. But after talking to scientists on the Gulf Coast and in other parts of the country about the oil gusher now more than eight weeks old, "we don't know" is something I heard a lot. And it's scary.

We hoped for better answers when we set out to do a careful scientific report on the effects of all that oil in the water for this week's special edition of my weekly news magazine program Dan Rather Reports. But reality is as murky as the water when you're trying to measure an unprecedented event in complex ecosystems. You don't get the concrete assurances that reporters, policy makers and the general public crave.

There are a lot of lessons we as a nation need to learn from the unfolding environmental catastrophe, but one of those lessons had better be a healthy dose of humility.

What will be the long-term effects of those large oil plumes, now called clouds, far below the surface?

We don't know.

What is the toxicity of all that chemical dispersant being used at the site of the gusher and in the open waters of the Gulf?

We don't know.

What will the oil mean for the tiny juvenile blue fin tuna that we hope will grow to hundreds of pounds and reinvigorate an endangered species? Will the use of dispersants help keep the oil off the shore or make a bad situation worse? What will the oil mean for the deep sea coral of the Gulf only recently discovered? Will the birds being so meticulously cleaned of oil live when they're returned to their habitats? How many animals have died below the surface only to have their carcasses sink to the bottom of the sea away from the accounting of science?

We don't know.

And there are countless other scientific questions without any good answers. That's not to say that all these questions are unknowable. It's just to say that they will require a lot more study. The truth is that what is taking place in the Gulf is an uncontrolled and unprecedented experiment. We know the results are bad, but we may not know for years, or even decades, how bad they are. Responsible scientific research often can't be rushed. And we better get used to that.

When I was growing up in Texas oil country, I spent some time working alongside the tough men who did the backbreaking labor of earlier oil booms. Many had little formal education, but when some geologist would come along and say, "drill over there" the whole process took on the aura of science. We now know how primitive those efforts really were. The modern oil business has worked hard to project a scientific confidence. Thoughtful engineers are the staple of their television advertisements.

We were told that there was a lot of oil in the deep waters of the Gulf. They were right. We were also told we could drill safely at those depths. I think the record is clear that those assurances pushed beyond the boundaries of our scientific knowledge. After we change the technology that led to this current disaster, can we drill safely at these depths?

We don't know.

Not knowing should not be, necessarily, a reason for not trying. We didn't know if we could put a man on the moon or conquer polio. But in both cases, we respected the science. We based our measurements of risks and rewards on impartial data. Now it seems the facts have become political footballs. We have wonderful scientists in this country. We need to fund their studies and respect their results. We need to base our policy decisions on independent peer-reviewed research, not wishful thinking by industry "experts" whose points of view come with vested interest.

One NASA scientist told me that we know a lot more about the surface of the moon than the sea floor of the Gulf. Another scientist told me that researching the ocean is so difficult it has been likened to flying a blimp over a forest at night and dropping down a hook, pulling up a twig or a leaf, and trying to surmise all the animals, plants and living organisms that call it home. These are honest assessments of the challenges by people who have dedicated their lives to studying the Gulf. It's far past time the oil companies, the government and all of us recognize how little we understand about the planet we call home.

Dan Rather's special report from the Gulf Coast, "A Gulf in Understanding", will air Tuesday, June 22 at 8 PM and 11 PM Eastern on HDNet. It will also be available on iTunes.

26Dems Editorial Note:  HDNet is carried by Dish Network and DirectTV Satellite providers, but not by Comcast or Cox Cable in the Tucson area. For more information about how to buy episodes of HDNet Dan Rather Reports through iTunes click here.

Philly Kids Build Soybean Fueled Car

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Republicans to Unemployed: ‘Get a Job!’

by Mike Hall,
Jun 21, 2010

As part of Republican obstruction-at-any-cost election year strategy, Senate Republicans last week once again blocked an extension of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for long-term jobless workers. The UI extension is part of the jobs bill that could help put the unemployed back to work.
Some Republicans even said it’s time for ”tough love” to motivate the long-term jobless.

Granted, they are far removed from the day-to-day economic reality of America’s workers. So here’s a reminder: Today, in the United States, there are five unemployed workers for every job opening, an unemployment rate near 10 percent, at least 15 million people out of work and 6.8 million people out of work for 27 weeks or more. Getting a job is not like going down to the corner for a quart of milk.

Heck, when you still get your taxpayer-funded, congressional paycheck every week ($3,346.15) for not doing very much work, it can certainly alter your view of the economy—even to the point where some Republican politicos actually claim the not quite $300 a week average unemployment check is a “disincentive” for the unemployed to get out of the door and look for work.

Maybe senators think that when the men and women who have been out of work since at least before Thanksgiving (and millions for more than one year) get that bountiful UI check, they sit around the kitchen table and make big plans to spend that dough.

Hey, hon got my check. This sure beats working. What do you say we go to Palm Springs this weekend? We can fly the kids to your mom’s and board the dogs at that new spa kennel.

No, senator, the response to a couple hundred bucks a week goes more like this:

Maybe we should think about gassing up the car so we can go down to the food bank and set something aside for your blood pressure medicine. Oh, and there’s that foreclosure notice we need to deal with.

Continue reading here

Monday, June 21, 2010

Caught on Video Simpson thinks some Americans are "lesser people

You probably know a lot of good people who depend on their Social Security check. Who count every penny. Hard-working folks who have contributed their whole lives and now need those checks.

Sen. Simpson thinks they're "lesser people." And he's joining with the other right-wing ideologues on the deficit commission to find a way to cut Social Security for those "lesser people"--even though Social Security hasn't caused the deficit.

Email the Deficit Commission and call on Former Senator Simpson to resign.


America Speaks Back: Derailing the Drive to Cut Social Security and Medicare
By Dean Baker Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research

Huffington Post
Posted: June 21, 2010 11:36 AM

Next weekend will feature another milestone in the drive to cut Social Security and Medicare. The organization America Speaks will be hosting a series of 20 meetings in cities across the country. They will ask the people at these meetings, a cross section of the nation, to come up with proposals for dealing with the country's projected long-term budget deficit.

The way the problem is outlined for these meetings virtually guarantees that most of the participants will opt for big cuts to Social Security and Medicare. The results of this song-and-dance exercise will then be presented to President Obama's fiscal responsibility commission on June 30th, which will use it as further ammunition for plans by its co-chairs to gut these programs.

The rigged deck approach should come as no surprise. America Speaks is largely funded by Peter G. Peterson, the investment banker billionaire who has been on a decades long crusade to gut these programs. In recent years, Peterson has redoubled his efforts, committing more than a billion dollars to a wide variety of groups in addition to America Speaks. To advance his agenda Peterson has even set up a fake news service, the Fiscal Times. To fill the staff, Peterson's son hired a number of reputable reporters who were displaced by the collapse of the newspaper industry.

Continue reading here.

Northwest Democrats Headquarters GRAND OPENING

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sen. Al Melvin: Too Busy for Debates/Boycotts Media

Tucson Weekly
SAT, JUN 19, 2010 AT 9:58 PM

Republican state Senator Al Melvin declined a challenge by his Democratic contender, Cheryl Cage, to a series of one-on-one debates before the November general election, saying he can’t fit it into his schedule.

“I told her I’m busy,” Melvin says. “I’m going door to door.”

Cage, who lost the Legislative District 26 Senate race to Melvin in 2008 by fewer than 2,000 votes, says she thinks Melvin won’t debate her because he would have to defend his “abysmal” voting record.

“I mean, it’s completely against what the voters of LD26 want,” she says. “He voted for payday loan people to stay in business and 63 percent of our constituents voted against that. He voted 100 percent of the time against public education and we passed Prop 100 by a two-to-one margin.”

Though the two will not debate one-on-one this election season, they will attend several candidate forums alongside other legislative candidates in the coming months.
Besides those chances, Melvin says the voters can learn about the candidates on their own.

“I would encourage people to look at her website and look at my website,” Melvin says. “You know politics is education—there are many different ways for the voters to see the positions of the candidates.”

But you won't be seeing Melvin’s position on KUAT's Arizona Illustrated or in the editorial pages of the Arizona Daily Star and the Arizona Republic.

Melvin says he and other southern Arizona Republican lawmakers are issuing a boycott of the major local media outlets until the news organizations hire at least one “center-right” person to their editorial boards.

“They’re totally slanted to the left,” he says. “There is nothing fair and balanced about it and we’re not going to be a party to it.”

Though they are still talking to reporters from the papers, Melvin says they will not have anything to do with the editorial boards—and will not participate in endorsement interviews.

“The outcome is so obvious from the beginning that it makes no sense for us to participate (in the endorsement process),” he said.

Friday, June 18, 2010


By Brad Friedman
6/17/2010 5:53PM PT

Rejects Judge Vic Rawl's protest in 5 hour hearing with expert testimony on how ES&S voting system failed

Greene not at hearing, presented no case, evidence that election results were accurate...

The South Carolina Democratic Party Executive Board rejected Judge Vic Rawl's protest to the results of last week's U.S. Senate primary, despite no evidence presented that the results were accurate, and despite Alvin Greene having not even shown up to the protest hearing.

Greene's election as the Democratic party nominee for the U.S. Senate, to run against incumbent Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, stands. The vote of the Executive Board was 38.5 to 7.5 in favor of rejecting Rawl's protest and upholding the results. Not kidding.

The Rawl campaign presented an impressive five-hour case in Columbia today, including two computer scientists and security experts who both asserted that there was no reasonable explanation for election results other than some kind of voting system malfunction in either the hardware or software. Voters testified that they had trouble selecting Rawl on the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen systems, and that their votes were flipped to Greene. Campaign workers testified that they received calls all throughout Election Day concerning problems with the machines and reports that pollworkers were swapping out sensitive memory cartridges.

Despite the historical record of failure of the ES&S voting system, and numerous state-sponsored studies (in state's other than SC) which all found that the systems are poorly coded and exceptionally vulnerable to malicious manipulation, Rawl's team of computer scientists were not allowed access to the voting system hardware and software in order to examine it for bugs or tampering.

Rawl's attorney instructed the Executive Board that they were required to vote on the protest on the basis of whether the evidence presented in the hearing demonstrated the results to be true and accurate or not. No evidence was presented that the results were accurate, only that they were not. Nonetheless, the SC Democratic Party's Executive Board voted resoundingly to reject Rawl's protest, which the candidate has said he will not appeal..

Continue reading here.

Fuel.: The World is Addicted to Oil. It's Time for an Intervention. June 22, 2010, Release

 Directed by and Starring Josh Tickell

Given the catastrophe in the Gulf, this film is as timely as it comes. We screened it when it came out in the theaters, and it is an inspiring story of one young man who drove a biodiesel van around the country to educate Americans about alternatives to oil, only to realize that biodiesel fuels have their drawbacks too. Ever the optimist, he comes up with potential alternative fuels that could offer limitless energy.

A wonderful, uplifting and optimistic film about what an agent of change can accomplish. Inspiring!

"IMPRESSIVELY COMPREHENSIVE"..."FUEL" is a vital, superbly assembled documentary that presents an insightful overview of America's troubled relationship with oil and how alternative and sustainable energies can reduce our country's -- and the world's -- addictive dependence on fossil fuels."

- Gary Goldstein, LOS ANGELES TIMES  And here is the rest of it.

Read more  Buzzflash.com's review.

Russell Pearce has gone too far

Guest Opinion by Vince Rabago
Arizona Capitol Times

Published: June 18, 2010 at 7:14 am

I am saddened and outraged by Russell Pearce’s latest efforts to legislate bigotry and discrimination into Arizona law.

As first reported in the Arizona Capitol Times, Sen. Pearce is now attempting to deny citizenship to American-born children if their parents are illegal immigrants, and to deny public education to undocumented children by requiring them to pay tuition or be forced out of school.

To say Pearce has gone too far is a gross understatement.

I support securing our borders and fixing our immigration system with tough but fair reform that works, including cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and requiring illegal immigrants currently here to register with the government, pay a fine and back taxes to get right with the law, have no other criminal record, and maintain gainful employment.

I am against illegal immigration. Having grown up on the border, I’ve seen first hand the consequences of both illegal immigration and criminal trafficking.

That said, Pearce’s attacks on children, the Constitution, and our fundamental American principles of fairness and justice are beyond the bounds of human decency. They are downright offensive.

I call on Pearce to immediately drop his crusade against immigrant communities.

As the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us in his letter from a Birmingham Jail in 1963, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

What Pearce proposes is a grave injustice. If enacted, it threatens not only Arizona, but our fundamental American values.

The 14th Amendment clearly states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens…” The Supreme Court rejected Pearce’s view as unconstitutional more than 100 years ago, but ideologues conveniently ignore the Constitution when it restricts their agenda. They resort instead to name-calling and race-baiting, using degrading and inaccurate terms like “anchor babies” to cloud the debate.

The 14th Amendment further guarantees equal protection of the law for all people who reside here — including all children — and it guards against the mean-spirited education discrimination that Pearce advocates. The Supreme Court rejected such attacks against immigrant children more than a quarter century ago in when it upheld their equal right to a public education in Plyler v. Doe.

Pearce hides behind claims of the burden on taxpayers. But denying innocent children a basic education is penny-wise and pound-foolish. The Supreme Court recognized the greater “costs to the Nation” that such laws would impose by “promoting the creation and perpetuation of a subclass of illiterates within our boundaries, surely adding to the problems and costs of unemployment, welfare and crime.”

These proposed laws by Pearce are not just unconstitutional and fiscally irresponsible. They are unjust.
I call on all candidates for public office in Arizona, Democrats and Republicans, to denounce this immoral legislation.

To stand silent in the face of unjust laws that target children is to fail. I will stand up for what is right, even if I am standing alone.

— Vince Rabago is a Democratic candidate for Arizona attorney general.
And here is the rest of it.

The Stealth Attack on America's Best-Loved Program

By Robert Kuttner,Co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect
Huffington Post
Posted: June 18, 2010 10:14 AM

As Obama's Fiscal Commission prepares for its June 30 hearing, the Roosevelt Institute's New Deal 2.0 blog invited me to participate in its Social Security's Fiscal Fitness series, which examines the soundness of the program, its relationship to the federal deficit, and the vital role it plays in America's economic future.

Washington bipartisan elites have been working to weaken Social Security since the mid-Clinton Administration. Clinton, prodded by his Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, was on the verge of cutting a deal with Newt Gingrich to partially privatize America's most successful retirement program.
The intermediary was Clinton's White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles. The same Bowles is now the co-chair of Obama's fiscal commission -- which also has designs on Social Security. Corporate Democrats keep turning up, like bad pennies.

As I reported in my 2007 book, The Squandering of America, liberals can thank Monica Lewinsky for saving Social Security from that earlier bipartisan deal. Why? Because when the frisky Clinton was being impeached, and Congressional liberals were holding their noses and reluctantly saving him from ouster, they were in no mood to have him trash Social Security. New details have been reported in the recent book, The Pact, by Steven Gillon, about Clinton's dealings with Gingrich.

But what is it with Democrats like Bowles, Rubin, and Rubin's protégé Peter Orszag, now director of the Office of Management and Budget and another of the deficit hawks who would weaken Social Security in order to cut the deficit? Don't they get that Social Security, along with Medicare, is one of the Democrats' crown jewels? Don't they appreciate that two-thirds of elderly Americans depend on Social Security for at least half their income?

As Nancy Altman pointed out earlier in this series, the argument that Social Security is adding to the federal deficit is a bum rap. Ever since Congress in 1983 acted to anticipate the retirement of the baby boom generation by raising Social Security taxes and pushing back the retirement age from 65 to 67, Social Security has contributed trillions of dollars to a government surplus. The intent was to pre-fund the additional cost of the boomers. George W. Bush pilfered that surplus for his wars and his tax cuts for the rich, but even so, Social Security is still in great shape for at least 30 more years.
Social security taxes wages. Get wage growth back to historic postwar norms, and Social Security is in surplus forever. Restore the traditional fraction of wages that are taxed, so that affluent people do not get a free ride on part of their income, and the proclaimed crisis disappears. There is no need to further cut benefits, or further raise the retirement age, or raise taxes on working Americans. If only Citigroup's balance sheet were as healthy as Social Security's!

Continue reading here.