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Arizona Re-Elects Kelly In Key Hold For Senate Democrats, Nevada Still Counting

Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly has defeated Republican Blake Masters in Arizona’s Senate race. Arizona has been one of the hardest-fought battlegrounds this year, after both Kelly and President Joe Biden won narrowly in 2020. That marked the first time the state had two Democratic senators since 1953 and just the second time a Democrat had won the state’s presidential election since 1948. With Democrats having held the Senate by the narrowest possible margin for the past two years, this is a critically important win.

Kelly was elected just two years ago in a special election following the 2018 death of Sen. John McCain. Now he will have a full six-year term.

[Editor: Ballots are still being counted in Nevada, where incumbent Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto appears to be erasing a small lead for Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. Her victory would ensure a Democratic Senate majority even before the outcome of a runoff election in Georgia between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.]

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Blake Masters Endorsed Notorious White Supremacist Writer

Author and Senate nominee Blake Masters endorsed a book by Sam Francis in an Instagram post last year. Masters was recommending a commentator who wrote that the country should “oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind”; claimed that “immigrants, in particular Hispanics,” will “kick the common culture into the gutters”; and claimed that “neither 'slavery' nor 'racism' as an institution is a sin.”

Masters, who is a protege of Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel, is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Arizona. White nationalist Fox News host Tucker Carlson has heavily backed his candidacy and, in a quote posted on Masters’ campaign website, called him “the future of the Republican party. Very smart guy. I’m rooting for him.”

Francis was a longtime conservative columnist who died in 2005. The right-wing Washington Times fired him in 1995 after he made a racist speech at a white nationalist conference.

Alec Dent wrote in Vanity Fair that Masters “has been promoting Francis’s ideas throughout his Senate campaign, going so far as to recommend his book of essays, Beautiful Losers, which Masters has cited as an influence on his style of conservatism, in an Instagram Story that was pinned at the top of his account. (Vanity Fair reached out to Masters’s campaign for comment. They did not respond; the archived Instagram Story has since been removed).”

Masters has also cited the work of G. Edward Griffin, an antisemitic conspiracy theorist.

By recommending Francis’ work, Masters is sending his followers down a rabbit hole of white supremacist writings and ideas. Here are some examples.

Francis wrote that the United States must “oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind.” Francis was the chief editor of a newsletter for the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens. Francis also wrote the group’s mission statement, which stated, in part: “We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called ‘affirmative action’ and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.”

We believe the United States is a European country and that Americans are part of the European people. We believe that the United States derives from and is an integral part of European civilization and the European people and that the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character. We therefore oppose the massive immigration of non-European and non-Western peoples into the United States that threatens to transform our nation into a non-European majority in our lifetime. We believe that illegal immigration must be stopped, if necessary by military force and placing troops on our national borders; that illegal aliens must be returned to their own countries; and that legal immigration must be severely restricted or halted through appropriate changes in our laws and policies. We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called “affirmative action” and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.

Francis wrote that “neither 'slavery' nor 'racism' as an institution is a sin.” From a 1995 Washington Times column:

If the sin is hatred or exploitation, they [Southern Baptists repenting their support of slavery in the mid-1800s] may be on solid grounds, but neither “slavery” nor “racism” as an institution is a sin. Indeed, there are at least five clear passages in the letters of Paul that explicitly enjoin “servants” to obey their masters, and the Greek words for “servants” in the original text are identical to those for “slaves.” Neither Jesus nor the apostles nor the early church condemned slavery, despite countless opportunities to do so, and there is no indication that slavery is contrary to Christian ethics or that any serious theologian before modern times ever thought it was.

Not until the Enlightenment of the 18th century did a bastardized version of Christian ethics condemn slavery. Today we know that version under the label of “liberalism,” or its more extreme cousin, communism.

What has happened in the centuries since the Enlightenment is the permeation of the pseudo-Christian poison of equality into the tissues of the West, to the point that the mainstream churches now spend more time preaching against apartheid and colonialism than they do against real sins like pinching secretaries and pilfering from the office coffee pool. The Southern Baptists, because they were fortunate enough to flourish in a region where the false sun of the Enlightenment never shone, succeeded in escaping this grim fate, at least until last week.

Francis claimed that “immigrants, in particular Hispanics” will soon “kick the common culture into the gutters.” Francis wrote in a 2004 column:

The “melting pot” metaphor may have been appropriate when immigration came largely from Europe, with similar languages, religious beliefs, political cultures, and moral and social values. Today it doesn't.

Today not only do the fragments in the pot not melt into the common history and common culture, they openly and deliberately reject them -- as “racist” and exclusive. Immigrants, in particular Hispanics, who make up the largest component, now have the numbers to thumb their noses at the common history and common culture and the very suggestion that they should assimilate to it. Soon they will have the numbers to kick the common culture into the gutters.

Francis wrote that Republicans should “forget about Hispanics” and “start speaking the language of the white middle class.” Francis wrote in a 2003 column:

The Republicans can start winning Hispanics when they’re willing to throw overboard entirely their party’s conservative principles and get down in the mud with the Democrats.

It would make a lot more sense for the Stupid Party [Francis’ term for the Republican Party] to forget about Hispanics as a bloc they could win from their rivals, start thinking about how to control immigration, dump the ads in Spanish and start speaking the language of the white middle class that really keeps them in office.

Francis said whites “could dictate a solution to the racial problem” in part “by imposing adequate fertility controls on nonwhites.” As documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Francis wrote in 1995:

If whites wanted to do so, they could dictate a solution to the racial problem tomorrow — by curtailing immigration and sealing the border, by imposing adequate fertility controls on nonwhites and encouraging a higher white birth rate, by refusing to be bullied into enduring “multiculturalism,” affirmative action, civil rights laws and policies; and by refusing to submit to cultural dissolution, inter-racial violence and insults, and the guilt that multiracialists inculcate.

Francis criticized interracial relationships as “cultural destruction.” In 2004, ABC aired an ad featuring a Black man and white woman having a sexually explicit discussion. Francis responded by calling it “an intentional act of moral subversion” and added:

But the ad's message also was that interracial sex is normal and legitimate, a fairly radical concept for both the dominant media as well as its audience.

Nevertheless, for decades, interracial couples of different sexes have been sneaked into advertising, movies and television series, and almost certainly not because of popular demand from either race. The Owens-Sheridan match is only the most notorious to date.

In the minds of those who produced the ad, race is at least as important as the moral and aesthetic norms their ad subverts.

To them, the race as well as the religion, the morality, and the culture of the host society are all equally hostile and oppressive forces that need to be discredited, debunked and destroyed.

If the destruction can't happen at the polls or through the courts, they can always use the long march through the culture that control of the mass media allows.

Breaking down the sexual barriers between the races is a major weapon of cultural destruction because it means the dissolution of the cultural boundaries that define breeding and the family and, ultimately, the transmission and survival of the culture itself.

Francis said that whites must “reassert our identity and our solidarity, and we must do so in explicitly racial terms.” Howard Kurtz wrote in 1995 in The Washington Post:

Francis was let go late last month after his views on racial differences were quoted by author Dinesh D'Souza in The Post's Outlook section. Francis had said at a conference that his fellow whites must “reassert our identity and our solidarity, and we must do so in explicitly racial terms through the articulation of a racial consciousness as whites. . . . The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America could not have developed apart from the genetic endowments of the creating people.”

Francis complained about “the practice of ruining a white person once a year in honor of Dr. King is becoming a national tradition.” Francis’ book Beautiful Losers, the collection of his essays recommended by Masters, includes a piece (“The Cult of Dr. King”) criticizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Among the many reasons Francis cited against the holiday was that it purportedly would result in “ruining” white people.

The fate of Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder is a case in point, though not unique. Approached at table in Duke Zeibert’s restaurant in Washington on the Friday before the official ceremonies, Mr. Snyder, a sports commentator created and employed by CBS, was asked by a local reporter for his views on the progress of blacks in professional athletics. Mr. Snyder perhaps had dined too well, and he was foolish enough to say what he really thought in response to the uninvited question. He praised the accomplishments and hard work of black athletes, made some insulting remarks about the laziness of white athletes, and suggested that the alleged athletic prowess of blacks was due to their having been bred for size and strength in antebellum days, specifically for their “big thighs, . . . they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs.” It is not known if the Greek, a professional gambler, gave odds on how long he would keep his $750,000-a-year job after uttering his insights, but there was little time to place any bets, and probably few would have taken them. Within twenty-four hours Mr. Snyder was in the ranks of the unemployed, and the incident provided fodder for the capital’s professional gumbeaters for the next week.

Mr. Snyder was not the first offering to the new deity, and the practice of ruining a white person once a year in honor of Dr. King is becoming a national tradition. Last year the victim was another sports figure, Los Angeles Dodgers official Al Campanis, who was asked on ABC-TV’s “Nightline” about black athletic performance and wound up discoursing on the comparative buoyancy of the races when immersed in water. He too got his clock cleaned by his employers, and though the incident did not occur in connection with Dr. King’s birthday, it did happen to fall during the week of the nineteenth anniversary of the civil rights leader’s assassination in April 1968.

Francis told a reporter that civilization must be white to survive because “I just don’t think that Blacks and Hispanics are going to be able to continue that, I mean, for cognitive reasons, intellectual reasons.” From a 1996 Washington City Paper profile:

He wants whites to be “proud of being white,” he tells me on a cold December day, his own white face reddened in his warm office. If they aren’t, and they allow immigration and intermarriage to destroy the white race, “I don’t see any prospect for…Western, European, white civilization surviving,” he says. And “civilization” means not just political and cultural traditions but “science as well,” he adds. Why? “I just don’t think that blacks and Hispanics are going to be able to continue that, I mean, for cognitive reasons, intellectual reasons….You could have a black Einstein or a black Newton maybe,” he adds with a chuckle, “but in general you’re not going to have people who appreciate that.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

GOP Megadonors Lack Confidence In Trump’s Senate Candidates

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), was deeply offended when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — during an event in Kentucky in August — told a crowd that he considers control of the U.S. Senate a toss-up in the 2024 midterms and cited “candidate quality” as a factor. McConnell expressed confidence that Republicans will “flip” the U.S. House of Representatives, but wasn’t nearly as bullish on the Senate. And his “candidate quality” comment was taken as a criticism of the MAGA candidates Trump has pushed.

McConnell, however, isn’t the only Republican who is concerned about the quality of U.S. Senate candidates who former President Donald Trump has been pushing. In an article published by CNBC’s website on September 30, reporter Brian Schwartz takes a look at Republican donors who are reluctant to get out their wallets for Trump-backed Senate hopefuls who have been underperforming in polls.

“Republican megadonors want the GOP to take back the Senate, but they don’t have confidence that some of former President Donald Trump’s top picks can catapult their party to a victory in November,” Schwartz explains. “Billionaire financiers Paul Singer, Dan Loeb and Larry Ellison have so far avoided donating directly to some or all of Trump’s staunchest allies running for Senate in the midterms: J.D. Vance in Ohio, Blake Masters in Arizona, Herschel Walker in Georgia, Adam Laxalt in Nevada and Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, according to Federal Election Commission records and people familiar with the billionaires’ donations.”

The CNBC reporter adds, “All of those candidates have been endorsed by Trump. And many of them have previously sided with the former president on the false claims that the 2020 presidential election had widespread voter fraud — an accusation that’s been debunked by Trump’s former attorney general, Bill Barr, federal courts and several other top Republicans who served in Trump’s administration.”

A Republican strategist, quoted anonymously, told CNBC that those megadonors would “would be lighting their money on fire if they got totally swayed by these candidates.” And that strategist is advising donors to give their money to the Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee run by McConnell’s former chief of staff Steven Law. That strategist said of the Senate Leadership Fund, “They have the best polls, and they won’t sink money into races they know they can’t win.”

Schwartz notes, “The campaign poll tracking website FiveThirtyEight shows Masters trailing (incumbent Sen. Mark) Kelly by more than seven percentage points…. FiveThirtyEight shows Oz trailing his Democratic rival John Fetterman by more than six percentage points and Walker trailing his competitor, (Sen. Raphael) Warnock, by more than two percentage points. Vance and Laxalt are both in statistical dead heats with their Democratic rivals; both GOP candidates are down by an average of less than a percentage point.”

Schwartz points out that megadonor and real estate mogul Stephen Ross “hasn’t given a penny yet to Vance, Walker, Masters, Laxalt or Oz, according to FEC filings.”

“Ross was criticized for hosting a fundraiser for Trump and the Republican National Committee at his Hamptons home in 2019, but has distanced himself from some of Trump’s favorite candidates this election cycle,” Schwartz observes. “He’s donated over $685,000 to a mix of Republicans, Democrats and their affiliated outside groups this cycle. His biggest checks so far have gone to GOP organizations tied to Republican leadership, such as House GOP campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee and a joint fundraising committee called Take Back the House 2022, federal election records show.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

True History: Arizona's Strict Abortion Ban Is A Relic Of The Confederacy

The 1864 Arizona law that was reinstated by a judge’s ruling on Friday bans all abortions except to save the life of the mother. Described in most reports as a law passed during the time Arizona was a territory, before it achieved statehood in 1912, one important fact has been omitted both from the judge’s decision and from the press reports on the draconian abortion ban: Arizona was a territory in 1864 all right, but it wasn’t a territory of the United States. The territorial legislature that passed the abortion ban did so on behalf of the Confederate States of America, into which Arizona was accepted when Jefferson Davis signed “An Act to Organize the Territory of Arizona” on January 18, 1862.

Arizona remained a territory of the Confederate states until the end of the Civil War in 1865, which means that the legislature that passed the exceedingly strict abortion law in 1864 was a legislature recognized by the Confederacy and loyal to it. The Arizona Territory sent horses, men, and supplies to the Confederate army during the Civil War and organized Company A of the Arizona Rangers, which was reconstituted into the Arizona Scout Company after several battles with the Union Army of California.

The Arizona Scout Company joined a Texas Cavalry Division in the Confederate Army under Major General Tom Green. The Arizona Scouts fought against the Union Army’s Red River Campaign and in the battle of the Sabine Crossroads and the battle of Pleasant Hill, when the Union attempted to occupy the capital of Louisiana, then located in Shreveport. The Arizona Scouts went on to serve under Confederate General John Wharton in Arkansas, fighting several skirmishes and small battles until General Edmund Kirby Smith surrendered all Confederate forces west of the Mississippi on May 26, 1865.

That’s how loyal the citizens of the Arizona Territory were to the Confederacy. They fought alongside Texans and gave their lives for the right to own slaves right up to the bitter end.

If you read Justice Samuel Alito’s decision overturning Roe v Wade, he runs down a list of states that had banned abortion as he tried to make the case that the United States had no “history and tradition” of legal abortion before the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868. The 14th Amendment, providing citizens with equal protection under the law, was one of the amendments to the Constitution on which the Roe decision relied. Among those states were Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana, all states that had been in the Confederacy. Among them in banning abortion was Arizona, then a Confederate territory.

What’s the point of all this history? Well, I think it’s important to understand that many of the states that decided way back then to deny women the right to control their own reproductive lives also denied to their Black populations the right to control any part of their lives, as slaves.

Arizona recently passed a law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy which was due to go into effect on September 24. On September 23, however, a judge in Arizona decided that it is necessary to go all the way back to 1864 and reinstate a law passed by a Confederate territorial legislature.

Women who at least would have had the right to terminate their pregnancies in the first 15 weeks after conception are now banned from having an abortion at any time at all, including to remedy a pregnancy that is due to rape or incest. In cases involving a fetal condition which may endanger a woman’s life, the pregnancy must be endured until the point endangerment is actually reached. This means if a woman becomes pregnant with a baby suffering from anencephaly – a defect whereby the skull, brain and scalp do not completely form – or other conditions that can cause an early end to a pregnancy that endangers the life of a woman, Arizona demands that an abortion cannot be performed until an emergency is declared and an abortion becomes mandatory to save her life.

Under the terms of the 1864 law, anyone who performs an abortion or helps a woman obtain an abortion can be punished with up to five years in prison.

The decision by Arizona Judge Kellie Johnson threw the state into disarray, with arguments about which law should prevail – the 15-week ban which took effect last Saturday, or the draconian 1864 law. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who signed the 15-week ban, said the new abortion law would supersede the old law, but the state’s attorney general, Mark Brnovich, said he would enforce the Confederate-era total ban on abortions.

Democrats are set to seize the issue in the upcoming midterm elections. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat who is running for governor against Republican Kari Lake, came out against the abortion ban almost immediately. “We cannot let her [Lake] hold public office and have the power to enact extreme anti-choice policies that she’s spent her entire campaign touting,” Hobbs said at a press conference on Saturday alongside Democrat Kris Mayes, who is running for attorney general.

But Republican candidates for every major office in the state of Arizona were silent on the abortion issue Saturday. From Kari Lake, nothing. From Blake Masters, running for Senate against Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly, nothing. From Abe Hamadeh, the Republican running for attorney general, nothing. Previously, Lake has called abortion “the ultimate sin” and has called for a ban on abortion pills. Masters has termed abortion “demonic” and called for a federal fetal personhood law that would ban abortions in every state.

Lately, Masters has dropped references to the fetal personhood law from his campaign website and deleted a section in which he said he is “100 percent pro-life.” Lake has refused to comment on the reinstatement of the 1864 ban on all abortions.

Which side will prevail in the struggle over women’s rights in Arizona is up to the voters in November. Election of Hobbs as governor and Mayes as attorney general will certainly help. Mayes has said she will not enforce the Arizona ban on abortion and will direct county prosecutors to do the same. Hobbs says she will veto any further laws against abortion and push the Arizona legislature to overturn the 1864 total ban, but with Republicans in charge of that body, she doesn’t stand much of a chance. Alternatively, both candidates say they will support a ballot measure giving voters the opportunity to decide where Arizona stands on abortion in 2024.

For now, the Confederate-era ban on abortions in Arizona stands.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Reprinted with permission from Lucian Truscott Newsletter

Desperate Arizona GOP Senate Nominee Lies About Democrat Kelly's Abortion Stance

Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters released a new ad on Thursday and once again claimed that he has been unfairly accused of misrepresenting his position on abortion.

Masters, who has in the past insisted that he is "unapologetically PRO-LIFE" from conception, until Thursday included on his campaign website a statement in support of "a federal personhood law (ideally a Constitutional amendment) that recognizes that unborn babies are human beings that may not be killed." As of Thursday, that statement was gone, along with the phrase "I am 100% pro-life."

After the campaign of his general election opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, and Democratic groups called Masters out for his extreme anti-abortion position, Masters tweeted out the new ad with the message, "Mark Kelly is lying about my views on abortion — the Democrats have to do that because their own position (no limits of any kind, ever) is so extreme. Here's the truth."

In the minute-long ad, filmed as Masters plays with his children, he says, "Most people support commonsense regulation around abortion." Then he lies about Kelly's position: "But Mark Kelly votes for the most extreme abortion laws in the world. We're talking no limits up until birth. Think about how crazy that is. That's more extreme than Western Europe. It's way more extreme than what Arizonans want."

Masters then uses unscientific and incorrect language employed by abortion opponents: "Look, I support a ban on very late-term and partial-birth abortion. And most Americans agree with that." He falsely accuses Kelly of supporting "no-limits extreme abortion policies."

The Supreme Court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which held that the Constitution guarantees the right to abortion, specified that states could limit abortions after the point where a fetus was viable outside of the uterus, as long as those laws contained exceptions for the life and health of the pregnant person.

The court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization in June, which Masters backed, overturned Roe.

A 2003 federal law signed by former President George W. Bush banned some rare later abortion procedures, vaguely called "partial-birth abortion" by opponents and recognized by the Supreme Court in 2007 in Gonzales v. Carhart, in which it upheld the law, to mean intact dilation and extraction. The law contains an exception for the life of the patient, but not for their health.

Prior to winning the Arizona GOP Senate primary, Masters repeatedly expressed his support for a national abortion prohibition, telling the right-wing Center for Arizona Policy that he supports "Prohibiting abortion except when it is necessary to prevent the death of the mother."

Masters' claims about Kelly's position have been debunked by Politifact: He has never backed "no limits up until birth." Rather, Kelly backed the Women's Health Protection Act, a bill that would have codified the right to abortion as affirmed in Roe. Its language expressly noted that restrictions would be allowed "after fetal viability" as long as it included an exception for when "in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient's life or health."

Kelley Dupps, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Votes in Arizona, said in a statement:

This desperate move by the Masters campaign is sad but unsurprising. They've made the calculations and know that his true views on abortion and reproductive freedom are deeply out-ot-touch with Arizonans and will cost him the election. Instead of doubling down on his problematic and dangerous record, they're lying — lying about Senator Kelly, lying about Masters' anti-abortion agenda, and lying to themselves if they think Arizonans will fall for it.

A nationwide Navigator survey of registered voters released on Aug. 11 found 80% believe abortion decisions "should be left to the woman and her doctor."

A July OH Predictive Insights poll of Arizona voters found that they opposed overturning Roe by a 52-33 percent majority.

The same poll found that 52 percent of voters oppose an 1864 Arizona law that criminalizes doctors who perform abortions in the state; 28 percent support the law, which, subject to an injunction after the Roe decision, is not currently in effect. Arizona Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich has gone to court to get the injunction lifted.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Arizona Republicans Nominate Racist, Anti-Gay Blake Masters For Senate

Arizona Republicans chose millionaire venture capitalist Blake Masters on Tuesday to be their 2022 nominee for U.S. Senate, despite his history of overt racism and anti-LGBTQ bigotry.

Masters will face incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) in the November midterm elections.

Former President Donald Trump gave Masters his "Complete and Total Endorsement" in the Republican primary race. But even with Trump's backing, Masters only received about 39% of the vote against the rest of the GOP field, including Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and businessman Jim Lamon.

In June, Masters told the right-wing advocacy group FreedomWorks that he would be open to ending Social Security as we know it. In Arizona, roughly 18.3% of residents and 24.5% of voters are over the age of 65, according to U.S. Census data.

"We need fresh and innovative thinking," Masters said. "Maybe we should privatize Social Security, right? Private retirement accounts, get the government out of it."

Masters has repeatedly made bigoted comments.

On April 11, he told the right-wing Jeff Oravits Show podcast that America's gun violence problem was mostly a problem for people of color.

"We do have a gun violence problem in this country, and it's gang violence, right?" he baselessly argued. "It's gangs. It's people in Chicago, St. Louis shooting each other. Very often, you know, Black people, frankly. And the Democrats don't want to do anything about that."

Masters has frequently attacked LGBTQ rights.

He proposed a federal "Don't Say Gay" law based on Florida's bigoted law, claiming "your tax dollars should not fund radical gender ideology and weird sex instruction for children."

He also supports businesses denying service to LGBTQ customers.

He opposes same-sex marriage equality because marriage's "point is procreation and creating children."

Masters promises on his campaign website that he will "crack down on crime," especially "deadly mob violence." But he also touted the endorsement of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who egged on the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol insurrection and then sold campaign coffee mugs commemorating his fist pump to the mobs storming the building.

His campaign has benefited from at least $15 million in super PAC donations from his former boss, the conservative tech billionaire Peter Thiel.

Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and Palantir Technologies, has extensive ties to white nationalists and co-wrote a 1998 book that claimed, "The purpose of the rape crisis movement seems as much about vilifying men as about raising 'awareness.'" Thiel apologized for the "insensitive, crudely argued statements" in 2016.

Political experts rate this fall's Arizona Senate race a "toss-up."

Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), was elected to the Senate in a 2020 special election. He says he is seeking a full term "because Washington is broken and Arizonans deserve independent leadership focused on solving the problems we face."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Arizona GOP Senate Candidate Would 'Privatize' Social Security

Donald Trump's hand-picked candidate Blake Masters is the latest to endorse the unpopular idea.

The front-runner in the GOP primary to run for Senate in Arizona in November against Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly suggested on June 23 that Social Security should be privatized, an approach to the popular government program that experts say could jeopardize a vital financial lifeline for retired Americans.

"We need fresh and innovative thinking," said venture capitalist Blake Masters, a candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump and bankrolled by right-wing investor Peter Thiel, said at a forum hosted by the right-wing advocacy group FreedomWorks. "Maybe we should privatize Social Security, right? Private retirement accounts, get the government out of it."

Masters is the second GOP candidate running for Senate in Arizona to call for privatizing the overwhelmingly popular government program that provides income to retired and disabled adults, after Republican Jim Lamon, whose campaign website posits as a model for the retirement program, "Option for every worker to enjoy the benefit from investment in the US economy while also creating a tangible, inheritable asset for their children, instead of the government-controlled trust fund model."

The Arizona Republicans are among a number of GOP candidates running for Senate who support privatizing the program, including New Hampshire GOP candidate Kevin Smith, who, according to audio recorded at an event hosted by the New Boston Republican Committee, said in response to a question about financial measures, "I think another thing we can look at is, in the future, reforming Social Security — not touching anyone's Social Security in here — we've all paid into the system, and I would not propose that at all. But for my kids who haven't paid into the system yet, and my grandkids who aren't born yet going from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan, for them. So, but that's, those are for future generations."


Republicans have been pushing to privatize the program for years, calling for investment of a worker's Social Security payroll taxes in a private, individual account. Experts say it's a risky move that would leave workers' retirement at the whim of the stock market rather than guarantee income for retirees.

"In a privatized system, workers' retirement income would depend upon many factors: the performance of the stock market, luck, investment savvy, the timing of retirement (i.e., whether the stock market was up or down), and other factors outside a worker's control. Social Security's income guarantee would be lost, and it would no longer serve as a source of ensured income for the elderly, especially lower-income workers, women, and minorities," according to a 2020 report published by the nonprofit think tank Economic Policy Institute.

The loss of that guaranteed income could be financially devastating, given that one in four older adults receive 90% of their income from Social Security benefits, according to the research and policy organization Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Social Security is especially important in Arizona, which has a large portion of retirees. It is the second-most popular state for retirees over age 60, behind only Florida, according to AARP, a lobby for older Americans. According to Census Bureau statistics, 18.5 percent of Arizona's population is over the age of 65.

Former President George W. Bush abandoned an effort to partially privatize the program in 2005; among those opposing the plan was AARP.

The outcome of the Arizona Senate race will be critical to which party controls the Senate, currently split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans need to net just one seat to take control of the majority.

Inside Elections, a nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the race a toss-up.

Incumbent Sen. Kelly has said he won't support privatizing the program.

"I've got a message for Arizonans: I will protect Social Security and Medicare. Period," Kelly said in a campaign ad that ran during the 2020 special election he won to fill the seat of the late Republican Sen. John McCain.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.