Money Talks. And Democracy Walks. Arizona Style.

MONEY

I don’t know how accurate this is, but it does seem likely to be true.

NBC News is reporting that Governor Brewer will veto the religious freedom bill passed by the legislature this week. According to that same source, the governor does not want to jeopardize Arizona’s economic future.

Three Arizona senators who had voted for the bill re-read it in the light of all that reflected green and asked the governor to veto.

Everyone, it seems, was just confused originally and now they’ve seen the light.

Uh-huh.

It doesn’t matter if this was a good bill or not. It doesn’t even matter what the issue is.

Money talks. And democracy walks.

That’s the real story here.

From NewsMax:

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will veto a controversial bill that would allow business owners to refuse service to gays and lesbians on the grounds of their religious conviction, NBC News is reporting via Twitter.

Brewer has been under intense pressure from business groups and political leaders to diffuse the situation and veto the legislation which they fear will draw unnecessary attention to Arizona a year before it hosts the next Super Bowl and following economic losses on controversial immigration stances.

At the same time, three GOP state senators who initially ratified the measure have written to Brewer, a Republican, asking her to reject Senate Bill 1062, according to The Los Angeles Times. 

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    She needs to face a primary challenge. Throw her out.

    • JohnE_o

      She’s term limited and won’t be running for re-election.

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        Another reason why term limitation is a damned joke. Far from reducing the power of the party apparatus and the moneymen who own them, it mutliplies it. Let me explain: point one, the term-limited politician can still have a lifelong career – two terms as state representative, two terms as mayor of a major town, two terms in Congress, two terms as state governor… it soon mounts up. But in order to have this continuous career, he has to have the benevolence of the party; so, no mavericks and no thinking for yourself. Second, term limitations means that by the second term this character has nothing to lose – like Governor Brewer. The only chance a politician has of being held to account is come election time.

        • SisterCynthia

          You are right about accountability. Obama doesn’t have “anything to lose” now and so his second term is even more brazenly leftist and godless. Had he acted in 2010 as he and his cabinet have acted since 2012′s election results were in, he would have lost to Romney or anyone else the R’s put on the ballot. Some of us saw the writing on the wall and knew what was coming, too many simply don’t engage or THINK thru to logical consequences the character and beliefs of those on the ballot before them (not counting those who couldn’t wait for the gloves to come off, which is a different problem). :-/

      • kenofken

        One of the factors weighing in her decision may be national political ambitions. There have even been rumblings about a presidential run in 2016. That’s probably just rumbling, but who knows? I think almost every governor entertains the idea at some point. I think at the least she’d be open to some cabinet position or judgeship one day. No politician who takes a stridently anti-gay rights position is ever going to be electable, or probably even appointable, on the national level, and Brewer well knows that.

        • FW Ken

          If she’s that cynical, then to heck with her.

          Ken, perhaps we agree that this is an important issue. It’s a matter of values and belief. If she’s for sale to monetary influence or ambition, then she’s not fit for national office. I fervently disagree with Pres. Obama on most issues, but I’ll give him the integrity of his convictions.

          But he’s also an example of why we usually elect former governors. :-)

  • FW Ken

    As discussed in the other threads, it’s a legitimate question whether this bill, as written, should be law. That’s one discussion.

    However, the governor should stand up to the forces trying to bully her. I rather doubt that the companies prancing about will really do much. Bullies tend to wilt and slink away when you call their bluff.

    • kenofken

      The last time they tested the “bullies”, in 2010 over immigration laws, they didn’t slink. They took their money elsewhere and cost the state something like $140 million. Convention bookings dropped 35% the first year. They also didn’t slink in the early 90s when Arizona made a special effort to insult the legacy of Martin Luther King. The potential impact is greater than conventions and tourism. If Arizona passes that law, no Fortune 500 company will ever open a new headquarters or sizable facility of any kind in the state.

      • FW Ken

        Thanks for the info, Ken. It was actually a question. Do you have references? Did conventions booking rebound after the hoopla died down?

        I do think you over state the influence of gay rights advocacy. Companies attend to the bottom line. If social trends affect the bottom line, then they pay attention. The record on gay tantrum behavior is mixed, and the possibility of a backlash is real.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          All of this is beside the point. NO HUMAN BEING SHOULD ALLOW HIS MIND TO BE CHANGED BY THE THREATS OF A CORPORATION. That is kenofken’s argument, and it shows the bankruptcy of his values. Whether or not the threats are real simply does not matter: if a man believes they are real, and gives in to them, that man is a worthless, gutless, born slave. If a man approves of that result, he approves of tyranny. Kenofken has consistently taken this kind of view.

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        In other words, they did as bullies do; And you rejoice in this brutal, naked display of corporate power. Do you even realize how far from talking like a free man you are?

        • kenofken

          What’s slavish about people putting their dollars where their values are? That’s one of the ultimate hallmarks of a free society, the marketplace of ideas. I wouldn’t call you a bully or a slave if you refused to do business with someone who, say, supports Planned Parenthood. I admire anyone who lives consciously enough to base their spending choices around their values, or at least to consider that as a factor.

          • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

            It’s not “people”; no more than a Mafia family is “people”. It’s brute power that silences people. A corporation is not a person, whatever its lawyers may like to say: it is a mindless brute power dedicated to the enrichment of certain privileged persons, and totally not comparable with the hundreds of thousands of citizens who supported the bill. The word of a few swine armed with this nuclear weapon cancel and silence that of the people and of its elected representatives. This is not America, not as we would wish it to be.

            • AnneG

              Fabio, unfortunately, it looks like right now many Americans only respond to monetary issues. I think because Italy has experienced invasions that many Italians are more courageous than the run of the mill, especially of my generation. I am excluding my son’s generation, especially those who have served in the Armed Forces. They know what it is to have to put everything on the line for someone else.

              • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                It depends, I think. A lot of people seem to think that peace and quiet means bowing their heads and believing what they are told. But even among those of my fellow countrymen I don’t like, the impulse seems more towards being a bully than a softie – look at Berlusconi, at Grillo, and now at this dreadful new Prime Minister, Renzi, who has elbowed his way up and stomped on many people as he did. And this may reflect my personality and where I come from, but at least there is more life in a bully than in a coward.

                But yes, we have had to fight for our freedom, again and again. It goes back much further than you imagine: one of the most epic and splendid stories of the struggle of freedom and tyranny was the colossal clash, which involved most of Italy and many foreign powers, between the tyrant of Milan, Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti, and the free republic of Florence, which lasted more than a quarter of a century and had one of the most memorable endings in history – like something out of a legend. AT the climax of a lifetime of intrigue, bullying and violence, as the year 1402 came, Gian Galeazzo had fulfilled all his goals: had gained the submission of a whole ring of towns around Florence and of most of northern Italy, while neutralizing the king of France, the count of Savoy, the Emperor, and the naval powers of Genoa and Venice. His great army began to gather on the mountains overlooking Florence, and the Florentines manned the walls of their city and waited.

                And waited. And waited. Gian Galeazzo had never had to go all out in a war against any enemy; he had always got what he wanted by scheming, bullying, and terror; and now, no longer young as he was, he could not break his habits of a lifetime. He fully expected the Florentines to surrender to him without a fight, as everyone else had. But the Florentines had fought him for twenty-five years, and were ready to resist to the last man. What is more, they did not think he could physically hold together his enormous congeries of small states for long.

                And they were right – even beyond their hopes. The judgment of God came in a few weeks, in the shape of typhus. Gian Galeazzo himself died, as did his wretched soldiers, by the thousands; and before summer had turned to autumn, the power that gripped and terrified Italy and awed all of Europe for decades had vanished like mist in sunlight. And as the golden age of Athens followed the triumphs of Marathon and Salamis, so Florence’s long and triumphant struggle for freedom against Gian Galeazzo Visconti was the immediate and direct cause of the Florentine Renaissance, as the great historian Hans Baron has shown. Freedom goes with achievement, mental and physical; it goes with greatness. Don’t believe what an older and bad historical tradition says, that the Renaissance had something to do with a family called the Medicis; the Medicis only took advantage of it, and eventually betrayed and crushed it. Freedom made greatness, freedom conquered arms in hand and against all odds.

                That is only a small part of our history, but the same lesson may be read again and again. When our ancestors paid in blood to be free of Austrian tyranny, they were following ancent precedent – and they knew it. So, alas, were our grandparents, when. like Florence in the age of the Medicis, they lost their freedom to a bold and unprincipled adventurer; and so had to take it back with rivers of blood. Allow me to say it with some pride: it is not a well known fact that, between September 8, 1943, and May 8, 1945, Italy lost at least one hundred thousand men to the struggle against Nazism, counting only the partisans and the regular soldiers and sailors, and probably twice as many if you count the butchered prisoners in German camps and other non-combatant victims (my father’s uncle was murdered in Dachau). That is easily the equal to US losses in the whole war on all fronts, and means that we can say that we have paid for our freedom – again.

                But t, myself, have learned in my own lifetime, much later, that my country, and freedom, and the rule of law, are things for which good men can and do die, indeed things you don’t have if you are not willing to die for them. I grew up in the seventies and early eighties, in the ghastly age of mafia and terrorism, when every year dozens if not hundreds of good men – brave cops, upright prosecutors, fearless journalists, company managers targeted by terrorists for reasons of their own, or simply good citizens who would not accept the reasons of terror – were butchered in the streets. Every few days, it seems, another coffin draped in red, white and green would be taken to its final place of rest under the eyes of grim-faced authorities and weeping relatives. For a long time there was a sense of despair, as nobody could see an end or a relaxation to this. And yet, God knows how, our poorly-paid and often poorly-educated cops, our ramshackle legal system, and enough citizens and journalists and politicians, kept faith with the Constitution and the laws – till suddenly a corner was turned, terrorists started being arrested by the dozen, their victims were recovered alive rather than being found murdered, and even what had seemed to be the impenetrable wall of Mafia silence was broken, and criminals began to turn state’s evidence (in Italian legal language, “repentants” or pentiti. There was still much to do and much blood to be shed, but in my lifetime I have seen a nightmare that seemed fated to rule us all for ever, broken, defeated and dispelled by ordinary men and women, not remarkable either by genius or resources, who simply would not give up on the laws of a free country.

                It often happens on the streets of an Italian town: you see a slab of plain white marble, with a few fading sprays of laurel and oak, and the inscription: “Here fell [policeman/carabiniere/prosecutor. or just plain citizen] so-and-so, a victim of terrorist/criminal violence, in the defence of the laws.” Or something like that. I don’t know that everyone notices them; to young people, born in the nineties or after, they are no doubt like a faded old song, barely remembered or noticed. But to me, they say: “Don’t ever break faith with what better men than you have died to defend.”

                • AnneG

                  Thanks, Fabio, I know Italians take these things seriously. I remember seeing them take Aldo Moro’s body out of the trunk after he was killed by the Red Brigade. I saw Italy’s response from strength, not appeasement. I guess we may not have learned the lesson, yet, a product of our prosperity. Americans gave a lot and lost almost 500,000 in all theaters in WWII but some have forgotten what freedom requires and what it is. It really is not being able to do whatever you want.

  • kenofken

    As an elected official, Brewer’s job is to use her best judgment on behalf of all of her state’s residents, not to rubber stamp whatever fool thing comes out of the legislature. A big part of her platform from day one has been fiscal responsibility. Business people, who live and die by consumer sentiment and who understand the deep realities of our economy, are telling her point blank “don’t do this, it will cost your state hundreds of millions of dollars and damage a key sector of your economy for years to come.”

    This isn’t idle bloviation from some gay activist. It’s the real deal. It’s also a warning from companies like Apple and American Airlines and perhaps the NFL that they’re not going to take the financial hit from consumer blowback over this “right to discriminate” bill. They might like Arizona, but their mandate is to their shareholders, not losing populists causes, and if push comes to shove with boycotts and toxic PR, they’re not going to be the ones holding the bag. They’ll bail.

    The money Arizona stands to lose is not just in CEO’s bonus packages. It’s money and jobs that sustain thousands of regular Arizonans whose livelihoods depend on the tourism and convention business – the shuttle bus drivers and hotel workers and travel agencies and restaurants and caterers and tour operators. Thousands of workers permanently out of the workforce or perhaps limping along on lower pay subsistence retail or swamping the state’s already hard-pressed social service sector.

    What would she get for this economic devastation? An unconstitutional law that would be cut up and sold for scrap by the first federal court to hear it.

    • hamiltonr

      I doubt very much that it had anything to do with any of this. I’ve seen these discussions and I can tell you it was more likely along the lines of “I paid for you. I own you. Now do what you’re told.”

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      And I for one, will never buy from Apple again in my life (actually, that’s a continuing personal boycott since the mid 1980s, and I doubt very much anybody will notice).

      And I’ve never liked the NFL, and like them even less now that I know that the flamboyant behavior on the field isn’t just play acting and that as I suspected all along, jocks are gay.

      American Airlines, once again my personal boycott won’t matter. I haven’t flown in 14 years and have no plans to ever take a plane anywhere again in my life.

      So those companies, like Homo Depot, have permanently lost my business. Good riddance.

      • Sus_1

        This comment is really disgusting.

        I’m disheartened with the direction this blog and comments have gone the past couple of weeks.

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          Because they go against your wishes to make that which simply is not mathematically normal and cannot be accepted as reasonable, normal?

          Or because you’re beginning to see your issues through my eyes- as a violent destruction of society and trust?

          • Sus_1

            Neither. In my opinion, saying “jocks are gay” and calling a store “Homo” is why some gay activists can say Catholics are bigoted, hateful, not Christ like and downright mean.

            It reminds me of high school when boys would walk down the hall and slam a kid into the wall and yell “Faggot” because the kid was different.

            • hamiltonr

              Did somebody say that? Ted? I shouldn’t have allowed it. Sorry.

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              In other words, you want what is mathematically never going to be normal, to be considered normal by people like me.

              How are you any different than those high school boys who *DID* slam me into walls and lockers calling me “Faggot”- and who beat me up in college yelling that because they knew that the District Attorney wouldn’t press charges if they did?

              Heterosexuality is dead! Long Live the Homosexual Revolution! Is that better? Or do you want to castrate me as well?

              ——————————-
              Replying to a message still in moderation. My experience with this in high school has convinced me that most homosexuals who are bullied by the jocks, sometimes even homosexually raped by the jocks, are in fact heterosexuals- but once that label is applied, it is incredibly hard to shake, especially in a world that claims “homosexuals are just born that way”; I can’t think of a worse false rumor to spread about somebody.

              I’m against gay bashing, but I’m against the hetero bashing that took place over the last week as well.

              The Culture War has been ugly, and as usual, the real casualty was Christ himself.

              • hamiltonr

                Ted, I know you have strong emotions. I am also at least be a little bit aware of what you have suffered and suffer. I am very supportive of you as a person Ted. But please, don’t be so harsh in what you say about homosexual people. We can talk about the issues and be strong on them without that.

                • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                  I wish we could- but that poll you just posted that I first saw elsewhere has proven to me that the United States of America is now poisonously heterophobic beyond any civil behavior.

              • radiofreerome

                I got presumed gay in Catholic high school because I befriended and protected a kid in your situation. Because of that I was treated exactly the same way by students and faculty. I’ve never regretted taking up for him even if it made my life hell. I wouldn’t have regretted taking up for you either.

        • Spectrall

          Well, it’s Ted. That’s pretty much what you should expect. The last sputtering gasps of this particular variety of hatred are going to be loud and obnoxious.

          • hamiltonr

            I assuming that you are not talking about Ted or anyone else in this combox when you use words this, right?

          • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

            Because bpycotts and public attacks are not hate when you and your likes practise them, eh? As for your pitiful notion that history is with you, there is not one historical loser who did not feel the same.

            • hamiltonr

              Let’s get away from finger pointing at other commenters Fabio.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      And a very dignified and courageous statement, I’m sure. Time was when liberals were supposed to resist corporate interference with politics, not to grovel before it.

    • oregon nurse

      Funny how you positively glow in admiration and defense of this display of corporate power. Let the RCC with all it’s citizen members attempt to exert a similar power and your ‘bloviating’ against it would stun in it’s hypocrisy. As Fabio said, you are a slave. We all are. I’d just rather be a slave for God than Apple, Inc.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    As it has always been. Government is the puppet of Big Money in the end, and is in fact a manifestation of Big Money.

    • Ironic77

      Here’s the real question. Does it matter? If DOMA was thrown out, and if state constitutions are being tossed by activist judges, would this law be any different? Judicial system seems perfectly happy with letting government be bought and paid for by the highest bidder.
      I used to have aspirations of joining my local city council or even state legislature in hopes of making a better place for my family. Now I can’t help but wonder if it no longer matters. Checks and balances, I get. An activist court and an executive branch that ignores the legislative branch entirely pretty much means the Republic is dead, doesn’t it?

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        That’s an ugly thought that many others have had besides you. And not only about the USA either.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        Yep, the Republic is dead. Government is just a puppet.

  • FW Ken

    Not sure where to put this, but I’m quite in favor of boycotts, which sometimes work and sometimes don’t. Think of the Southern Baptist attempted boycott of Disney over Gay Day. Think of the attempt to boycott Chick fil-A. A boycott is a matter of free people making free choices based on their personal beliefs.

    The problem is that not every cause is actually just. I’m old enough to remember when protesting was the thing. Peter, Paul, and Mary once decried the decrease in activism, although they meant a specific kind of activism that was stuck in the 60s. I doubt they counted the annual March for Life as legitimate protest. Be that as it may, is the actual justice of a cause, and not simply it’s monetary consequences that merit consideration.

  • JohnE_o

    Aaaaand – she vetoes the bill…

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    I wrote this for a Facebook column, but it is just as relevant here:

    If the sentences that caused the bill had any consistent sense, they would mean that no professional person is allowed to refuse a job on grounds of conscience. Let us suppose one of you is a translator, as I am; and let us suppose (which is rather more easy to suppose) that you are emotionally attached to the gay agenda. Let us suppose that I walked in with a long document full of every argument and fact you don’t want to hear, the kind that really would twist your insides with rage – thirty, forty thousand words of denunciation of the gay movement on all sorts of grounds. Days of work on a document you would throw out the window if you had a choice. Let us suppose I demanded a translation, You would not be allowed to refuse it, even on the ground that the anger the document causes you would be a health hazard. Are you willing to sacrifice your own consciences, such as they are, to that extent, merely for a fee? However, we know that you would never be askied to make such a sacrifice, because we know that this set of sentences is only meant to operate in one direction, against one set of opinions, and never against any other. No judge in America would ever enforce the demand that a gay-activist translator should work on a document opposing their views; they would be likelier to find an excuse to chuck the document’s writer in jail. So you are both enemies of freedom of conscience and hypocrites.

  • Dale

    Economic pressure is often used to force governments to change policy. Think of the Montgomery Bus Boycott or the disinvestment campaign against apartheid in South Africa. Heck, even the US government uses economic sanctions to pressure foreign governments to change their ways.

    I don’t think such tactics are a bad thing.

    • hamiltonr

      The Montgomery Bus Boycott and this long list of corporations using their muscle to control government seem the same to you Dale? Are you serious?

      • Dale

        Rebecca, the three examples I mentioned were meant to illustrate why using economic pressure to change government policy is not inherently a bad thing.

        Clearly, the Montgomery bus boycott is not directly comparable to the pressure put on Gov. Brewer. In Montgomery, the pressure was exerted by persons directly affected by the government policy. That was not the case with Arizona.

        However. the disinvestment campaign against apartheid in South Africa does seem similar to the Arizona situation. A long list of companies, based outside of south Africa and not oppressed by apartheid, curtailed operations in that country. This economic pressure was am important part of overturning that government policy.

        The third example I used is similar to the the disinvestment campaign, but not voluntarily chosen by the companies. US restrictions on trade with Iran, to pressure change on its nuclear program would be an example

        I an sorry that I was not more clear in my earlier post. The point I was trying to make is that economic pressure is not, in and of itself, not an unjust tactic.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      Of course you don’t. Since you postulate that the revolt of oppressed citizens in Montgomery is exactly comparable to some corporate moron getting on the phone to inform a Governor that if she doesn’t kill a democratically approved bill, double quick, she would have a lot more time to spend with her family – or, heaven help us, to the USA playing their sorry imperial games across the planet with taxpayers’ money – it is clear that the similarity of wholly dissimilar things is an open book to you. You would not see any difference between the men of Lexington gathering in arms to resist the British and the men of Al Capone spreading across the city to demand protection money from helpless citizens betrayed by their elected representatives. And clearly there is no difference between “omerta” and patriotism, since both are systems of loyalty to the death – never mind to what. Remove the morality, the context, and the purpose, and everything looks like everything else.

      • Dale

        Fabio, of the three examples I gave, none of them involved illegal activities. What you termed “the revolt in Montgomery” was simply community-wide refusal to ride the city buses, choosing instead to walk (or if possible, carpool).

        I am not sure why you bring up organized crime or organized revolution. Neither of those things have anything to do with my examples, or with the economic pressure on the Arizona government.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          The point is that I have no doubt that you would make no difference between any such things in such circumstances. The point which you absolutely refuse to answer is: Remove the morality, the context, and the purpose, and everything looks like everything else. You insist on arguing as though morality did not exist, and everything else was reduced to a question of whether the current, written statute law allows it. And how on God’s green Earth can you possibly be reading this blog and not be aware of what Rebecca, an experienced lawmaker, has said repeatedly, eloquently and circumstantially – that current statute law is largely written by the corporations, for the corporations, and of the corporations? If you decide the parameters, of course you win the game.

          • Dale

            Fabio, you seem to be a believer in situational ethics, that what is right depends upon the situation and that what is right varies from situation to situation. My position is against such relativism.

            The tactic of using economic pressure is legitimate. it is also morally neutral. You can disagree with the goal of the tactic in this particular case, but that alone does not make the tactic immoral when its use is legitimate in other situations.

            As far as corporations writing laws, I do not doubt that is a common occurrence. Lobbyists wield a great deal of influence, and that extends to the participation of non-profit organizations as well as for-profit organizations. However, I think the outsized influence of lobbyists in lawmaking is a separate issue and largely out of the public eye.

            • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

              That’s a clever answer. Of course, situational ethics could not possibly be further from the position of anyone who claims that right and wrong are absolutes and who charges you with removing them from the picture. Very clever, but since I know that it is the exact opposite of what I want and believe, completely useless as a debating tactic. I know you are saying the wrong thing about me. But maybe you calculate that others will not be quite so clear.

              • Dale

                Fabio, it was an honest answer. I am far too dundering to be clever

                If absolute standards of ethical and moral behavior exist, as we both believe, then I don’t see how we can condemn the tactic of economic pressure to change policy. Here is a comparison. a pry bar can be used by a construction worker to remove metal from a piece of wood. The pry bar can also be used by a burglar to open windows in order to steal. The pry bar, like the tactic of economic pressure, is morally neutral.

                The goal should not be conflated with the means to achieve it. Earlier, I agave three legitimate uses of economic pressure to change policy. The point I have been trying to make is that the tactic of economic pressure is morally acceptable, even if you think its goal (defeating SB 1062) was not morally acceptable.


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