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Robert Hall

Desert Derangement Syndrome

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Good op-ed piece this morning from the New York Times about this strange state...(bolded items are points I thought were particularly interesting).

Desert Derangement Syndrome

PHOENIX — Driving south from the high, age-worn plateau of northern Arizona, where the earth seems to have turned itself inside-out, I pulled over to take in the full sweep and wonder of this place during one of its better moments. The infinity of sky, the open gallery of sandstone masterpieces — it never fails to amaze.

Arizona is full of ancient communities — the Hopi, the Papago, the Havasupai, the Navajo — and outsized geology, with the Painted Desert, the Superstition Mountains and the big slit of the Grand Canyon.

Related:

Op-Ed: Why Arizona Drew a Line (April 28, 2010)

From Show Low to Tombstone, from Snowflake to Casa Grande, from the tiny Indian village at the bottomof the canyon to the Colorado River town that reassembled the old London Bridge on its desert edge, this is the American West of singular scenery and goofy glory.

But for all its diversity of land and people, Arizona is also a lunatic magnet. As I drove, I listened to the radio blather of a state in mob-rule frenzy of cranky old men. Once in Phoenix, I saw on television that sign in a car’s rear window, the new image of Arizona to the rest of the world: “I’m Mexican. Pull me over.”

The Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the state’s immigration law last Friday. This week, Jon Stewart called Arizona the “the meth lab of democracy.” A few days ago, the governor signed the instantly infamous “show me your papers” law, allowing authorities to stop and question anyone who looks Hispanic. Another new measure lets people carry concealed weapons without a permit, following on the heels of the new-found freedom to pack heat in bars and restaurants, something that was outlawed in much of the Old West. And the state house has just approved a bill that would require candidates for high office to show a birth certificate.

The birther bill is a sop to the flat-earthers who believe — without a shred of evidence, even after all the hard work of hard-right opposition-research — that our president was not born in the U.S.A.

“It suggests that Arizona is a place where any crackpot whim can be enshrined into law.” That was the verdict from the sensibly conservative Arizona Republic, the state’s leading newspaper, which had also urged the Republican governor, Jan Brewer, to veto the immigration bill that could foster a police state. She signed it, of course.

Stewart, the Mark Twain of our day with a New Jersey quirk or two, got it right with his meth lab jab. But Arizona is more than a laboratory for intemperate times: this place is a warning of what a state can look like when it’s run by talk-radio demagogues and their television cohorts.

The crackpot laws owe their genesis to the crackpots who dominate Republican politics, who in turn cannot get elected without the backing of crackpot media.

Arizona has always had a Looney Tunes side: who can forget Governor Evan Mecham, the car dealer with the bad toupee who used a tired insult to describe black children, told a Jewish audience that the United States was a “Christian nation” and canceled the holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He made history of a sorts: the first American governor to be removed from office by impeachment in nearly 70 years.

But Arizona has also given us smart, competent, forward-looking governors who stopped the crazies at the executive door. Now, there is not single adult with a spine — let alone a conservative in the mold of Barry Goldwater, who had a healthy distrust of handing the police too much power — left among the Republican governing majority.

Can it get any worse? Well, yes. Somewhere deep in the Sonoran Desert is the lost soul of John McCain. He’s taken back nearly everything he ever said or did that was admirable. He’s trying to get reelected to a fifth senate term by being just as grumpy, intolerant and wild-eyed as the aging white voters who make up the primary voting base for Republicans.

The Associated Press

J.D. Hayworth.His Republican opponent, naturally, is a former wingnut talk radio host and ousted congressman, J.D. Hayworth. To lose to Hayworth, who was thrown out in 2006 from his safe Republican district in tony Scottsdale because of his immigrant-bashing and ties to a disgraced lobbyist, would be the lowest form of ignominy, but perhaps fitting.

Hayworth is 250 pounds of broadcast-ready bile, a windbag hall of famer. He compared gay marriage to nuptials with a horse, said the birther bill did not go far enough and wrote a book with the tells-all-you-need-to-know title of “Whatever It Takes.”

Still, a sane plurality may yet show its face. Arizona is home to more than 2 million Hispanics — about 30 percent of its population. They are much younger than the average white voter, and do not show up at the polls in great numbers. They will now. Young people, business owners and retirees who are not afraid of the demographic change washing over America — they have also been on the sideline.

While the fringe that controls state government goes after the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country with a law that makes a mockery of American values, Arizona crumbles. Its state parks are orphans, left to volunteers. Its university system is being slashed and picked to death. They even considered a plan to sell the House and Senate buildings. What business will want to relocate to such a place?

It will cost these hot-heads running the state. Probably not this year. But soon enough, because Americans have always considered the West a place that looks to tomorrow through a lens of hope, instead of hiding in the past, in fear.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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Some insightful emails to a blog I read:

Whenever I read about the absurdity of the Arizona law (and of course, the lawyer that I am, I went out and read the law), my thoughts turn to my family. I'm half Cuban, my family has been here for more or less 40 years - citizens, naturalized or natural born, all. What I think about most is my 85 year old grandfather (or my 75 year old great aunt) whose English isn't very good (it's deteriorated a lot in the last ten years since my grandmother passed away). He's a naturalized citizen, he doesn't have "papers." He may have a passport, but are we really going to say that you have to carry your passport for domestic travel (which, by the way, is unconstitutional)? How, exactly, is he suppose to prove his citizenship? Or for that matter, my mother, who was so young when they came to the US that she was naturalized because her parents were naturalized?

There are a lot of people who are going to be harassed under this law. And they're not going to be illegal immigrants, they are going to be American citizens.

I've already heard the line coming from people on the "right" that "no one should be ashamed to declare their citizenship." But seriously, why should we have to? It's no different than saying "if you haven't done anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about." And more importantly, what happens when the law enforcement officer doesn't believe someone who says (in broken English, or another language) that they are an American citizen? How do you prove it if you don't have "papers"?

This is California Prop 187 all over - but in a digital age. This may well be the undoing of the GOP.

If you don't want to produce ID at the airport, you can choose not to use the airport. The same goes for using a credit card, entering a government building, or any of the other services he lists. A person does not need to produce ID provided that they agree to forgo using any of the services that require it. The Arizona law, on the other hand, is very much a "where are your papers" scenario in which law enforcement can presume that you are in the country illegality unless you have the documentation on your person that proves otherwise. As a natural born citizen of this country, that scares the hell out of me.

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The big question is---are your papers in order, and do you have them with you?

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Some insightful emails to a blog I read:

For as divergent as your and my views are, I find it interesting that we both read that blog. I've followed it since before the 2004 election.

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Those in this country with a green card are required to carry it 24/7.

Any over-18 alien in this country is required by federal law (USC 1304) to carry their 'papers' 24/7, in non-compliance; federal law mandates their immigrant status be determined, with consequences thereafter.

Since 'we're no better than any other 'citizen of the world', we should be glad to do likewise, right?

-- -- -- -- --

I had to produce my driver's license to see my surgeon last month.

I was outraged, I ranted & raved, threw magazines, kicked over potted plants; offended I could not just say who I was and have it be 'OK'. I'm an American, after all! I was escorted out by security and I plan to sue.

Or I just produced it quietly... I disremember.

-- -- -- -- --

I read the AZ law- no where did it say anyone could be 'pulled over for being hispanic'- so we can dispense with that tidbit of fear mongering/ race baiting.

Text here : http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/04/16/AzSB1070.pdf

>>"A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, WITHOUT A WARRANT, MAY ARREST A PERSON IF THE OFFICER HAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE THAT THE PERSON HAS COMMITTED ANY PUBLIC OFFENSE THAT MAKES THE PERSON REMOVABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES."<<

GASP! How racist !! :rolleyes:

-- -- -- -- --

As for AZ- saw a new poll this morning; Brewer's approval rating jumped 16% in the last 2 weeks (40% -> 56%). That's better than the TOTUS's.

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I read the AZ law- no where did it say anyone could be 'pulled over for being hispanic'- so we can dispense with that tidbit of fear mongering/ race baiting.

The reality though is AZ has a huge Hispanic population..it's inevitable that the police will do some racial profiling. It's not like the illegal aliens in AZ are blonde and blue eyed Scandinavians.

There have been many racial profiling lawsuits and other issues already in the past here with Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio..so the tradition is already there. (Amost 2/3 of the population of the state are this one county--about 4 mil out of a population of 6.9 mil)

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
  • Upvote 1

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License doesn't prove citizenship. And balthazar, you're ignoring the crux of the complaint: saying it's easy to fork over your passport (which is insane to carry at all times, and apparently unconstitutional) is like saying if you live in a police state, you have nothing to worry about if you did nothing wrong.

And moltar is right that this will be especially bad under the madman sheriff in Phoenix.

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And moltar is right that this will be especially bad under the madman sheriff in Phoenix.

And Sherriff Joe is probably going to run for governor..that's the last thing this state needs, a fascist thug in the governor's office.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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>>"License doesn't prove citizenship."<<

I believe this differs from state-2-state. In NJ, I showed my BC to obtain a DL renewal (tho there are combinations of documents you can provide to obtain it). But in my case, indirectly, my DL was proven by my proof of citizenship.

>>"...saying it's easy to fork over your passport (which is insane to carry at all times, and apparently unconstitutional)"<<

It cannot be unconstitutional for an American citizen to carry around a passport 24/7. 'Passport cards' - wallet sized have been issued since '09... I don't think that would be "insane" to carry around.

Bottom line is- things cannot be allowed to get wildly out of control before federal law is upheld by SOMEONE.

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>>"...saying it's easy to fork over your passport (which is insane to carry at all times, and apparently unconstitutional)"<<

It cannot be unconstitutional for an American citizen to carry around a passport 24/7. 'Passport cards' - wallet sized have been issued since '09... I don't think that would be "insane" to carry around.

Bottom line is- things cannot be allowed to get wildly out of control before federal law is upheld by SOMEONE.

I've used my passport instead of my DL in the US when going through the TSA checkpoints a couple of times...once when I'd misplaced my DL the day of a flight (it had fallen under the car seat) and another time when I discovered my newly issued DL had a glaring error that would have raised a lot of questions)...I figure it's a better form of id than the DL since it's national.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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>>"...saying it's easy to fork over your passport (which is insane to carry at all times, and apparently unconstitutional)"<<

It cannot be unconstitutional for an American citizen to carry around a passport 24/7. 'Passport cards' - wallet sized have been issued since '09... I don't think that would be "insane" to carry around.

Constitutional or not, I don't know... but the 'passport card' seems like a good idea. Make it a requirement for every citizen (over a certain age?) to always carry said card. This would even fix the problem of some state driver's licenses that don't/won't pass as ID in an airport.

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Constitutional or not, I don't know... but the 'passport card' seems like a good idea. Make it a requirement for every citizen (over a certain age?) to always carry said card. This would even fix the problem of some state driver's licenses that don't/won't pass as ID in an airport.

A passport card would make a good national id. I've always thought the idea of having DLs specific to a state rather quaint, at least for id purposes.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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>>"...saying it's easy to fork over your passport (which is insane to carry at all times, and apparently unconstitutional)"<<

It cannot be unconstitutional for an American citizen to carry around a passport 24/7. 'Passport cards' - wallet sized have been issued since '09... I don't think that would be "insane" to carry around.

I think they are saying that it's unconstitutional to require citizens to carry their passport.

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I think they are saying that it's unconstitutional to require citizens to carry their passport.

Good!

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Citizens and aliens probably should have some sort of national id to carry, though. A driver's license is state-specific and doesn't indicate anything as to citizenship status. Not to mention people that don't have a driver's license..

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Citizens and aliens probably should have some sort of national id to carry, though. A driver's license is state-specific and doesn't indicate anything as to citizenship status. Not to mention people that don't have a driver's license..

You can always get a plain old state ID card if you don't want to drive. That said, a national ID card is a completely different issue with its own pitched battles.

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I wouldn't mind a national ID card. Just so long as it doesn't cost $50 to renew every few years like my license did. <_<

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That article really is snide and condescending.

Seemed fair and balanced to me.

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If universal health coverage was part of the longstanding liberal agenda to implement a European-style welfare state in America, Arizona's tough new anti-immigrant law represents the conservative agenda to install a European-style surveillance state. Indeed, the very same conservatives who could not find words strong enough to condemn the Europeanization of America under ObamaCare are now greeting the Arizona law--which will require residents to prove their lawful status to authorities on demand--with a cheerful smile and a shrug.

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If universal health coverage was part of the longstanding liberal agenda to implement a European-style welfare state in America, Arizona's tough new anti-immigrant law represents the conservative agenda to install a European-style surveillance state. Indeed, the very same conservatives who could not find words strong enough to condemn the Europeanization of America under ObamaCare are now greeting the Arizona law--which will require residents to prove their lawful status to authorities on demand--with a cheerful smile and a shrug.

Check out Tabarrok's post too. MR FTW...

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The difference there is that the police detained that person with cause. The new Arizona law allows for an officer to use any suspicion they have of the person being illegal..... which is based on..... what criteria again?

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Law enforcement. What a novel idea.

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Camino LS6 - >>"That article really is snide and condescending."<<

Well, it IS the NYT. :banghead:

Olds - >>"

The difference there is that the police detained that person with cause. The new Arizona law allows for an officer to use any suspicion they have of the person being illegal..... which is based on..... what criteria again?"<<

Pulling up to a job site in a police cruiser and seeing who makes a mad dash to the south ?? :P

Edited by balthazar

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If universal health coverage was part of the longstanding liberal agenda to implement a European-style welfare state in America, Arizona's tough new anti-immigrant law represents the conservative agenda to install a European-style surveillance state. Indeed, the very same conservatives who could not find words strong enough to condemn the Europeanization of America under ObamaCare are now greeting the Arizona law--which will require residents to prove their lawful status to authorities on demand--with a cheerful smile and a shrug.

While both of those European imports should stay out of this country in my opinion, we forget that this law reflects the will of the people of Arizona who have to face the issue everyday. You know, those folks that the feds have failed to protect by performing their most basic duty as charged by the constitution.

I suspect that Arizonans would happily repeal this law if the federal government could prove that it was doing its job.

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