The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: kari lake

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

Prominent Republicans Endorsing Democrats Over 'Extremist' GOP Candidates

A growing number of prominent Republicans across the country are ditching their party's nominees in the midterm elections in favor of Democratic candidates, and many others are withholding endorsements, citing the need to fight back against "dangerous extremism." The endorsements come as the midterm election season heads into the home stretch.

More than half of voters in the United States, or 60 percent, will have a candidate on their ballot who either falsely denies the results of the 2020 presidential election or who won't say President Joe Biden was legitimately elected, according to FiveThirtyEight.

"If a Republican thinks the 2020 election was stolen despite multiple investigations finding no evidence of widespread voter fraud, they might not accept the results of the 2024 election, either," writes Nathaniel Rakich, a senior elections analyst at FiveThirtyEight. "And if they're elected this November, they will be in a position to influence, and potentially overturn, the next presidential election."

On Sunday, a Republican state senator in Texas endorsed Democrat Mike Collier for lieutenant governor over incumbent Republican Dan Patrick.

"Dan Patrick is an extremist," state Sen. Kel Seliger said in an appearance on Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA's "Inside Texas Politics." Seliger joined Republican Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley in endorsing Collier over Patrick.

Patrick is a promoter of election conspiracy theories who has pushed former President Donald Trump's voter fraud lies and has made offensive comments in the past.

In March 2020, as the coronavirus began to spread across the country, Patrick pushed against shutdowns for safety's sake and said of older Americans who were considered more vulnerable to the virus: "We'll take care of ourselves. But don't sacrifice the country." Patrick has also railed against academic freedom and teaching about the history of race in the United States. He's said he wants to ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest, but supports an exception if the life of the pregnant person is at risk, and falsely said such situations are "rare."

In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Monday that 150 Republicans, including former lawmakers, business leaders, and staffers to previous Republican governors in Michigan, are endorsing her for reelection over her opponent, Republican Tudor Dixon.

Former Rep. Joe Schwarz, one of the Michigan Republicans who endorsed Whitmer, said in a news release that Whitmer "has proven herself as a strong leader who is fighting to make Michigan a better place for everyone – regardless of your party affiliation."

In Pennsylvania, more than a dozen Republicans have endorsed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro over Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, citing Mastriano's "extremism." In July, nine Republicans backed Shapiro, calling Mastriano and his far-right views "dangerous" and "divisive," and another seven Republicans endorsed Shapiro's bid on August 30.

"I just don't think he [Mastriano] really respects our electoral system and he's even suggested he might appoint some people to be Secretary of State who, in my view, might not be fair in administering elections in this state," former U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent said in July.

Like Patrick, Mastriano is an election denier and promoter of conspiracy theories. He was present at the Jan. 6 insurrection by supporters of Trump at the U.S. Capitol and even chartered buses that were used by Trump supporters to travel to the rally preceding the riot. He's being investigated for his involvement in a plot to overturn the 2020 election results by sending a false slate of Republican electors to the Capitol. If elected, he'd have the power to appoint as secretary of state an election denier who could overturn the election results. He has also promised to illegally force every voter to reregister to vote.

"Although I am a long-standing Republican, I am deeply troubled by Doug Mastriano's embrace of dangerous extremism," former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said in a news release. "Josh Shapiro, on the other hand, is a staunch defender of our democratic institutions and will lead Pennsylvania with honor and integrity. I am proud to support his campaign for Governor."

Other Republicans have refused to endorse their own party's nominees in the November midterms, though they haven't backed the Democratic nominee either.

In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan refused to back the GOP nominee for governor, Dan Cox. Hogan said Cox, who also arranged buses to Washington on January 6, 2021, is a "nut" and a "QAnon whack job" who is not "mentally stable."

In Massachusetts, retiring GOP Gov. Charlie Baker refused to endorse Republican nominee Geoff Diehl, another election denier who has also pushed COVID-19 conspiracy theories.

In Arizona, Meghan McCain, the television personality and daughter of the late Sen. John McCain, slammed GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake for being too extreme. Lake has made election denialism a cornerstone of her campaign, and has vowed to jail her Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, for her role in administering the 2020 election.

"Congratulations to my home state for [fully] making the transition to full blown MAGA/conspiracy theory/fraudster," McCain tweeted after Lake's primary win in August. "The voters have spoken - be careful what you wish for…"

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Arizona GOP Nominee Endorses Anti-Semitic State Senate Candidate

According to comments posted to social media by Jarrin Jackson, a Republican running for a seat in the Oklahoma state Senate who has gained notoriety for his antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ comments, his campaign has been endorsed by Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake.

In a series of tweets on August 17, Jackson claimed that Lake had said, "We need fighters in EVERY state that's why I'm proud to endorse Jarrin Jackson for Oklahoma state senate! Jarrin is an America First patriot and does so much to advance our America First movement. RINOs & the Soros media attack him relentlessly because he's over the target. Jarrin is a winner and a fighter we need in the state senate!"

Lake herself had not shared any endorsement of Jackson herself as of Friday afternoon. Her campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Lake had endorsed Jackson.

Jackson, whose Twitter profile calls him a "Christian, family man & Army combat vet. Biz owner," has made repeated bigoted comments about Jews and LGBTQ people.

In a post to the social media site Telegram that was highlighted by the media watchdog organization Media Matters for American, Jackson wrote, "The answer to Zionism or any other -ism is the gospel of Jesus Christ. His death, burial, & resurrection for the salvation of sin. I'm not beholden to Jews or any other group. People need to repent & believe the gospel. Hell is gonna be hot."

He wrote in criticizing a so-called documentary on "enemies" within the Baptist Church, "Outline & detail the evil. Amen. The Jews. Illuminati. Covid shots kill. Rothschilds. Communists. Woke pastors. Social gospel. Christ will chuck a bunch of stuff in the fire."

In addition to the antisemitism of references to conspiracy-theorist favorites such as the Jewish Rothschild banking family, Jackson has also repeatedly condemned and insulted the LGBTQ community. The Washington, D.C., Metro Weekly reported in June on comments Jackson made in a video highlighted by Right Wing Watch. Jackson said:

Pride Month is in full swing. I think it would be deliciously ironic and eternally entertaining if God comes back today, gets us up out of here, and then burns the whole place down. It would be amazing, not only because it would be just and righteous and deserving, but because everybody who celebrates this godlessness — which is very few, by the way — most people are doing it because they are coerced. They are compelled.

He added:

People find it disgusting, especially straight dudes. … Whenever they see other dudes kissing. It is gross. Being gay is gay. It is the most disgusting, despicable, stupid thing ever. Insert barf emoji. And yet, we're supposed to celebrate this? We're supposed to think it is normal? It ain't normal! ... These godless commies, these homosexual gay fornicating godless commies, are trying to foist upon everybody else that which is disgusting and dangerous and eternally damnable.

Jackson also repeats a blend of Christian nationalist viewpoints, racist conspiracy theories claiming white people are being targeted, and anti-immigrant sentiment in such rants as one noted by Media Matters in July:

It's not nativism. It's common sense. But the real issue at the core here is that — I can't believe no one else sees this. They want to get rid of white people because of their Christianity. ... What I'm saying is that if you had a culture that focused on the gospel, you wouldn't have mass migration. ... My whole point for this: Zionism, Jews taking over the world, the Rothschilds, the Kalergi Plan, the white replacement theology or white replacement theory. I largely agree that all of those things are happening. But if I believe that their premises are true, that white people are better than other people, that we have to elevate to protect and we have to bend public policy to make sure that America stays white, we are losing what the entire premise of America is, that because God exists, he has an order. ... Yeah, I guess the problem isn't the fact that I'm white and these guys aren't white and I don't want them here. It's the fact that, well, I don't want my culture changing, but I'm not willing to actually sacrifice to fight for my culture. What I want is I want someone who's going to elect to go to office to make sure that the borders are closed so no one comes in. It's like a nation of liars will be well-represented. Why do we have Congress full of corrupt godless commies?

Jackson highlights endorsements on his campaign website from other far-right Arizona Republicans as well: Secretary of state nominee Mark Finchem and state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who is seeking reelection.

Jackson will participate in a primary runoff for the Oklahoma state Senate seat on Aug. 23.

Lake, who won the primary to run as the Republican nominee for governor with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump in early August, has centered her bid around the false conspiracy theory that Trump won the 2020 presidential election. Lake has vowed to imprison those involved in the administration of that election, including her Democratic opponent in the gubernatorial race, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

FiveThirtyEight's polling average shows Hobbs with a 3.8-point lead over Lake.

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

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Arizona GOP Candidate Kari Lake Campaigns On QAnon Show

Days before the state’s August 2 primary, Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake appeared on a QAnon show where she asked viewers to donate to her campaign and vote for her. The hosts also endorsed her; invoked the QAnon conspiracy theory’s central figure and mentioned other QAnon figures; and seemingly bragged that her interview showed the influence of the “anons.”

On July 29, Lake, a frontrunner in the primary, appeared on the MatrixxxGrooove Show (or MG Show), which is co-hosted by QAnon influencer Jeffrey Pedersen. (Pedersen is known online as “intheMatrixxx” and Lake has previously been photographed with him.) During the interview, Pedersen asked viewers to donate “$17, $20, $50, you know, to help her get to the final stretch, maybe get some TV ads out there”; 17 is a reference to “Q,” the conspiracy theory’s central figure, being the 17th letter of the alphabet. He also urged Lake to use one of his followers who has “such a beautiful voice” for her campaign events.

Lake also asked viewers to “vote early, if you can, vote on election day,” to donate to her campaign, and to “let your friends and relatives in Arizona know how much is on the line right now.” Pedersen also mentioned other QAnon influencers and a QAnon influencer collective that he is a part of, and he urged viewers to vote for Lake. Lake also said it was “a real pleasure” to meet the show’s co-hosts, and Pedersen said that “MG Show endorses Kari Lake for Arizona governor.”


After the interview, Pedersen praised Lake for coming on, saying, “I’m proud that she came on the show. That really shows me a lot.” He also seemingly suggested it showed the influence of “the anons out in this community.”

Multiple other Arizona political figures have now appeared on MatrixxxGrooove Show, including Dan Schultz, who played a major role in an increase in QAnon supporters becoming Republican precinct committee members.

(To see the full Kari Lake interview on the MG Show, click here.)

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Pence, GOP Leaders Oppose Trump's Choice For Arizona Governor

A growing chorus of Republican current and former elected officials are coming out in the final days of the Arizona gubernatorial primary to try to stop Kari Lake from winning the Republican nomination, worried that her torrent of lies about the 2020 presidential election will make her unpalatable to the general electorate in November.

Former Vice President Mike Pence on Monday became the latest GOP official to endorse Lake's top opponent, Karrin Taylor Robson, saying in a statement released by Taylor Robson's campaign: "As Arizona Democrats pursue the reckless Biden-Harris agenda, Karrin Taylor Robson is the only candidate for governor that will keep Arizona's border secure and streets safe, empower parents and create great schools, and promote conservative values. Karrin is the best choice for Arizona's future, and I am proud to support her."

Lake, Taylor Robson, and a number of other Republican candidates are running for the chance to face likely Democratic nominee and current Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in the fall. Former GOP Arizona U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon dropped out of the governor's race after it became clear he was not going to win and threw his support behind Robson on June 29.

Pence joins current Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in bucking former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Lake in September 2021, citing her commitment to "election integrity."

Lake has made lies about the 2020 election the central focus of her campaign.

"Donald Trump is endorsing us because he knows we refuse to turn a blind eye to this election of 2020. We are not going to sweep this one under the rug," Lake said in November 2021 after Trump endorsed her. "I would love to see people in handcuffs. And I want a long perp walk that we can watch them all walk. We need to lock these people up."

Lake falsely claims Trump won Arizona's Electoral College votes, even though President Joe Biden carried the state. And she says that she not only would have refused to certify Biden's victory, despite the fact that he won by roughly 11,000 votes in the state, but she would also decertify Biden's victory after the fact.

During a primary debate on June 19, Lake asked her fellow candidates to raise their hands if they agreed with her that "we had a corrupt stolen election." Scott Neely and Paola Tulliani Zen immediately did so; Taylor Robson did not. Robson responded to Lake by saying, "I believe our election was absolutely not fair." She blamed "liberal judges," "liberal media, "Big Tech," and Mark Zuckerberg for creating the conditions for "78 percent of Arizona Republicans thinking something was wrong with the election. But I am focused on 2022 because the left is 10 steps ahead of us and I don't have the time to explain what they're doing."

After the debate, Lake tweeted, "'Would you agree that we had a corrupt, stolen election? Raise your hand' Only one #AZGOV Candidate REFUSED to raise her hand: Karrin Taylor Robson. Disqualifying."

Ducey, who certified Biden's win over the objections of the Trump campaign, said Lake's election lies are a liability.

"Kari Lake is misleading voters with no evidence. She's been tagged by her opponents with a nickname, Fake Lake, which seems to be sticking and actually doing some damage," Ducey said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

"It really is so sad to see @GOP Governor @DougDucey join the Propagandists at @CNN to blast Trump AND the Trump-Endorsed Republican candidate," Lake tweeted after Ducey's appearance on CNN. "I just can't figure out why he doesn't support our America First Movement."

A poll of likely Republican voters in Arizona conducted by OH Predictive Insights between June 30 and July 2, 2022 found Lake leading Robson 40%-35%, with 21% remaining undecided ahead of the Aug. 2 primary.

Early voting began in Arizona on July 6.

That day, Trump reiterated his support for Lake, saying in a statement, "With Kari, you'll have Election Integrity, Strong Borders, Safe Streets, and all of the other things you've wanted for so long. Vote for Kari Lake. She has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

On Friday, Trump and Pence will hold competing rallies for their respective picks for governor.

While it's so far unclear how much the endorsement battle will impact the primary vote, Pence's stock among Republicans has fallen considerably, with just 6% of GOP voters responding to a New York Times/Siena College poll conducted July 5-7 that they would vote for Pence if he ran for president in 2024.

Trump meanwhile remains widely popular among Arizona Republicans, with 81% having a favorable opinion of the former president, according to the OH Predictive Insights poll.

Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the Arizona gubernatorial general election a toss-up.

FiveThirtyEight's aggregate of polls currently shows Hobbs with a lead against both Robson and Lake. The lead is larger over Lake.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.