the Cochise County, Arizona,
Individual & Property Rights Association

editor:  Mike Jackson, at
September 1, 2017

Cochise County's "Owner-Builder Opt-Out" --
its history and current situation -- go to

CCIPRA exists to oppose the forces which would take away your rights.  CCIPRA began by focusing on local gummint corruption and stupidity, but now the focus is broader.  Ordinary citizens working together can still protect themselves.

From June 14

Late in the day:  At last a criminal investigation begins:  -- and from the story: "the Supreme Court ruled during the Watergate scandal that officials cannot use privilege to withhold evidence in criminal prosecutions."  So the attempts to assert executive privilege, by whatever name, must come to an end.  What's the endgame here?  At last, a way has come up for Trump to walk away feeling that he's a winner:  he can make the stale claim that he is nobly resigning to save the country from partisan wrangling.  His words won't convince anybody but 1) his followers, and 2) himself. It's now doubtful that Trump will make it to 2018, and it's certain that nothing in his office will become him like the leaving of it.

Early in the day:  Trump's enemies may fear it, and his friends may wish he would get to it faster, but everyone can agree that based on all the evidence, Trump wants nothing so much as to be not President, but Dictator.  To that end, Trump may use some pretext to declare a state of national emergency, and suspend the operation of all other branches of government.  This morning's shooting at a baseball field is the kind of excuse he needs.  It would be, however, a lame excuse.  In 1954 Puerto Rican nationalists went inside the actual House Of Representatives and started shooting, hitting five Congressmen (who all lived).  Here's a good writeup of the event:
Imagine how we would react today.  What did we do in 1954?  Well, the House immediately stopped admitting tourists to the gallery without tickets, and later tightened up security otherwise, but Speaker Joe Martin said "I rejected the most ambitious proposal, one that called for installation of bullet-proof glass around the front of the galleries.... I felt that, danger or not, Americans do not want their Congress walled off from the people by glass."  If we could be that calm after a shooting inside the actual House, when the Cold War was at its height and initial suspicion was that the shooting was a Communist plot, can't we still use our heads now, and not be led into panic by leaders who profit from scaring us?

From June 13

Two parts of Sessions's testimony today are very interesting to me.

One, he refuses to talk about some conversations with the president, but says he is not basing his refusal on executive privilege.
-- Just who, precisely, does he think he is?  Nobody gets to answer a Congressional subpoena only to the extent he wants.  If the Senate lets Sessions (and others who have done the same thing recently) get away with this, we won't have "executive privilege," we'll have "privilege by friends of the Emperor."

Second, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, suh, says that some of the questions are insulting to his honor, suh, his southron honah!  In other words, hoi polloi in Congress -- the ones who are there to protect the people -- should know theah low social position.
-- When the argument is made that anyone is above suspicion by his inferiors, I always go back to my 269-year old friend Jerry Bentham, who talked in "Laudatory Personalities" about the argument that for some officials, "so great is their integrity, so complete their disinterestedness, so uniformly do they prefer the public advantage to their own, that [their] high character ... is a sufficient guarantee against any ground of alarm."  Jerry notes that this argument is always "irrelevant to the question under discussion," and would give self-exalted persons "an absolute and universal negative upon every measure not agreeable to their inclinations."  Jerry's solution is simple:  a public job is a public trust and a public jobholder is a public trustee, and a legislator should always "suppose the trustee disposed to break the trust in every imaginable way for him to reap ... any personal advantage.  This is the principle on which public institutions ought to be formed; and when it is applied to all men indiscriminately, it is injurious to none....  [A]rguments, drawn from the supposed virtues of men in power, are opposed to the first principles on which all laws proceed...."  Bentham's arguments are more convincing to me than the blather of any Foghorn Leghorn who comes down the pike claiming to be better than the rest of us.

From June 9

Trump has NOT volunteered to be questioned under oath. An ABC reporter asked Trump if he would give his version of what Comey talked about under oath; 100%, Trump said. Trump added that he would be glad to tell the same to the special prosecutor. In other words, Trump has volunteered only to tell his own version under oath -- not to submit to any questions. Now watch Trump squirm to avoid answering questions under oath, and watch him squirm more if a sharp trial attorney gets to question him.

Trump HAS reverted to the speech pattern he uses when he knows he's been caught with his pants down. Trump said "No collusion. No obstruction. [Comey]’s a leaker." That's just like "no puppet, no puppet, you're the puppet" when Hillary mentioned his Russian connection during the campaign. Trump's oral tell shows him as just an overgrown brat who panics whenever he is challenged, and repeats his special magic words.

Trump cannot help destroying this country. He wants to loot it, and he doesn't have what it takes to be a competent president. During the Civil War, Lincoln found it necessary to violate one part of the Constitution, in order to save the country. Now, has our electoral system become a suicide pact, that we must stick to even if it ends us?

From May 28

When Hillary called Trump "Putin's puppet" his denial was "No puppet, no puppet, you're the puppet," revealing his hysteria at hearing the truth. He made vile promises to his base, and will now break them whenever breaking them will put money in his pocket. His only goal is to get richer. He didn't mean his oath of office, and if he had meant it he couldn't carry it out; he's too stupid and crazy. Imagine four years of his selfish insanity. Imagine a world with a broken America.

From May 26

Yes puppet, yes puppet, Trump's the puppet:
If there's a difference between Trump and the dictionary definition of traitor, I wish I could see it.

From May 16

Trump admits blabbing secret anti-ISIS information direct to Russia, right in the Oval Office. A few responses are in order. 1, A president has the power to de-classify secret information, but having power isn't the same thing as being right, and Trump was a fool to blab our secrets to Russia. 2, Trump can't understand that he's a fool. Remember his bragging "I comprehend very well, okay, better than I think almost anybody" back on February 8? Unable to understand his own limits, Trump will continue being a fool. 3, To handle this particular foolishness, the Shite House has already worked up a script. For instance, national security adviser McMaster says Trump did not discuss intelligence sources or methods, or reveal any non-public military operations, and Secretary of State Tillerson says Trump did not discuss any sources or methods of intelligence, or any military operations. They're following the same script. 4, Their script is nonsense. If Trump tells Russia "Here's something you don't know about ISIS," he's giving information from which intelligence officers can deduce much more than Trump blabbed. Anyone trained in intelligence understands how to use information in patterns. Anyone except the president would already be facing court-martial. 5, How well can our government function when every day is another adventure in wasting resources coping with a president who's a fool?

From April 20

In a debate, a clear marker that the other side can't win a fair argument is that they refuse to state your side honestly, but instead argue against a side you are not taking. US Attorney General Sessions gave an example of this today, by criticizing people for "psychoanalyzing" Trump as to his anti-Islamic position. Now, psychoanalysis is a long process of privately digging into hidden feelings; Trump, however, hasn't hidden his anti-Islamic feelings, he's shouted them as loudly as he could. He's like a bully who goes around saying "I hate redheads, and I'm going to kick the next one I see" -- then sees a redhead and kicks him to death -- then argues "Redhead? Redhead? Who said anything about redheads? I did? Just a coincidence!" It's been clear for a long time that Trump is a lying, cowardly bully; it just became clear that Sessions is one too. O, for a government of honest people again.

From April 18

Secretary of Homeland Security Kelly is quoted in a Washington Post article today as saying that Congressmen should "shut up [and] assume the agency is acting appropriately and following the law." My very old pal Jerry Bentham disagrees. Jerry argues against the idea that "the virtues or talents of the persons [in a government office supersede] the necessity of all investigation," that "so great is their integrity, so complete their disinterestedness, so uniformly do they prefer the public advantage to their own, that [their] high character ... is a sufficient guarantee against any ground of alarm." Jerry notes that such "arguments, drawn from the supposed virtues of men in power, are opposed to the first principles on which all laws proceed;" that the arguments are always "irrelevant to the question" at hand; and that "If this argument be good in any one case, it is equally good in every other [so would] give to the persons an absolute and universal negative upon every measure not agreeable to their inclinations." Jerry proposes a different rule: "In every public trust ... suppose the trustee disposed to break the trust in every imaginable way in which it would be possible for him to reap ... any personal advantage. This is the principle on which public institutions ought to be formed; and when it is applied to all men indiscriminately, it is injurious to none." Maybe, while General Kelly was enjoying his career ordering other men about, he should have given more study to the principles of morals and legislation in a society of free people.

From April 14

Turning to Pence, because Trump is oh so boring and easy to figure out: Pence won't eat alone with a woman not his wife. Does he figure that he is so attractive that any woman will jump his bones at any opportunity? Or does he find the presence of any woman so unbearably exciting that he will rape her if no one stops him? He will offer an excuse from the Bible, but the Bible says lots of things, and fundamentalists ignore whatever isn't convenient to them. What matters is what in Pence's brain made him choose the particular excuse he chose -- woman as universal seducer or man as universal rapist. What a theocratic creep to have next to the presidency, in a country in which government is not supposed to be ridden by religion.

From April 12

It's laughable to see newspapers sound mystified by Trump's change of tactics toward Syria, Putin, etc. There's nothing hard to understand about Trump's changes of tactics: just keep in mind that he has only one strategy, to do whatever will benefit him most at any particular time, and he will change tactics as needed for that one strategy.

From April 11

What we know about Trump is that he built a "bidness" career by lying, bullying, cheating, squirming out of obligations, and dumping people who couldn't do anything more for him.  Does anybody see any evidence that he's different as president?  He's busily breaking every promise he made to voters before the election -- now that he has what he wanted, why should he care what he said to get it?  Putin too has done all that he could for Trump, and can't do anything more for Trump now that investigations are closing in, so it's a good time for Trump to dump his former puppetmaster, and find a new way to supremacy -- which seems to be military adventures.  Trump is turning domestic government over to toadies, in and out of his family, who will be handy for taking blame away from Trump; and in military adventures, Trump has found a space where Congress will refuse to supervise him.  How little time it took Trump to discover this road to becoming a Duce!  A huge reaction against this American Mussolini in the 2018 elections is probably the only hope for the American people to save their country -- because if we try and fail in 2018, Trump will have figure out a way to block another attempt in 2020.  Goodbye, American experiment in democracy.

From April 6

1, The Constitution gives Congress the sole power to declare war.  Congress has not in any way authorized Trump to attack the Syrian government, so Trump just violated the Constitution by starting a war on his own.  This is a major step toward dictatorship, the only kind of government in which Trump can survive, much less thrive.  Expect statements like this to be treated as treason, sooner rather than later.

2, The CIA had early evidence of Putin helping out Trump: -- so now it's time for Trump to declare that the CIA is a fake agency. Imagine how much good government we could be getting if not for that insane clown hogging the spotlight in DC?

From April 4

Donald Trump is to Putin's Russia what old Joe Kennedy, JFK's father, wanted to be to Hitler's Germany: an appeaser and enabler -- except that Joe was crafty and was under FDR's control, while Drumpf is crazy and nobody can control him, not even himself.

From April 3

First the Republicans very uncivilly refused to even consider a Supreme Court nominee by Obama, because it's the last year of his presidency -- as if he had been elected for three years, not four; and now, if the Democrats use an existing rule to block Drumpf's nominee, the Republicans apparently plan to change the rules so that they can ram Gorsuch through. Evidently the Republicans have no concept that this is a government of laws, not men. One hopes for a miracle of recovered sense and civility in the Senate this week.

From April 2

Our main mob leader is a defendant for inciting violence --
 -- and he can be sued while president. What a good system of government we have, tho Herr Drumpf is trying to wreck it.

From March 31

1, My God, how long can the American people stand, how long can the American government stand, living out the soap opera of a demented drama queen? How much of our time can we stand being wasted trying to cope with Trump's crazy fantasies?

2, Flynn wants immunity before testifying at a House and Senate investigation of Trump's Russian connections. The investigators say they want to investigate further before hearing from Flynn. If I were Flynn, I'd move to a concrete blockhouse with heavy security while Trump has time to figure out more ways to block his testimony.

From March 30

A proposed Constitutional amendment: that in the Senate, the Vice President have no vote, and that a bill fails when it ties.

From March 28

A contestant on The Apprentice alleges that Trump groped her the way he bragged about on camera. Trump tweeted that her claims were "100% fabricated and made-up ... totally false ... totally made up nonsense." He wouldn't retract, so she sued him for defamation.

Trump isn't Constitutionally immune from a suit that has nothing to do with his presidential duties, but his mouthpieces are spouting an immunity argument that's failed before: that a president is immune from a lawsuit that will distract him from his presidential duties. That argument was tried when Paula Jones sued Bill Clinton, and the Supreme Court rejected it then, holding that the "contention that this case ... may place unacceptable burdens on the President that will hamper the performance of his official duties ... finds little support [in history or past cases ...., and] it is settled that the Judiciary may severely burden the Executive Branch by reviewing the legality of the President's official conduct .... It must follow that the federal courts have power to determine the legality of the President's unofficial conduct. The reasons for [not] requiring federal courts to stay private actions during the President's term apply as well to ... a stay 'in all but the most exceptional cases.'" See paragraph 2.b at .

As a practical matter, Trump can't show that this case would unduly burden him in carrying out his duties, because his performance so far has already shown that he is lazy and negligent in his job.

This is what happens when a bragging crotchgrabber is elected to office. Paybacks are hell, eh?

From March 26

Protests all over Russia against Putin's thuggish regime -- right after Putin meddled in our election to get his puppet elected -- imagine what an opportunity this would be for a real president to advance freedom in Russia.

From March 25

1, In Herr Drumpf's own words, he's "not very good." When he announced he was running for president, he said "I've watched the politicians. I've dealt with them all my life. If you can't make a good deal with a politician, then there's something wrong with you. You're certainly not very good." Such self-awareness the sucker has!

2, Drumpf lost, blitz plotz, best summarized in this quote from Senator Chuck Schumer: "the TrumpCare bill failed because of ... incompetence and broken promises.... I have never seen an administration as incompetent as the one occupying the White House today. They can't write policy that actually makes sense, they can't implement the policies they do manage to write, they can't get their stories straight, and today we've learned that they can't close a deal, and they can't count votes." Sweet, sweet music.

3, Now that Drumpf has lost, will he try to destroy Obamacare by, literally, using its administrators to destroy it -- as he is doing with the EPA, and already tried with Obamacare before he got his teeth kicked in on Trumpcare? See

From March 24

So Herr Drumpf and Smilin' Ryan were too cowardly to put their losing bill up for a vote -- and they dithered all day before deciding to duck and run. So much for Drumpf's self-publicizing as a deal maker; in his first big test, he couldn't deal himself out of a wet paper bag.

But the lying bully can make the rest of us pay for his inadequacies. He also just backed out of trying to negotiate conditions in the pipeline deal -- see  -- so it looks like little sphincterlips is going to punish the people he works for.

If that's how Drumpf is going to react when things go bad, it looks like he can't survive in office long. Whatever they wanted in a President, Drumpf's minority of voters did not want a brat having a tantrum.

From March 23

As near as I can tell, here's the latest takeaway on Trump's "wire tapp" lie.

Trump wasn't wiretapped; he and his crooked friends were overheard when they called foreigners whose lines were tapped as part of an FBI investigation.

The FBI findings were supposed to be secret, but as soon as a bigshot Republican found out about them, he ran to Trump to warn him about what the FBI was finding out.

When a mob is under FBI investigation, what do you call the guy who runs to tell the mob boss what the FBI knows?

From March 20

The final shot in my movie of Herr Drumpf's career: Visualize the last scene of the movie Sunset Boulevard, with Drumpf in full drag as Gloria Swanson, with his hair swept down alongside his cheeks. At the top of the stairs, he says "Alright, here comes the Princess" and glides down the steps. Near the bottom, he raises his hands and gestures through the air, as much as the cuffs will allow. He tilts his head back like Mussolini, imagines that the crowds cheering his arrest are cheering him, and says "This is my life. It always will be. All those wonderful people out there, watching me, me, me. I'm ready for my closeup." Drumpf glides directly into the lens, saying "No puppet, no puppet, you're the puppet." Fade to black.

From March 16

Cowardly Lyin' Trump versus cognitive dissonance. Trump lied his way into office, and now, suddenly, his budget shows how fast he wants to loot the country. It was always obvious to voters that Trump is a liar, but some voters (a minority) fell for his lies because his lies flattered them. Now that Trump's budget suddenly shows that he actually wants to harm most voters, might Trump's minority realize with a sudden jerk that they've been swindled? It can be a hard thing for a mob leader when dissonance is resolved in a snap, and a mob wakes up, and turns on him.

From March 13

1, Cowardly Lyin' Trump. In the wee hours of the morning on March 4, Trump twittered some defamatory nonsense culminating in "How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process.... Bad (or sick) guy!" Now Trump is backing down from his lies, but he's too much of a coward to do it himself. He's having his lickspittle Spicer say that Trump didn't mean wiretaps when he said "tapp my phones," and didn't mean Obama when he said "Bad (or sick) guy!" Now, people with guts and brains were demanding that Trump put up or shut up with his claims about wiretapping; doesn't Trump look awful, when it's shown so clearly that he has no guts or brains, only blubber and blather? There are at least three lawful ways to dump this clown; how long will Trump be allowed to indulge his sick tantrums?

2, "Lies only says our would-be king \ Whose word no man relies on; \ He'll never say but a foolish thing, \ Nor ever do a wise one." -- thanks to John Wilmot, 2d Earl of Rochester.

From March 10

Herr Drumpf is an habitual liar and coward. Disagree with that? Then look at the royalist wing of the Republican Party face him down on health care. During the campaign, Drumpf promised "insurance for everybody," and promised "I'm not going to cut Social Security [or] Medicare or Medicaid," and promised to "expand [drug] treatment for [the] badly addicted." But the royalist wing wants the opposite of what Drumpf promised, and during negotiations, the royalists know they can beat a lying coward. So Drumpf's promises are being negotiated away. By the way, Drumpf is also a flop as a negotiator, unless he begins with an overwhelming advantage so that he can bully the other side, but he doesn't have the advantage here -- he has no presidential mandate at all, because he lost by three million popular votes. So the lying, cowardly, bully should lose bigly in these negotiations.

From March 9

Trump thinks it's okay for his minions to lie, cheat, and steal. Of course he thinks so; those worked for him all his life. But the Office of Government Ethics says NO -- see -- so how long before the Drumpfster tweets that requiring honesty from his minions is a plot by Obama?

From March 8

1, Herr Drumpf lied about making Mexico pay for the wall; he wants to take the money out of the Coast Guard and TSA budgets. Drumpf is breaking his key promise to his key base. If Drumpf's record is any guide, he'll now 1) deny that he made any promise, 2) allege that Obama paid to fake video showing Trump making the promise, and 3) make up another lie that no sane person would believe. Can't we have a real president again, instead of this greedy, lying crotchgrabber?

2, Who's against Ryan's Health Farce Bill?  People who directly give or receive health care:  the AARP, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Hospital Association.  Who wants the farce?  People who leech off the medical system:  insurance companies and their highest paid suits.  How can the Republicans justify ignoring the actual wishes of patients, nurses, doctors, and hospitals?  Well, congressman Chaffetz of Utah says people should buy health care instead of a new iPhone.  But even an expensive new iPhone 7, plus the monthly charges you'd have for any phone, costs about one tenth of $18,000, the average family's yearly health insurance cost.  Congressman Chaffetz doesn't see the difference between spending $1800 or $18,000.  I think working people do.  So, all you working people who wanted government to understand your problems, how do you like the jerks you voted for?

From March 7, three items about Trump, culminating with a big "Haw haw haw!"

1, Another day, another White House way to lie and steal -- today it's plagiarism

The Huffington Post reports -- at  -- that Trump issued a press release that plagiarized an Exxon Mobil press release. Exxon praised itself, Trump copied that language to praise Exxon.

I hate plagiarism. One writer sweats and creates, a sneak steals the credit. It's like what Lincoln hated, when he referred during the Lincoln-Douglas debates to "the same spirit that says 'you toil and work and earn bread, and I'll eat it.'"

White House politics pay well if you can get away with cheating, and your political clique may still like you even after you are caught. See these writeups from 2011:

Remember Melania Trump's plagiarism in her speech at the Republican convention. See

Remember Monica Crowley. Trump wanted her on the National Security Council, but after multiple plagiarisms came out, she was gone. See

So this morning's plagiarism by the White House is nothing new. And you can't blame Trump personally for this specific example, because he doesn't read what they shove in front of him for a signature. But you can blame Trump for the pattern: he doesn't insist on integrity in his staff. How could he?--he wants lickspittles, who don't understand what integrity means. So look for more of the same in the growing pile of Trump's stinking corruption.

2, Right now, Trump is involved in several scandals, of which the most important is his ties to Russia -- i.e., his selling out America in order to make money for himself. There is some suspicion that he is generating other scandals to try to divert attention from his Russian ties. So watch for Trump to create another scandal by munching the carpet as he claims that the photos are faked that show how small his inauguration crowd was, compared to Obama's. Here's coverage of the National Park Service photos that Trump demanded to see:

3, Trump the Lying Sack.  On February 27, Trump said that he had "come up with a solution [to health care] that's really, really I think very good," and said his plan was "fantastic" and would "be released fairly soon."  Now it turns out Trump didn't have a plan then, and as of today he still doesn't have a plan that he can sell.  It's being ripped not just by the left but also by also by the right-wing fanatics in Trump's own party.  If you are ever tempted to forget that Trump lies whenever he gets a temporary edge by doing so, just remember the pickle the big stuffed sausage is in now, and go "Haw haw haw!"

From March 6

Blowhard, Coward, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid -- Trump at work

Blowhard: Remember Trump's "SEE YOU IN COURT" after his January 27 immigration ban was blocked -- by a court? After shooting off his mouth, he never took his beef to court. Blowhard.

Coward: Trump signed his January order at a public ceremony, but he hid to sign his March order, and he wouldn't even let his minions try to explain why. His fears are out of control: when his minions talked to reporters in a conference call, Trump wouldn't let the minions give their names to the reporters, even after requiring reporters to quote them only as "unnamed officials." Coward in panic.

Stupid: Even though the court that blocked Trump's January order explained carefully how to write an order that satisfied the Constitution, Trump's March order repeats some of the same violations. Trump's minions said the new order is needed because 300 refugees in the US are being investigated, but the minions wouldn't say whether the refugees are from banned countries. Meanwhile, the ban is still targeting people from countries that have never sent us terrorists. Stupid Trump.

Stupid: letting Attorney General Sessions participate in the process. America's middle east policy is inextricably linked with our relations with Russia. Sessions has recused himself from matters involving Russia. Yet he vouched for the new order. Stupid.

Stupid: Trump's minions say his ban isn't anti-Moslem, because many Moslems are NOT banned. But if I walk down the street kicking Moslems, I'm being anti-Moslem, even though I'm not trying to kick every Moslem in the world. Federal cases follow this reasoning, and in January the federal court pointed the cases out to Trump's mouthpieces. It's stupid for Trump to try this loser again.

From March 5

Good news: a way to get Drumpf -- a sad, sad thin-skinned bag of blab -- to shut up! After blabbing drivel about wiretaps that neoNazis invented, Drumpf wants a Congressional investigation of what he blabbed -- and the good news is that Drumpf's pitiful tool Spicer -- a sad, sad shell of a man -- says that until Congress investigates, Drumpf will shut up about what he blabbed. Drumpf shutting up is better for the country than his twitter fits. If only his shutting up would last; but it can't. As investigations pile up evidence of Drumpf being Putin's puppet, he's bound to explode again. Memo to the White House staff: keep the strait jacket ready!

From March 4

Herr Drumpf sent out some strange tweets in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Before climaxing about Arnold Schwarzenegger, Drumpf said things like "I'd bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!" (4:52 a.m.) and "How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process.... Bad (or sick) guy!" (5:02 a.m.; "tapp" is how Trump spells "tap".) Of course, Drumpf didn't offer any proof, and nobody really expects him to. Now, a president can't be sued for his official actions, but can be sued for unofficial conduct. What is in Drumpf's sick, frenzied "mind"?

From March 3

Press Secretary Spicer offers a foolish defense of corruption

Spicer made two foolish statements Thursday in defense of Attorney General Sessions. Spicer said that when Sessions talked to the Russian ambassador during Trump's campaign, "He was literally conducting himself as a United States senator," and that Sessions didn't talk about the campaign. Spicer was wrong twice.

Sessions wasn't on Senate business, he was on a campaign trip when he talked to the Russian ambassador at the Republican convention. The Senate has funds to pay senators for official travel, but Sessions didn't use those funds, he used money from his own re-election campaign. Sessions was campaigning, not carrying out Senatorial duties, when he went to the convention and talked to the Russian.

When faced with the money trail, Sessions' official mouthpiece couldn't think of an answer. This is the same mouthpiece who, after Sessions was caught in two lies to the Senate about his Russian contacts, had the crust to say he wasn't lying -- the old "Who you gonna believe, me or your lying ears?" defense.

However, the mouthpiece wasn't totally whopperjawed; she did claim that Sessions' assistants don't know what he said to the Russian. She said that at the convention the assistants couldn't hear what was said. At the meeting in Sessions' Senate office, the assistants don't remember what was said, the mouthpiece said -- the old "Ya can't get a confession outa me, copper, 'cuz I don't remember nuttin!" defense.

Sessions himself is cranking up the "I dunno" defense. On Thursday, Sessions said he wasn't sure whether he met with the Russian ambassador outside the meetings we know about, or whether he met with any other Russians. Sessions is behind the eight-ball, and all signs point to corruption, and fear of conviction.

From March 2

At 1:42 p.m. AZ time, Sessions recused himself in the broadest terms from any investigation relating to the Trump campaign. Now the question is, why should any Senator trust anything that Sessions said? Sessions lied to the senate twice under oath. For that matter, Sessions apparently lied to Trump, yet Trump has said he will stand by Sessions. Since every word Trump says is a lie, if I were Sessions, I'd be packing.

From March 1

New Attorney General Sessions lied his way into office. During the campaign, Sessions campaigned hard for Trump, and advised him on foreign policy. As a reward, Trump nominated Sessions for attorney general. But during his confirmation hearing, Sessions lied twice when senators asked him about Russian contacts during Trump's campaign.

Senator Franken asked Sessions what what he would do if he learned that anyone with the Trump campaign had communicated with the Russian government during the campaign. Sessions answered "I did not have communications with the Russians." But he did. Now a mouthpiece for Sessions says that Sessions didn't think that Franken's question applied to his conversations with Russia. That's nonsense.

Senator Leahy asked Sessions in writing "Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?" Leahy wrote "No." But he had. The same mouthpiece for Sessions says that the question only applied to some kinds of meetings. That's nonsense.

During the campaign, Sessions changed to pro-Russian politics. As Attorney General, Sessions has been pooh-poohing any investigation of contacts with Russia during Trump's campaign. But Sessions' lies about contacts with Russia make it impossible for him to continue in his job. Sessions is unfit for the office he lied his way into.

From February 28

Wonderful news! The AZ kill-free-speech bill has been killed! Here's an email to his entire email list from Drew John, representative from district 14 (southeast Arizona, including Tucson and Cochise County): "Please spread the word for me that we got SB1142 stopped in the house. A few of us had asked the speaker to not hear the bill and he listened and announced today that the bill is dead. I would like to take the credit but there were others besides myself that helped kill it. Please let as many as you can know that it has been stopped and as long as I'm in the legislature it will be stopped again. Thank you for your support!"

From February 26

Americans are joining together locally to fight back against Trump's delusions of grandeur -- -- and it's time to stop talking about resistance and start talking about counter-revolution. Yes, Trump is a revolutionist, yes revolutionist, yes revolutionist, he's the revolutionist, trying to undo 125 years of American history. Trump's revolution will not end well for him or his cronies; how well it ends for the rest of us, depends on how soon we stop it.

From February 25

1, All his life, Trump worked for nothing but his own profits. He lied, cheated, and stole to make himself master of every organization he led, loot them, and dodge his own debts. Now this amoral pinhead is in a job which requires him to be a servant instead of a master, and to serve Americans' interests instead of his own. He can't begin to understand or perform his duties, and he's making a total ass of himself, and destroying America. He and his band of wreckers must be removed. Caesar had his Brutus, Hitler had his Generals' Plot, and Congress may profit by learning from those examples, and removing Trump and his crew before real horror develops.

2, The ethics complaint filed against Kellyanne Conway by fifteen law professors from prestigious schools is online at…/read-the-misconduct-…/2346/

Here's a digest:

The below signed law professors, all of whom teach courses relating to legal ethics, are hereby filing a disciplinary complaint against District of Columbia bar member Kellyanne Conway under DC Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(c).

Rule 8.4(c) says "It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation." We do not believe that lawyers in general should face discipline for dishonesty or misrepresentations unless the lawyer's conduct calls into serious question his or her "fitness for the practice of law," or shows that the lawyer "lacks the character required for bar membership."

However, attorney Conway is Counselor to the President, so has a higher obligation than other lawyers to avoid conduct involving dishonest, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. Although the DC Rules contain no Comment specifically relating to 8.4(c), the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct include "Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer's abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of lawyers." We believe it is critically important that lawyers in public office -- especially spokespersons for the highest levels of government -- be truthful.

Ms. Conway's misconduct under DC Rule 8.4(c) is as follows:

-- On several occasions, including an interview on MSNBC in early February, 2017, Ms. Conway referred to the "Bowling Green Massacre" to justify President Donald Trump's executive order banning immigrants from seven overwhelmingly Muslim countries. Not only was there no "massacre," but Ms. Conway knew there was no massacre. She claimed it was a slip of the tongue, and apologized, but her actual words belie her having misspoken: "I bet it's brand-new information to people that ... two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green Massacre. Most people don't know that because it didn't get covered." She also cited the nonexistent massacre to media outlets at least two more times.

-- Compounding this false statement, in that same MSNBC interview Ms. Conway also made a false statement that President Barack Obama had "banned" Iraqi refugees from coming into the United States for six months following the "Bowling Green Massacre." However, President Obama did not impose a formal six-month ban on Iraqi refugees; he ordered enhanced screening procedures following what actually happened in Bowling Green -- the arrest and prosecution of two Iraqis for attempting to send weapons and money to al-Qaeda in Iraq.

-- This was not the first time that Ms. Conway engaged in conduct involving "dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation." On January 22, 2017, on NBC's Meet the Press, Ms. Conway said that the White House had put forth "alternative facts" to what the news media reported about the size of Mr. Trump's inauguration crowd. She made this assertion the day after Mr. Trump and White House press secretary Sean Spicer accused the news media of reporting falsehoods about the inauguration and Mr. Trump's relationship with intelligence agencies. As many prominent commentators have said, the phrase "alternative facts" is especially dangerous when offered by the President's counselor. Moreover, "alternative facts" are not facts, they are lies.

-- Ms. Conway misused her position to endorse Ivanka Trump products on February 9, 2017 in an interview on Fox News from the White House briefing room, with the White House insignia visible behind her. While this conduct does not fall within DC Rule 8.4, it is a clear violation of government ethics rules, about which a lawyer and member of the Bar should surely know. Federal rules on conflicts of interest specifically prohibit using public office "for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity." The government’s chief ethics watchdog denounced Conway's conduct in a letter to the White House.

We do not file this complaint lightly. In addition to being a member of the DC Bar, Ms. Conway is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School, one of the District's premier law schools. We believe that, at one time, Ms. Conway understood her ethical responsibilities as a lawyer and abided by them. But she is currently acting in a way that brings shame upon the legal profession.

If Ms. Conway were not a lawyer and was "only" engaging in politics, there would be few limits on her conduct outside of the political process itself. She could say and do what she wished and still call herself a politician. But she is a lawyer. And her conduct, clearly intentionally violative of the rules that regulate her professional status, cries out for sanctioning by the DC Bar.

From February 24

1, Stephen Bannon says that Drumpf's goal is "deconstruction of the administrative state." Bannon seems to be Drumpf's version of Hitler's Reichsminister für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, and any version of Goebbels is as serious as death. So, this "deconstruction," what will it involve? It'll mean ending any government regulation of big business. Repeal the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Pure Food And Drug Act, the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, and a bunch of other Progressive-era laws designed to restrain corruption in the use of big money. Dump the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities And Exchange Commission, Social Security, food stamps, the Federal Housing Administration, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and everything else created during the Great Depression to protect Americans from the failures of big business. Repeal the Civil Rights Act and dump the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which aim to protect Americans from unfair treatment. Repeal every government intrusion into big business doing whatever it wants -- dump over 125 years of improving our representative government, during 9 Democratic and 15 Republican presidents -- abandon our history, because Bannon has a bright idea! Bannon wants a revolution. The American Revolution was different from Bannon's dream; our revolution happened when people who liked their accustomed liberties resisted a monomaniacal king. Bannon wants to impose his bright idea by having a revolution like the English (theocracy ending with the restoration of monarchy after 25 years of national misery), the French (Napoleonic tyranny ending in national disaster after 25 years), or the Russian (tyranny beginning with Lenin, ending after 70 years). Bannon says "Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment." Is Bannon's bright idea worth more than 125 years of the American experience?

2, Mazel tov to Herr Reichspraesident Drumpf for blocking the best media from his daily briefings of lies. If Drumpf will just keep it up, only his favorite media -- the Volkischer Beobachter, the Sturmer, the Angriff -- will have direct access to his lickspittles' ravings, and the truth-telling American media -- like the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN -- will be able to ignore Trump's daily spoutings from the dreckloch that passes for his mouth. Then the rest of us will be able to tell the Nazis by what they read.

From February 18

Congress is away, and Herr Drumpf is playing. Drumpf said yesterday that the media "is" "the enemy of the American people." That's what you expect to hear from a weak, cowardly, bullying, lying, cheating, vindictive, narcissistic, crazy, oafish Russian puppet who wants to be dictator. Thomas Jefferson, Hyperion to Drumpf's satyr, said that between government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, he would instantly choose the latter. Go with Jefferson, and hope that Drumpf doesn't declare a martial-law dictatorship while Congress is away.

From February 17

The AP has found a draft memo that's been circulating, about using the National Guard as a police force to round up illegal immigrants. Trump's tool Sean Spicer says "100% false. There is no effort to use the National Guard to round up." Spicer was using weasel words: he didn't deny that the plans existed, he merely said there is no present implementation of the plans -- not ruling out future implementation. Worse, Spicer lies constantly, so it's safest to take any statement from him as a lie -- meaning it's safest to conclude that Trump plans to use the National Guard as a national police force. That's the kind of completely unAmerican action you expect from Trump. It has long since been clear that he is completely insane, a lunatic who believes that everything in the world revolves around him, and does not believe anything that doesn't flatter him. Nut job Trump is endangering us all. Why has the impeachment, or cabinet coup, not begun?

UPDATE The above part of this post came this morning. After spending all morning saying the report was 100% false and that no such plan existed, the White House changed its mind and admitted in the afternoon that the plan did exist. So this site was right about the White House lying, and Trump planning to use the National Guard as a national police force. Lies, lies, lies, that's all you can expect from Trump and his lickspittles. Trump is a weak, cowardly, bullying, lying, cheating, vindictive, narcissistic, crazy, oafish lout. The country cannot survive with such a rotten piece of meat in the Presidency.

From February 15

America has six big problems right now. We could fix three by doing away with the Electoral College, and requiring a Presidential candidate to fully provide tax records before nomination, and fully divest all businesses before inauguration. Constitutional amendments could do that job. The next two problems are tougher. Trump strongly appears to be Putin's puppet and to be insane, so that he is not carrying out his Presidential oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution." As to puppetry, the Constitution says a President can be fired for "Treason," including giving "Aid and Comfort" to America's enemies. As Putin's puppet, Trump's goal is precisely to give aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States. As to insanity, Trump's maniacal solipsism makes it impossible for him to form a stable government; look at the chaos he has created in only three weeks in office. Trump must go. The last of the six problems is that some Republicans are obstructing any investigation of Trump, merely because he is a member of their party. That's appalling. Every Congressman and Senator takes an oath to "support and defend the Constitution" -- not to support and defend fellow party members from the Constitution. If they won't obey their own oath, they too must be removed from office.

From February 14

You show Trump to be a liar, he just repeats the lie. Here's a lie that Trump keeps repeating: that he was a big-time winner in the Electoral College. That would be a compensation for being a big-time loser in the popular vote. But it's a lie. Of our 58 Presidential elections, Trump's electoral margin is near the bottom. Only 12 people won with less of an electoral margin than Trump. Here are the people who did better than Trump in the Electoral College, starting with Washington and coming forward: George Washington twice, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison twice, James Monroe twice, Andrew Jackson twice, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, James K. Polk, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln twice, Ulysses Grant, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley twice, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt four times, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower twice, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan twice, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton twice, Barack Obama twice. Compared to those people, Trump is a loser. A normal person would get over it. Expect Trump to keep lying. If only everyone in the room would shout "Liar!" when he does it.

From February 9

The appeals court has ruled against Trump, and in favor of Americanism, and kept Trump's anti-Muslim immigration order on hold. The opinion is here -- -- and includes some points which ought to make Trump realize that the Presidency is not a dictatorship. Here are four points; the opinion makes for wonderful reading.

1, The Court reminds Trump that this is a 3-branch government: "the Government has taken the position that the President’s decisions about immigration policy ... are unreviewable [and] that it violates separation of powers for the judiciary to entertain a constitutional challenge to executive actions such as this one. There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.... [I]t is beyond question that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive action."

2, The Court notes that Trump's sloppy work cannot be cured by his minions, especially not if their own work is sloppy: "The Government has argued that ... the States’ challenge to [the order as to] to lawful permanent residents is moot because several days after the Executive Order was issued, White House counsel ... issued '(a)uthoritative (g)uidance' stating that [the order does] not apply to lawful permanent residents. At this point, however, we cannot rely upon the Government’s contention .... The Government has offered no authority establishing that the White House counsel is empowered to issue an amended order superseding the Executive Order .... Nor has the Government established that ... counsel’s interpretation of the Executive Order is binding on all executive branch officials responsible for enforcing the Executive Order."

3, The Court hangs Trump by his own tongue: "The States argue that the Executive Order violates the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses because it was intended to disfavor Muslims. In support of this argument, the States have offered evidence of numerous statements by the President about his intent to implement a 'Muslim ban' as well as evidence they claim suggests that the Executive Order was intended to be that ban ...."

4, The Court doesn't let Trump substitute repetition for evidence: "Despite the district court’s and our own repeated invitations ...  [T]he Government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.... By contrast, the States have offered ample evidence that if the Executive Order were reinstated even temporarily, it would substantially injure the States and multiple 'other parties interested in the proceeding.'"

From February 8

1, Showing his insanity, Drumpf says "I understand things. I comprehend very well, OK? Better than, I think, almost anybody." We all know he's stupid, and now he couldn't make it clearer that he is too stupid to realize that he's stupid, and too sick to realize that he's sick. Check out anosognosia. Our baby president has got it. Unfit for office. Sad.

2, At his swearing in, Herr Reichspraesident Drumpf promised to "faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and ... to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." But he has remained a liar, cheat and thief since then, making it impossible for him to faithfully do anything; and his attacks on the judicial branch show that he has no regard for the Constitution, unless it grants power to him personally. Impeach him already -- what are we waiting for, him to start World War III in a twitter fit already?

From February 4

1, Herr Reichspraesident Drumpf has called a federal judge -- the judge who, using powers granted by the Constitution, blocked Drumpf's racist immigration order -- a "so-called judge." Drumpf used to read Hitler's speeches before going to sleep. When the original Hitler said anything was "so-called," it meant he was about to use his dictatorial powers to attack it. The original Hitler's ways seem to have soaked in to Drumpf. So expect a Drumpf campaign against the legitimacy and independence of the judicial branch. In fact, I wonder how long it will take Drumpf to use his emergency powers to dissolve Congress, just as the original Hitler dissolved his Reichstag. How long will it take Drumpf's Republican minions in Congress to wake up and defend us against this so-called president?

2, The Drumpf Republicans are striking every limitation they can on the actions of giant businesses.  So expect your investment adviser, if you have one, to churn your account to drive up his fees.  Expect your home lender, if you don't already own your home, to swindle you with fake foreclosures.  Expect giant businesses to pay giant salaries to top executives, then collapse from incompetent management, then get Congress to hold them up with your tax dollars because they are "too big to fail" -- failure is for the small, by which Congress means you.  Expect social programs to dry up because your tax dollars go to support big business.  Expect another financial crash as soon as the vultures can arrange it.  Study up on what a financial crash means to everyone who doesn't have a fortune.  Then, if you're in the minority who voted for Trump, ask yourself if you would do it again.

From February 2

Chaos Theory says in part that natural systems with a variety of predator and prey critters, whose populations may go up and down, may have several different generally stable populations of each kind of critter, and may flip between different states in a chaotic manner. One classic example is foxes and rabbits. Donald Trump seems to switch his moods between fox and rabbit. In fox mode, he feels like master of the world, and feels that everyone should focus on him and praise him. In rabbit mode, he cringes from the world, and he whines that people ignore or criticize him, and he lashes out at the world. When he flips into fox mode, he is at first satisfied with the mere fact that people are focusing on him. But soon he notices that people express unhappiness with what they see when they focus on him, and he flips into rabbit mode. At all times, he is in an intense emotional state; his intellect never rules. There is no telling when he will flip between fox, a predator who abuses the world but is not an existential risk, and rabbit, a prey who feels abused by the world and may start a war just to get even. A president whose stability is chaotic is not a wise choice for human survival.

From January 28

When Napoleon escaped from Elba to seize power again, newspaper headlines changed their tone about him during the 13 days it took him to march to Paris: he went, in order, from cannibal to ogre, tiger, monster, tyrant, usurper, Bonaparte, Napoleon, Emperor, and finally Imperial And Royal Majesty. Then came his final defeat and humiliation at Waterloo. That was 1815. Now, Trump's immigration order is illegal and will be nullified by any court which follows federal law, but worse, his order is senseless, vile, and vicious -- the work of someone who cares for nothing but getting personal attention by abusing power. On the list of terms applied to Napoleon, where is Trump now, and is his never-ending squalling wearing out resistance to his illegitimacy?

From January 26

Mexico's President Nieto won't be bullied by Carpetmuncher Trump. The Carpetmuncher wants a useless, stupid border wall, and he promised that he would make Mexico pay for it. This morning Trump was reminded that other people exist in the world. Nieto just tweeted "Esta mañana hemos informado a la Casa Blanca que no asistiré a la reunión de trabajo programada para el próximo martes con el @POTUS." At a face-to-face meeting in August 2016, Nieto told Trump that Mexico would not pay for the wall; later Trump lied about the meeting and Nieto exposed the lies. Nieto wouldn't be bullied in 2016 and he's not being bullied now. Nieto es un hombre; Trump is a weak, cowardly bag of blubber and blab, who belongs in an asylum.

From January 15

Reince Priebus, lying lickspittle of lying coward Donald Trump, went on ABC on January 15 and lied that Trump had for over two years accepted that President Obama is a citizen. The host pointed out the truth, that Trump had much more recently kept on claiming that Obama was not a citizen. Then Priebus dodged his lie, and said that the real issue was that Trump had won in an "electoral landslide." Actually, Trump scores in the bottom 20% of electoral votes -- call it a D, not the A that Trump and his lickspittles keep pimping. Then Priebus added that Democrats lost the election -- although they won the popular vote by almost 3 million, about 4.5% more than Trump. Just as you would expect, lying coward Trump and his lickspittles don't mention that until Trump won this electoral vote, he opposed the electoral college system. Why should people be emphatic about this? Because Trump's lickspittles keep repeating his lies, and the only way I can think of to make them stop is to cut off the source: when Trump sends out his minions to lie, people should make fun of Trump, ridicule him, insult him -- all the things that lily-livered, tiny-handed loser loses sleep over. Happy tweets to the lying coward.

I don't think a revolution will start because of any ideology. I think Trump will issue an intolerably unAmerican order that exceeds his authority; decent people will simply refuse to go along; Trump will send out his goons; people will actively resist; the armed forces will refuse to back up Trump's goons; and the federal government will split between people loyal to the Constitution, and people loyal to Herr Drumpf.

If Trump acts like a bastard all the time, why is he unhappy when people don't think he's legitimate?

And if he's a germophobe, why does he brag about grabbing women by the pussy?

From January 14

One:  "Look here," Trump lied.  A lawyer points out in this article -- -- that none of the folders on Trump's press conference table had any labels on them (no lawyer keeps papers in unlabeled folders), that no writing was visible on any paper that was visible (and nobody was given even a brief glance of any of the papers), and that no papers were stapled together (no lawyer lets the pages of documents lie around loose).  So Trump was putting on a phony show.  My conclusion: Trump was a liar and coward, as always.

Two:  Trump says John Lewis is all talk, no action. Does Trump know how many times Lewis put his body, even his life, on the line to bring real democracy to America? As a philosophical matter, I might put Trump's massive ignorance as a separate defining quality, but I think his ignorance is just part of his cowardice, fear of admitting the existence of anything in the world except himself, his own ego, and his own tantrums. Trump is a bratty baby. John Lewis is a hero. Period.

From January 6

After all his squirming, Trump is pinned down as Putin's puppet, hand-picked, and all Trump can do is deny the obvious. Trump continues as he always has: bold at making promises but a failure at carrying them out, afraid to admit the truth, afraid to stand up to it, a weak coward.

From December 24

Right now, Trump's mob still loves him, even though his broken promises to them are beginning to break the spell. His whole mob will turn on him after they realize that he's a humiliation and degradation to them too, but meanwhile, the best description of his mob that I've seen comes from Ford Madox Ford's "Some Do Not," near the end of chapter 4, where the lead character wonders "why it was that humanity that was next to always agreeable in its units was, as a mass, a phenomenon so hideous. You look at a dozen men, each of them not by any means detestable and not uninteresting ... you formed them into a Government or a club, and at once, with oppressions, inaccuracies, gossip, backbiting, lying, corruption, and vileness, you had the combination of wolf, tiger, weasel, and louse-covered ape that was human society." Right now only people not hypnotized by Trump see that he's merely a louse-covered ape, but someday, after his mob falls apart, its members will wonder what they ever saw in the louse-covered ape.

From December 15

50 years ago, this film accurately portrayed how we'd feel after Trump sold out the country:

From December 14

late in the day:  Now it comes out that Vladimir Putin personally worked on hacking and releasing emails -- as Trump asked! -- to defeat Clinton. Trump has major business connections (which he's been refusing to admit) with Russia, and Trump's top-level appointments favor Russia and include more pals of Putin. Based on the evidence, America just got sold out by American quislings.

early in the day:  How long before the Republicans who ran against Trump in the primaries figure out that the Russians may have helped Trump against them, too? And what will the non-Russian candidates do then -- will they go public and insist on honesty (this little bit, at least) or will they keep the info private and use it to blackmail Trump?

From December 11

Never mind what Herr Drumpf wants to talk about. Whether Drumpf brings it up or not, the main thing to remember is that he is weak and cowardly. Who but a weak coward would need people to tell him that he's wonderful and to insulate him from reality? Whenever Drumpf says anything, the response should open and close by reminding him that he is a weak coward.  And when a Trump defender argues about something that Trump has brought up, i.e. something that Trump wants people to be talking about, it might be helpful to ask the Trump supporter why he is standing up for a cowardly weakling.  Trump's every utterance and appearance should be received by statements about his being a weak coward.  You can't argue facts with members of a mob -- but you can make them abandon their leader if you make him into a laughingstock.  Likewise, whenever Bannon is mentioned as Trump's aide, calling him Fascist Bannon or White Supremacist Bannon would keep things real. Likewise, Trump himself could always be mentioned as "Weak Coward President-Elect Trump." Make him eat what he dishes out.

From December 3

Isn't Trump committing federal felonies with his foreign policy contacts? The Logan Act says "Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both." Do you suppose Trump cares about committing felonies if he thinks he can get away with it?

From December 1

For 50,000 years, most human ways of living looked much like modern life in non-industrial villages.  Only in the last 1/3 of 1000 years did modern ways of thinking lead to industrial cultures based on math and science.  What took us so long to develop math and science?

My tentative answer is that math and science are hard, and that village life is easy if you go along but hostile if you don't.  You do whatever the people of your class and village do.  Any questions you may have are answered by tribal lore.  You can't think for yourself, because you don't have math and science to help you think.  And if you challenge tribal lore, you become a troublemaker to be shunned or killed.  So you go along in torpor, as fat, dumb, and happy as your village allows -- and math and science don't have a chance.

Math and science began to flourish in Western Europe in the Enlightenment a few hundred years ago.  This was a fluke; the roots of math and science had appeared in other cultures from time to time, but had always been stamped out.  Not this time.

But village life remains possible for people who want the benefits of math and science, but don't want to, or are too stupid to, understand math & science.  So we have religious fundamentalists, and racists, and science deniers, and people who can't see beyond their village, and internet trolls passing around lies -- in short, the Trump movement.

The Republican Party's "Southern Strategy," based on appealing to fundamentalism, racism, and ignorance, began 50 years ago.  With Trump, that strategy has gone as far as it can within the party.  Will the Trump movement wreck the country before it's stopped?  There'll be no predictions here.

From November 28

Hitliar. The Carpet Gobbler, who in 2012 opposed the electoral college, and before this election wouldn't say whether he would abide by the results, then after this election said he would abide by the results because he got more electoral votes even though he lost the popular vote, now says that the only reason Hillary got more popular votes was that 3 million illegal votes for her were counted. He offers no evidence, only a naked lie. Nobody, even Hitler, ever offered so many big lies so often as the Carpet Gobbler. Liar. Hitliar. Crazy Hitliar.

From November 24

It turns out that the Trump encampment says it wasn't Trump who made the cowardly decision to dodge the NYTimes meeting.  The encampment says that Trump's chief of staff cancelled the meeting because, basically, he thought Trump was too stupid to handle questions, and that when Trump found out he had been lied to, he reinstated the meeting.  That may be the way it happened, but one has to wonder why Trump would keep around a chief of staff whose lies lead to public embarrassment for Trump.  There should have been a flurry of documents and meetings to back up the "Trump's not a coward, he's only a dummy" flackery, and until they are released, I won't believe a word of it, any more than I believe anything else the Carpet Gobbler's bunch of lickspittles says.

Trump's takeover strategy is becoming clearer every day:  just keep changing positions until nobody knows what you think, and nobody can predict what you will do.  This strategy guarantees you lots of press, and the press won't be attacking your fascism, it'll be trying to keep up with your flamboyance.  It's like Trump's hair; the ridiculous combover gets the attention, not the receding hairline and growing baldness beneath.

From November 22:  More about "Tepichfresser" -- "Carpet Gobbler" -- Trump and our free American press

Here is what a mainstream news source used to post after the end of every article about Tepichfresser Trump:  "Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S."  They stopped printing that after the election.  Too bad, because all of that behavior, plus cowardice, kept up after the election.  After the Tepichfresser's behavior at a November 21 meeting with the electronic media -- he got them to come by saying they could ask questions, then he spent all of his time in a hysterical rant about being mean to him (i.e., about accurate reporting) -- he cancelled a meeting he had set with the NYTimes for November 22, where he was supposed to answer questions.  He changed his conditions for the meeting at the last moment, then lied and said the Times had changed its conditions.  So as to a free press, the Tepichfresser hates it, is a coward about facing it, and lies about ducking it.

About the word "Tepichfresser:"  it literally means "carpet chewer," but not just any chewing, chewing in a uncontrolled frenzy.  English doesn't have a single word for "fresser," but I think that as applied to Trump, a better word would be "gobbler."  Yes, think of Trump as a Carpet Gobbler.  That's accurate and true.  Any reason not to call Trump a Carpet Gobbler, except that the Carpet Gobbler hates accuracy and truth?

From November 21

The Constitution says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The president-elect has previously shown that he does not appreciate freedom of religion or assembly, and on November 21 he summoned media figures to his office and raged against freedom of the press. He is not in power yet, and today's meeting was his Tepichfresser moment. He has gone mad with the anticipation of power, and if two months from now he is sworn in and swears to uphold the Constitution, we all know he will be lying.

From November 15

The riot has begun among the Trump gang.  Some of the goons are dropping away, perhaps disgusted by what they see the rest of the pack doing, but their conscience has struck too late:  the hardcore Trump hyenas are ripping at the flesh of Constitutional government, and gnashing on the bones.  "Drain the swamp," Trump said, when what he meant to do was put Swamp Thing -- Breitbart's Steve Bannon -- in charge of the hyenas' feast.  Brain-rotted zombies like Giuliani and Holton will grab for bloody scraps.  How much of this can the government stand before it falls apart?  I don't know, but you might read "It Can't Happen Here," a novel from 1935 by Sinclair Lewis, to help prepare you for what's coming.

And on the comfortable academic subject of books, could Trump have been defeated if the opposition had believed what Trump said about his followers being a "movement," and had tried to understand it better by reading books like Gustave Le Bon's "The Crowd" and Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer"?  Those masterworks might help us cope with the remnants of Trump's mob as Trump himself sinks into the swamp, splashing away loudly but uselessly.

From November 13

An AV sandwich:

-- 1, SNL's cold open this week, of "Hillary" singing "Hallelujah," including its lines "I did my best, it wasn’t much / I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch / I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you / And even though it all went wrong / I’ll stand before the Lord of Song / With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah," followed by "Hillary" turning to the audience and saying “I’m not giving up and neither should you.” At

-- 2, rules for surviving under an autocrat like Trump, at…/trump-election-autocracy-rules-fo…

-- 3, A song from 1985, performed in 2009, ELO's "Hold On Tight To Your Dreams," at

From November 12

Visualize the dropped jaws of Trump's supporters as he breaks campaign promise after campaign promise that he made to them; that's already started.  Visualize the White House run by the delusional mediocrities that Trump is already choosing for his administration; look at his early choices.  Visualize the mean and hungry faces of every major Republican whom Trump mortally insulted during the campaign; they hate him.  Visualize Trump being caught in perjury in his upcoming fraud trial.  Now visualize Trump's impeachment, conviction, and removal from office.  Republican Congressmen and Senators have extra reason to impeach Trump: whatever Trump has an influence on, he will damage, including chances of re-election of Republicans in 2018.  Outside of politics, there will be good cause to impeach Trump.  The grounds for impeachment are "high crimes and misdemeanors," a Constitutional phrase so vague that for once Wikipedia is as good a place as any to begin research.  Go to and start with the list of examples of impeachable conduct, including "perjury of oath, abuse of authority, bribery, intimidation, misuse of assets, failure to supervise, dereliction of duty, [and] conduct unbecoming."   At Trump's upcoming trial for fraud, it should become apparent that he has committed perjury; and isn't the rest of that list pretty much the way Trump brags about operating?  There'll be a big Republican payoff for removing Trump as president:  Pence will be much more amenable to the establishment Republican way of doing things, and the Republican party will get to say, "Look how virtuous we are, we made the system work."  Watch for the sharp knives to come out.

From November 11

Major media are full of articles about how, or whether, Trump will carry out the promises that got him elected. Well, obviously he won't. To get elected, he had to influence one constituency; since he's elected, his constituency is totally different. Now, Trump's business record consists of greed and swindling: his getting what he wants out of deals, then not giving the other party what it bargained for. That's why so many people sued him for unpaid bills. Trump is not likely to change now. He will be as crooked as he must in order to squeeze more money out of the damage he causes. To see what crooked path Trump will follow, consider who his new constituents are: Washington insiders with power. He'll try to make deals with them, with no thought for the people who elected him. Look at the appointments he's floating -- the biggest mess of ignorant and evil insiders you ever saw. Just as Hitler (yes, the comparison is good; the people who complain when you "play the Hitler card" are the people who are acting like Hitler and want that fact suppressed) -- just as Hitler ruined Germany with his band of incompetent Nazi party appointees, so Trump is bent on ruining America, as long as he can make money out of the wreckage.

From November 10

Department of Forlorn Hopes: It's well known that in about 20 states there's no law, and in about 30 states there's no law with teeth, prohibiting "electors," the members of the electoral college that actually chooses a president, from not voting as their state did. For instance, one of the electors (from Washington state, I think) said he wouldn't vote for Hillary no matter how his state went. So electors could still make Hillary president. Now, Hillary actually won the popular vote, making her the 5th case in history where the winner of the popular vote didn't get to be president. And Trump is showing early on that he intends to act abominably in office. He will tear down environmental protections, by abolishing regulations and by appointing people who don't believe in the science behind regulations. This kind of thing doesn't affect only the US population in the present; it affects everyone, forever. Trump could be the man who greases the track for runaway global warming. So, the forlorn hope, let's hope for some "buyer's remorse" and pressure on electors to do the sane thing, and protect the country and the world at the same time, by not giving Trump the election he didn't win.

From November 9, the day after the election:

1, Can we not do polls anymore? They don't work. If they could be tweaked into working, that would have happened by now. So, no more polls, okay? That will make us listen to what candidates say, instead of meaningless static about what other people think about what candidates say.

2, Can we not do mouthpieces from candidates anymore? Most of the time they are only giving spin on polls, to affect upcoming polls -- though we know that polls are meaningless. And all the spin is lies. How about just reporting what candidates say and do, instead of wasting time on what their lickspittles say?

From November 8, 2016, before the returns started coming in:

Americans respect the results of presidential elections
There's no record of the national popular presidential vote until 1824. From 1824 through 2012, there were 18 times when the winner won less than 50% of the popular vote.
. 1824, John Quincy Adams, 30.92%
. 1844, James Polk, 49.54
. 1848, Zachary Taylor, 47.28
. 1856, James Buchanan, 45.29
. 1860, Abraham Lincoln, 39.65
. 1876, Rutherford Hayes, 47.92
. 1880, James Garfield, 48.31
. 1884, Grover Cleveland, 48.85
. 1888, Benjamin Harrison, 47.80
. 1892, Grover Cleveland, 46.02
. 1912, Woodrow Wilson, 41.84
. 1916, Woodrow Wilson, 49.24

. 1948, Harry Truman, 49.55
. 1960, John Kennedy, 49.72
. 1968, Richard Nixon, 43.42
. 1992, William Clinton, 43.01
. 1996, William Clinton, 49.23
. 2000, George Bush, 47.87

Since 2000, there have been three elections, 12 years, without a minority winner. But a string of 12 years doesn't indicate a permanent trend. There have been previous strings of 16 years, 20 years (twice), 24 years, and 32 years, before electing a minority president. Of those 18 times, there were 4 times when the winner didn't just have less than half the popular vote, he actually had fewer votes than the loser:
. 1824, John Quincy Adams, 30.92%
. 1876, Rutherford Hayes, 47.92
. 1888, Benjamin Harrison, 47.80
. 2000, George Bush, 47.87

There have been political games played about "mandates." For instance, in 2004, Bush got 50.73% of the popular vote (with a total turnout of 55.27% of possible voters), and Republicans said that was a mandate; but in 2008, Obama got 52.93% of the popular vote (with a total turnout of 58.23% of possible voters), and Republicans said that was NOT a mandate. That was the worst game about "mandates" until the 2016 election, when Trump got something like 47.8% of the popular vote, and Paul Ryan started calling that minority a mandate.

There has never been a chaotic transition of power, that I know of. In 2000, when Bush won only because the Supreme Court ordered a stop of vote counting, his opponent Al Gore went out of his way to state that he respected the Supreme Court decision. And in 1960, when Nixon emphatically stated in private discussions that Kennedy had stolen the election, Nixon's public face was to honor the results.  The one time the country fell apart after an election was 1860, when Lincoln got only 39.65% of the popular vote. The failure to respect the results led to the Civil War -- but if the North hadn't respected the results, we wouldn't have got Lincoln for a president, without whom the war could not have been won. So the 1860 election does not support a conclusion that minority-vote presidents shouldn't be acknowledged.

Conclusion: Americans accept the result of presidential elections.

From November 5, 2016, three days before the election:

For Trump, fear isn't the message, it's the medium. He just wants to be elected. Nobody calmly comparing Trump to Clinton on the merits could choose Trump. Therefore, to win, Trump must rely on voters who aren't thinking. The best way to eliminate thought is to induce panic, in Trump's case by pushing fear as loudly as possible -- a job which is made easier by the right-wing echo chamber of the internet. Never, before the internet, has inducing panic been so easy, not since Pan made his big noises 2500 years ago. So here comes Trump, as loud and goatish as Pan. If panic can win elections, Trump will win. If Trump doesn't win, what will we do with our citizens that Trump and the alt-right will still be working up into a panic?

A valuable dissent from a horrible decision

In a US Supreme Court case decided on June 20, 2016, Justice Sotomayor wrote a fine dissent.  Dissents don't state the law, they state why a minority of justices think the majority was wrong about the law in deciding a case.  Sotomayor's dissent says "this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time. It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights. It implies that you are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged."

Clearly the case is worth thinking about. The case is Utah v. Strieff, and here's a little about it.

A narcotics officer got an anonymous tip that drug sales were going on at a house. Over a week of surveillance, he saw lots of people go in and out of the house, and suspected that the tip was correct. At a nearby parking lot, he stopped a man who had just left the house, identified himself, and asked the man what he was doing there. A radio call found that the man had an outstanding traffic warrant. The cop arrested the man on that warrant, searched him right there, and found drugs and paraphernalia on him. The man moved to exclude those items from trial, on the ground that the initial stop was unlawful. Lower state courts let the evidence in, but the state supreme court reversed that and kept it out. The US Supreme Court reversed the state supreme court and let the evidence in.

The Supreme Court found a "loophole" in a famous case from 41 years ago, Brown v. Illinois. A pair of cops arrested a man illegally as part of investigating a murder. They read him his Miranda rights after he was in an interrogation room. He made a voluntary confession, without any threats or muscle by the police. At trial, he moved to keep his confession out of evidence, on the ground that his arrest and interrogation were illegal. The Court said that the main point was whether a confession was voluntary, and that being Mirandized did not prove a confession was voluntary. The Court found the confession inadmissible at trial.

In the Brown case, the Court talked about "attenuating factors" which might soften the effect of an illegal arrest, but didn't do so in that case. In Monday's Strieff case, the Court's majority (5-3) found "attenuating factors" so big that the illegality of the arrest did not matter. The majority found that the officer's initial stop was illegal, but his discovering an outstanding traffic warrant, entirely unrelated to the stop, "broke the causal chain" between the stop and the discovery of evidence, so the evidence could come in at trial.

The majority also noted that the officer's stop was not random, but was part of the investigation of a suspected drug house, and the opinion also notes that if police made a practice of such stops in "dragnet" fashion, the outcome might be different.

The above has been in legal language, simplified but still dry. But Justice Sotomayor wrote an eloquent dissent, which includes "This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants -- even if you are doing nothing wrong. If the officer discovers a warrant for a fine you forgot to pay, courts will now excuse his illegal stop and will admit into evidence anything he happens to find by searching you after arresting you on the warrant. Because the Fourth Amendment should prohibit, not permit, such misconduct, I dissent."

If you want to read for yourself, here's a link to the Court's opinion -- -- and here's a link to an article about the case, emphasizing Sotomayor's dissent:…/f1f7d0d2-36f9-11e6-8f7c-d4…

Why give ignorant, racist, and hate-filled candidates an edge in presidential races?

An issue with local ramifications, tho at first glance it looks national: the setting of early primaries in all of the old Confederate states. Those states, which have never stopped resenting  being beaten soundly in their fight for white supremacy in the Civil War, can give an ignorant, racist, and hate-filled candidate a lot of "momentum" for later primaries. Imagine how much different the present presidential race would be if primaries in northern states had taken place early enough to prevent old rebel states from setting the tone of the election. Just before the Arizona primary, I heard a lot of people in Cochise County quite emboldened by how well their candidate was doing in our one-sided primary system. If we set primaries so that at any time a fair sample of the nation had voted in them, then ignorant, racist, and hate-filled candidates wouldn't get a gift of momentum.

As the election season speeds up, let's think about fascism.

On the subject of fascism, it's interesting to read a piece written in the middle of World War II by the then-Vice President. Here are a few parts: "A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.... The symptoms of fascist thinking ... always and everywhere can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power.... American fascists ... claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution." The whole piece is at this link:
I would add that a major feature of a fascist ruling class is ignoring written laws for itself, while enforcing laws harshly against ordinary citizens, and using thuggery on them when they complain -- or sometimes, just for fun, when they don't.

CCIPRA will have very few new local stories for a while.  It's a health thing.

However, there are plenty of other groups and people to keep up the fight against irresponsible wasters of land and water, in Cochise County and elsewhere in Arizona:
-- In Apache County, ACIPRA, CCIPRA's cousin, is very active.  See its Facebook page here.
-- In Cochise County, David Morgan works hard to stay on top of our secretive and slippery government.  His Facebook page is here, and here is his email.
-- Another valuable source of local info is Chuck Alton, at websites including this.
-- Also see the invaluable work of Paul Lotsof, at websites including this.
-- And Cochise County has strong, smart, tough individual fighters for our communities.  I won't list their names here, because I'd be bound to leave out people who deserve to be named, but you will see their names in the writeups starting with Current Events below.

Some of the information on this page is designed to stay current for years without maintenance.  For instance, the most important step in dealing with Cochise County's government is to know who your Supervisor is, and what the Supes will be meeting about soon.
  You can see the Supes and their districts by following the "Interactive Map Of Districts" link on this page, and you can see the month's scheduled meetings via this page.  For more basic info, go to the quick guide to local government at the bottom of this site.  Other parts of this site, with more ephemeral information, with links underlined and blue and new items or major rewrites in red, are:
-- current events are here including 
County dead tree media keep attacking citizen right to see public records, but citizens keep fighting the good fight, hard  /  Conflict of interest, Vigneto promoter shouldn't go off script, special thanks to Anna Lands, Tricia Gerrodette, and Paul Lotsof  /Saying Ni! to the Constitution  /Stubborn ignorance by Cochise County Supervisors
-- lagniappe is here including  Sanctuary cities, Constitutional sheriffs, and the Constitution-free border zone  /Lawsuits about extending our Constitution into Mexico are sure to go to the Supreme Court  /The Danish cartoons that fundamentalist Moslems kill for  /Plagiarism:  Don't Do It!  /Southrons being more disgusting than usual

-- long-time substantial issues are here including  Dump the county Building Code  /Should every county have five Supervisors?


County attorney's office keeps attacking citizens' right to see public records,
but citizens keep fighting back hard

First, an update from December 16; then, the story as it stood in September.

FROM DECEMBER 16:  Deputy county attorney Britt Hanson is again trying to make the public pay more to see public records.  (By the way, if you take your own camera and make your own photos of whatever the County produces when you request to see public records, the County can't charge you a thing -- not one red cent.)

Hanson's proposal went to the Board Of Supervisors at the regular meeting on December 15, but the Supes promptly voted to table the proposal until their first January meeting.  The Supes, I believe, understand what a hot potato Hanson had tossed to them.
  If the Supes hadn't understood, several citizens informed them.

I'll give my own contribution first, but mine was by no means the most important input.  After my input, I'll give two others, both of which are remarkable.  I'm not informed of everything anybody says, and I apologize to anyone whose contribution I missed.

MY CONTRIBUTION:  I emailed a writeup much like the following to several people in and out of government at the county and state level.
1.  A proposal is set to come before the Cochise County Supervisors' meeting at 10 a.m. this coming Tuesday "to charge costs of providing copies and electronic media in response to public records requests."  The proposal is Item 8 on the County agenda posted at
and journalist David Morgan has also posted it online at
and posted the financial calculations used in the proposal at
2.  The County may not legally do what the proposal proposes.  The law is stated plainly in the Arizona Attorney General's December 2013 Opinion entitled "Charging Copying Fees Under Arizona's Public Records Law."  The Opinion is at
All quotations in this writeup are from the Opinion.
3.  The county may not charge a fee merely for inspecting public records.  The Attorney General says "Although a public body may charge a fee to copy and mail public records when that action is requested, the statute does not expressly permit charging a fee when the requesting party wants merely to inspect public records," and "
If, for whatever reason, the public body must make a copy of a public record to properly provide the record to the requesting party for inspection, then charging a copying fee is not appropriate," and "Arizona's public records law ... does not condition the right to inspect records on the payment of a fee either.  A public body in Arizona therefore cannot charge copying fees to recoup the cost of copies made internally to allow a member of the public to inspect the records."
4.  The County may not charge a person
who photographs what the County provides.  The Attorney General says "In the event that a member of the public seeks to inspect public records and make copies using his or her own personal device, Arizona's public records law does not allow a public body to charge a fee."
5.  If the County can't charge a person merely for inspecting records, and can't force a person to pay fees if the County decides on its own to make copies, and can't charge a person for making her own photographs of items, then what can the County charge for?  The Attorney General says "Arizona's public records law allows a public body to impose copying fees ... to offset copying costs only when a requesting party asks the public body to furnish copies of records."  The present proposal would charge fees which the law does not allow.
6.  To sum up, any person can examine public records free, and the proposal is an ill-considered slap in the face to anyone who wants open government.

NEXT, I have to thank David Morgan for first alerting me to the problem.  His work deserves the attention and praise it gets.

CHUCK ALTON'S CONTRIBUTION:  Here's an editorial which Chuck posted and sent around:

    Today, there is no excuse for public records to cost anyone much of anything. And accessing those records should be as easy as logging on to a web page.

    Public records are just that, records that document the activity of the pubic’s government, which of course, the public finances. The public pays for the activities of its government through taxes, and the government is required by law to document and maintain archives of those documents, and finally, to provide such information as may be requested by anyone in a reasonable time frame at nominal cost to the requester.

    Chief Civil Deputy County Attorney Britt Hanson has a fixation, about to be publicly exercised for a second time this year before the County Board of County Supervisors (BOS) Tuesday, December 15 at the regular BOS meeting. (Agenda item: Adopt Ordinance 48-15 amending fee schedules to provide for a standardized cost of copying and electronic media for purposes of public records requests.) 

    Hanson is blaming requestors of large amounts of information for somehow costing the County money it doesn’t have. He complains that it is especially painful when large amounts of information are requested, gathered by a government employee, scrutinized by an attorney for necessary redaction, and then upon review, the requestor decides not to take any of the documents. 

    So this Tuesday, Mr. Hanson will ask the BOS to approve a scheme whereby a requestor is liable for as much as 55 cents per page of documents requested, and rates for scanned documents set at one page scanned per minute! We can be sure that there is much more to this move than money, though.
    Clearly, this rate scheme, cleverly disguised as an emergency austerity plan, is designed to reduce the number and kind of requests made in Cochise County for public information relative to the activities of our government. Last time Hanson raised the issue at a work session in the summer time, all three BOS members, in the presence of reporters from numerous local publications, said they would be happy to talk more about “transparency”, another obvious code word, but not about charging for the time it takes to gather public information, which circumvents the letter of the law that prohibits charging for an employee’s time . Perhaps the Supervisors were thinking, Britt, we’re already paying people to do the work, so what’s the problem?

    Or could they have been thinking, what if we had our public records on line giving the public immediate access electronically saving a lot of employee time, paper, and wear and tear on our machines?

    Could they have been wondering if Hanson had noticed that the FBI, upon receiving a request under the Freedom Of Information Act, automatically assumes there must be others who will be interested in this same information, so they make sure the information is posted on line to make it easy to get to, and, so they don’t have to handle this request again.


    Mr Hanson is not only not thinking outside the box to find a win-win solution to cost cutting, it doesn’t look too much like he’s thinking inside the box either. Or is this second request another sinister attempt to keep information out of the hands of low income local residents who may not like what they learn from it?

    Suggestion: consult the Clerk of the City of Los Angeles and find out how they did it… putting all those millions of records on line so people could access it for free. Or does that run the danger of creating just a little too much transparency Mr. Hanson?

    PS: Mr Hanson is also the Bisbee City Attorney, so whatever is implemented for the County is likely to be put into place in Bisbee. We’ve seen that duplication of Hanson inspired heavy handedness cross over to Bisbee administration already this year, like banning County and City public employees from participating in the Homeless Task Force in Bisbee. And how did that come about? Members of a subcommittee asked too many questions about County policy. See a trend here?


JAN WILSON'S CONTRIBUTION:  I don't know Ms. Wilson from Adam, but I'm glad she exists.  When the Sierra Vista Herald ran its article about tabling consideration of Hanson's proposal, the article reported some statements by Jan Wilson at the meeting.  To quote the article, 
"'You are supposed to work for us, to satisfy our concerns.' ...  Her comments criticized the county for its handling of public records ....  'What do I know?  I know that Phoenix charges 20 cents for copies and I know the federal government makes it as easy as going online for lots of their records.'  She said county employees are there to serve the public and the records are the property of the public.  'This isn't supposed to be something that's done to make a profit.'"  Simply, hooray for Jan Wilson and I wish there were more like her.

THE STORY AS IT STOOD IN SEPTEMBER.  Deputy attorney Hanson had just again accused the public of abusing its right to see government documents.  Here's the writeup dated September 25:

I have to admire, for persistence at least, our local newspaper chain's repetition, in different papers, most recently in the Willcox Range News on September 2, of the news story promoting the accusations from deputy county attorney Britt Hanson that the public is abusing the Public Records Law.  The story tries to make Hanson look good, by means including leaving out what he actually said when he tried to get the County Supervisors to go along with his scheme to increase the secrecy of local government.  When the story first ran at this link, it quoted Hanson thus:  "I am sure that those members of the public who frequently make requests will howl ... [especially] the self-appointed watchdogs ...."  But in the later versions, Hanson's inflammatory language has been reported as merely "Hanson said he knew the proposal -- which supervisors decided not to endorse -- would stir a public outcry."  Hanson's insult to citizen watchdogs having backfired on him, the dead-tree media are backing away from reporting what he actually said.

The newspaper stories strongly imply that Hanson's proposition is sensible.  Actually, his proposition was idiotic.  Arizona has strongly favored open access to public records since 1901. 
Ideas like Hanson's were rejected by the legislature in 2014 (see this article) and in 2015 (see this article).  Existing laws already protect local governments from actual abuse of the discovery process. 

Also, Hanson's complaint about records requests flubbed the facts.  Hanson did not provide numbers to back up his complaining.  He used innuendo to attack three attorneys:  Nancy Bourke, whose bitter divorce proceedings against one of Hanson's co-workers led the co-worker to sue -- and lose -- to prevent release of public records about him; an unnamed attorney for reporter Beau Hodai; and an unnamed attorney doing research for a scholarly article.  Hanson also complained about citizens who "watchdog" local government; but Hanson didn't mention how often citizen watchdogs have uncovered incompetence and malice in local gummint.  The real story is the ineptness of the County Attorney's Office, but the local paper has been ignoring that story for ten years, and will probably continue in that failure of reporting.

Finally, Hanson acted carelessly in inviting old coals to be raked up.  For instance, just about the first thing that Hanson's new boss did was issue a subpoena which violated state law.  The violation was obvious; the subpoena cited the very statute that said such a subpoena was improper.  But Hanson's boss has never, to my knowledge, explained why he signed an illegal subpoena.  Did he not notice that it cited a particular statute?  Did he see the citation, but ignore what the statute said?  In my opinion, it makes a lot more sense for the County to confess its errors and try to do better in the future, than to let a minion continue the old office policy of trying to prevent incompetent or malicious acts from being exposed.

As a sidelight on keeping government secret from the people who pay for it, thanks to Tricia Gerrodette for sending this link to a Sierra Vista Herald article which reports that "Sierra Vista Mayor Rick Mueller took the opportunity to thank [state senator David] Gowan for his part in reforming the state's Military Affairs Commission, which ... created a public records exemption for Base Realignment and Closure discussions ... 'so that, should we get into a serious BRAC, we're not having to share all of our discussions with those who are fighting with us to try to take missions from the fort'."  Isn't that cozy?  Conversations about the number of troops stationed at Fort Huachuca are now secret from anyone who disagrees with the present in-group.  An in-group which cuts itself off from differing opinions is cutting its own throat.

In Cochise County, to combat the overfed suits working for counties and state agencies who work nonstop to set up walls behind which citizens cannot see, two journalists are now at the forefront of the fight for citizens' rights.  At this link you can see the latest filing in a lawsuit brought by Beau Hodai (you remember he was mentioned above, as a person that our inept County Attorney's Office wishes would go away).  The filing was written by the ACLU -- an organization I'm proud to be a life member of.  And here are excerpts from a newsletter from by David Morgan, whose Facebook group "Cochise County Courts, Crime, Justice & Jail Reports" has lots of hot and important news that local dead tree media are afraid of:
.  "Sierra Vista ... has a copy of an FBI report on the investigations done by Cochise County Sheriffs Office and Sierra Vista Police Department on an officer involved [in a] fatal shooting (April 2013) of an unarmed civilian, Lauro Avechuco.
...  The SVPD officer, Justin Dannels, is the (now) 26-yr old son of Sheriff Mark Dannels....  The report is likely no more than 15-20 pages, and probably already in electronic (.pdf) form.
.  "The City's stated position (in writing) is that because they did not create the report, they are under no obligation to produce a copy....  Arizona case law has established that documents that are acquired in the course of an AZ govt agency's lawful operations are public documents, regardless of source/creator, unless by some specific law or decree they are declared to be not subject to public release.  I suspect that Sierra Vista City Attorney Nathan Williams will concede that point without the necessity of a Special Action ....  If he invites me to go to court for a determination, after having been reminded of the law and case law, the City will likely lose in Superior Court and [an] award of attorneys fees should be applicable....
.  "There is a lot of public records law litigation to be done, especially (my guess) in counties that have no strong local media....  Special Actions are regularly heard by Superior Courts within 30-45 days of the initial filings....  AZ law allows for criminal penalties ... for persons who 'tamper with' public records, and the legal definition of 'tampering' includes 'impairs the availability of.'  But, as you might guess, the County ... is not very interested [in] prosecuting local government employees who are just doing what they've been instructed to do, as has been done for decades.  So, well-publicized legal actions that result in payments of attorneys fees (and delivery of requested documents) is one of the best tools available to convince local officials and employees of the importance of compliance with Arizona Public Records law."

Conflict of interest, Vigneto promoter shouldn't go off script,
special thanks to Anna Lands, Tricia Gerrodette, and Paul Lotsof

The heat is on some Arizona Corporation Commissioners for conflicts of interest; that is, for earning money from groups they are regulating.  So, will some County officials, such as the Supervisors and the County Attorney's office, keep pretending not to know about County Supervisor Pat "Doublepay" Call's conflict of interest on water issues
?  Doublepay Pat makes $75,833 for one year's work, halftime, for The Cochise Water Project -- whose programs Call gets to vote for at Supervisor meetings.  But stories about conflicts of interest by County officials (see this wrapup) are rarely or never discussed by any of the local dead-tree newspapers.  A British publication reports, in the article headlined "Peter Oborne blows the whistle on the Telegraph," that a newspaper "commits 'a form of fraud on its readers' by suppressing or downplaying stories, such as [a] tax avoidance scandal."  See the story here.

While Doublepay Pat keeps raking in the big bucks for focusing on the San Pedro near Fort Huachuca, the
promoters of the Villages at Vigneto, up north near Benson, keep presenting their promotion everywhere they can, but when the promoters dare to go off script, they don't sound so shiny.  The newspaper story at this link reports that at a Benson city council meeting "Paul Lotsof, manager of CAVE 97.7 radio in Benson, [mentioned an] Oregon ... a lawsuit against Reinbold and other defendants in a $50 million bond deal....  The case ...dragged on for 10 years ....  Reinbold [responded] 'Oregon courts have ruled in my favor....  These cases are settled and dismissed. There is nothing there,' [and added] that if Lotsof had spent time learning about the case, then he would have uncovered much more about its history ....  'On that front, that issue is closed and we have successfully moved forward and past that point'."  Reinbold's hot-seat response poked some holes in the slick picture that his promotional material paints.
-- That the case lasted ten years implies that some conduct created reasonable cause for litigation.
-- That the case was settled indicates that after all preliminary rulings, some issues remained which would have been tried if they had not been settled.
-- That Reinbold has "successfully moved forward and past" the point of settlement implies that the settlement was a setback which had to be overcome.
-- Reinbold implied that Lotsof had not spent time learning about the case.  Actually, before Lotsof mentioned the case, he went to Oregon to learn about it.  Reinbold may be surprised at further questions Lotsof may ask -- and Reinbold, having claimed that Lotsof is ignorant, will be in no position to refuse to answer when Lotsof shows what he knows.
-- There are plenty of people in Cochise County who may not want us made into more of a bedroom suburb for Tucson, and who may not be pushovers for Reinbold's slick pitch -- especially when they see how Reinbold digs holes for himself when he goes off script.

Special thanks to Anna Lands, Tricia Gerrodette, and Paul Lotsof for presenting the issue at the city council meeting.  It takes courage to stand up to a hostile crowd.

Meanwhile, people far away from Sierra Vista are working on their local water problems.  The Arizona Department of Water Resources says that in the Willcox Basin, groundwater levels are typically declining at least 2' per year, and sometimes over 5'.   Thanks to the Pearce/Sunsites Chamber Of Commerce for passing on the December 2014 ADWR Well Report; I've posted it online here -- and its scariest page, showing the water level dropping 300' in 60 years, is on this page.  That kind of drop in the water level can make water too expensive to reach for many people, but 14 new agricultural wells have recently been permitted.

The recent problems with Bowie's wells actually drying up are a spectacular example of what'll happen in the northeast part of the county, for everyplace except large farms.
  There's been no word that any of the surrounding wells for agriculture -- deep, private wells -- have stopped working.  Expect to see all the rationalizations in the world about how a water shortage could never, never occur in Willcox, or Sunsites, or Benson -- even though everybody in those parts could see the situation coming.  An email dated July 20 from Murray McClelland included:
.  "Since the Pearce/Sunsites Chamber of Commerce hosted a Community Meeting on September 23, 2014 ... ADWR has issued approximately an additional 80 new Ag Well Permissions while another approximately 15 additional Domestic Wells have run dry bringing the total [of dry wells] close to 35, leaving families, pets and children without water.  There were 4 wells that went dry in one week in Richland alone approximately 3 weeks ago.  Several families protested 3 new Ag Wells on Dragoon Rd at the September 23rd meeting, clearly stating to our Legislatures and ADWR that after 8 years of drought, their Domestic Wells were in perilous dangers of going dry once the new Ag Wells became operational.
.  "It seems to me that the playing field needs to be leveled....  For more information ... reply to [] and [Murray] will give you chapter and verse."  I don't know if Murray's suggestion is the best possible one in the whole world, but almost anything has got to be better than drying up Domestic Wells.

Sanctimoniously saying Ni! to the Constitution

A local paper says that seven preachers in or around Benson will refuse to perform same-sex weddings.  But the preachers are grousing about a phony issue, since the Supreme Court says ministers are NOT required to perform same-sex weddings.  Disgracefully, the ministers are repeating many of the arguments that were used 50 years ago to justify discrimination against black people -- arguments that are now as offensive, and worn out, as the swastika or the confederate battle flag.  Also, the ministers say that people should disobey the Constitution.
  Since the preachers reject the Constitution, perhaps they'll stop taking advantage of the tax exemption they get from laws passed under the Constitution.
Meanwhile, that clerk who is disobeying the Supreme Court -- and finally got sent to the clink for contempt -- says she is doing so "under God's authority."  But her god didn't put her in that job, the laws did -- and when sworn in, she personally swore to her god to obey the Constitution.  By disobeying the Constitution, she's breaking her personal promise to her god.  Her position is confused in another way too; apparently she's been married four times (twice to her present husband).  Some parts of the Bible call such a woman an adultress -- but the clerk apparently doesn't care about her own disobedience of those parts of the Bible, she only wants to make other people obey parts of the Bible that don't apply to her.  And the question has arisen, did she appoint her son as a deputy clerk, an act of apparent nepotism, in obedience to the Bible too?

Fundamentalists are bound to be intellectually dishonest, of course.  They claim to enforce Biblical standards, but actually they ignore any Biblical standards that don't fit their ideas -- which only go back about a hundred years.  A good example of this is the billboard placed in the clerk's home town that says "the fact that you can't sell your daughter for three goats and a cow means we've already redefined marriage" from what ancient goatherders meant.  For the news story, see this link.

Meanwhile, some Republican fundamentalists rushed to give their base the red meat it wants.  Here are some quotes from this article in the New York Times, followed by comments by yrs trly:
-- "Senator Ted Cruz of Texas ... called on 'every Believer, every Constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis.'"  Explain, ya idjit, how somebody who has sworn to God to obey the Constitution is serving God by breaking her personal promise to God.
-- "Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky told CNN, 'I think it’s absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberty.'"  Explain, ya idjit, how the clerk's own religious liberty includes making other grownups follow her religion.  Don't they have liberty of religion -- their own religion, not hers?
-- "Former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas said ... 'We must end the criminalization of Christianity!'"  Explain, ya idjit, what criminal law you think is involved in the case, and how it criminalizes Christianity by not letting you force your cult on your neighbor.
-- "Rick Santorum ... called for passage of federal and state laws to shield people in similar positions."  Explain, ya idjit, why laws should shield people who refuse to do the job they've sworn to do.
-- "Bobby Jindal ... linked the case ... to the cases of florists and bakers who [refuse] their services for gay weddings."  Explain, ya idjit, whether you understand that florists and bakers aren't on the public payroll, and why this fundamentalist bigot chose to take public money but not do the job she's paid for.  (On the other hand, I have to give props to Jindal for describing Donald Trump as a raving narcissist.  Right on, Bobby!)

Stubborn ignorance by Cochise County Supervisors


A Board Of Supervisors has strong jaws and sharp teeth.  A BOS can require any elected county officer to report under oath about anything connected with his job, and post a performance bond; and if the officer won't make the report or post the bond, the BOS can fire him and appoint a replacement.  See ARS 11-253.

But in Cochise County, those jaws have turned into jowls, those teeth lie soaking in the denture glass, and the BOS gums along to "duh dumb, duh dumb, dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb."  Our Supervisors won't supervise elected officers.

Part of the problem is built into some of the Supervisors.  One Supervisor, Pat Call, is in thrall to people who want to build giant house tracts.  Another Supervisor, Ann English, has a do-nothing and learn-nothing reputation.  Call and English take full pay regardless.  Citizens should ridicule such well-paid public disservice, and if Call and English don't like being ridiculed, they should start representing taxpaying citizens, and stop representing special interests or their own vanity.  There's an old saying, "Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."  Why, oh why, do our County Supervisors insist on wallowing in political sin, and refuse to lift their snouts out of the muck and trot toward a better future?  I've been to lots of BOS meetings, and a lot of times they looked like this tv show, where overpaid talent doesn't know anything about the subject.

Another part of the problem is resistance to being supervised, even by county officers who should know that being supervised is part of the job.  On January 20, 2015, I emailed open letters to two County employees:  Sheriff Dannels and County Attorney McIntyre.  Both letters are posted here.  Here's a discussion of them.

Sheriff Dannels

The letter to Sheriff Dannels asked if he acknowledged that he is subject to ARS 11-253 -- that is, if he acknowledges that the County Supervisors can supervise his department.  It seems strange to ask a public officer if he acknowledges state law, but I was following up a hearsay allegation that Dannels emphatically said the Supervisors had no authority over his office except for the budget.

On January 21, Dannels' office mailed a response.  One word -- "Yes" or "No" -- would have sufficed.  I got a 446-word gas leak, consisting of two paragraphs
from the Sheriff's homepage here and the "To All" paragraph from this page, which said nice things about motherhood and apple pie, but didn't come anywhere near to answering my question.  I tried three more times (January 21, January 22, and February 13) to get an answer, but all I got was "Per Sheriff Dannels, the answer to the first question was previously provided".

What to conclude?  Well, anyone willing to answer Yes would do so; Sheriff Dannels won't do so; therefore, his answer must be No, he doesn't acknowledge that he's subject to ARS 11-253.  That's worrisome, and some "dog whistle" language in his 446 words engenders more worries.  The "dog whistle" is his saying "constitutionally elected office."  That echoes the "constitutional sheriff" movement, which is pseudo-legal gobbledygook designed to let crazy sheriffs feel good about seceding from the Union.  When I see our sheriff anywhere near that path, I want our Supervisors to step in and prevent the County from starting down a long, expensive, and embarrassing path of litigation.

I think there's an obvious lesson here for elected officers:  you insult citizens and lose votes when you dodge questions, especially when you pretend not to be dodging.  But if you answer questions in a plain and forthright way, while you may lose some votes on a particular issue, you will gain votes for being honest in general.  As to Sheriff Dannels in particular, I think everyone in Cochise County wants him to be so good that we vote for him another five or ten times.  So when he gets off-track a little, as he did with answering my question, we want to see him get back on track.  And if we don't tell him what we want, we can't complain if he doesn't deliver it

County Attorney McIntyre

My other January 21 email was to County Attorney Brian McIntyre.  His system instantly replied "sender denied," and he has never answered my email -- I guess my taxes don't contribute to his salary.  I emailed McIntyre because he signed an illegal subpoena to get a journalist's emails, supposedly in an investigation.  The subpoena's two pages are here and here.  The subpoena cites a law which says a subpoena may NOT be used to get emails.  Did McIntyre read what he signed?  Citizens need to know if their County Attorney intends to follow the law.  My email to McIntyre suggested that the County could avoid spending huge amounts of time and money if he would simply withdraw the illegal subpoena.  But McIntyre clammed up.

McIntyre inherited a dysfunctional department from his predecessor Ed Rheinheimer, and the Supervisors languidly accepted bad legal work.  For instance, a deputy attorney once told the BOS that they had been violating an important law for eight years, but he wasn't losing sleep over it -- after which the Supervisors kept on disobeying the law while they tried to get the legislature to change it; and when that effort failed, they didn't start obeying the law for over a year.  That kind of thing gave both the CAO and the BOS a bad name.  Now, McIntyre has missed a chance to improve the department's reputation by clearing up his "illegal subpoena" scandal, and the BOS seems to be coddling him the same way it babied Rheinheimer.

David Morgan, the journalist whose emails were subpoenaed, sent a Public Records Request to the County for documents from the alleged investigation.  A deputy attorney answered "there are no available public records responsive to your request."  That's playing with words, and it violates the Public Records Law.  A recent case says "reports of ongoing police investigations are not generally exempt from our public records law, [so] it was incumbent upon [a county attorney] to specifically demonstrate how production of the documents would violate rights of privacy or confidentiality, or would be 'detrimental to the best interests of the state.'"  You can see the case here and you can see the Public Records Law here.

Remember that ARS 11-253 lets County Supervisors supervise other elected officers.  When a Supervisor asked McIntyre about that, the answer ignored ARS 11-253, and merely asserted that ARS 11-251 doesn't let Supervisors supervise other elected officers.  Wrong; ARS 11-251 says a BOS's first power is to "Supervise the official conduct of all county officers and officers of all districts and other subdivisions of the county charged with assessing, collecting, safekeeping, managing or disbursing the public revenues, see that such officers faithfully perform their duties and direct prosecutions for delinquencies, and, when necessary, require the officers to renew their official bonds, make reports and present their books and accounts for inspection."

I've heard a Supervisor argue that ARS 11-251 only lets a BOS check county officers' finance records.  That's nonsense; just because a statute lets the BOS do one thing, it doesn't prohibit them from doing anything else.  And the Arizona Supreme Court has affirmed that a BOS's "powers include supervising county officers ... levying taxes ... maintaining and controlling public roads, ferries and bridges ... providing for county hospitals ... erecting jails and courthouses ... '[making] and enforc[ing] all local, police, sanitary and other regulations not in conflict with general law' ... purchasing real property ... [and] to '[d]irect and control the prosecution and defense of all actions to which the county is a party, and compromise them....  the board of supervisors has general supervisory powers and policy-making responsibility for the county;" see the Falcon case here.

The answer also misread the leading Arizona case, Hounshell, which says "the legislature has, in some limited circumstances, specifically granted the county boards of supervisors the authority to supervise and/or discipline county officers....  the Arizona legislature knows how to expressly grant a board of supervisors the power to supervise and impose discipline when it wishes to do so."  In Santa Cruz County in 2005, the BOS ordered school superintendent Robert Canchola to post bond.

I've also heard a Supervisor argue that a Board can supervise an elected county officer, but not an employee hired by an officer.  So what?  When a county officer does a lousy job of running his department, the BOS can fire him.  But I've never seen the CAO remind a Supervisor that if he "neglects or refuses to perform any duty imposed on him without just cause, or who wilfully violates any law ... relating to the office of supervisor, or fraudulently or corruptly performs any duty imposed upon him by law, or wilfully, fraudulently or corruptly attempts to perform an act as supervisor unauthorized by law," then besides other penalties, he "shall forfeit to the county five hundred dollars for every such act ... and is further liable on his official bond to any person injured thereby for all damages sustained."  See ARS 11-223.  Nor have I seen the CAO mention the law -- ARS 38-341 to 38-345, available via this link -- that lets a grand jury take the initiative and accuse county officers of "wilful or corrupt misconduct in office."

McIntyre is off to a bad start in another way, too.  He just lost an appeal in a case he should never have pursued.  Arizona law lets a person with a debilitating medical condition use medical marijuana, but a person on probation was forbidden to use medical marijuana.  McIntyre preferred to see the probationer in constant pain, rather than take medicine that state law specifically allows -- and in that bad cause, McIntyre made bad legal arguments, which you can read in the case at this link.  McIntyre's work here, added to his stonewalling about his issuance of an illegal subpoena, and violating the law in the mock "search" for a new County Administrator, make us wonder if the Supervisors made a bad choice in picking this unelected County Attorney.

Sometimes Supervisors -- Ann English, for instance -- seem to want to be misled

I have years of reasons for using Ann English as my exemplar of laziness, ignorance, and contempt for the public.  My experience is well summarized in this cartoon, and this one too.

For example, here are emails about the County Attorney's illegal subpoena. 
I made them extra-clear for English:  "Here, Ann, just for you:  state law lets you supervise and even fire elected county officers  /  The Board can haul any elected county officer in, put him under oath, question him about anything related to his job, make him put up a bond, and fire him if he won't.  That's ARS 11-253, which gives a Board sharp teeth when it supervises other County officers.  Here's a link to 11-253(A):
It says:  'The board may require any county officer to make reports under oath on any matter connected with the duties of his office, and may require the officer to give such bonds or further bonds as may be necessary for the faithful performance of his respective duties.  An officer who neglects or refuses to make the report, or to give the bond within ten days after being so required, may be removed from office by the board and the office declared vacant.  The board may then fill the vacancy.'"

No answer, no apparent change in English's position, so no doing the tough part of her job.  On the bright side, she once ran a contest for a new County flag!  That solved our problems, all right.

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Lawsuits about extending our Constitution into Mexico are certain to go to the Supreme Court

A while back a federal court in Texas ruled that American Constitutional rights do not extend to Mexicans in Mexico; now an Arizona federal court says Constitutional rights do extend to Mexicans in Mexico.

Common sense says that America has its constitution, and Mexico has a constitution, and each constitution applies inside its own country's boundary.  (Actually, common sense now says that "Mexico" is a failed state, but that's a different discussion.)  If America's constitution extends into Mexico, does Mexico's constitution extend into America?  If so, I'll have to start studying up on my Mexican rights, and suing for them in American courts.  And, as of July 14, after the escape of "El Chapo," it's become very obvious -- follow this link -- how the Mexican "government" strictly refuses to extend any American influence into Mexico, when it suits the central "government's" purposes.

The cases are about Border Patrol agents shooting south across the border, and killing people.  As everybody along the border knows, the Border Patrol already has too much power over Americans.  The BP can enter your property without a warrant, except for your main residence.  And the BP can stop and question all drivers for no reason.  The result is often called the "Constitution-free zone" along our southern border; here is an ACLU writeup about it.  So it was funny to see an article, at this link, quote an ACLU officer as saying "The court adopted a common-sense approach and correctly held that there can be no constitution-free zone on the border."  Now, I'm a life member of the ACLU, and proud of it, but it gets harder.

If the ACLU wants to start fighting the existence of a constitution-free zone on the border, how about also fighting for the rights of the 200 million Americans who live in the zone where the Border Patrol says it can override the Fourth Amendment?  The ACLU doesn't (unfortunately) have infinite resources, and to the extent that the ACLU is using its limited resources to fight for Fourth Amendment rights of Mexicans in Mexico, but not using its resources to fight for the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans inside America, the ACLU's priorities are out of whack.

The conflicting cases are certain to go the (American) Supreme Court, and perhaps then the ACLU can litigate the entire subject of where the Fourth Amendment is supposed to apply.

Sanctuary cities, constitutional sheriffs, and the Constitution-free border zone

I see petitions that oppose "sanctuary cities," which defy federal immigration law.  I hope those petitions succeed.  And because I want federal law applied uniformly everywhere, I also oppose the "constitutional sheriff" movement, which, despite its name, defies the Constitution.  The Constitution ought to apply to everyone in Amercia -- to sanctuary cities, to "constitutional sheriffs," and to the 100-mile-deep border zone where the feds ignore the Fourth Amendment.  Opposing only one of these violations of the Constitution is impossible to justify.

Here are some Danish cartoons of Mohammed
that fundamentalist Moslems kill people for.  I think every American with a website should post them, because the only argument that has a chance of working with those people is to prove to them that killing achieves the opposite of what they want.  Here's my posting:
Click on the image you get, and it will expand to full size.

Americans have free speech, with as few limits as possible.  The recent creation of categories like "hate speech" and "hate crimes" is stupid; our basic rule is to punish acts, not words or thoughts.  If we let anyone scare us into giving up free speech, we lose.  A superb column about weak-brained reporting by America's press is at this link.  And while America sinks into fear, Norway sticks to free speech; see this link.

Plagiarism:  Don't Do It

An Arizona history prof was academically demoted, and lost a contract worth $268K, after two incidents of plagiarism.  Here's a link to the story.

I have a page about local plagiarism here, and here is an article with example after example of Tea Party poser Allen West getting caught with his plagiarizing pants down.  Remember, plagiarism is both theft and fraud -- stealing other people's work, and lying about your stealing.  If you had West to tea, his first lie would be "hello," and you would count your spoons after he left.  Why take him, or any plagiarist, seriously in politics?

Southrons being more disgusting than usual

In 1789, the Constitution said "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."  The state can't make you follow your neighbor's religion, nor make your neighbor follow yours.  Easy.

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln called slavery the "spirit that says, you toil and work and earn bread and I'll eat it.... whether from the mouth of a king ... or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle."  Lincoln understood the Southron sense of entitlement.

In 1883, Mark Twain wrote about Southrons' love affair "with decayed and swinish forms of religion; with decayed and degraded systems of government; with the sillinesses and emptinesses ... of a brainless and worthless long-vanished society.... but in our South they flourish pretty forcefully still."  Eye witness.

In 1917, H. L. Mencken wrote that Virginia politics "are cheap, ignorant, parochial, idiotic ... a Washington or a Jefferson, dumped there by some act of God, would be denounced as a scoundrel and jailed overnight."  And Virginia was a bright spot compared to places like Georgia, "little removed from savagery....  the home of the cotton-mill sweat[shop], of the Methodist parson turned Savonarola and of the lynching bee."  Eye witness.

In 1956, after the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public schools, many Southron politicians signed a "Manifesto" attacking "the Supreme Court's encroachment on the rights reserved to the States and to the people, contrary to established law, and to the Constitution."  Southron entitlement again.

Now, in 2015, most Americans are moving ahead.  Many evangelicals have abandoned racism, and some are ending gay-bashing.  Last week many Americans protested a racist murder in South Carolina, and celebrated the Supreme Court's allowing gay marriage everywhere.  The best of the local Christians forgave the killer, and the best Americans everywhere showed revulsion at Southrons' sick racism and fascination with the sex lives of others.

But the worst Southrons, even some candidates for president, are fanatically clinging to their sense of entitlement, and promising to disobey the Supreme Court about gay marriage.  Louisiana's Jindal said the decision "tramples on states' rights," and Arkansas's Huckabee said "I will not acquiesce to an imperial court" -- as Southrons shout every time common decency is imposed on them.  Oh, shut it.

How can local citizen journalists better replace dead tree media?

For citizen journalists, here's a link to the newest online Arizona Reporter's Handbook On Media Law -- FREE! -- which covers --
-- Access to the news, including media access to court proceedings, public records, governmental meetings and facilities, and private property;
-- Interference with the news gathering process, such as subpoenas, search warrants and gag orders;
-- Limitations on the content of communications, including prior restraints and the laws of defamation and privacy;
-- Promises of confidentiality to sources; and
-- Copyright and trademark law.
This has already been a bad year for public access to information in Arizona.  I wonder what politicians would do if citizens started exercising their own rights to information, instead of relying on dead trees like the SV Herald.
  Using the FREE Handbook On Media Law is a good way to scare the backroom gangs.


Here's a page that can give you some very interesting, very customizable maps of the states, ranked on scales that you hand-pick.  It's amazing what you can learn if you play with all the choices on this page.  The site leans toward conservatism, but it lets you learn what's what, state by state, even if you don't like their slant in presenting it.

A map of America's loud & quiet areas, with the louder areas brighter, is here.

This map shows how many men in their "prime age" are not working.  In a big census tract east of Bisbee and north of Douglas, there are 5010 men between 25 and 54, and 94% (!) of them are not working.  I asked Cochise County demographics guru Robert Carrerira, the Director of the Center For Economic Research at Cochise College, what he thought.  He answered that "'not working' ... is a broad category.  Counted in this number would be proprietors of business, to include farms.  I suspect the large number of independent farmers/ranchers and independent business owners would be heavily influencing the numbers (since they're not counted as 'working' because they're not technically 'employees').  Could also be considerable undocumented work.  Also, census margins of error are calculated at only 90% confidence so could be some statistical errors, as well."  Thanks a lot to Carreira for his input, which does a lot to explain a number which simply cannot be correct.

Other maps I've posted include
where people around the country support Democrats
where the people living in each state were born
how hard it is to live in each county in the US

Heading Off Prejudice

People constantly surprise us with their goodness

Every day, people we may be predisposed to think badly of will astound us with their goodness.  For instance, this news story from Norway about Moslems protecting Jews, headlined "More Than A Thousand Muslims Form Human Shield Around Norwegian Synagogue After Copenhagen Attacks".  And from America, this news story entitled "Millennial Evangelicals push for full inclusion of LGBT Christians" -- not all Evangelicals, but a movement.  It's very hard for most people to change their beliefs about the world, no matter how much the world changes.  But modifying our old beliefs by incorporating new information is worth the effort:  it makes life easier, and keeps us from fighting in already-lost crusades.  One could say that modifying our beliefs by incorporating new information is being precisely opposite to ISIS.

The lynching belt (Southwest)

A scholar writes about decades of lynchings of Mexican-Americans in this article.  I do not know how the scars from this kind of thing can ever heal, except by realizing that the world isn't "Us v. Them," it's "Some of us v. Others of us."

The lynching belt (Southeast)

The "lynching belt" of the old south is chock full of monuments to Southrons, but a new group, the Equal Justice Initiative, wants to put up memorials to some black folk lynched by Southrons.  On this part of the EJI website, you can read about "3959 racial terror lynchings of African Americans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia between 1877 and 1950....  African Americans who were never accused of any crime were tortured and murdered in front of picnicking spectators (including elected officials and prominent citizens) for bumping into a white person, or wearing their military uniforms after World War I, or not using the appropriate title when addressing a white person.  People who participated in lynchings were celebrated and acted with impunity....  No prominent public memorial or monument commemorates the thousands of African Americans who were lynched in America....  'We cannot heal the deep wounds inflicted during the era of racial terrorism until we tell the truth about it,' said EJI Director Bryan Stevenson."

Some white folks say that black folk were content until liberal Democrats got them all riled up.  Clearly, that viewpoint is not susceptible to disproof by mere facts.  But I hope that viewpoint will disappear naturally, if only because of the growth of interracial marriage.  As old racists die off, and more family trees include somebody killed for "living while black," families will probably not accept that it was right to lynch great-great-grandfather for living while dark.

For me, education on current issues --

-- includes daily reading of these two legal websites, and following their links:

Here's a new site that looks promising, as of 2/12/15:  click on this link.  Feedback welcome.

If you are bombarded with the kind of emails that appeal to prejudice, and finish by telling you "if you agree, pass it on" -- but never asking for negative feedback -- some ways to fact-check them are at

The world is more interesting than lies about it

All kinds of mass emailings purport to !expose! lies by the mass media.  Usually, the exposure is the lie.  For instance, on 2/18/15 I got an email purporting to expose lies about the Social Security system.  It turned out that the email was a mass of lies that was first detected back in 2005.  That's an example of the "hall of mirrors" effect of the internet; entertaining lies to the gullible never stop circulating.  There's an old saying (ascribed to a variety of scientists) that "the universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine."  The world itself is more interesting than even the most entertaining lie about it.  So I've never understood why people don't do their own fact-checking, to learn things more entertaining than lies.

Here's a bunch of new essays plus old essays I wrote for Charles Tidd's lamented Sunsites Sun website.

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Some of these discussions, especially if they're very old, may have links to subsidiary pages that I've taken down.  If you want to see a page and I've already taken it down, email me and I'll put it back up for you.

Dump the County Building Code

Cartoons about bureaucrats and the County Building Code

Here's a Dilbert cartoonthat is especially applicable to the bureaucrats who administer the County's excrescential Building Code.  More Dilbert cartoons point out, as if by magic, flaws with Cochise County Supervisors, here and here and here; here's a cartoon about our bloated Planning Department (under whatever "friendlier" name it's cooked up now); and here is a Savage Chickens cartoon showing how silly Sierra Vista-style regulations look to people who live on a few acres of their own.

Objective reasons to dump the Code

The Sierra Vista Herald recently ran this editorial concluding "Get ready to see fewer county employees providing fewer county services."  I violated the commandments of my religion to email in this comment to the editorial:  "Good -- and the place to start is at the Planning Department, by repealing the Building Code.  It wasn't passed until just over 10 years ago; we got along fine without it until then, and we can get along fine without it again.  It was passed as a way for the County to leech money off of a housing boom in an expanding economy.  It never made money, the idea of a housing boom is a joke, and the economy is shrinking.  It was never administered properly or competently, from the Supervisors down to inspectors who acted like thugs in rural areas, so the Code's "needless nannyism" generated dislike among people in rural areas.  Getting rid of the Building Code's salaried drones has always been a good idea.  Why wait?  Just do it now."  Here's an expansion of those thoughts.

The Code was pushed through in 2004 by a small clique of County officials led by Pat Call, the Supervisor from Sierra Vista.  The county had got along fine without it.  Call's main helpers were James Vlahovich, at that time boss of the Planning Department (the Department's name keeps changing to something that sounds friendlier; I just call it by its original name), and a Department employee who's gone now.

The clique, using two years of data, predicted a real estate boom from Sierra Vista to Benson.  But the real estate market collapsed soon after the Code was passed.  County population continues to fall; here is Robert Carreira's latest piece about County population.

The clique made false promises to get the Code passed.  They promised evaluations of the Code's delivery of benefits (increased home safety, lower home insurance rates, and so on) and promised that the Code would make money for the County.  The evaluations have never happened (Supervisor Searle, whose district includes Benson, even told me after the Code took effect that the evaluations never would happen), the promised benefits haven't happened, and the Code has always been a money-losing drag on the County budget.

Also, the Code has been administered poorly by the Planning Department, from thuggish inspectors on the ground, to incompetent and dishonest administration at the top.  The Code has been used to suppress small businesses in rural areas.  The Code has made County officials into criminals:  the Supervisors knowingly violated state law for almost 10 years rather than obey state law and form an advisory board, and the County Attorney's Office knew and didn't care.  A lawyer might well decide to sue the County, and demand a refund of all fines and fees that county residents paid during the ten years before the County followed the applicable state law.

No wonder ordinary citizens -- not big builders or people whose job depends on big housing projects -- have always been unhappy with the Code.

The Code should be repealed, but County functionaries love their tiny empires, paid for by squeezing more money out of ordinary citizens who need neither the Code nor the empire builders.

A handy site from 2009 for background info is here, some more recent history is here, and here's an eloquent email from 2014, to all three Supervisors from excellent citizen Will Jakobek:
.  "soon, you will go through the formality of ... transferring more money from citizens to county government.  You will increase Building Code fees.  It won't take much time, because the fact-finding that is needed to make an informed decision won't be done.  You won't adequately represent your constituents.  You draw a paycheck regardless....
.  "Lately, inflation has been negligible, demands for services could not have increased, and a fee increase won't very  much affect the deficit that administering the Building Code causes.  How many millions is it behind being self sustaining?  I've previously addressed the inadvisability of  maintaining a department like this on the backs of the county taxpayers, and I know you are tired of my insistence that the Code should be eradicated as just one more bad idea....
.  "Here's a true story.  I was in the permit line, waiting to talk with the official at the window....  A lanky, hard man laid out his plans for a pole barn, nothing exciting, just a place to store his bales so his hard work would not lose value.  A few phone calls, and the rep airily quoted him a permit cost:  about half of his building labor and materials cost.  Imagine that.  Two years earlier, he could have built that pole barn with less interference and at 2/3 of the cost.  He looked shocked at first, then he turned away shaking his head in disgust.  His wife at his side looked sad, took his arm, and they walked away.
.  "Then more things happened, invisibly.  The man didn't buy materials or hire help to build a pole barn.  He didn't buy more fuel and plow up more ground, or use more electricity to run the pump to water a thirsty patch of alfalfa.  Seeds were not bought and fertilizer didn't get applied, so suppliers made no money.  No crop was ever harvested, so no profits were ever made,  that would have been spent on shoes, or groceries, or dental work....  The foolish cost of a permit found many silent ways into everyone's pockets.  And less taxes were paid.
.  "County government has bean counters who could calculate the damages produced by this permit requirement....  Why not do the right thing and shut down this money sucking valueless entity? ...
.  "Soon we'll be a one horse county, beholden to Fort Huachuca, which already pretty much calls the tune.  You will have driven every other industry out.  But nobody will blame you in the end ... because nobody will remember you.  And it will cost you nothing to accomplish this."

Should every county have 5 Supervisors?

Concurrent Resolution 2032, at this link (thanks to a friend for emailing it), is about making every county have five Supervisors and ten Planning & Zoning Commissioners.  If the Resolution passes, citizens can vote on this in the 2016 general election.  Supervisors would have a two-consecutive-term limit, plus a little allowance for incumbents.  (One question about timing:  Resolution paragraph 1 section 6 says "a county that is governed by an existing board of supervisors consisting of three members shall elect two additional supervisors at the 2016 general election" -- but what if the election went against switching to five supervisors?)

Right now, seven of Arizona's fifteen counties have three Supervisors:  Apache, Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, and Santa Cruz counties.  For those counties, the law would double the taxpayer burden for paying supervisors.  In 3-Supe counties, each supe now makes $63,800 a year, plus benefits.  In 5-Supe counties, the pay is $76,600 plus benefits.  So the total burden on the taxpayers would double, from $191,400 to $383,000, plus benefits.  In Cochise County, the pay is already too much:  the Supes are half-time employees, who have two general meetings a month

Also, instead of the present practice of each supervisor naming three Planning & Zoning Commissioners, each supervisor would name two.  If all ten Commissioners attended a meeting, passing an item would require 6 votes out of 10, not 5 out of 9, as is presently the case.  I have no problem with that.

However, the law would also do away with the requirement that a majority of Commissioners live outside of cities -- that is, live inside areas regulated by the Commission.  Under present law, each Supervisor may appoint only one Commissioner who resides in an "incorporated municipality" -- a city, but the proposed law would let every Commissioner live in a city.  It seems to me that there should be a limit to city residents on the Commission.  The limit for each Supervisor could be "only one commissioner from a city" or "no commissioner from a city."  I'd prefer "no commissioner from a city," because P&Z Commissions only have jurisdiction outside of cities, and I think Commissioners should live in the areas affected by their vote.

The Resolution also weakens the Open Meeting Law.  The OML allows less than a quorum of Supervisors to discuss public business outside of a public meeting.  In a 3-Supe county, this means that two Supes can never discuss public business in private.  But in a 5-Supe county, two Supes can discuss public business in private.  So converting 3-Supe counties to 5-Supe counties would weaken the OML in those counties.  This problem could be solved with legislation that did not let less than a quorum of a public body discuss public business in private.  Getting rid of the "less than a quorum" loophole might be a good change to the OML anyway.

As to Cochise County in particular, if the voters approve the Resolution, we would likely have four Republican supervisors and one Democrat.  Sierra Vista would probably be split into two safe Republican districts (that's my guess; I've heard three), leaving Benson, Willcox, Tombstone, Bisbee, and Douglas to be distributed in two or three districts.  My preference is for honest, competent public servants, but neither party has lately set a good example on that scale, so even though I'm a lifelong FDR Democrat, I can't get very excited about a Democratic supervisor being outnumbered 4-1.  Besides, the lone Democratic supervisor is already outnumbered 2-1.

I'd be happy to see a term limit placed on supervisors.  I'm sure there'll be people who approve the Resolution just to get the term limit.  As to me, even though I have a very low opinion of some of our present public "servants," I don't think it's a good idea to re-shape our government just to get rid of people whom I consider bad apples; my motivation is just, I like term limits.

There's another major part to the Resolution, Section 5, about the board of directors of a regional public transportation authority.  The change seems to be a minor matter, but I'm open to being educated.

In fact, I'd like to hear from anybody with opinions about this Resolution.  It's hard to argue that the people should not be allowed to vote for themselves on a matter like this -- but by the same token, it's hard to argue that if the people of a county are happy with three supervisors, a state law should override local wishes.  Whose business is it how many supervisors a county has, except the people of that county?

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The Cochise County gummint homepage is here and local gummint has several pages on Facebook.  If you want the local government to mail you notices of many (but not all) public meetings, go here.

1, Here's a little about local ordinances.  To see state law, drop down the page a little.

a, the Board Of Supervisors.  Cochise County has 3 supervisors, each representing a separate district.  The Supes hire a County Administrator to handle administrative matters.  You can see the Supes and their districts by following the "Interactive Map Of Districts" link, on this page and you can see the month's scheduled meetings via this page.


The Supes have the final word about most matters of County government (because even if a county official is elected to be the head of some other department, the Supes set most departmental budgets -- pay the piper, call the tune!), and the Supes tend to favor big money from outside the county, at the expense of the quality of life for people who already live here.  However, citizen action, by lawsuit or referendum, has undone some of the things that the Supes have approved, such as the giant Smith Ranch project near Benson, the Bachmann Springs project near Tombstone, a tax district to support a golf course in Sunsites, and the huge Tribute house tract near Sierra Vista.  Citizens have worked hard, and are still working, to keep the Supes from selling the county out.

b, the Planning & Zoning Commission.  Each Supervisor appoints three members; they're volunteers whose job is to make recommendations to the Supes when people request zoning variances, when the Planning Department (see section iii below) wants changes to County codes, and so on.  The Commission members are listed here and the Commission's meeting information, agendas and minutes, are available by following the links on this page.

c, the Planning Department (whose name changes every now and then, for public relations purposes).  Its employees are paid, and their job is to advise the Supervisors and the Planning & Zoning Commission.  The Department is there to help the Commission, not the other way around, though the arrangement of the County's website implies the opposite.  The Department tends to be under the thumb of the "sell out the citizens" faction on the Board Of Supervisors.  The Department's page is here.

Much of the work of the Department is about variances from zoning requirements.  The zoning ordinances were massively changed in 2013; see this document, and Arizona's Commerce Department puts out a "Planning & Zoning Handbook" whose Chapter 8 concerns zoning; see this document.  Variances are discussed in section 4 of chapter 8.  I've been to many county Planning Department meetings, but have never heard that material mentioned.

The Department also spends a lot of time administering the county building code -- which ought to be dumped.  Here's a basic writeup from 2009 and here's an update from 2013.

d, The County Attorney's Office (CAO) gives advice to the Supervisors and other public officials who ask for it.  The advice is supposed to be legal, but during the reign of Ed Rheinheimer as elected County Attorney, CAO attorneys got into the bad habit of sticking politics into their advice.  I think that tainted the reputation of anyone working for Rheinheimer.  Rheinheimer resigned just after serving half his latest term, so the Supes got to pick his successor (instead of the public getting to vote).  His successor is Brian McIntyre.  He has a chance to rebuild our disgraced CAO, if only he would take it.

e, Meetings of public bodies in Cochise County generally have three kinds of items to vote on:  Consent, Action, and Public Hearing items.  Consent items are supposed to be so noncontroversial that nobody, including Supervisors or Commissioners, needs to discuss them before approving them.  At Action items, Supervisors or Commissioners may speak, but not members of the public.  During Public Hearing items, members of the public may speak.  However, no matter what the agenda of a meeting says, our Supervisors or Commissioners often move a Consent item to the Action item so that they can talk about it, or move an Action item to the Public Hearing even though the general public didn't come to the meeting because the agenda said they wouldn't be allowed to speak.  Such actions may be violations of the Open Meeting Law, and in any case they obviously tend to chill the free speech rights of citizens, but local gummint will pull such stunts if they think they can get away with it.  Citizens can protect themselves only by watching public officials closely.

f, County meetings also generally include a Call To the Public (C2P).  Here's a link about speaking at a C2P.  There are always people on public bodies who are so unAmericanly anal that they will interrupt and try to muzzle any citizen who uses a C2P to criticize a member of the body.  Well, the law says citizens can use the C2P to criticize board members.  Read the Open Meeting Law, discussed in Section 2.c a few inches below, and you'll see that a board member who objects to being criticized during a C2P has the right to answer the criticism -- after the speaker has finished.  Of course, tantrums are disfavored, and if you commit slander you may have to answer for it outside the meeting, but in a C2P, honest criticism is allowed, and no petty bully has the right to stop you from merely criticizing a board member.

g, Obviously there's more to County government, and I'll be adding details.

h, No matter what's on this site, you should dig dig dig into all the original material you can find.  If you think I might have some old material you need, you can email me at

2, State laws affect local gummint too.  You can see every state law here.

a, Here are the general laws governing counties, but other state laws can affect county government too, of course.

b, Arizona's Attorney General, and Ombudsman, publish an incredible amount of good solid guidance about state laws.  You can access it all by going through the Ombudsman's page here.

c, The Open Meeting Law, or OML, is the single most important protection for Arizona citizens who want honest government.  It begins at ARS 38-431 in this set of statutes.

Little, or petty, bureaucrats, hate the OML.  Cochise County gummint has been incredibly resistant to the OML.  For instance, it took a huge amount of work just to get the Supervisors to post minutes of all their public meetings, including work sessions.  But hard work in this area can pay off.  I hope you will love the OML and make it your own.

d, Another important protection you have is the Public Records Law, the PRL.  You have the right to see every public record, and if you can't afford to pay for copies, you can take your own photos of documents (the County tried to charge for taking your own photos, but they backed down on that one pretty fast!)  You have the right to see more than paper records, you also have the right to see electronic records, like email and files on computers, including "metadata."

Added on May 10, 2015:  Amazingly, an employee in the Attorney General's office itself refused to let reporters take their own photos of public records!  The employee, one Terry Harrison, wouldn't follow the law until the reporters phoned their attorney, who presumably phoned the Attorney General, who presumably used appropriate language to make Harrison stop embarrassing his employer.  See the story here.

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