Posts Tagged ‘arizona republic’
A common refrain I heard from friends this last week or so was “if you are taking flack, you know you are over the target.”
In this case, “flack” was a 7,000 word hit piece on me (along with my company and 501c4 organizations with which I’m associated) by a liberal non-profit called ProPublica. ProPublica was founded by Herbert Sandler, a left-wing banker at the center of the housing crisis, as described by the New York Times:
At the center of the controversy is an exotic but popular mortgage the Sandlers pioneered that helped generate billions of dollars of revenue at their bank. Known as an option ARM — and named “Pick-A-Pay” by World Savings — it is now seen by an array of housing analysts and regulators as the Typhoid Mary of the mortgage industry.
He made billions selling his bank to Wachovia before the housing meltdown, making him the very definition of “evil billionaire.” (Other liberal billionaires like George Soros and Tom Steyer have also supported ProPublica).
Inexplicably, five days after the ProPublica piece was posted on their website, The Arizona Republic ran it as a front page, tabloid-style story. It was a complete “cut and paste” job from ProPublica, and even though the Republic is my hometown paper, they never called me for comment.
There is something a bit surreal about walking out to your driveway and seeing yourself staring you in the eye. The nearly life-size photo on the front page caused one colleague to remark, “That’s a head shot size usually reserved for Presidents or terrorist leaders.” I’m clearly not the President.
The Republic did allow me to publish a response. However, after publishing 7,000 words attacking me, they only allowed 550 for my response. That’s ok – you can read a more full response here.
Here are a few highlights from my response in the Republic:
I firmly believe that anonymous political speech is not a danger to our nation — it has played an important role throughout our history. Anonymity in political speech protects the speaker from retribution, but it also serves a greater good: It allows the public to listen to ideas without any bias toward the messenger.
ProPublica hopes to bully CPPR and other conservative groups out of existence because we’ve been effective. Thanks to President Barack Obama’s mismanagement of the country, particularly the failure of “Obamacare,” liberals know they can’t win against us in a fair fight of issues and ideas.
Instead, the left must resort to intimidation. Their tactics include boycotts, threatening businesses, digging through divorce records to personally embarrass and hurt the families of those with whom they disagree, etc. But, before they can employ these methods, they need to know who to target. This is why they demand the disclosure of donors to conservative causes.
The Republic is my hometown paper; I’ve interacted with its staff regularly and always held them and the publication in high esteem. I was extremely disappointed by The Arizona Republic’s complete lack of journalistic integrity in this instance. The Republic made itself a willing tool of the left. That is a shame and a real disappointment to this lifelong reader.
The Founders would be appalled at this organized attack on political speech by the media (and the government). Consider this: the Federalist Papers were not only anonymously written, they were anonymously funded! Today, Madison, Jay and Hamilton would be castigated as “dark money.” Good grief!
Fundamentally, the Left’s attack on conservative speech is driven by fear. The Left knows it can’t win the hearts and minds of the American public with their nanny-state mentality, so they have to change the subject away from the content of the speech and who is doing the speaking. Therefore, they attack.
I haven’t and won’t let attacks from the Left stop me from advancing the cause. It is disappointing that they have stooped to a level that includes airing personal issues related to my divorce. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of a political operative (that is, a non-public official or non-candidate for office) having their divorce records exposed in the news media.
At the end of the day, I remain resolved to continue to fight for the freedoms endowed to us by our Creator, first and foremost among those being our First Amendment freedoms.
OK. I admit, I’m sure that the Arizona Republic decided long before my post endorsing Jeff Flake for U.S. Senate that they were going to do the same. They almost certainly had their editorial written before my post. And it was an interesting editorial. You can sense the internal conflict they have about endorsing Flake, and the out-of-hand dismissal of Wil Cardon’s claims that Flake is a “Washington insider.” To wit:
To attempt to cast Flake as some kind of power-brokering Washington insider, as Cardon has done, is just at odds with reality. Jeff Flake has lost committee assignments and earned the enmity of GOP administrations precisely for being such a principled, conservative pain in the neck.
Typically when the Arizona Republic editorial board endorses a candidate, they either say something nominally nice about the other guy, or largely ignore them. This endorsement was quite different – they take Cardon to task:
As for Cardon, the novice candidate has issues of his own, including some real concerns about a topic, illegal immigration, that Cardon has pushed front and center.
A company in which Cardon has both investment and management interests, RCC Partners, was fined by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2010 for failure to maintain “valid documentation” of employees of sandwich shops it owns.
The federal “documentation” legalese disguises some serious issues. Thirty of 49 current employees were determined to be undocumented alien workers, and 121 of 269 former employees likewise “were not authorized for employment.”
Cardon has downplayed his role in the company’s hiring practices and contends the company simply had to accept the often-forged paperwork that applicants supplied at hiring. That’s disingenuous, especially for a candidate who has thumped his chest as a no-excuses border warrior and a “hands on” jobs creator.
In an era in which Republicans are pining for true conservatives, they have the practically perfect real deal in Jeff Flake.
Like I said in my previous post, Cardon could have a career in politics is he really wants it – there are other races in the future – so as any good businessman, he should learn from this and be ready for the next time, because it isn’t going to happen for him this time.
Questions continue to mount regarding what Sheriff Babeu and his attorney Chris DeRose did and said in their attempts to keep Babeu’s relationship with a Mexican national quiet.
The Arizona Republic ran this story on the front page on Sunday, and CBS News national, and dozens of other outlets, picked up this story from AP. The AP story focuses on Babeu’s challenge to win a Republican primary after being “outed.”
One question that hasn’t been answered is, why would Babeu resign from Romney’s campaign and continue his Congressional campaign? If you can’t be a volunteer co-chairman of a state for a Presidential campaign, does it make sense to continue to run for office yourself?
I continue to assert that his being gay is not the issue here. The issue is what actions he or his attorney took to cover up that he is gay. DeRose claims that the whole matter was put to rest after the ex-boyfriend turned over the social media passwords, but that is clearly false.
As the New Times reports, DeRose emailed the ex-boyfriend after he had turned over the passwords suggesting they get together to “discuss settling these outstanding claims.”
In his defense, DeRose provides a “cease and desist” letter he wrote to Jose, and he points out to New Times that there are no threats in that letter.
We didn’t expect him to provide us a copy of the threat he is accused of making.
The assertions from Babeu’s camp that the dispute between he and Jose ended after Jose turned over passwords to the campaign accounts Babeu says were hacked strain credulity when you consider the letters Weiss-Riner sent to Babeu and his attorney.
And DeRose’s own e-mail to Jose on September 7 — after he turned over the passwords — contradicts his characterization that Jose wasn’t pressed to sign anything after he complied with DeRose’s requests.
“We have a decision to make about what’s already been done,” DeRose wrote to Jose. “If you have cooperated as it appears, this will mitigate heavily in your favor. As we consider what’s already been done, would you like your opinion to be considered?”
DeRose invites Jose to his office to “discuss settling these outstanding claims.”
They asked him to turn over the passwords, which he did. And yet, contrary to DeRose’s portrayal to New Times and other media outlets that that was the end of it, his own e-mail states there were “outstanding claims.”
So what were the “outstanding claims”? Until answers are provided by Babeu and his attorney this looks like a threat. And that’s the problem – when you are in a hole, stop digging.
I swear I didn’t know the scandal surrounding Sheriff Paul Babeu was going to break when I named my last post “Hot Arizona Politics.” Call it bad headline timing.
In all seriousness, Babeu should resign as Sheriff of Pinal County. Not because he is gay (that’s immaterial) but because it appears that he abused his office and demonstrated one of the most egregious acts of hypocrisy possible.
The Phoenix New Times reports that Babeu was in a relationship with an individual and when that relationship ended, Babeu and his attorney threatened deportation of the individual if the relationship was exposed. Babeu and his attorney denied that charge when asked by the Arizona Republic.
If, in fact, Babeu knew that his boyfriend was in the country illegally (the New Times story alludes to an expired visa) he had an obligation as a law enforcement officer to report that to the Feds. That he didn’t, but then threatened to do so when the relationship ended, is an abuse of power. It is hypocrisy because of his public pronouncements about illegal immigration and border security.
There is no question that his budding Congressional campaign is over. Because it is a Republican primary in a conservative district, it’s likely that the thing that hurts him the most is that he was in a gay relationship.
However, that is not the scandal. Let’s try this hypothetical. He was in a relationship with a young lady from England who was here on a student or work visa and it expired. The relationship sours, and he threatens her with deportation if she talks about the relationship. It doesn’t sound as scandalous, but the abuse and hypocrisy remain.
I don’t give a rip about him being in a relationship with a man from Mexico. I care that as a Republican, and someone who has repeatedly preached “the rule of law,” he abused his power and is a hypocrite.
For the sake of the party and for the sake of just doing the right thing, he should resign as Sheriff.
The Arizona Republic editorial board has opined in today’s editorial that Senate President Bob Burns did the right thing by dissolving the committee that was chaired by Senator Ron Gould because of his outspoken opposition to referring a sales tax increase to the ballot to deal with the mounting budget deficits facing Arizona.
That in and of itself was fairly unremarkable. The shocker was this line:
The sticking point for the special session is what else would be on the agenda. If lawmakers can agree on further spending cuts, they should do it now, so the reductions can be spread over more of the fiscal year.
Whoa! Stop the press! The Repblic’s editorial board thinks we should cut spending as soon as possible to spread the savings? We do live in strange times.
President Obama and his family are visiting the Grand Canyon on Sunday. It just so happens that this weekend is one of the few that the Park Service waives entrance fees.
Coincidence? I’m not so sure. This from the story in the Arizona Republic today:
Asked about the Obamas’ visit on a fee-free weekend, Eaker said it is sheer coincidence, then chuckled at a suggestion that the president’s family might be scrimping on its budget.
If you were planning a trip this Sunday, you might want to reconsider. Having done advance work for a couple Presidential trips, I know how disruptive a visit from the Chief can be wherever he goes.
One thing I’ve noticed about Obama. He doesn’t appear to care who he inconveniences when he wants to use the trappings of power to do something. President’s Clinton and Bush both visited the Grand Canyon on non-weekends. Maybe they didn’t consider when they were going, but then again, neither of them were as self-centered as the current President. I mean, you didn’t ever have Clinton or Bush literally making the claim that they were “the One.”
You have to hand it to the editorial board of the Arizona Republic. When they get it right, they NAIL it. Today’s editorial on the fantasy of Pelosi’s memory is a tour-de-force of what we call “taking the bark off” – that is, peeling away the façade and exposing the harsh, raw, ugly truth that is Nancy Pelosi’s brain.
Look at the preposterous mess that was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s press conference last week as a cold splash of water to the face.
To avoid so much as a hint of responsibility for her duties as a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Pelosi has humiliated herself.
The CIA lied to her, she said on Thursday. She was not told about waterboarding in her briefings. Nor, for that matter, was she told directly about CIA interrogators using any enhanced interrogation techniques.
She was never briefed, she says, but was “told” about them by a staff member. As if there is a lick of difference between those split hairs.
And she raised no objections to what she learned because she was too busy trying to gain a majority for her party in Congress.
No other member of Congress who was briefed on the CIA’s interrogation techniques over the years – and there were plenty of Pelosi’s fellow Democrats among them – has ever accused the CIA of distorting the record of its actions, much less outright lying. We are to believe they chose to lie to Pelosi alone.
Numerous leaders of both parties – including, reportedly, Pelosi – worried fretfully in those days that CIA interrogators may not have been doing enough to extract information.
They did not raise those concerns alone. Legal experts like Alan Dershowitz and writers like Newsweek magazine’s Jonathan Alter, among other politically liberal voices, urged harsh treatment to gain information. As Jacob Weisberg of the online Slate magazine noted this month, Alter even pushed for “transferring some suspects to our less squeamish allies.” Rendition, in other words, to countries where torture is not such an issue.
Now, Speaker Pelosi is compelled to pretend she maintained a moral purity about those days. She never felt the urge to trade an inch of the moral high ground to protect Americans.
There is another word for the moral purity Pelosi maintained during those difficult days. It is the same word that applies to her CIA tales.
DHS Secretary Napolitano has “apologized” to the American Legion for her the report by DHS that warned of various conservatives being potential terrorists.
The Saturday edition of the Arizona Republic covers the heat that Napolitano has taken for this report and a variety of clumsy moves. Reporter Dennis Wagner called me yesterday to get my take. I told him that I didn’t think she would resign or get fired, and that I was disturbed by her willingness to call conservatives “terrorists” while at the same time refusing to call members of Al-Queda terrorists – or to even use the words terror or terrorism. That, I said, made me question her understanding of the true threats we face from actual terrorists.
Wagner didn’t use my central thesis, but instead some side comment. Of course, I’m not surprised.
Still, Sean Noble, a Republican political consultant and blogger, said Napolitano’s mistakes are stunning because of her background and her position in the Obama administration.
“If she’s surprised by the criticism, then she wasn’t thinking about the level of responsibility that she has,” he said. “There is partisanship, you bet. But that’s how the game is played.”
The problem with that quote is that it’s taken out of context, and implies that I think this is all a game. National security is not a game. Napolitano is facing severe criticism because people are worried about her judgment. And I remain concerned.
This story covers a statement released by Congressman Shadegg. He and I have not talked about this issue, so I was a little surprised at how similar our thinking was on this.
The Sunday edition of the Arizona Republic runs a regular section called “Plugged In.” This Sunday’s edition runs a comment from me:
Let U.S. always remember terrorism remains a threat
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano refused to use the words “terror” or “terrorism” in her inaugural appearance before Congress. That is very disturbing. Terrorism remains our most immediate national security threat, and DHS was created specifically to coordinate our responses to terrorism. Downplaying those threats is dangerous and irresponsible.
The wailing and gnashing of teeth is starting to get louder. And that’s because the real pain of the budget crisis is just starting to be felt. As I warned on Thursday, DES announced yesterday that 620 jobs will be cut, and that there will be more to come later. Arizona Republic columnist, Laurie Roberts had a shrill piece which completely ignores how we got into this budget mess and instead tries to hang it all on the current Governor, Jan Brewer.
The Republic also ran a story about Arizona’s Department of Revenue getting ready to lay off about 200 workers next week, on top of the 53 they have already cut.
Folks, this is what happens when government spending increases at too fast a pace. Growth of state spending grew more than 10 percent each year for the last four years or more, and when revenues are down as much as they are, real cuts have to take place. Taxpayers are right to ask why Napolitano was growing government at about 3 times the rate of personal income – the inequity leads to real consequences.
The Republic would do itself a favor by at least acknowledging that Napolitano’s unhinged spending binge is a huge part of the problem. If they keep looking the other way, their credibility, or what’s left of it, will suffer even more.