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The Federal Government Paid Media Outlets to Promote the Covid Vaccine

By Rav Arora

After releasing my three-part series earlier this year showing how multiple media outlets refused to platform dissent on the Covid vaccine, I was asked on multiple podcasts why this was the case. Ideological groupthink, fear of exacerbating institutional distrust, and financial motives were on my list of potential explanations, but I did not have concrete evidence.

As I highlighted in my first piece, the responses I got from editors claiming their publication’s “pro-vaccine” allegiance were quite jarring. More than anything else, a publication should be “pro-truth” — whether that means highlighting the astounding benefits of a therapeutic or exposing its serious side effects. The idea that a whole media corporation would take a firm stance on a novel, experimental product is antithetical to the core purpose of journalism.

As I’ve said many times before, we are a pro-vaccination newspaper, and personally I just wish everyone would get vaccinated already.

Editor response to Rav Arora’s story proposals on vaccine risks

As it turns out, mainstream media’s nearly monolithic coverage of mRNA vaccines and other Covid measures can be at least partially explained by a clear financial interest. Recently, independent journalist Breanna Morello — who left Fox News because of draconian vaccine mandates in New York City — alerted me to a FOIA request filed by the conservative media company TheBlaze, which found a number of major media outlets were paid to promote the Covid vaccine.

Such venues included the Washington PostLos Angeles Times, NBC, CNN, Fox News, and several others. TheBlaze’s report received little coverage — even in conservative media (perhaps because some of those outlets were also paid by HHS) ideologically predisposed to criticize government-fuelled narratives on the pandemic. As The Blaze reports:

Hundreds of news organizations were paid by the federal government to advertise for the vaccines as part of a “comprehensive media campaign,” according to documents TheBlaze obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services. The Biden administration purchased ads on TV, radio, in print, and on social media to build vaccine confidence, timing this effort with the increasing availability of the vaccines.

During the vaccine rollout, the Biden administration made a number of efforts to bolster vaccination rates. The US Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 Public Education Campaign states they employed “both paid advertising and media interviews, presentations, radio/TV tours, and other public events to educate people about the importance of vaccination.”

The L.A Times – an outlet funded by HHS to promote Covid vaccines – runs a morally reprehensible column justifying mockery of ‘anti-vaxxer’ deaths.

The HHS website contains public access to all vaccine campaign advertisements for media outlets and beyond. One past advertisement promotes Covid vaccination in children, featuring a montage of selected medical doctors stating in unison,

We can all agree on this: you can trust the Covid vaccine for yourself, or your kids, or your grandkids….I mean it from the heart.

In another ad directed to parents, HHS’ selection of doctors state,

We want you to know, Covid vaccines are ‘safe and effective’.’ My grandkids are vaccinated…what’s not safe is getting Covid.

Is it ethical for the government to dubiously claim Covid vaccines are uniformly beneficial for kids, and contracting Covid is far less “safe” than getting your child double-vaccinated? No such randomized clinical evidence exists suggesting the benefits of the Covid vaccine outweigh the harms in young cohorts with a nearly zero risk of serious outcomes. The concentrated risk of myocarditis in boys and menstrual irregularities in girls suggest the Covid vaccine may be harmful on net. Moreover, is it ethical (for either party) for the federal government to advertise such medical misinformation on platforms allegedly committed to investigating the truth and holding the powerful accountable?

HHS advertisement on the updated Covid booster

A new government ad on the HHS website now promotes the updated Covid vaccine. It falsely claims the new booster shot prevents long Covid and hospitalization when the only available evidence from Pfizer and Moderna are rat studies and a 50-person trial (with an unexplained 2% rate of serious adverse events).

Rather than critically covering such propagandistic attempts to promote a longitudinally ineffective therapeutic with a 1 in 800 serious adverse event rate, major media outlets allowed the federal government to freely spread its misinformation on their platform. The New York Times’ reporting on vaccine-induced myocarditis, for example, downplayed the side effect at every sight and compared it to misleadingly higher rates of Covid-induced myocarditis:

For over two years, the media and government officials have been peddling dangerous misinformation — the very sin they accuse the conspiracy web of committing — about COVID-19 posing a higher risk to young people than the vaccine. Instead of examining age, gender, and health-stratified risk-benefit ratios, they elementarily look at aggregate data and cherry-pick seemingly beneficial outcomes to justify their “Everyone should get vaccinated!” campaign. A few of umpteen examples:

CNBC: “Myocarditis risk higher after Covid infection than Pfizer or Moderna vaccination, CDC finds

Reuters: “Higher risk of heart complications from COVID-19 than vaccines -study”

CNN: “Pediatric cardiologists explain myocarditis and why your teen should still get a Covid-19 vaccine

The Conversation: “Myocarditis: COVID-19 is a much bigger risk to the heart than vaccination

As an admittedly biased Zoomer, one of the most discrediting media assault campaigns grew in opposition to Joe Rogan’s claim in a June 2021 podcast that healthy 21-year-olds didn’t need the vaccine. Over two years later, Rogan’s judgment has been vindicated — as it was at the time — given the 0.003% mortality risk among 20-year-olds and unusually high rates of myocardial and menstrual-related vaccine adverse events. However, the mainstream media ecosystem conducted a fierce reputational decapitation in response to Rogan’s impermissible dissent from the CDC and Pfizer’s edicts:

The Washington PostJoe Rogan is using his wildly popular podcast to question vaccines. Experts are fighting back.

The AtlanticJoe Rogan’s Show May Be Dumb. But Is It Actually Deadly?

Today: Dr. Fauci says Joe Rogan ‘incorrect’ to tell young people not to get vaccinated

NBC: Joe Rogan’s Covid vaccine misinfo matters

The United States wasn’t alone in spending large sums of taxpayer dollars to promote its agenda. The Trudeau government invested over $600,000 in hiring social media influencers to advance federal directives, including the push for Canadians to get vaccinated and boosted.

As CTV reports, Health Canada spent the most on hiring influencers to promote government information; $130,600 was spent towards an “influencer campaign in support of the COVID-19 vaccination marketing and advertising campaign.”

None of this is to mention Pfizer’s vaccine campaigns paying celebrities to rhapsodize about marvellously ‘safe and effective’ mRNA inoculation. Travis Kelce — a professional football player watched and revered by many young American men in particular — promoted getting the updated booster shot and flu vaccine in the same visit.

The journalists I grew up admiring — such as Megyn Kelly, Glenn Greenwald, Alex Berenson (Unreported Truths), and Matt Taibbi (Racket News) — were known for challenging consensus and providing novel perspectives on complex sociopolitical topics. I relied on select journalistic outlets and individual commentators for an honest, independent evaluation of the facts.

The heavily biased coverage of race relations and criminal justice issues in 2020 following the tragic death of George Floyd was self-discrediting but hardly surprising given the dominance of identity politics in elite liberal discourse.

The deterioration of journalistic standards during the vaccine rollout beginning in 2021, however, was particularly disorienting. The Washington Post, NBC, and the New York Times should have held the Biden administration’s feet to the fire for promoting experimental vaccines in all Americans irrespective of risk and continued revelations regarding concerning side effects.

They miserably failed to do so.

The last standing bulwark against government propaganda and censorship is crumbling before our eyes, losing relevance by the month. Perhaps a solution for media institutions to earn back credibility is to critically cover federal agencies misinforming the public rather than take funds to promote their agendas.

Just a thought.


This article was published by the Brownstone Institute and is reproduced with permission.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

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Israeli Forces Find Hamas Missiles Under UN Equipment

By Catherine Salgado

Editors’ Note: Whether it be running cover for terrorist organizations, pushing the totalitarian “Green Agenda”, acting as a nest of spies under diplomatic immunity, or inflicting Covid lockdown on the entire world, the UN has become the epicenter for efforts of the International Left to subvert freedom and Western civilization. It used to be an idea somewhat on the fringe to “Get the US out of the UN.” This should no longer be considered a fringe idea, but rather a necessity to maintain peace and order in the world.

In the latest revelation of United Nations (UN) property being used by terrorists to conceal weapons, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced discovery of a cache of Hamas missiles under UNRWA equipment (watch here).

Hamas has stored weapons in UN schools for years—the UN even admitted that back in 2015. At a certain point, especially considering how much the UN promotes Hamas propaganda against Israel, there has to be knowledgeable culpability for the UN. The UN is so anti-Israel that the Israeli ambassador there put on a yellow star during his speech in October.

Not to mention there is evidence that UN schools are training young Palestinians to want to be jihadis. You can watch a video (one of several) of young Palestinian students at a United Nations school who can’t wait to start killing Jews. They said they are taught to hate Jews and support jihad. The point is that it’s unfortunately not surprising that Hamas was stashing missiles under UN equipment.


“[Jerusalem Post, Dec. 2] The IDF on Saturday uncovered dozens of Hamas missiles hidden underneath UNRWA equipment, it announced.

Dozens of missiles with varying capacities, as well as some 30 Grad rockets, were found and confiscated by forces from the 261st Brigade.

The IDF struck over 400 terror targets across the Gaza Strip since the resumption of the war in Gaza, following a seven-day humanitarian truce with terrorist group Hamas…The [215th Artillery] Brigade also raided a mosque used by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group as an operational headquarters.

The terror-infested mosque was later destroyed by Israeli Air Force fighter jets.”

Thank goodness the Israelis are not letting the terrorists’ use of “civilian” buildings stop them from taking out the threat.


Catherine Salgado is an accomplished writer and investigative reporter who publishes daily at her Substack column, Pro Deo et Libertate (For God and Liberty). This superb column provides news and opinion pieces from an honest, common sense perspective in the spheres of culture, politics, liberal arts, and religion. The Prickly Pear is grateful for her permission to reproduce her public writings and recommend that our readers subscribe to Catherine’s superb Substack column. Please consider a paid subscription for full access to all of her excellent and informative writings. 

Image Credit: Shutterstock


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

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Arizona GOP Lawmakers Hint At University Budget Cuts Over Free Speech Concerns

By Cameron Arcand

Editors’ Note: Free speech certainly is a major concern. However, it goes much deeper than that. The Left has established an intellectual monopoly on our campuses that will allow no diversity of viewpoints. Search committees, faculty senates, and departments all work in tandem to deny Conservative scholars from being hired.  Those who do have positions live in a world where they must largely keep quiet and keep their heads down. With about 75% of the population either saying they are Conservative or moderate, this monopoly does not serve the needs of the majority of citizens and must be broken up by lawmakers. Education is too important to leave in the hands of a narrow group of radicals. Recent weeks show how intolerant the Left has become and how easily they join forces with totalitarian movements. Major progress has been made in primary and secondary education to challenge the Progressive Establishment in education through the school choice movement. However, no progress has been made in higher education. Why not school choice at higher levels of education?

Arizona Republican lawmakers are reconsidering appropriations toward public universities in the state, specifically citing free speech concerns at Arizona State University.

The Joint Legislative Ad Hoc Committee on Freedom of Expression at Arizona’s Public Universities started in July after an event in February with Charlie Kirk, Dennis Prager, and Robert Kiyosaki at the T.W. Lewis Center for Personal Development dubbed “Health, Wealth & Happiness.”

Sens. Anthony Kern and Sonny Borrelli, as well as Rep. Quang Nguyen, said they would be reexamining appropriations toward the universities. Kern and Nguyen co-chair the committee.

“I think it is time for this body to really consider future appropriations, and we also need to consider legislation so to hold ABOR’s [Arizona Board of Regents] feet a little closer to the fire,” Nguyen said.

Borrelli echoed a similar sentiment about appropriations.

“I’m open to suggestions on how much we gut from the university system,” Borrelli said.

The lawmakers, including Rep. Austin Smith, R-Wittmann, also criticized the Board of Regents.

“Shame on the entire Board of Regents, Michael Crow for their activity to condemn other conservative students, but not Students for Justice in Palestine,” Smith said. “That’s the state of public higher education.”

“I don’t know their purpose,” he added regarding the decision-making body that oversees the public universities– ASU, Northern Arizona University, and The University of Arizona.

Kern told reporters the hearing that legislation would be introduced in January related to campus free speech, but he did not get into details.

Following the backlash from the event from Barrett, The Honors College faculty, Tom Lewis pulled his funding from the school, and the center was shut down, The Center Square reported at the time.

The committee’s hearing on Monday focused mainly on recent actions from Students for Justice in Palestine, as well as greater concerns about the safety of Jewish students. The Center Square reported that a meeting of the ASU’s Tempe campus student government was disrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters earlier this month, and ASU is investigating.

It also continued to look at the events that led to the controversy surrounding the T.W. Lewis Center talk earlier this year. Lewis was one of the people who testified at Monday’s hearing, along with an attorney representing the university.

Before the hearing, Arizona’s legislative Democrats have decided to no longer participate in the joint committee.

“The last time the Senate and House Democratic Caucuses joined this ‘free speech’ committee on July 18 it unnecessarily lasted five hours with no discernable value to the public. This committee was nothing more than grandstanding with an attempt to further spread misinformation and division,” Senate and House Democrats said in a joint statement.

“We have no intention of dragging this out further: ASU has the responsibility – not only to their students but to the state – to follow proper protocols so all voices can be heard on campus. We know that ASU followed all traditional procedures to accommodate alt-right conservative speakers,” the statement added.

However, one Democratic lawmaker, Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales, tweeted that she did not agree with the press release, but she was not present at the hearing.

“Not all of us agree with this joint PR,” she said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. The Center Square reached out to the senator for comment, but she did not respond in time for publication.


This article was published by Center Square and is reproduced with permission.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

How Can We Stop Serving Students So Poorly? thumbnail

How Can We Stop Serving Students So Poorly?

By Gary M. Galles

In 1942, there were 108,579 public school districts in the United States. By the 2020-21 school year, there were only 13,187.

That massive consolidation of school districts was propelled by the belief that economies of scale created by larger school districts would lower costs and serve students better. Those presumed efficiencies have not, however, been demonstrated in practice. As Stephen Coffin summarized,  “Large urban school districts generally have not been accountable for improving school and student performance…they have been constrained by their overly large scale…The typical large urban school district needs to be right-sized or disaggregated.”

Why has school district consolidation failed to perform as advertised? Because centralized administration creates more adverse incentives that overwhelm any advantages they might have.

One important reason is that teaching is an idiosyncratic art, practiced differently by people with different capabilities and approaches. One such difference is that younger teachers are closer in age to their students, but know fewer relevant illustrations than older teachers, who have often accumulated larger stores of knowledge over time, which faces them with a different issue: determining what works best for a particular class. Further, some seem to be far better storytellers than others.

As with other differences, these imply that there is no single set of teaching guidelines that can be imposed from above by a centralized decision-making authority, and attempting to do so will serve students poorly.

Centralized bureaucratic systems also tend to undermine teachers’ accountability to those for whom it is most important. They make teachers accountable to administrators rather than to students and their parents.

Noting the incentives created by large, centralized school districts, not to mention the many controversies that have arisen in public education helps us understand the increasing support for breaking up some of the largest school districts, which would reduce the “monopoly power” of their school boards. At issue? What is taught and how. Merely breaking larger monopolies into smaller monopolies, however, does not necessarily mean parents and students will end up with any more power over policies.

That inherent difficulty helps explain the growing support for charter schools, which are not subject to the same rules as traditional public schools. But as Thomas Sowell documents in Charter Schools and Their Enemies, even the far superior performance of charter schools in apples-to-apples comparisons may not be enough to withstand the increasing political dangers threatening charter schools under the flag of “reform,” which threatens to undermine “the urgent task of educating young people in the skills that will determine what kind of future they will have available as adults.”

Sowell illustrates both the “remarkable success” of charter schools and the hostility they face at the hands of public school teachers and administrators, their unions, schools of education, and politicians seeking union backing. For all of this, there is one simple explanation: “It is successful charter schools that are the real threat to the traditional unionized public schools.”

With charter schools so heavily opposed by the public school establishment, producing far too few spaces for those who wish to enroll in them, voucher programs may serve parents better. The portability of those resources could powerfully invigorate accountability by letting money move along with students when they leave poor teachers and schools for better ones. When resources don’t accompany students, financial punishment is visited upon more effective schools that must teach more people without more funds to do so. When resources do accompany those students, parents have far greater incentive to be involved, as their ability to redirect resources allows them to benefit from superior academic performance on behalf of their children.

Very large school districts have failed to serve parents and students, but have increased the rewards given to those responsible for that failure. Efforts to break them up have faced resistance, and even when break-ups are achieved, top-down policymaking often undermines the potential payoffs. Efforts to improve things with charter schools have shown some great results, and vouchers are attractive as a means to make educators more responsible to parents than to administrators. But we are still in the early stages of a very long struggle, and there are no quick, easy fixes.

With the powerful opposition every effort at effective educational reform faces, what we need are ways to decisively sever control of schools from the hands of special interests. And that effort faces the wild card of a sharply declining population of school-age students, which can provide yet another excuse to further consolidate educational provision that is already too centralized.  It is a daunting task, but our children’s future justifies facing it head-on.

Dr. Gary Galles is a Professor of Economics at Pepperdine.


This article was published by AIER, American Institute for Economic Research, and is reproduced with permission.

Image Credit: Pixabay


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

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It Is A Civic Duty To Protect Your Community

By Michael Infanzon

Today, I’d like to discuss a subject close to all of our hearts: the right to bear arms. As we all know, this right is enshrined in the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, as well as in Article 2, Section 26 of Arizona’s own Constitution. Both are crucial, but they come from different historical interpretations and serve different functions. Understanding these differences is key to defending our rights.

Let’s begin with the federal level. The Second Amendment reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” For years, scholars and courts have debated whether this safeguards an individual’s right to own firearms or merely protects the state’s right to maintain a militia. But what if I told you that the framers, like Madison and Hamilton, envisioned this not as an individual or collective right, but as a civic duty? Yes, a civic duty—an obligation that you owe to your state and your community to be prepared to defend them if the need arises.

Now, let’s look closer to home, at Arizona’s Constitution. Article 2, Section 26 states, “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired.” The wording here is clear. In Arizona, your right to bear arms for self-defense is unequivocally protected, emphasizing personal liberty and autonomy. 

So, why is understanding these differences important, especially for a group of firearm supporters like us? It’s crucial because these interpretations shape our legal battles and public policies. At the federal level, the Second Amendment’s original intent as a civic duty can provide another line of defense against those pushing for restrictive gun control measures. In Arizona, our state constitution’s clear language on individual rights serves as a bulwark against any encroachments on our freedom to bear arms.

We’re living in a time where the interpretation of the Second Amendment is more contested than ever. Understanding it as a civic duty to the state and community can fortify our argument to preserve this right, not just for us but for future generations. The same applies to Arizona’s Constitution, which is explicit in its protection of individual rights. Together, these two constitutional provisions offer a robust defense against those who seek to limit our rights.

So, I urge you all to continue the fight. Educate yourselves and others about the historical underpinnings of these rights. Engage with your legislators, both federal and state, to safeguard these provisions. The right to bear arms is not just about owning a firearm; it’s about fulfilling our civic duty to our community and state, and it’s about exercising our individual rights to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Thank you for your attention, and let’s keep fighting the good fight.


Michael Infanzon is a political and government policy contributor at The Prickly Pear.

 Michael writes about government policies that affect millions of Americans, from their introduction in the legislature to their implementation and how policies impact our everyday freedoms.

 Michael is the Managing Partner for EPIC Policy Group, located in Phoenix, AZ. EPIC has clients ranging from motorcycle rights organizations, firearms organizations, 2A rights organizations, veterans advocacy, chambers of commerce to agricultural products and personal freedoms among other policy issues.

 You can follow Michael on X/Twitter (@infanzon) and email him at


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

FBI Whistleblower Is Exposing Deep Corruption, Political Bias thumbnail

FBI Whistleblower Is Exposing Deep Corruption, Political Bias

By Catherine Salgado

The U.S. government is preparing to turn its political, technological, and even military might against its own citizens, warned FBI whistleblower Steve Friend.

Steve Friend is a former policeman and FBI agent who exposed FBI abuses around the investigations and prosecution of the Jan. 6 political prisoners. He is the author of “True Blue: My Journey from Beat Cop to FBI Whistleblower.

At a private event in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 29, Friend explained how his dream job became a nightmare when he accidentally discovered the depth of corruption and dishonesty now completely poisoning the FBI and endangering the American people.

Friend first detailed the FBI’s pernicious “quota” system, which incentivizes agents to entrap individuals and create crimes that didn’t exist by requiring agents to pursue a certain number of cases to meet arbitrary statistical goals. This encourages abuses where agents pursue pointless cases or go looking for crimes that aren’t there while ignoring truly dangerous crimes. Friend, for instance, was switched from child sex abuse cases, at a time when child trafficking and exploitation are among the biggest crime epidemics facing America, to Jan. 6 cases. After challenging the use of SWAT teams for Jan. 6 suspects who were not dangerous, Friend ended up being a target of his own agency. He prioritized his oath to the Constitution over “loyalty to the agency,” and paid the price.

Friend also explained how the FBI falsely inflates the alleged political problem of white supremacist, MAGA “domestic terrorism.” Whereas 9/11, with its 3,000 deaths and over a dozen actual terrorists, was treated as just one case by the FBI, now each and every single person who was at or around the Capitol on Jan. 6 is considered a separate case. That standard fits non-criminal citizens from all around the country, allowing the FBI to claim that they are seeing a crisis of “domestic terrorism,” when they simply changed the way they operate to push a political narrative.

According to Friend, the FBI is almost entirely filled now with individuals who are either political zealots or willing to follow orders to keep a job; and the agent training is geared toward worsening the weaponization. That’s the situation in multiple government agencies, he said, and it is infecting the military as well. Not to mention the government agencies like the FBI collude with private entities, such as Big Tech companies. All in all, the government is now gearing up to target every single American who doesn’t comply meekly, completely regardless of Constitutional or legal restrictions.

Individuals who support Donald Trump, are conservative, are religious, and are military veterans now constitute particular targets of FBI surveillance and persecution, Friend stated. Whether you’re political or just living a Judeo-Christian, conservative lifestyle, the FBI is coming after you. The FBI project to spy on traditional Catholics and the FBI surveillance and harassment of parents challenging school boards are two exposed examples of this insane anti-Constitutional campaign.

Nor are ordinary citizens the only targets of the FBI. Friend stated his conviction that Donald Trump will be convicted and jailed, no matter what the evidence is. In his opinion, Americans must focus on the local level to save this country. School boards, mayors, and sheriffs can do a great deal of good—even block federal authoritarian nonsense. He gave the example of a sheriff who refused to provide manpower to assist the FBI, which had to give up its woke project in that county because of the finite number of its agents.

Each and every one of us has to step up. We are Americans, and we must do what our Founding Fathers did, and take charge of our own destiny. We can no longer just hope that a single political or social leader or a cadre of elites will rescue us. As Friend urged, it is time for us all to take on the responsibility to be active in the public square, working to rescue this country from the Police State authoritarians starting at the local level, as our forefathers intended.

Watch The American Radicals podcast on Rumble with Steve Friend for more shocking details on the corruption of the FBI and federal government.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

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Arizona’s Voter Rolls Need a Massive Clean Up

By Arizona Free Enterprise Club

Editors’ Note: The Prickly Pear published an article entitled Patriot Party Fails To Qualify For 2024 Ballot on 11/29. In the article below, AZ Secretary of State Adrian Fontes’ extreme partisan behavior favoring Democrat advantage in the 2024 election is again demonstrated. Mr. Fontes has a long history of partisan activities in his current office and formerly as Maricopa County Recorder, being rebuffed on several occasions by the Arizona Supreme Court. He has influenced Arizona and national elections repeatedly from 2018 to the present with extreme partisan bias in inappropriate and illegal ways in offices that are supposedly nonpartisan. The issues of voter roll cleanup and integrity are critical given the facts exposed below. Fontes’ response to the lawfully mandated management of voter rolls in Arizona is another example of his unethical and extreme partisan behavior, now in one of the highest and most important offices in our representative state government. Great credit goes to the Arizona Free Enterprise Club for exposing the egregious violations of his office intended to impact the 2024 election statewide and nationally.

We’re less than a year away from our next election, and if Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes is serious about doing his job, his primary focus should be on ensuring a process where it is easy to vote and hard to cheat. Instead, Fontes has been attempting to implement an Elections Procedures Manual (EPM) that is ripe with unlawful provisions all while ignoring a giant (and growing) elephant in the room.

In its last two quarterly reports to the Arizona state legislature, the Secretary of State’s office reported that over 78,000 individuals have been identified on our state’s voter rolls as noncitizens or nonresidents. This number includes:

  • Over 53,200 individuals who were reported to have been issued a driver’s license or the equivalent of an Arizona nonoperating license ID in another state.
  • Over 1,300 individuals who admitted to not being a U.S. citizen on a jury questionnaire.
  • Over 23,600 individuals who admitted to not being a resident of a county on a jury questionnaire.

These numbers should be great cause for alarm—especially when you consider how close some of our state’s races were in 2022—and these individuals should be immediately removed from our state’s voter rolls. So, what did Fontes do in response to this news? Nothing. That’s right. The Secretary of State’s office simply disclosed that a process for sending notices to these individuals, placing their voter registrations on inactive status, or canceling their voter registrations was “in development.”

How convenient.

But Fontes can’t hide for long. The fact is that these voter roll issues came to light because of two bills backed by the Free Enterprise Club and signed into law by then-Governor Ducey last year: HB 2492 and HB 2243. HB 2492 is a commonsense law that cracks down on state voter registration applications that do not include proof of citizenship. HB 2243 ensures regular voter list maintenance and helped uncover these most recent issues due to provisions in the bill that:

  • Require the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to furnish a list of people who have been issued a driver’s license in another state to the Secretary of State.
  • Direct the Secretary of State to report the number from ADOT (above) to the state legislature at the end of each quarter.
  • Direct the Secretary of State to report to the state legislature at the end of each quarter the number of people who have stated on a jury questionnaire that they are not U.S. citizens or not residents of the county.

With these provisions in mind, it’s clear that the number of noncitizens and nonresidents on our state’s voter rolls will continue to grow after each quarterly report is provided. That’s why it is essential to address these issues immediately. But the Left has proven time and time again that they will fight against every legitimate election reform that comes from conservatives. So, the Biden administration and a consortium of liberal organizations filed a lawsuit against HB 2492 and HB 2243. They are terrified of these commonsense laws and want to prevent them from taking effect by wrapping them up in litigation. It’s just another example of how the Left hates any form of true election integrity. And they will do whatever it takes to prevent it—including wasting time and your taxpayer dollars in court.


This article was published by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club and is reproduced with permission.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

‘It Has Been Pretty Awful’: First State To Decriminalize Hard Drugs Looking To Reverse Liberal Experiment thumbnail

‘It Has Been Pretty Awful’: First State To Decriminalize Hard Drugs Looking To Reverse Liberal Experiment

By Dana Abizaid

Officials in Oregon are considering reversing key provisions of a 2021 liberal experiment to decriminalize heroin and fentanyl, The Telegraph reported.

The rationale behind the original initiative, called Measure 110, was that decriminalizing hard drugs would make access to treatment easier for addicts, according to The Telegraph.

Currently, support for Measure 110 in Oregon, the first state to take the step of decriminalizing hard drugs, appears to be waning, according to the outlet. Whereas Measure 110 was backed by 58 percent of voters in November 2020, a recent Emerson College pollrevealed that public opinion has swung drastically, with 56 percent of voters now saying they would back a repeal, the newspaper reported. (RELATED: San Francisco On Track For Record Drug Overdoses As Opioid Epidemic Grips City)

“It has been pretty awful,” Matt Siegmund, the owner of Gardner Floor Covering in Eugene, told The Telegraph.

Siegmund says that the homeless have sheltered under the awning in front of his store for a long time, but there has been a change since the new measures were enacted.

“In the past, we were dealing with older drunks, but since Measure 110 passed the people are younger and more belligerent. They have been defecating and urinating. For the last three weeks, police have been sweeping the homeless people away so I and my staff can come to work,” Siegmund said. 

Under Measure 110, addicts are given “tickets” for drug offenses that result in $100 fines, The Telegraph reported. However, the penalty would be waived if the addict rang a self-help line and sought treatment.

Around 6,000 people were ticketed in Oregon, but fewer than 125 rang the self-help line, Eugene’s Police Chief, Chris Skinner, told The Telegraph.

“We don’t have even really one successful example of somebody that went from a citation issued on the street to self-assessment to addiction services to a place of wellness,” Skinner told the Eugene City Council.

Skinner warned that Oregon was “on pace to shatter the record for overdose calls for service and shatter the record for overdose deaths. Police officers and firefighters are administering Narcan, life-saving Narcan at an alarming rate,” according to The Telegraph.

Police are not demanding the complete reversal of Measure 110, but they are supporting making drug possession a criminal offense again that would force addicts to have compulsory treatment, The Telegraph reported.

A measure which would would re-criminalize hard drugs could go on the ballot next year, according to The Telegraph.


This article was published by The Daily Caller News Foundation and is reproduced with permission.

Image Credit: Pixaby


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

UN COP 28 Is Not A Democracy thumbnail

UN COP 28 Is Not A Democracy

By David Wojick

Reading the breathless Green coverage of the soon-to-be COP 28, the UN conference on climate change (CFACT is on the way!), I noticed a fundamental fallacy occurring endlessly. The analysts seem to assume that decision-making is democratic, such that what you need to pass a rule is a majority vote along the lines of Congress or Parliament.

The reality is extremely different. Every member Country has veto power. This dramatically changes what is possible. The analysts consistently miss this, especially by talking about possibilities that are, in fact, impossible.

A good example is a recent Washington Post article discussing the possibility that COP 28 will adopt a decision calling for the phasing out of not just coal but all fossil fuel use. They correctly report that some countries are all for this while others are strongly against it.

The presently crazy Biden U.S. is for it despite being the world’s biggest per capita user of fossil fuels. Russia is sanely against it as fossil fuel exports are their primary revenue source.

It is then consistently reported as a maybe yes, maybe no situation, like Congress debating a controversial Bill. The obvious reality is that absent a miracle, this measure has no chance whatsoever. It is, as the saying goes, dead on arrival.

An even better example is the ridiculous proposal from France and, again the U.S. that the member countries all agree to, somehow, stop the private financing of coal-fired power plants. Given that China and a number of big developing countries are betting their electrical future on coal this is clearly nothing more than political posturing. Even a miracle could not save this nonsense. But it is dutifully reported and analyzed as a real possibility. At least it is here in America and likely in France, too.

Wishful COP 28 thinking is not news nor analysis, but it fills the pages. The reality is that none of these big-ticket issues that we read so much about have the slightest chance of happening.

The one big issue where something might actually happen is loss and damage. But it will be small, hyped as huge.

Recall that at COP 27, there was reported to be a great advance, creating a Loss and Damage Fund. This is where the developed countries will pay the developing ones something toward their supposedly climate-caused losses and damages: crop losses and food damages, for example.

In reality, all that was created is a name, an idea if you like. A Committee was established to give, or at least propose, form and substance to this nebulous idea. That has not happened because the issues are overwhelming. After all, every country gets bad weather. The U.S. has said it will donate millions of dollars while developing countries are talking trillions.

However, this loss and damage concept is so vague that there is room for moving forward without being so specific or dangerous, that we start getting vetos.

For example, they might agree on where this little fund will be established. This is presently controversial but probably not a deal breaker because the developing countries want to see money moving.

Or they might all agree that the first, small funds go to the Least Developed Countries or maybe to the poorest Small Island States. This is a feel-good first step that makes the fund real. It carefully avoids the issue of who gets how much of them trillions.

This is how COP diplomacy works. Find little steps that everyone is willing to allow while pushing the big issues down the road. Then, report these small steps as big breakthroughs. Of course, there is truly serious green stuff going on, but that is at the national level. COPs are just a carnival.

So, as you watch yet another COP play out, keep in mind that the grand schemes endlessly reported and analyzed at great length are going nowhere fast. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Or as they say in Texas, all hat, no cattle.

Be amused, not angry.

Stay tuned to CFACT for jovial coverage of the COP 28 circus.


This article was published by CFACT, The Committee for A Constructive Tomorrow, and is reproduced with permission.

Image Credit: screenshot COP website


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Exposing America’s Cultural Revolutionaries thumbnail

Exposing America’s Cultural Revolutionaries

By Craig J. Cantoni

A review of The Canceling of the American Mind, by Greg Lukianoff and Rikki Schlott, 2023, Simon & Schuster, New York, 443 pages.

The Canceling of the American Mind appears to have been written in a hurry and could’ve used some editing and wordsmithing.  But it’s worth reading for its many examples of how colleges and other institutions have been captured by people who are not only illiberal but completely bonkers.

Warning:  You might have to be slightly bonkers yourself, or at least masochistic, to endure reading example after example of America’s version of China’s Cultural Revolution.  It’s difficult to read the examples without becoming infuriated and pessimistic.

Anyone who claims that the danger of wokeness and cancel culture is right-wing hyperbole will be disabused of the notion after reading the book, assuming that the person’s mind has not been sealed shut or shrunk to the size and density of a golf ball from spending too much time on shallow news media or even shallower social media—or from getting a degree from a college of illiberal learning.

The authors of The Canceling of the American Mind are not right-wingers, conservatives, or Trumpers, or white supremacists, or racists, or fascists, or election deniers, or climate deniers, or vaccine deniers, or deplorables, or jingoists, or any of the other pejoratives used by the cultural revolutionaries to silence opposing views—the same revolutionaries who claim to deplore racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender stereotypes.

Author Greg Lukianoff is a self-identified classical liberal and the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), a nonpartisan organization devoted to free speech that, among other endeavors, rates colleges on their commitment to free expression and their aversion to ideological orthodoxy.  Coauthor Rikki Schlott, a member of Generation Z and a research fellow at FIRE, is a classical liberal with libertarian leanings. 

Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt authored the 2018 book, The Coddling of the American Mind, which was based on their 2015 article by the same title in the Atlantic, which is certainly not a conservative publication.

In the interest of fairness, Lukianoff and Schlott lambaste illiberal conservatives who try to ban speech they disagree with or try to cancel speakers.  For sure, Trumpers won’t like what they say about the former president.  But most of the book focuses on the illiberalism on the left, because that is where the most egregious violations of free speech can be found, especially on college campuses, where Democrat faculty far outnumber Republican faculty.

To that point, the book cites studies that give the ratios of Democrat to Republican professors in academe.  The overall ratio is eight to one, but in most disciplines, it is much more unbalanced.  For instance, no Republicans could be found in anthropology. Engineering and chemistry are the only disciplines where Republicans outnumber Democrats. 

At the same time, one in four professors identifies as socialist.  It’s doubtful, however, that they will be giving up their tenure, short hours, and cushy working conditions to show solidarity with the proletariat.

Again, the book abounds with examples of how unhinged mobs have stopped speech that was counter to their worldview, kept those with different views from speaking, viciously attacked ideological heretics with verbal abuse and threats of physical violence, and destroyed the heretics’ careers in the process.

The revolutionaries come across as morally superior, thin-skinned, self-absorbed, and self-righteous.  They have a childish take on complex issues, have temper tantrums like spoiled brats, and claim that their safety and very identity are threatened by views that differ from their ideological uniformity.  Having made it to Volume II of a twelve-volume set of knowledge and wisdom, they believe that they are fully educated, have nothing new to learn, and are far smarter than those who have made it to only Volume I.

Even the ones who are students at prestigious and obscenely expensive colleges parrot in unison all of the voguish clichés, banalities, and sophistries about undefined minorities continuing to suffer from White privilege, patriarchy, racism, oppression, and colonization.  They ignorantly believe that Whites are homogeneous, come in one skin shade, don’t have wide variations in ethnicity and socioeconomic status, and have not suffered from injustices.

Projecting their own sheltered childhood experiences onto all Whites, the wealthiest and most preppy among the revolutionaries are the most neurotic about White guilt and the most eager to embrace discriminatory and exclusive forms of diversity and inclusion.  

It’s impossible to have rational conversations and constructive debates with the revolutionaries, as illustrated by an example from the book, an incident you may have heard about when it happened in 2015 at Yale.

The hullaballoo was triggered by Halloween costumes, of all things.  It began when administrators at the university issued guidelines on appropriate and inappropriate costumes.  Erika Christakis, the associate master of Yale’s Stillman College, took exception to the guidelines in a community-wide email, saying that while she deplored insensitive costumes, she didn’t think that a bureaucratic, paternalistic decree was the proper way to handle the matter.  Her preference was to trust that students were mature enough to self-police to address any insensitive fellow students and handle any conflicts in a way that would be a learning experience for everyone.

She had overestimated the maturity of Yale students.  They became outraged over her email.   She was excoriated in a letter signed by 700 students, faculty, and alumni.  The letter said: “To ask marginalized students to throw away their enjoyment of a holiday, in order to expend emotional, mental, and physical energy to explain why something is offensive, is–offensive.”  The letter concluded with the bizarre statement that the signers simply wanted their “existences not to be invalidated on campus.”

Marginalized students?  Yale is one of the world’s most expensive, selective, and prestigious universities, a university where graduates go on to become captains of industry, investment bankers, senators, presidents, Supreme Court justices, and so on. 

Invalidated existences?  If an email disagreeing with a policy on Halloween costumes can invalidate a student’s existence, the individual needs counseling or needs to go to parts of the world where people worry about having enough to eat to continue their existence or worry about their existence being ended by extremists killing them in their sleep.

The persecution of Erika Christakis continued after the letter.  Students engaged in a three-hour confrontation with a Yale College dean while making outrageous demands.  Some students demanded that they be warned before Christakis entered the dining hall.  Others demanded the firing of not only Erika but also her husband, Nicholas Christakis, who also was a Yale professor.

An angry mob of about a hundred students would go on to surround Nicholas in a courtyard, demanding his apology and cursing at him. Graduating students would later refuse to accept their diplomas from him.  Erika would eventually leave Yale, and Nicholas resigned from Stillman College but stayed at Yale as a professor.

In 2022, FIRE ranked Yale near the bottom in free speech, a lowly 198th out of 203 colleges.  Yet the university has more applicants than ever, and parents are more desperate than ever to do whatever it takes to get their children into Yale and other Ivy League schools, as was seen in the tuition bribery case of a couple of years ago.  Once admitted, students run little risk of not getting good grades and not graduating.  And after graduation, they are almost certain to have a life of privilege, power, and wealth.

This Halloween incident is just one of many examples in the book of the tactics of the cultural revolutionaries, not only the revolutionaries in academia but also the ones in media and industry.

The authors advise on how to fight the cancel culture constructively and how to deal with ad hominem attacks without resorting to the same tactics in self-defense.

I agree with the advice and have followed a similar strategy for years.  But I’m not optimistic that it will change anything, given that two generations of Americans have been steeped in the precepts of the cultural revolution, and that the thinking permeates just about every American institution.

The revolution will have to run its course until the revolutionaries get devoured by the political monster they’ve created.

Look on the bright side:  It took only ten years for China’s Cultural Revolution to end. On the other hand, it took 70 years for the Soviet Union to collapse and end the Bolshevik Revolution.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

How Many Judges Does It Take To Define ‘Woman’? thumbnail

How Many Judges Does It Take To Define ‘Woman’?

By May Mailman

Today’s most pressing women’s rights issue is not abortion. It’s not equal pay, domestic violence, or child care. It’s whether society is willing to recognize “women” at all. Without this basic understanding, there can be no “women’s” interest demanding or deserving of protection.

That’s why the Independent Women’s Law Center is representing six Kappa Kappa Gamma sisters at the University of Wyoming in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The lawsuit alleges that Kappa’s national leadership ran roughshod over the sorority’s bylaws to provide membership to a biological male: a 260-pound, 21-year-old individual with a 1.9 GPA (well below the sorority’s 2.7 cutoff) who discussed his “desire to be near cadavers and to touch dead bodies” during the recruitment process. The sisters say they were forced to vote publicly and informed that a “no” vote would be a sign of bigotry and a basis for expulsion. Since joining, the male member has taken unwanted pictures of the women, asked them to describe their vaginas, and watched the girls undress.

Time and again we see injustices like what happened to these sorority sisters egged on by elitists who congratulate themselves for such devout commitment to diversity and inclusion, having already reaped the benefits of single-sex living years ago. But despite their professed commitment to inclusion, by pretending that “women” include biological males, they in fact deprive women of the say they are owed. That sounds pretty exclusionary to me.

Sadly, the district court ruled in favor of Kappa leadership. In the process, it stripped the organization’s bylaws of any meaning. “Woman,” the court said, is “undefined,” and cannot be constrained by the “circumscribed definition Plaintiffs urge.” “Woman” might mean anyone who claims to be a woman, at least according to a federal court.

Of course, this is nonsensical from a basic definitional perspective. Identifying oneself as a “woman” still requires an underlying definition of “woman.” Self-identification can never provide a definition since it has no boundaries on its own. Even an inanimate object like my iPhone can “identify” as a woman, but it’s still an iPhone.

Dissolving “woman” into an unknowable void is more than senseless, it’s extraordinarily consequential.

For one, it wrecks our ability to use language. We rely on contracts for countless purposes. If I order a shirt but receive pants, I can point to language in the contract to fix the issue. And if the supplier won’t fix it, I can take my issue to court. Interpreting contracts—including, for example, bylaws—is a quintessential duty of judging. Where activists dismantle language and threaten social consequences for those who apply ordinary meaning, we lose more than common sense. We lose the ability to function as a society.

And if that were not important enough, there’s more: the truth.

Women exist, as biologically distinct from men. And single-sex spaces are beneficial to women. That includes domestic abuse shelters, given that, on average, more than three women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends per day. It also includes sex-specific sports. After all, thousands of high-school boys can outpace star female Olympians and biological males can severely injure women on the field, as we learn again and again. And it also includes single-sex social and scholastic organizations. As Kappa itself has argued in court, “the benefits of having participated in a single-sex environment persist even after the woman has graduated or otherwise left the environment.”

Women’s organizations are worth preserving.

The fight won’t be easy. Kappa alumnae have already been kicked out for the mere act of speaking the truth. Sorority women have experienced a smear campaign, and have been accused of inventing sexual misconduct and even instigating murder.

But these women are not deterred. Women have fought for suffrage, property rights, education, and protection from violence. We are more than willing to fight for our existence and for the truth.


This article was published by the Independent Women’s Forum and is reproduced with permission.

Image Credit: Shutterstock


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

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Iowa Universities Told to Pull Back DEI Functions

By Kim Jarrett

Editors Note: We think this is a good start, but it does not go far enough. We would hope in Arizona the Board of Regents and the legislature would call for the elimination of all DEI programs. Students should be admitted and teaching positions should be filled on the basis of merit, regardless of the race or ethnicity of the person involved. The way to stop racial discrimination is to quit using racial discrimination as a policy. Where taxpayer money is involved, DEI should be eliminated.

The Iowa Board of Regents called for the state’s three public universities to review the diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, also known as DEI, and eliminate functions unnecessary for compliance or accreditation.

The vote came after Regent David Barker presented a report to the board from a three-member task force formed in March that included feedback from students, faculty, DEI administrators, and others.

David Barker said the University of Iowa, Iowa State, and the University of Northern Iowa are examples of diversity.

“The combined percentage of students that are members of minority racial groups is more than double that of the population of Iowa and our minority graduation rates, including for African American students, are higher than average,” Barker said.

The Iowa Legislature passed Senate File 560 earlier this year that directed the Board of Regents to review DEI policies in the universities.

The recommendations adopted by the board also require universities to take reasonable steps to ensure “no employee, student, applicant, or campus visitor is compelled to disclose their pronouns.”

The universities must also “explore a proposal, including cost, to establish a widespread initiative that includes opportunities for education and research on free speech and civic education.”

The policy could be a model for other states. Rep. Alex Dallman said in a social media post he thinks the Wisconsin Board of Regents should enact the policy.

“The DEI study group looked at programs and efforts by the universities in Iowa surrounding DEI,” Dallman said. “Included in their recommendations is eliminating unnecessary DEI related positions and responsibilities as well as eliminating DEI specific operations and services at their state-funded universities.”


This article was published by Center Square and is reproduced with permission.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

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Patriot Party Fails To Qualify For 2024 Ballot

By Daniel Stefanski

Editors’ Note: This article is an important warning for every Arizona citizen concerned about election integrity. Secretary of State (SOS) Adrian Fontes has a long history of rabid partisanship as an elected official in offices that should be nonpartisan. As Maricopa County Recorder until 2021, Fontes ran aggressive voter registration drives in mostly Democrat areas utilizing his large office staff to conduct these activities inappropriately and against the regulations of his office. The Arizona Supreme Court has repeatedly stopped his election manipulation attempts to revise the Elections Procedure Manual and other inappropriate and Democrat-assisting maneuvers  in his prior Maricopa County Recorder office and currently as Secretary of State. He is a partisan hack and a reason to fear the integrity of the approaching 2024 election here in Arizona. In 2020, The Prickly Pear interviewed Stephen Richer, the current Maricopa County Recorder who beat Fontes in the 2020 election. Richer stated in the interview that Fontes, the incumbent Recorder and his opponent, was incompetent and guilty of criminal behavior in the conduct of the office. Remarkably, Fontes is now the Secretary of State after the 2022 Arizona election that resulted in many ongoing questions and concerns about competence of Arizona elections. As SOS, Fontes has a critical role in Arizona’s election processes. He threatens the integrity and outcomes of the 2024 election and future elections by the clear partisan use of his office in multiple ways. The article below is the most recent example.

The Arizona Republican Party (AZGOP) gained a significant victory this week over Democrat Secretary of State Adrian Fontes.

On Monday, the AZGOP announced that the ‘Patriot Party’ “failed to secure enough valid signatures to qualify for the 2024 ballot,” crediting the “unwavering dedication of over 50 volunteers who…meticulously reviewed over 37,000 signatures by hand.”

This update came days after the Party had issued a press release to accuse Fontes of “misusing his office to influence elections.”

In that communication, the AZGOP explained that the “Liberal Democrat Adrian Fontes quietly and drastically changed his procedures on political party petition filings and denied observer access and public records requests by the Arizona Republican Party.” According to the AZGOP, this occurred when Secretary Fontes allegedly failed “to notify the political parties with ballot access that an appointment had been made by the ‘Patriot Party’ to file signatures on their Petition for Political Party recognition.”

In their release, the AZGOP asserted that Fontes’ actions with the ‘Patriot Party’ filing was “a big departure from what (he) did when ‘No Labels’ filed,” adding that the Secretary’s motivation in running his office is “to help the Democrat Party and hamper (Arizona Republicans).”

The AZGOP outlined the process by which Secretary Fontes “conducted the No Labels filing,” which included the following steps:

  • The Democrat, Republican, and Libertarian parties of Arizona were informed about the filing appointment ahead of time.
  • All three recognized political parties were permitted to have observers present for the entire intake and SOS scanning of petitions with full observer coverage for chain of custody transition.
  • The scans of the petitions, as filed, prior to SOS processing, were made available the morning after filing through a secure fileshare provided by SOS.
  • The fileshare to which counties upload their processed samples was made available to all recognized political parties so that they could follow the filing process throughout.

As the release concluded, the AZGOP demanded that Secretary Fontes “restore the long history of impartiality that existed in the SOS’s office under Secretary Reagan, Secretary Bennett, Secretary Brewer and others.” The party asked for the Secretary of State’s Office to “fulfill (their) public records requests in a timely manner and maintain a fair and unbiased process for all filings made in (the) office.”

The AZGOP threatened Fontes with litigation if he were to “move to validate (the ‘Patriot Party’) as (an actual party) regardless in a partisan effort to hamper the Republican Party. That threat appears to be neutralized thanks to the State Republican Party’s hard work to go through the signatures itself.

With the saga of the petition signatures moving to the rearview window, the AZGOP is focusing on an extremely important election season in 2024, boasting of a “grassroots army of over 5,500 precinct committeemen in Arizona, combined with an additional 20,000 party volunteers.” The AZGOP noted that Arizona Republicans are “united in our mission to register more voters, champion family values, strengthen the economy, and advocate for better educational outcomes and parental choice.”


This article was published in AZ Free News and is reproduced with permission.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Target’s Latest Trans Mania Is Asking For More Boycotts, And Customers Should Deliver thumbnail

Target’s Latest Trans Mania Is Asking For More Boycotts, And Customers Should Deliver

By Shawn Fleetwood

As if partnering with a Satanist to design “pride” month merchandise wasn’t bad enough, Target is back this holiday season to force its latest batch of LGBT-themed Christmas products on its customer base.

Last week, it was revealed that Target is selling a variety of “rainbow”-themed Christmas decorations this year, ranging from nutcrackers holding the “progress” and LGBT flags to black disabled Santa ornaments. The retail giant is also merchandising LGBT-themed snow globes and wrapping paper.

The store has sold “pride”-themed nutcrackers during the Christmas season as early as 2021. But dumping its “rainbow” products onto shoppers this December is just the tip of the iceberg for Target, which apparently failed to learn from major revenue drops that plagued the retailer after alienating customers in June. The retail chain is also elevating individuals promoting the left’s radical LGBT agenda to significant positions within the company.

Among these figures appears to be Erik Thompson, who announced his partnership with Target on Instagram earlier this month as the store’s new “Senior LGBTQIA+ Segmentation Strategist and Pride Lead.” Thompson, who goes by “he/him/his/her” pronouns and uses the Instagram handle “gaycruella,” said he was “[h]onored to get to start a new body of work” and spearhead “Target’s LGBTQIA+ multicultural merchandising strategy and Pride businesses for the company and the LGBTQIA+ & Allied communities across the the [sic] nation.”

“Time to whip out the Glitter & Hellfire flamethrowers and rip that old world to shreds darlings,” Thompson wrote. “Let’s flip that script and rewrite that narrative. This time for ~ALL Guests, ALL Humans & ALL Hearts.”

Target’s attempt to trade Christmas’ green and red colors for rainbow ones isn’t all that surprising, given the company’s decision to sell and promote LGBT-themed merchandise earlier this year, including “light binding effect” swim tops and “tuck-friendly” bottoms as well as pride-themed merchandise for infants and toddlers. The retailer also teamed up with a self-proclaimed “gay trans man” and Satan supporter to “supply transgender-themed merchandise” to its 2023 “pride” collection.

Target has since experienced massive financial losses as a result of its embrace of radical gender ideology. According to The Daily Wire, Target’s third-quarter sales “tumbled 4.9% following a 5.4% decline in the second quarter,” which had been the company’s “first quarterly sales drop in six years.”

The Boycotts Must Continue Until Morale Improves

Don’t let its kid-friendly dog mascot fool you. Target is just as radically left-wing as once-great corporations like The Walt Disney Company have become. It has decided to cast aside its traditional customer base in favor of the latest leftist fad — even if that “fad” does irreparable harm to innocent and unsuspecting children.

[RELATED: It’s Up To Moms To Crush Target]

Until Target stops pushing this demonic paganism on the public (especially minors) and apologizes, there is zero reason sane Americans should continue to reward the retailer with a single penny. Target deserves the same economic pain that Disney and Anheuser-Busch received after those companies shamelessly foisted the trans agenda on their loyal customer base.

People who shop at Target should be treated the same way as people who drink Bud Light. Mock them. Ridicule them. Make them answer for subsidizing a company that’s apparently fine with castrating young boys and chest-binding little girls. Use the left’s tactics against them without a second thought.

Conservatives didn’t choose this culture war. But it’s incumbent upon all of us to fight it.


This article was published by The Federalist and is reproduced with permission.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Too Many Laws thumbnail

Too Many Laws

By Bruce Bialosky

There are many joys of being a Californian. The price of housing, the price of gas, and the price of electricity are just a few. One that is not discussed is how our elected leaders are constantly changing the laws under which we are governed.  This is one of the worst aspects of our “independent press” which barely discusses the matter. 

It has become customary for California’s full-time legislature to justify their collective existence by feeling compelled to propose a laundry list of new bills to become law.  Each member can submit fifty bills in every two-year session. With 120 members, there could be 6,000 bills every session or 3,000 bills annually. It seems that each member attempts to make that “quota.”

The number gets whittled down, but not by much. The amount of bills passed is significant: 2021 – 965 bills; 2022-998; 2023-1046. The Governor gets a hack at them once passed by the Assembly and State Senate, but maybe “hack” is not an appropriate verb here.

In the first year of the session, he has 12 days from passing of the bills to sign them into law or veto them.  In year two, the governor has 30 days. Newsom signed into law: 2021-890, 2022 – 979, 2023 – 890. A total of 3,009 bills passed in the last three years and Governor Newsom signed 2,759 into law. That is 91.7%, and that is just since 2021.

How do you run a state like this?  There becomes a law dysphoria.  Residents don’t know what is legal and what is not.  While the legislators think they are improving our lives they are making everyone less settled as to the government that controls them. 

This deluge of changes to the law and the following of the laws – for those of us who are still law-abiding citizens – is something nobody talks about. While the press was addressing whether the Governor was going to sign or veto the most visible bills, I addressed the issue of the sheer number to Politico. Their daily California summary focused only on which bills they considered newsworthy.  “Are you interested in addressing the mass amount of bills passed?”  Silence.

A perfect example is the column by George Skelton of the LA Times, one of the deans of columnists covering Sacramento.  His column here: applauds Newsom for vetoing bills that would have expanded the budget even further.  Skelton, like all the others, does not address the huge cost to California residents of the 890 bills that were signed into law and the regulations they produced. 

What did the press bother to cover? The State Superintendent of Public Instruction was charged with racism because our schools were disproportionately disciplining students of color.  The Superintendent does not look like someone with an axe to grind against people of color as he is black.  Wait a minute; the Legislature changed the law on that one.

State Senator Nancy Skinner was behind Senate Bill 274 to end the suspension of students for willful defiance in classrooms.  She stated, “Since my start in the state Senate in 2016, I’ve worked to end willful defiance suspensions in our public schools.”  Notably, she hasn’t done anything in classrooms to actually end willful defiance.  That means teachers now have little means of controlling their unruly students. Maybe next session Senator Skinner can do something about that.

This is just one of the many laws that were barely covered.  Some are not covered at all.  Thus, businesses or individuals remain ignorant about the new laws to which they are subject and can get trapped by not knowing.

Swooping to the rescue are the people who are the second largest group (first are public employee unions) to whom these elected officials are beholden – lawyers.  They create little cottage industries to protect innocent people from even further harm.  Adding insult to injury, not only must you relearn how things operate, but you must pay homage to lawyers keeping you from fines and recriminations.

A friend who works in D.C. sent me a marketing piece from a national employment law firm.  They had twelve California laws they cited as being changed in this last session. If you are running a business with employees, you are clearly sunk if you don’t have one of these hired guns to protect you from your own elected officials. It is certainly possible you need these legal eagles since there are another 878 passed bills that could get you in a world of trouble for not following the new laws.

Readers always like to hear solutions, not just complaints. Numero Uno is to stop electing these self-designated potentates.  These are people who think they were elected to micromanage your life because they know better.

That is the problem here – most Californians are unaware of this situation.  Trying to get a replacement (new Assembly or Senate member) is a behemoth challenge.  Plus, if the replacement is not beholden to the public employee unions and the lawyers it will be ever so much tougher.

You can speak to the official’s office. But since they don’t care (because they don’t have to) that is typically a waste of time.

The solution that more people and businesses are trying – is relocation.


This article was published by FlashReport and is reproduced with permission from the author.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

What Is Racism? thumbnail

What Is Racism?

By Craig J. Cantoni

“Racism” is one of the many catchall words that are bandied about without definition or much thought.

Anyone with the temerity to question the meaning of “racism” or to ask for a definition of the word risks being called a racist.

Well, so be it.

Given that “racism” has become one of the most ubiquitous words, and given that someone can be canceled, fired, or even get into legal trouble for being accused of racism, it’s important to have a precise understanding of what the word means.

The same can be said of other popular words du jour, such as “white privilege,” “minority,” “person of color,” “marginalized,” and the six contrived racial and ethnic categories of “White,” “Black,” “Hispanic,” “Asian,” “Pacific Islander,” and “Native American.”

Is this much ado about nothing?  Norman Wang wouldn’t think so.  After being accused of perpetuating racism, he lost his position as an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.  He was in good company.  The American Heart Association was also accused of perpetuating racism.

Their offense?  Wang published a paper in the Journal of the American Heart Association, saying that affirmative action programs should meet legal requirements and that the admissions process should be race-neutral. (Source:  The Canceling of the American Mind.)

That was racism?  By what definition?  Certainly not by the following definition from the Oxford Dictionary.

racism:  prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism by an individual, community, or institution against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.

That’s a pretty good definition, even though it includes the ambiguous words “minority” and “marginalized.”  We’ll come back to those words later.  Suffice it to say for now that Wang didn’t exhibit prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism against a racial or ethnic group or person.

Unsurprisingly, I prefer my own definition of racism:

racism:the belief that a particular race or ethnic group is inherently inferior or deficient in some way, and to act on that belief.

I’ll use that definition to talk about my own race and ethnicity, in the hope that doing so will reduce the inevitable accusations of racism in writing about racism.

Under my definition, it is not racism for me to say that I dislike Italians who are members of the Sicilian Mafia, or to encourage law enforcement to keep an eye on Mafioso in the event they break the law, or to deny them employment if I were to own a business.  The reason that’s not racism is that my prejudice against Mafioso is based on the fact of their criminality and not on a racist belief that all Italians are genetically predisposed to criminality.

While it’s true that almost all Mafioso are Italian or Sicilian, it’s not true that all Italians are criminals. To say that almost all Mafioso are Italian is a racial fact, not racism.  Conversely, it is racism to say that all Italians are criminals.

As this example shows, the citing of unflattering racial facts is not necessarily an indication of racism.  Unfortunately, this distinction is rarely made today.  The citing of unflattering racial facts is seen as being synonymous with racism, unless the negatives are about so-called White people, or Asian people, who, more and more, are seen as White in values, advantages, and privilege.  These two groups are fair game for not only unflattering facts but also accusations of racism—not the racism defined by Oxford or me, but the racism described in a new definition.

Norman Wang lost his teaching position because of the new definition.  The definition goes like this:

racism:   a failure to support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that are designed to address the fact that racism in the United States is systemic and institutionalized, due to the nation’s history of White people oppressing Blacks, indigenous people, and people of color, first through slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and genocide; and then through institutions, social norms, capitalism, a phony meritocracy, and ongoing White political power and privilege—all of which interact together to perpetuate inequalities, and none of which can be remedied without forcing government to use force to override the institutional and socioeconomic roadblocks that keep disadvantaged minorities from advancing, and, at the same time, to stop Whites and those who think like Whites from continuing to unfairly accede to positions of power, influence and wealth in government, education, medicine, entertainment, media, and industry.

Well, since I don’t buy into this definition, that makes me a racist, especially in view of my shameful background.

Starting 50 years ago at an international company, and continuing over my corporate career, I was at the vanguard of equal rights, equal opportunity, and affirmative action (i.e., outreach).  Among other actions, my efforts included going on retreats with Blacks to have frank discussions about race, teaching managers what it’s like for a minority to enter a workforce or attend a meeting where everyone else is a different race, removing counterproductive barriers to advancement, and firing bad managers.

At the same time, I embraced Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s warning about the dire consequences that paternalism and poorly designed welfare programs would have on Black families.

A shameful background, for sure.

Even more shameful, I now believe that the DEI juggernaut has taken a page from the Mafia. 

To explain:

The Mafia came about for understandable reasons.  For millennia, the island of Sicily had been crisscrossed by conquerors and by the ancient version of colonizers, including Africans.  Inhabitants of the island were slaughtered, enslaved, and otherwise oppressed.  In more recent history, Sicilians were subjected to corrupt, confiscatory governments.  Joining or supporting the Mafia was a way for impoverished Sicilians to defend themselves from predation.

When Sicilians and other Italians, including my grandparents, immigrated to the U.S., they were considered non-White by the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant establishment and treated accordingly—as one step up from Blacks.  That gave the Mafia a beachhead in America.

The problem is that the Mafia became even more corrupt, unethical, and self-serving than the establishment it was fighting.  In other words, the victims became victimizers and began preying on innocent people.

In a similar evolution, DEI came about as a response to prejudice and discrimination against selected groups but now engages in prejudice and discrimination against people who had nothing to do with the original prejudice and discrimination.

That sure seems like racism.


Image Credit: Pixabay


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

The Curious Case of Rob Malley

By Peter Schweizer

Hamas’s war against Israel, coordinated with Iran, has exposed the fault lines in the American Left.

While mainstream Democratic liberals have sided with the innocent Israelis massacred by Hamas terrorists, leftist “Squad” members in Congress compete with Ivy League campus radicals to outdo one another by championing the vicious murderers as a “resistance.”

Anti-Israel sentiment has been oozing through those cracks on the Left for years, but the presidency of Barack Obama certainly primed the pump. Obama’s choice of advisors reflected his deep distrust of Israel and penchant for supporting Palestinians and appeasing Iran. One of those advisor choices, the now-disgraced Robert Malley, is a case-in-point.

This summer, Malley was placed on unpaid leave from the State Department and had his security clearance revoked after an internal investigation found he had “mishandled classified information.”

Malley’s case is evidently serious enough that he is also now under investigation by the FBI, which would appear to suggest potential criminal charges of bribery or possibly even espionage.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are now preparing to subpoena Malley and the State Department for documents pertaining to his suspension, a situation that some observers say is among the worst scandals in department history. Due to Iran’s involvement in the Hamas invasion of Israel, they are scrutinizing Malley’s role in negotiating the Biden administration’s September agreement that released $6 billion of frozen Iranian oil revenues to Tehran as part of a broader prisoner-swap agreement. Under political pressure after Hamas’s jihadist pogrom in southern Israel, the Biden administration reluctantly agreed to refreeze those funds.

More bad news for Malley emerged recently when a large cache of Iranian government correspondence and emails was revealed by Semafor and Iran International. In email exchanges between Iranian Foreign Ministry officials working under the supposedly moderate then-President Hassan Rouhani, they congratulate each other for the public success of what they called the “Iran Experts Initiative (IEI),” a propaganda effort they created back in 2014, and reportedly “funded and directed by an IRGC official named Mostafa Zahrani. Zahrani was the point of contact between IEI members and Javad Zarif, then Iran’s foreign minister.” The IEI cultivated a network of sympathetic academics and intellectuals “with the aim of shaping political and public opinion as the Iranian government, then led by Hassan Rouhani, pursued a nuclear deal with the U.S.”

At least two of the people on the Foreign Ministry’s list were, or became, top aides to Malley, while a third was hired by the think tank Malley ran before re-joining the State Department.

Malley’s well-known pro-Iran sympathies made him a target of Republicans outraged by the Iran nuclear deal.

Gabriel Noronha, who formerly served as a special adviser on Iran at the State Department under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, charged that while Malley worked for Biden as his envoy to Iran, he and his negotiating team “purposefully funneled billions of dollars to [Iran] through lack of sanctions enforcement and provision of sanctions relief that has given them somewhere between $50 [billion] and $80 billion over the last two and a half years.”

“Rob Malley deserves extensive scrutiny — yesterday, today and tomorrow,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told reporters recently after news broke that officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) planned and signed off on the massacre committed by Hamas terrorists from Gaza against Israel. “These reports,” he added, “could not be more concerning, and they hint at what could be the worst State Department scandal since Alger Hiss.”

Other former officials told the Daily Caller that Malley and a previous advisor of his, Ariane Tabatabai, who holds a senior, security clearance level job at the Defense Department, are “compromised” and had no place running Washington’s Iran policy. Tabatabai is still employed at the Pentagon where, noted the investigative reporter Lee Smith, “she has been serving as chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, Christopher Maier.”

“Tabatabai’s emails show her enthusiastically submitting to the control of top Iranian officials, who then guided her efforts to propagandize and collect intelligence on U.S. and allied officials in order to advance the interests of the Islamic Republic.”

Smith also wrote:

“The contents of the emails are damning, showing a group of Iranian American academics being recruited by the Iranian regime, meeting together in foreign countries to receive instructions from top regime officials, and pledging their personal loyalty to the regime….”

Most recently, a report delivered to the White House charges that Tabatabai and other members of the IEI were also engaged in a “covert campaign” to smear Iran’s leading opposition group, known as the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK). According to Ivan Sascha Sheehan, an associate dean of the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs:

“By seeking to neutralize favorable impressions of the organization among Washington’s foreign policy elite, Tehran sought to take down an entity capable of aiding Western attempts to curtail the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program, malign regional agenda, human rights abuses, and fundamentalist inclinations.”

Tabatabai still has high-level security clearance and access to classified information. The FBI has reportedly “refused to remove her.” So, while Israel fights for its existence, a genocidal Iran is using three of its proxies — Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis in Yemen — Tabatabai, who according to Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), “had the mission of influencing U.S. policymakers to agree with what the Iranian government wanted,” may be sending classified information about planned U.S. and Israeli military moves back to Iran.

A spokesman for the Department of Defense told the Washington Free Beacon, “We are honored to have her serve.” What could possibly go wrong?

Regarding Iran in particular, it would be hard to name someone who has been as relentlessly influential in the left wing’s foreign policy sphere as Malley. A longtime friend of Secretary of State Antony Blinken— they attended the École Jeannine Manuel in Paris together — Malley served under the presidencies of both Bill Clinton and his college friend Barack Obama before being named as President Joe Biden’s official envoy to Iran.

Under Clinton, Malley was a Special Assistant for Arab-Israeli Affairs, where he oversaw the Camp David negotiations between Palestine Liberation Organization head Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. He sat out the Republican administration of George W. Bush and worked for the George Soros-funded International Crisis Group, where he continued to advocate for radical shifts in foreign policies. In 2008, when Obama ran for president, he tapped Malley, his friend and former Harvard classmate, to serve as his campaign advisor for Middle East foreign policy — until Malley was forced to resign in May 2008, after it was reported that he was in close communication with members of Hamas.

Malley, however, returned again in 2014, first as senior director of the National Security Council, then soon becoming Obama’s Special Assistant for Middle East policy. Sure enough, it was Malley who oversaw Obama’s 2015 “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known colloquially as the “Iran nuclear deal,” over the objections of its regional allies, including Israel.

It was no surprise, therefore, when the incoming Biden administration tapped Malley to be its official envoy to Iran as part of its aborted attempt to resurrect Obama’s Iran deal. It had been rejected at the time by the Senate and was discarded completely by the Trump administration. Now finally, Malley himself is being discarded.

The puzzling thing is that throughout his career, Malley has been so pro-Iran, so pro-Hamas, and so anti-Israel that the wonder is: “Why is this just now becoming news?”

Malley has been consistent in supporting America’s Middle East adversaries throughout his government and think tank service.

Malley’s life story makes it clear enough. His mother was a New Yorker who worked for the Algerian National Liberation Front at the UN; his father Simon Malley was an Egyptian-born member of the communist party and an Arab nationalist who worked in the 1950s for Egypt’s notoriously anti-Semitic President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Simon Malley left Egypt to continue life as a Marxist intellectual in Paris, where his prolific writing championed the same Third World-focused, anti-imperialist, anti-American Marxist worldview that has since consumed many of America’s college campuses. The Malley family would later be expelled from France to the U.S. in 1980 because of Simon’s hostility to French policies
in Africa.

“As his father was logging in an impressive 20-hour interview with Fidel Castro and many more hours with Yasir Arafat, Robert Malley’s childhood was a cosmopolitan, internationalist, and Third Worldist one that exposed him from an early age to a vast world of anti-imperialist passions and revolutionary intrigue,” noted the writer Hussein Aboubakr Mansour in a recent profile of Malley. Mansour is an Egyptian-born former jihadi who later renounced his past and became a supporter of the United States and Israel.

Mansour’s use of the term “cosmopolitan” here hits on a core tenet of New Left ideology, where concern for one’s own country is seen as jingoism, and the welfare of other nations, even those openly hostile to the US, occupies the highest priority.

Young Robert Malley apparently absorbed his father’s politics and hatred of Israel so thoroughly that he was writing anti-Zionist op-eds for the Yale Daily News just a month into his freshman year. Throughout his later career in various political offices or writing for left-wing think tanks, Malley has consistently voiced support for the Iranian regime and for radical foreign policy ideas, along the way amassing an army of critics on the political right, who are now challenging not just his ideas and influence, but even his loyalty to the United States.

With this background, the wonder is that he has come this far. His status as a senior policy expert on Iran, at least within left-wing Democratic Party circles, might strike one as astounding. If we assume the worst conclusion to the ongoing FBI investigation, Malley, while serving as the Biden administration’s emissary to Iran, committed espionage by giving US secret information to the Iranian regime, just as his protégé Tabatabai might still be doing. How was her “top level security clearance” approved and why is she still employed in a senior position at the Pentagon?

If anything, Issa’s conjuring up the ghost of Alger Hiss misses a critical distinction. Hiss was outwardly an American patriot, the son of a privileged background who became a Soviet spy and passed secrets to the KGB, all while appearing to work diligently for the US State Department. Hiss acted as though he were above such suspicions.

Malley, on the other hand, has made no bones about his pro-Tehran leanings, ever. In fact, he has been completely open about it for decades. Which conclusion, I wonder, would be more surprising? That Rob Malley has been passing secrets to the hated Iranian mullahs, or that he has not been?

The path from the clandestine treason of Hiss to the case of Malley indicates a deeper rot in our politics. Both Hiss and Malley were Harvard-educated foreign policy professionals, yet Hiss’s status as a member of the Ivy League elite was used as his strongest defense against the espionage charges leveled against him. In Malley’s case, however, his pro-Iranian sympathy is these days the very epitome of the mindset at schools such as Harvard, thanks to the triumph of the Left’s “long march” through academia.

Malley had no need to hide what he really thought. His stances are interchangeable with any number of left-wing foreign policy intellectuals who are right now teaching students at those same schools. Malley is nothing like the sneaky Hiss. He is far closer to those Ivy League professors currently tweeting gleefully in favor of the terrorist group Hamas, just to cite the most current example.

Following the end of the Cold War, “anti-imperialist” left-wing radicals such as Malley came to terms with and were able to influence liberals with whom they had previously battled. In his recent article, Mansour summed up this metamorphosis:

“In this context, one could see Malley’s conversion to American liberalism, his joining of the bureaucratic ranks of what he once considered ‘American imperialism’ was part of a larger phenomenon in which the Western leftwing anti-imperialist intelligentsia was fragmented between those who formed anti-globalization, anti-war, and environmentalist movements and those who merged with the liberal establishment and shaped its progressive wing. Like Obama himself, they were a new American class of international, urban, highly mobile, and highly credentialed professional intellectuals who came to age in the Edward Said moment. They are both comfortable in the professional corporate world and the activist world and both at home in Western and non-Western countries. They no longer believed in what Foucault propagandized as the spiritual humanism of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, nor in the inevitable world-transforming triumph of Palestinian guerrillas. They no longer believed in the conspiratorial villainy of American imperialism, but neither did they believe in American patriotism. Unlike what hot-headed and ill-tempered American conservative populists say, they do not hate America, and they do not work for America’s enemies, but they are merely ambivalent to what we think America represents.”

Worth noting is that this assessment was written in July before the news about Malley’s involvement and the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s control of the “Iran Experts Initiative” came to light.

It is a wonder Malley ever passed a background check in the first place.


This article was published by The Gatestone Institute and is reproduced with permission.

Arizona’s Tax Regime Improves But Arizona Ranks High In Other Measures Of Freedom thumbnail

Arizona’s Tax Regime Improves But Arizona Ranks High In Other Measures Of Freedom

By Neland Nobel

Arizona has moved up in rankings determined by the Tax Foundation, but still can’t break into the Top 10.

The Tax Foundation just came out with its 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index.

The bad news is that Arizona does not make it into the Top 10.  The good news is Arizona did move substantially up in the ranks and is getting close.

The annual study by the Tax Foundation relates to the “business climate” of individual states relating to their taxing structure.  It looks not only at the level of taxes but the structure of taxes.  Complexity adds to the regulatory burden, that is the additional cost of complying with the tax.

States can vary widely in how they employ the mix of taxes as a source of revenue, such as income taxes, property taxes, corporate taxes, and sales taxes.  Also, many states vary as to the sheer amount of regulatory burden in collecting each of these taxes.  The Tax Foundation ranks all of these taxes individually and then combines them for a final number.

For example, Arizona ranks 9th for personal income taxes, but a low 41st for sales taxes.

Ranking number one overall is Wyoming, which has no state or corporate income tax at all.  Not only is zero a low rate, there is no regulatory burden on a tax that doesn’t exist.

Ranking at the bottom is New Jersey, which has a very high and overly complex tax collection structure.

In the overall ranking of the entire tax structure, here is a list of the Top 10 and the Bottom 10 states relating to taxation.

It is not surprising that the rankings generally follow along the ideological and political lines that you might expect.  More Conservative states rank much higher than Progressive-Liberal states.

Arizona moved up from 19th to 14th but still did not break into the Top 10.

According to the Tax Foundation:

“Arizona transitioned from a two-bracket, graduated-rate individual income tax system with a top rate of 2.98 percent to a flat tax rate of 2.5 percent, becoming one of the 11 states with a flat individual income tax structure. Among those 11 states, Arizona now has the lowest individual income tax rate. This major development helped the state improve seven places on the individual income tax component and five places overall, from 19th to 14th.”

It is worth noting this improvement came under Republican Doug Ducey and barely got done due to slim Republican margins in the legislature.  Elections matter.

Taxes, of course, are not the sole criteria for business climate.  The overall regulatory environment, the quality of the educational system, the cost of energy, the quality and availability of the workforce, the cost of housing, and a general environment of personal liberty, are also considerations in attracting both businesses and individuals.

Note that while geographic climate is a factor, New Hampshire and Wyoming rank very high while California and Hawaii are very low.  Nice weather surely is a plus but not determinative when it comes to business conditions.

Other factors beyond climate are also important and here Arizona does somewhat better. Arizona generally is ranked #2 in school choice behind Florida by the Heritage Foundation. This is leading to improved educational outcomes, less cost to the taxpayer, and an improved workforce.

The Goldwater Institute, however, ranks Arizona #1 in school choice.

Public safety is a factor as well and Arizona  ranks #5 for Second Amendment self-protection rights by Guns&Ammo magazine.  About five years ago, the state was ranked #1 in the nation.

The CATO Institute, a libertarian-oriented think tank just released a study looking at multifarious factors of personal and economic freedom just ranked Arizona # 5 in the nation.

Overall, Arizona is doing pretty well but still could use improvement on the tax front.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Arizona News: November 27, 2023 thumbnail

Arizona News: November 27, 2023

By The Editors

The Prickly Pear will provide current, linked articles about Arizona consistent with our Mission Statement to ‘inform, educate and advocate’. We are an Arizona based website and believe this information should be available to all of our statewide readers.

Patriot Party Fails To Qualify For 2024 Ballot

New Poll Shows Rep. Gallego Most Favorable Among Voters In Senate Race

Think tank: Ducey to thank for Arizona’s 5th ranking in overall freedom

Biden Overregulation a Roadblock to Arizona Economy

Chandler School Board Member Organized Rep. Tlaib Appearance In Support Of Hamas

Judge Orders City Of Phoenix To Pay $221K In Attorney’s Fees Over The Homeless Zone

Rep. Biggs: Capitol Footage ‘Embarrassing’ For Mainstream Media, January 6 Committee

14,300 Illegal Border Crossings In Tucson Sector In One Week

Arizona State Troopers Seize More Than 262 Pounds Of Fentanyl Pills

Numerous fentanyl seizures in Arizona in mid-November, eight suspects arrested

ESA Hearing Highlights Hypocrisy

Horne Takes A Stand Against Antisemitic Materials In Schools

Arizona Chamber writes Biden admin warning about EPA proposal

Mohave County Rejects Ballot Hand Count Policy After AG Threatened Criminal Charges

Mohave County opts not to hand count ballots after legal threat from Mayes

No Matter What, Politicians Keep On Spending More Than We Have


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Group Releases Analysis of Pinal County’s 2022 Election, Finds ‘Deliberate Malfeasance,’ Concludes Election Should Not Have Been Certified thumbnail

Group Releases Analysis of Pinal County’s 2022 Election, Finds ‘Deliberate Malfeasance,’ Concludes Election Should Not Have Been Certified

By Rachel Alexander

The CONELRAD Group found “malfeasance, incompetence, and possible criminal activity” in their review of the 2022 election in Pinal County. The team of mostly former intelligence and military officers located primarily in southern Arizona concluded in a new report sent to The Arizona Sun Times on Wednesday, “Evidence was clearly identified that should have led to an immediate halt to certifying the General Election.”

Jack Dona, who holds 43 intelligence and technical certifications and diplomas from civilian colleges, technical schools and military academies, and who served in military intelligence, retiring as a master sergeant/first, summarized his team’s report for The Sun Times.

“It is our opinion that the entire legal system in Arizona may be compromised. From the State Bar attacking the law license of Brian Blehm, to the entire judicial system of Arizona dismissing election integrity cases, this appears to be a coordinated effort to intimidate and block any BOS [board of supervisor] elected official attempting to verify our election system via hand counts, or any election integrity transparency at all,” he said. “All cases being blocked and shut down via ‘lawfare’ in the courts and by county attorneys … All avenues of redress are being shut down.”

The report contained six main findings. It was based on 637 pages of evidence, consisting primarily of transcripts of meetings of the Pinal County supervisors, emails, reports, and articles.

Two of the findings related to Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkner, who appointed the law firm of Coppersmith & Brockelman PLC to analyze the 2022 primary election results. However, that firm also represents Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs, an election fraud denier who has fought attempts to uncover corruption in the elections. It was founded by Sam Coppersmith, who has previously served as chair for the Arizona Democratic Party. The team was concerned about why Volkner chose a firm with conflicts.

The team recommended, “At a minimum, candidates who lost their elections statewide and in Pinal County should subpoena to see the communications records between Katie Hobbs, Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer and the firm used by both of them for elections, Coppersmith & Brockelman PLC.”

The team found regarding Volkner, “It appears that the County Attorney’s Office now effectively controls all elections in Pinal County and will fight fiercely, using his interpretations of state and county laws, to ensure there is no verification of the internal workings of these machines by a full hand count.”

The report recommended, “Kent Volkmer in his capacity as Pinal County Attorney should be investigated to the fullest extent allowable under the law.”

The report was skeptical of Volkner stating during a meeting that it would take days or weeks to hand count ballots. The team responded in its report, “Ridiculous comment on face value. Given the correct procedure and personnel with observers, a full hand count could have taken place within 48 to 72 hours. Our ancestors did it successfully on election night 40 years ago.”

A third finding in the report compiled a list of Election Day problems, from “multiple problems with these machines receiving re-programming on election day to multiple poll books not functioning correctly.” The team said the election must be hand-counted to fix this issue, and “source codes and super user or root passwords must be given to independent IT experts for analysis.”

The report included testimony from an election worker who said they were instructed to help tear up Republican ballots that had been double-voted or scanned twice through the tabulators. The election worker admitted no Democratic ballots were ripped up.

“I don’t believe the double ballot issue involved the Democrats because other poll workers assisted me with tearing up mail in ballots but the ballots I tore up were all RED,” the ballot worker said.

The team responded in the report, “This is evidence of nefarious activity. These mistakes always affect GOP Candidates. Why wasn’t this referred to Sheriff Lamb for investigation?”


To read the rest of this story, click here, and go to The Arizona Sun-Times.


As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.