Give peace a chance: 2018 Peace Fair & Music Festival

Tucson’s Annual Peace Fair & Music Festival is now in its 34th year. Tentative schedule of performances:

And here’s a tentative 2018 Peace Fair Music Line-Up:
11am — One Heartbeat
Noon — Tucson Raging Grannies
12:30 — Vimala
1pm — The Enchanters
2pm — Santa Pachita
3pm — Mark Holdaway & Friends

“This FREE event is Arizona’s largest gathering of Peace, Justice, and Environmental groups. There will be live music, tables, food, entertainment, and children’s activities.”Note the new location- Armory Park downtown, 221 S. 6th Avenue, south of Broadway Blvd.

Register high school students to vote at March for Our Lives and #NeverAgain events

In 2015, Arizona became the 1st state to pass law requiring high-school civics test: The American Civics Act will require students to pass 60 of the 100 questions on the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization civics test. They can first take the test in eighth grade, and can retake it until they pass.

If Arizona really wants to teach its children civics – the obligation of American citizens to actively participate in the democratic political process, at a minimum, through voting  – then an opportunity to put actions before empty platitudes will present itself in the coming weeks.

The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida,  have organized the March for Our Lives and #NeverAgain movement. Several civics events are planned, i.e., the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances:

Students, teachers, and allies will take part in a for 17 minutes at 10am on March 14, 2018. Join us in saying !http://bit.ly/EnoughMarch14.

On March 24 students, teachers and allies will take to the streets of Washington, DC and our communities across the country for March for Our Lives. We will be the last group of students who have to stand up for fallen children due to senseless gun violence. March with us. Sign up at marchforourlives.com.

On April 20th students and teachers will participate in the National School Walkout at 10:00 a.m. Sit outside your schools and peacefully protest. Make some noise. Voice your thoughts. “We are students, we are victims, we are change.” Sign the petition at Change.org National High School Walk-Out for Anti Gun Violence.

My thought was that the Arizona Secretary of State’s office and our 15 County Recorder’s offices, along with voter registration organizations such as the League of Women Voters and many others, could coordinate with Arizona’s school districts to make voter registration tables available at every Arizona high school for seniors participating in these extraordinary events to register to vote. High school civics teachers should see this as a golden opportunity to teach their students about civics.

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Special Counsel files new indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates (Updated)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has filed a new 32-count indictment Read the Special Counsel’s indictment (.pdf) against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates. The Washington Post reports, Special counsel Mueller files new charges in Manafort, Gates case:

The indictment ratchets up pressure on Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates, who were already preparing for a trial that could come later this year on fraud and money laundering charges.

The additional charges had been expected in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution of Manafort and Gates. Manafort joined the Trump campaign in March 2016, and served as the campaign chairman from June to August of that year. Gates also served as a top official on Trump’s campaign [and the transition].

Mueller accused the men of lying on their income tax returns and conspiring to commit bank fraud to get loans. The indictment was filed in federal court in Virginia — a technical requirement because that was where the suspects filed their tax returns.

A court filing indicates that prosecutors initially sought to combine the new charges with the preexisting indictment in federal court in Washington, but Manafort declined to agree, leading to the possibility of two separate trials in two neighboring jurisdictions.

The new indictment offers a more detailed portrait of what prosecutors say was a multi-year scheme by Manafort and Gates to use their income from working for a Ukrainian political party to buy properties, evade taxes and support a lavish lifestyle even after their business connections in Kiev evaporated.

“Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work. From approximately 2006 through the present, Manafort and Gates engaged in a scheme to hide income from United States authorities, while enjoying the use of the money,” the indictment charges.

From 2006 to 2015, Manafort, with help from Gates, allegedly failed to pay taxes on this money by disguising it as loans from offshore corporate entities, and by using foreign bank accounts to make payments to businesses in the United States on Manafort’s behalf.

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Trump’s damn fool idea to arm teachers is no solution

On Wednesday, President Trump hosted a listening session with school shooting survivors and families of victims at the White House. Rather than announce his support for legislative solutions already pending before Congress for quick action, the answer to unprecedented gun violence in our schools that he has settled upon is, you guessed it, the NRA’s position – even more guns in our schools!— let’s arm 20 percent of our teachers and make them part-time police officers authorized to use deadly force, an extra job that no one has suggested they be paid for!

Today, Trump doubled down on arming some teachers, defends NRA:

President Trump on Thursday doubled down on his idea of arming some teachers as a deterrent for school shootings and praised the top leadership of the National Rifle Association as “Great American Patriots.”

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This is a damn fool idea. The best explanation I have seen, so far, as to why this is so obviously a damn fool idea is from Lawrence O’Donnell in this segment of his The Last Word program on Wednesday evening. Lawrence: Why arming teachers is a fantasy war game (you may have to click on the video’s sound bar to get audio). UPDATE: Trump vowed during the 2016 campaign to end “gun free zones” at schools.

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I cannot explain it any more clearly and succinctly than Lawrence O’Donnell does. Why can’t we have this kind of sound, informed, reasoned and rational analysis from our elected leaders? Instead of ridiculous bumper sticker slogans like “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun“? Because they are beholden to special interests like the gun lobby for their campaign financing.

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8th Annual Rodeo Days at Plaza Palomino

“Mark your calendars! It’s almost time again for the Rodeo Days Arts Celebration! Get ready to put on your cowboy hat and come see some of the region’s best fine art, jewelry, wood work, metal art, pottery, fused glass, leather work and more! Listen to Mariachi Herradura, The BILL GANZ WESTERN Band and the Arizona Dance Hands!! Sip local brew, dine on food from Plaza Palomino restaurants – and also food trucks! Pony rides, the infamous Quick Draw with Former Mayor  Bob Walkup and local notables, and a western costume contest! Silent Auction benefits the Gospel Rescue Mission homeless shelters, and the beer proceeds go to Tucson Association of Museums. Come out and enjoy one of Tucson’s favorite western-themed events! Free and fun for the whole family!”

https://plazapalomino.com/event/rodeo-days-arts-celebration-3/. Organized by my friend Susan French (pictured below with former Tucson Mayor  Walkup)

CD 8 Special Election GOP clown car primary (Updated)

The GOP primary in CD 8 has exposed what a sorry lot of candidates from which Republicans have to choose.

Former state Senator Steve Montenegro, “a true conservative Christian minister running for Congress” (per his website), suddenly has a scandal: Flirtatious texts, topless photo roil Steve Montenegro’s campaign; he blasts ‘false tabloid trash’:

Days before Steve Montenegro decided to run for Congress, a state Senate staffer was trading flirtatious text messages with a cellphone number associated with Montenegro, according to a record of the messages viewed by The Arizona Republic.

During one exchange in November, while Montenegro was on a work trip in Tennessee, the messages discuss how the staffer could have attended the conference as well. The staffer later sent a topless photo of herself to the number.

The response, according to the messages: “You should have come.”

The texts suggest a close, consensual relationship, albeit between an ambitious elected official and someone in an entry-level legislative job.

Montenegro’s campaign has declined since last week to comment in response to Republic inquiries about the messages. He has skipped campaign events in recent days.

In a statement released by his campaign after a story about the text messages aired Tuesday on 12 News, Montenegro dismissed the matter as “false tabloid trash” but didn’t address the content of the text conversations.

His campaign didn’t respond when asked to specify what he deemed to be false or distorted.

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