I like these better than my Gil Zeros.
Our guest blogger is Henry Fernandez, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund focusing on state and municipal policy.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s unconstitutional Latino witch hunt will no longer be subsidized by the State of Arizona. It turns out that while Arpaio had his deputies stopping anyone who looked like a Latino immigrant, there were 60,000 real felons running around Arizona. Apparently Governor Janet Napolitano has had enough. This week she took $1.6 million from Arpaio and redirected it to a new state-run fugitive task force to get real criminals off the street. Of course this was supposed to have been Arpaio’s job all along.
For those not familiar with Arpaio, he is a media hound, once even doing a pilot for a comedic Fox TV police reality show. On another occasion, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down his efforts to run his own reality show via webcam over the internet because it violated prisoner rights. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal. How any of this clowning would have reduced crime remains unclear.
Without his own show, Arpaio encourages TV news cameras to ride along with his deputies as they hunt down undocumented immigrants. Lacking any particular insight into who is or is not an immigrant, Arpaio’s tactics have consistently disrupted the lives of Latino U.S. citizens and terrorized families in Phoenix and surrounding towns. He even requires that victims and witnesses of crime prove their immigration status. This absurdity actually encourages crime by ensuring that many immigrants will not report crime.
48,000 individuals charged with or convicted of felonies, including violent crimes, are currently on the loose in Maricopa County. Despite the obvious need to apprehend these people, Arpaio spends his time elsewhere. Cameras in tow, he sweeps into Latino neighborhoods with large numbers of deputies and stops as many people as possible on the basis of alleged motor vehicle violations, looking for undocumented immigrants. That these immigrants are generally hard working and not a threat to anyone, does not matter to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office. Nor does the fact that lots of citizens who do not realize their tail light is burned out are subjected to interrogation to prove their right to reside in the United States.
The Bush Administration’s Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) has cheered on Arpaio’s behavior. ICE’s lack of concern for the civil rights of Latinos is not surprising given the large number of lawsuits currently pending against ICE by Latino citizens who allege that their homes were invaded by gun wielding federal agents demanding that they prove their right to reside in the country in which they were born.
Reasonable elected officials in Arizona have long called for an end to Arpaio’s defiance of the Constitution. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has asked the FBI to investigate Arpaio for a “pattern and practice of conduct that includes discriminatory harassment, improper stops, searches and arrests.”
The Governor’s decision will make Arizona residents safer, even if it does not stop Sheriff Arpaio’s quest for attention.
McCain: Bush ‘Exactly Right’ On ‘Appeasement’ Remark, Praises Reagan’s Handling Of Iran Hostage Crisis
Referring to President Bush’s notorious comments, MSNBC’s Pat Buchanan asked this morning: Will Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “endorse this statement about Barack Obama that in effect he is an appeaser?” Today, McCain confirmed that he would.
Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain. I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.
McCain elaborated on his campaign bus today, claiming diplomatic talks are a “serious error.” Watch it:
McCain’s praise of Ronald Reagan is wholly misplaced. To recap, during the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s, hostages were not released because of Iran’s fear of Reagan, as McCain suggested. In reality, Iran released them after Reagan administration officials infamously sold arms to the country, which were transfered to Ayatollah Khomeini. As a result, 11 Reagan officials were convicted of crimes.
Furthermore, Reagan did not have to “negotiate” with Iran during the hostage crisis of the 1970s because he wasn’t involved in it. The extensive negotiations with Iran were done before his presidency. In fact, Reagan’s inauguration occurred only minutes before the hostages were released.
McCain should take note of what Reagan said in 1981: “Our reluctance for conflict should not be misjudged as a failure of will.”
Geoffrey Millard, a soldier with the New York National Guard, was a general’s assistant in Iraq. He related a story he attended a briefing his boss about: a soldier at a traffic control point, faced with a speeding, oncoming car, “made a split-second decision” to fire “more than 200 rounds into the vehicle,” killing its inhabitants. “He then watched as the mother, father and two children were carried from that car.
“That evening, as it was briefed to the general — and I flipped the slides for that briefing — Col. [William] Rochelle, from the 42nd Infantry Division, DISCOM [Division Support Command] commander — and I have to apologize for a little vulgarity here, but I feel it’s intricate for my testimony — he turned in his chair to an entire division-level staff, and he said, and I quote, ‘If these fucking Hajjis learned to drive, this shit wouldn’t happen.’”
To me, in a sense, it’s these checkpoints incidents, more than anything else, that exposes the fundamental folly of occupation.
The Politico reports that today on the House floor, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) was overheard revealing his aggressive strategy for investigating Karl Rove:
Just off the House floor today, the Crypt overheard House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers tell two other people: “We’re closing in on Rove. Someone’s got to kick his ass.”
Asked a few minutes later for a more official explanation, Conyers told us that Rove has a week to appear before his committee. If he doesn’t, said Conyers, “We’ll do what any self-respecting committee would do. We’d hold him in contempt. Either that or go and have him arrested.”
Conyers said the committee wants Rove to testify about his role in the imprisonment of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, among other things.
“We want him for so many things, it’s hard to keep track,” Conyers said.
Dana Goldstein notes that there appears to be a massive backlash from state NARAL chapters and major financial supporters against the group’s decision to endorse Barack Obama. National NARAL seems to have gotten too clever by half here. They essentially endorsed Obama in an Obama-McCain race, which would have been a non-story, but by jumping the gun by a couple of weeks thought they could earn themselves some brownie points and get some attention.
But it got attention, of course, because the timing made it a bit of a shivving of Hillary Clinton even though in the real world they waited until after Clinton had dropped well below the threshold of viability. And now people are mad. At the end of the day, this seems to be a situation where a little less clever PR and a little more education and outreach could have done some work — it’s clear that many of Clinton’s fans genuinely don’t understand that it’s not possible for her to make up the ground she needs to and view efforts to get her to drop out as unfair efforts to rig things for Obama.
J Street, the new pro-Israel, pro-peace PAC is doing one of it’s first actions around the fact that, referring to his political opponents, Bush “likened us to those who favored talking to rather than defeating Adolf Hitler on the eve of World War II. How dare he invoke the memory of the Holocaust to justify his disastruous policies. Write to Bush now and tell him – Shame on you!”
As they say, we’ve had years to see what Bush’s policies accomplish — not much for the United States and not much for Israel either — just more war, instability, growing al-Qaeda recruitment, and more nuclear proliferation.
The Iraq War has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced. Civil war has been prevented; militias disbanded; the Iraqi Security Force is professional and competent; al Qaeda in Iraq has been defeated; and the Government of Iraq is capable of imposing its authority in every province of Iraq and defending the integrity of its borders. The United States maintains a military presence there, but a much smaller one, and it does not play a direct combat role.
“Violence still occurs” — this must be what McCain meant when he said that “the war will be over soon…although the insurgency will go on for years and years and years.” Got that? The insurgency will go on, but the Iraq war will have been won. Just like the surge has worked, despite the past month of intra-Shiite violence, suicide bombings, the continuing lack of political reconciliation, and the empowering of Sunni tribal elements hostile to the central government. If this doesn’t look like success to you, it’s probably because you don’t have a reputation to rehabilitate.
In regard to the “smaller military presence,” does this mean that John McCain no longer wants to stay in Iraq for a hundred years? By our count McCain has shifted at least four different times on this question. Has McCain has discarded the fantasy of using Iraq as a permanent base from which to project U.S. power in the region? Wait until the next speech!
If this wonderful outcome McCain describes is achieved, and I truly hope it will be, it will have been achieved because Americans rejected the war policies of John McCain, which effectively amounts to the “sunk cost” fallacy of a gambling addict, with the promise of many future trips to the casino. It’s also worth noting that if a liberal candidate offered this kind of ponies-and-rainbows blather (try harder, Salter!), he or she would be mercilessly attacked, probably by John McCain. But John McCain will probably get a pass, because he’s a straight talker. Have you heard that he hates war?
Lawmakers Respond To Bush: ‘Bullsh*t’ And ‘Malarkey’ That Is ‘Beneath The Dignity’ Of The Oval Office
In strong terms today, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, criticized President Bush’s remarks to the Israeli parliament that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Democrats favor a policy of appeasement toward terrorists. Biden said it was “bullsh*t” and “malarkey” for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country “and make this kind of ridiculous statement.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) directed sharp words towards the president as well, saying that Bush’s comments were “‘beneath the dignity of the office of the president and unworthy of our representation” at the celebration of Israel’s 60th anniversary. Watch it:
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel also noted that Bush had broken from the tradition that “when a U.S. president is overseas, partisan politics stops at the water’s edge.” “President Bush has now taken that principle and turned it on its head: for this White House, partisan politics now begins at the water’s edge,” said Emanuel. He added, “Does the president have no shame?”
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said: “Not surprisingly, the engineer of the worst foreign policy in our nation’s history has fired yet another reckless and reprehensible round.”
Earlier today, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) said that Bush “ought to apologize to the American people” while noting that the “Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense have both favored negotiations with Iran.”