Arizona Chamber of Commerce Doubles Down on AZ GOP's Failed Economic Policies

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Just in time for Halloween: The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced that it's changing its name to the Arizona Chamber of Economic Incompetence.

Okay, not really, but it might as well.

With its endorsement of Republican Doug Ducey for governor, the chamber is siding with the failed economic policies of nearly six years of absolute Republican rule in this state, a trifecta of Republican majorities in both the state Senate and the state House and a bumbling executive office, headed by toxic tippler Jan Brewer.

This is a point I made in this week's cover column "Courting Disaster," and it's one that the chamber's CEO Glenn Hamer helped reinforce today with an e-mail to the public, reminding them whom the chamber is backing in Tuesday's election.

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Mob Rule's Rejects: How the Ninth Circuit Thwarted the "Will of the People" and Why That's a Good Thing

Francisco Goya/Museo del Prado
Spanish master Francisco Goya's 1799 etching The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters easily could apply to the insanity of 21st-century America

Like a visual version of an earworm -- you know, those songs that get caught in your head and you can't get out -- I've been thinking a lot lately about a famous 18th-century etching by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya called The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.

It features an image of an artist asleep at his desk while a collection of owls, bats, and other creatures of the night swirl about him.

My "eyeworm," to coin a term, is a result of too much television and Twitter, two marvels of modernity that project the stupidities of mankind.

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County GOP Chair A.J. LaFaro Wants His Own Cult, and Puente's Carlos Garcia Gets a Reason to Vote

Dennis Gilman
Republican wild man A.J. LaFaro may be going back for a second helping of whupass from GOP blogger Barbara Espinosa

A lot of Latinos are ticked by President Barack Obama's decision to delay any further executive orders on immigration until after the election.

But let's be honest, with the U.S. Senate up for grabs in a handful of close races around the country, to have done otherwise would've been foolhardy.

Obama's delay may not save the Senate from falling to the Republicans, but while there's still a chance to retain the upper chamber, why hand the GOPers a 9-­iron to whack the Democrats with?

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Bill Montgomery's Alliance with Anti-Islam Bigot John Guandolo Has Made Us Less Safe

Demonstrators outside Montgomery's recent anti-Islam seminar in Tempe, countering hate with positivity

One rule of McCarthyism is that anyone critical of scurrilous activity by its practitioners instantly is suspect.

In the 1950s, communists and communist sympathizers were the bugbears of infamous Wisconsin U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy, whose name has become synonymous with the unscrupulous ruining of reputations.

For Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and disgraced former FBI agent John Guandolo, the target is an entire religion, Islam.

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Shame Game: Too Many Republicans Coddle the Crazies, Despite Russell Pearce's Resignation from GOP Leadership

Gage Skidmore
Russell Pearce is ousted by a sudden sense of Republican outrage over his antics, but what about all the other fruit loops in the state GOP?

The recent forced resignation of recalled ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce from his position as first vice chair of the Arizona GOP shows the power that public humiliation can have, if the circumstances are right.

When I first reported Pearce's outrageous statements calling for the sterilization of female Medicaid recipients, did I think it would lead to Pearce's ouster?

Not at all. I mean, let's be honest, Pearce's comments were pretty much par for the course for a guy whose career in public life is encrusted with scandal and racism.

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Russell Pearce Disses Government 
Programs for the Poor on His Radio Show, While Helping to Run One

Stephen Lemons
Russell Pearce in 2012, at the state Republican meeting, where he was elected the party's first vice chair.

Tuning into The Russell Pearce Show on Saturday nights on Phoenix talk-radio station KKNT 960 AM can be illuminating.

For example, on one recent episode, the recalled former state Senate president got off on the subject of public assistance in all its various forms.

He suggested that if people would just give him the authority, he'd set things right with all these here gub'mint programs.

"You put me in charge of Medicaid," Pearce told one caller, "the first thing I'd do is get [female recipients] Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations. Then, we'll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job."

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SINNERS, PSYCHOS, SKUNKS: Tom Horne Bites the Mat, and Republicans Offer Up a Baggage-Laden Doug Ducey for Governor

Doug Ducey, the GOP's seriously flawed pick for governor, declaring victory last week at the Hyatt in Downtown Phoenix

Of the many joys of primary day 2014, the top of my list and the most satisfying was Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's delicious seven­-point defeat by former state gaming director and fellow Republican Mark Brnovich.

The only thing I'd enjoy more would be watching Horne, outfitted in prison stripes, as he breaks rocks in the hot sun with one of those cartoony ball­-and-­chains tied to his legs and The Clash's version of "I Fought the Law" cranked up for background music.

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Fear of Ferguson: PPD Chief Garcia's New Stance on Officer Shootings Rings Hollow

Phoenix Police Department video
PPD Chief Garcia, speaking of Michelle Cusseaux's mother: "I could see the hurt in her face, and her words...touched my heart."
Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia waxed eloquent during an unusual Saturday press conference, where he announced that the Arizona Department of Public Safety would be tasked with the criminal investigation of the shooting death of Michelle Cusseaux.

Four police officers responded to Cusseaux's West Phoenix apartment on August 14, ostensibly to pick her up and take her to get mental-health care. At one point, according to the Phoenix Police Department, Cusseaux, 50, emerged from her residence brandishing a hammer.

Subsequently, Sergeant Percy Dupra, a 19-year veteran of the force, shot Cusseaux, who was taken to a hospital, where she died.

At the press conference, Garcia spoke of his face-to-face meeting with Cusseaux's mom, Frances Garrett, a couple of days earlier.

The chief said "the hurt in her face" and Garrett's words "touched my heart."

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Scott Smith Is the Only Sane Choice for Governor in the GOP Primary

Social Eye Media
Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith: the non-crazy Republican in the GOP primary for governor

It's "Candidates Day" at North Scottsdale Christian, a conservative, non-denominational place of worship just north of Pima Road and Dynamite Boulevard, where about 60 Democratic, Libertarian, and Republican candidates have assembled on a recent Sunday to introduce themselves.

The politicians are allowed to set up tables with campaign literature in the church's main lobby, not unlike the moneylenders Jesus is said to have driven from the temple. And following Senior Pastor David Friend's sermon, the candidates line up before the dais to shake hands and exchange pleasantries with many of several hundred congregants.

All the GOP candidates for governor are here, though the lone Democratic gubernatorial contender, Fred DuVal, did not attend. Of course, with no primary and about $1 million on hand at last count, DuVal has less to pray for at the moment than those vying to be his general election foil.

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Erik Ketelaar, Wannabe GOP Bigwig, Under Fire from Clients of His Company Tio Sam Taxes

Erik Ketelaar (third from right) at the GOP gubernatorial forum he recently hosted. (From left, former California Congressman Frank Riggs, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, unidentified male, Erik Ketelaar, Christine Jones and Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey.)

Leslie Lara figures Tio Sam Taxes, owned by local Republican bigwig wannabe Erik Ketelaar, owes her about $1,267, the combined amount of her federal tax refunds for 2012 and 2013.

The company, which at one time had six locations in Phoenix and Mesa, heavily marketed its services to Hispanics, advertising on Univision and employing homeless people to dress as "Tio Sam" (Spanish for "Uncle Sam") and twirl signs on street corners.

Bilingual fliers for the business promised: "No charge until you receive your refund," which sounded good to Lara.

"They said they would take their fee when they received a check," she told me recently.

She showed me a copy of her 2013 tax return, which directed that her refund check be sent to a Tio Sam's location near 36th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix.

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