America’s fascination with guns takes ridiculous turns


Two news items I ran across today reveal a bizarre fascination Americans, particularly civilians, have with firearms.

AZ Minuteman points AR-15 rifle at sheriff’s deputy

An Arizona Minuteman scouting for drug runners and undocumented immigrants allegedly pointed his rifle at a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy after he mistook him for a drug smuggler, court paperwork stated.

Richard Malley, 49, and two other militia members were in a section of Interstate 8 commonly used by drug smugglers. Richard Malley

Two sheriff’s deputies were checking mile markers in the same area and as they approached mile marker 140 Saturday night, the deputy flashed his lights and honked his horn. He said that’s a common practice for him while attempting to get drug smugglers to run their vehicles up to his.

Malley appeared from the side of the road armed with an AR-15 rifle, a .45-caliber pistol and a fixed-blade knife, according to the probable cause statement. The two other militia members also emerged from the bushes and identified themselves as Robert Deatherage, 48, and Robert Crooks, 63.

Malley raised his rifle up and pointed it and a flashlight at the deputy, according to court paperwork.

The deputy identified himself as a law enforcement officer while Malley continued to aim the weapon at him and asked for identification, court documents said.

Malley identified himself as a militia minuteman and said he didn’t carry any identification because he feared cartel members would find out he was a Minuteman, court paperwork stated.

The deputy showed Malley the patches on his sleeves, the word “sheriff” across his chest and his badge and told him to lay down his firearms. Malley refused, according to the probable cause statement.

The deputy then told several people there he wanted to wait for additional units to arrive before taking anyone’s firearms for fear of making the situation more complicated.

Malley later said he felt threatened in the middle of the desert and believed the uniformed deputy was a drug smuggler working for a cartel, the court document stated.

Malley stated he felt he had the right to point his rifle at the deputy because he had reasonable suspicion to believe a crime was being committed, according to the court document.

In today’s ‘stand your ground climate I guess it’s ok for people to point guns at one another, and perhaps even shoot each other.  What is even stranger is civilians can point guns at law enforcement officers, refuse to obey those officers’ instructions and NOT get shot!!

Pastor Terry Holcomb

Pastor Terry Holcomb

In the second instance a “preacher”, “pastor” has taken to wondering around the halls of Huntsville, Texas establishments with an AR-15 slung across his back.  Pastor Terry Holcomb of Huntsville claims the reason for his armed intrusion into Huntsville businesses is because he wants to “protest a Texas law which permits gun owners to openly carry long rifles but not handguns, which must be concealed and can only be carried by individuals with valid concealed carry permits.” Yes, I don’t understand that rationale either….he wants to be able to carry a handgun openly but because he can’t he’s carrying a military styled rifle openly instead?!?  If you want you can see his trek through a local Wal-Mart below.  In today’s political climate where we’re told the Obama administration is out to take Americans’ firearms from them,  far too many Americans are brandishing their firearms in provocative, intimidating ways that seem to invite government to do just that.

Scared yet? You shouldn’t be!


scared_faceThere’s good news on the horizon for all of you who have believed the news pounded in the Nation’s subconscious since 911 that there’s some sort of Muslim plot to terrorize the homeland into submission.  We’ve always said such notions simply don’t exist among Muslim citizens of America and each year we’ve been proven right.  Well the trend keeps supporting that notion, with the latest news describing the prospects of terror from America’s Muslims as “nil”.

Try as al-Qaida might to encourage them, American Muslims still aren’t committing acts of terrorism. Only 14 people out of a population of millions were indicted for their involvement in violent terrorist plots in 2012, a decline from 2011′s 21. The plots themselves hit the single digits last year.

So much for a widespread stereotype. According to data tracked by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security in North Carolina and released Friday (.PDF), there were nine terrorist plots involving American Muslims in 2012. Only one of them, the attempted bombing of a Social Security office in Arizona, actually led to any violence. There were no casualties in that or any other incident. And the Triangle study tracks indictments, not convictions.

……The sample of Muslim Americans turning to terror is “vanishingly small,” Kurzman tells Danger Room…..Yet the scrutiny by law enforcement and homeland security on American Muslims has not similarly abated. The FBI tracks “geomaps” of areas where Muslims live and work, regardless of their involvement in any crime. The Patriot Act and other post-9/11 restrictions on government surveillance remain in place.

So while you don’t have anything to fear from your Muslim neighbors, you still have an intrusive, bloated, super secret, covert government that is finding ways to insert itself into your daily routines at your expense.  What the government and most Americans fail to realize is America’s Muslims are busy living their lives and finding their niche on this multi-cultural landscape like this Muslim American8424302590_8c1284e1c2 , Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim woman to compete on behalf of the United States in international competition.

Ibtihaj, a two-time U.S. National Fencing Champion and a member of the U.S. National Fencing Team since 2009, began fencing at the age of 13. She was raised in an athletic household with four siblings and played many recreational sports growing up. After searching for a sport that would enable her to comply with the Muslim requirement of modesty by remaining fully covered, her mother pointed out students fencing in full body uniforms while driving by their local school. Muhammad said because of this chance moment, “I’d like to think fencing found me.” Reminding students again of the ability to find a passion regardless of circumstance she added, “Don’t let anyone tell you no. There’s nothing you can’t achieve.”

America, it’s time to throw off your shackles of fear and embrace those who make up a part of the American fabric, albeit with different names and clothing than your own, but who are your equal in their fealty to the rule of law and the pursuit of happiness.  You can do it America if you stop being afraid.

Hat tip to @ZahraBillo

The false notions of conservatives, tea partiers and the GOP


Seal of Maricopa County, Arizona

Seal of Maricopa County, Arizona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arizona passed  SB 1070 obligates police to make an attempt,  during a “lawful stop, detention or arrest”,to determine a person’s immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is an illegal alien amidst a lot of justifiable opposition to the measure. Of course it opens the door to racial profiling, despite what the proponents say and what happened to Briseira Torres is a testament to the lie

Recently, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office alleged Briseira Torres, a shy, 31-year-old single mom from Glendale, was here illegally and that Briseira Torres was not her real name.

She was accused of three counts of forgery, in part because her driver’s license had her real name on it, which the MCAO thought was bogus. Following her arrest, she was held without bond in Estrella Jail for 4 1/2 months.

Torres lost her home and car because she couldn’t make the payments as she endured Estrella’s harsh conditions, lousy food, and detention officers.

Worst of all, she was separated from her 14-year-old daughter, who stayed with Torres’ friend Amy Diaz while her mom was behind bars.

(Delia ) Salvatierra, a well-known immigration attorney, along with the aid of criminal attorney Antonio Bustamante and Johnny Sinodis, a counsel in Salvatierra’s office, went to battle on Torres’ behalf.

In the pile of paperwork they provided to the court, to the prosecutor, and to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was a silver bullet: a sworn statement from Arizona’s Office of Vital Records attesting to the legitimacy of documents on file for Torres.

Among these docs is Torres’ birth certificate, showing she was born August 14, 1981, in Avondale.

Salvatierra asked the court to remand the case back to the grand jury.

Judge Carolyn Passamonte did just this, noting in her minute entry that Torres’ long-form birth certificate was “clearly exculpatory evidence that should have been presented to the grand jury.”

The judge remarked that the documents on file with Vital Records had been “available to the state,” and in oral arguments, the prosecutor had to admit that he’d never bothered to pull the file and inspect it.

More troubling still was Passamonte’s observation that the MCAO’s lone witness, Detective Chris Oberly of the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General, told the grand jury this:

In 1999, Vital Records discovered that Torres’ birth certificate, in his words, had been “falsely created” by Torres’ mother and so the department “canceled it.”

This was not true, according to Vital Records. Torres’ birth certificate never was canceled and remains as valid as the day it was issued.

Facing a hearing regarding Torres’ bond status that he was bound to lose, Deputy County Attorney Daniel Strange moved to dismiss the case “without prejudice,” meaning he could, hypothetically, bring back the charges at a later date.

In other words an American citizen was profiled and as a result asked to prove she was an American.   Her proof, legitimate and legal, was not accepted because someone thought based on how she looked she didn’t belong in America.  She was locked up in jail and subsequently lost everything she had. Despite the fact she was a lawful citizen and did everything she was required to do by law, she still lost her right to due process until the bitter end.  This is the justice of America’s conservatives and particularly the GOP.  This is simply not good enough America!

 

No Comment


Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on June 2, 2007.

Image via Wikipedia

President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

Sarah Palin

Clearly that concept doesn’t extend to Muslims, does it Sarah?  Is anyone home in her head?

Now I know why Sharron Angle is as crazy as she is


I don’t mean to single her out, but she’s the most prominent ‘tea bagger’ Republican from west of the Mississippi who gained any national prominence….J.D. Hayworth tried as hard as he might, notwithstanding.  The tea baggers of Arizona are over the top in insanity.  They are, after Donald Rumsfeld and his cronies at the Pentagon during the Bush Administration, the worse America has to offer humanity.  Tea bagger members are steeped in racism and xenophobia, and Arizona has turned out to be the perfect breeding ground for them.  What else can account for this headline?

A local Arizona Republican Party official resigned from his post after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot out of concern for his and his family’s safety.

Anthony Miller, a GOP district chairman and former campaign aide to Sen. John McCain, told The Arizona Republic: I don’t want to take a bullet for anyone.”

Miller, the first African American to hold the post, was recently re-elected to a one-year term as chairman of the Legislative District 20 Republicans.

He told the newspaper that verbal abuse after his election and Internet postings by Tea Party supporters had him concerned for his safety.

Now before you go off calling me crazy…….here’s what else is said about Anthony

One critic referred to him derogatorily as “McCain’s boy,” Miller said. Other language was even less ambiguous. At an event in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Miller said someone called out, “There’s Anthony, get a rope.”

This guy is a Republican, worked for a Republican and has earned his Republican bonafides but that’s still not good enough for tea bagger/partiers?  I guess bleaching cream and the straightening comb are the only things left that Miller could do to gain acceptance.  We are in such denial…… even people who worked with Miller asked the question, ‘I’ve never understood why they had this hatred for him….’ when the answer is as clear as the skin color on Anthony Miller’s body.  Wake up America.

Angle was able to escape the scathing rhetoric of the racists in her party by acting as fringe in her statements as they…but how will Allen West, the black Republican from Florida who used violence drenched metaphors and employed people to do the same, fare?  The Republican party is being pulled increasingly towards a fringe that leads towards civil war.  I admire Miller for his service to his country and his dignity, even though I think his Party is ruined, and I wish him well, but when you hear the word Republican Party, run.  Your life might depend on it.

Can I get a hell yeah!


2 Reps. Say They’ll Now Carry Guns In Their Home Districts

In the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 19 others in Arizona this weekend, Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Heath Shuler (D-NC) say that they will carry firearms when in their home districts.

“You never think something like this will happen, but then it does,” Shuler told Politico “After the elections, I let my guard down. Now I know I need to have [my gun] on me. We’re going to need to do a much better job of with security at these events.”

According to Politico, each lawmakers holds a conceal and carry permit, and Shuler is encouraging his staffers to get their own.

Chaffetz also suggested U.S. Marshalls should guard members during events.

“Perhaps they could better assess threats in the home district,” he said. “It certainly ought to be on the table.”

Chaffetz added that he may ask local police to attend his town halls more often. Neither lawmaker plans to carry a weapon while in Washington DC.

I like the idea of self-reliance coming from two civil servants.  I hope they are as adamant about the rights of their constituents to personal safety as they are for themselves.  Moreover, I hope they don’t see this as an us vs. them dilemma where they have to protect themselves from the voters, only from the criminals among them.  I take note of the bipartisanship in this initiative and hope it’s catching in more ways than one.  I like this senator’s approach to the issue of personal safety and wish more thought like him.

Terrorism strikes again


Six people, as of this writing, were killed in a terrorist attack against federal officials in Arizona on Saturday.  That’s probably how the news would read if the attacker(s) were Muslim, but instead the “attack” is invariably called a “shooting spree” or merely a “shooting” and any notion that this was politically motivated is even further dispelled with descriptions of the shooter being mentally unstable, deranged, almost apolitical or so crazy that one cannot make any political sense out of what he did.

Jared Loughner, right,  is the man and there’s nothing about his identity to lead people to suspect anything other than the obvious…he quite simply is a murderer, like so many who’ve gone before him in this country.  What’s special about him is not the crime…..America is as violent as apple pie; we are a Nation steeped in violence and in many cases we inflict it on others.  Just ask the Iraqis.  What’s special about Loughner is he committed this crime at a time when we have politicized murder and led the country to believe that only a certain group of people are able to carry it out; that they lie in wait to unleash it against us and that all of our efforts should be aimed at this group of individuals exclusively to identify them, flush them out and bring them to justice.  It didn’t help that tangential notions like places of worship, choices of food, articles of clothing, ballot initiatives in Oklahoma, etc.,  got put into the mix to further confuse and infuriate us our goal was shortsighted and pretty damn near illegal.

In 2009 after Obama came into office and HIS Department of Homeland Security came into power and identified the treat to the homeland as being from right wing extremism, a hue and cry went up from those on the right lambasting government for targeting them….in much the same way as Homeland Security targeted others before Obama and it’s been denial ever since.  Perhaps even today, with the identity of this latest terrorist, captured alive I might add, there is every effort to distance him from the ideology or way of thinking he embraced. I opined somewhere that perhaps we might waterboard this captured shooter to know the extent of his act; whether he was helped in any way by others who might be ready to pounce on the next government official, since for now such a notion is likely,  and I was half joking.  Remember when “waterboarding” was considered appropriate for some in our not too distant past?

Why we aren’t more honest with one another during hard times is a case study for psychologists. Speaking of which I would like to mention one who I think has nailed down what ails us today.  In a piece entitled ‘Rudeness is a Neurotoxin’, Dr. Douglas Fields says we are a product of our environment and today’s environment is one of ‘profane language, hostilities and stress from which we adults, raised a generation ago, were carefully shielded.’  In other words the lack of civil discourse, the in-your-face, put-on-your-man pants attitude is the blowback which causes us, Americans,  to be terrorist and makes it perfectly acceptable in our minds, or rather the minds of those so affected, to kill men, women and children….there was a six year old girl killed yesterday.  After being battered for the last 10 years about the power of words and how important they are in giving ‘aid and comfort’ to the enemy when many of us rallied against government intrusion into our lives and the lives of others who were of no threat to us or our interest, we no doubt will be told how the words that rang in the ears of this latest terrorist are of no importance in talking about his heinous crime, and that, no doubt, will make us all feel better about what happened.

But really folks, what we have is an American terrorist, a murderer….all murder, especially against an unsuspecting victim is terror isn’t it?  He even used the tools of terrorism…..his suicidal confessional on his My Space page and Youtube were some of the trappings he had in common with other terrorists but he’s distinct from them in he’s more acceptable as a murderer than as a terrorist, because terrorists have a special place in the American psyche that only people of certain persuasions can occupy and therein lies the problem.  We have made race, religion, the standard by which we make things legal or illegal or how we categorize crime and criminals.  Once again, despite all the trappings of being an advanced society, mature and wiser after  all these over 230 years, we still have the inclination to either raise or lower the bar depending on who the perpetrator/victim is.  Jared Loughner is either a terrorist or a murderer, and Major Hassan Nidal is either a terrorist or a murder and they both belong on the same page in American history with the same designation applied to them and if they’re not then we still too color conscious to be just.  It’s our call America.

 

UPDATE

One has to wonder whether the news that this attempted assassination was religiously inspired, anti-Semitic in origin might make the “terrorist” label more palatable.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo reportedly notes that Gabriel Giffords is Jewish in describing the motives of the Arizona congresswoman’s alleged assailant.The memo, obtained by Fox News Channel, says that Jared Lee Loughner mentioned American Renaissance, an extremist anti-immigrant group, in some of his own postings.

“The group’s ideology is anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic,” says the memo sent to law enforcement, which also notes that Giffords, a Democrat, was the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona.

In this writer’s opinion, however, all of that is irrelevant.  It is now what it was then, an act of premeditated terror which resulted in the deaths of 6 humans and the maiming of many more.  Are the parents of the 9 year old girl killed by the assassin any more relieved from their anguish and grief that because one of the survivor’s of his terror was Jewish, therefore the crime which killed their daughter should be considered an act of terrorism?   Hardly!  The broadest most inclusive definition, ‘any actions that endanger human life or violate U.S. laws’ is indeed the best.  Not that it would mean anything more in terms of a punishment, but it removes the racist element of the term and hopefully makes truly combating and solving terrorism more urgent.

Was there any doubt about this?


That the Tea Party was nothing but a bunch of hucksters out to make a quick buck on America’s dissatisfaction with the current political trends…..(read that racism) sweeping the country and the world, thanks to the likes of Rupert Murdoch and his  minions in corporate media.    To most in government, as well as government’s aspirants, your money grows on trees that they can pluck from without your permission to use for their personal wealth and power.  In order to do that they must  keep you mesmerized and afraid in front of your televisions and radios while corporate interests rob you of your money, and yes those corporate interests include the federal government, but also the various and sundry “security” agencies that have sprung up of late.

So this headline should not come as a surprise, nor should this

A website run out of Arizona, ostensibly to support the so-called tea party movement, is under scrutiny after a local news organization dug into their finances and ownership, only to find what some may characterize as a remarkable scam.According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure forms, JoinTheTeaParty.us took in approximately $469,000 in donations this year and spent roughly half its budget on marketing, with the rest going to distinctly non-political avenues.

This revelation comes on the heels of another tea party member/sympathizer, Christine O’Donnell, no kin to Lawrence O’Donnell I hope, who has been accused of using campaign funds for her own private finances.  I certainly don’t mean to imply by all this that the Tea Party movement is so corrupt it won’t win any seats in the upcoming election…..unfortunately, it will. I am equally sure, however if there was any more digging around in the finances of the Tea Party, I betcha’ one can find  financial irregularities abound in their midsts. However, everyone should remember the old tried and true saying, ‘you get what you pay for’, and if the last Administration’s stable of crooks wasn’t enough to upset the electorate, just wait until the Tea party guys come along.  It will surely be a paaaaaaaaarrrrrrttttyyyyyy!!

Crab barrell politics


We get what we deserve.  For eight years we had a Republican president who completely overturned by neglect and more often than not, intentionally all that America has stood for in the last 200 years, so much so that over 200 presidential historians went on record to say George W. Bush was the 5th worst president in American history.

The political acumen of the American electorate hasn’t gotten sharper with the end of the Bush era, it seems to have gotten nastier.  It is as if we relish dirty politics, far worse than anything seen during the Nixon campaign of 1972 when the forces of darkness were let loose on America’s political stage.  Politicians have become like crabs in a barrel, climbing on the backs of constituents with inflammatory remarks in order get smirks, nods of approval, political contributions from others. Now, the gloves are off and politicians seem to be intent on denigrating segments of America’s mosaic for what has become, a very expensive seat in Congress.

Arizona has enacted legislation which will end up directly targeting brown skin people with Latin names, in a throwback to the days of Jim Crowism and stars of David on the clothes of citizens of the state.  No one is expected to carry with them their birth certificate except people with names like Gomez, Rodriquez, Abdullah, Muhammad et.al. and it is perfectly acceptable in the minds of many for that to be a legitimate request, even though a similar one wouldn’t be made of a Jones, or a Goldberg, a Johnson or a Smith.  It was politicians who made this stupid law in Arizona, and now Arizonans and the rest of us have to suffer because of their political xenophobia.

Listen to the latest elected official make a complete jackass of himself. The only stupid people he mentions in his speech on the floor of the US congress are the people who elected him in, not surprisingly, Texas, the home of the 5th worst president in America.  Please America, get rid of politicians who want to get to political office, or keep it, by getting you to hate your fellow citizens of this country, or want you to be afraid of or angry with people who are different than yourself.  This is an election year; let them know with your vote that America has come a long way from the racism and hatred of a bygone era and that we can today feel comfortable in who or what we are, appreciate the differences we have in our social fabric and live by laws that meant for all citizens, and not just those we hate, don’t know or don’t like.

Driving While White


During the height of L.A.’s Rampart scandal–in which a rogue unit of anti-gang cops orchestrated the deportation of hundreds of illegal immigrants and then used deportation threats to elicit all kinds of phony informant testimony and to cover up their own brutally criminal behavior in a heavily immigrant neighborhood–I happened to take a slow drive through the Rampart area to gawk at the few remaining Victorian mansions still standing amidst the graffiti-strewn stucco and open-air smack dealers. Through distracted confusion at a semi-tricky intersection I ended up running a red light, right in front of an LAPD patrol car.

“What are you doing in this neighborhood?” one of the cops asked. I told them, apologized for my mistake, and they…sent me on my way. “Be more careful next time!”, etc. It was the most memorable data point in something I’ve noticed ever since cutting off my hippie hair and losing all the terrible earrings: When you look “normal,” interaction with police–or “lawful contact,” in the Arizona parlance–tends to go much smoother. Better yet, it rarely takes place at all.

You can observe this phenomenon not just behind the wheel, but out on the street. I jaywalk probably every day (though only when the coast is totally clear), and frequently do so right in front of The Man (him being so prevalent in the District of Columbia). Though I got ticketed once during the longhair days, the only time a cop has said boo ever since was when I blatantly crossed over to the D.C. Convention Center in front of a half-dozen policemen standing there looking at me. “Use the light next time,” one said, and I was on my way. Good thing I wasn’t some dude walking in L.A.’s Skid Row.

I mention this trivia because Steve Chapman had an important point this morning about the question over what could constitute “legal contact” or probable cause in Arizona. “On the average car,” Chapman said a cop once told him, “he could find half a dozen reasons to write up additional citations if provoked. Any of those would serve equally well to justify a stop.” When you have thousands upon thousands of criminal laws, chances are non-trivial that you’re breaking one of them as we speak, or at least can be seen as possibly breaking one of them, in case you happen to cross paths with a motivated law enforcement officer. The “driving while black” phenomenon is not some Al Sharpton urban legend.

Of all the misguided apologia I’ve seen for Arizona’s papers-please law, chief among them has been the notion that somehow, some way, this won’t lead to selective enforcement based on personal appearance. For instance, American Spectator writer (and Reason contributor) W. James Antle III:

Far from authorizing local police officers to pull Hispanics from crowds at random and demand to see proof of legal residency, the law requires a prior “legal contact” — that is, there needs to already be something going on, like an arrest or a traffic stop. The law specifically bans race and ethnicity as the sole grounds for a “reasonable suspicion” of illegal presence in the United States.

Or the American Conservative‘s Daniel Larison:

[T]he only people who have reason to complain about this law are those who are here illegally and those who believe that immigration laws should simply not be enforced.

The whole only-people-with-reason-to-fear argument, to put it mildly, has not been a historical friend of liberty. Nor is it usually accurate. If you are a legal resident immigrant from Mexico, you have plenty of “reason to complain” about this law, because now it’s more likely that you are going to be pulled over by an Arizona cop. And every transaction with a cop, especially if you are viewed as non-normal, is an opportunity for a negative outcome, from detainment to car impoundment (even if you’re never charged with a crime!) to something worse.For those clinging to the fantasy that the law’s “may not solely consider race, color or national origin” provision will somehow prevent profiling of Mexican-looking people, three points: 1) Steve Chapman’s six likely infractions by every driver is a built-in workaround for that “may not solely.” When you have thousands of laws, it’s not hard finding one that justifies the profiling. 2) Even in jurisdictions that didn’t just pass new laws targeting illegal immigrants, when you lower the bar for “legal contact” you increase the likelihood of targeting minorities. In the police empowerment zone that is New York City, a “stop-and-frisk” policy that has averaged 1,260 legal contacts per day has been enforced thusly: “A disproportionate 84 percent of […] stops involved blacks or Hispanics; only 10 percent involved white people.”

But the biggest blind spot in conservatives’ trust-the-government approach concerning Arizona is the easily discoverable fact that local law enforcement has already been engaging in the behavior that the apologists say won’t happen. Here’s a Phoenix New Times story from two years ago:

[Maricopa County Sheriff Joe] Arpaio began sponsoring “crime suppression sweeps” earlier this year, bringing hundreds of deputies and volunteer posse members to heavily Hispanic areas. Residents were pulled over for minor traffic offenses and questioned about their immigration status.

I have sympathy for people who are freaked out by desperate immigrants and ruthless smugglers trampling over their property in southern Arizona, and as I’ve said elsewhere, us pro-immigrant types too easily skate over rule-of-law objections. Federal immigration policy is a failure, and poses real public policy challenges that no amount of righteous indignation and/or handwaving makes disappear.

But anti-illegal immigration crackdowns almost always end up restricting freedom for the rest of us. And giving cops more power is almost always felt more on the receiving end by people–including people just as law-abiding as you and I–who don’t look like the norm. Remember, the stated goal of the new law is “to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona.” Those who think you can surgically accomplish “attrition” without inflaming and driving out legal residents, too, are kidding themselves. I doubt that many Arizonans themselves believe it.

Matt Welch

Where do they find these people?


I saw JD Hayworth do an interview with Chris Mathews on Hardball the other night and one of his comments really struck me as being typical of the last eight years of nonsense, lies and deception.  No, it wasn’t his remark about Obama needing to produce his birth certificate to prove to the American people whether he is a real American or not, and in the process avoiding Mathews question whether he, Hayworth, was a conspiracy theorist birther.  It was Hayworth’s dodging the question of whether he supported torture as an implement for policy by American agencies.  He went on to say that waterboarding, i.e. torture was responsible for stopping several planned terror attacks because of actionable intelligence derived therefrom.

Anyone who knows anything about torture and its use during the last decade and all of the “actionable intelligence” that might have come about because of it would and should take such claims with a grain of salt.  Such claims of the importance of torture came from people like John Kiriakou, a former CIA operative who affirmed that waterboarding quickly unloosed the tongues of hard-core terrorists.  His accounts were picked up by main stream media and pundits and published as gospel in an attempt to legitimize an internationally recognized crime.  Of course it turns out all of Kiriakou’s stories were lies made up to extricate a criminal administration and its agencies from criminal behavior.

On the next-to-last page of a new memoir, The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror (written with Michael Ruby), Kiriakou now rather off handedly admits that he basically made it all up.”What I told Brian Ross in late 2007 was wrong on a couple counts,” he writes. “I suggested that Abu Zubaydah had lasted only thirty or thirty-five seconds during his waterboarding before he begged his interrogators to stop; after that, I said he opened up and gave the agency actionable intelligence.”

“I wasn’t there when the interrogation took place; instead, I relied on what I’d heard and read inside the agency at the time.”

“Now we know,” Kiriakou goes on, “that Zubaydah was waterboarded eighty-three times in a single month, raising questions about how much useful information he actually supplied.”

Indeed. But after his one-paragraph confession, Kiriakou adds that he didn’t have any first hand knowledge of anything relating to CIA torture routines, and still doesn’t. And he claims that the disinformation he helped spread was a CIA dirty trick: “In retrospect, it was a valuable lesson in how the CIA uses the fine arts of deception even among its own.”


Yet again, another lie about the effectiveness of our war on terror, from the people who too many of us depend on to protect us! It would behoove Hayworth not to mention this proven lie too many times as he stumps for John McCain’s senate seat for the state of Arizona, or else he might have to explain to those who are conscientious to want to know how it’s all a lie!