Understanding Syria

Understanding Syria

National Politics

Starting Place For Understanding Syrian Conflict.

By Janni Simner

After the president authorized airstrikes in Syria, I started sorting through the wide range of responses on social media, only to quickly realize something—that while I knew about the huge toll Syria’s civil war had taken on Syria and its people, I knew less about the war itself: how it got started, how it kept going, who the many groups now fighting there were and how they’d all gotten involved.

So I closed my social media apps and started reading. When I returned online, I found myself more well equipped to follow what others were talking about, as well as more equipped to form my own opinions of where to go from here.

If, like me, you’re not as up to date on the Syrian civil war as you’d like to admit, here are some resources I’ve found useful. Continue reading “Understanding Syria”

Arizona GOP Candidate Willing to Go On Record

Arizona GOP Candidate Willing to Go On Record

Accurate Representation, Candidates

In a political atmosphere that punishes taking stands, we have an Arizona CD2 GOP Candidate that is willing to have his positions on record. And it isn’t the front runner, who appears to be laying low in a strategy that is very familiar to Southern Arizona constituents.

As an organization, our mission is to educate voters so that they can make choices at the polls based on their values, not the slick PR campaigns that mislead the average voter. We have found that the candidates want to control a narrative that often doesn’t match the reality of their votes and positions. Our purpose is to let people know the truth, in a time when the press is printing/posting press releases verbatim. Or not following up with questions when candidates make outrageous statements.

We have found that Candidates like Martha McSally lie about legislation and the implications of their votes. Yes, she lies. We used to say “misleads” but we cannot continue to give her the benefit of the doubt given her track record. You can see just a couple of examples here. We asked Martha to fill out our questionnaire. We never received an answer. We also asked her to re-answer a survey she did for the Center for Arizona Policy in 2012. We never received an answer.

So we were pleasantly surprised to receive a questionnaire from a lesser known Republican Candidate for CD2 relatively quickly after sending it. Former Douglas city Councilman, Danny Morales said about the survey:

I appreciate the opportunity to provide my answers to your thought-provoking questions. Regardless of political differences and aside from my own deep convictions, I am running to serve the constituents of the entire district the best I can whether they are young, middle-aged, senior, Conservative, Liberal, Republican, Democrat, Independent, registered or unregistered. In that light, I appreciate what you are doing to ensure an informed electorate in our beloved district. Thanks again for the opportunity!”

Continue reading “Arizona GOP Candidate Willing to Go On Record”

Anti-Consumer McSally

Anti-Consumer McSally

Accurate Representation

Anti-Consumer McSally  

an opinion post by Gail Kanamas

Rep. Martha McSally is no friend to consumers.  So far this year, McSally has voted five times for anti-consumer legislation.  The only time she voted pro-consumer was with a unanimous House (HR 4292).  This record tops her count of anti-consumer votes in 2017 and it’s only February.  Her votes are consistent with the Republican alignment with big banks and moneyed interests who want deregulation at all costs.  The votes she has taken mostly allow banks and other lenders to roll back consumer financial protections.  Examples include cutting back on record keeping and disclosure requirements for smaller banks which could allow discrimination in lending to go undiscovered.  Other bills she signed onto manipulate information about fees for mortgages that could result in more borrowers taking on too much debt without realizing it.  Another non-financial bill she voted for would downgrade nutrition information now required of large chain restaurants and delay pending Food & Drug Administration rules.  How can she justify these votes that can harm her own constituents?  Since she never interacts with constituents, she doesn’t have to defend these votes or answer their concerns.   

 

HR 2954 Home Mortgage Disclosure Adjustment Act of 2017  

 

HR 4292 Financial Institution Living Will Improvement Act of 2017 (unanimously supported)

 

Statements about H.R.772: Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017

Eleven members of Congress have made 16 statements about this bill.

 

Countable’s arguments for and against The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017

HR 1153  Mortgage Choice Act of 2017

From Prosperity Now: Congress Is Considering Bills to Make Homeownership More Expensive and Less Safe

HR 3978.  TRID Improvement Act of 2017  

 

HR 3299.  Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017  

On Consumer Federation of America: Bill Could Allow Payday Lenders to Make an End Run Around State Laws Designed to Keep Them Out

Martha McSally Uses White Supremacist Language to Speak About DACA

Martha McSally Uses White Supremacist Language to Speak About DACA

Immigration & Border

Martha McSally Uses White Supremacist Language to Speak About DACA

As Martha McSally’s anti-climactic unveiling of her run for Jeff Flake’s Senate seat looms, it is important to listen to the rhetoric change  in her carefully crafted persona. For years, her constituents have tried to nail her down on issues important to them. She carefully controls her message resulting in voters not really knowing where she stands on most issues, particularly when her rhetoric doesn’t match her votes.

But a particularly disturbing trend began when she decided to run for Senate and “leaked” it to her colleagues over 2 months ago.  Trump, whom she had gone to great lengths to distance herself from, was now her new BFF. Laurie Roberts of the Arizona Republic wrote about it best, quoting Arizona Daily Star’s Tim Steller who predicted the Senate run based on the number of Tweets mentioning Trump that the suddenly gushing McSally had published. Continue reading “Martha McSally Uses White Supremacist Language to Speak About DACA”

McSally on Michael Flynn- phone in townhall recording

McSally on Michael Flynn- phone in townhall recording

National Politics

With today’s Michael Flynn admission of lying to the FBI and willingness to cooperate with the investigation, suddenly this audio recording of Martha McSally is again relevant. In it, you can hear her say “it’s time to move on” after Flynn’s ouster. (Heaven forbid we actually look for wrongdoing.) Let’s hope Mueller is on it… Thanks to Connor Welton for sharing this recording with us!

Martha McSally endorses the tax bill, but does she know what’s in it?

Martha McSally endorses the tax bill, but does she know what’s in it?

Taxes

Martha McSally endorses the tax bill, but does she know what’s in it?

 

Martha McSally was a teenager attending an all-girls Catholic school when Ronald Reagan first took office. The politics of that time had such an impact on her that 30 years later, she described her own political mission as “continuing the tradition of true Reagan conservatism.”

 

So maybe it’s nostalgia for the Reagan era that explains her current enthusiasm for the Republican tax cut bill. Certainly the Trump administration is relying heavily on ‘80s-era talking points, with chief economic adviser Gary Cohn literally referring to its “trickle-down” effect, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin trotting out the old canard that a big tax cut will “pay for itself” and “reduce the deficit.”

 

There are a number of problems with this sales pitch. First off, we’ve had 30-plus years of experience to teach us that “trickle-down” economic theory doesn’t work. Tax cuts for the wealthy don’t accelerate growth; or create jobs; or raise wages; or spur investment; or pay for themselves.

 

Second, Reagan wouldn’t recognize this bill. Consider the stark differences between the 1986 tax reform and 2017’s bill:

 

  • 1986’s bill was “revenue neutral,” whereas the current bill would increase deficits by 1.5 trillion over the next ten years.
  • 1986’s bill was the result of two years of protracted, bipartisan negotiations; Republicans are trying to rush the current bill through in less than 2 months, on a party-line vote.
  • 1986’s bill was an across-the-board tax cut, which paid for corporate tax cuts by eliminating tax loopholes. The current House bill is targeted overwhelmingly toward the wealthy; half of its benefits would flow to the top 1%, and those tax cuts would be paid for by raising taxes on 28% of Americans.

 

It’s not clear whether McSally understands how wildly this bill veers away from “true Reagan conservatism.” At this point, based on her public statements, it’s not clear she knows what’s in the bill at all:

 

  • She claims that a typical family of 4 earning $59,000 would see a tax cut of $1182 “every year.” This is false, as Politifact explains: that amount is only for the first year, and is reduced annually, until by 2024 it’s a tax increase of $500.
  • She claims that the bill eliminates loopholes. In fact, as Bloomberg Politics points out, it is “littered with loopholes,” including a tax break for golf course owners.
  • She claims it would simplify the tax code, but the chief of staff of the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation just testified that it would add more complications and require new rules – “almost certainly” a new book’s worth.
  • She claims it will help families pay for college, when in reality it adds $71 billion in costs to college students and their families over the next decade.
  • She claims it will help families pay for health care, but it actually eliminates the deduction for medical expenses – particularly important for people with serious health issues, and those in nursing homes.
  • She spotlights a proposed benefit to small business owners, but that’s misleading. Josh Barro of Business Insider explains that “what is advertised as a tax break for ‘small business’ is actually a proposal to create a tax preference for wealthy people like Donald Trump.”
  • She complains about jobs being sent overseas, apparently unaware that the bill contains incentives for corporations to offshore jobs.
  • She boasts about the child tax credit; does she know that at least 40% of Arizona’s working families would not be able to claim the full $600 credit? “The poorest children… qualify for only a very small CTC or none at all.”

 

For more information on how the bill would impact Arizonans, click here.

To contact Rep. McSally with your thoughts on her vote:

 

Phone:

(520) 881-3588 in Tucson

(520) 459-3115 in Sierra Vista

 

Fax: (520) 322-9490

Tweet: @RepMcSally

 

Write/Visit:

4400 E. Broadway Blvd. Suite 510

Tucson, AZ  85711

 

77 Calle Portal  Suite B-160

Sierra Vista, AZ  85635

Ryan Mcsally Tax Bill

Skyward – Community Commentary

Skyward – Community Commentary

Equality

Skyward

By Carol Fiore

 

I have always looked up—at clouds, at birds, at airplanes. I climb to the tops of hills and hotels and relish the feeling of being high, embracing the world below. As a child, my most prized possession was a cheap, vinyl bag with the words Pan Am emblazoned on the side—a reminder of an adventure in the sky.

When I was 13, I saw a documentary about Amelia Earhart. While everyone else was enthralled with the mystery surrounding her disappearance, I was drawn to her freckles, and her quick smile, and her eyes that screamed, “Flying is the most amazing thing you could ever do.” That was the day I began my journey to the sky.

I was determined to become a pilot.

Along the way there were many obstacles—beginning with my parents. “Be a stewardess,” they advised. “That’s a proper career for a girl.” When I persisted in reading aviation books and “wasting” my money on airplane models, my mother became nasty. “Only rich kids fly airplanes.”

Continue reading “Skyward – Community Commentary”

Fact-check: McSally on the Tax Bill

Fact-check: McSally on the Tax Bill

Donors, Fact Checks, Jobs & Business, National Politics

Fact-check: McSally on the Tax Bill

 

On the same day House Republicans unveiled their new tax cut proposal, Martha McSally indicated her enthusiastic support, both in an official statement and a flurry of tweets.

 

How enthusiastic? Unlike with the health care bill, she managed to refrain from using f-bombs. But it’s clear she’s all in.

 

That’s not a surprise. McSally is hugely dependent for her campaign financing on House Speaker Paul Ryan and his political ally, New York hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer; it was a given they’d have her support on this, their top legislative priority.

 

Why are they so eager? It’s no mystery; the bill was written to benefit the donor class. Here’s a partial list of the bill’s provisions which impact mainly the wealthy and corporations, and the amount each would cost the Treasury over the next decade:

Continue reading “Fact-check: McSally on the Tax Bill”

McSally in Cosmo Magazine – wait, WHAT?

McSally in Cosmo Magazine – wait, WHAT?

Accurate Representation, Equality

We started this Change.org campaign to ask the Editors of “Cosmopolitan” Magazine to:

“Tell your readers the truth about Martha McSally

Helen Gurley Brown, the long-time editor of “Cosmopolitan,” famously transformed it from a staid family magazine to a frank (sometimes brazen) advice manual for the modern, single career woman.

In 2014, then-editor Joanna Coles expanded Cosmo’s scope to politics, “researching political candidates so you don’t have to.” She announced that only politicians who support the best interests of Cosmo readers (including equal pay, access to abortion, gun control and affordable health care) would receive the magazine’s endorsement.

Based on that criteria, the only way you’d expect to see Rep. Martha McSally featured on the Cosmo’s web site is in a big red warning to steer clear. McSally has a long track record of opposing the very policies that Cosmo says are deal-breakers:

Continue reading “McSally in Cosmo Magazine – wait, WHAT?”

Paul Ryan and the Congressional Leadership Fund

Paul Ryan and the Congressional Leadership Fund

Donors

THE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP FUND

 

Who runs it?

 

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, and his hand-picked team (Executive Director Cory Bliss and Finance Director Mason Fink).

 

If you’re asking yourself, how can Martha McSally be an independent voice representing Southern Arizona, when the Speaker of the House is a major contributor to her campaign? —  the answer is, she can’t. Ryan keeps her on a very short leash.

Continue reading “Paul Ryan and the Congressional Leadership Fund”