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Tuesday, April 27, 2010
By Steven L. Taylor

Or, perhaps it is just snark, but I find it interesting/amusing/ironic that Jonah Goldberg, with his Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning’>Liberal Fascism thesis, can write the following:

I support the Arizona law, but I’m also worried that it could lead to civil rights abuses.

[…]

I agree that there’s something ugly about the police, even local police, asking citizens for their "papers."

The fact of the matter is, if one is concerned about increased state powers, as represented but such ideologies as fascism, then a key place to look is expanded police powers, especially powers that might induce the police to question citizens about their legal status for basically no other reason than because they can.  Now, understand, I don’t see the Arizona law as fascistic (or, as Colorado Democrat put it, according to a Politico headline:  Arizona law like ‘Nazi Germany’).  However, I have objections I noted yesterday and I doubt that that law will ultimately accomplish what it set out to do.

Another thing I would note about the column, Goldberg asserts that the law is “necessary” but he doesn’t actually make a case for the law.  Instead, he simply details other examples of expansions of state power as if to say “well, we’ve done these other things, so we can do this to.”

Monday, April 26, 2010
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the Press-RegisterArtur Davis calls for new Alabama constitution, constitutional convention.

This state desperately needs a new constitution and it is therefore refreshing to hear a candidate so directly state support in that direction.

Sadly, even if we had a pro-convention governor, I doubt we would end up with a convention.  Still, it is a step in the right direction.

By Steven L. Taylor

As has been noted in numerous places of late, John McCain’s political challenges (specifically his GOP primary challenge) has caused a shift to the right on the immigration issue, including early public support for the new bill.   However, said support has not been absolute:

Although McCain had sounded a note of support for the bill, calling it a "good tool" for law enforcement, he stopped short of fully endorsing the measure. "I haven’t had a chance to look at all the aspects, but I do understand why the Legislature would act," he said. Even though it wasn’t clear to him "whether all of it is legal or not," he said state lawmakers "acted out of frustration because the federal government didn’t do its job."

Emphasis mine.

It is an odd position to find oneself in:  feeling as if one has to support a given piece of legislation while one simultaneously has to recognize that serious problems might be contained therein.

Source for the above, the Arizona Daily Star400 protest at rally; voices of support at McCain forum

Filed under: US Politics,immigration | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

Mystic Moon

365.116 (4/26/10)

Filed under: photoblogging | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

Something I meant to note in the previous post:  one of the classic mistakes that supporters of laws like this make is that they assume that the only people who will be affected are the guilty.  It reminds me of discussions about “enhanced interrogation” or Guantanamo (not to compare having to prove one’s residency status to being tortured or imprisoned, but the basic approach is nonetheless similar) as proponents of the policy automatically assume that very few mistakes will be made in and as such don’t see the problem with said policy.

Filed under: US Politics,immigration | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

I have refrained from commenting on the new law, as I wanted to do some reading, and I allowed myself to be distracted by site tweaking over the weekend, and also had to help out on a science project with Middle Son (amongst other things).  At any rate, I have now read the bill for myself.

The controversial provision is as follows (caps in original):

FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OF A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON, EXCEPT IF THE DETERMINATION MAY HINDER OR OBSTRUCT AN INVESTIGATION.

The main document that needs to be produced is a valid Arizona driver’s license.  And, I have checked the process for getting a driver’s license in AZ and one does have to prove one’s legal status to obtain said document.

Now, on the one hand, having to provide a driver’s license is not especially onerous, and it is something that many of us have had to do.  However, almost certainly the only reason we have ever had to do so to police was in the context of driving, not to prove citizenship/legal status.  Beyond when driving, one does not have to have one’s driver’s license on one’s person if one does not wish to have it with them.   And, for that matter, not everyone has a license.

The problem here is pretty clear:  what constitutes “reasonable suspicion” that “a person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States”?  It is unavoidable that in the context of illegal immigration from Mexico that the main criteria that will be applied here is skin color and language (either in terms of speaking Spanish or accented English).  Can there be any doubt that if one is white that one’s chances of the aforementioned reasonable suspicion alighting about one is extremely slim (to the point of being nonexistent?).  Even Tom Tancredo, as hardcore a supporter of tough immigration laws as one can get, sees the potential for problems:  "I do not want people here, there in Arizona, pulled over because you look like should be pulled over."1

It is also clear that this bill will empower people like Maricopa Country Sherriff Joe Arpaio who has been criticized by the Goldwater Institute (named after conservative Barry Goldwater) for diverting “resources away from basic law-enforcement functions to highly publicized immigration sweeps, which are ineffective in policing illegal immigration and in reducing crime generally.” 2

In terms of the politics of the situation, I think that Andrew Napolitano of Fox News has a point (from an appearance on Neil Cavuto’s show last week):

Napolitano: She’s gonna bankrupt the Republican Party and the state of Arizona. Look at what happened to the Republicans in California with the proposition –

Cavuto: What happens?

Napolitano: Ah, Hispanics — who have a natural home in the Republican Party because they are socially conservative — will flee in droves. She’s also gonna bankrupt her state, because no insurance company will provide coverage for this. And for all the lawsuits that will happen — for all the people that are wrongfully stopped — her budget will be paying for it. Her budget will be paying the legal bills of the lawyers who sue on behalf of those that were stopped.

This will be a disaster for Arizona — to say nothing of the fact that it’s so unconstitutional that I predict a federal judge will prevent Arizona from enforcing it as soon as they attempt to do so. That will probably be tomorrow.

Transcript courtesy of Crooks and Liars, which also has the video.

I think he overstates his case a bit, but I think he makes very valid points.  The first is that this bill will very likely negatively effect the GOP with Arizona Hispanics (and there are a lot of Hispanics in Arizona).  I think that there will be short-term political gains, but potentially serious long-term political damage to the party.  And the bill will generate lawsuits.  Indeed, it allows people to sue government entities if they aren’t enforcing the law.  Further, there are going to be any number of court challenges to this process.

There is also a cost to be paid in terms of law enforcement.  Citizens in many communities are going to be less willing to interact with the police because of this law.  And, further, illegal immigrants who are witnesses to crimes are going to be too fearful to cooperate with police.

  1. Source []
  2. Source:  Mission Unaccomplished:
    The Misplaced Priorities of the Maricopa County Sheriff ’s Office [PDF]  h/t to Crooks and Liars. []
Sunday, April 25, 2010
By Steven L. Taylor

It would appear that, yes, indeed, the second attempt at importing existing comments into Disqus worked, so hopefully any conversations that people still considered active are accessible.   I have also fixed the category entry and click to comment link at the bottom of each post.

For those interested in following the blog via Twitter or Facebook, there are links above to allow you to do so.

I still have some other tweaks that I need to attend to.  I want to be able to get the Facebook “like” function to allow posting to Facebook and to get the comments count indicator back.

If you notice any glitches, please let me know.

By Steven L. Taylor

Via Ars Technica:  Hubble turns 20: a retrospective in pictures.

Filed under: Space | Comments Off|
By Steven L. Taylor

The LAT has an interesting piece on the UK elections, specifically on the issue of class and Conservative leader David Cameron:  British Conservative candidate works to overcome his posh background.

It struck me as interesting because while we talk about class politics in the United States, we really do not have anything like the British have, given the vestiges of the aristocracy that still permeates their society.  We talk about “class warfare” but that boils down to income levels, and sometimes the way we categorize certain professions (i.e., working class v. professional class) but really most Americans (including some pretty wealthy ones) consider themselves “middle class.” 

Filed under: 2010,Europe,UK,elections | Comments Off|
Saturday, April 24, 2010
By Steven L. Taylor

I am experimenting with using Disqus as the comment engine for PoliBlog.  This will allow for Gravatars and threaded comments (something I have tired to implement before) plus greater integration to social media.  We will see how it goes.  I tried to import all the old comments into the system, but it appears not to have worked.

I would be interested in feedback.  I am still doing some tweaking that may take a few days to work through.

I also upgraded to the latest version of WordPress, but that is all under the hood kind of stuff, and nothing readers should notice.  I did manage to break my categories, but that was simply a stupid mistake on my part and I am not sure if anyone would notice if I didn’t say anything.  Does anyone but me pay any attention to the categories?

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