Arizona

Anti-Gay Marriage Activists in Wisconsin Worry Their Amendment May Fail

Supporters of referendum, which also bans civil unions, cite the recent New Jersey decision. Watch their new ad, courtesy of right-wing funders. Focus on the Family is concerned about Arizona and Colorado as well.

Rocky Mountain News: Club for Growth Spent Most Money Attacking Republicans

Group cited in “bitter GOP infighting,” putting at risk seats once considered safe in Colorado, Idaho, Arizona, and Rhode Island.

Gingrich Applauds Voter ID Ruling

In Arizona. Measure supposedly aimed at illegal immigrants.

A Voucher Warrior Steps off the Battlefield?

bolick.bmp The voucher movement has been dealt some serious set-backs in recent months. In July, a study by the Department of Education found that public school students outperform their private school peers – undercutting the right-wing’s basic argument that private schools are better. In August, a similar study found that public school students also learn more than students in charter schools. Last month, a survey released by Gallup and the non-partisan education organization Phi Delta Kappa found that public support for vouchers is in a free-fall. A poll of Indiana residents by the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy came up with similar results. And recently major fractures have occurred between different factions of the Right over the proposed national voucher program and the Bush administration’s implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. All this may have proven to be too much for one of the privatization movement’s biggest stars. An Arizona paper announced yesterday that Clint Bolick, president and general counsel for the pro-voucher Alliance for School Choice has taken a position with a Scottsdale law firm. In recent years, Bolick has committed himself to fighting against public education, he first rose to prominence a crusader against affirmative action as a disciple of Clarence Thomas. He was co-founder of the right-wing legal group called the Institute for Justice and a prominent player in the conservative libertarian community. This news may not indicate Bolick’s outright surrender in the Voucher Wars, but could it be the beginning of a strategic retreat and reorganization at the highest levels of the right-wing coalition against public education?

Grassroots Apparently Imported in State Spending Initiatives

Earlier this week, USA Today reported how backlash from last year’s Supreme Court ruling on eminent domain has led to ballot initiatives in eleven states to reform the process – and how in some cases, the “property rights” movement is coupling eminent domain initiatives with other measures, such as one in three states advancing an obscure libertarian theory called “regulatory takings” which is designed to undermine zoning and environmental laws. According to USA Today, the ballot initiatives are “bankrolled largely by libertarian organizations controlled by New York City real estate investor Howie Rich. The groups, Americans for Limited Government and the Fund for Democracy, have donated $4 million to ballot drives in eight states.”

Last week’s episode of “NOW” on PBS delved into the effort in Montana to advance three initiatives: one to limit eminent domain, one to make it easier to recall judges, and one to implement a constitutional cap on spending, much like the controversial “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” that Colorado voters partially rescinded two years ago.

“NOW” tries to look at who financed the effort in Montana.

[PBS correspondent Maria] HINOJOSA: You're talking $600,000—to put your initiatives on the ballot in Montana. Where does the— that money come from, the 600,000—

[SOS Treasurer Trevis] BUTCHER: From major donors

HINOJOSA: Can you, can you name some of them?

BUTCHER: No. And— and the reason—

HINOJOSA: And why— why wouldn't you name them?

BUTCHER: Because our— our membership is a private list

HINOJOSA: Do you think that if you were to disclose who funds your organization, who's been funding the initiatives, the $600,000 that this has cost, do you think that if you disclose that, that that might influence how voters voted on these initiatives?

BUTCHER: What does it matter? I— I don't see that there's a relationship there. The reality is—

HINOJOSA: If it doesn't matter, then—

BUTCHER: —is the voters are the ones that get to do that.

HINOJOSA: But why not reveal who is helping to fund you? What is so controversial about revealing the names of foundations, or corporations that are national, and revealing it to your fellow Montanans? Why not?

BUTCHER: Why should we? You know? I mean, that's— that's the reality.

As PBS shows, all signs point to Howard Rich, who is providing 99 percent of the funding for similar initiatives in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Missouri. PBS has the video and transcript.

Earlier this month, the initiatives were stricken from the ballot after a judge found a “pervasive and general pattern of fraud” by out-of-state signature gatherers.

Montana pig Michigan pig

The anti-spending pig used in the Montana was also used in Michigan. (PBS)

Values Voter Summit: Media Coverage Hones in on November

While The New York Times took note of Connie Marshner’s workshop on turning out churchgoers to the polls using deceptive tactics and The Los Angeles Times revealed that Jerry Falwell joked to a pastors’ breakfast that the Religious Right base would be more riled up about Hillary Clinton’s nomination for president in 2008 than Satan’s, the theme that reporters covering the Values Voter Summit latched on to was whether a disillusioned Right Wing would come through for Republicans facing daunting mid-term elections.

  • Christian Conservatives Look to Re-energize Base, New York Times. “Openly anxious about grass-roots disaffection from the Republican Party, conservative Christian organizers are reaching for ways to turn out voters this November, including arguing that recognizing same-sex marriage could also limit religious freedom.”
  • Conservatives Confident Base Will Vote, Associated Press. “Critical to the Republican base, conservatives expressed confidence Friday that their rank-and-file will vote Nov. 7 even though the GOP-controlled Congress hasn't delivered this year on their core issues.”
  • Tactic Uses Pulpits to Power the GOP, Los Angeles Times. “[T]op evangelical leaders pleaded with their followers Friday to put aside frustrations and turn out for GOP candidates.” As a side note, Televangelist Jerry Falwell – who confided that God will save the Republican majority this November –
  • Dobson: Rallying family values voters, Rocky Mountain News. Despite disappointment, Dobson is committed to helping the GOP this year – holding rallies in battleground states Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Tennessee.

And while the Religious Right activists on the podium, at least, were sure of their commitment to the Republicans this election cycle, they still want to push through a few more items on their “values agenda.” At the conference, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that House Republican action on some of the items in their wish list this summer “brought some trust and confidence back”; now, FRC is asking its supporters to pray for a few more.

The conference was also an opportunity for Republicans looking to solidify their credentials with the far Right. The right-wing Washington Times called speeches by Newt Gingrich, Sens. George Allen (R-Virginia), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), and Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) as well as Govs. Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts) and Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas) “auditions” for potential Republican presidential candidates – and noted that the Family Research Council says it invited Sens. Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), John McCain (R-Arizona), Hillary Clinton (D-New York), and John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) as well. Maggie Gallagher, a speaker on the marriage panel, concluded, “I believe Mitt Romney may be the only hope social conservatives have in 2008.”

Rep. Tancredo Sees Arizona Primary as Vindication of His Anti-Immigrant Politics

With Graf win in Republican-held district. But poll of general-election match-up indicates otherwise.

Minuteman Hail Graf Primary Win in Arizona as Message to DC

Minuteman Civil Defense Corps PAC spent $40,000 against national GOP, which fears Dem takeover.

Right Splits: Minutemen Back Goldwater Son for Arizona Governor

Against McCain-endorsed Religious Right operative.

The Million Moocher March

[Harper] Last night’s edition of “Hannity & Colmes” featured a segment on an immigration reform/counter-anti-immigration rally in Phoenix with Arizona State Senator Jack Harper appearing on the show to represent to anti-immigration forces. Co-host Alan Colmes noted that one anti-immigration protestor wore the Mexican flag as a diaper while another tied the flag to the bottom of her shoes and asked Harper if he supported that type of protest, to which Harper squinted and mumbled some incoherent reply alleging that areas at the rally had been cordoned off where “they would not allow US citizens to go but Mexican illegal aliens were able to go” and that there were some “prominent anarchists … who protest everything that tears down America” in attendance.   Harper then went on to say
Well, I’ve dubbed this the Million Moocher March, because there is no reason – if they came here to work, there is no reason why they need citizenship. They only want citizenship; most of – many of them because they want to be able to collect welfare and I don't believe the American taxpayers support that.
Colmes rightly responded that such an allegation was “pretty insulting,” at which point the other guest jumped in, thereby saving Harper from having to defend his contemptible comment.       View the video highlight: Broadband or Dial-Up.

Dialing for Vouchers

A group headed by voucher pusher and civil rights foe Clint Bolick has created a telephone hotline to help Arizona parents get information on the state’s new pro-privatization laws. Right now callers to the hotline are simply asked to leave a message, but Arizona Republic columnist Richard Ruelas offers Bolick’s group some helpful suggestions to make the hotline a better source of honest information:

"Hello and thank you for calling the School Choice hotline. For English, please stay on the line. Para Español, press '2' to be disconnected since no Arizona private schools offer programs for English learners.

"If you are poor, please press '3.'

"If you are not sure if you are 'poor,' know that Arizona's new corporate tax-credit law defines 'poor' as being nearly 3.5 times the poverty level, or $68,450 for a family of four. Press '4' for more instructions, or have your servants figure it out.

"If you wish to make a campaign donation to Representative Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, the man who pushed for this bill and will benefit from it since he heads up one of Arizona's largest tuition tax-credit organizations, press '5.'

"If you wish to just laugh hysterically over the fact that Arizona passed a law that defines a $68,000 household as 'poor,' press '6.' One of us school-choice types will be on the line to gladly laugh along with you."

No doubt the ‘school choice types’ Ruelas refers to are having a good laugh. As People For the American Way Foundation research has shown, the so-called ‘tuition tax credits’ in Arizona, which overwhelmingly benefit wealthy parents and private, religious schools, are nothing more than vouchers in disguise. Though voucher pushers like Bolick claim to support public education, corporate tax credit schemes divert millions of dollars of public money to unaccountable private schools - millions of dollars that could be spent on public school reforms that work.

An Extremely Odd Alliance

The Washington Times has been dogged in its attempts to find out how the Minutemen has handled its finances, as well as investigating the tight alliance it has formed with organizations run by Alan Keyes.  

The Times’ most recent report notes just how intertwined the Minutemen and Keyes have become

Last month, several Minutemen questioned what happened to donations collected since the group's first border vigil in Arizona in April 2005. They said they had no idea how much money had been received, how it had been spent or why it was being routed through a Virginia-based charity headed by conservative activist Alan Keyes. 

 

Last month, Mr. Simcox said $1.6 million in donations had been collected, although he had no documents to verify the claim. He said $1 million went directly to MCDC and $600,000 for a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border, all of it handled through the Herndon-based Declaration Alliance, founded and chaired by Mr. Keyes.    

Mr. Keyes has endorsed the Minuteman organization as programs of Declaration Alliance and the Declaration Foundation, another Virginia-based charitable organization he heads. He also accused critics of being "decidedly racist and anti-Semitic," saying they had been removed as members of the Minuteman organization.    

For a fee, American Caging manages money collected by nonprofit groups, their telemarketers and direct-response agencies. Caging firms give nonprofit organizations the ability to receive and disburse donations without having to hire a staff.   

In addition to MCDC, the firm's clients include Declaration Foundation, Declaration Alliance and the Declaration Alliance Political Action Committee. It also has handled funds for Mr. Keyes' unsuccessful political campaigns, including his failed 2004 senatorial race in Illinois, for which it was paid $30,530.    

American Caging also handles other clients aligned with MCDC, Mr. Keyes and the Alliance organizations, including Diener Consulting Inc., which serves as the Minuteman group's public-relations arm, as it did in Mr. Keyes' unsuccessful presidential and senatorial campaigns; and Renew America, a fundraising organization founded by Mr. Keyes that provides a link for donations to MCDC through Declaration Alliance. 

Other American Caging clients include Response Unlimited, which makes mailing lists -- including the MCDC membership -- available to conservative mailers and telemarketers and has an "exclusive contract" with Declaration Foundation; and RightMarch.com, which raised $500,000 for Mr. Keyes' 2004 senatorial campaign and helps raise Minuteman donations through a link on its Web page to Declaration Alliance.

The Declaration Alliance’s primary mission is to “protect and defend our God-given, inalienable rights, enshrined in principle in the Declaration of Independence, and codified in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights” while the Declaration Foundation is committed to “restoring the principles of the Declaration of Independence to their rightful place in American life.” 

Considering that, among the “abuses and usurpations” set out in the Declaration of Independence was King George III’s attempt to “prevent the population of these States [by] obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners” one has to wonder just how the Minutemen’s harassment and intimidation of immigrants fits into Keyes’ supposed reverence for the document. 

Or, for that matter, how the Minutemen’s belief that immigration will lead to “political, economic and social mayhem” meshes with the Declaration’s most famous principle:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Border Vigilantes Face Scrutiny Over Finances

Washington Times reporter Jerry Seper spent much of the past year covering the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and writing sympathetic articles on the anti-immigrant vigilante group, from "The Granny Brigade" to the Minuteman caravan. He even received the "2005 Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration" from the right-wing Center for Immigration Studies, to whom the reporter joked that he had "blatantly ripped off many of your stories." Today, however, Seper offers two articles that show the Minutemen in a decidedly unflattering light. The first deals with questions about the Minutemen's finances:
A growing number of Minuteman Civil Defense Corps leaders and volunteers are questioning the whereabouts of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars in donations collected in the past 15 months, challenging the organization's leadership over financial accountability. Many of the group's most active members say they have no idea how much money has been collected as part of its effort to stop illegal entry -- primarily along the U.S.-Mexico border, what it has been spent on or why it has been funneled through a Virginia-based charity headed by conservative Alan Keyes. Several of the group's top lieutenants have either quit or are threatening to do so, saying requests to Minuteman President Chris Simcox for a financial accounting have been ignored.
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Arizona Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 10/26/2010, 9:46am
Newt Gingrich 2010: Campaigns with GOP gubernatorial candidate John Kasich in Ohio (Columbus Business First, 10/25). Iowa: Holds “American Solutions” rally in Sioux City, Iowa (Sioux City Journal, 10/22). Mike Huckabee GOP: Defends Christine O’Donnell and hits “elitist” establishment (Raw Story, 10/25). Religious Right: Sarah Posner looks into Huckabee’s ties to anti-gay groups (Religion Dispatches, 10/25). Economy: Defends the “Fair Tax” on Fox News (Fox News, 10/25). Sarah Palin 2010: Slams Lisa Murkowski, lauds Joe Miller, in... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 10/22/2010, 11:12am
Earlier this year, Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter lost her radio program due to her ties to Dominionists like Cindy Jacobs.  For months, Porter had been adopting the Dominionist agenda, speaking at conferences with Jacobs and praying for Christians to gain control over the media and making Seven Mountains/Dominionist theology the organizing premise behind her May Day prayer rally at the Lincoln Memorial. The rally was the final straw, leading VCY America to drop her show and Porter to more or less disappear.  But, as we noted in July, Porter had not backed away from Dominionism... MORE
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 10/13/2010, 9:28am
Sharron Angle Fundraising: Raised $14 million in three months (WaPo, 10/12). GOP: Leading Nevada Republicans endorse Reid over Angle (Politico, 10/12). Religious Right: ADL criticizes Angle for refusing to condemn her pastor’s anti-Mormon comments (KVVU, 10/8). Extremism: Cites Dearborn, Michigan and a non-existent town in Texas as outposts of Sharia law (CNN, 10/9). Ken Buck Controversy: Referred to a rape victim’s situation as “buyers remorse;” suspect even admitted that it was rape (PFAW, 10/12; Colorado Independent, 10/12). Ad: DSCC launches new ad blasting... MORE
Peter Montgomery, Tuesday 09/21/2010, 10:43am
The so-called Values Voter Summit, organized by the Family Research Council and sponsored by a number of right-wing groups, brought more than 2,000 activists (their count) to Washington D.C. for two solid days of speeches, workshops, networking, and a chance to spend time with others who passionately hate President Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership. Addressing the crowd were a number of GOP presidential hopefuls, including Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Rep. Mike Pence (who eked out a narrow victory over Huckabee in the straw poll). Not surprisingly... MORE
Brian Tashman, Monday 09/13/2010, 12:49pm
“Every state needs a least one sheriff like Joe Arpaio,” Sharron Angle told a convention of right-wing bloggers in Las Vegas. And now “Sheriff Joe” of Maricopa County, Arizona, intends to push his hardcore anti-immigrant agenda and promote SB 1070 around the country. After his stint on reality TV with Fox’s “Smile…You’re Under Arrest!” Sheriff Joe is looking to eclipse Tom Tancredo in anti-immigrant politics and demagoguery. Sheriff Joe will soon address a New Hampshire Republican Party conference and is also slated to speak at the... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/17/2010, 3:27pm
Now that Bryan Fischer has hit the big time, I think it is important to remind everyone of a simple fact: Fischer generally has no idea what he is talking about. Remember a few weeks back when he was claiming that the ruling striking down Arizona's draconian law was unconstitutional on the grounds that the Constitution says the Supreme Court is to have "original jurisdiction" over "all cases...in which a State shall be Party"?  That argument turned out to be so ludicrous that even WorldNetDaily dismissed it as nonsense. Well, Fischer is once again demonstrating... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 08/10/2010, 11:33am
Last year, Rep. Trent Franks spoke at the How To Take Back America Conference where he called President Obama an "enemy of humanity": What he meant, Franks' spokesperson later insisted, was that Obama was an enemy of "unborn humanity," due to his views on abortion. So I looked forward to hearing Franks' clarification of his latest statement that Obama is one of the most dangerous enemies facing America today:  From Elena Kagan's nomination and subsequent confirmation to the Supreme Court, to the recent passage healthcare reforms, a sitting congressman says... MORE