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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

Arizona GOP Governor Defends Backing White Nationalist Candidate

While Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey attempted to distance himself from the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by condemning the day and immediately issuing a statement describing the occurrence as "a sickening day" that "no American will ever forget,” his actions don’t match his words. Ducey called for perpetrators to be prosecuted. However, at the same time he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to elect candidates and lawmakers who boosted the same conspiracy theories that led to the violence that occurred; attended the "Stop the Steal" rally in Washington, D.C.; or openly supported the January 6 insurrection.

Among those he heavily supported is state Sen. Wendy Rogers. Rogers is a far-right Republican who not only advocates on behalf of Donald Trump and his claims that the election was “stolen,” but had a reputation for spreading false conspiracy theories, including one claiming that antifascist activists were responsible for the violence on January 6.

When asked about his support for Rogers on Thursday, Ducey defended his independent expenditures, which spent half a million dollars to support her. Despite her white nationalist ideology, he said he was “proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish” in the 2020 election, adding that “she’s still better than her opponent, Felicia French.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, a national organization that advocates for acceptance and equality, Rogers is at the top of the list of extremist politicians.

“We’ve just released an analysis of extremist rhetoric in the elections this year, and Wendy Rogers is at the top of that list,” Tammy Gillies, Anti-Defamation League regional director for San Diego and Phoenix, said in January.

The analysis came after Rogers shared a message on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Twitter that said: “Celebrate Lee-Jackson Day.” The tweet included photos of confederate leaders Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, who fought against the Union to preserve slavery, NBC News 12 reported.

In other tweets, Rogers has referred to herself as being “pure blood” and claimed that such individuals are being “replaced and invaded” by “illegal immigrants.” The theory is called the Great Replacement Myth.

“Words matter,” Gillies said. “And words motivate people. Anti-Semitic tropes and hateful language can lead to actual physical violence, and we’ve seen that over and over again.”

Not only has Rogers publicly supported the Stop the Steal movement, but she has also proudly said she is a member of the Oath Keepers militia, according to NBC News. The list of right-wing conspiracies she supports is endless.

She even supported an event that looked to “cancel Hannukah” and only celebrate Christmas in the country. Clearly, she is someone you do not want to support.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Arizona's GOP Governor Touts Broadband Expansion His Party Obstructed

Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Monday a $100 million investment to expand high-speed broadband internet service in his state — a move that was made possible by the Democrats in the state's congressional delegation.

Ducey said the $100 million investment was made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act, the COVID-19 relief bill President Joe Biden signed into law back in March.

Every single one of Arizona's four GOP House members voted against the legislation. And every Democratic member of the state's Congressional delegation — including Arizona's two Democratic Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema — voted for it.

"In today's digitally connected world, ensuring access to high-speed internet is key to growing opportunity," Ducey said in a news release. "Today's historic investment will build on the progress of recent years to get even more schools, businesses, tribal communities and homes connected, opening up more opportunities for services like telemedicine and digital learning."

Not a single Republican in either the House or Senate voted for the American Rescue Plan. Included in that funding package — aside from another round of stimulus checks and expanded unemployment benefits — was $350 billion in state and local aid that could go toward upgrades for broadband internet.

The COVID-19 pandemic helped expose the problems Americans face when they don't have access to high-speed internet.

"Stories from the past year made it impossible to ignore how essential broadband is in our daily lives: young students unable to login to their digital classroom; workers without in-home connectivity forced to travel to their job sites; retirees who couldn't video chat with their families; and sick people who couldn't access telehealth services," according to an analysis piece from two Brookings Institute experts.

Congressional Republicans, such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, railed against the state and local funding, deeming it a "blue state bailout."

Ducey was not one of the Republicans who railed against providing direct aid to states and had instead asked Congress for relief funds.

However, he has come under fire for how he's allocated the funds, including in August, when he announced that he was giving $163 million in grants from the American Rescue Plan to schools that did not have mask mandates, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to rage. The Treasury Department warned Ducey in October that the way he was selectively giving out funding to schools that defy mask mandates could cause the state to lose recovery funds.

Ducey's bragging over the expansion in broadband internet is yet another instance in which Republicans are taking credit for something they didn't support.

Numerous GOP lawmakers have celebrated or taken credit for things funded by the American Rescue Plan that they didn't vote for.

For example, multiple GOP lawmakers praised a provision in the plan that granted relief to restaurants hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Others, such as New York Republican Reps. Garbarino and Lee Zeldin, took credit for canceled service cuts on the Long Island Rail Road, which was made possible by funds they did not vote for.

It's also possible that Republicans who voted against the infrastructure bill Biden is signing Monday afternoon will take credit for projects it funds. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) wouldn't rule that possibility out in an interview with CNN earlier in November.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Arizona Secretary Of State Seeks Criminal Probe Of Trump

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Following the 2020 presidential election, then-President Donald Trump tried to overturn the election results in Arizona. It didn't work: conservative Republican Gov. Doug Ducey certified now-President Joe Biden's victory, much to Trump's chagrin — and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, another GOP conservative, stressed that there was no evidence to support Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud in Arizona. Now, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, is asking Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to launch a criminal investigation of Trump for possible election interference.

On July 7, Hobbs asked Republican Brnovich's office to investigate whether or not Trump tried to improperly influence Maricopa County election supervisors in 2020 while the votes were still being counted. Fox News' decision desk called Arizona for Biden on Election Night, November 3, and the Associated Press called Arizona for Biden about three hours later. But other major news outlets held off on calling Arizona for the former vice president and ex-U.S. senator.

Trump was furious with Fox News for calling Arizona for Biden, repeatedly insisting that he won the state and putting pressure on Arizona election officials.

Arizona Republic reporter Yvonne Wingett Sanchez explains, "Hobbs said some of the communications 'involve clear efforts to induce supervisors to refuse to comply with their duties,' which could violate Arizona law. She cited the Arizona Republic's reporting last week on text messages and voicemails from the White House, Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward to the Republican members of the Board of Supervisors."

Hobbs, in a letter e-mailed to Brnovich wrote, "The reporting also includes firsthand statements from the victims of this potential crime."

Hobbs isn't the only Arizona Democrat who is calling for an investigation of Trump's efforts to overturn the election results in that southwestern state, which was deeply Republican in the past but has evolved into a swing state with two Democratic U.S. senators: Sen. Mark Kelly and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. It was also on July 7 that Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the possibility that Trump and his allies committed "an extremely serious crime" with their "pressure campaign" to overturn the election results. That "pressure campaign," Gallego said, shows "a disturbing trend following the 2020 election of Trump advisors and allies, and even former President Trump himself, committing potential crimes to overturn the election."

Hobbs and Brnovich are both candidates in the 2022 midterms. Hobbs is seeking the Democratic nomination in Arizona's gubernatorial race, while Brnovich is seeking the GOP nomination in Arizona's 2022 U.S. Senate race.

America Is Ready To Move On From Trump

Save this video for the documentaries. It shows Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey certifying his state's vote for President-elect Joe Biden when his cellphone goes off. The ringtone, "Hail to the Chief," means President Donald Trump is on the line. Ducey mutes the phone, casually puts it down and goes on with his presentation.

Ducey was not about to let Trump break into his briefing. He sure wasn't going to pay any mind to Trump's false charges that the election in Arizona was riddled with fraud. Ducey basically turned off Trump's mic.

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Governors Who Reopened Too Early See Virus Surge, Ratings Crash

Four Republican governors who rushed to reopen their states prematurely amid the pandemic have seen their approval ratings tank, according to a new poll.

The SurveyMonkey poll, published Friday by Axios, found that constituents no longer approve of the way Govs. Doug Ducey of Arizona, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Brian Kemp of Georgia, and Greg Abbott of Texas are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases have spiked in all four states recently.

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Governors Refuse Responsibility For Virus Spikes In States That Opened Prematurely

At least four GOP governors are trying to shift blame after their push to prematurely reopen their states led to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

On April 16, the White House released its three-phase set of guidelines for how states could more safely easy social distancing rules.

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In Some States, Tax Cut Promises Collide With Budget Realities

By Elaine S. Povich, Stateline.org (TNS)

WASHINGTON — Many newly elected and re-elected Republican governors stormed into office pledging to cut taxes. Now, in the face of lower-than-expected revenues, some are in a predicament that might remind movie buffs of the 1972 film The Candidate, in which Robert Redford’s character won a U.S. Senate seat only to ask, “What do we do now?”

Some governors are being forced to reconsider their tax cut promises, while others are contemplating budget cuts to bring state balance sheets into equilibrium. Most states are in better fiscal shape this year than in the recent past, but in 20 of them, revenues for the current fiscal year are coming in under projections, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO).

Overall, state revenues are projected to be $748.3 billion in fiscal 2015, a roughly 3 percent increase over the $726.1 billion states collected in fiscal 2014. But when those numbers are adjusted for inflation, state revenues still are 2 percent below the pre-recession peak, according to NASBO Executive Director Scott Pattison.

“There’s stability, growth, but overall a lackluster picture,” Pattison said. “We are not seeing significant growth.”

There are now 31 Republican governors, up from 29. Seven of them are new: Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas, Doug Ducey in Arizona, Bruce Rauner in Illinois, Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, Larry Hogan in Maryland, Pete Ricketts in Nebraska, and Greg Abbott in Texas. Hutchinson, Hogan, Rauner and Baker seized governors’ offices previously held by Democrats.

During their campaigns, all of the new Republican governors made some kind of “no taxes” pledge, either promising to freeze taxes or cut them. But those promises are bumping up against budget realities, including looming deficits and unmet needs stemming from the recession. When adjusted for inflation, states’ fiscal 2015 spending will be about 2.7 percent lower than it was in fiscal 2008, according to NASBO.

Education spending, which is a large chunk of state budgets, is a vivid example. Per student, at least 30 states are spending less in inflation-adjusted dollars than they did before the recession hit, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank. CBPP said most states are spending more per student than they did a year ago, but not enough to make up for the cuts in past years. Many governors, including some who have promised lower taxes, are proposing increases to education spending.

“It makes it difficult to contemplate additional tax cuts when your state is struggling to pay for past ones,” said Michael Leachman, director of state fiscal research at CBPP. “In a state like Arizona, they cut the heck out of their educational system. If they are going to compete in the future, they need to invest. It’s a very difficult situation.”

Ducey, Arizona’s new Republican governor, swept to victory on a platform of tax cuts, economic growth and an overhaul of education funding. But the former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery now faces a possible $520 million deficit this fiscal year and a $1 billion shortfall in the coming year. The state’s fiscal 2015 budget totals $9.2 billion.

David Burton, an economic policy fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said lower taxes usually mean lower spending — a good thing, in his estimation. “Can spending hypothetically go so low that essential services aren’t being provided? Sure, but we’re nowhere near that in any state I’m aware of,” Burton said.

In traditionally “blue” states, combining tax cuts with spending cuts will be a tough sell for newly elected Republican governors.

During his successful campaign, Maryland Gov. Hogan pledged to cut taxes, particularly income taxes, and to get rid of what Republicans call the “rain tax,” a wildly unpopular tax on runoff and wastewater to fund the Chesapeake Bay cleanup. But those promises will be difficult to keep in light of new budget projections showing a deficit of about $1.2 billion in fiscal 2015, out of about a $16 billion general fund budget.

Hogan got an assist from outgoing Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley. Shortly before leaving office, O’Malley required state agencies to absorb a 2 percent cut over the next six months, part of a plan to cut $400 million from this year’s budget to bring it into balance. However, Hogan will still have to deal with the projected fiscal 2015 deficit. He said he is still planning tax cuts, but did not provide details in his first news conference as governor.

Hogan “always said that we need to get spending under control first, before we begin trying to roll back taxes,” said spokeswoman Erin Montgomery. “He acknowledges that the current budget deficit is a huge factor in accomplishing this goal, but he stands by his promise to make Maryland more affordable for people to live, work and retire. And that still means cutting taxes as soon as he possibly can.”

State Sen. Richard Madaleno, Jr. is skeptical. “While I think there’s a desire to cut taxes, I don’t think there is room to cut taxes and I think the new governor knows that,” the Democrat said. A fight in the Democratic-controlled legislature is looming.

In Massachusetts, new Republican Gov. Baker rode into office on a pledge to lure more businesses to the state by lowering corporate income taxes. But after the election, outgoing Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick identified a $329 million gap in the state’s $36.5 billion budget, though some analysts pegged the figure higher.

Baker has not said where he will find the money to plug that hole. During his campaign, Baker promised not to cut aid to cities and localities and not to raise taxes. He continued this theme in his inaugural address, but did not provide specifics.

“We will hold the line on taxes — we’re already demanding enough from hard-working people. And we will protect cities and towns and fulfill our promise to end the cuts to local aid. Otherwise, every line item will be looked at,” Baker said.

The situation in Illinois, where there is a deficit of about $5 billion in the state’s $36 billion budget, is particularly complicated and dire. Former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn late last year proposed making permanent a “temporary” income tax increase, but the legislature refused to go along, so the tax reverted to 3.75 percent on Jan 1.

During the campaign, Rauner hammered Quinn over the tax increase. More recently, Rauner has said he would “work with” the 3.75 percent rate, but refused to be specific about what he might cut or how he might redraw to the state’s tax system to balance the roughly $36 billion budget. He also did not rule out hiking taxes in the future.

The budget trouble is especially stark in Kansas, but Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who has pushed through $1 billion in tax cuts since 2011, is not backing away from his tax-cutting philosophy. In November, Brownback defeated Democrat Paul Davis by 3 percentage points in an election widely viewed as a referendum on his fiscal policies.

Last month, Brownback was forced to cut funding for most state agencies by 4 percent and take $95 million from the state’s highway fund and $40 million from the public employees’ retirement fund to address a projected $279 million shortfall in the budget for the fiscal year that began in July. State revenue is expected to decline by another $436 million next fiscal year. Kansas’ total budget is about $5.9 billion.

“I think that Gov. Brownback does consider that … he has the approval of the voters to push ahead here,” said Burdett Loomis, a political science professor at the University of Kansas. “More tax cuts will go into place in January and there will certainly be substantial cuts in spending.”

Loomis said exit polls showed that by a 53 percent to 41 percent margin, Kansas voters thought that Brownback’s tax cuts were harmful to the state, but they re-elected him anyway. “Tax cuts were not popular but Obama was less popular,” Loomis said. The latest deficit numbers were released a few days after the election.

GOP successes in November suggest voters around the country want lower taxes, Loomis said. “Kansas is distinctive but not alone,” he said. “Kansas may be a slightly cautionary tale, with voters saying ‘we don’t want to go that far that quick,’ but everyone is looking at it. We have a potential train wreck here.”

In some states, however, it will be far easier for GOP governors to keep their tax-cut promises.

Arkansas, for example, had a nearly $300 million surplus in the last fiscal year. Democrats would like to spend more money on education, but Hutchinson wants to lower the income tax rate for “middle-class” Arkansans (defined as those earning between $34,000 and $75,000 annually) from 7 percent to 6 percent. Hutchinson wants to take the rate for those making between $20,400 and $34,000 even lower, to 5 percent.

In Oklahoma, where Republican Gov. Mary Fallin was easily re-elected to a second term, most taxpayers will see a cut in their state income taxes in 2016, because revenues have hit a preset target. State Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said the tax will drop to 5 percent, while most agencies will see small cuts in appropriations.

And in Florida, GOP Gov. Rick Scott’s pledge to cut taxes and fees got easier when state economists said in December that the budget has a surplus of $958 million. Scott narrowly won re-election in November. “I look forward to working with the Legislature to cut taxes by $1 billion over the next two years and increase K-12 per-pupil funding to the highest level in our state’s history this coming year,” Scott said in a statement.

On Jan. 12, he set that figure at $7,176 per student in 2015-16, the highest amount ever.

Photo: Secretary Arne Duncan meets with Governor Sam Brownback at the Capitol Building in Topeka, Kansas. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)