Leader of Arizona teachers strike is doing well… for himself

Despite previous assurances that Arizona teachers would be returning to work this morning, a decision yesterday evening resulted in the teachers taking yet another day off from work. The state is still hammering out the details of this year’s budget, but they’ve already assured the teachers union that generous pay increases and bumped up funding for education programs are on the way. But it seems that the schools will mostly remain closed until the budget is passed and signed. (AZ Central)

Arizona’s historic #RedForEd teacher walkout will stretch to a sixth school day, as Arizona Educators United organizers urged teachers to return to the Capitol Thursday amid unresolved budget discussions.

At least 40 Arizona school districts, accounting for hundreds of thousands of students, will remain closed Thursday in what proved to be a chaotic Wednesday for many of those schools.

The AEU organizers and Arizona Education Association, the state’s teachers’ union, had said Tuesday night that teachers would return to work Thursday if the Legislature passed a budget by then.

The government is offering up a 10% pay increase for next year (which is half of what the union demanded) along with $400 million for school building and maintenance budgets. It’s not what was being requested, but that’s still not too shabby. It seems as if they’ve found enough common ground to open the schools back up, but the union isn’t ready to go back to work yet.

Most of the statements being handed down from the union have been delivered by Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association (AEA). He’s obviously upset about the deplorable pay rates for teachers and he’s certainly got a point in that regard. Arizona teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation, so many of them are no doubt struggling to keep their family budgets afloat.

But do you know who’s not doing so badly in the personal finance area? Joe Thomas. He’s not scraping by on a teacher’s salary but is instead paid by the union. And that turns out to be a pretty lucrative gig. Thomas received more than $400K in compensation from 2011 through 2016 according to the union’s publicly published finance records. Good work if you can get it.

Those same records bring into question precisely what these underpaid teachers are getting in exchange for all of the union dues they pay to the AEA. They take in plenty of money, but that union doesn’t appear to be spending very much of it on working to get better compensation and benefits for their members. In fact, almost three-quarters of their revenue goes directly into salaries and other compensation for their officers like Joe, along with operating expenses. (Click on image for full-size chart.)

If you’re spending up to 70% of your budget on compensation for your union officials, how much of your resources can you possibly be putting into supporting and defending your union members? While the teachers remain out on strike demanding more cash from the taxpayers (and an increase is certainly not an unreasonable demand), perhaps they could use some of their free time to talk to Joe about exactly where their dues money is going.

The post Leader of Arizona teachers strike is doing well… for himself appeared first on Hot Air.

Read more from Hot Air…

Giuliani puts the kibosh on Stormy ‘payoff’ claim, and throws Laura Ingraham for a loop

Rudy Giuliani dropped what many are calling a bombshell during an interview on Fox News Channel’s Hannity, saying that President Donald Trump paid back his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the $130,000 paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.

And while Giuliani was adamant that the pay off didn’t involve campaign money, the revelation sent the left into a frenzy because Trump stated on April 6 that he was not aware of the payment — even Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, a former defense attorney, said “that’s a problem,” but is there a simple explanation that’s being missed?

In a panel discussion Wednesday night on FNC’s The Ingraham Angle, contributor Byron York suggested that Giuliani “may not have thought this whole thing through,” prompting an interesting reply from Ingraham.

“If you go on ‘Hannity,’ you better think it through,” she said. “I love Rudy, but they better have an explanation for that, that’s a problem.”

Giuliani told Hannity that the $130,000 payment was “perfectly legal.”

“That money was not campaign money, sorry,” he claimed. “I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.”

When Hannity asked if this was because the money was “funneled” through Cohen’s law firm, the former mayor said, “Funneled it through the law firm, and the President repaid him.”

But Giuliani would also say Trump “didn’t know the specifics” of the payment.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., a participant on Ingraham’s panel, had a ready explanation that proved to be much closer to the truth, based on a later clarification by Giuliani.

“I don’t think somebody with President Trump’s income level writes all of his checks, you know what I mean?” he told Ingraham. “It would not surprise me if he authorized a payment and it gets lost in the shuffle. I know that sounds crazy perhaps on a certain level but here’s a guy with a massive income and he’s dealing with a lot of things.”

In a later interview with the Washington Post, Giuliani insisted the disclosure was no gaffe, saying he discussed it with Trump beforehand.

With the anti-Trump forces whipped into a lather over the possibility that Trump has been caught in a lie, Giuliani added more context to his comment with Fox News’ John Roberts — which is being described as “damage control” by the media.

“Rudy Giuliani told me that while reimbursed Cohen for the $130k SD payment, POTUS didn’t know what the money was used for. Giuliani says Cohen merely told the President he had “expenses” for which POTUS reimbursed him,” Roberts tweeted.

The payment is being described in the media as a “loan” because Trump reimbursed Cohen and anti-Trump forces insist it is related to his campaign, which will ensure wall-to-wall coverage.

But there’s so much vagueness in Giuliani’s revelation. In the end, it’s more likely to serve as another rabbit hole the president’s detractors will go chasing down in their quest to destroy him.

Read more from BRP – BizPac Review…