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Arizona Revisited

While things like the oil disaster have pushed Arizona’s race war off the news pages, I was sad to hear first off that there’s been a fatality in the wake of the immigration laws. A third generation Latino-American man was shot by his crazy white neighbor who was convinced that he was an illegal immigrant. This is probably not going to be the first of these sort of incidents in Arizona, nor the end of increasing attempts by far right Republicans in the state government to invade citizens’ rights in search of driving off Latino voters through wacko laws and regulations. Randall Amster had a good description of what is going on:


The saddest part of it is that so many people are being fed outright lies which are neither corrected nor apologized for because the people making them up are pseudo-journalists. Media celeb Bill O’Reilly, being an entertainment commentator, never has to actually back up his accusations with facts and for the entire month of May has been making bizarre falsehoods supporting the Arizona immigration law.

He’s so far claimed that:

1) Illegal immigrants number 500,000 in Arizona. (The rate of illegal immigrants has actually dropped.)

2) That Arizona is bankrupt and ridden with crime and that this is due to illegal immigrants. (Scientific research has consistently shown that illegal immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native inhabitants and Arizona is not bankrupt, just dealing with a state deficit like the rest of the country.)

3) That Arizona has turned into the lawless old West with ranchers being slaughtered by illegal immigrants. (As we can see, so far the white people seem to be slaughtering their Latino neighbors.)

4) That Phoenix has almost as much crime as New York City and has become the kidnapping capital of the United States and incredibly dangerous. (Crime rates have dropped 16.6% in Phoenix according to the FBI and needless to say, it is not the kidnapping capital. It’s not even the capital of kidnapping illegal immigrants and making them do slave labor in sweatshops. That would probably still be New York. And far from crying for help, Phoenix is contemplating a lawsuit against the state government over the immigration law, which would cost Phoenix and other Arizona cities a buttload of money to attempt to enforce.)

5) That El Paso is not one of the safest cities in the U.S. (El Paso has consistently been ranked one of the safest cities in the U.S. And recently a study showed that the U.S./Mexico border cities with lots of immigration are some of the safest cities in the country.)

In a race war, propaganda is all, and Arizona legislators’ attempt to paint themselves as re-fighting the Alamo against the dirty Mexicans  is being taken up at a national level.  I’m not going to be posting about Arizona again — well, unless someone blows a building up or something* — because the problem is much bigger than that one state (which turns out not to be having an apocalypse,) and I’d just be reduced to useless sputtering anyway. As I said before, the kind of campaigns O’Reilly and his bretheren wage against non-whites will be a fascinating period for historians to study one day, but I’m not enjoying living through it.

*Or whitewash a mural of actual children at an elementary school because of a racist councilman and local residents:


Up-date: Steve Blair, the racist radio talk jock/city councilman who went after a bunch of kids over their school mural in Prescott, AZ, has been fired from his radio show. Yes, the forces of political correctness have struck again. Latino kids (or black kids as Blair mistakenly claimed) can be in the foreground of a mural, just like white ones! Even better, the principal of the school and the school superintendent have assured, after protests and national media attention, that they won’t after all be altering the mural to make the non-white kids look whiter “for artistic reasons.”



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And Just Because I Ranted about Arizona and Because It’s Fun

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Updates on Arizona

The information coming in now clearly indicates that conservative Arizona legislators were not high when they went to the post with their new and unconstitutional Immigration law. They’re doing a cleansing strategy instead.

In addition to the Immigration law, new legislation going to the governor creates a ban on all ethnic studies programs in Arizona schools. Schools will lose state funding if they offer any courses that “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” So programs that teach about Mexican-American culture, like the one in Tuscon schools, are facing the axe and have also been equated with courses on treason. Raise your hand if you think schools are itching to have programs encouraging the overthrow of the U.S. government, and if such programs existed, would it likely be whites speaking of the tyranny of liberty and how they have to have cop killing bullets so they can overthrow the federal government or Latino-Americans? If students studied the Immigration law in school, it would of course be promoting resentment of a particular race or class of people — Latinos. Somehow, I doubt that’s a problem for these folks.

In the 1990’s, Arizona recruited bilingual teachers to teach English and Spanish in their schools. In 2000, all instruction was demanded to be in English by voter referendum and teachers complied. Now, Arizona’s Department of Education is demanding that no teacher with an “accent” (i.e. for whom English is not their first language,) be allowed to teach English. The Department will decide whether your accent is too thick (giving enormous potential for abuse,) and if so, teachers will have to improve or be fired or reassigned (giving enormous potential for abuse.)

What is clear here is that there is a concerted effort to attack Latino and Latino-American culture, citizens and immigrants that has nothing to do with crime and everything to do with ethnic stereotyping, prejudice and fear that Latinos will harm whites if they make up a substantial amount of the inhabitants, voters and workers. And indeed, the figures conservatives are claiming are quite clearly false, such as State Senator Russell Pearce’s bogus claim that half the murders in Phoenix are committed by undocumented immigrants. In actuality, research has proven again and again that  illegal immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born inhabitants. Violent crime in Arizona has actually declined, as has the number of illegal crossings into the country through Arizona, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the FBI. The Mexican drug war has not spilled over into American soil as much as it might have. The number of illegal crossers apprehended has dropped since 2000 from some 600,000 to around 240,000. And increasingly, the people who are crossing illegally from Mexico aren’t Latinos, but Chinese and Russians eager to get in the country. Chinese of course are subject to the same ethnic profiling as Latinos, but those Arizona state police may find it a lot harder to chase down Russian illegals, if they even bother.

Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office issued a report that proved that illegal immigrants use only a fraction of the services budget apportioned to deal with them, and that portion is only 5% of total state and local spending for services. The Rand Corporation’s study in 2006 showed that illegal immigrants receive almost no healthcare services and the tax money spent on their care is exceedingly small. Conservative lawmakers have ignored these and other inconvenient statistics in their claim that illegal immigrants are ravaging the countryside, rather than what they’re actually doing — coming for jobs.

There is one part of the Immigration bill that might have done some good — going after employers who knowingly hire illegals. But the problem is large scale on a federal level because large corporations like WalMart and Tyson Foods have hired illegals for janitorial services and meat packing plants, even recruiting them in Mexico. For those companies, the cost benefit of illegals may outweigh any threat of fines from a state government. But the federal government is actually having some success with the problem through a Social Security number matching program that catches employers who can’t produce legitimate SS#’s for employees. You know, the federal government that is supposedly not doing anything about the problem.

Arizona is not alone in attacking Latinos and Latino-Americans. Oklahoma has an equally unconstitutional immigration law sitting around in the midst of expensive lawsuits. Conservative politicians in Colorado and Texas are rumbling for similar laws under the same claims — the illegal problem and the drug trade are the same, illegals commit crimes and use up government services, illegal children will take over our schools and refuse to speak English, the problem is getting worse and the federal government refuses to act — all of these claims are statistically false. But they are very effective with white voters who fear other ethnicities and blame them for the economic problems handed to them by Wall Street. And in Arizona, it’s become a systemic attack of its Latino population, citizens as well as immigrants, school children as well as adults. In Arizona, Latinos are the new gays.

In another forty years, these battles will be part of the history books (not the doctored ones in Texas,) and seen as a continuation of the Civil Rights movement of the sixties. In the meantime, it saddens me that, having missed the first round, I have to sit through round two. I believe it will be a less violent round, I hope it is, and I wish the people who are protesting, organizing and taking to court this law the best of luck.

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Arizona, Were You High?

I’m not going to be doing a lot of politics on this blog and I’m not having comments on this entry, but when legislators in something the size of a state in the U.S. make a dictatorship move this big in scope, it calls for some comment. White, Republican, conservative legislators who rammed this through, this new law is not going to do the following:

1) Reduce the political and economic power of the Latin-American voters who make up a third of your electorate through Jim Crow style intimidation of forced police harassment, and the threat of arrest and fines for not having I.D. on you or for your white neighbors deciding you’re running a drop house.  Latin-American citizens are not going away and Arizona has already crossed the tipping point for losing their white majority in the next decades, despite the stream of white retirees.

2) Force the Arizona police divisions who did not agree with the views of the Sheriff of Nottingham to cooperate on threat of lawsuits. Instead, this will cause more in-fighting among Arizona law enforcement, and a nightmare on working with Federal authorities, whose job it is to deal with the whole border.

3) Put the squash on illegal immigrants becoming legal ones and legal immigrants becoming American citizens, along with their children, and thus increasing the size of the Latin-American voter block. Nor will it get the kids of illegal immigrants out of your schools or slow down people coming across the border illegally. Because as nasty as you are, you’re still not as nasty as the situation in other countries these people are fleeing from.

4) Reduce violent crime and the drug trade in Arizona. Because the illegals are in the majority not involved in the drug trade and the drug cartels don’t care what you do to them. The statistics you are using to freak out whites on the correlation between illegals and crime and how much of the drug trade is going through Arizona you made up out of your asses and they have already been debunked by the DEA and the FBI.

5) Bring out the racist white conservative voters that might get you re-elected. Yes, they may turn out for the 2010 elections since they don’t like being called names, but that’s not going to last, and the turn-out is probably going to be working against you as you have raucous divisions among your remaining electoral group in primary challenges, and this may cause you to end up ceding key seats including the governorship to the Democrats even if you make short-term gains.

What the law will do:

1) Not only lose you the Latin-American vote in Arizona, but mobilize them across the country, including other demographically shifting states like Texas, whose conservative legislators are apparently snorting the same cocaine to think a similar law is a great idea. Latin-Americans skew conservative (and Catholic,) but after years of driving them away, including pulling the plug on immigration reform in 2007, this might have just been the final nail condemning Republicans to a minority party for the next half a century.

2) Cause a lot of complications for your wealthy white citizens who supported the law but hire illegal immigrant labor.

3) Lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits.

4) Send your economy into the toilet to an extent that will make the damage from the boycott over the Arizona governor’s racist refusal of the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday look like a 4th of July picnic. At a time when your economy is already in the toilet and desperately relies on tourism.

5) Quite possibly ensure that President Obama is re-elected in 2012.

6) Cause me for the foreseeable future to refer to the Senator as John Weasel-Boy McCain.

And if you happen to have Latin-American grandkids or friends, that just makes it even worse. The lack of thought, the blatant racism, the fear-mongering lies, the total disregard for the Constitution, and the complete uselessness of this law on every issue  is so astonishing that liberal use of narcotics causing you to believe it’s still 1964 seems like the only logical explanation. Even the ever-green argument that you’re sending a message to the Feds makes no sense. What message? We want to destroy ourselves some more? Well, congrats, you did that. Way to serve the people.

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