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Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Daily Drift

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Obama Strikes Terror Into The Hearts Of Republicans By Supporting Mandatory Voting

President Obama has sent a wave of terror through the Republican Party by suggesting that the most direct way to get rid of Citizens United is to require mandatory voting by every eligible citizen.
In response to a question about Citizens United, President Obama said:
Now, here’s the problem. Citizens United was a Supreme Court ruling based on the First Amendment, so it can’t be overturned by statute. It could be overturned by a new Court, or it could be overturned by constitutional amendment. And those are extraordinarily challenging processes. So I think we have to think about what are other creative ways to reduce the influence of money, given that in the short term we not going to be able to overturn Citizens United.

And I think there are other ways for us to think creatively, and we’ve got to have a better debate about how we make this democracy and encourage participation — how we make our democracy better and encourage more participation.

For example, the process of political gerrymandering I think is damaging the Congress. I don’t think the insiders should draw the lines and decide who their voters are. And Democrats and Republicans do this, and it’s great for incumbents. But it means, over time, that people aren’t competing for the center because they know that if they win a Democratic primary or a Republican primary, they’ve won. So they just — it pushes parties away from compromise in the center.
I think that — now, I don’t think I’ve ever said this publicly, but I’m going to go ahead and say it now. We shouldn’t be making it harder to vote. We should be making it easier to vote.
In Australia, and some other countries, there’s mandatory voting. It would be transformative if everybody voted. That would counteract money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country, because the people who tend not to vote are young; they’re lower income; they’re skewed more heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups; and they’re often the folks who are — they’re scratching and climbing to get into the middle class. And they’re working hard, and there’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls. We should want to get them into the polls. So that may end up being a better strategy in the short term.

Long term, I think it would be fun to have a constitutional amendment process about how our financial system works. (Applause.) But, realistically, given the requirements of that process that would be a long-term proposition.
Republicans reacted with predictable terror to the idea that everyone would vote. Marco Rubio wigged out on Fox News’s Hannity over the idea, “I don’t put anything past him. I mean, there are a lot of things that have already happened that I never thought I would see. Here’s the point he refuses to point out or that he misses: Not voting is also a legitimate choice that some people make. I wish more people would participate in politics, too, but that is their choice. That is the choice of living in a free society.”
Mandatory voting would be the most direct way to neutralize Citizens United. Mandatory voting would also hand the House and Senate back to the Democratic Party. The Republican Party would have to completely change, and the competition for votes in politics would shift to the center. Democrats and Republicans could not exclusively appeal to one side of the ideological spectrum and be successful. Republicans would be forced to move to the center or face extinction.
The entire Republican model for political success is based on conservative millionaire and billionaire donors, and keeping the electorate as small as possible.
When Americans show up to vote, the Republican Party doesn’t win. President Obama’s mandatory voting idea would be the most direct way to return America’s representative democracy back to the people.

Wingnut 'Intelligence'

In typical wingnut fashion this M-O-R-O-N 'suggests' that others do what he is in sore need of doing

Bernie Sanders Delivers The Most Epic Blow To The New GOP Budgets

Image via Doug Cunningham The House GOP budget, which was unveiled last Tuesday, issued deeper and more crippling cuts to America’s safety nets while greatly increasing...

President Obama Smacks Down Republicans With The Reality Of His Economic Success

Obama cleveland
President Obama smacked down Republicans today by contrasting his record of economic success with the reality of their trickle down failures.
The president said:
Now, I want to return to the issue of the debate that we were having then because it bears on the debate we’re having now. It’s important to note that at every step that we’ve taken over the past six years we were told our goals were misguided; they were too ambitious; that my administration’s policies would crush jobs and explode deficits, and destroy the economy forever. Remember that? Because sometimes we don’t do the instant replay, we don’t run the tape back, and then we end up having the same argument going forward.

One Republican in Congress warned our policies would diminish employment and diminish stock prices. Diminish stock prices. The stock market has doubled since I came into office. Corporate profits are — corporate balance sheets are stronger than they have ever been — because of my terrible business policies.

One Republican senator claimed we faced trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. Another predicted my reelection would spike gas prices to $6.60 a gallon. I don’t know how he came up with that figure — $6.60. My opponent in that last election pledged that he could bring down the unemployment rate to 6 percent by 2016 — next year — at the end of next year. It’s 5.5 now. (Applause.)

And right here in Cleveland, the leader of the House Republicans — a good friend of mine —- he captured his party’s economic theories by critiquing mine with a very simple question: Where are the jobs, he said. Where are the jobs? I’m sure there was a headline in The Plain Dealer or one of the papers — Where Are the Jobs?
Well, after 12 million new jobs, a stock market that has more than doubled, deficits that have been cut by two-thirds, health care inflation at the lowest rate in nearly 50 years, manufacturing coming back, auto industry coming back, clean energy doubled — I’ve come not only to answer that question, but I want to return to the debate that is central to this country, and the alternative economic theory that’s presented by the other side.
Because their theory does not change. It really doesn’t. It’s a theory that says, if we do little more than just cut taxes for those at the very top, if we strip out regulations and let special interests write their own rules, prosperity trickles down to the rest of us. And I take the opposite view. And I take it not for ideological reasons, but for historic reasons, because of the evidence.
We know from the facts that are there for all to see that America does better, our economy does better, everybody does better when the middle class does better and we’ve got more ladders for people to get into the middle class if they’re willing to work hard. We do better when everyone grows together — top, middle, bottom. We do better when everyone has a chance not only to benefit from America’s success, but also to contribute to America’s success. And we know from more recent history that when we stray from that ideal it doesn’t turn out well. We’ve now got evidence there is a better way, there is a better approach. And I’m calling it middle-class economics.
For the first eight years of this century, before I came into office, we tried trickle-down economics. We slashed taxes for folks at the top, stripped out regulations, didn’t make investments in the things we know we need to grow. At the end of those eight years, we had soaring deficits, record job losses, an economy in crippling recession.

In the years since then we’ve tried middle-class economics. Today we’ve got dramatically lower deficits, a record streak of job creation, an economy that’s steadily growing.
President Obama demonstrated why Republicans are going to have a difficult time selling their ideas as good for the economy. None of the Republican ideas have changed. The same ideology that killed the Clinton economy by led to an economic collapse is still being touted by the GOP today.
Obama’s rebuttal to the Republicans can be summed up as we’ve been there, done that, and all we got was a lousy recession.
It was nice to see this president taking a small measure of credit for the growing economy. A consistent criticism of the Obama White House has been that they have not taken enough credit for their accomplishments. President Obama went beyond reminding people of what he has achieved. The president also contrasted his economic record with what came before him under George W. Bush. The Bush economic record is still relevant because Republicans are putting out budgets that are based on the same ideology that Bush failed with during his time in office.
Obama delivered a heaping spoonful of bitter reality to the Republicans. Every single one of their predictions were wrong. The Republican economic ideology is a failure, and Obama’s successes demonstrated once again that middle-class economics will always triumph over the great trickle down fraud.

Obama’s Cleveland Appearance Leaves Boehner No Other Option but to Lie – Again

We just saw President Barack Obama go to Cleveland, where he engaged in some verbal slapping around of Republican opponents of his budget. He took a shot at Speaker of the House John Boehner, pointing out that the evidence – not ideology – shows that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. He touted the success of his own economic policies, which are undeniable.
John Boehner wasn’t sitting idly by, but was also on the attack. Cory Fritz wrote at Speaker.gov yesterday:
His own budget plan is a disaster. His ‘middle-class economics’ are a bust. Democrats are bailing on his priorities. So what is President Obama going to do? He’s going to Cleveland to try and start a partisan political brawl.
It’s almost as though Boehner is living in an alternate reality. Of course he is, and it is one of his own making. Fritz cites USA TODAY, which reported “White House officials from President Obama on down are using a series of events to trash the GOP…”
Sorry, Cory Fritz, but the GOP has trashed itself. Obama is just drawing attention to the fact.
Hypocritically, after six years of relentless race- and politically-based Republican attacks on the president, and six years of Republican refusal to govern, Fritz claims,
Sadly this is just the latest example of President Obama putting campaign-style events and partisan politics above governing. And it’s all a ruse designed to distract from the president’s own problems, including:
To the first point, the president doesn’t have any problems except for a House that has refused to participate in the parliamentary process since the day he was elected. From the very beginning, when they announced their plan to make his presidency a failure and render him a one-term president, they have played partisan-politics while ignoring their duty to govern.
In the process, they have become the paid goons of the Koch brothers, and betrayed their sacred duty to the American people and the United States Constitution. If greater infamy than this is to be found in Congress, it is among 47 Republicans in the United States Senate.
To the second point, the Republicans pretend to care about a balanced budget, but for some reason, a balanced budget is only an issue now (like executive orders) that we have a black president. You can look at the last 60 years, and as Boehner himself pointed out the other day, we’ve had a balanced budget in only seven of those years, four of them by a Democrat. They pound the myth of tax and spend liberals, but it is only a myth.
The funny thing about trying to present NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act NAFTA Worker Security Act) as an Obama policy is that in 1993, when it was passed, more Democrats in Congress voted NO than voted YES, while almost three-quarters of Republicans voted YES (34-10 in the Senate and 132-43 in the House).
In fact, negotiations for NAFTA began in 1990, under the presidency of George H.W. Bush and the treaty was duly signed by Bush on December 17, 1992, leaving ratification as the next step.
NAFTA was ratified only after President Bill Clinton added to it the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC) and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) which protect workers and the environment respectively.
Just to be clear: Yes, Obama supports NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – I am personally opposed to both – but at this time, Barack Obama was teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. He was no more president when NAFTA came about than he was when the Twin Towers were attacked, Republican lies notwithstanding. Let’s not pretend NAFTA is an Obama problem exclusively.
Bill O’Reilly, as he has about so much else, has lied about Republican support for NAFTA, claiming in 2006 that “[m]ost Republicans didn’t want” NAFTA. Obviously, that’s a lie. Again, the facts disprove it. Here too, Frtiz makes it sound as though Brown opposes Obama solely, but if you look at the actual article cited, it says,
Sen. Sherrod Brown made it clear yesterday that he will oppose Republican efforts next year to provide President Barack Obama with the same broad authority past presidents have used to negotiate trade agreements.
Fritz descends to comedy gold when he refers to Obama’s failure to help middle class taxpayers, linking to another article full of lies on speaker.gov, as though linking to one set of lies turns another set of lies into facts.
It is a sad commentary on a GOP that stands for nothing beyond opposition to Obama that, while openly and repeatedly lying about the facts, Fritz points to an article that claims it is Obama’s message that “doesn’t line up with the facts.”
“Meanwhile,” Fritz claims, “in the House, Republicans will be using today to move forward with markup and debate on our budget, which balances within 10 years and paves the way to job creation and new opportunities for all Americans”:
Republicans have passed bill after bill this year to help make a difference for middle-class families – including bipartisan proposals to expand 529 plans to help make college more affordable, approve the Keystone XL pipeline and create at least 42,000 jobs, and restore the 40-hour work week to help Americans hit hardest by the president’s health care law.
Right. Anti-abortion bill after anti-abortion bill is a big help to Americans, and those 35 jobs from the Keystone XL pipeline will make all the difference.
It is a lie that Boehner is restoring the 40-hour work week, because that is just a thinly disguised attempt to take away healthcare from the workers affected by it, in the same way as the much-touted human-trafficking bill is just a thinly disguised anti-abortion bill.
And again – and not least – there is the little matter of taking healthcare away from 20 million Americans.
And letting them sicken and die.
Good stuff, Boehner. The Kochs bless you and keep you. Because we won’t.
Eviscerated by President Obama in Cleveland, Speaker Boehner had no option but to try to bury Obama’s budget in well-tried but obvious lies.
“It’s quite the contrast in leadership,” Fritz tells us, and he is right about that, at least. It is quite the contrast in leadership: A president who genuinely wants to help the middle class and make the 1 percent and corporations pay their fair share, and a House Speaker who wants to further enrich his corporate owners at the expense of hard-working American families, fast-tracking them on the road to servitude.
Pick the one you prefer, America.

Meanwhile in the Mentally Ill ward ...

Obama Signals To Netanyahu That It Is Payback Time For Bibi’s Speech To Congress

Obama Puts Netanyahu In His Place During Tough Phone Call
In a tense phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama delivered the message that he is going forward with trying to negotiate a deal with Iran on their nuclear program, reassessing U.S. options, and reaffirmed his support for the two-state solution. In other words, it’s payback time.
Here is how the White House described the Obama/Netanyahu phone call:
Obama-NetanyahuPresident Obama spoke today by telephone with Prime Minister Netanyahu to congratulate the Prime Minister on his party’s success in winning a plurality of Knesset seats. The President emphasized the importance the United States places on our close military, intelligence, and security cooperation with Israel, which reflects the deep and abiding partnership between both countries. The President and the Prime Minister agreed to continue consultations on a range of regional issues, including the difficult path forward to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The President reaffirmed the United States’ long-standing commitment to a two-state solution that results in a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestine. On Iran, the President reiterated that the United States is focused on reaching a comprehensive deal with Iran that prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and verifiably assures the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.
President Obama’s comments about reassessing options match the language used by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. During his daily briefing with reporters, Earnest said, “I’m not suggesting that any policy decisions have been made at this point. I don’t want to leave you with that impression. In fact, what I have tried to say is that it, understandably, has prompted us to reevaluate the strategy that we will put in place to make those decisions. And that will be something that we will do moving forward….Well, again, decisions that — steps that the United States has taken at the United Nations have been predicated on this idea that the two-state solution is the best outcome. Now our ally in these talks has said that they are no longer committed to that solution. That means that we need to reevaluate our position in this matter, and that is what we will do moving forward.”
Netanyahu needs U.S. support and aid. It is no wonder that he backtracked so quickly on his opposition to the two-state solution. Netanyahu may talk a tough game, but he needs the support of the United States. Obama put the fear of God into conservative hero Netanyahu by suggesting that his behavior during his reelection campaign might have been the final straw.
It is clear that President Obama hasn’t forgotten the slap in the face that was Netanyahu’s address to Congress. The president made it clear to Netanyahu that his stunt with his Republican buddies isn’t going to stop a possible agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.
Obama hasn’t forgotten what Netanyahu has done, and the payback might make the Israeli Prime Minister wish that he had never messed with the President Of The United States.

Jon Stewart Compares Netanyahu To GOP For Ginning Up Racist Fears To Win Election

jon stewart bibiedited
During Wednesday night’s broadcast of The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart mocked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for ginning up “racist fears of minority turnout for short-term political gain” in order to push his Likud Party to electoral victory on Tuesday. Stewart pointed out that really is an American thing and that Bibi should be subject to copyright infringement. The Daily Show host also took Fox News to task for making the election out to be between President Obama and Netanyahu, ridiculing the network for questioning why POTUS hadn’t called Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory.
The comedian began the segment by showing video clips from the election. This segued to Fox News discussing the election results within the context of Obama and how the White House isn’t happy with the results. Stewart noted that Fox was apparently thrilled that they finally found a conservative who could defeat Obama, considering that they believed that the President was Netanyahu’s opponent. More clips of Fox were then played showing pundits lamenting that Obama hadn’t conceded to the Israeli Prime Minister yet, leading to Stewart exclaiming that Obama wasn’t going to call someone who came to the United States Congress against his wishes just to “sh*t on a nuclear deal” the President had been working on for years.
The host moved on to discussing how Netanyahu won the close election despite polls showing him in trouble days before ballots were cast. After showing video of Netanyahu appealing to the extreme right using racist fear-stoking and promising that Palestinians will never have their own state, Stewart made the comparison between American conservatives and Netanyahu. He also highlighted how after Netanyahu had declared victory, the Prime Minister pretended like he never said any of those things and tried to appeal to all the people of Israel in his post-election remarks.
The lesson to be learned from all of this for the GOP is to just own your id and embrace racially divisive remarks that are made in private that somehow make it into the public sphere. Stewart pointed out that if Mitt Romney just owned his infamous 47% comments in 2012 and used it during his Presidential campaign, he would be sitting in the White House now.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of Comedy Central:

The Daily Show going after Bibi for playing on his base’s inherent racism comes on the heels of the New York Times attacking Netanyahu for that exact same thing. Meanwhile, conservatives in this country continue to make the Israeli election a referendum on Obama and are openly supporting a foreign leader over the President of the United States. The celebration of Bibi’s victory has yet to slow down from the American right. This is how pervasive Obama Derangement Syndrome is among Republicans and conservatives.

Scott Walker’s Romneyesque Pandering Demonstrates His Lack Of Leadership Qualities

Walker has morphed into a candidate so feckless, that the 2012 version of Mitt Romney looks like a profile in courage by comparison.…

You can't make this shit up ...

Democrats reject GOP offer to resolve abortion dispute

FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2014 file photo, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas speaks in Dallas. Cornyn, the author of a bill to combat human trafficking is proposing a compromise to resolve a partisan dispute over abortion funding that has hung up in legislation.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
.Republicans sought a way out of an abortion dispute that has blocked anti-trafficking legislation, but Democrats immediately rejected their proposal and voted for a third straight day to stop the bill from moving forward.
The developments Thursday deepened a Senate stalemate over the once widely popular bill to help the victims of human trafficking. The impasse has also stalled confirmation of President Barack Obama's attorney general nominee.
The bill's main GOP author, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, unveiled a proposal on the Senate floor that would change the prohibition on abortion spending in a proposed victims' fund. Democrats have complained that the prohibition goes further than current law. Cornyn said his proposal would make the victims' fund subject to the same abortion restrictions that have been included for decades in Congress' annual spending bills.
"If we can't get to 'yes' on a human trafficking bill, then heaven help us," Cornyn said as he described what he hoped would be a compromise that could win support from Democrats.
Within minutes, Democrats rejected his plan. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said there could be no compromise on the trafficking bill short of entirely removing a provision that prevents spending for abortions in most cases.
"We want that language out," Feinstein told reporters. "There's a compromise possible: Take it out."
Annual abortion restrictions in current law apply to tax dollars, whereas the victims' fund envisioned by the trafficking legislation would be made up of fees paid by criminals. Democrats say applying restrictions on abortion spending to that new pot of money is an expansion they can't accept. Cornyn's proposal would route the fees through Congress' annual spending process, but Democrats dismissed that as trickery that wouldn't solve the problem.
The back-and-forth came as a vote to move the trafficking bill forward failed 56 to 42, short of the 60 votes needed. Similar procedural votes had yielded similar outcomes for two days, with Republicans joined by a bloc of four moderate Democrats — Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Bob Casey of Pennyslvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
The day's events kept the bill in limbo, its fate uncertain. Heitkamp and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, were trying to gather support for their own stab at a compromise, but it wasn't certain if they would get anywhere.
Not long ago, the legislation enjoyed wide bipartisan support, with all sides agreeing that despite gridlock on so many other issues, they could come together to help sex trafficking victims. That rare unity fell apart early last week after Democrats began objecting to the abortion provision in the legislation, which they claimed they hadn't known about even though it had been in the bill for weeks as it passed the Judiciary Committee unanimously. A Democratic senator's office belatedly conceded this week that a staff aide had actually known about the abortion provision, but claimed the senator, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, was not informed.
The legislation is designed to help victims of sexual trafficking, establishing a fund to do so that would receive money paid by convicted sexual traffickers as part of their court cases. The measure says none of the money could be used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or if the life of the woman were in danger. The legislation also aims to give law enforcement officials more tools to pursue people involved in the human trafficking trade.
Complicating the standoff, Republicans have tied the confirmation of Attorney General-designate Loretta Lynch to the bill by saying that no vote would occur on her confirmation until the legislation passes. That means her confirmation may be delayed until April, because the Senate will next week take up the budget and will then go on recess for two weeks. The long delay has prompted its own round of finger-pointing from Democrats, civil rights leaders and women's groups.

TN Republican: 200,000 New Good Paying Jobs Bad For State

by Dan Simpson 
In a confounding statement, Tennessee Republican state Senator Bo Watson claims that a plan to bring 200,000 new jobs to his state could be bad because some of them would not be the right kind of jobs.
Why? Many of the jobs could be union ones.
Volkswagen wants to add a new SUV line to their existing plant in Chattanooga, aided by a proposed $166 million tax incentive package. If built, the plant would create some 200,000 new jobs, many of them union ones.
Watson warned the state Senate Commerce Committee during a hearing on the state Economic and Community Development’s budget that bringing those union jobs to his state would be a “magnet for unionized labor, intentionally,” and would damage the area culturally.  During the hearing, Watson grilled David Geanacopoulos, Volkswagen America’s general counsel, about the automaker’s labor policies, criticizing the company for supporting the efforts of the United Auto Workers to unionize the VW plant’s employees.
While commending the number of jobs VW would bring to the area and the positive economic impact, Watson said to the committee:
“VW is a magnet for organized labor, intentionally. I believe this committee should know and understand what Volkswagen’s position is on this issue, both here and in Germany.”
“I hope the committee will take some time to fully vet this incentive offer. At the end of the day, we can have no buyer’s remorse.”
VW’s Geanacopoulos explained to Watson that it was not company management who has been pushing to unionize the plant’s jobs, but rather the VW Works Council, which is an elected organization mandated by German law and separate from company management. Geanacopoulos said that the decision to unionize or not should be left to the employees. Last year, by a 712-626 margin, those employees voted against unionizing their VW jobs, aided by Tennessee Republicans who loudly campaigned against unionization.
Despite the vote, the VW Works Council in conjunction with the UAW have continued their efforts to unionize jobs at the plant.
And Watson believes that those potential union jobs could change the area.
“Our city, our county, the surrounding counties have been incredibly impacted. Mostly for the positive, but that transformation can also involve other aspects of our communities and our culture.”
Watson did not elaborate on how unionized jobs would negatively effect the culture of the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. Like most other Republicans, he apparently believes that management should have the right to screw their employees over however they like and pay them as little as possible. Even at the expense of not having those jobs in his state.
Thankfully, the other 8 members of the committee voted 8-0 to approve the tax incentives for VW, with Watson abstaining.

No Schock here ...

Disgraced Aaron Schock Leaves Office $3 Million Richer And With A Pension

Disgraced Rep. Aaron Schock Leaves Office $3 Million Richer And With A Pension Aaron Schock of Illinois has made quite an impression over his six years in office. While in office, he has lived a life of exceptional opulence,...

Republican: The Keystone XL Pipeline Is Worth Building Even If It Only Creates One Job

From the "Idiots should keep their mouths shut" Department:

Racism Is Over, Declares Racist State Legislator

Good news out of Nevada! There’s no such thing as racism any more! (Come to think of it, that might be bad news for Starbucks.) While the legislature…

Bill O’Reilly Says Obama Had Nothing To Do With Death of Osama Bin Laden

BillOOn his show Wednesday, Fox News host and hot air distributor Bill O’Reilly claimed that Obama had “nothing to do” with the death of Osama bin Laden. Because… 

Florida Suspends Employee For Saying ‘Climate Change,’ Orders Psych Evaluation Before He Can Return

From the "You've got to be kidding" Department
Florida Suspends Employee For Saying ‘Climate Change,’ Orders Psych Evaluation Before He Can ReturnAfter news broke that Florida’s Republican governor Rick Scott’s administration had forbid state employees from using the phrase “climate...

Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist Shooter Kills One, Wounds Five In Mesa Shooting Spree

Image via Trisha Hendricks' Twitter Account Shots rang out in Mesa, Arizona this morning as a man went from location to location, wounding five people and killing one. As of just a few hours ago,...