Code Red: dereliction of duty by a ‘criminally incompetent’ commander-in-chief

After a weekend of our always insecure egomaniacal man-child Twitter-troll-in-chief Trump lashing out over Russia probe in an angry and error-laden tweetstorm, a remarkable series of opinions appeared in newspapers on Monday.

Max Boot wrote at the Washington Post, Trump is ignoring the worst attack on America since 9/11:

Imagine if, after 9/11, the president had said that the World Trade Center and Pentagon could have been attacked by “China” or “lots of other people.” Imagine if he had dismissed claims of al-Qaeda’s responsibility as a “hoax” and said that he “really” believed Osama bin Laden’s denials. Imagine if he saw the attack primarily as a political embarrassment to be minimized rather than as a national security threat to be combated. Imagine if he threatened to fire the investigators trying to find out what happened.

Or if you would prefer, imagine if this was the response to the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, as cartoonist Steve Benson does.

SteveBensonCartoon

That’s roughly where we stand after the second-worst foreign attack on America in the past two decades. The Russian subversion of the 2016 election did not, to be sure, kill nearly 3,000 people. But its longer-term impact may be even more corrosive by undermining faith in our democracy.

The evidence of Russian meddling became “incontrovertible,” in the word of national security adviser H.R. McMaster, after special counsel Robert S. Mueller III indicted 13 Russians and three Russian organizations on Friday for taking part in this operation. “Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump (‘Trump Campaign’) and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” the indictment charges.

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Victoria Steele & Jim Love Compete to be Tucson’s State Senator

Candidates Jim Love and Victoria Steele for Tucson's state senator.

Candidates Jim Love and Victoria Steele vie to be Tucson’s state senator.

Progressives have two excellent choices in Victoria Steele and Jim Love to be the candidate for the Arizona Senate in northern Tucson’s Legislative District 9.

The Democrats aim to fill the shoes of widely-admired Steve Farley (who is off to unseat the Governor).

Even though only one can prevail, Steele and Love are friends. He once worked for in her successful campaigns for the state House, where she represented District 9 from 2012 to 2016.

Love: trouble keeping teachers

Love has been an elected member of the Flowing Wells School Board for 17 years. “Republicans continue to cut education,” Love said. “I am having trouble keeping teachers in Flowing Wells. The problem is that the budget for public education comes from the general fund. We need to find a dedicated source of funding for education.”

Arizona is dead last nationwide in elementary school teacher pay and 49th in the country for secondary school teacher pay, thanks to Gov. Ducey — who has proposed a miserly .4 percent pay raise for teachers.

Love has worked over recent years in the Arizona State Legislature with Democrats and Republicans to have bills written to support public education. “We get kids who want to get a four-year degree but have no way to pay for it,” he says. “They cry because they can’t afford to go to the University.”

“Our schools are doing a darn good job,” said Love, a respiratory therapist. “But how can we keep teachers if we don’t pay them a living wage?” More info about Love is available online.

Steele: emphasizing the five “E’s”

Steele, a professional counselor, spoke shortly after the Florida mass shooting. “I support a bill that makes it a felony for parents if they keep a loaded gun in the house and a child uses the gun to hurt themselves or others,” she said. “That makes perfect sense to me.” Her campaign emphasizes the five “E’s”:

  • Education
  • Environment
  • Economy
  • Equality
  • Eliminating gun violence

“I am running because I’m tired of seeing kids used for target practice by a shooter who can get an assault rifle legally,” she says. “We need to ask candidates where they stand on gun safety.”

She successfully sponsored a bill to fund mental health first aid training with $500,000. Out of the 300 bills in the state legislature that were signed into law, only eight were Democratic bills ─ and two of those eight were Steele’s bills.

“I’m your voice in the legislature. We need someone with the experience, enthusiasm, and heart to do this work,” she said. “I am that woman.” More info about Steele is available online.

Tucson Legislative District 9

Tucson’s legislative district 9 encompasses 214,000 people in the Foothills, north Tucson, Flowing Wells, Casa Adobes and Marana.

“The Age of Consequences” free climate change film at the Loft

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21 AT 7:30PM | FREE ADMISSION

Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Tucson

“Featuring a post-film panel discussion with local experts: Gary Krivokapich Engineer at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base; Edward Beshore, Tucson Group Leader, Citizens Climate Lobby; Dr. Gregg Garfin Director of the Southwest Climate Science Center; Austin Yamada, Director of the Defense and Security Research Institute at the UA; Moderator – Katherine Jacobs, Director of Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions

Thanks to our community partners, Citizens Climate Lobby and the UA Institute of the Environment.

The Hurt Locker meets An Inconvenient Truth in The Age of Consequences, a new documentary investigating the impacts of climate change on increased resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of U.S. national security and global stability.

Through unflinching case-study analysis, distinguished admirals, general and military veterans take us beyond the headlines of the conflict in Syria, the social unrest of the Arab Spring, the rise of radicalized groups like ISIS, and the European refugee crisis – and lay bare how climate change stressors interact with societal tensions, sparking conflict. Whether a long-term vulnerability or sudden shock, the film unpacks how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather, and sea-level rise function as “accelerants of instability” and “catalysts for conflict” in volatile regions of the world. These Pentagon insiders make the compelling case that if we go on with business as usual, the consequences of climate change – waves of refugees, failed states, terrorism – will continue to grow in scale and frequency, with grave implications for peace and security in the 21st century. The film’s unnerving assessment is by no means reason for fatalism – but instead a call to action to rethink how we use and produce energy. As in any military defense and security strategy, time is our most precious resource. (Dir. by Jared P. Scott, 2016, Germany/Spain/Jordan/USA, in English, 80 mins., Rated PG)”

 


(Update) The conservative media entertainment complex is an ancillary to Russian ‘active measures’ propaganda

For Donald Trump and his conservative enablers who argue that Russia’s “dezinformatsiya” social media propaganda attack on the 2016 election had no effect on the outcome, there is a similar American right-wing disinformation propaganda campaign that demonstrates just how wrong you are.

The political network affiliated with billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch launched a multimillion-dollar campaign to sell the recently passed GOP tax plan to voters ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Koch Network To Launch Multimillion-Dollar Campaign To Try To Convince Americans To Support The New Tax Plan. The result: the Republican tax cut law, which once appeared overwhelmingly unpopular, is now supported by a narrow majority of Americans, according to a Survey Monkey poll. Tax Overhaul Gains Public Support, Buoying Republicans:

The growing public support for the law coincides with … an aggressive effort by Republicans, backed by millions of dollars of advertising from conservative groups, to persuade voters of the law’s benefits.

Over all, 51 percent of Americans approve of the tax law, while 46 percent disapprove, according to a poll for The New York Times conducted between Feb. 5 and Feb. 11 by SurveyMonkey. Approval has risen from 46 percent in January and 37 percent in December, when the law was passed.

“Public opinion is moving in the direction of this bill,” said Jon Cohen, chief research officer for SurveyMonkey. “Considering where it was, it is dramatically different.”

Donald Trump is president thanks to 80,000 people in three states: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. “Trump won those states by 0.2, 0.7 and 0.8 percentage points, respectively — and by 10,704, 46,765 and 22,177 votes. Or put another way: But for 79,646 votes cast in those three states, Hillary Clinton would be the president of the United States.”

The Russian “dezinformatsiya” social media propaganda attack on the U.S. election only had to move a small number of voters in key swing states to succeed. It is an imponderable question to know whether it did. There is no way to state with any degree of certainty how many votes may have been swayed by Russian “dezinformatsiya” social media propaganda, often forwarded or retweeted by millions of “unwitting” Americans as the Special Counsel’s indictment recites (or “useful idiots” as Joseph Stalin referred to them). How Unwitting Americans Encountered Russian Operatives Online.

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Spring Ikebana Festival at Yume Japanese Gardens

“Once again Yume Japanese Gardens will be throwing open the doors of Yume Japanese Gardens for a week to the talented adepts of five different schools of Ikebana practice. The result: elegant floral displays throughout our grounds, museum, and art gallery that capture the harmony, discipline, and refinement of traditional Japanese flower arranging.

Our Spring Ikebana Floral Festival has always been among our most-appreciated events. Enjoy 50 signature compositions highlighting the wide breadth of styles in one of Japan’s most cherished art forms. Entry to the festival and all Gardens precincts is $15 for adults and $5 for children under 15, members get in free. February 20th to 28th, 2018.”

www.yumegardens.org

UPDATE 2/20/18: “Spring ikebana festival
Due to extreme cold today the gardens will be closed.
However from tomorrow, the flower arrangements will be placed indoors and the gardens will be opened for the remainder of the week.”

Governor Ducey Re-Election in Deep Trouble

By Michael Bryan

New statewide polling from Lake Research Partners indicates possible trouble for Doug Ducey’s bid for re-election. I don’t have access to the raw polling data (though I would love to look…), so I can’t speak too much about the poll’s methodology, but some of the results have frankly surprised me. I do know that it seems to be appropriately weighted, included cell phones, and has a sample size of 600 respondents. Not bad.

Bottom line: Ducey is topping out a 40% against a generic Democratic opponent with a whopping 28% undecided, i.e. persuadable. 53% rate Ducey’s performance as merely fair or poor: and he only scores 49% good or excellent among GOP voters! His job performance in almost every other subject is also underwater, even traditional GOP strong subjects such as “keeping spending down” (I guess that is no longer a GOP value, actually, given national trends…):

Ducey will definitely face a real fight this season. That is likely the reason the Republican Governor’s Association is spending early and exclusively in Arizona (subscription link) to shore up a weakened Ducey.

So, bottom line: start investing in your favored Democratic candidate for Governor because the race is on, and Ducey is still crushing it comparatively in fund-raising. Check out our Democratic candidates Steve Farley, Kelly Fryer, and David Garcia.

You can read the full report here: PublicMemo.DuceyAccountability.firev1.0208181