Friday, April 30, 2010

The Beck-Matthews Mind Meld: Please Don’t Say ‘NAZI’ (Whine . . .)

Trekkies will tell you that the Vulcan mind meld is a telepathic link between two individuals, also known as a psionic (telepathic) technique for “synaptic pattern displacement” generally not used on “aliens” in which “those in meld share consciousness in a kind of Gestalt.” Well, it’s happened in the psionic world of bioelectric energy fields modulating delta wave frequencies to meld the minds of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Fox’s psychotic dark energy madman, Glenn Beck. They may not be Vulcan, as both are quite often illogical and irrational, and one, at least, is clinically insane. Yet what other explanation is there for this:

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Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth . . .

First, let’s define our terms. There is a common derogatory derivative of “Nazi” which means a thug or a person who holds extreme racist and authoritarian views and acts out those views with brutality. It is also a 60s derogatory term for law enforcement that was of that generation and is practically alien (pun intended) to most anyone under 40 or so today.

Then, there is the proper historical reference to the Nazi Party of 1930s Germany, which advocated right wing authoritarian nationalist government (fascism) based on a racist ideology, anti-Semitism, and a belief in the superiority of the Aryan race or, as the founder and board member of FAIR, the group that boasts authorship of the Arizona legislation, prefers to say: “European-American society and culture.”

Based upon the historical reference, the term “Nazi” as applied to this law “is a very fair comparison,” according to Colorado Congressman Jared Polis (D), who is Jewish. “I hope that we’re not headed on the same trajectory that Nazi Germany was,” he said. “But this was a very recent experience for Jewish Americans and Jews worldwide and it’s something that when we see similarities we start ringing alarm bells.”

Let’s tick off the similarities, shall we, Chris: (1) authoritarian – grants law enforcement unconstitutional authority to detain citizens without proper identification; (2) racist – despite claims to the contrary by the Governor, it codifies racial profiling, which is illegal and unconstitutional precisely because it’s racist; (3) nationalist – not only in intent which is to empower the police to determine nationality (who is and is not an American) based on appearance or other factors, such as behavior, and criminalize those persons unable to prove their citizenship.

These are all characteristics common to the Nazi regime of the 1930s, before the mass killings and exterminations, and of most authoritarian fascist regimes whose methods of maintaining order and squelching dissent began with expanded police authority to detain, question, and jail citizens precisely for reasons such as not having proper identification.

Speaking for this blog, the term “Nazi” is used solely to reference the Arizona law -- not the person of the governor or any law enforcement officer or any other person -- and appropriately so. In his semi-coherent rant, Chris conflates “Nazi” with “Hitler” or “Hitlerian,” which is strictly a right wing canard against President Obama. But it isn’t used in any references to the Arizona law as a Nazi law that I’ve seen and are linked below, because it doesn’t apply. This isn’t about a charismatic dictator or hurling derogatory terms about.

Not surprisingly, Chris Matthews is completely wrong. But don’t take my word for it. Some time ago, Chris said the person he’d most like to have dinner with was the Pope. In light of recent events, would you care to revise your remark, Chris? Might I suggest the less pontifical Cardinal Archbishop of LA Roger Mahony. He said of the Arizona law:
  • “I can't imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation.”
Other references to the Arizona law as “Nazi” include:
  • Reverend Al Sharpton was “one of many speakers at the rally to compare the law to apartheid, Nazi Germany and the segregation-era South. Sharpton said he would mobilize people from across the country to march in Arizona and get arrested if necessary to fight the new law.”
  • Rep. Connie Mack, Republican of Florida: “This law of ‘frontier justice’ -– where law enforcement officials are required to stop anyone based on “reasonable suspicion” that they may be in the country illegally –- is reminiscent of a time during World War II when the Gestapo in Germany stopped people on the street and asked for their papers without probable cause. It shouldn’t be against the law to not have proof of citizenship on you.”
Last night on her show, Rachel Maddow timorously (or was she being ironic?) felt the need to clarify Mack’s statement, which was perfectly clear to begin with. Why? Was she afraid Chris would be lurking backstage ready to crash her gig and rap her knuckles if she uttered the “Nazi” word outside quotation marks?

Chris Matthews has a habit of saying ridiculous things. Once he analogized President Obama’s clash with political opponents to “cowboys and indians.” When the Frank Luntz lies were finally exposed on his network, after more than a year of giving Luntz and his memos a pass, and then only because the President mentioned it, Chris boosted Luntz’s “recognition” with great merriment, not once noting that Luntz is an admitted and proud LIAR. Nor did he draw the distinction between honorable political consultants who “spin” but have scruples and unscrupulous punks like Luntz, who LIE for a living.

Discussing the Nevada Senate race, Chris boasted of having met Republican Sue Lowden and talked her up, until one guest correctly pointed out that Lowden repeatedly touted bartering chickens for healthcare as a viable proposal. Chris called it a “blow to the midsection” as if mentioning what she said and reiterated somehow distorts her views. Why?

Matthews should worry less about how blogs and alternative outlets of information that he disdains choose to report the news, and more about the restrictions imposed by his own network on its news readers and assorted commentators, such as a virtual prohibition on using the words “Nazi” and “fascism” and “liar.” If Chris consumes less inside-the-beltway POLITICO gossip from rumormongers who drag themselves onto Hardball or Andrea Mitchell looking like they’ve been on an all-night binge, he might even catch that scent of donuts-and-coffee fascism wafting across the fruited plain.

I believe in calling a spade a spade. The use of euphemistic language only clouds our political discourse and can lead to hideous consequences. The radical right wing has never had a problem using hate speech, distortions, and propaganda -- all techniques developed by the Nazis and other fascist or authoritarian states -- to promote a dangerous, divisive, racist and violent agenda. We cannot effectively oppose the radical right wing with euphemisms and civil discourse. When Republicans and wingnuts lie we should call them liars. When they make bigoted or racist remarks we should call them bigots and racists. And when they pass laws reminiscent of Nazi Germany we should call them Nazi laws.

This country was never immune from the influence and appeal of fascism and the Nazi ideology. From experiments in eugenics to racist exhortations of right wing radio demagogue Father Coughlin (the Rush Limbaugh of his day); from the America First movement to neo-Nazi rallies in Madison Square Garden headlined by Charles Lindbergh (the Sarah Palin of his day); from McCarthyism (fascism by another name) to the militias and Oklahoma City bombing; from the Birchers to the Birthers to the Teabaggers -- fascism in all its manifestations, from neo-Nazi racism to extremist right wing xenophobia, has been a dark and sinister stain on this nation's fabric.

When fascism rears its ugly head, we are compelled to call it out. We cannot count on the corporate media to do what it has not done since the days of Watergate -- which is to be a watchdog of our democracy.

THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Glenn Beck TV Audience Down by One-Third Since January

Good news for America’s average IQ! (See inverted chart below, tracing this nation’s growing intelligence.) Imagine that, millions of people actually spending more time with their families, perhaps reading a good book instead of watching the insanely paranoid carney crier . . . That big spike happened the day after passage of healthcare reform. Our tweet of the day said:

“GOP posts FAQ, Q: What will tomorrow be like? A: A blue sun, lava on ground, and demons flying around everywhere.” When Armageddon didn’t happen, most Beckistas came to their senses; he must be down to the true believers. First, major advertisers dropped this maniac. Now, as viewership drops precipitously, even Fox “News” is distancing itself from their house loco.

Indications are the Teabagger rabble is going south (metaphorically speaking, of course) as fast as this idiot’s ratings.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Republican Parasites in the Senate Block Senate Vote on Financial Reform for Third Time

The United States Senate cannot at this moment be called “the world’s greatest deliberative body” -- a reach at the best of times -- but rather America’s whorehouse, in which Senate Republicans en masse line up to service the 1,500 lobbyist vultures who have descended on Capitol Hill. So far only one DINO, Senator Ben Nelson, has joined the kept Senators in their House of ill-repute, which makes it 29 lobbyists for each Republican Senator.

Madam Mitch McConnell, Wall Street's sock puppet, continues to preach the Orwellian line that the $50 billion liquidation fund to permit the orderly failure of financial institutions, firing of management, with shareholders taking the loss, is a “taxpayer bailout” per Frank “Goebbels” Luntz’s BIG LIE talking point. Obviously, even the most obtuse taxpayer understands that a fund financed by Wall Street banks without a nickel of taxpayer’s money for purposes of an orderly liquidation, analogized by NJ Democratic Senator Menendez to a funeral fund, is not a taxpayer bailout. Quite the contrary, (to the second argument by Republicans, that such a fund encourages risky behavior) existence of such a fund actually discourages players from engaging in risky behavior. Once the players realize there is a process in place to liquidate “too big to fail” institutions, it is no longer an abstraction in which bailouts or else are the only options left to governments and taxpayers held over the barrel of another financial collapse.

Madam McConnell is the Senate’s most dedicated disciple of George Orwell. Quick rule of thumb to decipher McConnell-speak: Everything Mitch says is the opposite of what it means, a kind of yin-yang word association. When Madam Mitch says:
“Wall Street” he means “Main Street”; “taxpayer bailout” means “Wall Street bailout”; “small business” means “BIG banks and transnational corporations”; “unintended consequences” means “intended consequences to my biggest corporate donors”; “written by a few guys in a room” means “Republican obstructionism and non-cooperation”; “jammed through the Senate” means “60-vote supermajority”; “massive” means “comprehensive”; “President Obama said the biggest beneficiaries of this bill are on Wall Street” means “President Obama said that by setting out clear rules of the road and ensuring transparency and fair dealings, we will actually promote a more vibrant market”; “supporters of this bill have locked up the support of Goldman Sachs” means “Wall Street elites, banks, and hedge fund managers held a secret meeting with moi, Madam McConnell to pay me mucho diñero to prevent regulations that stop bailouts”; “traditional derivatives” means “synthetic derivatives does not mean traditional derivatives”; “homeowners and small business owners in Kentucky” means “transnational corporations and Wall Street banks”; “recent performance of the Democratic Majority” means (petulantly) “how dare you call me on Frank Luntz talking points”; “a lot of people want more than a verbal assurance, they want proof” means (projection) take our word for it, Wall Street doesn’t need more regulation, they’ve given me verbal assurances, a wink and a nod and (have I mentioned this?) mucho, mucho diñero; “the Fertilizer Institute and Kentucky farmers will be punished by this bill” means “straw man, Wall Street will be punished by this bill; “Americans want this bill fixed” means “Wall Street wants this bill killed or watered down”; “verbal assurances” means “written regulatory rules of the road”; “Consumer Financial Protection Agency” means “massive government overreach”; “U.S. Chamber of Commerce means Goldman Sachs and Citigroup (don’t be fooled by Republican bait-and-switch -- Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, shameless denizen of the best little whorehouse in Texas), and all the umbrella organizations cited by Republicans” means “Wall Street, transnational corporations, right wing Astroturf groups such as Freedomworks, the major Republican Party business, anti-financial (kill the bill) regulation donor base”; “Americans expect us to prove we’re doing what we say we’re doing” means “stop kvetching, Democrats, I’m only doing what my Wall Street donors expect me to do”; “I don’t blame them one bit” means “I don’t blame them (“Wall Street ”) one bit”; “after all, isn’t that how the legislative process is supposed to work” means “we’re gonna shatter the all-time filibuster record in the service of our corporate owners, and we don’t care because the SCOTUS ruling corporatizing the U.S. government will give us one-party rule, i.e. fascism, without accountability or consequences”; “major legislation is proposed, the American people get to take a look at it, they let us know how it would affect them, and then we weigh those concerns against the various problems at hand” means “major legislation is proposed, Wall Street lobbyists get to take a look at it, Wall Street lobbyists let us know how it would affect them, and then we weigh those Wall Street lobbyist concerns against the various problems at hand”; “The authors of this bill may believe some of these concerns are misplaced. But they’re going to have to prove it” means “FILIBUSTER TODAY, FILIBUSTER TOMORROW, FILIBUSTER FOREVER! (Insert Rebel yell.)”
A typical Senate floor speech by Madam Mitch McConnell, deconstructed. Oh, and “My constituents” means “not Kentucky,” but a certain street in New York City. Any questions? Teabaggers?

Arizona Law Knifes GOP in the Back: THANK YOU, Governor Brewer and Gramps McCain!

It’s already starting: The Nazi anti-immigration law passed in Arizona threatens to rip the Republican Party to shreds months before the November election. A law that most astute political observers (with the cynical focus lacking in the public at large) recognize as the mother of all voter suppression statutes may, if it stands, artificially boost Republican turnout by intimidating non-white Democratic voters from showing up at the polls. Any law that compels voters of a certain caste to produce proof of citizenship will surely have a dampening effect on turnout for Democratic (non-white) constituencies.

Here’s the political context. Politics, as they say, is local, until it becomes nationalized. Here, the interests of Arizona’s right wing Republican extremists stands to heap disaster on the national party. Governor Jan Brewer, Arizona’s former secretary of state, ascended to the state’s highest office after it was vacated by Janet Napolitano, President Obama’s current Homeland Security Secretary. Brewer is locked in a tight election for governor with Arizona’s Democratic Attorney General, Terry Goddard. It was a tight race, that is, until the Wicked Witch of the West unleashed her Flying Monkey Right police to terrorize Arizona citizens.

Since Arizona’s Nazi bill was signed into law, Goddard jumped ahead of Brewer, 47 to 44 percent. Latino voters are flocking to Goddard. His support among Latinos more than doubled since September. Goddard now leads Brewer among Latinos by 71 to 25 percent. Even among party-identified voters, Brewer trails Goddard: 73 percent of Republicans favor Brewer to 88 percent of Democrats for Goddard.

Arizona is turning into a pariah state that is increasingly toxic to the rest of the nation:
  • In New York, Mayor Mike Bloomberg said: “[M]any people from around the world may think twice before visiting Arizona and subjecting themselves to potential run-ins with the police. As a city, New York may well benefit from another state undermining its own international competitiveness -– we’re happy to have those businesses and tourists come here.”
  • Colorado Congressman Jared Polis, who is Jewish, said the law is reminiscent of Nazi Germany: “I think it’s a very fair comparison and I hope that we’re not headed on the same trajectory that Nazi Germany was. But this was a very recent experience for Jewish Americans and Jews worldwide and it’s something that when we see similarities we start ringing alarm bells.”
  • In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on official travel to Arizona. A measure was introduced in the city assembly condemning the Arizona law as an “affront” to our Constitution.
These examples from each coast and the middle of the country are emblematic of the growing outrage and opposition to what is occurring in Arizona. Others include truckers hauling produce who agreed to bypass Arizona. Nationwide protests are gearing up, and multiple lawsuits to block the law from ever taking effect are in the works. Attorney General Eric Holder is questioning the legality of the law.

Welcome to “Jaime” Crow, 2010. If Jim Crow laws in the 50s and 60s were all about making African Americans jump though hoops to exercise their right to vote, Arizona’s anti-immigration law is a tacit recognition of the growing influence and importance of Latino voters, particularly to the Democratic Party. With this Arizona law –- which was drafted by an out-of-state Birther, Chris Kobach, who is running for secretary of state in Kansas -– the extremist controlling right wing of the Republican Party has written off the Latino vote and will focus instead on suppressing Latino turnout in November.

This calculation spells doom for Republican hopes of retaking the House or Senate. Most objective political observers, in either party, recognize this strategy as a train wreck of immense proportions for the Republican Party. In fact, many Republicans are running for the tall grass and away from the Arizona law as fast as they can. Marco Rubio, darling of the Teabaggers, is compelled to protect his Latino flank as the son of Cuban immigrants and oppose the Arizona law in a pretzel-like twist that also criticizes President Obama. Rubio can only pray that the Teabaggers who saw him as “such a nice young man” before SB 1070 won’t now turn on him as the ultimate Beckista mole, secret friend to invading hordes south of our borders. Jeb Bush, whose brother’s single progressive domestic initiative was a sincere effort to enact comprehensive immigration reform, has come out against the Arizona law. As has the despicable political sharpie Karl Rove.

Illustrating just how serious a political mine field this Nazi law is for Republicans, even former Colorado Congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, who ran on an anti-immigration plank and was a featured speaker at the Tea Party Convention, worries the Arizona law has gone too far. Meanwhile, Gramps McCain is deciding on yet another political facial to make it look as if he’s for the law at the same time that he’s against it. Blaming the President after you introduced the immigration reform bill you’re now running away from won’t cut it, Gramps.

Which brings us to the Teabaggers. This rabble of scared, angry, low-information white voters has caused mini-electoral convulsions within GOP ranks throughout the country. In Florida they backed Rubio and threaten to force moderate Governor Charlie Crist to run for the Senate as an independent. In Utah, distinguished conservative Senator Bob Bennett is threatened with political decapitation by a know-nothing Teabagger insurgency supporting nonentity candidates. Senator Bennett’s crime? Apart from not being a wingnut, his length of service and seniority in Washington -- a tradition dating back to the first days of the Republic -- is suddenly a career-ending political liability. In Idaho Teabaggers endorsed a Democrat, giving Republicans there conniptions.

The Republican Party does not handle chaos and disorganization well. Indeed, the Democrats hold the advantage in this area. But when Will Rogers famously said, “I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat,” he could not have anticipated the state of disarray the Republican Party finds itself in today.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Here’s an eye-opener for those of you who may be fence-sitters, or misinformed, about Arizona’s anti-immigration law, SB 1070. The individuals who drafted and introduced this heinous Nazi legislation present the profile of the most despicable racists (not proto-racists or bigots) populating the dark, filthy underbelly of this country. Russell Pearce, who introduced the bill, is a declared Holocaust denier and palled around with a neo-Nazi. Chris Kobach, who authored the bill, is a Birther linked to the hideously anti-American organization with the oh-so benign acronym “FAIR” (Federation for American Immigration Reform).

Founded by opthalmologist (M.D.) John Tanton in 1979, FAIR traces his racist ideology to Nazi eugenics monsters like Dr. Joseph Mengele. FAIR has received more than $1 million in contributions from a group called the Pioneer Fund that was formed “in the Darwinian-Galtonian evolutionary tradition and the eugenics movement” to fund research that shows the “superiority” of white people and promotes genes of people “deemed to be descended predominantly from white persons who settled in the original thirteen states prior to the adoption of the Constitution.”

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Tanton frames the immigration issue in survivalist terms for whites: “to govern is to populate … Will the present majority peaceably hand over its political power to a group that is simply more fertile? … As whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion?”

Decades before Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” an obscure gem of a film about President Kennedy’s assassination opened in 1973 to substantial controversy. “Executive Action” was told entirely from the conspirators’ perspective, postulating a military-industrial complex conspiracy by transnational capitalist tycoons with ties to black ops CIA operatives. “Executive action” is a term used by the CIA at the time. The amoral, unemotional tone of the narrative enhances the chilling impact of the film. In his last role as a Texas oil baron (lead conspirator Robert Foster), Robert Ryan delivers a sinister monologue, one whose words seem lifted straight out of Tanton’s sick writings: “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority and a clear one at that.”

Needless to say, Foster’s insane racist nightmare never came to pass, but Vietnam cost the lives of 58,000 Americans. The film is a cautionary tale of speculative nonfiction about the tragic consequences of extremist ideology driving government policy.

The Olbermann Chronicles: UFO Conspiracy & Coverup

In an intriguing statement concerning the possibility of contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life, distinguished British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said it is likely alien life exists, but a visit by an advanced alien civilization might be hazardous to our existence. “If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet.”

Dr. Hawking, whose position has “evolved” on this topic, warned in a Discovery Channel special: “I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced ... nomads [would look to] conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach.” Conspiracy theorists would knowingly point out that DSC Channel is linked to ABC, which broadcasts “V” –- a show about nomadic reptilian extraterrestrials in massive ships looking to conquer and colonize Earth. Hmm . . . But “V” producers are surely delighted by the seemingly coincidental shoutout from the world’s most famous scientist.

Reporting Dr. Hawking’s provocative statements about the risks to Earthlings of encountering extraterrestrial life, Countdown’s Keith Olbermann called upon Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, for some perspective. Unfortunately, the segment devolved into the usual snickering about aliens eating us (famous Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man”), to which Dr. Pitts replied, “I really think, Keith, we have several hundred million years before we really need to worry about that. But just in case, I think we need to get rid of all of the ketchup on the planet.” It’s almost a reflexive reaction that any serious consideration of this issue, even when it’s raised by the world’s pre-eminent scientist, becomes a mirth fest lacking factual context.

Certainly, Dr. Pitts’s rote reply to the question about possible alien contact is safe, solid, and unimaginative: “The fact of the matter is we have no documentation whatsoever of any kind of contact. There‘s so much speculation, Keith, it‘s enough to keep the movie industry and the book industry and science fiction going for a very long time. It‘s sort of great to play around with this idea, but the only problem is that whenever you make these extraordinary claims, as you heard Dr. Sagan say, you need extraordinary proof. We have none of that whatsoever.”

But Keith also asked the question: “Has anybody ever, to your knowledge, either scientifically or in some semi-governmental way, contemplated the defense plan, other than the old duck-and-cover thing, bend over, head between your knees and kiss your planet good-bye?”

Dr. Pitts: “As much as we know about aliens somewhere else in the galaxy or the universe, we are much more concerned with the immediate problems we have from some country across the border, rather than worrying about some aliens coming here to eat us. We figure that at least we‘ll have a few million years‘ warning, so there‘s no need for us to become concerned about that. So I don‘t think there‘s any plan around, other than, you know, I‘ll set up my insurance company, let me know what you need, I‘ll provide it.

Either Dr. Pitts was genuinely unaware of their existence, or he was being artfully dodgy about this 1960 Brookings Institution Report for NASA entitled “Implications of a Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life;” or a 1968 RAND Corporation internal paper entitled “UFOs: What to Do?” Not to speak of a very recent 1999 French “COMETA” report by the Institute of Advanced Studies for National Defense, entitled “UFOs and Defense: What must we be prepared for?”, which was sent to then-President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin before its public release.

The 190-page Brookings report states, “The consequences for attitudes and values are unpredictable, but would vary profoundly in different cultures and between groups within complex societies; a crucial factor would be the nature of the communication between us and the other beings.” The report continues: “Societies sure of their own place have disintegrated when confronted by a superior society. (This is an interesting source of agreement with Dr. Hawking’s statement 50 years later) Others have survived even though changed. Clearly, the better we can come to understand the factors involved in responding to such crises the better prepared we may be.” Although the research group did not expect any immediate contact with extraterrestrial beings, the discovery of intelligent space races “could nevertheless happen at any time.” The report strongly suggests that contact with extraterrestrials could be disruptive to humanity, and raises the possibility that such contact be withheld from the public.

What was that again, about “has anybody ever, either scientifically or in some semi-governmental way, contemplated the defense plan” . . . “So I dont think theres any plan around” thing? In 1999, Dr. Hawking stated on C-Span: “Of course it is possible that UFOs really do contain aliens as many people believe, and the government is hushing it up. I wouldn't like to comment on that.” Hmm . . . Perhaps Dr. Hawking (who is actively discouraging contact with extraterrestrials) and Dr. Pitts (who is artfully debunking it) know more about this than they’re authorized to disclose.

Ha! Keith Olbermann, Derrick Pitts, and Stephen Hawking are now officially part of the Vast UFO Conspiracy & Coverup.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Quotable: Community of Faith Stands Ready to Defy Arizona Law

“The law signed by Arizona Gov. Brewer is a social and racial sin, and should be denounced as such by people of faith and conscience across the nation. It is not just about Arizona, but about all of us, and about what kind of country we want to be. It is not only mean-spirited –- it will be ineffective and will only serve to further divide communities in Arizona, making everyone more fearful and less safe. This radical new measure, which crosses many moral and legal lines, is a clear demonstration of the fundamental mistake of separating enforcement from comprehensive immigration reform. Enforcement without reform of the system is merely cruel. Enforcement without compassion is immoral. Enforcement that breaks up families is unacceptable. This law will make it illegal to love your neighbor in Arizona, and will force us to disobey Jesus and his gospel. WE WILL NOT COMPLY.”

Reverend Jim Wallis, President Sojourners

Passage of Arizona’s “Sieg Heil” Law, AZ SB 1070, Does Not Come Without Consequences

Only days after unelected Governor Jan Brewer wielded the zealot’s pen, fallout from the signing of Arizona’s draconian “let me see your papers” anti-immigration law, AZ SB 1070, has begun. “I firmly believe that God has placed me in this powerful position of Arizona’s governor to help guide our state through the difficulties that we are currently facing,” she told a religious gathering last year. In light of Arizona’s dire financial straits, and the likelihood the law will further exacerbate the state’s economy, straining its already burdened law enforcement resources to the breaking point, the Governor may be seeking a lot more divine intervention in the days ahead.

In remarks that veered from the strange to the bizarre, Governor Brewer said she will “not tolerate racial profiling or racial discrimination in Arizona” while signing a law that does just that. The central provisions of the law make it a misdemeanor to lack immigration paperwork and compels police officers to determine immigration status if they form a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is in the U.S. illegally. As legal experts have noted, the constitutionality of “reasonable searches and seizures” has engendered mountains of case law and precedent.

Recognizing the glaring unconstitutionality question, the Governor has issued an executive order “to develop training to appropriately implement SB 1070” including “what DOES –- and DOES NOT –- constitute “reasonable suspicion” that a person is not legally present in the United States.” (Emphasis mine, CAPS the Governor’s. Blogging is one thing, but capping words in an official document makes one wonder about the competence of the (un)elected official.)

That Brewer should deem it necessary to issue an executive order to clarify the law only begs the question as to its constitutionality, noted Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva. Mr. Grijalva added that he would be a prime target of this law if he were to be stopped without proper identification papers. Evidently, the state’s top Republican has already instructed law enforcement on what to look for:
“Illegals are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway,” said Senator McCain. Presumably, if someone who “looks” and “talks” a certain way (i.e., like an illegal) is rear-ended on the freeway by a Caucasian who claims the accident victim “caused” the accident by driving slowly, the victim with the illegal “look” must prove legal residence or be arrested. And the accident victim with likely be charged with causing the accident, because Arizona’s senior senator said so, for driving while looking “reasonably” illegal. Congressman Brian Bilbray of California, elaborates: “trained professionals” will “look at the kind of dress you wear, there is different type of attire, there is different type of -- right down to the shoes, right down to the clothes.” Apparently, Bibray’s powers of discernment can tell Rep. Grijalva is in this country legally, simply by looking at his clothes and shoes. Or is it because Rep. Grijalva is an elected United States Congressman from Arizona?
In a sharply worded rebuke to proponents of the law, LA’s Cardinal Archbishop Roger Mahoney called it the “country’s most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law,” based on the “flawed reasoning” that immigrants come to our country “to rob, plunder, and consume public resources.” This law, he continued, cries out for comprehensive immigration reform. “We have built a huge wall along our southern border, and have posted in effect two signs next to each other. One reads, ‘No Trespassing,’ and the other reads ‘Help Wanted.’ The ill-conceived Arizona law does nothing to balance our labor needs.”

Archbishop Mahoney said, “I can't imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation. Are children supposed to call 911 because one parent does not have proper papers? Are family members and neighbors now supposed to spy on one another, create total distrust across neighborhoods and communities, and report people because of suspicions based upon appearance?”

Think again, Father. To be sure, most Arizonans will not behave like Nazis, perhaps, but history also teaches us that once fear of the “other” and authoritarianism take hold, Nazi-like behavior is not restricted to a certain people or culture; it is universal. The Teabagger rabbles are prime examples of proto-fascism impelled by xenophobia, racism, and Beckista-fed paranoid fear. Currently, there are some 1,000 similar statutes introduced in other state legislatures, most by Republicans. Immigrant-bashing is well underway. In a recent poll, 82 percent of self-identified Tea Party supporters said illegal immigration was a “very serious” problem. That poll also found that Teabaggers constitute about 18 percent of the voting public, are primarily white, older, more affluent males who vote overwhelmingly Republican.

Can the Democratic Party do without this rabble? The answer is YES, principally because the vast majority of Teabaggers never supported the President and Democratic candidates in the first place. Can the Democratic Party dismiss its Latino constituency? The answer is a resounding NO. As the fastest-growing demographic in this nation, Latinos wield increasing political and economic influence, Arizona notwithstanding.

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The Republican Party has largely made its bed on the immigration issue; now it must suffer the consequences of sleeping on its bed of thorns. With erstwhile pro-immigration reform candidate Gramps McCain leading his Republican colleagues down the lily-white brick road, the question for Democrats is to make them pay for it, with their votes against immigration reform, and their sharp tack to the right as the party of older, ultra right wing, mostly white males. If Republicans believe that an immigrant-bashing message and lies about our economic recovery will deliver them the House or the Senate in November, they are sorely mistaken.

When the face of the Republican Party is represented by an aging hypocrite with multiple political facials, an Arizona state senator (once photographed with a neo-Nazi) considered “an eccentric firebrand” and “politically incorrect embarrassment” by more moderate members of his party, one of whom lamented Arizona is “going to look like Alabama in the ’60s,” not to speak of Teabagger darlings Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann -– Democrats have reason to be optimistic about retaining their majorities in Congress come November.

On the question of immigration reform, Democrats plan to reintroduce the bipartisan legislation sponsored by John McCain (before his reincarnation as a non-maverick, goose-stepping wingnut) and the late Senator Ted Kennedy, with support from George W. Bush. Then they will dare Republicans to vote against it. That bill, introduced in 2005, would implement guest-worker programs and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

The largest arrow in the quiver of the U.S. Latino population, aside from the moral one, is economic. Nowhere have such laws succeeded in this country after the heavy economic cost on the community was realized. The lessons of 60s Alabama, for the Republican who mentioned it, for all the violence and confrontation, is that civil rights defeated apartheid in the United States. Such will be the fate of Arizona, as it tumbles down the rabbit hole of history, 1930s Nazi Germany style.

This grotesque law granting the police extra-constitutional authority to trample the Fourth Amendment rights of U.S. citizens, will not stand.