Monday, June 11, 2018

Secret Air Force Program Wrongly Destroys Career of Cadet Who Exposed Sexual Assaults

Eric Thomas, now 28, was a cadet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. While there, he was recruited by the Office of Special Investigations, a law enforcement branch of the Air Force, to become a confidential informant within the academy. He agreed to take on the task after he heard it would involve stopping sexual assaults. He was taught at the academy not to question superiors, so he didn’t realize he had a choice in the matter. His work resulted in approximately 25 criminal investigations, 15 drug convictions and three sexual assault convictions. It led to the first sexual assault conviction there since 1997, an area that had been neglected. OSI records state that Thomas was “very reliable.”

Yet when things went sour, OSI deserted him. Thomas started accumulating demerits for his activities with OSI. Once a cadet acquires 200 demerits, they are expelled. He, like three other cadets of minority ethnicity recruited for this work,acquired demerits for things like following alleged wrongdoers off campus., providing official statements used during various court martiall trials, and meeting with OSI agents during duty weekends.OSI did not inform his commanding officers about his work, so he received demerits for his OSI work.

OSI had him start palling around with a cadet named Stephan Claxton, who reportedly had sexually assaulted female cadets. Thomas was not supposed to leave the base the weekend of November 5, 2011, but he did so anyway in order to tail Claxton to a bar in Colorado Springs. One of the former cadets who went along with them became drunk and passed out, and since they didn’t know where she lived, they brought her back to the dorms to find her fiance. But bringing a woman back to the dorms could get them in trouble. Thomas put her in his bed in his dorm room. He did not realize that Claxton stayed behind and attempted to sexually assault her. Thomas caught him, got into a physical altercation with Claxton, and reported him to the commanding officer.

Claxton was sentenced to six months incarceration for the sexual offense. Thomas and the other cadets were disciplined for the infractions. Various Department of Defense reports, findings and official records have since validated Thomas’ reliance that OSI would step up to his defense. They did not. Thomas’ squadron commander, who did not know about his involvement with OSI, recommended expulsion. Thomas was given 309 demerits, enough for expulsion.
OSI told him not to worry and had him continue his secret work. They told him they would show up at his final hearing for expulsion — but they didn’t and he was expelled, merely six weeks before he was to graduate. Thelater claimed that he had earned the demerits prior to his work for OSI, but the Arizona Daily Independent examined the records and found that was not the case, he had only earned 90 demerits before the informant work started.    
When confronted, the Air Force’s top commander claimed he had no knowledge of the OSI program. Same with the academy’s civilian oversight board. But The Colorado Springs Gazette confirmed in 2013 that the program exists through public records requests and talking to some of those involved.

When Thomas asked OSI for records showing his involvement, OSI said there weren’t any. Only when a member of Congress got involved did they turn over thedocumentation. His congressman, Rep. John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), sent a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force and the superintendent of the academy, asking them to meet with Thomas. Thomas was denied a meeting. Thomas appealed to the Secretary of the Air Force over the dismissal. Secretary Deborah Lee James did not respond. The Academy labeled Thomas a “liar with low moral character, who was not fit for service.”

Thomas had been set to go to pilot school, beating out 300 other cadets for the opening. He achieved the highest rank as a cadet during his senior year and oversaw 400 cadets; a group and four squadrons. He received personal letters from the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and Colonel of the Academic Department praising and supporting his “highest level of character, diligence, honor, integrity and fortitude.”

His life was been put on hold as he waited for the results of a Department of Defense investigation that went on for months. The results from the initial investigation have been concluded and substantiate all of his claims. But he needs action from either the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of the Air Force.

Since he was discharged at the level of someone convicted of a military justice offense, Thomas will never be able to serve in the military in any capacity. Meanwhile, the OSI has received several awards for the work he did.

Former OSI Special Agent Brandon Enos, who worked with Thomas while he was an informant, said, “I don’t think what the Air Force realizes, that when they actually punished Eric Thomas, they sent a very, very bad message to all the cadets. You don’t talk about sexual assault, as a victim or a witness, because you will not graduate.”

Thirty-three Arizona State Legislators were so shocked by Thomas’ situation that they sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson calling for an investigation. Thomas moved to Arizona recently, where he had hoped to receive assistance from Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), a former Air Force pilot, but little has been done.

Time is running out for the young man. Soon he will be considered too old to train as a pilot. Part of the reason he still has the energy to fight so hard is that the facts and evidence are out there now.  There are only three people who can help him. Readers can contact the Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis or President Donald Trump. If one of them intervenes, this wrongly targeted young man, who merely wanted to stop sexual assaults, may have a chance at a decent life again.

Reprinted from Townhall

Monday, May 7, 2018

Arizona’s Misguided #RedForEd Teacher Salary Protests

#RedForEd. That's Arizona teachers' new slogan in their ongoing battle for higher pay. Organized by teachers' unions, the RedForEders showed up at the state capitol starting on April 26 wearing red shirts. Some critics contend the red symbolizes the movement's ties to socialism. Rightwing hysteria? Red-baiting? A conservative cheap shot? Let's look at the evidence.

"Critical Pedagogy"?

Arizona elementary music school teacher Noah Karvelis of Arizona Educators United led the strike. He is a partisan operative who has worked on several Democratic campaigns. He worked for a Bernie Sanders group — the Bernie Sanders who called himself a socialist — and as campaign manager. Karvelis is a student of “critical pedagogy.” It is a radical philosophy that uses Marxism to develop a radical critique of American society. Here's an example, a book he recommended last November over Twitter: A Pedagogy of Anticapitalist Antiracism: Whiteness, Neoliberalism, and Resistance in Education by Zachary A. Casey. https://twitter.com/Noah__Karvelis/status/935325080703209472?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw Notice that he calls the book "a must-read." Other tweets from Karvelis call for a radical agenda to be taught in the public schools. https://twitter.com/Noah__Karvelis/status/939869077379497985?ref_src=twsrc%5etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww. https://twitter.com/Noah__Karvelis/status/964498102357958656?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw Now, Karvelis does not represent the average Arizona teacher. There are 67,000 certified public school teachers in Arizona. Only 20,000 are members of the main teachers' union, the Arizona Education Association. But he certainly represents the #RedForEd movement. If they're not socialists, they're doing a very good imitation.

Ducey Caves

Governor Ducey caved in to demands for a 20 percent raise. In fact he more than met their demands. Was #RedForEd happy? No, of course not. They still instructed teachers to strike. Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts, no conservative, suggests #RedForEd misled teachers to keep them "whipped up." Organizers sent out an email on Tuesday, 11 hours after Ducey had released his budget giving them the raise. It falsely said that the governor hadn't come up with a budget yet. [donation_prompt] What's #RedForEd's possible agenda? Very likely it's political. The strike was meant to make Ducey look bad when the election comes around. The issue was spun into a “Republicans hate education and the public.” Roberts observed, "The irony is that Democratic legislators, who would have been delighted six months ago with 5 percent raises for teachers, mostly voted against 9 percent raises for teachers." David Garcia, Ducey's Democratic challenger, leased dozens of buses with his name on them to taxi the teachers from all over Arizona to the Capitol. RedForEd bus

An Unaffordable Raise

Ducey signed the bill at 6 a.m. Thursday morning after a long night of working out details. The raise starts with a 9 percent increase next year and rises to a 20 percent raise by 2020. That would put the average teacher's salary at around $58,130 by 2020, up from their current $48,372. For comparison purposes, the average police officer in Arizona earns $43,000. Someone willing to risk his life, who deals with difficult and dangerous people all day, will earn a lot less than the average teacher. The protesting teachers want salaries equal to the mean salary of teachers across the U.S. But an anonymous Arizona school teacher told The Federalist that the protesters are making financial comparisons to other states that have high taxes and higher costs of living. She said the teachers agreed to their current salary when they began teaching this past school year.

Getting What They're Paying For?

And are the taxpayers getting what they're paying for, when they raise teacher salaries? Charter schools don't receive anywhere near the amount of funding as regular public schools, yet they outperform them academically. The increase raises the budget by 5.7 percent. It will be paid for in part by a new $18 vehicle registration fee. Much of the rest depends on a rosy economic outlook.
The governor and legislature do not set teacher pay, local school boards do.
The governor and legislature do not set teacher pay, local school boards do. While the state government can direct that a certain amount of funds go to teachers' salaries, they can't enforce it. So when the school boards don't allot them as much money as they'd like to salaries, the teachers will go right back to the Capitol and protest for another increase.
Of the $3.5 billion annual increase, only $500 million goes to teachers' raises. The rest will go to things like curriculum which means new revisionist textbooks, sex ed courses, etc. It does not provide money for support staff, including counselors and janitors.

A Bad Time for a Strike

The strike came at a bad time, right before students were about to take high-stakes exams. Schools and districts statewide closed for a week. Parents upset about the strike formed #PurpleForParents and faced off against the #RedForEd protesters.
The Goldwater Institute sent a letter to school superintendents telling them the strike was illegal. The Arizona Constitution does not permit teachers to strike. Teachers are also committing breach of contract by not teaching. It is a felony for a teacher to use school resources to influence an election. #RedForEd played Ducey. He gave in to the unaffordable demands, and still looked bad. What's really bad about this, though? The taxpayers must pay for it all.

Reprinted from The Stream

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

County Attorney Montgomery Continues Attack On Alexander, Taxpayers On Hook

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery raised eyebrows when he attacked popular Townhall contributor Rachel Alexander on a conservative website last week. Montgomery went after Alexander after she questioned whether it is “misfeasance for public officials to use taxpayer dollars in pursuit of a vendetta.”
Alexander was referring to the decision by the Maricopa County supervisors and Montgomery to continue the legal battle waged on Alexander and her senior attorney at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Lisa Aubuchon. At issue is the decision of the supervisors to rack up $101,292.75 in costs associated with the” disciplinary show trial” against Aubuchon and Alexander nearly nine years ago. The two women were disciplined by the Arizona Bar for following the orders of then-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Monday, April 9, 2018

IT'S TIME TO CALL OFF THE DOGS

American Post-Gazette
Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E in Arizona
April 5, 2018

It’s time – no, it’s way past time – to call it quits to the miscarriage of justice Maricopa County has caused against two former attorneys in the County Attorney’s Office. Lisa Aubuchon and Rachael Alexander were fired, prosecuted and had their law licenses suspended following the botched investigation and prosecution of then-County Board of Supervisors Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox, and the unwise decision to go after corrupt County judges. Those decisions were made by Lisa’s and Rachael’s boss, then-County Attorney Andy Thomas and also then-County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Without reliving the entire episode, while all that unfolded at the time, the American Post-Gazette watched these activities play out, and while we supported Thomas’ and Arpaio’s efforts to prosecute Stapley and Wilcox, who each were indicted for dozens of crimes, we opposed Thomas going after the judges.

But all that is beside the point. Lisa and Rachael were doing their jobs; nothing illegal or unethical. Lisa and Rachael were swept up in an apparent attempt by the County to slam the hammer on Thomas and Arpaio for daring to go after County judges. Stapley and Wilcox were the greatest benefactors of the revenge against the investigations when a Pima County judge ruled Thomas’ efforts were politically motivated (regardless of whether there was any truth to the charges). Thomas resigned to run for State Attorney General; Arpaio ran again and won; but Lisa and Rachael were left holding the bag and huge attorney bills – plus their suspensions.
It’s past time for our current County Attorney Bill Montgomery and our current County Board of Supervisors to call an end to this ridiculousness. Although a court ruled the County is not required to pay their expenses for what Rachael correctly calls a “vendetta” and a “disciplinary show against us,” Montgomery needs to recommend and the Board needs to step up and do the right thing – pay Lisa’s and Rachael’s costs, clear their names and their records. If not, then let there be a warning to anyone who would consider working for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office – even if you follow orders and do your job, if political winds change the County will not have your back.

Yours in the Cause of Truth,

A. Hamilton

GOP activist Wes Harris responds to waste of tax dollars on political witch hunt by county supervisors and county attorney

Gentleman,

For three years now I have spoken and written to each of you regarding what I personally felt was a gross miscarriage of justice on the part of The County of Maricopa not standing behind their employees in the case of Lisa Aubuchon (once the #2 Attorney in the County Attorney's Office) and Rachael Alexander.  Prior to all that went down, well before any of you took office, I received a verbal promise from the then County Chairman that under no circumstances would he allow the County to settle out of court regarding the claims from then Supervisors Mary Rose Wilcox and Don Stapley.  Well we all know where that promise went and the Citizens of Maricopa County never got their day in court and these two walked away with millions of our tax payer dollars for their trouble.  We also know that the two County Attorneys noted above have been dragged through the mud and virtually bankrupted as a reward for doing what they were charged to do and have become the scap goats on this entire sad case.

As I noted, I contacted each of you numerous times and, frankly, only two of you responded in any way and those responses were to basically wash your hands of the problem.  I asked each of you to just sit down and talk one on one with Rachel and Lisa and none of you would agree to even do that.  Since none of you, including our current County Attorney Bill Montgomery whom I count as a personal friend, were there at the time, I again ask:  Isn't it time that we end this and give these two competent attorney's their lives back?  Surely there is enough evidence that this as been a gross miscarriage and each of you can finally do what I strongly believe is the right thing to do...if nothing more than to stop the hemeage of our Tax Payer Dollars.  Won't you please at least sit down with them and hear them out?  I don't understand why that seems to much to ask.

All the Best


Wes

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Maricopa County Supervisors & County Attorney wasting hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars on political witch hunt

This ran in MCRC Briefs on April 4, 2018.

Townhall Contributor and IC Arizona Editor Rachel Alexander – Maricopa County taxpayers deserve to know how the Maricopa County Supervisors and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery are abusing their tax dollars. For eight and a half years, the supervisors have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in pursuit of a vendetta against myself and another former government attorney, Lisa Aubuchon, merely because we followed orders from our former boss County Attorney Andrew Thomas as he worked with former Sheriff Joe Arpaio to root out corruption in the supervisors’ office and combated illegal immigration.
     The supervisors and Montgomery refuse to pay $101,292.75 in costs associated with the disciplinary show trial against us – a trial they instigated with bar complaints against us. Unbelievably and fiscally irresponsible, Montgomery said publicly that the supervisors are in the right to refuse to pay it. They have now fought for years in court to resist paying it, even though they paid the costs for my immediate supervisor, Pete Spaw, because he caved to save his own hide. They have now spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this vendetta in order to have to avoid paying the $101,292.75 – a gross abuse of tax dollars. Since Lisa and I cannot afford to pay it, we are prohibited from practicing law. We both have lost all of our savings, racked up immense debt, and I lost my health over the never-ending stress.
     This past month, the supervisors and Montgomery asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to award them $67,347.50 in attorneys’ fees for the latest round of legal proceedings. The county has relied on law firm Sacks Tierney. The court denied their motion but that puts the taxpayers on the hook. Although the current county supervisors were not in office when the vendetta started, they are continuing the vendetta.
     It is misfeasance for public officials to use taxpayer dollars in pursuit of a vendetta. As one former official familiar with the long witch hunt described it, “Rachel and Lisa are being sacrificed at the altar of official Maricopa County corruption. The County’s actions are reprehensible.” Isn’t eight and a half years of a government vendetta against two former subordinates enough? Any attorney thinking about working for the County should be warned. If you get in trouble for doing your job, you WILL be thrown under the bus if it is politically expedient. Please consider contactingthe five supervisors and the county attorney and demand that they end the misfeasance of taxpayer dollars in this ongoing witch hunt. For more information, click hereEditor’s Note: Briefs offered Montgomery an opportunity to respond.  Montgomery replied: “It is so full of misrepresentations and faulty conclusions that I would have to write a response at least twice as long.  But for the fact that Rachel and Lisa kept appealing the case, there wouldn’t have been a need to continue litigating it.  Additionally, my Office could not handle the case because of conflicts so an outside firm had to handle it.”
---
My response to Montgomery: I have never lied once about the 8.5 years of legal abuse I have suffered at the hands of the county supervisors and now by your office as well. Shame on you. Time for a new county attorney who is honest and won't cow to the corrupt people in the supervisor's office because he's scared. Ironically, if I had my law license, I'd run against you myself to get you out of there. Shame on you for abusing the taxpayers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars for years.  

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Fundraising reception for Shawnna Bolick for AZ House - March 29

You are cordially invited to join us at a
fundraising reception honoring

Shawnna Bolick


 
a Republican Candidate
for the Arizona House of Representatives
Legislative District 20

at Antique Gatherings
from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
on Thursday, March 29th, 2018
3601 East Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018

 
To RSVP, please contact Shawnna at 602-842-1912, or by email at info@BolickforArizona.com
*Registration required to attend.

Please make checks payable to “Vote Bolick.”  If you are unable to attend and would like to contribute to our campaign, please mail your contribution to Vote Bolick; c/o Shawnna Bolick;  610 East Bell Road #2-142; Phoenix, AZ  85022-2393, or donate online at
https://bolickforarizona.com/donate

Contributions to Vote Bolick are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.  An individual may contribute up to $5,100 per the entire election cycle (includes the primary and general).  Contributions from corporations, LLCs, labor unions, and foreign nationals (non-green card holders) are prohibited.  Arizona law requires Vote Bolick’s best efforts to obtain, maintain, and report the name, address, occupation, and employer of any individual who contributes more than $50 in an election cycle.
Donate
Copyright © 2018, All rights reserved.
Paid for by Vote Bolick. Authorized by Vote Bolick.

Our mailing address is:
Vote Bolick
c/o Shawnna Bolick
610 East Bell Road #2-142
Phoenix, AZ  85022-2392

Monday, February 5, 2018

Martha McSally is Worse Than Jeff Flake

Arizona’s Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake has announced he’s not running for reelection, so several candidates have jumped into the open race to replace him. There are currently three frontrunners. GOP Rep. Martha McSally, a combat pilot who served in the U.S. Air Force, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and former Arizona State Senator Kelli Ward. Ward made a name for herself launching an unsuccessful conservative challenge to Sen. John McCain in 2016.


McSally is the darling of the GOP establishment. She was elected to Congress in 2014, representing a swing district seat formerly held by Gabrielle Giffords. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recruited McSally last year as one of several moderates to run for the Senate. “We are going to be supporting people who can actually win,” he said in his year-end news conference critical of conservative candidates. “But we have got some great candidates out there and you're familiar with them, Martha McSally …” His Senate Leadership Fund super PAC intends to spend considerable money supporting her run.


McSally is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group of moderate Republicans in Congress. McCain is also a member. Her voting record is less conservative than both Flake and McCain. The Heritage Foundation rated her 61 percent this session. They rated Flake 88 percent and McCain 66 percent. The American Conservative Union gives her a lifetime rating of 66 percent. Flake has a lifetime rating of 93 percent and McCain has 81 percent. FreedomWorks gave her a lifetime score of 60 percent. It rated Flake 93 percent and McCain 69 percent. Mark Levin’s Conservative Review gives all three of them an F.


McSally did not endorse President Trump in the 2016 presidential election. She supports DACA. In 2015, she voted against an amendment to a spending bill that would have ended DACA. In 2017, she sent a letter along with nine other members of Congress to Speaker Paul Ryan, asking him to find a legislative solution to DACA.


Three leading conservative organizations oppose her; the Club for Growth, the Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks.


Conservatives have complained about McCain’s moderate record for years. Recently, they’ve been highly critical of Flake too. Why would they elect someone who will be even more frustrating? McSally would be better off serving Arizona in the House, being in a difficult swing district for the GOP to maintain ahold of.


McSally is a strong fundraiser so will be a formidable candidate. Polls show she has a reasonable chance at winning the Republican nomination since Arpaio and Ward are splitting the conservative vote. After Arpaio joined the race, Ward dropped to 19 percent in the latest poll. Arpaio came in at 22 percent and McSally at nearly 31 percent.


If Trump makes an endorsement, it will make a significant difference. There is a small chance Trump might endorse McSally. He backed Luther Strange over the more conservative Roy Moore in Alabama’s Senate race, believing Strange was more electable in the general election. The winner of Arizona’s Senate primary will face a formidable challenger in the general. Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is a relentless campaigner who has positioned herself as a moderate in recent years. There is a concern that Ward is not well-known enough to defeat Sinema. However, at least one poll shows Ward defeating Sinema in the general. Arpaio has been attacked so much through the legal system that there is concern baggage will hurt him in the general.


But Arizona is still a fairly red state. The GOP controls both houses of the state legislature, all 11 statewide offices, both U.S. Senate seats and four of the eight U.S. House seats. This past year, Guns & Ammo ranked it the No. 1 state in the country for Second Amendment-friendly laws. Americans United for Life ranked the state No. 1 for pro-life laws.

People are tired of lukewarm GOP Senators McCain and Flake. It will come out during the general that Sinema once received the Vladimir I. Lenin award from the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers for being the most far left member of the state legislature. A real conservative can defeat her. It’s not necessary to settle for a Republican to the left of McCain and Flake.