Friday, April 8, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen, I Give You Today's Republican Party: Part 3

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 4:00 PM

Question: What do these statements have in common?
“There had never been an attack on 9/11 either, like that occurred either, before on our shore,” [Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista] said. “But it did.”

“The quality of handwriting and the quality of the written text can be detected and seen on MRI imaging,” said Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson.

“What is indisputable is that many people believe it’s happening,” [Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler] said. “You can’t really argue with that. And I think that matters.”
• All of them came from Arizona Republican legislators this year. 
• All of them were made to justify a bill or a ruling.
• All of them follow the Republican rule, "When you don't have a good, defensible reason for something you want to do, make shit up."

The most recent statement, at the top, is House Speaker Gowan's attempt to explain his jaw-dropping, third-world-dictator-style ruling that all reporters must submit to extensive background checks if they want to be on the floor of the House of Representatives — you know, the place where they do their jobs by talking with representatives about pending issues. Arizona has a 34 year history of reporters with floor privileges without an incident, but Gowan says it's not safe to have reporters rubbing elbows with legislators unless their backgrounds have been thoroughly checked, because, 9/11. This at the same time he's been outed for letting legislators carry guns onto the House floor.

The reason for the ruling is obvious to every reporter who has written about it. Gowan is pissed at Hank Stephenson of the Capitol Times  who dug through the records of Gowan's travel expenses and found the Speaker was charging the state for travel that wasn't part of his duties. Gowan had to refund $12,000 and is having his expenses investigated. Ouch! Now, it happens Stephenson has a trespassing conviction on his record, which means he would be barred from the floor under the new rules. But he can't admit it's revenge on Stephenson and a warning to the rest of the reporters, "Watch out what you write, we know where you make your living." So he said "9/11," which explains everything nothing.

A few weeks ago, Republicans wanted to make teaching cursive mandatory in Arizona's public school. The real reason was something like, "If I had to walk ten miles to school each way while writing cursive in the snow with a stick, by God, today's children can learn to write cursive too!" But since that sounds stupid, instead, Rep. Barton said something about cursive stimulating the brain and MRI imaging, even though the ASU prof whose study she was referring to said she got it totally wrong.

And back in January, Rep. J.D. Mesnard wanted to defend a bill making it a felony to collect mail-in ballots and turn them in. He couldn't say the real reason, which was, "Those damn Democrats have more feet on the ground to do this kind of work than we do, and all we have is tons of dark money, a majority in the legislature and a Republican governor, so we have to make sure Democrats don't take unfair advantage of us by making it easier for Democrats to vote." He would have loved to justify the bill by saying we've caught people committing voter fraud, but we haven't. So he said, even though voter fraud may not be happening, people think it's happening, and that matters because Republicans have worked so hard to convince people that voter fraud exists, that should count for something. (Republicans also talked about the scenario where evil ballot gatherers were steaming the ballots open in a microwave, then throwing away the Republican ballots, resealing the Democratic ballots and turning them in. I'm not sure what bar they were in when they cooked that one up, but the microwave steaming method doesn't work. Check out this video from the Arizona Capitol Times.)

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