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February 27, 2014

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What a great article... er, I mean informative. It doesn't bode well for Arizona, the "geography of nowhere" the Ponzi scheme of luring outsiders to tract houses and shopping strips further out on the fringe. Not much holding the economy in place - is this where the next bubble bursts?

I concur with Sheila, this column is very good, Rogue.
It left me thinking about a NYT article I read yesterday by Gail Collins. Gail wrote Yes! Part of the super-weirdness of Arizona politics appears to be the result of the state’s 1998 public financing law, which provided tons of matching funds to unwealthy-but-energetic candidates from the social right at the expense of the pragmatic upper class. The Supreme Court took the teeth out of the law in 2011, but, by then, the traditional Republican elite had lost its place at the head of the political table.

I had not thought of Clean Elections with “super-weirdness” as an inevitability. Gail then wrote, I know, I know. Many of us would like to empower the grass-roots with public campaign financing. Don’t give up. Just remember to make sure that the roots in your neighborhood have a more expansive vision than the ones that popped up in the Grand Canyon State. Gail ends with Thanks, Arizona

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/opinion/collins-the-state-of-arizona.html?smid=fb-share#permid=11243134

Good piece Jon. Is there a photo credit? I could not find.

glad I am no longer part of this travesty

Great article, Jon....
Return or vote the State to Democrat?? Have you seen what Obama, Holder, Clinton REID, PELOSI have done to destroy the US??
I say research every Candidate for every office, and vote for the one who you feel will do the best job.. I certainly have NOT seen our "leaders" in DC doing well...
And...then look at the worst Court of Appeals....the 9th Circuit!!
Lord help us...

I'm a little tetchy about this subject. Some gay Facebook friends were besides themselves with good thoughts about Jan Brewer. I demurred, pointing out that the veto was more likely caused by dire economic warnings than a new-found love of Republicans for the lavender menace. I was accused of cynicism for my non-Aquarian thought. Facebook, as it happens, is a kind of incubator for Very Positive Thinking, an example of which says love will conquer everything and another which says you must become the change you would seek. Virtually every thought of this kind is eventually ascribed to Albert Einstein and/or the Dalai Lama. At some point, I suspect, Zig Ziglar will be revealed as the master of the universe and we can all go back to Words With Friends.

I am impressed by the beating Movement Conservatism took on this issue, but I'm depressed by the woolyheadedness of my tribe. Change of this sort happens over a long period of time, so it's a good thing not to get too despairing about its pace. Conversely, it's also a good thing not to assume that Arizona is almost Vermont with saguaros. There are a couple of political tensions in the state that ought to be in conflict with each other, libertarianism and social conservatism. But both are at home in the Republican Party, and provide one another with ideological cover at crucial times. They even blend together, as the Prosperity Gospel shows. And it's this very blending that tells me citizens are vague about what's really happening in the state. Yes, the live-and-let-live aspect is gaining the upper hand. But there's a darker side here, too, where citizens see money as the solvent for every social friction. No, I want to scream (helpfully, of course): sometimes you have to put your ideals ahead of your wallet. Money is not going to fix a state living in denial about unsustainable environmental costs. It's not going to make the lives of the marginally employed better. It's not going to help the vast and growing underclass cope better with a very harsh judicial system. And it's not going to create a civic matrix where we can wrestle with these problems. But the answer, at least this week, is that buying power is the only freedom that matters.

I recall the idea Herbert Marcuse, a Marxist, had about our idea of freedom. In actuality, it's "repressive tolerance" because it disguises the inherent corruption and violence of the system itself. I get a little antsy about sweeping inversions like that one but I can't help but wonder if there's some truth about Arizona in it. The richer and more comfortable we got, the less we tended to see the losers, except as caricatures. We segregated socially and economically, which meant there was no longer a healthy community conscience. And while you want to cheer someone like Chad Campbell for showing that people of good conscience can still work in the Arizona legislature, the sorry fact is he very seldom wins.

I recently started watching the local news in Portland in order to understand what other people are always yammering about. I discovered something unsettling: the news is almost exactly the same, from the Ron Burgundy newscasters, to the trivialities posing as news stories, to the breathless traffic reports, to the thousands of personal stories and tragedies aggregated under the lede "human interest". People, it appears, are the same in both states. And it's easy to understand why: outside of Portland proper, people live in housing pods instead of communities. They drive everywhere. And they hate taxes. Behold your fate, dear republic. Even growth boundaries can't stop the bleeding of our civil society. But it can protect the remnants that still exist. Maybe that's the best Oregon can do. It is, by any measure, vastly preferable to what Arizona is not doing.

Rogue: A couple observations from my perspective on the ground...

The media in this state fell into the Center for Arizona "Policy" PR spin that this bill was, in fact, a "religious freedom" bill. In addition, the same media said that it was only "gay rights" groups that were in opposition to this legislation. First, as one of the maintainers of a list of all of the groups that expressed opposition to SB1062, I was impressed at the diversity of groups united in opposition: business groups, tourism groups, communities of faith, and, even downtown neighborhood groups. Second, I'm reminded of the George Orwell quote on the media: “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”

The other observation on this is the timing of Ms. Brewer's veto of SB1062. One wonders if the N.F.L. hadn't made an announcement just hours earlier that they were considering moving the Super Bowl away from Glendale if action wouldn't have been taken until today (Fri Feb 28) or even tomorrow morning. In addition, one wonders how this will affect Google's decision to bring its Google Fiber service to Phoenix and the long-shot of Tesla's multi-billion dollar battery factory.

Cathi Herrod and the Kooks messed up by allowing it to be framed as an anti-LGBT measure. I suspect they realized that when I saw CAP spokesman Aaron Baer cite Hobby Lobby as a justification for the bill during an interview with Channel 5 last week. Had the public focus on SB1062 been on whether or not pharmacists should have to dispense the whore pills there would have been much less outcry and nary a peep from the business community because the ladyparts, they're so controversial! There's a good chance the bill would have been quietly signed into law.

I concur with the others - the speed with which you posted this really shows how deep and wide is the information at your fingertips. Impressed.

I wanted to cheer this one statement:

To me, "moderate" means low information.

...as it is a pet peeve of mine. To hell with the moderates, the middle-of-the-roaders, the "serious" people. Perhaps in some Utopian society it might be the right thing to be, but this ain't that by a long shot.

Donna Gratehouse hosts an interesting blog called The Democratic Diva. She has an excellent rebuttal to NYT Gail Collins column that I referenced earlier relating to Clean Elections and "super-weirdness".

It's good stuff:
http://www.democraticdiva.com/2014/02/27/oh-look-theyre-blaming-clean-elections-again/comment-page-1/#comment-519893

Does John Kavanagh get held accountable for his noisy support of SB 1062? Or does he wrap himself in the comforting arms of his Kook supporters? To me, he is Teflon-coated and bullet-proof. He doesn't have the cover of being stupid . . . like Al Melvin, or Messianic . . . like Kathi Herrod.

Currently liquored up so best not to post too much.

Really, really enjoyed "the lavender menace" and "Vermont with saguaros".

Petro, speaking of low information: Are we agreed that SB 1062 was in the news "just a bit" this past week?

I did an informal survey in the office today. I found only one person out of ten who had heard about the hoopla.

Heads in the sand. Not a care in the world. God bless them.

The article was great.
But it took me a while to quit looking at the picture. A complete story of hate in one photo.

REB: one out of ten is about the same percentage you get in any cause.

Jon, U will never change my mind that St. Janet was not a deserter from the Democrats army. The party was weak but her dropout left it in shambles and allowed the kooks to gain complete control. Her choices have been for personal enrichment not unlike many legislatures in AZ. Which makes me wonder is it worse to become a politician to try and impose your religious beliefs on others than to become a pol for financial gain for yourself and others.

As long as the Tea Party nuts and the LDS dominate there will be no changes. Its like saying they got Chapo the worlds biggest (capitalistic) drug dealer and his going to jail will stop Americans demand for drugs.

Brewer had no choice but to veto the bill otherwise she would never see another opportunity to run for any elective office.

Suzanne, thank you so much for the plug!

Sen Brewer? God I hope not. Her, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul will be the 3 Mousekeeters of Right Wing Lunacy.

In this morning's NYT, Gail Collins talks about SB1062 and the politics that makes gay rights a winner and abortion rights a loser in many American states: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/01/opinion/collins-arizona-sort-of-helps-out.html?ref=opinion&_r=0 Of course, it always helps to cut to the chase for busy readers: the difference is that the attack on abortion rights is deployed against the poor. Arizona shows that the attack on gays seems unfair to other citizens because it's against people with money. The sense of justice we extend to gays reveals our capacity for empathy is more about class than anything else.

There are corollaries here, as well. We don't get riled up about incarcerating huge numbers of minority males in prison, often for non-violent offenses. The war on drugs is really just another war on poor people. Rush Limbaugh gets rehab and urban blacks get hard time.

So, the abortion issue isn't really about loving babies. It's about hating poor people. We hate them to the point that we want to deny them health care, food stamps, reproductive freedom, and for the gays among them, basic civil rights. The rich gays can always go to lawyers (and do, as a matter of fact) to write contracts that approximate the privileges of marriage without relying on the institution itself.

I got into an argument a few years ago with a gay millionaire who is avidly Republican. I got testy with him and suggested that he could buy his freedom like a can of soup at the supermarket. For the rich, freedom is that simple. For the non-rich, it's both abstract and dependent on the empathy of other people. Try being a lesbian person of color and single mom who is a high school dropout. You're batting zero on the empathy scale.

When LBJ engineered the civil rights revolution in the 1960s, the first step was getting laws in place that supposedly gave rights to people facing discrimination - blacks, that is. LBJ didn't stop there because he was canny enough to understand that political rights were meaningless without economic power. The War on Poverty was the result, and in the space of a few years, America's poverty rate fell by half. It was an amazing achievement that is widely regarded as a failure because....well....just because. Maybe we saw people getting uppity at the supermarket. It's an unshakeable truism that giving money to people makes them lazy. Unless they're old, veterans, defense contractors, corporate farmers, or the many professional cartels that muscle out competition from below with protective legislation.

I bang the drum for compassion like the burnt-out hippie that I am because I needed so much of it myself. That's my self-interest. I doubt I could have survived in a harsher society. But I was also lucky to be white and just middle-class enough in my social attributes that doors opened for me rather easily. I didn't have to scrap to find a niche. For many poor and minorities, civil rights is a bridge that mysteriously disappears over the deepest part of the river.


Excellent column, Jon. I'd like to add my two cents, of course.

Most of the AZ press and some bloggers insist on treating the far-right whack-job legislature with detachment, respect or, when they're absolutely beside themselves with frustration over their antics, a kind of sardonic humor. The champions of Lege - Chad Campbell, Katie Hobbs, Ruben Gallego -are mentioned as an afterthought, if at all.

Further, among the Republican-lite Democratic crowd (and Independents) is no small amount of holding one's nose at the grass roots organizing it takes to make the necessary changes in state government. "You can be against them but must you be angry? Must you be emotional? The bill was vetoed. Can't we talk about something more pleasant now?" It's like sending poodles in to fight pit bulls. Politics is driven by emotion. The right knows this and uses it relentlessly, hence their success.

When Brewer FINALLY vetoed this bill, people on the left and the right fell over themselves in expressing gratitude. One lesbian actually called her "our wise governor." This kind of obsequious response -- trying pitifully to reshape the extremists in the Lege via flattery, via "reaching across the aisle" is a HUGE problem in AZ. Donna Gratehouse refers to it as the AZ Stockholm Syndrome, and she's right on the money. It reminds me of victims of domestic violence who think if they're just nice enough, the abuser won't strike again. And we all know how that turns out, yes?

Finally, I am greatly dismayed at how few Arizonans understand how the state is seen on the national and international level. The relentless idiocy has taken its toll, one that will likely last a generation at least. The President of Uganda used the AZ bill as justification for signing draconian anti-gay laws and the roundups of gays have started there. Let that sink in for a moment.

Regardless of this veto, AZ is known as a haven for bigotry and small-mindedness. No amount of the clever PR gimmicks and boosterism that too often substitutes for leadership in AZ will change this.

From a friend, "went to a meeting of progressive dems last night. i understand the resentment of the tea party now. Thomas Frank is right--it is class resentment."

From the following article by Franks.
Democrats believe demographics alone will defeat the Tea Party. It's a smug fantasy: Economic populism's the answer

http://www.salon.com/2014/02/16/the_matter_with_kansas_now_the_tea_party_the_1_percent_and_delusional_democrats/

I know the term "Kabuki Theater" is annoyingly overused of late, and there's hardly room for another political conspiracy theory, so I won't suggest that Herrod and Brewer cooked up this whole thing, picked a couple of dummies at the statehouse to introduce the bill, and made Brewer appear somehow more "big tent." Nope. Won't suggest that.

I didnt know what that meant ("Kabuki Theater" ) but such thoughts did cross my mind when all this started. It just seemed like a big PR thing for the "religious" and put poor Jan in the satanic vise, squeezed by the devil of big money and "abnormal" people. She vetoed the bill while apologizing to her religious supporters.
Vote Senator Brewer

Meanwhile, I hear some intelligent people saying variations of "why is everybody picking on Arizona?"

Here's the thing about the class resentment and the Tea Party. It is true that they resent some elites, like academics and Hollywood figures, they revere people who make their fortunes in business. Also worth noting that many teabaggers are, themselves, affluent. I submit that your average successful Republican is more likely to be a fire-breather who mainlines Glenn Beck and Limbaugh than his working class counterpart.

Fountain Hills has two separate Tea Party groups. Scottsdale had about half a dozen at one point. Maryvale does not have one that I'm aware of. You have to have at least some economic security and leisure time to cultivate the crazy.


Reb, yeah, most people don't care what's going on beyond what they can and cannot afford to consume.

I'm trying to assemble a blog post to discuss some aspects of this SB 1062 "incident" that I don't hear being discussed. I was going to comment here but I'm having trouble articulating it. I'll post a link here for any folks who might be interested, if I manage to pull it off.

Excellent sir Petro, excellent.

I'm reading about the time when mankind came out of their caves and claimed a piece of land as "theirs".

That plus your article has my mind in a tizzy.

Thanks for the input, Reb.

It's only incidental to me that it was positive. ;)

Petro my friend, WTF?
It is natural to give a clear view of the world after accepting the idea that it must be clear.
Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus.

PS, Paul Jean Sartre, sucks.

Donna my sources advise me you are not an elitist but a real human being.

As does Foucault.

Jon, Goddard is a nice guy but a LDS nobody with a fly swatter could ride to a "smashing defeat" over Terri.
U wanta win u gotta run a killer.

...

Petro, I enjoyed reading your blog post!

Petro, my negative attack is a result of my lack of education and intelligence.
I will work on my education but I fear I get dumber every passing day.

Petro, I was unable to understand your blog.
It took me about five reads to get a little understanding of the first paragraph. Then U hit me with the second paragraph, not only did I not get it I had to look up words.

"the "meta" of sicknesses, and we are more than happy to leap into the mud and wrestle with these meta-symptoms with clarion and heroic effort. Since the underlying disease is never addressed, these exercises sometimes result in amelioration, more often in exacerbation by unintended consequence."

What?

It's very clear, cal.

He's saying we should get our flu shots or pay the price.

Thanks, e-dog! I got a comment from a whiny photographer worried about his "rights." I told him to hang a "We Discriminate" shingle and see how that worked out for him...

Apologies, cal. Left a reply over there.

Nailed it, Reb. Thanks.

Suzzane didn't get her flu shot!

I get it
thanks Petro

REB R U sure it didnt mean?
"Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is." ― Albert Camus

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