Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Wrongly Fired Government Reformer Considering Running Against Arizona Governor

Tim Jeffries was a popular director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security, the state welfare agency, from 2015 to 2016. He became a colorful icon in Arizona government, with his smiley faces and practice of referring to employees as “colleagues.” He was likely the only state agency head to cut the size of his agency by 2 percent as instructed by Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey. He turned morale around at DES, making it a fun place to work — no easy feat at a welfare agency. The devout Catholic has a heart and passion for the poor and sick, coming from a poor upbringing himself. When the governor asked him if he wanted to be an agency head, Jeffries deliberately chose DES.

But this star reformer was pushed out in a highly publicized coup, spearheaded by the left-wing Arizona Republic which made him a target. After Jeffries fired 475 employees who were “bullies, racists, sexual harassers and slackers,” the newspaper featured some of the employees and wrongly made them out to be victims — even though some had actually been stealing from DES. The newspaper extensively covered Jeffries’ efforts to bring security in house, instead of paying for private contractors which were less accountable and not cost effective. The biased articles referred to it as “building an arsenal” and “stockpiling ammunition.”

With so much negative coverage, Governor Ducey caved to pressure, firing Jeffries in November 2016.

The firing was so unjust that one of the local left-leaning papers actually took Jeffries’ side. The Phoenix New Times expressed skepticism about the accusations brought against Jeffries. “Just before his ouster in late 2016, Jeffries reportedly bought alcohol for employees on state time, but the accusation was never proven.” As for the private security force, the paper said “much of the criticism was overblown.”

Jeffries observes, "I had the passion and courage to ‘run government at the speed of business’ as the Governor directed me. Unfortunately, it proved to be merely a campaign slogan for the Governor. Consequently, calcified bureaucracy and special vendor deals remain to the profound detriment of hard-working taxpayers that deserve good government."

Jeffries filed a $5.1 million libel claim against the state over the private security allegations. His former chief of security, Charles Loftus, filed a $2.6 million claim. Jeffries is represented by former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne. Some of the bizarre, false accusations in the audit performed by the state Department of Public Safety are that Jeffries carried a gun on state property and wanted to arm every state employee.

Ducey is vulnerable to a challenge from the right. He is ingratiated with Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake who are disliked by the conservative base, in part due to their repeated undermining of President Trump. Ducey endorsed Flake. Ducey's lack of leadership was foundational to McCain's vote stopping the Obamacare repeal. Ducey himself failed to stand with other Arizona leaders behind Trump at his August rally in Phoenix.

If re-elected to a second term, Ducey may end up appointing McCain’s replacement after the senator passes away from brain cancer. There are concerns that he would replace him with another establishment Republican. In contrast, Jeffries says, “I would be open to appointing anti-establishment warriors like State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, who was Trump’s campaign COO/CFO, or true conservatives like current Arizona Congressman David Schweikert and former Congressman Matt Salmon.”

Ducey is also vulnerable with teachers’ associations. Prop. 123, which he championed, only provided a 2 percent raise for teachers over five years.

Jeffries explains the difference between Ducey as governor and how he would run the state, "I entered the public sector to do big things, not small things with big press releases." Jeffries describes Ducey as a “poll-driven politician.” Jeffries is fearless and unrelenting. He went after a corrupt Democratic legislator who fraudulently obtained food stamps — something his predecessor was too afraid to take on. He had another corrupt member in the sights of his Inspector General — which sadly will now be swept under the rug. He boldly called for the termination of the corrupt vendor of the State’s Obamacare Medicaid Eligibility System.

"If I run and I win, I will not play small ball like the Governor. I will massively reorganize and restructure state government,” Jeffries said. “Partnering with thousands of true public servants, I will free up approximately 200 million dollars a year to invest in classrooms, foster kids, senior citizens and the developmentally disabled. These great folks need us to be audacious in vision and fearless in execution." Jeffries says he does not have aspirations for higher office afterward; he is not seeking a political career.

Jeffries is the type of candidate the conservative Breitbart powerhouse Steve Bannon might get behind. Support like that — which might lead to support from Trump — could tip a race. Breitbart reports that a “broad anti-establishment coalition” has been formed nationally to replace establishment Republicans in Congress and in key gubernatorial races. Additionally, after a successful career in business, Jeffries is independently wealthy and has a network of wealthy friends. Add to that fair press coverage from Phoenix New Times and Jeffries has a real chance of defeating Ducey. Arizonans are in an anti-incumbent mood due to McCain and Flake, and Ducey is too closely associated with the pair.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Reporter Trying to Get Tucson Police Officer in Trouble for Viral Video on NFL Kneeling

Tucson Police Officer Brandon Tatum has a First Amendment right to free speech. But you wouldn’t know that from the way a reporter has targeted him. On September 24, Tatum made a video monologue expressing his dissatisfaction with the NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem. He did not identify himself as a police officer; he made it purely in his private capacity. The seven minute speech went viral, receiving over 70 million views on Facebook. His message resonated with Americans all across the country who are fed up with the disrespectful athletes.

Arizona Daily Star reporter Tim Steller published an article on Friday questioning whether the video violated TPD’s departmental rules. Titled “Tucson Police Officer Pushes Boundaries With Viral Rants,” he cites TPD’s policy which prohibits officers from posting anything discriminatory on social media.

Tatum’s video doesn’t discriminate against anyone, it merely discusses why kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful and an inappropriate way to protest. He says the National Anthem has nothing to do with what the athletes are protesting. He points out how the flag and the anthem have given people freedom and opportunities, but the protesters won’t talk about that. He observes that Martin Luther King, Jr., had bipartisan support for his protests, because he conducted them with integrity.

In contrast, Tatum says, “These clowns are doing things out of trendiness.” If they really care about black lives, then they need to be out there in the black community. He asks, “What has happened since Colin Kaepernick took a knee?” Nothing has changed, nothing is going to change. “Stop whining like a baby. … As an African-American in this country, I love the flag.”

Tatum contrasts the athletes losing and coming back again to play another game with those who died for the flag in military service. The latter don’t get a second chance once they lose their lives  on the battlefield. That is who these athletes are disrespecting. He warns the players about alienating their fan base of patriotic Americans, “When you spit in their face, they will no longer support you.”

Tatum recently began created monologues commenting on race issues that go viral. He has 33,552 subscribers to his YouTube channel. Conservative talk show host James T. Harris, who is also black and based out of Tucson, says the real story should be how a small town boy who moved to Tucson created multiple videos that went viral.

Since Tatum started issuing his videos, he and Harris have become well-known as the two conservative black guys out of Tucson. Harris’s own video criticizing the kneeling players also went viral receiving 22 million views. Harris laments that in left-leaning Pima County, the story isn’t about how successful the videos have been. Instead, he quotes SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas on the treatment, “It is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves.”

Harris observed, “If Brandon had made a video praising the kneeling which went viral, Steller wouldn’t have written anything critical.” The kneeling NFL players, as private players, have no right to free speech and violated an NFL rule. In contrast, Tatum properly exercised his right to free speech; he did not issue his monologue on police property or identify himself with his employer. Where is Steller’s criticism of the NFL players for violating the NFL rule?  

Steller castigated Tatum for participating in an interview with Alex Jones of Infowars. Steller may not like Infowars, but Tatum has a right to free speech and to choose who he gives interviews to. It is merely Stellers’ opinion what is considered an acceptable news outlet. Brandon responded and said crossing the line for him would be doing an interview with someone like Steller or CNN. Frankly, it sounds like Steller is upset he cannot control Tatum or obtain an interview with him. It is squelching free speech to tell Tatum who he can and cannot give interviews to.

Harris has been subject to “blacklash” harassment by the left for years, including by The Arizona Daily Star. Someone at the paper called him a Nazi. In a Facebook post, editorial cartoonist David Fitzsimmons said he was going to get Harris’s advertisers to boycott his radio show. Stellars responded eagerly, “tell me more.” Fortunately, Harris’s fans bombarded the Star, forcing Fitzsimmons to back down. Harris has received death threats since he became vocal as a black conservative, receiving threats to his family, and had clients turned against him. He ended up losing a business as a result.

The only thing the left dislikes more than conservatives are black conservatives. Let’s hope cooler heads prevail and the ungrounded, vicious attack by Steller is thwarted. Just because you’re black and conservative doesn’t mean you lose your right to free speech. As a reporter, Steller should know better when it comes to free speech.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Former Prosecutor and Sheriff Arpaio Attorney: Trump Was Perfectly in His Right to Pardon Him

Many are criticizing President Trump for pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio. Even some on the right have chimed in against the pardon. Arpaio used to be the most popular sheriff in the country, and until just a few years ago, no one had a problem with him arresting illegal immigrants. Now, a federal judge has convicted him of criminal contempt for “racially profiling” illegal immigrants.

I am a former prosecutor with Maricopa County who briefly represented Arpaio in 2010. For the latter, I have been viciously targeted through the legal system ever since. I could have easily turned on Arpaio after all the misery I’ve been through, but I know the truth and won’t take the easy way out. Trump didn’t do anything wrong, nor did Arpaio. This was political. Not criminal. It comes down to this description by Arpaio’s lead attorney, “What the sheriff’s trial is actually about was a non-existent crime for not following a preliminary injunction that was unclear to everyone who read it except the federal judges.”

So what happened? The left turned race into a very toxic issue against the right in recent years. They did it cleverly, showcasing the good-looking children of illegal immigrants and referring to them with the sentimental term “Dreamers” in order to evoke maximum sympathy. Higher crime rates by illegal immigrants were swept under the rug. The left got the public to see illegal immigration as a race issue, not a border security issue, even though it does not affect Hispanics who are legal residents or citizens, and it affects all illegal immigrants, not just Hispanics. This emboldened left-leaning judges to turn against Arpaio.

Compounding the issue of the pardon is the timing of the left-leaning media’s recent firestorm toward Trump after his remarks about Charlottesville. While there is no evidence Trump supports white supremacists — in fact he’s denounced them repeatedly over the years — the left and complicit media were able to create an impression even among some on the right that Trump must have some nefarious opinions on race. Pardoning Arpaio immediately afterward must be more evidence of that racism. Normally logical thinking people on the right are now condemning the pardon as fast as they can, afraid of being tarnished with the racist card.

This isn’t going to help them in the long run, because now that the left has found a phony issue that is resonating, it is expanding the definition of racism to even more absurd levels. The Confederate monument controversy is the left’s latest successful way to smear the right on race. Never mind that it was primarily Democrats who started Jim Crow laws, fought against civil rights laws and erected these monuments. Not content with merely taking down statues of famous Confederates, the left is now demanding to take down the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument and Mt. Rushmore. How far will they go?

Trump is accused of abusing his presidential power by pardoning Arpaio. But  former President Obama pardoned or commuted the sentences of far more unscrupulous characters than Arpaio. He commuted the sentence of Oscar Lopez Rivera, who helped lead a terrorist group whose bombing resulted in the deaths of four people. He commuted the sentence of Bradley/Chelsea Manning, who leaked confidential American military and diplomatic information to Wikileaks, putting American lives at risk. He also commuted the sentences of hundreds of drug dealers with violent records.

As I’ve written previously, Arpaio was a very deserving candidate for a pardon. The two judges on his case should have recused themselves for bias. Arpaio should have been granted a jury trial since it was a criminal charge. Even Arpaio’s local detractors agree here. Instead, he received a bench trial by a biased judge. Of course it looked like Arpaio was racially profiling for the obvious reason that Arizona has a lot of illegal immigrants and they commit crimes — including traffic-related crimes and offenses — at a higher rate than the general population. Yet the judge decided that this higher arrest rate meant his office must have been racially profiling in order to detain illegal immigrants.

Every witness in the case testified that the judge’s order telling Arpaio to stop racially profiling was incoherent. The judge later clarified she meant Arpaio could not turn detained illegal immigrants over to federal authorities anymore without citing an accompanying crime — even though Arpaio had been doing this for years. This change came at the whim of the Obama administration, without Congressional approval, and was arbitrarily enforced until it was time to “get Arpaio.”  Even so, as the late SCOTUS Justice Antonin wrote in a dissenting opinion in the 2012 opinion Arizona v. U.S., “federal law expressly provides that state officers may cooperate” with federal authorities when “identifying a removable alien and holding him for federal determination whether he should be removed.”

As a result of what happened to Arpaio, police officers from other law enforcement agencies in Maricopa County have privately told me they are terrified to pull over someone while driving who appears to be an illegal immigrant. Tempe Police Officer David Lewis has been under investigation for years and taken off the street beat because of accusations of bias against illegal immigrants. But his beat included the Arizona Mills mall, known for large numbers of illegal immigrants, and also a higher crime rate because it is a mall. Insiders tell me Lewis is a kind, decent man without a racist bone in his body.  

Trump is also being attacked on technical grounds for pardoning Arpaio. But the Constitution doesn’t specify technical grounds. Those are laid out in instructions at the Department of Justice — which are subject to the authority of the president. Furthermore, requirements such as a five-year waiting period appear to apply to those applying for a pardon. Arpaio never applied for a pardon, Trump merely decided on his own to issue one. Considering Arpaio is 85, it wouldn’t even make sense to wait five years, or to wait until his appeals run out.

Trump has possibly the finest legal team in the world, does anyone actually think he made this decision rashly without consulting them as to the constitutionality and legality?

Trump is also being accused of obstruction of justice for asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions previously if the DOJ could drop the prosecution. There was nothing wrong with this. As president, Trump is over the DOJ, which reports to him. If he saw the prosecution as a politically motivated vendetta by out-of-control prosecutors, he is perfectly within his rights to shut it down.

It’s really easy to pretend to take the high moral ground and criticize Trump for pardoning Arpaio. No one wants to be a target of the left in an area where they’ve had a lot of success lately demonizing people. But when is someone going to stand up to the race bullies? We saw people of all races working together during Hurricane Harvey. This country doesn’t have horrible race relations. Instead, it has former Nazi collaborator George Soros funding racial violence in order to demonize the right, falsely claim we’re the neo-Nazis and create the impression we have race wars. What’s next, renaming Washington, D.C. and Washington state? Do blacks with last names like Washington and Jefferson change their names? First they came for Arpaio. Who are they coming for next, people descended from slave owners (who have probably discovered through DNA tests recently that they are part black)?