January 4, 2022
If elected, they are coming for your guns in 2022 or 2024. No, not the Democrats, the authoritarian Republicans. Democracy guarantees our rights. It is our common devotion to democracy that guarantees freedom of speech and religion and your right to bear arms. Today, a dedicated blue line of Democrats stands in the way of authoritarianism as democracy itself is threatened.
Led by Trump, the authoritarians have already undermined our democracy. They used the democratic process to gain power, then worked to weaken democracy from the inside. A main requirement of democracy is that power will be transferred peaceably to the winner of an election. This happened in every election for every local, state and national office in 2020 except for the office of president. Strange, isn’t it? Trump declared himself the winner of the presidential election though he had lost by over 7 million votes. He refused to recognize the actual winner and convinced his followers that democrats had stolen the election. This led to a loss of confidence in elections themselves — another serious and intentional undermining of democracy — aided and abetted by Republican state legislatures and governors as they speedily worked to make voting more difficult in order to secure their own power. In Congress, Republicans have so far stopped efforts by Democrats to protect voting rights.
No issue is more important in the coming elections than the preservation of our democracy. It is up to each one of us to stand up for democracy even if it means for Republicans and independents who believe in democracy, that they stand with Democrats. This is a critical moment in American history with many issues to consider, but none more critical than the preservation of our democracy.
November 23, 2021
The Jan. 6 insurrectionists trying to overturn an election, threaten members of Congress and call for the hanging of the American vice president are called patriotic tourists. The Capitol Police officer who fired in defense of our nation’s Capitol and our elected representatives is called a villain, while the insurrectionist he shot is portrayed as a martyr and hero. Paul Gosar posts a photoshopped video depicting him murdering a congresswoman and threatening the life of the president and it’s called a joke. A 17-year-old goes to a neighboring state smoldering in unrest, with an illegally obtained military-style weapon, kills two and wounds another, and is now considered a hero and offered a job working for Congress.
The FBI has identified “right wing domestic terror” as the highest concern for large-scale violence in the U.S. Each of the incidents listed above are being cheered by all of the groups listed in the FBI report. They include Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the KKK, QAnon and sadly the Republican Party. Violent threats against elected members of Congress to local school boards are growing and escalating at an alarming rate. While the GOP gives insincere lip service to being against it, they continue to actively promote violence at every level. The list above is the GOP pattern of shame.
When considered along with other court decisions and social media postings, we can easily predict what happens next. Regardless of race, those who demonstrate with BLM and other such organizations can expect “assault rifle militia” from everywhere to show up and use any flimsy motivation to justify “self-defense” and shoot people. Now, angry, immature and bigoted cult members feel emboldened to repeat the vigilantism given legal permission. A Kenosha courtroom has made American streets less safe. And the GOP is happy to see the pattern of shame continue.
September 28, 2021
Supervisor Steve Miller, Board of Supervisors chair, apologized in a column (Dispatch, Sept. 9) to constituents after three members of the five-man board had voted down a $3.2 million federal grant to help the county with the COVID-19 pandemic. Miller attributed the vote to intentional misleading information provided by Supervisor Cavanaugh and to the term “equity.” He said he believed the issue of equity was the driving force behind the denial of the grant. A look at Cavanaugh’s column rebuttal (Dispatch, Sept. 21) confirms that.
Supervisor Kevin Cavanaugh views “equity” as a “flawed political ideology.” He sees the grant as, “the continuation of a political movement that was a result of football players taking a knee to protest police brutality.”
“Equity” as defined by President Biden’s executive order, to which Cavanaugh referred, means "...the consistent and systematic fair, just and impartial treatment of all individuals..." The definition goes on to identify those individuals as minorities and groups who are commonly underserved or not treated fairly.
Based on his column, Supervisor Cavanaugh is opposed to federally supported fair treatment of all individuals because that does not conform to his own right-wing political ideology. Cavanaugh believes that through “equity” the federal government seeks to take control of local governments and to “turn Pinal citizens into a political product.” This is the stuff of conspiracies. Supervisor Cavanaugh appears to be more centered on his national, personal political ideology than on politically impartial service to the residents of Pinal County.
By contrast, Supervisor Miller says, “As an elected official, I am given the charge to represent my constituents, not to impose my personal beliefs or philosophy that would impede on a worthy opportunity for the people I represent.”
As a constituent, I believe the board should reconsider the vote.
August 19, 2021
An Aug. 14 letter to the editor got the climate change science timeline completely backwards. I’m guessing an engineering degree and “several science classes” left the writer at a disadvantage to the PhDs around the world dedicating their entire careers to the issue.
The study of global warning came about because scientists noticed several red flags. Ice sheets were melting, ocean temperatures and levels were rising, many habitats were becoming endangered and species were becoming extinct at alarming rates. They launched an investigation into the causes. After many years of study, they found clear and unequivocal evidence that the Earth’s average temperature was rising quicker than should have been expected. They found that, while there might be natural reasons for initiating the temperature rise, the more serious damage was due to the carbon and methane humans were dumping into the atmosphere. People were exacerbating and accelerating the problem. The work was based on using proven scientific methods for tracing cause and effect. Climate is a complicated phenomenon that takes place over decades and centuries. The impact of even the slightest changes gets amplified over time, potentially becoming catastrophic. Local weather is temporary and not useful in determining what’s going on with the bigger picture. Contrary to our local engineer’s thinking, Arizona’s temperature on any given day is meaningless.
As climate scientists continue to warn of impending permanent damage, the fossil fuel industry digs in to protect its profits. Their target audience is the poorly informed. Should we leave this issue unaddressed when we have an opportunity to take action? Should we ignore increasingly destructive warning signs before we say, “enough is enough”? Or should we spend a night at the Holiday Inn Express and claim we know better than those darn scientists?
The clock is ticking
July 10, 2021
Smith L. Ullmann — rather than attacking Ralph Atchue and his wife Pat as you did in your Dispatch letter of July 8, you might have tried to refute his arguments.
Was the most recent SCOTUS ruling on Arizona’s election restriction laws “A win for Arizona voters”? Why? Why not? Was the Dispatch editor trying to indulge and encourage voter suppression?
Have you ever seen a single Dispatch editorial condemning the things Ralph listed? If so, refute Ralph’s remarks. Have you ever seen editorial praise from the Dispatch when it comes to what Ralph called “the obvious advance of voter suppression in Arizona”? If not, refute that.
Ralph notes two statements from SCOTUS hearings on Arizona’s voting laws. One was by the attorney representing Arizona where the attorney admitted the intent of the hearing was to win elections by decreasing voter turnout. The other was a statement by Justice Alito admitting that some voters would be hurt by this ruling, but not enough to matter. Were these statements true or false? Was Ralph’s statement about Jonathan Nez true or false?
Ralph said voters in Arizona mastered mail-in voting by doing it for over two decades. He also said, “There never has been any widespread fraud found in Arizona! AZ’s governor, AG and every county recorder voiced total confidence while certifying the 2020 election.”
You did not refute these statements. Why not? Can you refute Ralph’s statement that the intent of the GOP is to suppress voting across Arizona and America in order to win close races? It appears to me that what you called “Democratic propaganda” was information based on facts you could not refute. Your use of “name calling” is irrefutably, however, a classic tool of the propagandist and today’s GOP.
June 1, 2021
We, the voters of Arizona, elected Katie Hobbs in 2018 as our secretary of state. She defeated an incumbent Republican, Michele Reagan, whose stint in office included more missteps and controversies than space here allows to list. While the margin of Ms. Hobbs’ victory was relatively small, she won that election fair and square. She was elected to perform all of the duties of secretary of state as outlined in the Arizona Constitution.
Since that time, Arizona has run several primary and general elections without a hitch. In 2020, Katie Hobbs was faced with the most difficult and unique election circumstances Arizona has ever seen. The governor and attorney general joined with election officials of every single county and certified a safe, secure and fair election. Certified audits, recounts and court cases have verified the 2020 election results. Yet, legislators who are more loyal to a disgraced and corrupt former president continue to spread lies and delusional election misinformation. They’re currently running what is widely ridiculed as a clown show and a #Fraudit.
Now, the Arizona GOP is taking legislative steps to strip our secretary of state of her constitutional authority to fight for election integrity. Whatever your political affiliation, this should send a shiver down your spine. Based solely on the results of an election lost by their candidate, the GOP will take action to make sure they can steal the next election — this is not democracy, it is not how America is supposed to work.
If we remain silent and allow our democratic republic to be destroyed by those who undermine the elective process that defines us, we will be complicit in that destruction. I implore you, the voters, the journalists and the editors to put America first and speak out to stop this insanity now.
Change Needed on Guns, Race
I have some questions for those of you who are reading this and are opposed to comprehensive gun control and racial justice. How much more suffering do your fellow Americans need to endure before you admit that enough is enough? Was it not enough for dozens of people to be shot down in Las Vegas? For literal children to die in Newtown and Parkland? Did you watch the horrific last few minutes of George Floyd’s life and still believe that systemic racism does not exist?
How much more suffering before your “thoughts and prayers” turn into calls for meaningful change?
There’s a moment in the TV show “The West Wing” that comes to mind occasionally. The chief of staff brazenly admonishes the president over his policies. He tells him that he’s been holding back because he’s afraid to lose his next election. And that could describe nearly every politician I can think of. If you need an example, think of the 43 Republican senators who recently voted against convicting Donald Trump. Surely some of them must know that their vote was wrong, but it didn’t matter because a vote against their “messiah” was a vote to make this term their last. Even the most liberal of liberals know that they can afford to take the stances they do because their constituents agree with those stances. But doing what’s right even if you know it may cost you shouldn’t be as rare as it is.
Consider Rep. Jeannette Rankin, the first female congressperson. She firmly believed that war should not be the solution to our problems. So much so that she was the only representative to vote against entering into war with Japan. Whether you agree with her views or not, no one can dispute that she had real guts. Her vote effectively ended her political career, but she didn’t compromise her morals. We shouldn’t either.
We have all seen videos of Senate Republicans — Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and others pretending to stand on “principle” in 2016 as they denied a hearing for Obama’s Supreme Court nominee and defended the idea that the American people should be given the opportunity to decide a Supreme Court appointment that occurred during an election year.
The same senators pretend to stand on “principle” again as they reverse their 2016 rule at this point in this election year. Disregarding the majority will of the American people and his own 2016 rule, Mitch McConnell allows Trump a Supreme Court nomination and pushes to fill the vacant seat left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg weeks before an election. Neither the rights of the next president or of the American people matter when Republicans see a way to grab more power. To Republican “alternate facts” in the executive branch, we can now add “honorable hypocrisy” in the Republican Senate.
In response, Democrats threaten to increase the number of judges on the court to provide balance or a liberal court. Republicans call this “packing the court” and accuse Democrats of an abuse of power that will undermine the court’s legitimacy.
Isn’t preventing a hearing on a presidential nominee as was done with Obama, or approving a hearing of a nominee against the will of the American people and their own 2016 rule just before an election, just another way to “pack the court”? Isn’t this an abuse of power that will undermine not only the court’s legitimacy but the credibility of the presidency and the Senate as well? On all counts — you bet it is.
I read the Dispatch column Saturday morning from Rep. T.J. Shope about electric vehicles. I can’t help but wonder if any of our current LD8 state legislators own one?
I’m sure I’ve seen Frank Pratt driving around town in a non-electric SUV (he has Pratt on his license plate). I’m not sure what Shope or Cook drive. It is also interesting to note that even though the price of EVs has been coming down, the Lucid vehicle will be a high-end luxury car, not affordable for the average consumer. I am very glad Lucid is coming to the area but their cars will be priced out of reach for most working Arizona families. Perhaps Shope is just out of touch on the reality of Arizona economics! I do want to mention that I have seen state representative candidate for LD8 Sharon Girard driving around the local area for months in her electric vehicle: Model 3 Tesla (the most reasonably priced model). I have also heard Ms. Girard speak at forums and she is a supporter of clean and renewable energy, especially solar and more public transportation for our area, including a rapid train system from Phoenix to Tucson. Additionally, her legislative platform calls for eliminating single-use plastic bags. We can go to brown paper bags during the pandemic, which are much more environmentally friendly. I believe it is important that our representatives are role models for all of us. They should walk the walk and talk the talk.
Usually, I can barely stomach a piece written by Cal Thomas. Today's piece, "Slanting of COVID-19 coverage," is an exception. Mr. Thomas follows the lead of Trump by castigating the media for their slanted coverage, using various quotes from Nicolle Wallace, David Brooks, Thomas Friedman and Joe Scarborough as examples. The thing is, those quotes all ring true in exposing Trump and his Republican sycophants for the inept, unfit bunch they are. So, I encourage Mr. Thomas to keep at it with the quotes. Keep showing the disaster that is Trump and the Republican Party. I love it!
To analyze further, let’s look at other articles in today's Dispatch: 1) Problems with the small business loan program preventing funds from getting to the true small businesses that need them. 2) The terrible treatment nurses received, here in Arizona, from re-open protesters egged on by Trump's "Liberate" tweets. 3) The response from residents on the border to continued construction on the wall, despite concerns about workers and Border Patrol coming into their small, isolated communities and possibly bringing the virus with them. 4) Health care facilities, in San Diego, that had planned to hire foreign nurses to deal with a shortage and now can't, due to his immigration ban. 5) The dangerous nature of Trump's "medical statements" in general.
I guess from all of this I should determine that the conservative-leaning Dispatch is slanting their coverage as well? Nope. There’s just too much out there to be ignored.
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