Monday, September 3, 2018

Will Ducey Appoint a Moderate or a Conservative to Replace McCain?

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said he would name a Senate replacement for John McCain after McCain’s funeral proceedings. Insiders say it is likely to be McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, 64. “If she gave him any indication she wants the seat, I think she gets it,” a source told The Guardian. She is less conservative than her husband. She was an outspoken supporter of the NOH8 campaign. That was a gay rights project opposed to California’s Proposition 8, a ballot measure banning same-sex marriage.
Interest in Meghan McCain has risen recently.
Cindy McCain is not the only McCain reportedly being looked at. The McCains’ daughter Meghan McCain, 33, may be a choice. She calls herself a Republican, however, she is quite liberal. She admits it on social issues. McCain supports gay rights and opposes abstinence-only education. She is worried about global warming. McCain says she is on the fence about the Occupy Wall Street movement. She supports government-funded embryonic stem cell research.
McCain voted for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. She once said on the Rachel Maddow Show, “I didn’t even take econ[omics] in college. I don’t completely understand it so I’d hate to make a comment one way or the other. That’s — truly of all the things — I keep reading and I just don’t understand it.” McCain praised Hillary Clinton for having “pushed through many doors and shattered many glass ceilings for women in politics.”
Interest in Meghan McCain has risen recently due to her defending the GOP against four other women on the TV show The View. Also, her well-publicized shots at Trump during her eulogy were a hit. She said,”The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great,” to great applause.

Conservative Choices

Adam Brandon, president and CEO of FreedomWorks, penned an op-ed for the Washington Examiner advocating former Congressman Matt Salmon, 60, to replace McCain. Salmon has a lifetime rating of 95 from the American Conservative Union. This is far higher than McCain’s 80. The GOP base would be fine with him. He’s even done a pretty good job of not making enemies with the moderates.
The conservative base would love to see Governor Ducey appoint Kelli Ward.
The GOP base would also love to see Ducey appoint Kelli Ward, 49. She lost the GOP Senate primary election for former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s seat last week. Moderate Congresswoman Martha McSally won. She has a dismal lifetime score of 71 from the American Conservative Union. McSally received millions from the GOP establishment. One of the Super PACs supporting her ran an ad full of misstatements about Ward. Conservatives are bitter about moderates beating up on Ward; they believe appointing her to this seat would resolve the unfairness.
Another solid conservative name that has popped up is former Congressman John Shadegg, 68. He has an impressive lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union of 98. He gets along with both the GOP base and the moderates.

Questionable Picks

Former Senator Jon Kyl’s name is also being circulated. The 76-year-old has a lifetime rating of 96 from the American Conservative Union, but the GOP base dislikes him. They view him as part of the GOP establishment and a McCain crony. He angeredthem when he helped craft a compromise on immigration that they viewed as amnesty.
Ducey’s chief of staff, Kirk Adams, 45, a former state legislator, may be in the running. He has close ties to the wealthy Koch brothers. While his record in the state legislature was fairly conservative, he has riled the GOP base with some of his heavy-handedness as chief of staff.
A dark horse candidate is Eileen Klein, whom Ducey recently appointed as state treasurer. She previously served as chief of staff for Governor Jan Brewer. Barbara Barrett, 67, the first woman to run for governor in Arizona, is another dark horse candidate. She has never held public office. Businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson’s name is also being thrown around.

Narrowing it Down

Ducey is likely to appoint someone who will run for office after the appointment ends. He is not likely to appoint a caretaker to merely serve out the term. It is doubtful that he will appoint a sitting member of Congress, because that would force an election to find a replacement.
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Ducey has to tread very carefully here. A large portion of the GOP base is upset with him for caving in on #RedForEd. He agreed to a 20 percent salary increase for teachers which has no guarantees it will be implemented. Although Ducey easily won reelection in the GOP gubernatorial primary election last week, appointing a moderate Republican will destroy his reputation as a conservative.
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Saturday, August 25, 2018

The End of a Maverick: Sen. John McCain Dies of Brain Cancer

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) has passed away at age 81 after battling terminal brain cancer. He was one of the most recognized and longest serving members of Congress, known for his maverick style and “straight talk.” During his 35-year tenure, he often voted against his own party, upsetting the GOP faithful.
McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958 and became a navy pilot. While on a bombing mission in Vietnam in 1967, he was shot down over Hanoi. He was seriously injured and captured by the North Vietnamese. His captors tortured him throughout the five years he was in captivity, leaving him with lifelong physical disabilities.
After he was released to return to the U.S., he met Cindy Hensley, a beer heiress he fell in love with. But he was still married to his first wife, Carol. According to The Los Angeles Times, he continued living with Carol for nine months after he started dating Cindy. A year after he met Cindy, he filed for divorce from Carol. In his book Worth the Fighting For, he wrote, “my marriage’s collapse was attributable to my own selfishness and immaturity more than it was to Vietnam, and I cannot escape blame by pointing a finger at the war.” He called it his “greatest moral failure.”
McCain called the breakup of his first marriage his “greatest moral failure.”
McCain saw there was an open congressional seat in Arizona and moved to the state in 1981. When a voter accused him of being a carpetbagger, McCain responded,
Listen, pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My father was in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the First District of Arizona, but I was doing other things. As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.

Congressional Career

McCain served in the U.S. House from 1983 to 1986. He then ran successfully for the U.S. Senate. He replaced Arizona’s legendary Barry Goldwater, who had retired.
After being investigated in the Keating Five Savings and Loan scandal, McCain authored the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill in 2002. It helped improve his tarnished reputation after the financial scandal. But in 2010, the Supreme Court gutted much of it. Its decision in Citizens United v. FEC overturned the prohibition on corporations and unions from funding issue-oriented advertisements during election seasons.
Likely due to his military background, McCain was one of the Senate’s hawks when it came to military action. Understandably, he opposed using torture during military interrogations.
McCain ran for president in 2000, but lost in the primaries to George W. Bush. He ran again in 2008 and won the nomination, but decisively lost the general election to Barack Obama. In naming Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, he became the first Republican candidate to choose a woman.

Controversial Record

He waffled back and forth on issues like illegal immigration, talking tough during primary elections but championing open borders once safely past the primary. In 2005, he partnered with Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy to draft legislation that would create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. This earned him derision from conservatives, especially in his home state, who nicknamed him “McAmnesty.” During the 2000s, the chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party wore a lapel pin everywhere with McCain’s name crossed out. The party voted to censure him over illegal immigration.
The American Conservative Union rated him a low 81.63 percent conservative voting record. McCain claimed to be pro-life, but he was a staunch advocate for government funded embryonic stem cell research. In 2008, Arizona Right to Life endorsed Mike Huckabee for president, not McCain. A CNN poll in December 2017 found that only 48 percent of Republicans had a favorable view of McCain. In contrast, 68 percent of Democrats viewed him favorably.
McCain made the deciding vote on last year’s attempted Obamacare repeal, preventing it from passing. He greatly angered conservatives and President Trump, who ran on a platform of repealing Obamacare. He has been a fierce critic of the president, also angering conservatives. When he obtained the Trump dossier, he turned it over to the FBI instead of telling Trump about it. Of course, there are two sides: Trump criticized McCain while he was campaigning for president, saying he wasn’t a war hero.
McCain’s daughter Meghan has followed her dad into politics, writing three books and landing a regular spot on The View. She is also a maverick Republican, frequently criticizing conservatives.
He said he didn’t want the president attending his funeral.
McCain wrote a final book this year, The Restless Wave. In it, he says he wished he hadn’t picked Sarah Palin. He wished he had chosen Joe Lieberman, a Democrat who became an Independent. He criticizes Trump, writing “Flattery secures his friendship, criticism his enmity.” He said he didn’t want the president attending his funeral.

Neither Maverick Nor Reformer

Reporter Stephen Lemons, who wrote about McCain for The Phoenix New Times for many years, says “John McCain is neither a maverick nor a reformer.” Instead, “He is a cunning promoter of his own self-interest, a charlatan with a knack for playing both sides of an issue to his advantage. It is political expediency, not courage, that defines McCain’s 35 years in Congress.” He was known for his temper and mean-spiritednesstoward his opponents, threatening them and using profanity.
While McCain may have been a controversial figure, his absence from the Senate leaves big shoes to fill. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, will appoint his replacement.

Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Arizona People Criminally Charged by U.S. Corporation

For Immediate Release

 The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading, quote by: David Bailey.

America is a great country, and it does many things well. However, within the State of Arizona, a vast blind spot exists, facilitating the ability for Arizona people facing criminal charges brought by a United States Corporation, the State Bar of Arizona, which has no legal authority to do so. Neither State nor the Federal government have given the State Bar of Arizona jurisdiction and authority to criminally charge, investigate or prosecute any people. Yet, October 15, 2015, corporate entity State Bar of Arizona filed a false criminal charge against one if its own Arizona lawyers, Jeffrey D. Moffatt.

Read the full press release

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

8 corrupt tactics used against Trump are nothing new, were used against Rep. Rick Renzi

If you believe the establishment and the mainstream media, then you’re supposed to believe that there’s no such thing as the deep state, that there’s simply no way people like James Comey, Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok would ever possibly conspire to stop Donald Trump and that the FBI and the Justice Department are led exclusively by men and women of sterling and impeccable character who would never deliberately interfere with America’s elections.
But the truth is that corruption, electioneering and partisan agenda-pushing are nothing new at the FBI and DOJ. Before corrupt officials in the FBI and the Department of Justice conspired to take down Donald Trump, they did it to Rick Renzi. 
Renzi is a Republican businessman who represented Arizona’s first congressional district from 2002 to 2007, before corrupt government officials successfully deployed an array of sleazy, illegal tactics to take him out. From illegal wiretapping to false testimony to evidence hiding, the political forces that ended Renzi’s political career and landed him in prison were relentless in pursuit of a corrupt political agenda to bring down a Republican rising star.
In 2008, an unholy alliance of politically connected prosecutors, corrupt FBI agents and lying witnesses managed to convince a jury to convict Renzi on bogus, trumped-up charges of corruption, ending his political career and unjustly sending him to prison for three years. They’re the same corrupt political forces that are trying to take down Donald Trump right now. These eight tactics used against Renzi are now being used against Trump and his associates:
  1. Code names. Both cases were given code names. The political hit job on Trump was called an”insurance policy” by the FBI’s Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The hit job against Renzi was code named “Operation Eagle.”
  2. Fake dossiers. Both cases involved fake dossiers. Fusion GPS, working for Clinton’s DNC, paid a former British agent name Christopher Steele to compile damaging fabricated information about Trump. Stzrok then disseminated and executed the dossier. In Renzi’s case, a fake dossier was paid for by a South African businessman named Bruno Hagner, who hired a former FBI agent named Jim Elroy. Elroy disseminated it to his buddy FBI agent Dan Odom who then executed the dossier.
  3. Wiretapping. Both cases involved wiretapping. The FBI wiretapped Trump campaign officials, then denied it had happened. In Renzi’s case, FBI agents illegally wiretapped Renzi’s private conversations with his attorneys and lied to the judge that they had done it. Notably, in over 1,200 calls, they obtained nothing incriminating against Renzi, and the judge was forced to throw out the wiretap.
  4. FBI Document 302. Both cases involve FBI interview documents called “302s.” Strzok and others are currently under investigation for possibly changing an FBI 302. In Renzi’s case, it was confirmed in court records that FBI agent Odom destroyed exculpatory evidence and withheld a 302 interview of key witness Philip Aries, whose false testimony was central to the prosecution’s case.
  5. False testimony. Both cases involve lying under oath. Former FBI Director James Comey gave false testimony to Congress; in Renzi’s case, Odom knowingly manipulated witnesses to give false testimony to Renzi’s grand jury and at his trial.
  6. Robert Mueller. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is currently in the process of carrying out the “insurance policy” on Trump. Mueller was FBI Director when the FBI carried out “Operation Eagle” on Renzi.
  7. Unethical payments. The wife of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe received $467,500 from Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe for her state Senate campaign, which many believe was in exchange for making sure the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails went away. In Renzi’s case, FBI agent Odom offered reward money to key witness Aries, who then changed his testimony after being told he would likely be paid. Aries speculated that he might get as much as $25,000, calling it a “home run.” Renzi was convicted on this key witness’s fabricated testimony.
  8. FBI spooks. The FBI planted spies in the Trump campaign. The FBI used a spy in Renzi’s congressional office to steal legislative documents out of his filing cabinet. They convinced one of Renzi’s staffers to steal these documents.
Even the personalities involved in each case bear a striking resemblance to each other. The chief prosecutor in Renzi’s case, U.S. Assistant Attorney Gary Restaino, is the same type of biased political animal as Andrew McCabe. Restaino gave thousands of dollars in political contributions to Clinton and Obama. Restaino’s wife worked for Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, who feared that Renzi would challenge her for governor. Agent Odom, who executed Operation Eagle, is similar to Peter Strzok in that he illegally wiretapped Renzi’s attorneys, destroyed exculpatory evidence, knowingly developed false witnesses and offered reward money to the key witness in Renzi’s case, who then changed his story.
According to Sidney Powell, one of Renzi’s defense attorneys and author of “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice,” “Politically motivated targeting and prosecutions of individuals has been increasing during the last 15 years, but dramatically increased during the Obama administration. … Prosecutors freely use many tactics to pressure or ‘persuade’ witnesses to testify the way the prosecution wants. They pile on charges that make it impossible to someone to defend himself. Many of these tactics would bring criminal charges of bribery or obstruction of justice or extortion if used by a defendant.”
The DOJ and FBI perfected these eight corrupt tactics against Renzi, and they are now using them against Trump. It remains to be seen whether Trump will be able to overcome the deep state’s disturbing ability to sweep its corruption under the rug. It’s way overdue to start drawing attention to these same, repeated tactics that are being used by the people who are supposed to be stopping crime. If they can get away with this much corruption taking down a congressman, they may be able to take down a president.
Reprinted from WND

Monday, July 30, 2018

Conservatives Dreading a Martha McSally Senate Win in Arizona

After Arizona Senator Jeff Flake announced he was not running for reelection to the U.S. Senate, three prominent candidates entered the race. One is conservative Kelli Ward, a former state legislator who ran unsuccessfully for Senate against John McCain. A second candidate is former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who many do not believe is a serious candidate at age 86. The third well-known candidate in the race is Rep. Martha McSally, a liberal Republican who represents a Democratic leaning district in Arizona. The Arizona Daily Independent reports that John McCain is pushing her candidacy.

Ward appeared to be leading in the race until Arpaio jumped in. Now, the conservative base is split between Ward and Arpaio loyalists, giving McSally the lead. Arpaio is in third place. McSally is averaging 10 points ahead of Ward. Some Ward supporters are urging Arpaio to drop out of the race, but so far he has not. According to One News Now, “If Arpaio were removed from the equation, it's likely that Ward could defeat McSally in the August 28 primary.”

Arizona conservatives are tired of liberal Republicans representing them in the Senate. The state is still fairly conservative, unlike a state such as Maine which has liberal Republican Senator Susan Collins. Arizona would be better represented by a solid conservative.  

McSally has a poor record in Congress as one of the more liberal Republicans in Congress. The American Conservative Union rates her voting record as less conservative than McCain and Flake. Yet she is now pretending to be a conservative, talking tough on immigration. This is not accurate. She helped craft a bill that would have provided renewable status for Dreamers. Ward opposed it. McSally said she supports DACA legislation along with border security. She said, “I have also consistently shown – with my votes, words and actions – that I am willing to support a legislative solution for the DACA population.”  

Tellingly, her campaign website doesn’t appear to contain her positions on issues. Ward’s website does. Blog for Arizona, a popular Democratic blog in Arizona, observes, the “Left and Right agree: Martha McSally is a fraudulent candidate.”

McSally’s record as a pilot in the Air Force has been called into question by former colleagues. The James T. Harris Show interviewed Lt. Col. retired Tom-Chuck Norris about McSally’s experience with the A-10 aircraft. Norris doesn’t think she’s much of a pilot. He said, “she doesn’t even know how many bullets the airplane she flew carries, going into combat carries.” He said she once told him, “It doesn’t matter how good a pilot I am, it doesn’t matter how good I execute close air support. What matters is getting me promoted.”

Norris said McSally showed her lack of knowledge during an interview with Greta Van Susteren, when she spoke about threats while flying. He said her answer was “Madness, pure madness. I mean she was, there was a reason why she was under the highest level of supervision starting back in 1995, because she had severe lack of knowledge and credibility and it hasn’t changed.” He warned, “a fraud is being perpetrated on, on, the nation.”

The James T. Harris Show also interviewed Colonel (ret.) “Pappy” Russell about McSally. He said McSally exploited the tragic deaths of two other pilots in order to promote her campaign. He said she made up details about her role in their deaths that weren’t true. “There’s very little there that truly happened, because I was intimately involved with both of those events.”

McSally distanced herself from President Trump during the 2016 election. In contrast, Ward embraced him and Trump has tweeted positively about her. Conservative Arizona U.S. Representative Paul Gosar endorsed Ward. He said, “We cannot afford another establishment patsy who promises one thing and votes differently.”

The winner will face Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in the general election. The Arizona Federation of Taxpayers awarded Sinema the Vladimir I. Lenin award a few years ago for being the most far left legislator in the Arizona legislature. The American Conservative Union gave her voting record in Congress a dismal 13.04 rating. She is running her campaign to the right, however, pretending to be a conservative in flashy TV ads. It will be a close race, and at least one poll shows Ward can beat Sinema. But unless Arpaio drops out of the race, Arizona looks headed to elect another liberal U.S. Senator.  

Reprinted from Townhall

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. 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. 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