Aiding the Enemy

Bradley Manning was convicted of twenty charges, today. Among those charges was not “Aiding the Enemy”.  Had he been, Manning’s conviction would have sent a clear message to the public at large. In leaking the records of egregious, unethical, illegal, and violent acts by agents of the US Government, Manning exposed the ugly under belly of the power elite, who strove to label his acts “treasonous” and “espionage”. If Bradley Manning’s actions were treasonous, his treason was only against the one percent. In swearing his oath, as a uniformed member of the US Armed Services, Manning’s loyalty was to the People of the United States, to the US Constitution, not to Charles and David Koch. To be guilty of espionage, he would have had to be a spy. He was merely a whistle blower, offended by the actions of his government, nothing more. Yes, had Bradley Manning been convicted of aiding the enemy, it would have sent a clear message to the People. Manning was serving the people. He was alerting the People to the truth, the ugly, horrible truth. Conviction of “Aiding the Enemy” would have openly declared the obvious. The People are the enemy of this government. Just as Warren Buffet said, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Buffett also said, “The smarter the journalists are, the better off society is. For to a degree, people read the press to inform themselves, and the better the teacher, the better the student body.” With the decline of the Fourth Estate, the People must depend on WikiLeaks, to learn the truth. WikiLeaks depends on truth tellers like Bradley Manning. This is not desirable for a government bent on controlling its People, like submissive sheep. Yes, there is a war on, and the People are the enemy of the power elite. Convicting Manning of aiding the enemy would have announced this to the world.

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The Pot Calls the Kettle Black

France sharply criticised US spying, allegedly including eavesdropping on official EU communications. Germany is indignant, remembering the STASI and Gestapo. Germany has the world’s strictest privacy laws, as a result of its tumultuous history. The UK has GCHQ and MI-5. Eavesdropping CCTV cameras are on practically every street corner. Vast data collection, as in Prism, is the norm. Are Anglo-American rights at risk? It would appear so. Once again, recalling the words of an eighteenth century Anglo-American, Benjamin Franklin, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety,” come to mind.

All of this cloak and dagger, extra-legal behaviour by government is done in the name of national security. To be free from terror, it seems, it is assumed that citizens must surrender freedom from government. The question is often stated, “If we give up essential freedoms, aren’t we doing exactly what the terrorists want?” Not really, no. Former American President George W. Bush would have it that terrorists hate Americans because of the freedom inherent in American society. Identifying with this flawed reasoning leads to an assumption that terrorists won’t attack, if Americans are less free. Obviously, this is as idiotic, as is Bush’s statement. It tastes of “Freedom Fries”. Terrorist attacks against the US and the UK have both occurred as a result of Anglo-American imperialism. Britain has an aggressive domestic security service, which has developed from decades of IRA insurgency. The answer to this dilemma is to simply get out of Ireland. Leave Ireland to the Irish. Queen Elizabeth I’s incursion is not a tradition for Queen Elizbeth II to observe.

The US has endured decades of Islamist terrorism, due to its colonialism in the Middle East. America shows no respect for Islam or Arabic customs. Americans barely know their own history and geography, let alone have an understanding of Middle Eastern society. Factor in American insistence upon maintaining not only an excessive military presence left over from cold war paranoia, but vicious puppet dictatorships, as well, and one begins to see why America is a target. Just as in the logical course for Britain to rid herself of the IRA threat is by getting out of Ireland, America must leave the Middle East. To answer the predictable and obvious argument for the need to depend on foreign petroleum, if a nation can utilize science to chronically explore space, it has the technology to harness renewable sources of energy. Fossil fuels are as outdated as their sources: dinosaurs and Paleozoic plants. Only the greed of the one percent provides reason to remain.

Spying incessantly upon one’s own citizens is not the answer. Common sense foreign relations are. Le Monde reported that the French Intelligence service, DGSE, intercepts computer and telephone data on a vast scale, similar to the US Prism program. The French? Yes, the French. Those very audible critics of US hyper-security measures are doing precisely the same thing as the Americans. One needs to merely look closely at the history of French police collaboration with the Gestapo and the totalitarianism of Vichy, and a tradition of invasive disregard for human rights by the French government are painfully apparent. However, so is the reaction to such government abuse by the French people. Le Monde’s assertions should prove to be a catalyst.

Britains have been sick of government intrusion for years. The plethora of Guy Fawkes masks and hoodies at every English demonstration speaks of the People’s discontent and rebellion against authority. MI-5 cannot track you, if they cannot identify you. Le Monde’s and The Guardian’s revelations have awakened the People to government’s inherent hunger for power. It is a hunger which must be tempered. The neo-colonialist passions of France, the UK, and the US have brought home the violence of the Middle East. Those very actions, which were encouraged against the Soviet Union by the Mujahedeen, are coming home to roost. Neo-colonialism, which serves no one but the one percent, must cease. Unrelenting surveillance on a nation’s own citizens, in absence of probable cause, is a violation of the principles of both the French Revolution and the Magna Carta, which was, after all, the inspiration for the following quote:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

No legal basis exists for relentless government intrusion by the NSA, DGSE, or MI-5. The foundations of our mutual governments preclude that. These same foundations of government, however, do provide for the right of the People to resist it, and resist it we must!

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Nineteen Souls

Nineteen souls, hotshots, lost near Yarnell. Let me put this in perspective. These are about the baddest of the bad. Only jumpers have more training. A ‘shot is a young kid, say about nineteen to twenty four years old, typically, working in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, where everything can change, in fractions of a second. If a crew is deployed in chaparral, a fire dependent species, and it is hot, very hot, and they are moving uphill, and the wind changes, everything changes.

Wildland fire creates its own wind. If there is no safe place to retreat, no already charred earth, you are fuel, too. The fabled ‘fire shelters’, resembling aluminum pup tents, are cynically called, “shake and bakes”. Fire creates its own wind, and firefighters know, full well, that wind can be strong enough to pull their so-called, “shelters” off, and away from them. This is always in the back of your mind, as you slog along the line, rooting away at the ground.

Usually, ‘shots are college kids, earning enough, hopefully, to get them through another couple of semesters at school, and they earn it. Granite Mountain Hotshots were unique. They were all regular firefighters from the City of Prescott. Therein lies the only difference. Like their brothers and sisters, these were young people, mainly in their twenties; men who disregarded inherent danger, in lieu of completing their mission. Their training is about as abusive as that of Airborne Rangers. They work out and run, miles and miles, every day, at altitude. Just qualifying for this torment is miraculous. Working the line is a full day, often from before dawn, until after dusk, bent over, rooting around with a Pulaski, scraping the ground with a McCloud or Number One shovel, or working a chainsaw. Maybe, you’ll get a decent, hot, breakfast. May you won’t. You can count on a couple of baloney sandwiches and some crushed chips, and a candy bar, maybe a piece of fruit, for lunch. And, let’s not forget the ever present boxes of skittles. If you’re lucky, there might even be a frozen bean burrito. If you’re lucky, you won’t have to eat MREs. Yes, Hotshots are the elite of the fire service.

Labeling these dedicated souls as “heroes” would be an embarrassing insult to most of them. A “hero” is just a great, big sandwich. It is a very safe assumption to make, that not one of them would consider what they do, the least bit heroic. They’re just doing a job; a dirty, dangerous, thankless job which very few have the courage and stamina to do. It is a job which goes unnoticed, by the general public, until something awful happens. Then, politicians pontificate and pose for photo-ops, and babble on about something else they don’t understand. Talking heads use this as another excuse to foment infotainment.

Hotshot crews are often composed of both genders, too. Remember that. Wildland firefighting is one of the very rare egalitarian realities on this planet. We work together, suffer together, pick dirt out of our food together, and collapse together. Then, after all too brief a down time, we get up, and do it again. My heart aches at the thought of another crew being lost. The horror of ‘The Dude’ was bad enough. Survivors wandered around, afterward, in base camp, with thousand yard stares in their eyes, and such pale horror on their faces, that they were unrecogniseable, even to people who knew them. This is unimaginable. Nineteen souls, hotshots, lost near Yarnell: nineteen kids.

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What About Bradley Manning?

Ecuador has renounced its multi-million dollar trade relationship with the US. “Ecuador will not accept pressures or threats from anyone, and it does not traffic in its values or allow them to be subjugated to mercantile interests,” stated government spokesman Fernando Alvarado, who also made a sarcastic comment about the US need for human rights training. Mr. Alvarado’s remarks occurred after Robert Menendez, chairman of the US Senate foreign relations committee, suggested punishing Ecuador economically if it offered asylum to Edward Snowden, who has requested asylum in Ecuador. WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, stated Ecuador had issued a special refugee travel document to Mr. Snowden, whose US passport has been revoked. Speaking before a gathering in the West African nation of Senegal, President Barrack Obama stated “I am not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker,” referring to Snowden, who apparently fled Hong Kong, to escape further US extradition efforts, flying to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport where he remains in a transit zone. Russia has no extradition treaty with the US, but Washington demands extradition without delay. Beijing has accused the US of “double standards” on cyber security. Cutting through Obama’s diplomatic double speak and exploring other developments about Edward Snowden, it is clear that the US will stop at nothing to silence him, including “scrambling jets”. If a Russian airliner suddenly and mysteriously went missing over the Atlantic, it would certainly be tragic. Conspiracy theorists would have a hay day, but the US Government would have plausible deniability. Such an act would be an act of war, and we would never do that, or would we? Barrack Obama’s having dropped his thoughtful, academic nice guy act, involving himself, publicly, about a “29-year-old hacker”, emphasizes America’s desperate insecurity. His comments were chilling. What else does Snowden know, which he might declare? How ugly are the Americans? The US Secretary of state, John Kerry, has commented about Snowden. Kerry called Snowden a traitor. Such a statement is somewhat hypocritical from a man who once threw away his service medals, on the steps of the US Capitol. It must be one thing to protest America’s involvement in an illegal, immoral war, but quite another to protest America’s illegal, immoral eavesdropping on its own citizens. With America’s track record of drone murders and political assassination, nothing should be ruled out. Doublespeak and hypocrisy reign supreme. America’s international standing is at another all-time low, just as it was during the Bush era, with Ecuador renouncing its trade relationship, in answer to US threats, Russia’s refusals to bend over, Hong Kong’s failure to blindly cooperate, and China’s declaring our double standards in cyber security. Washington will feel free to denounce Beijing for cyber espionage, but will not admit to its own use, furthermore becomes aggressive, when it is exposed. What about Bradley Manning?

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American Fascism

Writing in the magazine, Free Inquiry, Spring, 2003, social scientist, Dr. Lawrence Britt described fourteen characteristics of fascism. His article was titled, Fascism, anyone?” These characteristics are now quite famous, having been accepted and co-opted by many authors, among them, John Pilger, Paul Craig Roberts, Noam Chomsky, and Naomi Wolf. In her Guardian article, Wolf wrote about ten steps. Dr. Britt studied the regimes of Pinochet, Franco, Mussolini, Suharto, and Hitler. He discovered the following commonalities:

 Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

 Supremacy of the Military
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

Rampant Sexism
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

Controlled Mass Media
Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

Obsession with National Security
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

Religion and Government are Intertwined
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

Corporate Power is Protected
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

Labor Power is Suppressed
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .

Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even fore go civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

Fraudulent Elections
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

How can anyone deny a powerful, continuing nationalism in our current state of unending war? Can the American Gulag, Guantanamo, be considered anything else but emblematic of disdain for the recognition of human rights? The declaration of “illegal alien” must be acknowledged as an identification of enemies and scapegoats, fomenting unification in the general  population, against the others. “The Others” is a concept identified by Italian scholar, Umberto Eco, as another symptom of fascism. It plays well with the doctrine formulated by George Orwell, of fear and loathing being necessary to galvanise public opinion. In World War II, American servicemen were just that, service-men, citizen-soldiers. Now, since the all volunteer army of Richard Nixon, we have a new caste in America, that of ‘the Military’, a class set apart, elevated and admired. Veterans no longer speak of being “in the service”. Instead, they say, “When I was in the Military”. Military involvement is no longer seen as a service. It is seen as privileged. It is admired as a sacrifice, and those who make it are noble. Supremacy of the military is not merely limited to the armed forces. The paramilitary quality of American police agencies, with citizens referred to as “civilians”, discounts the old notion of “To Protect and to Serve”, replacing it with a mentality of citizen subordination to their public servants. Rampant sexism is the origin of military rape; so is the oft described ‘war on women’, seen, most poignantly, in the fight to deny women the right to determination of their own health. Current and constant attacks on Planned Parenthood speaks volumes. Will anyone deny American Media is controlled? The obsession with national security, as seen in the persecution of Pvt. Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange, and the mysterious death of Michael Hastings demonstrate, if nothing else, government has something to hide. The term, crypto-fascism, fits well, here. Julian Assange is not a U.S. citizen, yet California Senator Dianne Feinstein has declared her desire for him to be tried for treason. How can a foreign national be a traitor to the United States? Efforts by Dominionist legislators and their cohorts, to intertwine government with fundamentalist Protestantism, as well as certain fundamentalist Catholic views expressed by the U.S. Supreme court, are chillingly alarming, as is the Dominionist takeover of the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines. Dominionism is especially acute in special ops. Corporate power is protected, and Labor is assaulted. Labor union membership is at an all time low, while Corporations hide under the umbrella of Citizens United, and bank offshore. Intellectualism is denigrated. Arts are ignored, and left to fend for themselves. American Idol replaced Evening at Symphony. Shallow thinking is encouraged. Critical thinking is denied. Along with the prevalence of paramilitary policing, crime and punishment are an obsession in this society. Rampant cronyism and corruption were the rule in the George W. Bush regime. More cognizant of his image, Obama has changed this. His administration is not so rampant, but the cronyism and corruption continue. It is public knowledge that Al Gore won the presidency against George W. Bush, and that fraud abounded in certain electorates, especially among those which used Diebold machines. The elephant in the room is the question of how far the corruption went. Why did Gore just give up? Why did he not fight this blatant, overt handing over of the presidency? Could the US Supreme Court have been part of an enormous conspiracy in a corrupt election? There, again, why was Clinton so eager to enact Reagan’s NAFTA, and destroy Glass-Stiegel, not to mention further empowering Corporate America by continuing the assault on labor unions and the Sherman Anti-trust Act? The lumbering of the Beast has been long in coming, starting with assaults on American Liberty by Nixon, then Reagan, the Bushes, and yes, even through the allegedly Democratic administrations of Clinton and Obama. Now, the United States Supreme Court has  joined in, again, by  attacking  the Voting Rights Act.

To those of you, who would deny the rapid transformation of American society into a fascist state, I say, “Good for you! I hope your state of denial works  for you.” I wish you well. To those of you, who choose to merely ignore it, I sadly shake my head. Although I routinely don’t tolerate fools, I can still pity them. You are the embodiment of the phrase, “Ignorance is bliss”.

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The Ghetto

English: Warsaw Ghetto, smashed into the groun...

Warsaw Ghetto, smashed into the ground by German Vernichtungskommando, according to Adolf Hitler`s order.

Pogroms against specified minorities, often used as scapegoats for society’s ills, are a fact of western civilisation. The ghetto is an effective tool of the ruling class, against the disenfranchised, the minority race, ethnicity, culture, or religion. It is very functional to mass a targeted population in one central location. Tracing the term, allegedly, to Vienna, the ghetto concept was institutionalized as an effective government tool by Prince Klement von Metternich, an eighteenth century Austrian diplomat and governmental puppeteer. It was in Metternich’s day, that the concept of the Jewish Ghetto flowered. Unique, concentrated, ethnic communities existed in Europe, and unwanted minorities were shunned in specific locales, long before Metternich, but under his rule, walled neighborhoods rapidly evolved, and became institutionalized. Targeting, isolating, and containing an entire ethnic population to make pogroms more efficient and effective was one of the Prince’s most renowned achievements. Metternich’s eighteenth century social experiment resulted in the birth of the fabulously wealthy House of Rothschild, as well as enabling Adolf Hitler’s final solution.

Fear of the ‘others’, outsiders, is especially effective as a tool against the immigrant. Immigrants speak a different language, have different customs, and often have different skin pigmentation. Immigrants are very convenient scapegoats. In a dysfunctional society, marred by economic suffering, the immigrant is an easy target. We have seen this behaviour repeated time and time again against different religious sects and ethnicities in America. Puritans discriminated against other Protestants, especially Baptists and Quakers, and Catholics. The ethnic majority English population discriminated against the incoming Germans, and later, against the Irish and Italians. Current discrimination against the Latino population is merely a repetition of an age old tradition.

Arizona’s legendary SB1070, and its offshoots in Alabama and Georgia, put a new spin on the phenomenon. Latino immigrants, because of ethnic affinities, and due to societal pressure, not unlike the governmental pressure of Metternich’s day, live in insular, ethnically characteristic neighborhoods. Signage is often solely in Spanish. Buildings, commercial, as well as residential, are frequently decorated in bright hues. Vehicles, a significant investment, especially to the poor and disenfranchised, may be parked in front yards, to increase their security. Crossing the street in any American city, especially in the Southwest, is regularly a journey from an Anglo dominated world, to Mexico, Central, or South America. Language and culture are immediately skewed, an experience profoundly awakening and dissident to the culturally ethnocentric or racist. This is a journey into the land of the ‘others’.

Identical to the actions of the Waffen SS in the Warsaw ghetto, Anglo dominated law enforcement continues to carry out ‘sweeps’ of predominantly Latino neighborhoods. Homes are invaded by deputies, to show a dominant presence, under pretense of searching for drugs or contraband. Motorists are stopped because of their skin pigmentation or hair color, using the bogus excuse of traffic violations. Pedestrians are targeted because they are walking in the ‘wrong’ neighborhoods.

As in the Warsaw Ghetto, entire families disappear in the middle of the night. Rather than being rounded up and taken to camps, the targeted population often independently vanishes to far away new locations, to more tolerant states or to their country of origin, in fear of persecution. Often, but not always, do they flee, because the same disappearance happens in the case of the notorious ‘sweeps’, wherein persons unable to adequately prove US citizenship or documentation of legal residency, vanish into ‘the system’.

The motivation for racial profiling and sweeps is abundantly clear. In their never ending quest for absolute wealth and power, Charles and David Koch funded the creation of ALEC, in 1973. Among the many ‘member corporations’ of ALEC, is the Corrections Corporation of America. CCA is an interstate, private prison corporation, which seeks to supplant public prisons. ALEC scholars write ‘model legislation’ for state government. Arizona SB 1070, the notorious immigration law, and inspiration for similar legislation in Alabama and Georgia, is a typical example of such legislation. Written by Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, with the assistance of ALEC, SB 1070 created an entire population as fodder for the profit seeking private prison system. Latinos, because of their unique language and culture, became more than merely ‘different’. They became, as a population, ‘illegal’, and were targeted for arrest, whether undocumented or not. Statistics support the thesis that American citizens, whose families have lived in the Southwest, since before the American Revolution, have been among SB 1070’s victims. Racial profiling, due to SB 1070, was legalized.

A new twist exists in the old ghetto mentality: profit. Take a population and make it illegal. House these ‘criminals’ in private prisons after they have been incarcerated in county facilities, and before being handed over to ICE, for deportation, and CCA turns a nice little profit. This action is supported by a population’s racist fears of ‘the others’ in economically challenging times. Rank and file union members, not necessarily racist as a norm, cry out in support of SB 1070, as a way to protect their assumed, threatened livelihoods. Union leaders, not necessarily racist themselves, follow the desires of their rank and file, and influence political parties for support, which is granted. Management of the political party is sympathetic, because their orders come with donations from an investor class which profits from CCA’s earnings. Society’s disease comes full circle. The etiology is Koch brothers inspired spin. It is classic Goebbels propaganda. As in the whispers of the radio announcers, steadily growing to a crescendo, in the movie ‘Cabaret’, the insidious rumors of economic disenfranchisement by ‘illegal aliens’ becomes the mantra of the dominant population. Koch investment in a profitable private prison system is secure. Adolf Hitler said that if one tells a big enough lie, and repeats it often enough, it becomes the truth. As Nazis harvested personal effects, gold fillings, hair, and even human skin to profit from their targeted populations, Charles and David Koch profit from an entire population, outright. It is the same behaviour, only less brutal.


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PayDay Paton

English: Picture of Jonathan Paton, candidate ...

Jonathan Paton, Republican candidate for Congress, in Arizona CD-1

Jonathan Paton, also known as “PayDay Paton”, is  running for the US Congress as a Republican in CD-1. Paton is a lobbyist for the Payday loans business. In 2004, Jonathan Paton worked for the Community Financial Services Association, a payday lending  alliance.  Paton supported an industry-written ballot initiative  allowing payday lenders to remain open indefinitely,  overriding a law which required them to shut down in 2010. His efforts would allow payday lenders to “continue to be allowed indefinitely making short-term loans with fees that are equal to 390 percent annual interest, but with new restrictions on how they deal with customers.”

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard dealt a serious blow to payday lenders who attempted to skirt a ban on their day-to-day functioning with “Operation Sunset” .  Goddard notified Arizona payday loan companies that he would enforce the legislated ban on usury and prosecute any attempts to evade the law.

A resident of Tucson, Arizona, Paton announced his candidacy for CD-1 but must move into that district, in order to be a qualified candidate.  Yes, that’s correct, he did not live in CD-1 when he filed to run for office and this instantly brings to mind questions of his personal ethics.  Arizona voters in the 8th District already rebuffed Paton’s 2010 campaign, and it is hoped that CD-1 voters will follow suit.  According to the Arizona Secretary of State Lobbyist System, Paton is currently a registered lobbyist.  Amber Moon, of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,  publicly stated, “Arizonans need a Representative who will fight for them in Washington, not a payday lending lobbyist like Jonathan Paton who places special interests above the middle class.  Arizona voters in the Eighth District rejected Jonathan Paton in 2010, and voters in the First Congressional District won’t trust a lobbyist carpetbagger in 2012.”

Remember Wes Gullet, the lobbyist who lost to Greg Stanton in the recent Phoenix Mayoral race?  Gullet publicly admitted that he intended to continue his lobbying efforts if he was elected Mayor of Phoenix.  Wes Gullett was Chief of Staff for Arizona Governor Fife Symington, from July 1993 to April 1996, and his tenure coincided with Symington’s failed attempted  takeover of Grand Canyon National Park, to make it a State Park under his control.  Symington had a long term cozy relationship with mining interests, who would have begun uranium mining at the Grand Canyon upon Symington’s taking it over.  Considering the current attempt to institute uranium mining at the Grand Canyon, one wonders if this might not be déjà vu on several levels.

Two other Arizona men who currently work behind the scenes,  simultaneously bankrolling candidates,  are Mario Diaz and Stan Barnes.   Diaz runs Mario E. Diaz & Associates, a full-service government relations and public affairs firm in Phoenix, Arizona.  Among his affiliations is retired US Senator Dennis DeConcini,  currently a board member of the Corrections Corporation of America, and formerly linked to the Keating Five scandal.  Stan Barnes is the founder and President of Copper State Consulting Group which is also “a full service government relations and public affairs firm in Phoenix Arizona.”  In short, Mario Diaz and Stan Barnes are lobbyists.   Diaz and Barnes are two of the biggest Payday Loan lobbyists in Arizona.

Who has Payday Loan lobbyist Stan Barnes contributed to?

$6,500 to the Arizona Republican Party

$8,925 to John McCain

$4,575 to Jon Kyl

$6,200 to David Schweikert

$1,500 to Paul Gosar

$1,450 to Trent Franks

$500 to John Boehner

Obviously, Stan Barnes has donated heavily to influence conservative legislators. It is clear where his sympathies lie.  Barnes has also contributed $4,400 to Jonathan Payton.

Mario Diaz  gave money to numerous Democratic candidates, and has donated $7,600 to the Arizona State Democratic Central Executive Committee, alone.  Playing both ends against the middle, Barnes has also contributed  to the Arizona State Democratic Central Executive Committee, in the amount of $3,000.

In addition to Barnes’ contributions to “PayDay Paton”, both lobbyists have contributed to the campaign of Ann Kirkpatrick. Diaz has contributed $8,246 to the Kirkpatrick campaign. Barnes has contributed $2,500.

A total of $10,746 has been contributed by these two Payday Loan lobbyists to Ann Kirkpatrick!  This is, of course, $6,346 more than the amount contributed by Stan Barnes to Payday lobbyist Jonathan Paton.

What is the price for this loyalty?  Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard struck a blow against loan sharks, yet these Payday Loan lobbyists continue to peddle their influence on candidates in  both parties.  These lobbyists, it seems, have spent more on the candidate endorsed by the Arizona Democratic Party, than on their own lobbyist candidate, and one can only wonder why.  The Arizona State Democratic Central Executive Committee has received $10,600 and candidate Ann Kirkpatrick,  $10,746 from two of the biggest Payday Loan lobbyists in Arizona.  What will be the price for such loyalty?


Arizona Capitol Times, 4/02/10; 1/25/12.

Arizona Daily Star, 6/6/10; 9/25/08; 10/19/08.

Arizona Secretary of State Lobbyist System.

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Apache Leap

English: , member of the United States House o...

Former US Representative, Ann Kirkpatrick

The following is reprinted from “The Hill”, first printed on 05/11/10.

Arizona lawmakers spark ire of Apaches over copper mine, land exchange

By Sean J. Miller – 05/11/10 06:00 AM ET

SUPERIOR, Ariz. — A local dispute in this old mining town has sparked a legislative battle on Capitol Hill, and the outcome could affect the reelection races of two incumbents in Congress.

A proposed land exchange between the federal government and an international mining conglomerate would carve thousands of acres out of the surrounding national forest — land the Apache Indians consider sacred. Over the last several years, the effort to open a protected area to mining for the first time has become embroiled in an ethics controversy and sparked an environment-versus-jobs debate.

Digging for copper. Underneath the surface is one of the world’s largest untapped copper deposits — by some estimates, enough to supply a quarter of America’s annual demand for more than 50 years.

The chairman of the nearby San Carlos Apache Tribe, the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, former miners and environmentalists vehemently oppose the land exchange. They’re up against Resolution Copper Co., its congressional allies and a town hungry for the jobs the mine would bring.

The state’s economy is in the doldrums, and the Copper Triangle region in the heart of Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s (D-Ariz.) district is no exception.

Her reelection prospects, and to some extent those of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has pushed the land swap bill in the Senate, may hinge on getting the legislation passed.

McCain is in a challenging primary race and Kirkpatrick represents a district he carried by 10 percentage points in the 2008 presidential election.

Kirkpatrick and McCain aren’t the first to champion the land exchange.

Former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), Kirkpatrick’s predecessor in the House, wanted land owned by one of his supporters included in the exchange. Resolution Copper balked, and the congressman was subsequently indicted, which ended his political career. The legislation, tainted by association, died.

The bill found new life after it was re-branded by McCain and Kirkpatrick as a no-cost stimulus for Arizona. “Because it’s a jobs bill, it’s a top priority,” Kirkpatrick said recently.

The measure would see the federal government give Resolution Copper 2,400 acres of the Tonto National Forest in exchange for 5,500 acres of ecologically valuable property across Arizona. Usually, land exchange bills move through Congress swiftly and without much fanfare. But the Copper Basin Jobs Act has been an exception.

The legislation is being held up by environmental concerns and the inclusion in the exchange of the Oak Flats Campground northeast of Superior, which was protected from development by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955.

It’s where the Apache harvest acorns and pray, and despite assurances from Kirkpatrick about environmental protections to safeguard the area, the tribe is concerned the mine will destroy one of its most sacred sites.

Apache skepticism of government promises is captured in the legend of a cliff that divides Oak Flats from Superior. An Apache band, the story goes, refusing to surrender its land and move to the reservations, leapt to its death here when surrounded by federal soldiers. The area, known today as Apache Leap, is considered a burial ground by the tribe.

When Kirkpatrick ran for Congress in 2008, she came to the San Carlos Reservation for a fundraiser organized by Wendsler Nosie Sr., the Apache tribe’s chairman.

“The tribe fully supported her,” said Nosie.

Backing from the tribes is significant in Arizona’s 1st House district; Native Americans make up roughly 20 percent of the population, one of the highest concentrations in the country.

A falling-out. Two years after the San Carlos fundraiser, Nosie is no longer on speaking terms with Kirkpatrick. The rift between the freshman lawmaker and many in Eastern Arizona’s Indian Country started several months after she won election to the House. That’s when she first staked out a firm position on the mining project.

While in Washington for the passage of a resolution honoring the legendary Apache leader, Geronimo, last February, Nosie went to Kirkpatrick’s office for a meeting. He had heard rumors that she was planning to support the exchange and wanted to remind her of the tribe’s view.

That day Nosie and Martha Interpreter-Baylish, a member of the San Carlos tribal council, sat down with Kirkpatrick and her chief of staff, Michael Frias, around a coffee table in her office.

“Back in Arizona I’m hearing you’re supporting Resolution Copper,” Nosie recalled saying.

He asked her directly whether she supported the bill. Kirkpatrick responded that she did. They talked about the tribe’s environmental concerns, and the conversation quickly became tense, according to several accounts.

“Ann, the reason why I’m here is because you had told me that you would definitely hear both sides of the story,” Nosie said.
Kirkpatrick leaned forward in her chair.

“Chairman, tell me, how is your religion going to put food on the table?” she said. “Tell me how your religion is going to help the children getting abused by their parents. How is your religion going to turn the bed sheets of your elders?”

The chairman stopped her. “Ann, don’t even go there,” he said.

The meeting broke up minutes later. The chairman and Kirkpatrick haven’t spoken directly since.

“I certainly appreciate the importance of sacred sites,” said Kirkpatrick, who grew up on an Apache reservation, where her father ran a general store. “But I will tell you that I’ve also visited with other members of the tribe who say, ‘Look, we need these jobs.’ My take on it is that most people in that region, including many of the tribal members, really want the economic development that’s going to come with this project.”

Kirkpatrick’s bill has been assigned to the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, which is chaired by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.). He has long opposed the legislative effort, but is preparing to present his fellow Democrat with an alternative piece of legislation.

“I think we’re selling ourselves short. This company, I don’t trust them,” Grijalva said recently, noting he felt there weren’t strict enough environmental protections in Kirkpatrick’s bill.

“We’re willing to sit and talk about an alternative legislative solution,” he said.

Kirkpatrick’s version includes a stipulation that a full environmental study be conducted and the results approved by the secretary of Agriculture before the land is conveyed to the company. A previous version stipulated only a truncated study and mandatory conveyance regardless of the results.

Grijalva plans to present Kirkpatrick with his own version of the bill soon.

Kirkpatrick said she’s cautiously optimistic. “I’m definitely going to push this legislation ahead,” she said, although she’s aware the chairman’s discretion will dictate when her bill is brought before his panel.

Kirkpatrick is aware that while she waits for Grijalva, McCain is working to put the exchange into an omnibus lands bill that could be approved in this Congress.

In an interview with The Hill earlier this year, McCain expressed frustration with Grijalva and indicated the bill is a priority for him.

The pressure is building, meanwhile, on Kirkpatrick. Resolution Copper ran a series of ads in local newspapers telling Kirkpatrick, “We’re counting on you to help pass this bill now.”

The company has spent more than $1.2 million on federal lobbyists since 2003, public records show.

A town in need of jobs. Kirkpatrick does not directly answer a question on whether she’s made the calculation that jobs are more important than the religious practices of the Apache. She talks about finding a balance between the two, but also points to the traditions of Superior and the surrounding mining towns.

“This region has been a mining region for a hundred years. I talk with miners who are third-, fourth-generation miners in this area. It’s not only their livelihood, it’s also their life,” she said.

Most residents of Superior are impatient for the exchange to go ahead. “This is a no-brainer. This doesn’t cost the federal government anything. We’re not asking them for a bailout. Let it move ahead,” said Michael Hing, the mayor of Superior.

The area was first settled at the end of the 19th century by prospectors and immigrant laborers who came to work in the surrounding small-scale mines. The mayor himself comes from a long line of miners. “I’m 100 percent Chinese,” he said during a drive around Superior, noting that his grandfather came over from China to work in the mines.

The center of town is now mostly a collection of boarded-up storefronts and adjacent streets lined with rundown bungalows. The town’s population has dropped from some 7,000 at the height of its mining heyday to about 3,200 today. Hing and other supporters view the project as a way to make their town flourish again. “We had shoe stores, barbershops, we had a full-time doctor here, a working movie theater — all those amenities that make a good little town,” he said.

Cabinet secretaries visit the area. On a recent afternoon a homemade sign on a building on Main Street read, “Thank you, Secretary Vilsack.” It was left over from his visit, at Kirkpatrick’s invitation, six weeks prior. Last August, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made a similar visit at McCain’s behest. Several weeks before the trip, McCain lifted his holds on two Interior Department nominees — holds he had placed in order to get the administration’s support for the lands exchange.

“The thing about Sen. McCain and Congresswoman Kirkpatrick working hard is getting the bureaucrats to come out here and take a look at this whole project,” said Hing. “You can talk about it and talk about it, but unless you walk on it and go through the town and see what we’re facing, you don’t really get the whole gist of it.”

The objections of environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition are unfounded, Hing says.

“Give me a break. We made our lives here,” he said. “I’m an environmentalist because I’m raising my four kids here. I’m very concerned about the water, the air, the land quality.”

Resolution Copper is already making preparations to mine underneath the Oak Flats Campground, expanding its existing shafts for the day it’ll be able to start harvesting the ore that lies about 7,000 feet below the surface.

In the meantime, the company is spending $50 million to reclaim the old Magma Mine site, which extends from north of downtown Superior over Apache Leap. “Doing the reclamation was a way for us to demonstrate to the community that we would take care of the environment,” said David Salisbury, Resolution Copper’s chief executive.

The Magma Mine was operational for close to a century. The old smokestack from the smelter is visible from almost anywhere in town. Before it closed in the 1990s, the miners clipped the top of what was later determined to be a mountain-sized copper ore body, though at the time they couldn’t reach it.

The international mining giant Rio Tinto got wind of the find and bought the mine. It then partnered with BHP-Billiton to set up a subsidiary, which became known as Resolution Copper.

“We will mine out of this mine in the first year more than they took out of [the old one] in its nearly a century of life,” Salisbury said outside one of the old mine’s refurbished buildings. “That’s the difference in the scale of the mine.”

Kirkpatrick’s office estimates the project will create close to 2,000 jobs. But critics say it’ll be years before the first paychecks are cut, because the mine is almost a decade away from becoming fully operational.

Labor dispute complicates passage. Environmental concerns aren’t the only thing holding up the bill. Rio Tinto is engaged in a nasty labor dispute at one of its California mines, where it has locked out some 600 workers for months.

A staffer in Kirkpatrick’s office said the company must work to resolve that situation amicably before the bill can move forward. “We can’t create 2,000 jobs in Arizona at the expense of 600 in California,” the Kirkpatrick aide said.

Despite the hurdles, Kirkpatrick believes the legislation will pass.

“I’m optimistic that we can find common ground and balance and move this project ahead,” she said.

Nosie said the tribe will keep working with Kirkpatrick on other issues, but he won’t support her reelection.

“She gave Indian Country a great hope,” the chairman said on a recent Sunday morning at the Oak Flats Campground. “And now that’s wiped clean.” He paused. “Another politician. Another politician that played us good.”

These remarks are significant.

“Back in Arizona I’m hearing you’re supporting Resolution Copper,” Nosie recalled saying. “Ann, the reason why I’m here is because you had told me that you would definitely hear both sides of the story,” Nosie said.

“Chairman, tell me, how is your religion going to put food on the table?” Ann Kirkpatrick asked. “Tell me how your religion is going to help the children getting abused by their parents. How is your religion going to turn the bed sheets of your elders?”

“Ann, don’t even go there,” Nosie said.

“I think we’re selling ourselves short. This company, I don’t trust them,” Grijalva said recently, noting he felt there weren’t strict enough environmental protections in Kirkpatrick’s bill. “We’re willing to sit and talk about an alternative legislative solution,” he said.

“She gave Indian Country a great hope,” the chairman said on a recent Sunday morning at the Oak Flats Campground. “And now that’s wiped clean.” He paused. “Another politician. Another politician that played us good.”

“Doing the reclamation was a way for us to demonstrate to the community that we would take care of the environment,” said David Salisbury, Resolution Copper’s chief executive.

Resolution Copper is a subsidiary of Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, an ALEC member corporation. Aside from being an ALEC company, Freeport McMoRan has an abominable record of human rights violations in third world countries, where it conducts business. This record includes murdering persons objecting to their business practices, as well as working conditions outlawed in the western world as unsafe and unsanitary. Resolution Copper, therefore, should be less than concerned with any form of reclamation. Freeport McMoRan’s past, supported by public record, establishes this. Reclamation of Navajo land, from the mining of uranium, during and after World War Two, has yet to happen. The flooding of the Rio Puerco on the southern border of the Navajo Nation, the famous Church Rock disaster, because of failed containment efforts of radioactive waste from uranium mining, was never answered. The cleanup of Three Mile Island, a contemporary disaster, in contrast, began almost immediately. Clearly, indigenous peoples are considered ‘collateral damage’ by US business.

Raul Grijalva has spoken of “an alternative legislative solution”. He stated, about Resolution Copper, “I think we’re selling ourselves short. This company, I don’t trust them.” The elephant in the room is the question of why we must continue to allow the rape of the land, and destruction of indigenous cultures, by multi-national corporations, as our only consideration for business, when so many other, clean, businesses exist.

Rick Renzi’s corruption is legendary. His indictment cost him his re-election. One is compelled to remember, Mrs. Kirkpatrick was so unpopular with her constituents that she was voted out of office. It is also worthy of note that Senator McCain has joined with Senator Kyl in spearheading efforts to rob the Navajo and Hopi nations of their federally guaranteed ancestral claims to Colorado river water, only to balustrade the business of Peabody Coal, another ALEC corporation.

“Chairman, tell me, how is your religion going to put food on the table?” Kirkpatrick said. “Tell me how your religion is going to help the children getting abused by their parents. How is your religion going to turn the bed sheets of your elders?” is a painful reminder of another quote by a colleague of Rep. Paul Gosar, Dr. David Eichler, who suggested during an Alaskan court battle, in an online message board, that Native tribes had “poor dental health due to ignorance and deserved to die out.” Western civilisation’s hubris, insensitivity, and total disregard for the civlisations of indigenous peoples stem the first contact by Columbus.

Considering Ann Kirkpatrick’s connections to other ALEC contributors to her campaign, one must question her concern over jobs being created in the Superior region. As already noted, “Critics say it’ll be years before the first paychecks are cut, because the mine is almost a decade away from becoming fully operational.” The Apache nation is about to take another leap.

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Following the Money From Arizona to Washington

English: , member of the United States House o...

Former US Representative Ann Kirkpatrick

The American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, was founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich, the man who coined the phrase, “Moral Majority”, and, with Jerry Falwell, embarked upon a homophobic crusade, hearkening to the time of Joe McCarthy. This is no coincidence, since the monies used for ALEC’s founding came largely from the coffers of Charles and David Koch, sons of Fred C. Koch. Robert Welch and Fred Koch were principal founders of the John Birch Society, which still extols McCarthyism as an heroic American value.

ALEC’s mission statement declares it exists to “advance principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty, through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government, and general public.” Remembering history, Benito Mussolini also sought a “public-private partnership” of “legislators…the federal government, (and) members of the private sector”. He called this fascism.

The Arizona Association for Economic Development was founded, a year later, in 1974, “by a small group of economic development professionals and business leaders dedicated to expanding the industrial and economic base of Arizona. This group came together to discuss issues affecting Arizona’s economic development, to promote economic development in the State of Arizona through an interchange of information and educational opportunities among its members, to act as a liaison with outside groups having the same objectives, to influence legislation affecting economic development and to continually improve working relationships among its diverse membership”, according to its webpage. The similarities in objectives, between ALEC and the Arizona Association for Economic Development are striking. One is compelled to question whether the Arizona group might be an offshoot of ALEC.

TRIADVOCATES LLC is a significant member of the Arizona Association for Economic Development. TRIADVOCATES provides integrated local, state and federal lobbying, and government relations consulting services throughout Arizona. Its principal member is Kimberly Knox.

The Policy Development Group, also an Arizona lobbyist, is a product of Ron Ober, who ran successful campaigns for retired US Senator Dennis DeConcini, of the ‘Keating Five’ scandal fame. DeConcini’s current interest is involvement in the Corrections Corporation of America, the notorious private prison system, where he sits on the board of directors for a sum of $175,000.00 per year. CCA is an ALEC member corporation.

Sal Baldenegro has stated that Sen. DeConcini has urged potential donors to the election campaign of Wenona Benally Baldenegro to walk away and provide her with no monies, which would impair her chances of being elected to the US House of Representatives.

Senator DeConcini, Ron Ober, and Kimberly Knox are listed as official donors to the campaign of former US Representative Ann Kirkpatrick. Other donors include Richard Harris Silverman, General Manager of Salt River Project, Judith Williams, President of SRP, Gena P. Trimble, Manager, SRP, Mark B. Bonsall, Executive Management, SRP, Jane Alfano Rasor, attorney, SRP, and John F. Sullivan, Associate General Manager, SRP. Salt River Project is an ALEC member corporation. Ms. Kirkpatrick’s donors also include a Washington D.C. lobbying firm, Wexler and Walker Public Policy Associates, a division of Hill & Knowlton, one of the oldest public relations firms in the United States. Hill & Knowlton designed the tobacco industry‘s strategy for counteracting scientific evidence which linked cigarette smoking to lung cancer. Wexler and Walker Public Policy Associates were founded by Anne Wexler, 1981. Wexler has been listed as one of the most powerful women in the Washington, D.C. by The Washingtonian. Wexler is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Former Representative Ann Kirkpatrick voted NO on HR 1256, the FDA Oversight of Tobacco Products, aiding and abetting Big Tobacco. Her connections to destructive mining practices are even more insidious. Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is an ALEC member corporation. Resolution Copper is connected to Freeport McMoRan, through a web of partnerships. Resolution Copper currently threatens to establish the world’s largest copper mine on sacred Apache land. Ann Kirkpatrick, along with former US Representative Rick Renzi (R), Flagstaff, both endorsed measures to allow this venture to come to fruition.

An irrefutable pattern exists. Ms. Kirkpatrick has supported the destructive mining prospects of an ALEC corporation. She aided ALEC supported Big Tobacco, by voting against HR 1256, and has received financial support from senior employees of an ALEC member corporation and a CCA board member, himself with a past soiled by corruption. Her supporters include a wealthy and very influential Washington lobbying firm. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it’s a duck.

Sources: /us-congress/contributions?s=1&office_party=all&election=all&politician=768&business_sector=Lawyers %26 Lobbyists&business_industry=Lobbyists&start=07%2F01%2F2009&end=06%2F30%2F2011

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Take a Stand

Seal of Maricopa County, Arizona

“You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything!”

Aaron Tippin

The citizens of Maricopa County have a choice in the impending Sheriff’s election. They can maintain the status quo, perpetuating a regime of sporadic, targeted law enforcement, where the incarcerated stands a very good chance of being tortured to death, as in the case of Marty Artencio, and several other preceding prisoners, of inhumane incarceration in tents, chain gangs, denial of medications, and international embarrassment. They may also choose one of two challengers to the regime, a former police sergeant in the country’s sixth largest police agency, with no command experience, or a lieutenant in a bedroom community of the same city, who, by virtue of his rank, has limited command experience. The Arizona Democratic Party supports the sergeant. The same cabal of ultra conservative wealthy Arizonans, who support Joe Arpaio, endorse the lieutenant, a former Republican, running as an independent.

Another choice exists, a Democratic candidate, who retired from the largest police agency in the nation, NYPD, at the rank of Deputy Assistant Chief, John Rowan. This is a man who currently teaches ethics and community policing at the college level, and who was delegated the task of overhauling and administering New York’s police department and the security agency in Iraq. Rowan was deployed by NYPD at ground zero, on September 11, 2001. Naysayers within the Democratic Party will declare Rowan’s having been recently terminated by Goodyear Police Department. This is true. He was indeed terminated. However, what naysayers fail to report, is the actual reason for his termination. Rowan testified in court, pertinent to police involvement in a fatal hit and run collision with a teenaged pedestrian. He refused to participate in a police coverup of a wrongful death. His testimony resulted in several early retirements and terminations, including those of both the Chief of Police and the City Manager of Goodyear. Subsequent to this, Rowan has endured numerous threats. On his way out the door, the city manager, not being used to such treatment, fired John Rowan. Therefore,  Rowan paid with the loss of his job, for having the integrity to tell the truth. He is currently paying for his integrity, by having his, and his family’s, personal safety jeopardized. Perhaps it is actually true that the voters in Maricopa County have no choice. They can either perpetuate the status quo or elect a sheriff with the background, dedication, and integrity to effectively clean house in MCSO,  before the U.S. Department of Justice is forced to step in. You decide. Take a stand.

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