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Sunday, October 31, 2010

State Press TV Interviews Terry Goddard: VOTE "The Most Important Election of our Lifetime"

President Obama: "Don't Sit This One Out."

I am not voting Republican On Nov. 2; I Remember

Arizona in crisis, needs Democratic leadership

by Don Bivens -
Arizona Democratic Party chairman
The Arizona Republic

Oct. 31, 2010 12:00 AM

If you're an angry voter, you have every right to be. Arizonans continue to lose their jobs, their homes and even their hope. Our state's future is in the balance.

More than ever, we need strong, qualified leaders to get Arizona through this crisis. But we won't get those leaders without a thoughtful, race-by-race consideration of candidates up and down the ballot.

The state Republican Party, however, is hoping for your anger vote by default. They look at the same research we do, and they know, just like we do, that when independent-minded voters learn more about both sides of the ballot, these voters favor many of the Democratic candidates.

Because of this, they've tried to capitalize on voter anger by blaming the president and Congress for all of Arizona's problems. You've probably seen their national-themed attacks in TV ads and direct-mail literature. It's become almost absurd. I'm still trying to figure out what the president has to do with Arizona's mine-inspector race.

But there's a gaping hole in their logic: Republicans are the ones in power here in Arizona. We have a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled Legislature. In fact, the state Legislature has been in Republican hands for most of the past 40 years.

Arizona Democrats are outnumbered by Republicans, but our candidates often win because independents and moderates agree we represent the sensible center. Republicans know this, too, so they're trying to paint Arizona Democrats as something we are not.

I'm asking voters to reject Republican attempts to distort statewide races like attorney general or treasurer into referendums on national anger. I'm also asking voters to reject Republican attempts to nationalize our legislative races. These state and local races are about Arizona - about our schools, jobs and public safety. These are the priorities of Arizona Democrats.

Frankly, the Republican slate has done nothing to earn the tidal wave of support that it's predicting. Gov. Jan Brewer is managed by powerful lobbyists, and her "leadership" entails hiding from local media, fearmongering about Arizona, and passing off stimulus jobs as her own creation.

Tom Horne wants to be attorney general, yet he has a lifetime SEC trading ban and hid a past bankruptcy from the Corporation Commission. And Doug Ducey wants to be treasurer, yet he skipped tax payments on his Paradise Valley home, paying them back only after launching his candidacy. This is hardly the kind of leadership Arizona needs, especially during a crisis.

And then there's the Legislature. Having a Republican majority at our state Capitol comes at a price:

- Education: Arizona Democrats repeatedly fought against drastic, unnecessary school cuts that hurt our children's future and Arizona's economic recovery. But the Republicans in power approved more than $1 billion in cuts to our kids' classrooms.

- Jobs: Arizona Democrats want to create good jobs that can't be shipped across the border or to China or India. We demand accountability. If you're a corporation that gets a tax giveaway but you fail to create good Arizona jobs, you lose the tax break, and that money goes to our schools. But the Republicans in power have handed out millions in tax loopholes for big corporations without any accountability to create jobs.

- Public safety: Arizona Democrats oppose giving more control of state prisons to unregulated private corporations. But the Republicans in power continue to protect the private-prison lobbyists and their industry, which put our families at risk, as seen in the Kingman prison tragedy.

It's time for leaders who work for "We the People" - not for special interests. Arizona deserves better than a default vote in one direction.

So, learn a little more about the Democrat and the Republican in each race. And then practice a little anger management: Vote.

Don Bivens is chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party. He is a partner at Snell & Wilmer LLP in Phoenix.

Read more:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jessie Kelly claims Democrats are busing Mexicans in from across the border to vote.

Olbermann: Is Jesse Kelly High on Peyote?

Even GOP Secretary of State Ken Bennett says there is no evidence of voter fraud.
See AZ SOS: No Evidence Of Voter Fraud In Yuma County
TPM Muckraker

By Rachel Slajda | October 29, 2010, 1:37PM

The Arizona secretary of state this week shot down claims that a Hispanic get-out-the-vote group had committed voter fraud in Yuma County, in the race for the seat held by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D).

As we reported earlier this week, right-wing blogs were claiming that the SEIU-affiliated Mi Familia Vota had committed voter fraud by submitting thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms to the county. But the group hadn't submitted new voter registrations -- instead, they were signing up already registered voters to the permanent early voting list, meaning they'd get an early ballot mailed to them every year. The top county elections official said that there was no evidence of fraud.

Continue reading here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Huppenthal Attacks U of A Ethnic Studies

The Arizona Capitol Times reported this morning that if elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, Sen. John Huppenthal will use his seat on the State Board of Regents to fight against the U of A ethnic studies program.

Democratic candidate Penny Kotterman says that the Board of Regents should not be involved in curriculum. Regent Ernest Calderon agrees the Board is a policy-making body.

Huppenthal, who believes that the U of A ethnic studies program fosters “hateful attitudes toward America," also attacked the U of A Department of Education for being substandard.

Kotterman says that the U of A College of Education does not have a low rank as Huppenthal claims.

The article by Gary Grado  is subscription only at Arizona Capitol Times.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


The Skinny by Jim Nintzel
Tucson Weekly

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Republican challenger Jesse Kelly finally met head-on in three debates last week, giving Congressional District 8 voters a chance to see the candidates face off ahead of the election this Tuesday, Nov. 2.

The Sierra Vista debate, where Libertarian Steve Stoltz was not onstage, showed off the starkest contrast between the two candidates, particularly when the future of Fort Huachuca came up. Giffords showed that she understood details about the fort’s needs, including the importance of protecting the San Pedro River, which is one of Southern Arizona’s vital waterways.

Kelly, on the other hand, said that the fort needed to be protected “at all costs,” but he didn’t get into the details—because he just doesn’t know them.

And that’s Kelly in a nutshell: Most of the time, he has no idea what he’s talking about, but the man can spew more bullshit than all of the cattle in Cochise County.

For a political rookie, Kelly has run one hell of a campaign. He won a tough primary fight, and he just might come out on top next week, if enough voters swallow his one-liners about freedom and liberty and the evils of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and how big-government liberalism and out-of-control spending is destroying the country.

He swears he won’t ask for earmarks for Southern Arizona’s military bases, universities or domestic-violence shelters—yet he cashes paychecks that come from a family business that takes tens of millions of dollars from government contracts that are funded with federal dollars, including earmarks and stimulus spending.

We sure wish we could get little bit of that tyranny in our lives.

Continue reading here.

Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law

Glenn Nichols, city manager of Benson, Ariz., last year two men came to the city "talking about building a facility to hold women and children that were illegals."

October 28, 2010

Last year, two men showed up in Benson, Ariz., a small desert town 60 miles from the Mexico border, offering a deal.

Glenn Nichols, the Benson city manager, remembers the pitch.

"The gentleman that's the main thrust of this thing has a huge turquoise ring on his finger," Nichols said. "He's a great big huge guy and I equated him to a car   salesman."

What he was selling was a prison for women and children who were illegal immigrants.

"They talk [about] how positive this was going to be for the community," Nichols said, "the amount of money that we would realize from each prisoner on a daily rate."

But Nichols wasn't buying. He asked them how would they possibly keep a prison full for years — decades even — with illegal immigrants?

"They talked like they didn't have any doubt they could fill it," Nichols said.

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

HELP Nancy Young-Wright Fight Williams' SHOCKING, DECEITFUL TACTICS

October 27, 2010

My opponent, Vic Williams just sent voters in Legislative District 26 an incredibly misleading piece of campaign mail.  In this mail piece, Vic implies that University of Arizona President Robert Shelton has endorsed his campaign.  I have learned from President Shelton that this usage by Vic's campaign was not authorized.  ( Read Shelton's statement in the Arizona Daily Star here.  )

By using President Shelton’s good name, Vic cynically endangered Shelton's position as a nonpartisan community leader and treated the University of Arizona as nothing more than a prop for his reelection.

I recognize it is a bit unusual for a candidate to display their opponent's campaign materials, but you have to see this for yourself.  Click here for a copy of this dishonest campaign mail.

In this mail piece, Vic also falsely asserts that he is a supporter of education, the Science Foundation Arizona and First Things First.  These are just further examples of Vic's willingness to say one thing in Tucson while voting the opposite way in Phoenix.

I will not stand for this dishonesty, and I hope you will not either.

Consider these other specific examples of how Vic misleads voters:

Vic says he protected Science Foundation Arizona, but he caved to his Phoenix Political Bosses and voted repeatedly to defund it in the Appropriations Committee and on the House Floor. (HB 2001, 1/29/09; SB 1002, 1/31/09; HB 2005, 3/9/10)

It took a court ruling to get Vic and his Political Bosses to restore any of Science Foundation’s funding last year. The Foundation has received no state funding this year. (Arizona Republic, 11/18/09; Arizona Daily Star, 7/1/10)

While Vic brags about protecting First Things First – a voter-approved Childrens' Health Care and Early Education program, he could have single-handedly killed the effort to repeal this program.  Instead he chose to go along with his Phoenix political bosses.

Vic voted to repeal First Things First when it came before the House Appropriations Committee, while voting against repealing it on the House floor. There was no change in the language between the committee version and the floor version.

The bottom-line is that if Vic Williams would have voted against the legislation in Committee, it would have been a 6-6 vote and thus the repeal of First Things First would have died in Committee.  (HCR 2001, Appropriations vote, 3/9/10, HCR 2001, House floor vote, 3/11/10)

Vic calls himself a supporter of public education, but voted against our kids 68% of the time according to the nonpartisan Arizona Education Network.
(Arizona Education Network)
He claims he was the “go-to-legislator” for the U of A, but in Phoenix he was the Political Bosses’ go-to-guy for $1.2 billion in cuts to universities and public schools. (HB2633 5/4/09, HB2001, 3/11/10, SB1002, 11/23/09, SB1006, 1/31/09)
I believe you will be as outraged as I am at Vic's deceitful and dishonest tactics.

If you are disturbed by this behavior and lack of ethics, I need your help NOW.  We are campaigning hard down to the wire and still need contributions to fight these shocking tactics.  If you contribute online, your donation will be available for voter contact these final days of the campaign.

Also, we need volunteers.  If you able to volunteer during the last days of the campaign, we need your help.  Send us an e-mail

Finally, and most importantly, tell your friends and neighbors registered to vote in LD 26 that I am the only candidate with a proven track record of standing up for our schools and kids.



PS: The Star just posted an article about this.And here is the rest of it.

Giffords Stands Against Kelly, One of Salon's 10 Most Terrifying Would Be Congressmen

The 10 most terrifying would-be congressmen

Slide show: One may have dry-fired a gun near his ex-wife, another may have gotten away with murder


Jesse Kelly (Arizona, 8th District)

Jesse Kelly (Arizona, 8th District

In March, John McCain's spokesman declared that the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) is "backed by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and anti-Semites." Evidently, that view is not shared by Jesse Kelly, the GOP hopeful who is now running neck and neck with Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona's 8th District. Kelly has embraced ALIPAC's endorsement and signed the ALIPAC pledge to "use the full power of my office, including impeachment if necessary" to secure the U.S. border.

The Anti-Defamation League agrees with McCain. "White supremacists and racist skinheads have encouraged their followers to engage in activity on behalf of ALIPAC," the ADL charged last year. The ADL has shown how ALIPAC President William Gheen portrays illegal immigrants as criminals who carry infectious diseases.

Message from Gabrielle Giffords

Yesterday Salon.com named my opponent as the #1 Most Terrifying Would-Be Congressman of the 2010 election cycle.  Trust me...it's not because of what he's planning to wear on Halloween.
Here's what we know about Jesse Kelly: he has repeatedly called for privatizing and eliminating Social Security; he promises that if elected he will eliminate the Department of Education, cutting over $1 billion from Arizona public schools; and now he states that  "it's our job to protect ourselves" from food contamination like the recent salmonella outbreak.   These are serious times for our country and we need leaders with logical solutions to the problems that we face.  The dangerous rhetoric presented by my opponent is truly scary.
Can you give $250, $100 or $50 now to ensure that the nightmare of an extreme right-wing agenda representing us doesn’t become a reality?
There is less than one week left until Election Day and I need you today.  This is our last chance to knock on doors, make phone calls, and remind our supporters to get out and vote.  We need to give it our all and your help is more important than ever.  Why? Because the alternative is too frightening to consider.
Thank you again!

Sincerely yours,

P.S.  There is nothing scarier this fall than the prospect of my opponent's dangerous agenda representing us in Congress.  Your contribution of $50, $100 or $250 today will make all the difference in ensuring we are successful next Tuesday! 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Terry Goddard
has a long history of supporting issues that are uniquely of great concern to women, youth and families. As Mayor and Attorney General, Terry has promoted opportunities for women and has been an active voice for key issues of social justice, civil rights, diversity, job security and education. He has a strong record, developed over 30 years of action, of support for reproductive rights. As Governor, he will continue to fight for the protection of women, children and crime victims, especially those who are most vulnerable and his positions on reproductive health will remain consistent and clear.  http://www.terrygoddard.com/women


Download this PDF to read Terry's stance on choice. 

Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor. Really. We Mean It.

Economists are making the case politicians are afraid to: Immigration is great for the U.S.

U.S.-Mexico border. Click image to expand.

If you pay attention only to politics, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the current debate about immigration in America is limited to how severely it should be restricted—whether we need only to seal the border or actually change the birthright citizenship clause in the Constitution.

But among economic pundits, the discussion is heading in exactly the opposite direction. Pro-immigration arguments are booming, and reached a zenith this week with the publication of a paper by the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, arguing among other things that immigrants, despite popular misconception, do not displace American workers. This has led a number of economic bloggers to make the very rational argument that one of the best things America could do now to fix our sagging economy is to encourage more people to come here and work.
According to the econo-blogosphere lately, immigration is a cure-all for America's economic ills. We'll get to the question of whether anyone is listening, but here is a guide to the virtues-of-immigration arguments that have been making the rounds in recent weeks.

Continue reading here.

Tea Party Vow to Deter Voter Fraud Is Called Scare Tactic

New York Times
Published: October 26, 2010

 WASHINGTON — In 2006, conservative activists repeatedly claimed that the problem of people casting fraudulent votes was so widespread that it was corrupting the political process and possibly costing their candidates victories.

The accusations turned out to be largely false, but they led to a heated debate, with voting rights groups claiming that the accusations were crippling voter registration drives and reducing turnout.

That debate is flaring anew.

Tea Party members have started challenging voter registration applications and have announced plans to question individual voters at the polls whom they suspect of being ineligible.

In response, liberal groups and voting rights advocates are sounding an alarm, claiming that such strategies are are scare tactics intended to suppress minority and poor voters.

Continue reading here.

Court throws out Arizona rule requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote

by Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
East Valley Tribune
Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 11:00 am | Updated: 1:20 pm, Tue Oct 26, 2010.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out a state mandate for people to provide proof of citizenship before being allowed to register to vote.

In a divided decision, the majority of the three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded the requirement, approved by Arizona voters in 2004, runs afoul of the federal National Voter Registration Act. That law spells out procedures to register to vote in federal elections.

Judge Sandra Ikuta, writing the majority decision, concluded that the Arizona law imposes an additional requirement not permitted. Siding with Ikuta was retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who also heard the legal arguments.

The ruling drew fire from Judge Alex Kozinski who said the full 9th Circuit reached a different conclusion about the law three years ago.

But Ikuta said that 2007 decision, which came in a request by the same plaintiffs in this case to enjoin the law, "was rooted in a fundamental misreading of the statute.''

She said that earlier ruling was based on the premise that Arizona could either accept the federal form, which does not require proof of citizenship, or develop its own form.

"Rather the NVRA commands without exception that states 'shall' accept and use the federal form,'' Ikuta wrote. "And if they develop their own form, it can only be used 'in addition to' accepting and using the federal form.''

Tuesday's ruling is not a total defeat for the state.

The judges rejected other challenges to the law, including the requirement to provide identification before being allowed to cast a ballot, and an argument that having to obtain certain documents, some of which are not free, amounted to an unconstitutional "poll tax.'' 

Continue reading here.

Does Ruth McClung Accept Support From Racist Activists?

Press release from the Pima County Democratic Party:

Does Ruth McClung Accept Support From Racist Activists?                   

Rep. Raúl Grijalva's opponent, Ruth McClung, is being promoted for Congress by a former Washington Times editor and conservative blogger who has a history of promoting hate speech and skepticism about interracial marriage.

Robert Stacy McCain, who edited the Washington Times cultural page and reported for the paper from 1997 until his 2008 departure, has been promoting McClung's candidacy on his Web site with posts such as "Go, Rocket Girl, Go!" -- a reference to McClung's employment at Raytheon. McCain is well-known for extremist positions on integration, immigration and diversity, including a statement for the Web site "Reclaiming the South" opposing interracial marriage, of which he says:
“[T]he media now force interracial images into the public mind and a number of perfectly rational people react to these images with an altogether natural revulsion. The white person who does not mind transacting business with a black bank clerk may yet be averse to accepting the clerk as his sister-in-law, and THIS IS NOT RACISM, no matter what Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Washington tell us.”

In another post, McCain wrote against the civil rights work of Rev. Jesse Jackson:

“If rules were to be broken merely because they were work of white folks, then hasn’t Jackson gone a long way toward explaining the explosion of black criminality that began in the 1960s? This shows how the civil rights movement, to a great extent, represented a direct assault on tradition and law.”

McCain was a long-time member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, a group whose president has called President Obama "a domestic terrorist." McCain himself has posted extensively to known white nationalist Web sites, including American Renaissance and Overthrow.com.

The public needs to know why a known racist is promoting Ruth McClung's candidacy and how she feels about his support,” said Pima County Democratic Party Chair Jeff Rogers. “No amount of spin can hide Mr. McCain's political and social views, nor the fact that he aggressively promotes and raises funds for Mrs. McClung's campaign.”

For more read about Stacy McCain at Wikipedia.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"E Coli Conservatism" and Jesse Kelly: the pro-salmonella candidate

AZBlueMeanie at Blogforarizona  shares an article and video of GOP candidate Jesse Kelly's reply to a voter's question:

The voter asked if Kelly, if elected, would he help pass a law that would allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government agencies to shut down companies that have too many safety violations, such as the companies that allowed millions of eggs that sickened people to be sold to the public. Kelly responded that he doesn't "believe what we're lacking right now is more regulations on companies," complaining that "you could probably spit on the grass and get arrested by the federal government by now." When the voter followed up by asking, "Who's protecting us?" Kelly responded, "It's our job to protect ourselves." The exasperated voter asked once more, "Am I supposed to go to a chicken farmer and say I'd like you to close down because all of your birds are half dead?" Kelly once more answered, "There's a new thing that comes along every day. But I know this: Every part of our economy that is regulated by the government doesn't have fewer disasters, it has more."

If you're skeptical a congressional candidate could really be this crazy, all of this was captured on video.

Read entire article here. 

New Figures Detail Depth Of Unemployment Misery, Lower Earnings For All But Super Wealthy

Scary New Data: One in 34 Americans Earned Zero Wages

Huffington Post
First Posted: 10-25-10 12:22 PM   |   Updated: 10-25-10 01:09 PM

One out of every 34 Americans who earned wages in 2008 earned absolutely nothing -- not one cent -- in 2009.

The stunning figure was released earlier this month by the Social Security Administration, but apparently went unreported until it appeared today on Tax.com in a column by Pulitzer Prize-winning tax reporter David Cay Johnston.

It's not just every 34th earner whose financial situation has been upended by the financial crisis. Average wages, median wages, and total wages have all declined -- except at the very top, where they leaped dramatically, increasing five-fold.

Johnston writes that while the number of Americans earning more than $50 million fell from 131 in 2008 to 74 in 2009, those that remained at the top increased their income from an average of $91.2 million in 2008 to almost $519 million.

The wealth is astounding, says Johnston. "That's nearly $10 million in weekly pay!... These 74 people made as much as the 19 million lowest-paid people in America, who constitute one in every eight workers."

Johnston sees the depressing figures as a result of government tax policies maintained by politicians with an eye on re-election, not good government:

It is the latest, and in this case quite dramatic, evidence that our economic policies in Washington are undermining the nation as a whole.We have created a tax system that changes continually as politicians manipulate it to extract campaign donations. We have enabled ''free trade'' that is nothing of the sort, but rather tax-subsidized mechanisms that encourage American manufacturers to close their domestic factories, fire workers, and then use cheap labor in China for products they send right back to the United States. This has created enormous downward pressure on wages, and not just for factory workers.

Combined with government policies that have reduced the share of private-sector workers in unions by more than two-thirds -- while our competitors in Canada, Europe, and Japan continue to have highly unionized workforces -- the net effect has been disastrous for the vast majority of American workers. And of course, less money earned from labor translates into less money to finance the United States of America.

Johnston's assertions appear to be supported by a recent Senate vote.

In September, Senate Republicans along with a handful of Democrats, partnered to defeat the Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act, a bill that would have raised taxes on companies that send jobs abroad and benefited companies that bring jobs back to American soil. 
The notion that it's good business for American corporations to send jobs overseas has been championed by U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's biggest and most powerful business lobby.

The tabulations, staggering as they may be, are only half of half of picture.

Behind the official 10 percent unemployment (which is probably somewhere closer to 22 percent), are the stories of millions of individuals who are struggling to get by or are coming to terms with a future of lower wages and a life with less.

"60 Minutes" profiled the underemployed and unemployed on Sunday in a piece titled "The 99ers."

Among the most troubling stories: a financial analyst unemployed for two years and living in a stranger's attic and a former office manager who collects bottles and cans to get by.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Everyone Loses

Saturday, October 23, 2010


A Lifetime of "You're On Your Own"

By Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Ian Milhiser, and Tanya Somanader
Think Progress
Oct. 21, 2010


More than seventy years ago, the Supreme Court abandoned a brief, disastrous experiment with "tentherism," a constitutional theory that early twentieth century justices wielded to protect monopolies, strip workers of their right to organize and knock down child labor laws. This discredited constitutional theory is back -- with a vengeance -- endangering Medicare, Social Security, the minimum wage and even the national highway system and America's membership in the United Nations. For the first time in three generations, the right is fielding a slate of candidates convinced that any attempt to better the lives of ordinary Americans violates the Constitution -- while a number of sitting lawmakers such as Reps. John Shadegg (R-AZ) and Donald Manzullo (R-IL) are already actively pushing tentherism from within the Congress. Make no mistake, this agenda threatens all Americans, from the youngest schoolchild to the most venerable retirees.

SLAMMING SCHOOLHOUSE DOORS: Tentherism's core tenet is that the 10th Amendment must be read too narrowly to permit much of the progress of the last century. Thus, for example, because the Constitution doesn't actually use the word "education" -- it instead gives Congress broad authority to spend money to advance the "common defense" and "general welfare" -- Senate candidates like Ken Buck (R-CO) and Sharron Angle (R-NV) claim that the federal Department of Education is unconstitutional. That means no federal student loan assistance or Pell Grants for middle class students struggling to pay for college, and no education funds providing opportunities to students desperately trying to break into the middle class. And that's hardly the worst news tenthers have in store for young Americans. Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller wants to declare child labor laws unconstitutional -- returning America to the day when ten-year-olds labored in coal mines.

Continue reading here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

GOP plan dramatically reduces Social Security benefits, actuary finds

By Sahil Kapur
RawStoryThursday, October 21st, 2010 -- 2:25 pm

A high-profile Republican budget plan would slash Social Security benefits in the long-run -- perhaps even by up to half of what they are now, the program's actuary concluded in a new study.

The Chief Actuary of Social Security analyzed a proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the GOP's ranking member on the budget committee, who could become its chairman in January, and found that new entrants in the US workforce could see massive decreases in their payouts upon retirement.

It was unveiled Wednesday by Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee on Social Security, less than two weeks before an election in which Democrats have elevated Social Security into a major campaign issue.

"The new analysis reveals that these proposals result in benefits cuts ranging from ten percent to as high as 50 percent," Pomeroy said in a statement. "As I talk to seniors today about stretching their Social Security benefits with no cost of living adjustment in sight, they would not agree with describing cuts of this magnitude as 'modest'."

The Ryan "Roadmap for America's Future," the plan that was analyzed, has 13 co-sponsors (all Republicans). GOP leaders, including House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) have declined to fully endorse it but haven't disavowed it, either.

"I don't think the average American worker could afford to lose 30 percent of their Social Security, which is what would happen under the Republican proposal. That's not what I'd call 'saving' Social Security," Pomeroy said.

Ryan shot back, saying through a spokesman that Pomeroy was engaging in "partisan attacks" and warned that the status quo would bankrupt the program.

"According to the Social Security Administration, Congressman Pomeroy’s do-nothing plan will impose painful, across-the-board benefit cuts on current seniors and those nearing retirement," Ryan spokesman Conor Sweeney said in a statement e-mailed to Raw Story.

Social Security's trust fund is currently running a $2.5 trillion surplus, according to its trustees report, and is not projected to run into funding problems until 2037.

Democrats have relentlessly attacked Republican high-ticket candidates -- such as Joe Miller and Sharron Angle -- this election cycle for criticizing the program and questioning its future viability.

Some Democratic leaders do argue, however, that the program may need to be "tweaked" to ensure long-run solvency, with changes such as incremental increases to the retirement age.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sitting out the elections? Think again

People's World
October 13 2010

Some voters on our side of the struggle are taking a powder on the elections. They claim that President Obama raised their hopes as a candidate and let them down as a president.

They expected bold action on the economic crisis, but it didn't happen. The stimulus didn't go far enough. Ditto for health care legislation. The scale and pace of change has been too slow - too many people are out of work, out of affordable health care, and out of their homes.

Meanwhile, their riff goes, bloodletting continues in Afghanistan, corporations are sitting on nearly $2 trillion of idle money, profits are up, inequality is growing, and tax cuts for the wealthy are draining our treasury and driving up the national deficit.

There is truth here, but the question is: is it enough to stay home? I say no for three reasons.

To begin with the most obvious, the elections' impact on people's lives. Even though the size of the stimulus was inadequate and a public option was missing in the new health care law, both bills bring a measure of relief to millions of people. And as a friend of mine keeps reminding me, it may make only an inch of difference, but a lot of people live on that inch.

Which brings me to next month's congressional elections. If the Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives, that inch of difference (things like unemployment insurance extensions, food stamps, relief for local and state governments, modest jobs and infrastructure programs, readjustment of tax policy in favor of working people, funding for education, a real fight over military appropriations for Afghanistan) will probably vanish - along with hope for more far-reaching measures.

Furthermore, "austerity" will become the watchword, the pressures to weaken Social Security and Medicare will grow, and the economic pain for working people is likely to get much worse.

Continue reading here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ed Show: Papantonio Decodes What a Tea Party America Would Look Like

Are Charters the Silver Bullet?

By Diane Ravitch
Education Week
 October 12, 2010

Dear Deborah,

Davis Guggenheim's "Waiting for 'Superman'" has dominated the air waves for the past few weeks with its message that public education is a failed enterprise and that privately managed charters are the answer to our nation's education problems. The film doesn't include a single successful public school teacher or public school. It is a one-sided, propagandistic attack on public education which echoes the prescriptions of those who have devoutly wished for the privatization of education. I imagine the shade of Milton Friedman chortling as his ideas about school choice become the rallying cry for the Obama administration, the Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, and various big-city superintendents allied with allegedly liberal forces.

Before we hop aboard the charter train, which is now driven by Race to the Top and other federal funding, we should pay attention to warning signs. There are new ones every day. In the past few days, I have learned of the following issues.

Continue reading here:

Friday, October 15, 2010

'Stimulus Jan' Tries to Pull A Fast One on Arizona Voters, Claims Credit for Federal Job Creation

Olberman: Tim Kaine Links Koch/Chamber Tea Party Money Trail to Attack Ad Campaign, Compares to Watergate

Countdown Exposes Republican Ops Plot to Target African American Precincts in Chicago

Maddow: Chamber of Commerce Promotes Outsourcing Jobs

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

CAGE Integrity


AZPM: Cheryl Cage vs Melvin

And here is the rest of it.

AZPM: Nancy Young-Wright Faces Off With Williams, Proud


"Proud" Supporters' Smear Campaign Against Nancy Young Wright for Standing Firm Against Rigged Privilege

Message from Rep. Nancy Young-Wright
October 12, 2010

Dear Friends,

In the last few days, signs have sprouted up around the district claiming that I “voted against disabled students.”  Terri Proud and her cronies have taken negative and dirty campaigning to a new low.

As some of you know, I have a family member who is severely disabled and I know all too well the difficulties that families of the disabled face on a daily basis. In fact, I am known as a vocal advocate on their behalf at the state capitol and I have often spoken out against the draconian budget cuts that have negatively impacted Arizonans with disabilities.

This attack shows how desperate the Phoenix bosses are to take back this seat. And why we can't let them do it.

At issue is a House Bill (HB2001) which was pushed through by the Phoenix political bosses in one of their many special sessions during the past two years.  

The bill’s intent?  To get around the Arizona Supreme Court, which had just ruled that the distribution of taxpayer money to private and religious schools was unconstitutional (Cain v. Horne).

Rather than respect our Constitution and the court’s ruling, the Phoenix bosses passed HB2001 on a strictly party-line vote, in special session, with little opportunity for public input.  This was yet another step by them to dismantle public education in Arizona.  And Vic Williams went right along, as he always does.

They used this legislation to further enrich corrupt and unaccountable private school tuition organizations (STOs) with your hard-earned tax dollars. The East Valley Tribune exposed this corruption in an investigative report called Rigged Privilege.
The bill was also an opportunity for the Phoenix politicians to grant even more tax giveaways to large corporations and insurance companies, paid for by you and me.

I’m proud that I stood against corruption, against more corporate tax loopholes, and with Arizona taxpayers by voting against HB2001. 

The fact that Terri Proud would attack me through a third-party group on this issue shows where her priorities are -- enriching corrupt STOs, giving even bigger tax loopholes to corporations and insurance companies, while hurting the middle class and draining more money from our public schools.  

While you can count on me to continue to do what’s right for District 26, Terri will clearly sell the taxpayers down the river to please her corporate benefactors.

If you’re as outraged as I am, click here to donate right now and help me fight back!

Thank you,


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Big Insurance, Pharma, Wall Street and John Boehner

by Richard L. Trumka,
Oct 7, 2010

Stacia Haley in Seattle worked all her life and raised a child as a single parent. Yet she has no retirement income other than Social Security.

[Social Security] is all many of us will have, if we live long enough to retire.

Stacia is right. Some 64 percent of America’s retirees rely on Social Security for 50 percent or more of their income.

Yet the man Wall Street wants to make speaker of the House supports raising the retirement age for Social Security, lowering the hammer even more on low- and middle-income Americans, who die earlier than the rich. (And what about that income gap? Well, never mind.)

This is just one of the extreme positions John Boehner holds while he salivates in the wings as House minority leader, angling for a Republican takeover of Congress bought and paid for by corporate America.

By now there should be no question that if Boehner becomes speaker, corporations will call the shots—and the insurance companies, drug manufacturers and Wall Street firms have been busy paying big time for the privilege. Boehner’s campaign to date has collected nearly $7.1 million. Putting that sum in perspective, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has received $2.9 million. Meanwhile, the “Boehner for Speaker” fundraising committee has racked up another $2 million.

Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, the American Bankers Association and Big Pharma are some of his biggest Wall Street backers, with the political action committees and employees of insurance firms alone giving nearly $426,000 to Boehner’s campaign committees through June 30, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Boehner is so soaked in lobbyist dollars that his clique of friends and current and former staff members on Capitol Hill have even been given a name: Boehner Land.

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert offers a snapshot of Boehner’s corporate backers who have:

contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaigns, provided him with rides on their corporate jets, socialized with him at luxury golf resorts and waterfront bashes and are now leading fund-raising efforts for his Boehner for Speaker campaign, which is soliciting checks of up to $37,800 each, the maximum allowed.

As the New York Times reported, one lobbyist in Boehner’s club—”after lauding each staff member in Mr. Boehner’s office that he routinely calls to ask for help—ticked off the list” of handouts to credit card companies, hedge fund execs and the oil industry for which he had sought Boehner’s assistance.

Take a look at just some of Boehner’s corporate agenda.

Boehner backs preserving tax cuts for businesses that shift jobs and profits overseas—saving multinational corporations $10 billion—and opposed a proposed cap on debit card fees. After all, Boehner’s friend and golf partner, Samuel J. Baptista, is a lobbyist whose clients include Goldman Sachs and Discover Financial Services.

Boehner has opposed extending unemployment insurance and spending to shore up our faltering infrastructure. That would mean less money available for tax breaks for the rich—like the 20 individual wealthy donors who alone contributed $570,300 in nearly one month under his new political organization, the Boehner for Speaker Committee.

Boehner wants to gut health care reform—
legislative action that tops the priority list of his insurance company employee funders. 

Continue reading here.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Friday, October 8, 2010

Phoenix - Arizona's budget is wildly out of control and Jan Brewer is trying to balance it on the backs of Arizona's children.  At a news conference today, Attorney General and candidate for Governor Terry Goddard painted a stark picture of Brewer will do for schools if elected
"The current budget shortfall is $825 million," said Goddard.  "Brewer's failure to balance the budget has put our state in crisis.  She doesn't want to talk about it, but she intends to make additional massive cuts to education.  The evidence is there in the budget she signed last Spring."

 Goddard referred to the budget, HB 2001.  That bill contains the full list of cuts that would have been enacted had the sales tax increase failed and the State had to close an $800 million budget defect. 

That [Alternative Budget] list of cuts makes it very clear what Brewer will do when she is finally forced to balance the budget.  Among the cuts listed:

•    $428 million to the Department of Education

•    $100 million from the School Facilities Board

•    $107 million from Universities

•    $13 million from Community Colleges
•   $2 million from the Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind.

A total of $550 million in cuts to education in Arizona. 

 "The effect of this next round of cuts will be horrible.  Class sizes will jump, with another six to ten students in every classroom," said Goddard.  "University students will pay $1000 more every semester in increased tuition.  Brewer has already admitted that she has cut education to the bone.  To cut it further - and still claim to support education - is cynical, hypocritical and wrong."

 "This is a huge difference between Jan Brewer and me.  She has made massive cuts to public schools and intends to make far more.  I believe Arizona schools have already been harmed too much.  We must draw the line against further destruction.  We must stop trying balancing the budget on the backs of our school children.  We must start restoring our public schools.  I will never be satisfied with Arizona schools at the bottom nationally."

 Goddard urged the media to ask the Governor to defend her plans.  "She refuses to debate, so I can't ask her.  She must be held accountable to explain her plans and not continue to duck and hide until after the election."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Countdown: The Chamber of Commerce, Inside The Plot to Buy America

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Chamber's Foreign Influence

B Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, and Tanya Somanader
October 6, 2010


Following the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in January, the right-wing U.S. Chamber of Commerce has taken record-breaking steps to influence the 2010 midterm elections. Pledging to spend an unprecedented $75 million this year, the Chamber is in the midst of launching one of the largest partisan attack campaigns to defeat Democrats, including candidates like Jack Conway (KY), Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA), Jerry Brown (CA), Rep. Joe Sestak (PA) and  Rep. Tom Perriello (VA). Having aired more than 8,000 campaign ads on behalf of GOP Senate candidates alone and having spent 85 percent of its current expenditure on Republicans, the Chamber's spending has "dwarfed every other issue group and most political party candidate committee spending."

It is well-established that the Chamber has used dues from corporations like health insurance giant Aetna to try to defeat health care reform, received contributions from bailed-out banks to lobby against Wall Street reform, and solicited funds from Fox News' parent company News Corporation for its election season attack campaign.

But a new ThinkProgress investigation reveals that the Chamber is leveraging foreign companies to help fund its activities. Foreign corporations that join the Chamber pay dues that go into the Chamber's general account, which the Chamber then employs to fund its attack campaign. The Chamber "firmly denies the charge, saying its internal accounting rules prevent any foreign money from being used for political purposes."

But, as a New York Times editorial notes today, foreign money is fungible, so "it is impossible for an outsider to know whether the group is following its rules." "We want to know what the system is. Basically, they claim they have a system, it's not enough to simply trust them, we need to verify," said ThinkProgress' Editor-in-Chief Faiz Shakir on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews yesterday. While Congressional members and watchdog groups are calling for further investigation into the charges, such campaign actions fall into "something of a regulatory netherworld" leading campaign finance watchdogs, lawyers, and current and former federal officials to believe regulatory agencies like the IRS or the FEC will not examine them closely. Thus, with the Citizens United ruling and the Chamber's abuse of its 501(c)(6) standing, the Chamber is set to use "unlimited money from donors who have no fear of disclosure."


Continue reading here.

Feds: Arizona is major supplier of weapons used by Mexican drug cartels

by Jay Crandall, Special Projects Producer
Posted on October 4, 2010 at 9:56 PM
Updated Monday, Oct 4 at 9:58 PM

Federal authorities are saying Arizona has now become a major supplier of the weapons being used by Mexican drug cartels. If the guns are purchased legally, how are they ending up in the hands of traffickers?

Blackwater's Black Ops

By Jeremy Scahill
The Nation
September 15, 2010   |    This article appeared in the October 4, 2010 edition of The Nation.

Over the past several years, entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation. Blackwater's work for corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies owned by Blackwater's owner and founder, Erik Prince: Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center (TRC). Prince is listed as the chairman of both companies in internal company documents, which show how the web of companies functions as a highly coordinated operation. Officials from Total Intelligence, TRC and Blackwater (which now calls itself Xe Services) did not respond to numerous requests for comment for this article.

One of the most incendiary details in the documents is that Blackwater, through Total Intelligence, sought to become the "intel arm" of Monsanto, offering to provide operatives to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm.

Governmental recipients of intelligence services and counterterrorism training from Prince's companies include the Kingdom of Jordan, the Canadian military and the Netherlands police, as well as several US military bases, including Fort Bragg, home of the elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and Fort Huachuca, where military interrogators are trained, according to the documents. In addition, Blackwater worked through the companies for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the US European Command.

Continue Reading here.

Jeremy Scahill, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, is the author of the bestselling Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, published by Nation Books. He is an award-winning investigative journalist and correspondent for the national radio and TV program Democracy Now!. You can read his blog on TheNation.com here.

WATCH Jeremy Scahill discuss Blackwater's Secret Relationship with Big Business on
Democracy Now!

The Real News: "Creative Destruction" and Fascism

 The RealNews
 Sept. 29, 2010

Prof. Robert Pollin, Director of PERI Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst:

Austerity is Not a Solution: Why the Deficit Hawks are Wrong


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Record income inequality threatens democracy

By The Editorial Board
Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 9:00 pm

“With the middle class gone and the laborer condemned to remain a lifelong wage-earner ... all the conditions are ripe for a crowning class-conflict equalling in intensity and bitterness anything pictured by the most radical follower of Karl Marx.”

Income inequality is at record levels in the United States, the Associated Press reported earlier this week after crunching new numbers from the Census Bureau.

In fact, income inequality was only slightly greater in 2009 than it was in 2008. But the trend toward greater income inequality has been apparent since the early 1980s — the decade when Gordon Gekko, a fictional character in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street,” first extolled the virtues of greed.

History — even fairly recent history — is not America’s strong suit. We ignore it at our own peril.
As far back as 1915, when Wisconsin statistician Willford King published the first comprehensive study of income and wealth in the United States, income inequality stoked fears of those concerned for the future of democracy.

Mr. King, whose words are quoted at the top of this editorial, was no socialist. His intention was to demonstrate that all Americans were sharing in the nation’s explosion of wealth. But that’s not what he found.

Instead, he discovered that the richest 1 percent of Americans controlled a staggering 15 percent of the nation’s wealth.

In the end, Mr. King decided that conditions weren’t yet quite ripe for the kind of class warfare that soon would break out in Russia.

As bad as things were here, he found, there were even greater concentrations of wealth and less social mobility in European nations such as Prussia and France.

That’s not true any more. So why aren’t more ordinary Americans concerned about the growing chasm between the super rich and everyone else? Perhaps it’s because they have no clue how wide it has become.

A new study by Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely, professors at Harvard Business School and Duke University, sheds unflattering light on the question. They asked a nationally and politically representative group of 1,000 Americans to estimate how much wealth is controlled by the wealthiest 20 percent of Americans.

Continue reading here.

Conservatives Just Killed 240,000 Jobs

Posted by Terrance Heath
October 5, 2010

Conservatives in Congress just fired 240,000 American workers.  Conservatives in Congress just essentially added 240,000 more Americans to the ranks of the unemployed. However you frame it, people who want to work and have been working
are soon to be out of work, thanks to GOP Senators members who refused to reauthorize — even for three months — a stimulus program so successful it won praise from Republicans like Mississippi governor Haley Barbour.

Steve Benen explains.

At issue is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund, which should have been one of the most popular programs in Congress. A key component of the Recovery Act, the fund subsidizes jobs with private companies, nonprofits, and government agencies, and has single handedly put more than 240,000 unemployed people back to work in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Governors, including Mississippi’s Haley Barbour (R), have sung its praises, and urged its extension. In July, CNN called the TANF Emergency Fund "a stimulus program even a Republican can love."
Except, Republicans didn’t love it. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) led the floor fight this week, and was even willing to accept a compromise: instead of a year-long extension that Democrats had requested, Durbin sought a three-month extension, at a cost of just $500 million, in order to keep the fund alive through the end of the year. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) refused to allow it.

"The majority has known this program was going to expire at the end of this month all year and has taken no steps to reauthorize this important social safety net program," said Enzi, who blocked Durbin’s request for "unanimous consent" for a reauthorization.

Of course, GOP Senator Judd Gregg (N,H.) killed a Democratic effort at reauthorization in March of this year. Just last week, GOP Senator Orrin Hatch shot down Democratic Senator Max Baucus’s attempt to reauthorize the program as part of a "tax extenders bill." And the House approved a bill reauthorizing TANF back in May.

Continue reading here.

Election 2010 - Republicans Plan Broad Attack on Women's Rights if Elected

By Steven Leser 
Oped News.com
October 5, 2010

It became clear to me shortly after writing my last article (1) that among the many crazy ideas espoused by many of its Tea Party candidates, the Republicans have a special focus in mind if elected. Republicans have simmered in anger for over 40 years at the progress of the women's equal rights movement. Finally, now, in 2010, they feel comfortable enough to run on a broad spectrum of policies that are blatantly anti-women's rights.

My last article mentioned that:

"While we are accustomed to Republican candidates being against a woman's right to have an abortion, five high-profile Tea Party Republican SENATE candidates, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ken Buck of Colorado, Joe Miller of Alaska, Sharron Angle of Nevada, and Christine O'Donnell of Delaware, are even against a woman's right to have an abortion in the case of rape or incest! Women would have to have their rapists baby. Girls raped by an uncle or cousin or their fathers would have to give birth to a child from a resulting pregnancy."


There are a few updates to that. I also found out that the GOP's NY Governor hopeful, Carl Paladino, is also for outlawing abortion for women even in the case of rape and incest. The reason that is so important is that if somehow, Roe v. Wade were overturned, the states would have the right to allow or prohibit abortion. With Paladino at the helm, New York's women would have no right to an abortion in virtually any situation. To say that this is out of touch with the wishes of the women of New York is an understatement.

I also found out that several Republican candidates, Ken Buck running for Senate in Colorado among them, want to limit the contraceptive options available to women.

We already know from data that the reason that women do not get equal pay for equal work has to do with family issues and planning. Women tend to outperform their male colleagues in pay up to the time they start a family and then they fall behind. Women who opt to never have families go on earning more than their male colleagues.

If you add restrictions on abortion and contraception to that equation, you are going to push the progress of women's equality back to what it was in the 1950's. Women are going to be reduced to having no choice but to be stay at home mothers taking care of their families. There is nothing wrong with that role for women AND men who choose it, but to have it forced on anyone because of restricted family planning options is criminal.

From their rhetoric, it's also clear that Republicans are back to wanting to punish women for having sex outside of marriage and want to trap women into having children if they dare to have sex either inside or outside of marriage. They want to destroy women's ability to plan a family and thus plan a career around their family plans.

By now some of you probably think I am exaggerating. It isn't possible, some of you are thinking, that Republicans really want to punish women for pre-marital sex. You would be wrong. This is what North Carolina Senator Jim DeMint had to say on the subject:

"[I]f someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn't be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who's sleeping with her boyfriend -- she shouldn't be in the classroom."

Continue Reading here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

BREWER'S DAMAGE TO CHILDREN - Education, Healthcare for Kids - Brewer Doesn't Care, She Just Cuts

Oct. 4, 2010

Jan Brewer has never hesitated to attack the welfare of our children.  Later today, in a stunning display of hypocrisy, she is scheduled to declare this 'Arizona's Child Health Day.' Yet, her cuts to children's healthcare and education are the meanest and most devastating Arizona has ever experienced.

"At the beginning of this year, Jan Brewer tossed tens of thousands of children off of Arizona's KidsCare health insurance," said Attorney General Terry Goddard. "Her cuts to education, so far, are more than one billion dollars.  Now, she is trying to destroy First Things First, our program for early education, which we know is the most effective way to help kids succeed in school."


"Arizona children are forced to suffer for her horrible budget management," added Goddard. 

Here is a partial list of the budget damage Jan Brewer has done to children and families:

  • Tens of thousands of children removed from the AHCCCS KidsCare program.   
  • New enrollment in KidsCare remains frozen.
  • State support for community health care centers has been wiped out, cutting off programs for the very poor.
  • 4,200 children have lost behavioral health services.
  • 20,000 poor children removed from the list for child-care subsidies.
  • Severe cuts to in-home services, forcing more children into foster care.
  • 300 developmentally disabled children have been cut off from state service.
  • 850 severely ill children removed from Children's Rehabilitative Services.
  • Substance abuse treatment denied to parents, putting a large number of children at further risk.
  • Support for grandparents caring for grandchildren has been eliminated.
  • CPS is no longer required to investigate all cases of child abuse.
In November, if voters pass Proposition 302, they will destroy the voter-approved program that funds early education in Arizona (First Things First).


"The debate on early education is over," said Goddard.  "There is no question that the best way to improve educational outcomes is to ensure - through early education - that children are ready to learn before they enter the first grade.  Jan Brewer is willing to sacrifice early childhood support and everything that goes with it - better test scores, higher graduation rates, and a better-trained work force."

"Rather than doing the hard work necessary to balance the budget - without this kind of damage to children - she is giving in to her lobbyist handlers and letting them call the most painful shots.

Change eyed in regulation of Arizona provisional ballots

Change eyed in regulation of Arizona provisional ballots

by by Alia Beard Rau
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 29, 2010

Each election, thousands of provisional ballots are thrown out in Arizona because the voter went to the wrong polling place. 

State elections officials say workers tell voters who show up at the wrong precinct on Election Day that their ballots may not be counted, but allow them to vote there anyway. The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and other voter-advocacy groups say they want the state Legislature to change what are some of the toughest laws in the nation so the votes of these wayward thousands can be counted.

ACLU of Arizona on Tuesday released a report analyzing how state law impacts provisional ballots, particularly provisional ballots cast at the wrong precinct in Maricopa, Pima, Coconino, Pinal and Yavapai counties. The federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires states to allow voters to cast a provisional ballot when there is a question about the voter's eligibility. But the act allows each state to set its own criteria for such ballots.

Arizona is one of 30 states that requires voters to cast a provisional ballot in the voter's assigned precinct to be counted.
The ACLU analyzed data from the November 2008 presidential general election and found that of 131,476 provisional ballots cast in the five counties, 13,467 were discarded because the voter cast the ballot at the wrong precinct.

According to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, 14,929 ballots statewide were discarded in that 2008 election because of a wrong polling place.

Statewide data for this year's primary election is not yet available. But in Maricopa County, 1,059 provisional ballots were discarded because voters cast them at the wrong polling place, county elections spokeswoman Yvonne Reed said.

Following the election, Arizona election officials go through all provisional ballots by hand to determine whether they should be counted. In addition to a wrong polling place, ballots can be discarded if the voter can't provide proper ID, was later determined to be ineligible to vote or had already cast a mail-in ballot.

Linda Brown, executive director of the Arizona Advocacy Network, said research conducted by her group has shown that Arizona typically distributes - and discards - more provisional ballots than most other states. Since 2005, members of her group have stationed themselves at polling places. She said they wanted to help alleviate confusion surrounding voter ID rules and discovered that many people had problems finding the correct polling place.

"People would say they had been to three polling places, and nobody could tell them where to vote," Brown said.

Brown said she had seen the statistics from the November 2008 election and "was appalled."

"We've had elections decided on 50 to 100 votes," she said. "These things matter."

One of the causes of the voter confusion, according to the ACLU and Brown, is that population shifts in Arizona regularly result in changing polling locations and their boundaries. Between 2006 and 2008, about 40 percent of the polling locations in Maricopa County changed, according to the ACLU.

ACLU of Arizona Executive Director Alessandra Soler Meetze said poll workers are instructed to tell voters they are in the wrong place and have maps to help them find the correct precinct. But she said workers can give lost voters provisional ballots and may not make it clear that the ballot will not be counted.

"A lot of this comes down to poll-worker training and voter education," Soler Meetze said.

The counties offer ways for voters to find their polling place online or by telephone. But Brown said on election days, at least in Maricopa County, the website freezes up because of high traffic, and the hotline can have a long wait.

Reed said workers cannot unequivocally tell a voter whose name doesn't show up on a precinct's voter list that their ballot won't be counted because that's not always the case. For example, if someone recently moved to the area, their name may not yet be on the precinct-voter list even though that is their correct polling place.

"We instruct them that they are not listed, and this is more than likely the wrong place," Reed said. "We can't turn a person away. The law won't allow us."

Secretary of State Ken Bennett is pushing to move from having a large number of small precincts to a smaller number of larger polling centers that would allow voters to cast their ballot at any center within their county.

Several other states, including Colorado, have been trying this format. Yavapai County tried it at a few polling locations in a May 18, 2008, special election.

Spokesman Matthew Benson said technology would allow a poll worker to use a computerized system to determine the appropriate ballot for each voter and print it out on the spot. Benson said the idea is at the research and discussion phase.

Soler Meetze said in the meantime, voters need to double-check their polling places, and election workers need to make sure voters understand that a provisional ballot cast at the wrong place will not be counted.

Brown said voters can avoid the problem by voting by mail. The deadline to request an early ballot for the Nov. 2 election is Oct. 22.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/azelections/articles/2010/09/29/20100929wrongprecinct0929.html#ixzz11QQCbIiF