Turning Point.

The threat of losing our democracy in the US did not end on January 6th. Republicans insist the 2020 election is not over. Not by a long shot.

Never mind that the Trump campaign lost more than 60 court cases to overturn 2020 election results, including in courts ruled by Trump appointees. Disregard the fact that Trump lost numerous recounts. Forget the fact that Biden accumulated over 7 million more votes than Trump. Ignore the fact that the few examples of voter fraud were committed by Republicans.

In a true democracy, that would be enough to force a political party to accept defeat. But Republicans no longer care about preserving our democracy. Having failed at their many attempts to overturn a free and fair election, including a violent insurrection aimed at murdering Democrats and holding congressional representatives hostage until they agreed to reinstall Trump in the Oval Office, it is abundantly clear that Republicans only care about winning. Winning at any cost.

So here we are on the precipice of becoming a failed democracy. A nation in which some citizens, based on the color of their skin and the size of their bank accounts, have long found it difficult to vote. A nation in which the vote of a resident of Wyoming counts nearly four times that of a California resident. A nation in which millions of residents of Washington, D.C. have no representation. A nation in which legislative and congressional districts are created to ensure that only Republicans can win them.

Yet, despite their advantages, neither of the last two Republican presidents won a majority of the popular vote.

As the Republican Party strayed further and further from reality, as its policies became increasingly unpopular, it resorted to fear tactics. Fear of the other. It created a propaganda network to constantly attack Democrats. It pandered to corporations, sponsoring legislation written by the secretive ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). It pandered to evangelical Christians by demonizing abortion and promoting discrimination. It pandered to millionaires and billionaires by promoting tax cuts and looking the other way as they exploited tax shelters to protect their wealth. And it embraced violent militias and white supremacists.

Now, having recognized that its structural advantages and dirty money are no longer enough to win, the party has decided to attack democracy itself. In 49 of our 50 states, Republicans have introduced legislation designed to make voting more difficult, especially for black and brown people and the working poor. And, in Arizona, the Republican-led legislature has engineered an audit of the 2020 vote, using a questionable company led by a conspiracy theorist. While denying access to the process by journalists and impartial observers, and by questionable procedures including ultraviolet lights and photographic scans of ballots, they hope to prove their previously announced claim: The election was stolen. If they do, Republicans are certain to conduct similar audits in other states with the goal of claiming that Biden is an illegitimate president.

Given Republican attempts to engineer elections and their results, it has become abundantly clear that Congress must pass bills to recognize the District of Columbia as a state and to create national standards for elections, improving voter registration and voting access while protecting election integrity.

Our democracy hangs in the balance.

Illusion Of Democracy.

The passage of SB 1062 by the Arizona legislature and subsequent veto by Governor Brewer drew national attention. But there’s one aspect of the incident that has gone largely overlooked…the fact that the legislation was not written by an Arizona legislator. It was written by a national stink tank, Alliance Defending Freedom and pushed by the ultra-right wing Center for Arizona Policy. In fact, most state legislation is no longer authored by legislators. The bills are written by lawyers working for the American Legislative Exchange Council, the State Policy Network, lobbyists for large corporations, the National Rifle Association and other conservative stink tanks.

Is it any wonder, then, that our Congress and our legislatures don’t seem to represent the will of the people?

The system of state legislators and congressmen sponsoring bills written by outsiders gives the illusion of representation. But the bills are written for the benefit of a few and to push a narrow ideology. They seldom benefit the majority. For example, the Iowa House recently passed a bill to legalize silencers for guns. How many Iowans will that benefit? The Ohio legislature passed a bill limiting voting hours. How many voters will that benefit? Other states have passed strict voter ID laws despite a lack of in-person voter fraud. The result will be to prevent many of the poor and the elderly from voting. Who will that benefit?

As a result of gerrymandering, issues with voter registration and the dark money used for campaign finance, a study by the non-partisan Electoral Integrity Project as reported by The Washington Post now ranks the US 26th in the world for electoral integrity and worst of all Western nations. And the situation will only get worse if Republicans and their stink tanks continue to push bills intended to rig elections.

How do we stop this blatant takeover of our democracy? Here’s an idea: Let’s ask candidates to reject any bills written by outsiders. Let’s demand that they solve problems for the majority of their constituents. Let’s treat all bills designed to limit civil rights with the same outrage as that for SB 1062. Let’s threaten to boycott states that pass such laws. Let’s refuse to do business with corporations that have co-opted our democracy.

Let’s make our votes count while we still have them.

Arizona Receives A Jolt Of Reality.

In a rare moment of clarity, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed Arizona’s anti-gay legislation disguised as a “religious freedom” bill. But don’t get the idea that Brewer had an epiphany of tolerance and inclusiveness. What she had was the commercial equivalent of electro-shock therapy. Not only had some of Arizona’s largest corporations – American Airlines, Intel and PetSmart, urged her to veto the bill. So did Apple, which recently agreed to open a plant in the state.

But the group that delivered the biggest jolt was the NFL Super Bowl committee which told her that they were exploring options to move next year’s Super Bowl from the Cardinal’s stadium in Glendale.

I’m guessing that our bleached blonde finger-wagger couldn’t reach for her veto pen fast enough!

So now it will be up to another deep red state to carry forward the Alliance Defending Religion hate bill known as SB 1062. But lest you think that this experience will be enough to bring the Arizona legislature to its senses, I encourage you to look at the steaming pile of bills still stinking up the statehouse. There are enough anti-federal government, anti-abortion, anti-environment, anti-wildlife, anti-voting rights, anti-civil rights, anti-education, anti-science, pro-Christian, and pro-gun bills to give the most ideological right winger an orgasm.

Arizona is a state of great natural beauty and warm weather. But the best part of visiting the state as a tourist is knowing that you don’t have to stay.

The Groups Behind The Group Behind The Group Behind The Legislators Behind The Bill.

Passage of SB 1062 by the Teapublican dimwits in Arizona’s legislature gives the impression that the entire state is intolerant, narrow-minded and bass-ackward. Of course, that is partially true. After all, Kansas, Maine, South Dakota and Tennessee all considered the same bill and ultimately rejected it. However, Arizona doesn’t deserve all the credit for being homophobic enough to pass SB 1062.

As it turns out, many of those behind the bill live outside our borders.

The bill began in the stink tank called Alliance Defending Freedom which was founded by Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, Televangelist D. James Kennedy, religious scare-monger Larry Burkett, Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, Christian broadcaster Marlin Maddoux, and former Reagan official Alan Sears. Alliance Defending Freedom has pushed the bill nationally through its many affiliated right wing groups. One of those, Center for Arizona Policy, an Arizona-based stink tank, then shopped the bill around the legislature in search of narrow-minded sponsors.

Of course, given the hateful leanings of the Teapublican legislature, finding a sponsor willing to institutionalize and encourage discrimination based on religious beliefs (no matter how wacko) was not difficult.

In the State Senate, Sens. Steve Yarborough, Bob Worley and Nancy Barto were more than willing accomplices. In the House, a Tea Party Who’s Who consisting of Reps. Farnsworth, Kavanaugh, Allen, Boyer, Coleman, Gowan, Gray, Kavanaugh, Kwasman, Lesko, Livingston, Montenegro, Peterson, Pierce, Smith, Thorpe, Tobin, Townsend, Barton, Mesnard and Mitchell all jumped in the clown car to rush to add their names as sponsors for the companion bill HB 2153.

Many of those who voted for the bill claim to have never read it. That’s entirely believable as most of them seem to merely occupy a legislative seat as representatives of CAP, ALEC, the Goldwater Institute and others. Three state senators who voted for the bill publicly expressed their regrets after seeing the backlash. However, most of the bill’s sponsors have dug in their heels citing what they believe is a misinformation campaign carried out by the “liberal” media and other “outside interests.” They seem unconcerned that the bill was originated by outside interests.

As Gov. Jan Brewer is meeting with legislators and advisers in order to decide whether or not to veto the bill, the state is already losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cancellations for conventions and tourism. Many of the state’s largest corporations and most prominent business leaders have called for her veto. So have airlines serving the state, as well as the committee planning for next year’s Super Bowl in Arizona. Yet, I suspect Brewer is in no hurry to announce a decision. She has until Saturday to veto the measure to prevent it from becoming law. In the interim, she’s exactly where she wants to be…in the national limelight with all of the attention focused on her as it was before she signed the racist, anti-immigrant bill known as SB 1070.

Given that, it’s difficult to predict what she will do. Common sense advice and civil rights concerns have seldom swayed her before.

In 2004, Thomas Frank authored What’s the Matter with Kansas? The book explored the conditions and beliefs that led to the hateful political environment that exploded in Kansas. Maybe it’s time for Frank to write a follow-up: What’s the Matter with Arizona?

Arizona Turned Upside-Down.

Mark it down. On Thursday, June 13, 2013, the Earth stood still! The clouds parted. The impossible became possible. Red turned blue. Blue turned red. Tempers cooled, even if the temperatures didn’t.

In a brief moment of clarity and political sanity, moderate Republicans joined Democrats at the behest of our finger-wagging Governor Brewer to pass a state budget that includes an expansion of Medicaid. It was a victory for bipartisanship, responsible government and “Obamacare.”

As a result, tens of thousands more Arizonans will have healthcare insurance.

Of course, the Teapublican legislators are apoplectic. For hours, extending through the evening and into the early morning, they railed against Obamacare and the federal government. They labeled the moderate Republicans and Governor Brewer as traitors. They said they were betrayed; bullied; treated as a minority. Hmmm…as the old saying goes, it seems these Tea Party Parasites finally got a taste of their own medicine. (Pun intended.)

Thank you Governor Brewer and moderate Republicans. Your display of bipartisanship and common sense was great! Unfortunately, I fear the attitude won’t last.

What Passes For Government In Arizona.

If you think the right wing lunacy in Arizona is limited to the unconstitutional anti-Latino bill SB 1070, anti-federal government nullification laws, unrestricted gun sales, and the nation’s most corrupt…er…toughest sheriff, you haven’t seen anything.

A few weeks ago, the Arizona legislature held a hearing on Agenda 21 that brought out the Tea Party Parasites to vent their paranoia about the non-binding UN proposal to ensure the sustainability of our planet. Of course, the Parasites’ fear and loathing paled in comparison to that of our tinfoil hat legislators…both those holding the hearing and the wacko woman (who is herself an Arizona State Senator) decrying the new world order.

Here are the video highlights for your amusement and enjoyment: Arizona UN Agenda 21 Hearing Highlights.

As you can see, the tinfoil hat crowd can’t answer simple questions about Agenda 21 and basic city planning. All they can do is recite the lies and paranoia of Glenn Beck and others. They hate the federal government and they HATE the UN, yet the State of Arizona relies on generous federal subsidies to even exist!