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If you can't win on policy, or accomplishments, or ... well, anything really substantive, what do you do?

Especially if your opponent is a decorated veteran, respected hero with a made-for-Hollywood biography?

Well, if you're a Republican (or Politico, but I repeat myself), you push this hit piece:

Richard Carmona draws fire from former boss

Richard Carmona, the former U.S. surgeon general now running as a Democrat in Arizona for a Senate seat, made national headlines in 2007 when he told Congress that the Bush administration had improperly interfered in public health decisions for purely political reasons.

But behind the scenes, his former boss Cristina Beato — a onetime supporter turned bitter enemy — was painting a very different picture of Carmona for House investigators, alleging that an angry Carmona twice banged on her door and yelled at her in the middle of the night after workplace disputes.

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Republican hit pieces this cycle:

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As the state of Arizona slips ever toward the dark dystopia of Airstrip 1 and Orwellian Newspeak, I had time to contemplate (while its still legal, of course- no thoughtcrimes yet!) recent developments brought about by the Republican dominated government.

In our great Meth Lab of Democracy (TM) (aside: The GOP has some great copyrighters, no?), our legislators have not just managed to write laws based on conspiracy theories, but to also convince the masses that, contrary to popular belief, life begins before conception and that literally banning information on abortion is "giving more information to women considering an abortion" according to Cathy Herrod, President of the far-right wing Center for Arizona Policy. This link should be enough.

While some great action posts have been written (such as sending a wire hanger to Gov. Brewer), this post is not one of those. Instead I'm going to take the GOP's thought process to the logical conclusion.

Please note, though, that what is happening here in Arizona is EXACTLY what you can and should expect from the Republican party at a local or national level, regardless of what they say campaigning. In Arizona, they've just stopped hiding the cravenness.

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Thu Apr 26, 2012 at 09:30 AM PDT

What's up

by AZ Independent

Hi Kossacks.

It's been awhile, no? Do you even remember me? That's ok- things have been busy lately, I understand.

I've been pretty busy as well- juggling family time, mandatory unpaid overtime, and the minutiae of life.

Posts have been half-written, saved off as a draft, and not revisited for many months. Maybe soon I will find the time to publish them. But probably they will languish until I hit the "delete" button, as they no longer have relevance to present discussions.

On another note, as an Arizonan, I find hope in the fact that our purple state is officially in toss-up mode. But also sadness that our state legislature has decided to fulfill the demands of the John Birch Society on everything from a perceived UN plot (sustainability) to birth control coverage denial.

I'm actually pretty excited about this year's election. I've signed up to help Rich Carmona win our blown-wide-open Senate seat (you can too! Sign up to help Rich here!), and look forward to seeing who gets the nod to take on Trent Franks... who I have the "pleasure" of having a district with again (can't a guy catch a break?!). With a smaller district though, Trent may have a bit more of a challenge on his hands- he's lost the Mohave County rabid wingers (where he made his infamous birther and slavery comments), so maybe a more "Mainstreet" Republican could prevail (at 60-40, a Dem has hardly any chance).

So, I'll be seeing you all around, not necessarily with any great frequency, but perhaps with a bit more than I have this past few months.



Apart from the stories detailed by fellow Valley of the Sun-based Kossack Mother Mags about the Arizona GOP's

1) Efforts to annihilate worker representation from the state's public sector

2) AND curtail public input wherever possible (except in the case of lobbyists the actually write the laws) and cement a full scale merging of government and business (i.e. corporatocracy and crony capitalism)

3) AND (Courtesy AARP AZ) implement a "Rule 38" to force acceptance of a Taxpayer's Bill Of Rights without legislation

- there is now a new(ish) weapon that Republicans are hoping to use to once and for all "win" the class war.

Do students pay too much out of pocket for college, or not enough?

Not enough, according to a recent bill submitted in the Arizona Legislature. House Bill 2675 would require full-time students who aren't athletes or merit scholars to pay at least $2,000 a year toward the cost of their education.

Read more:

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A piece related to my article yesterday about the MegaUpload seizure was just brought to my attention.

UK student Richard O'Dwyer is facing copyright infringement charges in the US for running, a site that provided links to movies and television series infringing copyright.

On the 13th January, Westminster Magistrates Court confirmed that the 23-year-old could be extradited to the US for trial.

This case highlights broader policy issues about US-UK extradition relations, not to mention US attempts at extending its jurisdiction for enforcement of alleged copyright infringement offences.

Courtesy Sophos' Naked Security Blog

Mr. O'Dwyer's site was seized way back in 2010, and shortly after, US officials requested the extradition of O'Dwyer from the UK to face piracy charges.

It appears that ICE was able to seize and charge O'Dwyer due to the (tenuous) link of his address, which was registered as a ".net" gTLD with ICANN (based in the US).

Now, the observant among us would have that lightbulb atop our heads suddenly flash to life: Is this not what SOPA/PIPA were to achieve?

Combined with the seizure of New Zealand-based MegaUpload, the US government (DOJ, ICE) have not only the means to seize and shut down property on the internet, but to charge the individuals who run the sites.

MPAA CEO Chris Dodd has threatened (Fox Link, beware) to pull funding for Democratic campaigns if the industry doesn't get SOPA/PIPA. A guilty-before-proven method to instantly remove perceived offenders, ostensibly foreign ones.

But with more cases coming to light about how copyright is actually getting enforced internationally, SOPA/PIPA are more clearly a backdoor for censorship and a complete removal of our remaining personal liberties. All Democrats should think long and hard about what they want in the upcoming election: cash, or votes. Because as we saw with Meg Whitman, the two don't necessarily correlate together.


I have to make this short, but a big... no, HUGE development today:

In one of the most massive copyright infringement cases in history, law enforcement authorities have shut down and arrested employees of one of the world’s biggest file-sharing websites,

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and three other employees were arrested by authorities in New Zealand on Thursday while three others remain at large. A federal judge in Virginia ordered the seizure of 18 domain names affiliated with what the feds called the “Mega conspiracy,” knocking the website offline. About $50 million in assets were seized and 20 search warrants were executed by law enforcement officials in the U.S. and eight other countries.

Courtesy TPM

This comes on the heals of the largest internet protest ever.

Indeed, redditors have already drawn up a timeline over at /r/technology.

If it isn't clear, the impetus behind SOPA/PIPA was to stop accused foreign piracy sites of continued operation. Today's raid in New Zealand shows that even without SOPA, the MPAA, RIAA, and other heavy hitters already have the power over governments (yes, plural) to remove ANY accused site from the web.

Now, imagine what they could do with SOPA...


Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 08:15 AM PST

AZ Redistricting Approved

by AZ Independent

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC), chaired by the "unsinkable" Colleen Mathis, has approved maps for the next decade.

The maps vary little from the drafts proposed on 16 December by Chairwoman Mathis, viewable on Google Maps here. (Update: 12/20 tentative-final maps on Google maps)

The press release detailing changes is available here.

As expected, the congressional map passed along a "party-line" vote, with the two Democratic commissioners voting "yea", the two Republicans "nay", and the independent Mathis voting "yea".

The legislative maps are available on Google maps as well. (Update: 12/20 tentative-final maps on Google maps)

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Dear Former Senator Pearce,

(Caution, explicit language)

F*#^& You,

Arizona Voters

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O, private sector Gods, why have Ye forsaken me? - G4S

Birmingham Prison inmates were locked in their cells for almost a full day after a set of keys fitting every cell door went missing.

Keys to the jail, which was taken over earlier this month by private security firm G4S, disappeared on Tuesday.

via the BBC

Brits, have you learned nothing from the follies of America's privatization of our prison industry?

How many more glaringly obvious flaws must be exposed in prison privatization before we finally get rid of them and return government to be the sole responsible party in the administration of justice for citizens?

Sorry this post is so short, but I'm fairly loaded today at work and just thought I'd share.


As I sat in the room awaiting my turn to coment, a visibly disturbed Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission chairwoman got up from her seat in the middle of a comment from an attendee, and walked over to the legal counsel's table, clutching her iPhone. As the inquisitive look on the counsel's face turned to stone solemn, I got the news too.

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Take a look at how the current representation in Arizona is representing them:

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks urged a key House panel on Tuesday to support his bill to bar the Tohono O'odham Nation from building a casino near Glendale.


Franks' bill is co-sponsored by fellow Arizona Republican Reps. Jeff Flake, Paul Gosar, Ben Quayle and David Schweikert and has the support of Gov. Jan Brewer, the city of Glendale and a dozen Arizona tribes.


Franks' bill would contradict the 1986 law, which says any replacement lands purchased by the Tohono O'odham Nation "shall be deemed to be a federal Indian reservation for all purposes," which include gaming, said Paula Hart, director of the Office of Indian Gaming in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Interior Department.

Read more

I don't want to gloss over this issue just to make a quick political point. There are some real concerns by other O'Odham tribes (the Gila River and Salt River Pima Maricopa tribes are the main ones) about what this means for their gaming interests and the state gaming compact. If you want the background, I really suggest taking a look at the linked article.

But back to my main point:

The Arizona Republican delegation is too quick to enter into a local and state fight with guns blazing, and doesn't consider the broader implications of its actions.

Franks' bill would establish a precedent that the United States government can unilaterally revoke land use rights of tribal nations. Indeed, this would fit the pattern of the 112th Congress, which has already ignored the San Carlos Apache's pleas to stop Resolution Copper from desecrating sacred land AND allowing mining to proceed near Grand Canyon lands despite tribal opposition.

The party of small government? Pfft! No, just small kings hoping to keep contributions flowing, regardless of what the people and the law say.

In closing, check out this quote:

The Glendale Tea Party opposes Franks' bill, calling it a "desperate tactic" that would kill job creation.

Read more

Sounds like most of Trent Franks' bills, actually.



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Yesterday, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission voted in favor of newly revised maps on a 3-2 margin.

The two Democrats sided with Independent Chair Colleen Mathis. One Republican voted against, citing lack of knowledge of the newly introduced maps, and one Republican abstained. I hate to say it, but I agree with the Republicans on this one.

The new maps aren't perfect, but signal the beginning of the end of AIRC's work on Congressional redistricting. For some, especially in Pima, Pinal, and Maricopa Counties, this process has been full of ups and downs.

The latest maps split the Tucson metro into thirds, and only divide Pinal County twice (the third division is a negligible inclusion of the Tohono O'odham reservation).

I hope that Baja Kossacks close to this news are going to write more about the Baja focus soon.

On a personal note, I'll be speaking at the AIRC meeting tomorrow afternoon regarding the division of my community into District 8 and District 6. Given the choice, I'll take my chances with Ben Quayle in the rest of NE Phoenix as opposed to Trent Franks and the Sun City folks.

On a general note, if anyone has any qualms about the new AIRC maps, you absolutely, ABSOLUTELY, have to comment at the next AIRC meeting in Tempe tomorrow!

This is the last meeting that has the congressional maps on the agenda for this week. What does that mean? That means comments received in future meetings will be only answered with a "Staff, go study that," rather than any sort of immediate response by the commissioners. As we all know, the chance of having an issue addressed decreases rapidly as time extends outwards.


Call: (855) REDISTRICT or (855) 733-7478 or (602) 542-5221

Email: HERE

OR (Preferred)

Show UP:

Location: Fiesta Resort – Galleria Ballroom
2100 S. Priest Dr.
Tempe, AZ 85282
Date: Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Time: 2:00 P.M.

PM me here or on Twitter (@theGavino) if you want to meet up/compare notes. I should be there shortly after 2PM.

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